Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Where Have I Been?

Why can't I get my act together to keep this blog and my other one  "Alice's Restaurant" updated on a regular basis???  I think of all the things I want to write about but time just gets away from here I go again.

We are doing fine.   Ron made it safely home from Idaho and Oregon...he took 535 pictures and I finally got them onto the computer.  Now to get them into a post or two or three....they are in my head, just have to get them onto the computer.  Today I finally wrote a letter that I have been needing to write for almost 3 months...what is with that????

I think I need to go back to carrying a daytimer of some sort.  I have been looking at them to start in January but what to do in the meantime???  Suggestions.  I have made lists, lots of lists and where are they - on my desk in the office when I am in the motor home or in the motor home when I am in the office.  Agh....I just need to get my act together.  Not only about writing and keeping them up to date but also stuff aIround here.  I feel like I am just being a slug....and I don't like this slug that I am turning into.

 I have been doing two things that were missing in my life.  I am now getting up at 6 a.m. and exercising...I have got to lose some weight.  First goal is 7.2 lbs down and I am down 2 of that 7!  Then the next goal is down 25 lbs and then another 25 lbs.  Timeline wise I want to be down 20 lbs by 11/14 when my friend Dee arrives for a week.  So I only have 18 more to go to reach that goal.

The other thing is spending time in the Word every morning.  Right now it is about 15 to 20 minutes a day.  I would like to be able to spend 45 to 60 minutes each morning in the Word and in prayer.  And I know that will improve as I get connected to a Bible study that begins the middle of September.  More directed study is the best and easiest way for me to spend more time in God's Word.

Our motor home feels crowded and cluttered.  I need to purge and get rid of stuff but don't even know where to begin.  I need to get my monthly menus back on track.  I have done pretty good this week with meal planning by day.  But I do so much better eating wise, grocery shopping wise, spending wise and not eating out wise.  

I need help, some plans, some ideas - please share, please ask me if I am doing "xyz" - what do you do to keep your home organized and simplified?  How do you do monthly meal planning?  How do you keep motivated to keep a clean and tidy home?  Yes we live in our motor home but it is our's not just a place to go camping and play in???

So to close I will share the one movie Ron took while he was with Brandon and his family.  The background noise you here is Max playing a Wii shooting game.  The baby is Treyson and it is so fun to watch his little movements.

Hope you have enjoyed catching up with us even if it is just a little bit.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Wrestling with a Couple of Things

I don't know about y'all but sometimes when I go to bed at night and I turn the lights out and think I am about ready to go to sleep my mind starts running at 100 miles per hours.  Not just little thoughts about day to day things, well sometimes it's like the day to day things.   But the last few nights I find myself with my thoughts just running and running.

The first issue has to do with sharing my blog.  I have a whole list of people who I send an email to whenever I update either of my blogs.  Not all the same names are the same on both lists.  And specifically I have been thinking of who I send this blog to and thinking I want to take some of those names out of that email list.  You may be asking yourself why would I want to remove someone from that list?  Well I wonder if the people on my list really want to know what I am thinking about, what is going on in my life, what issues I struggle with or is it that I want them to know all those things about me, about my family, about my job.  And that therein lies the problem - if people who really wanted to know about me, about my family, about my job, about my life would they not contact me in some way.  Many people on this list I communicate with on Facebook, via the telephone, email or snail mail but there are a handful that I never communicate with and so I wonder why do I keep sending them the emails.  If someone really wanted to be a part of my life, wouldn't you they would at least acknowledge an email or a blog post once in awhile.

I am sure I will struggle with this issue for a while longer, but if you stop hearing about postings on my blog via email that would mean that I am not struggling with that issue any more.  What do you think?  Do  I just blindly keep sending emails to people to let them know when I post or do I clean up my list? I am not sure what I am going to do - guess I will keep mulling things over.  And then I wrestle with if someone really wants to know what I am up to they could choose to follow along on my blogs.  I know people can do that because I have 101 followers on The Wandering Workentins and there are over 15 followers on this blog. Thoughts, suggestions, ideas?

The other issue I have been struggling with is a moral issue.  IF you know someone has done something very wrong and others know about that wrong and those others were affected by that wrong but no one reports that wrong to the appropriate people (the authorities) do you just continue to go along with them and not say or do anything?  I know I am being somewhat vague about this and I am sorry about that BUT until I can wrestle with my own mind about what to do it is best that way.  I would just like some feedback or thoughts on this very vague issue.

That's all from this brain for now.  Hope you are all doing fine.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Monday, Aug. 15, 1977 - Difficult, Scary and most of all Thankful,

We slept well that Sunday night ~ I think more from exhaustion than anything.

Our day got off to a rough start - (this gets kinda graphic).  Before starting my day I expressed milk for Jamie, the nurses at the NICU (Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit) kept encouraging me to do so for Jamie.  And then it was time to get in the shower.  And then I got dressed and then started crying ~ I was leaking all over everything!  Ron kept trying to tell me it was okay.  How could it be okay,  I had just leaked all over the only dress that fit me!  Now what was I going to wear to Royce's funeral? After much reassurances from Ron and my mom I put on one of my favorite dresses that I wore throughout my pregnancy and felt a little better.  First crisis of the day averted.

We then got ready to go to the church.   I think we (Ron & I) were pretty nervous.  What was going to happen, what would people say, could I get through the funeral without collapsing?  And then we were walking into the sanctuary.  Ron and I went in alone.  That little casket looked so tiny compared to the altar.  And we walked up to it and ran our hands across it.  And we looked at the flowers placed on the altar.  I don't remember who all sent flowers but I remember the Tupper's had sent a bouquet of blue & white flowers.  The Tupper's were my bosses from the real estate office where I had worked.  We had decided to have a closed casket.  We knew how hard it was to see our little boy in there and knew that it would make most people uncomfortable to see him like that.

The service began by the playing of Jesus Loves Me by the organist.  And then Adrian shared John 14 and some other scriptures.   And then we sang Jesus Loves the Little Children and .Jesus Loves Me.  And then Adrian prayed for God to be near us as we mourned the loss of Royce.  And then people walked by us, giving us hugs and loving on us.  We could not believe the number of people who were there.  Guys and couples from Ron's work, my bosses from the real estate office where I had worked, some friends from the radiologists office where I had worked and people from our church. And our family: my mom and my two sisters.  Ron's parents  and his brother and sister.  After everyone left the church Ron and I stood by the casket and told our precious little boy good-bye.  Definitely one of the hardest things we have ever had to do.

Royce is buried in at Palm Mortuary, 7600 S Eastern Ave., Las Vegas, NV.  We know his little body was buried there and we do go there when we are in Las Vegas we know without a shadow of a doubt, that Royce is in heaven with all four of his grandparents and other loved ones. 
And then we went back to the house where my step-dad had made finger foods for all of us.  And then the phone rang.  My mom answered and said it was the doctor from the NICU.  Immediately Ron & I froze and our thoughts jumped to what is wrong with Jamie.  We can't lose him after just losing Royce.  My anxiety must have been evident because immediately the doctor said everything was okay with Jamie.  In fact, they were going to move him back to Women's Hospital where he had been born.  They needed his spot in the NICU - great news for sure!!  The doctor told us to give them a couple of hours and then we could go to Women's Hospital to see Jamie but to call first to make sure he was all settled.  No problem I said with a smile.

We continued to visit with family and friends till about 4:00 when we called the hospital to make sure it was okay for us to come to the hospital.  And then crisis #2 hit.  Women's Hospital said Jamie was not there.  We then called the NICU - no Jamie was not there.  Where the heck was my baby????  I started crying and screaming.  What had they done with my baby?  No one seemed to know.  Ron took the phone from me and spoke with them at the NICU.  He then called Women's Hospital back and spoke to someone in the nursery.  Jamie was in the nursery - he was just not listed as a patient at the hospital.  The hospital had never had a male admitted to the hospital that was not a newborn and they didn't know how to do that.  After a lot of reassurance from the nurse and making sure Jamie was okay we made plans to go and see him that evening.  

Ron's family also went with us to the hospital to see Jamie - their first glimpse at our other precious baby boy. 

We are so thankful for our family and friends who were there for us 34 years ago and every day sense.  We have lost contact with most of the friends we had when we lived in Las Vegas and yet God has  blessed us with many friend since and through this day.  We were blessed and surprised to see Pastor Adrian & his wife, Nancy, in Beaverton, OR when Brandon had surgery when he was 13 years old.  It had been 15 years since we had seen them but that didn't  seem to matter - we visited and prayed together.  Shared about our families and enjoyed that unexpected treat of seeing them after so many years.  

Our family has faced many challenges and trials over the past 34 years but through it all the Lord has walked right beside us.  And for that we are thankful.  

Update on Jamie: he is 34 years old, lives with his sweet girlfriend, Suzanne and precious daughter Opal.  They reside in Washington State and we look forward to seeing them when we get back to that area.

Jamie, Suzanne & Opal, Summer of 2011

Thank you for reading along as I shared one of the hardest journeys we have ever been on.  Again, we give thanks to the Lord for his faithfulness, care and love along this journey we call life.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

And the Bathroom is Finished!!!

Let me begin this post with an order:


This is what it looked like before I started painting.  The wallpaper is an avocado green with white.  Took 3 coats of paint to cover the green so it would not show.  The cabinets were an off white and they took 2 coats of paint.

And this was just after I had been at it for about 45 minutes and I was asking myself "why did I want to paint the  bathroom?"  You may also be wondering why I didn't take the wooden cabinet down.  Because I couldn't ~ it had two screws inside and they came right out but that cabinet was stuck to the wall.  I have no idea what we did to get that cabinet to stay up there but it is there for good!  Also giving credit where due - my cousin Mike Stortroen and his girlfriend Betsy Cook are the ones who made that cabinet for me many years ago for Christmas.

And this is the finished bathroom.  I went with a blue to compliment the yellow.  What I originally thought was off white was really a lite yellow and the yellow of the cabinets is actually 3 shades of yellow above the light yellow on the color strip.  What do you think of my earring holder?  I took a piece of corkboard and put it in a 8x10 picture frame and then thought it would be nice to add some pictures of our kids and grandkids.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing the project of painting the bathroom in our motor home.  I really like how it turned out but again


Friday, August 12, 2011

Taking a Break

It is hot!!! here in D'Hanis and things are slow in the park so Jared (Ron's assistant and who is working Ron's regular schedule while Grandpa is off playing in Molalla, OR) and I decided to shampoo the carpet in the office.  It really needed it...after the 3" of rain we got on May 26th in less than an hour which leaked into the office through the window the carpet was looking pretty dingy.

So yesterday Jared left a little early and went to H.E.B. and rented a rug doctor shampooer.  This morning after the regular stuff was done: reading the water meters, compiling the rental pool book and checking work emails we got a moving.  First we moved everything off the floor and all the chairs into the membership office.  Then I vacuumed and vacuumed again.  And then we scurried around and picked up all the little rocks off the carpet that the vacuum would not pick up.

Then Jared started shampooing the carpet.  Took him about an hour and as he was pulling the shampooer out the back door he turned and laughed and said "we forgot to turn the lights out."  No problem, I walked around to the front of the office and opened the door between the lobby and the office, reached in and turned the lights out.  We had already put the radio and a sign that said we were shampooing the carpet and would be in the library, cruising the park or in the motor home.

Then Jared went to hang out in the library and I took advantage of the break from the office a.nd painted the first coat of the yellow paint on the cupboards in the bathroom.  Boy does it look bright!!  And it was very clear it will need a second coat :(  I will do that tonight after dinner.  Hopefully the brightness will tone down after it dries and I get the blue towels hung up in there.*

And then I had lunch - leftovers from my dinner last night with Mindi.  She made chicken spaghetti.  I had never had chicken spaghetti but boy was it delicious!!  I am definitely going to have to get the recipe as I know Ron would enjoy it as well.

After lunch I mozied over to the library to see how things were going there.  Watched a group play bridge for awhile - seemed like Greek to me :)  And then I delivered some of the mail packages that came - since the office is closed it is important to make sure people get their mail.  Plus it gets me outside and I really don't mind driving around the park with the golf cart :)

Jared and I then went back to the office to see how the carpet looked.  It looked pretty good but some spots were still noticeable so we decided to go over those spots again.  Took us another hour or so to get that done.  Then Jared drove around the park and then went back to the library for awhile. 

So I am hanging out in the motor home, have the radio handy and making use  of my time writing some blog posts.  Nothing exciting but at least I am writing :)

*Pictures will follow as soon as it is all done - hopefully by the end of the day on Saturday.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Yes, We are Still Alive

Yes we are still alive...thought I had better check in here before y'all started sending out the tracker dogs to find us.  Here is a small recap of what we have been doing ~ told in reporter format :)

~ Ali had her scheduled eye surgery on 7/11 - all went well and she returned to work on Thursday of that week.  She has one more follow up appointment and then will get her new glasses.  She is just amazed at how bright things are, how things are clearer and the headaches seem to be gone.

~ Max arrived on 7/16 and we were very busy.  7/16 & 17 we were in San Antonio, went to the Ripley's Believe It or Not, Guinness Book of World Records, the Wax Museum and Grandpa & Max went in the haunted house.  We went swimming and ate dinner at Chili's.*

~ the first week Max was here we went to bingo, went to Bill & Rosa's for dinner, did laundry one night; the next weekend we went camping in Bandera, attended the rodeo, went to Flying L Ranch water park (Grandma got sunburned), went to OST (Old Settler Trail restaurant), went to Brick's cafe, went swimming;

~ in between we celebrated Grandpa's birthday with cake and laughter at Social Hour AFTER Grandma made a quick trip to the ER taking Grandpa who decided the way to get out of workk for a few days was to cut his hand with a light fixture while working in the clubhouse kitchen with Jared.  Grandpa is fine though his ego is a bit bruised for the accident happening even though we all have told him it was an accident.

~ the last weekend Max was here we went swimming, went to the Snake Farm, the Wild Life Ranch, swimming and met new RV friends & shared a delightful dinner.  And then we got up at 3 a.m. to get to the airport and get Max on that 6:00 a.m.  flight and then two very tired grandparents went back to the hotel and took a much needed nap.*

And then last weekend we went to San Antonio so Ron could fly to Lewiston on Sunday morning.  On Saturday we went swimming, took a nap, had appetizers and then went out to dinner at the Texas Land & Cattle Restaurant.  And on Sunday Alice drove back to D'Hanis and the campground.  Other than driving to the previously mentioned ER, Alice had not done any driving since early April.  She arrived safely back at the campground.

~ Monday Alice started a new project ~ painting the bathroom in the motor home.  Before and during pictures have been taken.  After pictures will also be taken and posted at a later date.  All she is asking if anyone, and she means anyone, hears her talking about another painting job remind her that she does not like to paint!!!*

~ the other thing Alice has been doing is writing posts for Alice's Restaurant ~ Dishin' Up Food for Thought.  Check it out here to see what has been on her heart and mind the last few days.  There will probably be 7 or 8 posts in this series of posts.

Guests that's all for now.  I have made a commitment to write at least one blog post a day either here on Wandering Workentins or at Alice's Restaurant.  Thanks for being patient with me as I got my head wrapped around a few things.

* More detailed posts with pictures to follow.

Part 4 ~ A Very Long Weekend

Part 4 of life 34 years ago ~ if you are reading this and have not read the previous posts, please go back to here and begin reading if you want the whole story.

At times that week seemed to go by in a flash and at other times it went by very slow.  As you can imagine our emotions were running high, anxiety climbing the walls and tears of joy and sorrow were shared with many.  It is so hard to explain ~ on one hand we were young parents celebrating the birth of new babies and on the other hand we were grieving the loss of a precious baby boy.

When we were in the neonatal unit our focus was on Jamie - was he gaining or losing weight? Was he retaining his body heat?  Was he in distress or pain?  Was he tolerating the mother's milk?  And always Jamie seemed to grasp onto daddy's finger...I so wish we had pictures of those days.  We have a few pictures of those early days but not many ~ one of the times we were robbed boxes of things were stolen and a lot of our pictures were taken.

And then there were the trips to the mortuary ~ having to go sign papers.  I remember the time I had to print Royce's name on one of the forms I started to cry realizing he would never learn how to write his name, no teacher would ever call his name in a classroom and I would never swing him and say he was our happy boy!!

Saturday we went to the hospital four times to spend time with Jamie.  Each time we would hold and rock him, look at his super tiny feet and fingers.  And just watch him breathe.  Even months later I would go in his room and watch him sleep in his crib just because I loved to watch his little heart beat in his chest.

In between visits to the hospital that day we went by the church to meet with Pastor Adrian to plan the service for Royce.  One of the scriptures that was shared was John 14.  And we picked out the music - Jesus Loves Me and Jesus Loves the Little Children.  To this day when I hear either of these songs sung or played tears spring to my eyes.  Yes, even after 34 years some days are harder than others.

Late in the afternoon on Saturday Ron & I went to the mortuary to see Royce.  I wanted to see him before anyone else did.  I wanted to make sure he looked perfect and that they had dressed him properly.  I was so scared to go into the room where he was.  They had set the room up very nice.  There was a love seat and a couple of chairs that sort of made a semi-circle around one side of the room and then they had the little casket in the corner at an angle.  It was open and we hesitantly made out way over to him.  I had only seen one other person dead and that was my great-grandma.  And all I remembered from seeing her was that my grandma leaned over and kissed her.  And I had touched her hand and it was cold.  I didn't know if we could hold Royce or not.  We just sort of stared down at him.  He looked so peaceful.  After we were in there a minute or two one of the men from the mortuary came in and told us we could hold him if we wanted.  I immediately leaned down and picked him.  He was so cold and heavy.  I couldn't believe how heavy he was.  He was such a tiny baby ~ how could he be so heavy I wondered?  I sat on the couch and rocked him in my arms.  I pulled the little blanket from his head to see where they had shaved the hair behind his right ear to put in an IV.  I looked at his chest.  I had to see where they had cut him from the autopsy - it looked like a little cross with the line going down his chest about 2" long and the cross line about 1" and his skin was put back to make it look like he had a small cut there.  It was hard to see but it was not as bad as I thought it would have been.  After I held him for awhile, Ron held him.  It was the only time he got to hold his little boy, his first born.  There are times even now that we talk about that time and that is the one thing Ron says he misses the most - he didn't ever get to cuddle Royce while he was alive.  It is a sad memory for him.  I think we stayed at the mortuary about 2 hours before returning to the hospital to see Jamie ~ that is what kept us going ~~ returning again and again to the hospital to see life in Jamie, to see his little chest rise and fall with each beat.

Saturday night my sister Kathy arrived from Sacramento.  Looking back at her being there it must have been a hard weekend for her as I remember asking her over and over "why did you come?" and "why didn't dad come, I asked him to come."  As I think about it now, she was probably very hurt that I was not appreciative of her coming for such a sad occasion.  I remember that I just tolerated her being there.  We didn't talk much and I think we only shared two hugs - one when we walked in the house and she was there having just arrived from the airport and Monday morning when she gave us greetings after the service at the church.   And now I will never have the chance to tell her I am sorry for not appreciating her for all the things she has done in my life as my big sister as she died unexpectedly on Sept. 12th, 2008.*

I don't remember if we went to church Sunday morning or not.  My mom did not attend church and with my sister there I am pretty sure we did not go.  Sunday afternoon my little sister, Joanie ~ age 13, wanted to go the mortuary to see Royce.  Ron said we would take her.  And so the three of us went to the mortuary again.  We tried to prepare her for what she would see.  I don't think we did a very good job but then again we were only 19 & 21 how good of a job could we be expected to do.  We were all very quiet when we entered the little room.  Royce looked just like we had left him ~ laying peacefully in his little bed - it was so hard for me to call it a casket, with the tip of the blanket folded over the right side of his head covering where he had been shaved and the little giraffe propped up looking down at him.  Joanie walked hesitantly over to him for about 30 seconds and then she turned and rushed out of the room.  We immediately followed her.  She went right back to the car and said she had to see mom, see mom right now.  So Ron drove us to the Silver Nugget as mom was working.  When we walked into the restaurant Joanie ran right up to my mom and started crying and hugging my mom.  And then she blurted out "please tell me they are going to bury you with your teeth.  Royce's mouth was all sunk in, please make them bury you with your teeth in."  My mom hugged her and reassured her that she would get buried with her teeth in.  And after that Joanie was okay, well as okay as a 13 year old can be after just seeing a dead little baby.*

We stayed at the restaurant for a little while.  I remember eating soup and rolls.  Maybe that's why soups and breads of all kinds are my comfort foods ~ whenever I feel stressed a good creamy soup and fresh rolls & butter always makes me feel better.

Sunday evening around 7:45 p.m. Ron's brother, John called to say they were almost to Las Vegas.  Since the mortuary closed at 9 p.m. we decided to just meet them there.  We all arrived about 8:15 p.m.  After hugs and tears were shared - we had not seen them since our wedding December 20th, 1975, we went into the mortuary and Royce's room (at least if felt like it was his room and it was for those few days).  After a few minutes Ron's mom asked if she could take pictures of Royce.  I was flabbergasted.  I had never heard of such a thing.  Take pictures of a dead person.  My response "absolutely not!!!" and so no pictures were taken.  About five years after Royce died I would have given anything to have at least one picture of that sweet baby boy.  Because we did not have any pictures of Royce, one of the things Ron & I do when talking/sharing with parents who are going through the same/similar things as we did ~ we encourage them to get pictures, to hold their little one as long as possible and not rush through those last minutes ~ they cannot be redone.

Once we got back home we called and checked on Jamie.  He had had a good evening and was sleeping well.  We could sleep well now ourselves for we knew Monday was going to be a hard day ~ we just didn't realize how hard it was going to be.

*Joanie and I have never talked about that day.  I do hope the scene didn't haunt her in her dreams.  And knowing Joanie after my mom died, she probably put mom's teeth in before they removed her from the house after she passed away on 10/31/2005.*

*One thing I have learned in my life is that there are no guarantees.  That if something or someone comes to mind I need to act - write, call or do something - and I look at those moments as God reminders - He is reminding me to do or say something.  Not that I follow this all the time, but it is one thing I strive to do whenever I can.  I try to let my family and friends know that I care about them, when I think of them by calling or dropping them a note via email or a card.*

Part 3 Continued - August 11, 1977

Sorry for ending so abruptly...

We remained at the hospital for about 2 hours and then the doctor came in to talk to Ron and I.  He wanted us to give permission for them to do an autopsy on Royce.  At first I was adamant that no, they could not do that.  I just did not want them cutting on his little body.  He had been through so much and I just wanted him to be left alone.  After talking with Adrian, the doctor, and Ron and hearing the doctor's reasons for wanting to do the autopsy, we agreed to let them go ahead.  One of the arguments was that because I had miscarried one little boy at 20 weeks and then Royce dying, the twins being born 8 weeks early they (the doctors) wanted to see if there was anything genetically going on that could be prevented in the future.  It would be a couple of weeks before we would get the results.*

And then we drove home.  Again with empty arms and a grieving heart.  Asking questions that could not be answered.  Once home and through many tears we made the calls that needed to be made.  Calling Ron's mom ~ Ron knew to call her at the berry fields.  So hard to tell a grandmother that her first born grandson was now gone.  Anne would call Pete in Alaska.  Calling my dad and sister in California.  I told my dad that I really wanted him to come to Las Vegas.  He said he would see what he could do.  I just knew in my heart this little girl needed her daddy during this difficult time.  And with all the phone calls we ended with we will call when we know when the funeral would happen.  Such difficult phone calls to make all the while worrying if Jamie would continue to get stronger and remain with us.

Thursday evening we did go back to the hospital and spent another hour with Jamie.  We talked with the nurses and they encouraged us to call anytime we wanted to see how our little guy was doing.  And we did.  Sometimes when I would wake up in the middle of the night I would call the neonatal unit just to check on him ~ and then fall asleep in Ron's arms. 

Friday was another difficult day.  In the morning we went to the neonatal unit to see Jamie.  It was so good to hold him in our arms.  And he always seemed to enjoy grasping his daddy's finger.  Jamie's weight dropped down to 3 lbs 7 oz.  Believe me he was a teeny, tiny little boy.  After visiting with Jamie and telling him he could cry all he wanted while we were gone (crying would build up his lungs and he really didn't cry much.  One time we watched him as he scrunched up his face and pulled his little legs up towards his chest like he was going to cry and then his arms and legs just flopped - he was exhausted from just trying to cry.  So it sorta became a joke for us to tell him to cry while we were gone.)  We went to the funeral home.  That is something that I don't wish on anyone.  No parent should ever have to bury a little one but we had to do it.  So we did.

We met with a very nice couple who walked us through the paperwork, talked about our options and what we wanted to happen.  We called Adrian and asked if we could have the funeral on Saturday afternoon at the church.  And then we had to pick out our baby's final bed.  As we walked into the room the first thing we saw was this casket that looked like it was for a 6 or 7 year old.  It was all white and satiny on the outside and lined with pink silk.  I just bawled.  And then we were shown this little white pine box - very plain.  And then we saw the one for Royce - it was about 2 ft long, light blue in color and lined with blue satin.  We just touched it over and over.  And then we were escorted out of the room.

And then we went back to see Jamie.  I just needed to see and hold him and know he was okay.  After about another hour we went to Sears.  We had to get an outfit to lay our baby boy at rest.  Do you know how hard it is to shop for a baby boy's last outfit.  A young girl came up to us and asked how she could help us.  I blurted out "we have to pick out an outfit to bury our baby.  He died yesterday.  She looked at us with big eyes and started to walk away saying "I will be right back."  A few minutes later, this gramma type lady walked up, asked if she could help us (the other gal told her what we were needing to do).  She was so kind and helpful.  She was gentle in spirit and helped us pick out a little blue hand knitted outfit that had a stuffed giraffe with it along with receiving blankets and some little blue booties.  And then she hugged us after we paid for the things for Royce.  One of the things I remember is that you could not buy just one receiving blanket - they came in packages of two.  We still have the second blanket, it is tucked into a trunk along with Royce's baby book and the many cards we received from friends.  We then took the little clothes and giraffe back to the mortuary.  They said we would be able to see Royce on Saturday morning.

And then back to the hospital for another visit with Jamie.  I think we ended up going to the hospital four or five times on Friday and Saturday.

Friday night as we walked into the house after visiting and checking up on Jamie, my mom looked at us and said she had something to tell us.  Immediately Ron and I just grabbed each others hands and asked what?  (Both of us later would tell each other we thought something had happened to Jamie in the time it took us to drive from the hospital to the house.)  Mom said we had to postpone the funeral from Saturday afternoon to Monday because Ron's dad, Pete and his sister, Kathy were flying into Seattle Saturday morning and then they would drive straight through to Las Vegas.  Ron just started crying ~ he had said he wanted his dad there but he just knew that was not possible.  But God was gracious and granted the desires of his heart and made it possible for Pete to be there with us on one of the most difficult days of our lives.  And then my mom told me my dad decided not to come but to pay for my sister Kathy to come for the funeral.  Needless to say I got very angry with my dad over that.  Not that I didn't love my sister and it had been almost a year since I had seen her but I really wanted/needed my daddy there.  Though I wasn't very surprised as he had disappointed me many times in the 10 years since my parents had divorced (that's probably 5 or more blog posts.)  But there was nothing I could do.  Kathy would arrive on Saturday evening.  And Ron's parents and brother John  and sister Kathy would arrive on Sunday late afternoon.

We then called Adrian to explain the situation, made arrangements for the funeral on Monday morning at 11 and then called the mortuary to explain the change of plans.  Guess they were used to people's plans changing because it was not a problem.

Another long day had come to an end.

*The results of the autopsy showed that Royce's brain had not developed the way it should have.  The doctors believed that if he had lived he would have mentally always remained a new born but that physically he would have grown in size like a child.  At times in the first 15 years or so after he died, sometimes I would look at Jamie and think "Lord you did know what you were doing (even though it hurt and still does at times) but how could I have ever taken care of newborn who was 5'9" tall weighing 175 lbs or more."  Even though we miss Royce we are thankful he did not have to deal with a life that would have been filled with complications and problems.*

To be continued...

48 to 72 hours old

Part 3 of the Week of August 6 to 15, 1977 -  if you missed Part 2 - click here; if you missed Part 1 - click here...otherwise keep on reading :)

After going home and resting for a few hours and pumping twice (the doctor had told me even though I couldn't nurse, my breast milk would be the best thing for the twins so being the good little girl and wanting to be the best mommy in the world ~ I pumped and pumped some more).  I wanted to go back to the hospital.  So about 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon Ron and I made the trek into the hospital.  We stayed about an hour ~ I must say the hardest thing is having a baby or two babies and not be able to take them home with you :(  It was so good to see Jamie in the incubator breathing on his own.  We just could not believe how tiny he was and how well he was doing.  Seeing Royce was so hard, he struggled with breathing and had so many tubes going into his little body.  As we stood there and gently touched him tears streamed down both our faces.  And said many prayers.  Our prayers were mixed ~ seeking healing for Royce's little body ~ he was fighting a Class D infection (the highest classification they would give) and pneumonia from swallowing the amniotic fluid. 

After seeing the boys we went by the Silver Nugget to get some dinner and see my mom.  She said she would be home around 11:15 that night.  After dinner we went home and I tried to rest some more.  I called the hospital a couple of times to check on the boys.  After my mom got home I asked her if she wanted to go to the hospital to see the boys - she had only had a glimpse of Jamie before they transferred him to the neonatal unit and she hadn't seen Royce since early Monday morning.  After talking and begging her to take me to the hospital, she called the neonatal unit and asked if it was okay to come so late at night.  The nurse she spoke with, unbeknown to me, told my mom she thought it would be a good thing for her to bring me to see the babies as Royce was continuing to go down hill.

(I should say here I was 19 when I had the twins and Ron was 21 - I was very niave and neither of us knew what kinds of questions to ask or even if it was appropriate to ask questions ~ things are so different now a days as we saw in the birth of Opal and the loss of little Emerald~both in how things are handled and what is said and done for the parents of these little preemie babies.)

So we drove the 45 minutes to the hospital arriving a little after 12:30 a.m.  We gowned and scrubbed up and went into see the boys.  My mom talked to the nurse for quite awhile, I just kept moving from baby to baby.  It was so quiet in there except for the noises of the different machines.  If I remember correctly there were six or eight little ones in the nursery.  Sometimes even today I wonder about those other babies.  The nurses let us stay over two hours with the boys.  And as we left the hospital to go back home both my mom and I were crying, tears running down our cheeks inwardly praying that they would be okay.

After getting home about 4 in the morning we both crawled into our beds and slept.  I remember waking a few times and cuddling & crying with Ron - and I kept saying to him "God wouldn't give us two babies and then take them away would he?"  And then we would pray and cry together and drift off to sleep.  We got up about 8:30 and called the hospital to see how the babies were doing.  Jamie was upgraded from to serious but stable yet Royce was still on the critical list.  After showering and breakfast we decided to go back to the hospital.  I had a couple more bags of milk to take in and I really wanted to see the boys.  While we were preparing to leave to go to the hospital the phone rang.  It was the neonatologist calling to tell us Royce was not doing well and that they wanted to do a blood transfusion on him and would we give permission for them to do that.  Of course!! I almost yelled into the phone ~ I don't even remember asking Ron what he thought.  I just knew that I wanted them to do whatever it was they needed to do to make my baby healthy.  The doctor than said we should wait a couple of hours till we came in to give them time to do the transfusion and make sure all was well with him.  He said they would call when we could come to the hospital.  This was about 11:30 a.m.

I think the next three hours have been some of the longest hours in my life.  Right about 2:30 the doctor called and talked to Ron.  He told him that the transfusion was not successful and it did not look like Royce would live much longer.  He said we should get to the hospital as quick as we could - Royce probably only had about 15 minutes to live.  The tears and cries just rocked our bodies.  My mom quickly called work and said she would not be in and the three of us (me, Ron and my mom) got in her car and went to the hospital.  Ron was driving, speeding all the way, I just prayed 1) that we would get to the hospital before Royce died and 2) that we would not get stopped by the police with the way Ron was driving.  As we pulled up to the red light by the driveway leading into the hospital parking lot Ron stopped.  My mom and I just looked at him, no traffic was coming, we had just arrived with him speeding all the way and then he stopped!!!  We yelled at him to run the light, just run the damn light!!  And then he did.  He pulled up by the doors closest to the entry by the neonatal unit and Ron & I jumped out of the car.  Mom went to park it.  We ran into the unit, grabbed gowns and scurried through the double doors.  I remember one of the nurses saying something about we needed to scrub and I said "why, he is dying anyway."  She just looked at me and we went onto where Royce was laying.

He was so tiny.  There was a hospital chaplain standing nearby talking with the doctor.  We just looked at Royce with tears streaming down our faces.  We couldn't believe he was dying, he looked like he was sleeping.  About that time my mom came into the neonatal unit with a gown on.  She joined us at Royce's bedside.  Standing around Royce was the doctor, then my mom, then me, then Ron and then the chaplain.  I remember asking the doctor how long it would be?  Was he hurting?  Was he in pain?  I never thought to ask if we could hold him.  Neither did Ron.  That is something that bothers us to this day - I got to hold him once in the early hours after he was born and Ron never did get to hold him while he was alive.  The doctor told us it would not be long, no he was not in pain and he was not hurting.  I remember touching his little legs, and my mom rubbing his little arm and Ron rubbing his legs as well.  After a few minutes my mom told me to tell Ron to ask the chaplain if he would pray.  Ron did.  When the chaplain said "Almighty Father" - Royce breathed his last breath on this earth.  It was 3:15 p.m.  Exactly 45 minutes since we had received the call that he had only 20 minutes or so to live.

I truly believe that the Lord kept Royce there waiting for us to be with him before he died and returned to heaven.  We were at the hospital with Royce for a total of about 10 minutes before he died.  When I think of those minutes I say again, thank you Lord for giving us those minutes with that sweet little baby.  After a few minutes of just standing there by his little lifeless body I said I wanted to hold Jamie.  And Ron asked the chaplain to call Pastor Adrian to come to the hospital.

We were then escorted intoa room with a rocking chair, a couple of other chairs and a hospital bed.  While waiting for Pastor Adrian and for the nurse to bring me Jamie I kept saying "Why, why would God give me a baby and then take him away????"  over and over and then I changed it to "I am not going to ask Pastor Adrian why God would give me a baby and then take him away, I am just not going to do that!!!"  As I was saying these questions, which really no one could answer they brought Jamie into us.  I sat in the rocking chair and they put this tiny, squirly little guy who was wrapped up in a little blanket into my arms.  I just cried - it was the first time I actually got to hold him.  I cried and rocked and rocked and cried holding that little baby.  I would not give him to anyone, not even Ron.  I don't know how long I rocked him but finally the nurse standing behind me said she thought she shoudl take him back to the incubator as they didn't want him to lose his body heat.  I reluctantly gave him back to the nurse.  And cried and rocked some more.  About 45 minutes after Royce died Pastor Adrian came into the room.  Ron and I were sitting on the hospital bed and I jumped up and grabbed his arms and yelled at him "Why,  why would God give me a baby and then take him away????"  And I remember him and Ron putting their arms around me and repeating "I don't know."

Note - I need to stop right now as I can barely see the page through my tears.  I think this is the very first time I have ever sat down and written out this whole story.  I will write more later.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

12 Hours Old - How Fast Things Can Change

Part Two of "34 Years Ago Today" ~ if you did not read the previous post and want to start at the beginning of the story click here.

After finally getting settled into my room I slept for about four hours.  I then got up and walked down to the nursery to check on Royce.  He was so tiny they had him in an incubator.  I could not hold him, but oh how my arms ached to just do that.  And then I wondered what was going on with Jamie (James was too formal for such a little guy and I didn't want Big Ron/Little Ron and I hate the name Ronnie so my mom suggested Jamie and it has stuck.  And I think it fits him just perfectly!).  After watching Royce and stroking his skin for a little while I went back to my room and cried.  I was so worried about the boys.  Jamie was born so sick and Royce seemed okay.  I had a few visitors - Pastor Adrian Hall, my mom, sister, and of course Ron was there as often as could be.  

He shared with me what had happened at the neonatal unit once Jamie was settled in there.  Ron was touching Jamie and he grasped his daddy's finger.  Ron has talked often about that first touch and Jamie's response.  I think it was the beginning of a beautiful relationship that Father and Son have.

About 3:00 p.m. (Monday 8/8) the doctor came into my room and told Ron and I that Royce was struggling and needed to be transported to the neonatal unit too.  All I remember is Ron holding me and we both crying into each others arms.  Our babies were so little, 8 weeks early and so very sick.  About 8 p.m. the doctor came back into my room and wanted to talk with Ron & I.  He said the situation was serious.  He said 5 years earlier and who knows if even one of them would have been born alive.  10 years before neither of them would have born alive.  I heard what he was talking about but I just kept thinking...please tell me they will be okay, they just have to be okay.  He then said he would do his damndest to give us one baby to take home BUT the next 48 to 72 hours were going to be the hard ones.  We called our pastor and he came back to the hospital.  We prayed.  He put it out on the prayer chain - to lift those little boys up for healing and for me to not be too stressed being separated from Ron, from the boys.

Tuesday was mostly a blur.  The one thing that I remember from that day was the interactions with the lady from the business office about naming our boys.  We had six names picked out - 2 for two girls, 1 boy & 1 girl and then the boys names and the order the boys would be named.  We had to wait for the 2nd birth to know the name of the first!!!  Royce Alan was named for one of my best friends from high school...Royce Jones.  He encouraged me to attend Young Life about a month before I graduated from high school and that is where I accepted the Lord as my savior!  Thank you Royce for facilitating that life changing moment in my life.  Ron had said if we had two boys he wanted to name one of them after him...we laugh that he had no ego problem!!! So that is how the boys were named.  Well this gal came into my room and said we needed to complete the birth certificates.  Twin A - Royce Alan (spelled A-L-A-N) first argument with the lady - the spelling of Alan.  Twin B - Ronald James, Jr.  You would have thought I said name him the devil or something.  She started saying no, twin A should be the junior, no twin B is the junior.  After about 20 minutes of arguing and my crying I yelled her right out of my room.  About two hours later the doctor came in and asked what was wrong...I was still peeved and letting everyone who came into my room how much that lady was wrong.  Ron and I told the doctor and he said he would be right back...that same lady came back in along with the doctor and she filled out their birth certificates the way we wanted.  I don't think she said five words to either of us the whole time which was just fine for me.

Ron spent his time on Tuesday going back and forth to the neonatal unit and seeing me in the hospital.  Late Tuesday night he went to the neonatal unit and got worried.  Jamie was no longer on the Ohio Open Bed and in an incubator.  He thought Jamie was worse - so not the truth.  Jamie was doing better, no more on Oxygen, breathing on his own and all his blood tests were coming back with good numbers.  Thank you Lord for healing his little body.  He wasn't out of the woods but it was a good sign.

Royce was on an Ohio Open Bed - he had tubes coming out of his little foot, his head and one arm.  And Oxygen tube in his nose.  He was a very sick baby.  Each time Ron went to the neonatal unit he prayed over both babies.  And he hated to leave them but he felt he should be with me as well.  Tuesday was a very long day.

Wednesday morning I begged the doctor to release me.  I did not have a cesarean and I was feeling okay, just tired and a little sore, after all I gave birth to both of them vaginally with no meds - they didn't want to give me medication because it would affect the babies.  After much pleading and promising to go right home the doctor let me leave (little white lie #2).

As soon as we got out to the truck I told Ron he had better take me to the hospital to see the boys.  Ron said "you promised the doctor you would go home."  "I Know, but I have to see them!!!"  "Please!!!" and 35 years later he still doesn't deny me anything I want.  We went to the hospital.  We had to gown up when we got there.  It seemed to take forever and then finally we were in the neonatal unit.  And then there they were.  Jamie was in a diaper, in the incubator...he looked so tiny and that diaper was so big on him (they didn't have preemie diapers then).  And then we went to see Royce - in comparison he was so big compared to Jamie.  The difference of 1 1/4" in length and about 8 ounces really made a big difference.  The boys were fraternal twins - Royce was dark haired and chubby, Jamie was so blond he looked almost bald and so long and skinny!!!

We stayed in the neonatal unit for about an hour and then the nurses suggested that Ron take me home, I was having a hard time staying on my feet and not wobbling.  I think they were afraid that I was going to pass out on them.

So we went home early Wednesday afternoon.

**Stay tuned for part three**

Monday, August 8, 2011

34 Years Ago Today OR Happy Birthday Jamie!

Thirty-four years ago today was a busy, happy, scary day for me.  Let me start back to July 1977 ~ it was time for Ron to take vacation and we wanted to go to California.  We were stationed at Nellis AFB, Las Vegas, NV.  I was seven months pregnant.  Ron said to check with the doctor.  I did and told a little white lie "he said I could go."

10 days later we made a quick return from Bakersfield, CA to Las Vegas, NV as I started having contractions while we were traveling.  (rememeber the little white lie).  The day after we returned to Las Vegas I went to the doctor.  He checked me over from top to bottom and after a big sigh he said "You are doing fine.  deep breath on his part.  But I need you to go get some x-rays.  I am picking up three heart beats and I just hope one of them is yours."  Silence, gasps, and what??? went through my  mind.  I walked out of the doctor's office, told Ron we needed to go to the hospital and why.  He responded with laughter, what?, oh my.

So we went to the hospital.  I had x-rays taken.  Convinced the gal taking the x-rays to leave them on the counter.  Fortunately I had worked with her at a radiologists till I was about 3 months pregnant.  She left the x-rays on the counter and walked out.  I held them up and just gasped ~ there were two little feet directly across from a face.  I walked down the x-ray with my eyes and what do you know another set of little feet and a cute face!!!  Yes we were having twins.  I walked out and held up two fingers on each hand.  The lady sitting next to Ron said "four babies?"  and with my eyes bulging out I whispered "no two babies."

We walked to the truck and just looked at each other.  We then drove to the Silver Nugget where my mom worked and told her.  And the wheels started turning.  Within one week we had moved out of our apartment and into my mom's house (we had orders to Holland and she thought it might be easier to move in with her and have the military pack us up there + she would then be around to help with the babies).  And then Saturday, August 6th arrived.  It was in the evening and Ron and I were watching Yours, Mine and Ours in our bedroom.  I kept getting up to run to the potty ~ like every 5 minutes.  With about 3 minutes of the movie to go, I swung my legs over the the outside of the water bed and then realized I was sitting in a pool of water.  Ron's quick observation:  either the water bed broke or my water broke.  After summoning my mom from the kitchen and with Ron and my mom standing there, she said "Get up.  If it's the bed, the water will stay in the frame, if it's your water bag there will be quite a rush of water."  You got it ~ I stood up and water was everywhere.  I ran, as quick as baby huey could waddle, into the bathroom.  Ron called the doctor.  He said come to the hospital right away.  And so we arrived at Women's Hospital about 11:45 p.m.  I was admitted.  Nothing happened and about 10 a.m. on Sunday morning the doctor came in, prescribed some cortozone shots to develope the babies' lungs and told me not to go anywhere or do anything and that included having the babies' before Tuesday. 

Well late in the afternoon I started  having contractions.  To say the least emotions were running high.  The babies were 8 weeks early - way too early to be born.  About 9 p.m. they closed one of the two delivery rooms and readied it for the twins to be born.  We were told they could come any time.  Without going into lots of details lets just say I don't do labor and transition very well.  At about 11:30 p.m. Ron overheard one of the nurses tell another mom of a patient "I don't care if your daughter delivers that baby in the hallway, she is not going in that delivery room - it is set up for the twins and will stay that way till they are delivered."  Ron told me "I was special" - you bet your sweet baby I know I am special :)

About 1:45 a.m. on Monday, August 8th I was taken into the delivery room.  I pushed, pushed and pushed some more and Royce Alan Workentin was born at 2:21 a.m. weighing in at 4 lbs 8 oz., 18" long  WARNING - the next part might be too graphic for some of you!   Immediately following Royce's arrival my cervix closed back up and the doctor said "good, I can stay pregnant tilll the next one comes along."  About 15 minutes later the 2nd baby's heartbeat went erratic and the doctor said they were taking the baby now.  I was given gas to knock me out and Ron says what happened next - the doctor stretched me, reached in and pulled out a very BLUE baby boy - Ronald James Workentin, JR arrived at 2:41 a.m. bluer than blue jeans.  He weighed 3 lbs 12 oz, 19 1/4" long His apgar score at 1 minute was -1.  Immediately I was brought back awake, got to see Jamie (he looked like an 80 year old wrinkly and boney old man) and he was stablized and then transported to Sunrise Neonatal Hospital.  It was and still is one of the best in the United States.  We were proud parents of two little bitty baby boys! 


**Note:  I will continue this story tomorrow and thru the rest of this week**