Friday, October 29, 2010

I am currently breaking my own rule: "No communication with the outside World while on holiday"... but Daniel is having his nap and I have permission from Ed (who is happy playing 'Angry Birds' on his iPhone!) to do a sneaky post...

We travelled up Highway 1 yesterday lunchtime and are staying in Point Reyes for a few days (we get back on Sunday afternoon). The view, as I type, is stunning. It has rained all night and all day so far, so, the view is ALL we have seen of Point Reyes! But we could not be happier - enforced rest was what we needed today! In fact, the rain has stopped in the last half hour, so, once Daniel wakes up, we're going to head out for a walk... can't wait!

Actually, we did venture out for a short walk yesterday afternoon - we just walked down the road from our cottage - but, short though it was, we managed to see Daniel's first DOG, COWS, HORSES and, wait for it... LLAMAS!!! Daniel was all wide-eyed amazement. Oh that we would see this World more through the eyes of a baby - the wonder and amazement at the beauty and order of this earth - as I look at Daniel's appreciation of all the things I so often take for granted I see anew (and praise Him for!) the fingerprints of my Father all over the World He has made!

This past week has been really good. On Monday, as you know, my insulin pump started running insulin (rather than saline). Apparently it can take weeks to get to the correct settings - but thanks be to God - it seems we have hit on the correct settings first time! My diabetes nurse says this has only happened ONCE in all her years of starting people on pumps - so I definitely see God's hand at work in causing this transition to be so easy. I feel SO well. My sugars are really stable and I am not getting shaky at all - even when I missed breakfast yesterday (part of the trial they wanted me to do to check the levels). So the pump is turning out to be absolutely brilliant.

The other great thing that happened this week is that Ed bought me an iPhone :) - I LOVE it! Not only is it LOTS of fun, but I have also found a carb counting application which makes working out how many carbohydrates I am about to eat for my meal SO easy - it does ALL the maths for me! Thank you Lord!

I hear a little person stirring... so I'm off to concentrate on my boys!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

More embarrasing details from the Gilchrist lives...

Yesterday we were invited round to the home of a family whose twin daughters were in the NICU at the same time as Daniel. We had spoken once while we were at the hospital (they were put in touch with us because their daughter needed the PDA surgery just a few weeks after Daniel had been through it) and had not seen each other since.

They invited us round for 4pm - so I thought we were going round for afternoon tea...

Their home was immaculate - it looked like a show home. So, the embarrassment started when Daniel chose THIS afternoon to have an attack of the projectile vomiting! Oh yes! It was AWFUL! All over their designer rug, splashed all over their hardwood floors and (worst of all), we put him down briefly in one of their play pens for a photo - and he vomited all over this child's soft, pink blanket - I couldn't help but notice the lightning reactions of the Mum as she grabbed her daughter to avoid her being covered in sick!

Ed is secretly rather proud of the vomit on the pink blanket - what else did I expect? He feels this was a justifiable protest vomit - a PINK blanket? Honestly...

At 5.30pm, having only had nibbles, I realised that this was NOT afternoon tea... and, judging by the frantic activity going on in the kitchen, it became clear they were expecting us to stay for dinner...

Daniel was covered in vomit by this stage and his internal body clock was telling him (and he, in turn, was telling us!) that it was almost dinner, bath and bed time...

I had no changes of clothes for him - and I just didn't think it was fair to try and ask him to go to sleep while we ate (by now it was 6.15pm and the food was not yet even cooking!) and then wake him up for food, bath and change of clothes when we got home... I never wanted to be a fussy Mum, but yesterday, I just couldn't see a way to be 'chilled' and 'go with the flow' and still be fair to my son!

So, to our extreme embarrassment, we had to ask them not to cook the pork chops that were intended for us, because we were going to have to leave without eating!

Cringe! I don't think we'll be invited back!

Tooth-hurtie (part 2)

OK, so perhaps I didn't tell you everything about the wisdom teeth extraction. I had thought that the details to follow would be on more of a 'need-to-know' basis, but Nicci insists that this sort of information is exactly what the public wants...

I have never before had so much as a filling, let alone had a tooth extracted, so I didn't really know what to expect - although having just 30 days before gone under general anaesthetic for the shoulder surgery, that part I wasn't too concerned about.

So the nurse took all the vital signs: blood pressure, pulse etc. and inserted the IV line (she said I had nice veins). All this I had anticipated. What I did not anticipate was having my arm put in a brace to stop it from bending and then being strapped down to the chair, both arms and legs. One of the assistant nurses pointed out that my heart rate had spiked when I was being tied down, as if that was surprising. They said this was necessary because, just because I was being put to sleep would not stop me from moving around, like in real sleep. I was beginning to get nervous for the ordeal my sub-conscious self was soon to be going through.

Before they hooked up the IV line to the good-night juice, they needed to give me some sort of drug, the reason for which I forget. Anyway, as it was administered, the nurse told me that this particular drug had a brief side effect, which could manifest itself either as a headache, or an intense itching sensation in the 'groin area'. She asked me to tell her when I felt something. It was the groin area. It felt as if she had emptied an entire packet of itching powder down my pants. And with my hands tied down to the chair there was to be no relief by scratching! Happily, the sensation soon passed - and then next thing I knew I was awake in the next room being asked to bite down on a wedge of gauze to soak up the blood, and being prep'd to go home.

The rest you know. It is now the third day since the op, and I'm doing surprisingly well - although the stitches in the back of my jaw are a bit annoying. I do apologise for omitting these vital facts first time round. I hope they blessed your day.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Classic - the time of my appointment with the dentist to get my wisdom teeth extracted was... 2.30pm. Very appropriate. Although, in truth, I'm not feeling too bad with it: Not too much swelling (although as I type I am wearing an ice-pack to minimise the potential for that), not too much pain (although perhaps the vicodin has something to do with that?!).

Eating, however, is an interesting experience. I went and bought all sorts of soft fruit and I plan to use Nicci's puree maker to whizz up some smoothies!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Yikes! Where have the last few weeks gone? I am so sorry for the blog silence - we are still here - and we're doing well!

However, in the past 2 weeks, we have had a lot to discuss and decide... and I think that while we have been praying and seeking God's will for us, we have not known what to write on the blog!

As many of you know, up until recently our plan was to come back to the UK next summer.

Since moving out here, we have been praying that the Lord would make our next step clear – I was hoping that would mean a move back to the UK. Up until 2 weeks ago, there was no sign of any promotion within the UK, but Ed could have simply moved his current job back into the UK office… so we were free to move home whenever we wanted… BUT 2 weeks ago, Ed was told that his current job is being split in two – one half (the smaller, less exciting part) is being moved back to the UK and the other half is being incorporated into a new, more senior role, based in the (wait for it…) LA office!

Why not just quit EA and move home now? I hear you asking!

Well, we ourselves have asked that same question and a number of factors make that a less than ideal option for us:

1) Ed earns his 7 year sabbatical in April next year – that’s 7 weeks full-pay holiday on top of his regular 5 weeks annual leave – something we have ALL been looking forward to!
2) Moving ourselves and all our furniture etc home would be fairly expensive!
3) Ed is excited about this role and opportunity – there is no guarantee that he would find a job that he’d enjoy as much if we moved back – and it would be really hard if he was constantly thinking ‘what if…’
4) The role in LA is a significant promotion, within an exciting business unit, with real applications outside of EA (should there not be any obvious move within EA at the end of this job) AND it would increase the breadth of his experience significantly
5) Daniel is plugged into a specialist developmental follow-up program in California – in Nov 2011 he will have an important review – if we stuck with our intention of moving home next Sept, he would miss this.

That’s probably more detail than you needed – but I wanted you to see that we HAVE thought it through!

On the plus side:

1) It’s LA (!) – not the worst place to have to spend some time!
2) Ed’s new boss has said that would like Ed to be in the role for 18 months – so it’s not a life sentence!
3) Ed has made it clear that his next move is going to be back to the UK and EA have written into Ed’s contract that they will move us home!

So, weighing it all up, we’ve decided to move to LA for 18 months – starting in January! This means that we are planning to move home during the summer of 2012!

BUT do not fear! Because we have the sabbatical to take next year, we are planning to spend the best part of August and Sept in the UK next summer – and we also hoping to be home for Christmas 2011 too! So those of you who are itching to meet Daniel will NOT have to wait until we move home permanently to be introduced and have a cuddle!

AND for our precious SFO friends - we WILL be coming back to this area fairly regularly for Daniel's follow-up appointments!

AND let me also mention that LA is a LOVELY holiday destination – lots to do and gorgeous weather – we’re hoping to get a place with a guest room – so do consider coming to visit us – we’d absolutely LOVE to see you!

This has not been an easy decision – with all we’ve been through we are keener than ever to be living close to our precious family and friends – but, having prayed about it, it seems that the Lord has made our route home (at least in the short term), more difficult – and there are lots of things that point to the move to LA being the right thing for us…


Our other news is that I have been fitted with an insulin pump... sorry for the display of my midriff, but I wanted you to see it!

I still feel a bit wobbly about being attached to something full time - but I have been researching on the Internet and there are some clever products out there that can hide the pump discretely about my person - I have ordered one - so the game will be for people to see if they can guess where i'm wearing it on any given day!

On the plus side, it's pink! AND it is absolutely brilliant at calculating how much insulin I need - so I think, long term, it will make living with diabetes much easier.

I had a bit of a melt down the night before it was fitted - just wanting the diabetes to go away. But generally I am doing ok with it.

Daniel is doing great - although he is constipated! I am learning infant massage in the hopes that a bit of manipulation will help to push things through! (sorry, too much detail!)

AND Ed is going under general anaesthetic today - for the 2nd time in 2 months! He's fine - they just need to take 2 of his wisdom teeth out - and, unlike in the UK where they just give you a bit of local anaesthetic, so that you are awake for all the heaving and drilling and yanking and stress (I have had ALL my wisdom teeth out in the UK) - the kind dentists in the USA put you under! So I will be feeding both of the Gilchrist men on puree for the next few days!

Thanks for wading through this monster post! I will try to go back to more regular, managable posts from now on!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Brace yourselves people, i'm going to attempt a comprehensive update on all things Gilchrist!

Firstly, Ed - his shoulder is healing amazingly well. He no longer has to take pain meds and is out of the sling for large portions of the day. It is still painful and stiff, but he is re-gaining movement and, once he starts physio, we are confident that he will make a full recovery.

This week, some changes have come to light within EA that will impact Ed's job. There is no immediate risk of redundancy (praise God!), but the changes might mean that rather than being able to come home in Sept next year (as we had been planning), we might need to adjust things and plan for a return to the UK the following’s still not clear and we are praying hard about it… we SO long to be home, but equally we want to be wise about the next move for Ed and want to make sure that when we come home there is actually a job for Ed to go to! Your ongoing prayers would be appreciated!

Secondly, me (that's Nicci - Daniel is not able to type updates yet! I know, he is a miracle baby, but that would just be silly!) - i'm not sure whether I have blogged my decision to be fitted with an insulin pump... the deciding factor was that they come in pink - I felt that was guidance! Just as I was typing, the doorbell went and it was a delivery man who handed me the box containing all my pump equipment! So I now have it! I'll be trained on how to use it and run it with saline during the week of the 18th and then i'll start using it with insulin on the 25th. I am still not sure how I feel about it - I hate the idea of being attached to it 24/7, but I feel it would be silly not to try it, since everyone says that it is a life-transforming way to manage diabetes... so we'll see how it goes... day to day, I am coping pretty well with being diabetic - no major hypos or hypers to report - I just have to monitor what i'm eating and how i'm feeling fairly closely...

I am loving being a ladies bible study leader and have been blessed with a lovely group of women who all seem really hungry to grow. It's great to have that as a slightly different focus during the week rather than being 100% Mummy!

And finally, Daniel! - We had his first developmental check up today. I had been looking forward to this appointment for quite some time. The appointment lasted 2 hours - a developmental specialist and a physio put him through his paces - testing him against cognition and physical development milestones. I was hoping that on every assessment Daniel would be ahead of the curve and would be judged to have caught up with his birth date age. However, although the overwhelming take-home message was that Daniel is doing exceptionally well, he still has quite some way to go before he has caught up with his peers. Apparently, for a baby born at 24 weeks, they would be happy if he was tracking with his birth date milestones (so, at about a 4 month old level). Daniel is tracking at about 6 months cognitively and at about a 5 month old physically. So, there is LOTS to praise and thank God for!

For those of you who are continuing to pray for him (thank you!), arm strength and co-ordination are the things I have been sent home to work on with him - specifically, bringing his arms into the mid-line to reach for things when he is lying on his back. They also expect him to start babbling (rather than the cooing he is doing currently) in the next month or so.

In terms of his measurements, all those prayers 'that he would grow big and strong' are paying off! He has caught up to his birth date in terms of his length and head circumference and I was warned that I need to make sure I am not over-feeding him since he is a wee bit TOO chubby! They are not concerned, but they said that it might delay him starting to crawl if his tummy gets too heavy to lift off the ground! He might just be building up to another growth spurt!

So, all in all, we're doing well! Over and out!