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MS Diagnosis

By Zach:

Many of you may not know, but I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in November of 2015. Shortly after my diagnosis, I wrote the following “story” about my diagnosis. We shared the the news with family and slowly we told friends and co-workers but it wasn’t ever something I publicly shared. Many of you may know about my MS Diagnosis, but never read this story – it’s long, but helps you understand my perspective and what got me through the first days/weeks/months to get to my “new normal”…

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Symptoms:

“Well – this is new,” the young man thought as he stepped out of bed to feel the sensation of pins and needles in both feet, as if he had been sitting on them all night.  After finishing his morning routine, he realized that this new sensation was going to be around a while and then he set about his day.  The weather was unseasonably warm for the weekend before Thanksgiving in Colorado which made it feel less like the holiday season and more like fall.

The weekend passed and the pins and needles persisted – causing moments of concern, but nothing mentally debilitating.  The prior week the young man spent traveling – sitting for long periods on airplanes and lugging bags around…perhaps he had simply pinched a nerve in his back, or sat too long…surely his feet would wake up eventually.

As Monday approached a growing concern became too much to ignore and the young man reached out to his doctor for answers.  Because it was a holiday week, the doctors were consumed with other more pressing cases and the earliest available appointment was on Tuesday.  He made the best of the warmth and put up the Christmas lights outside so it would be done in time for the upcoming holidays.  

During his appointment on Tuesday, some routine blood work was done as well as an A1C panel and Vitamin B12 to rule out Diabetic neuropathy and pernicious anemia.  No specific diagnosis other than “Well – that’s strange,” was given.

Waiting for the test results was agonizing – wondering if his life was going to be drastically changed by insulin injections or by something different and equally sinister.  Wednesday passed with no lab results.  At this point, Google only provided more concern as he Googled symptoms and terrifying things were returned.  As the pins and needles sensation seemed to be intensifying, he began to wonder if left undiagnosed or treated, would he wake up lacking the ability to use his legs at all?  

Needing answers he set off to the ER – at 11 pm on Thanksgiving-Eve.  It was lightly snowing, finally showing signs of Winter.  Once at the hospital and checked in, it was only a matter of moments before the ER doctor had performed an initial physical exam and concluded that the young man wasn’t diabetic – as it would take years of other symptoms before neuropathy would start to show.  He also concluded that the young man wasn’t anemic as he regularly ate meat.  The ER doctor mentioned that he wasn’t inclined to think it was Multiple Sclerosis (MS), since in his mind MS presented in a more hemispheric pattern (i.e. you get a plaque in the right hemisphere of your brain and your left hand goes numb).  The young man mentioned that his father-in-law contracted a case of optic neuritis that was left untreated for a week as he waited to get an appointment with a neuro-opthamologist (yup – that’s a real thing…and there aren’t many of them in Colorado) – which caused some permanent vision loss and also weighed heavy on his mind and initially spawned the thought of lower extremity paralysis.

The ER doctor offered two courses of action:  go home and see if the pins and needles sensation goes away, or he could perform a lumbar puncture to see if there was anything in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that would lead to a diagnosis.  When the young man asked him his opinion, he replied with, “Well you came here, on Thanksgiving-Eve, because you felt like there was something wrong.  I can help provide you answers today, but it will take the lumbar puncture to do so.”  When the young man asked what his thoughts were, the ER doctor didn’t want to speculate too much, but Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS) or Meningitis were things that the lumbar puncture could help rule out.

The young man agreed to the additional testing and it was started and finished in about 20 minutes time.  Obviously, the lumbar puncture wasn’t “fun” – however the procedure is incredibly routine as it’s the same technique employed to deliver the epidural numbing agent used for laboring mothers.  As the ER doctor was pulling the samples of CSF to send to the lab, he mentioned casually that he was going to pull an extra CSF sample to send off for MS testing, even though he didn’t think that MS was the culprit, since this is “precious stuff” and it’s not terribly easy to get.

1:00 AM in the ER on Thanksgiving day is quiet.  The young man laid in the ER bed, gowned, and hooked up to a continuous blood pressure monitoring machine, trying to rest and failing – due to the ten 48” fluorescent bulbs that were lit in the hospital room and the unsettled feeling of the testing he just had done and concerned about more testing that could be coming.  The young man texted his wife that he was doing well.  She was at home with their two children and clearly not sleeping, as he continued to receive almost  instantaneous text message replies.  He felt like she was right there with him and was incredibly comforted by her emotional presence.

As some of the CSF and blood tests came back, they showed that there were signs of inflammation in the CSF, but were negative for GBS and Meningitis.  The ER doctor indicated that after talking with their on-call Neurologist, they had ordered a head, neck and Thoracic Spine MRI – in part because of my lab results, and in part because of the Optic Neuritis in my family history.  The young man said back to the ER doctor, “Family history…you heard me say Father-in-law, right?”  The ER doctor said, “Oh…so no genetic tie?” and the young man replied, “Nope.”  The neurologist had already ordered the MRI testing and they had already called in the on-call imaging specialist, so the ER doctor said, “Well, we might as well go on and do them, as it will provide the neurologist more information anyway.”

The MRI testing included the three sections of the young man’s head and spine and was ordered to be done with and without contrast.   For the uninitiated, in addition to the 2’ diameter tube that you are slid into, a head and spinal MRI also includes the installation of a cage over the head and one on the chest to receive all of the radio frequency responses of the MRI – further adding to the claustrophobic nature of this test.  The young man tried to remain calm and cool and rested in the knowledge that at least no one was sticking a large needle in his back.  The MRI testing generates incredibly high resolution and clear images of the brain and spine…but it makes a significant amount of noise – so much so that earplugs are put into the patient’s ears to help keep the perceived noise level at a manageable level.  The noises are somewhat other-worldly as well – pops, clangs, beeps and one particular scan that happened to be a resonant frequency in the bones of the young man that made him feel as if his soul was going to be pulled from his body.  The entire MRI process took on the order of an hour in the tube for a complete set of images.

Back in the ER waiting for test results, the young man sat, again – trying to rest and remain calm.  After the radiology report was generated, a new ER doctor presented the young man with results…in that they had no results.  He said that nothing definitive was shown on his CSF panels, and nothing definitive showed up on the MRI.  The young man was discharged and sent home at 5:00 AM on Thanksgiving morning with instructions to follow up with a Neurologist on Friday.  The new ER doctor mentioned that they didn’t think he was crazy, but they couldn’t come up with a cause for his neuropathy.

Diagnosis:

The young man went home – with an intense headache, either from pulling an all-nighter, or from the delta in pressure in his CSF.  Either way, he went to sleep for a few hours before his family arrived to have Thanksgiving brunch…after all, he was healthy, and had a Turkey to prepare.

After he woke up, had some breakfast and got the Turkey in the fryer, he told both sets of parents and his wife the whole story of the previous night’s activities.  Trying to put the numbness in his feet out of his mind, he continued to help prepare the day’s meal and to enjoy the company of his kids and family.

Around 1:00 PM, just before the family was to sit down to their traditional Thanksgiving meal, which this year was to be done as a late lunch, the young man received a phone call from the Chief of Neurology at the hospital.  She asked if the young man had received any results from the night before.  He indicated that he was discharged with “inconclusive” results.  She apologized for the confusion, and made no excuses for the mistake, but that there was in fact a result that was buried in the radiologist’s report, which was noticed by the Physician’s Assistant (PA) who picked up the case on Thursday morning.

The radiologists report indicated that there were brain plaques and a spinal plaque that indicated MS and that was her diagnosis as well – coupled with the clinical presentation of symptoms.  She was very encouraging over the phone, and indicated that the young man didn’t need to come back into the hospital today, rather he should stay home with his family, eat a Thanksgiving meal and enjoy the fact that his prognosis was excellent.  She also indicated that the plaque that was causing his current symptoms was located somewhere near the conus medullaris, which is at the very end of the spinal cord, and when a plaque is in the spinal cord, the symptoms present bilaterally and from the plaque down.  The ER doctor that didn’t think it presented like MS was thinking “MS is a brain disease” rather than “MS is a CSF disease”, which can affect both the brain and the spinal cord.

She made an appointment at her clinic for the young man the next afternoon, so the young man and his wife could discuss treatment options and go over all of the radiology images and ask any questions they might have.  During this appointment, three treatment options were given to the young man, of which he chose the one with the least listed side effects.  He also modified his diet to remove refined sugar and grain from his diet in an effort to reduce the inflammation in his body.  The Neurologist also ordered 5 days of high dose IV infused steroids – specially modified to pass through the blood-brain barrier (BBB).  This would help decrease the swelling that is happening in the affected region of his spine, and allow the remyelination process to proceed and fully restoring his neurological function (i.e. effectively “waking up” his numb feet).  The Neurologist remarked that she so rarely has all of this information available to her in such short order to make a diagnosis like this.  She was amazed that I already had CSF labs that supported her diagnosis of MS, and had the images to confirm it.

The young man had presented with a Clinically Isolated Syndrome (CIS) of Relapsing-Remitting(RR) MS.  Technically, MS requires two clinical presentations of symptoms to be considered Clinically Definite (CD) MS, but after a single presentation of symptoms combined with the additional testing that was done at the hospital, there was enough to make the diagnosis and begin treatment.  RRMS is the most common form of MS, and can be well managed using modern pharmacological techniques, with varying delivery options which include simply swallowing a pill, to subcutaneous injections all the way to monthly IV infusions.

Incidentally, the day after Thanksgiving, the young man’s regular doctor called and informed him that his A1C came back and that he was on the border of being pre-diabetic and that he should try to cut back on his sugar intake.  Because of the relapsing/remitting nature of his MS, he could have heeded the advice of his primary doctor and cut back on sugar, his symptoms would have gone away, as they would have done naturally, and the young man could have gone a year or more before having another relapse, and would have remained undiagnosed.

Looking back at the symptoms and diagnosis of this young man’s recent journey, one can glean some pretty remarkable instances where God’s hand was clearly directing every detail:

  1. The continued fear that pushed him to the hospital to begin with – which led to the correct diagnosis.  This concern in his mind would have been allayed if he received the test results from his primary doctor on Wednesday, when they were supposed to originally have been done.  Because he didn’t receive those results, he went to the hospital.
  2. The ER doctor pulled the extra sample and sent it off for specific MS CSF testing, even though he didn’t think that the symptoms presented in such a way that it could be MS.
  3. The ER doctor heard “father” instead of “father-in-law” and conveyed that information to the Neurologist on call who ordered the MRIs.  When the young man pointed it out to the ER doctor, he almost flippantly said, “Well, they’re already ordered, so you might as well go on and have them done.”  As it turns out, those images, coupled with the clinical presentation and the CSF labs allowed the Neurologist to make the proper diagnosis.
  4. The PA who was closing out the young man’s chart the next morning who caught that the radiology report had the diagnosis of MS in it – and realized that no one had told the young man before being discharged took it upon herself to contact the Neurologist on call, who also happened to be the Chief of Neurology, at the hospital to let her know.  Without her noticing that rather important detail, the young man may have gone many years and relapses before having any knowledge of his diagnosis.
  5. The doctors missed the MS notation in the radiology report and allowed me to go home – to receive the news of this diagnosis in the young man’s home, with his loving family and support system by his side to cry and pray with.  He felt incredibly blessed to be able to receive this diagnosis while standing with his family, and tried to express that gratitude to his Neurologist, who debated whether or not to call the young man on Thanksgiving and give him this diagnosis over the phone and settled on making the phone call.  

Realization:

Making any assessments on whether the young man was “alright” had to come after the IV infusions ended and the oral “tapering” pack were completed, as the steroids affected the young man mentally, emotionally, and physically.  Everything from food tasting like zinc to night sweats to the feeling that his soul was hopping up and down in his brain coupled with the IV that was left in his arm for 5 days and daily trips to the hospital infusion center gave him the overwhelming sensation of being “sick”.  Daily episodes of uncontrollable weeping ensued as a result of all of the changes that had happened and were implied over the previous week.  Whether because of the steroids, stress, or the change in diet, the young man lost 15 pounds in the two weeks since the symptoms began.  

After the young man was allowed to get off the emotional roller coaster that the steroids put him on, he began to come to grips with his new reality.

He is not in charge.

As many times as he’s told his kids that THEY were not in charge, he kind of always assumed that he was.  He was (and still is) a successful engineer, making his way up the corporate ladder at his company, blessed with an incredibly beautiful wife, two amazing children, a home two times as large as what he “needs” (by comfortable United States living standards), a new car, and anything else he decided he wanted.  I mean, life’s not perfect, but if you asked him, he couldn’t identify anything particularly “wrong” with it.

At church on Sunday, the pastor referenced a short story by Leo Tolstoy – yes, the same one that wrote another short story called “War and Peace”.  This short story is entitled “What Men Live By”.  So as not to butcher this beautiful work of literary genius by distilling something already called a “short story”, I’ll simply sum up the three main points that really hit the young man as he read this story.

In the story, three questions must be answered:

  1. What dwells in man
  2. What is not given to man
  3. What men live by

The answers, as it is presented in the story, that LOVE dwells in man – the kindness and generosity of others in time of need – the aid to all mankind.  KNOWLEDGE OF WHAT WE NEED is not given to man – the things we WANT is not necessarily what we NEED.  This is illustrated in the story by a wealthy man who has a pair of boots commissioned to be made that should last him a year’s worth of use as he purchased fine and high quality leather, when that very day he is struck dead and instead needs burial slippers.  The realization that I cannot provision for my future because I don’t know what my future holds. The idea that men live by the LOVE OF GOD and not by care of themselves is deeply comforting for the young man in this diagnosis – that he can’t possibly know what his future brings and that is OK…because he has the love and provision of an all-knowing God.

This diagnosis instantly took him from the driver’s seat in his own life and redefined him squarely as a passenger.  Hubris was the thing that made him think he was ever really driving to begin with…

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That was over a year ago! I can’t believe how far I have come! I give myself shots three times a week (an MS medicine called Copaxone) and although they are not comfortable, I do it because I know it will give me a longer future without symptoms. We participated in the MS Walk and MS Muck Fest this year and will continue supporting the fight against MS. I started eating Paleo and working out to take care of myself (more on that in the next blog post by Lori) and am in better shape that I have ever been! I tell people this a lot, and I don’t say it lightly, but MS is the best thing that has ever happened to me!

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Hello October- already!

Last time I posted was near the end of July..now it’s almost October – that’s just too much time to not post! We finished the summer wonderfully – lots of visits to the park, getting ice cream or slurpees, hanging out with friends and lots of travel for me too!

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I traveled for work at the end of July for the first time in almost 5 years! Then a few weeks later, Zach and I went to Las Vegas – leaving the kiddos at home. It was nice to get away together and enjoy a kid-free vacation for the weekend. At the end of October, I spent the weekend in Oklahoma with my college roommates – we hadn’t all been together since we graduated in 2004! It was a wonderful weekend and such a sweet time with my friends! It was weird leaving the kids as much as I did this summer, but they did great – I certainly won’t make that a habit of so many trips so close together but it was so nice to know that they’re old enough now to be ok with me being gone and know that I’ll always come back! 🙂

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Ellie started school in mid-August and she loves her class. She didn’t have to hide her head from her teacher walking into class this year. Last year, it was EVERY TIME we went into class… so this is a huge improvement! She’s enjoying her classmates and is looking forward to her Gymnastics birthday party coming up!

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Ellie attended a birthday party for a little boy from her class that she’s just crazy about! It was a pool party and she really enjoyed the party! So cute!!

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For labor day weekend, we rented a cabin near Leadville and had the best weekend getaway! The kids really enjoyed the cabin and being in the mountains. We spent some time in Vail, playing at the playground there and also went to the hot springs in Buena Vista. It was SO much fun! There were some neighborhood dogs that came and hug out on our deck and Ellie just fell in love with “Murphy”…

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Two other fun things that Zach and I planned out were doing the Wipeout Run and taking a long bike ride last weekend. It’s nice to finally be able to do some outings for just the two of us!

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And lastly, here are some funny things for the kids that I’ve written down the last few months:

Ethan:

  • He got a little Minion with a lego block and he calls it his “wego me-yon” (Lego Minion)
  • He is such a good eater – he really loves sandwiches and burgers these days, which is quite the joy to watch him eat!
  • He is finally into blocks and building things with legos.
  • He likes to draw pictures now instead of just writing numbers and letters.
  • When Ethan wants to race, he says “mommy, say on your market” ha!
  • Ellie was doing a “magic trick” at dinner one night and she said “abra cadabra and close your eyes” because she was hiding something. Ethan copied and said “abra cadabra, close your eyes and take a nap!” haha!
  • When Ethan puts his blocks away, he says “Goodnight R. Goodnight 9. Goodnight plus…” so funny!
  • Ethan was playing an easy game of matching, Frozen style. He flipped over Anna and Hans and said “Anna and Hangry”.

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Ellie:

  • Both kids actually play together pretty well sometimes these days!
  • Ellie likes to wake Ethan up from his nap by reading to him – it’s so sweet!
  • She told me one day “When I’m a parent, I will let my kids do anything they want! I want to have kids so I can give them candy!” Oh honey!
  • We told Ellie we were going to Las Vegas and she was so confused “Why is it called Lost Vegas?”
  • Ellie said “in Frozen, when Elsa runs away, why didn’t she drive a car?” I explained how it was supposed to be before they had cars and she said “oh, like back in the day?” Exactly! A month later, Grammy and I were talking and Grammy asked me “did you know I sold Mary Kay back in the day?” and Ellie was surprised and asked “before there were cars??” hahaha!
  • Ellie told us that Gramps said she had a freckle on her nose. We looked and decided she didn’t. Then she said “Gramps must have a freckle on his glasses!!”

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Ellie got this stick-on mustache from the dentist… she wore that to a bunch of stores and made sure to tell people “it’s not real” if they commented on it! ha!

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Love these kids!!

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Check out some of the latest photos in the following albums:

http://www.zach-lori.com/photos/kids-pictures/kids-2015/july-august-2015/

http://www.zach-lori.com/photos/kids-pictures/kids-2015/september-october-2015/

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Quick post

 

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We’ve never done this before and posted “on the go” so I thought that we would give it a shot because WordPress allows it…

The whole family was at our local grocery store this morning after church and Ethan was looking at the numbers as he is known to do when he said “One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Uh Oh – 6, Seven…”. I said “uh oh – why did you say that buddy?” And Lori said, “Oh, look at the aisle numbers – the 6 is missing – that’s why he said uh oh”…

My jaw hit the cart :). I’m a proud daddy!

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New Website!

Hey Everyone –

In case you didn’t notice, we changed our website layout!  A little history, we’ve been using iWeb – a product (used to be) included with all new Apple Computers.  Well – it seems that Apple has given up on the Web Logging (Blogging) community – don’t know if they think Facebook/Twitter/whatever took over and there’s no place for Web Logging anymore, or what…BUT anyway, I digress…

iWeb hasn’t been been updated since a random bug fix in 2011…and it has become obvious that Apple has no intention of updating the iWeb software going forward…

SO – I’ve spent every night over the last 2 weeks to migrate our website over from the iWeb software to the much more modern and well supported WordPress blogging software.

It was a very tedious task, but we really hope you like the change!!

Enjoy!

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Welcome Ethan Taylor Scholz

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Ethan’s birth story was, to summarize, FAST and FURIOUS!  Lori started having random contractions starting on Sunday afternoon.  They were not painful and were never closer than 15 minutes apart. She had another set of random contractions Monday and Tuesday mornings but they never lasted long. Then today, Lori and I woke up around normal time to go to work…in fact, I was in the middle of hitting Snooze around 6:45 when Lori said that she had already had 3 contractions – strong ones, lasting a full minute and were about 5 minutes apart.  We called Gigi (my mom) to come over to keep track of Ellie for the day and we QUICKLY got ready to go.  To recap Ellie’s birth story, from Lori’s water breaking (and the first contraction) to birth was a whopping 3.5 hours – so we knew we had to be quick!!

Since it’s a work day, and we were driving into Denver Tech Center Traffic, we knew we needed to get on the road quickly!  As usual, traffic backed up shortly after we got on the highway, and my mind turned to potential delivery of Ethan on the side of the road…but the Good Lord took good care of us and we got onto surface streets and pulled into the hospital parking lot around 7:25. We got Lori admitted and were taken up to Labor and Delivery.

Whether it was the full moon, or pure coincidence, the Labor and Delivery floor at our hospital was TOTALLY full – so they put us in a Triage room (telling us that they’d move us into a proper room when one opened up)…I laughed and said to Lori, “Ok – I guess we’ll be having a baby in Triage” … at this point, I don’t think it was clear to the nursing staff that this baby was coming SOON.  Before we were taken up to Labor & Delivery, Lori had already been on her hands and knees in the lobby of the hospital because she was just about ready to push…

Once we got settled in the Triage room, Lori was basically ready to push…and when you start making lots of noise in the Triage room, you get lots of attention.  We had (in a VERY small room…that was shared with 3 other beds) the floor Nurse Practitioner, the floor OB/GYN (to catch in case our OB didn’t make it in time) and no less than 3 nurses.

Lori has been in the Triage bed for all of 10 minutes and she’s ready to push.  The nurses are trying to get an IV line in (just for saline) and get a reading on fetal heart rate, but Lori is in a really awkward position so they break her water (yup…hasn’t broken yet) and they flipped her on her back and out popped Ethan…before our OB even made it to the hospital!  Chock another baby up to the Bradley Method – all natural birth…Lori is my hero!

Ethan Taylor Scholz made an entry into the world at 8:03am – weighing 8lbs, 0oz and 21” long.  He was having a bit of a hard time catching his breath (who wouldn’t with that quick of a push into the world?) and was quite purple. They took him to the nursery and put him on oxygen for about an hour, after that he pinked right up!! After that he nursed for a bit, had a bath and met his big sister and grandparents! He was sleepy for about 6 hours and has now nursed two more times this evening – along with some good poops! He’s doing great!!!

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Lori’s labor started right around 6:30am…so if we have any more kids, we are going to have to find a midwife that lives across the street so we’re sure to get there in time!  We’re so blessed to have 2 happy and healthy children and we couldn’t be happier!

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Check out Ethan’s pictures in the Ethan Taylor’s Birth photo album.

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Valentines Day

shapeimage_1Ellie –

Today is your first Valentines Day, so I thought it appropriate to tell you how much you mean to me.

I’ve never known such love for someone so small. You show me that I am far from perfect – that my patience will grow deeper each day and that my heart and love for you will grow as well.

You coo and smile and my heart melts for you. You scream and cry and my heart breaks for you. You confound and confuse me like no woman before you ever has, but you return so much joy to my heart and my life.

Each day I look at pictures of you at work and I literally giggle out loud. I can’t remember my life before you came into my world…and couldn’t possibly imagine my life without you in it.

You are truly the apple of my eye – I love you Eleanor.

Daddy

 

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Eleanor Grace Scholz

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Announcing the birth of our darling little girl!

Born: 10/31/2010 @ 9:12 am Mountain Daylight Time

Weight:  7 lbs, 6 oz

Length:  19.5”

Head Circumference:  13.5”

Our Birth Story:

So our Birth Story is probably like many, but we don’t know anyone who had this situation.  Lori woke me up at 5:45 am with the announcement
“Zach – My water just broke” – to which I replied – “What – are you kidding??”.  My reply was this abrupt because at this point, she’d not had a single contraction – no sign of labor at all.

While she was getting cleaned up – I went to the grocery store to procure some absorbent material so we could go out in public and spend the day “walking the mall” or whatever – laboring (as we had been prepared to do).  During this cleanup process, her contractions began in earnest.  She quickly (within 30 minutes or so) had contractions that lasted 1 full minute in duration and were spaced about 5 minutes apart.

We talked about getting ready and going to get some breakfast at Einstein’s Bagels. We called Lori’s parents to tell them they should come hang out in Denver for the day.

While getting ready, her contractions maintained their duration, but the pace quickened to a furious three and a half minutes between contractions. We called my folks to have them go get the Einstein’s for us so Lori could continue to labor in the privacy and comfort (if there was any to be had) of our own home – with me by her side. When we realized going out to breakfast wouldn’t happen, we called Lori’s parents back to tell them they might want to hurry, we weren’t sure how this was going to go.

At 8:00 am, while my folks were getting Einstein’s, the contraction pace quickened again to about two and a half minutes apart – which signaled our time to head to the hospital (Einstein’s or not).  We headed out the door and passed my parents on the way down our street – which kind-of looked like a car to car hi-five – but with a bagel in hand. With a third call to Lori’s parents that we were heading to the hospital!

Below is a picture of Lori – just before leaving the house…this look on her face of happiness would soon turn to a grimace as the contractions were getting STRONGER…

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We were so blessed to hit every single green light on the way to the hospital – which, if you’ve ever been to Highlands Ranch, you know there were at least 100 lights to go through on the way.  This was MOST important as Lori was quickly entering the Transition phase of labor.  She tried her best to lift herself off of the car seat, as the roads in Highlands Ranch leave much to be desired in terms of smoothness, but either way – laboring the car is NOT ideal.

We arrived at Sky Ridge Hospital around 8:20 and entered through the Emergency Room entrance.  The OB ward was summoned to get us from admissions and wheel us up to Labor and Delivery.  At this point, contractions are coming back-to-back…no pauses, no breaks.  Lori was absolutely amazing.  She rode the elevator, mid-contraction and the nurse kindly asked her to “calm down” – to which she replied, “It’s not a matter of being calm – this just HURTS!”.

For those of you keeping track, Lori has now made it up to her room, she’s been admitted and has been “checked” for the first time in this pregnancy.  No problem – she’s only 9 centimeters dilated!!!  She’s telling the nurse that she’s ready to push.  They quickly call our OB-GYN, who just got back into the country from a working mission trip to Juarez, Mexico.  Lori had pushed (even though the nurses told her not to) for 2 contractions.  Dr. Gipson was 2 minutes out when the on-call OB-GYN showed up and (because Dr. Gipson was 2 minutes out) was there “just-in-case”.  Dr. Gipson arrived and got Lori switched over to laying on her back – up to this point, Lori had been laboring on her side.  Lori started pushing with all her might – 5 or 6 big pushes later, our little Ellie was crowning.  A couple more pushes and her head was free and 5 seconds after her head came out, so did the rest of her.

She scored an 8 on her 1 minute APGAR and a 9 on her 5 minute APGAR scores.  Colorado babies typically score lower than sea-level babies on APGAR because of the thin air – and Ellie was no exception.  She was mostly purple when she came out, but she was screaming and moving like crazy.  With only 30 seconds on oxygen she was as pink as a breast cancer ribbon.  The time is now 9:12 am – right at three-and-a-half hours after our first sign of labor – delivered completely without Pitocin or an Epidural – all Natural!!

Here’s our precious angel during her “8” APGAR score moments…

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And again – just a few moments after she pinked up a bit…

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What an amazing journey – never in a million years would we have thought that this would be the way this would play out.

Lori was moved from the labor and delivery room into the postpartum rooms within a few hours.  During the move, Ellie got to meet both of her sets of grandparents…here’s our girl with my parents…

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And one with Lori’s parents
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After a couple of hours, I went with Ellie for her first bath in the nursery.

What a halloween – we were never really big fans of this holiday, but … it holds a very different meaning to us now – and we wouldn’t have it any other way!!

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We’ll post more pictures within the week – we just wanted to get the news out to share our birth story and show off our beautiful daughter!

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Sadly…No more Comments Allowed

Ross and I in Mexico...clearly unrelated to this blog...in fact, I can’t fathom a blog where this picture would be applicable...but it sure is fun!
Ross and I in Mexico…clearly unrelated to this blog…in fact, I can’t fathom a blog where this picture would be applicable…but it sure is fun!

Believe me (Zach), it’s not that we DON’T want your comments on our blog…we love hearing from the ones we love…BUT

Someone has ruined the process for everyone.

Let me explain.  Unfortunately, when you put something on the internet, the magic of Google, Yahoo, and the like find your website and make it searchable…don’t ask me how, but I suspect they have a room of elves scouring the internet for new pages.  Because ANYONE can access our website, it is possible for anyone to read our blog, and therefore comment on the pages that they are viewing.  This allows for any submitted comment to be immediately posted to our website…without our approval.

Lets just say that a couple of unwanted comments made their way onto our site, and, long story short, we’ve removed the comment functionality.  We thought this to be the best procedure (as opposed to password protecting the entire site) because we don’t want to burden those that we love with the headache of “logging in” every time you want to catch-up.

At any rate, the rogue comments have been purged from memory (both online and personal), and all is well.  Anyway, if you wanted to comment on this blog and didn’t notice the “Add comment” button like before, your browser is not malfunctioning…it’s simply not there.

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Denver Zoo

Big Kitty:  A trip to the zoo means a great day with friends and photos!
Big Kitty: A trip to the zoo means a great day with friends and photos!

Saturday was a “FREE DAY” at the Denver Zoo and we took advantage!  We met up with some friends from church.  I took around 170 pictures…some of which are junk, and some are pretty cool! 🙂  Anyway…not much to say about this blog…we had a great day at the zoo.  The weather was awesome, and the company was excellent.  Seth and Missy and kids hung out until close to noon.  Jake and Susan rode there with us and we hung out until around 3.

Anyway…just wanted to put up a few of the fun pictures!  Enjoy!

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And so it Begins…

Jessica & Curtis
Jessica & Curtis

I’ve recently gotten to follow through on a passion I’ve had since high school – Photography. My early Christmas present this year was a digital SLR camera that I can use for all sorts of pictures. Lucky me, I get to start off my career by taking pictures of my Cousin Jessica and her Fiance Curtis. Jess & Curtis have either the fortunate…or unfortunate task of being my personal photography models.  Luckily enough they were just engaged to be married, don’t mind having their pictures taken, and the camera loves them!

These photos were taken last Sunday at Lair o’ the Bear – just West of Morrison on Hwy 74.

Jessica & Curtis’ wedding is planned for January 2010 in Mexico. Since they have a year until the wedding, stay tuned as the seasons change and I’ll take more photos to share with you.

Check out my first set of engagement pictures of Curtis & Jessica in our Jess & Curtis Engagement Photos Album.

Jess and Curtis we’re so excited to be part of this process with you!!