"Begin today and write in it your goings and comings, your deepest thoughts, your achievements and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies. I promise you that if you will keep your journals and records, they will indeed be a source of great inspiration to you, each other, your children, your grand-children and others throughout the generations. Remember, the Savior chastised those who failed to record important events." --President Spencer W. Kimball

March 24, 2012


My girls and I went and spent some time in Lake Shore with my parents this past week and it was so much fun.  We didn't do anything too spectacular, just hang out with G-ma & G-pa Makai and Leka and the boys.  Lautala was the princess, the highlight of the trip and she had so much fun teasing and playing with Misipou and Safi.....we had fun there and it was a nice break to get away from our house for a little bit!

Misipou is my cousin, but he's been living with my parent's for the past few years, so he's like my brother!  :)  (Same with Leka, Safi and Fanga)  Misipou has been preparing to go on his mission for sometime now and he handed in his papers a few weeks ago.  We knew the call was coming, and we were all anxiously waiting...checking the mail all the time.  Thankfully it came in last Wednesday, when we were down there!  We called everyone in the family to meet at mom and dad's that night so he could open it.....and my mom locked it in her room until everyone was there....haha....because if Misipou would have gotten his hands on it, he probably wouldn't have waited....haha.  My Dad is a stake president and Wednesdays are his meeting nights, so we planned not to open it until 9pm when he got home (him promising he would rush and hurry home).....Leka stayed with baby Katea and I ran with Lautala and my mom to the store to buy some cake and ice cream so we could celebrate after we opened it.  We came back home and slowly everyone started coming.  The kids were running around crazy and the adults were all talking....trying to put in their guesses of where he's going....as we were waiting for my dad to come home.  He finally got there at about 930pm, but we still had to wait for my sister Leslie and Patrick to come (she had night school)  Finally when everyone was there, we all got together in the family room and my dad just talked a little bit about how proud of Misipou he was and gave him a little advice....then he went around and had everyone guess where we thought he was going......not one person guessed it right......we all hovered around him as he opened his call and read it out loud.

Dear Elder Tukia,

You are hereby called to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  You are assigned to labor in the...........................................................................................................

Panama, Panama City Mission

Everyone cheered so loud and us crybabies in the room shed a few tears.  Yay for another Spanish speaker in the family!   Misipou is going to be an awesome missionary!  He's that Uncle that LOVES all the kids and you can tell because he is ALWAYS on the floor rolling around with them.  I'm so proud of him and glad that we all made time to be there when he opened his call.  I'm glad that my brothers are such great examples to their neices and nephews. 

Misipou doesn't report to the MTC until June, but he's going back to Tonga first to spend some time with his parents and family before going out to serve the Lord.  When he comes back he'll be bilinugal speaking fluently Tongan, English and Spanish.....how awesome is that!  :)

Good job Misipou!  So proud of you....you'll be a great missionary....just lose yourself in the work and the Lord will lead you to the people you're supposed to teach!  We love you very much and we will write and keep in touch!  So proud of you!
Some of the kids hugging Uncle Misipou
Fanga and Lani
Me and my girls
Safi with Halle, Lautala & Amelia
Liki, Lua & Siope enjoying their cake and ice cream
Fanga, Safi, Leka & Misipou

Go Forth With Faith!

March 20, 2012

Broken Children

As I was surfing through facebook the other day, I came across this blog post.  The title caught my eye and I began to read.  Immediately I could relate to the story being told, and I felt a little guilt that I do that to my kids sometimes too.  It is a very powerful blog post written by a single dad and the intensity of it made me cry.  It's just his thoughts and views on how some dads parent their kids.  The article he wrote was initiated by an experience he had while shopping.  He wrote directly to dads, but in all honesty, I would change every word 'dad' written in his blog and change it to parents.  It totally applies to both dads and moms. 

Sometimes we get so caught up in life.  I know I do and I know that Ova does sometimes too.  Our kids are the most important things in our lives.  I think we are good parents, and our kids know that we love them.  But there are those times that we do exactly what the dad in the store did.  Sometimes we shush them and push them away.  Sometimes whatever tv program we are watching is more important than playing with them.  Why?  Why do we do that?  I'm grateful I sumbled across this blog post.  It has made me analyze and rethink what is most important to me.  I love my kids with all my heart.  More than anything!  I want them to know they are smart and beautiful and that they can do A.N.Y.T.H.I.N.G they want.  I want them to know I believe in them, always.  I want them to know that I will always be there for them.  A.L.W.A.Y.S  I don't want them to fear or be scared of me.  I want them to come to me with anything and everything.  My kids will know these things.  My kids WILL NOT be broken.  I WILL NOT break them! 

I’m at a loss for words but I just wanted to let you know how much this blog post has touched me. Children are a gift, ALL children are beautiful, and ALL children deserve to be children and to feel loved, and wanted and respected at all times. Read the article below and enjoy and change for the best!

“You Just Broke Your Child. Congratulations.” by Dan Pearce

Dads. Stop breaking your children. Please.

I feel a need to write this post after what I witnessed at Costco yesterday. Forgive me for another post written in desperation and anger. Please read all the way to the end. I know it’s long, but this is something that needs to be said. It’s something that needs to be heard. It’s something that needs to be shared.

As Noah and I stood in line to make a return, I watched as a little boy (he couldn’t have been older than six) looked up at his dad and asked very timidly if they could buy some ice cream when they were done. The father glared him down, and through clenched teeth, growled at the boy to ”leave him alone and be quiet”. The boy quickly cowered to the wall where he stood motionless and hurt for some time.

The line slowly progressed and the child eventually shuffled back to his father as he quietly hummed a childish tune, seemingly having forgotten the anger his father had just shown. The father again turned and scolded the boy for making too much noise. The boy again shrunk back and cowered against the wall, wilted.

I was agitated. I was confused. How could this man not see what I see? How could this man not see what a beautiful spirit stood in his shadow? How could this man be so quick to stub out all happiness in his own boy? How could this man not cherish the only time he’ll ever have to be everything to this boy? To be the person that matters most to this boy?

We were three from the front now, and the boy started to come towards his dad yet again. His dad immediately stepped out of the line, jammed his fingers into his son’s collar bones until he winced in pain, and threatened him. “If you so much as make a sound or come off of that wall again, I promise you’re going to get it when we get home.” The boy again cowered against the wall. This time, he didn’t move. He didn’t make a sound. His beautiful face pointed down, locked to the floor and expressionless. He had been broken. And that’s how his father wanted it. He didn’t want to deal with him, and breaking him was the easiest way.

And we wonder why so many of our kids grow up to be screwed up.

I’m going to be blunt. People see my relationship with Noah, and quite often put me up on a pedestal or sing my praises for loving him more than most dads love their own kids.

Damn it. I don’t understand that, and I’ll never understand that. Loving my son, building my son, touching my son, playing with my son, being with my son… these aren’t tasks that only super dads can perform. These are tasks that every dad should perform. Always. Without fail. There is nothing special about me. I am a dad who loves his son and would literally do anything for his well-being, safety, and health. I would gladly take a rake in the face or a jackhammer to my feet before I cut my own son down or make him feel small.

[sigh] I am far from a perfect dad. And I always will be. But I’m a damn good dad, and my son will always feel bigger than anything life can throw at him. Why? Because I get it. I get the power a dad has in a child’s life, and in a child’s level of self-belief. I get that everything I ever do and ever say to my son will be absorbed, for good or for bad. What I don’t get is how some dads don’t get it…

Dads. Do your faces light up when you first see your child in the morning or when you come home from work? Do you not understand that a child’s entire sense of value can revolve around what they see in your face when you first see them?

Dads. Do you not realize that a child is what you tell them they are? That people almost always become what they are labeled? Was whatever your child just did really the “dumbest thing you’ve ever seen somebody do”? Was it really the “most ridiculous thing they ever could have done”? Do you really believe that your child is an idiot? Because she now does. Think about that. Because you said it, she now believes it. Bravo.

Dads. Do you honestly expect anybody to believe that you can’t find 20 minutes to step away from your computer or turn off the television to play with your child? It has to happen every single day. Do you not understand that children will hinge their entire facet of trust on whether or not their dad plays with them and how involved he is when he plays with them? Do you know the damage you do by not playing with your children every day?

Dads. Should anybody buy into this silly notion that anger is sometimes or often necessary? Do you not understand that anger is almost always an emotion for people who wish to control others while simultaneously failing to control themselves? Do you not know that there are incredible books and courses that can teach you better methods? Most importantly, do you not see the speed at which a child is crushed or becomes completely defiant when anger rules the roost? Are you that desensitized to the luminosity of your child’s spirit that it doesn’t crush you completely when they flinch or cower in your presence? Is that really what you want your child to do? To fear you?

Dads. Do you not realize that your child needs to feel your skin on his? Do you not realize the incredible and powerful bond that skin on skin contact with your daughter will give you? Do you not understand the permanent mental connections that are made when you stroke your son’s bare back or rub your daughter’s bare tummy while you tell bedtime stories? And if any idiot says anything about that being inappropriate, you’re gonna get kicked in the face, first by me, and then by every other good dad out there. Touching your child is your duty as a father.

Dads. Wake up! These precious souls that have been put into your care are unique and so very sensitive. Everything you say or don’t say will impact their ability, success, and happiness throughout their entire lives.

Do you not realize that your kids are going to make mistakes, and a lot of them? Do you not realize the damage you do when you push your son’s nose into his mishaps or make your daughter feel worthless because she bumped or spilled something? Do you have any idea how easy it is to make your child feel abject? It’s as simple as letting out the words, “why would you do that!?” or “how many times have I told you…”

Let me ask you this. Have you ever looked into the swollen eyes of a parent who’s child has just died?

I have.

Have you ever cried through a child’s funeral?

I have.

Have you ever touched a wooden box with a child inside? A permanent tomb from which another laugh or giggle will never sound?

I have.

If you want the motivation to be the best parent on earth, do that just one time. I pray you never have to.

Dads. It’s time to tell our kids that we love them. Constantly. It’s time to show our kids that we love them. Constantly. It’s time to take joy in their twenty-thousand daily questions and their inability to do things as quickly as we’d like. It’s time to take joy in their quirks and their ticks. It’s time to take joy in their facial expressions and their mispronounced words. It’s time to take joy in everything that our kids are…

It’s time to stand up and ask what we can do to be better dads. It’s time to get our priorities straight. It’s time to come home and actually be a dad.

Dads. It’s time to show our sons how to properly treat a woman. It’s time to show our daughters how a girl should expect be treated. It’s time to show forgiveness and compassion. It’s time to show our children empathy. It’s time to break social norms and teach a healthier way of life! It’s time to teach good gender roles and to ditch the unnecessary ones. Does it really matter if your son likes the color pink? Is it going to hurt anybody? Do you not see the damage it inflicts to tell a boy that there is something wrong with him because he likes a certain color? Do we not see the damage we do in labeling our girls “tom boys” or our boys “feminine” just because they have their own likes and opinions on things? Things that really don’t matter?

Dads. Speak softly to your sons. Speak calmly to your daughters. Who do you want your child to be? Do you want him to be the kid at school that sits by himself with absolutely no friends or self esteem? Or do you want him to be the kid running for class office and feeling like he deserves to win it? Do we not see that we have the power to give that to our children? Do we not see that we have the power to teach our children the tools of societal survival?

Dads. Do we not see the influence we have when we say we believe in one thing, but our children see us living something else? Do we not realize how little we encourage our children to actually decide what they believe, declare what they believe, and then live by it? Whether it’s religion, politics, sports, or societal norms. It is not our place to tell our kids what to think. It is our place to teach our kids to think correctly. If we do this, we need have no fear of what they will decide for themselves and how strongly they’ll stand behind it. A man will follow his own convictions to his death, but he’ll only follow another man’s convictions until he steps in manure.

Damn it, Dads. Every child has the innate right to ask for ice cream without being belittled and broken. Every child has the innate right to do so without being made to cower in the corner because the man who is supposed to be his hero is actually a small, small man altogether. Every child has the innate right to be happy, and giggle, and laugh, and play. Why aren’t you letting them? Every child on earth has the right to a dad who thinks before he speaks; a dad who understands the great power that has been given to him to ultimately shape another human being’s life; a dad who loves his child more than he loves his television shows or sports games; a dad who loves his child more than his material junk; a dad who loves his child more than his time. Every child deserves a superhero dad.

Maybe the truth is that a lot of dads don’t deserve their kids.

Maybe the truth is that a lot of dads aren’t really dads at all.

I apologize for the heatedness of my post. I believe a part of me feels like a coward for not saying something to the man in front of me at Costco. Consider this post to be my penance. Perhaps a part of me feels that if even one person reads this and decides to be a better dad, it was worth every second that I spent typing it. If one child has a better life because something in my words stirred their father to step up their game, then it was worth every ounce of begging and pleading with you to share this with others, of which I am inevitably going to be guilty.

Dads. Children are gifts. They are not ours for the breaking. They are ours for the making. So stand up with me and show the world that there are a lot of good dads around.

Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing Pleading

March 17, 2012


As I've mentioned before, when baby Katea finally got to come home, she came home with quite a large amount of baggage.  Being on oxygen actually requires a lot more than most people think, so I thought I'd blog about it.....on February 6th, when we finally got to bring our little miracle home....we also brought this stuff with us:

Her pulse/ox monitor
Baby Katea is hooked up to this monitor 24-7.  It measures her oxygen saturations and her heart rate.  The red number on the top is her sats and the green number below is her heart rate.  Her saturations need to stay between 88-98% (technically she can go to 100% now, since her eyes hit zone 3) and if goes out of that range, it beeps and beeps and beeps and beeps.....this little monitor took A LOT of getting used to.  Seems like it goes off all the time.  My kids have learned where the silence button is and they constantly push it (after asking me if it's ok)  We've kindof gotten accustomed to it now and it doesn't even phase us anymore.  I actually really like it, and maybe I rely on it too much.  The sensor that goes on her foot and gets plugged into the machine is like $38 for one.  Our insurance only allows us to get 5 per month...that means I have to be really careful that they last long enough that we don't run out.  Well, at the end of last month we ran out.  I was freaking out because the monitor kept beeping "bad sensor" "bad sensor" I knew we didn't have anymore.  Baby had an appointment the next morning so I decided we would just wait until the next morning when we were out and about to go get some more.  I turned the monitor off.  I didn't sleep at all that night, just worrying and panicing that she was getting enough oxygen.  She was, but I didn't have the numbers on the monitor to tell me.  I was so relieved when we finally got some more and had that monitor back.  I will never complain again of how annoying it is, because after that heart-wrenching experience....I LOVE that monitor...haha!

Her oxygen concentrator
This machine uses electricity and it takes the oxygen from the air and turns it into the oxygen that she needs....it actually is so nice to have because it saves us from having to go through tons and tons of oxygen tanks, especially since she's on oxygen 100% of the time.  This particular concentrator is a little noisy and at first it was really annoying, but now we're all used to it and it's actually a soothing mechanical sound that I think helps baby sleep better.  We use this concentrator pretty much all the time when we're at home.  The only problem with it is that the lowest setting it can go to is 1 liter of oxygen per minute.  Since baby is on less than 1 liter, we also have this....

Baby's pediatric flowmeter
This just takes the liter of oxygen from the concentrator and gives you the option to turn it down into the smaller measurements that baby needs....like 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16 & 1/32 liter.  Baby is consistantly needing 1/8 liter per minute.  So the hose hooks from the concentrator to the top notch of this pediatric flowmeter and then the hose that hooks to the bottom of the flowmeter is what goes into her nose.

I was told when I was still in the NICU that it wouldn't really be too much of a pain in the butt because they have like 50 foot tubing that we could use so we could keep the concentrator in one room of the house and the hose would be long enough to walk with her from room to room without having to move it.  That is NOT the case.  The people who dropped off the oxygen said that the longer cords work really well when people are on higher levels of oxygen, but it doesn't really work with less than 1 liter because the oxygen doesn't travel fast enough.  He highly recommended that we just use a shorter tube and not risk her not getting the oxygen she needs.  Ugh!

What that means is that everytime we have to go from one room to another, its actually a really long process.  All the things listed above, plus her needs to be moved.  At first I thought I'd be able to carry everything at once.....yeah, not so much....this is what happens when I try that....
I tripped over the tubing and wires I was carrying and in an attempt not to fall over because I was holding baby, I kicked the oxygen concentrater really really hard.  I dropped, spit out a few choice words, laid baby down, and cried.  OMG it hurt so bad, I thought I broke my toe.  It took like 2 weeks to finally heal (and it's still sore) but since then we just hang out in one room all day long, and if I have to move her...I have a routine.  First I make sure her stats are good.  Then I unplug her oxygen.....since I know she can last up to 25 minutes max on her own without the oxygen, I have to be fast about it.  I unhook her oxygen, take her and the monitor to the other room.  I lay her down there then go back to the original room...unplug the concentrator from the wall and carry the concentrator and the flowmeter and all the tubing to the room that baby is now in and hook her up.  It's quite a process, so we usually only move twice a day...once from the bedroom to the living room in the morning, and then at night from the living room back to her bedroom.   

Baby came and laid on our bed the other day, and this is what she looks like with all her baggage....

Besides the concentrator, the flowmeter and the monitor....we also have several oxygen tanks
(These are only some of them).....the large ones are for 'emergency backup use' and the small ones are the ones we travel with when we have to leave the house.  I've actually used all the large tanks that we've been allotted this month because I would use those instead of dragging all her equipment around....but now that those are gone, and we don't get refills until next month,  I'm back to my routine.

Just imagine all the stuff I have to drag around when I take her anywhere.  Her oxygen tank, monitor, diaper bag, albuterol pump....and baby Katea.  Let's just say I NEVER go anywhere without the stroller.  Whoever invented the stroller that the carseat can hook to is a genius!  That's the only way I'm able to get around!

It's a lot of work....but anything for our little miracle!  :)
Love you baby girl!

March 11, 2012

Smart little Monster

My little Lautala just barely turned 2 years old in January, only 2 months ago......but you'd think she's a lot older than she is because of how much she talks.  She can carry on a conversation....full on sentences...she understands everything people say to her, she asks A LOT of questions and she even makes sarcastic remarks.  She's way too smart for her age!  Just today she made me laugh, so I thought I'd write it down.....so I can remember it down the road.

I'm sitting in the living room on the couch holding baby Katea and watching tv, Lautala comes up to me and this is how the conversation went:

Tala:  Mom, go tore and buy pizza, I hugry

Me:  I don't have any money baby

Tala:  Oh, I find money mom....(holding her pointer finger in the air, she says)  way second I be back (then she leaves and comes back with $20)

Me:  Baby, where did you get that from?

Tala:  In u woom

I asked her to take me and show me where she got it from and she walked me into my room, opened the top drawer of my computer desk and pointed

Tala:  wight der mom

I just had to laugh that she found my secret hiding spot (that even I had forgotten about...haha)  She is too smart for her age.....

Needless to say, we ended up eating pizza for lunch!  That's my little smarty pants.

Not only is she too smart for her age, but she's a father/grandma induced monster.  I know that sounds crazy, but it is SO true!  She has everyone (especially her dad and her gramma Tea) wrapped around her little fingers and she can get away with anything with them!  I mean A.N.Y.T.H.I.N.G!  Here's a couple examples of what I'm talking about!
The other day I was on the computer and Tala walks in to say hi to me.  She was covered in marker, she had written all over herself....her face, her arms and hands, her legs.....she was covered!  I slapped her hand and told her "no no Tala, you don't write on yourself...you write on paper"  She started crying and walked out of the room.  When I was done on the computer I walked out to the living room and I see Gramma Tea sitting on the couch holding Tala....and Tala was drawing all over herself.  I went and grabbed the marker away from Tala and I said "hello Tea, I can't believe you're holding her and she's writing all over herself"  Tea said to me "I told her no, and she told me to shut up, so I just let her"......then I said "um, who's the adult here"  we both giggle and I walk to the kitchen as Tala says "mean mommy" .....such a Monster!

Ova is just as bad.  He doesn't hardly ever yell or discipline her, and when he does....she knows she can just throw a dramatic fit and he will immediately apologize to her, pick her up, hug her and give her candy or something.  She's a smart little girl and she knows exactly what she can get away with and she uses it to her full advantage.

I tell them both all the time.....she's a monster because of them!  :-/

I, on the other hand am the only one that disciplines her, and I don't feel bad about it.  She can't get away with the stuff she can get away with, with them, with me.....yet I'm still her favorite and she's such a mama's girl!  I guess it is true, kids like discipline!  :) 

I wonder what will happened when baby Katea gets older....it'll probably be so much worse because of all she's been through, and because she's named after Gramma Tea.....a-oh...I better get prepared!  LOL!

March 10, 2012

Annoyed....but so so so relieved!

Yesterday was baby Katea's follow-up eye exam.  I was really nervous at what the results would be because the one she got 2 weeks ago was nothing but bad news.  Since we've been able to bring her home though, I've been able to monitor her oxygen levels more closely and haven't been as freaked out as when we were in the hospital.  This would be the first eye-exam where I actually take her into the office....all the other times, she's been in the hospital and the optimologist comes to her to do the exam!  I had no idea what to expect at the appointment, but it was not at all how I was thinking it would be.

Our appointment was at 120pm....we got there at about 1pm because I wasn't really sure where the office was at.  When we walked into the office it was FULL of kids....running around everywhere, climbing on the chairs, jumping around, playing, fighting, crying....it was so loud in there.  To be honest, I was nervous that I had to wait in the waiting room with all those kids...especially since I've been advised not to take my baby around large groups of people, especially groups with a lot of kids.  We were in a hospital and I wasn't sure if those kids were sick or not.

I filled out all the paperwork needed and they told me to have a seat in the waiting room.  I was a little ok about it because baby was sleeping in her carseat which was covered by the carseat cover blanket I made.  I thought that at least that way, she's being blocked from all the germs that are in the air......but I didn't realize how long I would have to be waiting for.  Like I said we got there at about 1pm.....at 3pm they still hadn't called us back.  I went up and asked how much longer it would take....they said it should be any minute.  About 10 minutes later they called us back.  The opthamoligist came in and saw baby in her stroller and said "Oh, it's an ROP follow-up" (with a kind of irritated voice)  He left the room and then a tech came in with some eye drops to numb and dialate her eyes.  After the drops were given, he sent us back out to the waiting room and told us it would take like 30 minutes for eyes to get completely dialated.  I really didn't want to go back out there with all those kids, especially since baby was now awake and irritated.....but he said they didn't have room for us to wait in the back, we had to go back to the waiting room. 

In the NICU, they were always very focused on keeping things nice and dark, especially when the baby's eyes are dialated.  Obviously bright lights hurt and are uncomfortable for dialated eyes, and so they were very cautious in making sure to keep things dim.  At her appointment yesterday they didn't seem to care.  Her eyes were dialated and we were just sent back out to wait with everyone else.  Poor baby girl.  We waited for another 45 minutes before being called back.  I was so annoyed because of all the kids that were running around.  Baby was in her carseat, which was strapped in her stroller, covered....her pulse ox monitor was sitting on the top of the handle bars and the oxygen tank was underneath in the stroller basket.  The waiting room had these little cars that the kids could drive around, and these little kids kept crashing into the stroller.  At first I asked them nicely to stop, but they didn't....and what annoyed me even more was the stupid parents that were sitting there watching their kids crash into my stroller and not doing anything about it.....uugghh!  I kept my cool until baby's monitor started beeping, she was low-satting, I checked to make sure that her nasal canula was in her nose....it was....I didn't want to turn her oxygen up anymore because she was already on 1/4 liter.  Just then I see this little kid holding the end of the freaking tube in his hand.  He had pulled it off of the oxygen tank and was holding the end of it.  I was pissed.  I immediately grabbed it from him and then I yelled at his mom.  I don't remember exactly what I said, because I was so mad, but it was something to the affect that her son has been crashing into my daughter's stroller and he just pulled the tube from my daughter's oxygen, and that's how she stays alive....and that she needed to watch him.  I'm horrible at confrontation and was all shaky and stuff.  I went back to my seat and then she started talking crap about me in Spanish.  Funny thing is that I understand Spanish and understood every word she said.  Stupid lady.  I was mad!

Luckily, we got called back right after that so I didn't have to wait in the waiting room any longer.  The actual exam was super quick, we were just in and out.  Funny that baby Katea was dressed up in pink but the Dr. kept calling her a boy.  So annoying to add to the annoyingness I was already feeling...lol.  Dr asked me how she was doing and I told him that I have been really nervous about her eyes because of the high levels of oxygen she was on in the hospital.  He just said "I'm not worried about her eyes"....that statement made me feel a little better.  After the eye exam he said "She's doing so well....her eyes are almost mature....she's at a zone 3, almost mature.....diminishing plus disease.....and her ROP has started healing itself and is back to stage 1!!"  That is a HUGE improvement in the 2 weeks since her last eye exam!  Now I don't have to freak out and stress out that the high levels of oxygen are going to make her blind.  Once baby's eyes reach zone 3, there's not really a threat anymore.  Relief!

The sad thing is that we have to go back again for a follow-up appointment in 2 weeks, just to make sure her eyes are completely mature, and to make sure her ROP continues to go away.  I hate that I have to go back to that office/waiting room.....but hopefully that will be the last of the constant eye-exams....and hopefully her eyes will be good so I don't have to take her there anymore!

Swollen eyes after her eye exam

Baby Katea never ceases to amaze me.....even though her eyes were the worst they had been just two weeks ago, she fought through it and overcame....and has improved a ton....just like she always has and always does with anything she's faced with.  She's so strong, such a fighter, such a miracle....simply amazing!  Good job baby girl, I love you!

March 8, 2012

QT with G-ma

My mom is an RN and has worked ever since I can remember.  She hasn't been able to spend as much time as she has wanted with her grandkids because she was so busy working all the time.  This past few weeks she's had some problems with her hand, which resulted in the need for surgery.  The surgery gave her time off work to heal....several weeks actually....and it's been so nice to be able to see more of her!

She's taken full advantage (now that her hand is feeling a little better) to spend time with her grandkids....all 17 of them!  She texted me and asked me what I was doing yesterday....I said nothing...she asked if she could come spend the day with us....I said OF COURSE!!  :)  She spent the day before with my older sister Leslie and her kids....she slept over that night with my little sister Marie and her kids....and yesterday was our turn!!  :)   She came and hung out with us for a little while at home and then we were all hungry....Tea was here so she stayed with baby Katea and my mom took me and my older kids to Burger King to grab some lunch.  It was fun as we sat there talking and watching the kids play on the play place.
After we ate, I had a few errands to run, so my mom and kids went along.  It was nice that I was able to run into all the places I needed to and leave my kids in the car with Gramma!  haha  Things got done so much quicker! 

We came back home and just hung out.  Gramma Cindy played with baby Katea, Makai and Mone were playing wrecklessly like boys do...and Lautala was being a bossy monster....lol.  When Ova was ready to leave for work, the weather was H.O.R.R.I.B.L.E!!  It was a huge blizzard, whiteout....bad bad storm.  Yay for us because Gramma ended up sleeping over!  She lives all the way in Utah county, and it was late and too much snow for her to drive home.  She slept on the lower bunk in my boys room...with them!  Precious moments!

This morning we woke up and Makai made us all breakfast before my mom had to leave.  I'm so grateful that she took the time to come and spend time with my kids.  Nothing better than quality family time.....especially with Gramma!

She also brought some outfits and surprises for the kids.....spoiled much??!!  Here is a picture of Lautala modeling one of the outfits from Gramma!  Thank you G-ma.....WE.LOVE.YOU!!

March 5, 2012

Room Air Trial

Our goal for baby Katea is to slowly try to wein her oxygen needs down so that some day 'hopefully soon' she'll be totally off oxygen.  We haven't been able to do much weining since being home, especially since she had the little set-back of going back to the hospital...and actually, because of that, she's needed a little bit more at times than she had been.

The other day we had some small tiny steps in the right direction and I was so excited and proud of her!

It had been quite a while since her monitor had beeped, which is very very unusual....usually that thing beeps all the time....not only when her oxygen saturation is low or high, but also when she kicks her little feet. A lot of movement makes the sensitive sensor not able to pick up accurate readings, and it beeps and beeps and beeps.  Everyone told me that it would drive me crazy...and it does, but I like having it.  It gives me a huge sense of security and peace of mind that she's breathing like she should be and that she's getting enough oxygen.  As much as I want to kick the oxygen, I'm gonna have a hard time saying goodbye to her monitor...lol.  Anyways, it hadn't beeped in a while....I was sitting there holding her and I was just thinking that she was super content on her 1/8 liter and that she was getting oxygenated like she should...and that everything was great.  Then I look down and see her with her nasal canula in her hand....not anywhere near her face or her little nose.  Funny that I was holding her and she was able to pull the canula hard enough to get out of the tape on her face....and I didn't even notice....horrible right??!!  I immediately grabbed the canula, put it back in her nose....panicing that she hadn't been getting oxygen for who knows how long...then it dawned on me, her monitor was on and it was reading....and it didn't beep once.  She was breathing completely on her own!  :)  As soon as I put the oxygen back on her, she started to high-sat....the monitor started beeping...she was satting at 100% for a couple minutes.  You know that high levels of oxygen are bad for her little eyes, so I turned it down to 1/16 liter.... still high satting....turned it down to 1/32 liter (which is like .003, the lowest you can go)....and she was still high satting.  I decided to completely turn the oxygen off and do a room air trial.  She was amazing!  She kept her saturations betwee 94-98% for almost 25 minutes.  That was the longest ever without oxygen!  After about 25 minutes, she dropped her saturations into the 80's and then the high 70's.  I didn't want her to hang out too low for too long, so I turned the oxygen back on at kept it at 1/16 liter.  Since then she's been between 1/16 and 1/8 liter per minute.  She's making progress....slowly but surely!  It only lasted 25 minutes, but hey, I'll take that 25 minutes of progress anyday!  :)  Way to go baby girl!

March 3, 2012

Let's try HOME again...

We were able to get discharged from Primary Children's on Monday.  I find it very funny that baby stayed in just long enough for all the out-of-towners that were staying at our house for Sau's wedding to leave.  The hospital was okay with discharging us a couple times throughout the week before the wedding, they told us that we could have just gone home with higher amounts of oxygen, albuterol and the need to suction every 2-3 hours....but it seemed like everytime they would mention the possibility of going home,....something would happen to her, she would have a bradycardic episode....she would need too much suctioning....her lungs would sound tight or she would look like she was working too hard to breathe......everytime we were close, something would happen that would keep us there.  Seiously, the day everybody left our house....she improved dramatically!  Her oxygen levels dropped overnight back to where she was at when she was home, she didn't need to be suctioned as often, and actually only needed suctioning twice that night.  I just laugh because the Lord works in mysterious ways and between him and her, they knew that the only way she would stay safe from so many people, was to be in the hospital.  I'm grateful things turned out the way they did, because I was a nervous wreck thinking about how I was going to try and keep her away from all those people.  Thank goodness my prayers were answered....and even though we were back in a hospital, she was safe!

Since coming home, she's back to her normal content happy self.  She only cries when she's hungry....and then she screams!  Her oxygen is back down to 1/8 liter per minute and I haven't had to suction her once.  Funny isn't it!  :)

I took her to her doctor's appointment today....they just wanted a follow-up visit after being discharged from the hospital, and she had to get her second round of synagis (a shot given to preemies to give them the antibodies to fight RSV.....the shot alone is like $1500....so it's only given by perscription to babies who really need it....like preemies with weak lungs!  They have to get a new shot every month until RSV season is over)  I think it's crazy that they advise me not to take her out of the house at all for the first 3 months, or until RSV season is over.....yet I have to take her to doctor appointments every week, sometimes twice a week.  It just makes me nervous because the only place I'm taking her is right to where there are probably more germs than anywhere else, because that's where all the moms take their kids that are sick...  :-/ 

Today she weighed 10lbs.12oz. she's almost 11lbs.  I look at her and think she's huge, just because of how small she was when she was born, and because she has the chubbiest cheeks and double chin.....but really, she's still tiny.  It hit me today when I was thinking about it.  She spent her 5 months birthday in the hospital again, only this time at Primary Children's.....I was thinking that she is 5 months old already....and only 10 pounds.  Lautala was born almost 10 pounds.  I wonder if she's going to be tiny her whole life....or if she'll catch up with the rest of my giant kids. 

Monday morning before we got discharged, Ova's little brother Tim and his little family stopped by to see baby.  It's their daughter Toakesa that had a liver transplant when she was only one year old.  They are all too familiar with life at Primary Children's hospital, because they spent most of her childhood there.....they were there for a follow-up check up for her before they headed home, so they stopped by to see baby Katea.  Their daughter Toakesa is almost 8 years old now, so it's been almost 7 years since her transplant....she's doing amazing, and the doctors are always amazed at how well she's doing.....she's another miracle!  That day was actually the first time they'd ever met my baby Katea....they live in Las Vegas and don't get the chance to come back to Salt Lake very often.  Tim just stood over her crying for the longest time.  All the emotions and feelings that we've all been able to deal with since the 5 months she's been alive, hit him all at once.  I remember a phone call I got from his wife Toa when baby was like 2 months old.  They had been wanting to call for a while, but didn't know what to say.....all I remember of the converstation was when she asked me "so when will you guys know if she's going to live or not?"  So sad that they were worried that baby wasn't going to make it.  It was a relief for them when I told them that she's not going to die....she'll be in the hospital for a while, growing and developing, but she was going to live.  I imagine all the worry and heartache Tim felt for his brother hit him in that moment.  I was happy that they came to meet her and to see that she is ok!  They had a baby girl in August, baby Luisa Otolose....born just one month before Katea.... baby Luisa is HUGE!!  She's normal size for a Fangupo baby, but it was crazy for me to see them next to each other...it really showed how small baby really is...especially since they're only a month apart.  It was a big big difference!  I wish I had my camera with me that morning so I could get some pictures of them, but I didn't.  :(

Being back at home is great.  It's nice to have all my kids together all at once.  It's nice to have Makai around, he's such a good big brother and such a good helper!  He is off track from school right now, which makes it really nice!  He makes her bottles for me, and holds and loves her if I have something else to be doing.....Mone is kind of just in his own little world....he's being really clutsy lately, so I'm worried that he might hurt her on accident.....he has good intentions though :) ....Lautala is a good helper too!  She's loves to be the one to go and get her diaper and wipes when I need to change her.  It's nice having so many little helpers around!  Katea loves her brothers and sister....I love when she's laying on the ground just being content and they're all over her making coo'ing sounds, talking to her, kissing her....loving her.  I love that when they do that, she doesn't get irritated, she just turns her head to the side and lets them.  I actually think she missed that while we were in the hospital this last time....she didn't have her siblings hanging all over her....hahaha!

We got a home visit from her nurse Anjanette the other day.  It was nice to see her because we didn't get to see her before we left the NICU.  We love Anjanette, she is so great!  She LOVES baby Katea....and whenever we were at the NICU and she was working, she would sit with us in baby's room, just talking about anything and everything.  She spent a little while at our house just hanging out....holding baby....watching our other crazy kids.  Most kids get shy when new people come around, but not my Mone....he gets all crazy and silly.....he had us laughing.  She brought some cute outfits for baby....the picture on the right is one of them!  So cute!  Can't say enough how much we love our primary nurses!  :)

Another thing that baby started doing more often this week is smiling....she's been smiling a lot more often, and even though she doesn't really have good control over her eyes....she can't follow an object....and a lot of the times I don't think she actually looks at me, Ova's been able to get her to smile.  It was so cute the other day, Ova was talking to her while she was sitting her in bouncer chair and she kept smiling over and over again.  I love seeing her progress and hit these different milestones!

Nothing much else that I can think of has gone on this week since being home.  So I'll just post some pictures I've taken this past week! 

          Taking a bath at Primary's

Grampa Makai came and spent a few hours with us at the hospital

Just chillin in my hospital crib

Chubby cheeks, double chin  & She <3's Mommy!  :)

Sleeping Beauty

March 2, 2012

Love ~ Handmade

Nothing I could ever do or say or make or give could really show how much gratitude I have in my heart for the nurses that took care of my sweet baby Katea.  I know I've talked about them a lot in my blog, but really....how could you show the people that saved your baby's life that you are thankful?  There's not much that can be said, but I hope that Ova and I let them know how much we appreciate and love them!  All the staff at the IMC NICU are wonderful, but we have our 5 primary's who did the most......

Here are just a few things I put together for them......just to show our appreciation! (We were in the NICU over every holiday so we had good reason for giving a little something special every holiday!)

Halloween we just made little gift bags with treats, chips & a cup 



February 6th (Going home)

For everyone

My mom gave me this saying "Such a BIG miracle in such a little girl" and I absolutely loved it.  It describes NICU babies so well....they are miracles, every tiny one of them.  I wanted to make something for some of my NICU mom friends I met....just a little something for their babies.....this saying was perfect.  Here's what I made:

I also didn't have a car seat blanket canopy blanket for my baby Katea....and looking online I saw some that were like $40.  Ridiculous!  I decided it didn't look that hard to make, so I went to the store, picked up some material I liked.....came home and about an hour later.....I had my very own homemade car seat canopy blanket.  I.LOVE.IT!!  Super duper easy to make and it only cost me $10 (for the material)

My little brother didn't have one for his son either.....so I made him a Utah Utes one!!  :)

March 1, 2012

You Know You're A NICU Mom When…

* Your NICU kid is 14, and you're still talking about his or her "Adjusted Age".

* Your addicted to acronyms. *NICU, CPAAP, RSV…*

* You get all weepy when you see a normal, picture perfect delivery on TV.

* You refer to NICU procedures with the skill of a NICU nurse.

* You get a little sad when you pass a hospital.

* You just can't truly enjoy yourself no matter what you're doing because your heart is still in the NICU.

* You can't help but tell your NICU story.

* You realize it's possible to get LESS sleep than moms of full term babies because of all the late night worrying.

* You see a picture of a baby with the NICU elephant nose and go, "Awwww!!"

* You actually have to buy doll clothes just so your NICU baby will have clothes that fit!

* You have a special box of NICU souvenirs you keep meaning to scrapbook.

* You know the name of every baby in the NICU & who their nurse is for that day.

* The different personalities of the nurses at the NICU no longer get under your skin...you've learned how to react to each one accordingly.

* You get sentimental & worried when you hear beeping sounds.

* You could check your NICU baby's vital signs faster than any health care professional you've met so far.

* You keep hand sanitizer in every room of your house & you ask people to use it before coming near your NICU baby.

* You still scrub your hands like a surgeon.

* Your only concern every day is when it's time for the "hands on" session with your baby, & you turn into Godzilla when you find out that your baby's hands on procedures were completed before you got there.

* You're an expert on calming your parents down because a NICU nurse couldn't tell them personal information on their own grandbaby. "

* You know that "kangaroo care" isn't a kid's game, in fact-it's your most FAVORITE time of the day, the reason you get out of bed…

* You no longer need an alarm clock to wake you up at midnight every night-that's when you call to check on your NICU baby's weight!

* To everyone else, an ounce is just a measurement, but to you an ounce is more valuable than gold-you praise God for every one your NICU baby gains.

* 'Rooming in' isn't something you do with your friends over the weekend for fun-it's one of the happiest days of your life.

* 1800 is your new favorite number.

* Your heart skips a beat when the nurse puts you on hold before telling you your baby's daily report because you fear that may mean bad news.

* Your NICU baby is over a year old & you still feel like you need to ask someone before you hold her.

* The March of Dimes becomes the most important fund raiser to you.

* You get nauseous when you see a black light because it reminds you too much of the bilirubin lights your NICU baby spent the 1st week of her life under.

* You know what Micro-Preemie means & you thank God every day that your NICU baby wasn't one; being a mother to a regular preemie was hard enough.  (Except baby Katea was a micro-preemie....meaning born before 29weeks....micro-preemie just means more complications, more struggles, less developed insides, and less likely to survive)

* Your NICU baby's home coming is THE happiest day of your life *so far*

*The hospital smell that most people hate brings tears to your eyes because it reminds you of your NICU experience.

* You bring your NICU baby home from the hospital with a new found appreciation for her doctors & nurses…God used them to save your baby's life.

I just had to post this again....because this is totally me!  Being a preemie parent changes you....lol!


A sister is one of the nicest things
that can happen to anyone.
She is someone to laugh with and share with,
to work with and join in the fun.
She is someone who helps in the rough times
and knows when you need a warm smile.
She is somone who will quietly listen
when you just want to talk for awhile.
A sister is dear to you always,
for she is someone who is always a part
of all the favorite memories
that you keep very close to your heart.

I have been very lucky to have been blessed with 3 sisters!   We have our disagreements and misunderstandings, and we fight like sisters do sometimes, but when it comes down to it, we are ALWAYS there for each other, no matter what!  I've been wanting to blog about my sisters for some time now, but I don't really think that anything I could say or do would really show how much I love and appreciate them and how grateful I am that they are my sisters.  They've always been there for me my whole life, and when everything happened with the complications of my pregnancy, losing and burying baby Cindy, and having baby Katea too soon, they were always there....right by my side....letting me cry, crying with me, coming to the hospital to visit, spending the whole day with me if I had a bad day, calling or texting me everyday to see how me or baby was doing....celebrating the progress made and crying with me when she had her set-backs....praying, fasting....caring.

I always know if I need anything at all, I can always call one of my sisters and they'll help me out.  They have their own families and their own lives, and I don't expect them to drop what their doing to be there for me, but they do....and they have more than just once.  I'm so grateful to have such great sisters!  This past weekend, and actually the whole week since baby got admitted back to the hospital, they have been more help then I could have ever asked for. 

Friday baby got admitted to the hospital
Saturday morning Marie came and stayed with baby at the hopsital for several hours so that I could go to the temple when Suliana got her endowments out.
Saturday night, I was having a rough night and Leslie drove all the way up to the hospital (after all day at school) just to keep me company
Saturday night my mom came to the hospital with dinner and to keep me and Leslie company
Monday Leka came to help Ova with his surprise for his brother
Thursday Leka came again to help Ova and she stayed overnight with me at the hospital that night
Friday night Leslie stayed all night with baby at the hospital so I could go to Sau's wedding dance
Friday night and Saturday morning Leka stayed with baby so I could go to Sau's sealing
All day Saturday Marie stayed with baby at the hospital so I could go to the reception.

I asked them to stay with baby for a few hours....Tongan stuff hardly ever ends on time, so they all ended up staying with her several hours.  Not one of them complained.  Because of them I was able to go to my bil's wedding, and not freak out that baby was all alone.  I knew as long as they were there, she was in excellent hands.  I'm so grateful for my sisters!

I don't want to leave my mom out of this post either.  My mom has been everything my sisters have been and more.  She was planning on staying with baby this weekend, but she caught that nasty bug that's going around and wasn't able to come.  My sisters stepped up and helped out though, so there was no worries!

I truly have been blessed with such a great family, all around.
They live so far away, but make time all the time to come up and visit us.
When baby Katea was still in the NICU, my parents came every week....my mom came two or three times a week sometimes.
When baby got admitted to Primary's, my whole family came again to visit, check in on us and make sure we were ok.
I'm so grateful for my family.
That's what families are for, that's what they should do....be there for each other, bear each other's burdens....
Thank you, thank you, thank you to my family who is ALWAYS there NO.MATTER.WHAT!
I love you!