Tuesday, January 31, 2012

When will they let her come home?

People ask this question a lot.

I post here about Ainsley a bit and I put a lot of pictures on facebook of this fat, smiling (with four teeth!!!!), adorable, happy baby. And she looks pretty great.

And she is pretty great. Usually. Sometimes. When things are good with Ainsley, they are great. But when things are bad with Ainsley, they can be downright terrifying.

It feels like there is no in between. She will be fantastic for two weeks and we all start to relax a bit and then HOT DAMN. Something goes wrong and it's days of stress and no sleep and wondering if next time will be the time that Ainsley keeps getting better instead of this better, worse, better, worse thing that has just repeated these thirteen months. And hoping that it isn't the time she keeps getting worse, and worse, and worse.

I don't know why people ask about Ainsley going home in a way that suggests that The Evil Doctors are perfectly capable of letting her leave but choose to make her stay. I am 100% confident that everyone who cares for Ainsley would love to evict her old hag ass. They are probably dreaming of they day when they can "let" her go home. She's the oldest kid in the NICU now and plus I think maybe my jokes are getting old.

(Nah. Impossible. Everyone knows I'm nothing but hilarious.)

We don't care if she comes home soon. We want her to stay alive. And if you think that's dramatic or that I'm exaggerating, then you really should spend a few weeks with us at the hospital. If you've never seen a blue baby in real life, Ainsley can make that happen for you!

I think people don't understand the reality of Ainsley's situation. If she loses her airway...she could die. If we can't control her pulmonary hypertension she could have damage to her heart and...she could die.

When I give Ainsley updates in real life it is just awkward. I end a sentence and am usually met with horrified looks and painful silence followed by a positive saying (I'll pray for her! I hope she is better soon!) followed by a swift change in topic. People don't know what to say. It's just a sucky situation that we are making the best of, and there really isn't much else to say. I don't mention it to make people feel bad for saying a particular thing or having a certain reaction. I mention it because it just IS. Ya know? I haven't known a child this sick in my entire life so I'm sure I wouldn't know what to say either.

If it wasn't for the nurses and respiratory therapists and doctors who joke with us and understand and just generally act fabulous, I think we would go insane. Although, I did get a little push back the other day when I said that Ainsley looked like Hannibal Lecter in her stander. But she does! You know the part where they wheel him out strapped to a board??

(And she looks like Rainbow Brite in her therapeutic shoes (MOON BOOTS) and socks.)

(I can say that because I am her mom. I will donkey punch you if you make fun of her adorable stander and moon boots.)

(I just refreshed myself on the definition of Donkey Punch. I will just regular punch you. Donkey punching is too gross.)

The only person holding Ainsley back is Ainsley. She is not ready to come home. As soon as she is, there will be a team of medical professionals gladly helping her get the hell out of the NICU. Until then, we are going to trust the opinion of this fabulous group of people who have managed to keep Ainsley alive.

Seriously, though...the Hannibal Lecter thing. It is an adorable Hannibal Lecter!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bah. Sick.

Olivia was sick. 106 degree fever sick. Bad ear infection. On the mend.

Ainsley is...sick? I mean, she is technically always sick considering that her lungs suck ass (instead of air) and she needs a machine to breathe for her. But she has been doing some scary, purple-turning stuff. It might be a virus or infection but It might be her pulmonary hypertension getting worse and that is just simply not good at all.

I am sick. Like, soul-sucking morning sickness at 21 weeks sick. And I'm crazy, too. I've been kind of obsessed with taking my blood pressure because I am terrified that I have preeclampsia again.

Mark was sick. Sinus infection. Still not at 100%.

I think the universe is getting back at me for making fun of people who wear crocs. I kind of want to pull the covers over my head and sleep all day but being a grown up sucks like that because kids! Dogs! Mortgage! Productive member of society!

Anyway. Post one for this week. We suck at health but hey! Am KILLING IT at new years resolutions!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

January Resolution Recipe #1: Crispy Cheddar Chicken

Recipe #1 for the year was a success, so if I fail at all of my other resolutions (probable) then I can still be all smug. Yeah, well I made that recipe on January 17 and it was good to suck on that 2012!

Here is the recipe, which I got from this blog.  I took a picture of mine but it looks gross so click over and take a look at her picture.

Crispy Cheddar Chicken
Time: 15 minute prep + 35 minutes baking
Yield: 7 servings


4 large chicken breasts
2 sleeves Ritz crackers
1/4 t salt
1/8 t pepper
1/2 C milk
3 C cheddar cheese, grated

Cut each chicken breast into three large chunks.
Grind Ritz Crackers in a food processor.  Stir in salt and pepper.
Put the milk, cheese, and crackers into three separate containers.
Dip chicken in milk, then cheese, then cracker crumbs.
Bake for 35 minutes at 400 degrees in 9x13 pan (use cooking spray), covered with foil.
Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until edges are brown and crispy.

1 10 ounce can cream of chicken soup
2 T sour cream
2 T butter
1 t dried parsley
In medium sauce pan, combine soup, sour cream, and butter with a whisk over medium high heat until combined and heated through.  Serve over the chicken (I put it over rice, too!), sprinkle with parsley.
We loved this!  It is being added to the regular rotation!   Pinterest is insane with all of the delicious recipes.  And by insane I mean Making Me Chubby.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Why it is better to be Not Nice

This morning I got stuck on an elevator with a lady who I shall forever call Douche Canoe. It was my own fault, really. I was in the elevator and saw her coming and held the door until she got there.

Now let me tell you why I am usually not nice like that.

Douche Canoe: when's that baby due?

Jennepper: oh, June...

Douche Canoe: you got twins in there?

(ha. Haha. Muahahaha!)

Jennepper: * eyeroll, discontinue eye contact. *

Douche Canoe: bet you hope it comes early!

Jennepper: * death stare until elevator door opens and she shuffles along to be Douch Canoe-y until 5 *

And, fin.

Perfect choice of words on her part, don't you think?

Given the opportunity I could have dropped a woe bomb on her. An atomic woe bomb, complete with a "I'm pregnant, what's your excuse?" aftershock.

Next time, maybe. I already decided to fake a contraction any time someone asks if I'm going to have that baby RIGHT NOW CUZ U IS BEEG!

"You got twins in there?"

"Ha! No, but funny story. Last year I really was pregnant with twins and one of them died the night before my scheduled c-section! And then? And then!!!!!! The other one was delivered alive at 32 weeks has never left the NICU because her lungs are so premature that she can't breathe without a machine! 384 days but who is counting, right? Haha! So I think I will pass on the whole early thing and just go ahead and carry this one full term. But yeah, you are super adorable for asking and also I hope your day is just swell."

Pregnancy: justified motive for aggravated assault?

New Rule: Never hold the elevator for anyone under any circumstance.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

If you guessed boy...


It's a teeny tiny vageenie, situated on a perfectly healthy little lady.

Hello little girl! You have no idea what you're getting into...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Tomorrow is the day that I will obtain the first photo of my fourth child's genitals. Hopefully it will be the only photo of said genitals to ever exist. One can only hope that I am not Gestating the next Paris Hilton/Lindsay Lohan/Grady Sizemore/R Kelly.

Tomorrow I will know if, in my ute, there is a teeny tiny peenie or a teeny tiny vageenie. It is all very exciting except when it is all very Paranoid-y.

It appears that I have lost the ability to walk into an ultrasound appointment and be relaxed. (heh...relax.) scratch that - I can't walk into any OB appointment being relaxed. I literally hold my breath until I hear the heartbeat on the Doppler.

A few appointments ago, the nurse couldn't find the heartbeat. Mine? Yes. Baby? Nada. I had to lay there and close my eyes and try to think of anything except, "not again...please, not again."

Turned out that we needed to pull my pants lower. I saw the stress on the nurse's face - red face, tight smile - as she lubed up my lower stomach in hopes of finding the heartbeat. I wonder if she was thinking, "please...not again."

But there it was, in the 160s. Chugging along just fine. Luckily she took my blood pressure before she did the Doppler. We both laughed afterward, and then the doctor indulged My Crazy by letting me decide when I wanted to come back. Screw the typical schedule! I have a standing Doppler appointment any day that I want to hear the heartbeat. Except weekends, because he has a life too.

(He is nice and funny and I love him even though he is a hugger.)

My biggest worry on the day of Olivia's 20 week ultrasound? That mark would feel too sick to shop for pink or blue shit. Girl or boy? How fun!! Let's stimulate the economy!!!

Since then, I've met people who have learned at their 20 week ultrasound that their baby will not live. That their baby is very sick. I found out that one of my babies wasn't growing properly, and that they could both be in danger.

Buzz kill.

So I'm excited for tomorrow to know if I'm gestating a teeny tiny peenie or a teeny tiny vageenie. But I'm so anxious about what else we will find that I wish I could channel some of my first pregnancy innocence and skip through the doors of the OB with a pocket full of cash to spend and my only worry being where to eat lunch afterward.

And then...I have a hard time feeling like everything will be ok at all. Like, Evelyn looked awesome in utero until she suffered a hemorrhage and massive cardiac arrest. Her condition is super duper rare but it is still the kind of experience that can ruin subsequent pregnancy excitement. You just never know, I guess.

But anyway...this is a new Knepper and I'm trying and mostly doing a good job of keeping The Crazy under control. Except when I brain dump The Crazy all over the blog.

I bet you're willing to humor me now, though, right?

Care to venture a guess? TTP or TTV?

I can give you some additional information to help:

Feeling - sick as a dog until 17 weeks (am 19 now).

Weight - gained 4 so far. But started out 25 heavier than normal. Gained 22 with Olivia, and 45 (I think?) with Ainsley and Evelyn.

Craving - Savory! (Sweets with Olivia, Savory with twin girls)

Gut Feeling - girl, but only because it is always a girl. No strong feeling either way.

Girth: as follows:

Monday, January 9, 2012

She gets to stompin in her Air Force Ones

At times I enjoy wildly inappropriate music. I've been listening to two wildly inappropriate stations on Pandora: Mystikal and Nelly.

I like those stations because they play 10 year old hip hop songs that remind me of my bar hopping/being ass wrangled college days.

(I mean, you simply have not lived until you have been dry humped from behind in a bar so crowded you were unable to move.)

The lyrics are so stupid and don't apply to my life but I don't care. I love it anyway. Courtesy of Mystikal:

"shake your ass, but watch yourself!"

I am tempted on occasion to create my own rap-adaptation of a song and post it on my blog but I do not because I'm lazy and I also forget my brilliant lyrics as soon as I get out of the car.

My most recent potential rap-adaptation was to Nelly's Country Grammar, and was about driving in my company car which is rear wheel drive.

(Rear wheel drive is just a nicer way to say Winter Death Machine.)

"Oh I'm sliding down down baby, your street in a Dodge Charger."

I should be paid several million dollars for these rhymes. I could be the new Weird Al. Annoying Jen, perhaps? Record labels: CALL ME. Or anywone who wants to pay me money to be annoying: CALL ME.

Olivia likes to listen to music (mookzick) and jump on our bed while looking in the mirror. It is as funny as it sounds. She is very serious about Breaking It Down. Sometimes we are allowed to join her in dance, and sometimes she tells us to go to sleep.

We were listening to the Nelly station because most of the songs have the clean lyrics but also allow her to properly shake her ass but watch herself (maybe Mystikal had a 3 year old?).

The song Air Force Ones came on...a song about the sheer awesomeness of basketball shoes...and Olivia was killing it. Until I interrupted her groove:

Jennepper: Do you get to stompin in your air force ones?

Olivia: (stops, turns, looks at me dead serious) YES.


There are probably several people simultaneously clinching their butt cheeks at the thought of me raising three kids to act just like me. But it's not just me, Mark is weird too. Last night:

"I have that T-Pain song with that stupid British lady saying it is 5 o'clock in the morning stuck in my head!"

And he has been known to sing Gloria Estefan songs. Namely, The Rhythm is Gonna Get You. Complete with imitation of the music.

So I guess what I'm saying is that we are equally to blame.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

You can't keep a party girl down.

I distinctly remember hearing about a kid having his first birthday in the NICU.  We were NICU newbies at the time.  We had been there four months but felt like veterans at that point.  "Oh, how awful to be here a year...I can.not.imagine."  That kid ended up being our neighbor, and he left last month when he was about 20 months old.

Ainsley is one.

She turned one over a week ago, actually, and I haven't really had time to write about it.   And yep, she's still in the hospital.  I look back at April and wonder what we were thinking.  How little we knew.  How it's probably pretty good that we had no idea what was ahead of us because it would've been too overwhelming. 

The day before her birthday she went on a portable vent.  You know the old portable vent - the one that could technically be used at home but isn't a home vent because it is a portable vent?  Yes.  She did.  Before you get all excited, it didn't go well.  She went on Wednesday and was off by Sunday and then proceeded to be a big fat drama queen for the next week.

So anyway, she was on this portable vent for her party and she was working a bit hard to breathe and was sweaty.  And that's all the bad stuff - she was also very adorable and smiled a lot and wanted her mommy a lot.

"I can't put my arrrrrmmmms down!"
Ainsley in her pimped out wheelchair.
It makes her arms stick out like the snowsuit kid
in A Christmas Story. 

We managed to get one family picture and as per usual, my girls just LOVE being photographed:

I thought it was funny that the iVent was centered in the picture.
Like part of the family...
When I added this picture to Facebook, I tagged the iVent as Ainsley's Lungs.
My only real requirement for a birthday party is a cute cake.  I like a cute cake.  I don't really care that much about decorations or favors (In fact, I don't care at all about favors) but I like a pretty fancy cake for a birthday party.  This is why it's a good thing that I know talented people like my friend Becky (she has a Facebook Page!!!), who made this awesome owl cake to go with our Look Whoos One theme!

Whoo do you think ate 3 cupcakes when nobody was looking?
If Youuu guessed Olivia you would be correct.

Actually, whooever had the camera was looking.

I don't care about decorations...
but I'll still spend stupid amounts of money on them.

Ainsley doesn't eat anything that doesn't go through her g-tube, but she was happy to stick her finger in a cupcake and smear it on her high chair.

Sweaty, checking out the sweets.
And then Olivia the neat freak was happy to immediately come to her aid with a napkin.  "Look, what a mess!"

Was she cleaning?
Or trying to scam another cupcake?
We had the party in the family center, and a bunch of Ainsley's hospital friends were able to come, along with a bunch of Ainsley's outside of the hospital friends.

At one point, the room was so full you couldn't move.
Now THAT'S a party!!
Ainsley got SO! MANY! PRESENTS!  Jammies and toys and books and gift cards...people continue to be so nice to us.  Ainsley managed to open a present or two...

Dis exactly what I wanted.
I thought that it might be pretty sad.  It wasn't though.  It was a happy and fun day.  Not that I'm asking for a repeat for birthday #2!!!  But there's a point where you quit being bitter that your kid is missing out on the world and you just end up being glad she is here at all.

Happy first birthday to my Ainsley!!  She is adorable, hilarious, snobby...perfection.


One Year Ago: Evelyn and Ainsley
Also One Year Ago:  Evelyn Cecille 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


So it is January 3... on a scale of 1 to Claw Your Eyes Out, how sick are you of hearing everyone's resolutions?  Oh, you're about at Roll Your Eyes and Flip Off Your Computer?  I get that a lot anyway so I'll just tell you my resolutions like one of those annoying people who doesn't pick up on your hint that you do not care about whatever they are saying.

1. Blog at least twice per week.

Isn't that splendid? Since technically I am contractually obligated to blog at least once a week, this one seems like a good idea. I mean, sure, I'm pitiful enough that I must've shown up on the "Pitiful, Do Not Yell At" list (thanks, if that's true...I am pretty pitiful, you should see my facial hair because I haven't bleached it in MONTHS!!!! and I should be bleaching it new but I'm writing instead, which is the definition of dedication) but I really need to write more before my blog grows over. Like an ear piercing or a 90 year old vagina.

I have ideas for blogs all the time, but really they are fleeting thoughts that are more suited for Twitter. And I don't like Twitter because I'm old and crotchety and Don't Get It.

For example, here is one of my fleeting thoughts not long enough for a blog:

If you haven't already, you need to immediately read Tina Fey's book, Bossypants. Unless you are offended by the phrase, "Go suck a bag of dicks." In which case, you probably should immediately read something else.

But whatever.  I'm going to blog at least twice a week until I don't feel like it anymore, and then I'll just walk around all the time stressed about how I should be writing twice a week but instead of writing I'll just eat a box piece of chocolate and stare at the TV for hours.

2. Try at least two new recipes per month.

I tried to do one new recipe a week in 2009 (I think...who knows, I don't even know what I was doing 3 hours ago) and failed.  One a week is too much.  I think I can swing two per month, which would be one per grocery shopping trip. 

Hey!  Perhaps I can bore you with remedial recipes I try.  See?  I can meet my goals by cheating and then acting like I'm very accomplished.  It's all about setting the bar really low.  Last year I'm pretty sure I resolved to floss more but then I just had to get like 6 cavities filled and they were all, "Do you floss daily?" and I was all, "I aspire to be a daily flosser" and they were all, "huh."

Dentists: hard to amuse, apparently.

3. Be more serious about my Dave Ramsey budgeting.

Oh Christmas, you spendy little devil you.

I waited until the last minute to Christmas shop this year.  Usually I'm done by Black Friday and that's really when I started.  And I got some really great deals on Black Friday but ended up spending more on everything else because I couldn't shop deals.  Suck city.  So I wasn't a success at saving in December.

I'm good about the debt snowball, but the only debt we have is our house and my student loan.  So those will both take forevah to pay off.  The part I'd like to be more serious about is using cash.  I never never never use cash. 

I have also never done his budget down to zero dollars.  I just pay the bills, save the amount I want to save/pay toward my debt, and anything left over the day of the next pay goes directly to whatever I'm paying.  So there is definitely some waste there because I know that there will always be hundreds of dollars in the checking account that are spendable.  I think that if I budgeted specific amounts for treats for Olivia, dining out, entertainment, and clothes shopping, I could make our money work way harder.

And then I'll pay off my house and my student loan and I will spend all of my money at The Mall, Forever and Ever, Amen.

4. Make monthly goals.

I do this every year.  At the beginning of each month, I try to come up with 2-4 small goals for the month.  For January it is:

- Clean out Ainsley's closet and sell all of the stuff we bought/received when we thought we were having twins.

- Consign or sell on ebay anything kid/baby-related that I don't absolutely love or need and put that money toward the student loan.

- Clean out the spare room closet to prepare for the new baby HOLY SHIT WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A NEW BABY IN SIX SHORT MONTHS. 

These goals can be...whatever.  One month last year I resolved to be more nice.  That's how horrible of a person I really am.  I have to resolve to be nice.  Pretty sure that anyone who knows me in real life would attest to my failure at being nice as I am perpetually bitchy.

So anyway.  Hello.  Resolutions.  Etc.  Lots of stuff going on but I have to write at least twice per week so let me just spread out the minutia of my life in a series of uninteresting posts for your reading pleasure.  You?  Are welcome.