Thursday, December 18, 2014

Family Video

These are my favorite. This was taken the day we moved. So glad we took the time though.

A Year of Miracles

Bassett Family 2014

If I had to choose one word to describe 2014 it would be EXHAUSTING. Bonkers, bananas, wild, painful, and insane also come to mind, but we will stick with exhausting. A few days after the new year started I got my regular 20 week ultrasound, and a puzzling, blurry little spot on that ultrasound kind of rocked our world. Now 2014 is coming to a close and we are ending with another surgery on our little Tess. This year has literally been non-stop. As I wrote out this Christmas card in my head though, I realized that, while on one hand this year has indeed been exhausting (both physically and emotionally), it has also been the most miraculous year of our lives. We've spent more time praying, more time appreciating, and more time counting our blessings than ever before.

* Tess Leone arrived on May 21, 2014. That blurry little spot on the ultrasound turned out to be a sacral dimple with a dermal sinus tract. After a roller coaster of hospital stays, ultrasounds, and an MRI it was determined that the tract (track? I never quite could tell what they were saying) was attached to her spine. Spinal surgery ensued. It was exhausting. I've never worried so much. After her MRI she would NOT wake up. At one point dozens of doctors were in the room flipping through books, shouting things, all while I sat in the corder watching the life slip out of my new baby. I've never prayed so hard. The Miracles- Tess WOKE UP from the sedation after her MRI, it took hours longer than it should have - but she woke up. The surgery was a success! Everything looks as though the lasting impact of this whole experience will be a gnarly scar and a heart overflowing with gratitude. 

*Blaine finished law school, took the patent bar, and the Texas state bar. In the midst of the hospital stays, while I sat in a corner anxiously biting my nails and eating Lorna Doone's, Blaine was studying diligently for the patent bar. Which he took in between Tess's MRI date and her surgery. I have no idea how he did that. All the finals, studying and tests were exhausting. The Miracles -  He passed! He passed them all, and with flying colors! The man is amazing. 

*A couple weeks after Tess's surgery, we took the family on a hike up at donut falls. Through a couple of misunderstandings, Gwen got separated from the group, and we couldn't find her for hours. It was getting dark. Search and rescue was called. The Miracles- we were meeting lots of family members and they arrived just as our panic set in. We had a dozen people scouring the mountain, multiplying our efforts. Among these great people was Blaine's brother Nick, who happens to be an elite runner. He ran and scoured more terrain than I could have covered in a month. Just as the police got to the scene and the sun sunk below the horizon we heard Nick holler that she was found!

*When Tess was three months old we packed up the family and moved to Texas. Several of the rental houses we were interested in fell through. It really seemed and felt like we were making the wrong choice to be moving to Texas at all.  The Miracles - We eventually found a great house, in a great neighborhood, with the perfect elementary school, and a great ward family. 

*We are in the process now of praying for another miracle as Tess is having surgery on her eyes next Tuesday. 

At the close of this exhausting year, we are so grateful. We are grateful for insurance. We are grateful for surgeons. Grateful for pain medication, and nurses and specialists. We are grateful for a paycheck, to have a roof over our heads. We are grateful for family (who dropped everything to take our kids during our hospital stays) and to help us move. Grateful for great friends who prayed on our behalf countless times, and stepped up to help in times of need. And we are so very grateful for "normal days". We didn't get too many of those this year, but I've never really been one to appreciate them before. I am incredibly grateful for all the days that come and go. Ordinary days are the best kind of days. 

We are so grateful for the miracles in our lives. We are grateful for  our Savior. We really learned this year to rely on our faith and in the Lord. We look forward to celebrating his birth and wish you the Merriest of Christmases! 


Monday, August 18, 2014


Well, I certainly had a memorable experience today. My family was held hostage in a KFC in Shiprock, NM.

After an emotional morning of saying goodbye to our extended family, we loaded up the kids and set out on day 1 of our drive to Austin.

We stopped for dinner an hour outside of Farmington, NM (where we were going to be staying for the night). After a quick vote we decided to eat at KFC. It was getting dark and the baby had been screaming throughout the entire last leg of the journey, so I was anxious to feed her as soon as we stopped. I sent Blaine, my parents and the kids inside to order and get started while I fed Tess in the car. My car was facing away from the building. I got cozy feeding Tess and catching up on e-mail and Facebook. I got a text from Aunt Liz (who we were to spend the night with in Farmington). She thought it was funny that we would stop in Shiprock, made it sound like it was a pretty shady place. Ten or fifteen minutes quickly passed and I was ready to head inside to join the family.

I glanced quickly in the rearview mirror and was puzzled to see that all of the lights were out in the KFC. A power outage? That's weird. I noticed there were two flashlights on in the building and people were walking around with them. All of the lights were on at the stores across the street. Something felt very wrong. Why was no one coming out of the building? Certainly if it were dark and the power went out while I was standing in line I would leave. No one was going in or out.

I started to feel a little panicky. I called Blaine but he didn't answer.  I could see two or three people in black pants, shirts and hats walking around the restaurant with flashlights. It started to make sense why Blaine didn't answer, and why no one was going in or out. They were being robbed, they were locked in! For all I knew someone had a gun to their heads and they were down on the ground. My heart was racing. Was this really happening? I hopped out of the car. Just then one of the people with flashlights started coming out of the building. I ducked behind my car. It seemed like he was looking around for people who were still in their cars or outside the building. Or in short, he was looking for someone like me. Someone who could see what was going on and alert authorities. I thought my heart would explode as I hid behind the car, it was beating so fast! The guy looked around for a minute and then went back in.  It was then that I noticed the giant unmarked white van near the entrance to the store.

I have never been more horrified. This really was happening. What should I do? Speed off in my car with Tess and call police? Charge inside? Hide? Think! Think Kristi Think!

I got in my car and locked the door. Just then I noticed the flashlight guy was coming out of the building again, with someone else this time. My Dad! Oh no! He had my dad. He was standing right behind my dad and shining the flashlight over his shoulder (was he holding my dad at gunpoint? I couldn't tell!) What was going to happen? My Dad came and rapped on the window, "come out. . .you need to come inside now". What? I was certain I was going to die from heart failure. I had been caught.  The guy must have seen me when he came out of the building earlier, and demanded someone in the restaurant who knew who was hiding in the van come out and get them with him. I glanced very nervously between my dad and the punk robber who was escorting him out to get me. "They want everyone inside so they can lock the doors" my dad said calmly. What to do! What should I do? Kick the guy? Punch him? Beg him to let me leave the baby outside? Visions of being shot and laying on the floor of the KFC with my kids raced through my head. It took everything I had to not lose control of myself.

The guy told me to lock my car. He shone his flashlight around, as I fumbled for my keys to lock the door. He was likely checking out what goods we had in the car, or looking for my phone (which was stashed in my pocket) to make sure I wouldn't call for help. "Take it all!" I thought "Give me my family and you can have it all!". I didn't say anything. When the guy turned to escort us to the building I quickly pulled my phone from my pocket and dialed 911. As he turned around to check on me I  slid my phone in my back pocket before he could see. Dang it! Maybe the operator would be able to track my phone and know someone needed help at that address. That would have to do. At least it was something.

Tears welled in my eyes as we got closer to the building. The man went to open the doors for us but they were locked. One of his partners must have locked the doors again to keep everyone else inside. He ran around to the other side to get someone to unlock the door.

This was my chance!

Should I scream for help? Run? Should I call 911 and risk him seeing me and shooting me? I didn't know how many precious seconds I had until he would turn around and see me. I whispered quickly to my Dad, "are we being robbed?! What is happening?"

"I don't …. think so…" he replied, calmly. He always could keep his cool in times of crisis. I was like, "Dad, it's okay, just tell me what is going on?" my voice trembling.  "I don't think anything is going on" he replied, "they just want us to come in so they can lock the doors". Could my dad really be that naive? At least they hadn't hurt him… yet. Bah!

Cautiously glancing around, I shakily dialed 911 again. Hoping I could eeek out some information before the guy came back. They answered, "I think we are being robbed!" I wailed. "They cut the power at the KFC  and they are locking everyone inside!" The operator quickly said, "well the power is out on a big block in Shiprock". Oh great, they like… blew up a whole transformer or something! My mind was racing. "They came out to get me from my parked car to bring me in and lock me inside!" I insisted.

And it was then that Blaine came out the front door. Annnnnd…. only when he told me that no, everything was fine. . . the power was just out, that I burst in to tears and collapsed in his arms. He was very, very perplexed. As you would be if you had been inside the KFC and had the whole thing happen from that perspective.

I still can't even process it. The whole situation was SO WEIRD. There was never any danger. Apparently the power had gone off right after my family got their food, and it was off on the whole block, but still on across the street (what I had used for comparison). My Dad overheard the employees (whose uniforms were black pants, black shirts and black hats) talking about how it was protocol to lock all the doors if the power goes out to make sure they don't get robbed, so he got an employee to come with him out to get me before he locked the doors. The employee was trying to be nice and shining his flashlight around my van so I could find my keys and get what I needed. Who knows who was driving the giant white unmarked van. The kids were being crazy which is why Blaine never picked up his phone.

Talk about a series of unfortunate events.

I seriously lost about ten years of my life.

And I am pretty glad that I didn't try to bargain with the robber/KFC employee to spare the life of my family in exchange for my van and all of it's contents. That would have been a real win for him, seeing as he had no interest in taking the lives of my family. And also glad I didn't bust out my kickboxing moves on him.

Sheesh. Why do these things happen to me? And on the bright side, nothing makes a day brighter than the beautiful realization that you and your family are actually NOT being held hostage at a KFC in Shiprock, NM.

The End.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Birth Story . . .

Wow, two posts in a year, I am really killing it in the blogging department :). You know, I remember at one point finding my dad's old journal and reading through it. I realized that there had only been one entry in my entire life, shortly after I was born. At the time I was deeply offended, but the older I get and the more kids I have the more I am thoroughly impressed that he even had a journal, let alone that he wrote in it after I (the caboose of the family) was born.

With my first three kids I had written their birth story within hours of their arrival. I can't on earth figure out how I had the time and gumption to do that. Tess is now over a month old and if she is asleep then I am trying to sleep and if she is awake it's all I can do to pull my eyes off of her to accomplish anything. Plus, she really likes being held and really doesn't like anything else. And, truthfully, I don't mind. I realize now how quickly she is going to grow and so I indulge myself in holding her almost all of the time. Yeah, the house is a total disaster and we have absolutely made no progress on how we are going to move our household from here to Texas in about six weeks. I bet I will blissfully keep neglecting my other duties as long as possible. Babies were meant to be savored.

So yah, since my last post I managed to get pregnant, endure (not well) a very miserable pregnancy and finally birth a beautiful baby. It's a lot more complicated than I make it sound there, there were complications, sleepless nights of worry and prayer, ultrasounds, NSTs, meetings with perinatologists and calls from genetic counselors. And everything has revolved around the complications, but I kind of just want to post her birth story. You know, one without all of those stresses. So hopefully I will post more about the trials and miracles of her gestation and birth and first month... but not today.


I scheduled my induction about two weeks beforehand. I was feeling all self righteous and didn't want anyone to know I was getting induced. You might wonder why, and the short answer is that I think I am a nut case. We have always kept the name of our babies a secret (even our list of possible names). Somehow though my older kids got wind of the names I was considering and all converged on one name from the list. Tess. And then when said complications arose they prayed mightily for "Tessie" and talked about her and to her could I possibly name her anything else after all of that? The problem was they were open with the name Tess and before long everyone who was anyone knew that her name was going to be Tess. I didn't like that. I like having a surprise name announcement. So much so that I almost named her something else simply because so many people knew about Tess. All this is to say that because many people knew the name I channeled all of my energy in to making her arrival a surprise.

The logical way to do that would probably have been to not schedule an induction at all and let nature take its course, but when push comes to shove if someone hands me a "get out of pregnancy a week or more early" card I take it.

So my induction was to take place on May 21st. I had to tell my parents so that someone could come and watch the kids. We held off telling anyone else though, which I was pretty proud of. My parents came early the night before so Blaine and I could go on our traditional "night before induction" date. We went out to dinner at The Cheesecake Factory, and then grabbed an Italian Ice at Rita's. We were going to go to a movie but I was just. SO. TIRED. And knowing that it would probably be a good four or more years until I would get a decent night of sleep again, we headed home at about 10:30PM. It was kind of a fun surprise to arrive home and find our kids all still awake (this was a school night) watching a movie with Grandma and Grandpa. What can I say? My parents are partiers.

We woke up early and headed to the hospital for our 7AM induction. We had chosen to deliver at Orem Community Hospital on the good recommendation of Laurie, plus the fries at their snack bar are to-die-for good.

I started getting awfully nervous about the whole thing. I did a lot more thinking about this pregnancy than the others, as, barring any heavenly messengers commanding us otherwise, this will be our last. Did I want an epidural? Did I even really want to be induced? Lots of time thinking about this things. They quickly got me hooked up to an IV and got the pitocin going. It was kind of a fun feeling being there and starting labor and no one even knowing. We felt very sneaky. I'm so weird.

Deep down I know I am an epidural type of girl. I have a pain tolerance of about zero. With the other kids I asked for the epidural as soon as they would give it to me (because I knew I would cave eventually, and if you are going to cave eventually there is no sense in trying to be a hero for a while). But this time I thought I would give it a go and see how long I could make it. Try to really experience labor for as long as I could. Who knew, maybe I would surprise myself.

It took a bit for the contractions to get going, and once they did I was just so darn proud of myself for breathing through them. Maybe I really was a hero. The baby's heartbeat was doing weird things. It would speed way up and slow way down. It was all over the map. They had me flip sides and do all sorts of things to try to get it to regulate. I believe they eventually put something in my IV to help. Things were all quiet when I told Blaine it would be okay for him to go and get some food.

Sure enough as soon as he left things kind of went to pot. The heart rate was even more erratic. People came in, they put me on oxygen. And the really ironic thing is that the exact same thing happened with at least Ivy, and Gwen, if not all three other kids. Blaine leaves and chaos sets in. Just a fact of life I guess.

They decided they better put on an internal monitor on the baby (you know, the one they poke into the baby's head. Sad.). And this is where the details are a little fuzzy. It seems like they did this before breaking my water, but wouldn't the act of doing that break my water? No idea. At some point they put on a monitor and things seemed less traumatic after that.

So by 10:30AM I was still busy proving what a capable birther I was by not getting an epidural. Sure the contractions were painful, but nothing I couldn't handle with a little dramatic breathing. Then my OBGYN waltzes in, "hey sorry I am late! You ready to get this party started?!". And there I was, like an idiot, thinking the party had already been going for some three hours.

So he breaks my water.

And oh was there ever water! Water and water, from the expressions of amazement from all in the room you'd think I nearly flooded the hospital. So. Much. Water. Everyone was duly impressed.

I've read a million times how contractions get worse once your water is broken. And let me just tell you, they aren't kidding. The very first contraction after that basically had me in tears and washed away any superhero resolves I had. Epidural, Stat! Seriously. The party had started.

My OB had made it sound like the anesthesiologist was waiting in the hall for me to say the word. Wrong. I begged and pleaded with Blaine to find the guy and drag him in! It took like almost an hour to get the guy in. And I know that isn't a super long time, but I am convinced this was the most painful labor ever experienced so it felt like an eternity. I wanted to go back in time and slap the earlier version of myself who no less than five times told the nurse that "no, no epidural yet, I'm doing jussssst fineeeee". Why self? Why?.

Then once the anesthesiologist and his partner (who was not actually his partner but turned out to be my new nurse...but I didn't know that) arrived it took forever to get the epi in place. They were sitting there talking about the most random lame things, like where to get good mexican food, and where they were going to go on vacation. I was gritting my teeth and just really wishing we could all focus on the task at hand. I could tell they were trying to get my mind off of the pain by asking me questions, which I refused to answer. Poor Blaine, he kept apologizing "I'm sorry, she's normally very friendly... I think she's in a lot of pain". Yeah, I was. They had me sit up, which was a little better. But man, it took them an hour to place the epidural, an hour! In my past experience it seems like it normally took like ten minutes max. The guy was having some trouble placing the catheter? Or something. But that didn't stop him from discussing with my nurse where the best salsa in Utah County could be found. I was thinking all sorts of mean thoughts like, "oh yeah let's talk about salsa while we mess around with the nerves in my back, that's a brilliant idea". Anyway, definitely not my finest hour and I was sure I was going to die from the epidural being placed wrong because no one was focusing on their jobs ;)

So there we were at like noon with an epidural in place and sweet relief flowing through. I apologized to my nurse for being mean. It's amazing how much more I liked her once I had an epidural. She was totally great. Pain can be really blinding.

I think my contraction monitor must have fallen off or slightly off or something because I couldn't feel my contractions and according to the monitor I wasn't really having any. But I must have been because all of the sudden I was a ten! Then there was my OB again. And it was time to push. Would I push for three hours like with Gwen? Ten seconds like Bentley? I always expect it to take a long time. And again the OB and my nurse were discussing good places to go eat. I don't know what it is about me giving birth that inspires these conversations :). Anyway, it was a matter of a few pushes, like say six, and she was here! 2:05PM 5/21/2014.

I am always amazed at the incredible relief I feel immediately after my babies are born. Pregnancy is so cruel to me, and immediately after the baby is born I start feeling better. She cried her little newborn cry and I just couldn't believe that she was finally here! Finally! And she was okay! And she looked beautiful! And it was over, I never have to be pregnant again :). It was amazing to just sit and marvel. A baby girl. My third girl. I have three girls and one boy. I spent so many nights as a kid dreaming about my future family, wondering how many boys and girls I would have. What they would look like. Finally they are all here and I know and love them all.

9lbs 6 oz, 20.5 inches. My biggest baby yet. And later I would be so grateful for every one of those blessed ounces as she still had so much to endure ahead of her. But that's another story for another day.