Thursday, July 9, 2015

Summer update

This post is way overdue, but there have just been other priorities lately. But I wanted to post a few pictures of what we've been up to and how big Chisum is getting!

He is now 22 months old - so we are starting to think about the Big 2nd Birthday party.

Ronny made Chisum a swing set and he is loving it.

We've spent some time in Kansas with family at birthday parties, visiting new cousin Bret, flying to Auntie Em's and family time with Nana and Papa.

We flew to KC for Emily's birthday and she put on a blood drive in my honor and it was a total surprise to me! The fam pulled it off really well and it was so humbling to me that she would do this on her own birthday. Love you, Em!

We also went to the KC Sporting game and I had fun with these two babes. 

We went back to Seward for the 4th of July and loved seeing our friends and the parade and of course, fireworks!

On the ranch we've been enjoying time in our garden and playing outside. 


Friday, March 27, 2015

I am #1in40000

Many of you have read my blogs about Chisum’s birth story and having an Amniotic Fluid Embolism (AFE), but here are the links to the story in four parts: {Part 1} Patience, {Part 2} Strength & Miracles, {Part 3} Meeting Chisum and {Part 4} NICU & Healing.

20150325_090328 I’m sharing this because today is AFE Awareness Day. 

It is estimated that an amniotic fluid embolism (AFE) occurs 1 in 40,000 births.  At least 40% percent of mothers and/or their babies will not survive. Of those that survive, many will suffer lifelong physical and emotional complications.

The AFE Foundation was founded in 2008 to support the unique needs of families affected or devastated by AFE, with the primary goal to spur clinical research into this poorly understood birth complication.

Prior to the establishment of the AFE Foundation, there was nowhere for families to turn for information or support. Similarly, there was limited information for clinicians. The decision to start the foundation was an easy one; the need was too great. Just weeks after its formation, families sought the support groups we created and the world’s top AFE experts joined their board. Months later, their website offered timely and accurate information and helpful guides to assist families through the challenging times after an AFE. Years later, research has begun, over 200 families have received direct support, and thousands of clinicians have benefited from their educational activities.

The AFE Foundation and survivors celebrate these accomplishments but know there is still a great deal more to be done.

How can you help? Know and share the facts!

Facts about AFE:

  • is unpreventable and there is no cure
  • is estimated to occur 1 in 40,000 births
  • 40% of mothers will not survive
  • affects women of any ethnicity and age and is independent of birth order or delivery method

Facts about the AFE Foundation:

  • is a 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2008 by an AFE survivor
  • is the ONLY organization in the world supporting families affected by AFE
  • has the ONLY active patient registry in the world
Elizabeth and Bryce Social Media

Follow the AFE Foundation on Social Media:

Change your Social Media Profile and Cover Photos

  • Click here to change your profile and cover photos to the AFE Awareness logo and banner.
  • Post photos of you in your shirt on social media.

Fund our Mission

Thanks for supporting me and this opportunity to help others like me. :)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Grateful mom and blood recipient

Blood donation saves lives. I know.

I’ve been working with the Nebraska Community Blood Bank and Memorial Blood Center to share my story as a blood recipient when Chisum was born. They did an excellent job recapping my story and really sharing why I’m so grateful for blood donors. Please take a minute to read the story: Kelsey Pope, Grateful mom and blood recipient. image

Many of you have read my blogs about Chisum’s birth story and having an Amniotic Fluid Embolism (AFE), but here are the links to the story in four parts: {Part 1} Patience, {Part 2} Strength & Miracles, {Part 3} Meeting Chisum and {Part 4} NICU & Healing.

I haven’t told this part of the story yet, though.

10628521_10101836876132471_8322793121212915884_n Last fall, I was so excited to donate blood again but had to wait until 1 year after Chisum was born. I went into the Nebraska Community Blood Bank the day after Chisum’s first birthday – September 10, 2014. I am alive today because of blood donation and I wanted to start giving back as soon as I could. Before I was pregnant with Chisum, I made blood donation a regular time in my calendar and went as often as I could.

The gals at the NCBB were so friendly and were so excited for me to be giving back to help others after hearing my AFE story. I left the center that day with a refreshed gratitude and praise to God who gave be the ability to be there.

About 10 days later, I received a letter in the mail from the Memorial Blood Center – who partners with NCBB – that my blood tested positive for an anti-Kell antibody and I would no longer be able to donate blood.

My first thought: what is an anti-Kell antibody?

My second thought: surely they just mean I can’t donate for a period of time.

So I called the director at MBC and she explained to me that no, I can never donate again. An anti-Kell antibody means I have an extra antigen in my blood, most likely caused from when my immune system was shocked and shut down with the AFE, then rebooted when I received the blood transfusions (technical info on Kell here). This extra antigen acted as a super protein to fight infection and will stay with me in my blood forever to fight off anything foreign.

It won’t harm me to have it, but it could be an issue if I ever have to have another blood transfusion, or if we decide to have another baby. And my blood could be harmful to others, which is why I cannot donate again.

I got off the phone with the director and felt like a load of bricks knocked me over. Here I was, perfectly healthy (only sleep deprived & exhausted from having a one-year-old boy!), and I wasn’t able to give blood again – something I’ve always been very eager to do and fit into my schedule like clockwork every 6-8 weeks.

I realize that I am so fortunate to be healthy and thriving after all that I went through, but it just hit me hard that here I am, one year after my AFE, thinking that I was all well and ok. But my body isn’t the same. I benefited from blood donors, but never again could I help anyone.

Not to mention that there are so many unknowns about being able to have another baby. Those tears came later when I talked to Ronny about it. But God gave me a peace about this. While many of my friends are going on to have their second or third child, I’m totally at peace with where our family is – even if that means only a family of three. We will see where God takes us in the future.

So there are still so many unknowns and I will be finding a fetal maternal specialist soon to talk about these future issues. But for now, I’m taking comfort in the fact that I can still help with blood donation and be a volunteer to get others to donate, even though I cannot.

Tomorrow is AFE Awareness Day and I’ll have more on my blog about it, but I want to stress today the importance of donating blood. It saved my life and your donation can save someone else’s life.

Please find a location to donate today at:

Nebraska Community Blood Bank

Red Cross Blood Donation

Monday, March 9, 2015

Chisum–18 months

Since our move, time has really flown. Our little boy is 18 months old today!DSC06885

He is so much fun, ornery, rambunctious, loving and playful. DSC06830  DSC06838

He is saying all kinds of animal sounds // moo, huh-huh (pig), ruh-ruh (dog), wheee-ee-ee-ee (horse), ow (cat), duck-duck-duck (duck), rraaahhhrrr in a whisper (applies to lions, tigers & bears….oh my!), hand in the air (elephant – he only does the noise when he wants), sssssss (snake), turkey (turkey – we have one name down!), ah-ah (monkey) and working on more.


He loves to say, “Amen” (sounds a little more like “a-nen”with a southern drawl) but it’s pretty adorable. Of course mama, dada, nana, & papa are said a bunch and we are working on grandma and grandpa. His biggest word he likes to say (because he likes to eat them) is “blueberry” and it comes out very understandable! The word “ouch” makes him giggle beyond belief. That giggle is truly the best sound ever.

A big snow storm came and we got over a foot of snow. It was really cold for about two weeks, but the snow stayed around long enough for us to get lots of sledding and snowman-building in.

DSC06891  DSC06895

I got a great video of Chisum and his excitement for sledding: WATCH.


Right during the storm, the first calf was born. Chisum loved talking to her.
And waving!

It’s so awesome for us to see him experience these things with life on the ranch. We love you, sweet boy!