A Day of Seitz Family History

Dan and I took Hudsyn on a little road trip last Friday. We were staying in Wamego with my parents for Thanksgiving and decided it was time to spend some time with Dan's family. The morning began with breakfast at the Hanover Pancake House in Topeka. We met Dan's dad, Jack, and his two brothers Matt and John. This was my first time meeting Matt since his wife and three kids (Olivia, Isabella and Clara) live in L.A.

I really enjoyed learning more about Matt's business, Homemade Harvey. The story he told us about how the company was created made my entrepreneurial marketing bells ring with delight. It's a classic rags to riches type of story and any entrepreneur's fairy tale. Once the company becomes more popular, I told Matt I'd be happy to get him in Entrepreneur magazine. Until then, Dan plans to look into using some of their products in a few new drink concoctions. Yum!

Hudsyn did pretty well considering we were pushing our luck with doing this during her awake time. But she breastfed well under a blanket and then fell asleep as we ate a yummy breakfast and chatted for several hours.

Afterward, we headed to Eskridge to see Dan's Aunt Nancy. We'd known very little about his mom's family simply because Dan hadn't stayed in touch with them after she'd died. His mom, Lavetta, died unexpectedly when Dan was five years old. From what we'd been told, it was complications of childbirth. His only full-blood sibling, baby Shane, also died. Dan doesn't really remember his mom, so visiting Aunt Nancy was a chance to get to know more about her, as well as, introduce me to this side of his family.

Nancy was not only an extremely gracious hostess, but a wealth of information!

After a few bits of small talk, she launched quickly into stories about Lavetta and Jack, showed us photos of Dan's grandparents and great grandparents and even pulled out a Renner family history binder that had taken a family member (if I recall correctly, a great aunt) nearly 30 years to complete. Nancy's ice blue eyes danced with excitement as she told several funny (and not so funny) stories relating to Lavetta. Some Dan had heard, but mostly he listened with interest along with me.

The one story that stood out most, though, was of her passing. Turns out, we were all wrong on the reason behind Lavetta's death. It wasn't from complications of childbirth! Due to our recent experience with Hudsyn's birth, this came as a shock and a relief to both of us. Here we were thinking that my situation had been a near re-enactment of hers. Not at all!

Nancy let us know that her and Lavetta were extremely close as sisters, even though they were eight years apart. She was there the week Lavetta was in the hospital. And call it a coincidence, but Nancy was Lavetta's nurse during that time. Now, if you ask Nancy, she says it was God's intention...and I tend to agree after hearing the story.

Nancy had just graduated with her nursing degree and after being a stay at home mom for nine years, this was something she was (and still is) extremely proud of. Just after graduation she was informed she'd have a job at St. Francis. Most new nurses at that time were assigned to the general floors as needed....no specialties were given. Nancy was assigned to the floor that was adjacent to the maternity ward.

Lavetta had been having flu-like symptoms one week and it got so bad that Jack had to admit her to the hospital. Nancy had only been working there a few weeks and was grateful she would be near her sister to make sure she was being taken care of. Well her wish to be closer to Lavetta during this time was granted, because Lavetta was assigned the only room that connected the maternity ward with the general floor she was on...so in fact Nancy would be her nurse!

After several tests, they determined it had to be Lavetta's appendix. So they performed an appendectomy. Several days later, her pain and symptoms continued without relief. I failed to mention earlier that Lavetta was five months pregnant with Dan's brother, Shane. Obviously a surgery like this would be hard on anyone...but for Lavetta's expectant body, it was even worse. Nancy then went on to tell some other grueling details, including losing the baby that week. Lavetta survived both ordeals, and relied on Nancy for a lot of support.

Nancy told the story of a penny she had found one day and took to Lavetta's room to give her as a good luck charm. Lavetta kept it and put it in her only book next to her bedside, which happened to be Mother Theresa's book. We learned that Lavetta was a converted Catholic after marrying Jack, but we didn't know before that she was a very devout Catholic.

After another few days her body became septic. They tried everything, but eventually she ended up in a coma on a respirator. By the following week, they'd determined that her brain wasn't responsive any longer and that she would never wake up. She'd become a vegetable. Jack made the decision to pull the plug and mourn his second (and last) wife.

Nancy says to this day she's not really sure what happened. It could've been the surgery. It could've been a virus. She thought maybe a lasting infection from an IUD that had been removed improperly before she became pregnant. Who knows...but it was a tragedy for everyone in the family.

After the funeral, Nancy was called by the hospital to come and pick up Lavetta's things from the hospital room. Amongst the cards and a few clothes, she found the book and inside was the penny she had given Lavetta. She kept it and had it made into a necklace which she still has as a keepsake to remind her of her sister's life.

She sent us home with a few mementos for Dan...an antique shot glass tray (used with whiskey at a party), Lavetta's rosary and crucifix from her burial, and a lifetime of new stories. We had also received a video from Jack & Lavetta's travels together...which we're busy getting converted to DVD for keeping. I look forward to watching it and telling these stories to Hudsyn so she knows her Grandma Seitz a bit better. I'm also glad to know that Dan's family history (at least one side of it) is someplace safe and being taken care of if we ever need it.

7 Weeks Old: Saturday, November 27

Your baby's hands should be mostly open now and ready to reach out to the world. Although your baby can't grab objects just yet, she can grasp things placed in her hands. And once she wraps her hands around something, she might not let go. She'll also try to bat at objects, so keep potentially dangerous items far from her reach. This means not holding hot liquids or sharp objects while you're holding her.


In addition to staying on track with her development so far...this week Hudsyn started to get on a schedule. It's not necessarily one that will work long term, but a schedule nonetheless! She's now napping about three times during the day in 2-3 hour stints. And after implementing the bath routine at night, it seems to be helping her go to sleep pretty quickly afterward. (I think all the crying wears her out...she hates baths). I'm told this won't last, and as soon as she has some consistency, it changes. So we'll see;)