Saturday, November 24, 2012


There seems to be too much riding on this post, and the words and the language that I have do not seem sufficient.

My gratitude for our Thanksgiving experience is abundant.

In the midst of immense joy is a great deal of sorrow.

How do you blend it all together?  Like a margarita?  I could go for one of those.

My mom had a great day on Thanksgiving.  She was the momma that I know and loved.  While we brought together new normals of taking naps and rest, with hanging out with family, it was so good.  It was so good to see her laughing, joking, and in the middle of everything.  It was so good to see her with those that love her so deeply.  It was so good to see her in her skinny jeans with her skinny legs.  It was just good.  No, actually it was great.  At the same time it was so bitter sweet knowing that it will most likely be the last Thanksgiving I get to share with my momma.  That just stinks.

So we savored it all.  We savored all the baby snuggles, and all the giggles.  I lied down with my mom when she was resting just to take in another hug.  Because it was my birthday and I could sleep if I wanted to.  Plus there were tons of open arms to love on sweet Grayson.  The only thing that could have made it better was if my youngest sister could have been here.  I am really looking forward to her moving home.

In years past my family would go bowling after dinner.  Normally everyone is spread out at different family functions and it was a way for everyone to come together.  My mom started this tradition many years ago with all my cousins.  She was the cool aunt and closer in age to my cousins that my aunts and uncles.  We didn't have bowling this year.  A part of me was so sad.  I was sad leading up to Thanksgiving knowing my mom wouldn't be able to go. While part of me was sad that no one was really pushing to go, another part of me felt a lot of peace around it.  Jon was getting sick and Grayson was ready to go home.  And ultimately, I didn't want to go without my mom.  Everyone had already been in one place for what really mattered.  We had already shared a meal and hugs and love.  It felt complete.  So while I am sad to see things change, it seemed like a healthy ebb and flow.  I really couldn't have asked for a better last Thanksgiving with my mom and my new son.  It was perfect.  Thank you to all the family members who contributed, and my aunt who hosted, as only she could.  Holidays at my Aunt Bev's are magical.  Just saying.

So we will revel in the magic a little bit longer.  I will hold onto the memories for a lifetime.

I also spent a lot of my Thanksgiving thinking about and praying for my friend, Amy.  Her blog is on my sidebar.  She is one of my really good friends at work and was the best doula a girl could have asked for when giving birth.  She threw and amazing shower for me and sweet Grayson and has prayed so many prayers for my mom.

Being a work friend is a hard place to be in a time of crisis.  I don't really know any of her family or her support network.

Amy developed a very serious infection in her leg before Thanksgiving was admitted to the ICU at the hospital we work at.  She was then transferred to another hospital due to how critical she had become.  She has had at least five surgeries and is really sick.  She has been in the fight of her life, and I wish there was more that I could do than fall on my knees and pray for her.  Will you please join me?  They feel that she has turned the corner with the infection, but she has a long road of recovery ahead of her and is not yet completely out of the woods.

I am so thankful for Amy and all of her support through this rough season in my life.  She has been a true rock at work and I look forward to being able to continue to develop our friendship over years to come.  Please pray for healing for my sweet friend.  Amy is getting married in May and it will be a great celebration of her life and family.  I cannot wait.

Jon's birthday was the day after Thanksgiving and even though he is sick, we were able to put up our Christmas tree and spend a day as a new family.  My heart is just so full.  I love when Thanksgiving falls on my birthday, because it is then the longest Christmas season.  While I love Christmas itself, I love the advent season even more.  I love preparing.  I love the salvation army bell ringers.  I love the snow and present wrapping.  I love the giving.  I love what the season truly means.  

This season will be a little bit different.  I will try to slow it down even more than I normally do.  Whenever I think about this time in our lives I always come back to the word "rich".  It is hard and scary, it is filled with great Joy and significant hardship.  Through the ups and downs, it just feels like we are truly living and living with abundance.  There is so much meaning in our lives right now and it feels rich.  Thank you for contributing to that.

Friday, November 23, 2012

What I Wish I Had Known

Here are a few little tid bits I have learned in my 5 weeks of having my sweet boy.  Men should stop reading as I am going to whine about many things baby body related.  Tomorrow I will be over it.  Promise.

1.  You will do anything for sleep.  I break all the rules.  Sleep with me, sleep on the couch, sleep upright.  I don't care.  If he will sleep, I will do it.  Sleep deprivation is a strong tool and babies know how to work it.

2.  While I can toot my horn about how I am saving the planet with my cloth diapers, I am killing it with all of running water.  Grayson stops crying when the bath runs or the dishwasher.  I am considering taking up sleeping on the kitchen floor.  Sorry fish, this momma gets desperate.  For a while the YouTube video of running water worked.  It's starting to lose it's appeal to my lovely, at times cranky child.  We need a new trick, we need a new trick right now.

3. While I would say that I am a more cautious driver, I more often appear like I am driving under the influence.  I also despise red light cameras.  My child is not a lover of the car.  He will tolerate it, and he tolerates it better when we are moving.  Therefore, I sway back and forth and blow red lights like it is no one's business.  Evolution was wise in that baby cry.  I will do ANYTHING to soothe the beast.

4.  Breastfeeding sucks, or it is at least not easy.  I am still hoping it will get better, and I am guessing a lot of it is situational for us.  Let's just say I am not the most endowed person on the planet.  And apparently stress can affect your supply.  ha. Let me just get rid of all of that in my life.  No problem.  Sure I will rest more with my screaming child because sleep can help you successfully breastfeed, you bet.  So between the nursing, pumping, and the fact that we are still supplementing, I am feeling a bit defeated.  I have been in contact with all my lactation friends and we are doing everything to make it work.  I keep telling myself to be flexible and that hopefully my boobs will magically get on this boat and it will be easier.

5.  Poop explodes.  I knew this.  One morning I hear from Grayson's room, "UGH, I covered the rifle, and not the cannon."  Jon learned.  Since then we still have had poop and pee his the wall.  Nasty sauce.

6.  It takes a long time to feel like yourself again, physically.  From the extra fluff to the healing parts, having a baby is hard.

7.  Hormones are a beast.  My kids hair is falling out, I might as well cry about it.  I can't do the laundry one day, more tears.  My poor, poor family.

8.  Remember that I am not well endowed.  The very expense Pea in the Pod store does not make B cups for nursing bras.  Yep even when nursing some people do no get huge boobs.  It's quite the bummer. And while I can fit in the bigger sizes now, I am still hoping to drop some of these lovely extra lbs, and which point I think those expensive bras will be too big. I went there the other night to buy a nicer nursing bra since my target ones are getting beat up in the wash (and since I cannot manage do to the laundry with machine there is no way I am going to hand wash my bras).  So I went to the store all ready to spend too much money on a bra, and what do I learn, they don't make my size, so I am relegated to the bras that come in S, M, L.  jerks.  (Side note, the make 34 EE.  Seriously?  So I need to get some implants to successfully feed my child.  Noted.)

OK, I am done with my T.M.I. rant.  Going to write about our wonderful Thanksgiving in the next couple of days when my lovely child gives me a few moments of peace to do such things.  Everything is a season (deep breath) everything is a season.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


I live my life with a lot of unrealistic expectations.

Granted, I think that some of these unrealistic expectations are what motivates me.  My husband and I have a lot of drive, we like to run to the next best thing and pursue growth and success.  Unfortunately we do these things to a fault.  We tend to be overly busy and probably miss a lot of really great small moments if we aren't careful.

My expectations have been rocked as of late.

I thought that having a baby just meant adding more love and joy to your life.  Sure I would be a little sleep deprived, and sure it would change our marriage.  But really, I like challenges.  Bring it on.

Little did I know that I pushed out my brain with the child.  I didn't expect to be completely overwhelmed by laundry, or to be dumb enough to put the registration sticker on the wrong car so that my husband came home with an expired license ticket.  Nope, didn't expect those things.  I did expect to drop all my pregnancy weight instantly, too bad that didn't happen either.

I also didn't expect my momma bear instinct to come out so strongly, or for this little guy to be able to melt me so quickly.  Of course I knew I would love my child, but I did not understand the meaning of the word "smitten" until he came into my life.  Grayson, mommy is truly, and utterly, smitten with you.  From your chimples (he currently has chin pimples), to your snorty stridor when you eat, I cannot get enough of you.

I also did not expect for the birth of my son to make me fall more madly in love with my husband.  We are not the mushy gushy type, so that previous sentence sounds a bit cheesy and fake to me, but it is completely true.  Seeing Jon love our son has given me a whole other side of him to get to know and love.  Watching him step up during the delivery and in my mental break downs there after, has shown me how far we have come from the high school prom couple we began as.  I am so grateful that instead of growing up and growing apart, we have grown up together.

When my mom had her original heart attack, I expected her to make a full recovery.  I expected her to bounce back and for our lives to continue basically as they had.  I was grateful for my rude awakening into how I need to appreciate life, but really, not much was going to change.

That expectation has be shot to high heaven.  Over the course of my mom's last few months of her life, I have continually had to learn to shift my expectations   And honestly, I suck at it.  I don't know how to find the balance between having hope and faith, and being realistic.  I tend to function in the "set your sights low to be pleasantly surprised mentality." But time and time again, God has proven to me that this does not serve me and is not the best way to live my life.

I can remember being annoyed when they wanted my mom to use a walker.

Please excuse my overly honest statement.  I didn't want a disabled mother or grandmother.

I wanted my hip, cooking, gardening, 53 year old momma back, and all in one piece.  Thankyouverymuch.

Obviously, my expectations have changed.  I will take and celebrate the days when my mom is able to sit up in bed or come to the table to play cards.  I will celebrate the days that she doesn't puke and feels like herself.  I will celebrate every single snuggle she gets with Grayson.  I will celebrate my mom because she is so much more than those hip things I once thought defined her.

This limbo land between life and death is a hard place to have any expectations.  So instead I am going to try to hold onto the moment.  To take absolutely nothing for granted.  Which is why yesterday I took a three hour nap with my mom and my son.  It was perfection.  I cried afterwards because I don't have a way to bottle that up and give it to Grayson later in life when he can remember it.

Moment by moment we will walk through this holiday season.  Lots of tears, hope, and love await us.  What a difficult but truly rich and meaningful road.

My mom took this picture of Grayson and I.  I love it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


OK, it hit me.  I powered through the weekend focusing on the tasks and the science of everything that was happening.  I went into nurse mode, well mama nurse mode, but nurse mode none the less.

A minute ago I gave up nurse mode.  There was some sappy moment on T.V. and when I picked Grayson up and felt his warm breath on my neck, I lost it.  I let the hot tears stream down my face and stain both of our cheeks.  I fell into Jon's arms with our sweet babe in between us and I let the fear, and the hurt, and the anger, and the sadness set in.  For the first time since Friday, I let myself really feel again.

Now, I realize that so much of what happened over the weekend is temporary.  The procedures and the tests are not permanent, and I take great comfort in the fact that Grayson will not remember this weekend.  My heart aches for the parents where hospital visits and PICUs and NICUs are more long term fixtures in their lives.  Because it sucked.  Absolutely and utterly sucks to watch your kid endure pain that you cannot take away from them when they are such little peanuts.  I am incredibly grateful that we were in a PICU, where it was the expectation for Jon and I to be present on a continual basis.  I have a new appreciation for the special care babies I take care of and the parents that have to leave.  We don't provide beds or complementary parent meals.  All our babes are in one room and parents come and go.  I cannot fathom leaving Grayson over a weekend like this last one has been.  Those parents have an incredible amount of strength and are not given enough credit.

On Friday Jon and I were getting ready to take Grayson to his two week doctor apt.  He had fallen asleep while playing in the swing and when I came out to grab something I noticed he looked funny.  I started counting the seconds that I wasn't hearing him breathe, and gave him about 15 before I stimulated him and picked him up.  He had turned dusky in his deep slumber.  Again, nurse mode kicked in.  I wanted to give him a chance to recover on his own, but I wasn't willing to give him any longer to try and figure that out.

Since we already had a pediatrician apt, we decided to just head that way, because we wanted the doctor to hear the stridor Grayson has been rocking, pretty much since birth.  At first it was cute that my peanut sounded like a little piggy when he was eating, or a linebacker when he was hanging out, but the cuteness wears off when you see him retracting and working really hard to breathe.  It never seemed worth an emergency room visit because it was never continual and his lips always stayed pink, until our little bit of shenanigans in the swing.  I could never find a pattern to his noisy breathing either.  Many times it was a bit louder when I would give him a bottle, but there were other times where he was perfectly normal when he ate.

At the pediatrician's office I fed him a bottle in front of her and also mentioned the fact that he got dusky and apneic in his swing.  In my head there was some monitor we could go home on and some out patient test we might have to do.  In my head, this wasn't a big deal.  I tend to try to turn big deals into little ones.  You know, because denial is an effective coping strategy.

Our very sweet pediatrician listened to everything I had to say and tried to softly deliver the blow that we need to head to the hospital to be admitted for observation and most likely to have Grayson scoped for possible laryngomalacia.  Say what now?  This is not on our agenda.  I have spent too much time in hospitals already.  Jon was all packed up and ready to go away for the weekend for work.  But as I am learning as a new parent, plans change.

So we headed over to the hospital for what we thought would be a 24 hour admission and scope.  I stuffed down all of my feelings of anger and anxiety.  I made a phone call and maybe dropped an inappropriate word or two.  Because, really, I was not planning on returning to a hospital for a long time.  I have had enough.  I am grateful we live somewhere with wonderful access to healthcare, but I am fed up with family members needing it.  I am burnt out on hospital systems and how long it takes to get everything done.  My emotional and physical reserves have been used up.

Because Grayson needed continuous monitoring, we had to be admitted to the PICU instead of a regular peds floor and because my sweet babe can't tell us what happened or if anything hurts, we had to be worked up for everything.

From our EEG to our scope, our little peanut was a trooper.  Again, I cannot voice enough how grateful I am that we were present for it all.  While it was heart breaking, and I am sure I held my breath through the entire thing, I held our sweet boy while they shoved the camera up his nose and all the way down by his vocal cords.  Of course, they offered for a nurse to hold him and for us to step out of the room, and of course I kindly informed them that it would not happen.  Much like watching my momma code, I'm a watcher.  I want to be there and do everything possible to make it the best possible situation for my little boy to endure.  So I will hold him and as soon as you are done I can turn him around and pull him close.  I will swaddle him tight when you are drawing blood, and I will overuse the stupid sucrose water that supposedly helps with infant pain, because if you can poke and prod him while he sucks away on his pacifier instead of being open and exposed and crying his sweet eyes out, I feel like I am doing my job as a momma.  I will watch out for my little one and protect him to the best of my ability.  I understand that everything is being done in his best interest, but don't mess with me or my babe.  I also understand that in this world, my babe will have to endure pain and hardship, and that it is a fine line and a tricky balance between protecting him and letting him live his life and have his experiences.  I realize that I most likely held him the entire first night we were there, not because he couldn't sleep, but because I couldn't.  Not because he wasn't OK, but because I wasn't.  It's a learning process.

It is amazing how quickly you can fall in love.  How quickly that baby in your belly can become your son that you would lay your life down for.  It is amazing how this little kiddo can mess you up.  The tears come more quickly now when I hear about a situation that involves a hurting child.  Jon and I were going for a walk and he told me about a ministry that serves homeless children in Chicago.  In about .3 seconds I was crying because I could not imagine the pain parents feel if they are unable to feed their children.  I see the world differently as a parent.  My heart is softer and breaks more easily.  The injustices that children face weigh significantly more on my soul.

After 2 nights in the PICU, and one on the regular peds floor we didn't come away with many answers.  Grayson had an EEG, EKG, Echo cardiogram  pneumogram, head ultrasound, blood work, urine cultures, multiple x-rays, and a scope.  All this to tell us he has some acid reflux, apnea, and stridor.  According to the pulmonologist, potentially none of these things are related.  While Grayson didn't have any true apnea episodes in the hospital because he didn't stop breathing for more than 20 seconds, he did on multiple occasions drop his oxygen level fairly low while he was sleeping.  Not really sure why this is happening in a term kiddo.  The scope that they did at the bedside was able to tell us that he does not have laryngomalacia, but to be able to diagnose him with tracheomalacia, he has to have a bronchoscopy.  Right now we are scheduled to have a barium swallow study next Friday to rule out some other anatomical things that could be causing the stridor and to determine if we can wait and watch, or if we need to move forward with the bronchoscopy.  We were also discharged home on an apnea monitor.  Loads of fun when it goes off the first night you are home because your kid is pulling his shallow breathing crap. Loudest.Alarm.Ever.

So overall, Grayson is OK.  We were able to go home and will be closely watched and monitored until we have more information.  Usually kids can outgrow tracheomalacia and reflux, and we hope this is the case.

Unfortunately, mommy and daddy are a little worse for the wear.  While we are so grateful that he is home, it is hard to let go of the 'what if.'  What if he has another dusky spell.  What if we didn't catch this one.  What if something is really wrong with our sweet babe.  It's a hard balance to live in, admitting and acknowledging the fear, but not letting it take control.

So we will cry a few more tears and hug him a bit tighter tonight.  We will again count our blessings and thank God for keeping our baby safe. I will probably drop some more inappropriate words the next time we have to go to the hospital.  Thank you to everyone who prayed for us and to everyone who offered to come up.  While we appreciated all the offers, there was no way either of us were giving up any snuggle time.  While I am sure we could have used a break, I don't think I was ready to step away.

While we don't yet have the answers we need, we have our sweet babe at home.  In the big picture, this was only four days.  Four days and we were able to rule out a lot of potentially big problems that could have caused Grayson to stop breathing.  Hopefully in the next couple weeks we will know more, but until then, we will love him right where he is at, all wired up at home and currently snuggled in the moby wrap on my chest.

All wired up for my EEG

 Big bed, little baby.
 Checkin out daddy.
 Rocking the head ultrasound.
 Thank goodness for the monkey
 Still smiling.  Loving sleeping on mommy or daddy  And maybe most of the night as well.
 Tex Mex Jesus looking over us.  You know you are sleep deprived and losing your marbles when you laugh about Tex Mex Jesus and other things that are so stupid I can't even remember them.
 The plan
 Thinking how awesome punk rock hair is after all the EEG goo was on Grayson's head.
 Didn't love the pneumogram.  That was an especially sleepless night.

Again, we are so thankful to be home and so appreciative of all your prayers.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Still here

We are still here.

Grayson was admitted to the PICU on Friday.

We are hoping to go home today.

Will update as soon as I can.

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.