Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Happy 33rd Kev!!

Eliza and her daddy!

Hospital days

More hospital days!

Daddy and his BOY!

I never want to see you dressed like this again, but I am so thankful you were with me.

Holding Eli for the first time!

Ella and Daddy in the NICU

Oh those hospital days!

The boys napping!!

Today is Kev's 33rd birthday.  I have been stressed all day because I'd like to have the house clean, dinner cooked, a cake made, and a gift bought and wrapped in a few short hours.  As the morning has progressed I have felt the stress rising, knowing that there is no way I can get it all done and be Betty Crocker home maker, shopper, kid feeder, house cleaner, and birthday party extraordinaire planner all in the hours of this day.  If there is anything that 2011 has taught us and is teaching us is that we cannot do it all or be it all! 

In our eight short years of marriage this one has taken the cake!  If there was ever a year that either one of us would like to get in the car and drive as far away as possible or throw in the towel...it would be this one.  We often laugh that we really didn't know what for better or for worse really meant!  It means a lot and the stress of this year has been really hard on us individually as well as our marriage.  It hasn't been all pretty, but we are continuing to learn what it means to be married, to show grace, and to individually seek the Lord.

I am so thankful that I am married to such a faithful and loving husband.  He has loved me on the days when I was so blown up with fluids from that awful c-section...I seriously felt pretty unlovable.  He has loved me on days when I have lost my temper in frustration and anger.  He has loved me on days when the tears wouldn't stop flowing I couldn't explain why. He has helped me in the middle of night when I  felt so sleep deprived that I couldn't wake up one more time.  He has bought groceries, cooked meals, taken over bathtime,  and helped me try to keep our house in order.  I would have lost my mind these past 7 weeks without him.

I am so thankful for Kev's faith.  His faith that God has a plan for us and for Eli has helped me not to lose mine.  Honestly, I have never seen him express anger over the fact that Eli might never play typical sports or that his son has a disability.  He has reminded me many times that there is so much more in life than sports!  I am so thankful that Eli will have such a strong and God-loving dad to look up to.  I am encouraged that Eli will grow up to be a very normal, yet extraordinary guy because of his dad's influence in his life.

His two little ladies think he is pretty great too! 

So, the house may still be messy (I have been cleaning up messes all day), and dinner may not be hot or even finished, and a cake...we'll we are really trying to lose some pounds, and a gift...it may be delayed until you can watch the kids and I can shop. BUT, I hope you know how much this family needs you and how much you are loved.  

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Busy Week

This has been a super busy week of appointments for us.  Eli had his first spina bifida clinic day on Tuesday.  Today we met with the Early Interventionist, went to the brace company to get his hip brace fixed and then Eli and Eliza had a check-up with our regular pediatrician.  Tomorrow is my 6 week check-up and Monday is the dentist.  I must say that it is busy trying to make sure we have everything that each of our littles might need during such busy running around days.  I am sure you moms can understand. 

I am happy to report that so far little Eli is doing well.  He now weighs 8lbs 6oz.  That is a big gain for our little preemie.  I finally have a baby who loves to eat and has big chubby cheeks!!  Thankfully, his head circumference growth is normal. They will recheck it again in two weeks when we see the neurosurgeon.  I am thankful for each day the we go without the need of a shunt.  We will have some bigger tests coming up in November to get a better look at his kidneys, bladder and etc.  I am praying already that it will go well. 

I am exhausted and need to cherish my minutes while the house is calm and quiet. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

His Mat

Last week I was driving home in our van.  Ella and Eliza were sitting in the back and Eli was asleep in the middle.  All was quiet and I was in the zone (paying attention to the road of course).  Ella said from the back, "Mom, can we hear some music?"  I flipped on the radio which was set to our local christian station.  Focus on the Family was coming on.  It is funny how their broadcast can instantly take me back to my childhood days spent sitting in the backseat, while my mom listened in the carpool line.  So funny and strange that I am now the mom.

The broadcast was about Moms in Touch, a program in which moms meet solely to pray for their children.  The founder of the program said something that really stood out to me.  She referenced the passage of scripture found in  Mark chapter 2  where a paralytic man was lowered down from the roof of a crowded house by his friends.

 1 A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. 2 They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. 3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
8 Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

I am sure many of you are familiar with this story as I was.  The friends out of love and faith carried and lowered the paralyzed man down to where Jesus was.  The scripture says that Jesus forgave the man's sins due to "friends" faith and he also healed him physically.  I am not sure why this story brought such new meaning to me...maybe it was because the man was paralyzed, maybe because Jesus healed the man, but it has been on my mind over and over throughout the past few days.

I keep thinking about these very loving friends.  Friends who cared enough to do the hard work of carrying someone who was perhaps heavy or uncomfortable.  Who knows how far or how long they had carried this man in order to get him there.  They were friends who obviously sacrificed their time and their own agendas to get their friend to Jesus.  They were diligent.  They didn't turn around when they saw the room was already crowded.  They were both persistant and creative.  They showed great love.  

I think this story resonated so much with me because I honestly feel like there have been so many carrying our little Eli's mat.  It is evidenced by the line that forms at church of  both men, women, young and old, who just want to seek a peek at our new little guy.  It is evidenced in the eyes filled with tears of those who have lifted our little guy to the Lord over and over throughout the past few months.  It is evidenced on the palm tree in our church's children's building.  It is filled with prayer request sheets on which many have the name Eli, written in sweet little kid handwritting.  It is seen when a child sees him at church and says, "Mom, there's baby Eli" or when they ask me about his legs and how they are doing.  I know they and their families are praying for him in their homes.   It is evidenced by many from all over...some we know and some we have yet to meet who have been so faithful to carry Eli's name faithfully before the Lord. 

When I listened to this story the other day, I was reminded that there are many who have faithfully lifted Eli to the Lord in persistence and diligence.  So many friends who have exercised faith on our behalf.  So many sweet friends who have carried Eli's mat. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Late Night Thoughts

1.  It is late.  Very late considering it will be a long night.  Kev and I put the girls to bed tonight and then we took our very very messy house to bat!  I think I have cleaned a million times this week, but it was still a terrible disaster. Somewhere in the week I usually give up on the battle.  In fact, it was so bad tonight that Kev even was ready to get it back clean.  Here's to hoping it will still be semi clean by lunchtime tom. 

2.  Eli has to eat in about 30 minutes and I would rather waste 30 minutes on the computer than just barely get into a deep sleep and have to wake back up. 

3.  Both Ella and Eliza slept through the night at about 6 weeks.  Eli says he technically should still be in the womb, so it qualifies him for at least another 6 weeks.  I sure hope not.

4.  Enough about sleep...I am trying to lose these pregnancy pounds.  It is not fun or easy and I am hoping this is the last time I have to lose the weight.  Yes, I know it takes a while, but my wardrobe says...please hurry!!!

5.  Ella loves her baby brother.  Every morning she says, "I haven't got my morning kiss."  She also tells him multiple times a day that he is her best buddy.  She has been really helpful with him and is turning into a great big sister.  I am just praying she doesn't get too confident and try to pick him up on her own.

6.  Eliza has found the terrible two's.  I don't recommend bringing home a newborn with a two year old on the horizon.  You'd think I'd have learned the first time!!! 

7.  Eli is getting chunky.  I can't wait to see how much he weighs at the doctor this week. 

8.  Speaking of doctors...we have his first Spina Bifida clinic day this week as well as him first meeting with the early interventionist that we will be working with.   We will also see our regular Ped.  too.  Lots of appointments this week.

9. I got a new plug in from Bath and Body and it smells of Fall.  I love how you can smell them so well for the first day or two.  Makes me excited for football, pumpkin patch trips, and Christmas music (yes, I do begin listening way to early). 

10.  As I have read lots of friend's posts this week on facebook, my mind keeps thinking that this would have been Samuel's first week of kindergarten.  It is hard to believe that he would already be that old.  Although my mind has been so distracted with our new little boy, there are many days I sure wish my big boy was here to help and teach his little brother the ropes.  Maybe I wouldn't feel so unsure about raising a son if I had done it first.

11.  There are many more random thoughts going through my head...but I am sure that is way more than anyone was interested in knowing.  Time to feed a baby boy who has his eyes open.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

One Month

Our little Eli is now one month old.  Technically, I should still be almost 39 weeks pregnant.  I must say that I am glad I am not!!  I am so thankful to have this first month behind us.  It has been a challenge, but not so much due to Eli.  He is the sweetest little thing.  He eats...GREAT!!!  I finally got my good eater!!  Unfortunately, he has had a hard time transitioning from the bottle, so I am committed to pumping!  I am a slave to the pump!  I must say there are some definite advantages to bottle feeding, but I am still hoping we can conquer this challenge eventually. 

Eli is growing like a little weed.  I have no clue how much he weighs now, but I think his double chin is a good indicator that things are going well.  I also love knowing exactly how much he is taking in at each feed....told you there were a few perks!!  He eats, looks around at his crazy sissy's for a while and then takes him a good siesta.  He is waking up in the night every 3 hours and we have gotten a few 4 hour stretches too.  I am really hoping that he will stretch that out a little more in the weeks to come.  Daddy has been helping during the 2 am feeding...see I told you there were some definite perks.  Ella and Eliza never took bottles...at all...and so it was up to mommy.  I remembering some nights feeling like I was dying of exhaustion and Kev would rub my back.  It was sweet, but I remember thinking that I would sure like to switch places with him at that moment.

Back to Eli.  Tonight I finally looked back through his birth pictures.  It was such a traumatic experience for me that I haven't even wanted to look at them since.  Honestly, when he came out and I saw his little legs twisted and turned completely wrong...I am pretty sure I went into shock.  I was not prepared for how they were going to look.  I praise the Lord because I have seen so much healing in the past month.  They are no longer are twisted in crazy directions, nor do they bend straight to his face.  They move and kick and are gaining some meat!  They were so skinny and weak looking at first.  I think I pray over those little legs and feet more than anything I have ever prayed over before.  What a long way those little legs have come since his birthday!  We continue to pray for strength, muscle development and movement. 

At one month Eli is a lot like any other baby.  He has had a few extra doctor appointments and there are several coming in the next few weeks.  He has made it through his first month without a shunt and we are thankful for that.  His back looks great and he continues to wear his hip brace unless we are changing his diaper or giving him a little stretching time.  We do his PT stretches each day and kiss lots of sweet baby toes. 

Emotionally I am finding myself loving my baby boy more and more.  At times I have felt guarded...scared to let my mommy love loose, scared to let myself love him as deeply.  Scared of being his mommy, knowing that I will be the one to comfort him when he his scared at the doctor, facing a surgery or facing the unknown.  I am thankful that as each day passes my love grows.  I cherish those special little moments...usually somewhere in the middle of the night, when he looks at me with his sweet little eyes and face and he knows that I am his mommy.  It makes me know that I am his mommy too! Happy one month Eli.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Party thoughts

Is it really almost September??  My brain is so confused and I think I am lost somewhere back in April.  I cannot believe my pregnancy is over(thank you Lord) and I already almost have a one month old (tom.).I am pretty sure the events of this spring/summer can account for my confusion and I feel lost somewhere in the middle.

Since September is right around the corner it means we are heading into birthday time.  Eliza turns two and Ella will turn 4 two weeks later.  I must say that I love planning their birthdays.  In the past it has been something that I have thought about and planned for weeks or months.  And I do realize that one can do overkill, but I love trying to make it special.  Ella always notices the details and gets so excited and that makes it worth it.   I have said all along that they will have a together party this year, but now that it is getting closer...I think I am changing my mind.  I really would love to have Eliza her own special party to just celebrate and focus on her. I know if they have a party together it tends to accommodate and cater to the older child more.  And she is really fond of MELO! (elmo) right now.  Ella says she wants a spiderman party.  She knows nothing about spiderman other than the fact that her older boy cousins think he his cool. She also likes to say she likes Sponge Bob and Ferb because she isn't allowed to watch either of those cartoons!  Kids...!!!! Needless to say...we are thinking more along the lines of a tea party for her little girl friends. 

Kev is back at work and his final day is tomorrow.  He has had two job possibilities/interviews and we are praying that the Lord would make the path straight...and quick!!!  We have been very blessed in spite of him losing his job and trusting that the God who knows will carry us. 

And finally...I went to Target alone today with my 3 littles and survived.  Today is a good day!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Rest for the Weary

If there is ever a time in one's life when they feel the need for extra grace and strength...it might be during the newborn stage.  Long gone are the cherished days when we brought home our first born.  I could sleep when she slept and spend my days snuggling in her sweet newborn smell.  With three little stair steps all 3 and under...life is shakin!!  Nights are long and mornings come all too soon with the sound of our early birds.  Days are spent trying to stay on top of pumping and feeding (which is for the birds and a new experience for me) and trying to keep 2 doting sisters from feeding, harming or waking little brother. 

I am not complaining because if there is one thing I have asked God for it is for my children...all of them! But oh my goodness, mothering will send you to your knees!!

This is an excerpt from my quiet time this morning.  It is from the book Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.  I must say that it is one of my favorite quick little reads and always provides encouragement for my weary soul. 
"Come to Me when you are weak and weary.  Rest snugly in My everlasting arms.  I do not despise your weakness, My child.  Accept yourself in your weariness, knowing that I understand how difficult your journey has been.

Do not compare yourself with others, who seem to skip along their life-paths with ease.  Their journeys have been different from yours, and I have gifted them with abundant energy.  I have gifted you with fragility, providing opportunities for your spirit to blossom in My presence.

Rather than struggling to disguise or deny your weakness, allow Me to bless you richly through it."
pg. 235
For your viewing pleasure...Eli's first real bath!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Tonight I am just plain mad.  I know...it isn't very becoming and doesn't make for an uplifting post.  I often think that I shouldn't blog when I am feeling down or upset, but in reality it usually helps me sort through all that is in my head.  Maybe, it isn't that I am mad...I think I am truly heartbroken.

Our day of appointments was long. We left the house at 8 and returned after 4.  We saw the orthopedist this morning and he was nice.  He reminded me of a grandfather as I sat in the office and boohooed.  He went from an informational surgeon to a compassionate older gentleman who seemed to understand the weight of my concerns.  He did a sensory test to try to determine where Eli has feeling and where he doesn't.  It appears that he has a good bit less feeling than one would expect him to have with a lower lumbar/sacral level lesion.  I watched with my own eyes, wishing he could feel the pinches...but he did not.  He also has hip dysplasia.  I guess that just means that both of his hips are easily coming in and out of socket.  We thought this might be the case.  The doctor put him in a soft brace (it actually looks like a very large cloth diaper). It has padding in it and is somewhat bulky.  It will keep his hips abducted and may help...time will tell.  He will wear it all day and night for about 6 weeks when we go back again. This afternoon we spent a good bit of time with an orthoist who fitted it for him.

After we left the orthopedist appointment we went upstairs for his neurosurgery appointment.  I cannot tell you how nervous I was when they measured his little head.  That is one way they are tracking his head growth to check for hydrocephalus.  Thankfully, his little head is growing normally so far and we will continue to monitor it for any large increases.  We are thankful to still be shunt free, although we have a long way to go.  Honestly, I am not sure you are ever in the clear, but I think if you get past a year or two your chances of needing one goes down dramatically.  They also said his little scar on his back looked great!

I have felt so mad and frustrated today.  So angry that we are dealing with this.  When we have to talk through our medical history with doctors they kind of look at us like....really??   Each time we meet with a new doctor, I feel the need to let them know that I indeed took my folic acid religiously!  I think it is impart due to my pride and probably somewhat do the fact that I always feel guilt since my body grew him. 

He is honestly the sweetest and most precious little boy.  Kev and I already love him so much and yet our hearts ache knowing that there are great challenges ahead.  I wish so much that he were healthy!  I am struggling to balance my faith and reality.  I wish there was a cure, a fix.  My heart is sad.