Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Cabin Fever

Yesterday, we took Ethan to the pediatrician to get the 2nd and final dose of his seasonal flu vaccine, as well as a Synagis shot. Between the Synagis, and the H1N1 vaccinations, he will get 7 more shots in the next 6 months; and that doesn't even include his 9-month vaccinations!

Side note: I know there are some of you out there who will read this and cringe; you may even want to tell me all about delayed vaccination schedules, or give me your opinion on why we shouldn't vaccinate at all, but please don't. I am admittedly hesitant about all these shots, but we absolutely can't risk not protecting him from things that could be life-threatening for him. Thanks in advance for respecting our decision to do what we feel is best for our son.

Those shots were our first step in attempting to keep Ethan well during the cold and flu season. I've joked that he probably won't see sunlight from now until March and I suppose that will be the case, to some degree. We missed out on the State Fair this year because my "germy" 6th sense kicked in (we also had few nurse friends advise us that he definitely should not enter such a cesspool of nastiness -- my words, not theirs).

I wipe him down with a WetOne each time a stranger touches him, and I think twice about touching door handles and sinks. I wash my hands a couple thousand times a day and give my students "air handshakes". I've become a total germ-a-phobe, but I'm determined to do everything in my power to keep Ethan as healthy as can be.

All of this has already started to affect our social life. We haven't taken any family trips to anywhere other than church. We run all of our errands while the other is home to stay with Ethan. We really haven't hung out with our friends at all, and at times it seems like we're the only company we have. After a while, that gets really old. I love my boys, but there are nights I need my girls. There are times Jeramie and I just need each other. Then, there are other times that it would be so nice to go out as a family without worrying about what Ethan could catch.

We had a big day today, and there were many times I was super aware of our surroundings. However, celebrating a new marriage, having dinner with friends, and doing some shopping, all as one big, happy family was just what the doctor ordered.

It's going to take a few more days like today to get me through the next 6 months. I pray that I can be protective and wise, without being overly worried. I pray that Jeramie and I will find ways to connect, regardless of limited resources or personal fears. Most of all, I pray that Ethan will remain the strong, happy, healthy baby that he is right now.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Spit Happens

The last hour has been an exciting one, but not in the "I'm-so-excited-I-just-won-a-million-dollars" kinda way. I was sitting in the living room floor working on some stuff for school when I heard Ethan, on the monitor, start to gag. This isn't uncommon, especially when he's trying to do his business...which he was...

Anyway, moving on.

Jeramie went up to check on him and, after a few seconds, yelled, "OH MY GOD! Joye!!" My heart sank, and I ran upstairs faster than you could imagine. I walked in to see a puddle of baby vomit on the sheets and Jeramie was holding him. He was still gagging, but nothing was coming up at that point.

For those of you who are keeping track of Ethan's procedures and present-day anatomy, he had surgery in May for something called a Nissen. The idea is that this keeps stomach contents from coming back up into his esophagus, and potentially going back down into his airway. You'll probably remember that his cardiac arrest back in April was explained by "micro-aspirations", which were small amounts of formula that were being refluxed and then inhaled into his lungs, without ever coming out of his mouth.

So, needless to say, I thought I was going to pass out when I realized he had spit up. A) It technically shouldn't be happening, and B) how long has this been going on? I immediately went back to those days in late April and watched him breathe for a couple of minutes. He looked fine, sounded fine, acted fine, but we decided to call Duke "just in case".

I explained my concerns to the cardiologist and he spoke with another cardiologist, then called us back. Thankfully, they didn't see a need for us to bring him in. We are to keep a close eye on him over the next few days to see if it gets worse, and to watch out for the obvious signs of respiratory distress. I can handle that.

It sounds like Ethan's Nissen may be loosening up a bit, which is expected. Given any other circumstance, I would be thrilled that this is happening. I hate seeing him retch, and I've often wished that he could get some relief. Imagine having an upset stomach and needing to throw up, but you can't. Ugh. However, like the pacemaker, the Nissen has been our "safety net". In 5 months, we've never had to worry about him aspirating anything other than saliva. Now, we know if he strains hard enough, he can potentially spit up some stuff. The big question, though, is whether he has outgrown the probability of aspirating it.

I'm probably going to be a ball of nerves over the next day or so. Every little cough will probably send me flying up the steps again. If y'all would say some prayers for us, I'd appreciate it! Pray that Ethan will be protected from any aspirations and potential respiratory issues. Pray that I'll be observant without being overly worried.

Who knows? Maybe we're on our way to experiencing one more "normal baby" thing, without needing to be so concerned. Maybe we'll get to use all these cute burp cloths after all!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Rock Star

This kid:

is a stud.

Not only is he rockin' the knitted cap (he turned it sideways himself -- no joke), but he's had an awesome week so far!

He took a walk around the neighborhood with Grandma B & Aunt Jess yesterday, and did so well sitting up in his stroller.

He is consistently taking 2 naps a day, lasting about 2 hours each time (amen!)

He spends more and more time standing in his exersaucer, and playing with the toys.

How about the fact that he's holding a ball, with BOTH hands?!

Then, as if that weren't enough to convince you, he ate like a champ at feeding therapy today!

I couldn't help myself; I just had to brag ... and it's only Tuesday :)

Friday, October 9, 2009

A New Heart

Today has been a great day!

For starters, I got to sleep in (if you consider 7 a.m. as sleeping in). Then, I woke up to learn that it was absolutely beautiful outside (and I got to enjoy it through more than my classroom window). We dressed Ethan in an adorable outfit, consisting of a multi-colored striped onesie and some Osh'Kosh overalls (precious). And, finally, we packed up and headed to Duke Raleigh where we would hunker down for the morning.

This was the first time Ethan's cardiologist had seen him since we left the hospital. I was excited for him to see how great Ethan looks! I knew he would be pleased, and I was hopeful that we would get some good news. Before we even saw Dr. Idriss, we realized that we'll need to buy a new carseat soon! Our little chunker is 19.5 pounds; only 2.5 more until it's "out with the old, and in with the new".

Ethan was somewhat upset that his loving, competent parents would schedule his cardio check-up smackdab in the middle of his morning nap. When Dr. Idriss came in the first time, Ethan was giving us an earful. Dr. I proceeded to listen to Ethan's heart, which is always a tense moment for me. I never know what he's going to say when he puts down his stethoscope, and I was pretty sure he couldn't hear much of anything with all the squaling Ethan was doing. However, the words that came out of his mouth were sweet music to this mama's ears.

"That's a new heart."

He said it with such awe and pleasure, and I couldn't help but let a few tears fall. Evidently, this second surgery did wonders for the over-powering sound of Ethan's (previous) murmur. Blood is flowing so much easier and smoother through his heart, and the difference is substantial.

Then, Dr. I ordered an echo and an EKG to check out Ethan's heart function and rhythm. The EKG looked great, and the echo gave us more encouraging news. The right ventricle is still very thick, with decreased function, but it's improving. It's not perfect, by any means, but it's getting there. God is hearing our prayers, restoring my son's heart, and making His power known through it all!

More magical words were spoken: "I have no concerns about his heart right now." and I teared up yet again. NO concerns?! Thank you, Lord. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

A while later, we were leaving Dr. I's office with giddy grins stretched wide across our faces. We celebrated the good news with an outside lunch and some new fall clothes for the miracle baby himself.

You know, that baby. My baby. The one with the new heart.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

7 Months Later

I CANNOT believe that Ethan is 7 months old today! Where did my tiny, fragile little baby go??

I spent some time last week packing up his 0-3 month clothes and thought I was going to cry. He's SO big these days, and I think there are moments I still mourn the loss of truly experiencing his newborn days. That was one of those moments. He only got to wear most of those clothes once, if at all. It still makes me sad.

There have been times I could have gone there. I could have thrown myself a great big pity party and wallowed in the fact that he's so different from other babies. I could have focused on the things I didn't get to experience with him, or think about the things that are still a struggle for him (like rolling over, dangit!)

But I didn't. And I haven't, lately.

Instead, I choose to think about how far this amazing little boy has come. I mean, really.... at one point, not too long ago, my son's heart stopped beating and he wasn't breathing. There were no signs of life, and it took a grueling 11 minutes to bring him back.

Think about that for a minute.

When I allow myself to go there, to that awful night, it makes these other hurdles seem so small. Sure, I want to monitor his development and express any concerns I may have. But, I mean, really. Five years down the road, will it matter if he rolled over at 4 months or 9? Probably not. Will it matter if he NEVER took a full bottle? Probably not.

Instead of going there, I am choosing to remain here.

Here is where my miracle baby is 7 months old. Here is where I look at his scars and am GRATEFUL for his life. Here is where I savor every sweet moment I have with him, and look forward to what joys the next day will bring.

There is no where else I'd rather be, than right here.

Happy 7 months, Ethan. I love you more than you know.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Wonderful Weekend

Weekends have become so much more precious to me now that I'm back to work. Before that, each day just flowed into the next and the only difference was that Jeramie was around more. Now, I'm back to longing for Friday afternoons. I look forward to spending all of my time with Jeramie & Ethan, and even find myself not wanting to leave the house! There's just something that feels right about being home, in my comfy clothes, snuggling with my boys for 2 days straight!

This weekend, however, was a busy one. On Friday night, I went out with Brandi for some much needed "our time". We had dinner at Olive Garden (of course) then went to see "The Time Traveler's Wife". Oh. My. Word. What a great movie!! I've been trying to read the book, but felt too confused to get into it. Now that I understand the concept, I'm real excited to finish reading it. If the movie was that good, I know that the book will be even better.

Saturday brought a visit from my mama & daddy, known to Ethan as Grandma B & Poppy. Daddy hadn't seen Ethan in almost a month, so I was happy he was able to make the trip!

Mama and I left the boys at home and went to Babies R Us to do a little shopping. Two hours, and many baby items, later we came back to the house and set up the biggest of those items: a highchair! Now Ethan can gum his squash and bananas in the comfort of his very own seat. We put him in it this afternoon, for the first time, and it basically swallows him whole! I think it's hilarious :)


We ventured out to Wake Forest for a cookout on Saturday night, and had a lot of fun hanging out with friends. It's such a cute little town, and I would be lying if I said Jeramie and I didn't think about a possible move out that way (remember, I said I was 82% serious...).

Then, today, we finally made it to Visio Dei for the first time since Ethan's surgery. I really miss it when we're not there each week, and I'm thankful for the way I feel when we walk through the doors. I love the community, the teaching, and the worship that we experience each time we're there.

Ethan also made his 2nd ever trip to the grocery store this afternoon, and did beautifully. This is big news, considering he's been as ill as a hornet this weekend. He has a 3rd tooth trying to make its way through, and it's taking FORever. Who's with me in saying that last week's traumatic & dramatic unexplained fever can be blamed on his newest pearly white??

Now, the wonderful-ness is slowly coming to an end. Ethan's in the bed, and I've got some planning to do for my "other" babies this week. I'm going to do my best to appreciate and be thankful for my job this week, but I'm sure I'll also be wondering...

"Is is Friday, yet?!"
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