Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Happy Birthday Trey!

I finally got to finish Claire's pillow. It makes me very happy to have this. I got most of it done before the baby was born, but then ran out of the last 2 inches of lace. That's my way with crafts! Ironically, I was at Joanne's buying the lace when I got the call from my doctor saying to go to the hospital because Trey's test results were still really worrying him.
So, 7 weeks later, just in time for my actual due date, I get the pillow done! I love having one that can go with Jackson's. They sit in his crib right now (Trey's not in there yet). I recommend something like this for anyone who's missing their baby.
Yes, today is my due date. I tell Trey that he's no longer a negative number! He's 1 day today! He's 7lbs too! So exciting how big he's gotten in 7 weeks. Almost doubled his weight.
I think last night he was so excited for his "birthday" that he couldn't sleep... he was up and crying every hour or so. Who hijacked my child?!
Finally, at 5:30a.m., he went to sleep. I was awakened at 7:15 by my oldest son. He whispered to me that he'd gotten dressed, done his hair, brushed his teeth and made his lunch. All that was still needed was scriptures. I exclaimed that my alarm must not have gone off. No, he heard it, he said! He crept into my bathroom and got out all the stuff he and his sister would need to get ready so as not to wake up me and Trey. How sweet is that?! He heard Trey crying all night and didn't want to wake me. I think it was worth it to go through last night just for this morning's gift. I felt so supported. It was amazing that a little 3rd grader did that. :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Life at One Month

 Feels good to finally post! It's been too long, but I am so tired most of the time that getting pics online and writing full sentences overwhelms me. But I really want to share how life is now that Trey is one month (WOW - 1 MONTH). This is the time I would have had him (38 weeks)...that's eerie.
SO - hardest part - seeing Jackson's face in his sometimes when he's sleeping. I have called him Jackson several times and it creeps me out. I wanted so bad to have a boy who looked like his brother Jackson. Just kidding. Even one or two similar features takes me instantly to the hospital almost 2 years ago, holding Jackson, trying to catch up to what was already done...It's too much.
Just early this am while I nursed Trey I suddenly saw Jackson. I had to turn away and not look at Trey. He's warm, he's growing; I'm caring for him, meeting his needs and helping him be successful at life. And in an instant I see all this that I am not doing for my Jack and the cover of the hole inside pops off.
Nevertheless, I have to trust the process of time and eternity and wait it out.
I'm just SO grateful for this baby! I love him so much. I didn't think I would ever feel this happy again!
I love his place in our family.
My son adores him. A few days ago after school I laid Trey down in the living room and went to pay bills (that are late!). A few minutes later Caidgen brings me his little jedi partner - dressed in the Bear's costume that he got on Claire's birthday!

Little Jedi
I feel a little ashamed that I didn't notice my son taking him upstairs! Dressing him! But this is so funny!

Then, yesterday morning - like many other mornings, my son appeared with Trey in his arms. "Here mommy, he was crying." By crying he means Trey was squirming in his sleep, making the precious little preemie goat noises that we love.

My daughter is enjoying the baby in a different way. She's not confident holding him, so she never surprises me like my son does. She is just enjoying pretending she's a momma now too -- she uses all Trey's stuff; from bottles, bibs to his swing! She often hugs his little body while I hold him and says she wants to squeeze him to death, or squeeze all the cuteness right out of him, etc...

And what have I been doing? This:

I eat, feed him, sleep, feed him, hold him, feed him, and once in a while either do laundry or make dinner - though never both!
I still have a broken boob, which constantly clogs up for no good reason, so I nurse a lot to try to help that. Trey sleeps best on our chests, so sometimes, when I just have to get some shut eye, this is how we do it. I can't sleep if he's awake. And of course I can't let him cry! Thank my mother for teaching me that one...

And every day I still ponder about the bizarre cord circumstances on my babies - anyone out there still think this is all a coincidence? I am dying to find out how long Trey's cord was - way longer than the average I heard. I want answers! Why are my kid's cords messed up??? And how did I get my first two okay?
All I can say for now is, monitor your baby. Know their average movements and if they ever change, ever, insist on a look at their cords. Trey's cord was around his neck at LEAST since he was 22 weeks. I have the pics. Not one doc thought it was a problem - not even on the day he was born. But that's another blog post!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Kids First Day of School

It's so refreshing to feel happiness.
It's the best feeling to hold a tiny baby to my chest that stays warm, who's little heart flutters rapidly, consistently.
It's like a dream to go to sleep and wake up, and a tiny baby is still there, still alive.
I love taking care of Trey. I feel confident with it, and fully at peace while doing it, because there is nothing else I would rather be doing.
But I realized today that my joy is reserved because I don't feel like he's MINE. I know God intervened to save him, that he was days away from being another cord accident. That scares me deeply for some reason.

I also have been so emotionally tired for so long, pushing through such losses, that I can't take happiness for granted anymore. I love it today, but there's no guarantee it will last. I fear losing this precious babe. I'm so aware now of all these wonderful parents who's hearts have been ripped out as they bury their young children. You'd think I would get used to it, but each new story shocks me, imagining their pain overwhelms me, and I wonder how they make it through.
I hold my baby and pray that he's meant to live a long hearty life, because I don't want to live without him.
Today I saw two cute kiddos that were born very close to Jackson's birth. They are so big now, toddling around. I let myself imagine life with a little one that tall toddling around my house, and my heart has been aching ever since. Ironically, I also saw my niece who's the same age Claire would be. I was fine with it until I felt her weight and told myself, little Claire would be this big now. Imagine carrying her, this big, everywhere now...imagine seeing your little girl grow. Then a quiet mournful feeling swept over me, and it's been there ever since. Why do I do that to myself?
It's less painful and safer to live in the moment.
Nevertheless, today when I took and  picked up my kids from school, I found myself chatting with parents, something I haven't done since Jackson died. I  used to be so outgoing. Though I doubt I ever will be that way again, today was different for me. So, Trey must be sneaking in and healing up some part of me, even as I worry too much that I may not get to keep him long enough.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Do You Hear Angels...

My friend Kari used a football to show her baby's size. In our family's usually fashion, we were late photographing Trey! This was a few days ago.

My grandma sent me the quilt she made for Jackson. She was not comfortable giving it to me until now. I am so thankful for it.
On that note, I have called Trey Jackson twice---it unnerves me. I know they are not even close to being the same boy. But Trey's eyes look like Jackson's when he's sleeping. I gaze at them and it takes me back to holding Jackson's much bigger body in the hospital almost two years ago. I miss him so much.

shhh...I'm sleeping!

It's hard for me to put him down after feeding him...unless of course it's 3am and I'm nodding off!

Last night at dinner he was wide awake and making funny faces. We had such fun with him!

Like father like son. :)
Ahhhh... I hear angels singing. No more fever for the last two days!!! And before the fever broke, I survived by watching the Youtube video about the intruder breaking into the projects... SOOO FUNNY!!! It seriously got me through!
But without fever, I am so happy. Ironically, the cause was a new antibiotic - simple amoxicillan. And while it's not supposed to be strong enough, it is for me. It worked last time, when I pumped Claire's milk and got mastitis. It was what I asked for the first day I got a fever this time. Too bad I didn't insist on it. It seems to be the theme of my life - learning to insist you know your body/baby more than the professionals, getting a loud enough voice....

So it turns out, from talking with a lactation specialist, that preemies keep forgetting how to latch on correctly and you have to reteach them with almost every feeding.  This never occurred to me because Trey ate so well so fast in the hospital. He latched on right away. I didn't realize he wasn't doing it right. Nursing hurt every time, but it's normal in the first two weeks so i didn't think about it. As it got worse, I should have clued in! 

I guess I was not prepared for all the special nuances of a preemie. He's so sweet and good natured. He seems perfect to me. Just not in the eatin' area! And having to take a bottle with special vitamins has certainly added to his latch issues. But with my husband's help, we're working it out. I have taken another bit of Kari's experience and made it my own by stopping the bottles. It makes the clogs worse since he latches so differently to a bottle than me. Kari believed in her own ability to nurse even a tiny baby without the added calories of formula, and I have had to once again shuck the doc's advice and do the same.
My husband's good eye and latching technique are helping me out immensely, along with a good supply of fresh garlic (my poor family), probiotics, yogurt, and feedings every two hours.
I am LOVING this one-long-day, exhausting life! I love this precious miracle. Days and nights blur together, and my shower is missing me dearly, but I am SOOO happy to be able to enjoy my baby now. I'm so happy to be able to enjoy my children and help them with all their little house-destroying projects. Never have I been so behind on housework/laundry, but first things first. And Trey's first. The little energy I have leftover goes to my family.
THANK YOU to everyone who has brought dinner!!!!! You saved us! What would my poor family have eaten while I was in bed all those days? I feel so looked after. I am so thankful.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Thank You!

Thank you for all the input about mastitis...
it helps me a lot to hear that it took a long time to heal for others as well. I have been getting worried. I woke up this am feeling icky with a fever over 100'. That was discouraging. I was so hoping to be done with it all. But as long as it's normal I can wait it out...
What did I hear when I woke up? My older kids making a water slide in the bathroom! Goodness, they need to get out! I felt completely inadequate to take care of anyone in the house.
Even our dog's getting out of control. Last night I didn't clear dinner...my dog somehow got to the HOMEMADE cheesecake a church friend made for Caidgen. It was on the table. Only one slice gone. She ate half before someone must've scared her off. She is a food whore, no doubt (beagle blood) but she NEVER eats off the table. Well, used to never. Go to bed for several days and all hell breaks loose.

Boy, do I love my son! He's so precious. How else can he unleash stabbing rushing pain upon me while I just tenderly hold him and resist throwing him across the room? I see it is possible to fight instincts. Sometimes I pace the room, sometimes I grind my teeth, squeeze something...motherhood is so glamorous.
I'm interested in trying the garlic... though I wonder if that will make Trey fussy...
BTW, yesterday, I took my daughter to her yearly well visit (fever and all - I was so pretty) and I asked for a weight check for Trey. He was 4lbs 15oz! That's up 7 in a little over 3 days. Made me feel so happy that he's big, in spite of me feeling like he's not getting much. He's growing some fat cheeks. I wish I could find my camera and post pics.
Ironically, my mission is to help my daughter lose weight (she's just 7 so it's super sad and hard to address) and my son to gain it!


Just tried to nurse again - by that I mean, threw myself into hell and Chinese like torture. My baby is the only one who can help me, but he's the one who hurts me too.
There it is; the reason i haven't posted. Would LOVE to say i've been blissfully enjoying my miracle baby, but no. Since Sunday I've been sick in bed with a fever and excruciating pain. Seriously??!! Going on 4 days of fever--- round the clock tylonol helps but of course doesn't cure. The crap antibiotic I got Mon ate thru my stomach and now I have another ulcer. An ulcer but no relief yet...
I thought I wouldn't post until I wasn't feverish because it makes me so negative. I had no idea it would be this long and nothing would change.
Every time I look at Trey I smile. He is precious and I know by pure laws of nature and science he shouldn't be here. That in itself overwhelms me. I'm so grateful. I'm so sad that I apparently make a super long cord that doesn't mix well with active Haught babies, one that the modern OB community knows nothing about so there is no solution except miracles or adoption. Don't misunderstand, I have always thought adoption was an amazing and sacred thing. But to be able to create a baby but not keep it alive inside is so depressing. I turned my heart wholly toward my family before Jackson was born and it's been a rough road of shattered hopes.
Now I am soooooo blessed to have my baby! But I can't care for him (or my other kids) the way I want to. It's a mess over here! From the house to the kid's breath to my crap broken boobs. I just want to nurse my preemie so he'll have the best chance of growing and staying healthy. Thank goodness for all the pumped milk from the hospital. It's quickly vanishing though!
Three weeks ago we were cheering when Trey drank 3 mls. Now he's wanting about 60mls! Go Trey!!!!
Sad thing, he may have to go without me... and I am sooooo sad about it. So discouraged right now.
Didn't know it was possible to feel like this on the foot of such, ironically, "overflowing" joy.
He's crying again - apparently nursing both sides - the affected one twice, and offering a small bottle after wasn't enough food for him...!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

More Dichotomy of Feelings (by Blue)

Quick update: Trey is thriving! Friday we had our first appointment at the pediatrician. Trey now weighs 4lbs 8oz. He's gained a full 12oz since his birth. He still looks ridiculously small in his car seat and in comparison to other infants, but he just seems so strong to me. He eats about 40-50ml every three hours and enjoys keeping Kelly and I up at night with his funny noises. His focus had gone from suck, swallow, breathe (the term used by medical staff to describe the important ability for a newborn to coordinate eating and breathing) to eat, sleep, poop : ) Kelly and I are exhausted, but elated. We feel incredibly grateful to all of you who have prayed or posted messages or called or gave gifts or cards . . . I wish I could go through and thank you all, one by one and tell you of your personal impact in our lives. Please know that we cherish every expression you all offer. I can't speak for Kelly, but you have literally sustained me over the past two years. There have been times when just getting out of bed and facing the reality of our life seemed too difficult a task. But your support made the burden light. Thank you!

It has been an interesting thing to experience the joyful emotions of the past two weeks, especially in contrast to the sorrowful emotions of the previous two years. I find myself smiling without realizing I'm doing it. Last night at about 2:30am, in a sleep-deprived stupor I held Trey and talked to him. He stared right at me for several seconds and my heart melted. I unconsciously search the house for him if I haven't seen him in a few minutes. I actually LOVE changing his diapers, something I participated in with the other children, but certainly didn't relish. Its as if every mundane parental task is an exclamation point on the statement that he's alive!

I have always had a naturally happy disposition. I don't tend to stay mad or sad for very long. The past two years though, have been monumentally hard. I have a head full of gray hairs. I have found pessimism enticing. My jokes are more morbid. The term "death" seems a part of everyday conversation and has lost its ominous affect in speaking about it with others. I'm sure Kelly and I have seemed like a dark cloud to many of our friends. I imagine it has been hard to be around us. You certainly wouldn't feel any levity in our company. I remember distinctively how low I felt at certain times in the recent past. I want to share an excerpt from my journal that I wrote about Jackson's death in order that I might show the contrast of feelings that I have now:

I was reeling over what I was about to do. I think I knew that putting my son in his grave would be the hardest thing I’d ever do. We sang ‘God be with you til we meet again’. I made it only a few words in and couldn’t sing the rest through my tears and quivering voice . . . I arose from my chair and stood over the grave. The heaviness of the hour was full upon me and I wanted to stay where I was forever and avoid the pain and anguish that was coming. I walked over to his casket, leaned over and kissed it. I climbed down into the grave. Taylor and Houston handed the casket down to me and T.C. We lowered him to his final earthly home and as I set him down the weight of the world fell upon me and I sank to the lowest spot my soul had ever descended, far lower than all other times combined. I was bent over with my hands on his precious casket and at that moment I never wanted to let go. I couldn’t fathom climbing out of that grave. I would have been happy for everyone to leave me there, to throw the dirt on top of me, but I could not leave my son there, alone. That was the very moment for me. The darkest hour. The most difficult of my existence. No one should have to bury their child. No one should have to stand helplessly in their son’s grave and offer a farewell to everything that remained of his precious, but brief existence. I think it was only a sense of propriety that made me climb out of that grave, but be assured had there been no other soul around I would have spent the night with him, there, in that hole.    Sept. 2008

Those feelings are easy to remember. They have bubbled to the surface over and over the past 24 months. But they have competition now! The war of feelings is being won by the blissfulness of Trey's birth. The opposite of those graveyard feelings for Jackson occurred about 30 minutes after Trey was born. Once he was delivered they hurriedly rushed Trey and I to the NICU for his initial assessment and to be hooked up to monitors. I had no idea what complications they might find and I didn't care if they did, because he was alive! A team of medical staff poked, prodded, listened, and felt him to discover if there was anything wrong. There wasn't. He never needed even a puff of oxygen. It seemed incredible to me, but the staff slowly began to trickle away, one by one over the next 20 min. Suddenly I was alone. The last one in the room assured me that "mom" would be wheeled back in the next hour or two, but for now I could just hit the call light if I needed anything. I was alone with a miracle in my hands. Those two hours were the perfect dichotomy to what I felt with Jackson. I was as happy as I've ever been. I believe it was the happiest moment of my life. Caidgen and Ami's birth felt that way at the time, but I hadn't lost then as I had now. I KNOW what it is to cherish a human life. I was immersed in a feeling of awe, reverence, joy, and happiness. As I held him those two hours alone I felt such peace. When Kelly finally did arrive she said I had the biggest smile she'd ever seen. And for good reason. I was finally taken out of the graves of my two children and into the light of a single, heavenly life!