Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I Will Carry You

As I was writing yesterday's post, I was remembering the day that we brought Cohen home and how happy we were to finally have him home. It was bittersweet though, we should have been bringing twins home. The joy of bringing Cohen home was coupled with the pain of seeing only one crib in his room. The few sets of matching outfits we had time to get were still hanging in the closet, never to be worn. The second carseat shoved in the back of the closet until we were ready to deal with it (it's still there).


While we can't have him here in our earthly home, we know that he is at home in heaven. Sometimes it is easy for me to remember that he is happy, healed and whole in heaven, and sometimes it's not. I'm glad it's true whether I feel like it's true or not. I am happy for him that he is with God, never to feel any pain, but I hurt for me that I don't get to have him. Selfish, I know.

I often listen to this song on repeat and I cry every time. We just miss Carter so much. Some days my arms physically ache to be able to hold him again. I like the part that says "I will carry you, all your life...long beyond the empty cradle". I did carry him for almost every moment of his life on this earth, while I was pregnant and as he left this world. I will also carry him all of my life. While I can't carry him physically, he is never far from my thoughts and he is always in my heart and I know that God is now carrying him for me. 



I Will Carry You


There were photographs I wanted to take


Things I wanted to show you


Sing sweet lullabies, wipe your teary eyes


Who could love you like this?  People say that I am brave but I'm not


Truth is I'm barely hanging on


But there's a greater story


Written long before me


Because He loves you like this


So I will carry you


While your heart beats here


Long beyond the empty cradle


Through the coming years


I will carry you


All my life


And I will praise the One who's chosen me


To carry you




Such a short time


Such a long road


All this madness


But I know


That the silence


Has brought me to His voice


And He says



I've shown her photographs of time beginning


Walked her through the parted seas


Angel lullabies, no more teary eyes


Who could love her like this?



I will carry you


While your heart beats here


Long beyond the empty cradle


Through the coming years


I will carry you


All your life


And I will praise the One who's chosen Me


To carry you

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Outnumbered

As of today, Tuesday February 28, Cohen has officially been home 131 days. One day more than he was in the NICU! This is a little bit crazy to me, it feels like he has been home forever. Our NICU days are becoming more of a thing in the past. A part of Cohen's history, but not who he is. In regards to Cohen, it's hard to believe that he has just now been home longer than he was in the NICU. Finally, his days at home outnumber his days in the hospital. While it feels like Cohen has been home for ages and our NICU journey starts to fade, it feels like just yesterday that we held our tiny, perfect Carter and said goodbye.

 {Last picture in his NICU crib}


We are so thankful for every day that we have had with him, both in the hospital and out. We are thankful that we have never had to go back into the hospital for any reason. We were warned that we could get him home and encounter feeding or breathing problems or that he could even need to be readmitted if he needed eye surgery. In fact, his discharge papers said that "...family is aware that this may entail re-admission to a hospital". We have been praying since the day that he came home that he would stay healthy enough to remain at home. And he has!!

 {Cohen's friends awaiting his arrival home}

Cohen is such a little light in our lives. He has a fighting personality that he has had since the day he was born. We are also thankful for the strong spirit that God has given Cohen. The more time we spend with this little fellow, the more we come to know about him and the more we love him (if it's possible to love him more than we already do).



Not getting to watch Carter grow up has made us that much more thankful that we do get to watch Cohen grow up. We know that things could have turned out very differently and that we could have lost both our boys. The reality of not getting to bring Carter home has made us really enjoy and appreciate the miracle that Cohen (and all babies) are. We try not to take for granted any of the moments that we have as a family.

{First family picture at HOME!}


Happy 131st day at home, Cohen!!!! Thanks for being a happy, stubborn, driven, cuddly, adorable, chubby cheeked, dimpled little boy. We love you more than you will ever know.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Weekend Getaway

This weekend Danny and I went on a little getaway weekend to Leavenworth for Danny and our friend Steven's birthdays. Cohen stayed with Gramma and Grampa (THANK YOU!!) and he did wonderfully.

We left Friday around noon, I met Danny after work and we drove to Everett to meet some of our friends. We loaded up the car and off we went over the pass. We had a relaxing afternoon and then the rest of our friends showed up in the evening. I didn't get a picture of everyone, but there were 9 of us there.



It was a nice, relaxing weekend that I think was much needed. We spent the weekend visiting, sitting in the hot tub, playing games, doing puzzles, and eating junk food. I had never actually been to Leavenworth, so on Saturday we went to see the sights. The boys were excited to find sausages and I was excited to find a pretzel. We brought Cohen a cool wood puzzle which he liked and immediately took to chewing on the pieces. We had brought snow shoes (along with half the house) but we weren't ambitious enough to find somewhere to snowshoe. We just enjoyed our weekend of rest.

I was a little bit of a slacker this year in the cake department as I was working on Danny's birthday. My plan had been to make him a cake at the cabin, but instead I frosted a giant rice krispie treat and called it a cake.


 {Steven got a cake and Danny got a giant rice krispie treat with frosting}


We called Cohen before bed and in the mornings to "talk" to him, which our friends really enjoyed. Cohen told us that Gramma had been feeding him oatmeal, fresh squash, and Ritz crackers.

It was a fun weekend, but we were pretty excited to get home to Cohen. We picked up our car in Everett, drove through a blizzard in Bellingham, and came home to sunshine at our house. Cohen was napping so we just went in and looked at him and waited for him to wake up. He woke up, drank an 8 oz bottle like a champ, and then demanded that we feed him over half a jar of squash. Gramma taught him well!

 {Birthday Boys...this is the best picture I could get of them}

 {Driving over the pass}

{Blizzard half an hour from our house}

{And sunny weather at home}

 {And home to this cute little face}

Last year at Danny and Steven's birthday party, we made the announcement to our friends that we were pregnant with twins.


*And also, I was reminded the other day by a friend who is already collecting things for the next NICU Care Packages, to remind you...if you want to help out with the next set of care packages, start collecting now! Here are a few things you can keep an eye out for: Shampoo/Conditioner samples or travel sizes, kleenex, small lotions, and hand sanitizers. If you are a knitter, crocheter or sewer you can also start making preemie baby hats. More details on when the next collection will be are coming soon. Thanks!!*

Friday, February 24, 2012

Fess Up Friday

* While cleaning the house last weekend, I pulled 2 binkies, a slipper, a book, a notebook, a hair rubberband, a leaf, a toy jack, scrapbooking tape, and the other slipper from under the other couch. Hmm, guess I should check under there more often.

* I seriously considered putting a thumbtack on my doorbell after it was being rung several times a day. Not a good idea to ding dong ditch the crazy lady's house. We were also naive enough to believe the group of young girls standing out on the sidewalk in the dark that said they didn't do it and "hadn't seen anyone".

*After months of randomly hearing Christmas carols while standing at our sink and practically tearing apart the
 garbage disposal multiple times, we finally figured out that we have a singing soap dispenser. It only works once every few weeks which was adding to our confusion as to where it was coming from.

* After working a 10 hour day I hardly got to see my husband on his birthday :( And I still have a really hard time leaving Cohen.

* While practicing our new method of "squeezing" Cohen, I discovered that he is incredibly ticklish and that he giggled anytime I squeezed his little thighs. I may have done it repeatedly just to hear him laugh.

* I was so excited about this picture and I was saving it for Valentine's Day and then I forgot to post it. So, here it is.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Happy Birthday!!!

Happy 26th Birthday, Danny!!!

{Recognize this look?}


 {22 Months}



Dear Daddy,
I love you so much, you are the greatest dad a boy could ask for. When I grow up I want to be as patient and tall as you. I also hope that I can carry on the family tradition of making better cookies than mom. I can't wait for this summer when we get to go hiking and you will carry me around in the backpack and I will get to see the world. You have taken such good care of me since the day I was born. I always looked forward to the days that you were coming to see me. The days that you read me "Spot Goes to School" and "Peter Rabbit" were some of my best days in the NICU. I loved snuggling you and running my fingers through that bear rug on your chest. I can't wait to grow up so you can teach me how to play football and baseball. Mom says I'm not allowed to play football until I'm 25, but we'll see about that. I hope you have a really great birthday and thanks for loving me so, so much.
Love, Cohen

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

More Processing

I'm sure you all have been waiting for the happy, flowers and rainbows post but this isn't going to be it. Sorry! I've been struggling quite a bit lately. I really do wish all was fine and dandy. But it's not yet. It seems that since we are finally out of survival/crisis mode, everything has kind of come crashing down on me. Everything we have been through in the last almost 9 months that we have had to mostly suppress because we just had.to.keep.going is now right in front of my face. And it's not fun.

We went from "your babies may not make it to viability", to "your babies are coming today", to " you lost one of your babies", to "you may lose your other baby". The constant stream of stress and emotion was just too much for me and for the most part, I shut down emotionally.

And now it has all caught up with me and it's really hard. People probably think that we are fine and that we have moved on by now. We haven't. And that makes it really hard because in the world's eyes, it's been 9 months and we still have a baby. The shock has worn off for others. But here I am, still feeling like it happened yesterday and I am in the midst of the storm. Some days I feel so alone. We are so, so thankful for all of the cards, calls, gifts, and prayers we received when the boys were born. Part of me feels like I didn't get to fully receive the support because we weren't physically able to receive hugs, meals, prayers etc. Usually when a child dies, that's it and you are at home to deal with it, to see the people you love, to get hugs, and to have people stop by your house. We were 2 hours away from home and while we felt the support around us, we weren't in the midst of it. If that makes sense. I think there is something healing in knowing that people are rallying around to help and support you in a crisis, but because of the circumstances we weren't able to fully immerse ourselves in the love and support of those around us. Again, that doesn't mean that we are ANY less thankful for everything everyone has done for us, we just wish we would have been able to really be present in those moments.

In a way, I feel like I separated myself from people in the time that I needed them the most. At the time, we were doing the only thing we could, which was to stay strong for Cohen. If I could go back and change it, take more of the help and support offered, I would have. At the time, we were doing what we could to stay strong for Cohen in the best way we knew how.

I read this in a book I am reading and I think it is so true. "The primary task of healing, therefore, is not to disconnect from each other and from life. When we disconnect we become overwhelmed and are at our lowest ebb. We can only deal with survival  - and sometimes not even that. When we are overwhelmed, it is difficult to think clearly or hear what is being said to us. We are lost and at the mercy of our environment. Healing, on the other hand, asks us to be present, conscious, and aware." (From Good Grief by Deborah Morris Coryell). I think in our efforts to survive we disconnected from many of the people who love and care for us. And now, when I feel like I am back in the midst of my grief, I sometimes feel so alone.

I just wanted to say thank you to those who connected with us, who were there for us even if we weren't all the way there. Thank you for caring about us. We needed you then and we still need you now. Thanks for hanging in there with me as I walk this unknown, painful, confusing journey. Thank you for keeping us in your prayers. I know God will continue to carry us through and I am holding onto that.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Sigh of Relief

We breathed a pretty big sigh of relief today. After increasing frustration over fighting Cohen to eat, sleep, and play, we called his OT to come for an appointment. She usually only comes every other week but we decided to have her come this week to see if she could give us any advice.

 {We gave Cohen the plate to see what he would do and he picked it up and licked it!}

She went over a sensory processing checklist with us, and while Cohen is too young for some of the list, it was interesting to see the things on it and which ones he did or didn't do. She also thinks it will be beneficial to have Cohen evaluated by someone who specializes in this area.

 {He loves his spoon}

We also talked about the fact that we have to (literally) struggle to get Cohen to eat between his fairly constant back arching, squirming, and arm waving. We have had a pretty hard last few weeks and were hoping for some kind of help. She showed us ways to help Cohen "collect" himself. He seems to be a sensory seeker...constantly looking for sensory input. We learned how to hold Cohen with his legs up and his arms in with a little gentle pressure to help him get organized. She also showed us how to "squish" the baby, or give him a little massage to give him the sensory input he wants in a more positive way and help him refocus and settle down. After she gave him a little massage he actually SAT in my lap quietly without struggling to get away. It was pretty amazing and I was so surprised.



I had my mom give him a little massage while he was in his crib for naptime and he slept for 2 hours!!!! I think this is a first for us (or at least very rare). Generally, he sleeps for about 45 minutes at a time and is maybe awake for an hour to an hour and a half at a time.

 {Little boy in his big high chair}

When he woke up from his nap I put him in his little squeeze hold and then fed him his bottle and he drank the whole thing with only one little leg kick! I am really hoping this continues and that hopefully we have found a way to keep him (and us) happier. It's just so hard to have him be fussy and fight everything we try to do, even though we know it's not his fault. We just want him to be able to be a baby and play and have fun and not have to be constantly stressed out.

{Practicing eating his big boy cracker}

Please continue to pray for us as we look into this more and try out our new techniques. We are REALLY hoping they continue to work.

Monday, February 20, 2012

When A Friend's Baby Dies

I know, 2 posts in one day, but I ran across this ebook today and I thought it was interesting. I have heard of several other families who have lost babies recently and it just breaks my heart. Maybe this will be helpful to someone out there.

It's called "When a Friend's Baby Dies". I know it is so difficult for people to know what to do or how to help so maybe this can shed a little light on the subject. Everyone grieves differently and there is no "right" way to do things. Just let them know you love them and want to help however you can.

Break Please!

I need a little break from drama. At home. At work. In life.

I don't want to stress about whether Cohen has a sensory problem or not.

I don't want to think about people getting fired or quitting at work because of politics.

I don't want to sit by my phone and worry when I hear that there is a fire at the oil refinery my dad (and brother) works at and we haven't heard from him.

I hate driving by the cemetery and seeing them set up for a service for another family who has lost their child. And then the next day hear about another family who lost their baby. Seriously?

It just seems to come and come and come, like waves. Have you ever had one of those dreams where you are running and you keep falling and every time you get back up and take a few steps you fall again? Some days I feel like I am just trying to keep my head above water.

I just want to be. And to deal with the things I already have to deal with. But, I guess that's not the way life goes. So, we just try to carry on. I deal with what I can, and if I can't, well then I don't because my mind is already full.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Letter to Myself

Dear Self,

I know things have been kind of rough lately, but please remember to have patience. And grace, lots of grace. I know it's hard for you to hear people complain about their difficult pregnancies due to nausea or gaining weight. I know you cringe when you see people saying how miserable they are at 40 weeks and they just want their baby out. I know you want to scream "At least you have your kids!" when you hear people complain about their children. I know things didn't go the way you wanted to. You would give anything to be the person who only knew a "hard" pregnancy as one in which you had morning sickness or swollen ankles.

I know you have to try really hard not to sigh when people define their "bad days" as ones in which their car breaks down or they are late to work. You know that those people are lucky. I know that you wish those were your worst days. I know you wish that you could tell those people "Things could be so much worse!"

But you know what? As irritating as it can be, just remember, to those people those are the worst things they know. And in a weird way, I am happy for them. I'm glad more people don't know this pain. You know you would never wish for anyone else to know these feelings. Those people, they don't know any different. It's not their fault. Yes, they are lucky that their crappy days are bad hair days or running out of gas. And, yes, maybe they don't know how lucky they are. You have been through a lot I know sometimes you just want to delete people off of your facebook or send them anonymous messages telling them to be grateful and that things could be a lot worse, but that wouldn't help anything.

You used to be that person, too. What you have been through has changed your perspective. Your ideas of things that are important and things that aren't have changed. You define "bad" and "worst day ever" and "joy" differently now because of the things that you have been through, just as other people's definitions are based on the things they have been through. For some reason, you were chosen to walk this journey. And also, just as people don't know what you are going through, you may not know what they are going through either.

Keep thinking about what kind of legacy you want to leave for Carter and for yourself. Surely it's not one of bitterness and envy. It's not the kind where you always have the worst "sob story" and feel sorry for yourself. Hopefully it is one of love, faith, and hope even in the midst of pain. A story of God's grace, mercy, and strength in trials. You have things to be thankful for, too. You have two sons and a wonderful husband. You have an incredibly supportive family.

And, just in case you forgot....you aren't perfect either. You have been shown grace and forgiveness and it is up to you to choose to show those to others as well. Keep working on patience, and grace, and forgiveness. I know you, and I know you will mess up and put your foot in your mouth a few times, but keep trying. And pray, a LOT.

Love, Jana

Friday, February 17, 2012

Fess Up Friday

* I took Cohen in to meet my coworkers after his RSV shot a few weeks ago. I know, he isn't supposed to be out and about, but I just couldn't help it. It's so hard to be away from people all the time. Plus, they are nurses and they know not to give him their germs :) It was fun for them to finally get to see him them after 8 months.

* Danny and I had a conversation that started with "Remember when Cohen didn't have a butt?" When Cohen was born he didn't have butt cheeks. I know, it's crazy, but he literally had no fat anywhere, so now we love to talk about his little rolls and chubbiness.

* I may have overreacted about the whole appointment/sensory thing, but I just really want my baby to be okay. I know that he will be and that we will work through whatever comes our way. 

*  The other night (week? who knows) we had some friends over for dinner, which is kind of a big deal for us. We were just about to pat ourselves on the back for making dinner and having a happy baby playing in his walker. Then we turned around and noticed a puddle under Cohen. Well, that's odd. So I got him out and took him into his room to investigate. Turns out he blew out his diaper. It was so full it couldn't hold the pee. So, off to the bathtub we went. Don't worry, Cohen was out of the tub by the time the guests arrived!

* I continue to sneak into Cohen's room at night and get him out of his crib to snuggle because I just can't help myself. I don't think I will ever regret it

* I was EXHAUSTED after working my first 10 hour shift in 9ish months (since May?) I don't know how I used to do it!!

* And this isn't a confession...but how cute is this video of Cohen reallllly wanting to be able to move

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Overstimulated?

We went down to Seattle again on Wednesday for Cohen's high risk infant follow up clinic appointment. It went sort of well. He is measuring right on track developmentally for where he should be. Which is really great news. He showed off by barrel rolling around, picking up the toys, moving them hand to hand, and putting everything in his mouth.

However, the appointment was also hard. We got to the appointment and I tried to feed Cohen his bottle while we were waiting since I wanted him to be ready to show off when it was time. He was too distracted to eat much so I gave up. We got him in the room and I sat on one side of the table with him in my lap and the OT sat on the other side. She went through all the different "tests" to see what he could do and where he was at developmentally. As it went on, Cohen was getting so restless. He finally got to the point where he was squirming and arching his back so much that I could hardly hold onto him. The OT left to get something and I turned off the lights and wrapped him in a blanket to try and get him to calm down.

He did calm down a little so we turned the lights back on to finish the rest of the appointment. We got him undressed and laid him on the floor so she could finish her assessment. He gets so excited when he is naked so he was rolling all over and grabbing toys. Towards the end he was starting to get super squirmy so I picked him up and he was just fussing and moving all over the place and working harder to breathe. So I put him in his stroller and closed both of the sunshades over him. He was just really wound up and we were having a hard time getting him to calm down again. 

He got way overstimulated being in a new place, new toys, new people, bright lights etc. The OT asked if he was like this at home and I told her that we had noticed that he was awfully busy all the time. We also mentioned that he still has a really strong "startle" reflex like in a newborn. He jumps and looks really scared any time he hears a noise he wasn't expecting like a cough, sneeze or laugh. It usually isn't very loud, but he still gets scared. She said it is not uncommon for preemies to be sensitive to things (noises, tastes, textures etc). Cohen was born before his nervous system was done forming. When he should have been nice and cozy inside snuggling his brother, he was in an isolette with a tube down his throat getting handled and poked frequently (necessarily).

The OT was glad that we were already seeing an OT at home and that she could continue to evaluate him. We aren't sure if this was just a "way too much going on at once" kind of thing or if it is something that will be an issue in the future. We also don't know if his recent increase in activity is related to him coming off his oxygen and having to work harder to breathe and feeling anxious because of that.

I don't know if we are reading too much into it (quite possible) but this sensory "sensitivity" would explain why he is SO active all the time and seeking out stimulation. It may also explain why he likes to play in his pack n play because he feels "enclosed" and for the most part that is kind of his alone play time and why he always eats with his hands over his face. It would also explain why my mom called him a "whirling dervish" after having him for the day while I was at work :) It could also be the reason that he has short awake times and then needs a nap. But, who knows.

For now, we will talk to his current OT about it when she comes in 2 weeks. We will watch him to see if he seems to continue to get overstimulated. We will try and give him a calm environment with "time outs" if he needs them to calm down. We have put away his moving/dancing/twirling/lights and music toys.

We aren't really sure what this all means yet, but we know that Cohen has already overcome so much that this just may be a little bump in the road. We will keep you updated if we find anything else out from his OT or Pediatrician. We are hoping that maybe we are just getting overexcited about this and that it is just something he will grow out of. And if not, we will carry on. We know that we are "lucky" that Cohen is doing as well as he is today. We know that he could be dealing with a lot more. We are SO thankful for his health and we don't take it for granted. We just wish he didn't have to go over any more bumps in the road, but we know that isn't realistic. I just want to be able to help Cohen and not cause him any more stress.

(If any preemie moms out there have experience with anything like this I would love to hear from you...feel free to email me)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

It's a Love Story

Well, since it's almost Valentine's Day, I thought I would tell you the story of Danny and I.

It all started in the summer of 2004, the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college. I wanted to do something fun over the summer and thought camp would be a cool experience. I ended up working at a day camp in Bellingham. Though the kids were only there during the day, the staff stayed at the camp all summer. It was a lot of hard work, but it was really fun and I made some really good friends.


As the summer of 2005 approached, I decided I should probably get a job that paid more than 50 cents an hour (camp wages). My dad works out at the BP Refinery and during the summer they hire children of people who work there for odd jobs. My job was to count fire extinguishers and paint fire hydrants. It was rough. I took a few weeks off to guest counsel at the camp I had grown to love the year before. While there, I met this guy named Topple. Well, that wasn't his real name, but we all had camp names and that was his. I had a little crush on this kind hearted, patient, and very tall boy, but so did a few other girls at camp. Every week at camp feels like a months worth of time when you spend every waking minute with the other staff, so really, we spent 2 months together over the summer as Topple and Haleakala. After my visit to camp, I went on my way and didn't think too much more about this handsome fellow I had met.

 {Summer 2005}

Somehow, one of us somehow got the other's AIM (remember that!?) screen name and we started having nightly chats over the computer. It got to the point where I came to expect that we would talk at some point during the day.


 {My nursing school graduation - Dec 2007}

Eventually, he was coming to my neck of the woods (he was at Western and I was at PLU) and invited me to come along to the Puyallup Fair to a concert with him and some of his friends. Little did I know that the concert would be full with no tickets and that it would be me and a number of his guy friends. So, we wandered around and he impressed me with his eating skills by eating a huge hamburger about the size of his head. Those of you who know me well, know that this is not something that I would normally do. I would rather be at home in my pajamas with my friends than out with a guy I didn't know that well and all of his rambunctious guy friends. I'm not sure what made me go that night, but I'm glad I did.

 {Fall 2008}

{Winter 2008}

 After that, when I came home on weekends or holidays he would suggest that we get together. And I would turn him down. I was scared of boys. He asked me several times and I continued to say no. Finally, I was taking my niece to go see "Charlotte's Web" and told him he could come with if he wanted. I figured he would turn me down, but he didn't. He came with us and sat through the whole movie like a champ.

We continued to talk over AIM and eventually he asked me what I would say if he asked me out. I told him I might say yes. He then told me that he was going to call me. He called me on the phone and asked me out. I said yes and that was the end of the conversation. We hung up and went back to talking online. Such romance! He always asks me if it sounded like he was reading off of a card and I always tell him that yes, it did.

We went out on our first date and then several more after that. He would come down to PLU to visit and I would see him when I went up north. Danny had to work hard to get me. He was very persistent. The first evidence of this was when he asked me to be his girlfriend. At first I said yes. And then I called him after he left and said no that I wasn't ready. Poor boy, he should have known then what he was in for. But, he didn't let that stop him from continuing his pursuit.

We continued to date and after about a year, we broke up. I was just finishing nursing school and this was the time my Gramma had gotten really sick. I was trying to study to take my nursing boards and help take care of my Gramma. I was spending nearly every day with her. It was all just too much and we broke up. In my heart, I  knew that we would get back together, but it was really hard on both of us because I couldn't explain that to him.  After about 5 months apart (I am really bad with dates), in the fall of 2008 we got back together.

In March of 2009, Danny proposed. I was still working in the recovery room at the hospital in Seattle and I had been on call at the hospital the night before and had gotten called in for an emergency surgery. I woke up late in the morning to find Danny at my apartment with a picnic basket. He said he wanted to go hiking and for a picnic. We stopped at Subway for sandwiches and then went out for our hike. On the car ride I was holding his hand and asked him why he was so sweaty. I thought it was odd since it really wasn't that warm out. We got a little ways up the trail and we stopped by a little stream. He hugged me and pulled a ring out of his pocket and proposed. Afterwards, I scolded him for not getting down on one knee and he told me that he had. I had gotten so excited that I didn't even notice that he had been on one knee but he showed me the dirt to prove it. We finished our hike and I just kept holding my hand out in front of me and looking at my sparkly ring.

 {The propsal spot}

{The ring}
We decided we didn't want a long engagement and set our wedding date for August 15, 2009, five months after we got engaged. We planned a nice, simple wedding and it was perfect.

 {Rehearsal dinner}




We have now been married for 2 1/2 years. We spent our 2 year anniversary camping for a night within close range of the NICU. Our short marriage has been filled with joy, pain, laughter, tears, a few fights, and lots of love.




I could never imagine a better husband and friend than Danny. This last year has just proven to me again that he is the perfect one for me. He spent countless hours working for our family and then driving back and forth from Seattle to be with us. We have heard that situations like ours can be really hard on marriages and while it certainly hasn't been easy, I do think it has brought us together and taught us new things about each other. We never could have imagined where life was going to bring us on that day we said our "I do's" but I am so, so thankful to have Danny by my side. I can't wait to see what the rest of our lives is going to bring us.



Sunday, February 12, 2012

Oxygen Shmoxygen

We have survived the first few days without oxygen! And Cohen has done really well. We keep looking at him and thinking "Oh, we should plug him back in" just because we are so used to always having him on his oxygen. But, we have been enjoying being able to take him anywhere in the house without worrying about whether he will reach or what he will get stuck on. We don't have to pull his "leash" around and he can wear any of his pajamas that he wants. Even the ones with the zippers because there is no tubing to have to put down his clothes and out the bottom (so that if he rolls over he doesn't get tangled in his tubing). We don't have to worry about whether the oxygen tank ran out or whether we remembered to actually turn on the tank. Soon we will be able to cross our Tuesday oxygen call and our Wednesday oxygen delivery off our lists too. And the BEST part is that his poor little face doesn't have to have those nasty little stickies on it anymore! They are so hard on his skin. We are glad to see his whole little face without anything on it.

 This may just be coincidence, but he has actually been eating, sleeping and playing better since it has been off. We'll see if that continues.

 {Gramma brought Cohen cake pops to celebrate his freedom}

Cake pops are kind of Cohen's thing...he got some for his 1 month birthday, his 39 week mark, and his for his Due Date Party too.

 (#1 Hunk, sticky free!}

We took Cohen on a little walk to Woods and then around to Bender Field because the sun was actually out. We put him straight into the stroller for the first time instead of hooking his carseat into the stroller. He is getting to be such a big boy. I got him a little pair of sunglasses (within my budget :) because whenever I take him outside he just instantly closes his eyes because he isn't used to seeing the light of day and it's too bright. So I thought maybe if he had sunglasses he would be able to look around a little more. They are still kind of big for him, but will probably be perfect by summer!

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Burning Question

We got up at 5:30 Thursday morning and left the house at 6:15 to start the familiar drive to Seattle. We have been lucky in that Cohen still generally sleeps the whole way down and back. We got to Children's for our first appointment with Dr W, the pulmonologist. We got a little surprise in that one of the residents who helped take care of Cohen in the NICU at UW was doing a rotation at the clinic, so she got to see Cohen again which was fun.

 {On the road...}

{Good morning, little buddy}

We get asked this question all the time, everyone wants to know "When does Cohen get to be off his oxygen?" And before I would always say that we weren't really sure. We didn't know how long he would need it for. But, now the answer is NOW! He is done with his oxygen! We went in expecting for him to get switched to wearing it at night and then eventually to be off, but his pulmonologist said that he felt he was ready to be off altogether. He said his weight gain, which is what they were worried about, was really the best they could ask for. Dr W said if we were more comfortable going slower off the oxygen we could, but it would be more for our benefit rather than Cohen needing it. We won't turn in all our oxygen tanks yet just in case, and we may put his oxygen on for the first few nights just for our own sanity. We will be watching him closely the next few days to make sure he isn't working too hard to breathe or acting funny. But, otherwise he is free!


 {A VERY busy boy, notice the feet flailing and blanket waving}


We had a little time between pulmonology and cardiology appointments so we got to visit with one of my friends from nursing school who works at Children's. It was fun for her to get to see Cohen too, we have been trying to meet up at our other appointments and it just hasn't worked out, so I'm glad it finally did.


Cohen had his ECHO at 10:30 and he was so good. He held really still and watched a Baby Einstein movie and drank his bottle while they looked at his heart. He had been so squirmy and busy during his first appointment that I was a little worried, but he did great. Cohen also held still for his EKG, so that was a bonus. It's hard enough to get adults to hold still, I can't imagine trying to do one on a baby, but he did great. We waited over an hour for the cardiologist to come in and see us. Luckily, Cohen was exhausted and fell asleep in his stroller and Danny and I watched Netflix shows on his phone. We met with a different cardiologist than before and she said everything looked great. I told her they had just taken Cohen off of his oxygen so she thought we should come back for one more checkup in 6 months.

 {This is Cohen getting his EKG back in November}

 {Helping with his ECHO}

{Worn out and waiting (and waiting) for the doctor}

We finally left Children's after 1:00 and were starving so we stopped at our favorite place to get sandwiches while we were in Seattle. Whenever my mom came down to stay with me she would always stop at the Trinity Market and get me a turkey sandwich and bring it to the NICU for me. It was fun to drive Cohen around and say "Look, that's where we lived for 4 months, that window right there was my room" and "that's where I ate ice cream for dinner many nights" and "there's that pesky little parking enforcement man who gave us a ticket the day you were discharged from the hospital" and "that's the sidewalk I was walking down when that guy ran into me with his bike"

 {Yummmmmm}