Monday, September 30, 2013

There hasn't been too much going on around here. Saturday I got to get out of the house with some friends from church and make my first ever trip to Hobby Lobby! It was amazing. We never really got around to decorating our house after we moved in, so I got a few things that I'm pretty excited about. Danny stayed home with the boys and it was so nice to be able to get out of the house for something other than grocery shopping!

Cohen seems to have the sniffles again. I think he's making up for the 2 years spent inside and now catching everything that is within a mile radius of him. Thankfully, he seems to be handling it all really well, aside from the getting up crying multiple times at night.

Ezra is rolling from front to back AND back to front. And not just one roll, he is rolling across the carpet. He also lays on his tummy and lifts his head and chest up really high and acts like he wants to scoot. Oh dear. I keep telling him he isn't allowed to do that this early on, I want at least a few more months of him being immobile! We weighed him the other night and he weighed 15 lbs (Cohen weighed 15 lbs at 10 months)!!! Such a chunk.

That's all that's been happening around here. The rainy season (from now until next May/June) has set in so I am going to have to start getting creative with how to keep Cohen busy. I did buy him this rain suit so that he can go puddle jumping or play outside. I ordered it big so he can wear it longer and put lots of clothes underneath it to stay warm.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Proud Mom Moment

Can I just tell you how proud my little mommy heart was yesterday? I took 2 of my nephews and Cohen to the park yesterday. The big boys were so sweet to Cohen, holding his hand and helping him climb on the toys.

And watching them, it just hit me. I am so proud of him. Some days can be hard. I'm tired, he's cranky, we are both easily frustrated. His trains don't fit together just right and he gets upset. He loses his balance and trips and falls again, a little too close to where Ezra is playing. I don't wait the proper amount of time, which changes every day, to get him out of his pajamas and he has a fit.

But then, there he is. Running clumsily around the playground. Climbing up the steps. And even walking across the unstable bridge, which he NEVER would have done just a few months ago. My little boy, growing up. There were days we didn't even know if he was going to live or what kind of life he would have. He is going to have an amazing life and hopefully a full, long, happy life. I love this little boy with his determination and his kind heart so very much.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Light in the Darkness

Awhile back in our Sunday school class, we were talking about how and when we felt we were closest to God. There was a list of things like when you read your Bible, at church, during fellowship with other believers, and a few others. It turns out it was a trick question, because the number one answer was one that wasn't listed. The number one time when people felt the closest to God was during trials. And I totally agree.

When we were in that dark place after the boys were born, we felt so surrounded. We felt embraced by our family, friends, church family, and strangers who had heard our story. The prayers of those around us, carried us closer to Jesus when we weren't able to do it ourselves.

And? My relationship with God has never been deeper and truer than during that time. A time when I had nothing else. When we are walking through our normal day to day life, it's so easy to rely on ourselves. We can manage to get by, and sometimes we even think we are doing pretty well. And then, in an instant, everything changed. My son was gone, my other son's life was hanging in the balance, I was away from home, and I was alone. When I was at the very bottom and there was nothing else to cling to or trust in, God was there. He gave me the strength to keep going when I didn't want to and didn't think I could. He took my anger and my sorrows and he felt them all with me. Those were the times when I felt His presence the strongest.

No matter who you are, or what you believe in, trials can shake you to your very core. They can make you question everything you ever thought you knew. In those moments, you make a decision to walk away from what you claimed to believe, or you are reassured that everything you said you believed in was in fact the truth. I'm not going to pretend like I didn't question God or his goodness. I did. For many, many days. I was so angry. I never got all the answers I wanted, but what I do know, is that God is faithful. He was there and he never left, and he was all I had, my light in the darkness. The things I had claimed to believe were reinforced as the truth.

I'm not perfect, and sometimes I still wrestle with doubt. I don't know all the answers to the hard questions, and maybe I never will, but I have faith in God because I have seen him work miracles. I have seen his goodness even in the hard places. And I know without a shadow of a doubt, that Carter is with him. Whole and healed and waiting for us.

Monday, September 23, 2013


I sometimes find myself sitting on the couch in my living room, surrounded by toys and noise and wonder how did I get here? How did I get to a place in my life where I am married, have had 3 babies, and am now a mostly stay at home mom.

When did crying babies, diapers, and mountains of toys and laundry become my life? Most of the time it all seems so normal and then other times it seems so foreign. I traded in my career and being able to leave the house on a whim for Elmo on repeat, hands clinging to me all day, and little baby snuggles.

I will admit, sometimes I think I will lose it if I get sat on, my hair pulled, or an elbow in my ribs one more time. And then in the next minute I forget it all because I am so in love with my babies. It even crosses my mind that I think I could handle about 10 more babies. Then again, maybe not.

I love my boys and I am so thankful that I get to stay home with them most days. Parenting is a hard job. What other "job" do you have to handle yelling, screaming, diapers, cooking meals, cleaning up after your subjects? In fact, Ezra just pooped his diaper on my lap while I was typing this. Just showing his mommy some love! Despite the poop, I wouldn't trade getting to raise my boys for anything. Some days I think I'm not cut out for it, but I truly can't imagine my life without my boys in it.

Alright, off to change a diaper and see a wardrobe change is required. Hang in there, parents, it's hard but so worth it!!

Friday, September 20, 2013

3 Months

My little pudge is 3 months old, I can't believe it!! It has been such a different experience in so many ways, having a full term, chubby baby.

I feel like we just stop and breathe this time around. I don't have to check on oxygen or feeding tubes, although I do still check on him all the time. Ezra is still sleeping in our room because he is still getting up a few times during the night (yawn). I love our mornings together. He gets up about 6 am to nurse and then snuggles in bed with me. The early morning light comes through the curtains and I just get to stare at him. His chubby cheeks and his little hands. I love to watch him sleep.

And he truly is a pleasant baby. Now that we've gotten his tummy troubles worked out, he rarely screams and is a pretty easy going fellow with plenty of smiles. I often find him rolled over in his bed from his tummy to his back, although he's never actually done it so we can witness it. He eats every 4 hours and is now taking good naps. We had a rough go in his first month or two. Poor fellow was so miserable that he would just scream all the time and not nap. Now that I've been off of dairy, he is so.much.better.

He weighed in at 14 lbs at his doctor's appointment. He just got his 2 month shots (we were a little late on his appointment) and slept for 2 days straight. The big boy is wearing 3-6 month clothes and some 6 month pajamas.

He is my little ray of sunshine who hates his carseat and drools a lot. He loves to "talk" and is such a smiley boy. He likes to try to sit up when we hold him. When he plays on the floor he bats at his toys and is fascinated by the same little hanging bug toy that Cohen was when he was a baby.

We are just loving having a "normal" baby experience!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Same Boy?

Sometimes I am in shock and awe when I look at my boy. I sit and this really the same boy?

The same little hands that were the size of my finger, that now push trucks and color pictures?

The same skinny arms that once dangled my moms wedding ring off of them, that now throw balls and give hugs?

The same body that once snuggled on our chests for kangaroo care, that now stretches out (and takes up) most of his crib?

The same cheeks that were once covered with tape and tubes, that are now rosy as he plays outside?

The same little nose that once had oxygen in it for months and months, that now handles a cold like a champ?

The same itsy bitsy feet that he once stretched out of his z-flo mattress that now run through the house and climb slides in the yard?

The same little boy that once was overstimulated by touch that now says "again!" when I tickle his back?

I am often overwhelmed when I think about Cohen and his entrance into this world. There are days when I look back at his pictures and wonder how this can possibly be the same boy. But then I see his fighting spirit and his determination and I know that this is indeed that same teeny, tiny micropreemie who is now a big, strong two year old. And I couldn't be more thankful for him and be more amazed at all he has overcome.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Toddler Pinterest Fails

We all know about pinterest right? I look at it all the time and pin many fabulous and wonderful ideas that I can't wait to try. The kids in the pictures look so happy and content and their parents claim they've been busy for hours!

So I get inspired, gather things around the house to try out these no-fail ideas that are guaranteeing me time to sit in peace.

But.... toddler apparently hates pinterest. He thinks pinterest and it's ideas are ridiculous. I have not been successful at finding one activity that he will do. There is no quiet sitting and focused concentration. Not even a little bit. Not with the fridge magnets, the paint in the ziploc bag, the pipe cleaners and the colander, the fabric strips in the empty wipes container. None of it.

We are a couple of big giant pinterest fails around here. I'm going to make a new website and call it dirt-pinterest. Because that's really the only thing that keeps Cohen busy for more than 2.5 seconds. Until I get that site up and running I will continue to pin all the wonderful looking activities that I wish Cohen cared about and continue to let him do what he actually wants to do -- play in the dirt. I guess it's cheaper anyway.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Fess Up Friday

One night at dinner I didn't have a napkin so I used Cohen's bib. While he was wearing it.

While playing in the yard, Cohen was overheard saying "stupid kitty". We'll never know where he learned that.

I accused my coworker of not doing all her work until she pointed out that she had done her work and that I didn't know what day it was. I never know what day it is.

I put a teeny, tiny pair of little boy undies on Cohen, not because he's potty trained, but because I thought they were adorable.

Cohen has been very interested in the potty so we got him a movie about it at the library. He LOVES it and it's really short so it usually plays a few times before we turn it off. The songs get stuck in my head and I actually heard myself sing "the potty song" out loud at work. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Finding Purpose Part 2

I've been feeling a little restless lately. Like I need something more to do with my life. Not to be more busy, but to have more purpose. Being a parent gives me great purpose and it is definitely the most important thing in my life, along with being a wife. But I need more purpose in being a person. Some time ago, I wrote about finding purpose in giving back and making diapers, which I don't think I will ever stop doing, but now I'm ready to go a little farther.

I have a job that is a good enough job. I don't mind the work, I like my coworkers, and I have the schedule that I want. But sometimes it doesn't seem like enough. We only get one chance at life, so why not do what we can make a difference, right?

Having and losing Carter has opened my eyes to a whole new world. The world of angel babies and grieving parents and all the things that surround it. My first glimpse of the gaps in bereavement care came from personal experience. I was shocked when a healthcare worker explained in completely insensitive terms that she would be "putting my baby in the refrigerator". I honestly can't remember if it was this same person or yet another healthcare worker who also kindly explained to me that I would need to let them know if I wanted to hold Carter again so they could "warm him back up". I kid you not. This is not to rag on healthcare workers of any kind, but rather to point out that there is a lack of education, awareness, and empathy surrounding miscarriage and infant loss.

I have heard from multiple parents who have lost babies to miscarriage and so many of them have expressed how they wish they would have gotten some kind of resources or some kind of something to acknowledge their baby and their loss. I think we (I'm including myself here as well) can get so used to things that become routine to us, but are far from routine for someone who is experiencing it for the first time. At my postpartum checkup, I asked our OB office if they had any kind of resource available to parents experiencing a miscarriage. The response was that they "used to have something but they weren't sure where it was".

It continually surprises me how resistant people are to providing care and support for people facing loss. I truly think it as issue of a lack of awareness and understanding. Even when facilities are offered something free (cost is always a huge stumbling block in healthcare) that would greatly benefit their patients, there is still resistance. I fully understand that every patient may not want resources, we all grieve and process differently. But I want it to at least be an option to have the support.

I have decided that when I grow up, I want to be an advocate or liaison between parents facing loss and the healthcare system. Whether that is helping to educate healthcare workers, pushing to get more resources into OB offices and the hospitals, sitting with a parent who has just found out they have lost their child, or maybe even being a bereavement doula. I am working on figuring out the path to take to where I want to end up. It breaks my heart to know that parents are facing loss alone and often aren't being fully supported by the ones that are often in the front lines and should be offering support. I'm hoping I can find a place where I fit in and honor Carter in bringing more support to the bereavement community.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

OT Update

Cohen is still seeing his wonderful OT. We had pushed back to once a month and had him involved in a sensory playgroup once a week. The playgroup turned out to be a little challenging with the once a week commitment and a newborn and the one on one attention of his OT seemed to be a better fit. So now we are back to no playgroup and seeing his OT every other week and it seems to be working well.

We are still working on some of his ongoing sensory issues, mostly related to his ability to regulate himself. He has struggled for a long time with his balance and knowing where he is in space and whether he feels secure. He hates being in anything that isn't sturdy and supportive, so while he loves his outdoor baby swing (that we have inside) he gets really anxious in anything without structure like hammocks or swings without walls.

While we were at OT today, I was talking to his therapist and as I was recounting to her the postive things we have noticed, I realized there were quite a few which is encouraging! We are still hoping that this is something Cohen will grow out of once his systems figure out how to work properly.

As I mentioned above, Cohen has struggled with his balance and feeling secure in an upright position. For weeks before he started walking I had a feeling that physically he could walk but that he was too nervous and didn't feel safe in that position. Since he started walking he has been incredibly clumsy, tripping and falling constantly, even more so when he is tired. At one point he could hardly walk over a crack in the sidewalk or go from cement to grass without an issue. And this last week, we noticed that he was going down the stairs, standing up, all by himself! This may not seem like a big thing, but it is for him, number one because he has the balance and ability, and two because he has the confidence to do it without feeling unstable.

The other night we were sitting around and it was past Cohen's bedtime but he was sitting nicely with us so we read a few more books. And then....he snuggled with Danny...and actually fell asleep in his lap!! Aside from kangaroo care in the NICU and a few newborn snuggles at home, Cohen has never snuggled us. When he was tired and ready for bed, he wanted to be in his crib alone. He has with us in our bed one time in two years and only because he was sick. So to have him actually snuggle with us was a pretty big deal also. Danny and I just looked at each other and debated whether we should put him in bed, but since it has basically never happened, we just sat and enjoyed it.

And one more small victory. Cohen has been less of a wreck (to put it nicely) before bed. The crying and "wild man" activity level, tripping, falling, and melting down over every little thing has decreased greatly. I'm crossing my fingers that it will continue to be better!

In OT he continues to work on retraining his vestibular system, which is the system that controls the things we are trying to work on -- balance, regulation, sensory sensitivities. He spends lots of time in various swings, climbing ramps, and playing in sensory bins.

I was so proud of him as I told her all of his "little" accomplishments. While his sensory issues are quite minor compared to what many other preemies face, we are still so proud of how far he has come and the things that he continues to overcome. Go, buddy, go! We are also planning to take him to the chiropractor this week to see if that helps at all.

As a side note, because I'm sure he will be proud of himself someday, Ezra managed to destroy two diapers, a complete outfit of his, two shirts of mine requiring me to borrow one from his OT, and my pants (those I left on).

Monday, September 9, 2013

Due Date

The boys' due date is approaching. It's one of those dates that will probably forever be in my mind, the day our lives were supposed to change forever when we welcomed our little bundles of joy into the world. The day that should have been full of joy and smiles and matching outfits. Instead we found ourselves forced onto a roller coaster of emotion that we didn't want to be on and couldn't get off of.

It really surprises me how much time passes between June 5th and Sept 15th. The "in between". It seems like so long ago that we celebrated the boys' 2nd birthday. 15 weeks to be exact. An entire summer. Although this one we got to spend at home as a family instead of living 2 hours from home in a hotel. The days we should have been huge and pregnant and preparing for our boys we spent on bedrest hearing horrible statistics for if our boys made it to viability and eventually sitting by Cohen's bedside wondering if he would live or die and grieving our Carter.

I still remember nearly every single thing that Cohen went through packed into those months between reality and what "should have been". We were hoping to be nearing home by then, as many preemies are able to go home around their due date. Our boy, however, was doing things in his own time and wanted to stay in the NICU another month.

The length of time also reminds me what a miracle our boys are. 25 weekers are given a 50% chance of survival and many have severe disabilities. And yet, here we are, 2 years later with our amazing boy. The due date, much like their birthday, will always be a bittersweet day. A painful reminder of what we've lost and what could have been, but also a joyful reminder of our miracle.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Big Boy Bike Rider

Cohen loves to ride his bike. He can't reach the pedals but he loves to walk sit on it and use his feet to get around. I just can't believe how big he is getting! He chatters like crazy. Yesterday he said "Want see Daddy" when he woke up and then later he said "Daddy home mow". His favorite foods are crackers and apple juice. He asks for apple juice all day long. He still LOVES to be outside and it's a good day if he gets to the end of it without needing a bath or two.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Fess Up Friday

I get sad that I can't blog as much as I would like to

Vacuuming and folding the kids clothes are my favorite chores

I felt obligated to give Ezra a bath after confessing last week that I had only given him a handful of baths in his lifetime and that I couldn't in fact remember when the last one was...

Sometimes when I want to vacuum but don't have time to actually clean and put everything on the floor away, I just scoot it to the outer edge of the carpet and then vacuum.

I hate football season.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Wuboo Mommy

Can someone please tell this boy to stop growing up so fast!? I had to take a video of him this morning because I can't believe how much he is talking and it's pretty darn cute. It's kind of long, but the end is the best so watch the whole thing!