Thursday, August 22, 2013

Toddler/Newborn Teamwork

They make such a good team already.. ( - :
I think they are already dreaming of the trouble they can will make together..

And the results of the 'Name That Baby'  Contest?
3. Nolan
I am incredibly impressed that some of you got it right! 
Since I.. the one who took the pictures, sorted through the pictures, posted the pictures, and birthed these children, looked at them to write the answers down and got it wrong! Oops..

Monday, August 19, 2013

Name! That! Baby!

read in overdramatic Game Show Announcer Voice..

Aaaaaand now it's time for a round of... 'Name! That! BABY!'

In no particular order, these are pictures of all 3 boys taken at about a week old.. 

I know they're not the total best pictures, but I think there may be a few resemblances, don't you think??

And then there's this one.. 
kindof a giveaway though, huh??

Anyone think they can correctly name each baby? 
Honestly.. I don't even think I could if I hadn't been the one to find the pictures.. :)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Introducing.. Hudson James

We officially present to you Hudson James!
First of all let me start by saying THANK YOU to everyone who has helped us out this past week.. 
For the visits, phone calls, messages, prayers, meals, helping with our other kids, just being there for us.. 
We appreciate it so much!

A week ago Tuesday morning (a week already??? whoa!) began bright and early at 3:00 am by an anesthesiologist carefully inserting a long needle into my spine.. then snapping in it half inside me with a very painful and sickening crunch. Thankfully that was just a dream, but needless to say I was unable to sleep after that.. We had to leave at 4:30 anyways to head to the doctor, so naturally I lay awake and relived that awfuing crunchy sound over and over until it was time to go. I'm sure it really helped my nerves.. Our car ride started out with JJ looking at me blankly and asking, "Sooo... got any ideas on names?" HA! We didn't wait until the total last minute as we technically still had 45 minutes to talk about it. At the hospital, I waited until after the needle had been (successfully) inserted and taken out to tell my doctor about my dream. To which he explained to me that he had seen a needle bend before, but never break. And that if that actually happened they would be able to get it out pretty easily. But if I were getting an epidural instead of a spinal and the plastic broke off, they wouldn't be able to get it out and the plastic would just have to stay in your spine, but it usually doesn't cause problems. Wait.. WHAT??? I thought that was just a crazy dream, not something that actually happens!

Anyways, Baby Boy was born at 7:50 am, weighing 9 pounds 1 oz (his brothers were 9 lbs 3 oz and 9 lbs 2 oz when they were born). As the doctors started to pull him out, JJ saw just his head and exclaimed "It's a boy!" They all looked at him crazy, since.. you know.. the part you would need to see to determine if it was a boy wasn't even visible yet, but JJ knew right when he saw his face that he looked just like his brothers when they were born and just like himself. He was right! Baby Boy went with no name for a little while since my lovely husband proceeded to stand right in the way while they put me back together and cleaned the baby up and I wanted to get a good look at him before fully deciding the name he would have for the rest of his life. Thanks Hon.. :) But when I finally got to see him, even though I appreciated the boys' helpful name suggestions of 'Fartly' and 'Pudding Face', I thought he looked like the cutest little Hudson I've ever seen (not that I really know any other Hudson's, but you know..)
Everyone after that went really well. This is actually the easier recovery I've had so far and I'm back on my feet and feeling much better than I expected! In fact, I actually found a foolproof way to take away all abdominal pain from a c-section on the first day: develop an intense, ridiculously excruciating cramp in your neck, possibly caused by an air bubble during surgery. I promise after you're up all night crying in pain and unable to move your neck even the slightest bit while trying to nurse a 12 hour old baby, you won't even notice your stomach was just sliced open. Although it worked, I'm not so sure I would take my own advice..

Thankfully I had this beautiful 'baby' gift from my thoughtful husband to help me feel better..
Or maybe he found it behind the seat in our car as he was cleaning it out the night before. 
Thank you previous owners! 
(And also for the feminine products and Midol... HA!)

After a few days I was deemed well enough to go home and our happy family smoothly breezed out of the hospital. The older boys happily chatted about who got to sit by Hudson and where in the middle of the trip home they could switch seats so they both had an equal turn, the sunshine sprinkled down on their golden heads, Ella walked all the way to the car by herself like a big girl and we all easily settled into our roles as a family of 6. 
And so we began our idyllic voyage home. 
Life was good. 
Until the second turn out of the parking lot, our *ahem driver took the corner too sharp, rammed straight into the curb, juice spilled all over Charlie's face and lap, tears and screams instantly flowing for said juice, staples went flying from my stomach, and a near strangulation occurred one block from the hospital.

As for how things have been going at home? Surprisingly amazing. I know we're probably in the honeymoon phase of having a new baby, but I was not expecting this. The boys love kissing and loving on their new brother. Even though Ella wanted absolutely nothing to do with Hudson while we were in the hospital, threw a fit when JJ tried to hold him, and two-handedly pushed him away when we tried to hold him near her, she has been ridiculously grown up and a wonderful big sister since we've been home. 

Upon arriving home, Hudson even got formally initiated with a rubber duck party in his bassinet.

I realized the other day though, that as both older boys were playing nicely in the kitchen, Ella was happily running around the house with her rubber ducks, Hudson was sleeping, JJ was sitting on the couch reading the paper (that was kindly delivered to our house last week.. even though we don't subscribe to the paper!) and drinking coffee and I was rummaging around in the attic looking for burp cloths.. since I had kindof forgotten babies spit up sometimes. (SHOUT OUT to whoever makes those nice burp rags to send home with new babies from the hospital. You totally saved us the first day!) that maybe it seems things are a little too easy this week. Isn't this supposed to be harder? Don't worry.. I'm sure that will change dramatically when JJ goes back to work next week.. 

And for those of you who have been on the edge of your seat, anxiously waiting to hear the state of my uterus? Apparently I have very strong uterus muscles. VERY strong. Maybe a bit too strong.. Like, as in, the surgeon had to cut a bit harder than he expected through my muscle and sliced my baby's forehead with the scalpel strong. :( 
Poor boy.. But yay for the open possibility to have another baby someday! :)

We love you so much already Hudson James and we can't imagine our lives without you.

You are the sweetest, most snuggliest baby and we feel very blessed!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Pretty Pink Toenails

When Ella was born I dreamed the typical sort of dreams every mother dreams when she finds out she finally has a daughter. From ribbons and ruffles to pink and polka dots, tutus and tiaras to makeup and manicures, I envisioned hair braiding and tea parties, princess dress up parties and late night giggles. I dreamed of sharing my passions of sewing and building and painting and creating with my daughter, something my boys have never showed any interest in whatsoever. I'm really not a very much girly-girl type, but there's just something about having a daughter after so many years of being outnumbered by boys that ignites these feelings inside you and causes you to dream those typical dreams.

Except nothing about Ella and our mother/daughter journey turned out to be typical. When she was diagnosed with CdLS my whole entire world shattered. Every dream I had for her, every ideal of our lives, every aspect of our future was suddenly put in jeopardy. The typical things every mother dreams of doing with her daughter and often takes for granted were suddenly and harshly ripped away from me. From the "small" dreams like talking about boys and shopping, to the bigger ones like walking her down the aisle someday or having her call me for her favorite recipe to make for her own family, I mourned the loss of those dreams sharply and painfully. Instead of wondering if she would talk to me about her crushes, I wondered if she would talk at all? Instead of being excited about sharing family recipes, I wondered if she would even be able to eat them or if she would need her NG tube the rest of her life? Instead of dreaming of helping her curl her hair before prom, I wondered if she would ever actually go to prom? The onslaught of realization of shattered dreams came daily at practically every turn in the road. Would she talk? Walk? Have friends? Live independently? Have a job? The uncertainties of Ella's life sprawled before me like a never ending desert. The things we would never do together slowly withered under the scorching sun. I felt parched-hopeless and lonely.

So the other day when JJ did something with Ella for the very first time that he probably thought nothing of, it had an entirely different effect on me. It ignited some deep emotions that I thought I had buried long ago. He did something that I, in 2 1/2 years of having a daughter have never done. 

He painted her toes. 

And I do say toes instead of toenails on purpose. See, Ella's toes are tiny. With the teensiest tiniest little nails you've ever seen. In fact, the only time her nails have ever been painted was by our sweetheart of a nurse when Ella was sick-sedated and intubated. So totally not fair.. :) I've never attempted this particular task because.. well.. her toes (and nails) are just so tiny. And I didn't think she would sit still. Or care. I guess it was one of those dreams that I hadn't even realized I had absentmindedly let die. Until now. One of those dreams that I let fade away, thinking it was perhaps one more thing we would never share together. Until I realized I was wrong. That Ella's life so far has been nothing like I feared it would be. That she is far more typical than not, that there are so many things we share as mother and daughter that I didn't realize we would be able to do.

So much of Ella's future is still uncertain to me. In fact.. sometimes I wonder if it actually makes it easier for me to deal with? Sometimes I wonder if I have really actually truly coped with Ella's diagnosis or if I just blanket myself under the uncertainty with a powerful concoction of hope and denial? Ella seems like such a sweet, typical little girl to me that it's hard for me to imagine what her life will be like down the road. The truth is? I really don't have a clue what Ella's future looks like. I have absolutely no idea if she'll be verbal or not. If she'll live independently or with us the rest of her life. I have no way of telling if she'll be able to hold down a job. Or shop for her own groceries. Or cook her own meals. I don't know if she'll be one of the ones who is able go to college and read and write.. or not. I don't know if she'll share my passion for photography or design or crafts or building things. I don't know if she'll be able to. I just don't know. So does not knowing these things make it easier for me to live day by day? Perhaps. Because I can still hope that she will do many of them? Maybe.

What I do know is this. Ella's life has surprised me almost daily. It has been full of ups and downs. Uncertainties. Heartaches, heartbreaks. From the things she has taught me, the people she has brought into my life, to the accomplishments she has made, the good in people that has been shown to me.. And I've learned that I don't have to have all the answers right now. I don't have to know exactly what she'll be like as an adult. Or exactly what she will or won't do. Because right now she is a funny, curious, silly, delightful two year old. And I only have to live this journey today. One day at a time. Not dwelling on the big things that I fear we may never do, but enjoying the small things that we can share together today. I don't have to be sure of what the future holds to be able to enjoy the beauty of today.

Like pretty pink toenails.