Monday, February 27, 2012

8 Months

Happy 8 Months Stinky Boy!

We have found you to be a LOT more active this month.  Up until recently, you would switch from crawling on all fours to your army crawl depending on the surface you were navigating.  Now you are on all fours all the time.  You've found a new level of speed on all fours, and take off towards everything we don't want you to get into every chance you get.

We have a digital scale in our bathroom, and until about a week ago, you didn't weigh enough for the scale to pick up your weight on its own.  I noticed the other day that you decided to explore on the scale and it picked up your weight! You weigh 18.2 pounds and are in size 2 diapers.  You're growing so quickly and getting HEAVY.  You still love to be held and carried as much as possible.  You've started a new thing about wanting to be carried, but wanting to lean as far forward as possible to see what's going on in the floor.  This is killing Mommy's arms, can you loosen up on that a little?

Riley is starting to find you more interesting because you will play with her. 
She is also very happy that you have teeth now.  Your bottom two teeth are sharp and thank goodness you haven't bitten her yet.  You are still working on the top two teeth, and some days they are making you miserable.  We will be so glad when those break through to give you some relief.
You are pulling up on EVERYTHING.  You are a lot braver than what your skills allow.  You have no problems standing while holding on to things, but you try to push the limit and hold on one handed.  On REALLY brave days, you let go with both hands and fall pretty quickly.  Thankfully you've never been hurt, but certainly scared a few times.
This month you also visited some of the doctor's that saved your life! It was a special moment for us, and you charmed them all with your sweet smile.  You even showed a few of them you know how to wave now!  Your waving was lots of fun for you a couple of weeks ago, but now that it is an "old trick" you tend to resist our requests to show people.

Your best friend is still Fenway, and I'm sure we will continue to see that as you grow. 
We were able to get a couple of really beautiful days this month, and even took you to the park for your very first swing ride! You LOVED it.
Granny and Pappy took you to the mall one day about a week ago for your very first carousel ride.  You seemed to enjoy it, but had a very serious, concentrated look on your face as Granny held on to you during the ride.

You've taken a new interest in Mommy's old Glow Worm, and give it lots of kisses. 
You are spending three full days at Granny's every week now, and we get two full days of fun time together! We both seem to like this schedule a lot more, since we can have more quality time instead of spending all of our time to get ready and go.  While you were at Granny's last week, you discovered a little rocking chair that you really love.  Granny told you all about where this sweet little chair came from and how your Pa Russ (the man you were named after) refinished the seat when I was little.  Somehow you managed to talk her into bringing it home with you, so you now have your very own little chair in the living room.
You are such a sweet, lovey little boy that we just can't get enough of.
We are so thrilled that you are OUR little boy to love on, play with and snuggle every day.  You are so sweet, so active, and so full of energy that we are always on our toes.  I love the way you become a giggle box when you are sleepy, and I love the way you grin really big when I get into your line of vision.  Taking your "monthly" photos is definitely a huge 2-person job now, because you won't stay still!  It's so nice and bittersweet to see how much you change each and every single day.

Love you always baby boy,

Friday, February 24, 2012

Yeah...I Did That

Part of my new job requires me to complete a bank deposit on the days that another co-worker is out of the office.  Monday was one of those days, and it was an extremely busy one as well.

I usually finalize this task around 3 so that I can have time to get to the bank before they close.  I definitely never mind having to do this, because it gives me a chance to get out of the office and enjoy the fresh air.

I drove over to the bank and pulled up in the drive thru and sat, waiting for someone to come to the window.  I noticed it was darker inside than I remembered, but I also knew that sometimes drive-thru windows are tinted.  So I sat. And sat. And sat. 

Finally I pushed the call button, which I hate doing.  Those buzzers are so annoying to the employees, but my wait was getting a little ridiculous.  I sat some more.  I checked out Twitter, checked my e-mail, sent out a few text messages, and there was still no one coming to the window.  I begin to look at the business hours, thinking maybe I had those wrong.

Lo and behold...Right on the window next to the business hours is a sign that says: "We will be closed on February 20 in observance of President's Day."


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Heart-Filled Day

Jason and I aren't really big into Valentine's Day.  It's just never been a holiday we spend much time thinking about, and I often find it extremely overrated.  However, this Valentine's Day ended up being extremely special in a very non-romantic kind of way.

A few weeks ago, I was approached by a few of the members of the staff at Centennial Heart to tell our story.  As it turns out, Centennial Heart was preparing for the unveiling of a brand new, once in a hospital's history, heart center.  My cardiologist and nurse practitioner wanted our story to be one that was captured for some promotional aspects of the new heart center.  Needless to say, we were extremely honored that they found our small story special enough to be involved in such a huge deal to this hospital.

After a lot of communication, we received the most beautiful invitation in the mail to actually attend the ribbon cutting and reception of the new Centennial Heart and Vascular Center.  We did a little bit of schedule shifting, and both Jason and I took the entire day off to celebrate such a wonderful new home for our team of doctors, nurses and surgeons.

We were so excited to see what a huge deal the city of Nashville was making out of the unveiling of this new part of the hospital.  Roads were blocked off, hundreds of people were there, including some very important people to us.

We were able to hear a few statements from the President and CEO of Centennial Medical Center, the mayor of Nashville, and a couple of special patients who hold this facility just as closely to their hearts as we do.

The speakers wanted to recognize all the nurses, surgeons, doctors, aids and other staff affiliated with Centennial Heart by standing and raising their hands.  Several raised their hands and we applauded them, and I noticed that none of the doctors (who were all right in front of us) were standing or raising their hands.  They were applauding the rest of the staff with us.  The speaker made a quick comment that said "Either our doctors and surgeons are really modest or don't listen well, because they won't stand."  Red faced, they all stood quickly, ducked their heads and sat back down.  It has always blown me away that these wonderful cardiologists and surgeons don't seem to want any recognition for their incredible work.  They always say they are just doing their jobs, but I'm not sure they realize how much their chosen profession has given to others.  They have kept families together, allowed families to begin, and given people a second chance at living beyond a heart condition.  We will forever respect them for everything.

With the ribbon cutting complete, we were able to head upstairs to the reception and take a look at the brand new, 200,000 square foot area that is designed specifically for patient and family comfort.

One of the brand new operating rooms, with a lot of really cool and new technology that will make these people even more terrific than they already were.

We were able to meet up with Dr. Riddick again, our primary cardiologist, and congratulate him on his new "home."  Sadly, our picture with Ethan isn't terrific, because Ethan just wasn't into it.  His face is hilarious!  We love Dr. Riddick.

One of the coolest parts of the day was meeting up with our surgeon from the second hospital stay.  I approached him with every intention of reminding him who I was.  He turned around, and all I managed to get out was "I don't know if you will remember me, but..." when he gave me a huge smile and said, "I know exactly who you are, and I know this little man too.  I still have his birth announcement on my desk."  He leaned in, kissed me on the cheek, shook Ethan's hand and asked us how we were.  We chatted for a while, and we were able to give him a heartfelt (no pun intended) thank you for a steady hand but his true compassion throughout the situation.  I was finally able to tell him about a moment in the OR right before he began to operate that gave me great comfort and peace to trust him to take care of our little boy.  He was kind enough to take a picture with us and ironically enough, ended up being in one of the brand new operating rooms.  How fitting!  We love Dr. Pass.

After such a sweet reunion, we ran into the lady that conducted our interview a few weeks ago, and wanted us to meet with the videographer to capture some of our emotion towards the center on camera. We were honored to oblige, although Ethan wasn't too thrilled about it.  He wiggled and squirmed through the entire interview!  I think Jason and I are both still a little blown away that a year out from our story, Centennial thinks our story will impact others enough to want to share it.  Of course we have felt that time in our lives was a huge deal, but never would we have dreamed that such a large facility would think our situation was such a big deal too.  Although I never want to relive those moments, I'm glad that those moments are being used for the good and the future of Centennial Heart.

We were so thrilled to be a part of such a big day in the history of Centennial Medical Center, and even more thrilled to get in touch with a few of our CCU nurses that we had never gotten a chance to properly thank.

After a quick stop to pick up dessert from the Cheesecake Factory, we headed home to snuggle on our little man.  And since we had somehow escaped the day without a single photo of my little love and I, we took them right before changing into our pjs.

What did you all do for Valentine's Day?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Just a Box

We had a diaper shipment delivery last week, and Jason decided to cut out a "window" out for Ethan and give him room to explore and play.  He wasn't too sure about it at first.  He hesitated crawling in, so for a while he just played on the outside.

We even put Fenway inside for some extra fun! Don't worry, he was only in there for a few seconds...Fenway wasn't a fan.


He saw the inside, but he just wasn't too sure what to do with it.  The outside though? He was very intrigued.  He could peak through the window, he could talk to his Daddy from the other side, and he could even climb on it.  It seemed as though our little man has already realized that "thinking outside the box" is completely normal and encouraged.

So we put a few of his favorite toys inside, and he quickly surpassed his hesitated and climbed in.  Surprisingly? He was just as happy inside the box as he was outside the box.

The inside of our boxes are familiar, they're filled with things we know, things we love, things we are comfortable with.  What's wrong with staying inside our box once in a while?  What's wrong with keeping our thoughts centered on things we know, things we love, and things we are comfortable with? Isn't it just as enjoyable to spend a little bit of time inside our boxes without worrying about what we are missing on the outside?

Of course, the outside of our boxes has lots to offer too, although can we classify it as "better?"  Is is always better to be thinking outside our boxes?

We must keep going, we must keep our minds working.  We can go in our boxes one way, and come out another.  Even if our exit was intended to be a window, sometimes we can make it a door if we try hard enough.  Whether on the inside or the outside, we never really forget the contents of our boxes.  So maybe, just maybe, we can take those things we know and love outside the box with us.  Sometimes they are our greatest inspiration.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Breast Feeding Failure Series: The Need to Explain

It's funny to do a series of posts to explain why you aren't doing something for your child.  Does it change anything? Of course not.  Am I trying to prove something? Not really.

I started thinking about this series of posts when I ran into a friend of mine at a store around Christmas time.  She also has a little one and asked me how I was doing with nursing.  She asked in a completely encouraging, non-judgemental way, but immediately I felt the need to explain myself.  Instead of just responding "Oh, we're formula feeding now," and leaving it at that, I felt a burden to explain our journey.  Granted, running into someone in the store at Christmas time isn't exactly the most convenient time or place to discuss such personal information.  However, that feeling of guilt made me start pondering on our nursing journey.  Why do we feel the need to explain ourselves on the very personal choices we've made as parents?  I often find that we feel the need to explain ourselves because it isn't the final outcome that tells our story.  The outcome doesn't explain our journey.

We knew what went wrong.  We know the mistakes we made that resulted in formula feeding, and we've come to terms with it.  However, over the past few months I have run into other new mothers that have had similar experiences/struggles with nursing that we did.  So instead of feeling the need to "explain" ourselves, I hoped that someone else can relate.  There are plenty of nursing success stories out there to find, and they are incredibly encouraging to new mothers that want to breast feed.  For some reason, no one speaks out on the "failure" stories.  There isn't much out there on how things can go wrong, how to get back on track, and how to handle different obstacles.

Speaking with one of my favorite other bloggers, she has chosen to do the same thing.  She too struggled with nursing and has recently begun supplementing formula, and struggled with the feelings of failure.  She's speaking out too.  After many discussions with her, we have collectively come to several conclusions.

1. Troubleshoot as early as possible. 
2. Seek help from any resources you have access to in your local area when struggling with supply.
3. Feeding your baby is the most important thing, even if that means formula feeding.  While it is easy to fall in the trap of feeling guilty for not breast feeding, we do what is best for our children. 

It's ok to admit our failures.  I'm ok with admitting failures.  I don't think calling myself a "failure" in one aspect of motherhood makes me a bad mother.  I don't think saying that I failed at nursing means that I've ruined my child's future or discounts the time I spent trying.   I use the term lightly because at some point, we all fail.  No matter the parenting struggle you go through, it's the willingness to shake it off, move on, and figure out what's next that make us who we are.