I received the following email yesterday:
Subject line: Anonymous Gift from One of your Blog Readers
Hi Lindsay, we received a very kind email from one of your readers mentioning that she would really love for you to get a new blog design (she said you mentioned it on one of your previous posts). We would love to help make that dream come true for you, so we've attached a Designer Blogs Gift Certificate that you can use on any custom, premade, or add-on order at Designer Blogs. To place an order, please fill out one of our order forms on our site and be sure to attach your gift certificate to your order to redeem it (you'll need it saved to your computer in order to do this). We want you to know that we think Ayden is such a beautiful little boy. Our hearts break for your loss but we hope this gift will bring you a little extra happiness amidst your grief. We look forward to working with you!
Thank you doesn't begin to express my gratitude. So, whoever you are.....imagine me giving you a huge hug and saying thank you half a million times! You're awesome, and I'm so humbled by your generosity.
Mary Beth has written a book (much like I would like to someday...) about their experience and what God has taught/is teaching them. She reminds me so much of myself - the honesty and transparency. Her words sounded so familiar - like these:
This week has been pretty uneventful, which is great considering an eventful week this month has meant one of us being sick.
Monday, we took Collen to see a pediatric neurologist. Our pediatrician suggested it just to let us "talk out" our concerns with someone who is more familiar with SIDS. Turns out, she wasn't all that familiar, especially with current literature. So, I guess we kind of educated her. At any rate, it did help to have someone listen to our concerns. Collen was evaluated, vitals checked and such...including his weight, and he is now a whopping 18.2 pounds. Big boy... He is sitting up without support, but he is still working on steadying himself. That head gets heavy! He still doesn't like tummy time, but he's getting better at staying on his stomach to play some. He'd much rather sit up and play, but he can't be left alone to sit up by himself, yet. The neurologist said that we had done everything we could do as far as ruling things out. We did the EKG, which was normal, he's on the apnea monitor, we keep a close watch on him, none of the risk factors apply. So, she said that in Collen she sees a happy, bright, healthy baby (to which I wanted to reply, "That's what you would have said about Ayden, too.")
With each passing day, I do breathe a bit easier, but as a mom I know that it isn't just SIDS that terrifies me. Anything can happen, and we can lose him, too. I try not to think about it too much, but really...what parent doesn't?
We've had a lot of visitors this week! My parents came, which is always fun! They try to visit at least once a week. My mom often comes to spend the night one night a week (I always look forward to this....girl time is much needed when you're surrounded by boys!). We went to dinner with them, and my sister joined us. We had some friends over last night. I enjoy cooking for people. I used to avoid it, but now that I have the Pioneer Woman's cookbook, I am a cooking fiend!! I tried out her mac and cheese last night, and it was good. Next time, i won't use the seasoning salt though. I like to keep mac and cheese simple - don't mess with mac and cheese too much if you don't have to! Then, today, my cousin dropped by (and brought me lunch!!) with his son, who is 9 months old. I was amazed at how far apart Miller and Collen were developmentally and then also amazed at how much Collen is going to change in 4 short months. The first year is just phenomenal!
I'm trying my hand at making baby food, and it is going wonderfully! So far, I have made carrots, applesauce, and butternut squash. I made the squash today, and I have to say.....I did good. It smelled so tasty, I had to have a taste! It was scrumptious (that was the word-of-the-day on Sesame Street yesterday....haha...we watch a lot of PBS these days)! Collen thought it was good, too! So far, he has had the foods I've mentioned along with peas, sweet potatoes, and bananas. He likes all of them, except bananas, and the peas take some coaxing. My mom made his sweet potatoes a while back and froze them; that has been a god-send because we haven't had to go out and buy much for making his food, yet.
Collen is eating solids twice a day - once in the morning and once in the evening - totalling around 4 ounces a day. I think he would eat another "meal" in between those two, but I know that right now milk is still what is most important. I may phase in the 3rd "meal" at 6 months old.
I'm still working on building my supply back up. My midwife prescribed Reglan just to help give me a boost. Being sick back-to-back really hurt me, so hopefully this will help get things back in gear. For now, I'm supplementing wtih formula until everything gets back to where it needs to be.
So....that's our week. Tomorrow, we are going to work on Ayden's garden. We have had such a bitterly cold winter that we haven't been able to get out there and prune it back. I feel terrible for letting it go this long, but with Collen, it's difficult because we can't just take him out in the cold like that. Tomorrow, though, is supposed to be a beautiful day!! Jeremy's parents are also coming to visit tomorrow, so it's going to be a full day!
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.
Check it out! It's the cutest thing ever! (How can it not be?)
Boy, did he hit the nail on the head when he gave us Collen.
I was giving Collen a bath tonight, and he turned to look up at me. In that moment, I literally gasped. He looked just like Ayden. The picture to the right of my blog (the blog button) flashed through my mind. The exact same face was looking back at me. And then, as quickly as it happened, it was gone. Looking at Collen, you wouldn't see a strong resemblence, but there are moments - a turn of the head, a glance, definitely the smile - traces of Ayden shine through, and I am so thankful for that.
Some days, I stare at Collen in disbelief....."He's really here..." 5 months with him, and I still shake my head and say, "It's so hard to believe." I'm actually beginning to be able to envision a future with Collen....seeing him grow up....reaching all the milestones we will miss out on with Ayden. I have had my guard up since last December, when I found out I was pregnant, just waiting for him to be taken away.
When you lose a child, your heart is ripped right out of you. It's hard for me to express how it felt/feels to me, specifically, other than to say that it is the most horendous, tortorous, heart-wrenching pain you can ever imagine feeling. To say it hurts....no...doesn't do it justice. It never goes away, and it hurts just as much today as it did THAT day.
It has almost been 17 months. 17 months without Ayden. It feels like a lifetime has gone by. Most days, I feel like I'm living an out of body experience.....a double life. I don't think that will ever go away. I go through each day feeling the sting of guilt that is normal to feel. I feel guilty for not writing a blog about Ayden as often as I used to. I feel guilty for trying to see Ayden in Collen. Guilt over not visiting Ayden's spot as often as I used to. And guilty for not tending to his garden just because it has been so cold. Guilt because I am not grieving as heavily as I once was. Guilt because my memories are starting to fade. But, all of this is normal, and I realize that, so believe me....I don't beat myself up to much. I just try to find the balance.
It's hard not to grieve what we're missing out on with Ayden. Sure, we will (God-willing) see those milestones reached with Collen, but those are Collen's. Ayden's would have been specifically his. And we're learning that they would have been very different children, and that makes me even more sad....realizing that we really are missing so much. I feel certain that Ayden would have been quiet, reserved, contemplative, observant, witty, and so, so loving. Collen is loud, curious, has a short attention span, picky, funny and silly, sweet, and just as loving as his brother. In case you're wondering - Ayden = Jeremy and Collen = Lindsay. Our personalities are so opposite, and it's crazy to see them mirrored back through our boys! Jeremy made a funny observation. We play "Where's the baby?" with Collen like we did with Ayden. Hold him up in front of the mirror, and watch him smile at himself in the mirror. Well, Jeremy was showing Collen the light switch and how it turns the light off and on. Ayden would have been more interested in the game and would have just taken for granted that the switch turns the light on...and just move on. Collen wants to touch the switch and look at it, almost as if he's thinking, "What does that do?" I am very much like that....always wondering what a random button does, or why something is put together the way it is....and I always have to touch it. Ayden would have been the one to appreciate how things are put together and how they work (like Jeremy). Collen will be the one who has to take things apart to see how they work but will lost interest before putting it back together (like me).
I love finding traces of Ayden in our lives. I love that we "know" what he would have been like at Collen's age instead of saying, "I wonder if...". He had a personality so unique to him, and we were able to see so much of it in such a short amount of time, and I know that was God.
I've read a lot of stories about SIDS children lately, and one thing has stood out in all of them. They all developed faster and reached milestones before they should have. I thought it was just us; just Ayden. But, I'm learning that a lot of SIDS babies are this way. Makes me wonder a lot of things that I don't have time to detail here. From a mother's perspective, it just makes me glad I was able to experience so much with Ayden in such a short time.
I may not write about him as often, but believe me....that little boy has my heart, and I miss him more and more every day. Because he's my first child, there's so much that is just his and mine. I'll never stop longing for him, aching for him, wishing he was still here, and I'll never, ever stop loving him - the love grows deeper and deeper with each passing day. And I'll never stop anxiously awaiting the day we'll be together again.
Today, I'm 5 months old!
Mommy says I'm such a big boy, but I sure feel little compared to all you grownups.
I'm doing all sorts of fun things these days.
I love to jabber away saying, "ba ba ba ba" or "ga ga ga ga." I use my big boy voice for those. I bring out my baby voice for mommy because she loves to hear me coo. Can you believe Mommy understands what I'm saying? I can't help but let out big smiles when she says, "goooooo!" She's smarter than I thought she was.
Playtime is my favorite. I'm finally tall enough to bounce around in my exersaucer. That thing is a blast! And if I'm not playing in my exersaucer, I'm playing with mommy or daddy. They're so much fun!
My second favorite thing? Eating! I'm still getting milk from mommy, but now I get to eat this neat stuff called food! mmmmmmm So far, I've had carrots, sweet potatoes, apples, bananas (yuck!), and peaches (double yuck!). I'll have to give bananas and peaches another try, but boy did they taste funny the first time around. I eat solids twice a day, and mommy thinks I could probably eat them three times a day. I'm a growing boy....what can I say?
Mommy thinks I'm weighing about 17.5 pounds and measuring close to 27 inches. I have noticed that I'm taller because my feet touch the bottom of my exersaucer now! I use them to bounce and bounce and bounce. Speaking of feet....aren't they amazing? I love to stare at and play with mine! And just when I think they're gone, they show up again!
I like to suck my thumb sometimes, but I still like my paci best. Mommy says these things called teeth may be coming soon. Not quite sure what that means, but I guess I'll know once they show up.
I love my mommy and daddy, and my grandparents, and my aunts and uncle(s). (That (s) is for my honorary Uncle DJ. I can't leave him out!)
This growing up thing isn't so hard. I enjoy learning new things every day! And spending all my time with mommy and daddy makes every day the funnest day ever! (Oh...mommy says funnest isn't a word. My bad. She says she'll teach me grammar later...whatever that is.)
Bye, bye everybody!
Even without the fever, I'm still feeling pretty weak. My throat is so sore, and my head feels so achey it makes me dizzy. If I can get past those two things, I'll be back to 100%. And I hope that comes soon because I miss holding my baby!
As a sidenote....I really need to update the design of my blog. I want to incorporate both my boys and give my blog a fresher look. Any suggestions for good blog designers? I can't afford anything really expensive, but I do want it to look professional. I like the designer I used for this design, but I don't think I want to go the "scrap paper background look this time. I want something more contemporary like this: http://brunson-familyblog.blogspot.com/
I don't these people (haha), but I liked their layout. I would opt for either a rotating banner or a flash banner instead of the scrapbook design. I like it looks organized and there isn't clutter. I need less clutter in my life. So, we'll see. If I can scrape the funds together, a new blog will be in my future. After paying for my antibiotics....it'll have to be next month. haha
Hope you're all having a good day. Wash your hands, then germ-x them, and don't breathe around other people. This stuff is no joke!
I woke up two days ago feeling a lot of pressure in my head, feeling a little achey, but just assumed it was because I was exhausted from a busy weekend. Yesterday, I woke up feeling the same way, but this time my throat was swollen. I took some aleve, and that seemed to help. Well, I woke up this morning, and my throat was so sore, and my body was achey. I knew it felt like the flu, but I was praying that it wasn't. My fever spiked up this afternoon, so I went in to the doctor where he confirmed that it is indeed the flu. This is no fun...at all. I can't be around Collen, I can't nurse because of the antibiotics, and poor Collen isn't understanding why Mommy can't hold him. :( I was in tears on the way home from the doctor because I knew it meant I couldn't be around him as much. My sister is coming to help and so is my mom. Hopefully, the antibiotics will kick this mess out quickly. Please pray that it does!
Other than that....not much is going on around here. I've been working on my dilemma that I wrote about in my last post, and I'm happy to report that things are improving! I've taken a lot of your advice (thank you so much!), and it's helping. I'm still giving Collen formula once or twice a day just so I can keep working on my supply.
We have learned that Collen really likes carrots! He's getting really good at eating and is keeping more food in his mouth with each "meal." Tomorrow, I'm moving on to sweet potatoes. I accidentally gave him peaches tonight, thinking it was squash. It was some baby food my mom had made and frozen and it wasn't labeled. It was yellow (and since I can't smell too well at the moment thanks to a lingering head cold) so I assumed it was squash. Nope...peaches. I didn't want to give him fruit yet (other than bananas) because of the acidity, but he didn't seem to mind them too much.
Collen has also become quite talkative these days. Over the weekend he started saying ga-ga-ga-ga (sounds like da-da-da-da). He will mimick you after you say it - so cute! He's also squealing a lot more and has perfected his ah-goos. He smiles so big it takes up his entire face, and he has mastered fitting his whole fist in his mouth. He's back to sleeping through the night, but I think we are embarking on teething, so that may not last long. He will be 5 months old on Saturday - I can hardly believe it!
We recently put pictures up on the walls in our house. We put up pictures of Ayden and Collen and some of us with our boys. While looking at the pictures of us with Ayden, I told Jeremy that it didn't seem real. I look at us and don't even recognize those people....those happy, carefree people. Grief has changed us so much, and the past year and a half has seemed so long. I look at pictures of us with Ayden and pictures of us with Collen, and it's as if I'm seeing two worlds colliding. And just when I'm feeling really depressed about that, I look at our pictures with Ayden and realize that that is what Heaven is going to be for us.
So...not much going on, but I'm enjoying every second of it.
The only down-side to all of this is that we're almost definitely going to have to switch Collen over to formula. :( A couple of weeks before he got sick, I noticed a drastic decrease in my milk supply. (If this is TMI...just skip ahead) I pump when I can, but let's be real....an almost 5-month-old can be demanding with time and very unpredictable. I don't have time to sit around and pump all day. I haven't changed anything about my diet, so that's not it. I knew I could talk to a doctor and get a prescription, but you can only be on those for 2 weeks. So, I opted to try Fenugreek, which is an herbal supplement that aids lactation. It worked for the first week I was on it, but I've been taking it since then, and it isn't helping so much. My goal was to make it to 6 months with the nursing, but I don't think I'll make it that far. Yesterday, I nursed him every hour he was awake......really. And he still acted like he was hungry. I pumped just to see how much I was making, and I struggled to get out 4 ounces. Today, it was all I could do to get 2! It makes me so sad. I have really enjoyed feeding him. It was something I missed out on with Ayden (I regret that every day). With our next one, the goal is to make it to one year.
Today, we ventured out in the ice (wasn't so bad) for Collen's EKG. We scheduled it just to rule underlying heart conditions out. It has always been a concern of ours after losing Ayden because so little is known about what really causes SIDS to occur....and not being able to bring a heart beat back is a main factor. His EKG, in the words of the nurse, was "beautiful." He didn't enjoy it so much though. He was a prince while they put the sticky things on him and hooked him up, but once they needed to get reading, he wasn't so cooperative. They tried distracting him with bubbles...his hippo lovey....making silly faces and noises....aaahhh why did I forget his paci???? We finally got it, though, and it looked great. We meet with a neurologist next.
We have some family coming in this weeked, so the rest of the week will be spent cleaning, catching up on my online class, and cooking. Looking forward to it!
Pictures from the past week:
Thursday, Collen was doing a lot better. More alert, more playful, but still a little pitiful, especially when his fever would kick back in. I spent Thursday morning cleaning up poop (he has diarhea on top of all of this), medicine (because he spits it out), and puke. I'm trying to sanitize his toys and such as we go through each day. Once this is out of his system, I'll have a major sanitizing job ahead of me. All in all, Thursday was a better day. His appetite was better, and he seemed to feel better.
This morning, he woke up happy and fever-free! He was kicking away while I changed his diaper, and he was all smiles. He still isn't eating great, but he's hydrated and giving me enough wet diapers, so I know he's fine. He still has a congested cough, and I'm still suctioning that little nose, but at least the fever was down this morning. He seemed like himself, and I haven't seen that side of him for a week.
So, hopefully, we're on the road to recovery. Bronchiolitis will stick around for a while, so we'll be dealing with the cough and nose issues for another week probably. I'm keeping him home as much as possible because of the nature of Bronchiolitis and how it affects the airways. It can easily turn into Pneumonia. So, he and I won't be attending the wedding this Saturday. I hate to miss out on it because I was so looking forward to it and seeing members of Jeremy's family who we haven't seen in years. However, the goal right now is to get Collen well. I'm a bit worried because we're supposed to be getting some major snow/ice Monday night into Tuesday. I'm praying that our power stays on because if it doesn't, and all that cold, dry airs gets in here, it could really agitate the Bronchiolitis and make it much, much worse. Hopefully, everything will be fine....I'm going to pray that it will be.
Just wanted to give you guys an update. Thank you for praying and checking in on Collen. :) You guys are awesome.
I also got a new crock pot for Christmas. The handle on the lid of mine had broken, which made using it very interesting. Since I got a new crock pot, I decided I needed some crock pot recipes. So, my handy dandy Nook just happened to find me one for $0.99. You can't beat that! And since we have a little one under the weather, and I feel like I may be getting what he has, I decided basic Chicken Noodle Soup was in order for tonight's meal. I already had most of what I needed, so my Nook and I did a little prepping today.
These pictures would have been staged with nicely diced carrots....and my other ingredients laid out ever-so-nicely, but....yeah...I was rushing to get all of this together while Collen snoozed/snorted away. So just imagine a nice spread and a clean stovetop.....
Tuesday - to the doctor again because of vomiting, temp of 100.7, and reluctance to eat. Told to continue breathing treatments every four-six hours, keep suctioning nose, viral....no meds, but Tylenol okay.
Wednesday - 6am - fever of 101.4 after giving Tylenol two hours earlier. Off we go to the doctor again. Yellow discharge from nose, still congested (this is day 5 of all of this mind you...), coughing, lethargic, so, so sad...just needs Mommy to hold him and snuggle him, diarhea is back. Doctor prescribed Amoxicillin because his left ear is looking a little red...may be beginnings of an ear infection. Mom agrees we should be proactive and try to knock this thing out....
(Met a blog reader and her little boy while at the doctor's office. Always a nice surprise!)
The past 5 days have been crazy around here. I recruited my mom to come help me yesterday because the house was quickly becoming a disaster zone. I don't mind putting everything aside to make sure Collen is okay, BUT I'm not going to have a healthy baby with a filthy house. So, my mom came, and I was able to do some much needed cleaning (and she did far more cleaning than she should have as well....).
Collen is trying so hard to be a happy boy, but he just feels miserable. It breaks my heart. Luckily, he's sleeping well at night. The past couple of nights, he's only gotten up once in the night, but by 6am, if he hasn't had any Tylenol (when the fever was come and go), he's awake and just so sad. So, that's when I hold him as he sleeps and just pray for him to get better.
Our big obstacle is that he HATES anything to go into his mouth other than breastmilk. Berry flavors...grape flavors...and come on, who doesn't LOVE "the pink medicine" (as I used to call it as a child....I got sick a lot)! None of it fools him. Unfortunately, he now has THREE oral "meds" a day - his Vitamin D supplement (which he is getting much better about...he tolerates this one best), Tylenol (grape flavored), and now his antibiotic - Amoxicillin (yummmm). When we got home from the doctor's office, he had a temp of 101.3, so I gave him some more Tylenol as he screamed and pulled away ( :( it makes me so sad...), and then I figured...well...might as well get the antibiotic in there. Well, that didn't go so well. He ended up vomiting it all back up. And I looked on helplessly wishing I could just make it all better. I did manage to get a breathing treatment in while he napped in the swing. He has to be upright for it anyway, and he can't sleep flat on his back, so that was a win-win.
Hopefully, we will be on the road to recovery SOON. We have a wedding in the family this Saturday, and I have a feeling Collen and I will have to sit it out. Hints have been dropped about me leaving him with a certain grandma so I can go to the wedding, but I still have to be able to "feed" him, and I'm not quite sure how I'd work out a pumping session while attending a wedding. Plus, when I was sick...I only ever wanted one of my parents...so with this being his first big illness, I think I need to be with him. I'm so bummed about missing the wedding, but I can't take any chances. After his antibiotic is finished up and he's well, we'll be back on the go.
Please continue to keep him in your prayers. He's being a trooper (and so am I).
I know his throat is hurting him by the way his cough sounds. I hate that I can't do anything for him. We have the vaporizer running, the motrin ready to go since he continues to run a low fever, lots of snuggles ready to give out, and the saline drops have become a staple. Hopefully he kicks this thing really quickly! Please say a prayer for him...and thanks so much for the comments and for checking in.
I haven't been able to do much of anything since Christmas....except hold Collen. He has been out of sorts since the day after Christmas, and now he is sick. Congested cough, stuffy nose, slight temperature (99.7...I don't care what the doctors say...it's enough to make you feel miserable), and 2 new symptoms today - diarrhea and slight wheezing. I'm taking him in tomorrow. I know he isn't running a "fever", but the wheezing and diarrhea are worrying me, so he's going in to the doctor just in case. I'm not about to risk him getting RSV and being hospitalized. I've had about 2 weeks worth of restless nights with me averaging about 4 hours a night. Last night, I think I managed to get 3 hours of sleep. Hopefully, once we kick whatever this is out, we'll be back to normal. PLUS...I think some teeth are trying to pop through. Whew....so exhausted (but so happy to be!)
Happy New Year!