Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Whoa! Whaaa??

This is happening, people.

Soon.

Just don't tell the kids...




Posted from my beloved iPhone

Monday, October 29, 2012

Unhealthy Obsession

I'm not sure when a pregnancy craving turns into an unhealthy obsession, but we need to talk about these:


Breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, bedtime snack... I can't stop with the crazy Sour Cream & Onion potato chips! Seriously, I eat them to the point of almost making myself sick. That's just not right.

My other go-to obsession these days is this:


Super healthy, right? Ya, so it's like pure sugar diluted in water, but it's oh so yummy! I could seriously exist on this combo of chips & lemonade...

Weird, right?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

My Birthday Boy!

I cannot believe this handsome little boy of mine is THREE! We've had a fun birthday weekend and it's been such a joy to celebrate the amazingness of this sweet little miracle of mine!

On his actual birthday (yesterday, 10/26), we started the day with birthday pancakes! He wasn't completely awake yet, but was cooperating considering there was chocolate milk involved...


A yummy blueberry birthday pancake for my 3-year-old!


Sorry for the bad lighting, but here's my big boy, ready to blow out the candles on his pancake!


We enjoyed a fun (albeit busy) Friday and enjoyed a little family pizza party for dinner. Chase was able to open a few gifts from Mommy & Daddy before bedtime.

This morning (Saturday), was PARTY TIME!!! We had a yummy spread of food and some cute decorations, which I forgot to take pictures of (doh!). Chase opened his presents, and unfortunately our camera was on a crappy setting so all of them turned out ridiculously blurry and totally unusable. FAIL!

I was able to get a pic of his birthday banner I made, though. I love that I can swap out the Thomas images to reuse the banner for future birthdays.



After presents, it was time for cake and ice cream! We prepared to sing to the boy and he assumed the following position (LOL!):


Silly boy!!!


Yay! Singing is over... time to make a wish!


And blow out the candle!


Yummy cake!


So here's a little pic of the cupcakes. Chase requested chocolate cupcakes and I paired them with a delicious vanilla bean buttercream. Apparently they were a hit! Unfortunately my lack of sweet tooth these days means I didn't try one myself, but I think they sure were pretty cute!


I also made some fun water bottles but again, forgot to take pictures of them until after the party. But here are some empties!


So fun and so cute!


After the party it was, of course, nap time! Yay! All four of us took a nice nap before heading over to our neighborhood's fall festival in the pool parking lot that is literally across the street from our house. The kids got to dress up in their halloween costumes that mommy made for them!

LO the unicorn and Chase as Mickey Mouse!


I thought it was hilarious to see LO try to bob for apples... although I think that unicorn horn might've held her back a bit.


Not to be outdone by big sis, Chase took his turn at the bobbing, although he was much more interested in using his hands since the biting part turned out to be so tough.


All in all, it's been a wonderful weekend of celebrating this special miracle that God brought into our lives 3 years ago. I can't help but think of all he's been through and how he's had to fight over and over again to be here with us and I can't thank God enough! We are so truly blessed by this child!

I never want to forget all he's been through and I've reminded myself again today by watching the dedication video I put together for him that shows the journey we've been on. He is a fighter, a miracle and my very own hero.

Happy 3rd Birthday, Chase! I love you bunches, sweet boy!

Friday, October 26, 2012

HAPPY 3rd BIRTHDAY, CHASE!

HAPPY 3rd BIRTHDAY, CHASE!


We are so very grateful to have our son with us and not a day goes by that we don't thank God for His hand of healing and protection on our sweet boy. I am still beside myself that we have been blessed with this kiddo in our lives and that we're celebrating his 3rd birthday TODAY! I'm so in love with this boy and am blown away by his incredibly amazing awesomeness!

As I make the last few party preparations for his big celebration tomorrow, I can't help but think about his birth and the unbelievable first few weeks of his life. He's been fighting to survive since he entered this world and he is so very strong... he's my hero and a living, breathing miracle walking around in front of my eyes! His birth was obviously so very different than LO's, and I wanted to take a moment this morning to reflect on what my family experienced during his first week of life.

Also, I wanted to say THANK YOU to those of you who have loved us, supported us, cared about us, prayed for us, and been there for us during this tumultuous journey God placed us on. Without your love and support, I just don't know where we'd be, so THANK YOU!!!



Thursday, October 29, 2009

Some Updates... Finally!

Whew! What a week it's been! My sweet baby boy arrived on Monday and our lives have definitely changed dramatically! I fell in love with my Chase at first sight! He's perfect! I'll write the labor/delivery post eventually, but right now I'll let you know what's happened since his big arrival.

After Chase was born, he was whisked away to a stabilization room so the NICU staff could get a line put in his umbilical cord and do all of their standard tests.


They finished with me in the operating room and took me back to my labor room to recover. About an hour or so later, the NICU team brought Chase to my room so I could see him for the first time.


I also got to hold him for about 15 minutes!


It was pure bliss!!! I was so happy to finally hold my precious son in my arms after getting to know him over the past 9 months. I wanted to let hubs hold him for a minute or two, but I just couldn't let go! Before I knew it, they had to take him up to the PCICU to get him settled.

Later that night, we got to go up to the PCICU to see him. He looked so beautiful!



On Tuesday, we were told that they wanted to intubate Chase (put in a breathing tube) not because he was having trouble breathing, but because he needed help balancing levels in his blood (Note: I don't have a medical degree so I'm sure I sound like I have no clue what I'm talking about, mostly because I don't).

Basically he had too much lactic acid in his blood and putting in a breathing tube would help him with this. They also put in an ng tube (it goes through his nose into his stomach) so they could give him some nutrition directly into his stomach. It was really hard to see him with the tubes in and not be able to see his cute little cheeks! But knowing it was what Chase needed made it a little bit easier for me to accept.

Wednesday they told us they'd want to take Chase to the cath lab to put in a PICC line in his arm. The reason he needed this was so they could give him better nutrition through the PICC line than what they were already putting in through his umbilical line. It was planned for 2nd case this morning, which we were told would be around 10 or 11 AM. Imagine my surprise when hubs' phone rang at 8:15 AM this morning with a call from the PCICU requesting our authorization to do the procedure. Apparently the 1st case canceled and we were moved up. This meant Chase went into the cath lab around 9 AM and we weren't there to see him before the procedure! I was heartbroken, but I knew he was in good hands. I checked in later to find out how he was doing, and he did a great job! When we got to the hospital to see him after the procedure, he was still completely sedated, but he looked so good!!! It's hard to see him laying there, not able to move, but I loved touching him and whispering to him that I was there with him!

Hubs and I met with one of the surgeons last night, Dr. Hsia. We discussed the surgery schedule and were told that Dr. Bradley, the surgeon we originally wanted to do Chase's Norwood surgery, would be out of town Thursday through Monday, returning on Tuesday of next week. This means the earliest he could do Chase's surgery would be Wednesday, November 4th. The typical "comfort level" for performing a Norwood procedure is within 7 days from birth. The other option we have would be for Dr. Hsia to do the surgery. Ultimately it came down to timing, which we looked to Chase to determine what would be best. Based on his "numbers" (essentially they are playing "mother nature" by trying to keep his numbers at a safe level), it seems as though it'd be better to do his surgery sooner rather than later. There are two main reasons for this: 1) One of the medications he's on (Prostaglandin) that's used to keep his PDA open, is essentially "marinating" his tissue, meaning the longer he's on this medication before surgery, the more difficult it will be to operate because the tissue will be very soft and pliable; and 2) His body is pumping more blood to his lungs than to the rest of his body, meaning his vital organs (brain, heart, etc.) are not getting enough oxygenated blood. Obviously he needs to keep these organs safe and prevent any permanent damage, so the sooner we do the surgery, the better.

Hubs and I decided it would be best for Chase for us to go ahead with the surgery on Monday morning. He'll be taken back around 6AM and should be finished by 3PM. The good news is I'll definitely be able to hold him Sunday night and/or Monday morning. WOOT! The bad news is I'm so very scared! I can't even put in words how hard it is to know I'll be handing my newborn child over to a surgeon to save his life! Please be praying for us as we prepare for this extremely difficult day! I know God is in complete control and is working out His will for Chase's life before our very eyes!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

3 Years

First of all, THANK YOU to everyone for the well wishes regarding our little announcement earlier this week. It goes without saying that we are extremely excited! I'll post more details soon -- I promise!

But for now I wanted to share a little glimpse into our lives from 3 years ago. We were preparing for a trip to Charleston as we awaited the arrival of our son, Chase, who was prenatally diagnosed with a complex congenital heart defect (CHD) called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS). He would require surgery within his first week of life, a second surgery around 4 to 6 months and a third surgery around age 3 to 4. It was an incredibly difficult time for us as we looked into an unknown future, not knowing whether our son would survive.

I only wish I knew then what I know now -- our miracle son would be celebrating his 3rd birthday!!! It's so hard to believe after all we've been through that we'd be where we are today! We have been so blessed by this sweet boy of ours and I cannot praise God enough for bringing him into our lives!



Saturday, October 17, 2009

Not-So-Inspirational Saturday (Sorry!)

It's amazing how much can change in less than 24 hours. It seems like I was in a good place yesterday. I knew what was ahead of me for the weekend -- packing, preparing, finishing up the "to do" list before heading to Charleston. I was starting to get that anxious/nervous feeling as it seems our journey is just a few steps away!

Then late last night, I found it difficult to motivate myself to start getting things done. As I lounged on the bed watching hubs pack up his clothes, I started to get overwhelmed. A feeling came over me that I truly haven't dealt with up to this point. It was an emotional response that's been buried in the depths of the back of my mind for so very long:

I don't want to do this.

I don't.

When I should be overjoyed at the pending arrival of my baby, I'm instead filled with uncertainty.

When I should be packing a simple hospital bag for a day or two, I'm instead packing my entire closet, LO's clothes -- even her bed! -- and several months' worth of things!

When I should be looking forward to holding my precious newborn baby in my arms, I'm instead resentful of the fact that I won't get to do so for who knows how long!

When I should be thinking of a brief hospital stay before bringing my baby home to our family, I'm instead concentrating on how to handle sending my baby with a medical team to open his heart up and perform an 8 hour surgery.

When I should be installing an infant car seat a week or so before my due date, I'm instead wondering if I'll even have the joy of bringing a baby home in that car seat at all.

When I should be worried about bringing home a newborn, getting him onto a schedule and trying to find the time to sleep AND do laundry, I'm instead worried about the countless weeks/months I'll be leaving my baby in the hospital at night, traveling to and from the hospital and splitting my time with my 2-year-old at a temporary home while my heart is aching for my precious son who will be fighting for his life.

When I should be excited about LO meeting her baby brother for the first time, I'm instead overwhelmed at the thought that he might not survive through all of this, and I have no idea how to make a 2-year-old understand that her baby brother is in Heaven and won't be coming home with us.

I don't want to leave the comfort of my home.

I don't want to pack almost every belonging into a box and drive 4 hours away from my family and friends.

I don't want to be forced to make a new home for my family in another city during an already tumultuous time.

I don't want to fear the outcome.

I don't want to fear the unknown.


I don't want to lose my son.


Yes, I fully realize God is in control of our circumstances and He has a perfect plan for my family's life.

But I'm still human.

I feel emotions.

I have fears.

But I will continue to look to Him to lift me up when I'm down.

To give me the strength I need with each new day.

To provide healing to my precious son.

To see my family through the most difficult time in our lives.

He is good. And He loves us. And I know He will help me do what has to be done over the next several weeks. I'm so grateful for his faithfulness. I'm so blessed to rest in Him, even when I'm feeling not-so-inspired.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Friday, October 19, 2012

A 'Lil Check-up

Thursday we had the joy of taking a family road trip to Charleston for Chase to have a follow-up appointment with his ENT doctor concerning his ear tubes we had put in last year. The trip was uneventful and the appointment itself was probably one of the quickest of its kind! While our appointment time wasn't until 1:45 PM, we made excellent time traveling to Charleston and, even after hitting Panera in N. Charleston for lunch, we arrived at MUSC Children's Hospital by 1:00 PM. We decided to head in early in hopes that we'd be seen early and get done early, and it worked out very well, even with his big sister in tow this time around.

We did the initial screening with the nurse and were pleased with the results. Chase is up to 32 lbs. and 39" tall! His o2 sats were around 88, which is really great! Luckily they didn't need his BPs so we were able to get through the screening without much crying.

See?

Dr. H had her resident check him out before she came in to see him, and the resident was not able to get a good look at the right tube, but was able to verify the left tube was still in place. Dr. H came in shortly after with the same findings. She said there was a bit of wax in the right ear that blocked her view of the ear canal, so she used one of her fancy "skewers" (that's my word for them, not hers btw) to remove an embarrassing amount of ear wax from the boy's right ear. Once that was out, she could clearly see that the right tube had already fallen out. So we're half way there! We'll go back in 6 months for our next follow-up to check and see if the left tube is still in place or not. Good times!

Next month, Chase has his 6-month follow-up with his local cardiologist on 11/13. For some reason, both hubs and I have the "parental intuition/feeling" that he'll give us the ol' "see ya in another 6 months" scenario since, other than his weight and age, there are no other factors that indicate Chase is ready for his final scheduled heart surgery, the Fontan. Typically we should start to see a decrease in his oxygen saturation, a significant decrease in his energy level, and an increased blueish tint to his lips and nail beds. Like basically to the point where he just doesn't have the energy to even climb up the stairs at bedtime. We're definitely not there yet. Although it's impossible to plan/control/schedule anything relating to our son's heart and his upcoming surgery, hubs and I are both assuming it will be scheduled for late Summer 2013. NOT something we're looking forward to, obviously, but something we've always known would be in our future and definitely something we're looking forward to being on the other side of with our strong and amazing little fighter of a son.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Remember Me?

I can't believe it's been almost a month since my last post.

((hanging head in shame))

It's not for a lack of content to share with you guys... things have been nothing short of INSANE lately! There's so much to talk about, from school volunteering (can you say new PTA website, Facebook page management/advertising, fall festival planning, computer lab volunteer, reading to the class... the list goes on!) to work to family activities to play dates to church to house improvement tasks... Whew! And of course we can't forget hubs' birthday this weekend and Chase's 3rd birthday (whaaaa?!) in 2 weeks. Lots to do around here!

I promise I'll try to post more frequently from here on out. There are some fun and exciting things happening in our little piece of the world and I look forward to sharing some of it with you all soon (still top secret as the kids don't know yet, but can you think of any fun places with the initials "DW"??). YIPPEE!!!!!

But for today, I want to share some thoughts that have been pretty heavy on my heart lately. It's something we're all guilty of, whether we want to admit it or not. Not sure how much of the Bible you guys have read, but there's a resounding theme regarding judging others, and it can be summed up in a single word: don't. It's that simple. Take a look at a few of the scriptures I've provided below that I've spent time praying and meditating over during the past couple of weeks.
Matthew 7:1-5“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." 
Luke 6:37“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;" 
John 7:24"Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” 
James 4:11-12"Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?" 
James 4:12"There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?" 
Romans 2:1-3"Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?" 
Ephesians 4:29"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."