31.10.12

BOO! A HALLOWEEN SCARE

This morning we followed the doctor's orders and tried to give Lauren some rice cereal. She got dressed up in her Halloween bib and was eager to eat.


She was doing better than I thought she would and was grabbing the spoon herself. Suddenly, she gagged and vomited up a small amount of food. That triggered her vagal response and her body went stiff and then she passed out. It took a few seconds for her to come back (long enough for me to yell for Elysha to call 911) and when she came around she was very pale and tired. Within minutes our living room was full of firefighters and paramedics. 

Based on Lauren's history and her loss of consciousness they loaded her in the ambulance and brought her to Children's Hospital. She seemed to get back to her smiley self halfway there and spent the rest of the drive charming the attendants. 






Matt got to the hospital in record time and by that time Lauren was busy grabbing her toes and squealing. In a stroke of genius, Elysha brought "Secret of the Wings". This seems to be the only commercial that Lauren loves so I bought the DVD at Costco the other day. I think Matt loved the movie too!



Lauren had an ECG done. The technician gave her a pack of cards and apparently they were delicious so she was nice and still for the test.



We tried giving Lauren some more solid food while we were at the hospital. Of course, she was okay. No gagging, nothing. It is kind of frustrating that she was fine with it after having such a strong and scary reaction at home. I kind of want to pack her high chair into my car and start feeding her just outside of the emergency room. Crazy? I guess so.


Lauren was discharged in the afternoon and she had just enough time to get changed into her Halloween outfit and go and watch the Halloween parade of the hospital patients. It was so great to see the kids getting to dress up and enjoy Halloween even though they are stuck in the hospital. The hospital staff went all out too and lined the halls for the children to feel incredibly special. Another reason that I am the staff's hugest fan!



Lauren took a little rest on the couch when we got home. Days when we go to the hospital or have doctor's appointments are tough on Lauren because they throw off her nap schedule. She spent her "nap" at home rolling around in her crib and swinging the animals on her mobile around above her head.


Matt sat her down and they carved two pumpkins for Lauren. She was fascinated!




 And then she got her hands on the battery powered candles and her mind was blown!


Lauren loved her heart Halloween pumpkins. I'm glad that she ended the day with something that she really enjoyed.



It is a huge relief that we are back home tonight but I swear that every time we take the drive to the hospital, I lose a year off of my life. Driving in an ambulance probably took 7.29 years off of my life. That is a lot of time so far. 

It is exhausting to live in this place of uncertainty. When Lauren went rigid in my arms this morning, I was thrown back to the very first time that we brought her into the hospital. I actively try to push away the memory that is seared into my brain when she first arrested. She was in my arms, started to choke, went rigid as I looked into her eyes, and then had to have her heart restarted while I shrieked in the hallway and Matt lay on the floor praying. One day there will be a time when these memories become a little bit blurry but right now they are sharp in a way that cuts me every time. I need time to breathe. 

God promises that he won't give us more than we can handle. Sometimes I get overwhelmed with everything that is going on. But watching the Halloween parade of kids in the hospital today reminded us that we are still so blessed. We ended the day at home with our baby. Lauren's heart is better than it was two months ago. She is developing and she loves life. 

We are so blessed. 

30.10.12

HOSPITAL TWO DAYS IN A ROW

Yesterday we took Lauren in to have some bloodwork done. At our last cardiology appointment the doctor told us to take her when she was having a bad day but she has been a happy little monkey every day since then. We had to just bite the bullet and do it.

Lauren was a tough cookie. She has very slight veins so getting them is always a challenge. She cried screamed through the needle going in but while the blood was being drawn she calmly laid there and ran her toes through my hair. It was a little disturbing because she has stinky feet for such a cute little girl but if it'll keep her calm, it's happening.


After that we went to go visit the ICU. Walking down the hall with the familiar smells and sad faces of families who are currently going through their worst days made it difficult to keep strong and stay in the moment with my baby who was in my arms. When we got into the ICU, it was such a nice surprise to see so many familiar faces! There were many of the nurses and doctors who were a huge part of Lauren's time in the hospital. It was nice to show them how well she is doing and for me to stand in the ICU with a smile in my face and no worry in my heart. It is definitely still a hard place to be but we will continue to visit the people who saved Lauren's life until happy visits are all we remember when we walk down the hall.

Today Lauren went in for a test because she has lost some weight and, rather than Matt and I having to convince ourselves and each other that it is unrelated to her heart, we wanted to have her checked. Her heart actually checked out better than the last time we were in! There was some definite improvement and this has increased her heart function from very poor to pretty poor. Improvement!! We'll take it!

29.10.12

SAY MY NAME!

One of the things that my sister is best known for is saying ridiculous things. They just flow out of her face. She does a lot of talking to Lauren and much of the conversation is about Lauren's toys. In these talks, Elysha has named many of Lauren's toys. When I name Lauren's toys they pretty much get called Mr. or Mrs. Fill in the Animal Here. She has Mr. Penguin and Mrs. Shark Attack (I was creative with that one). Here are some of the toys that Elysha has named...








There are still so many more... and I'm sure they will have names very, very soon.

28.10.12

BABY ROOMMATE


I (Elysha) have been home for a few weeks now. I am living with Amanda, Matt and Lauren for the next couple months and it has been quite the change going from living alone in California to being back home and having a baby roommate! It has definitely been a good change though. I love waking up every morning to Lauren's happy screams and getting to experience all the day to day stuff with her. It is amazing to watch how much she is growing and learning every day. My past few visits Lauren had been in the hospital the entire time so it is nice to see her back at home and in her element.

I have to say that these past few weeks have given me so much more respect for all the mothers out there. It is amazing how much more complicated even the most simple daily tasks get with a baby. Every morning Amanda and I have a long 'To Do' list and after a full day of running around and trying to get things done, we can never quite accomplish it all. So here's a big pat on the back for all the moms out there!

23.10.12

TO SLEEP OR NOT TO SLEEP

That would be the question but lately the answer is pretty clear - not to sleep.





Lauren started sleeping through the night at around three months old. It was fabulous. Granted, she wouldn't go to sleep until 11pm or so (it was closer to 3am when she was first born so 11pm was huge progress), but then she would sleep in until 9:30 (and so would I). I loved our sleep.



After the hospital, we were warned that she would likely go backwards in her development. With her need to gain a substantial amount of weight and her fragile heart, I was up with her feeding and consoling every 45 minutes or so. That slowly moved to every hour and then every hour and a half. There were beautiful, brief windows of two consecutive hours of sleep and I reveled in those times. It was amazing that I would wake up after two hours feeling refreshed (enough to feed her again and then make it back to my bed).

For two months now I have functioned on a series of nighttime naps but I'm definitely not at my best. Lauren has slowed down with her need to eat, but she still likes to wake up every 45 minutes just to visit. I love her to bits but I don't feel that I need to see her quite that often. Since Lauren's heart is showing some improvement and she's making huge leaps in her development, we decided that it was time to let her do some self-soothing and that she can cry a little bit.



Last night she went to sleep at 7pm like normal and then fought a valiant battle against sleep from 8 to 11. Thankfully Matt and I prepared ourselves mentally for having to listen to her and for staying up late. This is a huge sacrifice for him as he still has to wake up for work this week but he knows that I just can't do this for too much longer.

Tonight we seem to have made some progress. The regular 7pm sleep time came along and then the sleep battle started at 8pm but it is now 10:07 and I can't hear a peep. I'm sure I'll hear a bit more as the night goes along (she still does eat at night) but as long as we get down to business and she doesn't expect some late night visiting I can handle that.

I know that eventually she will sleep through the night again. Until then I will work to help her learn to sleep again and secretly love every minute that I get to cuddle her and bury my face in her soft, downy hair.


22.10.12

PHOTO OP

It's no secret that I love taking photos of Lauren. Sometimes I take my inspiration from Pinterest.

Today I tried to recreate a Pinterest photo. Unfortunately, Lauren is ticklish...


21.10.12

WHEN YOU GROW UP

I have many prayers for you, Lauren. I'm finally starting to think again about you growing up. When you were in the hospital, your dad prayed for you to grow up, fall in love, walk down the aisle and have your own little babies. I prayed for you to make it to the next day. It was scary to ask for too much because I didn't want to be disappointed.

With the progress you are making at doctors' appointments and at home, there are some days when I don't even think about your heart, and I just think about your future.

When you grow up, I hope that you become a wife so that you can know love that remains.
When you grow up, I hope that you become a teacher so that you can share what you know with others.
When you grow up, I hope that you become a doctor so that you can help others like people have helped you.
When you grow up, I hope that you become a writer so that you can say things that change people's lives.
When you grow up, I hope that you become an artist so that you bring beauty into the world.
When you grow up, I hope that you become a dancer so that you can feel free.
When you grow up, I hope that you become a missionary so that you can serve others.
When you grow up, I hope that you become a mom so that you can feel that rush of love when they place your baby on your chest.

When you grow up....


In the end, when you grow up, I hope that you have the one thing that everyone noticed in you when you were born: contentment. That is a word that people have constantly used to describe you and that is my biggest prayer for you when you grow up. Beauty will be fleeting, money will come and go, and your health isn't guaranteed. My dear Lauren, whatever you become, wherever life takes you, if you are content, you will love life in a way that will make it full and complete. Don't constantly look for more, love what you have.

Thank you for teaching me that.



Praise the Lord that we can even think about you growing up.




19.10.12

BABY ON THE GO

Lauren has decided that she no longer wants to stay in one place. She now rolls and rolls and rolls across the floor. The tricky part is that she only rolls in one direction.


Today she had an appointment with the infant development specialists and they were very impressed with the progress that she has made in the last month. She is grabbing with both hands, can sit independently and stabilize herself, rolls over, and babbles away constantly.


Every day she's moving further and further away from being a patient and more towards being our little baby.

18.10.12

DRINK IT

On Friday Lauren went for an upper GI test to check for any structural anomalies that might be causing her difficulty with solid food. I was super nervous that she would have to have a feeding tube put in to get the barium into her because she ABSOLUTELY REFUSES to take a bottle. In the first few months we didn't give her a bottle because everyone says that then they will have nipple confusion. Well, my next child is going to be super confused because this whole no bottle thing really sucks for sleeping, going out, etc.


The doctor and tech seemed more concerned about her feeling claustrophobic because she had to be sandwiched between the bed and the machine. Little did they know that her favourite place to explore lately is the underside of our coffee table.





Neither of us needed to be concerned! Lauren drank the barium right down and was perfectly comfortable in the machine. Thankfully the test showed that there are no structural defects causing her vomiting! It was almost weird to hear that there isn't some other strange thing wrong... but I'll take it!

Oh, and the bottle. Tried that again when we got home. We ended up breastfeeding again. I swear, that next child... so confused.

17.10.12

THE BEST BIRTHDAY EVER

Yesterday was my, um, 29th birthday (yet again). It was a perfect day.





People were so generous with their love for me. I woke up to a decorated living room, incredibly thoughtful gifts and some cards with words that blew me away. This birthday is a special one because for the first time after I didn't have a list or things that I wanted. I have all that I want or need. My life feels so complete.








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