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Life Update // Getting Back to Normal

It’s been awhile friends. Sorry – not sorry – for that.

For those of you who don’t keep up with us on social media, Jameson is back home! He has been home for just under a month. I haven’t posted practically at all, because it has been quite the overwhelming, exhausting journey. He was released on a Friday evening and that Monday morning I started back to work. My in-laws were in town. Both them and my mom stayed with us for different periods of time to help out. We learned that week that Hazel had developed hand food and mouth disease, so she had to spend another two weeks with my mom. There were many follow-up pediatrician appointments for both of them. Lots of information to take in. There was a feeding tube and there still is formula thickener.

So let’s just say it took us awhile to fall back into our normal lives.

We were prepared for Jameson to be different than Hazel, but I’d say we greatly underestimated how different he would be. Obviously this isn’t his fault and we had no way of knowing that any of this would happen. It’s one of those things where you never think it will happen to you until it does. But we are relieved to finally have both kids back home with us. I won’t lie – it has been a stressful process learning Jameson. He has gone through so much in his short life so far. Being premature he was already going to be a bit behind for his age group, but then after being hospitalized he has been a bit fussier than before. We have to work extra hard at not comparing him to Hazel, because she was a rare, easy baby who slept through the night within a few weeks, had no issues eating after we switched to bottles and formula, and had the sweetest, easiest temperament. But Jameson is coming around!

Our Fourth of July was a good one! I got us altogether for a little family photoshoot and they turned out really cute. The day of, the kids and I went to a family swimming party. Hazel was a little fish and Jameson got to “swim” for the first time; he wasn’t a fan. That night, the kids had a sleepover with their grandparents and Jeremiah and I watched some fireworks. Then a couple days later, we went to our city’s firework show and it was so so so good! Jameson sported some huge headphones and slept through the whole thing and Hazel was giddy with excitement as she said “boom” between fireworks and proceeded to clap. She talks about them constantly.

I’ve still been reading a lot. Not as quickly as while we were in the hospital, but I still make a point to read every day.

While in the hospital, my health took a back seat. It wasn’t my top priority nor is it easy to be healthy while living out of a hospital room. In the first two weeks being home, I continued to eat like crap, drink way too much soda, and was still overwhelmed, exhausted, sleep-deprived, and stressed. But as things have settled and calmed down, last week I started to be mindful of my health. I have officially cut out soda – Dr Pepper – for 9 days and counting. I also haven’t had fast food in 8 days. For six days straight, Jeremiah and I cooked all our meals at home and did not eat out. Sunday was our “cheat” day… although we didn’t say we couldn’t eat out, we just didn’t and it has felt great! Today we went for a mile long family walk – the first significant walk I have gone on in ages. I’m taking slow slow slow baby steps to getting healthy again, but I want to work hard and lose the baby weight + hospital weight.

So that’s what we’ve been up to. How has the summer been for y’all?

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Life Update // Time Flies When You’re Reading

Geez, I can’t believe it’s already been thirteen days since my last post. I thought I would be updating the blog a lot while stuck in the hospital, but instead I got engrossed in reading. Literally reading a new book every couple of days. And it has felt amazing!

Being in the hospital for over a month now has been really hard, but once I sat down and forced myself to finish the book I had been trying to get through ever since Jameson was born, I just couldn’t stop. Somedays I actually found myself relieved to be in the hospital with a book instead of facing the outside world. I’ve been living here for so long now, when I do leave, regular life is so strange and overwhelming. It’s honestly more exhausting.

The time in the ICU flew by because I spent every day and most of the night reading. I finished six books during our twenty-two days we were there. I have now read more books this year so far than the past two years combined. I used to be a total bookworm, but ever since getting married and having kids, it’s just fallen to the wayside… but being here and having the time, I have actually started to feel more like myself. Getting so invested in a book, in the characters, in the world, that I laugh and cry and cringe and my heart beat gets faster and I dream about it. It’s one of the blessings that has come out of this experience – getting reminded of who I am and what I enjoy.

The books I have read since being in the hospital:

  • Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
  • Fable by Adrienne Young
  • Namesake by Adrienne Young
  • Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  • The Real Deal by Lauren Blakely
  • A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

The greatest part is that all of these books have been pretty good reads (except for Holding Up the Universe which I found difficult to trudge through). Such good reads that I actually wanted to write a review for some of them which I haven’t been interested in doing in years. I even found a new favorite series that I can’t get out of my mind and am dying to tear through the sequels… I mean how have I never heard of The Court of Thorns and Roses series??? Boy, have I been missing out.

In other news – for those who don’t already know – Jameson is still in the hospital. We are on day 31. He was released from the ICU and moved to the general pediatric floor a few days ago. His current goals to go home are for him to be weaned off all of his medications and to be finishing feedings. Right now he is on three medications: Ativan, Methadone, and Hydrocortisone. He is fighting through withdrawals – tremors, sneezing, and occasional diarrhea. Jameson’s feeds are hit or miss, but he hasn’t finished a bottle yet. We are making progress. I am hoping we can go home mid to late next week, but if I’ve learned anything being here it’s that their projections kind of mean nothing. As always, we appreciate all your prayers, thoughts, and good vibes!

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A Difficult Confession

I feel terrible writing this, but I just have to get it out.

I’m struggling to look at my baby, because he just doesn’t look like himself.

Sure, I’ve only known him for a month. I’ve only looked at his face for the past 30 days. But he was the tiniest little thing I had ever seen when this whole journey started. He was all of 5 pounds and 8 ounces. Tiny little head. Small, but poochy little stomach. His chin was super recessed giving him a very pouty lip. He was just so so small. And the past few days I’ve just been looking at him and he just doesn’t look like the same kid I brought to the hospital 12 days ago. He’s plumped up. His head is super round. He has a double chin thing going on. He just seems fuller and taller. I haven’t seen him in awhile without tape on his face and no tubes coming out of nose and mouth and surrounded by wires. I haven’t held him in over a week or changed his diaper or fed him.

I think it all just hit me. And then I felt guilty for feeling these feelings. But today I have cried multiple times while looking at him. This evening, I just got so worked up, I went and cried for awhile in the bathroom – our hospital room has no privacy. I don’t know where these feelings are coming from, because it truly doesn’t matter what he looks like, only that he is getting better.

But leaving just feels so far away. I need my baby boy to come home!

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It’s Okay to Cry

The one who falls and gets up is so much stronger than the one who never fell. -La La Anthony

In difficult circumstances – like the ones my family is dealing with now – I am strong. I am strong for my children. I am strong for my husband. I take it all in… the fear, the unknown, the medical jargon. I try to understand every bit of it. I process it and spread the information. I ask for prayers. I get complimented for handling everything so well.

But that is not easy and it’s not always.

At 6am on Saturday morning I lost it. I had only slept for a couple of interrupted hours. I was tired, exhausted, drained, stressed. Jameson was refusing to eat. He was upset and crying. I was upset and crying. The stress was weighing on me. The sleep deprivation was weighing on me. The seriousness of the situation was weighing on me. I talked to my mom on the phone and let it all out. She called reinforcements to help settle me down and keep me calm.

At 3pm on Tuesday afternoon I lost it. I sat at our kitchen table after being home the night before for a shower and to go to my postpartum check-up. I just stared off into space as my eyes teared up. My mom brought me a plate of potato casserole – my first home-cooked meal in four days. My eyes got too full and the tears started streaming down my face. I think at one point I was crying because I was crying. It is so hard, because it felt wrong to be at home, but then I felt guilty for feeling that… like I am neglecting Jameson when I am at home, but neglecting Hazel when I am at the hospital. It is so hard, because Hazel is not allowed at the hospital, only two people can be in Jameson’s room at a time, and only one parent can spend the night. It can be lonely and overwhelming. It is so hard, because it seems like Jameson is getting better only to learn a day later that he needs more help. It is so hard, because I keep receiving ‘explanation of benefit’ letters, but no actual bills, and we are living off a salary and a half due to maternity leave. It is so hard, because I have a buried fear of losing another baby. It is just so hard.

I know there is light at the end of this tunnel, but it’s ok to breakdown, to cry, to lose it. It helps release stress and clear your mind. What matters is that you get back up and you keep moving forward. You don’t have to have it all together all the time. Humble yourself, ask for help, accept help, be honest about your feelings, pray.

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Life Update // The Last 25 Days

Wow! Where has the time gone? Early last month I was spouting some crap about using this space as a daily journal or diary if you will, but of course that quickly went to Hell.

After my last post, things in Texas got a bit icy. Yep, we survived the great Texas power failure. It all started on February 13th. Hazel was already down for the night and we were doing our own things in separate rooms when we lost power. It was about 10:30pm. The weather was saying it was supposed to drop below freezing and we weren’t sure how long the power was going to be out, so we had to make some quick decisions. Because we had Hazel and wanted to keep her warm and safe, we decided to head to my parent’s house. I was distraught, because I didn’t want to leave our animals all alone – we ended up taking Winnie to my brother’s and leaving the cats at the house with plenty of food, water, and blankets. A little after 11pm, we packed up the car, woke up a passed out Hazel, and hit the road.

By the time we reached my parents a little after midnight, our power had actually already come back on, but there was no point in going back home. When we woke up in the morning, there was already about an inch of snow on the ground. That’s actually quite a bit for us! It continued to snow throughout the day. Jeremiah’s work was cancelled, so we felt it was safest to just stay put. Well we thought wrong. When we woke up on Monday morning, there was no power and the house was freezing. After waiting a few hours to see if the power would come back on, we were all getting hungry and cold, so we ventured out to find food. Places that were open that early in the morning were packed + COVID protocols and cold Texans, it just wasn’t a good time. We waited in the drive-thru at Whataburger for almost an hour before receiving food.

A few more hours passed, we all tried to stay warm and entertain ourselves, but it seemed pretty obvious the power wasn’t coming back on. We decided to make the drive back to our house with my mom and cousin (my dad had to stay behind to work). The typical 45 minute drive took about 2 hours in the snow and ice w/ no winter driving experience, but we made it. It was a full house until the 18th when my parent’s power came back on. The house had gotten so cold that my dad was only able to sleep there the first night – the other nights he had to stay at his niece’s house. The whole situation was really messed up. Looking back and learning what all had gone down, it just blows my mind and saddens my soul. But times like those remind me why I love Texas and the people who live here.

That week literally felt like a month and if I never see another snowflake at my house again, I will be more than fine. My husband on the other hand was having the time of his life playing ice hockey on a frozen pond and said it all melted too soon. He’s in the minority, LOL! The following week just seems like a blur: lots of laundry, cleaning, trying to get back to a normal routine. I also bought and built the last piece of furniture for Jameson’s nursery which was such a good feeling!

March 1st was my hubby’s 30th birthday!! I dropped the ball on celebrating on his actual birthday, but made up for it the next day. Surprise lemon cake, thirty candles, and coffee playing cards made for a pretty fun night. I’m really proud of him and can’t believe I’ve already known him five years. 😮 Then we got the news that Texas would be opening back up next week and everyone went haywire once again. The 4th was my mom’s birthday and I helped my dad plan a little dinner for her.

It’s just been a bit non-stop around here and it doesn’t look like things are going to slow down until maybe July, but I’m hanging in there!