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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!

Family, Motherhood

Life Update // Back in the Hospital

I’ve been M.I.A. lately, because we are back in the hospital with our little guy.

It was all so unexpected. Last Friday was a straight up whirlwind of a day. We dropped one of our cats off at the vet and then took Jameson to his two week check-up with his pediatrician. As soon as we arrived, the nurse started checking Jameson’s vitals and weight. Nothing too out of the ordinary for a peemie appointment. Well the doctor comes in and lets us know that she is very concerned about his oxygen levels. She does an assessment and it turns out that he is retracting – which means he is over-exerting himself and using his stomach muscles to help him breathe – this is not good. When babies do this they will tire themselves out; if that happens, their heart can stop and CPR is needed. The pediatrician wanted to exhaust everything they could do at their office to help him relax and start breathing normally. They did some heavy-duty suctioning of his nose, but did not get anything. Then he received a breathing treatment of albuterol with no change. Then they put him on oxygen with little improvement. The decision was made to send him to the hospital by ambulance.

The EMTs filed into his little exam room and everything happened so fast. They were getting information from the pediatrician and then needed a history and some details from me. Jameson was hooked up to a portable machine to monitor his vitals while we were en route. They had us put him in his car seat and then that was secured to the stretcher. He was then loaded up in the ambulance. I was allowed to ride along with him while Jeremiah followed behind in our car. They continued to have Jameson on oxygen on the drive, but his vitals looked good which was reassuring.

Once we arrived at the hospital, the EMTs got him all settled in to the ER and we were on to our next adventure. The ER was a bit hectic. We were in a little room in the corner, but when he was first brought in, there were four or five people all in his room, so Jeremiah and I just stood outside waiting for instructions. Once the EMTs left, we were shuffled into his room and asked more questions while they got him hooked back up to the monitors, put in an IV, took blood, took a chest x-ray, did a COVID test and a test for a panel of all the respiratory viruses. As we waited, different nurses came in and out to check on him. After a few hours, we realized it had gotten late and we hadn’t eaten anything, so Jeremiah went in search of some food. About hour four of being at the ER, he was finally admitted to the pediatric floor.

He’s been on the pediatric floor ever since. His COVID and RSV tests were negative. The panel revealed he has a type of influenza (I can’t remember it’s exact name, but it isn’t the flu). So right now Jameson has the influenza, bronchiolitis, and respiratory distress. His chest x-ray revealed some mucus build-up in his lungs. He is currently on 3 liters of oxygen and they are monitoring his oxygen levels, breathing rate, and retraction. Typically these types of viruses can take anywhere from five to fourteen days to clear up, but since he’s so small, they don’t really know how long it will take him to fight it off. We think he’s on day five or so of the virus.

We are just praying hard for Jameson to recover quickly with little long-term effects as well as for his care team here at the hospital.

Motherhood

Meet Sheila the Kia

Is it a motherhood rite of passage to trade in your favorite, not very practical, pre-mom car for an suv or minivan with more seats and more space? I think, yes!

With baby number two on the way, I started getting more and more anxious about fitting two car seats into my Xterra and how in the world I was going to manage to buckle Hazel in when I have to stand on a little step to even get inside the car. I just couldn’t stop worrying and fretting and knowing myself, I would just get overwhelmed after one bad experience and never leave the house with the kids again.

So a couple weeks ago I started researching “mom cars”, or in my case, suvs with three rows. I had certain parameters I wanted to meet: not older than 2015, not more than 20k, had three rows, good gas mileage. I had mentioned my concerns to Jeremiah a few times, but we had kind of agreed to just see how things go before making any decisions. But I couldn’t let it go. I just knew it was going to be a disaster. I kept perusing for a used car that met our needs and on Sunday one popped up. I sheepishly texted Jeremiah about the car and was looking up a gif to reply to his shut-down when he replied back ok and told me to get get my car appraisal ready. Um I was dumbfounded, but glad he was possibly on-board.

It was a hard decision to choose to trade-in my Xterra for another car. We have been working tirelessly since September of 2019 to pay off all our debt and had made incredible progress. We were down to just my car and his student loans with a debt-free projection of December 2021. So financing a new car would put us back on that journey. Another thing is that I love my Xterra! It is so fun to drive and makes me feel young and free and just has so much personality. I got the Xterra between my miscarriage and getting pregnant with Hazel, so it was kind of a life-saver in a way… just a special place for me to feel safe and to be myself. I also get really attached to my cars (RIP Milo the Jeep Cherokee).

After showing up to see it and test drive it, we both really liked it. But we aren’t typically buy the same day you meet the car kind of people. It was a special circumstance though. They offered us a good deal on my car, the year/price/mileage on the new car was super ideal, and they wouldn’t hold the car for us to come back a couple days later. We knew that we would be getting a “mom car” in the near future regardless of whether we did it today, so our debt progress would be pushed back no matter what. We ran the numbers to see how far back and it only sets us back a year which we felt was worth it for our sanity, peace of mind, and convenience as new-again parents.

So I said a bittersweet goodbye to Rigsby the Xterra and said hello to Sheila the Kia. I was a bit sad to see Rigsby go as we shared some good times the past two years, but I am excited about my new phase of life as a mama… of TWO (and maybe three or four)!

my last moment with Rigsby.
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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!