Monday, October 27, 2014

Six Months!

My goodness is time flying!  Cal turned six months old yesterday!  What a little sweet pea this kid is.

Calvin is busier than ever.  He's rolling all over, jumping in his jumperoo like a maniac and has discovered just how loud he can squeal!  He is so easily distracted by anything right now.  It's like everything in the world is new and he MUST explore it right away.  It's completely mesmerizing to watch.  Watching him explore with his eyes and his hands is so foreign to us.  It never gets old.  You can practically see his brain operating on overdrive.

So far, he's been a great eater, which is so thrilling to us!  He always frowns after the first bite, then  grabs the spoon out of your hand to shove it in his mouth.  We haven't found anything yet that he won't eat.  He loves it all...apples, sweet potatoes, green beans, peas, pears, name it!  All that eating he's doing is showing too.  His cheeks, his thighs, his much chunk to kiss on!    As much as we anticipated him being a mini-Chad, it appears our Cal is turning into a Frey.  He's looking more like my baby pictures every day.  His hair is darkening.  His eyes are looking more like mine in color.  The cheeks are alllll me.  Chad has high hopes for a basketball career with his six month stats.  He was well over the 90% in height and weight, not that it means much but Chad just hopes Cal gets the Frey height so Chad can fulfill his hoop dreams through Cal :)

The last couple days he has started this fake, uncomfortable laugh that is pretty funny.  I'm not sure what it means yet, but more than likely it's his prelude into "PICK ME UP MOM!!!".  It was so funny at his doctor appointment today watching him act like an animal.  He was grabbing at everything..the stethoscope, the paper on the exam table, the doctor's face, the ear-looker-thing...all of it, he wanted ASAP.  He was a complete wild man.  Elena and I were giggling at him the whole time.

Both of these kids are all smiles.  I feel so fortunate that both of our kids are happy and easy going.  Now don't get me wrong, they both can test Mom's patience, but for the most part it's all squeals and giggles around our house.  Calvin is really finding his voice.  There's lots of ahhhhhhs, dadadadadas and eeeeeeeeeeks!  He instantly grins when you look at him, showing off his two new bottom teeth.  He still loves that thumb and his feet.  His favorite right now is jumping.  He does it all.the.time.  He's pretty close to figuring out how to crawl.  He gets up on his hands and knees and rocks.  I'd say in the next month or so he should have forward movement figured out.  He can back himself up pretty easily but it's tough coordinating everything to move forward!

He is bringing our house a new joy every day.  All of us love the spirit he brings, even Elena.  She loves listening to him babble and often babbles (or laughs) right back.  Even Pete doesn't mind when Cal grabs his face or pulls on his floppy ears.  Chad and I continue to delight in every new discovery, and every new change in our sweet little guy.  Gosh, we love him so!

What a happy, happy six months it's been.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

It's Been a Bad Day

It's been a long emotional day and I'm totally exhausted.  I haven't had one of these days in a long, long time.  I feel like I need to get my thoughts out before I collapse into bed, so buckle up!  If you're looking for an upbeat post, stop reading.

Elena's hip.  That blasted hip.  My poor little baby.

As I mentioned before, Elena will be having hip surgery later this year to correct her hip dislocation.  We are traveling to New Jersey to have the procedure done by the only doctor in the country who does this particular surgery.  It's an alternative to a practically medieval surgery suggested by her local orthopedic doc that literally saws her entire femur in half and replaces it back in the socket.  Not an option for us.  The route we have chosen is much less invasive and has an amazing track record of no repeat surgeries.

The downside of this is that we are putting our trust in a doctor who has never seen nor touched Elena.  This entire process is based on trust.  We trust the other families at the Jackson Center who have put their children through this exact procedure.  We trust our gut that this is the right decision for Elena.  We trust this doctor who is cutting edge and incredibly knowledgeable about orthopedic issues in CP kids.  We trust God that He will provide peace and healing through the next few months.  We trust.

Last week, Elena's doc had us get new x-rays since her last ones were from May.  I could tell myself just by seeing the image that her hip had gotten worse.  I didn't know how much worse until the doctor emailed me this morning, practically panicked that Elena's hip was nearing the point of no return.  Cue the hysterical Mom.  To make a long story (and day) short, we are likely moving her surgery up and will have to brace her in a horrible metal brace 24/7.  This is all in the hopes that we can avoid an additional procedure in the case that her hip is too far dislocated.

I could never try to explain to you the guilt that I feel, the weight of the decisions we have had to make for our daughter in just the short three years of her life.  Every day Chad and I strive to make the best choices for her, relying on her doctors, therapists and our family at the Jackson Center.  Some are small, like should we start Elena in a new PT program.  Some are huge, like should we pursue a hardcore medication like Baclofen to help Elena's tone (one we struggled with for 2.5 years).  We make a decision and pray for the best.  When our expectations fall short, it can be soul shaking.  That was today.

I know there's nothing I could have done differently and that her hip digression isn't in any way my fault, but that doesn't change the fact that I'm choosing to put my sweet little baby through a painful surgery and recovery that she won't understand.  Even though it is the right thing, it doesn't make the gut wrenching decision any easier.

Days like this make everything else trivial.  That thing I was complaining about last night.  Those new fall boots I've had my eyes on.  That family vacation we had planned.  That project that needs finishing at the house.  I would give it all, every last bit of everything I had, to have my baby be whole again.  Days like this, I regain my perspective.

I'm so incredibly grateful for Chad today, with his quiet understanding and support.  He's the only other person in the world who understands this burden that I bear.  He knows why this is so frightening, so emotional.  The support I received this afternoon at the Jackson Center was a Godsend.  These moms understand the difficulty in having to make these decisions for your children.  And for Lara, who has been in my shoes with Jackson and is leading the charge for Elena.  She took the time to calm me down, explain things, and assure me.  Just what I needed.

As always, I'm confident we will conquer this battle.  It's just the getting there that is the hard part.  And as usual, we'll need to be surrounded by your prayers to get there.  We never get through these tough times without your prayers and support.  Today, it took a small army to get me through so I'm sure it'll take more than that to get us through the next couple months.

For now just pray that her hip doesn't deteriorate any further and that she would be tolerant of the sure-to-be miserable bracing she will have to endure.  And for strength and peace.  I'm sure in days ahead there will be a struggle to find either.  We'll keep you posted.

Elena rocking her hilarious new neck brace (to help with her head control).  I mean this girl even looks adorable with this ridiculous thing on!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Happy Birthday Mamaw!

This past weekend we celebrated my Grandma's 90th birthday.  She's my only surviving grandparent left and she's still feisty as ever at 90.  We are so fortunate to continue to celebrate her and the amazing 90 years she has lived.  I never tire of hearing her stories of life through the Great Depression, World War II and everything in the world that has changed since.

My Mamaw has always been so special to me, not only because she was always entertaining us and acting silly to get us to laugh, but because she laid the foundation of faith in our family.  She has wrapped her entire family in prayer her whole life.  I've never felt it more than the last three years with everything we've endured with Elena.  She is our prayer warrior.  I'm so grateful for her.

I only hope that I can have her strength, faith and fire (and ridiculous wit!) when I'm 90.  I love you, Granny!  You're the heart of our family!