Tuesday, April 28, 2009

ROP-Free!

Crew had his final ROP exam this morning and he is officially ROP-FREE!! Woo hoo!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Too Much Cuteness

Smoooooooooooooch!

My Little Ham

Crew never runs out of smiles these days. He is a really happy little guy and I just love him.




What a Strange Thought

Why We Hate Immunizations

I normally don't video tape Crew's crying because I can't stand to let it go on long enough to record it. Nevertheless, I grit my teeth to capture this sad little face because he is changing so much. His voice is changing, his cry is changing, etc. I wish I had recorded more of his newborn cry, but this isn't a dramatic deviation from what he used to sound like. That will come soon enough.

I warn you. The pout is pretty cute, if heartrending.
video
This was taken last Monday afternoon at home when he was grumpy after immunizations. This was just the beginning. By evening he was in really bad shape, unmanageable fever, vomiting, uncontrollable crying. We were all relieved and thankful for the intervention of a merciful Heavenly Father when his fever finally broke and he slept for 12 hours straight (with a dreamfeed snuck in there).

The Week

On Friday, we took Crew to Beesley Monuments to pick out a headstone for Dex's grave. I'm pleased with what we have chosen and it should be ready in 6-8 weeks. The couple that was in right before us was there with their infant daughter, also picking out a headstone for her twin sister that died. You wouldn't believe how common I've discovered it to be. Relatively, anyway. Sigh... I can think of about 4 million things I'd rather buy for Dex, none of which he needs. We talked this week about Tanner and Crew possibly sharing a room sometime in the future and it made me very unexpectedly sad. I suspect that I'm in for a lifetime of moments where I have to stop and think "hmmmm..." Would that it wasn't so. But it is.

On a more positive note, Crew is doing really well. I fully rejoice every time he hits a milestone. I don't know why I continue to be amazed and surprised by this little miracle of mine. I just shake my head in wonder at every turn. He has started licking me incessantly and you'll find me with a slobbery shirt more often than not these days. He's not rolling over as much anymore and he's mostly just super annoyed when I put him flat on his tummy. He slurps on his hands all. the. time. It's really cute. Carlon wants me to start weaning him from his need/desire to be swaddled. Nah... not interested. I swaddled Tanner until he was 7-9 months old. I'm in no rush to unswaddle this little prince. He's growing really well and maybe sometime in the next week or so he'll be in 0-3 month clothes! Woo hoo! What a tank, eh?!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Crew's Well Check

Crew had his well check Monday morning. With a clean diaper on, he is 8 pounds 12.5 ounces and 21 inches long! We are very happy that Crew has put on a whole two pounds in the last month! His hydrocele is really behaving very much like a little communicator, which is discouraging to accept. If it really is a communicating hydrocele, it won't resolve on its own and you can't leave it unresolved, which of course means surgery.

Developmentally, he has finally started to activate his little arms when I show him a toy. He doesn't reach yet, but he is making progress in that area. He follows toys and faces with his eyes and his head and he has astonishing neck strength. He rolls from his back to his side all the time and demands to be played with. He smiles all the time now and has started to use his little voice more and more frequently. Yesterday while taking pictures of him (to be posted later), I could swear he made a few sounds that were the very teeny beginnings of a laugh.

I'm so happy with his progress!

Testicles are not my Forte

I took Crew in to see the pediatrician this last week because, once again, he wasn't looking "quite right" down south. Did you know that you can do a partial diagnosis for a hernia by shining a flashlight through the scrotum? I'm glad my sister gave me a heads up on that or I may have questioned my pediatrician's sanity.

At least I was vindicated in "being right", for whatever that's worth. There is definitely something amiss and the tentative verdict is that it's a hydrocele, or a potentially benign (innocent) collection of fluid. If it's closed off, the fluid should eventually resorb over time without complication. Unfortunately, he appears to be exhibiting symptoms of a "communicating hydrocele", meaning the fluid is able to go both ways through an opening, further meaning that the risk for a third hernia is alive and well. It is even possible that he has a hernia right now, but it's hard to tell for sure with all the extra fluid.

So, we've been referred to our surgeon (that sounds weird to say our surgeon) for evaluation. Blech.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Burrito Baby

Super tight swaddles make my babies very mellow. I love to snuggle this little sweetie!

He is getting so big and responsive. If I walk by him, he follows me with his eyes and his head. He smiles a lot now, though I rarely get the pictures because I'm too caught up in the playful moment myself. This last week he has been trying out his voice, making some cute little vocal sounds, and this morning he brought his hands to his mouth all by himself and licked them. Yay for progress!


Sisters Are So Great



He'll Carry You

This is for anyone who ever has those kind of days. Listen to it 400 times and you can't help but feel better! :)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Healing

This week hasn't been the pre-Easter celebration of my dreams. I've been rather grouchy and blue. There have been a thousand catalysts, but suffice it to say that against my better judgment and despite long effort to resist the temptation, I have gone there. I have been wallowing in the "what ifs", being angry at the world, including myself, my doctor, and stupid people at large, and have generally felt very sorry for myself.

It was probably naive of me to think that I'd never have an emotional setback like this, but I can admit that I suffer from a naive streak.

It was really important to me that we attend church together as a family this morning. So, contrary to medical advice and Justin's wishes, we packed up Crew and took him for his sacrament meeting debut. I knew that for this special Easter morning, I needed to be able to clutch the most obvious evidence of the Lord's mercy and love for me, who also happens to be the most tangible connection to Dex.

The Lord has given me Crew. His birth, his survival, his progress, his development, and everything else surrounding this amazing little boy just screams "miracle"! I am so thankful for how far we have come and I feel so humbled to have been given the privilege to keep him here on earth.

As if that wasn't mercy enough, I still have my angel Dex waiting patiently for me in heaven. Everything surrounding this amazing son of mine also screams "miracle"! He has been spared the difficulties and challenges of this mortal life. He, truly, has been given the "crown without the conflict." I am still able to feel his presence on occasion, when I really need to. He is my son; he will always be my son.

All in all, things could be a lot worse.

And yet, this last week I have found myself feeling deep gratitude, love, faith, and hope mixed with a confusing dose of sad and frustrated and a splash of numbness. I have been focusing on the mortal details of all that has happened, and not the peace that I have felt or the knowledge and testimony that I have been given. I have allowed the burdens of the natural man to creep in, clouding my acceptance.

Easter is about the Savior's atonement. The miracle of the resurrection that we celebrate is what makes it possible for me to keep smiling and still feel real, pure joy in my life. Through Him, my Dex will be resurrected one day and placed in my very willing arms.

But it's not just about the resurrection. It's about all kinds of healing. The Savior suffered for my sins, and he also took upon himself the infirmities of the world. He suffered every burden known to man so that He could succor us from a place of perfect understanding. Even if I don't understand the emotional cocktail that I'm experiencing, He does, and He'll help me get through it this time, as He has in the past.

Easter is a joyful and hopeful time for renewal. I feel my Savior's love and I'm on the path toward healing. Again. One thing is for sure: when I do find that perfect peace again, I won't feel guilty about it anymore. I'll just embrace it and be thankful for it because I know that's what my Dex would really prefer.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Crew and Mac

Crew had a special visit from someone that we suspect is a "dear old friend" of his: Mac. "Mac Truck", to those who best love to squeeze and nuzzle his squashy deliciousness. Once upon a time these little guys were due two weeks apart and we expected them both to arrive sometime in early January. Life threw a few curve balls and now the very much older Crew is dwarfed by his 19-pound gentle neighbor. We laughed and laughed!! I've gotta get Crew some of that breastmilk!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Carlon and the Wee Beastie

Carlon is Crew's Early Intervention Occupational Therapist, forevermore to be blogged as "Carlon" or our "OT." She comes to our home twice a month to work with Crew, check his weight, and evaluate his development.

Crew really likes Carlon, which means that I do too. He flirts with her shamelessly, endlessly flashing his gums at her. He doesn't always perform for her on demand, but he did roll for her today, from his stomach onto his back. Little show-off. She gives us suggestions of things to work on between visits and we seem to be on the same page. It's so refreshing after my experience with the OT from hell at Primary's. I was extremely reluctant to become involved in the early intervention program because of it, but so far it's been nothing but a positive experience.

In other development, he now rolls from his back to his side, he has great control of his tough little neck, he is extraordinarily (rather surprisingly, from what I could gather) sociable, and he is gaining weight at "the perfect" rate. He continues to gain at a rate of exactly 1 ounce per day. That means that today he weighed in at... are you ready? 8 pounds, 4.6 ounces! She says she's seen some really good improvements in his coordination and movements since even our last visit 3 weeks ago.

He has no interest in grabbing anything other than my finger, but I'm going to go shopping for some toys that he might be able to hold onto better. He's still a sloppy eater, but getting better. He doesn't like to put his hands on his bottle to eat; he prefers to rub them together on his chest while he's slurping away. She suggested that I put a sock on the bottle to see if he's interested in the different texture. Never would have thought of that!

Sleeping. After eating a record 5 ounces in 1 hour last night, he slept for almost 9 hours straight. No, I didn't benefit from it. I kept hovering by his bed, checking to make sure he was still breathing. It doesn't help that he's the world's quietest sleeper/breather. He finally squeaked at 5:15 and I raced down to get him before he was fully awake. I was up most of the night. Fretting. He usually sleeps in two 5-hour blocks at night, which is still really good, considering his size and adjusted age. That means that if we time it just right, he's only getting up once in the middle of the night.

He's my precious little prince. He always smells vaguely of spit because I slobber all over him constantly. Only Daddy can console him during the fussy evening winding-down hours. I like that because they have a special nighttime bond. I hate the nights when Justin works really late because he cries until he comes home. Other than that, he's a pretty mellow and lovable little kid. He is very particular in his demands, but they are not unreasonable. He'll fuss until he gets what he wants, but he's pretty easy to figure out.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My Spring Chicken


Monday, April 6, 2009

Family Walk

We capped off our weekend by taking a family walk in the cemetery. I'm surprised and relieved with how much easier it is every time I go. It's finally a place that I look forward to going and don't have to steel myself for. It's so peaceful and it is one of those special places where I can shut the world out and readjust my perspective in the blink of an eye. We all totally lose track of time when we're there.

The kids think the cemetery is the most wonderful place ever. Here is Kinley by Dex's grave. As you may remember, we've had to wait to lay a stone until the spring ground conditions were ideal. When tax season is over and Justin has time to breathe and focus, our first item of business is to choose and lay Dex's gravestone. I'll be happy to have that little tribute taken care of at last.
Crew took the first ride of his life in a stroller!! It was momentous for me, but he didn't really seem to care one way or another.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

By Grandma's Request


You guessed it. Swappin' jokes with Dex in this picture.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Crew's Big Day

Saturday was a big day for Crew. In the morning, Mandee came to visit from Idaho. She hadn't seen him since he was 1 and 1/2 pounds, so he looked like a big, hefty chunka chunka this time!Later in the day, his Grover relatives also visited from Idaho. Say cheese!
Snuggling Auntie Kayla. Kayla, in just a few weeks, you'll have your very own Crew-sized little person in your house :)
In the evening, Crew had a really grand, new adventure. Justin and I went on an actual date. That's right, baby. We went out to dinner with Adam, Kayla, Matt, and Kim. It felt so weird, and yet so nice. We laughed and laughed and laughed! We left the Pampered Prince with our gracious neighbors, Karson and Betsy, who took great care of him! He was happy and well cared for and I had a GREAT night out! Crew's unpredictable time is late afternoon and evening, but it seems he was on his best, most charming behavior. Good boy, Crew! Also on Saturday, he was able to sport his brand new... BOOTS!

Watchful

It makes me so happy that Kinley and Tanner love their little Crew so much. The newness and miracle of his presence still hasn't worn off. Every few days when Tanner is gazing fondly at Crew, he sighs and whispers "I miss Dex." So do I, my love. So do I.

Little Mama

Little Mama, show me how it's done.
videoKinley gave me a little lesson on Crew Care and it was so cute that I had to record it. Of course, by the second run-through Crew wasn't so thrilled with all the jostling. And yes, we did have a talk about her using slower, steadier movements and not planting her brother's face in the dirty carpets...

Conversations I Thought We Were Beyond

I still find myself taken off guard by the lingering perspective of my bigger kids.

Tanner: When you take Crew to the doctor today, will you bring him home?

They too still just can't believe that he is home to stay at last.