Friday, November 30, 2007

Thanks to those who sent me messages of encouragement via the guestbook and via email. That really helps. Obviously, you picked up on the fact that I was a little down. It happens; I am human after all! I am feeling much more upbeat now. Getting encouragement and prayers from all of you certainly helps. I also read some scriptures from the sermon we heard last week about not worrying. That really helped. Watching my little man smile obviously helps too.
Elijah continues to be an amazing little guy. He gets stronger and stronger every day. Looking at him, you’d never imagine what he’s been through. You’d never know he’s been through more than most of us ever have or ever will. I know that one way or another, everything is going to be okay. Thanks for thinking of us.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I’m so frustrated with myself. I find that I’m trying to avoid asking myself the what-ifs. What if Elijah’s head doesn’t grow? What if he has CP? What if…?
I know that I shouldn’t ask myself these questions. For the most part, I go through my day enjoying my little man. Loving him and kissing him and trying to stimulate him as much as possible. If you know me, you’d know that I’m a fairly positive person. I really don’t like negativity because I don’t feel like it gets anyone anywhere, other than a trip down depression lane. I try to focus on the good in life. Sometimes, though, that’s easier said than done.
It’s a lot of responsibility being a mom. Not that I didn’t know that ahead of time, but I just feel like I have extra weight on my shoulders. I’m with Elijah the most, so it’s up to me to make sure that he is getting everything he needs to develop. I know that I can’t fix his brain, but I can stimulate what he has. I can’t help but feel a little overwhelmed sometimes. I want to make everything all right for Elijah, but I know that only God can do that. This is the greatest and hardest lesson in faith I’ve ever had. Sometimes I wonder if I can handle it, but I know that I can do anything through Christ who strengthens me.

Please pray for Elijah’s head to have a growth spurt (is that even possible? :) - with God it is), that he will have normal tone (no CP), and for encouragement for me (and Andy too). We don’t know what we would do without our CaringBridge family of supporters.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Who knew taking a shower could feel like a mini tropical vacation? (Granted, it’s raining on the beach, but I like rain). Who knew napping would become my favorite pastime? Who knew you could love someone so much, when you’ve only known them for a short amount of time? Who knew life could be so wonderful, beautiful, and scary all at the same time? Who knew? I certainly didn’t, but I’m pretty sure God wanted me to know.
Elijah has been really fun lately. He’s bringing his hands together a lot and he’s been really good with tummy time. He doesn’t seem to get as mad about being on his tummy and he’s gotten excellent at his head control. He does little mini push-ups while I cheer him on – it’s so fun!
Yesterday I was laying a blanket on the floor and the corner of the blanket went over Elijah’s face on accident. I said,”Where’d Elijah go?” and Elijah pushed the blanket off of his face. ”There he is!” I exclaimed. Granted, I think that Elijah was just flailing his arm, but it was pretty cute so I decided to make it into a game. I kept putting the blanket over his face and he kept pushing it off. I’m not sure if he was connecting that he was the one moving the blanket, but he sure did seem pleased with himself and kept giving me these big smiles. It was a fun moment for me since he’s becoming more and more aware and therefore more and more fun.
We don’t have any appointments this week and that is so nice! Perhaps I can actually get some things done…perhaps. J
P.S. Elijah wanted to say hi to Grandma Teri. He said he’d be thinking of you tomorrow morning.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Well, we’re home after the extended Thanksgiving weekend. We had a really great, relaxing weekend with family and now it’s time to get back into the swing of things.
Fond memories of last year’s Thanksgiving came flooding back to me this weekend. It was a special one because we announced to our families that we were going to have a baby. I had this awesome speech planned out in my head. “Congratulations,” I was going to say. “Some of you are going to become grandparents and some of you are going to be aunts or uncles…We’re having a baby!” It would’ve been perfect.
Instead, my speech didn’t go quite as planned. Childhood stories were being exchanged around the dinner table, so I just blurted out, “Speaking of kids…we’re going to have one!” I barely got out that one sentence because I started to cry. There’s no way I could’ve said my little speech. The magnitude and joy of what I was saying came over me – that and those pregnancy hormones kicked in. :) Either way, it was a special moment and everyone was so happy to hear the news. It didn’t go as I planned it in my head, but it was sweet nonetheless. Life is like that isn’t it? It doesn’t go as planned, but it sure is sweet.
Now this year, the little one we announced last year was here with us for Thanksgiving. Elijah is truly something to be thankful for!
We hope you all had a great Thanksgiving as well…that you counted your blessings and gave thanks to God. We’re thankful for all of you…we hope that you know it!

Friday, November 23, 2007

If you’re wondering, Elijah had a wonderful first Thanksgiving. We had lots of yummy food, great conversation, and cuddles for Elijah.
He’s getting lots of attention right now as I write this from his Grandpa John and Grandma Teri. He sure is a lucky boy. We’re all relaxed and life is good. Hope this finds you all well and that you’re enjoying the extended weekend.
Oh, and there are new photos on Photobucket. As requested, there’s one with Elijah helping Grandpa carve the turkey. Enjoy! :)
If you’re wondering, Elijah had a wonderful first Thanksgiving. We had lots of yummy food, great conversation, and cuddles for Elijah.
He’s getting lots of attention right now as I write this from his Grandpa John and Grandma Teri. He sure is a lucky boy. We’re all relaxed and life is good. Hope this finds you all well and that you’re enjoying the extended weekend.
Oh, and there are new photos on Photobucket. As requested, there’s one with Elijah helping Grandpa carve the turkey. Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I’m feeling better. Yay! I’m still fighting an infection, but at least I don’t feel quite so yucky.
Today was Elijah’s last day for Phenobarbital! We are incredibly happy to get him off of this drug. The most frustrating thing to me is that they told us in the hospital that Phenobarbital was a really safe drug and it’s been around for 100 years. That’s not really the full story. The truth is that Phenobarbital is a double-edged sword. While it’s great for stopping and preventing seizures, the side effects are not that great.
In fact, Andy did some research on the drug and looked into what they say about taking Phenobarbital while pregnant. Guess what? It causes all sorts of birth defects and cognitive issues…and small heads! While I know that Elijah wasn’t exposed in utero to the drug, it only seems like common sense to me that Phenobarbital might have a negative impact on an infant…he has essentially been on the drug his entire short life. Whenever Andy has brought up anything to the neurologist about Phenobarbital having an impact, he denies it…he always goes to the brain damage as the one and only factor. While we know his injury could have a lot to do with his head size, isn’t it possible that the drug is also a factor? Especially since a day before (in the womb) it would’ve been considered a risk – magically the baby is born and suddenly it’s safe? That simply doesn’t make any sense to me. We gave Elijah his last dose tonight – that is certainly a cause for celebration.
We saw a plastic surgeon and neurosurgeon for Elijah late this afternoon. They confirmed that Elijah’s head isn’t fusing early. That’s great news. There is a chance that it could still fuse early, but it sounded like that is rare. (So we’re not going to worry about it unless it happens!)
Basically, they think that his skull bones are overlapping because of his traumatic birth. They said they see heads like his sometimes when a baby has excess water on the brain – the skull pushes out to make room and then shrinks back down when they remove the excess fluid. It sounds to me that this is the same thing that happened to Elijah. He had massive head edema (swelling) when he was born – his skull obviously made room for his brain. When the swelling went down, his skull ended up overlapping. The hope at this point is that his brain will grow and push the skull out. Please pray that his head will grow and that it’ll start to round out. If his head doesn’t start rounding out, they could fit him with a helmet, which would help direct the bones where to go. While we don’t want that, it would definitely be a better option than surgery.
We’ll be going back to see these doctors in three months. Hopefully Elijah’s head will have grown and pushed out the bones by that point. They basically told us to take him home and rear him up. :) I liked these doctors a lot more than Dr. Gloom. They weren’t so gloomy.
On the way home, Andy, Elijah and I stopped at Perkins. Elijah got a lot of attention. “He’s so cute!” “How old is he?” “What’s his name?” “Is he your first?” It was nice to have people swooning over him – no one seems to notice anything about his head. He’s a beautiful boy and he is such a joy. We are so thankful for him.
If you’re traveling for Thanksgiving – be safe and have fun!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Hey everyone – I hope that you’re all having a better day than I am…I’m sick. Bummer.
I think that I have mastitis, which is an infection you can get when breastfeeding. It feels a lot like the flu and it’s not really all that fun. I think that I am starting to feel a bit better and thankfully Elijah isn’t sick too. Andy’s been a big help – not really sure what I would do without him.
Tomorrow we’re supposed to see a plastic surgeon and neurosurgeon for Elijah. Pray that it goes well.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Elijah went to church today and a going away party for his Uncle Dan and Aunt Darlene tonight. He had fun. He also wanted to say that Uncle Andy is awesome, but he sounded a lot like his Uncle Andy when he said it. Have a great night! :)

Friday, November 16, 2007

It’s a great news/bad news day.
The neurologist called this morning and left us a message on the phone. I didn’t answer because I was trying :) to take a nap with Elijah. Anyway, the doctor left us a message about the CT scan. I thought we would have to wait until Tuesday to find out anything, but we got news today.
The great news…the neurologist doesn’t think that Elijah’s skull is fusing together prematurely based on the CT scan. Yes! When I heard that, I wanted to jump around the room and rejoice. God has been listening to the prayers. How could I possibly deny that? (The neurologist was pretty convinced and quite convincing that it had fused during our office visit with him – somehow I don’t think Dr. Gloom knows about God and what He can do.)
The bad news…the scan shows the extensive damage that Elijah received during birth, which is on both sides of the brain. He believes that this is why Elijah’s head is smaller and his skull molding isn’t moving and rounding out. Basically, they think that his brain isn’t growing as fast as it should or as much as it should (because of the damage) and isn’t pushing his skull out.
This isn’t really anything new to us. We know that he has brain damage and that it doesn’t look good. We’re well aware of what the prognosis has been and that they essentially don’t know what to expect from Elijah, but it has never been much. Dr. Gloom would still like us to see the neurosurgeon and plastic surgeon on Tuesday to make sure nothing else is going on with Elijah’s head.
Anyway, this puts us in the same boat we were in before we saw the neurologist. We have an amazing little boy who is meeting all of his developmental milestones so far. He has a small head for his age, which isn’t all that surprising considering all that he’s been through. A small head, though (considering all he’s been through) is not a good thing since it means all sorts of bad things in terms of his brain development.
So I humbly come before you all to ask for more prayers. Please pray fervently for God to heal Elijah’s head and brain and to cause Elijah’s head to grow. Ask for a complete recovery for our son. Thank Him for all that He has done for Elijah already.
No human can make Elijah grow. That is simply impossible for man, but nothing is impossible with God. He made Elijah and He can certainly make him whole. I believe that and I hope that you all do too. We certainly still need prayers for our little boy. Thank you so much for all the prayers you’ve sent up already. I can feel the rejoicing that will be taking place when I post this in a few minutes and it makes me so happy to have so many people cheering on Elijah. God is great – and so it really is just a great news day after all. :)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

This morning Elijah and I were visited by “auntie” Heidi. The three of us had a nice visit. It was great for me to have my friend to chat with and it was great for Elijah to have some cuddling (I’m not sure if he gets enough). :)
This afternoon Early Intervention (a Teacher and an Occupational Therapist) came over to work with Elijah. They left a couple of toys and showed me some things to do to promote his development. The Occupational Therapist didn’t notice anything in terms of Elijah’s tone. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a problem, it just means she didn’t notice. I take that to be a good thing since determining tone can be pretty subjective. Since Dr. Gloom always seems to go to the worst case scenario, I’m hopeful that he’s wrong about Elijah’s tone. As long as it doesn’t get any tighter, I think it will be fine. At least I hope.
Elijah wasn’t awake for most of the visit with Early Intervention, but he was a little bit. He worked with the Occupational Therapist and was smiling at her and tracking and did really well. She seemed impressed that he is fairly vocal. They didn’t have anything negative to say, so that’s good. Hopefully he will keep on developing like he has been.
Please pray that Elijah’s head hasn’t fused together prematurely and that his head molding starts to round out on its own. That’s what we are the most worried about – we don’t want him to have to have surgery and go through another hospital stay. Continue to pray for a complete recovery. Elijah is showing good signs that he is going to do well. The tests have never said that he would, but God can do anything. We’ll keep you posted.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

If we could, Andy and I would trade places with Elijah in a heartbeat. It’s so hard to watch your child get a scraped knee, let alone what we’ve had (or may have) to watch Elijah go through. We know that we’ll make it through whatever the future holds for us – good or bad – with God carrying us through.
Thanks for the prayers – God answered another for us today…Elijah slept through the CT scan! J I was so worried about it last night and today. I know that neither Andy nor I slept very well last night. It feels like we’re going back in time. Here we are asking for our laundry list of prayers again in our journal and the very smell of the soap at the hospital brought me back to when Elijah was in the NICU and ICC. I don’t want to go back.
I do know that we’re going forward, not backwards. I watch my little man and then I don’t care what the doctors say. Elijah is a living miracle and he will continue to be one. God has not neglected to take care of us. He has answered every one of our prayers, so how can we doubt Him? I know that He has a plan that I may not be able to completely understand now. When you put things into that perspective, we feel like we can do anything. This is just our temporary existence after all. Trivial things certainly don’t seem to matter anymore.
Watching your son’s head in a CT scan, on the other hand, does seem to matter. It’s not really a fun thing to watch, but thankfully the little man slept through the whole thing and Andy and I were able to stand on both sides of him as the test was done. We have the film of the images, but of course they don’t really mean much to us. We’ll know more when we meet with the neurosurgeon on Tuesday.
Tomorrow Early Intervention is coming to work with Elijah. His development continues to be on track, which is what really matters. I still believe that Elijah can be completely fine. I can’t lose hope. I know Elijah has a lot working against him, but God, who made the universe, can certainly fix one little head and one little brain. Please pray for that.
Dr. Gloom wasn’t quite as gloomy today, but it wasn’t all sunshine and roses like I had hoped. When we got to the appointment, he said, “Obviously he’s made some improvements since I saw him last.” Have you heard a bigger understatement? He also said that the things we were reporting were good signs (that he tracks objects, smiles, etc.). Elijah wouldn’t perform for Dr. Gloom, though. Elijah had just woken up from a nap (we woke him up, poor guy) and so he wasn’t quite himself. He wouldn’t track for the man and wouldn’t really do much of anything. I told Elijah later when I was changing him in the restroom that it was okay he wouldn’t look at the doc, since I don’t really want to look at him either!
So, what about the gloom? Well, the doctor thinks that Elijah’s head sutures might be fusing together early. That would obviously be a bad thing since his brain wouldn’t have any room to grow. Dr. Gloom also measured Elijah’s head and it seems to have grown since our last appointment with the pediatrician. (These measurements all seem so subjective since whoever does it seems to get a different result.) He put his head in the 50th percentile, which is much better than the 5th percentile that we thought he was at. To me, if his head has grown, wouldn’t that mean that his head hasn’t fused early? But, alas, I don’t really know anything about these things and I guess we’ll find out more tomorrow.
Tomorrow will be yet another appointment for our sweet little boy. He’s going to have a CT scan to check if his head is fusing early. We’re nervous about this since he has to stay still for five minutes to get the scan performed. It sounds like if he stays still enough he won’t have to be sedated. I will do anything to make sure he isn’t sedated; I can’t stand the thought of seeing his immobile again! Please pray that he will sleep through it so that we don’t have to do anything.
Next week we have an appointment with a neurosurgeon. He will take a look at the CT scan results and determine if Elijah will need surgery. Of course, we all hope that this is not the case. But, if it is needed to help him grow, then we’ll have to do it.
The other thing the doc was concerned about was that he thought Elijah’s tone was a bit on the tight side. Our tone is controlled by our brain, so of course that is a concern since a tight tone can be a sign of cerebral palsy. I don’t think that there is much we can do about it, other than what we’re doing with Early Intervention…and of course prayers.
Who knew parenthood would be so hard? I certainly had no idea. Andy and I are handling this quite well, but it’s still so hard. We realize that we’ve got God on our side and we’re taking life one day at a time. If Elijah needs surgery, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. In the meantime, what can we do but focus on the little miracle we have in front of us and put it in God’s hands?
Tonight we could really use the prayers. Please pray that the scan will show that his head isn’t fusing early, that his tone is normal, and that he will be still for the test tomorrow. We really appreciate your continued prayers. We know God listens – we have proof in our arms!

Monday, November 12, 2007

I think I have separation anxiety. (Isn’t it the baby who’s supposed to get that?) It pains me to think about being apart from Elijah. Elijah, on the other hand, doesn’t mind being held by others, which is really great. From what I’ve read, separation anxiety doesn’t usually occur in babies for a few more months, and is a completely normal emotional milestone for babies.
As for me, I know why I’m so attached. First of all, I’m his mommy and I love him. Second of all, we were separated. I am still dealing with the fact that I didn’t get to see my little man the night he was born, let alone hold him (I think that is possibly the worst torture you could do to a woman). It makes me so sad when I think about it, which isn’t very often anymore. I know I will grow out of this, just as he will when he goes through it later. For now, I’m enjoying the healing powers of cuddling with Elijah.
Tomorrow Elijah has an appointment with his neurologist, the man affectionately dubbed “Dr. Gloom” (By the way, I wasn’t the one who came up with that name; it was one of you in the guestbook. I liked it and it stuck). I have mixed feelings about this appointment. On one hand, I would like to think that Dr. Gloom will be happy and surprised to see how well Elijah is doing. He hasn’t seen Elijah since he was eight days old, and the prognosis was grim. That was the day Elijah was taken off of the respirator, so obviously a lot has changed since then. I just hope Dr. Gloom isn’t so gloomy this time we see him. I hope he can recognize a miracle when he sees one.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The three of us had a great weekend visiting Elijah’s grandparents. He was loved and cuddled as much as any baby could ever want.
He met some of his great-aunts and great-uncles at his great-grandma’s birthday dinner. He was a bit fussy through the meal, but he made it without needing to eat (I spent most of the meal wondering if Elijah was going to completely freak out, so I chewed my salad as quickly as possibleJ). It was really nice to see all of you!
Speaking of being fussy, Elijah seems to cry more than he used to, and we don’t see it as a bad thing. We think this is because he is being weaned off of the Phenobarbital and isn’t as sedated. We’ll see what kind of baby emerges; all we know is that he seems more like a “real” baby. Please continue the prayers: that his head will grow, that he won’t have seizures, and that he’ll be completely fine.
Well, off to bed for us. Make it a great day. :)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

I talk to Elijah about all sorts of things, because I figure it’s good for his brain development. I might as well talk to him now when he can’t get away from me, right? I never consider that he understands me, but sometimes I wonder. Anyway, this morning I was telling him about the day he was born…how it was raining and that he spent three weeks in the hospital. Immediately, he got a big pouty face and looked like he wanted to cry. I said, “Its okay! Don’t be sad, sweetie, you came home and now everything’s all right!” and he turned that frown into a huge smile. Perhaps he just heard the intonation of my voice, or he was frowning for a completely unrelated reason, but it sure was cute so I just had to share.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

I’ve noticed that Elijah looks at his hand once in awhile. He hasn’t done it very much, but I can’t wait until he is fascinated by his own hands. That’ll be fun. Hope you are all doing well.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Elijah had a play date today with his good pal Aubrey. They were both more awake this time, which was nice. They didn’t really seem to notice each other much, but did glance in the other’s direction if the other was crying. (I wonder if they can understand each other…I wish Aubrey would translate for me and tell me what Elijah was saying!:)) Even if Elijah and Aubrey weren’t too interested in playing, Aubrey’s mom, Ann, and I sure did have a nice time chatting. It was a lovely day and it was really nice to have the company.
I was watching the news tonight and there were a lot of men who had committed robberies. I have a different perspective on these sort of things because I find myself wondering “Who are these men’s mothers?!” Of course, I know that it isn’t their mom’s fault. Eventually we all have to grow up and take responsibility for our own actions. Anyway, I just thought it was funny that I was thinking about the criminal’s mothers, because I certainly wouldn’t have been thinking about that in the past. I just hope I can be a good mommy to Elijah and he never grows up and wants to steal anything. :)
Elijah is three months (12 weeks) old tonight at 10:58! Those three months sure did go by fast and I can’t believe how big he’s getting! Also, we’ve dropped his Phenobarb dosage to 1 cc two times a day. That’s half of what he was on for the last two weeks. Two more weeks and he’ll be done with the drug completely! Yay!
New pictures are on Photobucket! Check them out.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Elijah is a flirt. At least the Early Intervention ladies seem to think so. He does like to ham it up. He’ll smile and bat his eyelashes or smirk and look at you out of the corner of his eye. He loves attention and seems to like to show off. I’ve been known to call him a flirt at times too.
It was kind of neat to have a caravan of people come to visit Elijah. We had five ladies at our house and all of them were here just to see Elijah – he sure is an important guy. :) We discussed the results of the Bayley Scale of Infant Development and plans for the future. We discussed the next things Elijah should be doing, such as rolling over (on a more consistent basis), purposely grabbing things, sitting up on his own, etc. We’ll be visited once a month until he’s about 6 months old – when more will be expected from him – and then we’ll be visited about once a week. We’ll start with a visit by the occupational therapist and teacher next week Thursday. It’s exciting to have so many people looking out for Elijah and making sure he is developing like he should. I believe he is going to be an amazing man someday. He’s already an amazing baby. :)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Elijah was visited by Grandpa Dennis today. Perhaps grandpa was visiting us too. :) Grandpa burned a whole bunch of brush in the backyard and it looks a lot nicer back there now. Daddy did some raking. Elijah wanted to help, but he had to stay inside and keep his mommy company. Overall, it was a lovely day.
Well, I think that we are going to take advantage of the time change and go to bed early. Goodnight!

Friday, November 2, 2007

This morning I gave Elijah a bottle (we give him his Phenobarbital two times a day mixed with a little milk) and he put both hands on the bottle. He wasn’t holding it up on his own, but it was really cute and good practice for when he will be able to hold it on his own. He keeps on learning new things! He didn’t do it tonight for his daddy, though.
Elijah and I went to the grocery store today – just the two of us. That was the first time we’ve gone alone and Elijah behaved very well. I’m slowly getting used to taking him out alone. Sometimes I feel like such a weakling since he’s so heavy and it is hard being out in public since I can’t sit down and rest. I still get achy from my surgery at times when I overdo it, which is really annoying. The more outings, the easier it’ll get.
Uncle Andy visited tonight. We had yummy homemade pizza and Elijah enjoyed hanging out with his uncle. We had a really nice evening.
Elijah has been a lot fussier lately. He usually is such a content baby, so it’s weird when he’s not. I remind myself that he’s normal. Babies get fussy and it’s a blessing that he’s acting like any other baby would. The three of us should get to bed. Goodnight!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

I watched an episode of Scrubs tonight while Elijah was napping (I know you’ll be proud Dan!). It kind of hit home for me since JD was becoming a dad and it highlighted what parents will do for their kids. One of the doctors said something that I really related to. He said, “Statistics mean nothing to the individual.” How true that is! It doesn’t matter what happens with the majority of cases; what matters is what happens with Elijah. I have to remember he is already proving statistics wrong and he will continue to do so. He has God on his side and with God he can’t go wrong.
In other news, we got the Bayley Scales of Infant Development report today. This is the test that Early Intervention did a couple weeks ago. The report showed that he is developing normally for his age. That is great news! We already knew he had done well because we were there for the test, but it’s nice to see it written down. We will be having a meeting with the E.I. people this Monday at our house to discuss the results and the plan for moving forward with Elijah. We’ll let you know how it goes.
Hope you are all doing well. Thanks once again for all of the prayers, the thoughts, and the notes. We really appreciate you all sharing your stories and thoughts with us. We don’t know what we would do without all of the support we’ve received from all of you. Thanks for reading!
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