Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October Goals

Failure isn't fun. I despise starting something and not finishing, setting a goal and not following through with it. In September, I told you my biggest fitness goal for the month was to run 50 miles. I ran 50 last year, no problem. I've also done 100 miles in a month before, but for some reason, I struggled this month. The first problem is the busyness! Between driving back and forth from Nashville and my husband working more (Someone needs to invent the 3 seater running stroller!), I did not complete the goal I set out to accomplish. No excuse is good enough. I simply am exhausted by parenting a toddler with special needs while caring for two other needy little people. I chose (physical and mental) rest more than exercise and finished off the month ten miles short of my goal. I hate to say that.

Today begins a new month, though! I think my theme will be focus. I'm going to take less on my plate this month and focus on what's important to me. Among these are my faith, health, and family. My goals for October:

1. Focus on prayer life-
How can I pray for you? I'd be happy to just leave me a comment and let me know.

2. Focus on Abs: October Ab Challenge-
Last year, I created an ab challenge and I think I'll give it a go again this year. Wanna join me?

3. Focus on Family Fun: Make Halloween Costumes

4. Focus on Family: Friends Edition-
I'm such a nerd. ANYway, my bestie is getting married the first weekend of November so I hope to spend time with her and take the time to make her feel special in some way. I'm looking forward to her wedding festivity get-togethers. I'm so glad she's a part of my life and I want to make the days leading up to her Big Day as stress free as possible.

What are your goals this month? If you did the #50milesinSeptember with me, how'd it go?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Activation Day

Dear Abel,

I used to write to you monthly. In my letters, you were my baby- an extension of my own soul. I loved and cherished your first year of life. Your birthday came and went and typically that's where I would stop writing so often. Your story of your babyhood just didn't feel quite done yet, though. I knew I wanted to write you again. When we found out your were deaf, I felt so scared that I wouldn't be able to provide for you what you needed. My sign language was/is limited and although we've been learning together, I knew you needed more. I yearned for you to understand us one day, to be able to talk to your brothers, and enjoy the simple pleasures of music. I was so glad to find out you were a candidate for cochlear implant surgery. That excitement diminished as I learned more about the procedure. It was intimidating. I started second guessing our decision even after your surgery. I can't tell you how many times since you were implanted a few weeks ago that I thought to myself that I wish we'd never done the surgery to begin with. You were perfect as you were anyway.
Activation Day rolled around and I was so excited. I wanted so badly for this to be a happy day for you, but you were under the weather with an ear infection and I ended up crying a lot that day. I hate to see any of my babies in pain. Still, you pressed on as you always do. You're such a tough kid already! You've been through a lot in your short time here and you have taught me that I can be strong, too. We activated one side and your reaction was much like we expected:

Bless your sweet little heart. It turns out that hearing for the first time is frightening! But you know what? You're enjoying it now. I see you getting super still, focusing intently on making sense of your new found hearing and I'm so happy we decided to do it. It feels like I can teach you now. Another door has opened for you. You and I will always have our bond that allows us to communicate without words or signs, but now when your family talks to you, you can listen. I have faith that you will speak, too. Your appetite for learning inspires me, too. You've given me so much in your 21 months!

I love you so much. Happy Hearing Birthday to you!

This is when we activated the other side. No tears!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Hard Work

Some days it seemingly appears out of nowhere although it must have been brewing for a long time. The ugly cry. The yelling. The being the mom you don't want to be. It happened to me today. All my triggers were there, I just didn't see it coming. The other day, someone likened my kids to having triplets and while I can't put myself in the shoes of someone who has to feed THREE tiny humans every couple of hours throughout the night, I feel like I do share some struggles with the multiples moms. Mine are all still in diapers (judgment judgment judgment!), they all cry when they want something, and sleep through the night could be worse, but it could be a lot better, too. I end every day feeling as if I haven't been able to sit down and I truly haven't. Today, I did though. I should have known I would break down. After rushing out of the house, leaving behind a screaming preschooler with the sitter, I arrived at Abel's speech therapy. It all felt so pointless. He can't hear yet I'm driving an hour away to do this. I got home and felt so sleepy, drained. I ignored the house I should clean and the big boy I should play with. I put the baby in the swing and checked out. I don't want to be like that. I want to soak up every minute with the precious kids God has placed in my care, but y'all I'm tired. I don't know what's wrong with me.

J came home and we all went outside for awhile to enjoy some fresh air. When he came back in the house to take a conference call, I thought I'd check something online I've been meaning to research (our yard is fenced in and private). I stepped away for about two minutes and when I came back? Potting soil EVERYWHERE. All over the dog. In the crevices of smiles, teeth, and fingernails. Most notably however was the degree to which it was caked on the curly headed toddler who just had surgery on his head. I flipped.

Instead of smiling about how boys will be boys, I was mean and hurried them all to the bathtub. Trying to get dirt out of Abel's hair was only making matters worse and by the time they were semi-clean, I just put them all to bed despite the late hour. Then I cried.

Mothering is hard work.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Happy 1 Month!

Dear Merit,

What a pleasant surprise you've been. Our family had so much going on that I worried that I wouldn't be able to handle all three of my boys with any measure of grace, but you make it easier to do. You have been a joy since you came into our lives. It has already been a month. Time flies when you're having fun! I feel incredibly blessed to call you my son.
You are so cute! Most people tell me you look like Kinley did when he was a baby and I agree. Sometimes I hear you look like big brother Abel, though and I see that, too! You are their perfect combinations right now. I love it. You've already changed so much since birth. I'm sure you'll continue to do so. I wonder, will you have brown eyes like me or blue like the rest of the family? Curly or straight hair? Outgoing or shy? Time will tell, but right now I'm just trying to soak you up as you are right now. I love holding you for hours if the others will let me. I just stare...and snap eleventy billion photos of the sweetest sleeping baby I know. You snuggle right up on me and are content for hours. Your sleeping patterns at night could improve, though. I'm just sayin'.

Even when you're super fussy, you're still a million times easier to handle than your brothers were at this age. Perhaps that comes with experience, but I have a feeling that you'll always be my baby- the one who does no wrong in my eyes! We'll try not to spoil you too much. You are very loved, kid. I know soon your brothers will have you running around with them, joining in on their fun. Until then, it feels like you're all mine and I will savor this time.

I love you!


Monday, September 8, 2014

The Bionic Boy- post surgery notes from Mama

I keep thinking this will all get easier to deal with. I look at how far we've come as a family in the past year and think it must. Less than a year ago, we started accepting the fact that our dear Abel wasn't progressing like a typical babe. Later, we found out he was deaf. Meanwhile, we were struggling with the financial issues that come with buying a house, paying for graduate school, and planning for a new baby to join the family. Pile on top of that, the stress of carrying another human, birthing him, and nurturing him while running the other two kids to doctor appointments, therapies, and "school" and I was feeling so stretched. Did I mention I tried my hand at starting a business, too? It was all too much. I just felt like eventually this season of our lives would slow down and get easier. I wasn't consciously creating a timetable for this, but I must've because somewhere in the back of my mind, I thought life won't be as scary once Abel has his surgery. I knew it would be a long road with many hours of speech therapy and driving to audiology appointments. But I also thought that the scary part would be over. He is out of surgery. He did well. Finally.

But you know what? The terrifying part has just begun. I didn't prepare myself for what life would be like post surgery partly because the people I spoke with and read about their experiences with the surgery said recovery was normal. I guess Abel's recovery has been fairly normal, too but he has had some other symptoms that are concerning. So what has it been like?
The ride home from the hospital that evening was rough. We were all so tired from a long day and had a three hour drive ahead of us. Abel was super groggy and nauseous (yes, he threw up on me) and so so pitiful. Even under anesthesia, he had quite a 'tude. He threw his paci and juice cup no less than 50 times on the way home. He was not happy and had a hard time sleeping in the car.
Post Surgery Day 1

We roused him around nine that morning and started trying to get him to eat and drink since he hadn't in so long. He tolerated a drink but was in no condition to eat. We could hardly get him to move honestly. He laid on the couch all day and it seemed as if his spirit was just completely broken. We changed his diaper, gave him meds, and moved him when he needed it (all things he would usually protest but was too tired to care). He fell in and out of sleep all day. We turned on cartoons and he camped out on the couch. His eyes floated toward the t.v. but he wouldn't lift his head to look at it. It started to alarm me. I wanted to get him moving and create some normalcy (b/c he has never spent more than 20 minutes straight in front of a t.v.) so we loaded our two youngest boys in the stroller so we could go for a walk. Still, I noticed his head was flopping around like a newborn. It was as if he couldn't control it. I thought maybe it was due to his large dressing so we decided to take it off an hour or two early. When we took it off, it didn't improve his head issue but we were pleased at how the incisions looked.
Day 2
He was up crying through the night so I think he had some pain. We brought some medicine in his room that morning and began the process of cleaning his head and ears. Applying creams. That sort of thing. He was not happy, but we were feeling hopeful because when we scooped him from his crib, he was standing up! That was a complete turn around from the day before. When we finally got him cleaned and ready for the day, we took him to the kitchen where he ate his first good meal in days. Afterward, we put him on the couch again because we noticed that his balance was still very much off. It broke my heart to see him want to move and play, but then get defeated when he couldn't because he was stumbling and falling so much. I even texted my mom and sister expressing my fears that we had done the wrong thing. I started to question everything. I took to facebook and asked for prayer because I truly believe in the power of prayer. By the end of the day, he was getting around so much better. I could tell he was still in pain, but there were smiles that day and he played and toddled like one and a half year olds should. That night, his temp spiked and we were worried again.

Day 3
J had to go back to work but I was thankful that he woke Abel up and helped me get him ready by taking care of his wounds, administering medicine, etc. I'll be honest- he has done most of the work. I get so upset trying to hold an angry, sad and in-pain toddler down to get these things accomplished and J has been so thorough in taking care of our boy. I'm lucky to have him. I expected the day to be so hard, but it wasn't. Kinley went off to Mother's Day Out and Merit slept much of the day so I could focus my attention on Abel. He did well. I noticed early on that he was leaning in on his right side and that worried me, but it slowly went away as the day wore on. His ears sticking out/swelling seemed to look better as well. He started walking more normally throughout the day and we have hope that he will continue to improve.

This has been emotionally taxing on me. I wish I could take his place. I wish I could take his pain. If only I could be deaf instead. But I also know that he is now a part of the bionic community...and what a great one it is. We are so grateful for this miracle procedure and we're hoping it proves to be one for us. More than anything, though we want Abel to be his happy, feisty self again. God is The Great Healer and I know He has him in His hands. Thank you all so much for caring about this journey and for joining us in praying for this sweet child. THANKS SO MUCH!

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Big Day

If you're reading this on Friday, there's a good chance that Abel is in surgery at this very moment. Surgery that will open up his head and eventually, hopefully give him the ability to hear. Please pray. It's Wednesday night as I write this and I'm a nervous wreck. In an effort to focus my head, I thought I'd answer some questions I've gotten recently about the procedure.

How long is it going to take?
We are told it should take between 4-6 hours to implant both sides. That does not count time spent in pre-op appointments and recovery.

After the surgery, will he just be able to hear?
No. Actually, he will still be deaf. After surgery, he will need time to heal. Two to three weeks after the procedure is activation day.

Is it all inside the head or ear? Can you see it?
The inside portion will obviously not be visible, but in order to make the cochlear implants work, processors will attach via magnet on the sides of his head and rest behind his ears. When the processors are taken off, he will not have access to sound. He'll still be deaf. Processors typically aren't worn around water or at bed time.

What do you think his first word will be?
You know, I don't even let myself think of this. You might think that once he is turned on that he can start talking within weeks, but it's not that easy. His brain has to be taught what these noises mean. I can't even explain it, but I do know that I'm going to have to be realistic about this process or I'll go crazy. I'm trying to take it one day at a time.

Are you going to record it?
As I mentioned, he'll be activated weeks later. That means, they'll begin the process of turning on his sound. These are all the cute videos you see on youtube and facebook of the kiddos hearing for the first time. While these are all adorable (and often make me cry happy tears), they also aren't typical. It's much more common to have a crying reaction or no reaction at all. Think about's probably alarming to suddenly have a new sense. To hear for the first time when you're less than two years old? It must be frightening. Still, we will totally record this awesome moment in our lives. It will be magical, no matter how he reacts.

I'm keeping the faith.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the plans I have for you (Abel!) says the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future."

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Postpartum Fitness Goals

It's the beginning of a new month and I'm finally starting to feel myself again. My blood pressure is seemingly controlled by medicine for the time being and I have even decreased my dosage since delivery three (almost four) weeks ago. Eventually I hope to come off of it completely and there's no reason for me to believe I can't do that. Anyway...
3 Weeks Postpartum

I feel pretty good! I've started jogging again, but won't resume any other workouts until I'm cleared by my doctor. I hope she will tell me I can at my six week appointment that will be here before I know it. Getting back outside and sweating has been slow going. I've already improved a lot, though. I started off barely able to run a mile, but I'm building up to feeling strong again.

Here are my Postpartum Goals for the next couple of months:

1. Run 50 miles in September
2.Train & complete a half marathon in November (I haven't signed up yet, but I'm planning to do a race I've been wanting to do for awhile now. I hope I see a lot of improvement in my run pace over the next month.)
3. Confidence
4. Lose the remaining baby weight. I'm currently at 126 lbs. and I feel most comfortable at 120. I was almost at my goal but my milk was decreasing too much so I had to start eating more calories to keep that up for baby. It's not that I was dieting-not at all. I just find it difficult to find time to eat when I'm taking care of all three babes.
5. That brings me to my next point. I want to start eating better. I need to fuel this body and nourish Merit's. In the past, I was healthiest when I ate clean for at least two meals a day. I'd like to get back to that.
6. More water. Always.

What are your health goals this month?


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