Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Braden, On Your Second Birthday


I can still hear your first scream, imagine your sweet newborn face, and smell your newborn smell. But you are now two. You are learning to talk, look like a boy, and smell like adventure. You like trucks, sticks, mud, water, and airplanes. You are loud, you throw back your head confidently when you drink from your sippy cup, you refuse assistance, and you throw a ball like a champ. 
You are all boy.
You are sweet too. You love your mama, ask everyone around you--"You okay?," love your family, and like to help. This year we gave you my favorite thing we’ll ever give you—a sibling. A brother, Bennett. You adore Bennett. Your dad jokes that if we need to punish you, we should just take Bennett away. You pet him, you kiss him when you’ll kiss no one else, you make him laugh hysterically, you give him toys and animals, you feed him bottles, and you insist on doing all of this on your own.
You are also bad. You learned how to say “mine,” take things that aren’t yours, and throw tantrums. You step right up to a line and your press your toe on it while you look around grinning. Yaya and Bapa say that's how I was, and there's something in me that makes me giggle at your badness.

You have an iron will. You’ll hear stories your whole life, but know that your dad and I believe you will be a leader. You will learn discipline, self-control, and patience, and you will become a courageous, confident man who does justly, loves mercy, and walks humbly with your God. That is my prayer for that badness. Because I know our God—and He takes bad and makes it so, so good.
You are obsessed with playing with your dad. When he walks in the door from work, you refuse to hug him but you yell something that sounds like, “Dada—chechu!” (Translation:  “Dada—get you”) which means that you’d like him to chase you around the house telling you he’s going to get you.  Before he answers or even has time to kiss me hello, with a mischievous grin--you run away confidently because you know your daddy will chase you. 

You are confident your daddy will chase you. 

I love that. I love that he’ll help you understand how your other Daddy chases you. 
The act of parenting is utterly changing my soul. It is not a sudden thing, but it is a process that I feel begun the day you were born. With all the fun comes nights of anxiety, fears over doing this whole thing “right,” and exhaustion because I know I never will. Leaning into Jesus has taken on an entirely new meaning. It is not just a path nor help that I need. I once heard that we are like caterpillars in a ring of fire--the only way out is from above. I think that sums it up well.

Your dad and I are working hard to learn how to honor your personality, nurture your gifts, and give you the boundaries that you crave. We want your heart changed, not just your actions. And we want our hearts changed too.

You have changed us. You teach us how to love unconditionally, you make us laugh all the time, and you fill our home with noise! I love the way you take a running belly flop into life.

I adore you and there is nothing you could do to take that away, Braden Matthew!

I love you,

Your Mama

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Bennett's Procedure Update

Before I begin the update, I really have to say thank you. Jed and I were entirely blown away at the outpouring of encouragement and love, and we feel honored to call so many of you our friends and family. We received so many texts, facebook comments and messages, and e-mails that we literally did not have time to respond to them all. Our fabulous iPhones were jam packed with whispers of encouragement when we had chances to check them, and it was incredibly uplifting and beautiful for us. We did receive the comments quickly, and the Holy Spirit used them to comfort us. Thank you for being the body of Christ to us when we needed you.

Last Thursday we arrived at the hospital at 6 a.m. in order to check in. Bennett slept in his carseat until close to seven, and when he woke up, he did not seem hungry. This was something I was incredibly worried over as we were not allowed to feed him after 2 in the morning. He is usually starving, and he was smiley and beautiful, and my eyes literally filled with tears when I realized God was already answering the prayers of our community.

This is after the nurse took blood. I think I was more traumatized than Bennett.
When we were first taken back, a nurse had to take Bennett's blood. Hindsight--This was the most difficult part of the whole day. It took awhile for her to find a good vein, and he screamed for probably 10 minutes. Jed was stable and comforted him while I stood 5 feet away slowly losing it until I was a puddle with my fingers in my ears. During the last bit, I was able to suck it up and kiss on him while she drew the blood out.
My mom calls Bennett our koala. The way a koala bear is to a tree is the way Bennett is to whoever is holding him. Imagine the snuggling capabilities here. He truly has such a calming, sweet demeanor.
After his blood was drawn, my parents, Ashley, and Jed's mom were able to come back to see us. We prayed as a family over the boy, and I was feeling awesome. Really. I was trusting of the incredible doctors and nurses who were explaining everything so well, and ready to get the procedure over with!

The nurses sent our families back out to the waiting room, and Jed and I followed the nurses and doctor through the halls while we held Bennett. They took us to pick out a toy for Bennett, which was so incredibly meaningful. Right--so we picked one Braden would like and we gave it to him later. I'd call us resourceful, but I don't want to brag.

The nurses then asked us to hand the baby over. We kissed on him and told him we loved him as his eyes filled with tears....wait, I forgot, he actually had no idea what was happening and went willingly to the sweet nurse because she probably thought she had good food.

So Jed and I walked down the halls back to the waiting room, and when we walked out of the doors and saw parents, grandparents, my sister, Jed's boss and his wife (who are also sweet friends of the family), and my friend--every emotion that I'd felt in the previous weeks as well as that morning hit me upside the head. I cried into Jed's chest for a few minutes because I have a little flair for drama. Just kidding--I actually tried to will myself to stop and it only made it worse. But I wasn't kidding about the flair for drama. I try not to--but I'm dramatic. You'd be bored if I wasn't.

You're welcome.

Back to story.

So the next part is boring and involves lots of food, coffee, looking at youtube videos, and my grandfather talking about family genealogy. All these things helped to keep my mind from fa-reaking out.

And a couple of hours later--I got a call on my cell phone saying that they were finishing up and moving him to recovery ASAP.

Half an hour later--the doctor was showing our family a video of the cath, the balloon that they used to stretch his pulmonary valve, and his beating heart. Incredible. Modern technology meets science meets anatomy meets cardiology. I'm totally blown away by it.

So then they kicked our family out and Jed and I were whisked away to recovery to see our boy. Selfishly--I was glad we were alone. I didn't want anyone talking to me and just wanted to stare at that gorgeous child.

And I did.

He was so perfect. The nurses said he talked to them until the gas made him fall asleep at the beginning of surgery, and in recovery, he was tired, but he was perfect.

Perfect I say!

His legs were strapped to the bed for a few hours so that he could not mess up the incisions.
Seriously, Rox brought a goodie bag the day before. She's possibly the most thoughtful and encouraging human ever. I need lessons stat!

And Lill misread a text I sent and thought I said I was going to be hungry. So she made muffins. FOUR kinds. Yes. I know I'm spoiled. And I'm glad she misread that, because I WAS hungry, and I did eat those muffins.
Jed was finally able to hold his boy.
In love with them.

Aunt Ash came back up to the hospital to visit.

Kisses for my boy.

Bapa and Yaya came back to spoil Bennett a bit. Look at that fat baby!

Braden was able to play with Wyatt (or Wydatt as he calls him) for the day, and they were able to play with Isaac too--who probably taught them algebra--because Isaac is like a professor already.

These are our relieved faces after we crashed on the hospital bed and chair. We were exhausted!

Wish I got more pics of his visitors, but I love this of Bennett with his Bapa and Yaya!

And this is TWO days later. Braden begged to have Bennett in his crib with him.

God really carried us through that day, and I feel like I'm finally getting recovered. I promise that I was more traumatized than anyone. And this makes me very happy. Bennett has little incision marks as well as some bruising, but his spirits are back to normal, and he's recovered so well. He's a little warrior man, and we are blessed beyond belief to have him as our son.

Bennett has an appointment with the cardiologist again in two weeks, and we are hoping that the echo shows that the procedure worked as well as the doctors thought, and that he will not have to have the procedure again.