Monday, November 17, 2014

60 Days







What can you accomplish in 60 days? I posed this question on my Facebook tonight and got a variety of responses:

  • buying a house
  • getting through 8 weeks of a term
  • completing an online course
  • planning a community-wide event at the last minute
  • planning your sister's wedding (been there/done that)
  • surviving
  • working out and losing weight
Whatever you do with 60 days it is safe to say that a lot can be accomplished in 60 days. I will always think of 60 days as the time it took me to bring my little boy home. In 60 days I literally watched him change from a thin skinned (bright red baby) to a "chubby" six pound infant. I watched as the cartilage formed in his ears, as he grew eyelashes, kneecaps, and things formed that most babies are born with.

At three weeks old I called one of my best friends to celebrate the fact that he got to wear clothes for the first time. I watched as his daddy fed him his first bottle at almost one month old. I held back tears as I watched the fear mixed with joy that his grandparents felt being able to hold him for the first time. Day in and day out I prayed that his homecoming date would come soon. I prayed that my little boy would start eating better and learning how to manage his breathing and temperature more regularly so that he could finally come home. A lot can be done in 60 days. 

If I do not count the week prior to Bronson's birth when I was on bed rest in the hospital I can list many of the things that I personally didd in the 60 days after Bronson's birth:

  • What seemed like just minutes after Bronson's birth the doctors allowed Kyle to hand carry him into the delivery room to show him to me without tubes, wires or medical equipment. I will never be able to fully explain that time literally stood still when I realized that this was a very good sign and that although I could only see his little eyes we made eye contact and I knew that he would be okay.
  • As everyone met my little baby in the NICU and his daddy got to accompany them back and forth my sweet nurse took me to a private room to prepare me for a short viewing of my son that was born still. His daddy and I had just a brief moment together to say our goodbyes before moving to the mode of NICU mommy and daddy.
  • My sister spoke out and became my advocate and demanded that they allow me to not only be allowed in the NICU but that I would get to hold my baby. It might have only been less than a minute, but I am thankful that I got to hold my son on the day his was born.
  • The days that passed after his birthday were days that were somewhat similar:
    • Watch baby sleep
    • Change baby
    • Watch baby be fed small drops of breastmilk through a tube
    • PUMP, PUMP, and PUMP...
    • Thank the nurses and doctors over and over again for saving your babies life.
  • Realize as you are released on day five of the hospital that you will not be going back to your home for a long time. My rival town (Eugene) would become a home away from home for the next 55 days.
  • Watch your baby literally grow before your eyes.
  • Celebrate each success...temperature control, weight gain, eating a bottle, taking a bath, first month pictures with Bearson, visits from family, able to poop without medicine (even this is a reason for celebration)
  • Get a call from the local funeral home that your baby is ready to be picked up. Mentally prepare yourself to pick up your son and bring "him" home before your other baby's homecoming is even on the horizon.
  • Have 8 weekend dinners with family that come to see you and try to peal you away from the NICU.
  • Become such a regular at the cafeteria that everyone knows you by name and has your special plate all ready.
  • Complete a punch card at the sandwich shop behind the hospital
  • Form friendships with your NICU nurses that are lifelong
  • Cry with NICU roommates as they hear more bad news
  • Celebrate as your baby moves into an open air crib, but mourn the day that the twins next to you get moved together (there are constant reminders that your baby has a brother)
  • Do kangaroo care EVERY SINGLE DAY
  • Take pictures of handsome hubby doing night time kangaroo care EVERY SINGLE NIGHT
  • Watch your baby code because of some unknown virus
  • Watch your baby smile, coo, and generally enjoy life in the NICU
  • Fall completely and head over heals in love with a 2 lb miracle
 The list could go on and on, but as you can see there is no lack of activities that can happen in 60 days after the birth of a preemie. Every single day counts in the womb. My mission is to see more women experience full-term (more than 39 weeks) pregnancies. Each day in the womb is one less day in the NICU. Instead of celebrating the National Prematurity Awareness day I choose to educate and let you know the importance of making a difference to stop it. I also do this to advocate for those without a voice or those that feel embarrassed to speak out about the babies that were born still. They are still very much your baby and it is okay to talk about your loss. Please join with me in making a difference in prematurity. http://www.marchforbabies.org/amberdeets

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Summer 2014 Plans


Our little boy graduated Kindergarten in May. It is still hard to believe that he will start first grade in the fall. We were thankful that he made it to graduation as the very next day he became very ill and spent the next six days vomiting and having us try to control his raging fever. I felt very bad for him as he missed his field trip, end of year party, and saying goodbye to his friends. Prior to his graduation his daddy had spent four days in the local hospital, so our end of May was very dramatic in the sense of illness. I am glad to have the month of May over!

Our Summer is going to be a busy one. My boss approved me to work four ten hour shifts, so I will be having three day weekends the entire summer. Bronson will also be spending every Wednesday and Friday with his Yaya so he gets to do some fun stuff. I am so thankful for this extra time that we will spend together. We haven't completed our bucket list yet, but I plan to follow my colleague's lead and make most of the items easy and inexpensive. I think our biggest splurge will be a miniature road trip around Oregon. We planned to take a full seven days to complete this trip, but had to restructure after the lengthy two week "illvacation" we both took last month.

My plan is to take this summer to read, write, and regroup. My soul needs relaxation, sun, and lots of time cuddling my loved ones. Perhaps part of my soul therapy will be more blog posts!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Driving: (VERY GRAPHIC)

I get a lot of jokes thrown my way for being on my cellphone too much while driving. I am going to be honest and admit a huge thing about my love for the cellphone while I am driving; I need noise. Music is not the type of noise that I am speaking about. Music makes my mind think and stray to thoughts that I am trying to push aside or squelch because they are too painful. If a song from Casting Crowns comes on the radio and I am in just the right frame of mind I know that the tears will start flowing and the rest of my night will be toast. It has been six years since I lived what I refer to as my living nightmare. I truly thought that I would live out the rest of my time on earth just "getting by" without feeling this kind of heart ache again, but you know what...it doesn't go away. I don't say this to make you feel bad or to discourage those that have dealt with loss, but to be real.

There are times that if I reach far enough into my memory bank that my breath literally is knocked out of me. There are memories that I have about the day of my boys' birth that I wish I could take a time traveling machine and do all over again and change. I wish SO badly that I had not let fear become the best of me and had demanded the nurse to clean up my son and make him presentable so that I could hold him. I have shared a few snippets of this horrific experience on my blog, but I don't know if I have ever mentioned that at one point the hospital was VERY fearful that Kyle and I were going to file a lawsuit against them. I just read this blog from a fellow preemie mommy and it brought so many emotions up within me. I really struggled and prayed about the decision before moving forward.

About a month after Bronson was born a wonderful NICU nurse that was taking care of Bronson found me behind a closed curtain in a pool of tears. For some reason the events of Bronson's birthday were coming to the surface and I was reliving all of the horrifying details. As I shared this experience she immediately began to cry and asked me if it was alright for her to share this with her supervisor. Within the day I had several visits from higher management inquiring about my experience and asking me what I wanted them to do. There were several apologies and many promises that it would never happen again. My inner struggle was that I actually had a great deal of respect for the nurse that assisted us that day and even though she orchestrated the terrible events, I felt strongly that it was not her intentions and just because of poor training. I repeated over and over again that I just wanted them to fix their system so that this would never happen to another set of parents again. I was promised that they already had systems in place and that it shouldn't have happened in the first place. This is where they opened themselves wide to the possibility of a lawsuit. If a system was in place for how to deal with the loss of a baby, then why did Kyle and I get our baby presented to us in a bowl vs. a blanket. Why do I still struggle with the thought of seeing blue medical towels, metal bowls, or anything that remotely resembles abortion? Why did I literally bite the head off of an abortion demonstrator outside of office because I had flashbacks from my birth experience? I did NOT have an abortion and my stillborn baby should have NEVER been presented to me in a fashion that resembled anything like that. Here is the clincher...much like the experience of Jenny, from Life with Jack, the nurse who was with us for several hours after the birth of our sons, who prayed a Jewish blessing as we cried in our hospital room, and came to visit me in the NICU before realizing the pain she had caused us could not even look me in the eye when two years later I saw her in the hospital room of my friend before delivery.

I feel bad that she had to be disciplined. I feel bad that she might harbor guilt because of me, but I also still hurt. This was my baby. This was my birth story. This is the reason that I can't drive down a country road listening to the sound of my own internal thoughts for fear that I might break. I still have a broken piece of my heart that is only being held together by love and the knowledge that my savior is saving a place for me in His Kingdom.

Bronson Turns Six

Our little man is six years old. He constantly has to remind me that he is no longer five. It seems a bit hard to believe that he is closer to ten than one. Bronson had a pretty great birthday. We invited my dad to go with us to Sky High Sports in Tigard where they have a gigantic building filled with trampolines and a foam pit. It wasn't quite what Bronson was expecting, but he still had tons of fun. Unfortunately I had been sick since Christmas and got worse as we were trying to enjoy the day; later I was diagnosed with the flu. We had all of the grandparents over that evening and enjoyed cake and Bronson was able to open some presents. He was surprised with a tablet, lots of cash, and some other fun toys.

Bronson brings us such joy, but in the honor of six birthday here are six fun facts about him:
  1. He has the ability to remember anything from ANY movie whether it be a line, the music, or the name of a character.
  2. He has the best sense of humor. Kyle and I are constantly noticing that he has such quick whit and the ability to come back with the funniest one liners. I can't think of one right now, but will try to edit this later if it comes to my mind.
  3. He says the most in depth and though provoking prayers. A few months ago he started noticing homeless people and asked me a great deal about them. His concerns evolved into asking me about children and whether some of them did not have mommies and daddies. He is quite concerned about foster children and spends a great deal of his time at night in prayer asking Jesus to find them parents and for the homeless people to find shelter. I am so thankful for his kind heart.
  4. Apparently he has split personalities. At school is quite and compliant to a fault. Once he gets home he turns into Crazy B and literally jumps off the wall. I guess I am fortunate that he is doing well in school and saving his energy for me.
  5. He truly loves his family and still spends time letting both of us snuggle him and share about our days. He is a little bit of a Netflix addict, but also LOVES to play with his daddy.
  6. After several years of saying that he wants to grow up to be a policeman he is now convinced that he will grow up to be a Christian rapper and we can often find him rapping about his day, the latest bible verse, or his senses injustices.

Disneyland 2013

I just realized that my blog has been long neglected. Once I became an avid Instagram user I have not been as good about sharing items on my blog. In my New Year's goals I made a commitment to keep this up so that Bronson has a place where he can go to see how life unfolded during this childhood.

December was a month that brought extreme excitement for our family. We left on December 9th for a week in Disneyland. Some of our plans were changed at the last minute as Papa Cookie went home to be with the Lord on the 8th; exactly four years after his sweetheart went to heaven. Because of this change Kyle's parents were not able to go with us, but we decided that it was still important for Bronson to go ahead with our vacation plans. Bronson was Grandpa's pride and joy and when we saw Grandpa a little over a week before our trip, we talked about going to Disneyland and he encouraged us and said how happy he was that we were making memories with our son.

Prior to leaving on our trip Bronson's biggest excitement was the fact that we was going to get to ride on a plane for the 1st time. He asked me all sorts of wonderful and analytical questions leading up to our trip, but once we got to the airport I think his nerves were a bit more than he bargained for. He was still excited, but quieter than normal. It was so adorable to see him walking through the airport with Mickey in hand waiting for the plane. Our plane ride was pretty uneventful except for the fact that the head flight attendant took a liking to Bronson and spoiled him with a Disney food pack and wings for the flight. It made Kyle and my heart twinge a little as the wings reminded us of Grandpa and we once again felt strongly that he would be encouraging us to go on this trip.

Most people get to their hotel near Disneyland and head straight to the park. We were fortunate enough to be given a very special treat of staying in a Disneyland Resort, the Grand Californian which has a private entrance directly into the California Adventure Park. We decided to use that entrance after leaving our bags in the room and walked directly into Condor Flatts with a life size model of an airplane. It was the first of many photo opportunities. We ended up spending the majority of our afternoon exploring California Adventure Park before running into Matt and Alex Graber and following them over to Disneyland. Our first ride over there was the Pirates of the Caribbean (Kyle's favorite childhood ride). After our ride we went to our reservations at Blue Bayou, but after taking a few bites of our food were ushered out because of a fire alarm. We decided to take the option of leaving and doing a different dinner. We finished off the night eating sandwiches in our room and watching our sweet little boy crash in the big comfy bed.

Our entire trip was such a wonderful adventure. The next morning we met the Basso clan at Goofy's Kitchen for breakfast and then had a wonderful day at Disneyland. We were fortunate enough to be able to ride every single ride in the park and many of them multiple times. Bronson's very favorite was California Screamin'; which he just barely met the height requirement. It was so magical watching him get so excited about each and every ride. Our little boy brings us such joy! Some other highlights of our trip were going to Thunder Ranch BBQ in Disneyland. We HIGHLY recommend this place. The price is great and the food is even better. We also splurged and took Bronson to the Build a Bear workshop. The price wasn't very bad and the experience was quite fun.

Prior to this trip we wondered why so many of our friends had the desire to go over and over again to Disneyland and we now know. Once you go, you catch the magic. You truly find happiness and magical family time that you didn't know was possible. Bronson is already asking us when our next trip will be.
Aladdin and Friends

Balloon Character

Thunder Ranch BBQ

We got our share of chicken...

My Joy

Bronson won a TON of stuffed animals

The only area that Bronson didn't like...

Build a Bear Workshop

Bumper Cars

The Castle

YUMMY!

Christmas Photo

Imagine them in a about ten years...

Someone is a bit excited...

The Disneyland Picture

Dumbo

Statue

We waited in line for an hour :(

Heading Home

Bronson loves Goofy!

Goofy's Kitchen

Enjoying Lunch

Haunted Mansion

So patient

Our Hotel