I am 34 years old and have suffered through 2.5 years of infertility including 2 angel babies. My dream has always been to be a mom, and I never imagined that dream would be so difficult to attain. I am married to a wonderful man who is the best husband and daddy anyone could hope for. Our dreams came true when we adopted our son, Jackson, in August of 2010. Our lives became even more blessed and full when our daughter, Addison, was born in February 2011. Please join us on our journey - where surprises are just part of the fun!
This time of year inevitably reminds me of our angel, our second baby to find her way to Heaven. We were very surprised and excited to find out in November 2009 that we were pregnant again, finally! I can still remember the moment I told Jason about that positive test - what joy we experienced together. We had worked so hard for this baby. We had ultrasounds every week and it was so amazing to see that heartbeat, that little body growing with each week. Our RE released me to the OB after my 8.5 week ultrasound with the promise that our baby and my pregnancy looked "perfect." I saw the OB at 9 weeks and 4 days, and heard the words that made my heart stop each time I had to hear them - "There's your baby..." and she paused...and I knew. And I asked what was wrong, and she told me she couldn't find the heartbeat. That was December 18, 2009. On December 23rd, I went in for surgery, hoping to get the baby soon enough to test the tissue. We needed answers.
The short story is we did not get answers, they did not get enough tissue. They told us the tissue was from a "healthy female," but they thought it was just my tissue. So, with only that to go on, I think of this angel as my baby girl.
Needless to say, Christmas came and went without celebration in our home last year. All I can remember is lying on the couch, wishing life had been different for us. I cried and cried and cried. I broke down in the shower, in bed at night, in all those quiet moments that leave too much space for the grief - the sadness just overwhelmed me.
Now, a year later, our life has been blessed beyond words. I will never understand why we had to walk this painful path to get to our miracles. Some people just have to. I will never say I am thankful for our losses, as we will always miss those babies, and our hearts will forever have cracks and bruises in the wake of their losses. What I can say is that I see how all of the pain led us to where we are today, where we were meant to be. And we appreciate it more than I am guessing most people can, because we suffered, and we prevailed.
This Christmas I will remember my angels, as I always do. But I will spend more time enjoying our miracles, our son and our daughter, who is mere weeks from her big arrival. A year seems like forever when your heart is broken and dripping with grief. But a year is all it takes for miracles to happen and for life to make sense again.
Rest in peace, sweet angel. We won't ever forget your brief time in our lives - you brought us such immense joy in those few weeks, and that is what we will remember about your life. You were, and always will be, our angel baby.
I cannot believe it, but our baby boy is 4 months old!! Jackson's bright personality is shining through more and more! The most obvious trait I have noticed is how full of life and boisterous he is! Whether he is happy or sad, he expresses these emotions with everything he has in him! This of course has led to the most amazing sessions of talking, laughing, kicking and squealing. They are by far my favorite parts of the day:). He can be heard throughout the house just being as happy as can be. As you can see in the picture above, he literally smiles with his whole body! What this personality trait also means is that when he is sad or tired or hungry, he makes sure that no one misunderstands. He can scream like no other baby I have ever heard. He has a high pitched screech when he is upset that literally makes our ears hurt. During these times, he arches his back, kicks his legs and is pretty much inconsolable. We usually get one or two of those episodes a day, always in the evening. But, I have tried a couple of different things in the last two days and am finding I am more successful in calming him. Jackson is strong willed and very clear in his wants and needs. I have a feeling our hands will be full as he continues to learn and grow and become independent:).
I will never forget this past month because it was the month that acid reflux took over our baby. For a week, we were visited by a very different Jackson, one we weren't sure we liked very much to be honest. While he has improved greatly, and is mostly back to his happy self, we are still working on treating all the symptoms of his reflux. This has been so hard for me, wanting the easy and perfect fix for him, for our family. No matter how hard I try, I can't fix this quickly or easily. Jackson will see a GI specialist next week, and we hope to get some answers. No matter what, I am reminding myself of this: the bottom line is this reflux thing is a pain, and exhausting, but it is minor. He is a healthy, thriving (I estimate between 15 and 16lbs!) and certainly bouncing baby boy. We honestly could never ask for more.
As for milestones, Jackson has found his hands and loves to chew on them. He is getting good at getting his fingers in his mouth and sucking, which we are ambivalent about. On the one hand, we don't necessarily want him to get addicted to his fingers because know how hard that habit is to break. On the other hand, my heart just soars when I see how well he is able to self- soothe and enjoy his little fingers like a baby should! Jackson also made the big move to his crib this month! He has been successfully sleeping every night in his crib for over a week. Yay! Jackson loves his floor time, and is so close to rolling from his back to his stomach. I anticipate a post on this very exciting new milestone very soon! Jackson also found that he can get a reaction from us with his adorable new gurgling sound. We now have "conversations" in gurgle-speak. I love watching as he learns cause and effect, and how to have back and forth conversations. He is amazing.
Goals for the next month - get acid reflux under control, start solids, sleep through the night and enjoy every second of our time with our miracle, our son.
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around our house. Jackson's GiGi (Jason's mom) is visiting, so we had our first round of Christmas with Jackson last night. It's amazing how his presence makes everything more magical, especially this holiday.
Jackson in front of his first Christmas tree - and lots of presents just for him:).
There is nothing like a gift addressed to Mommy from her child and his daddy to heal an "infertile" woman's heart. The moment was not lost on me.
Jackson sure is one loved boy - here he is enjoying his presents:). He says, "thank you!"
I want to add a note here to all the mommies-in-waiting this holiday season. You have been heavy in my heart and on my mind. It feels odd to me to be the one posting pictures of my child during the holiday season. This time last year, I was just about to find out that we had lost our second baby. Two days before Christmas, I underwent surgery to have that child removed from my body. I will write a post especially for her very soon, but I want to document it here so that these pictures serve a greater purpose - to remind everyone that miracles happen, happiness is ahead. Jackson is our gift, the healer of our hearts. One year ago, we were in the depths of grief. Now, I am posting pictures of my son with his Christmas presents. While it may not feel like it, your miracle is coming. Don't give up. I want to personally wish you a happy (or tolerable, if that's all you can do) holiday season. Please know you are, and always will be, in my most hopeful thoughts.
This post is shaping up to be a hodge podge of updates. First, Jackson is doing well with his reflux. He still has some minor symptoms, but nothing like that week from you-know-where. He has now also started taking Prevacid, with the goal of weaning off of Zantac in a couple of weeks, depending on what his GI specialist says next week. But, so far, we are still maintaining sanity in our house and that is a gift:).
Jackson had a very successful night in his crib last night! I, on the other hand, was a little less than enthusiastic. I actually felt a weight on my chest and tears in my eyes as I went to bed last night and realized he wasn't right next to me in the bassinet. Suddenly, the hallway in our very small house seemed exceptionally long. He seemed so far away. I stayed awake in bed, just waiting for him to wake up and cry. But he didn't and I went to sleep. And he woke up at about 4am and needed a bottle (I tried just putting the paci in, but that didn't work). After his bottle, he went right back to sleep and slept in there until 8:30 this morning! It was unbelievable. I was so proud of him, and so sad that yet another baby milestone is behind us. He gets bigger and more mature with each day. It is going by so fast. While I definitely count last night as a success, I am by no means convinced that this is a pattern. If I have learned one thing, it is that babies change it up on a daily basis! If he continues doing this well in there for a couple of weeks, then I will chalk this up to a successful and complete transition. Here is our little guy waking up happy after his first night sleeping in his crib:
We also *finally* got our Christmas tree up, and this is the fun thing Daddy and Jackson found they could do with it:
Apparently, the lights are fascinating from that angle:). And Rory of course had to be a part of it all!
Lastly, I hit 30 weeks in my pregnancy this week. It is still so unbelievable to me. Because I have never believed this was actually happening, I haven't done a darn thing to prepare. Luckily, most of what I need for her, I already have for Jackson. They will do a lot of sharing:). Here's to another milestone reached! Belly pics are forthcoming...
So, sleep is this elusive thing that I get sometimes, but never enough. And the hard part is I can never predict when I will get it. Three nights ago, Jax slept through the night. I was elated! The last 2 nights, he starts stirring around 3 or 4am, melts down and needs a bottle within an hour, seems to be very sleepy during and after bottle, then stirs the rest of the night/morning, never really going into a deep sleep. So, I am literally constantly putting his paci in his mouth to get him to stay quiet and not melt down completely. He is always half asleep, but never fully. Why is this happening? Anyone ever have their little ones do this? I don't know what to do differently. I mean he is swaddled, fed, and seemingly sleepy. I'm at a loss, but I can tell you this much - I am not a happy (or good) mommy at 5am when he refuses to just stay asleep.
On top of this, my "little" man is rapidly growing out of his bassinet. He is SO big, I can't believe how fast he has grown. He is definitely a chunker:). He grew into his cheeks! So, I know that I have to get him transitioned into his crib. But how? And if he does this restless thing every night, what am I supposed to do? Run across the house to his room every time he starts fussing? I obviously don't want him moving into full blown screaming every night.
As a short update, his reflux has improved dramatically on Zantac, but certainly not fully and we still have some rough days. So, we have to travel to see a GI specialist for him next week. I am hoping we can get a better and more long term plan for him. I am constantly on edge, waiting for the symptoms to take over my sweet boy and leave no sign of my formerly happy baby for days on end. Every time he fusses or has a meltdown or spits up (read: vomits) like crazy, I practically have a panic attack, waiting for it all to fall apart again. Not a good way to live, or parent, I know. As I write this, he has once again woken early from a nap, fussy. He will no doubt want a bottle, and he can't have it for 45 minutes. This is very clearly one of the symptoms and this is the second time it has happened today...how can I not take that as a sign?
So, any advice or guidance on all issues listed here would be appreciated:) - sleep, transitioning to crib and getting control over this reflux trauma I seem to be experiencing!
I have hesitated to write this post, worried I might jinx myself! But, after three good days or so, I think I can safely say we are through the woods. Jackson has had some good days and good nights. He even slept in late this morning which he NEVER does! He is back to only getting up once to eat at night and waking up happier. His "happy boy" times have returned after each bottle, and he has been calmly falling to sleep for his naps again (for the most part). We have gone three whole days with NO screaming fits and that is the best news of all!
For those wondering, this is what we have done for him to treat his reflux and possible MSPI: Zantac 0.8ml twice a day, gripe water in every bottle, hypoallergenic formula (Similac Alimentum), less formula with each feeding (4oz every 3 hours or so, although he has been extending that a little some feedings to 3.5 hours which is an improvement as well) and thickened bottles with rice cereal. So far, all of this seems to be working! Jackson continues to spit up with burpings and ongoing after the bottles, but the amount and frequency has decreased, so we are taking this as a small success in the spitting up domain. The doctor mentioned yesterday changing meds if the spitting up continues, but I am going to ask that he consider leaving Jax on this one, as it is working pretty well besides the spitting up, which has become tolerable at least. And he doesn't cry when he spits up anymore, and we see less of the clear acidic stuff. Again, we are taking these things as successes! Why change meds? I do know we'll have to monitor his weight and the dosage of the Zantac closely. Jax grows like a weed and is a big boy - he weighed over 14lbs at the doctor's visit last Monday!
That is the update for now. I am still cautious and just hoping this continues. In other news, because Jackson is doing well, we are moving forward with our trip to go visit his birthparents tomorrow. It is a 4 hour trip one way, so it is not an easy day for any of us. We have to go to them because T (bmom) is in prison. When she is out, they have agreed to come to us for visits, at least some of the time. Anyway, I haven't written a great deal about our open adoption, but I have been getting lots of questions and comments about it, so it is on my "to-do blogging list." The summary is that we consider our open adoption situation one of the many new blessings in our lives. Thanks to Jackson, we are learning so much about this process, and about ourselves.
Lastly, I want to thank all of you for your comments - the support, ideas, and suggestions were all so needed and appreciated. I read and re-read your comments many times during those dark days. I am so thankful for all of you!