I’ll Second That Motion!

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Ooh Baby, Baby!

Chances are, at some point, someone will grow tired of me posting pictures of the planet’s cutest baby. BUT – and I say this with the utmost amount of love and respect – I don’t care! :) After all, we prayed for him for so long – and I’m including you guys in that “we” – it’s only right that I wallpaper the blog with pictures of this little blessing. (Plus, I often post pictures on social media, but I realize that not all my friends/blog readers are on Facebook, so I like to re-post here for their sake.)  

It blows my mind how much this not-so-little guy is growing. My six-week-old baby has started wearing 3-month clothing … how did that happen?! Speaking of clothes, as I was getting Matty dressed this morning, I looked down at my shirt … then his … and suddenly realized that we match today! He apparently thought it was as funny as I did, and decided to ham it up for the camera accordingly.

So, enjoy … and happy Friday, friends!

Blessings, T. 002

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Brother Love

My boys … 6 weeks, and 6 years.

Oh, how I love these little men!

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Quick, Happy Update

Yesterday’s MRI showed Garnet’s tumor shrank a little since the last scan 6 weeks ago! It’s a slow-growing tumor, so the doctor reaffirmed that it will also be slow to respond to treatment. But, we’re headed in the right direction! Time to do a happy dance! If you need some music, may I suggest this:

In the meantime, please enjoy more pictures of our little guy. Because a) I can’t help myself and b) baby smiles are so darn cute.

Blessings, T.

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This much smiling is EXHAUSTING! :)

This much smiling is EXHAUSTING! :)

Baby, Birthday & The Blues

It’s been one month – actually, almost 5 weeks –  since little Matty joined our family! I can hardly believe it. It seems both like forever ago and just yesterday that I first laid eyes on his sweet little face. He’s a super smiley baby and has such a sweet disposition.

Already, Matty has secured his spot as having the most awesome hair in the family! :) An ultrasound tech even told us during the pregnancy that she could see a lot of hair on his head in utero. I guess I sort of discounted it, though, since Will was bald for pretty much the first two years of his life — this is a whole new ball game for us!

Speaking of my first baby, Will turned six this past weekend. We celebrated with a family party on Saturday and a party with his friends on Sunday at a place that I refer to as “Chuck-E-Cheese Lite.” Because, YES. We are crazy. Will thinks his birthday is a national holiday at this stage of life! But, as his mother, I have to agree that it’s a pretty big deal. Six years ago, he changed my life forever in the best possible way. He keeps me on my toes … challenged, laughing and always so proud of the little boy he is and is becoming.

Overall, we’re happy and doing very well. We’re totally in love with our new little family member. Well, most of us … most of the time. Will has struggled with sibling jealousy. The good thing about being 6-years-old: He can tell us exactly how he’s feeling. The bad thing about being 6-years-old: He can tell us exactly how he’s feeling! He recently declared that we could sell his little brother. *Sigh*. This is what happens when two people with Communications degrees produce a child: Just as Will is destined to wear glasses because we’re both terribly nearsighted, he seems to be morphing into quite the little wordsmith. ;)

Despite being on cloud nine about our little “Matty Bug,” it would be wrong of me to suggest that everything’s been rosy since coming home from the hospital. Having a newborn is super hard, lovingly exhaustive work. I may have forgotten this fact in the six years that have lapsed between my two boys! The last few weeks have felt like a blur. Everyday activities, such as showers, sleep and blogging are now infrequent luxuries. I have had moments of feeling completely overwhelmed with my new responsibilities. And, in complete candor, “Angry Mommy” made a guest appearance one afternoon when Will chose to talk back at the very same moment that the baby was screaming so wildly that you could see his tonsils trembling. Fellow mamas, I’m certain we’ve all been there. Can I get an amen?

Today, in particular, has been a rough day. Garnet is at Hershey getting an MRI and following up with his neuro-oncologist as he completes his third round of chemo. He’ll soon be starting his fourth consecutive month of chemo and the results of today’s scan will determine how many more months he’ll need to continue treatment. I was so sad when he left this morning because I really wanted to be with him, but it’s just not smart to take the baby into a hospital setting at the moment. Later today, I was on the phone with a healthcare provider and in response to a question I said, “I just had a baby last month and my husband is on chemo.” I started to choke on the words as they left my mouth. Once I was off the phone, I couldn’t hold the tears back any longer. After more than three years, our situation usually doesn’t faze me on a daily basis. But, sometimes when I say the words out loud, they feel just as bad as they sound. No matter how long we go through this, scan days/weeks are always hard. Then, I look at our baby’s sweet, sleeping face and the stakes seem that much higher.

The other week, a friend called to tell me that she was bringing dinner to us that evening (cue “Hallelujah Chorus”). She asked me the simple, yet loaded, question: “How are you doing?” For a moment, I thought about answering “Fine.” But, I thought better of it and said, “Do you really want to know?” I proceeded to spew the laundry list of things that had left me feeling emotionally raw. We talked for a few minutes, and she empathized, reminding me that her two youngest girls are also 6 years apart. At the end of the conversation, I felt better for having authentically shared my feelings. And, you know what? That night, my friend not only brought a dinner of comfort food for our bodies and souls, she also brought a sweet, encouraging card and flowers to brighten my day.

The moral of this story is not “Share Feelings = Get Stuff.” Rather, this experience reminded me that nothing good usually results from stuffing my feelings. Vulnerability, however frightening it may feel to succumb to, is the secret to intimacy and usually the key that unlocks healing. Even if it is just healing from a super bad day.

I think that pretty much covers everything here. I have tried to recall how long it was after Will was born that I felt like life normalized and the “fog lifted,” but it’s hard for me to remember. As the weeks progress, I hope I’ll be able to steal away more often and get back to more of a regular routine. In the meantime, please enjoy the following obligatory pictures of the kids. :)

Blessings, T.

P.S. I now have kids. Plural. How awesome is that?!

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Deep Thoughts by Will

Today our little Matty is a week old! Perhaps to be expected with a newborn, life has been a little chaotic here in our household. We’ve been to the hospital every morning this week for blood work to resolve jaundice, juggling round-the-clock feedings and indulging in those few minutes of sleep that’s been afforded. We’re all adjusting to new roles and figuring out our place in this world based on the changing family dynamic.

As for Will, he’s settling comfortably into his role of doting big brother. He’s a super helper to me. Each day, he chooses Matty’s outfit, fetches clean diapers and tosses the dirty ones — of course, he draws the line at wet diapers!

He’s made quite a few humorous musings and observations in the time since his brother arrived, and I wanted to share the few that I’ve been awake enough to remember:

1. “Look, he has feet!” — As my friend Laura said when I shared this with her, “Yeah, they come with those.” :)

2. With regard to breastfeeding: “You know, Mommy … you’re sort of like a cow.” Indeed. Moo.

3. “When’s Matthew going to be big enough to play with me? Because, he’s sort of boring right now.”

4. Picking up a disposable nursing pad: “What’s this, a mask?”

and, my personal favorite:

5. On my post-pregnancy shape: “Your belly’s still big like when you were pregnant. Are you sure there’s not another baby in there?”

Out of the mouth of babes, my friends. He’s lucky he’s so cute. :)

Blessings, T.

Matty looks less than impressed!

Matty looks less than impressed! (A big thanks to our friend Maggie for Will’s tee-shirt!)

Introducing…

Matthew Isaac.

“Matty” arrived on Friday, February 21, at 10:27 a.m. coming in at 7 pounds, 11 ounces and 20.5 inches long.

We decided on his name soon after we discovered I was pregnant. We wanted something that would convey what a miracle he is and Matthew means “Gift of God.” His middle name, Isaac, means “Laughter” and, let’s face it: We sure could use some of that in our life! The name is also significant because Isaac was the long-awaited son of Abraham and Sarah in the Bible who struggled for years with infertility.

My first words to this sweet, lovable, dream-come-true of a boy (through sobs of joy and relief) were simply, “Hi, buddy.”

We made it.

Blessings, T.

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The Final Countdown

We’re in the home stretch. Quite literally. Our little boy will be born this Friday, unless he decides to come sooner.

It’s hard to believe that after many months of what has admittedly been a complicated and difficult pregnancy to endure, he will be here. I’m elated and impatient all at the same time. Mostly, I’m just ready to meet him. I can’t really imagine what our life is going to look like once he’s here and a part of it. I’ve dreamed about him for so long and I’ve even seen his little face on more ultrasound monitors than I can count … but I still can’t imagine it.

One of my midwives let me know several months ago that due to my “advanced maternal age” (blah and whatever) there was a deadline of 39 weeks for his arrival. When she told me that, I was still getting weekly progesterone shots and was in the midst of bed rest and experiencing early contractions. I never imagined that I’d make it to 39 weeks. But, here we are. 39 weeks along in 4 days.

I have felt conflicted about his arrival plans. On the one hand, I’ve been rooting for him to stay in utero as long as possible. After our son Will was born premature, I became involved with the March of Dimes, and I know from their research that 39 weeks is ideal for fetal development. On the other hand, I’ve been so miserable here toward the end of the pregnancy and have had so many false alarms over the past three weeks that I’m just ready for him to arrive! Ever wanted to know what 8 POUNDS of fluid looks like when retained in your calves/ankles/feet? Well, you’ll have to keep wondering, because there’s no way I’m showing you! ;)

Ever since I started wishing for a second baby, I have idealized what the birth would look like. The nature of Will’s birth was so unplanned, haphazard and not the way I wished for. I was kind of hoping for a “do-over” with this labor and delivery. You know, the stereotypical “Honey, it’s time!” … water breaks, head to the hospital, short labor and delivery, they hand me the baby, whom I get to keep with me this time instead of having him whisked away to the NICU like they did with Will, and all is right in my world full of unicorns, puppies and rainbows.

Well. Real life doesn’t work that way. Our life is anything but “typical.” We have some serious concerns and issues when it comes to my labor and delivery. One that has nothing to do with the baby or the pregnancy, but certainly has an effect on it: Garnet takes a sleeping pill and his chemo every night. If he sleeps through the night, all is well with the world. If he is woken up, he risks getting very nauseous and/or violently ill. First of all, I hate to think of him being unable to enjoy or be truly present at the birth of his son. Second, we’re not even sure how lucid he would be to drive me to the hospital in the middle of the night.

We have plenty of family/friends/neighbors who are on standby to help us out if this situation were to present itself. But, that being said, having a more managed, planned birth has gradually become more appealing to us. It probably wouldn’t have been our choice six years ago or even six months ago. But, this is our life now, and that’s all we have to work with. There is some comfort in knowing when we are supposed to arrive at the hospital to deliver our son rather than leaving it all to chance. That said, we’re still open to his arrival whenever, trusting that when the time comes and however he makes his entry into the world, it will be his moment and it will be right.

I expect you likely won’t hear from me again until I have delivered. In the meantime, please enjoy the following photo sent to me by my friend, Erica. (The belly is NOT mine, for the record … but I echo the sentiment!)

Blessings, T.

P.S. I expect that you’ll have this song stuck in your head for the rest of the day!

Eviction Notice

Updates: The Baby & The Brain

Since bunches of us are buried under the snow, I thought I’d take the opportunity to update you on the baby and brain situations. Presuming, of course, that you still have the essentials. No, not bread, milk and tp. Electricity and internet access/wi-fi, naturally.

First, Garnet’s MRI. This was his first scan since discovering the return of his cancer and starting back on chemo. The results were stable. The size of the new tumor has not changed. As Martha Stewart and Garnet’s neuro-oncologist would both say, that’s “a good thing.” I know, I know. I really do get how “stable” could be interpreted as less than ideal. But, since this is not our first time at the races, I have learned that in the bizarro-world of cancer, sometimes no change is equivalent to good. Remission, of course, would be better. But, stable is still good. We’ll take stable.

His doctor says that his tumor is slow-growing. Therefore, it will also be slow to respond to treatment. We are mostly pleased that the tumor did NOT a) grow any larger in spite of him being on chemo or, b) get “angry” and respond uncontrollably to the chemo, growing exponentially (we have experience with this second scenario). Slow, steady response is much preferable in many ways. It’s the pace we experienced during Garnet’s first go-round with this disease. It takes a lot of patience, an ironclad will and a bucketload of faith to believe that slow and steady wins the race. But, we saw it work with round 1, so we’re hanging onto the same hope for round 2.

Now, the baby. He is so grounded when he gets here! Before Garnet left for his MRI and neuro-oncology appointment, I joked with him that I’d do my best to keep the baby in so that I wouldn’t have to call him and say, “Hey, when you’re done with your appointments, come directly to the hospital and meet your new son!” Needless to say, Garnet was a tad (read: TON) panicked and less than amused when I had to call and tell him I was on my way to Labor & Delivery.

While Garnet was 80 miles away inside an MRI tube, I was at my high-risk doc appointment, another 30+ miles away from home. Separated from my husband by more than a hundred miles, the baby and I “failed” my weekly ultrasound testing. (It’s called a Biophysical Profile/BPP, if you care to know.) The finding could have suggested that the baby was experiencing some sort of distress, so they promptly sent me to our hospital … roughly 25 miles away. *Sigh* I’m exhausted just retelling this story.

The bottom line? The baby is fine. I was monitored at the hospital for an hour and sent home. I personally think that the failure of the test had more to do with the fact that I had to sit in the doctor’s waiting room for 2-hours and was therefore STARVING when the test was performed (babies seem to respond better when the mother has recently eaten … which would have been the case if I didn’t have to wait for TWO. BLESSED. HOURS). Have I mentioned that I’m so ready have this baby?! 38 weeks tomorrow, folks. Who’da thunk it?

So, there you have it. The life and times of the baby and the brain. I am very grateful for the positive initial report we received regarding Garnet’s treatment. And, until we dig out from this snowy nonsense, I’m crossing my fingers (and my legs) that this little boy hangs out just a little longer.

Stay warm, friends.

Blessings, T.

Final Preparations

The big day could arrive at any time now. Whoa. That’s crazy!

In between naps and nesting, I’ve been satisfying a few late pregnancy cravings. For example, Sweet Frog frozen yogurt. Nectar of the gods, I tell you. My one consistent craving during this pregnancy and my pregnancy with Will was veggie subs. I’m not a vegetarian, so I can’t explain it. I just know that it’s the most delicious thing in the world to me right now. (Tied with frozen yogurt, of course.)

While packing up the baby’s bag for the hospital, I can’t get over how wee the newborn outfits are! It’s hard to imagine that we’ll soon be face-to-face with this small person who regularly kicks and jabs my ribcage. ;) What’s even stranger for me to fathom is that many of these outfits once belonged to his brother, Will. Odder still, Will didn’t wear most of these newborn duds until he was around 3-months-old. It’s going to be quite a novelty for us to have a “normal” size baby this time!

Taking advantage of the "belly shelf" just a little longer.

Taking advantage of the “belly shelf” just a little longer.

In the meantime, the weather this winter has been enough to make anyone bonkers, but it’s especially making this mama a little extra batty. Apparently, Snowpocalypse 2014 is waiting to descend on us Wednesday night into Thursday. For a gal who has now regular bouts of contractions and all kinds of fun, painful twinges, it’s about enough to make me camp out in the hospital parking lot (or, run back to Sweet Frog for culinary consolation). I have visions of giving birth in my bathroom or on the side of the highway because we’re unable to make it to the hospital on time. I’m literally willing this child to remain in utero until we are clear of bad weather. Here’s to hoping he’s more obedient than his big brother.

Blessings, T.

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