Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Here are some Irish Eyes to get ya' smilin' on this beautiful day!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Everyone's Got a Story.

Ask anyone you know where they were when the first plane hit the towers on 9/11.
They've got a story. 

Or ask where they were when they heard Kennedy had been shot. 
There's a story. 

Ask any bride-to-be to tell you about the day she became engaged. 
There's a story. 

Ask any parent about the day their child was born. 
There's a story. 

It is in the telling of the story, that we are healed. Comforted. We can relive the joy - and sometimes the sorrow. Retelling the story connects us to the events and brings us back to those moments emotionally.

If anyone asks me about the day our oldest son Luke was born, I can joyfully recount each and every detail of that warm, sunny Wednesday in May 2006. A C-Section scheduled mid-day allowed Jeff and I plenty of time that morning to pack our things, tidy up the kitchen, water the plants, double check that the coffee pot was turned off and the porch light turned on. We leisurely drove to Norwalk Hospital, enjoying our final moments together of being just Two.

We had only one task to finalize: what name would we give this baby boy, we would soon get to meet?

We were down to 3 names ~ Ryan, Luke or Matthew. We had settled on a middle name weeks earlier - so we repeated the names again and again... and finally as we arrived at the hospital, we settled on his name: Luke Charles.  Over and over again I repeated his name in my mind. Luke Charles Anderson. Luke Charles Anderson.

I liked it. This would work.

The events of Luke's birth rolled along beautifully . . . I walked myself into the OR at 1:00 p.m., and at 1:25 p.m. arrived our beautiful, 9 lb, 2 oz., almost 22 inch baby boy. 

Luke Charles Anderson.  

He cried the most beautiful cry I've ever heard -- loud, and powerful. . . And I cried too. Quietly. Joyfully. Amazed at how much I loved him from that very first moment. They bundled him up and Jeff held him next to me, and we were in awe. We were now Three. It was perfect. 

Fast forward three and a half years. 

The day was cold and gray. January in Connecticut. The post-Christmas bliss was wearing off and the doldrums of winter were quietly settling in. I was 33 weeks pregnant. I'd been officially on bedrest for 6 days. 6 LONG days. 

Sometimes I feel guilty when I look back and I am sad as I recall the day of Patrick's arrival. It was all so uncertain. So frightening. So scary. So freakin' scary. It seems so wrong, but I was so terribly scared on that cold, gray January day -- the day that this beautiful, miraculous, strong baby was born. 

But what I find so interesting is that this year -- much like last year -- our conversations always wind back around to the day of Patrick's birth. My mom and my sisters remember my constant updates from the Labor & Delivery floor-- my emails and texts, updating them with the latest ultrasound results, the latest conversation with the doctors.... they can remember my frantic call telling them I was going to be admitted 'for observation'.. and my total preoccupation with Luke... I had kissed him on his way to school that morning, with the assurance that I would see him at dinnertime. Never did I imagine at 8:00 that morning, that this baby would be born at 4:20 pm .... I still had 7 weeks to go...

As Patrick's birthday arrived this year, once again, we all seem to gather together and retell the stories from that cold, gray day... from the day the most amazing child was born.... I love to listen to everyone else's stories. 

Jeff remembers and retells the story from his perspective: being with me at the hospital all day, and then the sudden decision to deliver the baby today... Jeff remembers me kissing him, and I walked down the hall with the 'team' to the OR,... and Jeff went to a waiting room alone, praying and praying and waiting... alone first, and then with my sister Erin, for the news of Patrick's arrival. 

Erin's account . . . of being at work, receiving my texts and emails, and then rushing from her office, and driving 40 miles to Yale. And she remembers vividly being with Jeff for these gut wrenching, reports coming from doctor's and nurses. 

My mom and dad's account of receiving my phone calls, of rushing to the hospital, of seeing Patrick for the first time in the ICU... of waiting for me to wake up from general anesthesia... and, too, the account from our beloved babysitter, Helen... She was with Luke that day 2 years ago... and still takes amazing care of these two little guys today. Helen remembers picking Luke up that morning to take him to school, and promising to keep him with her until whenever Jeff and I returned home.... she remembers receiving the call from my dad that I wasn't coming home, and that Luke's baby brother was going to be born on this very day... 

So, you can ask anyone in my circle about the day Patrick was born, and they've got a story. A story indeed.

I can't wait to tell these stories to Patrick someday. I can't wait to tell him what an amazing, precious, miraculous life he's been given. 

Well, the truth is: I tell him all the time...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

2012! (How did you get here so fast?!)

Let's start with some overdue holiday cheer . . .

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Patrick started the holiday season with one of the worst stomach bugs I've witnessed in awhile. It started the day before Thanksgiving and then just continued to get worse. 

Both ends. 

Eight days. 

One short trip to the ER for hydration. 

There's nothing quite as embarrassing as arriving at someone's home on Thanksgiving for dessert - someone's home you've never been to before, I might add - only to have your child start vomiting almost as soon as we arrived, while people were still finishing their dinner. Luckily, much of the 'output' landed on me and my new sweater. The rest landed in their bathroom. Jeff scrubbed their bathroom, my family cleaned up Patrick, and I found a fleece in the back of our car, which I threw on.

Thank God for my family. And thank God for gracious, sympathetic and kind hosts ~ Bill, Marcia and Kristen. 

In the end, Patrick lost over 2 pounds in 8 eight days. 2 pounds is a lot for him to lose - 10% of his body weight in week... Getting Patrick to gain a few ounces is a big deal, so I quickly got disheartened about his rapid weight loss. But, in true Patrick form, just as he was teetering on the edge -- he suddenly pulled himself together. 

Mid-December we took Patrick for a hearing test at Bridgeport Hospital Pediatric Unit, because it required sedation. Its called a 'sedated ABR'. The results were not surprising - Patrick has conductive hearing loss on his right side. The audiologist said that his left ear is perfect, and he claims you only need one good ear to learn to speak. I guess that was good news. As much as I suspected he'd have hearing loss on his right side - given the size and location of the tumor - my heart still sank. Something new to figure out, diagnose, battle, etc. We did see the ENT this week and he suspects Patrick may have fluid in that ear and may be a candidate for placing a tube. We'll visit him again in a month or so, and decide then. 

Mid-December also brought a new resident to our home: Jack, the Elf on the Shelf. Holy Cow. This little guy ramped up the pre-Christmas chaos to a new level! Luke fell in love with Jack and actually cried when Jack left him a note on the morning of the 24th to tell him he'd be leaving but he hoped to be back next year.

I thought Jack might lend a hand in improving behavior and helping a Certain 5 Year Old stay on the 'Nice List'. 

It didn't help at all. Not one bit.

But Jeff and I had fun executing Jack's next move, each night after the boys were in bed.

Stay tuned. Patrick turned two last week, and I have lots to share about this milestone!

PS. New Year, New Look. Do you like the new blog design?