Friday, August 29, 2008

And what did YOU do before 7am?

I told Eric last night as we were going to bed that yesterday was the first day in a whole month that I hadn't changed Eli's outfit or my outfit at least twice. What a milestone, huh? I shouldn't have spoken so soon, however, because this morning more than made up for the relatively "clean" day we had yesterday...

5:00am- Mommy feeds Baby and put back to sleep, rejoicing in the fact that he will most definitely sleep until at least 7:30am.
6:05am- Baby begins to fuss. Mommy rolls over in bed and tries to ignore the noise, hoping he will fall back to sleep.
6:10am- Fussing continues.
6:15am- Fussing turns into crying and can no longer be ignored. Mommy sadly rouses herself from sleep and goes to soothe Baby, refusing to give in to 6:15am awakening.
6:25am- Baby finally back to sleep. Upon tucking blankets snug around baby, Mommy notices a strange dampness that cannot be identified in the semi-darkness of the nursery. Mommy assumes this is only a little leaking of the diaper that can be dealt with later and goes, joyfully, back to bed.
6:30am- Baby crying. Mommy frustrated and sad and so very sleepy. Mommy goes to tend to baby.
6:35am- Upon closer examination, "little dampness" is identified as "major wetness." Wishing she had changed Baby's diaper at 5am, Mommy picks up Baby to change what she believes is a wet diaper. When picking Baby up, is shocked to find the entire bottom half of Baby soaked in poopy wetness, along with every linen in Baby's crib.
6:40am- Baby stripped, bathed, re-diapered. Mommy picks up Baby and pats his back, only to unleash large burp which is followed closely by copious spit-up.
6:42am- Baby re-stripped, re-bathed, re-clothed, and sitting happily in bouncy seat. Mommy, covered in spit-up, deals with poopy mess all over nursery.
6:48am- Mommy changes clothes, starts laundry, scrubs stains, and listens to Baby talking happily to frog balloon.
7am- Baby eats bottle and falls asleep. Mommy begins daily coffee intake.

*I tried to capture in the above picture both the frog balloon and Eli staring at it. It's not that good of a picture, but it's the best I could do. He LOVES this balloon. He is absolutely enthralled by it. He just sits there and stares at it and talks to it and laughs. It's precious, and a good way to keep him entertained while I take a shower!

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Having a child in the hospital has got to be one of the most difficult experiences in life. Our hearts hurt so bad as we watched little Eli get poked and prodded and tested and monitored. And the thing is, we had it easy. Pneumonia is an easily-curable thing. We came in on Saturday night with a sick baby and left on Wednesday afternoon with a well baby.

As we were leaving I glanced into the hospital room of the baby next door to Eli, who was obviously very sick. And I realized that those parents have a rough road ahead of them. In the elevator one day I saw a little girl, probably about 11 years old, who was crying because the steroid shots she is on make her face look puffy. An 11-year-old shouldn't have to experience the side effects of steroids on her appearance. I passed by another little girl waiting outside the radiology department who had lost all her hair, probably due to chemo. A child shouldn't have to know the meaning of the word "oncology." That place is filled with sick children, all getting the best care in the world, but all experiencing a nightmare. And to be a parent watching their child suffer so much must be absolutely heartbreaking.

So in the midst of our difficult 4 days, I found myself thanking God for our health and for the health of our son. I pray that I can enjoy every day God gives us, especially in relation to Eli. We never know what tomorrow may bring, whether we might end up being the parents of the sweet little child undergoing chemo or staying for months in the hospital. We pray for the strength to endure every tribulation, but we also pray for the wisdom to truly rejoice in every "normal" day.

Here are a few things I was especially thankful for during our stay in the hospital...
-Calls and visits from friends and family. Your support meant the world to us! In particular, I was so thankful for Sarah packing up her kids and coming all the way to the hospital just to bring me a cup of good coffee. You are precious to me, Sarah.
-Eli's calm, laid-back temperment. As I listened to other babies wailing somewhere down the hall from us, I was so grateful that Eli has a mellow personality that renders him pretty much unphased by whatever is going on around him. Unless the nurses were messing with him, he was as pleasant and easy-going as can be.
-Eric. He stayed at the hospital every single night with me just so I wouldn't have to be alone. He slept on the hard tile floor so that I could have the couch. He got up at 4am to make it to work on time and came right back to the hospital after he got off. He fed the baby and took care of him as much as he could so that I could rest, and he brought me anything I needed whenever I needed it.
-Eli's smiles! Eli had no idea he was in the hospital. He as as happy as ever, smiling away at the doctors and nurses and starting to perfect his little laugh. My parents bought him this big frog balloon, and he would just lie there and talk to it for hours. He brought so much joy to us just by watching him and listening to him.
-Excellent medical care. You can't beat the team of doctor's and nurses at Children's. They kept us well-informed at all times, and we never felt like we were just waiting around to see a doctor. I can't praise this hospital enough.

I am so thankful to be home now. Eli is sleeping soundly right now, and I am enjoying just doing laundry and cleaning up the house. Being in the hospital made me realize how I just need to be thankful for "mundane" days like these. And I am.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Belated Update

I probably freaked many people out by putting on my Facebook status that we were in the hospital with Eli but then not giving any more information than that. I'm sorry! I didn't have a second to update my blog or Facebook or anything else. We just so appreciate all of your prayers, and we are, thankfully, back home now.

So here's what happened in a nutshell... On Friday night we noticed that Eli was having "retractions," which means that you could see his ribs when he was breathing, a sign that it is a little too big of an effor to breath. We gave it some time and kept a close watch on him, but when it hadn't cleared up by Saturday afternoon and was seemingly getting worse, we called Eli's pulmonologist to see what we should do. He told us to get him to Children's Hospital. So we packed up Eli and took him to Children's, and they admitted him pretty much right away, after doing a chest x-ray and determining that he had pneumonia.

So the past four days have been spent just sitting in a hospital room with Eli as he got antibiotics, oxygen, fluids, tests, and round-the-clock care from the great staff there at Children's. His pneumonia is clearing up well and he is feeling and looking so much better now, so they sent him home today. He'll just be on the medicine for a few more days.

This has been a really, really rough past few days for Eric and me. We have gotten virtually NO sleep (the nurses come in every hour round the clock), and we are just so thankful to finally be home and hopefully catch up on rest and the million other little things that have fallen by the wayside as we've spent every minute at the hospital this week.

We are so thankful for all your prayers and for those that came to visit and help out. We'll continue to keep you posted with Eli's progress to complete health, and maybe a more cheerful blog will be coming soon. :) Love to you all!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Day by Day- Please Pray for Eli!

If it's not one thing it's another, right? :) Well, the medicine that the pediatrician prescribed for Eli's acid reflux made him vomit up every drop of liquid in his body- apparently he is allergic to it. And the rice cereal that she told us to use to thicken his feedings gave him super-bad diahrea, which led to dehydration. So after a rough weekend last weekend that almost culminated in a trip to the hospital, we managed to get things under control. But we had to stop both the medicine and the cereal, which were the two things that were supposed to help.

We saw Eli's GI specialist yesterday, and I'm so thankful for her. She made a more definitive diagnosis of reflux disease and prescribed a more agressive medicine (Prevacid) which will stop the acid production in Eli's stomach so that spitting up won't hurt him. And she also recommended a milk thickener that Eli won't be allergic to so that he can hold down his food better. We are begging the Lord to use these things to heal our little guy. Eli hurts so much when he spits up- it's heartbreaking to watch. And this results in "oral aversion," which means that he doesn't really want to eat because he associates it with the pain that will follow. We are trying to get his reflux under control before this aversion gets worse and Eli decides not to eat at all. Will you join us in praying for our sweet son? Please pray that the medicine helps and that Eli gets to feeling so much better and is able to sleep better (reflux is bad when laying down to sleep) and eat better. Pray that he can keep down his feedings so that he can gain weight quickly like he needs to do. And pray for strength for Eric and me as we deal with all this on little sleep.

I sing the hymn "Day by Day" to Eli frequently- it's one of my favorites, and I want him to learn the truths in this old song. When I stop and think about the lyrics I always end up crying. The strength the Lord provides for us has been sufficient for every single day so far, from two months of bed rest to delivering a premature baby to six weeks in the NICU to a heart valve problem to chronic lung disease... it will most assuredly be sufficient for acid reflux! :) I want all three of us to rest in the strength and love that the Lord provides. I think of how much I love Eli, and I am floored by the fact that the Lord loves us MORE. I want to trust that, and to let this be my prayer daily...

Day by Day
(Lina Sandell)

Day by Day, and with each passing moment,
Strenth I find to meet my trials here.
Trusting in my Father's wise bestowment,
I've no cause for worry or for fear.
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what He deems best.
Lovingly, it's part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.

Every day the Lord Himself is near me
With a special mercy for each hour.
All my cares He fain would bear and cheer me,
He whose name is Counselor and Power.
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge which on Himself He laid.
"As your days, your strength shall me in measure,"
This the pledge to me He made.

Help me then, in every tribulation,
So to trust Your promises, O Lord.
That I lose not faith's sweet consolation
Offered me within Your Holy Word.
Help me Lord, when toil and trouble meeting
E're to take as from a Father's hand
One by one, the days the moments fleeting,
Till I reach the Promised Land.

On a cheerier note, Eli is doing well aside from his reflux. He weighed 8 pounds, 3.5 ounces yesterday, and he's learning every day. He smiles like crazy now! The best part of my day is going in to get him in the morning and leaning over his crib to say good morning- he BEAMS at me and immediately starts "talking." I love it! He's trying hard to roll over, though he's so little that I don't know how successful he'll be for a while. :) And I think he's on the verge of laughter. I can't wait to hear it.

And good news... Eli was able to wear 0-3 month shorts for the first time yesterday! :) I have all these adorable shorts that I've been dying to put on him, but he's been so little that they just slip right off his waist and are as long as pants on him! I've just had him in little knit preemie shorts, which aren't that cute. But yesterday he actually kept a pair of normal shorts around his waist, and he was the cutest thing in the world. See for yourself in the above picture. :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Thunder Rolls

This week has been super rainy, which I love. I am a big fan of hot Texas summers, but I really miss good rain storms by the time August rolls around. So, needless to say, this week of rain has been a joy! Eric and I have loved sitting on the porch with Eli, watching the rain and just talking and laughing. Last night was maybe the loudest storm I have ever heard. None of us could sleep, and the fact that Eric, in particular, wasn't able to sleep through the storm says a lot. :)

Anyway, Eric and I were awake for most of the night listening to the thunder and lightening and tending to Eli, who was continually jarred out of his sleep by all the noise. There was something so precious about holding my tiny little baby against my chest, comforting him while the storm raged outside. I was reminded yet again of how the Lord loves us, His children. How He LONGS to hold us close against him, to be our strong and safe shelter against all the storms that rage around us. How He adores when we lay quietly against Him.

And yet we turn away from His open arms and comforting, safe embrace so many times. When Eli is upset, he arches his back and stiffens his legs and throws his head back. It makes it almost impossible to hold him close. All I can do is just say over and over again to him, "It's okay, Mommy's here" until he finally relaxes and enjoys the comfort of just being held.

How often do I do this same thing to my heavenly Father? I get so upset by some curve life throws at me, and instead of letting myself be held tenderly and securely by my loving Father, I arch my back, throw back my head, and make it impossible to enjoy the safety of His arms. And yet He is so patient, whispering over and over agian, "It's okay, I AM here" until I finally realize that resting against the breast of my Father is the best place I can be, regardless of whatever kind of storm is raging around me. I want to be easy to hold.

I am so thankful for the lessons that the Lord is teaching me through motherhood. There are things I never could have learned apart from the sacrifice of taking care of a tiny infant. I'm sure there are many, many more lessons that the Lord has for me, and for these I eagerly wait, albeit with a little fearful of the painful "breaking" process that sometimes needs to happen when stubborn people like me learn lessons!

A.W. Tozer said (paraphrasing) that the aetheist hears thunder and lightening and explains how a hot air mass hits a cold air mass and produces electricity, which in turn produces lightening, which then triggers thunder. But the believer hears thunder and falls to his knees, and all he can do is whisper, "God." I LOVE this statement. We can hear God in the thunder and lightening and rain, and we can worship Him for all His power and beauty. I am so thankful for this week of rain, for the walks that I have gotten to take all by myself, with the Lord, in it, and for the sweet moments I've had with my family as we listen to and watch the marvels of our Great God.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

What Goes Down Must Come Up

This is Eli's theory on food. This kid is a MAJOR spitter-upper. Man alive. He's always been this way, but recently it's been getting worse, and just this past week he has seemed to be bothered by it. I can handle spit-up, even volumes of it, but I can't handle my sweet baby being uncomfortable because of it!

So yesterday I took him to the pediatrician to get her take on the situation. It turns out he has "acid reflux," which in layman's terms (I just typed 'turms' hehehe) is just spit-up. Duh. :) But sometimes the acid in the stomach that is being spit up again and again starts to wear on the esophagus, which makes a baby uncomfortable, especially during feedings, which is what is going on with Eli. So we started him on baby Zantac, which will minimize the amount of acid in his stomach so that when he does spit up, it won't hurt him. Unfortunately, it won't decrease the amount of spit-up. Poor mommy! :) I am considering covering our furniture (and the wood floors and all my clothing and his crib and the carpet while I'm at it) with that plastic stuff that old people have on their furniture. :)

So this morning I've already changed my clothes twice, Eli's clothes three times, and done two loads of laundry. I am trying to just be patient and go with the flow, but it's hard to do sometimes, especially on little sleep! Oh well. We're praying that this medicine helps him to feel a little better, poor thing. Thankfully, he's somehow managing to keep enough food down to gain weight- he was 7 pounds 14.5 ounces yesterday. That's 10 ounces in 10 days!

The redeeming factor in all of this is that Eli is quite possibly the sweetest baby on the planet! He smiles so much now, and he's learning new sounds to make every day. One morning at 5am I was feeding Eli, being super quiet in the dark so that he would go right back to sleep. Eric walked in to say goodbye to me before he went to work, and as soon as Eli heard Eric's voice he woke up and smiled at him. It was the sweetest thing, except that it took me forever to get him back to sleep after he got all excited to see his Daddy so early in the morning. :)

So, in spite of the gallons of spit-up that have been spilled over pretty much every surface in our house, we wouldn't trade Eli for anything in the world. We can't imagine life without him!

Monday, August 11, 2008


We had a great weekend. On Friday night my parents kept Eli all night. It was the first night since he's been home that he's been away from his crib! I was so excited to get a full night's sleep, but when it came down to leaving him, I was a little sad! Needless to say, however, I quickly got over that and enjoyed every minute of my 8 uninterrupted hours of sleep!

Eric and I went to one of our favorite restaraunts, Istanbul, this authentic Turkish restaraunt over on Lovers Lane. We hadn't been since before the baby was born, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We stopped by the Cheesecake Factory on the way home to pick up dessert to-go, and then we watched the Olympics until we couldn't keep our eyes open any more. And then we had a blissful night of sleep without waking to the sound of a baby crying! It was amazing, and I am so, so thankful for my parents taking such good care of Eli. We wouldn't leave him overnight with anyone else!

I had a dream that when my mom brought him back she had taught Eli how to sit up on his own. Far-fetched, I know, but what he did learn with MomMom is even better... how to sleep until 7am! :) I don't know what happened or how, but one night with MomMom and PopPop is all it took to get Eli to sleep until 7am. He's done it for the past three mornings, and it is such a blessing! Those 5:30am mornings were about to kill me. So now he goes to bed around 7:30pm, wakes up at midnight to eat and again at 4am to eat, and then sleeps until 7am. I am thrilled with my baby's new schedule. I can handle this. Please, please let him keep this up!

On Saturday I had breakfast with my good friend Sarah Bagby and saw her adorable new house, and then Eric and Eli and I just hung out here at the house and watched the Olympics, which, in my opinion, is about the best way to spend a Saturday! And a Sunday- we watched the Olympics all day yesterday after church. And did you SEE the men's 4x100 swimming relay team last night? I almost died. Amazing.

Eli is "talking" so much now. This morning he perfected two sounds that I've never heard him make before. One sounds almost like "quack," and the other is the closest thing he's gotten to "coo." It's adorable. He's had vowel sounds for a while, and now he's adding the consanants. I love it. He just lays on his play mat and "talks" to the little animals that hang down over him. And smiles away. He melts my heart when he smiles at and talks to me. It's the best part of my whole day.

I took Eli to visit Holly Baker today, and now we're home and he's sleeping. I need to get going on some laundry, and I'm looking forward to Eric coming home soon.

(P.S. I'm now addicted to coffee again. I have been an addict since college, but then during the first months of my pregnancy it made me queasy, and then in the second part I wasn't allowed to have it, and so I thought my addiction was cured. Not so. I've officially relapsed.)

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Sound of Silence

It is 8:30am. I am sitting at my computer drinking a cup of coffee. It is raining outside. And, best news of all... Eli is SLEEPING. Yes, sleeping. For the third morning in a row, Eli has taken a morning nap. Victory! My sanity is slowly being restored!

After talking to several people and reading a lot of articles, I went full-out with the my-son-will-take-a-morning-nap-instead-of-staying-up-from-5:30am-till-noon plan. And, though met with some resistance on Eli's part, it has been working fairly well. For three mornings in a row now he has taken a good solid morning nap, and I have relished the time to take a shower, read my Bible, and drink a cup of coffee without balancing a fussy baby in the other hand. The moral of the story: Babies need to sleep! Eli's fussiness in the mornings was, I think, due to the fact that he was really tired. Though he fusses when I lay him down for a nap and wakes up periodically with fussing (I go in and soothe him back to sleep), he wakes up from his nap happy and fuss-free. And mommy is happy and fuss-free, too. Now if we could only work on this getting up at 5:30am thing... :)

This morning it is raining! I LOVE rainy mornings. I think this is Dallas' small share of Eduardo. We'll take what we can get!

Tonight my mom is keeping Eli so Eric and I get go out on our first Friday-night date since Eli has been home. I'm so excited! The days when we used to go out every single Friday night seem so long ago. :)

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Hard Day's Night

Yesterday I think I lost part of my mind. Seriously. I think I forget that babies have "bad days" just like we all have bad days, and I get so frustrated when Eli has one of those days because it messes up my plans. (Selfish, huh?) So, anyway, yesterday Eli did his usual wake-up-at-5:30am thing, but instead of going back to sleep he decided to stay awake until noon. Yes, NOON. That's 6 1/2 hours of awake time. And not only did he decide to stay awake, he decided to scream and cry the entire 6 1/2 hours. The only way I could comfort him was to hold him, which I don't mind for most of the time, but a girl's got to go to the bathroom! And drink coffee, being as I got almost no sleep the night before.

I hate getting so frustrated with Eli. He's so sweet and innocent- come on, he's a baby! But it's hard not to when I'm going on no sleep and when I've been listening to crying for hours and hours. I feel like I have no reserve to deal with "bad days." If I could get a good night's sleep I feel like I could have some energy to deal with days like yesterday, but it seems I'm always running on empty. I'm sure that's how every mom feels.

Plus there is so much conflict in information when it comes to getting a baby to sleep. One camp is the let-them-cry-it-out-even-if-it-takes-an-hour camp, and then the other camp is the pick-up-your-baby-when-he-cries-lest-you-scar-him-for-life camp. Of course many people fall somewhere in the middle. I was trying so hard to find some sort of good advice yesterday about how to get Eli to take a good nap in the morning, but it seems like everything I read just contradicted the article I previously read. I guess it boils down to knowing my child and knowing myself and trying to do what is best for both of us. Easier said than done. Plus he's a preemie, and everything is different with preemies. AAAAAHHHHH!

My plan of action today was to wake up super-cheerfully with Eli and make being awake fun and exciting, even at 5:30am. I would play with him for an hour and a half and then put him back to bed for a morning nap, going in to comfort him when he fussed but not picking him up, only talking to him and patting him. As hard as it was to muster a cheerful voice this morning, I did it. We talked and played and then he went to sleep for an hour. Only one hour. He refused to go back to sleep after that, despite my numerous comfort-and-talk-and-pat attempts. As soon as I'd leave the room he would scream. After a couple more hours of having him awake and playing with him, I put him back down. And he took a nap for only one more hour. RRRRR. Fortunately I can count on a good long afternoon nap from him, which is what he's doing now.

I am just praying that I can get him into a morning nap routine. And praying for the Lord's patience and grace, because I sure don't have much to give. And praying for good, wise advice from moms who have been where I'm at. I don't know what to do, what is best for him. Help! :)

On the bright side, I have one heck of a fabulous husband. He rushes home from work and takes over with the baby so I can take a nap or read a book or run an errand- he's wonderful.

And Eli is pretty wonderful too. He's "talking" so much now- making all kinds of fun little noises, and he is smiling more every day. He was lying on his play mat this morning babbling and smiling away at the little toys that hang down from it. I love listening to him and watching him. He's such a miracle. He weighs 7 pounds, 4 ounces this week- almost 5 pounds up from what he was at birth. I praise the Lord every day for sustaining our tiny little son through the first months of his life, and I rejoice in watching him continue to grow.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Not-So-Exciting Update

It has been in the mid-100s all week here in Texas. It's killing us, not to mention our poor plants and flowers that I try so hard to nurture! Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of Texas summers, but I will be glad when it gets back into the 90s later this week. And I am already looking forward to fall.

This weekend we helped Heather and Jonathan move. I am so happy for them to be in this house, and now they're a lot closer to us than they used to be. My role in the moving process was to take care of Jacey (their 2-year-old daughter) all afternoon, along with Eli. It was really fun to interact with her one-on-one, singing songs and talking incessantly about Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber. :) It also reminded me so clearly of the new phase in life that I'm in now. The way that I could help the most on Saturday was to take care of kids. And that's probably the way it will be for a long while. It's strange to be in that place, to realize that the freedom I've been used to for so long is gone, but I am really happy. I feel fulfilled and joyful.

Eli is doing great. He's such a SWEET baby, just so calm and gentle and sweet! He's also super-interactive. When he's awake, he wants to be talked to the entire time. I love watching all of his many expressions and hearing his cute little noises and seeing his adorable smiles, which are becoming more and more frequent. I am so, so happy to be his mom. Motherhood is challenging, incredibly tiring, and it takes everything I have to give, but it is also the most fulfilling thing I have ever, ever done. And I'm sure that I've only scraped the surface. I am so thankful that the Lord has allowed me to have this role.