Saturday, January 31, 2009

Things I Love...

-Taking long walks outside with Eric and Eli on warm, sunny days like today.
-Getting to sleep in on Saturday mornings while Eric gets up with the baby.
-Eating burgers and fries from the local burger place on Friday nights, snuggled up on the couch with Eric.
-Reading a good book while drinking a glass of wine.
-Baking cookies.
-Sifting through racks of baby clothes at Runt Rethreads and finding great little outfits for $1.
-Watching football with friends, knowing that Wipe-Out is coming at half-time.
-Worshipping the Lord on Sunday mornings.

And all these things are filling up my weekend. What a happy one it has been!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sweet 'n' Stubborn

These are the words most often used to describe Eli, and always in conjunction with each other. He is the stubbornest little thing you've ever met! He makes up his mind about what he wants, and he refuses to back down until he gets it. While this can be quite annoying at times, such as when I need a mere 3.5 minutes to brush my teeth and get dressed and he sits there and whines the entire time because he wants to be picked up. Or when I leave the house for a much-needed morning out and Eli refuses to both eat and sleep for Eric, but then quickly downs his entire bottle and sleeps for several hours as soon as I get home and am the one caring for him. :)

Though at times annoying, this stubborn spirit is one of his qualities for which I am most thankful, because it is the "fight" which kept him alive during those scary first few weeks of his life. Each of the doctors and nurses who cared for him continually commented on how much of a "fighter" he is, and it is becoming more and more apparent to us as he continues to grow. I can only imagine what a "fighter" he will be during the terrible twos! :) Good thing he is son to one of the most stubborn women in the entire universe- oh, the battles that we will have. :)

Thankfully, Eli's stubborness is accompanied by this incredible sweetness that I can't even begin to describe. There is just no other way to say it- he has an amazingly sweet spirit that I pray will be intensely tender to the Lord.

What a combo it is- this sweet stubborness. He'll drive me insane with fussing if I don't pick him up when he wants it, but then the minute I finally take him in my arms, he puts his little hands on my cheeks and kisses me, burrows his face into my neck, and squeals with delight. Oh, how I love this boy!

As an update, Eli continues to do well with eating, and we are endlessly grateful to the Lord. He takes his bottles with no complaint (although when he decides he's done, there is no convincing him otherwise!). We are working in therapy to get him used to eating with a spoon. Our therapist's discovery this week? "He does great as long as he is in control." There's the stubborn kid I love! :) So instead of me trying to shove food into his mouth, I just let him play around in it, dip his toys into it, etc. so that he puts the food in his mouth himself and gets used to various tastes. And we're continuing to ease into spoon-feeding. He's doing great!

He also loves teething biscuits, which are perhaps the messiest thing you can put into your child's hand. These seemingly innocuous little treats fooled me by their hardness and crumb-less-ness. The first time Eli ate one I turned around for a minute and turned back to find a MESS of gooey, disgusting, dissolved biscuit covering his entire person and the chair in which he was sitting. And these have to be his favorite food. :) Oh well, no one said parenthood was clean!

This week has been so pleasant. The absence of the feeding battle that we fought for so long has been amazingly uplifting. That, in combination with the gorgeous 70-degree weather in which we spent much time outside, made this week so fun for us. And last night's ten hours of sleep, given to me by my sweet Eric who got up with Eli in the night and when he woke this morning, was just an added bonus. Life is good!

I am praying this year for enjoyment of every good moment, however simple it is. Life can be so difficult, trying, and ever-changing- facts which we have experienced first-hand in the past year. I think that the thing I can do which is most honoring to the Lord is to enjoy the simple blessings given to me each day and to have a thankful, glad heart.

I am thankful for my sweet and stubborn son, and I am so glad to be his mommy!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I Should Learn My Lesson...

...that God ALWAYS knows what He is doing.

When Eli finally caught the stomach bug that we had been praying against for weeks, I was so dissapointed in God. I thought that a stomach bug was the last thing Eli needed- he barely eats anything as it is, so I was sure that a virus like this one would land us in the hospital for sure. So I cleaned up the throw-up and changed the diapers and cried my eyes out because I didn't believe that what was happening was the best thing for my son. I was so dissapointed that my prayers were, seemingly, unanswered.

And then something strange happened. At the end of a day of vomitting everything he ate, after we packed our bags for the hospital, as we were attempting to feed Eli one last time before taking him to the ER, Eli reached for his bottle and put it in his mouth and drank the whole thing down.

I realize that that doesn't sound strange to most people. But listen to me when I say that Eli has never, ever been so receptive to a bottle. Modus operendum for him is to scream uncontrollably upon seeing a bottle and refuse to eat. We had resorted to waiting until he fell asleep and then feeding him a few ounces here and there. So the fact that he actually picked up the bottle and put it in his mouth was amazing to us. We thought it was just a one-time thing that resulted from dehydration and extreme hunger after a day with no food.

But then it continued... and it hasn't stopped. Our son, normally hyper-aversive to eating, heading straight for a feeding tube, is now eating almost double what he was eating before, happily and willingly.


We went to see both our therapist and GI doctor last week, both of whom said that in some cases a stomach bug is exactly what an orally aversive child needs. It helps to "reset" the child's thinking about food, making them eager to eat instead of afraid of it. The therapist was thrilled with his progress. The GI doctor didn't even mention a feeding tube and said that she doesn't need to see him for another six weeks. We're out of the woods, so to speak.

And all due to a stomach virus that I vigilantly prayed against for weeks. The lesson? God always knows what he is doing! Even when it looks totally different than I expect, even when what is happening seems bad to me instead of good, even amidst my lack of faith... God always knows what He is doing! I need to learn this lesson, because it seems like I've been taught it a hundred times, only to forget it shortly thereafter. I am praying for a soft heart and for a mind that remembers this clear lesson that God taught to me through a stomach virus and my infant son. God always knows what He is doing!

P.S. Eric and I had a wonderful weekend away while my mom kept Eli! It was incredibly nice to be baby-free for a little while and just enjoy being together and doing some of our favorite things, like stay in a fancy hotel, see a great movie, eat out for all meals, go to a hockey game, and, most importantly, SLEEP!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Baby's First Word...And First Stomach Virus

Yes, you read the title right- Eli has said his first word (I think)! He usually just babbles with "aaaahhhh, "oooooohhhhh," and "ooooo" sounds, but these past couple of weeks he's been adding some "m" sounds and "b" sounds to his repertoire. And using that wonderful "m" sound, he has managed to produce the word "mama!" At first I thought it was just a coincidence, but this weekend it has become increasingly clear that he is using it for me! They're few and far between, but whenever I hear his sweet little voice say, "mama," my heart melts!

Which is good lately, because I need a little heart-melting to calm my nerves, which have been worn to shreds by Eli's incessant fussiness and crying. He caught the tummy virus which has been working its way around our family and friends, and since Thursday he has been a mess. The vomitting finally stopped, but the 'other stuff' keeps on coming! :) The worst part of it has been Eli's bad mood. He has been fussing nearly non-stop for days now and screaming if he is not in my arms. For Eli, who usually loves his Daddy, Eric won't even suffice. Last night it all culminated in our little son, normally a stellar sleeper, screaming his heart out for three straight hours, refusing to eat, refusing to sleep, refusing to be comforted. Finally, after midnight, he finally got so worn out that he basically just passed out and slept pretty well until morning. Thank goodness for that, because I was about ready to poke my eyes out with the bulb syringe if he didn't stop crying.

Today he is in a much better mood, thankfully. He's still fussier than usual, but I think he's finally on the mend. I am praying so much that he sleeps well tonight. Eric and I are both exhausted, and I'm sure Eli could use a good night's sleep as well!

I'm so thankful for all the prayers of friends and family throughout this- Eli is so little and fragile that a stomach virus like this one could have easily landed him in the hospital. We got very close to taking him several times, but we managed to avoid it thanks to your prayers, I believe! Please continue to pray that he weathers the storm and that his parents don't lose their minds in the process! :)

This coming weekend my mom is keeping Eli so that Eric and I can have a break. We have a fancy hotel room reserved, nice dinner plans, and tickets for the Stars game on Saturday. When we planned this all out I had no idea just how much we would need a break this weekend! I cannot wait!

Because of his sickness, we had to cancel our GI appointment today. I am bummed that the virus hit when it did, because it invariably caused Eli to lose weight and definitely set us back for a little while. I am just praying that the doctor can understand this and will give us more time to work with him before placing a feeding tube. We are definitely seeing progress with his eating (pre stomach virus, of course), and we really believe that we can work our way through this without a feeding tube. Please pray with us that the doctor listens to how we feel and gives us more time to work with Eli before deeming that a feeding tube is necessary! (We go to see her on Friday.)

On a random note, every single time I go to get Eli out of his crib, his right sock is off. Never his left. Always only his right. Strange, no?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

8 Months

My sweet Eli,

Tomorrow you will be 8 months old! It is hard to believe that it has already been 8 months since you were born. The time is flying by. We are loving sharing life with you!

At 8 months you are surpassing all our expectations. You continue to amaze us with the ways you learn and grow every day and overcome the "odds" of your prematurity. Here are some facts about you at 8 months...

-You can sit up! You wobble over pretty quickly if you're not entertained by something, but you can sit unassisted for as long as 15 seconds now. Way to go, big boy!

-You are slowing coming around to the idea of eating. :) We're working hard in therapy and at home, and you are learning that eating is not so bad after all. I am so, so proud of you.

-You hate to be on your belly. I don't how you'll ever learn to crawl, because every time I put you on your belly you just roll right onto your back. :)

-You love to play Peek-a-Boo and think that Pat-a-Cake is hilarious.

-You are still our little bouncer! Your favorite thing to do is stand in someone's lap and jump up and down.

-You are Mommy's boy all the way. If I leave you with someone else, you're fine. But if I'm in the room and am not the one holding you, you loudly and tearfully let me know that you want me to pick you up. I love that I'm your favorite person! (I have a feeling, though, that you'll soon become Daddy's boy once you see all the fun things he has planned for you!)

-You are on herbal supplemental therapy to help with reflux and growth. It seems to be working well so far! We are praying and praying that with these supplements and with therapy you can overcome your feeding aversion and gain weight well without having to get a feeding tube.

You are happy, healthy, and so very bright. You are the joy of our hearts, and we couldn't love you more. Happy 8 months, Pumpkin!

P.S. To celebrate your birthday, you caught the tummy virus that all the rest of the family has been fighting for weeks now. Poor thing- you threw up every drop that you ate today! You finally started to keep things down late this afternoon, though, and you are now sleeping soundly with your belly full of Pedialite. My heart is breaking for you, my sweet, sick baby!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


I love the New Year. I love a blank slate. I love making goals and lists and plans, so the New Year affords all of this to my anal personality. :) For New Year’s Eve we ate dinner and played games with the whole family, and then I fell asleep with my head on Eric’s lap from 11:15-11:59, waking up to hear the countdown, kiss Eric, and get to bed as quickly as possible. Ah, the glorious night life of parents! :)

We have been talking a lot about the New Year and what it will hold, as well as remembering all the joys and trials of 2008. 2008 held medical drama for both me (preeclampsia with pregnancy) and Eli (NICU stay and many complications due to prematurity)- all unexpected and all trying, to say the least. But it also held, most joyously, the birth of our son! It held his arrival to our house after a very long period in the hospital. It held his first smile, his first laugh, his progress from a sick, tiny baby to a healthy, happy, normal (albeit small) little guy. 2008 held so much joy in our marriage as we learned about each other and about the Lord and walked through hard times and happy times together. Truly, there is nothing better than a happy marriage. I am endlessly thankful for my husband.

2009 will hold, presumably, Eli’s first steps, his first words, his first tooth, and probably even his first receipt of discipline. :) We eagerly look forward to experiencing more of life with our little son. 2009 will hopefully hold more happy growth in our marriage, in the Lord, and in our ministry to others. Whatever circumstances we find ourselves in, good or bad, we pray that we can react with grace, thankfulness, and obedience to the Lord.

As far as Eli goes, we are praying most of all at this point that we can avoid a feeding tube. We go back to the doctor for a weigh-in on Monday, and this will determine if Eli needs the tube or not. Oh, how we are praying that he weighs a good solid 13 pounds so that we can continue to work through his feeding aversion with our wonderful therapist, our wonderful naturopathicdoctor, and without a tube! Please join us in our prayer for lucky number 13! *And please leave a comment to let us know you are praying! It is so encouraging to know of others' prayers for Eli.*

Happy New Year (although a few days late)! May 2009 hold growth in the Lord for each one of us as we take His hand and walk with Him wherever He leads.