Monday, December 28, 2009

Merry Christmas...A Few Days Late

We were a busy bunch this holiday season.  Between my birthday, holiday parties and family obligations, I felt like we were non-stop.  Stephen and I have rotated holidays between our two families since we have been married.  One year one family gets Thanksgiving and the other gets Christmas and then we switch the next year.  This plan has worked really well for us and we can probably squeeze one or two more years out of it until Perron gets too old and we won't travel for Christmas anymore.  This year it was Stephen's family's year for Christmas so we loaded up and headed down to Mississippi.

Before we left, we went to my parents' house on December 23rd and had a delicious holiday meal of beef tenderloin and opened presents with my parents and my little brother and sister.  Diana and Trae had come up in November and we had our big holiday celebration then, since Diana can not be away from the hospital at the holidays.  We got up early (otherwise known as Perron's regular wake-up time) on Christmas Eve and started the 5 hour journey to Stephen's parents house in Mississippi.  Now, prior to this point, Perron's longest car ride had been 45 minutes.  There is a good reason for this.  He has a fabulous habit of deciding that his car seat is fashioned out of nails as soon as his body hits the seat and typically starts screaming bloody murder as soon as we put him in think I time I had to stop and get him out of the car seat before we had even made it out of the driveway because he almost threw up he was crying so hard.  All in all, the car ride went much better than expected.  Especially considering it poured down rain almost the entire trip and Perron only slept for like an hour and 15 minutes.  Of course a family occasion can not pass by with out an Adventure in Poop, so I have a story to share.  We stopped at a gas station in god only knows where Alabama (otherwise know as Georgiana) so I could feed Perron.  Of course it was pouring down rain so I couldn't get out of the car to change him, so I had to change him in my lap.  Not easy, but doable since he had only this point.  Diaper changed, baby fed, all is well and we are back on the road.  I am not kidding you, we were pulling onto the interstate from the entry ramp and I look over an Mr. Poo-Poo Pants is grunting away.  Did I mention it was pouring down rain and very cold.  So we drive a little while hoping that maybe he doesn't mind laying in his own waste and we can make it to the rest stop to change him.  WRONG!  He starts to voice is displeasure with his current diaper situation, leaving us no choice but to stop at the nearest exit.  Long story short...after first pulling in to a very sketchy "roadside motel" I ended up having to change him in the bay of a self-service car wash facility in Evergreen, AL.  Oh holiday family memories....

We finally made it to MS (Did I mention that I had to sing Jingle Bells on repeat from the MS state line all the way to my in-laws) and embarked on two days of family holiday festivities.  Overall, he did pretty well considering everything that was thrust upon him over the course of two days.  He refused to nap pretty consistently which makes it hard and he certainly cried more than he usually does, but he managed.  I too probably cried and fussed more than I normally do, but I managed as well. :)  We have paid a very high price for him being out of his element and he has been extremely fussy since we got home.  I feel like we have reverted back to Perron of old and he probably hasn't been this fussy in well over two months.  I am hoping over the next couple of days that he will settle down and get back in to his regular routine.  He definitely is not ready for that many dramatic changes in environment and routine yet.  It makes me VERY nervous for daycare.   I told Stephen it will be quite some time before we travel with him again.  I had already told my parents  there wasn't a bats chance in hell that we would be joining them in the mountains for New Year's this year.  I don't think Perron could take it and I guarantee that I couldn't take it.

Perron got showered with gifts and attention the entire holiday season.  We are going to need another house just to hold all of his toys.  Here are some pictures from all of our holiday gatherings.  As you can see, he is one cute little elf (with quite the Christmas wardrobe).  I hope everyone had a happy and blessed holiday season!

What do you mean a man is coming down our chimney?

Is that safe?

In my present palace

At the Crigler Family Christmas

With My Grandma

Posing with my presents Christmas Morning

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

This Day A Year Ago

This day a year ago was the day that I found out I was pregnant with Perron. A day that would change our lives forever, sometimes for the harder, but always for the better. The day I learned that my dream of having a child had come true. A true Christmas miracle, and the best gift I have ever received. We had been going through the infertility process since August (a micro-second in the land of infertility) and I had just had my first round of Clomid. Several days prior I had had my progesterone levels checked and they were very high compared to where they had been. I was surprised, but didn't put together that that might mean I was pregnant. Fast forward about 20 days. I was supposed to have my period over the weekend and they had told me to call no matter what day if I was late. I of course didn't think anything of it, and didn't call over the weekend. I waited until Monday morning to call and they told me to come in. Since I refused to take home pregnancy tests because I was tired of the disappointment I felt month after month, when it would be negative; they told me to come in. I would give a urine sample and if that showed anything they would take bloodwork and try to get a confirmation. I didn't tell anyone that I was going in for the testing. In fact, I talked to Stephen in the car on the way to the hospital and didn't mention a thing about it. In fact, he thought I was sitting in my office talking to him. I was so convinced that the test would be negative that I didn't want to get anyone's hopes up, including my own.

So into the infertility department I went to pee on my little stick. I took it out to the nurse and started gathering up my things. I didn't even look at the stick before I handed it to her. So I am getting ready to leave and she says "I think I see something". My heart lept and my stomach dropped. I walked over and sure enough there was a faint line. I could not believe my eyes. So she starts talking about blood work and HCG levels and talking to the doctor and blah blah blah. She kept talking to me like I was pregnant, but I still didn't believe it. She told me that they would call me sometime after 2pm with the results. I was crazy enough to tell her that I would be in meetings all afternoon and to just go ahead and leave the news on my voicemail. Was I insane or what !?! I was too scared to get my hopes up because I knew I would be devastated if it turned out to be a false positive. I just kept thinking it was too soon, I had only had one round of clomid, it wasn't supposed to be this easy. So I left the office fully expecting them to call me back when my bloodwork came in and tell me it had been a mistake. The only thing I allowed myself to do was go and get a little cross that had a bible verse that said "For this child, I have prayed". If the test results were positive, I wanted to have a neat way to tell Stephen.

So I went back to work...and I had all my meetings...and they did leave the news on my voicemail....I was pregnant. I saved that voicemail for a long time and would listen to it periodically. It was the message that would change Stephen's and my life forever. I came home from work and told Stephen that I had bought him a little present that I wanted him to open for Christmas. On the cross, I had taped my pregnancy test from the hospital. What I didn't realize is that I had put tape over the area where you could see the results of the test. Whoops! So he opened it and was looking at it very confused. I finally blurted out...I'm pregnant. He was shocked and excited to say the very least.

And that was the first chapter in the beginning of a very long, sometimes scary, often hard journey that brought us the most precious gift we have ever received. It is amazing how much can change in one year.

In the Battle of Man Vs. Swaddle....

MAN WON! Can you believe it? I have been dreading this day since he was eight weeks old. The day we would have to say good-bye to the swaddle. I knew that it would be a day that lived in infamy...but I assumed it would be for all the wrong reasons. Perron had started rolling over onto his stomach in the middle of the night and I found him lying on his tummy two different times when I went in to check on him two nights ago. I knew that as much as we all loved the swaddle...and the sleep it gave was time to say good-bye. I was just too nervous about him rolling over and getting trapped without having his hands free to maneuver himself with. I had read all the chat boards, I had solicited my friends for advice, I had tried to putting it off, but in the end Stephen and I decided to go cold turkey and see how it went.

We did our regular bedtime routine and then laid him down in his little sleep positioner. That was our only big mistake. He stayed asleep when we laid him down, but then he let his arms relax, they landed right on top of the positioner. That of course woke him up and started about 35-45 minutes of on and off crying. I tried a tiny version of the Ferber method were I would let him cry for three to five minutes and then I would go in to give him his paci, rub his little head,calm him down, but not pick him up. I did this for 3 or 4 times. On the last time, I decided I would just sit him his chair and position myself so he could tell that I was in the room, but could not see my face. This seemed to do the trick. He fussed a couple more times, but I just put the paci in his mouth and went back to my seat. He checked a couple of times to make sure that I was still in the room with him and then slowed started to close his eyes. He jerked awake two more times, but would close his eyes each time.

Stephen and I decided to split the night like we did when he was a newborn just in case things fell apart. I took the first shift and slept on the couch. I woke up at 12:30 to go check on him and he was sound asleep with his little arms just moving all around. He didn't wake up until 3:30, when he started bashing his head against the crib rails. Stephen moved him back to the middle of the bed and he flashed Stephen his biggest "i'm wide awake" smile. Stephen put his paci back in his mouth and went to sit in the chair. Before he knew it, Perron had flipped onto his tummy (confirmation that the swaddle needed to go). At that point, Stephen just went ahead and gave him a bottle. He fell asleep and didn't wake up again until 7:30. IT IS A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!

Now, I am fully aware that because I have gone to all this trouble to tell the world that he slept without a swaddle, that he will sleep a total of 4 and a half minutes tonight. He has proven that as soon as I announce some big milestone (see the coming home from the NICU post as evidence), he will throw a massive wrench in the plans. So fingers crossed this is not an anomaly and we have a baby that for once has done something the easy way! The next hurdle will be trying to get him to nap somewhere other than his swing. We will save that battle for another day. I will keep you all posted as the swaddle saga continues to unfold.

Friday, December 18, 2009

5 Months Old

Dearest Perron,

Well, you really took us on a roller coaster ride this month. We have learned from the very beginning that you never liked doing things the easy way. Luckily we have found that the hard way still provides the same precious reward. Your vision gave us quite a scare, but you proved everyone wrong again and chose to show us that your vision was just fine on Thanksgiving. What a true reason to give thanks!

You are weighing in at 10 lbs. 11.5 ozs. You are wearing your 3 month clothes and they fit you pretty well. You are super skinny, but your feet are huge so you usually grow out of clothes because your feet are too long for the footie part. You are still in Level 1 diapers, and I have a feeling you will be for quite a while because they go all the way up to 14 lbs. I think we have a while until we get there. You are eating 5 and a half ozs. at a time. It is hard to belive that when you first started to eat you were only getting 10 ccs at a time. My how things change in five short months.

You are so cute and you love to smile. You have started laughing too, which is the most adorable sound in the entire world. You love to be tickled and you will let out these short burst/squeals of laughter which are so funny. You love it when mommy sings and dances for you. We are like a regular Broadway production together. You can regularly roll from your stomach to your back and you are starting to experiment with trying to roll from your back to your stomach. I can tell that you are starting to work through the process, because you will kick your legs over to the side as hard as you can. You can roll from side to side, so I know it is only a matter of time. You love to put EVERYTHING in your mouth. That is the primary way that you play with things. Your favorite toy is your hungry catepillar. You are so strong and you still love to stand in your mommy's lap and look around. You can sit up if we support you and you can even sit in your Bumbo chair for a little bit of time, as evidenced in your picture this month. We just put your jumparoo together for you today and you LOVE it. You don't understand how to make it bounce, but when mommy does it for you you just smile and laugh and look so excited.

It is hard to imagine that this time last year I was pregnant with you and didn't even know it. It seems like so much has changed in such a short period of time. The trials that we have all been through together this month have only made your daddy and I love you even more. I didn't think that was possible. You are our reason for being. We are so proud of you and can not believe that you are ours. You bring so much joy into our lives!

We love you more every day,

Mommy and Daddy

Friday, December 11, 2009

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

Wow, it's been a long time since we last talked. I am hoping that your feelings aren't hurt after I claimed at age five that I no longer believed in you. w that I am a big girl and have big girl concerns, I thought I might try and strike up our relationship one more time to see if you could throw me a couple of bones. I think you will find that my wishes for this year are quite different than the days of wishing for a walkman cassette player and a VHS of Dirty Dancing. Although, those gifts were much appreciated and talked about at the time...and Dirty Dancing does remain one of my all time favorite movies. But, I digress. I was hoping you might listen to my pleas one more time and help a sister out. Okay here we go.

I would like the ability to sleep through the night back. I mean seriously...I don't think I have had a full night sleep in over a year. First there was the pregnancy,and its many nightly trips to the bathroom. Then there was the NICU stay were even though I didn't get the joy of having my baby home I did get to experience the joy of waking up in the middle of the night to pump. Next came the sleepless nights when Perron thought it would be a good idea to only sleep in 45 minute intervals. Now my almost five month old regularly sleeps through the night....but I can't. WHAT IS UP WITH THAT!?! So Santa, if you could please restore my ability to close my eyes at nighttime and not have them open until it is time to get up in the morning, I would really appreciate it.

Alright, this one might be a little harder, but I still remain hopeful since you can do anything that is asked of you. I would like you to please soften the cold, hard hearts of the people at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama. I mean really....did they have to change the guidelines for RSV shots this year of all years. And since when did allergic colitis become a diagnosis that is no longer covered under our policy. For god's sake...he was bleeding from his intestines. So now I am stuck with forking out $2,000 a month for RSV shots and $350 a month for formula just so my baby can eat. So, like I said, if you could work some magic on the scrooges at BCBS, I would really appreciate it.

Lastly, I want my old stomach muscles back. I know I know, I should have thought about that before I got pregnant, but my overwhelming desire to have a child got in the way of my vanity...well guess vanity is back. If I never eat, everything is pretty under control. A relatively flat and happy stomach. However, so much as one bite of food and it is back to looking like I am 3 months pregnant. You have a little time to work on this one since I won't be in a bikini again for another couple months, but I would prefer not to have to starve myself my entire beach vacation.

And I know that I said the one above was the last one, but that desire got me thinking. Can I have feeling back around my c-section scar. It really weirds me out, I am not going to lie. I am afraid to touch it and Perron has already decided that when he stands up and jumps up and down in my lap, that little reminder of how he got here is the perfect launching pad for him. It feels funny and I don't like it. I really don't think that is too much to ask.

So, when I am all snug in my bed with visions of sugarplums dancing in my head, if you could swing by my place and leave me those things under the tree, it would really make my Christmas.

Love you Santa Baby!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

So I was out of town for work (a NIGHTMARISH trip might I add) for the past two days and Stephen had to play Mr. Mom. Lots of my friends asked "are you nervous to leave Perron with Stephen" or "is Stephen nervous about having Perron all by himself?" or stated that their husbands would never make it on their own. Lots of his friends asked who was coming to help him or would he be able to do it on his own. Both of us thought that these were funny questions, because we never assumed that there would be any problem with Stephen being solely responsible for the duties of the house and the baby while I was gone. Stephen has always shared in the responsibilities of parenthood. He would stay up in the middle of the night with him even while he was working and I hadn't gone back yet. He wipes heinies and dabs spit up. He makes bottles and feeds babes. Basically he does just about anything that I do.

I have thought about doing this post for a long time and haven't done it because I didn't want to embarrass Stephen...oh well, too bad! Me leaving the two boys alone has motivated me and I am going to do it anyway.

I have thought many times in this journey we have been on since Perron was born, how lucky I am to have him in my life. He is supportive, caring, and devoted to both me and our son. He is a partner in the truest since of the world. He is nicer to me than I frequently am to him. He is patient and kind...two things that I am not always. He is the perfect counterpoint to my fiery tendencies. He is calm when I am not. He is levelheaded when I loose my ability to be. He is gentle where I am hard. He is strong where I am weak. He helps without question. He advises without pushing. He listens (most of the time) without instructing. I like to think that I am his counterpoint as well, but I think that he might have gotten the short end of the stick.

I often think that if I could just have some of his better qualities I would be a better person for it. But just as I say there couldn't be two of me in a marriage, I guess the same applies to him. I hope that my enthusiasm, energy, and drive serve as an inspiration to him, the way his kind, gentle spirit is an inspiration to me.

We have been through a lot together in the four years we have been married, and I know our long life together will bring other storms to weather and joys to share. I also know, that I could not be sharing my life and raising our child with a better person. Perron and I are both blessed to have him.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

An Early Christmas Present

I have been meaning to post since Tuesday, but this week has gotten away from me. We received an early Christmas present on Tuesday when Perron's PT and OT came to the house for his therapy session. The PT was the referring PT who did his initial evaluation for admittance into early intervention and his OT was with us for his entire eye appointment a couple of weeks ago. As soon as "K", his PT, came into the house Perron was all smiles for her. She must have said a million times how he was a completely different baby from the one she had seen the first time. Then "N", his OT, came and she could not believe the progress he had made in a week and a half. Here is the best part. She said that in her professional opinion he did not need to see the neuro-opthamologist. Both she and "K" said that if they had just met him for the first time, without knowing his vision history, they would not think anything was wrong with his eyes. WHAT A BLESSING! This is truly the miracle we had all been praying for and it happened. God is good to this family! So....I am going to cancel his neuro appointment and his appointment with the pediatric opthamologist. Can you believe it!?! We were so excited. I had been hoping that this would be the outcome but I hadn't wanted to dare that it was possible. When I told my mom she burst into tears and just cried and cried (she had been with me for the initial appointment when they said he might be blind). This has been such an emotional ride for the entire family.

This entire journey has taught me a lot of things. The first and most important is to never give up hope. Stephen and I never gave up hope that we would one day have a baby. We never gave up hope when I got sick and Perron was early. We never gave up hope when Perron was in the NICU. And even when things were at their hardest and I was at my lowest, I tried as hard as I could to hang on to hope even when I felt like all hope was lost. God has blessed this family and neither Stephen or I will take the little things for granted. Four months is a long time to wait for your baby to look at you and recognize you, but it makes it all the more worth it when he does. Now he will look at us and smile and he even laughed at me this evening. Truly music to this mommy's ears. We are forever grateful to all the friends, family and strangers who have taken this family under their wings and prayed for us. We appreciate it more than you will ever know. We hope this is the last time that kind of urgent prayer request ever has to go out on behalf of our family.

We continue to enjoy Perron more everyday. He has grown and changed so much in these past couple of days. His adorable personality comes out more every day. He finally weighs over 10 lbs (10 lbs 3 ozs to be exact) and is starting to get so strong. He is rolling over from his stomach to his back consistently now and can sit up if you really support him well through his trunk. We have lots of exercises that the therapist gave us to do in between sessions and it is amazing how much they help.

Thank you again for all of your love and support. We are blessed beyond measure!