Monday, June 5, 2017

The Diaper Days

I've started this post before, and never finished it. A post to detail what in the world has gone on since July 4th weekend 2 years ago. I haven't finished before, and I'm still not sure I'll finish it this time, but for now, I'll just share what's on my heart.

What Bryleigh has (and Will seems to have) is not life-threatening.  This is not a fact that is lost on me, nor is it something I ever fail to praise God for. Although it is not life-threatening, it sure as heck has been life-altering.

Our entire world changed two years ago.  Some of it was so subtly and slowly overtime that we didn't even realize. Other changes came in and sort of just exploded in our face.

Two years ago, after a whirlwind weekend at a family wedding, a whole lot of family time, followed by a holiday weekend, Bryleigh started with throwing up and ended with diarrhea. Sure signs of a virus. And for a solid week, that's exactly what I chalked it up to, until we woke up one morning and the diarrhea was so severe, she had filled 7 diapers in a matter of 2.5 to 3 hours. She also had a decent fever going on, so we loaded up and headed to the pediatrician.

She was placed in the "papoose" and a large amount of blood was drawn, followed by a stool sample (thankfully from a diaper she voluntarily gave while we were there), and a urine sample via a catheter. They were looking at everything from E. coli, to a long list of other things (bacterias, etc) and began treating her aggressively for a specific infection just in case that came back positive. It consisted of a shot in each thigh for three days in a row.

All of the testing came back clear with no more answers than we started with, and she still had diarrhea. Severe. For a solid 45 days. It would run down her legs, it would burn her little bottom and leave open sores beyond any diaper rash you can imagine. She was still a "baby" at this point. A very young 18 months old, so she didn't fight us too much, nor could she tell us exactly where the pain was (inside and out).

After exhausting every effort they could and still finding no answers, we were referred over to Cooks GI offices where we had an appointment scheduled for September. 

Over the course of the next year, we made many trips to Cooks Hospital in Fort Worth to work with our GI doctor, and eventually the geneticists as well. We did countless blood draws, urine samples, stool samples, and more. We did a sweat test for Cystic Fibrosis, a colonoscopy/endoscopy, and a Whole Exome test that looked at our chromosomes and every single gene. Most of the test would show abnormalities (elevated levels, blood in stool, sugar in stool/urine, inflammation in intestines, etc) but never enough to lead to actual answers.

One big thing we learned early on was that the cause of the sever diarrhea/mucus was fruit. Certain fruits caused much stronger reactions, but every single fruit causes some type of reaction in Bryleigh, most being immediate. So Bryleigh is no longer allowed to have any type of fruit in her diet (and we can tell when we/someone else slips up in that).

As we made the switch and eliminated the fruit, Bryleigh's problems went from diarrhea to constipation. Bryleigh would try, with no luck, sometimes a hundred times a day. Other times, she would have a little luck, but it would end up leaving her bottom basically burned. We spent weeks at a time doctoring tears in her skin, that sometimes led to infection. Some days we would have to change her diaper 10 to 15 times in a matter of hours. Those were absolutely some of the toughest days of our lives.

I am so thankful for how the mind (and our God) works to protect us.  In the moment, even today, I will ask myself, "How will I ever forget this? How will I ever stop remembering how hard *this* was?" And for the life of me, all of those *thises* I thought would be etched in my mind forever, I can no longer picture. I remember there were hard times. Times we thought we wouldn't make it through another diaper change. And don't get me wrong, I have mental pictures (more like videos) that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy, but I just don't remember them ALL like I thought I would. 

Things I do remember: Bryleigh BEGGING us to stop because the pain was so excruciating. Holding her hair back as she threw up because she was crying so hard from the pain after a diaper change. Dancing with Bryleigh in my room as I held her in my arms because her bottom hurt so bad she couldn't sit down or walk. Watching her try for hours as she would TRY to get anything out she cute, red faced and tears, but still nothing. Massaging her legs, because they had severe cramps in them after those hours of trying. Laying with her in bed and scratching her back after she woke up at 2 in the morning with night terrors. Dropping her off in her classrooms, screaming and crying because her anxiety was so bad she didn't want to leave us.

At some point we hit our breaking point and we knew we HAD to do something different. We had to at least try. Thanks to an incredible referral from a dear friend, we started working with a new doctor in March of 2017. The first appointment was over an hour of us talking, that's it. That did wonders for my anxiety-ridden toddler. She explained things that were happening to Bryleigh over the past two years, without even ME telling HER all that we had seen. Since then, Bryleigh has warmed up more and more to her, and our doctor has now been able to examine Bryleigh. She's felt the intense tightness in her belly. She's felt the reverse curve in Bryleigh's spine. She's explained the severe pain that Bryleigh feels throughout her body on a daily basis, and THAT is why we are working with her.  We have goals and plans in place that change each week as our doctor is able to reexamine Bryleigh and see how things are going.

We are currently using weekly adjustments and homeopathic supplements to try and heal Bryleigh from the inside. We were also able to test Bryleigh for allergies and found that she is allergic to a number of things including sugar, chicken, and eggs. Our hope is that as we eliminate these things and use the supplements, Bryleigh's body will continue to heal.

We hope and pray for specific answers and an actual diagnosis to come at some point. We hope and pray for complete healing in Bryleigh's body, but if these things don't happen, we know that God is good. We know that He goes before us and He will make a way for us to care for Bryleigh in the best ways possible.

And our sweet little Will. We got pregnant with him the very day we got the results that Bryleigh did NOT have Cystic Fibrosis. We hoped that he would be spared from all of the trouble his sister has had, but from the very beginning we saw the same things in him. Our little guy has severe pain with each poop diaper he has, no matter the consistency, and we continue to see undigested formula and mucus in the majority of his diapers. It is our hope that catching his early will allow for earlier healing in his body and far less pain for him.

I wanted to share our story and the journey we've been on over the past two years, and although it's long, it's still the short version of all we've seen. But more than sharing the details and facts in our story, I want to be sure and share all of the goodness and faithfulness we have seen from God.

We have seen answer after answer come to us out of God's love and mercy: strength in the toughest of times, days that ended with sleep to relieve our babies pain, forgetting the difficult memories, Brad home at the exact right moments, help from our wonderful family, a season where my mom was able to live with us, financial provision, outpouring of love from friends, wonderful doctors and nurses, growth in relationships, deepening of faith and trust in Jesus, and the list could absolutely go on and on.

Some days I wish I had blogged every step of our journey, other days I'm so thankful I did not, but I did want to share as much of our story as I could, and I will do my best to continue to update as we learn more.

Monday, April 24, 2017

A Nursery Fit for a Wild Man

It's been a while since I've updated, and this sweet little nursery has honestly been "done" for a while, but I just have not gotten around to getting the details on the blog.

I spent the better part of my bed rest planning and dreaming about this little boy's room, and that meant quite a bit of time surfing the internet for the perfect pieces.  We were able to order some pieces online, other pieces are from a successful trip to Hobby Lobby, some things are hand-me downs and family pieces, and one very special shelving unit was designed by me and built to perfection by Will's Pappy!  I love every single inch of Will's Man Cave and look forward to adding a few more pieces and finishing touches to it during his first year.

Will's hospital room door hanger. Big Sister has one just like it on her door.

I knew I wanted to do some type of rustic theme, with outdoors, animals, and arrows involved, but I went back and forth with some different color combinations.  After our trip to Hobby Lobby and a quick look in the buggy, I could tell the color pallet was determined - ivory, gold, and wood!  I've added color in some different areas, and might add some more, but I LOVE the neutral look and the feel it gives to Will's room.

We were able to use the changing table from Bryleigh's nursery and then bought our Wild Man a new crib since Sister is still in her's and she'll be using it as a full size bed.  We added neutral colored sheets and changing pad covers (with light green back-ups from Sister's extras).  I knew what I liked in a diaper caddy, so we purchased a woven basket from Hobby Lobby to hold diapers, wipes, and all the creams.  We got SUPER lucky when we realized the wipes reusable box fits PERFECTLY at the back with some storage room underneath and the wipes tucked in at the front.  I LOVE the tree trunk canvas in neutrals and gold that really ties in all the details of the room and ended up being a big inspiration for all the decor.  I purchased it from Hobby Lobby as well.  The lamp shown is a beautiful brushed gold with arrows and a burlap shade, and there is a second matching one in the corner of his room.  These are from World Market and were a perfect fit to our little guy's room.

The shelf is from Target and has some sweet little owls from Bryleigh's "Look Whooo's 2" party, along with a picture from that Will's great-grandpa made.  It will eventually have a beautiful 4 generation picture displayed, but for now, Brad is loving the "punch heard round the world" being on display in Will's Little Man Cave.  There are also two signs and a camping lantern from Hobby that completed the shelf decor.
This corner of Will's world is home to lots more Hobby Lobby items - including the two square frames, the white-washed letters for his name, and the arrow beneath.  Two of my favorite pieces in this section of the room is the book shelf hanging on the wall that used to hold hymns on the back of a pew in my hometown church, First Baptist Church - Sherman, TX.  There is a lot of history in that church for our family, so it is very special to have a piece of that in Will's room.  You can also see a night stand tucked away in the corner, and that belonged to my Granddad.  My MawMaw and PawPaw got the Jimmy Don mountain-metal sign for us, and it is just the perfect fit for this rustic room and our hopes for our boy to be adventurous.
These are just a few close-ups of some of the details from Will's room.
I always love giving my dad a vision and watching him bring it to life!
If you've done much searching on pinterest, you might have seen shelves similar to the ones above...with a cool price tag of about $1100.  NOT exactly in this momma's price range, but thanks to my Pappy, we made it happen for a fraction of the cost.  We were able to find few different units that we liked and things from each that worked well, and my dad was able to design a shelf that fit our price range and was completely functional for our little guy's nursery.  It could not have turned anymore perfect!

That sweet moose and tree on the very top were purchased during my hospital stay and were the beginning of this whole vision.  They'll always be special pieces to me.  The bin at the bottom matches the diaper caddy on his changing table and is FULL of books that Bryleigh had while she was a baby a long with a a whole new set of books that our BSF Leaders showered us with when we came back to bible study.  I will always cherish those!  There are also some books we purchased or were given as gifts along with some more pieces from Hobby Lobby, including the "Be strong & brave" sign, the arrow picture frame, and the "Adventure" mountain piece, and the beautiful globe is from Target.

This just happens to be one of my very favorite rooms of all time.  And the little boy who lives in it happens to be a favorite of mine too!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

A Fruitful 2017

I have chosen a word and a verse to think on, pray about, and live out each year for the past several years - 2014 was endurance, 2015 was joy, and 2016 was intentional.

And let me correct myself quickly, I haven't exactly chosen it as much as I've felt called by God to claim it (or work on it) in my life.

I thought endurance would be great in 2014 because I was starting the year with delivering a baby (talk about the need for endurance!?) and then raising that sweet little newborn, but what I did not know was all the endurance I would need for all that God had planned for us that year (Brad's 3 surgeries, 20 weeks of home health, and the beginning of his weekly travel to North Carolina).

My word for 2015 was one God repeatedly showed me I needed to work on - JOY.  I had very little of it in my life, and I just felt extremely negative all of the time.  I chose to claim that word and study it throughout the year, including reading "The Greatest Gift" by Ann Voskamp, where I began to track my #1000gifts.  It was a game changer for me, and although I still need work in that area, I know God did a great work in my life because of that word.

Some years I fall flat on my face.  I didn't FORGET about my word for 2016, and certainly did not forget my verse - {And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Colossians 3:17} - but I certainly didn't make any of the efforts I intended to in order to live intentionally.  Although 2016 is behind us, my goal for 2017 is to be a little more intentional with all that God has given me and called me to - as a wife, a mother, a friend, and a daughter of the King.

Those three words came to me over the course of months leading up to the end of the prior year, and I really expected it to always go that way.  I figured God would always put something on my heart to work on or claim for the upcoming year, but lately, all I've heard is radio silence!! I've prayed and prayed, and here we are, 4 days before year end (as I type this...) and I didn't have a specific word as of 8:00 this morning.  I'd been thinking about a few and praying for some direction, but nothing was really standing out to me the way it normally does.

That was until I was standing in my bathroom, ticked off at my husband for something that Satan was turning in to a much bigger deal than it actually was, and I thought, "Boy do I need some patience.  Maybe THAT should be my 2017 word?!"

But have you ever prayed for patience?!  I'm pretty sure I did as a 6th grader and I'm still getting the lessons thrown my way, 18 years later...I could give you a laundry list of the things I've "waited on" or "waited out" or "patiently endured."

Over the past week, I've also considered a few others, like LOVE, and JOY, and PEACE...and then it hit me...FRUIT.  I need each of those areas to improve in my life. I WANT each of those areas to improve in my life.  I want my life to bear the FRUIT of Christ, showing love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and goodness and faithfulness and gentleness and self-control.  (The irony is not lost on me that my word for the year is a word that - in different context - has rocked our world a bit over the last 2 years...)

Over the years, I have loved studying the passage in Galatians chapter 5 that discusses this very topic and plan on studying it over the next 12 months - and each month I'll focus on one of the words.  So here's to a LOVING January, a JOYFUL February, a PEACEFUL March, a PATIENT April, a KIND May, a GOOD June, a FAITHFUL July, a GENTLE August, and a SELF-CONTROLLED September.  And I'll swing back around for a second round of those words for the last quarter of the know, the Holidays when you could use a little more of each area! ;)  Here's to a year of FRUIT in 2017!

Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 - A *CRAZY* Year in Review

You know all those memes and funny Facebook posts (and some not so funny) about 2016 and how crazy it's been - like how can there be so much good and so much bad at the same time, like how we REALLY need 2016 to be over and for 2017 to be a little better behaved?! Yeah, that's SO us!!  God has given us SUCH good gifts in 2016 and we made some incredible memories, but to say it's been a tough year of growth would be an incredible understatement.

10.  Life with our big girl!  It is such a blessing to be Miss Bryleigh's momma and daddy.  She is such a joy and we have loved watching her grow up over the last year, which included turning 2, going to her first movie, starting school, and learning all kinds of things!  (Here's to hoping year 3 sees the end of the pass and the beginning of panties!)  I am thankful for the little beautiful life God blessed us with when He loaned us our Bryleigh Girl.

9.  Diaper Daze.  Along with growing and learning, our big girl had a tough year with all of her tummy issues.  She had lots of appointments with her doctors at Cooks and several different tests, including a sweat test to rule out Cystic Fibrosis, an endoscopy and colonoscopy, and a big genetic test.  We spent a lot of the past year focused on trying to find out what was wrong with Miss B and how to help her, even without a diagnosis.  Although we are ending 2016 just like we did 2015, with no diagnosis, we are PRAISING THE LORD that these last weeks of 2016 have been (mostly) tear free when it has come to changing diapers and all things diapers related.  God is so good!  I am thankful that God is faithful and He sustains us, even on our toughest days.  I am thankful that He knows Bryleigh's tiny body inside and out. (And insurance. I'm STILL thankful for insurance.)

8.  Our Teams.  2016 was a fun year for sports in our family, starting with cheering on Carrie's Broncos and Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl!  We spent a lot of time at the Ballpark cheering on our Rangers, and it's been such a fun season cheering on the Cowboys.  One of us is happy to have cheered on the Big 12 Champion Sooners, and the other isn't as pleased with how the year went (on and off the field) for their Bears.  We LOVED getting to visit the Nationals' park again and watch two games, including a Scherzer gem!  We even found ourselves cheering on our alma mater (UTA Mavs) in a men's/women's double header.  I am thankful for the fun we get to share as a family, making memories together whether our teams win or lose.

7.  We're pregnant! And it's a boy!  On March 24, we found out that we were expecting a sweet little baby that would join our family around the first week of December.  True to each of Carrie's pregnancies, there was lots of sickness to start things off, but our sweet baby was healthy and growing!  On July 26, we found out the exciting news that the sweet little baby was a BOY!  We had a fun year of dreaming and planning for our little guy.  I am thankful for the miracle of new life that is a blessing and a gift from God.

6.  Sweet Sister.  We weren't the only ones adding to the family in 2016! Our sweet little sister got engaged on July 3, just 2 months after they both graduated from UTA.  Erin has already started working as an ER nurse and we are SO excited for March to get here so that we can officially add Luke to the family.  I am thankful for the little sister I got when I married in to Brad's family and for all the blessings He has given to her!  What a blessing she is to all of us.

5.  A San Antonio Get-Away.  We had a blast exploring San Antonio with Carrie's family in May to kick off a fun-filled summer.  There was time on the River Walk, lots of good food, a trip to Sea World (in the middle of a monsoon), and a 1000 piece puzzle.  I never get tired of seeing Bryleigh with her cousins (and she never gets tired of seeing them).  I am thankful for the fact that God saw fit to put our sweet Tate, Olivia, and Bryleigh in our lives, close in age, so they can grow up together.

4.  BCinDC2016 AND BryleighsTrip.  2016 was an awesome year of travel for our family with a return trip to DC for Brad and Carrie AND our first (and last) vacation as a family of three where we took our big girl down to Galveston.  I am thankful for the time I got to spend with my husband and my little family this year

3.  Bed-Rest Days.  The last quarter of our year was spent in and out of the hospital, complete with a 17 day stay in the antepartum unit at Baylor Scott and White in Dallas when our sweet little boy tried to make his grand entrance at 31 weeks and again in isolation for a few days while being tested for TB and again after giving birth (that part was a much funner stay!).  I am thankful that God sustained us during such a scary and frustrating time.  I am thankful that he took care of and protected our sweet boy.  And I am thankful that we got lots of extra time with our B-dad at home with us!!

2. William Bradley.  Our sweet little guy was born on Thanksgiving Day at 9:00 am after a quick-ish labor and delivery.  We fell instantly in love, as did Big Sister, and our lives will never be the same.  What a gift he is!! I am thankful for the incredible blessing it is to be Will's mom and to get a first-hand look at Bryleigh being his big sister.  What good gifts our Father gives!!

1.  Life as a family of FOUR.  In the short 5 weeks we've been a family of four, we've already deposited some incredible memories in to the memory bank, including Will's first days at home, his first Christmas (and all the fun involved there), his first hotel stay, his first trip to the zoo, and so much more.  We are looking forward to all the adventures that are in store for 2017.  I am thankful for the incredible family God has blessed me with and all of the days and all of the things...every single one of them, no matter how tired, or gross, or long, or "boring" they may be.

Friday, December 23, 2016

And so the adventure begins...

Our Little Turkey's Birth Story

So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you.  We ask God to give you complete knowledge of His will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding.  Then the way you will live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit.  All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.  We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need.  May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father.  He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to His people, who live in the light. 
Colossians 1:9-12

One might think that as crazy as the last 8 weeks of my pregnancy were, and as dramatic (and traumatic) as Big Sister's delivery was, that Will's birth story would have been crazy, too.  But it wasn't.

Don't get me wrong, your water breaking at 3:20 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning is quite dramatic, but the morning and Will's birth could NOT have gone more beautifully (except the fact that my epidural was a little crazy, but I'll get to that).

Obviously at 39 weeks pregnant, one has quite a bit of trouble sleeping, so I had already been up to the bathroom...twice, and I was still lying awake in bed TRYING to get comfortable.  "Rolling over" was quite the task with a little roasting turkey in there, but I needed a little switch, so I tried moving as I had hundreds of times in the weeks and months prior.  But this time was different.  I knew it as soon as I did it.  I felt my water break almost instantly, and shot out of bed to get to the bathroom (making NO messes until I got in to our tiled bathroom...FOR THE WIN!).

After a few minutes of my heart racing and thinking through things, I came to the realization that my water HAD broke, I was IN labor, I was delivering ON Thanksgiving Day, and my doctor would NOT be there.  As soon as I got all those straight in my head, I hollered out to my husband, who was pretty out-of-it-asleep, and he responded with a simple, but loud, "What?"

I knew I had to give him a few minutes to process all those things I had just processed in our tiny potty closet, and then it was..."What do we do next?!"  We go up front, water still leaking, Brad in his boxers, and tell my parents, of course! However, by the time we got to their room (I was worried about startling them awake...), we realized they were already awake and my mom knew exactly what was going on!! (haha, this part still makes me laugh - She had heard Brad say "what" and that was all she needed to know my water broke and I was in labor!)

I decided I would take a shower, wash my hair, and try to shave my legs since my contractions were still what I'd been used to since about week 14/15.  However, they quickly changed while I was in the shower, and by the time I was out and about halfway through drying my hair...I could barely breathe through them.  We threw on some clothes, got the last of our bags together, and loaded up in the car to head to Dallas around 4:45 am.  (Praise the Lord for NO traffic!!)

The last bump picture - 39 weeks!
The rest of the morning is a bit of a blur because everything went so quickly.  We got checked in at the front desk (where my sweet husband did all the talking and all the paperwork because HOLY CONTRACTIONS!) and our nurse Jenni took us to our room.  One of the first rooms they were going to put us in was the room I spent 36 hours in getting magnesium pumped through my body, where there are also no windows, so we opted for a different room ;)

Our sweet Resident Doctor that  had seen me several times during my hospital stays was doing rounds before she headed out for her Thanksgiving plans, and she did a quick check at 5:45 to see how dilated I was.  Convinced I'd still be at a 3.5 (and even joking that I'd be back to a 2...), I was pleasantly surprised when she said that I was a 5.

I was in quite a bit of pain, so I had already let them know that I wanted an epidural.  I knew the differences in my contractions from Bryleigh's birth, and I knew how much work I'd be doing to bring my baby in to the world, so I wanted to rest while I could.  They came in around 6:00 with the IV, and shortly after it was time for the epidural.

Because I had tested positive for an infection during my first hospital stay, I was required to get antibiotics every 4 hours to make sure it wasn't passed on to Will.  They want you to get at least 2 doses, so at 6 and 10, with the second getting fully in my system by 2 pm...delivering anytime before 2 meant Will only got one full dose, and any time before 10 meant no full doses.  If that happened (which it did) he would just be monitored up in postpartum, and he'd have a series of blood work done.  They monitor him for 48 hours, so we knew the earliest we'd be going home was Saturday.

For some reason, the epidural only took to my left side, and the 40 minutes to an hour that followed were excruciating, with serious labor pains in my right hip, feeling more and more with each contraction.  My entire body was shaking, so I got wrapped up in some warm blankets to help, and at some point I threw up...but I really don't even remember when that was ;)

A different doctor came in to take a look at my epidural and determined the placement was causing issues, so he took it out and replaced it (twice), and hung out with us a bit to make sure it was kicking in the way it needed to.

Once the epidural took, our nurse checked me again to see where we were on labor progress. From 5:45 to 7:40, I went from a 5 to a 10! I could not even believe it when she told us, and I'm pretty sure I asked her at least 5 times.  I was SO not ready for the HARD part of all of this.  I knew this baby boy was a big one, and all I had to compare it to was Bryleigh's birth.  I told them all a few times that I changed my mind, and he could just stay put!!

Although Dr. Harris was off because of the holiday, we got the best back up - Dr. Gaitonde.  He was the doctor that worked with us to make sure our little guy got to cook longer, so it was super sweet that he was the one on call over Thanksgiving weekend.  He came in around 7:45 to check on things, and Jenni let him know I'd dilated to a 10, was fully effaced, and at a 0 - meaning our little guy still needed to drop a little more.  Dr. G was just starting to make rounds, so he decided he'd finish those and give me about an hour to just labor and let my body move our little guy down naturally.

That hour passed incredibly quickly, and by 8:45 we were ready to do some practice pushes with my contractions... However, those practice ones ended up being the real thing since they could see his head after the first push.  I was SO not ready for that part of all of this, but it happened so fast that I really didn't have time to freak out (or run away...) and by the third round of pushing, and about 10 minutes later, our little guy was HERE!

Holding our miracle baby for the very first time, just minutes after his birth
We are forever grateful for Dr. G...and his love for country music! ;)

To this day, 4 weeks later, I'm STILL in shock at how Will's delivery went.  It will always be one of the craziest reminders to me of how in control God is and how much I should trust Him.  I spent WEEKS making myself literally sick over fear and worry of delivering a big baby and going through what I went through with Bryleigh.  I could not comprehend that I could have a big baby (God's plans) and still have a better experience than before.

Will was born in to this world with 90's country music in the background at 9:00 am, weighing 9 pounds 7 ounces, measuring 20.9 inches long. He was absolutely perfect!

Our first moments loving on our sweet little boy!

When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.  I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His spirit.  Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him.  Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.  And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is.  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.  Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.  

Ephesians 3:14-19

(I shared both of these verses in Bryleigh's birth story, 3 short years ago.  These are the words I am praying over my babies as they grow in a dark, lost world.  My prayer is that they come to know and fiercely love their Creator.)

Our Little Turkey's 1st Thanksgiving

Many people have asked about who Will looks like, or make the obvious comment that "he looks JUST like Bryleigh," and although there are similarities, there are lots of differences.  Bryleigh had way more hair.  She has her daddy's mole.  She weighed more and was shorter (making her look even bigger).  She HATED to snuggle, be swaddled, or have clothes on...Will LOVES to snuggle, be swaddled as snug as possible, and ALWAYS wants his clothes on.  They definitely favor each other, but he's not quite the carbon copy I was expecting, especially after all of our sonograms.

Although there are many differences, much of his first days were spent pretty similarly to his sister's.  (You can read about her first days here.) Thankfully, I had been through it all once before, so I knew a lot of what to expect.

First Moments

We spent some time with our little guy down in the delivery room while the doctors finished up with me, the pediatrician took a good look at Will, and we worked through his first time to nurse.  My parents were also there to welcome him into the world and give him some good Mimi & Pappy loving!!

After delivering at 9, we were heading up to our postpartum room by 11:00, just in time for some Turkey and Dressing for lunch! ;)  (I learned from my days in antepartum that they serve turkey and dressing EVERY Thursday, so this was technically my FIFTH go around with "Thanksgiving Lunch" at Baylor.)  We were excited to settle in for a day of Thanksgiving Football and time with our little man!!  Thanks to our Wild Man coming so quickly, we were able to spend the whole day with him...and we were able to eat normal food!! ;)  

Glucose Protocol

Since Will was over 9 pounds, he would be required to meet the same glucose levels that Bryleigh did, ensuring they could maintain their sugar levels.  He was tested before each feeding and needed to have a 45 at least three times in a row after his initial check down in the delivery room.  Anytime the number dropped too low, we would have to start back over.  Our little guy officially passed with a 73 on his final check at 10:00 pm on his first day! This meant that he could also have his first bath!

Although we had been here before, and it was a stressful part of Bryleigh's first days, things went much easier with Will.  We knew what to expect, we knew what was required, and we knew to do what was best for our little guy - which meant supplementing from the start!  Thankfully, there was a new program at Baylor that started back in May allowing us to use donor breastmilk as opposed to introducing formula from the start.

Our little guy did MUCH better at nursing (in the hospital...) than his sweet sister, so we would breastfeed for about 30 minutes, then supplement with a bottle every two to three hours.  This allowed for both his jaundice levels and his glucose levels to even out a lot quicker than had he just been breastfeeding.  Although he did better than Miss B, I still have PCOS, so that didn't change anything this go around as far as milk supply goes! ;)

Big Sister Meets Little Brother

Our big girl spent her Thanksgiving Day with my brother, sister-in-law, and the cousins.  She was in heaven and loved her whole day, but she was so excited to meet "Baby Will."  She walked right in to that room, said "Hi" to her baby brother, and she hasn't looked back since! What an incredible blessing that has been to our family!!

Holding her sweet little brother for the first time

We weren't quite sure how she would do or WHAT she would do, so we decided to do a little Big Sis gift from Will with All-Things-Dory, including some activities she could do while we were still in the hospital.  

Little Brother meets the whole crew!

One of the best parts about Will coming on Thanksgiving Day was that my brother's family was in town and they got to come up to the hospital to meet him.  That was super special to me and something I'll always be so thankful for.  Alan's kids, Tate and Olivia, were instantly in love with their new little cousin!  It was so fun to see them love on him.

And the real fun started once the whole crew was together!! How lucky were we to spend time with our sweet family on Thanksgiving Day, and introduce them to our sweet little miracle baby!

The Meet and Greet Tour continues!

Will's DeDe and Poppa B came to meet our Will Man on Thursday night after the Cowboys beat up on the Redskins, and sweet Bryleigh was still there to make the introductions.

Our Little Turkey's fun-filled Black Friday

Our second day with our little man started out with a busy morning - including his circumcision which threw our whole feeding schedule off and an attempt at his hearing screening, continuing to spend some skin-to-skin time, working on nursing, and spending some time relaxing with our newest love.  Bryleigh Girl could not wait to get back up to the hospital to see us and hold her little brother some more, so they made a visit Friday afternoon.  She also brought a present for Will - a sweet owl lovie!

Aunt Erin and Uncle Luke came with DeDe and Poppa B on Friday to get to meet our sweet little guy, and Bryleigh was definitely proud to show him off again.  Any day she gets to spend with all four grands is a good day for her, and adding little brother to the mix was the cherry on top!

Our Little Turkey is coming home!

One of the final hurdles to us getting to leave was for Will to complete his hearing test.  We had tried on Friday, but with all the excitement (his circumcision, missing feedings, meeting family), we weren't able to get him calm enough to complete it.  Thankfully, Saturday morning was the perfect time for he and his daddy to watch some college football and get his little ears screened.

We were originally told we wouldn't be able to be released until we got results back on Will's cultures, which would have been late afternoon on Saturday, BUT we got news around 11:00 that we were officially released!  They'd watch the cultures for us and give us a call if anything showed up, but we were in clear to take our sweet guy HOME!