I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord
Psalm 27: 13-14

Friday, November 27, 2009

More photos to share...of course!!

"Hmmmm, what is this odd mush my mommy just put in my mouth?!"
"OK, maybe it isn't so bad after all! But it's more fun to spit out!"
"Why does my mommy insist on making me look so silly! And what is this strange hat I am wearing?!!"
"Styling my new Oilers Jersey and getting ready for games with daddy!!"
"I can't move!! I'm mummified!! What is going on here?!!!"
Just some fun pics of Evan. I gave him beef for the first time today. Little harder to get to a nice pureed consistency, but he figured it out! He was blowing bubbles half way through too and I think I ended up wearing most of it!!
We are off for professional pictures tomorrow morning...dogs included! I'm hoping they cooperate, and hoping Evan naps on the way out to the studio!! But in true Evan style I'm sure he will be all smiles when he sees the camera!! I think I have a little GQ on my hands!!
I still have not put out any Christmas decorations. I'm finding it really difficult this year. This December marks the 2 year anniversary of the loss of our first identical twins, and the first year we won't have Zac with us in front of the Christmas tree. At least not physically. He is always with us in our hearts. And I'm missing my little guy so badly this season, as I do every day!
I almost don't want to put up the tree I've used since Brett and I got married. Since our 9+ year journey for a family it has held some sad memories, and I almost just want to start fresh. I'd actually like to put up a REAL tree this year. Hopefully Tag (my male dog) won't think to "Christen" it for us!! But I'm not even sure if we will do that. We'll see. But considering that Christmas is 28 days away...it might be time to start considering getting festive!! Evan deserves a fun Christmas even though he won't understand what's going on.
I sooooooooooooo badly want to take Evan for a picture with Santa, but I'm TERRIFIED to as well because of all the kids and GERMS Santa will be holding!!! We'll see. I'm still not sure. But I wonder if we can take him at the end of a time when there won't be as many children, OR be first to get there. We might just have to skip this year considering we are to stay away from crowded areas. Maybe Brett will dress up if I find a Santa suit!! Anyone have one that we could borrow for a day for a picture!! :) Let me know!!
Evan has been coughing a bit more the last couple of days and a bit stuffed up. But nothing to really concern me (and of all people who would be concerned...it would be ME!!). No wheezing and no temperature and is still in good spirits. So hopefully it is just a tiny bug. And might not be anything anyhow. But regardless, if you could send a little prayer his way just for health and strength for this season.
Anyhow, just wanted to share some more brag pictures.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

RSV shots...round one done.

This is the wreath I was mentioning that I made for Zac's gravesite. It was almost therapeutic to do this, and know that Zac is still very much a part of our lives!!
OK, so this is a picture of the wreath I made for Zac's gravesite. It meant a lot doing this, and even though it sucks that this is the reason for making this, I felt Zac very much present as I chose ornaments and then put them all together. I love you Zac.
Yesterday Evan had his first of 5 rounds of RSV vaccinations. FORTUNATELY it was 2 nurses (one whom was one of Evan's NICU nurses that cared for him!!!) doing the shots. Because Evan is over 16 pounds he had to get a double dose, so a shot in each leg. Each nurse did a shot at the same time so that Evan just had to go through the realization of "one" poke. He cried for a few seconds, but then I showed him himself in the mirror and he was all smiles again!!! He did soooo good!!! What a trooper I have!! He is so brave!
After the shots we went up to the NICU to visit with some of the nurses. I was also asked to introduce myself to other parents in the NICU waiting room and to share my story with them to encourage them. And you know...it was actually "nice" to be able to share our story, share the boys and our loss of Zac and our blessing with Evan. To encourage them as best as I could with them seeing Evan today and hearing how tiny he was and how early the boys had been.
During my talking to them my absolute most favorite and special nurse came out to see us. I had hoped and hoped she would be there, and fortunately she was able to sneak out quickly. Oh did I give a shriek of joy and did we ever hug...and it took everything in me not to fall to pieces. She held Evan, and my heart was full of joy and love!
After our visit there I went back to my old hospital "home", 4th floor antepartum, where I spent those 5 weeks carrying the boys. I had made plans to come visit one of the many special nurses who cared for me and the boys while I was there. It was so good to see her, and she was so happy to see and meet Evan for the first time!
Evan had a very full and busy morning, and by this time he was WAY past his nap, so I laid him in my arms on our walk back down to meet up with my dad (my parents had come with me that morning) and poor Evan feel right to sleep!!
I got to end the morning nicely by having my hair done while my parents hung out with Evan.
While we were getting Evan's needles done the one nurse brought up how important this season is for all our little preemies. That lots of people won't understand how nervewracking this year will be for us as parents, and how important it is for everyone to understand how very cautious we must be with Evan. Yes, Evan looks healthy and to this point we have been VERY fortunate...but we have also worked VERY VERY hard to keep him healthy. And now this time of year we have to be even MORE cautious and careful. He may look healthy, but our "fight" to keep him healthy this season has only begun. RSV is soooooooooooo common, and so easily transmitted without a carrier even knowing they have been exposed. But to Evan...it could cost him sooooo much if he contracts it. I have seen enough of the inside of a hospital to last me 10 lifetimes, and with the way RSV works on these little ones we would easily end up back in there if Evan were to become ill. So we are working even harder to keep him safe. I have begun to hibernate again with him, and will cautiously take him on outtings. If I don't have to, we won't. We won't even be attending church this RSV/flu season. That will be a bit tough, but God knows where we are, and He knows what we've been through, and He supports our efforts to keep Evan healthy and safe. Yes, people pray for Evan, and we appreciate that more than words, but we also have to be responsible parents and know that we still have to do what is in OUR power to keep him safe and healthy. I guess after going through what we did with Zac...it's hard to not feel somewhat tainted and cautious. I am just being honest here...not disrespectful of prayer or God. But I've also come to learn a very hard lesson that our prayers are not always answered the way we cry out and beg and plead. However, we still pray for our little guy!!!
I remember when I read the book "The Shack". I dog-eared one page because I appreciated one particular paragraph. It reads: "Mack, just because I work incredible good out of unspeakable tragedies doesn't mean I orchestrate the tragedies. Don't ever assume that my using something means I caused it or that I need it to accomplish my purposes. That will only lead you to false notions about me. Grace doesn't depend on suffering to exist, but where there is suffering you will find grace in many facets and colors."
I always think about this passage.
Anyhow, I suppose I should get going. Evan has been napping soundly, but should soon be waking up to eat. So I should get myself organised. When he realizes he's hungry, it's an instant need to eat! He is too funny!!
Evan goes for round 2 of 5 RSV shots again in December. Please pray for Evan during this time of high risk RSV (until May!).

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A bit of this, a bit of that...

Evan with his buddy Bailey!!! She is so good with him! He was having a great time "petting" her and pulling on her ears!!
Evan had his appointment with his OT yesterday and he is doing GREAT developmentally. Meeting all his milestones. His OT laughed at how even in the past 2 weeks Evan seems to have gotten "chubbier"!! I love hearing that!! It's pleasing to know that he is doing well!!!
We also had him weighed and he is now 15lbs 15ou. Quickly creeping to that 16lb mark!! And I've yet again had to weed out small clothes from his closet!!!! He has gotten longer, and bigger :)
On Sunday we went to Grainfields and I let Evan taste a bit of pear from my fruit cup and he LOVED it!!!! Of course...it's sweet!!! He hasn't had any fruit as of yet because we were to start him on meats first. That's right...meats!! And I'm glad so that he develops that palat first!
BUT, the pear was a wonderful new world to him!!!! He was shaking he was so excited!
My cousin is back living with us for his last stint of school at SIAST, and we were all laughing yesterday how when we are eating all Evan does is stare down our plates!!! He just wants real food already! And he's getting there!
My brother in law also let Evan have a "taste" of a mandarin orange which he enjoyed also!
We have chicken accepted, but I tried lamb and that has been quite the humorous test. He gags at it and then puiks up what he has eaten. So I think we'll skip the lamb and go for the good stuff - BEEF! Because honestly...I don't cook lamb for ourselves, so it's not like it is a part of our diet anyhow! Beef on the other hand...big staple!
Once we have that underway we will begin with some veggies and then on to fruits.
Evan is just FULL of energy, and seriously, once he gets this rolling and then crawling thing sorted out...I won't have to worry about how I'm going to lose the rest of my pregnancy weight!! He already keeps me moving...but I KNOW I'm going to be REALLY moving once he's mobile!!
We really enjoyed the beautiful weather today by taking the dogs for a walk and then Evan and I continued on our walk and "cruised" 8th street. OK...we went to Superstore to check out the boy clothes (booooooo, get with it people! Make more boy stuff!!!!!! GRRRRRRR), then we went to Winners (BIGGER BOOOOOOOO...why do I insist on going there? It drives me CRAZY and I always leave disappointed and annoyed!) and then we ended our journey by going to Starbucks...where I'm never left disappointed!!!!! Mmmmmm, peppermint mocha's are YUMMY! But those will be FEW AND FAR BETWEEN since I'm on the quest to get back to some resemblance of my old body!!
Things are good. Evan is my light! He makes us laugh and reminds us that "miracle" isn't just an empty word (lets admit it...sometimes I've wondered about the strength of miracles!). I don't know what I would do without my buddy!
I've been working on a Christmas wreath for Zac's gravesite. I've been collecting little ornaments here and there, some special, so just Christmas type ornaments. I have one that is a picture frame that I have Zac's photo in.
I've been missing my little guy more and more lately. I suppose because I am watching Evan grow leaps and bounds, and I am just feeling really sad that his brother is not at his side where he should be. And no amount of "peace" in knowing where Zac IS will help the sadness in my heart. I still feel like that part is a bad dream. And honestly have woken some nights searching my bed for Zac.
Anyhow, please continue to pray for Evan during the cold/flu/H1N1/RSV season. So far we've been fortunate, but I am much more homeward bound with Evan now and we limit our exposure to public situations. And will be that way until this season has passed. This being his first year we are to be VERY careful with him.
Please also pray for Evan for this Friday. He gets his first of five RSV vaccination needles, and I've heard through the grapevine that it is not a pleasant experience for these kiddos!
Please also pray for our hearts this Christmas season. Last Christmas we were so tickled by knowing our boys were well, and we had such a great time finally getting to be part of the ranks of soon to be parents. It is going to be difficult as we go through our first Christmas with a piece of our family missing. Also for my heart in January...the 30th being when everything blew up in my face. These "year mark" milestones are going to be painful!
To those who continue to follow my blog...I am sending you big hugs. I've always been worried that people would lose interest and would stop following. It means a lot to me knowing that people still want to watch Evan grow, and to hear my heart.
Thank you!!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Something to continue from previous post...lyrics

A very brave sole shared the video of the memorial video of her daughter who died at birth due to low amniotic fluid. She had low fluid very early on, but thrived. This brave woman also spent many weeks in the hospital while they prayed and hoped for their daughter. As I watched this precious video...my heart ached and the floodgate of tears opened HARD!!! One of the songs they used on the video is called With Hope, by Steven Curtis Chapman...and that song has become to mean so much to me. I want to share these words...
This is not at all how we thought it was supposed to be
We had so many plans for you
We had so many dreams
And now you've gone away and left us with the memories of your smile.
And nothing we can say
And nothing we can do
Can take away the pain, The pain of losing you, but...
We can cry with hope
We can say goodbye with hope
'Cause we know our goodbye is not the end, oh no
And we can grieve with hope
'Cause we believe with hope (there's a place by God's grace)
There's a place where we'll see your face again. We'll see your face again.
And never have I known anything so hard to understand
And never have I questioned more the wisdom of God's plan.
But through the cloud of tears, I see the Father's smile and say well done
And I imagine you, where you wanted most to be.
Seeing all your dreams come true
'Cause now you're home
And now you're free, and...
We have this hope as an anchor
'Cause we believe that everything
God promised us is true, so...
So we can cry with hope
And say goodbye with hope
We wait with hope
And we ache with hope
We hold on with hope
We let go of hope
There is also one other song this woman used for her daughter's video by Selah called I Will Carry You. It too is a very precious song.
There were photographs I wanted to take
Things I wanted to show you
Sing sweet lullabies, wipe your teary eyes
Who could love you like this? People say that I am brave but I'm not
Trust is I'm barely hanging on.
But there's a greater story
Written long before me
Because He love you like this.
So I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All my life
And I will praise the One Who's chosen me
To carry you.
Such a short time
Such a long road
All this madness
But I know
That the silence has brought me to His voice
And He says...
I've shown her photographs of time beginning
Walked her through the parted seas
Angel lullabies, no more teary eyes
Who could love her like this?
I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years.
I will carry you
All your life
And I will praise the One Who's chosen me
To carry you.
Those who were at Zac's funeral saw the memorial video that Brett created of the time I carried the boys, our short days together with Zac and our final moments together. The songs that we played on that video were songs I played in faith every day I carried our boys and every day I lived at the hospital. Do you know...I haven't been able to listen to either one of those songs since!! Right now it just hurts too much. But music has this way of healing...and one day I will listen to those songs and remember the joyful moments with Zac, and realize the truth those lyrics carried for both my boys...in very different ways!
Thank goodness for music.

"Try using the word died when talking about Zac..."

That's right. That's the advice I was given at my last counselling session. Hmmmmm. My psychologist said he notices that when I speak of Zac it is "passed away" or "didn't make it". Never "died". And he said that the topic of death and the words death/died, etc. make people uncomfortable, and that I should try incorporating the word. I can't remember the full reasoning because at that point I zoned out and got annoyed. But then a very strong realization hit...I don't think of my son as "dead". I think of him as more alive today than I will ever know a day on this earth!! My son lives in eternity, and one day we will be together. For now I can finally hold on to a realization that allows me to breath when I think of him. God did not allow my son to die three days after his birth...He allows Zac to live for eternity. That thought smacked me so hard as I left my session and sat in my car. And today on one of my support sites a friend of mine shared a passage from a father who made the same realization after asking God why He would allow his child to die minutes after her birth. God did not allow her to live just minutes, He allowed her to live for eternity. It still doesn't take away the very real pain of not having our son here with us, and not watching him growing along side his twin brother. But...I have that mental thought now. If time is a blink of an eye in heaven, then by the time he turns around to see if I'm there...I will be! We do not live as those without God. We do not live with death being the final page. We live with the peace of knowing death on this earth is the beginning of life! Not only will I see Zac, but I will also finally meet our precious identical twins too! My home in heaven is filled with the children I miss here on earth. Another sad realization hit me as I talked to my psych. I realize that there are people who may think that I should not have such sadness and sorrow because I at least have Evan here with me. And that realization of that makes me ache. There is no way for anyone to understand the pain of this tug-0f-war if they have not walked it, and in no way do I EVER wish it on anyone!! No loss at any stage is easy. And no loss, regardless of the amount of children a person has, means that one will hurt less. One child does not take the place of the other. I am a mother who is in love with her living son, but also her son in heaven whom I no longer get to see here on earth. I am a mother who has to walk the line of joy AND sorrow. But you know what...I used to be a person who thought this way towards others. I am ashamed to even admit that!!! I used to think that when a person experienced a loss that at least they had other children to help get them through. And now I know first hand how very untrue that is! And like I say...I am ashamed that I even thought that way, but I also understand. I think it was because I was so angry in my own infertility and ultimately just didn't understand because here I was just longing for a child. It's strange, because now when I hear of multiples and especially when I run in to twins...I feel that same ache I felt when I had no children. But not a selfish ache...just the ache in having to face what has happened and the ache of watching other twin siblings playing together and me aching for Evan. These are difficult realizations to make. But it is bound to happen. And I sure hope people don't assume that because I talk of the sadness for Zac that it means I don't have joy with Evan. Oh my...what I would I do without my little clown Evan! He makes me laugh every day and fills my heart with such joy. Life would never be the same without my little man! He is my buddy, and he is the air I breathe! Even when tears may fall as I hold him while rocking him to sleep and I find myself missing Zac...Evan fills me with a love I never knew. I continue to speak of Zac because Zac continues to live in me. Anyhow, just babbling tonight and writing down some of my own realizations.

"Try using the word died when talking about Zac..."

the latest...

Evan in his latest...his new high chair! He is SO proud in there...and what a difference it has made for me!!!!
"Feeding" himself. I let him chew on his spoon by himself. He gets mad when I take it away! Too funny!!!!
We were laughing so hard at his "belly roll"!! He was so intent on the buckle.
Chewing on his cup.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Me and my mom...and a few updates

Had some fun with some self portraits. Evan humored me by posing ever so nicely!!
"Awww geez mom...enough already!"
"Look at me, I'm a turtle!!"
Evan kept making this shocked looking face, so I decided to join in. He keeps trying to focus on the red-eye reduction light and goes cross eyed every time!! Too funny once I realized this!!
"mmmmm, good toes!!" Yoga pose "forward-folding-suck-on-toe".
Evan was a sport and we had some fun doing some self portraits. He totally "gets" the camera and is always ready for action!
Quick updates on Evan. Evan turned 5 mths (corrected age) on October 28th and will be 8 mths (uncorrected) on the 6th of this month. Wow...time is flying!!!! I had Evan weighed on Monday at his appointment with his physio and OT and he is now 15lbs 7 3/4 ounces. He is definately hitting his plateau for big gains, but is still on track. He is loving his chicken when he gets that and is now figuring out that rice cereal is no where near as good as actual food! It's very funny! I'm going to introduce lamb next, but can't find a lamb roast ANYWHERE, and the only leg of lamb I could find was this massive hunk for $33.00!!! I don't think I need that much! So I'll do a bit more investigating. He is TOTALLY aware of how "unfair" it is now when he sees us eating and he has to suck down a bottle or eat his mush!! I think once he can get in to finger foods it is going to be hilarious!!
This morning my wonderful mother came to keep me company while I had Evan's H1N1 shot done. What we DIDN'T expect was that we were going to be kept waiting in the cold in a MASSIVE line up! I felt so bad for all the little kids screaming because they were cold or tired. We were pretty shocked. Fortunately Evan was quite cozy in his car seat in the stroller all bundled and covered in blankets!! Now, me and my mom weren't quite so prepared, so I left her and Evan in line and I flew home to get a few warmer jackets and blankets for us. I swear I'm STILL trying to thaw!!!! Once we got in to the building things moved quickly. We were just relieved to have gotten the vaccination for Evan and to have it done with. We got there at 9:15am and didn't leave the building until after noon!! Now seeing on the news how if we had waited until later this afternoon we would have been in and out...ugh!!! But I think there were a lot of nervous parents about the availability of vaccine.
Evan did GREAT!! A few moments of tears, but then was totally distracted by all the people...and back to his smiling silly self!
Next on the list...me and Brett.
I got Evan a high chair today and tried him out in it. Was he EVER proud of himself!!!!! And it's nice for me to have a spot just for him instead of in his bumbo chair on my ever-disheveled kitchen table!
Prayer request: Please keep praying for Evan during this flu/cold/RSV/H1N1 season. This is his first, and it's very nerve-wracking for us as parents of a preemie. We have to be very diligent around him and our outings will be taking a huge cut-back. But that's okay! He is worth every moment. His RSV vaccinations start November 20th, and he receives one shot a month for 5 months. Poor kid!! He must feel like a pin cushion! But it's for his own good. Whatever it takes to keep him well. And please keep me in your prayers too that I will not live in fear of what "could" happen. I still have that fear of the floor falling from under me if I start to get too "comfortable" so I always feel guarded.
Well, I should go and finish sterilizing bottles and cleaning toys!! It would be nice to get to bed early for once!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

My first Halloween - continued from below

My attempt at being a pumpkin carver...
About to have supper before the "big" halloween party!
Chillin' with my cuz's! :)
Hangin' on the couch, playin' with my feet!
Me and my cousin Brighton

My first Halloween

Getting Evan ready for Halloween!! Our lil' "Pooh"!!
Too much fun for this lil' bear!!
Me and my Pooh Bear!
Evan and his cousin Brighton hanging on the couch
Evan snuggling with Finley, Mason and Brighton