Monday, July 30, 2012

Back To Normal

This past week has been really normal.  We are getting caught back up in housework, made time for homemade meals everyday, baseball practice, baseball games, sewing, playing, enjoying our time together without worry.

Liam feels amazing.  He spends his time playing, eating a lot, swimming, and trying to talk me into letting him watch tv... We sort of spoiled him.  He really enjoyed having Popsicle for breakfast (or anytime he wanted really) and doing nothing but watching movies.  However, it has all come to an end.  It's time to go back to the way it was before he was sick. :)

School starts 1 week from today!!  It is time to somewhat get back on a good schedule, get this place put back it order so we can all function again.

Jonah's first time finger painting! Once he realized it wasn't for eating, he was so amazed at what he could do!  The look on his face says it all.

Making more time for hands on play!

 Even though this genius (ME) had just scrubbed the table, not 20 minutes before!  Jemima drew that butterfly first, and then painted it!

                   Sewing brand new dresses for the girls, because they've outgrown most of their old ones.  Kathryn helped a lot!  I see an amazing seamstress in the making! 

My All Star playing second base all weekend.  Our first game, we won because of him!  Caught 3 popups and then had 3 more outs at second... Not evening counting the few times he threw the ball and got an out at first.
At the end of the game, the umpire tossed the game ball to Jesse and said "awesome game second baseman!"  Then to top it off, Coach gave Jesse another ball for a job well done and bought the whole team ice cream.

I am excited to start our school year next week.  I know amazing things will come of it and I can't wait to start!  This week we are enjoying the last little bits of summer before it all comes to an end!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ticking Time Bomb.

My life is a ticking time bomb.  You can almost hear it ticking away.  When it gets really good, you know it's about to explode and shatter everything good you ever had.  I felt it, we felt it.  Something was coming, what, I had no idea, but I tried to ready myself as best as I could for what ever it was.

Sunday July 15 started out being the perfect day.  We had all FINALLY gotten over a summer stomach bug  and we were all just starting to feel ourselves.  We had spent the night in a hotel the night before because Jesse had early ball games over an hour away from where we live.  With this many kids to get ready, it's so much easier to stay where the games are, and in a place with free breakfast at that!

We went and sew the new Ice Age the night before, and then went for a swim in the hotel pool.  Slept like rocks, and woke up ready to face the day.  Jesse had a double header, they lost the first, but won the second.

  (Liam at the ball park Sunday July 15 around 11 am)

Everyone was in amazing moods.  We made the trip home and the girls and I decided to rearrange their room.  We got to work on that and the boys were playing pretty hard down stairs.  Ryan came up stairs for a second just to see how us girls were getting along...

Then the bomb goes off.

Rewind four years ago when Liam was born.  For those that are new to this blog might not know... Liam was injured from a very bad birth.  He suffered a grade 3 (4 being the worst... brain dead) brain bleed and we were told he would never be able to do anything.  Because of the bleed he had mild hydrocephalus.  He had to have ultrasounds on his head every month for the first year to make sure there was no massive amount of swelling.  He was keeping up with his milestones and functioning way better than anyone ever expected, so they put off doing a shunt because he didn't seem to need one.  He has a big head, but no one seemed to think doing surgery that is that risky and fails so often was worth it, just yet.  We were told he could one day just need one, or he might even fall and trigger needing it.  We had been watching him so closely. If Liam so much as got a cold first, we worried it was because of his brain.  4 years of that would put anyone on the edge.

Back to Sunday.

Jesse starts screaming.  Not his "this is fun" or even his "I stubbed my toe"... No, this scream sounded so frightening, something was very very wrong.  Ryan goes running down the stairs and I hear Jesse screaming "Liam, wake up!!! Please, I am sooo sorry!".  I tell the girls to stay in their room and go after Ryan.  Jesse meets me about half way and grabs me tight. "I am so sorry, we were playing, I didn't mean to, we were playing, I didn't mean to kill him, I am so sorry".  I tried to calm him down and ask what happened, him and Liam were rough housing, Liam lost his balance and fell backwards hitting his head on the carpet.  He went out like a light instantly.  I grab my phone and asked Ryan if I needed to call 911, and about that time he runs past me with Liam, he's taking him himself.

I calm the kids as best as I can.  It takes about an hour to get them in the van to go see Ryan.  Liam was waking up at first, to answer questions, but he would fall back to sleep.  They said this was just a concussion, but given Liam's history, they sent him to UK where they are better at dealing with things if something really is wrong.  They thought he was fine, would even get to go home the next morning.

There was no swelling on his brain, he would respond when they woke him up every hour, but he would also throw up.  Poor kid puked on the hour all night long.

                                                       (Liam about 10 pm Sunday July 15)
I went home around 11 pm, the other kids were so tired.  I wanted to stay with Ryan and Liam, but the other kids needed someone with him and no way could we keep them in a hospital all night.  They voted and they wanted me to go with them.

Ryan and I sent text messages all night, checking on each other.  Liam was doing okay, the other kids were sleeping.  We still held onto him coming home in the morning.

8 am on Monday, July 16th the second bomb goes off...

Liam stops responding.  His eyes are rolling around in his little head.  He stops breathing for up to 15 seconds out of every minute.  He's going down fast.  He needed that shunt now.

I tried my hardest to get these kids out the door.  They were scared, grumpy, and just not moving.  I get to the hospital just in time to see a team of doctors RUNNING my beautiful baby boy to OR.  He has a tube down his throat, and they are bagging him just to keep him alive.  I run as fast as I could just to catch up and kiss his little hand before he goes into surgery.  I thought his birth, him being born lifeless into my hands was the worst thing that COULD ever happen to me, no, it wasn't.  This was far worse.  I know this Liam.  I've spent 4 years loving him, watching him grow, helping him beat the odds every single day.  I saw him slipping away, and there was nothing I could do for him.

I broke down.  I tried to hold it together for the kids, but I couldn't anymore.  Kathryn and I just held on to each other and sobbed.  My brother (Jacob's back in KY for good! happy blog post coming soon) came to get the kids, just as they had finished Liam's surgery.  The doctors met us in the hall saying everything went great, they got him just in time, he will make a full recovery.  The kids were in pieces though.  Jesse, blaming himself, saying this was all his fault (it wasn't, never will be!), Kathryn, feeling the weight of being a big sister, always being the one to help a sibling when they need it, but being powerless this time.  We loaded them into Jacob's van and we were able to see Liam in PICU right after that.  He was off the vent and slowly starting to come to, somewhat.  He was very drugged.  Because of the rush to get him in surgery, they gave him a double dose of morphine.  I grabbed his hands and he opened his eyes and said "Hi Mommy!" and then went right back into amazing drugged twilight sleep. His PICU doctor sat there and held his hand the whole time till I was able to go in.  It's true God puts people on this earth for a reason, Dr Z was born to be a children's doctor.  He is able to love each and every child, for the time they are in his care, probably as much as his own.

  We sit with Liam for about 2 hours (it's around 2 pm at this time).  He's still resting off the morphine, probably will be out of it till about 6pm.  The nurse bounds into the room, cheerful as they come asking us when our last meal was... Seriously.  I think it was around 11 am the day before, but who really thinks of food in a time like this?  Honestly, a good nurse.  She shoos us out of the room, free meal tickets and everything, insisting this was time to eat.  He's asleep, he needs to be asleep, when he wakes up he's going to need us.  We went to eat.  Picked at our food.  UK's food is great, we were just still in some sort of shell shock.  I had my melt down eariler, but Ryan was still holding it together.  As men do. :)  We make ourselves eat some and then go back to Liam.  He's wide awake, scared, and even tried to get out of bed. :)  He talks my ear off about iron man and war machine fighting, you've heard strange stories from people that have been in PICU and ICU... Liam actually believed they were fighting in front of him.  Then he tells me he can't sleep now because he has wings and he wants to go fly.  Yes, then there were bugs climbing all over the walls.  I send Ryan home for a shower and some alone time.  He was at the breaking point and just needed to let it go.  Around 8 pm Liam gets discharged from PICU and put in a real room.  This was a shock to us all, we were told he would probably need at least 24 hours there.  We were there only 9.

His room nurse was so sweet.  She hated having to wake him up every single hour, but after brain surgery, they have to, to make sure things are working.  Had to shine a light every hour in his eyes too, making sure they were responding.  Other than being woke up, he had a pretty good night.  3 am came and he had to pee so badly.  He had a diaper on (shush! he still thinks it was a pull up!) and we told him to just go in that.  He said no, he was not a baby.  They didn't want him up till morning, so they brought in one of those bed pee bottles.  The nurse and I left the room and Ryan tried to get him to go in that... No luck.  Sweet nurse unhooked him and let us carry him to the potty.  Poor boy peed 3 minutes straight.  This was a huge surprise to her, I guess most kids regress in the hospital.

Morning finally comes and Liam is sitting in bed playing with his truck and his Sully watching Monsters.  In walks a great friend of mine bringing a truck and a card for Liam.  This made his day!  He had so much fun playing with his trucks.n

Around 10:30 am in walks the doctors making rounds, word of going home.  It is Tuesday, July 17, Ryan's birthday.  Shocked, because we were told MAYBE Thursday, if things looked good.  The day after, wow, no, even I didn't see that coming.

I go and get the kids from my parents house, Grandma even took them to homeschool  gymnastics, so they all were having a blast.  They were ready to see Liam though.  He was asleep when we got there, so the nurse offered to sit with him so Ryan could help me unload the kids.  We were met by the doctor in the hallway on the way in, papers were being drawn up now, we would be out of there in an hour!!!

It's been a full week now.  It was rough for Liam at first.  He hated having his hair all chopped off, hated the scar. He was sent home with no restrictions, and the doctor insisted he needed life to go back to normal as quickly as possible. We tried getting him out 4 days after surgery and he was so upset about not having a hat and someone seeing his head.  I am pleased to say that just a week later, he is 100% fine about it.

I got my boy back!!  He is even better than before.  His hands shake less when he eats, his legs seem more steady when he runs.  His laughter rings through the whole house again.  He's made better than a full recovery.

                                                   (Liam on July 18, two days after surgery!)

  Having a shunt can be a huge deal or not so much of a big deal at all.  The only rules, no football and no hockey.  Which is lucky, those were MY rules for ALL my children since day 1.  He is at risk for infection pretty much for the rest of his life (which isn't cut short at all, he has a normal life expectancy!) because he does have a non body part in him now.  It will stay there probably forever, it's very rare a shunt gets removed.  It is also very likely the shunt will stop working, for what ever reason.  Blockage, scar tissue, or just him growing could break it, it could drain too much, or not drain enough.  He will need checkups fairly often now too.  Otherwise, he's a perfect, happy, 4 year old miracle.

  Don't take your children for granted.  Them trashing your house, being loud, getting sticky stuff everywhere, stomping in mud puddles, keeping you up all night, dirtying clean clothes in seconds after being washed, and even tantrums... It's a blessing to just have the privilege of watching them grow.  Love them with everything in you and just enjoy the ride.  It only takes 1 second for everything to change. You don't want to be the one living with regret that you didn't make each second count.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Decisions made

  I was looking into my options for this coming school year.  Even though I toyed with sending the bigs to private school, I am pretty sure I truly never meant it.  Not for this year anyway.  They are still at the age that this is easy.  For the most part.

  Then it came down to deciding what to do with Liam.  For those that don't know, Liam has cerebral palsy, very mild, but still very much there.  There is not a thing in the world wrong with the way he thinks, in fact, he's probably my smartest child.  It's the finest motor skills we have trouble with.  Like eating with a fork, holding a pencil right, not curling up your hands when you walk, picking tiny things up off the floor, holding a paint brush... Things like that.  It's hard work folks.  I was more than tempted to put him in school.  Special ed, with someone that actually knows what they are doing.  I had even sort of looked into schools.  I found nothing I am thrilled with.  Instead of embracing homeschooling him, I panicked.  I am just his mother, what do I know about fine tuning the skills he needs, breaking them down into easy steps so my boy can learn them?  Silly, I know.  Minor CP isn't that huge of a deal.  He's walking, talking, feeding himself (although a bit messy ;)), cleaning himself, and do most everything a normal 4 year old does... It's just that he is so hard to teach.  Once it clicks, he's got it, it's just getting there.  How in the world am I going to teach him?  He doesn't learn like the others.  He has to be taught every single step along the way.  Not just a few steps, ALL of them...  Just like holding his rattle as a baby, learning to sit, learning to get on his knees, crawling (I had to sit on the floor and move his arms and legs. it took many days and many many hours), how to pull up to stand, how to stand... how to take steps. How to bring food to his mouth.  I had to show him every single thing, step by step. I SHOWED him every single step.  Not some special ed teacher....

 I'm HIS mother!  It clicked.  No one loves this boy more than I do (except for God of course).  No one knows him, not like I do.  I know better than anyone else if he needs to be pushed more, or if we've pushed too much.  I know him!

  I made a promise to him when he was fighting to his life, if he could just hang on, I'd do whatever it took to help him live a normal happy life.  I promised not to give up on him and take the easy way out.  He picked me, I owe it to him to at least give this a try.  I can always get someone to come help if it's needed.  He belongs at home with the rest of the circus.  They are all on board to help as much as they can.

  I just don't want someone giving him a label, making him think he is less of a person because of it.. Yes, he has CP, it is what it is. That doesn't for one second mean he can't have a shot at a normal life.  I don't want him to give up on himself just because it's too hard.  I've gotten a bit strict with him holding his fork like a shovel, and he will stay "I can't do it mama, it's too hard!!"  I have to calmly remind him "Yes you can Liam!! You can do anything you set your mind to."  I just sometimes have to help that mind see how.  My not giving up, shows him he shouldn't give up either, and that slowly brings us progress!  Sending ONLY him to school,   he just wouldn't understand why only him.

  Here we are, 3 weeks away from starting our school year.  I am buying many wooden puzzles, finger pants, books with huge letters for learning to write, pencils with little gadgets on them to teach him how to hold them, and many other things that will help him learn these fine motor skills.  We are throwing out the old style and going on with an even more hands on approach.  My oldest two have even picked games and things they can do to help.  We are all in this together. Together, we've got this!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Our 4th of July

 We had to get up bright and early and get the girl's ready for the parade!  Poor Jemima would NOT wake up!  I was fixing her hair in the van and she had to wait till after to eat, she's a sleepy head.  They had so much fun!!
Liam and Jonah weren't really into it, it was SO HOT!!  I think it was 103* at 11 am.  We had them under a nice shade tree and they watched some of it.  Jesse made out really well with the candy and the little guys really enjoyed that!

All the girls in the car got to get out and do a beauty walk for the float judges.  Here they all are lined up.

Really exciting stuff to get to ride in a parade in such a cool car!  It was so hot and sticky, but they did have a great time!

  After that we went out to lunch, got gas for the van, and came home to a wonderfully cool house and I snuggled up with little Stinky and took a nice long nap.  We opted not to see fireworks, we are under a burn ban right now because of the lack of rain we've had (seriously, the grass crunches when you walk on it!) and we decided a nice cool cinema was the best option.  The new Spider Man is GREAT! The kids were a tiny bit upset, but they have been promised an amazing firework show once the ban is lifted... and even better, Uncle Jacob will be here!

  6 days more, Jacob and his lovely family will be headed to the Bluegrass!!!  The wishes and prayers of everyone here have finally been answered and he's coming home to stay!!  I look forward to really developing  a good relationship with my sister in law and my nieces and nephew! Aside from the few times we have seen each other in person, we really don't know each other that well.  I can't wait to see those kids more!!!

  We leave for Nashville around noon tomorrow!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Because It's Tuesday

Ryan walked in just a few minutes ago with 12 long stem pink roses, because it's Tuesday he says.  Not that today is any different from any other Tuesday we've shared. The house is trashed, dinner isn't made, and we are in somewhat of a rush to get the crew out the door for a baseball game. This amazing man just took the time out of his day to pick out some beautiful flowers just for me, just because.  I feel pretty special!

Insanely busy week this week!  Stinky gets to ride in a convertible in the 4th of July parade tomorrow (Georgetown for those wanting to know!), as part of one of the prizes to the high title she won at a pageant last weekend.  Mini Supreme, second highest score of the day!! She's is so very excited! Kathryn gets to ride with her (she won Queen, highest title given for her age group) but it's Jemima's spotlight.  This is a pretty big deal for a 3 year old!

I have glitz swimwear to sew, a few sashes, and I've got to finish a couple dresses I am making for a friend.. I should have finished them LONG before now, but I've been freaked out I'd mess up. lol  Crazy I know, for me, this should be easy.  I've got one cut out and I've read how to sew it together at least a dozen times.  I am going to grow some nerve and get to work.  Sorry my dear friend it has taken me so long! I haven't forgotten... Just been scared to cut this beautiful fabric!!! :)

I've got to get this house in order.  The girls and I leave on Friday for Nashville for Lux Nationals pageant.  They are excited, but I get the feeling we might just be in over our heads.  This is going to be great fun though! I've never seen either of them practice so hard before.  I can not leave the boys with this huge mess. *sigh*  I've been so busy sewing, housework takes a back seat.  I am NOT one of those gal's that live to clean.  That would be my sister (Love ya Rach!), I just can't bring myself to be neat. People often ask me, is there anything you can't do?  Yes!  I can not keep a clean house and I can not play the violin! Woe is me.  I am working on it though!

Two days in a row of blogging, not bad!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Blogging Funk

Not much time for blogging here lately.  Between dancing recitals, t-ball, baseball, pageants, and sewing, there hasn't been any time.

Blogging also has taken a different turn it seems.

People use to blog about life!

About what went on in their every day to day...

More like a journal or even a long letter to all your friends to keep them in the loop on what's going on.

Now most blogs either want to teach you something or "inspire" you... They've lost that personal touch that I loved!!

I miss the way it use to be.  I love the DIY ideas I see sometimes, and even the "uplifting" ones are nice from time to time, but not every single time.  It's all just lost my interest.  I miss the real ones, the day to day joys and struggles. Real everyday people, just like me. Those are what inspired me the most. The ups and downs of mothering and how we still push through no matter what.  This was the only ME time I often took, and now some of those blogs just make me feel guilty and almost make me question myself, am I good enough?!  You know?

I've just lost blogging interest I guess.  Oh, don't worry!  I plan to come back.  Lots going on and even though I might be the only one reading this, I can blog for me.  I am going to want to remember these days!

I have been watching my baseball prodigy TARE UP the field.

Seriously, you seen other 7 year olds make catches like this?? Bragging here I know, but Jesse does this every single time!!!

My girls grace the stage in either dance or pageants.

Liam actually learn to write and use a fork properly! (Huge step guys, learning to hold that fork was harder than potty training!!)

And my little Jonah growing to be not so little anymore.  He's so independent, just like his sisters!!

This blog will never have the fancy wording, the pictures will always be just normal family shots, and I might even vent from time to time.  But that's me, and I'm just trying to keep this place real. :)