Friday, January 25, 2013

Will Bennett: What's In A Name

When it came time to name our baby, we took our sweet time. Apparently naming our children is not our strong suit, as we ran into the same situation with Drew.

As soon as we found out it was a boy at our 20 week ultrasound, we got serious about picking a name. However, we could not come to consensus. 

So, when a friend offered help on FB for naming kiddos, I jumped at the chance:

(sorry about my inelegant name covering up, but oh well. privacy for the win!)

She brought up a name choice that we hadn't thought about before. William has never been a favorite of mine, but I really liked the nickname possibilities, especially Liam. I also really liked the idea of tying it into my family, because Drew ties into Luke's side.

(for those of you who might have problems following the thread, my dad's name is Willard and my grandpa's name was Willie)

So, I kept bringing up Liam as a possiblity, but Luke was never sold on it. And I was never totally sold on Will. So, we kept throwing names out there and shooting them down. And on. And on. Ad nauseum.

And then, we had the baby. And after a couple of days, people typically like you to name your child. So, we got down to work and talked and talked and talked some more.

I had come across Bennett on one of my searches and it grew on me.I also liked that it meant 'blessed'. But, I didn't really want it to be shortened to Ben. 

So, we came back to Will. And I once again really liked how it tied into my family. And that it meant 'strong protector'. And to be honest, I liked how it was like Drew - short for a longer name and only 1 syllable.

Obviously, in the end, Will Bennett was the winner. Our blessed strong protector. 

But, man, naming children is hard work!!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Failure To Thrive :: An Update

The last update I posted about Drew's struggle to gain weight mentioned that we were going to take him to one last specialist, the pediatric endocrinologist.

Well, we took him. And, like we expected, we did not really learn much. In fact, the doctor did not run any tests. From his viewpoint, all the pertinent tests had been run, and any that he could add to the mix would be more hassle than they were worth because of how intense they were. 

Basically, all he could tell us was that he did not feel Drew's problem was a result of an endocrinological problem. He did not have any of the typical signs of a kiddo who was lacking in Human Growth Hormone, and his thyroid was normal on all of his blood tests. He did throw out the possibility that his structural growth (bones and teeth) were simply 6 months behind where they should be. After Drew turns 2, we can have an x-ray done of his hand and that could tell us more definitively if that is the issue or not.

So, we took him home and decided to be all done with specialists. They weren't telling us anything our family doctor wasn't telling us, and it wasn't worth driving all the way to the city for a 15 minute appointment where we were told to keep on doing what we were doing and to come back in 2 months for the same advice.

Then, Drew got sick. And was sick for basically most of December. He cycled through a cold, the stomach flu, roseola and an ear infection.

Not only that, but he was throwing up. Majorly throwing up. I tracked it for a couple of weeks, and it was intense. I could barely keep up with his laundry. One of his sheets was almost always in the wash, along with a lovey (getting 2 loveys was one of the best decisions we have ever made!!). 

It felt like we were at the doctor's constantly. Between the throwing up and his other sickness, he started to lose weight. And that was slightly concerning. There was talk of sending us to Omaha to the Children's Hospital because of his condition.

It was a really stressful couple of weeks. We had a newborn, I was still recovering from a c-section, and our poor little kiddo was so sick. At one point, he ran such a high fever and felt so junky that he spent a couple of days basically just sleeping. He would get up from his nap and come out to the living room to fall asleep on my lap on the couch. Very unlike him!

However, we were finally able to get him on antibiotics, and we took him off of dairy to give his system a chance to reset. For a month he drank soy and almond milk, and went light on other dairy offerings. And it worked. He quit throwing up, he started to gain weight (we finally broke the 20 lb mark!!), and got his energy back. We slowly reintroduced dairy into his diet, and it's been going really well. He had one instance of throwing up last weekend, but besides that, he hasn't thrown up since before Christmas. 

His turn around was so great that our doctor went from talking about Omaha Children's to telling us that we didn't need to come back to see him for 2 months. So lovely.

So, things have settled down. Drew is eating a lot better than he ever has, he still has a ton of energy, and he is astounding us every day with his developing mind. Our doctor is going to keep a slightly closer eye on him than some of his other patients, but we're praying that we're over the hump. He might just follow his own growth curve instead of the growth curve 'they' say he should. As long as he's growing, we'll be happy!

Book Review :: Song of the Brokenhearted

Ava has a loving family, a beautiful house, and a solid faith.
Suddenly, her ideal life will be completely broken . . . in the best of ways.
Ava’s life is full of great things. Her daughter is getting married to just the right guy, her husband’s company has kept them financially thriving for years, her son is a freshman in high school, playing football and doing well, and the ministry she started is keeping her busy as she reaches out to those with “broken hearts.”
Then it all falls apart. Ava’s safe world becomes unanchored, and she is forced to face the childhood she’s run away from her entire life. Just as she’s trying to sift through the pieces, the doorbell rings and Ava is confronted with the surprise of her life.
Ava must set out on a journey that takes her back home—something Ava hasn’t done in twenty years. As she travels across the state of Texas, strangers offer her kindness and remind her of the meaning of hope and forgiveness.
It is in this journey back that Ava discovers God in a new way. She sees she's been hiding her brokenness behind good deeds and a safe life. Learning what it means to lose it all is just the start of Ava’s journey – as is the new song God is writing on her heart.

When I was scrolling through Booksneeze looking for a new book to review, this one jumped out at me. First of all, because of the beautiful artwork (what? of COURSE I judge a book by it's cover.). But, after hearing Sheila Walsh speak at Women of Faith last year, I was also really excited to read something she had written, because that woman is a storyteller.

The book did not disappoint. I like how Ava's family was human. It wasn't just people around her that were struggling, but she was struggling. She couldn't juggle it all, she let things slip through her fingers, and she was real. The authors also weren't afraid to show her failings and weaknesses. I saw myself so much in her, longing for a comfortable life, not wanting my life to make waves. If everything would fall into place, then life would be good right?

Of course, life does not work that way, and it really is for the best. No matter how hard that lesson is.

The characters that Walsh and Coloma created to bounce off of Ava were all so interesting. They were able to make them real, and a lot of them popped right off the page and into my living room. There are a lot of hurting people in this world, and these characters told just a couple of those stories. The one that I felt the most for, and who pushed against me the most, was the typical church lady who was always in the background of Ava's life, 'praying' for her, and taking upon herself the job of the Holy Spirit. It is easy to fall into that role, and it was a good reminder for me to put down my judging pen and pick up my grace-filled pen.

There was some weakness in how neatly the end of the story pulls together, but overall I found this book to be a really enjoyable read. Redemption is always a beautiful theme.

I would give it 3 1/2 stars.

*this book was provided for me to review by Booksneeze. the opinions are all my own*

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Will Bennett:: A Birth Story

For those of you who only know me through my blog, have I got a surprise for you! You see, 3 months ago, we went ahead and had ourselves another baby.

Meet Will Bennett:

(taken when he was 1 day old)

To go all the way back to his beginning, we must step back in time to last January. 

I had decided to lose my baby weight, once and for all, so I started to work out. About 3 weeks into the process, I became EXHAUSTED.

I was so tired, that it was about all I could to drag myself out to the couch in the morning so D could play with toys. I spent much of my time laying around, getting up only when necessary to change D's diaper or feed him. I couldn't understand what was going on, but figured it was just a combination of having a baby who woke up all  night long and my winter blues.

Finally, on Valentine's Day, when I couldn't summon up the energy to go on a date with my husband like we'd planned, Luke made me take a pregnancy test. I grumbled the whole time, because OF COURSE I wasn't pregnant.

Well, joke was on me, because, well, as you can see, there was indeed a baby in there!

My pregnancy was like Drew's in that I was very sick the first trimester (but this time I had a doctor, so I was able to get on medicine. it didn't make the nauseousness go away, but I was able to at least take care of D), very tired the whole time and didn't really care to be touched much. I was still nursing D when I got pregnant, and it was incredibly painful, even before I knew I was preggo. As time went on, my supply continued to drop and drop, until I finally weaned him at 13 months and my body didn't need to really adjust at all. 

However, over all I handled this pregnancy better. I was calmer, and did not have as many anxiety attacks. I knew what I was going through was worth it, which helped so much! I also didn't gain quite as much weight and my blood pressure stayed where it was supposed to, so no pre-eclampsia.

When the time came for our 20 week ultrasound, we were pretty sure it was a girl. We had even picked out a name and called the baby by that name for about a week beforehand. Well ... as you can tell, we were slightly off! However, it did not bother us at all that we were having another boy. We were so excited that Drew was getting a little brother so close in age.

So, I made it through the looooooooooooooooooooong hot summer (not always gracefully or graciously, but we all survived), and it was getting closer to our due date. Except, also like Drew, we had a bunch of due dates. LMP told us Oct 7, first ultrasound said Oct 25, and second ultrasound said Oct 19. So, basically we knew he was coming sometime in October, and we also knew that it would be bad if I went into active labor since it was too close to my c-section with D. The other kicker was that my doctor was going to a week long conference the week right before my due date (we have very bad timing with our kiddos and our doctor's travel plans. he had to put off his vacation by a day when Drew was born. we've agreed to plan a little better next time ;-)).

On Wednesday, October 10, we had supper at our friends' house, and while I was sitting at the table my stomach got really tight. It didn't really hurt per say, but I could definitely feel it. I didn't have anything like that with D, so it was a bit of a surprise. We went on with our night, and nothing like that happened again.

Then, the next morning I was talking on the phone to my friend Karla, and it happened again. We talked about whether or not it was contractions or Braxten Hicks, and she thought probably Braxten Hicks. After I got done talking to her, I texted Bethany and asked her if she had had BH with her kiddo. She said if I put my feet up and drank lots of water, they would most likely go away. So, that's what I did. Except, they didn't go away. They were never painful, but they were strong enough and often enough that I was definitely taking note.

Luke got home at 3:00, and we talked about what was happening. We agreed they were often enough and close enough together that we should at least call in. Our doctor told us to come in for a non-stress test, so we dropped D off with Grandpa (forgetting to give him diapers, a sippy cup or anything else he might need ... whoops!), and headed to town. I got hooked up, and while we saw some spikes for awhile, they mostly went away. However, our doctor is pretty cautious, so I ended up with an overnight stay to be monitored and hydrated in hopes it would cause the contractions to stop.

In the morning, another mama to be came in who was actually in labor. So, I got kicked out of our one labor room and sent to the (really nice) hospital room they save for new parents, so that I would have a claim on it if we did go in for a c-section (I LOVE LOVE LOVE the nurses at our clinic/hospital - they take such good care of us and think of things like that!). Eventually, my mother-in-law and Drew came to pick me, since the doctor wanted me to go home and see if bedrest would stop things.

Since I have some of the most wonderful in-laws a person could ask for, my MIL came home with me to take care of Drew. It was a little weird to just sit on the couch when I felt fine (I was on pretty strict limits - I could only get up to go to the bathroom and wasn't really allowed to eat much), but it gave me time to think about the contractions. And they didn't go away. I was texting with Luke on his lunch break, and we decided to pray that if it was time, God would make it really clear. I got one of my strongest contractions right then, so we took it as a sign to prepare for baby!

I called back in at 3:00, and our doctor agreed that we should just go ahead and have our c-section that night (it was Friday October 12 at this point). Since I figured it would be ok if I got up now that we knew we were having a baby, I showered and packed my bag (I had used my time on the couch to put together a list, which helped a lot!). I also packed up some clothes and whatnot for D to take to my in-laws, where he would be camping out while we were in the hospital.

Luke raced home from work, we took a couple of pictures for the last time as a family of 3, and headed to the hospital.

Well, it turns out that the mama who came in that morning was still working on having her babe, and since our doctor was also her doctor, we had to wait around a bit. But, it was finally time, and I was taken to the OR. And, at 7:37 this little cutie was born:

He was 8lbs 8oz and 20 inches long, scored perfectly on his Apgars and had no problems. We had gone into it thinking he might be a little early and with the knowledge that we might have to deal with a NICU situation, but obviously that wasn't anything we had to worry about! 

After I was stapled back together, they took me back to the recovery room, which is where we were when we started to text and call people to let them know baby had come (only our immediate families knew something was going on - so even my friends who I had talked to about Braxten Hicks were surprised!). It was also there that we found out that the hospital was on lockdown. Apparently, one of the patients was dealing with an unwanted guest. As a result, the hospital was on lockdown at night the whole weekend (when Drew was born, we had to go sit in a hallway with all the other  patients because of a tornado warning ... so apparently our presence is a sign of exciting times at the hospital!).

The rest of our time in the hospital was pretty normal: staring at our baby, telling people, trying to figure out a name, dealing with my pain, nursing, etc, etc, etc). My in-laws brought Drew to meet his brother on Saturday night. He was mostly interested in exploring, but didn't seem to mind the baby that got in his way of sitting by me!

After we got home, we were blessed to have tons of help. Since I had had a c-section, I wasn't able to lift Drew for 6 weeks (that's a loooong time!). Luke's mom came over to help the first morning, and then my mom came for the rest of the week. It was SO nice to have her here!

After my mom left, we had a weekend of Vander Ley family activity, and then my sister-in-law Julie came to help. She stayed for that next week, which was also AMAZING!

After all my family left, my MIL was so good to come over and help me as needed. It was rare to have a day where she didn't come over for at least a while. It was SO nice!! We are incredibly blessed by such loving family!

And, so here we are. 3 months later, one little boy more in our family, and as happy as can be!