Sunday, October 26, 2008

Busy times...

I returned to work this past Wednesday, so I haven't been able to post updates as I'd like. I'll be really quick tonight, but I hope to find time to take lots of pictures on Wednesday (when Luke hits the eight week!) and post them by the weekend.

It's been a big few days with my recent return to work. Luke stays with Honey and Grandfather three days a week and Miss Sandra (a great recommendation from a family friend) the other two days. He's been a little prince by all accounts, and he's still - fingers crossed! - sleeping well for his mom and dad when he gets home. We hope this continues! While I've definitely missed Luke, it's been nice getting back to work and having an outlet for more "grown up" interests. (Translation: for a few hours of weekdays, my conversations do not involve wet and dirty diapers and vivid retellings of how many burps Luke had during a feeding.) I've grossly underestimated how exhausting this transition would be. We'll see how I'm feeling after my first five-day week passes.
And now - pictures...

1)This one is from Oct. 10... I just find it too hilarious. I had been trying to get a good shot of Luke's face when Hannah ambushes him with kisses. I think his expression says it all!
2)Here is a picture of Luke in his "going home from the hospital" outfit on his second day of life...

And on his 47th...
As you can see, he's not missing any meals. : )

Monday, October 13, 2008

I'm thankful...

Between the end of last school year and my current maternity leave, I've spent a lot of time watching television. (To tell the truth, I always watch a lot of television, but that isn't really my point.) Jeremy introduced me to Frasier, which was on while I was in high school and college - i.e., before I was a couch potato. This post isn't to praise the virtues of this show (which, for what it's worth, are endless - such a smart and touching comedy) but to share an epiphany I experienced after a recent episode.

I cannot remember the episode's title, but one of the major characters, Niles, is in the hospital having heart surgery. As he is wheeled off to the operating room, Niles makes a comment where he wonders whether hospitals have memories - after all, many of life's most impactful moments happen within their walls. The rest of the episode shows Niles's loved ones in the waiting room recalling significant events that happened inside that hospital - births, illnesses, accidents, disastrous diagnoses. And because Luke's crying stopped for the duration of the episode, I was really able to take it all in.

Most of you know that the first few months of 2008 were very difficult for my family and me. My dad spent the first two months of the year in ICU at Baylor Grapevine - the hospital where Luke was born almost six weeks ago. When Dad went into the hospital with trouble breathing, we all imagined the problem could be easily remedied. But within 24 hours he was being intubated and moved up to ICU. January 14 marked the beginning of several weeks of anxiety and stress for Dad's loved ones. There were several points where we didn't think he'd make it, and I can vividly recall all of my emotions during those difficult hours in the ICU waiting room. I was in agony, and not just because I didn't know if Dad was going to make it. I was in agony because, at the time, I was just six weeks pregnant. I knew I had to try to keep my emotions and stress in check, not only for my overall health, but for that of my baby. And I tried to sleep when I could, to eat right, to stay positive... yet my mind was never far from the fear that I might lose not only Dad, but also my baby - or harm him or her by not taking care of myself. I knew how important it was to be as careful as possible during my first trimester, and in the darkest of times, I just didn't believe that things could have a happy ending on both fronts. I guess that's what happens when life brings you hardship and blessing simultaneously; it's awfully difficult to embrace the good times when the bad ones are so prominent.

A day that epitomized that dilemma took place after my eight week appointment. My OB's office is right next door to Baylor Grapevine, so after my appointment, Jeremy and I headed next door to tell Mom how it went. We had a picture of little Luke - who, at that point, looked like a gummy bear - and a good report that everything was progressing just perfectly. I wanted to tell Dad about the appointment, too, but he was unresponsive. I will never forget going into Dad's room to tell him about the appointment. I shared the wonderful news through muffled sobs - because I didn't want to be telling Dad this when he couldn't truly be there. I hated that I was sharing this news without Dad's questions, without his jokes about names for the baby (in time, he'd choose "Otto Hubert," which drove me crazy), but with tubes and beeps and monitors responding in his place. Again, joy and despair merged. Quite the emotional roller coaster, particularly for one with surging pregnancy hormones.

You know, of course, how this ends: it was a long road to recovery, but Dad finally came home in mid-May, and he's doing wonderfully. As that Frasier episode reached its fitting end (a character recalling his child's birth), I looked down at my Luke - asleep in my arms, beautiful, safe, and healthy - and I broke down. In the months since Dad has been sick, I've heard of others who did not survive what he went through. Since I've had Luke, I've heard of mothers whose babies haven't been so healthy and strong. I realize how faithful God has been to me. I feared the worst of outcomes for no reason at all. Luke's grandfather does know him, and he's crazy about him. (Crazy enough to think a Youth Medium shirt fits him, as you may recall.) And the baby whose safety I worried so much about is just perfect. I'm thankful for so many things God has provided - from Dad and Luke to the grace and knowledge I've needed over these past six weeks. But after a seemingly random rerun, I'm thankful for His reminder that when hardships and blessings appear simultaneously, we should always focus on the blessings.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Birthday Boys

Hello there! It's been a while, but it has been a busy week since Jeremy had to go out of town for work and I've been flying solo. Thankfully, he is home safe, arriving in time to celebrate two momentous occasions: Luke's one month "birthday" and his own 408 month birthday! (I'll let you guys do some math to figure out his age. =D) Obviously, most of this post will be dedicated to Luke, but I do want to give some love to some deserving folks:
  • Heather and Scott - a huge thank you for watching Luke so Jeremy and I could go on a real birthday date. We had an amazing time, which was primarily possible because we knew Luke was in good hands. Thanks again!

  • Kerry and Tracey - you each were so helpful to me while Jeremy was out of town. Without you, I would have gotten even less sleep and showers - two things I sorely needed to keep going and care for Luke - and, Kerry, had you not brought me dinners, I would have gone on a two-day popcorn diet... probably good for losing baby weight, but not exactly the nutrition I'd need to mother my child. I have the greatest girlfriends you could hope for - thanks ladies! : )

  • Last but certainly not least, to Jeremy. I'll do my best to spare the blog readers from extreme sappiness, so I'll be brief. I've always appreciated the gift God gave me in Jeremy. We had a quote on our wedding program by Aristotle: "Love is one soul poured into two bodies." I've always known that we're soul mates, and I've only grown more certain of that as we've become a family. I always loved Jeremy as a wonderful husband, and now I love him even more because he's a wonderful father. I'm going to stop now so I don't cry, but in sum: Jeremy, I love you more than I could ever adequately say!
It's so hard to believe that a month has passed since Luke was born. What a wonderful whirlwind it has been! Our lives have changed so profoundly over these past four weeks, so much so that it is difficult to remember what it was like before. (I commented to a good friend that I barely remember being pregnant... funny, because five weeks ago I couldn't remember NOT being pregnant!) For example: Monday, I ventured out of the house with Luke and we went to the mall. Before, this was an effortless trip that I'd think nothing of taking. But now, it's an event requiring a good half hour of diaper bag prep and considerable upper body strength and coordination. (Holy crap that car seat is heavy, and though eventually it will be easy, I'm sure I looked like a moron trying to get the car seat into the stroller!) In the pre-Luke era, I'd consider it appalling if I only slept for five hours in a night. That happens now, and I am singing a hallelujah chorus. Five weeks ago I never thought one of my favorite games would be trying to clean up a poopy diaper using as few wipes as possible (they ain't free, you know), nor did I imagine I could feel so triumphant if I could get three big, dry burps in the course of feeding Luke. Indeed, times have changed. One of these days I'll blog more thoughtfully about it since, in true English teacher form, I've started a rough draft. But I figure you want pictures, so here they come...

Many of you have already seen some of these pictures taken by my friend Cathy. They are beautiful mementos of Luke at four weeks.

These next couple are pictures I took. Cathy suggested I take a picture of Luke at each month with the same teddy bear next to him so it's easier to gauge how much he's grown. While Luke is pretty strong, he doesn't exactly have great head control, so these aren't great, but here they are:

And my personal favorite:

Off to check on the little man now... hope this finds everyone doing well and having a wonderful weekend!