cars everywhere.

My 2 year old is obsessed with cars.  Matchbox cars have taken over our house.  I bought some at a consignment sale almost a year ago, and he had no interest in them.  One day recently, he picked them up and has officially become obsessed.  He has his favorites — purple car, little jeep, blue truck, blue car.  But he’s happy with any car.  They come to the table for meals, they join him in his bed while he sleeps, they ride in the car with us, he holds them while he reads books.

 

 

jeep

 

 

 

lunch

 

 

 

reading

 

 

 

riding

 

 

cooking

 

 

 

[Cars everywhere.  And I promise the boy does wear shirts.  And he doesn’t take things out of the oven or off the stove either.  He just likes to wear my oven mitts.]

 

_______________

Yesterday was Jack’s six month check up with the ENT doctor.  It’s been six months since he had his 2nd set of tubes put in and his adenoid out.  And the six months has gone by remarkably fast!  We’ve been to plenty of doctor’s appointments, but not for Jack.  It was a nice break for him.  Yesterday the PA looked in Jack’s ears and didn’t say anything.  Once he had finished the physical exam, I asked him if everything looked ok, since he didn’t say anything.  He paused — a moment that I am all too familiar with — and said Jack’s tubes are falling out.  This is very disappointing to me — ear infections bring out the worst in me.  But this is not that bad.  Six months ago, I thought my battle in life might be having a kid with really bad ears.  A healthy child with bad ears is a delight that I welcome now.

 

Tommy and I have learned that you never want to shock the doctors.  It’s never a good thing.  We’ve done it a lot lately.  Jack has now surprised the ENT twice with how early his tubes have come out.  “It just doesn’t happen,” he says.  I’ve heard that quite a bit lately.  Twice about Jack’s tubes coming out early, and about two 20-something people having a Trisomy 18 baby.  So I’m disappointed that the safety net of the tubes has gone away.  I’d be lying to say that I was ok with hearing that his tubes are no longer functioning.  But after having a child with severe disabilities, with a massive heart defect, with a condition that didn’t allow him to live very long, tubes and ears just aren’t that big of a deal anymore.  Jack is so healthy.  We’ve known what it’s like to worry over the life of a child.  Actually, with both of our children.  So as I struggle with gearing myself up for more ear problems, I must remember a bigger perspective — Jack is here and I get to love on him all the time.  We’ll deal with the ears as we have to.

 

 

 

the miracle of modern medicine.

There are parents who co-sleep, there are parents who are adamant about kids sleeping their owns beds.  To each his own.  Whatever you do is fine.  We’ve done both.  I’ve never liked Jack sleeping in our bed, but it’s been the easier option a lot.  He didn’t sleep well as a newborn unless he was held.  Enter, our bed.  He has never slept well when he’s had ear problems.  11 ear infections in his 18 months of life [that’s with a 5 month infection-free window of tubes in there] meant lots of not sleeping well.  Enter, our bed.  But while he had those tubes in, buddy, you better believe he slept in his room, in his bed, and we ALL slept good.

It didn’t come easy.  We had to do the whole crying thing.  Sometimes I talk to moms who think I must have an easy sleeper– not the case.  We had to earn that [and get tubes] but it was so worth it.  The last 7 weeks Jack has been sick, and up until yesterday he had at least one ear if not both infected for six straight weeks.  So he’s been sleeping in our bed all that time.  When I share that with people, some people express that I use his sickness or ears as an excuse.  It’s irritating when I get this reaction, but I don’t let it bother me because he really is in pain or uncomfortable and needs us there.  I tell them that while I love a good snuggle, I really like having my own bed and this is a need that our little guy has right now.  A real need, not made up.

So yesterday, the day after surgery, it was nap time, so I tried getting him to sleep in our bed but he wasn’t going for it.  So I asked him if he wanted to sleep in his bed.  We walked upstairs, turned on his music, got his pacis and lovey, I gave him a kiss, laid him down and walked out the door.  He slept in his crib for 2 and a half hours.  This is a miracle to us.  I know there are bigger needs and miracles out there, I’m not trying to be dramatic.  But I don’t want to minimize this.  It’s huge for us.  And to me, just reminds me of the miracle of modern medicine.  My sons ears have hurt him for almost 7 weeks straight, and the day after he gets relief, he can sleep fine just like he used to.  Miracle.

surgery is done.

Thank you for your prayers for our sweet Jack over the last many weeks!  It means so much to us to know we’ve had so many people thinking about him and us and praying on our behalf.  Yesterday Jack had surgery to place new tubes in his ears and he had an adenoidectomy.  The surgeon removed the old tubes that had fallen out, placed the new ones, and took out little man’s adenoids.  And it all went great!  He said he really hopes these tubes stay in longer.  He said the average length of time for them to stay in is 9-15 months, and Jack’s only stayed in for 5 months the first go around.  5 glorious months though!  So he wished us extra luck for tubes that stay put.  We pray for that, too.  He also said that Jack’s adenoids were huge!  He said it should help a lot with nasal congestion, snoring, and ear infections.  He asked us if Jack snored.  Jack snores like an old man.  And he has for as long as I can remember.  He was my little newborn who sawed logs in his sleep.  So loud.  I can’t imagine him not snoring every night.  But I’m so glad it will help him.

 

On to the pictures.  [Warning: you will be so tired of sleepy/surgery baby pictures after this post]

 

 

surgery

Lots of pre-op activity.  But once the happy juice hit, this kid didn’t mind one bit.  He was totally limp in my arms.  And I think he is too precious in this little hospital gown.  I loved it the first time, I loved it the second.  I hope he never has to wear it a 3rd.

 

 

 

surgery2

Happy-juiced-up.

 

 

 

surgery3

 

Post-op in recovery.  This is me saying to Tommy “do you believe this??”  This kid who is always go-go-go was so chilled.  He would open his eyes and they’d flutter shut.  He would say a word in his precious oh-so-hoarse voice and then fall right back asleep.  I think I was just  so surprised because it wasn’t like this after he had just the tubes in May.  But this procedure was, obviously, more complicated than the first time and also required more from anesthesia.  I was just happy he wasn’t on oxygen!  In pre-op the anesthesiologist [who was awesome!] warned us that he could be on oxygen afterwards since he’s had some lung issues recently.  She said sometimes they don’t go quite as smoothly from the breathing tube to room air transition, so don’t be surprised.  Thankfully, Jack did great and didn’t need it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

surgery4

And I enjoyed every moment of snuggling.  Also, their rocking chair was so comfortable!  Must find a chair like that for Baby 2’s room.

 

 

 

surgery5

He was thirsty but sleepiness would win over and that juice would pop out of his mouth every time.  Then his eyes would flutter open and he’d try again.  Sometimes stopping to show us that his finger was a light.

 

 

 

surgery6

Then he woke up and wanted his Dada.  And again, quickly went from this…

 

 

 

surgery7

to this.  And while this may seem like a lot of pictures of the same thing over and over, I have about 2 dozen more on my phone.  I could.not.get.over.it.  And was meanwhile, eating up what the recovery nurse was saying about how Jack would probably sleep a lot and not to wake him if he slept longer than usual.  I was thinking we had a great day of snuggling and cuddling ahead of us!

 

 

surgery9

 

 

He was like that the car ride home, too, so we brought him in and came straight to bed thinking we might all nap together.  Jack had no intentions of napping.  I think he wanted to – maybe? – but couldn’t.  It was like that sleepy child at the hospital disappeared and we had a wild, post-anesthesia, on pain meds, child on our hands.  After talking to my dad [the pharmacist] we concluded that the pain medication had the opposite effect on Jack.  It still seemed to help with his pain, which was most important, but it did not make him sleep.  I’d be out for days with a pill of that stuff… this child on the other hand, it was like we’d given him speed.  It was rough for 1, because I hardly slept at all the night before so I really wanted that nap, and B because he was tired and worn out and loopey and off-balance but just couldn’t sleep.  So he bounced from toy to toy and walked side ways and tried to climb for hours.

 

 

surgery8

This was about 20 minutes after we got home.  He wanted to walk around in my boots.  He was so goofy.

 

 

 

Later he did nap, we all did, for about an hour and a half.  And then he was up and running again.  He did great yesterday.  Not his usual self, of course, but really good considering he’d had surgery.  He also ate A LOT.  Soft foods only.  But he took them down.

 

 

Again, we are so thankful for your support and are so thankful that surgery day has come and gone!

same song different tune.

These ears…

Oh how they’ve given me much mama heartache.

They’re also teaching me things too…

Ear infections are my arch nemesis.

We went back to the pediatrician today because Jack didn’t seem to be feeling better, and I just knew– you know that Mama-know– that the antibiotic wasn’t cutting it.  Sure enough, the pediatrician said “wow” when she looked in his left ear.  Not what you want to hear.  So we got a new antibiotic to try.  Here’s to hoping this one works!  After we left the pediatrician’s office, I got on the phone right away.  I called Tommy first– we’re partners in this, and it pains him just as much as it does me.  Then I started thinking of who else to call.  And what I realized was how wrong my reasoning was.  I was looking for people to comfort me.  To tell me that it would be ok.  That this wouldn’t last long.  That our problems stink, but we’ll get through it.  You know, I was trying to conjure up some sympathy.  I think any time you conjure up sympathy, it’s a bad sign.

And while I believe God intends for us to support and love the people in our community, I also know 2 things:

1.  No one likes a whiner.

and

2.  My heart was totally in the wrong place.

I wasn’t even asking anyone to pray for relief for my sweet Jack.  I’ve been praying for Jack, but what I was seeking from people was probably purely selfish.  Purely me wanting their sympathy.  Just self-seeking.  Gross.

So I realized a few things– even though this is tough, but more than it being tough, I’m just frustrated.  Frustrated that Jack has to go through this again.  Frustrated that the tubes were our magic cure-all but they didn’t last.  Frustrated that our little guy has to suffer and be in pain.  Even though this is how I feel, and I feel discouraged right now, I was reminded that His grace is enough.  His grace is enough to get me through the day, and that’s all I need.

I sit here in the evening and low and behold, I’ve made it through the day.  And I will make it through the night ahead– no matter how long Jack wakes up for– no matter how badly he’s hurting.  I made it through this whole week, and last week, too.  The days are more challenging with hurting ears, but we’ve gotten through each one.  And not only that, but at the end of the day, we’re still smiling, hugging, and lovin each other.  I go to bed so thankful for my family.

I’ve also become aware of my complaining.  Nine ear infections for a 17 month old sucks.  But really, people are dealing with way worse things with their kids.  My foster mama friend who has loved on her baby from his first days, when he was withdrawing from the crack he’d always known.  My friends with premature babies who struggle and fight every day for life and growth.  My friend who fought for her life and had to love on her kids from a distance because of the chemo.  Mamas who I read about who’ve lost their husbands.  Husbands who’ve lost their wives and have young children to lead and love.  Mamas and Dadas who watch their child fight a life-challenging illness.

My child is healthy.  He is thriving.  He is so full of joy.  How dare I complain.  I’m so thankful for our health.  So I’m struggling– emotionally with how I feel about Jack’s ear problems resurfacing, but more so spiritually as I process all of these things put on my heart.  There’s a lot of ugliness, and I’m thankful for the One who chips away at it.

Dear friend, thank you for reading.  Thanks for continuing to read despite my complaints, and don’t expect this to be the last time I mention his ears.  I’ll probably talk about them many more times.  Next week perhaps.  Happy weekend to you!