Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Oh, how cute!

Let me start this story by saying the two girls first manhandled poor Heyhey into this chair, and even made him put his binky in his mouth so they could be his mom(s). I was doing dishes and heard them through this whole thing;
"Heyhey. You sit here."
"No, Heyhey. Stay right there."
Mo: "OK. Now Oak. You it there and close your eyes."

That's when I looked their direction. The 2 girls put their hands on Heyhey's head and Morgan proceeded to say, "Heavenly Father. Bless him to be good. Name of Jesus Christ, Amen."

Are you kidding me? You're 2 years old. How do you know these things?

And I had to throw these cutie - patooties in! Have a happy day!!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Mammogram pain

I'm now classified in the older woman category that needs to have a mammogram once a year. The secret I don't want anyone to know is I've been having mammo's for many years since I had a hysterectomy so young and have been on estrogen replacement ever since! So I guess my classification has been older woman for a long time.

Mammos aren't as bad as you hear; sure they manipulate your body into positions it's not supposed to go into. Sure they squish your unmentionables to smithereens. Sure there's the fear of something being wrong. But really, they're not that big of a deal! But today's mammo seemed worse than the others.

I usually go to Alta View. It's close by so I can just run up the street and voila! Squish-a-roni! But last year I had to have some cysts aspirated so now they ask me to go to the new IMC in Murray, otherwise known as the Taj Mahal. That way if there are any concerns or any more cysts that need to be taken care of I'm just a few hallways away from getting it taken care of. The mammography center is in a different building than where I had the cysts removed. Same hospital, just around the corner.

Today I went to the Women's Center. Same Women's Center that Mac was born in. That's where the pain began.

Mike and I have mentioned that just driving by the hospital on the freeway makes our stomachs churn. I've noticed I don't look that direction while going past. Silly I know, but it helps not to look. But today I not only looked at it, I was there.

THE parking lot. Have you noticed that when you go to the same place multiple times (church, store) you kind of park in the same area? We did that 3 years ago. Always went past the parking attendant and turned left. Parked in the second row. That was me and Cali when we first arrived. That was me and Mike over the next few days as we came to be with Josh and Cali. It will never be me again. Today I turned into a different entrance and didn't even go near the parking attendant. (Like it's his fault.)

THE entrance. No way to avoid this. I have to go in. Straight ahead are the elevators. To the left is labor and delivery. I go toward the elevators, just like Cali and I did. I didn't even glance at labor and delivery. No need to. I'm not going there - we didn't go there 2 1/2 years ago either. No, I don't remember which elevator Cali and I went into, but getting off the elevator was the same view as a few years ago; a glassed wall overlooking the entrance. You have to turn right out of the elevators to get anywhere on that floor. I took a deep breath. I almost didn't get out. When I did my eyes darted quickly to the waiting room where the worst day of my life unfurled. It's an average enough waiting room....

I remember Cali mentioning how quiet Mac had been all morning.

I remember mentioning it was probably because he was getting so big and there wasn't a lot of room for him to move.

I remember Cali allowing me to go back into the ultrasound room with her.

I remember the nurse, the silent nurse, as she moved the ultrasound wand back and forth over Cali's stomach.

I remember her leaving the room.

I remember the panic Cali felt. I remember the prayer in my head, the thought that there could NOT be anything wrong. It was his due date! Nothing could go wrong this close to the end.

I remember a doctor coming in the room.

I'll never forget his words, "I'm sorry," being drowned out by Cali wailing "NO!"

I remember suddenly being in a different room. Cali rocking softly on the bed holding her stomach. Me not knowing what to say, what to do, how to act.

I remember calling Josh.

"Josh. Is there someone there with you?"
"Yes. Why?"
"I want to talk to them for a minute."
"Josh, you need to come very quickly to the hospital. There is something wrong."
"Haha. Let me talk to Cali."
"No Josh. You can't talk to her right now. Please just come to the hospital."
"This isn't funny. Why can't I talk to Cali? Are we going to have a baby today?!"
"Josh. Let me talk to whoever is there with you."


"Just let me talk to Cali."
"Joshua .... Mac has died. Please get here to the hospital as soon as you can."

More silence.


I remember calling Mike. Or at least trying to call Mike. I couldn't get him to answer his phone. I kept trying and trying. When I couldn't get him I called Josh's mom. I figured he would need her there. Don't we always need our mommy's? Maybe it was me that needed her. I love that woman dearly, and am so grateful for the strength I felt from their family.

I tried Mike again. No answer.

I had to call someone. I called my brother. Of course I'm crying while on the phone so when I said, "Mac died," he at first thought I said the cat died and he couldn't figure out why I was so upset. When I finally was able to talk again all he said is, "I will be right there." That's what I needed. Someone there. I was supposed to be holding Cali up, but I was falling myself. How could I possible be strong when the world was tipped upside down and my body was jello?

I tried Mike again. No answer. I must have sighed, or even sworn. Who knows but Cali looked at me and said, very casually like we were discussing what to have for lunch, "Remember dad had a doctors appointment this morning." Ha. No, I didn't remember that, and what an odd thing for Cali to think of when she's got so much going on in her mind, her heart, her body. I called the doctor's office to find out he had just left. I gave him time to get to work, since I knew he wouldn't hear his phone while driving the motorcycle, and when I told him he got right back on the bike and drove 100 mph to get to the hospital.

I think Josh got there first. Then Mike, Diane and then Shaun.

I'll never forget the next few days. The selflessness Cali and Josh showed to others around them as they helped others through their grief while they dealt with their own pain. That beautiful baby who meant so much to so many people who never got the chance to meet him. The sweet acts of kindness and service. The pictures. The joy. The misery. The spirit.... It was so strong around this little family that you were engulfed the minute you walked into the room. So was the pain.

I hate mammograms.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Odds and Ends

Alex has always loved Toy Story, especially Woody. He even 'found' a toy Woody on the desk of the judge that finalized his adoption. But this toy Woody has seen better days. He has ripped and torn and been eaten so many times that if I try to sew him back together the material just falls apart. So....
...we fixed him! And the funny thing is I even had to add more after taking this picture. Alex added the facial tape just because. But notice the boots. When I said poor Woody had been eaten I wasn't kidding. Alex has chewed most of Woody's fingers off and almost all of the boots. So we made new boots with the duct tape.
For Christmas this year Mike and I have offered to take the kids on a monthly activity that we plan and pay for. For February we went to a Grizzlies hockey game.
Oak and her mom...
...Mo with the game in the background...
...L-R side view of Mike, Kierra holding Mo, Colby, Brandon, TJ and Al...
...Al, Lou and Mo.
The latest fun that the girls have been doing while at my house is play house. It's so cute to see them pretend to be mommy's or babies.
Here's Oak sitting in N's car seat while mommy Mo rocks her and sings her to sleep.
And they also have discovered dress ups. Here's Oak modeling this ensemble...
...and Mo in her dazzling outfit.

Valentine's Day

Yesterday was a Valentine’s dance at Alex’s school. First of all this was Alex’s first time he wanted to go to a dance, and he was sooo excited! He dressed in his Sunday’s finest with a bow tie and a boutonniere to top it off. (He found it in his memories box from Cali's wedding). He was stylin and ready to party!
I went to take pictures and make sure he knew how to act at a school dance. His teacher was there as a chaperon as well as quite a few kids from his class. Most of the kids in his class were standing together dancing, but Alex was clear across the room and dancing by himself so I told him he should ask a girl to dance with him. His first response was, "Where's Ashley?"
When we found her she said, “Alex, I’ve already danced with you. You need to ask someone else first, then I will dance with you again.” Yeah! Someone his age that knows how to handle him!! So, he looked around and said, “That one.”
Then he went over and asked her to dance. After the song was over, he looked around and said, “That one,” and then asked HER to dance. It was awesome.
I had to remind him to dance near the girl so he could talk to her and to dance facing her.
He seems to have a habit of turning around when he dances – I think it’s more so he can see his shadow if you want to know the truth! He loves dancing with his shadow. Maybe that’s where the story of Peter Pan came from… a perpetual child who likes to be with his shadow… sounds like Al!

Near the end of the dance, they had a dance-off where everyone stands in a big circle, the DJ plays some great music and people take turns going in the circle and showing their dance moves.
(This is Alex and Ashley waiting in the circle for the dance-off to begin)
Alex and a girl from his class (Brenna – also has Down Syndrome) went into the dance spotlight and never left. Others of course took their turns, too, but always with Alex and Brenna still inside the circle. Then the SBOs announced they had a dance-off king and queen – Alex and Brenna!!! They put crowns on both of them, Alex got a round of high fives and of course a crying hug from me, then him and Brenna shared their royalty dance together in front of the whole group. I'm really lame and can't figure out how to put the video up that I took of them, and even if I did it's sideways so it's REALLY lame! But the video shows the crowd gathered around them, waving their arms back and forth over their heads and it shows Alex being the perfect gentleman guiding Brenna around the dance floor like a prince should guide his princess. It is amazing!

He danced a few more dances then we had to go home so I could go to work. He was so excited to tell everyone! He had me take another picture in his full royalty outfit outside by the school and send pictures to the whole family. Then he wanted to know if everyone cried (like me!)

So, that’s our Cinderella story.
A great Valentine’s day for Alex and his mom.
That night after I got home from work, we took a Valentine's balloon up to Baby Mac. We had quite the conversation with Oakland about him; she knew the balloon was for Mac and we had all signed the balloon. So as we walked toward the grave she asked, "He come out and get it?" Meaning of course the balloon. How cute is that? She asked and we told her many times that Mac was in heaven but you could tell that didn't compute. Then she said as we were leaving, "I wanna go to heaven." We all told her we did, too! As we drove home this kind of conversation continued. Finally, Mike said to her, "Maybe you won't have to die. Maybe you will still be here when Jesus comes and you can be with Mac. POOF!" She laughed and said, "Papa. I wear panties like Morgan so I don't POOF!" Out of the mouths of babes!
The picture below is of Mac's family at his grave. Mike looks funny in the picture but it's because it was pitch black when I took the picture and didn't even know he was in the frame. He was making sure the balloon was secure on the headstone!
Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 3, 2012

It's official! Al's heart is still good!!

Al had his heart cath done today and the results couldn't have been better! Good pressure and flow and no deformities! We are so grateful and relieved.

We had to be at the hospital by 6 am so I just took him straight from bed to the car. I thought about how many times we had been 'here' while we were in the waiting room - 'here' meaning waiting for a procedure or results from a procedure - and I couldn't help but remember how exhausting it used to be to take him to these long appointments because I had to entertain him the whole time. He has grown up so much and today just sat down with a ball toy and played. I was even able to leave him in the waiting room while I went to the next room to check him in.
After getting a height and weight on our big guy he got to try on this dazzling little ensemble. The fit was nice, but it's just not his color. He did like the sticky things on the socks to prevent slippage. He thought they were for his enjoyment to play with rather than a safety feature.
He got pretty anxious when the put the IV in. For a diabetic he sure hates needles! He never gives me any problem with his lancets to test him or even his syringes for his shots, but try to take blood from him or put an IV in and the world ends. So after that was in his hand they laid him in a bed, gave him something to calm the nerves and a remote for a video game, and life was good!
This was him in the recovery room. All bundled up and toasty warm. He had very nice nurses who took great care of him. They had him on oxygen, which he always needs when he is asleep. But no nausea! He was REALLY loopy though. He kept sitting up and looking around, then would fall back to the pillow and sleep a few minutes, then sit up again. I never could figure out what he was looking for or at. One thing that struck me was how big he looked. He is getting taller and thicker, but next to all these newborns to 1 year olds he was freakin' huge!!
This is all he has to show for it... a regular sized band-aid on his neck. Most times they put the cath through the groin area, but because he's older they chose to do it through his neck. Fine with me!! That got us home 6 hours earlier. We would have had to wait 6 hours after surgery to go home if they had gone through the groin.
So all in all a good day. I think we will both go take a nap now with our neighbor's dog Babe. (She came to make sure Al was OK.)