A Little Blessing
This is my journey...
Monday, December 21, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
On another positive note...I have had the pleasure of being interviewed for an article in the Toledo Free Press a couple weeks ago. This article was published in the parenting section of this newspaper about my blog. I am so pleased to share Brandon's journey and hopeful that we can touch the lives of other families in the process.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
1.)I am thankful for all of the support and encouragement I have received from family and friends during all the ups and downs these past couple of years.
2.)I am thankful for my husband and my wonderful children who make me smile and fill my heart with joy.
3.)I am thankful for having such a reliable and understanding daycare that allows me to feel comfortable leaving my little Bubba so I can work.
4.)I am thankful that my husband and I both have jobs.
5.)I am thankful that our family has health care insurance to aide in our many medical expenses.
6.)I am thankful for all of the compassionate, wonderful doctors and medical staff working with Brandon.
7.)I am thankful that Brandon is recovering so well from all of his surgical procedures.
8.)I am thankful that Brandon can eat "normal" food now and was able to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner this year.
The list could go on and on, but I wanted to touch on a just a few things. I realize how fortunate I am to have all of the blessings listed above. Despite difficulties we might face day to day, many people out there have it so much worse. When I found out that Brandon was going to be born with a cleft lip I was devastated at first; but as you can see by reading this blog he is doing amazing. Many children out there, especially kids in foreign countries, do not have the luxury of having surgeries to repair their deformities. These children are often outcasts in their villages. I feel so blessed for what we have been able to provide for Brandon.
At Thanksgiving dinner this year my family; including my parents, siblings, sibling's spouses, and I, decided that instead of giving material gifts to each other this year, (with the exception of the kids) we would take the money and donate to a charity (i.e. operation smiles or smile train) to provide at least two cleft repair surgeries to kids in need. Our hope is to bless another child as we have been blessed...it's just a start, but every little bit helps.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
He is supposed to get one shot every night. This will continue most likely until he is a teenager and he has hit an appropriate height and weight for his age. I'm not thrilled about having to give him a shot every night, but I also realize he needs this, and it will help him in the long run.
This is Brandon before starting his growth hormone shots...Age: 17 1/2 months, Weight: 19 pounds, Height: 28 1/4 inches. He is currently plotting below 0% on the growth chart for his age.
So...Daddy gave Brandon's first injection while I held his leg. I have to say, Brandon did extremely well. He "whimpered" a few seconds and then stopped as I held him and gave him his nightly cup of milk.
This is him a few minutes afterwards...doing very well as you can see.
Day number two - I gave him his injection this time while his dad held his leg in place. As a nurse I have given many shots and I thought to myself "Piece of cake...I can do this". Medically I know how to give injections properly and it's never bothered me before to poke someone, but as a mom feeling the needle poke through my babies skin made me feel horrible inside...I was thinking to myself "What have I just done to him?" It all went well and I know this is just something that has to be done. Afterwards...again...just a slight whimper from him for a few seconds; and then I held him, gave him his milk, and all was well. He is doing fantastic.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
It wasn't until my husband and I had come to terms with the news ourselves that we were comfortable sharing the details with our other children. I think as a parent it was important for me to go through the process of shock, denial, anger, etc... followed by acceptance and peace before I shared the news with my kids. I did not want my initial emotions to transfer to them.
My step-son, Kyle, is currently 9 years old and my daughter, Breanna, is 6 years old. A few weeks prior to delivering Brandon, my husband and I explained to the kids that their little brother was going to be born with a "boo-boo". We wanted to put it in terms that they would understand. The first things they asked were "Where?" and "What happened?". We explained that his mouth and nose area would look "different" than other babies, but it would not hurt. We also explained to them that eventually the doctor's would fix his "boo-boo", but not until he got a little bigger and stronger. Afterwards we told them "sometimes things like this just happen", and then reassured them that it would all be okay.
My step-son Kyle doesn't spend as much time with Brandon as Breanna does since he does not live with us full time, but he has accepted Brandon just as he did his sister when she was born. They have a very cool relationship.
I remember my daughter's first glimpse at Brandon in the hospital right after he was born. Breanna had a smile on her face, but a slight hint of fear in her eyes; fear that she might "hurt" her brother, but never scared of what he looked like. She instantly bonded with him and even to this day looks out for him. The first time I took Brandon to her daycare to visit and meet the daycare workers Breanna was so excited that she was going to get to show her friends her baby brother. Kids are so innocent and amazing, and don't seem to be affected by certain things that adults might struggle with. Breanna was so proud to show off Brandon. Although some kids had some questions, they were all very kind.
Breanna was a little emotional after Brandon's first surgery. She spent the day with a friend at the zoo and was so worried about her little brother that she wanted to come home early. She picked out a special little elephant stuffed animal at the zoo to give him. The second she came home and saw him, she gently stroked her hand back and forth on his head saying, "Don't worry, sissy is here".
The kids have been amazing with Brandon. This whole experience has brought us all closer as a family. The kids just see Brandon as their little brother. The fact that he was born with a birth defect does not change the way they love him or interact with him.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Easter 2009. No more surgeries for a couple years...at least we think so.
Getting ready to go on my first airplane ride. Since I had such a rough year, I get to go to Disney World.
March 30th, 2009. Getting ready for surgery...again.
I was pretty entertaining.
The hospital let me play in their wagon to pass time.
Getting tired of waiting.
Mommy holding me after surgery. I was bleeding a lot. I didn't like when the nurses had to suction me.
Tube feeding post op. No bottles allowed again, only tube feeding for 10 days. The doctor said if it can't fit through the tube then I can't have it. I drank a lot of Pediasure. This was one way for mommy to break me from the bottle. After 10 days of this, mommy made me use sippy cups. (Nuby and Munchkin brand sippy cups with the clear silicone tops were the easiest for me to
Waiting to get discharged from the hospital. We spent a day and a half here this time.
Christmas 2008. A couple weeks after surgery. So glad to have the catheter out.
Had to go to U of M to get my eyes looked at. May have to have surgery on my eye muscles if they don't get stronger on their own.
Getting more mobile...
December 2008. Getting ready to leave for the hospital. Got my bear from my daycare workers. They made it especially for me.
So tired...just want to get this over with.
Waking up and getting ready to go home. We are so blessed to have such wonderful surgeons caring for Brandon. The entire surgery took a total of 5-6 hours. Waiting is the hardest; and everytime they call you to the nurse's station to give you an update your heart jumps up in your throat because you never know if there is a problem. Luckily, that was not the case. This surgery was much easier than the lip repair. Brandon was discharged with a cathether which had to stay in for about one week. Diaper changing was the most difficult part, but here are some tricks of the trade - Double diaper. Keep one diaper on with a slit cut in the middle to feed the catheter through, then put a larger diaper over that to contain the urine. Some bladder spasms are common post surgery, but they give medication to help reduce those symptoms.
Spoon feeding for the first time.