Thursday, August 20, 2009

One Year Ago

One year ago today--

They tell me you will be blue.
They tell me I cannot hold you.
They tell me to sign here, consent to that, make the right choice.
They tell me tomorrow will be the day—
you are not yet 48 hours old.
They tell me you are strong.
They tell me the procedure was successful.
They tell me you are not yet ready to breathe on your own;
we will try again tomorrow.
They tell me to be patient.
They tell me we could be here two weeks or two months;
it’s up to you.
They tell me it’s not likely you will eat or learn to suck.
They tell me feeding tubes are not so bad.
They tell me you will be small.

But you hear none of it.
On day 6 you breathe on your own.
On day 8 you eat on your first try.
On day 11 we go home.
You grow and grow and grow.
So big and so fast that we are back again for help sooner than we expected.
You tolerate the tiny tubes that hug your cheeks.
I cry because I cannot kiss them.
I cry because they bleed when I change the stickers.
I cry because you're cute anyway.
We go back to the hospital.

It’s harder this time.
You are bigger, stronger, I know you now.
And I am attached. Forever.
I ache. I trust. We walk away.
Every hour an update.
He is on the table. He is on bypass.
They only had to stop his heart for 7 minutes.
All is well.
Next time will be trickier, the surgeon tells us.
But today went well.
You breathe.
You eat.
You heal.
We are home within the week.
No church. No crowds. No parties.
Shots. Lots of shots.
Lots of important, expensive shots.
Synagis. Aspirin. Lasix. Aldactone.
We speak a new language.

You grow.
And grow and grow.
Your doctors laugh at your chubby legs, your dimpled smile.
We are blessed. We are grateful.
They worry you cannot hear.
We get all the tests.
You can hear.
We cheer and cry and ache for families with babies not like you.
It is hard to watch friends mourn.
You push forward.

Experts and friends say it’s time for you to move.
To stretch, to reach, to crawl.
You need help.
Six weeks later you are unstoppable.

Your surgeon, our hero, is mortal.
Other plans must be made.
Still unresolved.
Purple feet return. Purple lips.
An unplanned appointment.
An unexpected procedure.
A few more weeks of oxygen.
Then 80s. 80s. 80s. WOW.

No more tubes. No more sitting.
You move, move, move.
You are into everything.
Stairs. Cupboards. Toys.
You eat everything.
Foccacia. Hummus. Ice Cream.
You LOVE ice cream.

You are full of smiles.
You adore your brothers and they cannot get enough of your laughter.
You are a part of us today, tomorrow.
You do not listen to the odds; you beat them.
You challenge my experience; I grow.
You fill me with a love that overflows and tells me
I have known you for far longer than this one year.

Happy First Birthday Mac-e-Moo. We love you!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Not Me! Monday

I am not a napkin. My kids are constantly wiping their faces-hands-feet all over my sleeve-leg-arm. Really, I'm not a napkin. Knock it off.

Matt has the boys so trained that they actually go and wash their faces and hands whether they need to or not at the mere sight of him in a suit. So why, then, do I have to use a mirror to check the back of my shoulders for sludge before leaving the house? Oh yeah, because I'm a human napkin.

I know everyone counsels that one day I will miss the fingerprints on the tables. The windows. The walls. The mirrors. The television. The door jams. The inside of the car windows. The refrigerator. And on and on and on. But today I am disenchanted with my messy universe. The harder I try, the more determined to grime things up they become.

So I did not at one point this week stare down my six (nearly seven and old enough to know better) with such disappointment that it brought him to near tears over his EVERYWHERE fingerprints. Not me! Not when seconds--and I'm not exaggerating even a little bit--seconds after I finished a perfect streak free cleaning of the large sliding door off our kitchen he ran his two sticky mitts full force into the glass.

And I did not let the heat of my disbelief fly his way when just minutes after our firm but controlled discussion of why it was inconsiderate to have messed up the glass while I was cleaning it did he follow me upstairs and blatantly spray a water bottle directly at the mirror in my master bath. REALLY? On your bed while I cool down just a bit if you please. No, not me!

I realize this is small stuff folks, but sometimes the small stuff is all I get done in a day. Capiche? Sometimes having a clean mirror to look at the darkening circles under my eyes or a crystal clear view of the yard work that awaits is as far as I get. So I'm taking it upon myself to focus on the small things to teach my kids the big things--like noticing the hard work of others and realizing that the house feels better when its just a bit cleaner. I try to stay in the big picture and mostly succeed, but this week I have to rationalize that the only life lesson I did not teach my kids was impatience and pettiness. Not me! Sheesh. I'm glad it's next week already.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Into Thin Air

On our latest hike to the Mount Timpanogos Cave

Some might consider us decently intelligent people. (At least we'd like to think there are a few out there of that opinion.) Of course, the story I'm about to tell will cure any and all who suffer from such misguided thinking.

We have been absolutely thrilled to have McKay footloose and tube free the past few weeks. So giddy in fact that we've celebrated our freedom by taking our buddy into the great outdoors on a regular basis. I recently shared the pictures and recap of our trip to Bryce Canyon and giggled at how silly McKay was to fall asleep as we summitted a canyon in our ATV, and took a snooze while we traversed the beauty of Bryce's amphitheater. "He's such a good boy, an easy traveler," I thought. What an idiot.

Last Friday we visited with McKay's cardiologist for the official heart cath after party and check up. All was well. McKay's saturations hung between 76-80. Fine for now according to our doc. In fact, his heart is so solid today, you can barely hear any murmur. And to be honest, the doc said, if another physician wasn't aware of McKay's condition they would probably hear nothing wrong with his heart. Unbelievable really.

"But he will still need oxygen if you choose to travel. Airplanes are pressurized to simulate air at about 9,000 feet and I just don't know how McKay would respond to air that thin," she said.

"Uh, I do," I thought as I quickly did the math.

Home: 4,330 feet= Happy McKay

Cottonwood ATV Trail Summit: 11,000 feet=Sleepy McKay

Bryce Canyon: 8,000-9,000 feet=Sleepy McKay

Mount Timpanogos 11,749 feet=Sleepy McKay

Notice the pattern? And no, unfortunately I don't think the hat has anything to do with it.

Whether or not these were honest-to-goodness naps or thin-air induced drowsiness, we'll probably never know. But needless to say I was sick at the thought that we may have put him in danger. Sitting in the exam room, exchanging sheepish glances with Matt, we finally confessed.

"Well..." said the doc in a completely diplomatic way. "It's probably best not spend an extended period of time at those elevations without oxygen support."

Point taken. Lesson learned. Guilt permanent.

We hope you enjoyed the trip boys. The next hike will be a little closer to sea level and level-headed thinking.

***POST SCRIPT: After reading this post Matt thought it important I note that McKay was pink and arousable throughout our experiences and his periods of sleep were not unusually long. He was not at any time passed out or unconscious. We were at least smart enough to check that. :).***

Monday, August 3, 2009

Mr. Mischief

What does mischief look like?

It peeks around the corner with the face of an angel...

It teases with smiles and laughter...

Mischief occasionally plays by the rules.

Just to throw you off.

Because what mischief really wants is to be where it should not,

To play in places more interesting than the rules dictate,

To explore closed cupboards, forbidden drawers, and weave its dangerous ways into your heart...

Just so you let your guard down long enough that it can start all over again.

I love Mischief.