Wednesday, February 28, 2007


I can't believe it has been a year already. I just have to sum it up here, and then I think I'm ready to move on. I've spent a lot of time remembering the events of last February, including the outpouring of love from friends and family. Three of my sisters actually made the drive (seven hours and four hours) to see us in the hospital, and one of them tried really hard to make it for Smiley Boy's actual birth, but she didn't make it because the time was moved an hour earlier.

The two weeks prior to The Big Day were crazy. I didn't really understand what was happening to my body--it seemed like if my blood pressure was up I should be exercising, not lying around with my feet propped up. I was assured by medical professionals that I trust that I did indeed need to be still. The prospect of bed rest brought all sorts of notions about getting lots of reading done and possibly some scrapbooking. I didn't count on two things though: I was too out of it with the mag sulfate to see to do anything constructive, and the bedrest turned out to be a relatively short two weeks.

The time was filled with morning routines of labs (having my blood drawn about 5:30 each day), being weighed, putting the baby on a monitor, breakfast, and a nap. Visitors usually came in the afternoon, and the doctor in the evening. He would frequently hook us up to the ultrasound machine and check on Smiley Boy. I was actually off the mag sulfate for about a week, and that was really nice. Once I was back on it though, I slept a lot. My father-in-law brought me his laptop so I was able to do some e-mailing, and my beloved called each evening and spent the weekends sleeping on that amazingly uncomfortable chair that unfolds into a bed. There is a part of my mind that knows that this was a very difficult time, but at the same time, I know that I was buoyed up by my heavenly Father, and He made it all completely bearable.

It never occurred to me during this entire time that I might lose this baby. God had filled me with a supernatural peace, and I was able to walk in that throughout. I actually learned a huge lesson about faith. I thought in the beginning that if I just had enough faith, God would heal me, and I would carry this baby full term. After just a few days though, He revealed to me that faith was about trust. I didn't need to trust Him to do a specific thing. I just needed to trust Him. Once I got to this place and realized that I didn't have to work up enough faith to make everything turn out right, I could just rest in Him and trust Him to work things out His way and that His way would be the right way for Smiley Boy, for Drason, and for me.

His way turned out to be a c-section at 26 weeks and a one pound seven ounce, twelve and a half inch long baby that spent almost ten weeks on a ventilator and who didn't come home until a week after his due date. His way turned out to be a g-tube in Smiley Boy's stomach because due to the time he spent on the vent, he had feeding issues and would not take a bottle....

His way also included no brain damage, no eye problems, no hearing problems, and a sweet-natured smiley little boy who is quickly catching up to his peers in development and size. We are so blessed. I bet I've said that a thousand times in the last year. I don't know why God chose us for this adventure, but we thank Him every step of the way that He is with us and carries us through the rough parts.

Happy Birthday, my precious Smiley Boy!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


My niece (actually my grand-niece, my niece's daughter) might come stay with us this summer. I am thrilled. She'll be nine years old by that time, and she is my sweetheart. She wants to get a kitten while she's here, but I'm not sure how my monster feline would take to that. He kind of enjoys being an "only." Frankly, I was afraid he would be mad about Smiley Boy, but he took him right in stride, as if he'd been here all along.

His name is Tip-toe, and he's an enormous black cat with a white chin and white toes. He's pretty lazy for the most part, but he will occasionally bring me a bird or small rodent (usually alive), so I know he's getting some exercise. He has mellowed quite a bit as he's gotten older (he's 11). When I got him, I had two other cats, and he wasn't crazy about either of them. They have now gone to kitty heaven though, and he's in kitty heaven being here by himself. So, we'll just have to see about a new kitten. My sweet girl has never had one of her own, so there's a fair chance that I will give in.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Party Time

Well, the party is over, and I am glad! It was a lot of fun, very low-key. Mom decided to splurge on a birthday outfit from Cute and Sassy for Smiley Boy, and it was precious. He had fun I think. He crashed for about an hour and we actually had cake without him, but he didn't mind. The bakery made a special smash-cake just for him, but we haven't done it yet. Today was just too busy. I think we'll do it on his actual birthday next week.

One thing about our bakery--they did such an awesome job on the cake! I took them a napkin expecting them to just match the colors, and when we opened the box this morning, it matched the napkin exactly! It was amazing! It really made my day--sometimes it's the little things.... :)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Smiley Boy sat up for the first time on his own yesterday. I actually was looking right at him when he did it which was very cool. I figured I would just go in to get him up one morning, and he would be sitting up in his bed, but he actually did it when we were playing yesterday.

We have been pleased overall with his physical development. Debbie, the physical therapist, has been working with him once a week since September, and she is happy too. When she began working with him, he would hardly move his head from side to side to look at things. Now SB's dad and I attribute that to his being hooked up to the ventilator for so long and not being able to turn his head. Nevertheless, it was something he had to work on, and it didn't take long. Once again, I wish I had kept better records of what he has done and when, but at any rate, he has come a long way in just a few months.

We're getting ready for his birthday party this Saturday. I couldn't decide what to do for decorations. I wanted to enjoy not having to do a character while I could--this time next year, I'm sure he'll have an opinion about that. I did find some great ones that I think are very appropriate. :) I don't know if the picture is clear enough, but the decorations say, "The cake is on me!" We're having a cookout at the home of our good friends, and we just invited the whole church. They all have a stake in his being here and being so healthy, so how could we not? :) The weather is supposed to be nice; I'm looking forward to the party.

Friday, February 16, 2007

You Just Never Know

Okay, yes, I'm a little strange....I was looking forward to this week. It's the one year anniversary of when the Big Adventure began, and I actually looked forward to rehashing "this time last year, we were...." Well, that lasted about two days. Valentine's Day last year I was in the hospital, so Valentine's Day this year, we made a lot of jokes along the lines of, "It doesn't matter how little we do to celebrate, at least we're not in the hospital this year," etc.

The ladies in our church have an e-mail group, and yesterday I decided to read through their daily posts of the time when they found out I was sick, when I was admitted, the two-week ordeal, and the birth of our precious Smiley Boy. I cried through all of them. Totally NOT what I was expecting. Then, today, I had reason to be at the Women's Pavilion (taking SB to a music play group offered by the university). When I went into the bathroom there, just a short walk from where I spent three weeks last year, all of the fixtures, the cleaning agents, the tile floor, the general feel of the room almost overcame me, and I was nauseated for several minutes.

So, I guess God wants me to see something in this that I don't see yet, but I'm not just glibly rehashing the events of last year now. We'll see what He has in mind....

Thursday, February 8, 2007


Well, it's been one year since my ankles began to balloon as I was teaching. I spent most of that day and the next sitting down while reading The Watsons Go to Birmingham with my eighth grade language arts students. I felt like some swelling was normal at 24 weeks pregnant, and I wasn't concerned, but when the swelling didn't go down overnight I decided I'd better call the doctor. When I did that on Friday morning, she asked about my blood pressure--which I had already checked--it was fine. She told me to keep a watch on it over the weekend and come in for my scheduled appointment on Monday. I did a scrapbook workshop Friday night and got on the scales at the church while I was there. Boy! I had gained about 18 pounds since my last weigh-in at the doctor (I don't keep scales at my house).

On Saturday I began to notice some swelling in my face, so I e-mailed my dear friends who were travel-nursing, in ALASKA, at the time. They had given me advice on other occasions and were following my progress. Nurse R. e-mailed me back on Sunday morning and told me to call my doctor immediately. I decided to check my blood pressure again first, and when it was normal, I went on to church. I got prayed for there, and had a long talk with Pastor J about how to handle the situation if indeed it turned out to be a problem.

I can't remember exactly how this story goes, but Pastor J told me about a pregnant woman he and his wife knew who discovered that she had a life-threatening heart condition after she became pregnant. As a result of it, she had to stay flat on her back the whole pregnancy--otherwise she would risk her life and the life of her baby. She came to a place of not questioning God about it but accepted it and kept a beautiful attitude throughout. Once the baby was delivered, the heart condition disappeared, but there was something (this is the part I can't remember) about the pregnancy that if she had not been on her back the whole time, the baby would have died. The lesson was that God is BIGGER than I am, and to have faith for healing but to accept His ultimate decision. I didn't get it completely at the time, but the lesson came clear to me later.

We went to Wal-Mart Sunday afternoon and I checked my BP again--still normal. Sunday night, however, was miserable. I felt like I couldn't breathe lying down and spent much of the night sitting up, dozing, on the sofa. I thought I would get one of those wedge pillows to sleep on before bedtime Monday. Little did I know that this was to be my last night in my own bed for three weeks.

Monday, February 5, 2007


We went to visit the wonderful ladies at the NICU on Friday. They had not seen Smiley Boy since he came home in June, and they were so excited. We saw our dear friends, Nurses P and D, and so many others. Some who didn't even know us came over and thanked us for visiting. One nurse said that it really encourages them in the job they do to see a healthy little guy like ours. God bless those women. They were so professional and caring during the 14 weeks we were there. We saw Dr. P too. He was his usual reserved self, but he played with Smiley Boy a little and seemed genuinely glad to see him.

Still trying to figure out how to celebrate Smiley Boy's birthday. If he had arrived in the usual way, I would not even worry about a party, but so many people who prayed for him and feel a part of his success have said that they want to come that I need to do it for them. Hmmmm. I just don't know. I have three weeks to figure it out.