Friday, April 27, 2007


I went on a dolphin cruise on Wednesday; WOW! My sister and her husband run the boat and two of my other sisters and my mom were going, so Smiley Boy and I went too. I love being on the water, and I thought that would be the highlight of the trip. I grew up in Orange Beach, and (sadly) it has changed incredibly in the 20 years I've been gone--everyone else discovered what a beautiful place it is and decided they want to live there too. :( There were a dozen schools there when I graduated from high school, and now there are five times that--an example of how much the area has grown....

Being out on the water, it was easy to pretend that the area hadn't become so populated. The middle of the third week in April doesn't find too many other boaters out, and if you ignore the occasional cluster of condominiums, it's just as it was when I was a child. The weather was glorious, and I truly thought I was enjoying the highlight of the trip.

When we reached our destination, we soon found a pair, possibly a mother and baby, but they were elusive. We followed them around for a while, but they just didn't want to play with us. A few minutes later though, my brother-in-law, Captain Charlie, spotted fins on the other side of the bay, and we headed over. There we found three dolphins who did want to play. Charlie sped the boat up, and they began to cavort in the wake. They were only 5-10 feet off the stern of the boat, and they spun and jumped and played in the wake long enough for me to take about 30 pictures. It was all just amazing! They seemed genuinely glad that we had come to visit. It was a thrill. I am really looking forward to going again, and this time, it won't just be the boat ride I look forward to!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

"Meet Your Maker"

You know, that phrase is used kind of jokingly in movies and on television as a quasi-threat or some such. But it has occurred to me that it is truly an awesome group of words.

My cousin, Angela, met her Maker this morning after an 18-month battle with cancer. I know we hear of people dying, passing away, even going home, on a regular basis, but to put it in those words, meet your Maker, and of course, for it to be some of my own flesh and blood, (could I use just a few more commas in this sentence?) I'm really in awe of what she experienced today.

I talked with her mom last night, and we just got excited for Angela that she would be free from pain and with her dad and two brothers who went to heaven before she did. Then we started talking about being with Jesus.

Being with her Maker.

Face to face.

In His presence.


It's an awesome, awesome thing to contemplate--or to cogitate on. I had an elderly aunt who, when she had something to think about, would "cogitate on that for a while." So I guess I've been cogitating on that phrase for a while.

I get all weepy if I cogitate on it for very long at the time. Not because I am mourning but because the magnitude of my Father's love for me, and for us all, simply overwhelms me.

When I was 17, my 21-year-old brother met his Maker. And even then, God overwhelmed me with His love. I was in awe that someone I knew and loved and had grown up with was at that moment in the presence of the King, the Creator of the Universe, God Almighty. People would say, "Yes, but don't you miss him? Aren't you sad that he's not here anymore?" Of course I missed him, and still do sometimes. I even still dream that he didn't really die and that he comes back after being gone for a long time. But that didn't and doesn't stop me from embracing the joy that I feel knowing that he is WITH THE FATHER and the awe I feel that God loved my brother so much that he didn't want to wait any longer to have him there in heaven.

My cousin had three children who are now "motherless." But, you know what? God can fill that void, and He will if He is allowed to. People say, "But oh, they need a mother's love; these are difficult years for them." Did God not create them? Is He so small that He can't fill in where a mother's love is absent? I think not. His picture is so much bigger than ours, and I don't have to understand it. I have to trust Him and know that He knows better than anyone here what all of us need. The rain falls on the just and on the unjust, but I WILL TRUST HIM. Because He is God. It's really as simple as that.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Clap Your Hands, All Ye People

Smiley Boy has learned to clap his hands, and he is so proud of himself! I walked into his room to get him up this morning, and he was sitting there clapping his hands and watching them intently. I can only imagine what it's going to be like as he begins to do more new things. He also turned the radio up today and started dancing (bobbing his head and grinning). He was proud of that too. He's such a character.

He continues to eat heartily, and I continue to be amazed. It's an amazing feeling to not be counting every ounce, every calorie, and have him actually gaining weight. I still think sometimes about how big he would be if I had just kept pouring formula into the tube. He was getting 40 ounces a day at one point and gaining weight like crazy. I had to sacrifice some of that growth for his learning to eat though, and it has been worth it. I still think about it sometimes though....especially since we've been hovering around the 18-pound mark for so long. He lost about a pound when he was sick, and we're trying to make up for that now. He'll get there though. I just have to RELAX!!! I'm doing better; I really am.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

The Button

When Smiley Boy was born, we were told that he had to do three things before he could go home: he had to weigh at least four pounds; he had to maintain his own body temperature; and he had to eat on his own. We were also told not to expect him to do any of this before his due date--June 4th. At the time, all I could think of was his weight--he was so incredibly tiny!!!!! He did grow, and he did maintain his own body temp so he could be taken out of the warmer, and he did both of those things before his due date. However, he was on the ventilator until April 30th(eight weeks), so we couldn't even begin to work on bottle feeds until then. By the end of May there had been almost no progress with the bottle. I had had several people ask me if there was any talk in the NICU of sending him home with a feeding tube, but no, no one had mentioned it to me.

Once school got out, I moved in with Ronald McDonald and was at the hospital all the time. Then I was able to see more clearly how little progress he was actually making, and I did finally ask the question--what about sending him home with a feeding tube? Up to this point, the feeding tube being used was an NG tube that went through his nose, and I assumed that was what we were talking about. I could see that it wasn't completely practical for at home because taking it out and putting it back in would be complicated for someone who wasn't medically trained (me), but once I started asking questions, I learned that a tube would surgically be placed directly into his stomach, and milk would be poured into a large (60cc) syringe and through the tube to his stomach. Hmmmm.

This was a strange day because it was almost as if the doctor had been waiting for me to suggest it; once I started asking questions, the ball rolled--and quickly. The OT who had been working with SB on the bottle couldn't believe it when she came in the next day and he was being taken down for a barium swallow as a preliminary to decide if he qualified for the surgery.

Anyway, the first conversations about surgically placing a tube happened on a Wednesday afternoon, and he had the surgery the following Monday. The only stressful part of that for me was that he had to be put back on the vent for the surgery, and because the pain meds kept his system sluggish, it took a while to get him back off of it. After so many weeks of waiting to get rid of that thing, I really had a hard time with this.

(Wow, this has gotten long.)

The g-tube was a yellowish-brown tube about 15 inches long that had a stopper in the end of it. Once the surgery site healed, it would be replaced with a more practical port that would only have a tube attached when it was in use. That happend about six weeks later when he went for hernia surgery; Dr. C. installed a "Bard button" that we could close off when we didn't need it.

When we initially talked about installing a tube, all the nurses said, "Oh, he won't need it for long at all! Once he gets home with Mom and Dad taking care of him and in his own routine, that sucking reflex will kick right in, and that tube will be out in no time!" That was ten months ago.

So what was the point in this whole post? May 3rd, we will be going back to see Dr. C., and he will remove the button! Smiley Boy's eating has taken off tremendously, and we haven't used the tube in three weeks. It has been an unexpectedly long road, but the ride hasn't been too bad, and we've met some wonderful people as a result--namely, the amazing speech therapist who has been working with SB on eating since August. We'll talk about her another day.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007


We're back! Our ISP was down for several hours today, and when it came back up, so did blogspot. Very strange....Yardboy told us to contact our ISP when we weren't able to get it to work, but we never did do it....thought the new computer would be here by now.

Anyway, it was great to catch up on Curly Mommy's blog. I have missed it. Now that I can see my own blog, I'll get back in the swing of posting more often.