Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mom....I miss you.

Four years ago on January 25th my Mom lost her battle with cancer. In some ways it seems like only yesterday, it other ways it seems like decades ago. The end came much faster than we expected. While we were glad that she no longer had to suffer, there were many things that I wished we could have talked about before she died.

Mom was a wonderful musician. She could sit at her piano for hours and could play just about any song by ear. I miss that so much. Ben and I sit at her piano some times and he bangs on it. But I no longer have any way to recreate the beautiful music that she could play. John took lessons for a few years, but does not spend much time at it any more. She also loved her grandchildren who were just 7, 7 3, 3, and 1 when she died. She never got to meet our little Ben.

In the days following her death, I was looking through Mom's jewelry drawer to find a piece of her jewelry so I could make matching bracelets for my aunts and sister-in-law to wear to the funeral. I was speaking with on of the nurse aids who was helping to care for my Dad who had just gotten out of the nursing home after a bout with pneumonia and had a necklace in each hand. I liked the one in my left hand better and said to the nurse aid, "Do you think this one might work?" At that very second I felt a tug in my hand and saw the the necklace had just broken while lying flat in my hand. I said" Oh, Thanks Mom! Since it is now broken, I guess you won't care if I use it." I had told my kids that Grandma was now one of their angels and that she would look after them, but until that moment it had not really hit me that she would be watching out for me too.

The bracelets got done in time for the funeral and each included a picture charm . I used a picture that was taken after Mom had gotten sick and I knew that she was not fond of it. However, it was the right size for the charms I had, so I used the picture anyway. For some reason something always happens to the picture in my charm. First it got wet, then it got smudged, then it just fell out all together. Each time I replace it with the same picture. I never did ask my aunts if thier pictures were still OK, but I would not be surprised if they were not. Currently my bracelet is sitting in a drawer in need of a new picture. I am going to try to shrink the picture on this post which she did like and see if that one lasts longer. I have a feeling it will.

A few weeks after the funeral, I still had the feeling that Mom was looking out for me. So for fun I bought a lottery ticket. She was always telling me how I needed to stay home with the kids, so I figured if she could do anything to help me win, she would. Not that I was expecting to win the jackpot or anything, but a few thousand dollars would have been nice. Needless to say I did not win.

Fast forward to October 2007. I had just lost my Dad and was pregnant with our third child. Taking care of Dad had been hard, but we were able to grant his wish and keep him at home also. In the weeks following his death, I felt very lost. I no longer had anyone to look after, other than my husband and kids. While they did and still do need me, they are all healthy and able to look after themselves for the most part.

The day was fast approaching when I would get to have the ultrasound to find out the baby's sex. I had convinced myself that it would be a girl. Mom had always told me that I needed to have a little girl. Somehow, I felt that Mom had pulled some divine strings and that this surprise baby was the little girl she always wanted me to have.

I was still in shock, and a little disappointed that I was having another boy, when the doctor told me that my blood tests were a bit off and my odds of having a baby with Down syndrome were something like 105 to 1. We decided to go in for the level 2 ultrasound. In my mind it was just to prove that my baby was completely healthy. I had not even done any research, and was convinced that everything was fine and the ultrasound would rule out any problems.

After finding out about a couple soft markers, fluid around his heart and and a very slightly thickened nuchal fold, we decided to have the amnio. I still was convinced that the baby was healthy and this test would put our fears to rest. While we waited for the results I started searching the web to find more information. Two days later we did indeed learn that our baby did have Down syndrome.

Fast forward to today. Our son Benjamin is a happy, healthy little 22 month old boy. Ben and I were playing the other day, and he was absolutely cracking up about something silly that I was doing and it hit me... I did win the lottery. I never seem to be lucky at anything, but this time I won. Not a monetary win, but something much more valuable. I completely believe that Mom and Dad were both looking out for us and that they helped to guide Ben to us. Because of Ben, I now work part time, and am able to spend more quality time with all my boys. We are able to slow down and enjoy things more, and we have gained a perspective on what is really important in life. To me those things are worth more than millions of dollars.

Thanks Mom! I miss you.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

11yr Old, Basketball and continued sickness

Happy Birthday John! Just 2 days ago, our oldest son turned 11. Wow! He is just a few years away from being a teenager. I am so not ready for this. We celebrated by going to Applebee's with Grandma and Grandpa on Sunday, and John got a big chocolate dessert all to himself. On his actual Birthday (Tuesday) we had pizza and cheesecake. Saturday we are going to a Down Syndrome event in Omaha at Skate Daze, and then going to the Amazing Pizza machine to finish out the celebration. Last Saturday and Sunday were his first two basketball games. They beat Weeping Water, and lost to Louisville by only 2 points. They were great games.
Here are a few pictures from the Louisville game.

Ben and Noah were not quite ready to give up on the stomach flu and decided to get it again last week. This version lasted a bit longer, and made them feel worse. Then they were gracious enough to share it with me. No fun. Ben decided twice was not enough and got it just one more time for good measure. I did not know a baby could vomit that much. He was only a little bit cranky this time and slept pretty good except for when he threw up in his crib. Since he was running a fever off and on, we went in to the Dr. just to make sure it was the stomach flu and not something more serious. With surgery coming up to replace the tubes in his ears, they decided to do the antibiotic shot this time. Wow! That did the trick. It was like someone just turned off the snot faucet and all of a sudden he was better. Now we just need to keep him that way until surgery. That will be the hard part. Hopefully the Lysol bomb that I set off in the house Monday will do the tick and keep the germs at bay.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Happy New Year...Sickness Stinks...So Does Snow

I would like to start by wishing everyone a very belated Happy New Year! We rang in the new year with a family game night at our house. We had lots of fun eating, talking and playing games. The kids had a blast. I was wiped out the next day and did not even get out of my pj's until nearly supper time. Below are a few pictures from the evening.

We have had quite a bit of sickness at our house this week. Ben was up very early Tuesday morning, (12:30 am until about 2:30 am) wheezing and coughing. It seemed like I had just got back to sleep when Noah came in and said "Mom. I need to show you something." A quick check of the clock showed that it was now 4:30. At least I got a couple hours of sleep. The something he wanted to show me was that he threw up in the sink in the bathroom. Hey, at least it was not his bed. That earned him a $1. It was a quick clean up, and so I got to go back to bed again. I feel asleep again about the time Randy's alarm went off. I let him know what had happened, and that I was really tired, and was volunteering to stay home. The rest of Tuesday was pretty uneventful. Noah seemed fine all day, and ate normally. Ben was still wheezy, but doing OK. He is still on antibiotic from his ear infection last week so I was not too worried about him.

Since they were predicting snow and Randy had something to do after work, we headed into Lincoln to do some errands and get some groceries in case we got snowed in. At HyVee they had a special for 99 cent pieces of pizza. Both boys were bugging me for pizza. I asked Noah if his tummy felt good enough for pizza and he said yes. So I let them each get a slice. Big mistake.

They called off school already before we went to bed because of the snow and bitter cold. Ben started running a fever, so I gave him some Tylenol.

About 12:30 am (again) Noah came in to my room and said "Mom, I think I am going to throw up!" I rushed him into the bathroom where he broke the bad news. "Mom, I already threw up on my bed and the floor. Nice. I am not liking the new carpet that much now, as it is really hard to pick out bitty pieces of mushy smelly pizza. I moved him to the couch and Ben to our bed and set to work cleaning it up. I don't even know when I got back to bed, but I was glad I did not have to get up in the morning.

Randy went to work the next morning (Wed) so I thought I would try to sign in to my work from home. Ben woke up and started crying (very unlike him). I picked him up an sat him on my lap while trying to type. He was still fussing and I could not figure out why. Then he coughed funny and I figured it out as he threw up in my hand. Poor baby with an ear infection, some nasty viral something, and now the stomach flu on top of it. How can one little baby have so many things going on at once. Needless to say I did not get much done that day other than rocking my sweet little boy. About mid morning he started signing eat, so we tried a little oatmeal, and a bit later some mac and cheese. By supper he was starving again, so at least I knew the flu stuff was gone.

Randy got home and reported that it was pretty bad out. By Thursday morning we were officially drifted in. Now I was starting to get worried. We only missed one of Ben's doses of antibiotics due to the stomach flu, but his breathing was getting worse. The wheezing was getting louder and his respiration rate was increasing. I could tell he was not in any immediate danger, but knew that it could turn for the worse at any point and here we are snowed in.

We tried warm liquids, and setting with him in the bathroom with the hot shower going to try to loosen him up but nothing seemed to work. This morning however, his fever seems to be much lower and his respiration rate is slower too. He still wheezes somewhat, but it is not as bad as it was. We are still completely snowed in, but I am not as worried now about having to call someone to dig us out so we can get Ben to a Dr. Randy and the boys ventured out despite the cold to see some of the drifts and even went over to check on the other house. Here are some pictures:

The drift by the other house

John and Noah laying on one of the many drifts in the road.

The road looking north. Don't let the foreground fool you. The drift at the top is shoulder deep.

The boys climbing some of the drifts.