Friday, June 26, 2009


Yesterday was a very tough day for me! My Kindergarten class had their End of Year celebration and I was invited. Bringing Lawson or Lacey was never even a thought in my mind, but initially I planned to go. I asked Brian to take off work to watch Lacey and Lawson and began thinking about the day. I thought about my sweet little kiddos and how much I miss them. I thought about how much they must have learned and all the stories they would have to share. I thought about the special meaning behind the day. I thought about all the hugs and closeness we would share. Then I thought about the number of children that attend Brassfield, which made me think about all the germs that must flying around there; the media coverage these days of spreading illnesses didn't help. Not that I think my little darlin's are germy, just that schools are known to be germy places. The more I thought about it, the more worried I became. Lawson's health, although stable, is still in a very critical phase these first few months. Plus after our meeting with Dr. Rice, I'm even more nervous than before knowing that his 'good lung' is not a 'good' as we thought! After consulting several different friends for advice, I decided that I just couldn't risk it. I felt so terrible not spending that special day with my sweeties, but I sent my love through special comments about each one that my assistant read as she gave them their certificates. I'm sure they'll forgive me and may have not even missed me, but I sure missed them!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Man, The Legend

We had our follow up appointment with Dr. Rice today. It was the first time I've had to get Lacey and Lawson ready all by myself and go anywhere. (We went to his regular pediatrician yesterday just for a weight check to see if they need to change his medicine dosing, but Brian met us at home before we went.) We were pretty excited that he us up to 9lb 10oz!!! Dr. Rice was excited to see us and very pleased with his progress. He did mention the x-ray that Dr. Majure had shared with us last week. He pulled it up for us to look at together again today. He pointed out that the right lung (the good one) is quite distneded, which it had been before we left the NICU. This was caused by the right mainstem intubation. He said that we shouldn't worry about it, but the fact that he mentioned it makes me worry a little. His exact words were, "Hmmm . . . I thought it would have gone back to normal by now." He recommended we come back for another x-ray in 3 months. I know I'll worry until then and be ridiculously overprotective, but it's been way too long coming to snuggle this little miracle to take any chances of getting him sick again!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Saying Goodbye

My mom has been here since March 18 helping me through the wild roller coaster that has been our lives for the past 3 months. At times we were terrified for Lawson's life, other times overjoyed with his progress. There is no way I could have been as strong as I've been without her. It's hard for me to understand the selflessness she has shown to dedicate that much time to our lives, but I am forever grateful!

They left around 10am, so I got my first taste of what it will be like to have Lacey and Lawson home with me. After I got over crying when they left, I think we did pretty well. The hardest thing is figuring out the timing of pumping and feeding. Lawson ate right on schedule and napped beautifully. One thing that's rather funny, we have an awesome pack-n-play that converts into a bassinet with a changing table. We've been told it's the 'Cadillac' of convertible bassinets. We used it with Lacey and from what I remember she slept in there pretty well. Lawson, however, hates it! The only place he will sleep is in the sleep positioner on the couch or chair in our family room. And he LOVES to sleep in the Boppy pillow. (Yes, I know it says not to let your baby sleep in them, but when he's sleeping in his Boppy, I'm sitting right next to him.) It actually works out pretty well, since I'm usually sitting on the couch pumping anyway! So it was a pretty good day overall. We'll see if I can keep up with them!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Back to Duke

We headed back to Duke today for the first of many follow up visits with his 'old friends' there. This appointment was with Dr. Majure, one of the pulmonologists. We knew about 'Duke time' from our experience there in the NICU, but we weren't prepared for 'Clinic Duke time'! Our scheduled time was 11am. By about noon, they suggested that we go ahead downstairs for his chest x-ray, since the doctor wasn't ready yet. The directions were less than clear and we ended up in the adult x-ray department, which we didn't find out until about 15 minutes later as we sat in the waiting room. The receptionist finally redirected us to another waiting room where we waited another 30 minutes. This went on all day throughout his variety of tests in different areas of the hospital. We were finally headed home by about 3:30pm.

The great news is that Lawson is doing wonderfully. Dr. Majure was one of the doctors who spent quite a bit of time on Lawson's case. After reviewing the results of his tests and his chest x-ray, his exact words were, "It is a miracle that Lawson is alive and even more of a miracle that he is doing as well as he is!" Needless to say, we were overjoyed to hear that news! He has been able to drop one of his daily breathing treatments, so now he's down to only one nebulizer treatment per day! He's up to 8lbs 14oz and 22in!! He'll be topping 9lbs soon! :)

In other news, my dad arrived today to take my mom back home to Virginia. The real world will be kicking in soon!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Swim Lessons

Today Lacey got her first swim lesson of the season. She was so excited she could hardly wait! Since my mom's still here, she kept Lawson at home while Brian and I watched Lacey. She took a few lessons last year and by the end of the season, she would go underwater near the steps, but I would definitely say that she cannot swim. Her lesson today was basically a review of the skills she learned last year. She will put her face in the water and likes to jump off the side if someone catches her, but she's still working on keeping her legs behind her and straight when she kicks. She loves the pool and I'm sure she's going to get really good at it. Brian thinks I should bring her to the pool every day to practice. I think he's got a LOT more confidence in me than I do! :) I'm not sure if I'm talented enough to watch Lacey in the pool and Lawson in the stroller and keep both of them safe. Maybe in a few weeks when Lawson is ready, some of my stay home mom friends or traditional school teachers on summer break can tag team with me at the pool. Any takers?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Happy 3 Month Birthday, Lawson!

Today is Lawson's 3 month birthday! This afternoon, my mom and I had to make a 'quick' trip to the Patsy Aiken Attic Sale to return one of the outfits that we got at the last sale that didn't fit Lacey. We took her with us, so of course, it wasn't a 'quick' trip. I wanted her try on everything so I didn't have to return stuff again! Lacey, on the other hand, just wanted to try on everything . . . except what I picked out. Unfortunately, we missed the 30 day return period on all the cute little outfits I got Lawson a few sales ago, before he was born. According to my calculations, the huge prego belly I was packin', Lacey's size as a newborn, and his daddy's size, I figured he would need stuff in 6 Months for the summer. He's 3 months old now and just beginning to fit into his size Newborn stuff. Oh well, maybe he'll fit into them next summer or keep your eyes open for them on ebay! lol

Daddy got his first experience home alone with Lawson during our shopping trip today. By the time we got home, he was ready to pass the baton! All that super dad stuff gets old fast. I guess we'll see if the SD cape can still fly once my mom is gone, since the title is really only earned with longevity! lol She has definitely made life MUCH easier for both of us! She does so much, she puts us to shame! I honestly think if she could pump for me, she would, just to show me it can be done! lol Brian and I are both in for a reality check pretty soon! It'll be a different story without Super Mamaw as backup. You know, I'm not sure which emotion will overcome her first once she's gone, missing Lacey and Lawson, or pride in the fact that we will never be able to keep this house as clean as she does! ;)

Friday, June 12, 2009

New Beginnings

As I've mentioned in an earlier post, we've pulled Lacey out of daycare to prevent her from bringing home germs while Lawson's condition is still very fragile. And since I'm not returning to work, we don't need all day daycare. However, as I've also mentioned in an earlier post, Lacey's appetite for learning is almost insatiable. So we've decided to enroll Lacey in preschool. We've had her on the waitlist at The Raleigh School since I decided to stay home next year. We got the call this week that she's been accepted! We stopped by to pick up some paperwork and let Lacey check out the classroom and playground today. She loved it and so do we! She will go from 1pm - 4pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays starting in September. By then, Lawson will be 6 months old and should be able to better handle the germs Lacey may bring home. Things just keep getting better and better! :)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Working out the kinks

Brian is back to work, but thankfully my mom is still here with me. Since Lawson is on such a strict feeding/medication schedule, we're trying to use that as a baseline to work out a sort of daily schedule, a lesson plan if you will. Those of you who know me well, know how much I like a plan! Seriously, without a plan I would never accomplish anything! So I guess it's more of a need than a 'like'. :)

I've had almost two weeks to get a feel for our new day and three days doing it without Brian. My mom and I are attempting to create a spreadsheet of days and times so we can fill in all the things that have to happen at a specific time; mixing up Lawson's 'potion', feeding Lawson, feeding Lacey, pumping, giving Lawson's meds, giving Lacey's meds, giving Lawson's nebulizer, and washing bottles and pump parts. Those are the 'must dos' every single day, most of which fall within a 3 hour range, I have to be pretty regimented to get it all in.

Even with my mom being here, one of the things that seems to get pushed off schedule is pumping. I know how important it is for Lawson to get the breastmilk, which translates to being important for me to pump, but somehow finding time to sit here for 30 minutes, when there are so many other 'active' things I need to do, seems elusive. Plus Lawson needs to be either sleeping or happy and comfortable for at least 30 minutes, since it's next to impossible for me to hold him while I pump. Lacey is a huge help, but I can't put that much responsibility on her.
Then of course, there are the other things we need to schedule into our day/week, such as Lacey's learning and 'project' times, outdoor play, baths, grocery shopping, cleaning, laundry, cooking . . . I know many mothers before me have done this and done it well, but I'll go ahead and admit - I'm scared! I'm barely making it happen right now, while mom is still here to entertain Lawson and Lacey, so I'm a little nervous for her to leave. My dad is coming to visit Father's Day weekend and she'll be heading home with him that next week. That means I've got less than two weeks to work out the kinks!
(Speaking of working out kinks, I'm planning to go back and add some pictures to the older posts, now that I have a better idea of how this blogger thing works. Back then I was just trying to get all my thoughts in written form, but now I'd like to match the pictures up with the time frame. So I apologize if you're a blog 'follower'; I think you'll receive an email each time I make changes.)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

"A gooo"

Lawson had the second of his many follow up appointments yesterday. This was with his regular pediatrician to check for appropriate weight gain. We were sooooooooo proud of him . . . he is up to 8lb 4oz!! That's up 1 lb 2oz since we brought him home from the hospital! The doctor made us feel very good about what we've been doing with him. :)

That's really all the news we have to share, but I HAVE to share this video! Seriously, could he get any cuter!?

Friday, June 5, 2009


We've been home with Lawson exactly one week today and I really can't think of one reason to complain, except maybe that we’ve become huge germaphobes! He's eating like a champ, growing like a weed, smiling like crazy, and sleeping like a log!! We're all getting plenty of sleep and eating well, including Lawson. He stays awake about 3 hours throughout the day and he goes right back to sleep at night after his feedings. He's also averaging between 75 and 80mls each feeding!
You know you've been stuck in the house for a while, when you're sitting at the dinner table and your 3 year old daughter says, "Mommy! Why are you still wearing your pajamas?! And the next morning after my shower, she says, "Why did you dress up like that?!" I was wearing jeans and a black shirt. LOL! I guess she got used to seeing me in my pajamas. Nevertheless we’re not really feeling any cabin fever just yet. Although Lawson is not allowed to ‘go public’ quite yet, Brian took him and Lacey for a walk around the block for some fresh air and they all loved it! Brian gets to the gym every once in a while. Lacey and I have been to Target a few times to pick up bottles and such as we try to find just the right one. She and I even made it to a birthday party today! I’ll have to admit, I was a wreck the whole time worrying about her picking up germs. I couldn’t help carefully inspecting each little nose for the slightest little ‘run’ and I think I made her wash her hands 100 times! We're still keeping up with the pumping, freezing, thawing, mixing, feeding, washing procedure. To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure if I’ll be able to accomplish much else each day when mom leaves and Brian goes back to work! As I mentioned in a recent post, Brian has really stepped up to the plate. Not that he wasn’t helpful when Lacey was born, this is just much more than I expected. I’m talkin’ cooking, cleaning, mixing up and washing bottles, feeding and entertaining Lawson, putting Lacey to bed, running errands, and so many more things. Let’s just say, I REALLY like the ‘new’ Brian! :) Although he does take germaphobe to a whole new level! lol

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


When Lacey woke up this morning, she came into my room just as I was about to get into the shower. Lawson was still asleep in the bassinette next to our bed, mom was still snoozing in her room, and Brian was already downstairs. Assuming Lacey would want to eat breakfast immediately, as she usually does, I said, "I really need to get in the shower, but Daddy's downstairs." To my surprise she climbed up onto my bed and said, "OK. I'll watch Lawson for you." Amazed by her maturity, I went along with it. After a few moments, I heard him crying. Lacey came running into the bathroom shouting, "Mommy, Lawson needs you!" I told her I couldn't get out yet and she'd have to figure it out. In classic Lacey style, she raced to her bathroom to get her stool, dragged it down the hall, climbed up, and gave Lawson his pacifier; crisis averted! Every day her grace and acceptance of her responsiblities as Big Sister astound me!
We are all still adjusting to our new version of normalcy. I'm still pumping every 3 - 4 hours. Lacey is absolutely indispensible. Brian is totally stepping up to the plate and vying for Dad of the Year. (Seriously, those of you who know him well, would be shocked and impressed! lol) My mom is starting to talk about when she should leave. Although we don't want her to leave - ever, we realize that at some point she will and when she does, our 'normal' will change once again. One thing that is certain currently, is that I will not be returning to teaching for at least a year. The team of doctors at Duke who saved Lawson's life were clear in their recommendation that, if at all possible, he should not enter a daycare setting until at least his first birthday due to his susceptibility to infection and need for individualized care. Not to mention the numerous follow up appointments we will have over the coming year. We already have 3 scheduled over the next month. So needless to say, staying home is a no-brainer for us. I mean seriously, how could you leave that adorable face!?
Honestly though, I find that Teacher is a role I just can't shake! It's a good thing that Lacey has a voracious appetite for learning! I took her to the library and lunch at Jersey Mike's today, just the two of us, to show her how much I appreciate her help with Lawson. We found ourselves sounding out and labeling the things on our table- bag, cup, lid, chips, napkin, etc, with the Sharpie I just happened to have in my purse. When class let out, we arrived home just in time for Lawson's bottle and medicine administration, so I assumed my role of Nurse.

Staying home with my children is definietly a role I've always wanted to take on, so I'm pretty excited to gain the title 'Stay Home Mom'. Although I'm not sure the logistics of the term . . . do I still get to call myself a Stay Home Mom if I'm technically on leave? If we look at semanitcs, I am, in fact, staying home. So I think I'll go ahead and claim that title, at least for a year! ;)

Monday, June 1, 2009

The New Normal

To say that the past few days have been wonderful would be an understatement. Lawson is such a good baby and Lacey has exceeded any expectation we may have had of her as a big sister! We’ve spent the weekend getting to know one another and snuggling, snuggling, snuggling!! Lawson is definitely a smiler! At his ‘newborn well baby’ (neither of which he is) appointment today with his regular pediatrician, she said that his social smiling and tracking faces across the midline are great milestones for him to reach at this point, considering his adjusted preemie age being a little under 1 month due to his early arrival and the surgery. He smiles, coos, nuzzles, looks right into our eyes, and LOVES his big sister! This has been a long time coming!

When we got home Saturday our neighbors just happened to be out in the yard and some of our friends just happened to be dropping off welcome home gifts, so they got the first glimpse of Lawson's arrival home. But Lauri was the first 'non-nurse’ to see our little miracle; a perk she received for a huge favor! Since we didn't know we were bringing Lawson home until we got to the hospital on Friday, we didn't have 'the outfit' that my mom and I spent hours shopping for. When I called mom to tell her the great news, she immediately said, "What about his outfit?!" I knew there were several people I could count on to help out, but Lauri was the one who answered the phone! ;) Being in the Care By Parent Room gave us a little leeway with the 'visitation' rule, since she didn't have to pass a check in point to get there. Lauri arrived with the precious cargo right after we finished Lawson's bath, just in time to get him dressed. After all the things she has done for us, it seems appropriate that she got to see him first.

Our first evening together at home was pretty uneventful. Brian and I spent the evening ironing out the details of his feeding and medicine schedule. He has to feed every 3 hours and take 4 different medicines at different intervals throughout the day. His milk is a concoction of my breastmilk, Enfamil formula for the calories, and Simply Thick to make it safer for him to swallow. Since it is truly ‘work’ for Lawson to feed right now, this has been our biggest challenge. He wears himself out about 1/3 way through his bottle and goes to sleep. However, he needs the calories, so we have to keep prodding and poking him until he takes his required minimum of 51ml. In all fairness, he has done wonderfully and takes an average of 65ml each time, although not without a fight. He’s a GREAT sleeper and we have to wake HIM to feed throughout the night. I think this is a good predictor that he’ll sleep through the night when he’s mature enough not to need feedings so often. At least we hope.

Since I’m talking about feeding, I’ll go ahead and take this opportunity to whine about how much more complicated it is to bottlefeed than breastfeed. I know this is what we have to do to help Lawson grow healthy and strong safely and I will stick to it as long as we need to, but I reserve the right to grumble! ;) I have to pump every 3 hours, expressing the milk into small bottles, which we then freeze. Then when it’s time for him to feed, also every 3 hours, we must unfreeze a bottle which was pumped weeks ago, to keep the stash fresh. We then take the thawed milk, which has to be in increments of 60 to mix with the Enfamil and increments of 15 to mix with the Simply Thick, to create the perfect potion. If it is one of the times he must have medicine, we have to mix up a separate bottle of 15ml in which to add the medicine, which gets drawn up in tiny syringes. The smaller, medicine laced bottle, must be given first in case he doesn’t finish his whole bottle. So all this equals two bottles, two nipples, two nipple rings, 3 syringes, and two sets of pump parts to wash every 3 hours. Whew! OK, I’ll stop complaining now. Please forgive my tirade.

There’s sooooooooo much more to share and I feel guilty for using my time to whine, but it’s time to wake my boy for his next feeding. More happy news later . . .