Thursday, November 21, 2013


Oklahoma State University Football is ranked number 11, a new restaurant has opened in my little town, and Adam Levine is the sexiest man alive.  Other than that, not a whole lot has been going on for the month of November in Weaver-land.  Britt is growing out his (obligatory November) beard, the kids are keeping us slightly less busy as we have no sports activities this month, and we have finally caught up on all the 2 year visits for Finn’s specialists. 

November is Prematurity Awareness month, so our activities with the March of Dimes have kept us a little busy.  Britt and I were honored to be guests at the March of Dimes Signature Chef’s event in Oklahoma City earlier this month.  We enjoyed an eight-course meal presented by local chefs (and a brew-master), a live auction, and just a GREAT night out!  We have been busy growing our local March for Babies committee and laying the ground work for the 2014 walk, too.  We have a date, a location, and an Ambassador Family.  Now, we just need an event chair, and about1,000 other details!  Last Sunday, November 17, was World Prematurity Day.  As a family, we spent the afternoon at the Mercy NICU handing out cookies, freebies, and information to help raise awareness of this important topic.  We also watched on Facebook as buildings around the WORLD were lit up with purple lights in order to show their support.  It really is an amazing thing to be a part of!

Even though it is not QUITE Thanksgiving yet, I have started my Holiday Sales in earnest over at my Dream Weaver Prints shop!  I am not doing a ton of Christmas stuff this year – in order to allow time for MY family, but I do have some printables for download, and I am taking some special orders for Christmas cards.  Get your order in fast before my time slots fill up!

As we are turning the corner towards Thanksgiving this week, I am reminded of how blessed I am to be in the time and place I am, and to have the amazing and wonderful family that I do.  My great husband, fabulous kids, a good home, a nice job, and a wonderful community to share it all with.  I am looking forward to this busy holiday time, and I am super excited about what 2014 holds for our family!  I hope you take time over the next few weeks to reflect on your blessings and all the things you have to be thankful for!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

But, I don’t want to push anymore...

You’re right.  It sounds whiny and selfish.  And you’re right, again.  Some days, I am whiny and selfish.  Some days, I am the exact things that cause my precious 2 year old son to drive me batty.  The biggest differences?  I can communicate effectively about it.  AND, I have opposable thumbs so I can TYPE about it and put in on the internet.  WINNING.

Parenting is hard.  Preemie parenting is a whole new ball game.  That, frankly, I didn’t buy tickets for.  They were given to me.  Forced upon me MONTHS before I was able to fathom the responsibilities that came with it.  While I can see them for the irreplaceable and miraculous gift that they are, there are times I want to say “NO, Thanks!” and give back the tickets to the crappy seats with the questionable view to the game with too many overtimes. But then, it’s the seventh inning stretch, everyone is happy and celebrating a comfortable lead, and I remember, not everyone gets to experience the game this way.  Not every Mom was trusted with the challenges of premature babies.  It’s an elite club.  One I am truly blessed to be a member of.

So, why all the baseball non-sense?  Because I have had a few of “those” days lately.  And it makes being a Mommy hard.  Life after NICU is not an easy road.  I am tired of pushing.  Pushing and pulling, coaxing and coddling, to get my baby to “catch up” to normal 2 year olds.  I often wonder WHY?  Why does he need to be normal or “within the range of normal” for a specific development?  We were often told in the NICU by well-meaning staff, and even by other preemie parents that were on the “outside,” that preemies were strong and resilient and that most of them in Finn’s situation (without specific medical complications at discharge) will “catch up” by 2 years old.  I am so grateful for a friend who I met for the first time when Finn was about 2 weeks old.  He was still in the hospital (of course), but I had come home to go to a party with some friends.  She was there, and she had a son who was 4 at the time who was a preemie – a surviving twin. She knew our story and who we were, and not 20 seconds into our very first conversation she told me, “They don’t all catch up.  People will tell you by age 2 he’ll catch up, but don’t be surprised if he doesn’t.”  Honestly, I hated her for that (we’ve talked, we’re over it – GREAT friends now!).  I hated that she had burst my bubble that I had worked for DAYS to build up just so I could come home to this party while my baby fought for his life.  Way to ruin my evening, Friend.  But looking back, I am SO GLAD she was so brutally honest with me.  While Finn is GREAT and PERFECT and WONDERFUL, he is tiny, and has lung problems, and some hearing loss, and speech delays, and feeding (texture) issues.  And he’s TWO.  He is not your average 2 year old.

This was all brought on by the milestones he has reached recently, and the ways in which he is still behind.  Right around his second birthday last month, Finn’s vocabulary really JUMPED!  We were so excited as 3 words became 10, 10 became 20 and 20 become 50 in a very short period of time!  The “plan” we had written with our Child Development Specialist (that comes 1-2 times a month to assess Finn, and has since the day he came home from the NICU), has indicated we wanted him to have 50 words, so we were THERE!  YAY!  Celebrations abound!  Until, she says, “OK!  Now, when I come next time we have to write a new plan with new goals.”  *sigh*  Over the last 2 years, we have done this several times.  Written a plan, met the goal, written a new plan.  He had a plan to get off the supplemental oxygen.  He had a plan to roll over.  To push up, sit up, stand up; crawl, walk, run; chew, babble, talk… And on and on and on.  We’re always working towards the next goal.  Always pushing.  Always pulling.  What if I don’t want to try so hard anymore?  It’s tiring.  It’s frustrating.  It’s disappointing when there is no progress.  Finn is still very much the same personality he was in the NICU.  He is stubborn.  Wants to do things his way and in his own time.  He was often on the brink of something good happening during his hospital stay (off the oscillator, on to bottle feed, etc), and he would regress and we would have to wait several days to get back to that point.  He is still the same way.  Reminds me of all the roller coaster dips and turns we took 2 years ago.

Here we were at 50 words, and we hit a plateau.  No new words.  No stringing 2 words together.  No sentences.  And, we noticed his eating habits were getting worse and worse, not better.  In his imaginary perfect world, he would like to survive on PediaSure (but only the vanilla or strawberry; hates banana, and I hate the chocolate because it stains) and Goldfish alone.  And because ANY food or calorie intake is better than none, I am pretty sure a few days he does just that.  But, that’s not what ne needs to be doing.  He gets 2 bottles of PediaSure a day.  (At an average of  $1.67 per can, that’s $3.33 a day, $23.33 a week, $95 a month – his drinking habits cost more than any of his brother and sister’s lessons or activities).  Some days, he gets 3 (cha-ching).  Plus, the 2% milk – typically flavored with strawberry or chocolate just so he will drink it.  He will only eat things that are crunchy (cookies, crackers, chips, cereal).  Nothing smooth (aside from an occasional pudding), slick or slimy.  This includes all fruits and vegetables.  His favorite meat is chicken.  And yes, we feed him beef, pork and shrimp but tell him it’s chicken.  It works.  Like 20% of the time.  The WIC nurse was upset with me at our last appointment because he doesn’t eat fruits or vegetables.  I was tired, and I know.  So I said, “OK.  YOU try to feed him and see how it works.”  I know it was rude, but did she honestly think I didn’t know he needs a balanced diet?  HE WON’T EAT!  Anyway – I know all the talking and eating issues are related.  He was intubated for 7 weeks.  That’s a super long time.  

Finn. Early days. Intubated.
So, here we are.  Pushing again.  He has decided the Buddy Fruits blended fruit puree pouches are acceptable again (when he was first introduced to solids we relied on these heavily, but he started refusing them months ago).  But only certain kinds.  I can't keep track of what he likes and refuses to even get close to.  You should se the fits he throws when he thinks we are trying to "trick" him with real milk instead of his beloved PediaSure.  Good times.  We are sneaking in veggies where we can, with limited success.  Our “plan” for this next 3 months is to get him to eat a better variety of textures, and to get to 2 word combinations (blue ball, bug truck, my fork). 

We talk and talk and talk to him to get him to repeat us.  Even if we’re tired.  And don’t want to.  And we throw away more food than you can imagine trying to get him to try just one more thing.  We could feed a third world village on Finn's scraps.  There are days when I really just want him to be “normal.” To have a “normal” day without constantly working with him to make some grandiose stride towards a goal.  So, I let us have those days.  Days where I don’t push and I don’t worry and I don’t force.  But then it’s right back to the pushing.  It’s not about me.  It’s about Finn.  And his future.  We have no idea what that will look like, but as parents of this precious miracle, it’s our job privilege to make sure he is ready.  So we push.  Day after day.  Month after month.  And, it’s totally worth it.  Even on my worst days, my most dramatic whiny and selfish days, he is so very worth it.