Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Do I Have To Stop Counting Weeks?

I hope not...he sounds so much littler when I answer "12 weeks, today" versus "3 months" and I just DON'T want him to get any bigger!!!

Well, of course I do, but I just hate how fast time is going by and how big he is getting...I just cannot believe that it has been 12 weeks!!!! We had to run all over the place in Annapolis today and it just seemed like YESTERDAY.

Little Luke...mommy wants you to grow up to be a strong, healthy man of God...just not so quickly!

He hit 11 pounds this week! About an hour ago, he weighed in at 11 lbs., 4.5 oz. He is really chugging along on the growth curves and definitely moving more 'up' than curving, so I guess he really is taking after his Granddad! People see him and say, "He's so little!" I laugh and tell them, "This is big!!!!" It really is--we brought him home at 5 lbs., 10 oz. and so he's almost double his birth weight! He's a good boy and a good eater and even getting some more pudge. I love it!

We had to see the pediatric dermatologist today. The cradle crap is just AWFUL and I couldn't take "Just use cortisone two times a day" any more without seeing a specialist to give me more direction. There was a miraculous cancellation in Annapolis (otherwise, we'd have waited until the beginning of June!) so we took it today! The doctor was really nice, and more, told me she was a mom of a 3 year-old and 11 month-old so she could feel my pain! She told me that his case was definitely a more significant than typical case of seborrheic dermatitis (cradle crap!) and this didn't surprise me since he DOES come from a line of overachievers! In all things, we tend to go to the extreme, don't we.

Sigh. Wish it wasn't that way all the time.

Anyway, she said the cream was fine to use longer-term if needed, just use it as needed and to come back in a month so she could check it out. She said she wasn't convinced there wasn't some eczema because of the profound body involvement but we'd have to wait until he gets older and the cradle crap clears a bit more. She also said she bet I was frustrated because so many people think that cradle cap is just a little bit of dandruff and I've been just an overprotective, neurotic mom and it was obvious that this wasn't your typical "just rub some oil on his head" case. I loved her saying that because as we all know, I always walk the fine line of being judged for being too concerned and hovering--so it was nice to hear validation that this was something serious enough to actually warrant a dermatologist. Not that I really wondered, but it's nice to be validated regardless.

But...it's not serious enough to worry about anything other than managing it, so I am grateful!

We couldn't go to Annapolis without visiting our cheerleaders, so we stopped by Shady Grove to visit with Dr. K and Jackie and staff...I cried as I walked up to the door. It was actually pretty overwhelming, and that surprised me.

Then again, nothing surprises me anymore.

They gushed and gushed over Luke and honestly, I just couldn't be more thankful and grateful for such wonderful and compassionate people.

We then headed over to our Dr. Sweeney to bring some goodies and say hello to them as well. Luke has his fan club there, and honestly, there really is just no price to put on the amazing team of people that have surrounded us as we've brought Matthew and Luke into this world. One day, maybe Luke will be able to understand just how amazingly he's been loved. I pray so.

Dr. Sheth upped Luke's Zantac again. We just didn't think it was cutting it and he agreed that now that he is 2 pounds heavier, we needed to up the dose. He also said that if we continued to see somewhat so-so effects from the Zantac, we could go to Prevacid...he just tries to go there as last ditch because it is 30 times more potent than Zantac. I appreciate that Dr. Sheth is conservative but takes things seriously at the same time. I HATE that we are going to have to find another pediatrician in Jacksonville.

Actually, I hate that we are going to be back in the 'real world'. By this, I mean the world where no one knows where we've been and what drives us now...I feel like we live in this cocoon here in Maryland--we are surrounded by so, so, so many people who love us and pray for us and look out for us--and when we speak or act, there's no surprise at what motivates our words or actions.

Though we lived in NC for years (and loved it!), I feel sort of like to some degree, we are losing a huge support system and have to start over.

And then I check Facebook and see all sorts of posts from all my New River friends...parents, students, friends still there---and am excited for the reunions!

Luke is more and more smiley and giggly. He can easily go 4-5 hours a night without eating, but he is such a light sleeper, he wakes up at least once an hour (and me in the process). He quickly settles and goes back to sleep--doesn't even really cry unless it's the feeding wakeup--but straight sleep is hard to come by. I have been swaddling for naps, but not at night because for some reason, he'll go to sleep unswaddled at night but not for naps...or not easily at least. His startle reflex is still just SO sensitive...I think we'll be in business when that gets more under control! As it stands now, his 'stretches' are 3-5 hours, but 'we' wake up every hour, if only for a minute or two. I know, I know...may be time to transition to his own room in that case, but seeing as we are leaving in 2 and a half months and will need to start all over, I'm hesitant to do that. Not to mention that who knows how long we'll be in something temporary while we wait for Base Housing (the wait is 3-8 months...SO NOT having fun trying to find a place to live for that time!) and he'll have to be in his pack and play anyway, so why start the crib, then take it away again?

Not to mention, I love having him near me. I hate it when he's not near.

I love him so much.

Here are some pictures from the week...not as many as I'd like because Blogger is giving me a Bad Error Request message. I HATE uploading pictures on blogger. HATE it.

I'm part giraffe????????


Daddy's going to buy me a plane? AWESOME!

Dixie keeps a close eye on her boy!

"I'm so over these pictures!"

Bundled up for church!

Okay, see...he does cry. I always tell everyone he doesn't cry, and it's because really, he doesn't. But, every now and then, we'll see some disappointment! I feel bad for him because half the time he cries, we laugh because it's so unusual and funny! What a blessing, huh? We can laugh when our little one cries because it's SO rare...seriously, he is just such an amazing blessing!

"I hate these socks!" But seriously, how cute is his outfit????

"Why won't anyone take me seriously?????"

Monday, March 28, 2011

Missing My Matthew....

...which is not new, just especially heavy on my heart today. It's a 28th...and I didn't even think anything of it until I saw several posts on FB sending me love.

Is that how it starts?

No longer looking at a date on a calendar (without being reminded) and getting that sick feeling in my stomach as I calculate how long it's been without him?
485 days, 2 hours, 24 minutes and 29 seconds

Or...1 year, 4 months, 2 hours, 24 minutes, 29 seconds

Spending the morning with a friend as we gush over Luke...with fewer tears from me as Matthew is mentioned?

Buying a Little Brother shirt more because it's just cute (and great colors for Luke!) and less to remind the world that someone precious came before him?

Is this where Matthew's life begins to become a heartbreaking part of the book...but several chapters back?

It's at least where the guilt of all of that being true weighs on me.

I miss that boy. As I type, I am crying. Can't-swallow-kind-of-crying. Wow-it's-been-a-long-time-kind-of-crying....

But it's not just in missing him. It's in feeling like he is slipping away from me.

I know it's inevitable. It's not supposed to dominate my life. It's SUPPOSED to be something that I acclimate to (which is so unnatural) and learn to accept and still be able to enjoy life and the blessings I've been given since.

It just hurts when he feels so far away. And more people on the internet remember him today than his own mother does. Is it missing him that hurts me so much right now or the guilt in living life to the fullest I can without him?

Either way...it hurts.

There are two sites I want to share for anyone interested. One is the blog of a man I came across through a FB post--I cried and cried and cried when reading his little one's story...and want to share his blog as those who decide to follow him will help to bring about donations for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep...such a worthy, worthy, PRECIOUS ministry. Please go there and if nothing else, just follow to help NILMDTS. I know I'd be lost without our pictures and are so grateful for our sweet Maureen.

The other site is Jenni Saake's Hannah's Hope site--Hannah's Prayer is sponsoring retreats for those who deal/have dealt with infertility and/or pregnancy loss. The information for those retreats can be found here. I know I wish I was closer to either!!!

Missing you, my sweet Matthew. Not sure how Heaven works, but pray that you know you are so, so loved and missed, even if Mommy sometimes just forgets how much.

"For this child, I prayed..."

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Whooooooo's 11 Weeks??


I know, I know...I'm biased. I AM his mother, after all. It's like law or something that I think he is the cutest little thing going right now.

But seriously, isn't he?

I love this little boy so much. My days are more and more just consumed with loving on him. When he is up, nothing else gets done or even close to having attention paid. Dishes sit, laundry waits (well, except for his diapers and his clothes!), floors remain un-vacummed for days (which is SO NOT ME!) and we just cuddle. And snuggle. And I hug him and kiss him and tickle him and make myself silly making him laugh and taking picture after picture after picture.

It's truly a great life. I thought about that yesterday--just how sweet my days are--filled with nothing but Luke and loving it and being SO, SO thankful that John has a job that allows me to do that.

I have to remember that, on those days that the Marine Corps just makes NO sense to me and in its infinite wisdom, moves us, deploys him and leaves John yet again missing out on who knows how much of his son's life?

I know...it happens ALL THE TIME. Of course it does. Millions of men and women sacrifice their family time for the welfare of our country...and miss out on lots of life of their children.

I just feel like John has already lost a lifetime with one son. I hate the thought of him missing a single second of his other son's life.

And yet, John is getting more and more psyched to move. He's ready to get back into the fleet and remind himself of what Marines do--Marines out of the testing community, that is. He's ready.

So we will be too.

In any event, as I said, I am grateful, grateful, grateful for a good job that my husband loves and allows me to spend every second with Luke. Oorah it is.

I weighed Luke this morning and he was 10 lbs., 12 oz., in a clean diaper, which is how we weigh him at the doctor's. In pictures, you can see his little baby belly getting bigger, and he actually has some chub on his thighs (not much, but still!), elbows and a sweet double chin! His cheeks are getting down-right jowl-like and he is precious beyond precious when he smiles with a big grin! Breastfeeding is easier still, though we have our moments where he fights. I think between the reflux and my flow, he just has to wave off some. That's ok, that it's easier makes all the difference in the world and I'm glad I stuck it out past those first few weeks. Still won't lie and say that I wasn't a teeny bit jealous when a FB friend was ordered by her doctor to exclusively pump (can't remember the reason) for her daughter...I secretly (or not so, since I am typing it!) think I would love it if the doctor ordered that for me! I guess it's all about permission, huh?

He is SO strong! He stands up on us all the time and he is getting such great control of his neck! He really is more like a baby and less a newborn. He's starting to reach out for things that catch his fancy and is such a happy, happy boy. Well, except for when we change his diaper or take him out of the bathtub! He LOVES his bath so much that he HATES getting out! We have been working on sleeping unswaddled--and he doesn't do too horribly at night. It takes him a bit to settle, but he's not really fussy as he does, and then he's pretty good about going to sleep unswaddled. He's not as great at taking naps unswaddled, though, which I think is interesting in that he knows the difference between naps and nighttime. So, if need be, I revert to swaddling for naps.

I think we are working a bit on some day-night confusion. He still will only go about 3, maybe 3 and a half hours between feeds in the evenings, but during the day, if we are out and about, he'll stay in his car seat for a good 5 hours sometimes (once or twice, even longer!) and not make a peep--for diaper, paci or food! So, I am going to try and switch those 4-5 hour blocks he'll do during the day (if I let him) to the night. I am waking him up after 2 hours if the nap lasts longer, and stuffing food down him like there is no tomorrow so he'll have less need at night. Hopefully, as he gets a bit heavier, the nighttime stretches will lengthen as well. Any suggestions are welcome!

I thought he was teething, and he still may be, but I'm pretty sure it's not. I posted on Facebook about it and my friend Jeanne told me about these things called Bohn's Nodules and that's what it seems like he has--one of those. We'll of course keep an eye on it!

Here are a few pictures of my sweet boy. I just love him so much. I love that he's so dependent on me and that he knows I love him. I love that I can settle him like no one else can and that he gives me sweet little looks that are only for me. I love how he wraps my finger in his little hand and how he makes these soft, sweet little noises when I cuddle him. I just love him.

And wish with all my heart, every day, that I was able to share this kind of relationship with my Matthew. It's so precious with Luke--and every day, I feel more and more that he TOTALLY knows my world is built around him.

I pray my Matthew knew that I loved him that much.
That I still love him that much.

Here are some pictures from the week:

Luke's St. Patty's Day Photo Shoot

Look at the difference between natural light and flash!

What're you lookin' at?????

My daddy's buying me a pony? Awesome!

Sweet smiles for Miss Ann!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Medicine and More Medicine...

Poor boy...he's on all sorts of medicine! Today, at 10 weeks, I'd venture to say Luke is easily over 10 pounds, hooray! At the doctor last week, he was about 9 lbs., 10 or so ounces, though he was clothed. That was Thursday, so I bet he's at 10 or more now. Which is good information to know, seeing as his name is written on various medicinal bottles throughout the house and we have to adjust dosages.

He's still on Zantac for reflux. Which seems to work, provided the dosage is appropriate.

He takes Colic Calm (he really loves the black licorice flavor!) for his hiccups--mainly because he gets hiccups a good bit and they are often wet because of the reflux, so I try to nip them in the bud when they appear.

He has an eye cream prescribed for his infected tear duct...although I am still dousing his eye with breast milk at each feeding and that helps. It just isn't clearing it up fast enough, so I think we are going to start administering the cream.

He has hydrocortisone cream for his cradle crap (and seriously, we think cradle cap is CRAP!) because his poor little face is just awful without it. I am using it sparingly, but if I go more than about 2-3 days without the cream, he ends up with a horrible rash that gets crusty yellow and just looks like it hurts terribly.

And now, after the visit with the pediatric urologist, he has an antibiotic added to the mix. We saw her on Thursday (loved her, by the way!) and basically Luke either has an obstruction of the kidney or ureter or reflux of either. He has to be on an antibiotic for maybe a year or longer to ward off urinary tract infections. The doctor said that if he even has a hint of a fever, we have to have his urine tested. We also have to go to Childrens in DC on April 1 for a procedure which will require a catheter to check the plumbing out. I am going to HATE that for him.

Poor boy! Through all of this, he is still such a sweet and happy baby. He's just so calm and mellow...you'd never know about all the meds and issues.

We aren't worried much. After researching all the stuff that goes with infant kidney issues for Matthew, I feel like I am pretty prepared for just about anything with Luke. It could be as benign as just this being his anatomy and we will keep on the antibiotics for a while or require more invasive treatment...I have come to learn though that even if we had to remove his kidney (SO NOT where we are headed, I am sure!) that we'd still be ok. People live without one all the time and don't even know it.

When you've buried a child, somehow taking another to the doctor for a procedure, albeit a not fun one, still is a blessing.

It's just a procedure. I'll immediately comfort him. He'll know his mommy loves him and will take care of him. It will only hurt a little bit.

He'll come home. He'll come home. He'll come home.
This will be a piece of cake, comparatively.

We also confirmed that we will be moving in June! Looks like I will be 'Doing Maryland' by remote from sunny Jacksonville, North Carolina! I admit it is bittersweet. We loved living in North Carolina and are excited about being back and seeing friends. I love the beach. I love the warmer weather. We love the Shrimp Festival!

But...we have obligations and responsibilities here. Financially, things will be very different. We will have to put much of our stuff in storage while we are in NC. We will miss our friends and family here.

I sat in church on Sunday and cried. It was a service where both of our campuses got together, so it was HUGE. There were so many people there who have touched our lives...people I've come to meet since Matthew died and people I haven't even met yet who prayed for us and sent us cards after Matthew died and after Luke was born. The thought of having to leave so much of what holds intense sentimental memory just makes my stomach churn.

Not to mention the thought of my sweet boy's grave just being alone. Thinking about it just hurts my heart.

In any event, we are a military family, and as such, home is where the Marine Corps sends us. I've come to accept that I could live in a box without $10 in the bank but have John and Luke safe and happy and healthy and life will be good. So...we prepare to go!

Luke still loves, loves, loves his baths! They are his favorite part of his bedtime routine. He is eating about every 3 hours or so still, including at night. I keep waiting for the longer stretches everyone says should be happening at this point, or the dropping of a feed during the night, but no such luck. I am glad he eats well, so certainly not complaining, but I won't lie and say that I don't miss sleep! I do! So, just trying to keep some sort of schedule and hope his little body starts regulating more in the evening to sleep longer stretches than 2 hours. Part of the problem is a swaddling problem...he must be swaddled to go to sleep but once asleep, he'll sort of stir in the middle of the night and try to work himself out--to the point that he gets really mad...mad enough to be good and awake! I'm in a catch-22...he still flails his arms around and won't settle to sleep unless swaddled (but swaddled, he is instantly calmed and goes right down) but gets so mad because he's restrained during the night that he wakes himself up. I have tried every blanket/swaddler out there--as I've said before--and no luck. I read that swaddled babies sleep longer stretches, but I feel like I'm going to have to take him off the swaddle so that he won't wake himself up and be angry in the night.

It's frustrating...poor thing. Just can't make up his mind!

He's really strong! I hold him and he tries to stand and really puts a lot of weight on his legs. He is getting better with control of his neck (sort of!) and hands (sort of!) and once he gets more control, I think he'll be loving things! He has started to try and stuff his fingers in his mouth more and more--I can't imagine he's teething yet, but it could be possible. He is also making more and more faces, and in many pictures, with those chubby cheeks, he looks a bit jowl-y even! He looks like a little old man many times of the day!

He is strictly in 0-3 month clothes now...no more newborn! Even though he and Matthew were close in birth months, there's enough difference that Luke doesn't have much to wear. Don't get me wrong, there's a TON of baby boy clothing in my house. Most of it was for Matthew, though, and I didn't buy much for Luke because I figured they'd be able to share since they were so close--end of November to beginning of January. Unfortunately, that's enough time to not be close enough. The things that he has won't fit him until it's too warm--so there are tons of sweet overalls and sweaters and cute pants/jackets outfits that just won't be won because they are too big for him. I am basically just throwing things on him whether or not they are too big--just rolling up the pants so he can get some wear! I guess we'll have some great, great stuff to consign!

Here are some pictures from this week:

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

On Nine Weeks 38 and 500 Posts....

Five Hundred Posts. Well, including this one. I have written and published for anyone who was interested to read 500 posts on this blog. When I started it, I really don’t know what I was looking to do. Not too long before I started it, I found a blog my mom kept and I didn’t know about. It was a gift, and I thought that if I ever had children, I’d like them to have something like that from me. Then, when we started our adoption process, I found quite the network of blogs and really began to understand just what blogs were—documentation, networking, therapy…In the early days of this blog, I wrote of the various things we were doing in our process, ‘met’ different adoptive parents and followed their stories and ranted about everything from school frustration to what was happening in pop culture.

Believe it or not, this blog has not always been very heavy. In fact, once upon a time, I was able to laugh in everything…even in the most frustrated of frustrations, I could find something to laugh at because laughing always makes everything better.

Or so I thought.

Now I find that this blog is a lot of different things…many I didn’t and couldn’t have ever anticipated. I often find myself wondering why I write. I keep saying it’s for Luke to one day be able to know me as a person, and not just as his mother but I don’t think I am being all that honest in that. If that was the case, I’d still write, I’d just make it either in a journal or a private blog. I don’t…I air my thoughts in a very public forum and that leads me to believe that there has to be more purpose in writing for me than in just documenting for Luke. As Dr. Phil always says, we don’t do things that don’t have payoff. So, in analyzing the payoff of a public blog, I guess it’s selfish. It’s a way for me to tell people things I may not have the nerve or ability to tell them in person. It’s a way for me to just get thoughts out and maybe as they are jumbled when I write, after written I am able to process and organize them more efficiently. It’s a way for me to look back on things and remember—either fondly or not, I worry that my memory will fade and things I want to remember will slip away with it.

Mostly, and especially since Matthew was born and died, it’s a way to feel validated and supported in a quick, easy and consistent way. When other women who have had experiences like mine—whether in adopting, or teaching or being a military spouse or having a child in Heaven or just in being a woman with a real life—share with me that they feel the same way I do or they offer their friendship and support, I don’t feel so alone. I don’t feel crazy. I don’t feel guilty. I don’t feel so hopeless. I don’t feel so unjustified.

I feel normal in the most abnormal way.

So, whether it’s because this is our family’s story or I just need to get my thoughts out or am passive aggressively trying to make something known or I am publicly looking for validation and justification…I write.

And if you read, and offer any of the above to me, please know how grateful I am. Your comments and prayers and time spent in following what happens in our life honor me and spoil me in ways I can’t express.

I turned 38 Monday. My day started at 6 am with Luke cooing and smiling and giggling at me as I changed his diaper—which NEVER happens because he HATES diaper changes! I ended it around 12:30 am yesterday in the same way. He was STILL up (schedule off since Daddy got into the airport later and he obviously was waiting up for him!) and in his bassinet, was cooing and smiling and giggling at me so much! I loved it. Tessa wrote to me and said she bet that Matthew gave Luke some special snuggles to share with me. Starting and ending my day in the way I did, I am inclined to believe that.

Luke was 9 weeks old yesterday! His well-baby went fabulously. We got some cream for his cradle cap (it’s on his face, and looks like someone took a sheet of Velcro and just scrubbed him over and over and over again!), some cream for his eye (though the breast milk seems to be helping, just not quickly and the cream is in case it gets worse) and upped his Zantac dosage—it only seemed to help about half the time, so I felt like it wasn’t keeping its efficacy. He’s still jaundiced, but only on skin and his eyes are fine. Dr. Sheth again said I could clear it all up in 4 days if I wanted to switch to formula for a few days, but he wouldn’t worry about it, so I am not either.

Luke was 9 lbs., 6 oz! He is in the 6th%tile for weight. He was 22 inches, which was the 15th%tile for length and 11th%tile for head circumference (38 cm.) Dr. Sheth said he was very pleased with Luke’s growth and progress, as well as how he’s doing with breastfeeding. Yes, it’s easier…but still we fight! Well, Luke fights toward the end…hopefully the Zantac helps!

He also got a vaccination yesterday—the Pentacel and rotovirus. Next month will be the Prevnar. Good grief, the Pentacel has A TON of stuff in it—so I couldn’t even follow the Dr. Sears Alternative schedule if I wanted because the Pentacel has so many combined. I am spacing them differently, so I feel better about that, but truthfully, I’d wait until he was 4 or 5 months before I began vaccinating. Daddy doesn’t want to—we live in a community where there are a LOT of unvaccinated children and higher incidences of whooping cough and now polio too! That upsets me—polio should have been eradicated. I believe in informed vaccinations and not inundating a system, but I still believe vaccinations are important. It’s so hard to know what ‘the right’ thing to do is and the right timing for it.

He did not cry! He puckered up and almost started to cry, and then it was over! I gave him his sucky and he was just as sweet and mellow as always. He slept well last night, and hasn’t been fussy at all…he is such, such, such a sweet and mellow little boy!

He seems like he is sleeping a little longer in the night—stretching his feedings out a bit more. Now we are in the dilemma of to swaddle or not…he sleeps better swaddled, but when he stirs in the middle of the night, he starts to try and fight it out, and that wakes him. He doesn’t fall asleep well at all when he’s not swaddled though (unless he’s being held!) so not sure…maybe this weekend we’ll try one arm swaddled and one not and see how that goes.

We go to the pediatric urologist tomorrow. Hopefully, it will prove to be nothing much, but I am glad we are going to check things out to be sure!

Here are a couple of pictures from the week:

One of MANY attempts to find the perfect swaddled...this is the generic version of the Woombie. He hated it. HATED it. Hated the Woombie too.

"Who is that kid who keeps staring at me????"

He's so, so jolly in the mornings!

Mommy's birthday celebration included a cute little Cabbage Patch Baby!

Looking like daddy in a cute outfit from his cool Great Aunt Marilyn!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Eight Weeks or Two Months?

Much like the wonky week-counting and month-dating that goes with pregnancy, such is the case with when the baby is born also. Today, he is EIGHT WEEKS OLD! Theoretically, that'd be 2 months...but that won't be until Friday on the 4th. Either way, so much is changing.

So much hasn't changed either.

Matthew is still gone.
My heart still hurts so much.
I still get that 'cry' gulp in my throat and tears in my eyes when I just type about him or talk briefly in conversation about him.
I'm still his mother and as unusual as our relationship has been in 15 months (yesterday....) it's still a relationship that requires work and effort on my part, just like the case with any living child.

It's just that for all the work and effort I put in...there is no sweet little smile or baby coo as appreciation. My work is still grief work and there really doesn't seem like there is any reward to it...just work I must do in order to maintain sanity and functionality and health for Luke. It's hard and so hard for many to understand.

Life should be great, right? Luke is here...he's happy and healthy. John and I are happy and healthy.

And yet....not too far from here is a grave that reminds me that we are as happy as we can be without our Matthew.

Stephanie wrote a great post last week about how mingled with emotions having a baby is when the baby before died. She was looking for a word that wrapped up all the emotions. I couldn't have said it better. If that word exists, I'd sure like to know what it is too. All I've been able to come up with is complicated. Times a million.

My counselors are glad that I am trying to continue to blog because they are big believers in the therapy it has brought and continues to bring. I agree, but I have to say that though I wish I had more time to write more about Luke's days, I am sort of glad that I've only been able to muster once a week because it is still hard to write about all the joy of Luke while my "Missing Matthew" feelings are constantly bubbling, bubbling, bubbling at the tip of every emotion I seem to feel. Hormonally, things are certainly more stable than they were for the first few weeks of Luke's life...so that helps. The fact that every day, he looks more and more like LUKE and less and less like pictures of Matthew also makes things more bearable as well. Still, though...he'll be sleeping and I just break down and cry...looking at the picture of Matthew that's right behind his bassinet and just willing with all my might for Matthew's eyes to be open while at the same time, praying with all I have that I don't live to see Luke's closed like that forever.

Every day, though, I am consumed with Luke. I don't even have the time or energy to really cry for Matthew like I wish I could...yesterday I told Luke his brother would have been 15 months old. I could barely get the words out. Fifteen Months...

LUKE....LUKE is just such a blessing to our wounded hearts. He is still such a good, mellow and low-maintenance baby. We are really battling some things, though, poor little guy. Though his appointment for shots and well-baby isn't until Monday, I am counting the seconds because both John and I are pretty sure he has reflux. He is really giving lots of resistance to feeding now (never did before, and we are hardly using bottles anymore, so don't think it's the preference for a bottle over breast) and he is spitting up buckets during feeds. And other times too. A few times, I've seen milk coming out of his nose. I thought it was maybe me having a fast let-down, and that may not help matters, but there are more symptoms...the other night I almost took him to the ER because he just kept choking and gagging in the middle of the night. Partly like he just couldn't clear his throat, partly like he was gasping for breath. I literally slept for about an hour total over the course of 12. The angel care monitor makes me feel a bit better, but we are going to have to do something if this is reflux because the feeding is a big issue. We've inclined his bassinet, I am trying to give breaks during feedings, feeding more often and in less amounts, ordered The Brest Friend reflux wedges for feeding, give him the Gripe Water at the first hint of hiccups (it's obvious they hurt him and now when he spits up, he seems like he's in pain too)...you name it, we're trying it before we get to medicine. If medicine will help, though, I'm all for it because he is such a happy, sweet baby...I hate that something like this takes that away. As I said, we'll see on Monday.

I was SO sad yesterday as I was putting laundry away. He's already outgrown so many things. It's just sad, sad, sad for me...I'm glad he is growing, but I also know that this is it. John feels like we'll be one of those couples who took a million years to get pregnant, went through all sorts of stuff, and then are able to pop them out after that first one 'jump-started' my body.

Yeah. The stuff infertile women dream of. But doubtful...I wasn't getting pregnant when my eggs were young and pretty and now that they are less than a week away from 38 years, well...I feel like they are those old ladies in the front yard waving their canes at the prospect of any young studs coming over and screaming, "Get out of here!"

I know it sounds sort of greedy to be mourning the fact that I will probably never be pregnant again, especially as the mother of two precious boys--one of whom greets me every morning with the most precious baby smile in the world.

But motherhood is wonderful when the baby lives and I'd love more.

Auntie Jenny from Pensacola came to visit this week. Luke just snuggled right up to her! I know I talked her ear off, but as I told her...the world of people I can just talk to and cry to without sounding greedy and ungrateful seems to be getting smaller and smaller as more people feel I should be moving on and focusing solely on Luke because he is here and not on Matthew because he is not. Jenny...it was such a blessing for you to be here!

Luke is really so much more interactive! He loves his toys on his bouncy, still adores his bath, tolerates tummy time and giggles at us when we whistle at him. Maybe when I have time I'll put a video of him giggling on here...

Happy Eight Weeks, sweet boy! You are Mama's precious, precious sweetheart and I love you so much!!

All smiles!

Getting so big!

Thinking things over here....

"Hey, look Auntie Jenny...my trick!"

Soooooo comfy.....

Daddy caught Mommy in a rare moment of sleep!

Catching up with Froggy, but still not loving the picture taking. I LOVE this little sweater outfit!! Thanks Kimmy!

In Luke's room, with the awesome picture Stephanie did for him!