Sunday, April 5, 2020

Living that quarantine life...

Well, I can honestly say I did not think my next post would have anything to do with a global pandemic.  That just wasn't anywhere on my radar...but here we are and we are making the most of our time home together.  Things aren't what we imagined for March and April, but we are really finding hidden treasures along the way in this crisis.  I don't think we have taken more walks, runs and bike rides ever in our lives than this past month.  We've done outside activities like chalk, hide and go seek, slip and slides, swing time, basketball, bad mitten, and obstacle courses more in the last few weeks than in my kids entire lives combined. We've had picnics, gone fishing, ridden the golf cart, swam, climbed in trees, and so much more.  It truly will be a season that I remember and cherish for my entire life...not because it was easy, but because it was refreshing. We've been required to hit pause on EVERYTHING but EACH OTHER.

We are now homeschooling, something I always wanted to try but never thought would work for our family.  I still don't believe it is best for my kiddos long term, but they have done amazingly well and seem very content to do school at home for a little while.  I've loved getting to see their personalities and work styles come to life while doing school work...something I've never really gotten to see and it is again something I'll cherish forever.  We have done our best to stick to a schedule and it is the saving grace to our days.  I find that when we deviate from the schedule, everyone, including myself seem to melt down.  We do breakfast, PE and schooling in the morning and then lunch, quiet time and technology time in the afternoon.  Late evenings we take walks and play outside, then start dinner and baths before finishing off with a movie.

I remember the day schools said they were closing, sitting on my bed talking to my mom and feeling complete panic and stress.  How on earth was I going to handle homeschooling, working almost full time, and Baylor's therapy? I just knew it wasn't gonna work. we are a month out and it has been remarkably do-able.  Now don't get me wrong....we have daily melt downs, crying sessions and emotional fits, but we always find a way to keep moving forward.  My kids are actually doing better than I ever expected...they snuggle more, are kinder to each other and find ways to use their imagination like never before.  I'm just amazed at the peace that is in our home when we have nothing more to do than focus on loving and spending time with each other.

Used to, I would lay in bed at night and plead with the Lord to let time slow down, let my babies be little for longer and let me not miss a moment of their childhood.  I apologize for those prayers, because I believe God answered me in a big way!  HAHA.  I don't ever wish for chaos and confusion in our world, but I am thankful for the safe haven that I have in my home with my precious family.  While we desperately miss our friends and extended family, we are so hopeful that we will meet up very soon and that gives us great joy and anticipation.

My hubby is working on the front lines of this pandemic and he is a true hero and rock-star.  He never complains and constantly checks on us to make sure we are doing well here at home.  He's become even more amazing in my eyes through this crisis.  He's our rock and we are forever thankful he's ours.

Another saving grace through all this is our neighborhood!  What a blessing to see smiling faces out and about.  Not to mention having my parents just a street over has saved our sanity!  Meme has come and read books a safe 10 ft away, Papa D has worked hard on our deck and chatting through the windows has been a favorite past time of mine.  Living that simple life is really not bad at all!

I really am thankful for the time we have had together and I've learned that things that seem daunting and impossible, can actually be a blessing when we learn to let go and adapt.  I'm so thankful the Lord has sustained us each day and His mercies are really what we are clinging to during these unknown times. Letting go of the normal hustle and bustle of life has taught us so many things...and I have no doubt that some of the things we have let go of...we won't pick back up.  This season has taught us that all the extras in life are fun, but not necessarily a must to survive.  While we will pick back up with sports, hobbies and parties...we will also re-examine what is absolutely necessary in our lives.  This slow pace is worth keeping around and this season will be one that we remember as a turning point in how we function as a family.  When all is stripped away...the only things that matter are our faith and our family.  SO thankful for this time to remember and return to the important things in life.

Happy Easter!  Happy Spring!  Happy, Happy Quarantine!

Friday, November 15, 2019

SDR Surgery-Recap

We are almost 3 weeks home from St. Louis and Baylor's recovery has been amazing.  He is continuing to amaze us each day with the amount of hard work and determination he shows and his relentless ability to bounce back and make progress.  He is nothing short of a miracle.

I tried my best to write a little each day while in the hospital cause three weeks out it already seems a blur.  These were just quick thoughts each day but I wanted to share and keep.

Travel Day/Pre-Op
We left Baton Rouge bright and early on Wednesday around 4:30.  It was extremely difficult for me to say goodbye to Aubrey and Weston that morning and emotions were running high.  It wasn’t as terrible as I envisioned it and both kiddos were amazing.  I was super proud of them.  My father in law drove us to New Orleans and we made it to the airport around 6:30.  We grabbed some coffee and waited to board our flight to St. Louis.  Baylor was excited to see the planes and loved that our plane was blue.  We had uneventful flight and arrived in St. Louis by 10:00.  My aunt and uncle picked us up and we grabbed a few groceries then checked into the hotel.  My baby was tired so he took a quick power nap before heading to the hospital for pre-op.  The pre-op appointment was first with the physical therapist so we spent about an hour and a half doing various exercises and skills to see exactly what he could do before surgery.  All of it was video taped so I’m sure one day other doctors will see our superstar in action.  After the PT appointment we met with Dr. Parks PA and went over day before surgery details.  Once we got the go ahead we headed back to the hotel for a quick, early dinner with MeMe and Papa D. After dinner we bathed Baylor very well and put him down for bed.  We knew the morning would arrive quickly and I wanted to savor all the snuggles.  Overall it was an emotional day but also a fun one.  We had lots of anticipation but enjoyed sharing the new experiences with Baylor.

Surgery Day
Surgery day had us up around 4:30.  We dressed and headed to the hospital for 5:30.  This was a very emotional morning for me and some of the morning is kinda foggy for me already.  We were brought to the 6th floor and were placed in a small holding room where we met with numerous doctors and anesthesiologist.  We gave Baylor a sponge bath to clean him before surgery and then he was given some Vercet to help relax him.  It was so funny because he spit most of it out because it was nasty but he got enough in his system that he was absolutely loopy and he was hilarious.  It was a very emotional moment because I knew we were about to hand him over but the moment was lightened with him being so funny.  You just couldn’t help but laugh at his antics.  They came in and said it was go time.  Tears, tears and more tears.  Christian walked him back and I just lost it.  I cried in my mama’s arms and let it all out.  We were brought down to the Ronald McDonald Room and we waited there for about 3 and a half hours.  I cried the night before wondering how on earth I would survive 3-4 hours of sitting and waiting. I knew it would be torture.  My sweet brother had organized a series of videos that were sent to us at that exact moment surgery started.  Each video was from important people in our lives, people that had invested in our lives and people like our pastor, co-workers, friends and family.  It was so special…we literally watched the videos of people praying for us the entire surgery…it felt like about 15 minutes.  The presence of the Lord was in that room…there was a peace and a calmness.  We were called each hour during surgery for progress reports and finally the last call came from Dr. Park himself.  He said surgery went well and Baylor was in recovery.  We waited a little longer and then were brought up to the recovery room.  We were warned that Baylor would have lots of tubes and wires, maybe a little swollen and just rough in general.  He did look pitiful but it was so amazing to see him…it was like I finally was able to take a deep breath and let some of the stress fade away.  We spent about an hour in recovery with him and then were brought to the 12th floor- Neuro- and settled into our private room with an amazing view!  Baylor was very fussy and disoriented so we spent the rest of the day comforting him and calming him down. He hated being moved or turned in anyway so that was the biggest source of discomfort for him.  We did lots of snuggling that night and praising God that all went well. 

Friday Post Op Day 1
Friday was a full day of resting.  Baylor watched Secret Life of Pets about 10 times.  We kept it low key this day and really tried to get Baylor to chill out.  He started having some spasms in his legs so we gave him Valium and instead of it relaxing him, he became a total chatterbox.  Talking non stop!  It was hilarious. Note to self to never give Valium to him at night.

Saturday, Post op day 2
This was probably one of my favorite days, Baylor was in good spirits and didn’t seem so uncomfortable when being rolled from side to side.  We also watched the LSU game in the hospital room and ate Jimmy John’s…doesn’t get much better than that!  My cousin Trey came to visit and it was so nice to see him!

Sunday, Post Op Day 3
Post op day 3 is the most feared day of recovery for SDR. We have been dreading this day.  It was very hard for Baylor to move from side to side, much less to get out of the bed.  Baylor was given some oxycodone before his epidural and catheter were removed and to help with the pain.  He was a little high…lol…enjoying his medicine but he was able to get out of bed with minimal pain and he enjoyed a stroll to the 8th floor library.  We went back to the room and let him eat. We let Baylor rest some and then he had afternoon therapy.  This was by far the hardest hour of the recovery.  Baylor’s pain medicine from the morning had worn off and he was very aware of the transitions and movement.  He screamed the entire way to therapy and during most of the therapy. You could see the pain in his little face as he tried to move and it absolutely broke my heart.  I had to step out just once and take a break cause I just couldn’t handle seeing him struggle so much.  He did do better towards the end and we headed back to the room to let him rest.  Baylor crashed almost instantly and slept about 3 hours.  My sweet uncle surprised us and drove in through St. Louis to see Baylor. He and Baylor have a special bond as they both love music and the Rolling Stones.  It meant the world to us that he came and Baylor tried to stay awake and visit as much as he could!  After Baylor woke up we had to do a suppository to get him regular again and while we waited for that to kick in we took a trip in the stroller to see the train in the lobby.  St. Louis Children’s Hospital has some impressive things for kids to watch and do….it’s all very interactive and impressive.  After the quick stroll we came back and had a successful bowel movement!  Holla!  Overall it wasn’t a horrible day…it was tough but Baylor’s so determined to bring joy to every situation.  He doesn’t let one tough moment stop him from bouncing back with joy. 

Monday Post Op Day 4
Baylor had a much better morning and he seems to be in so much less pain.  We are able to move him easier and we’ve taken a stroll in the stroller around the floor with no tears.  Baylor had therapy this morning and he did amazing.  He is so super weak but he doesn’t give up…he just keeps fighting.  It breaks my heart to see him struggle to do basic things like sitting up and crawling but I know it hurts me much more than him…he just pushes through!  We had my cousins Ryan, Tarah, Riley, Isaiah and Harlow come visit.  It is such a blessing to have amazing family here in St. Louis and we have been showered with love from family.  I think as you get older, the more you cherish and value family…especially the ones you don’t get to see every day.  Baylor had another therapy at 3:00 and he was still uncomfortable but there were no tears!  He even took a few steps with assistance!  We were so thrilled to see him up and moving without pain!  He has a long way to go but I know he will make huge strides each day!

Post Op Day 5 Tuesday
Tuesday is DISCHARGE day!!!  Whoop Whoop!  We met with the physical therapist and went over the protocol for going home, therapy and wound care.  We were told to come back to St. Louis in 4 months for a follow up with Dr. Parks.  Mom and I spent some time in the gift shop and found some goodies for the kiddos.  After that my aunt and uncle picked us up and we went back to our hotel room. Baylor was thrilled to say goodbye to the hospital and get back to the hotel.  We took a little nap and rested then went to Apple Bees with Meme and Papa D.  We headed back to the room to pack and called it an early night so we could be up early for our plane ride back HOME! 

My sweet Uncle and Aunt brought us to the airport bright and early and we caught our plane to Atlanta.  It was by far the worst plane ride I have ever been on. We had no view from our window and we were in the very last row and the guy in front of me leaned his chair back really far so I felt a little cramped! I guess we hit a ton of turbulence or bad weather but it was like riding a bad roller coaster with no way to get off!   Poor Baylor…he isn’t supposed to be jostled or shaken so I felt really bad for him, but he handled it like a champ.  I on the other hand struggled to make it and almost had a panic attack but FINALLY we landed and literally ran to our connecting flight.  The flight to Baton Rouge was much easier and so much smoother.  We landed in Baton Rouge and were greeted by sweet Nana, (who took amazing care of my Aubrey and Weston)!  It was the best feeling ever to set foot back in Louisiana.  We got home to the sweetest welcome sign in our yard from my sweet friend Shauna and it was just the perfect way to come home.  Then inside we realized my sister, Cherith, arranged for our house to be cleaned and let me tell you that was a HUGE blessing.  My house smelled and looked better than it ever has before.  We were just so overwhelmed by the love poured on us. 

We did it!  We made it through and Baylor is doing great!  We have a lot of hard work ahead of us but we know this was for the best.  May God use this journey for Baylor to testify of His faithfulness!