Merry Christmas

What a wonderful first Christmas! We spent Christmas Eve with Tanner's family opening presents and eating way too many lil' smokies. Went to church with my parents this morning. What a blessing to see old friends! Cooper got more toys than any 10 month old needs and we haven't even opened gifts with my family yet. I think we are going to have to sort some things in the playroom.

Cooper surprised Mommy and Daddy with an early present. He stood all by himself on Friday night (Dec. 23rd). Granted, it was only for about a second and a half, but it was AWESOME! He has also learned how to open the cabinet doors. Before now, we've been able to distract when he tries to open them. Now he knows that where we hide all our best stuff - haha!  Life is about to get very interesting!

We took a few minutes this evening to read the story of Jesus' birth from Cooper's new bible. Hoping that will become a family tradition. We read about how Jesus was born in a stable because there was no room anywhere else.  I pray that I make room for Jesus and don't force him into the dirty, stinky places of my heart. I pray that I give him the place he deserves.



To my sweet little man:

Merry Christmas! I hope to teach you that Christmas is about giving, not about Santa, or presents. It's about the incredible gift God gave when He sent His son as a tiny baby. He sent that baby to take all our bad and make it good; make it beautiful. Although you got lots of fun presents from people who love you very much, I can't wait for the day that you accept the gift of Jesus. Praying that God will give you a heart that loves and chases after him! I love you so much!

- mommy

Christmas Music

Tanner and I love Christmas music. We have to try very hard to let halloween pass before we bust out our collection of cds. They range from Shane & Shane to James Taylor to Dean Martin and I love them all. Music has a away of extracting emotion that nothing else can. There are songs that remind me a very specific time in my life. Every time I hear one of those songs, I am instantly transported back to that time.

I wanted to share a couple of amazing songs with you. The first is exactly how I felt this time last year. We were anxiously awaiting the arrival of our sweet little man. Dreaming of what he would look like. Longing to hold him in our arms.  We were trying our very best to be patient and prayerful. That's tough when you've already waited 8 years!

Take a quick listen to The Last Christmas Without You - trust me. Ya gonna love it!

 
 The next song is one that I've heard before, but it never struck a chord with me until a few weeks ago at church. An expectant mommy (with an amazing voice) sang this song. It was such a poignant moment; watching her sing and tenderly touching her belly. It took all I had not to cry. Not the sweet, solitary tear, but a raging flood of ugly cry (you know the kind when you can't control your face?).
Never could we have imagined what a blessing we would received when God put Cooper in our lives. I've always heard parents talking about how life is never the same after you have children - well, duh! But until your a parent, it's impossible to comprehend. Life is different; you are different. Everything is different, in the most amazing way imaginable. 

  A Baby Changes Everything - ain't that the truth!


Hope you enjoyed some of my new favorite Christmas songs. Remember, the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear. If you don't know where that comes from, you've missed out on one of the best Christmas movies of all time. Buy (don't just rent) Elf. It's hilarious.

One last thing - Cooper was diagnosed with RSV yesterday. He's struggled with allergies for several months, but this is the first time he's really been sick. I think he'll make a quick recovery. I know he won't want to miss out on all the fun on his very first Christmas.

So Thankful!

Thanksgiving weekend is coming to a close. What a wonderful start to the holiday season! Ate lots of pie and cranberries, spent time with the Corbin Clan and started some serious Christmas crafting. I'm not one to do the Facebook 30 Days of Thanks, although I could probably think of a million and one things to be thankful for.  I thought I would take a few minutes and give you my top 11 for 2011.

11. My Job - I'm so thankful for a job. There are so many right now who are looking for work or struggling to make ends meet. God has provided me with a job where I get to work with really fun people. The hours are sometimes long, but the people are so supportive. They have been so amazing this year with helping me transition into life as a working mother.  Even with all of his doctor appointments and hearing tests and blah, blah, blah......  They have been wonderful!

10.  My Home - Home truly is where the heart is. And for right now at least, my heart is here. We've already made so many wonderful memories here with Cooper. It would be really hard to leave this home behind (however, we are aware of the fact that at any moment, God could call us to sell everything we have and move to Africa. He hasn't done that, but you never know).  Psalm 24:1 says, "The earth is the Lord's and everything in it." So this house is all his anyway. Still......Thankful for my home.

9. My In-laws - I have such amazing in-laws. They have always treated me with love and respect. I know many people struggle with in-law relationships, especially when children are involved. They have been so understanding of the way Tanner and I are choosing to raise Cooper.  I am so grateful for how well we all get along. Steve, Ree, and Lindsay - you truly are family.

8. My Church - I am so blessed to get to be involved with such a wonderful group of people through my church. Trinity Yukon is founded in scripture, focused on God and full of fellowship. Our church has helped us get to know some really good friends. I cannot imagine living in Yukon without our Small Group. We are all young parents sharing in the joys and struggles of trying to raise godly children. Our group right now is comprised of all families with boys.  It's so fun to see these boys growing into young men. I also couldn't mention my church without giving a shout-out to my pastor. Dan is so incredibly diligent about leading us. He takes God at His word and refuses to be swayed. So thankful for him!

7. Tiffany - She has gotten me into trouble recently - we ran a 5k together. Lots of fun and sore muscles.  Tiffany has always been a wonderful sister. She is a great example of balance. She has three kids, works, makes amazing birthday cakes, and looks super-cute while doing all of these.  I am so grateful for someone I can call when trying to balance work and home gets overwhelming. Love you, Tiff.

6. Terra - The oldest of the the three Langdon sisters, she is wise beyond her years. She also makes amazing birthday cakes (I'm trying to kiss up to my sisters so they will help me with Coop's cake in a few months.), is such a supportive wife and is a bit of a coupon queen. Her willingness to give of her time and talents to support the growth of her husband's ministry is inspiring. Terra, you rock!

5.  My Dad - this year has brought new appreciation for my dad. Since his stroke a few months ago, I've spent a lot of time thinking back on how much fun we had together when I was growing up. I still remember one summer night when my parents let us stay up late to watch the stars come out. We hung out in the front chasing lightning bugs and frogs, listening to my dad play his guitar. This is still one of my fondest childhood memories. I attribute my deep love of music to my dad.  I also remember when I was in eighth grade and we were wrestling. Somehow his elbow hit me in the mouth (not hard) just hard enough to knock out a baby tooth I'd been hanging onto to for far too long. It was the second from the front! I looked like a toothless goober for a few weeks until the new tooth grew in. Not one of my fondest, but definitely memorable! Thank you, Dad, for all the memories!

4.  My Mom - I literally would not have survived my first six weeks of motherhood without my mom. With no sleep and a person constanly needing me, I developed a new respect for all that my mom still does for me. When I was losing my mind, she came to my rescue. When I was uncertain about taking Cooper to daycare, she helped build my confidence.  My mom has always been willing to do anything for me. I know everyone says this, but I really mean it.  She has always made sure we had everything we needed while helping us keep out "wants" in check.  I remeber the notes she would right on the first day of school, her bible that was held together with duct tape, and the movie nights she shared with my girls and me.  She is an amazing woman and the best mom a girl could ask for.  Thank you, Mom for how you still take such good care of me.

3.  Cooper - How my life has changed since he came along! I've learned that all the sappy things parents say really are true: time flies, they grow too fast, and it is unbelievable how much you can love such a tiny little person. Although his start in the world was not what I imagined, I am thankful for that season.  It brought to a place a reliance on God that I had never experienced before. Cooper has such a sweet spirit. He is such a fun, happy boy. His smile has the power to end me. His lips are super-kissable, though drool covered 99% of the time.  His eyes are the most precious things I have ever seen - wait maybe his hands are the most precious. It's my blog, so I don't have to pick. There is no feeling in the word like holding his sweet sleepiness in my arms. I could go on forever! Love my little munchkin!

2.  Tanner - What an incredible journey we get to share! Since we got married so young, it really feels like we have grown up together. I guess in many ways, we have. He is the best person in this world to spend my life with. I can't imagine there being another person every created more perfect for me.  It's absolutely incredible to watch him with our son. He loves that little boy so much!  He always talks about all the fun things he wants to do with Cooper and all the things he wants to teach him. What an amazing dad my son has.  Cooper has a wonderful example of what a godly husband looks like. Oh, and did I mention, he's an amazing cook! Tanner, I love you more than any person in this world.

1. My Heavenly Father - What a gracious, holy, righteous, loving, kind, just, merciful, patient God!  I will never comprehend how it must have felt for Him to give His son to die for me.  Having a son.......I just can't imagine giving him up for anyone.  There are not enough words in the English language to describe how grateful I am for the saving grace of my Heavenly Father.  I know that His plans for my life are way beyond what I could dream for myself. I only hope I have the faith to follow where ever He leads. Thank you, God, for loving me when I am unloveable, for holding me when I am broken and for all of the above.

Praise God from whom all blessing flow!

9 months going on.....

Cooper celebrated his 9 month birthday this week! He's such a big boy. He now has 2 teeth and is trying to stand his own. It's really more like sitting slowly, but still, no hands! I'm thinking he's got to be going through a growth spurt. His appetite has been unreal lately! I think instead of a college savings plan, we need a grocery savings plan. If he's already eating like a teenage boy, what will it be like when he is, in fact, a teenage boy?

This morning for breakfast he started with Puffs. These have little to no nutritional value, but they buy some time.  After that he ate a huge bowl of Creamy Apple Oatmeal. This a special mommy blend of oatmeal baby cereal mixed with applesauce and breastmilk. He's a big fan! He then ate almost an entire snack pack of mandarin oranges - this was a first. He seemed to really like them. At church, he ate tons of Cheerios like he always does.

Lunch consisted of Puffs again (they travel well), Yogurt Melts, Potato soup, bread and chicken. We went to Johnny Carino's so we mostly gave him bites of our meals, which he always loves. He had a few graham crackers for a snack in the afternoon. Probably would've eaten more, but it was too close to dinner. Dinner - this is when the insanity started! He ate baby food (broccoli and carrots, followed by a fruit blend), pork tenderloin, about two (adult size) helpings of creamed corn and some peaches. The volume that he ate was unreal! I kept thinking he would start spitting which, to mommy, means dinner is over. We've tried to teach him to sign "all finished" but he hasn't really picked up signing yet.  He ate until we finally cut him off. His tummy was huge! Could've taken all the naked bath tub pictures I wanted without showing a thing. ;)

The funny thing is that I was afraid he was getting sick. He has been really grumpy and just not himself today. Turns out he was hungry! It's not like we were trying to starve him. We just never dreamed he could pack away that much food!

He's been a really weird sleep routine lately. Not sure if it has something to do with an upcoming developmental milestone, medications, or just a bad habit. He's been waking twice during the night and often won't let us put him back in his crib without a fight. He's been struggling with separation anxiety at daycare; maybe that's the culprit. I've stopped going to nurse him at lunch. It's just gotten too hard to peel a screaming baby out of my arms when I take him back to his class. By the way, I'm still very happy with his daycare. They love him and (as long as I'm not around) he loves them.

Thinking back, the rough nights seemed to have started when we put him on Singulair. We tried leaving that off tonight, as well as playing some music in his room. Keeping my fingers crossed, but not holding my breath. 

Sick with a capital ICK!

It's been rough around here the last few days. Cooper got tubes (I'm resisting the urge to say his first set of tubes - maybe one will do it) on Wednesday. He did great! He left happily with the anesthesiologist and went back for his surgery. When he was coming out of sedation he was a bear, but they had warned us that this was normal.  The doctor sucked A LOT of fluid out of Cooper's ears.  Hopefully this will help with his hearing.  They did an ABR (auditory brainstem response) test while he was sedated. It did show some hearing loss. He hears higher pitches just fine, but couldn't hear the lower pitches well at all. The audiologist said she couldn't tell if the hearing loss was due to residual fluid or if he has neural hearing loss. We will be going back for more hearing tests on Wednesday - praying for good news.

Thursday night, Cooper had his first art show. His daycare had an open house/art show to raise money for some new equipment they are wanting to get. We had a lot of fun until.......I started feeling a little funny. I though maybe it was just because I was hungry so I went and got some refreshments. Didn't help, so we decided to go home. When we got home, I tried to do our normal routine - bath, boob, bed - but it just wasn't happening. I felt terrible and had no strength. I flopped down on the couch and Tanner (aka Superman) took over.

Not long after Cooper went to bed, the carnage started. I proceeded to throw up everything I had eaten since breakfast. Not pretty! I was sick again several times through the night. Friday morning, I was determined to suck it up and go to work.  Tanner got Coop around and took him to daycare while I got in the shower. This just proved that work wasn't going to happen. I could barely lift my arms to wash my hair. I surrendered and called in sick.

Tanner went to work, but by 10:30 that morning he was home in bed with me - sick too! I started to have a tiny freak out (tiny was all I had the energy for).  Who would pick up Cooper from daycare?  How on earth were we going to take care of him - we couldn't even take care of ourselves! How were we going to keep him from getting sick? Tanner was supposed to drum at church on Sunday! We were supposed to have the 2's class at church! Thank you Jesus - I'm not on call!  AAAACCCCKKKK!!!!!

So I did what any first time mom would do - I called my mom. She almost immediately said, "We'll go get Cooper and bring him home to our house." I was planning on asking if she and my dad would come stay with us, but then they would be exposed to this junk. Probably best that they just take him home with them. This was only the second night he had spent away from us, and the first without us at somebody else's house. I was missing him before he was even gone, but I knew this was the best plan. Although, thinking back, I think Cooper has already had this crud. He threw up twice on Tuesday - once at daycare and once in his crib all over himself and his bedding :(.  His diapers have also been a little off, but I thought this was possibly due to teething. With as snotty and congested as he's been, I thought maybe all the mucus was making him sick to his stomach. Who knows.  He's been typical, sweet, happy Cooper through it all.

After talking to my mom this morning, I feel much better physically and emotionally. Cooper slept through the night and is having fun playing with his Papa. I am back among the living. Tanner on the other hand - he's more like a zombie (undead, not quite alive). Hopefully he'll be feeling much better after a long Saturday of rest and football.

Once again - thanks Mom and Dad! You guys rock!

Where were we.....

It seems like it's been forever since I posted. This may end up just being a random list of cool stuff about my cool kid. After 8 months we've hit a big milestone.

Cooper got his first tooth this week. Bottom right, adorable little pearl. I've been giving his gums a quick once over every night for about a week. He hadn't been particularly fussy; I just had a feeling something was coming. Thursday when Tanner picked him up from daycare they said that he had a little something showing up. By Thursday night, he was hurting.  He would try to nurse and just stop and cry out.  After Motrin, Orajel and lots of massage with a nubby washcloth, he was finally able to go to sleep.  The next morning, that baby popped through his gums.

I was so torn between excitement and sadness. Yay! He got his first tooth! Boo! No more precious gummy grin. He's growing up too fast! I wish I could pause this moment and savor for a while. He is just at such a fun age.  He is so sweet and funny! He also bit his own finger for the first time today. He was not happy about it. Hopefully this is a lesson he learns quickly: NO biting!

He is crawling everywhere! Cooper is so active that they moved him to the toddler class at church. When I went to check him in last week, they asked if he could move up. I said sure, but it caught me off guard and I got all emotional. I didn't cry, but I was on the verge.  He went with the toddlers and had a blast. Today at church we found him devouring Cheerios - take that baby class!  He's becoming more adventurous. He likes to climb and fall. Most times when he falls he stops, looks for mommy, and then grins. Crazy kid!

He is also pulling up to anything taller than him. It's so funny to see him standing up because he's still so tiny. I'll have to post some pictures next time. What else...........

He has failed multiple hearing tests. Since Cooper was a NICU baby, a follow up hearing test is recommended at six months - failed. The audiologist thought it was due to sinus congestion. We gave him Claritin for six weeks and retested - failed. Went to see an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist. Repeated hearing test - failed. Apparently he has lots of fluid in his ears. This seems to have been the problem all along. They recommended getting tubes.  Wednesday we will be going in for the procedure. I think I'm taking it harder than anyone. They will be giving him some laughing gas. I know this will make the whole process easier, but I don't like the idea of him being sedated.  I've heard nothing but good things about the doctor performing the surgery. Just praying for peace about the situation.

Hopefully soon I will be able to post that we finally passed a hearing test. Maybe soon he'll be saying more than Bababa and papapapa.  Bababa has several possible interpretations - Barbara (daycare director and Cooper lover), bottle, bath, ball, Bob. None of which really count as his first word. Papapa only come out as a whisper. It's the sweetest thing EVER!  Pretty soon (keeping my fingers crossed) he'll be saying Mama. For which he will receive a big high five - which he also learned to do this week!

In case you hadn't noticed, my kid is awesome!  See you next time!

Before and After

There are certain times in your life when you know that after this moment, life as you know it is over. Before knowing Christ as my Savior, before meeting my husband.......I can think of so many of these moments. Life after Cooper will never be the same as life before. I will never forget the incredible love I felt for him the first time I saw him. I will never tire of his gorgeous smile.

Life after Cooper became mobile is much different than when he simply rolled over. He is now crawling with ease.  At this point he crawls towards us instead of away from us. He wants us to be on the floor playing with him. And I am happy to oblige. Crawling Cooper is so cute! Although I don't think that will last long. Tonight, he pulled himself up to the couch.  He's been pulling up to things for a couple of weeks now, but pulling up to the couch seems like such a big kid thing.  I have a feeling he will be walking before we know it.

Another life changing moment - On Saturday, Sept 24, my dad had a stroke. As far as strokes go, it was relatively minor. No matter how minor, a stroke is still a stroke. He had some bleeding in his brain in the part that is in charge of verbal communication.  The damage seems to be causing problems with word and name recollection at this point. He can't always say the word that he is thinking. He knows what he says isn't right, but he can't remember the right word. He has some trouble remembering the names of his youngest grandkids. This is hard to see, but hopefully it comes back to him soon.

The stroke also seems to be affecting some aspects of his personality. He just isn't the same joyful, peppy person I've always known. It may take a while for everything to come back to him. Or it may never come back at all.  Only time will tell. According to the doctors we should know within the next 3 months how much of the damage is permanent. I'm just praying that Cooper gets to know his grandpa. I'm just still trying to wrap my mind around the idea that HIS grandpa and MY dad may not ever be the same person.

Life will never be the same after my dad's stroke.  Life will never be the same after the birth of my son. Life will never the same since marrying to most amazing, supportive and loving man I have known. Life.........may never be the same. But we still have life - abundant, sustaining, blessed life.

Torn Between Lovers

I survived my first night away from Cooper. I only cried once. I just love that little guy! Tanner and I had a very nice time on our mini-vaca. Good food, good shopping, good company.....good times!  Quality hubby time got me thinking about when we first got married. My goodness! That seems like ages ago. I guess it's true that time flies when you're having fun.

I was reminded of a conversation I had with my oldest sister just before our wedding. And, no, it didn't involve birds or bees. After she got married, but before I did, Terra told me that being married had taught her so much about God's character. I thought that was interesting, but I didn't really get it until I was married. She was so right! It's hard to explain.....like being engaged is all about the butterflies. Being married gave me a new perspective on just how amazing God's unfailing love really is. Well, becoming a parent brought about another one of those moments for me. Realizing just how much God loves me.

There is a song by Bethany Dillon that floored me the first time I heard it. She was able to actually express everything I had been feeling. The song begins:

I'm trying to find a moment with you
These days are speeding by
This ring gives me a new point of view
I'm a dealer in my time

If I can make a confession
My time is torn between
The man who won my affection
And the God who made me

It all looks different,
But that doesn't mean anything has changed.

Whoa!!!  This is exactly how I've felt since getting married! The world around me is the same, but I have changed dramatically. How do I find balance between my heavenly father and my earthly husband. Trying to give each relationship the time it deserves can be difficult. And then we had a baby and it hit a whole new level. How do I love each adequately?

The second verse continues:

I look at the life of Anna
Her presence was your home
I look at the life of my mother
Praying on her back porch

I want to be that mother.  I want my child to remember me as a person for whom prayer is a lifestyle. That my relationship with God is the most important thing to me.  I want my love for God to be evident by the priority I give Him with my time.

The chorus brings everything together:

Still I, I reach for You
When I, I am afraid
And this breath that comes from You
Helps me say Your name

This song helped me realize that I can never love God adequately. But if I try to love God with everything I am, that will overflow into my other relationships. Tanner will feel respected and appreciated. Cooper will feel loved and safe. If I keep reaching for Christ not just when I'm afraid, but when I'm tired, or joyful or overwhelmed, He will sustain me. He will help me balance all of the demands on my time and affection. One day I will be required to give an account for how I spent my time on Earth. All I want to hear is, "Well done."

6 months!

I can't believe Cooper has been "on the outside" for 6 months. It seems like forever ago that we were sitting in the NICU.  At the same time, it seems like yesterday.  Cooper went to see his pediatrician for his 6 month well baby checkup today. He weighed in at 15 lbs 10 oz, and was 25.5 inches long. This puts him in the 25th percentile for height and weight. I was shocked! He seems so big to me, but apparently he's actually kind of dainty.  He also got two shots. Of course he cried, but only for a minute and then he was done. What a big boy!

Cooper has been working on learning how to crawl. He can get up on his hands and knees; he rocks back and forth, but hasn't really crawled yet. Once he learns, we are going to be in a world of trouble. Tanner started baby proofing, but I'm sure Coop will get into things we never even thought he could reach. Just one more way that he is becoming more independent.

On a really fun note: Cooper is ticklish. It is adorable. I can walk my fingers up his tummy and he giggles like crazy. I'm making a mental note of this to use against him when he's 12.

Tanner and I celebrated our 9th anniversary on the 10th. It was this time last year that we announced we were having a baby. I can't believe how much things have changed. It's hectic sometimes, but I love it. Tanner and I will be spending our first night away from Cooper this weekend. Our first dinner away from Coop for that matter. We are planning to do some shopping, go to the art museum and eat a nice dinner. We have a room booked at the Skirvin. We've always wanted to stay there, but never really had a good reason. I think it's going to be a chance for Tanner and I to reconnect. Our relationship has changed since the little man came along. It's sometimes tough to balance all the different roles we now play. I'm ready to get to just be a wife - although I know the mom in me will have a hard time leaving. Anxious, excited........ready.

Needed.....Needy.......Whatever

For the last two nights, Cooper has not needed me to go to bed at night. Usually we do our usually routine in the evenings: Bath, Nurse, Bed.  This has been the routine for months now. Last night, he was very fussy and I kept trying to get him to eat, but he wouldn't. I finally resorted to holding him and bouncing while he sucked his thumb. Before I knew it, he was asleep. I put him in his crib and didn't see him again until 6:30 this morning. Tonight I had to run to Target to get diapers and by the time I got home he was in bed. Props to Tanner for his awesome daddy skills, but......booooo.

I know this probably sounds very self-involved, but it makes me a little sad. He's 36 hours from being 6 months old and I feel like he doesn't need me anymore!  I feel like he is growing up and moving on. By the way, he can get up on his hands and knees and rock back and forth now.  It's adorable, but it just another reminder of how fast things are changing. Pretty soon he'll be running around and jumping off the furniture and driving us crazy. I'm torn between wanting to hit the pause button and wanting to fast forward. Neither is possible, so I guess I'll just try to enjoy where we  care now.

Cooper is also doing his very best to get a few teeth. Still nothing yet, except a cranky boy and a  sore momma. Hoping things improve quickly and drastically or we're all going to lose it.

Sorry - there is no real point to this post. Just wanted to share my neediness with the world.

Tidbits

Just a few fun things we've been up to that I wanted to make sure and remember. Not really much of a narrative just fun little......tidbits.

1. One of the little girls at daycare calls Cooper, "Eyelashes."  How sweet is that?!?  He does have amazingly beautiful, thick, dark eyelashes. He gets those from his daddy. I love that he has them, but I'm not sure how I feel that the girls are already noticing.

2. Apparently my blog is reaching more readers than I ever thought. A family that is moving to Oklahoma from Texas called the daycare about getting a spot for their child. They had read my blog about how great PCCC-CDC is and wanted to reserve a place for their child. How funny! I guess that just proves that we have more influence than we realize.

3. Cooper is sssssttttttiiiiiiilllllllllllllllll teething! He has been drooling and chewing for months now. Nothing. No swollen gums, no teeth, no nothing! Thankfully, he hasn't been cranky. He's actually a very happy kid. I just kept thinking he would get teeth early. He's been drooling like a faucet since he was 3 months old. Maybe this is just another lesson in patience.

4. Cooper is a weirdo! This is one we've known for quite a while. Full-term baby stuck in the NICU. Newborn who nevers sleeps. Still takes only 30 minute naps. Happy as could be with only a 30 minute nap. Here's the sad one - he's one of only 2 kids at his daycare with a mommy AND a daddy. Doesn't that make you want to cry?!?  One of the kids has a daddy in Iraq, many are children of single moms. Several are in foster care.  Just another piece of evidence proving that the American family is falling apart. What a tragedy! I never thought my kid would be a minority because he has two parents who live in the same house.  More than ever, I want to stay married to my husband. Not just for me, but for Cooper. I want to prove to him that with Jesus as the center of our family, we will stay together. I want his friends to see that a mommy and daddy can be happy.  Parenthood may not be constant bliss, but I NEVER want my child to be scared that we will just decide that we don't love each other anymore.  Tanner and I choose everyday to keep working. Working to be better spouses, parents, people.  Hopefully, Cooper will one day see that.

That's all for now!

Quick Update

Wow! It's amazing how fast a month flies by. Let's see......Cooper is now 5 months old. He has started eating a little bit of solid food. He has tried rice cereal, green beans and peas. He has done really well so far. He has also learned how to roll from his back to his belly and vice versa. They tell me he has been rolling back to front for about a month at daycare, but I still haven't seen it firsthand. Of course the fact that he doesn't spend a ton of time on the floor when he's at home with his momma probably has a little something to do with that. She tends to be a little clingy!

Just this past weekend, he found his feet. He seems to really like playing with right foot, but couldn't care less about the left one. I'm glad this happened during this hotter-than-hot part of the year. This way we don't have to fuss with him pulling his socks off all the time. It's pretty amazing that he can now use his toes as chew toys.  He has been acting like he's teething for about 2 months now. Chewing on everything in site, drool running like a faucet. But still no signs of any actual teeth.

Cooper celebrated his first Fourth of July. He spent the 2nd at his Corbin grandparents' house swimming and eating hamburgers. He looked absolutely adorable in his swimsuit! Then he spent the 3rd with the Langdon side in Marlow. He got to watch Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Roderick's Revenge with his cousins. The 4th was pretty low key - just hanging at home with mommy and daddy. We hung out in the bonus room watching movies and staying cool. We had no idea at the time that the next few weeks would be 100 degrees or hotter. Can't wait for some cooler weather so we can take the stroller out for a spin.

The greatest development lately has been Cooper's laugh. He thinks everything I do is hilarious! He has the sweetest smile! It completely melts my heart. And then he laughs and I turn to absolute goo. I mean who could resist this gummy little grin?

I know! He's gorgeous, right! Sorry this is a total brag-fest. But it's my blog and I'll brag if I want to!

Providence Revisited

We went back to the doctor on Wednesday for Cooper's 4 month checkup.  He weighed in at 14 pounds and is now 24.5 inches long. This puts him in the 50th percentile for height and weight. I've always thought he was big for his age, but apparently he's average. Which makes me wonder why he's wearing clothes a size ahead of where he should be......  Glad we didn't stock up on clothes too much. I'm afraid he would have even more stuff he hardly got to wear.  I'm losing track of the point of this post.  Oh right - Cooper is right on track! Good job, kiddo!

If you've been following my blog you know we had daycare lined up for him to stay with an old friend, Monica. I was so excited that he wouldn't have to be in a huge center with tons of other kids and their germs. I think most of you probably know, but in case you don't, my mom has had an in-home daycare for 35-ish years. So I'm a little partial to that setting.

Well, a few months after we found Monica, I got an email. She had the opportunity to take a family of children. This meant all her spots would be filled. (Side note - Monica also found out that she was pregnant not long after she emailed me. I can't imagine watching an infant while trying to survive morning sickness.) While I understood where she was coming from, I must admit, I was instantly anxious. We started praying for another place to come up and started making phone calls. I called Council Road Baptist Church to see if they had an opening. They said their waiting list for an infant was 18 months - what!?!?! How is that even mathematically possible? However, they gave me the number of another daycare center that had only been open a few months. I called and made an appointment for a tour.

Tanner and I went and made a visit. I immediately felt very comfortable with Barbara. She is the director. She was a nurse for most of her career and then when she adopted her third child she had lots of difficulty finding good childcare. She decided maybe she should just start a daycare. And so she did, at Putnam City Christian Church. We decided this was a good fit for us and it has definitely proven to be true. After all we went through when Cooper was born, I loved the fact that he would spend his day with a germ phobic former nurse.

The daycare is a five minute drive from work and are pro-breastfeeding. I get to go see Cooper on my lunch break everyday. He nurses, then snuggles, or wants to chat. I love having my Cooper dates! It gives me some quality time everyday, no matter what time I get off work. Or if I'm on call.....at least I get that few minutes everyday.

Another advantage of PCCC is that Cooper is the favorite. I know, I know - he would be the favorite no matter where her was. :) But he really is the favorite. Every morning when I bring him in, Barbara says, "There's my boy!" When she has had a rough morning filled with with wet breeches and cranky kids, she says that Cooper makes everything better. But she's not the only one wrapped around his chubby little finger. His teacher, Kaitlyn, got in a little trouble the other day because she was holding him during nap time. Not because he wouldn't sleep in his crib, just because he's so fun to snuggle. Barbara told her that as fun as snuggling is, Tanner and I might not appreciate him being held while he slept at 2 in the morning. Told you he's the favorite!

Over the last few months, there has been some discussion of moving my dad's job to OKC. I thought this was just another proof of God's providence. I mean, how amazing would that be! My mom could watch Cooper. He wouldn't be exposed to all the germs. But.......he also wouldn't be exposed to the other kids. He has a sweet new friend, Trenton. When Cooper is playing on the floor, Trenton (9 months old) will crawl over to him and make the toys move or make noise. And then he waits for Coop to react. Or Kaitlyn will put Cooper and Trenton in bouncy seats facing each other and they will talk and laugh. I love that Cooper already has a little buddy!

Although I still think it would be wonderful for my mom to watch Coop, I can see that he is right where he needs to be right now. God has provided us with a place for our son. We can drop him off and not worry that he will be mistreated or neglected. We can feel completely confident that he is well taken care of. That is providence.  God, thank you for Putnam City Christian Church and for all the wonderful people who love my son!

So Many Questions.......

Aunt Tiff and Uncle Nate stopped by to see the Cooper-man today. They couldn't believe how much he's grown. Neither can I, and I see him everyday.  Tiffany asked me, "So, is motherhood what you expected?" My answer: We're getting there.

This sounds so cliche, but you really can't understand how hard having a baby is until you have one. It strains every relationship in your life - husband, friends, God, yourself. We got so tired of everyone telling us how hard it was going to be. Tanner and I just wanted to say, "shut up and let us enjoy this!" Of course we never did......but we wanted to.  And then Cooper got here and we realized that unfortunately it was as hard as everyone said.  I kept waiting for the fun stuff and it just wasn't happening. The moment Cooper was born I fell deeply in love with him. But I will be the first to admit, I've had many moments where I didn't like him all that much. Like when he didn't sleep for more than about 45 minutes at a time for an entire week. Mommy wanted to pull her hair out and give her baby to the closest thing with hands. The complete and utter exhaustion was overwhelming.

But then he started eating better, which helped him sleep better. That made everything better. Although people always ask, "Is he sleeping through the night?" The answer to that is sometimes. About once a week we have the perfect conditions where he eats all evening. He gets a bath and then eats again. Then he goes to bed with a nice full tummy and sleeps about 7 hours. AWESOME!!!!  But most nights he sleeps from 9 to 2 and is then up at again 4 and 6.  FRUSTRATING!!!!  Hopefully when we start doing some solid food he will stay full a little longer and sleep for those long stretches on a more regular basis.

"Has he <insert milestone here> yet."  These questions leave me with mixed feelings. Yes, he is smiling, but not really laughing much. Yes, he can roll over, but has only done it twice. He holds his head up very well for his age and is very strong. He is just now starting to really play with his toys. It is so much fun to watch.  He does so many things, but I still worry that he is behind. I love to show off the things he does well, but the things he struggles with make me a little anxious.  I try to remind myself that every baby is different and he will reach those milestones when he is ready.

Many people have been curious about how work has been. They all seem to say, "It must be so hard to leave him at daycare." Well, honestly, I think it's good for him. He has been a happier baby since he started going and I know that I need the adult time that work provides. I know a lot of women feel like the best thing for their family is to stay at home with their children, and I think that is wonderful. But I KNOW that I am a better mom when I am working. It gives me a chance to miss him. I was on call this last week, which meant I got to miss him a little more than usual, but we survived. In a perfect world, I would probably work part time, but hey this world isn't perfect. So we will just keep doing what we're doing until God decides it's time for something else.

The more I get to know my son, the less often I have those times that I don't like him.  In fact, I can't remember the last time I wanted to pull my hair out! Although I still get frustrated when he refuses to nap or wakes up for the third time during the night, I still can't believe how lucky I am. Thank you God for putting this amazing little person in my life. My only question is...........What's next?

Counting My Blessings

This week has been exciting! Cooper slept through the night, rolled over and survived his first tornado. Tuesday there was a deadly tornado outbreak in Oklahoma. I spent about an hour in the basement of Cooper's daycare waiting out the storms. Luckily we didn't take a direct hit, but many people did. Including one family who lost two of their precious children. I cannot imagine what that must be like....having two of your children snatched from your grasp never to see them alive again. The thought almost makes me sick.

As I sit here with my son sleeping in my arms, I can't help but wonder if I could survive losing him.  I truly believe there are worse things for my child than death. He could experience things that I don't even want to imagine and live to tell about them. But if God chooses to take him to heaven I know that would be the best thing for him. However, losing my son is probably one of the worst things that I could ever imagine for ME. I don't think I could live if he was gone. How do you get up every morning? What do you do with empty arms? Again - almost sick at the thought of it.

I just continue to trust that God is sovereign and mighty. And that He works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to HIS purpose. Even if we can't see that our circumstances are for our good. Even if our current situation seems to strip away everything worth living for. God is GOOD! He wants to give us good things, abundant life!

God, we ask for peace beyond understanding for the Hamil family. We pray that you would be glorified in this horrible disaster.  May your church surround those who are hurting and help bring healing. God, we love you and praise you in the midst of this storm. Thank you letting me hold my child in my arms, even if only for today.

So.....I'm A Little Behind

Who knew once you have a baby you don't have as much time to blog?!?! Here's a quick update.

April 19th - We went to see Dr. Arambula for Cooper's 2 month check-up. He weighed a whoppin' 11.4 lbs and was 22 inches long. The kid is chuncking out quickly! He also got 3 shots. That part was no fun, but he did pretty well. I hadn't seen him make that face since we were in the hospital and they were checking his blood sugar. He also has a very different cry when getting poked on. NO FUN AT ALL!!! Glad it's over for a little while. We also learned that he is favoring his right side (he looks more to the right than the left). This means we have to encourage him to look to his left, sometimes using a little force. With each diaper change we have to hold his to the left for a minute or so. It's not always his favorite thing, but he puts up with it. When we go to his 4 month check-up we will see if he has progressed. If he is not evened out we will have to go to physical therapy. I don't think that will be necessary, but we'll see.

We celebrated our first Easter as a family of three. Always good to reflect on what Jesus did for us. It's a little different now that I have a son. It just confirms how amazing God's love is - that he would give up his son for a rotten sinner like me. Thanks God!  This year it was pretty uneventful, but in the coming years I know we will struggle with whether or not to even do the whole Easter bunny thing. I just don't want to confuse candy and bunnies the cross. Let's keep it real!

We had Cooper's baby dedication service on May 1. Since before he was born we have been praying for him and doing our best to give him to God. I think going through everything when he was born helped us to trust God even more. We realized that He is in control and will take care of Cooper.  We also saw how he will sustain us when things are tough. The service was really nice. It was great to celebrate our family and make a public dedication of our commitment to raise our son according to God's word.

Cooper went to daycare for the first time on May 2. It was tough to leave him, but we both survived. There's actually a whole long story about daycare, but I'll go into that another time. He did pretty well if you don't count the fact that he won't let them put him down and only sleeps for about 15-30 minutes at a time. They say you can't spoil a child at this age, but I will be the first to tell you that I have spoiled him. We snuggle A LOT! I think he will get adjusted sooner or later.   Hopefully we can get into a nice routine once he is going to daycare full time.

What else.......?  Can't think of anything.  Until next time!

Maybe Now I'm Brilliant.......Maybe Not

First of all, thank you to all of you who sent some words of encouragement after the last post. I just wanted to put the truth of my experience out there. Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone. Now for the point of the post.  I've learned so much over the last (roughly) 11 months. Just thought I would share some of my newly acquired wisdom.


1. It is possible to throw up so hard you bruise your face. Not a lesson I was thrilled to learn, but I guess somethings you learn the hard way.  I was on call and still in my first trimester. I got paged back to work on a Friday night.  I had only been asleep about an hour, but that was just enough to make my system think it was morning. Usually I could avoid vomiting in the morning by eating breakfast and taking a little extra time getting around.  Since I was anxious to go take care of the issue at work and get back in bed, I just popped up and headed out the door. Once at work, I started feeling a little nauseous. I thought I would just borrow a puke bag from The Children's Center and take it with me in case I needed it for the ride home. I got the bag and didn't even make it back to the pharmacy before I had to hit the bathroom.  I would have sworn that I was throwing up my toenails.  The next morning, I woke up with broken capillaries under my eyes - not quite black eyes, but close enough.

2. I can take more pain than I thought. If you have known me for a long time, you know that I am a total wimp when it comes to pain. When I was little I would scream bloody murder getting a splinter removed. Tanner warned me that I needed to expect the worst when it came to labor. He is so wise. He thought if I expected the absolute worst then surely the real thing wouldn't be so bad. He was right. Contractions hurt, but I'm glad I felt them. If it hadn't been for the vomiting that started coming with my contractions I probably would have waited a while longer before getting my epidural (which didn't hurt at all in my opinion).

3.  I don't mind being a dairy cow, but I don't just LOVE nursing. I know some women really enjoy breastfeeding their babies. They love the bond and the connection it brings. Maybe it's because we didn't get to even try for the first few days. I don't know.  One of my primary love languages (if you don't know what I'm talking about, google The 5 Love Languages - it will change the way you see all of your relationships) is physical touch. I love to hold hands, snuggle on the couch.....I still have very fond memories of laying on the couch with my head resting in my mom's lap while she gently stroked my face. Touch (by people I love, not creepy strangers) generally makes me feel calm and peaceful.  I guess this is why I thought I would love breastfeeding. Don't love, don't hate it. And I'm okay with that.

4. I have great genes. Not sure if I should thank my mom or my dad, but I survived my first pregnancy without getting a single stretch mark. I really like wearing a bikini (not that my body is ready to be seen in one) so I'm glad it will still be an option for the future. Maybe by summer I'll have my abs back (only 3 pounds left to lose)!

5. I have 2 blood types. Yep, that's right, I'm a freak of nature. When I got pregnant they tested my blood and it came back Rh negative. This meant I would need to get a shot of Rhogam in order to avoid possible complications in future pregnancies. I got one shot at the doctor's office and was told I would get another before leaving the hospital. Before giving the second shot, they tested my blood again. This time it came back Rh positive. My poor nurse - the lab called her and said that she must have mislabeled the blood sample. I knew she didn't because she asked me to double check that the label had my name on it before she put it on the vial.  She was freaking out trying to figure out what happened. They redrew the blood and reran everything just to be sure. Turns out I basically have Rh negative and positive blood. Apparently this is very rare and most often seen in people of Native American descent who live a specific region in Florida. So I got more Rhogam - better safe than sorry. Weird!

6.  Being a mom is really hard. I know you hear other moms say this all the time, but there is no way to wrap your mind around it until you experience it. However, I have also learned to function on much less sleep than I was used to. It's gotten a lot better since my angel of a mother came to stay the night with us a few weeks ago. Our nights (and days for that matter) had been pretty rough and it was really wearing on all of us. My doctor had called in some Reglan for me because I felt like my milk supply had decreased. I knew the side effects this could cause (drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and rarely uncontrollable muscle movements). Turns out I got the weird muscle thing - you should have seen me. I was exhausted, but so restless. My mom was taking care of Cooper (she got him sleeping in his own bed - woohoo!) so I would pump while she fed him a bottle. I couldn't even sit still to pump! I was marching in place holding the pump to my chest talking 90 miles an hour! It was insane! So....no more Reglan for me.  Side note: Love you Mom - thanks for all you did/do for me. I'm starting to see just how incredible you are (although I've always thought you were pretty wonderful - except for that one time when I was 14!) You are AMAZING!

7.  My husband is even more amazing than I ever thought.  I've always put Tanner on a bit of a pedestal. He is a great guy, loving husband and I always thought he would be a wonderful father. He has proven me right over and over. He is so helpful, doing anything to make things easier for me. And he is ssssoooo sweet with Cooper! Man, he loves that kid! I just love watching how he gently calms and soothes him. Tanner, you keep me sane and that makes me happy. I love you!

8. I learned today that turning 28 is no big deal. Honestly, I was dreading it. I'm not really sure why. But here we are, 28, and I feel no different. Actually, I got a pretty good night's sleep and Cooper has been happy for the most part. So my first day of being 28 is kicking my last day at 27 in the butt! Yeah for 28!

I know that there are endless lessons for this new mom to learn. Hopefully I will be humble enough to learn them the first time around instead of making the same mistakes over and over.  Who are we kidding - bring on the mistakes and maybe God will give me wisdom to learn the lesson.

Blessings

I've been struggling a lot lately. I have had to come to terms with the facts of my new life as a mom.  I prayed so many times that God would give us a child. And now, in all honesty, there are times I want to give him back. There are times when I miss the days when there were very few demands on me or my time. I love Cooper more than I ever thought possible, but things have not been as I expected since his arrival.

I still mourn the loss of the those first precious moments most moms get to spend snuggling with their llittle bundle. I never got a chance to have the "mom holding a swaddled lump with dad standing by the hospital bed" picture.  I didn't get to see my husband hold our brand new baby immediately after he was born. This may sound selfish and trivial, but these are the things I expected.  These were the moments I was looking forward to. But I have to realize that I am extraordinarily blessed. After all, my baby got to come home. My baby is perfectly healthy (if you don't count reflux and some serious gas).  My husband is here and helpful. But I still regret not having those experiences.

I also regret not enjoying my maternity leave. I have been so consumed with taking care of Cooper that I don't feel like I have stopped to just enjoy him. I have been more concerned with feedings than with getting to know my baby. More worried about spit up than smiles.  I pray that my negligence hasn't stunted the development of our relationship. I am grateful that he doesn't much of a memory yet - haha!

I guess this all boils down to expectations. Pregnancy, labor, delivery - all went as expected, maybe better!  I feel like everything after that has been someone else's life.  It was some other baby that was in the hospital for a week. Some other mommy who spends half her life crying on the phone to her mom. Some other wife who hands her child over to her husband at the end of a long day and says, "I need a break."  I know I probably had unrealistic expectations of what parenthood would be like. But this has been really hard.  Everyone tells you how difficult it is having a new baby.  But they all tell you it's so worth it. I'm here to say there are times I've had my doubts. Unmet expectations have almost been the death of me over this last few weeks. However, I feel like my expectations are becoming more realistic. I'm learning to enjoy Cooper and respect the person that he is. But it is still hard not to mourn the loss of the things I know I've missed.  I pray that I am not too stubborn to change or to see what God wants to teach me through these experiences.

My sister, Terra, shared this song with me a while ago (totally worth the 99 cents on iTunes by the way). I can't listen to it without bursting into tears. Just a reminder that what we've been through (and everything we will go through in the future) is all God's will for us and our family.   Take a moment to read through the lyrics to Laura Story's Blessings and thank God for the blessings in your life.  Especially those mercies is disguise.


We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not our home

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

Love in a New Light

Everyone always talks about how you don't really know how much you can love a person until you have a child. While I won't disagree with this statement, I will say that I've seen love in a new light since having Cooper. Let me go back a few days to help make my point.

While in the hospital, Cooper was poked and pricked more than any tiny person should be. Here is just one foot worth of evidence. His other foot looked about the same.  He had bruises and scabs from IV lines on each hand, not to mention the visible hole in his scalp from another IV stick. I know it probably doesn't look like much, but it left quite an impression on me.


I can't help but associate the wounds of my son with the wounds on the hands and feet of Jesus. Don't get me wrong, I am in no way comparing my child to the Saviour of the world. I'm just saying each hand, each foot, and Cooper's sweet little head was marred.  More than realizing how much I can love another person, I started to realize how much God loves me.  I cannot fathom giving my son up for anyone. Let alone a person who seems to constantly ignore me and take me for granted. But God continues to love me. Even when I am so consumed with my son that I have consistanly failed to spend time with Him.  

I am committed to getting back to my daily quiet time, even if it happens during a 3am feeding.  I want Cooper to grow up knowing how important God's word is. I want him to see Tanner and I giving it the place in our lives that it deserves. I remember seeing my parents reading the bible; my mom's is held together with duct tape.  I want my son to have a good example like I did. And that example starts with me.

All that to say, on Tuesday, Cooper finally shed to last of the marks that served as reminders of how his little life on the outside started.  The spot from the IV on his left hand has finally healed. Now there are no visible signs left that he spent his first week in the NICU. He looks like any other almost-month-old baby, but he is cuter than most!

We love because He first loved us.  1 John 4:19 


The First of Many Firsts

Today was a day full of firsts for the Corbin family. We had our first meal outside the house as a family of three.  I met Tanner at work and we went to Hideway for some delicious pizza. Cooper did great!  He slept in his car seat most of the time.  It was really weird to walk in and tell the hostess we were 2 and a baby. That will definitely take some getting used to.

I also took Cooper to PPOK to meet Tanner's coworkers.  They loved him. He was probably held by more people in the 30 minutes we were there than in his entire 20 days combined.  All the women wanted to take his socks off and see his little baby feet. To each her own....I guess. After that I took him by the pharmacy to meet the folks I work with. They were pretty busy so we didn't stay long. But it was nice to see everyone.

This is kind of random, but I probably ought to update everyone on how Cooper has been doing since we brought him home.  We went to the pediatrician (with Tanner in tow) for the first time Monday, February 28. He weighed 6lbs 7oz (up 2 ounces since leaving the hospital).  I was so nervous that they would need to draw blood to check his bili level. I know this sounds a little over protective, but this kid has been poked a lot.  Dr. Arambula had this fancy little contraption that she touched to his forehead that read his level. I was so excited that they didn't have to stick him again!  He still had a little jaundice so he got to sit by the window and work on his tan.

This Monday was my first time to take Cooper anywhere by myself.  We went back to the doctor.  He had gained 8 ounces (6lbs 15oz if you are keeping track) and his jaundice had resolved. He pulled what Dr. Arambula calls a "little boy trick." He peed all over the exam table. The trick is that he had a diaper on....and the diaper was 100% dry.  He somehow made a puddle all over the table without getting a single drop in his diaper.  I don't know how he did it, but at least we could leave the diaper on him. 

After the doctor we took our first trip to Target. This also led to his first meal in the dressing room. Thank you Target for being so accommodating to this nursing mom! It's nice to not have to pack formula and bottles when we get out.  His meals are always ready to go as long as we are together. However, I refuse to go to the bathroom to feed him. Seriously, would you want to eat your lunch in a bathroom? Didn't think so. It's not like I'm stripping down in the middle of an aisle. I have a very discreet nursing cover for times when there isn't a fitting room available. And I guess if all else fails, we'll just go to the car. It's an adjustment, but we will make it work.

I know we will have so many firsts, most of which will be more significant than pizza. But we are trying to enjoy each of the firsts as they come. I'm sure before we know it we will be experiencing some less enjoyable firsts.  His first time being grounded, his first date - who are we kidding? He can't date...ever!  Maybe even those we will enjoy in some way. Maybe he will learn a valuable lesson or meet the girl of his dreams.  One of these days, we will move on from these little, possibly meaningless, firsts to the real deal. But for now, I'm loving the little firsts.

Today Was Supposed To Be The Day

All day I keep being reminded that today was the day I was supposed to have a baby. I know, I know...babies are rarely born on their due date. I'm just sitting here staring at a 2 week old kiddo and thinking, "Would things have been different if he had stayed put until today?" I tell myself over and over that everything happened just like it was supposed to. Sometimes, I have to try very hard to convince myself that it's the truth.  Maybe this is all just hormones talking.  On second thought, I'm 95% sure it's hormones. But it's still how I feel.

On a more fun note - Cooper is 2 weeks old today! He is such a fun little guy. So far (keeping my fingers crossed and praying to God it continues) he's been a great baby. Eats well, sleeps well, has tons of gas. The gas thing may sound irrelevant, but it leads to lots of tummy bubble grins. Can't wait until those smiles are real.  Cooper met all of his cousins on my side of the family today. There was lots of love and snuggles and hand sanitizer to go around. While Jackson was holding Coop he kept leaning down and whispering to him. When asked what he said, he told us it was a secret. Finally he told us that he said, "Cooper, wake up! It's me, Jackson."  How sweet! Love you Ethan, Abbey, Connor, Jackson and Addison!

We are usually up 2-3 times per night. I nurse him and then if he seems tuckered out but still hungry, Tanner will give him a bottle. Nursing is going well; he just needs to build up enough stamina to fill his little belly. After feeding, we do a quick diaper change and then wrap up our baby burrito. We lay him down in his bed (co-sleeper in our room) and he usually goes right to sleep.  That is part of the upside of the NICU stay.  While in the hospital, he got used to being put down and falling asleep on his own. We are hoping to keep this habit in place.  As hard as it is during the day to not snuggle or rock him to sleep, it sure pays off at 3am.

Tanner went back to work on Tuesday.  Not bringing Cooper home until he was almost a week old sure put a kink in Daddy's plans.  There was no way Tanner was going to be convinced to go to work while Cooper was still in the hospital. But he was a little heartbroken that he didn't get to spend much time at home with us.  He will have some more days off later in the year.  Hopefully they can get in some quality guy time.

I know this is just random babbling. I felt like I needed to put some of my weird feelings on "paper."  I think catharsis is the cure for postpartum mood swings. 

Cooper's Road Home - Part 2

Ok, sorry to leave everyone hanging. And sorry it took me so long to get the rest of this typed up. I just had a baby - I have a really good excuse for being a little lazy.  So, here goes.

We got me checked in at Baptist and got a little settled while we waited for word that we could go see Cooper. When we finally went down to the NICU for the first time, we were overwhelmed. We had to get directions on how to be NICU parents:
     1. Pick up the phone outside the unit and let them know who you are.
     2. Sign in at the desk 
     3. Wash your hands.
We were then lead back to our son's room. Amanda (our first of many amazing NICU nurses) gave us more directions on how things work.  Cooper would have "hands on time" at scheduled intervals throughout the day. These were the times that we could come and be with him. Each time we could help with his care by taking his temperature and changing his diaper. Then, depending on his current condition, we could hold him for a short time. 

Initially, Cooper was unable to eat because of the CPAP; he would get all of his calories from his IV until he was taken off CPAP.  This meant his hands on time was scheduled for every 4 hours. Amanda emphasized the fact that when he is resting, he is healing.  It was hard to not be with him all the time, but we wanted him to heal as quickly as possible.  We reached inside the holes in his isolette and just put our hands on him. For now, this was all the contact we could have with him. This was Friday.

Saturday started out nicely. We went to visit Cooper and Tanner finally got to hold him for the first time.



Our nurse for the day, Monica, decided to be a rebel. She pulled Cooper off his CPAP to see how he would do. He did pretty well and was off of everything helping him breathe. At this point we were thinking it would be a very short stay. Since he could now have oral nutrition, they placed a feeding tube from his mouth, down his throat, to his stomach.  He was fed formula through the tube all day and tolerated it fairly well.

On Sunday, the tube in his mouth was removed and a new feeding tube was placed through his nose. He was still doing well with his feedings. This new tube would allow us to bottle feed him and they would only use the tube if he didn't take enough from the bottle. This was great news! But by the end of the day, his breathing was irregular and he was on oxygen. They were able to give him oxygen through a teeny, tiny nasal cannula. No more big, ugly CPAP. 

                                    

Sunday was also the day I was discharged from the hospital. This meant that we had to leave that night and drive home with an empty car seat. Torture is the only word I know that comes close to describing Sunday. That morning, Tanner went home for a while to shower and get another change of clothes - we hadn't packed for such a long hospital stay.  I sat in my bed pumping (I was planning to breastfeed but he could not even attempt it for the first few days) and crying my eyes out.  I was dreading this day!  Tanner and I had talked so many times while I was pregnant about the fact that going home from the hospital without our child was one of the worst things we could imagine.  And now it was happening.

Tanner and I were both very distraught. We didn't know how to do this. All we could do was go hold Cooper during hands on time and come back to my room and cry.  Thankfully, we have an amazing family. Tanner's sister in particular was very helpful. She came and prayed with us. She told us not to let satan use our circumstances to steal our joy.  We were parents - something we had wanted for so long! Something we knew was part of God's plan for us. And we were wallowing in our situation. From that point on, we tried to remain joyful. After all, we knew our child would come home eventually. We were confident that God would heal him.  We walked out of the NICU at the end of the day sad, but not broken.  Believe it or not, I did not shed a tear.

Monday brought a renewed energy - it's amazing what sleeping in your own bed will do.  Cooper had a good night, but we walked into the NICU that morning to bright blue lights coming from his room. His bilirubin was high so they placed him under lights. Nothing out of the ordinary for a newborn. Just one more thing for him to contend with. He did look pretty stinking cute with his shades.

                               

Monday, he lost the IV access in his hand, so they had to start an IV in the top of his head. The nurses called it his unicorn horn. It was not easy to look at, but we got used to it.  At this point, he was only getting minimal amounts of IV fluid, but they wanted to maintain an IV just in case. They were able to stop the oxygen and start Vapo-therm.  This was heated, humidified air which was forced into his lungs to help keep those ornery little alveoli open. They could give oxygen through the Vapo-therm, but he didn't really need extra oxygen, just a little more time for his lungs to mature completely. He was only a few steps away from coming home.

We were getting comfortable with being in the NICU, which we secretly hated. I was naked from the waist up to pump multiple times a day. They recognized us at the phone (through the security camera) before we told them who we were. We had started leaving our Boppy pillow and some of Cooper's blankets and clothes in his room - not that they could use them yet. We didn't want to feel at home there, but it didn't take long.
                                                                                                                       
 Left: First Family Picture
Right: Unicorn Horn and Feeding Tube


Tuesday was uneventful, which was nice. I got to try breastfeeding him. He did great!

Wednesday, Cooper was finally moved to open crib. He was still attached to all the monitors, but they were able to stop the bili lights. No bili lights meant that he could finally be dressed in some of those clothes that we had left. He very quickly decided to poop all over his clothes and his nurse -  she was a little crazy, so she had it coming.  Apparently my son inherited his daddy's ability to read people. He was not fond of Wednesday's nurse. She was perfectly competent, but just a little high strung. Needless to say, she changed him into one of the hospital t-shirts. Tanner and I got a kick out of Cooper's reaction to someone he didn't really like.

The one think we did like about Wednesday's nurse was that she told us he would be going home the next day.  We were hesitant to believe her because she was so whack-a-doo.  She told us to go home and feather the nest and get a good night's sleep. We had feathered the nest the night we went to the hospital.  The only thing we really needed to do was rest. We found it surprisingly easy to sleep that night.

We woke up Thursday morning still afraid to believe that Cooper would be coming home. He'd had so many ups and downs we just didn't want to be too optimistic.  We were getting ready to leave for the hospital when we got a phone call. Monica (Cooper's favorite nurse - we were so glad it was her) told us to bring the car seat upstairs when we got there.  Was she serious?!?!  We almost couldn't contain ourselves. This was the news we had waited for for almost a week.

Cooper still had to pass the car seat test (spend time strapped into his car seat while on the monitors to make sure he would tolerate it) which he did with flying colors. He also had his hearing test and circumcision. It was rough time for him, but he handled it like a champ. Monica called us again as soon as all his procedures we over and said we could come pick him up. WOOO-HOOOO!!!!!  We ran upstairs so quickly that we left the keys in the ignition. Thankfully, we also forgot to lock the car!

We got Cooper loaded up, took a quick picture with Monica, and we were on our way.


Cooper loved riding in the car. He just looked around wide-eyed the entire time. Before we knew it, we were pulling in to our drive and unloading him. It was glorious! I have never in my life been so glad to be home. We came inside, looked at each other and said, "What now?"  We didn't know how to be a family outside of the hospital. However, this awkwardness quickly faded and we got settled in.

                                   

Cooper has truly been the most amazing thing to happen to us - ever. He is the sweetest little creature. Each day we are trying our best to soak up every single moment with him. We have already seen how days in the hospital can last a year, while days at home pass at lightning speed. We are so thankful that God healed our son. He brought us through the most difficult time in our lives and He strengthened our faith. We could not be more grateful for all the prayers and support from all of our friends and family. I can't say that if I had it to do all over again, I wouldn't change a thing. But I can say that I know God's plan for my son is best. And since this was part of the plan, who am I to wish for anything different.

Cooper's Road Home - Part 1

So, let’s try to pick up where we left off with the last post. Just a warning, this will be lengthy. Just to recap, Cooper was born Friday, February 18, at 8:48am.

They laid him on my chest and I was in awe. He was this incredible, squawking, perfect (if not a little blue) creature. I was instantly totally enamored.  His presence nearly took my breath away. And it apparently did take his breath away. I knew from his color that there were issues. They took him over to the warmer and started to suction him. The neonatal nurse, Carey, turned him on his side and beat on his little back trying to get his lungs clear. He started to pink up so she continued with the usual assessments. He weighed 7 pound 2 ounces and was 20 inches long with gorgeous little fat feet and chubby cheeks. Things were seeming normal, until Carey asked someone to call Respiratory. I’m no expert on newborns, but I knew this was unusual.

They started Neo-puff which is just a way of helping to open up his lungs.  He was breathing irregularly, doing something they called grunting. It didn’t sound much like a grunt, more like breathing through a harmonica. His breathing seemed to normalize and so they let me hold him. We asked if we could have a few minutes just the three of us and everyone agreed. I had him lying on my chest and was loving every second. Tanner got a few pictures and then came over to get a closer look.


It seemed like only seconds before the grunting started again.  We tried to soothe him hoping it would stop.

It didn’t.

Tanner quickly went to get one of the nurses. As quickly as he was in my arms, he was gone. They said they wanted to take him back to the nursery and do a little more of the Neo-puff.  We assumed he would be back with us in just a few minutes. A few minutes passed and then an hour.  Finally, Carey came back to our room and told us that his breathing problems were more significant than they originally thought. They were going to have a neonatologist from Baptist come take a look. It wasn’t long after the doctor saw him that they came to give us another update.

His lungs were immature and the small sacs (alveoli) at the end of his airways weren’t staying open when he inhaled. This means he was unable to absorb an adequate amount of oxygen; his oxygen saturation was dangerously low. He was started on CPAP to force air into his lungs. They also wanted to give surfactant directly into his lungs. The surfactant would help his alveoli stay open which should help with his oxygen saturation.

They started the surfactant procedure around two o’clock and told us they would know if it was effective within 2-3 hours. During this entire time, I was restricted to my bed because I was still numb from the epidural. Tanner was able to go in and see him for just a few minutes after the procedure. He brought back pictures to try to prepare me for what I would see when I was able to go in. He had an IV in his left hand, CPAP in his nose, heart and respiratory rate monitors on his torso, an oxygen saturation monitor on his foot and a blood pressure cuff on his arm. We spent the next few hours praying and waiting. It was probably the hardest 3 hours of my life up until that point.  Once I could finally feel my feet (well, I really couldn’t, but I said that I could) I was able to go in and see him.

The first time I saw my son he looked like this:



The second time I saw him, he looked like this:


Needless to say, we were scared. Our uneventful pregnancy, labor, and delivery had suddenly become a very different situation.  Nothing can prepare you for seeing your child hooked up to all kinds of monitors with wires coming off of him in all directions.  It was almost incomprehensible.  

By about 6:30 we found out that the surfactant had not worked. He was still unable to breathe sufficiently. So the decision was made to transfer us to Baptist. Cooper was transferred in an enclosed crib/stretcher type thing. It looked really scary, but I’ve seen them at work a lot so it didn’t really bother me. However, my family was all a little unnerved by it. This whole set up took up too much room for either one of us to ride in the ambulance with him. This was the part I didn’t care for. Tanner and I had to go in our own car. Never in my life has that stretch of road seemed longer or more unfamiliar. 

This is getting really long.......so I'll leave you with that cliff hanger. Check back soon for the rest of the story.

I sound like Paul Harvey - haha!

EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!

My son is finally here. Cooper Reed Corbin was born February 18, 2011 at 8:48am.  He has been an exciting little booger from the very moment he took his first breath. But more on that later. First let me tell you all about how he got here.

I went to the doctor for another weekly check up on Thursday, February 17.  When the doctor checked me she said I was a very loose 1 - she rounded up to 2cm dilated.  His head was still very low. She scheduled me for another weekly appointment, but told Tanner she didn't think I would need it. When she said this I thought she was probably right, but I never dreamed I would see her again quite so soon.

Thursday at work I noticed some achiness in my back. I thought at first that it was just the lower back pain many pregnant women get, although I hadn't really had any lower back pain since the sciatica went away. As the day went on, the pain started coming a little more frequently and a little more regularly. I thought maybe they were contractions, but they didn't hurt all that bad. I figured once I got home from work I would put my feet up and relax and they would stop. I just hoped that the phone didn't ring. That's right - I was on call and in labor. I had warned my boss that I might have to have someone cover for me and it wasn't long before I made that call.

Once I got home and started timing contractions, they were lasting about 45 seconds and coming about every three minutes. We called the women's center and they said to keep timing until I had a total of 2 hours with contractions every 3-5 minutes.  So I sat waiting as patiently as possible while Tanner gathered all of our things to pack the car. He also finished eating the lovely dinner he'd made - steak kabobs. I was too scared to eat anything, but it looked delicious.

We arrived at the hospital about 9:15 and when the nurse checked me I was between 2 and 3 cm dilated. I knew that was some change from earlier in the day, but I didn't think it was enough to constitute active labor. They hooked me up to all the monitors and we waited in the triage room for about an hour and a half.  During this time, my contractions were getting further apart, but more intense. I really thought we would be going home. I thought they would want us to labor at home for a while longer and see if the contraction interval picked back up. I was wrong. I was now dilated to a good 4. Our nurse, Eva, told us she would get all the paper work and get us checked in. "Let's have a baby," she said. Instantly I was overcome with fear and excitement and joy. This was real. We were having a baby.

We got back to our room and I kept contracting like crazy. They hurt, but I wasn't dying. I thought I was doing ok to breathe through them. My mom and sisters came back to see me and I realized that distraction was more helpful than quiet breathing. I tried to talk and carry on with whatever I was doing when the contraction started. This was MUCH better for me than trying to breathe and relax.  My sister, Tiffany, who had her second baby with no pain meds whatsoever, even said she thought I was handling labor really well. This meant a lot because she is the tough Langdon sister. I am the baby with no pain tolerance.

However, by midnight I was vomiting with the contractions. Not fun.  At this point they gave me some IV Zofran (love that stuff) and I told them I was ready for my epidural.  I got in position and realized that this was the most comfortable position I'd been in all night. I loved having Tanner's arms around me and being able to just melt into him during my contractions. If the anesthesiologist hadn't been there and all set up I might have just labored sitting up in the bed for a while longer. But I figured if I could avoid further pain (and vomiting), why not. By 12:15 I was in the process of getting my epidural and realizing that apparently some women are bigger babies than I am. The epidural DID NOT HURT! It wasn't like being licked by kittens, but it was not bad. So maybe I earned 1 tough girl point for that.

By 1am my legs were lead and I was dilated to 6cm.  Tanner and I tried to sleep a little during the night, but it was almost impossible. My parents, his parents and my two sisters were all out in the waiting room. They would come back to our room a few at a time and visit. It was nice to see everyone and made the time go by a little faster. Eva would come in every so often and help me move the tree trunks that were my legs. This helped to move things along and by 3 AM I was 7cm. It took until 5am to get to 8 cm and by then we were all getting very anxious. Tanner and I were so ready to meet him and Eva wanted me to have him before she left at 7. By 7am I was at 9 cm and they started pitocin, knowing that I would need it after delivery. And just in case you were wondering, water still hadn't broken. Eva missed meeting Cooper, but her replacement, Jennifer, was equally wonderful.

This is random, but did anyone else feel like their butt was gigantic when you had an epidural? It was like when you go to dentist and they numb your mouth. Your lips feel huge even though they are obviously still thier normal size. Told you it was random, but I thought it was really funny. Maybe some of the drugs went to my head a little!

Dr. Davis had a C-section first thing in the morning so she came in around 7:45 and broke my water.  Almost immediately I was dilated to 10cm. They started setting everything up for delivery and Jennifer noticed something concerning on one of the monitors. When I was having contractions, Cooper’s heart rate would fall. Not terribly low, but low enough that she started massaging his scalp (which she informed us was full of hair) to stimulate him a little. She didn’t seem too concerned especially since we were so close to delivery.  Once everything was set up they asked me to push just to see how well I could. I was still able to feel the contractions (barely) which helped me know when to push. We did one practice push and he was crowning. They told me just to wait a few minutes and Dr. Davis would be there.

As soon as Dr. Davis arrived I started to push again. She mentioned that if we changed our minds, she would take the baby home with her because her son really wants a baby. It was so weird because I had learned that we live in the same neighborhood. I mentioned that we were neighbors and as I’m pushing she’s asking me if I’ve ever waived at her and she ignored me. I just laughed (as I’m pushing) and said I don’t think so. It was so funny! I’m pushing a person out of my body and carrying on a conversation with the person responsible for catching him! I should have told her to focus!  The next contraction we decided it was time to have a baby……and so we did. It felt like a fish floundering in my belly when his body and legs were coming out. Three pushes and I went from pregnant woman to mommy. It was amazing!

I know everyone is anxious to hear the rest of the story, but it’s almost time to feed again. I’ll try and get everything written down and posted soon. I just don’t want what has happened since he was born to steal the thunder of that moment. Everyone says your life changes instantly. This is definitely true for us. I am so in love – with my son and even more with my husband. God is great and life is good.