Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Very Superstitious

My blog posts over the past couple of weeks have been a bit more sporatic and wordless than is normal for me... for a very good reason! We're working (read: stressing) about something very big these days! Only because I am superstitious, I haven't wanted to post anything about it.

So we're a week away from the big reveal. Hold tight! And don't worry, the surprise isn't Dart.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Pinwheel, pinwheel spinning around

Before Mother Nature decided to reneg on spring, we spent some more time on the porch together, soaking in the warm weather and sunny days. William loves being outside. It actually doesn't matter to him if it is warm or cold, he just really enjoys being out of the house. The only time we have to worry about taking him outside is in the heat of the summer, as some of his medications decrease his body's ability to sweat.

Sometime in the past couple of months, we became the proud owners of a new multi-colored pinwheel. I don't remember where it came from. All I know is that all three of my kids love it. We put it in the planter on the back porch so that we can all see it spin when the wind blows. Matt likes to make a game out of taking it out of the planter and seeing how fast he has to be to get the dirty end in his mouth before someone takes it away from him. Fun for him, not so much for us.

Will also loves the pinwheel, especially when it spins. He focuses right on it, and smiles big when it goes around and around. He is super proud of himself when he is the one who makes it spin. It takes a lot of work, but the pay off is great!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring has sprung

... and there's nothing better than hanging out on the deck after work with Daddy! Warm weather, sunshine, no bugs, no pollen, and lots of snuggles.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Grandpa saves the day

We didn't do a lot of decorations for the party last weekend, but we couldn't leave out the balloons. We had identical bunches of white and green balloons all around the deck, and Luke was very proud of them.

Over the course of the party, some balloons got popped, some floated away, and some went home with party-goers. By the end of the day, we had two bunches left. Luke insisted on holding one of the bunches. We suggested tying them around his wrist. He wanted nothing to do with that. Within a matter of seconds, those rascally balloons had freed their way from Luke's grip, and were making their way into the sky.

We rushed to put the remaining bunch of balloons in Luke's hand, but it was too late. Luke's first response was shock.

Then disbelief. Still holding onto the identical bunch of balloons.

And ultimately, he went into full meltdown mode.

We tried to remind him of the one remaining bunch of balloons, but he wouldn't have it. Through tears he demanded that Daddy go up into the sky and get his balloons back.

Lucky for Luke, Grandpa has skills when it comes to retrieving balloons. Grandpa told Luke that he would run around the house to try to exchange the balloons that Luke had in his hand for the ones that got away. Luke, Daddy and Grandmama waited, hopeful.

Grandpa ran around the house with the unwanted balloons. Luke held his breath. Nothing was happening.

All of a sudden, we heard Grandpa's voice. "I got them!" He appeared again around the corner of the house, with a victorious gait. He explained to Luke that his balloons that floated away had actually gotten stuck in a tree. He had to climb up to get them, which is what had taken so long.

Luke was so relieved to have Grandpa save his birthday! Hugs and thank you's all around.

Monday, March 14, 2011

A path implied

Thursday March 15 2007

Luke and Will are 4 days old today... already such a scary life. They've had blood transfusions, been poked and prodded all over the place, and been transferred from a small hospital special care nursery to a large university neonatal intensive care unit.

The doctors told us today that their brain hemorrhages have worsened. Will's hemorrhage is serious - I think the most serious kind. Grade 4, which means that it has gone outside of his ventricles and into his actual brain. The risk for long term effects is very high. Luke's hemorrhage appears to be much smaller. The long term effects are less severe. It is all a wait and see game with both boys. It is killing me.

Luke is off of the ultraviolet treatment for jaundice. Will is still on it. Nate's drawn sunglasses onto his bilirubin eye shields. We're trying to find humor in everyday life right now, though it is very difficult.

Both boys are still on ventilators. I know that Luke is on room air now, and the doctors are talking about extubating him this evening. He had been off of the ventilator and off of CPAP prior to being transferred to UNC, but he degraded in the ambulance and has been intubated ever since. Will is doing well on his vent, though I am not sure what percent oxygen he is on. I know that his oxygen saturation level is good. Hopefully neither boy will have the lasting effects of this respiratory distress syndrome.

It appears as though there are no lasting effects from Will's heart murmur. They treated him with indomethacin to correct a heart duct that wouldn't close. Luke will probably need surgery to close his.

Because it is impossible to know what tomorrow holds, we're just trying to stay in today and not get too ahead of ourselves. It is really difficult, as your mind goes into mysterious places when the doctors try to explain all these scary diagnoses. So today we're at the hospital and nothing has changed. As things really seem to have gone from bad to worse over the past couple of days, this is a welcome change.

We had all of our parents here with us, and I think it has helped quite a bit. My dad is a constant at the boys' bedsides. His quiet presence is calming. My mom arrived in NC the night of the 11th. She told me that she didn't know what she could do to help the boys, so she was going to concentrate on making sure that I was ok. Peggy and Joe got here yesterday and have been doing their best to stay upbeat. I think it is hard for all of them, although we're thankful that everyone is here for us and spending a lot of time in the boys' room.

We all get excited whenever Luke moves around or opens his eyes. Will has been on phenobarbitol since he arrived here, so he has been very sedated. It is hard to see, because more than anything, we want to see him open his eyes and respond to sound like his brother. I don't quite know what the criteria for being taken off of the phenobarbitol is, but hopefully it can happen soon. I think we all need something to go right, just to give us some hope.

Last night, Nate and I had our first chance to talk since everything started on the night of March 10. God, I don't think that I could have imagined when we got to Rex that night that this is where we would be today. That abruption was so scary. And then to come to the hospital and find out I was having contractions. And then to have nothing get better after that horrible magnesium sulfate, and get wheeled into the O.R. just 5 hours after it all began. I wouldn't wish this on anyone. All I want is to still be pregnant with these boys. I tried so hard to do everything right... just to have it all end so suddenly. It feels unfinished. Taken away.

I've never been a very religious person, but I think something like this could change a person. I think the hospital chaplain is going to come and see us soon. Our greatest fear is that Will isn't going to pull through, and that we're going to have to make the decision about life support. No parent should have to make that choice, and here we are... just 4 days after his birth wondering if he is going to live.

It was good that Nate and I were able to talk last night. We truly need each other through this, and the separation between hospitals and all the family in town made it so we couldn't talk. He's holding back so much emotion. It is unfair to him. I wish I could be his strength just as he has been mine. I've been useless over the past couple of days - a mix of fear, sadness, post-partum hormones, and pain medication. He seems to be doing much better today, though I am fearful that it is a facade.

We're about to call it a day here. I am going to spend another couple of minutes with my new little loves, and then try to do the only thing I can do for these boys - keep pumping.

I found a journal recently that I kept 4 years ago when the boys were just born. One of the people at the hospital gave it to me and encouraged me to write. It has a baby foot on it. But it isn't a preemie baby foot. It isn't bright pink and doesn't have a multitude of white pin pricks on the heel.

I haven't opened this book since Tuesday April 3 2007, which is the last entry and still 6 weeks before our discharge from the NICU. It is strange and sad to read these words. I wish that I had written during their entire NICU stay, but I think that when things started looking up and the NICU end was near, I allowed myself to be happy and hopeful. I didn't need a pen to express feelings at that point because how I felt was obvious in the smile on my face.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Planting party

We had a ton of fun last year planting basil with the boys, so we decided to plan a planting party for their 4th birthday this year. We warned everyone to dress for mess, and spent any spare moment this past week painting clay pots, making food, and preparing for our guests.

What fun we had! What perfect weather! Couldn't have asked for a better day or revelers, especially those who traveled to spend the day with us. Thanks to everyone who came to be a part of our special birthday celebration for Will and Luke! Our party in pictures:

Friday, March 11, 2011

Na na na na, na na na na, na na na na... hey! Don't touch me!

Matt is less than 11 months old, but already very much the toddler. I think that trailing after his big brothers all the time has really amped up his desire to be mobile and independent. He cruises from furniture to wheelchair to dining room chairs with relative ease and has even attempted a few solo steps. I give him two weeks before he's walking.

Since he figured out how to feed himself, he refuses to let us feed him anything. I am not joking. Put a food-laden spoon anywhere close to that kid's mouth and with ninja speed and accuracy, your spoon and its contents are on the floor. We've been giving him a lot of finger foods to eat instead of anything on a spoon, only now he seems interested in using a spoon to feed himself.

What the heck, I like a good mess. I put a bowl of applesauce in front of him, a spoon in his hand, and a futile bib on his neck. I don't know if he actually got any applesauce to his mouth. It didn't really matter though! He was entertained and proving his independence. And we got some funny photos.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lots of birthdays

March is birthday celebration month around here. Otis was born on March 3, so we took him for a trip to PetSmart to pick out a treat. We even got Otis a new toy, because he's an old dog now at 6 years old... he used to chew through toys in minutes. We figured since he has matured a bit, a new squeaky toy would really spice up his life. Luke and Otis decided on an appropriately annoying squeaking chicken. We got it home and Otis loved it...

... he loved that chicken for about 5 minutes before amputating the chicken's toes right off. So much for maturing! Poor chicken doesn't even squeak anymore!

After Otis' birthday, we celebrated Dr. Seuss' birthday by making green eggs and ham for dinner. Luke really enjoyed helping to make the scrambled eggs and count out drops of green food coloring. Surprisingly, green eggs aren't as gross as they sound, Will even enjoyed a couple of bites. We opted out of making actual green ham, though, because that kind of freaked me out.

And now, the biggest birthday of the month is upon us! On Friday, March 11, my not so little Luke and Will turn 4 years old! It is so hard to believe that that much time has passed since their early arrival in 2007. But then I think about where we are now, and how far we have all come, and then it seems like longer ago than even 4 years. Time is a funny thing.

We've got a lot of cakes going to school tomorrow to celebrate birthdays with classmates, and then we've got a small party planned here on Saturday! Can't wait! Happy birthday, Luke and Will!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Weight of memories

I am within 3 pages of my goal of finishing my 2010 scrapbook. Tonight I was finally able to assemble the books (yes, that is plural... my annual scrapbooks have volume numbers). 182 pages. One page for every two days in a year. Do we really do that much!?!

It occured to me as I was putting these books together that they weighed a lot. I pulled out the scale. How much do you think a year's worth of memories weigh?

One year of NC Slavik memories... a year that encompassed Luke and Will starting school, Matt being born, Nate starting a new job, me just being me... weighs 20 lbs. Perhaps scrappy, but definitely respectable.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Card sharks

Nate and I really enjoy Las Vegas. By ourselves, with friends, it doesn't matter... we have a great time. We have been a few times since we got married, and even though the trips are short, its just enough to get away for a few days, live it up with good food and fun, forget about our day to day stresses, and just act like kids for a bit. I think everyone needs to do that every now and again. And although I have done my best to enter us in every free vacation drawing under the sun, it has been several years since our last trip. As much as we'd love to go back soon, it just isn't in the cards. Ha.

So it was raining quite a bit this weekend, and we decided to bring a little Vegas into the house. We had to sacrifice a couple of cards along the way, but Luke and Matt had a good time playing around. Will wanted nothing to do with it. Oh well, two out of three ain't bad.

Monday, March 7, 2011


I am coming into the homestretch with my scrapbooking goal. I am into December finally, and the goal is to finish out 2010 before Luke and Will's 4th birthday party on Saturday. I think I can do it! Unfortunately what that means for you is that my blog entries are short and a little more spaced out than usual.

Hopefully a couple of photos of Matthew will get you by today! For those who might remember, these glasses have been around for a while!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

My brooding preschooler

It's like he's almost a teenager... when he wants quiet time, he gets the CD player and his headphones and sits in the big chair away from the rest of us. Yes, yes, he looks hard. But that's actually Baby Einstein lullabies that he's listening to, and he knows that if he turns it up past level 4 (you know, to rock out to Chopin and Mozart), we put it away. He follows the rules because he loves his headphones. And we don't mind the few minutes of quiet time that it affords us!