Silent Night: CPAM diagnosis for baby #2

It’s been particularly quiet over here and while I’d love to say that we’ve been wrapped up in the holiday hustle and bustle, we’ve actually been wrapped up in something a bit more somber.

A few weeks ago on a regularly scheduled ultrasound our second baby was diagnosed with CPAM, congenital pulmonary airway malformation. A rare diagnosis of 1 in 30,000 but a diagnosis with a good outlook. Instead of normal lung tissue our daughter has a malformation in the lower left lobe of her lung. This tissue won’t function as normal lung tissue and it most likely will need to be surgically removed. Once it’s surgically removed, the life outlook is fabulous with no real restrictions or complications down the line. For this, I am so incredibly grateful. Terrified, nonetheless, but grateful beyond words.

We were scheduled for a follow-up ultrasound to see what the mass would do over the next two weeks. Sometimes they disappear altogether, sometimes they don’t. Her’s didn’t change. Her latest ultrasound revealed that the mass was still there and we are in the process of being referred to a pediatric surgeon.

Whenever you receive a diagnosis, or told there might be a problem, you automatically go through a process of “would-have,” “could-have,” and “what if’s.” There is no rhyme or reason to why a child develops CPAM and they stress that it’s nothing we could have prevented. This does nothing for a mother’s guilt. For my guilt. Immediately thoughts of all my maintenance medications I take for Cystic Fibrosis crept into my mind. Was it one of those that caused this malformation? Was it the daily Dr. Pepper I have been treating myself to? Was it the lack of spinach I was eating? Or was it truly just luck of the draw. I don’t seem to be particularly lucky when it comes to genetic abnormalities.

Needless to say, I’ve been tired. Physically tired. Emotionally tired. Our days have been jammed with daily appointments: for me, for baby & for Emmie (she started twice a week speech therapy). And our nights are laden with quiet anxieties while we toss and turn pretending to sleep. The house and dog have fallen into the category of borderline neglect and an already hardworking husband has been picking up my slack without saying a word or heaving a sigh. Yes, these past few weeks have been hard on everybody.

All we can do at the moment is try our best to go about our daily lives. We’ll be surrounded by close friends and family for the holiday season and there’s nothing more healing than laughter and love.

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Dear Emmie

Dear Emmie,

It’s been a while since I’ve written to you. You’re growing so quickly, it’s hard for me to even remember the last time I stopped and appreciated all the little things you do.

Your attitude is very much on par for a classic two year old. Some days you are sweet as punch, and other days, you scream to the point of hyperventilation because I threw away an old piece of floss. Yup, basic toddler.

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You’ve picked up quite a few cute sayings lately. You’ve grasped that “excuse me” isn’t just for passing gas. You constantly say, “excuse me, Ollie” “excuse me, Mom” as you push us out of the way. It’s so hilariously cute since you’ve managed to be so extremely polite and rude all at the same time.
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And speaking of being polite you’ve also started to go overboard on the apologizing. I am constantly hearing, “sorry Mom!” “sorry Ollie!” “Ooooh sorry Daddy!” for things that don’t even warrant an apology. Although, maybe they do in your toddler mind.
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You’ve become quite the helper. Just the other day in the self check out lane, you handed each grocery item to me so I could scan it, and you know what? It was actually helpful! Also, it was pretty hilarious when you started panicking calling me, “Hewwwwp Mommy! Hewwwwp!” and I turned around to find you trying to haul the full gallon of milk over the side. Yeah, you’re still freakishly strong – that hasn’t changed.
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What has changed is your ability to say,“NO!” Oh. My. Word. You say “no” constantly. Some days you drive me absolutely bonkers. I swear there was one day where you said absolutely nothing but “No.” It makes for extremely long days and definitely tests my patience.
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You’ve been doing a really great job at the gym lately. In fact, the other day while tucking you into bed, I asked you what your favorite part of the day was. You responded with “Mommy workout. Emmie plaayyy!” I responded aghast, “Your favorite part of the day was playing at the gym while I worked out??” “Mmmhm.” Confirmed. I think teaching you a little song has really helped you get over your fear of me leaving you. You now sing “Emmie play’s and Mommy comes back” all the time. You still feel a little anxious every time we arrive and you give me an extra tight snuggle, but we’ve surpassed the super clingy and crying phase.
Let’s see what else can I tell you about yourself. Oh,how could I forget, you love to swim. I mean, you’re wild for it. You love being in the ocean with Daddy. You also love the wave-less pond. You love being in the water so much that no matter how cold, how much you’re shivering or how blue your lips are you do not want to leave. You just can’t get enough. You really like it when Oliver can come swimming with us. You are always quick to help find a stick to toss to Oliver.
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All in all, you are such a sweet girl, always one to offer a hug. Still a little shy around groups but you’re really finding your own personality. You’re pretty silly and you love  to goof it up for your grandparents.
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Destin Vacation

 

Last weekend we welcomed my in-laws down for an amazing vacation. We spent a good majority of the time playing in the water, either jumping the waves of the Gulf or splashing in the resort’s amazing pool. Emmie was spoiled with attention, ice cream and lot’s of snuggles. There’s nothing like a weekend with family to fill your heart with love, gratitude and relaxation.

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The House That I Call Home

We’re in the depths of moving here at my house. I’m scrambling to comb through every nook and cranny. I’m a whirlwind of sorting: purging left and right. “Sell this, donate that, throw this out.” And on the craziness continues.

The move doesn’t seem real yet, even with all the drastic downsizing. I don’t think it’s really hit me yet that I’m leaving the house I call home. I’m packing up our belonging and with them our memories. This is the house that taught me so much. This is the house that witnessed our successes and our failures. The walls bare witness to our laughs and our tears. This is the house where I became a wife. This is the house I brought my first child back to. This is the house I call my home, and goodbyes are just not my thing. So, until I ninja across your squeaky floors one last time, I’ll just pretend you’re mine forever.

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Mother’s Day

Motherhood starts way before you ever hold your babe in your arms. It even starts before you carry that little babe in your belly. Eating right and working out. Prenatal vitamins, tracking temperatures and reading countless fertility books. Little purchases forgone so you could squirrel away the money knowing one day you’d have the tinniest socks to buy. Hopes and dreams and sacrifices.

Then you grow your baby, surrendering your coffees, your drinks, your productivity and ankles. You start counting your time in weeks, then days, then hours and minutes. Finally, a little voice is brought into the world and you continue on your journey with hopes and dreams and sacrifices.

Rocking, shushing, snuggling, swaddling, feeding, wiping away tears and wiping bums. Choking back tears to soothe a terrified face at the doctors. A heart so full it might burst. Late night cries and early morning giggles. The terrifying doubts of being enough.  Long days turning into short weeks, and snug clothes packed away. Your heart aches with hopes and dreams and sacrifices.

Being a mother is all consuming. It engulfs you in an endless see of love,  doubt,  anxiety and joy. You ride so high, and fall so low. It seeps it’s way into your personality. You’re Mom: warrior princess, doctor supreme, head chef, and monster-trapper. You’re a blanket, a song, a smile, a kiss. You are the arms of comfort and the hand of authority.  You are hopes and dreams and sacrifices.

So cheers to you Moms, may you feel the love of your little one where ever they may be. May you find courage and strength to continue on, for without you we are nothing. 

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When Time Slips By

It was apparently one of those weeks. The days blurred into one another and Emerson probably grew taller before my eyes. Maybe her words were a little more pronounced, her actions a little more decisive, her hair a little longer, her need for me to be so close a little less. And yet all of these things were just so infinitesimally small that just like the second to each minute, they pass us by. They passed me by. But every now and then you catch a moment in time, just as it’s about to pass you by where you realize she couldn’t do that yesterday, and you stop and appreciate it all. You soak it in, breathe it in deeply, for you never know what moments in time will be the ones that slip by you… moments simply forgotten in the blur of daily living. 

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Letter to my Husband

Dear Husband:

I have so many words for you tucked away in my heart. Some are tucked away for good, and some are just waiting for the right moment to dazzle you with their substance. You’re not a sappy person-you make sure your emotions never sit too close to the surface, and you keep your internal monologues buried deep. I make up for your emotional elusiveness, since I tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve. When I’m stressed or sad I like to cry, or bawl, depending on the mood. My jaw juts out when I’m annoyed and I literally bounce around making up songs when I’m happy. We’re quite the pair you and I.
But for all those words I do say, there are some I don’t say enough. How grateful I am that you lift me up, that you encourage me to be a better person. How my heart feels like it’s going to explode out of my chest when I see you with Emerson. How all the little things you do for me flood me with appreciation. How I would do anything to make you feel better when you’re disappointed. How I want to hold you forever when you’re sad. How I want to parade you around and rattle off all you’ve accomplished so far, but would never dare to since you’d probably keel over with embarrassment… (PS I realize the irony here as I’m gushing about you over the world wide web, but ya know, I gotta do what I gotta do. Continue)

We met when we were so young, just kids ourselves, trying to navigate the strange world that is teenage acne and kissing with tongue. What started out as such an innocent friendship became something so much grander. See, in those timid teenage years we did something so important. We started building the foundation to the relationship we have now.
You were, and continue to be, my best friend and our friendship has only grown stronger as time moves on. I so desperately want you to know just how much I loved you then, and how much I love you now, but most importantly that I’ll never stop loving you. It is an honor to be your wife.

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