Sunday, September 27, 2009

Swim For Paxton

As I mentioned in my last post, SWIM FOR PAXTON was a huge success. It literally went off without a hitch and I truly believe this happened because we had many amazing people that allowed it to do so. Even the rain held out until the very end. I wanted to post some pictures of the fun that was had by all. Enjoy and from our family to yours, we thank you once again...

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Entrance where silent auctions, 50/50 raffle and donation box were placed.

Face painting table for the kids.

The West boys enjoying the bounce house.


Pictured here are just a few of our wonderful supporters. Many, many more stopped by to show their love for Paxton.



A little emotional as Kimmie introduced us and announced the reason behind the fundraiser.


And I had just had to put this one on here too, because by the look that is so full of love on my face, it is quite apparent that I am looking at one of my children...

Paxtons big brothers started off the swim and others joined in, even an adult race was held!




The most beautiful cake I have ever seen that was handmade for our boy. The letters in it spelled out Praying For Paxton


Even Fox 4 News showed up for an interview and did a story that evening on the ten o' clock news. Mr. Paxton is already a star!



One last shot of our boy in my belly 12 days before delivery! How I will miss feeling him hiccup and move about. How amazing it is that he has already brought so many people together and reminded us all what is truly important in this life.

PRAYING FOR PAXTON, yesterday, today and forever more...




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Friday, September 25, 2009

Blown Away

It's late. I am tired. I cannot shut my mind down. I am going back through this evening. An evening put on by dear friends for our son. It's still hard to believe this is my life I am writing about. It's all so bittersweet because I would give the amazing experience that tonight was for us back in an instant if it meant my sons heart was healthy and yet tonight showed me more kindness and compassion than I have seen in a long, long time. People...lots of people, beautiful families and smiling children all came together tonight for a cause that has become my life and for so many that joined us, the cause was for a family they did not even know. I am overwhelmed with gratefulness and the need to thank each and every person. While I know that cannot happen, especially given that I am giving birth in less than two weeks, I am hoping that some may read this and know that while I cannot thank each and everyone personally, our family has been reminded tonight of the good that remains in this crazy world. That as scared and alone as we may feel on this journey, we are not in fact alone. We are surrounded by wonderful people willing to give of their time, their energy, their cooking skills to feed my husband while I am away, their hard earned money, their offers to help, their prayers and their love. Our son, our beautiful boy Paxton has already made an impact on this world and he is not even here yet. I think that is pretty amazing. I am proud of him. None of this has anything to do with my husband or I, this is about a little baby boy who's fighting the good fight to be here with us. Who will fight an even harder fight when he is no longer safe in my belly. I am proud of him! Proud for the miracle that he already is, proud that he can bring people together like he did tonight, proud that he is already teaching his Mommy life lessons before the battle has even begun. I learn more from my children in this life than I ever imagined. I thought I would be teaching them and yet they are MY greatest teachers.

A wonderful, wonderful woman that I only met tonight put it best:

God does not give us what we can handle, he helps us handle what we get...


This is what we have "gotten" and one day at a time we will make it through this. Kimmie (who set up this entire event) I don't even really know what to say. I have already said thank you a million times over and yet it is so not enough. Just know that your hard work and kindness has made an impact on our family forever.
Thank you from the depths of my being to every single solitary person that came to support us tonight. That helped in any way with this event, whether it be simply spreading the word, baking yummy treats, bringing drinks, getting things donated, bringing tables, face painting for the kids, donation of the pool, donation of an awesome dj's time, playing with my boys or simply offering support . For those that could not make it, but sent their best wishes, we thank you. To those that have said a single prayer for our son or put him on prayer lists at church, we thank you! We are blessed to know and have been introduced to so many amazing people. Out of ones darkest hour, they learn the true power of the human spirit.

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Pictures coming tomorrow, I really must try to sleep...

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Beds, Brothers & Bellies

Today we had a check up on Paxton. We are two weeks out from his delivery and his heart remains unchanged at this point, which in this instance is a good thing. He continues to practice his breathing, weighs 6 pounds 2 ounces and is 18 inches long!!!! Way to go Paxton! The fact that he continues to grow and thrive is such a blessing. I can NOT believe we are so close to meeting him, I am a mix of emotions, but when I saw that face on the screen today in 3 D, I was reminded that above all else I am so excited to meet our son. This will be an uphill battle for sure, but I am ready to face this head on. I want to get this show on the road so we can get our boy home. Please continue to pray for Paxton!

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Since its been awhile, I decided to post and show just how much Paxton has grown! He is definetly running out of room and makes it known with the jabs, kicks and punches that he gives me. My strong boy!

Yes, I am in my husbands shirt. I have like 3 shirts that fit me at this point and I am not getting anything new since we are so close. So I just wear my man's clothes and boy are they comfortable. If only I could wear them in public, but I would never do that to my kids or my husband. I won't be "that" Mom = )

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Then there's my other two! My wild, fearless toddlers who will beat each other up and fight over "MY MOMMY" one minute only to do this the next:

And this:

Annnddd again:

I am thinking maybe we should have just gotten one big bed to share because yet again:

the boys wind up sleeping in the same bed together nearly every single night. No matter how much of the hair pulling, pushing, shoving, screeching that goes on; at the end of the day they love each other as only brothers can.

How in love I am...



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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Scared Out Of My Mind

In all honesty, I think I am on the verge of another meltdown. As we head into just over two weeks until I deliver our boy, I am a wreck of emotions. Some days I am so excited, others I am cranky, sad, nervous. Tonight...well tonight I am terrified. I can think of no other word than terrified. I am trying to keep it all together. Trying to be positive. Trying to be brave, but I am terrified. There are so many what if's. So many unknowns. I don't want to be away from my family. I don't want to say good bye to my boys for one day, let alone thirty or more. I don't know how to do this. I don't know how to act normal when my whole world has been turned upside down. I don't know how to just sit here and do nothing as we wait. I don't know how to pass the time quicker so we can get this show on the road, and yet I dread time passing because it means leaving my babies. How do I leave them? How do I do this? I have so many amazing people surrounding me and yet I feel so alone. The only thing I want to do is go into the boys room and curl up with them. I want to be able to fall into a deep sleep where my dreams are dreams of things other than another town, hearts, nicus, leaving, delivery, and random faces I don't know. I dreamt I was in labor in a hospital I have never been in and none of my family was there. There were weird nurses and people all around. Clearly my worries of doing this alone and away from home are engulfing me to the point that they come out in my dreams. This is my life now...it's not a bad life, just not what I envisioned. I know I am blessed. My husband sits across from me seemingly worry free. I envy him, he is braver than I. My boys are in the room next to me sound asleep, dreaming peaceful dreams. Paxton is still here with us, it could be worse, this I know. Today is one of those days. I know I will have many of them. I know it's ok, but I still hate them. I just need a good cry and yet I am holding it in, don't know for how much longer I can do that. I think it's time to let it all hang out again.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Peter 5:7



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Thursday, September 17, 2009

My Boys Are Growing Up

I say it over and over again, I just cannot believe how quickly the time flies. It literally feels like just yesterday when we were celebrating the boys 1st and 2nd birthdays, where the mere singing of Happy Birthday had the boys like this:

Give them a year to grow on and they wind up like this:



Happy 2nd and 3rd birthday Mason and Austin! A year to mature, become braver and smarter.
Mason has gone from a crawling, non talking chunky monkey to a running full speed ahead, jumping off of couches, screeching at the top of his lungs, demanding, talking little man.
Austin is the smartest, most observant, bossy, snuggle bug, chatter box around. They have grown into their own personalities and yet you never see one without the other. Opposite as night and day and yet the best of friends. As I watch them grow up, I am amazed at their intelligence, their ability to adapt, their fascination with the world around them and the love they have to give. I am the most blessed Mommy in the world because I have these two boys to spend my days with! They love their Ma Ma more than anything, well... almost as much a trucks, trains and tractors and for that I am so grateful. I eat up every kiss, hug, snuggle, "hold you","sit in your wap" moment that they have to give, because all to soon they will be gone.

See, their love for trains may top the list! Ma Ma and Daddy got them their first train set and they freaking love it! As I write this I can hear them saying "All Aboard, Choo! Choo" It's precious. They are precious!
Loves of my life! Happy, Happy Birthday To You!



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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"Birth" Day

We spent another long day in St. Pete yesterday checking up on our boy. The first of many appointments started at 8:30 in the morning so Dave and I drove up on Sunday night in an attempt to get a good nights sleep. I, myself, was exhausted, but was unable to shut it all down. There's something about being there that gets my mind going. I lay there in the wee hours of the morning begging my body to let it all go, envious of my husband who was out cold beside me. I am envious of a man's ability to shut down his mind at any given moment. No matter what may be happening in our lives, my husband can lay down and let all the weariness go. It's a man thing I know, and as the minutes passed by like paint drying, I wished more than ever that I was one. When morning finally made it's way to us we headed to meet the perinatologist who will be delivering Paxton. We really like him and set an induction date for October the 8th. I was suddenly extremely nervous and excited all at the same time. I can't believe it's as close as it is. As I sit here writing this, it feels like an eternity away, and yet it's already been three weeks since we found out about Paxtons heart and that seems like yesterday. We followed up with Paxtons heart surgeon, whom we had not met yet. While he did not sugar coat anything, throwing out statistics and problems that could arise, mentioning how complicated these little heart babies can be, we did in fact love him. I left feeling pretty rattled and exhausted. Lastly, we met with his fetal cardiac specialist who rescanned him for the second time that day and he reconfirmed his diagnosis and said he would see us in three weeks for his birthday. Finally, we toured the cardiac intensive care unit. I don't know what I expected... I have been in the NICU before when my sister and brother were born. I felt like I had seen it all, but here we were talking about my son who was going to endure open heart surgery within one week of his life. I saw all of these seemingly lifeless babies fighting for their lives as family members hovered around. It was like nothing I had ever seen before and the sobs escaped me. I held one of the many folder of information I had been given over my face in an attempt to compose myself, but I could not. My son would be joining these babies in just a short time. In a matter of weeks, it will be me leaning over the isolette showing my son as much love as possible via my hands until I am able to hold him. In hind sight I am glad that I saw what I saw yesterday. I need to be as prepared as possible. I am pretty confident that my first visit to Paxton in there will probably have me in a heap, no matter how prepared I try to make myself, but at least it may not last as long having seen it before. I am still reeling from the dramatic change our lives have taken in this past month. I know there is a purpose in all of this, and as I wait to learn it, I pray for my baby boy! I pray that all he is about to endure goes as smoothly as possible and I pray for the strength I need to stand by helplessly, watching it happen.
We did reconfirm that he is a Mason protege with those ever so loveable chubby cheeks and pudgy nose. He is also into yoga like his Mommy (well like his Mommy was before she was to pregnant to bend over let alone practice crow) and we know this because feet were to forehead for his entire scan. Then she showed us his hair and when I say hair I do mean hair. The child is a chia pet! There wasn't just peach fuzz sticking up, nope, we could see hair literally floating in all the amniotic fluid! It was hysterical!
I sat in the bath tonight rubbing my belly realizing that there isn't much longer that I will be rubbing it. It made me sort of sad. I love being pregnant. I will miss it. I think I will miss it even more now because of the deep attachment I have to this pregnancy after our miscarriage and now the deep attachment to this little man who has fought so hard all of this time in me. Together, he and I, made it! I helped him and he helped me. A miracle beyond miracles and now we are going to fight for just one more and that is to allow the doctors to transform the right side of my sons heart to do all of the work that the rest of us have two sides for. Come on Jesus, just one more miracle. Soon, very soon, we will meet our third son. I am so excited!

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Swim For Paxton

Yesterday, we had another appointment with our specialist here in town. Paxton is hanging in there despite his very poor heart. The fluid that accumulated last week has remained unchanged, thank God, and he may continue to grow in my belly for as long as he can handle it. He was practicing breathing, which I am told is a good sign that he is not in any distress. He weighs 5 pounds 5 ounces and is approximatly 17 inches long at 34 weeks!!!! He is a big boy and I am so grateful for that, I cannot stress how the weight and time in my belly will only help our son once he is born. I go back to St. Pete on Monday for a recheck with our fetal cardiac specialist. We will decide on an induction date then! Even with all that is surrounding our little mans birth, I can truly say that I am getting excited to meet him. I pray that all he has to go through in his ever so young life goes as smoothly as it possibly can for him. My heart aches for him that he will not be home with us and will instead be hooked to monitors and tubes, with iv's and possibly breathing machines laying in a plastic isolette with his chest having been cut open... I am learning to accept that I must hand my son over to a power higher than myself and pray for the best outcome.

Today I learned that two of my dear friends have in fact set up a fundraiser for our boy! It has been finalized and I am so incredibly grateful. Everybody has busy lives with families of their own and I understand that, so the fact that there are people out there willing to carve out time and energy to do something so amazing for our family is such a gift. As I have already said before, thank you will never be enough. When I am feeling my lowest, I just think of the angels God has surrounded us with and I know I am not alone. As lonely as I may feel at times, we are blessed to have amazing friends willing to show us that.

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Here is the flier that was made up!

SWIM FOR PAXTON!

Paxton West has been diagnosed in utero with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. He will require 3 open heart surgeries by the time he is 2 years old, the first of which is happening within days of birth.

His parents, Dave and Jennie West, are local residents of Naples, FL.

The expenses for medical bills, travel to St. Petersburg, babysitting for their two boys, 3 & 2, and lodging while in St. Petersburg for the surgeries are insurmountable.


Let’s come together as a community and help this local family!

When: Friday, September 25, 2009
Where: YMCA Norris Pool
Time: 6-8pm
Admission: All Donations Accepted At The Event Or May Be Sent To
Jennie West (Memo Line: Swim For Paxton)
2316 Pine Ridge Road
Naples, FL 34109

Questions To Kim: swimkim4@gmail.com

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Words escape me....




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Friday, September 4, 2009

Falling Down

I had an appointment yesterday with our specialist here in town. Paxton continues to do well in spite of his struggling heart. There is a small amount of fluid that has formed and we are keeping a close eye on it, as this is indicative of heart failure, and he will need to be delivered. I will be rechecked on Tuesday to be sure that the fluid is not increasing. Please pray that it remains the same as we really, really need to keep him in as long as possible and right now is just to early. We really want to let him grow about another 4 weeks.
I have mentioned in several previous posts that I may fall down in a heap of tears, but I WILL GET UP! Well, tonight was one of those times. I lost it. I yelled. I cried, no...sobbed! I sat in the shower and let it all hang out. Ugly, messy, heartbroken sobs. I knew it would come, I just didn't know when. It's been a heck of a week. To be honest, I can't believe it's only been 4 days since our first trip to St. Pete. It feels like forever ago. I have lost 5 pounds ( I am eating, I promise, but stress does things to you) I am not sleeping and my mind would win medals if thinking were a race. I am still quite dumbfounded at the way our lives have changed so drastically in a matter of seven days. I have gone from stay at home Mommy trying to come up with new and exciting things to do, making dinners, running errands, here there and everywhere to stay at home Mommy desperate for every second with my boys (all 3 of them) before I leave for so long, doctors appointment here and doctors appointment there, never ending list of things I can't get to, falling in a heap of tears at the end of the day.
The shower helped. I let the water do it's job and when I was good and ready, I got up! I told you I would and I did. I have no doubt there will be many of these nights ahead. We have a long and scary road ahead of us, there is no denying that. I am fine losing it if I need to, I am not in fact super woman! I do the best I know how with the card I have been handed. I sit on the other side of losing it knowing that I can do this.
A wonderful friend has the ball rolling on a fundraiser for our son, yet again kindness that brings me to my knees. When she called today to tell me I, well I...couldn't stop crying. (There's a shocker for ya = ) Are we struggling financially now? No. Simply put, my husband works his you know what off to provide for us. However, the mere thought of what lies ahead in bills is enough to put me over the edge. 3 open heart surgeries in two years and all that will entail is going to hit us hard. I am humbled by how loved our son is already. Thank you Kimmie and Andie!
Our photographer, who has taken all of the amazing maternity, newborn, family photos many of you have seen, know and love around our house called today to also bring me to tears, good ones, of course. She was here the week before we found out anything was wrong to do maternity pictures and has a sneak peek up on her blog, click on the title of this post and it will connect you to her blog. The sneak peek is amazing, so please head over to see them. They are SO The Wild Wild Wests!
What she called to talk to us about was for something much more. See, we already had plans in motion for her to do Paxtons newborn portraits, but those will not be happening for obvious reasons. So, she asked if we would like her to come to St. Pete and take pictures of him that first week before he goes to surgery. The plan is to spend a lot of time bonding and feeding him before surgery and I just know that Terrilyn (Life Expressions Photography) will quietly come in and capture the most precious of moments with our boy. Thank you Terrilyn for being there for us, yet again, at a very difficult time in our lives and for giving us tangible memories.
Thank you also to Bobby, a long time family friend, for offering to help find me a place to stay in St. Pete. Your thoughtfulness means the world!
Dawn is hard for me. Each day I wake up and remember that I am not dreaming. This is real and it's happening, very soon. Yet each day I am also blessed with people willing to go above and beyond to help and care for us. Each time that I fall, someone is there to pick me up in some small way. It's ok to be angry, it's ok to be sad and it's ok to grieve for what I imagined this to be, so long as I get back up. Life moves forward whether I want it to or not so I have to hop on board and take it as it comes. So far, so pretty darn good I think...

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

It's High Time

It's been mayhem around the West household lately with all of the news about Paxton and I decided it is high time we get caught up with my other two boys!

My Boys On Their First Day Of School (Mason's very first day, he's been waiting to be a big boy like his brother)
Seriously, how freaking cute are they...


Austin wanted to put his "eyes" on for dinner...I pick my battles ya know and besides what a cute pic!

(mmm hmm... those are McDonalds chicken nuggets and french fries. I know, I know...totally NOT organic but hey it's been a heck of a week)

Again, I wonder what they would do without each other. Best friends forever except when they are hitting, pushing or hair pulling over a car. The fighting has begun folks and yet there are so many of these moments...


Would it be weird of me to climb right in the middle of them and snuggle, smell and kiss them to pieces???



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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

It's Ok Mommy

I have always said how intelligent Austin is and he continues to remind me of that daily. It started earlier in the week when I was just trying to make it through the day and he asked for a snack. I got him one and as he ran off to continue whatever he was doing before hunger set in, he stopped in his tracks, turned to me and gave me a kiss, then ran off never looking back. He just knew... he knew what I needed.
He also, out of nowhere continues to look at me and say "it's ok Mommy." It's as if my little man can sense the inner turmoil, because it is inner. I keep it all inside in front of them. Minutes after they are tucked in bed, it all comes out, but while they are with me, there is nothing for their eyes to see.
I guess the reality of the year ahead of us has really set in. As I try to find a place to stay while I am gone, a car to rent (because my car needs to be here with the boys), get care for the boys, pay our bills and continue on with our daily lives as best I can, I can say I am overwhelmed. I have highs and lows. I am not sleeping. I should be, my body wants to, but my mind takes over. I wake every hour from dreams of nicu, hearts and potential places to stay.
I lay awake wishing that this wasn't happening. Wanting to deliver my baby just up the street and be able to have him stay with me and not be taken away. I want to go into labor naturally and feel the excitement as we run about getting to the hospital. I don't want to be nervous and continually imagining what this is going to be like. I want to go buy my son clothes, but cannot because he needs nicu tops that open so they have easy access to his incision! I don't want to leave my husband. I don't want to leave my boys. I am angry right now. Cranky and then sad. I know it's ok. I know it's healthy, but I want normalcy back and yet normalcy is a long, looonngg way off. When I stop and truly think about it, I CAN NOT believe this is happening...

We have been dealt a crappy card, but one day at a time, together, we will make it through this. My husband is so strong and his patience during this has never faltered. He gently picks me up when I fall and reminds me that this is a test and we will pass. Our dear friends have endlessly offered to help in whatever way they can with child care, some even flying from out of state. The boys swim instructor will continue lessons in my absence and " just come get them from Dave." Others have offered to help keep Dave caught up at the house (which will be much needed, let's face it, he is a man = ) Our babysitter, whom has become a part of the family, has already stepped up to bat and taken the boys home from school while we were in St. Pete as well as staying overnight if needed. She, too, will help give Dave a break in the evenings with all of the Mommy duties he will take on. Fundraisers have been brought up as a possibility to help with funds that are no doubt going to knock us off of our feet. Prayer requests have been put in at church's everywhere. People that I don't even know have shown kindness in ways that brought me to my knees. Jennisa, who designed our blog (Once Upon A Blog) had it up and running the very same hour I emailed her letting her know I was ready to share the we were having a boy. I ordered bracelets that say PRAYING FOR PAXTON on them (if anyone wants one, get in touch with me) and the site told me it would take 3 to 4 days to get to me. I let them know our situation in a tiny little memo at the bottom of our order and that I had hoped to receive them before our first visit to St. Pete. I placed the order at 1:30 pm on a Thursday and they were on my doorstep by 10:00 am the very next morning. My new friends over at Baby Be Blessed make handmade dolls and lambs with a bible scripture on them. I had previously known about them and decided to get one for Paxton to put in his isolette. When I went to their site it said they were overwhelmed with holiday orders and could not take any more. Once they heard about our story, they offered to make one for Paxton. I am humbled by the kindness that has been extended to us. Thank you just does not seem enough. It lifts me up when I am at my lowest and reminds me that as hard as this is going to be with friends, family and some days people I don't even know, we will make it.

Paxton is kicking me as I write this, he's probably saying GO TO SLEEP! He is still in my belly. He is still here with us and last week at this time we did not know if he had any options. Today, we know and I must continue to focus on the big picture. The big picture is getting our son home and a year from now having him on my lap, laughing and smiling as his brothers run circles around him. He is a miracle baby. It's a miracle that his heart, that has worked so hard all of this time, just managed to rear it's ugly head and yet just in time. As I have said before, I may fall down in a heap of tears, but I will get up. For Paxton. For my husband. For Austin and Mason.

"It's ok Mommy" and it will be...



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