Sunday, November 10, 2013

Introducing...

We proudly introduce to you our healthy and perfect fourth son.....



Talon Michael West

Born November 4, 2013 @ 3:02 pm

Weighing 7lbs 6 oz. and 18 inches long 





We are so, SO in love and enjoying every delicious minute of him.



His amazing birth story to come...for now I am relishing his newness and drowning myself in these most priceless moments with my boy.


love and hugs
~j

Sunday, October 27, 2013

...the home stretch...

i don't know where 38 weeks went...

i literally can't wrap my head around that fact, but here we are about to have a baby.  i'm not gonna lie, i am a hot freakin' mess.  the emotions are in full swing and the tears even greater.  the combination of excited and scared is an incredibly powerful mix. i am a control freak and i am once again, not in control.  of this labor.  of this baby.  of my boys and their care in my absence or of my emotions (clearly).   i try to stay busy, no scratch that, i AM to busy most days to spend much time dwelling on it.  i am assuming that's how i made it to 38 weeks without losing my ever loving mind, but when the lights go down and i am snuggled next to my sick boy in bed or stroking masons cheek as he falls asleep i am overcome with emotion.  this journey is far different than the journeys prior. i know more now. i know to much now. i miss the innocence i had before paxton and yet i cherish every single moment he has given me since. it has made every milestone so much more heightened and celebrated.  like 38 weeks!   38 weeks with pax damn near landed me in a mental institution as i waited to see if he would live or die.  today, i am 38 weeks of raw emotion, no doubt, but 38 weeks of healthy baby beating my bladder to hell. it's  a far, far cry from 4 years ago when i could barely breathe through the fear.  so i let the tears come in hot waves.  i allow myself that.  if i learned anything from our time in st. pete, it's that tears are the most therapeutic of  things.  happy, sad and everything in between.  i have finally allowed myself to wash go home from the hospital clothes (one boy outfit and like 5 girl ones lol) i have allowed myself to visualize the labor. i have dreamt of what s/he will look like. i have prepared our home and the area beside my bed for a new baby. one that can come home this time.  it took nearly 37 weeks to allow myself to do those things and maybe in doing so the tears are what need to follow.

a very wise person in my life said this:

jen you have an amazing perfectly healthy baby-bouncing and pumping with 4 chambers ready to latch on -keep you up ALL night for cuddles and nursing-this baby needs nothing special-can cry ALOT without worry and it will adore its 3 amazing and entertaining brothers-it's easy. exhausting in a good way.  imagine it. focus on it. it's real. it's happening soon and its going to be amazing-healthy and "normal"....


i took a screen shot of those words and go back to them daily as i walk the home stretch.  baby is measuring 6 pounds 10 ounces and is "perfect".



my boys are so ready to meet their brother or sister.  i was so worried about how they would handle it and its like they too, are ready to try this again.



our party of 5 is so full of life, loudness and laughter.  soon...very soon we will be a party of 6.   i am on bended knee, hot tears still flowing in gratitude for this crazy/beautiful life of mine.



stay tuned my dear friends... s/he will be making his or her grand appearance any day now...


love and hugs
~j

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

a 34 year old stream of consciousness (this one's for you susan ;)

( remember stream of consciousness posts are just that....random thoughts strung together with a bit of pregnancy hormones thrown in for good measure ;)

today i celebrate 34 years of life... i feel as though i have lived double that some days..in experience, in learning and in loving.  none of which are easy.  they all three take work and experience can be the hardest because a lot of times we don't ask for the experience, it's forced upon us.  we fight it oh' do we fight it, but somehow always come out of it grateful just the same.  i had a long talk with a very near and dear friend this fine birthday morning.  she was there for austin, mason, tadem and then paxtons diagnosis, like literally right there and continues to follow us today. she just recently lost her mama. it was a long, incredibly hard battle much like paxtons and yet very different in so many ways. and yet we sat talking this morning about life. it's crystal clear clarity at times and its ever elusiveness.  how we are able to look back and feel like we never really "got" life until we were forced into experience.  how incredible the body and brain are when it's time to delve head on into that experience and endure it. we stand on the other side of our battles still reeling, her more so than me, but reeling just the same. because we don't forget. we don't forget how it can mold and change you in ways you never imagined. when you see life...hanging in the balance... you are never, ever the same.  you find so much gratitude for the hardest of times because they do give a clarity to life that those who just haven't been there can't yet see...

***************************

i remember four years ago this day below.... paxton was to be born in 6 days....


i cannot even begin to explain all that was going through me in the moment that this picture was taken. i now see the fear grinding through the smile.  i was terrified for my unborn sons life. i was devastated to leave my boys for an unknown amount of time. i didn't know how to do "that" and i couldn't see the end....

4 years later. i remember it all so clearly as if it were moments ago...and yet to really think about it seems like a dream...

i am not the same person, woman or mom that i was in this picture.  i am far, far more than that.  i have seen heaven and i have seen hell.  i never lose sight of that. on my worst days, i find the tears are tears of anger at myself because i know.... oh lord do i know what this life is all about and i don't allow myself days to wallow.  i get angry if i wallow because i have seen suffering and today we are not suffering.  today i am a wiser person, tougher woman and more patient mom...  and as i turn 34, i give thanks for so much awesomeness in my life!  i have 3 amazing little boys who are my very reason for living.  they teach me every day how to live this life.  they are my proudest moments and they are my biggest dream come true. all i have ever wanted to be was a mommy. its innate in me. i have known since the days of playing with my dolls and until i could have my own, i took care of others children.  today i have my own and my heart couldn't be more full.  our final west baby is on his or her way. s/he is big and healthy and kicking me as i type this. there again more gratitude. i am "experiencing" this pregnancy through the eyes of the new person, woman and mom that i am since paxton came along.  his life "experiences" in his young four years are more than any adult should have to ever endure.  his experiences became mine and together we have quite the story to tell.  in a matter of weeks my heart will expand one more time and i just can't help but be filled with sentimental, bittersweet gratitude for this life i have been given.

dave loves to watch cops and i lay in bed at night and watch it with him because he's the man and it's technically his remote... i prefer happier shows, but even still i watch knowing that any one of those people could have easily been me.  we've all made mistakes, we've all been led down the wrong path, we've all been hurt and tried to deal with it in the most unhealthy way. it's that whole being human thing again.  i don't know how HE chooses, but he chose me for this life right here right now and i am eating it up.  i am savoring every delicious moment that comes my way. if the boys want to play a game, i drop everything and play a game we will.


you see that basket of laundry in the background...yah there's four more where that came from in the laundry room and my OCD stared at it and contemplated doing that "before playing" but i know that these moments with my boys are fleeting and lord knows the laundry ain't going anywhere so it sits and we play and i will never look back with regret... thank you "experience" for that...


for teaching me that nothing is more important that these moments right here... for teaching me the true meaning of birthdays and life and what really freaking matters!!

And now I am off to pick up my babies...on my birthday...just like any other old day, but it's a damn good day because I have 3 perfect boys and one on the way. I have food on the table, a car to drive, a house to live in, amazing people in my life and a little extra change for my diet coke splurges... THAT is a damn good birthday!!

mason capturing the true essence of his mom and no i was not driving whilst on my ipad we were waiting for austin to get out of occupational therapy

Live it up friends!!!! We only get this one life and as I say good bye to all that enveloped me four years ago today, I can say it from a shit ton of good experience, hard lessons and endless love.

hugs
~j

Sunday, September 22, 2013

oh hi there....

i had this dream last night, that paxton was sick.  he came out of a heart cath and the doctor told me it was bad and he would need a heart transplant "within the year" i remember the entire dream so vividly. i remember feeling so guilty because i had this new baby coming that i would be absent for as i tended to paxton in the hospital. i remember fearing for paxtons life just as i have so many times before, only those times were reality.  it was so vivid that it still rocks me if i think about it.

paxton is as healthy as an hlhs child can be...clearly....



but, i can say i do know where this inability to truly let go of the fear during this pregnancy comes from.... i guess maybe it's why i haven't written in months...i feel like it gets old to a lot of people to hear about it, so i stay silent...but those that have been there get that it never leaves you, this i know...

i  am over 8 months pregnant now.  i can't say it's been a completely easy ride.  i  have worried, a lot. i have yet to buy anything for this child.  i need to buy at the very least, a carseat, but haven't been able to bring myself. oh' don't get me wrong, i look and i dream, but the truth is i am just terrified.  my dear friend and sister threw me a baby shower a couple of weeks back and the jinxer in me kept every gift receipt just in case something goes wrong. like who does that?  who thinks like that?  i hate that about myself. i don't want to get to the end and think... why did you worry the entire time when everything is ok, but every time i start to just let myself be ok with it all being ok, i panic and freeze up. i guess i should still be in therapy for this ptsd i carry around, but i can't even get a blog post in much these days, let alone therapy.

the baby as of our last ultrasound is doing amazing.  s/he is right around 4 pounds now and is as active as ever.  everything to this point says all is well so i try my darndest to trust in that. we still do NOT know the sex.  we do have names picked out.  those, too, are being kept a secret.  i lay in bed at night and dream of doing this again.  i dream of doing this the right way...here at home, not tied to a hospital bed with wires and monitors and fear. i canNOT wait and canNOT believe how close we really are to meeting him or her.  i am going to drown myself in every second of the beautiful journey because after all, paxtons journey, while laced with deep seeded fear, was in the end, an incredibly beautiful journey as well. so however this plays out, i will take it for what it is and give thanks.  the boys are beyond excited for the baby. they say its a girl and they have also said they want it to be a girl "so we have a princess" (insert mommy's heart melting at their preciousness)

...sticking his or her tongue out. so cool to see live...

... baby is preparing already for a house full of stinky boys...



******************

the rest of the summer was amazing. we went back to the lake and the boys loved every memory making moment of it... they ask every other day when it will be summer again so we can go back to lake june. it's where we find our happy....







***************************

summer did eventually end. my mason started kindergarten!!!!! my moo moo is officially a big boy.  austin is in first grade and totally rocking it out and paxie, oh paxie is in pre k 3's and LOVES it. he loves school. loves his friends, his teachers and his "girlfriend".  yep you heard that right.  he's starting young.  the boys have each met huge milestones these past few months and i couldn't be more proud.  i was at the grocery store this morning stocking up for the wolves because they NEVER stop eatinggggg and this little old lady walked by looked at my cart knowingly and said "and i bet that's just a weeks worth huh..." i said why yes, yes it is. i have three boys and they eat me out of house and home.  it was clear to me she had been there done that.  i was so struck by just how proud i was to announce that i have "3 boys at home".  for all the mayhem and wildness they bring i was glowing with pride.  each day as i watch them grow and learn and achieve things, my mommy heart continues to brim over. each one of them is a true mommy's boy and i stand in awe at the hearts ability to expand in love...



i don't have this whole life thing figured out... we have good days and bad. we have days where we lose our temper, find ourselves in heaps of tears, rejoicing in happiness or fretting with worry.  to feel all of these things is to be human.  i am human.  i am not able to say that i have waltzed through these last few months the way that i know i should have, but i can also look back and see that i trudged my way through hell and that doesn't leave a person unscarred. it's ok to not have it all figured out... to worry what tomorrow will bring so long as you can stand in the middle of this....



and know that every tear and worry and anxious moment is undoubtedly worth it... as i lay here feeling baby #4 kicking, i know that all of those tears and worries, will in the end, be worth it too...


love and hugs
~j

ps i promise to update more as we slide into home base!!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

a lot of you have already heard the news...so if you aren't up for more gratitude, relief and baby talk i suggest you move along ;)  it's been a long 22 weeks.  a long 22 weeks of worrying, panicking, second guessing, flashbacking and crying.  today, however, there were a different kind of tears... today i feel like everything just might be all right.  i can still hear the devil on my shoulder whispering don't get to excited or you'll jinx yourself, but i try to push him away and remember that its a proven fact that thinking positive is better for you and provides better results.

we had our perinatologist visit today. we got to see our baby up close and personal and i mean every vessel, vein, ductus, aorta, archway, valve and chamber there was to see. let me tell you all the ways i have never been so happy to see four, YES FOUR, little chambers.  time stopped for a moment as i laid down on that table.




i remember nearly four years ago like it was minutes ago when i laid down waiting to find out paxtons fate.  it never leaves you man.  i remember seeing the scarred ventricle that was never able to develop. i remember them telling me how "significant" it was.  such a strong f ing word.

this afternoon though, it was like the lady had been there before herself, she got it, and kept me informed of every little move she made commenting with words like "fantastic, perfect and gorgeous". i was grateful.  i was proud. i kept talking to the monitor praising our baby for doing so good growing. i didn't even care how coocoo i may have seemed. i had to remind myself to breathe.  but the praises just kept coming,  tears started trickling and an hour of scanning later we were left alone while the doctor reviewed all that had just been recorded.  i stared at the pictures of the perfect little baby that really is in my belly, because part of me still hasn't grasped that i am going to have a baby in four months. i don't know if its my way of protecting myself or if i am just to busy, but its incredibly surreal, this whole thing. the doctor came in and confirmed what we all suspected. that our baby "has normal heart structure and function". that s/he needs no further follow up and she smiled when i said so we might just get to bring our baby home right away from the hospital.... yes i suspect you might, she said. there really aren't words i can find to express just how i felt in that moment.  if it happens as she suspects, it will be a far, far cry from these days...



so naturally we left and celebrated with food. we came home and i just wrapped myself around my boys. utterly consumed with gratitude and happiness. i laid with paxton at bedtime and just stared at him. this journey. this 3 year long journey with him was so intense and scary.  currently, we seem to be on the other side of that journey.  i don't know what the future holds for him, but right now he gets the normal, every day life he so desperately deserves. i laid my hand on his heart and felt it pumping knowing there's still only half of one in there amazed at him, his body, his spirit.




it was a weird feeling to be at the hospital he fought for his life in without him.  it brought a lot back and yet it sort of made me feel like we had come full circle.  we are doing this again in spite of the fear that paralyzes us, in spite of all the things that could go wrong, in spite of all we have seen.  last night i cried, buckets of tears for paxton, for our new baby, for dave and i and for austin who have all been incredibly emotionally affected by these last three years.  i kept saying to dave "there's so much that can go wrong" and he so eloquently said "but there's so much that can go right..."




 today... today, so much went right.


love and hugs to every single soul who took the time to wish us luck, pray for us and send positive thoughts our way. i read and relished every. single. one.  we love you and thank you for pulling for us as we travel this very bittersweet journey again.

AND NO WE DID NOT FIND OUT THE SEX!!! WE WILL NOT FIND OUT THE SEX!  We will all wait until November!!! xoxo

so much love tonight,
~j


Monday, July 1, 2013

our hope...

you guys....it's started. shit is getting all kinds of drudged up.  we all know pregnancy can make for some crazy dreams, but these nightmares that are creeping in every night are horrid. paxton. it's all paxton. he codes. he dies. i can't wake him up. he's completely purple as i run him into an ER. he goes completely stiff in my arms.  they rock me to my core.  i think i have spent the last week in a heap of tears because i don't know how many more of these i can take.  paxton is of course, beautiful and perfect and as healthy as they come for a kid with half a heart. he's OK and i have to tell myself that over and over lately.  sometimes my husband has to grab my face and tell me he isn't going to die because i can't breathe through the tears.  and to top it all off i can't self medicate ; ) for the most part i am doing ok with this pregnancy thing again, quite frankly i don't have time to be anything but ok. i have three wild, and by wild i do mean WILD, boys to keep me running round the clock.

...yes that is  a baby snake they caught...awesome. just awesome.

i love it. i also love that s/he kicks constantly now, a gentle reminder that s/he is ok.  i need those reminders.  my  mind wanders. a LOT.  i fake it like a hollywood actress, but inside my mind reels with the reality of all that can happen.  and yet in the softening hours of the evening i have found myself wandering off to the idea of  a new baby and nursing and eventually being able to set up a nursery.  i won't do it before. i feel like it's a jink and besides we don't know what we are having and lord knows if it is a girl i am going to PINK the ever living hell out of that bedroom.  i am officially 21 weeks.



over the half way mark. all of our tests have come back perfect so far and we go to st. pete on july 10th for an entire cardiac workup. i am very anxious for that reassurance.  i knew i was a little screwy from seeing all i have seen, but i didn't realize just how much until i got back in the drivers seat again.  it brings back a lot of things i have been able to repress for awhile now.  ya know...this kind of stuff...



it changes you...moves your soul. terrifies your heart. so yah' doing this again is hard and scary and debilitating at times. it's also incredibly exciting and hopeful and bittersweet.  in the end we got paxton.  so i would do it all over again in a second and i will do it all over again with this baby if need be.

***********************

the boys...they're amazing.  they want to know how the baby is going to get out of me. i told them the doctor was going to take it out and mason says "so what...the doctor is just going to rip you open and take it out mom?" in the most nonchalant voice ever.  that is when i use the art of distraction and excitedly squeal "look boys, airplane!" question averted. for the moment of course.

since i last posted mason graduated vpk and is now ready for kindergarten!  i just don't even know where the time went. my masey. my moo moo is now about to go out into the real world (sort of ;). i am not ready for it.  i am not ready to let him go. but, off he will go.  and he will no doubt do amazing along the way.





a little before and after for the records...


i sit here and can't picture my life four months from now with another baby in the mix and yet i look at the before and after picture above and am reminded just how quickly time flies.  in the blink of an eye he or she will be here also and i will look back on this very post saying yet again...where did the time go...

i will rest my head tonight and i don't know that i won't have another bad dream about losing my boy, but what i do know is i have him now and i am blessed beyond any sort of measure to have three amazing little boys who are the light of my life. its hard for me to imagine my heart expanding for another one and yet it did three times over. i can't wait to meet austin, mason and paxtons little brother or sister. i can't wait to watch them learn how to love another little person right along with me.  i won't say that i haven't begged and bargained with god on a daily basis for the health of this baby because i totally have.  i want even more for the boys than for me, to be able to bring a baby home in the story book fashion we all dream of. for them. for all three of them, who too,  have had to figure out how to manage this journey we were placed on. the separation. the fear. the intense love. the growth. it ain't easy but i am hoping this next baby is our sunshine after the rain. our HOPE after the despair.



love and hugs~
j


and because this boy continually steals my heart . my golden boy.  my mini me.

on the back of my seat. in pen. right before we try to sell it. but how can i be mad.  



Thursday, May 16, 2013

...courage...

there are moments in life when it hits me...i begin to wonder how i can have another child. have another part of my heart walking around outside my body.  i love my boys with such a fierce intensity that at times, it scares me. i never want them to hurt or feel pain, be sad or embarrassed, but that is not reality and yesterday through both mine and masons thick tears i was reminded that there is only so much i can do...



i would say mason had his first encounter with true embarrassment yesterday.  his personality doesn't have a whole lot of room for that. he's my outgoing, funny, strong boy. he's like a duck, shit just rolls off his back.  i kind of envy that about him actually. but yesterday there came a moment when the world continued on while mason and i sat in the hallway at school, him clutching me, big alligator tears staining his cheeks and me unable to talk because if i uttered a single word my tears would match his.  my heart hurt for him. i wanted to curl him into my arms and take him home where all is right with the world. where "safe" remains. but as his mother i knew i could not do that.  i knew as heartwrenching as it was in that moment that i had to teach him how to continue on in the face of embarrassment or fear or whatever the case may be in the future. with a little help, he was peeled off of me, tears now streaming my face as i looked to his teacher for the strength i was clearly lacking. i kissed him hard and left. i felt like i had abandoned him when he needed me. so, i walked to my car and cried a thousand tears.  tears that i can't always protect him.  tears that he will grow up and encounter all of the things i so desperately want to protect him from.  tears that all of my children will encounter these things.



when i am not sobbing, logically i know that encountering and enduring the tough times are what will help to shape my children into the adults they are meant to become. rationally i know that i myself,  encountered all of these things too and i am ok. they will be OK.  and you know what.... he was ok too. i picked him up and my old mason had returned. our tears had dried and together we tucked a life lesson in our pockets. mase got a little bit stronger and more resilient. i, stronger also for leaving my heart there outside my body, crying, to work through life on his own... we both DID. IT.



this is the first of many of these moments, of that i am positive. i know there will be days that i don't stand my ground, days where i pick them up and bring them home to safety, and that's ok too, but now i know i can do both. i can't always protect them. i know that my golden boy gets asked about his "white eye" all the time and i have prepared him with his answer to those questions. there are days he gets made fun of for his white eye when he comes home and tells me "nobody likes my birth mark". oh' how i hurt for him, but i also know that down the road the ladies will eat him alive over it and it is my job to teach him how to own it in the mean time.



i know my sister cried buckets of tears over the acne she once had. i hurt for her. hurt that i couldn't take that away. dad and i wanted to go bust up some middle school kids for ever causing one tear to fall from her eyes, but again, that was not reality and we didn't think jail was a good idea either, but today...well today she is gorgeous and no worse for the wear. she made it through those tough times stronger than she would have ever been had she not had those moments.

yes that is my tiny baby bump... west baby #4 continues to do well!
tis life man.  and sometimes life sucks, but in all of those sucky moments there is a lesson to be learned and strength to be gained.  in the meantime i eat up the effortless moments. the ones that don't consume us with tears.  the ones full of smiles and laughter and i stock pile them for the ones that aren't so easy.



being a mommy is hard work.  the hardest of work i personally think there is.  we are in charge of little lives, keeping them safe and teaching them how to navigate this big bad world all while having this intense love and attachment to them.  there are days i think back to my prechildren days. it was true freedom. i didn't spend my days, nights and everything in between worrying, feeling and thinking about anything like i have ever done with my children.  i eat, sleep and breathe them.  as it should be, but i did not realize then the true freedom that i had. and i don't mean freedom to party and play, cause i totally never did that...ahem...  i'm talking about emotional freedom. i will never have that emotional freedom again nor do i want it, however i realized yesterday i do kinda wish i had relished it a little more when i had it.  i pray that my boys will always be strong, resilient and brave. i pray that i am able to teach them these things.  i think of my mom who wasn't really around and i can't fathom the ability to willingly not be around to watch your child grow up ... i would do anything for my children,  even leave them standing in a classroom crying, to teach them how to continue on in the face of adversity.



i love you mason, austin and paxton more than you will ever know!



love and hugs,
~j

Monday, April 22, 2013

our hearts...

i was doing laundry today... you know carrying on in the aftermath of tragedy... listening to the news in the background as i went about.  feeling guilty, my heart hurting for all of those still rocked to their cores while i did menial, yet necessary things like grocery shop and laundry.  i have tried to write since last monday and never made it to completion because emotions overwhelmed me.  i have gone a little bat shit crazy making ADT come out to recheck every square inch of our home for safety and updating all of our pertinent information.  none of which will do any good if something is meant to happen and none of which will do any good if i am say  at a concert and someone else decides to do what they did last monday. the illusion of control, just as it is with paxton, is just that... an illusion. i hate it. God i hate it. i am such a control freak and yet the reality is i actually have very little.  i won't lie i am, just as so many of you are, terrified.  scared for my babies future. doubting bringing another little into this world that can be downright cruel and terrifying. i try every day to protect them for as long as i can from what goes on out there. i get most of my information from reading so as not to have it on tv for them to see or overhear. i turn off lion king when the dad dies right in front of simbas eyes. i still spell out d-i-e when talking in front of them.  i do sugarcoat many things to protect them from the reality of life. some people may think that is wrong and that's ok, to each his own right. as someone who saw far to much at far to young of an age i choose to raise my boys this way. i personally don't think a 5 and 6 year old needs to inundated with to much information. i let just let them be little while they can.  if something happens that requires a more in depth conversation then i will do that, but for now they rest their heads at night dreaming of monster trucks and beach days.



i know that i can't fully "protect" them from life.  it may be the single hardest part of parenting. don't think my dad and i didn't have a talk on the phone last monday night about moving to the middle of cow country in west virginia where no one knows our name.  it seemed like a mighty fine idea, but it's also not reality. as much as i would be fine with hiding from life, it would not be fair to my children. just as letting paxton live is hard for me to do, it is no different with my older boys. i want to shelter them forever, but i want them to be happy more. so i let them go...i let them live and every day that i take one more glance at this...



i pray with everything that i have that they will be ok.  it's all i can do. i have to "trust in the journey".  bad things happen to good people, of this i know.  i also know there are far more good people than bad.  i focus on that. i focus on the good and the kind.  and i try to be those things too.

my heart goes out to everyone affected by the happenings in boston last week. i think of you daily. and pray for your peace.

love and hugs
~j

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

you're gonna want to read this...

i wrote this post several months back.  today we stand on the other side of it.  NASA did some repair work.  went where no man has gone before and we can now add another been there, conquered that to our ever growing list in the recent years. sure doesn't mean we are done fighting the good fight because the work relationships require never ceases.  especially those that have been where we have.  but life knows what it's doing sometimes. i have learned this before and still manage to forget. but... in the words of the byrds there is always:


A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn

A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together

To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time of war, a time of peace
A time of love, a time of hate
A time you may embrace
A time to refrain from embracing

To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time to love, a time to hate
A time of peace, I swear it's not too late!






oh yes...life is good like that. it knows exactly what it is doing even when we are swarming with doubt.  and i swarm. daily. sometimes hourly. but then i stop... and i look at what i have been given and i don't doubt anymore even if it is only for a few moments. it is in those moments that i know, i just know that no matter how our cards play out that it will be ok...

" everything will be okay in the end and if its not okay... it's not the end." ~john lennon

i believe this. i really do.  for all the doubts i have i do believe this. which leads me to my next topic...


it seems the universe finds me fit to raise four children. 

yes! you read that correctly. i am pregnant.


no, we did not plan this. life planned this.  i have been waxing and waning between sheer joy and sheer terror.  not because i don't think i can handle another baby. babies are easy and whats one more body to change and feed at this point.  i've got it down to a science really. it's that i have seen to much.  i know to much.  i miss the oblivious days of pregnancy with austin. he was my first. i hadn't second trimester miscarried yet, i hadn't delivered a baby with half of a heart. lived in a hospital with him and watched him cling to life.  i hadn't yet ever dropped to my knees in a desperation i can never describe begging god to save my baby.  i hadn't stood in a hospital doorway watching nurses and doctors run with the code cart to try and save another baby fighting for its life.  i hadn't sat bedside with my own child while the one beside him was only alive because ECMO was allowing that to happen. i have been exposed.  we all are to some degree i suppose, but unless you have spent time there i don't know that anyone can truly grasp it.  i have said before, i think it should be a requirement that every person spend time in a childrens hospital. i guarantee you it would be a much softer world. 


and yet for all of the fear that comes from seeing to much comes the very opposite. this will be different than any of the boys. i am changed in ways i never would have asked for and ways i wouldn't trade for anything. this baby...oh how s/he will be cherished. every little moment will be cherished plain and simple. i pray with all that i have that our baby will be healthy. i pray for middle of the night feedings with no feed pumps and heart/oxygen monitors. i pray i can nurse in bed and snuggle in the morning. i pray that i will be blessed to know what it is like to bring home a baby as the new person paxton made me into.  


and for the record...should this baby have special needs i will embrace that with everything i have just the same.

i never thought i would do this again, but here i am two months pregnant.  we have seen the heartbeat. s/he is alive and well at this point. the few people that know have wrapped me in love and support. they wash away my worries and for that i am so very thankful. i know i will have ups and downs as i travel this pregnancy path again, but i know i will be okay because it's not the end...it's just the beginning.



i can't wait to add one more to this trio...



much love
~j

ps~ no we will not be finding out the sex just as we chose not to with austin, mason (or pax until we found out he was sick at 32 weeks) please join us in praying for this baby!



Friday, March 1, 2013

salt....

no.... i am not talking about the salt on the rim of a big, ice cold margarita glass...although that sounds mighty fine right about now...

i am talking about sweat and tears.  you see i was at crossfit the other day trying to do this lift. trying to get it right...perfect.  then getting frustrated with myself for not getting under the bar enough or keeping my elbows tight enough.  at the end of that workout the coach said "good job today guys, remember olympic lifters spend years trying to perfect that move."  those words stayed with me, and not because i have any intention of becoming an olympic lifter or even anything other than just a mom trying to stay out of the mom jeans. its just that when he said those words the light came on in my brain and i realized that wherever we are in this life we are all "spending years trying to perfect it".  how about letting go of the idea of perfect and just living...dear god that is so much easier said than done.  i worked out again earlier this week and in my eyes i sucked. my baby boy is having night terrors and keeping me up all hours, but i went anyway to try and sweat myself out of the sleep fog i'm living in.  it hurt.  i finished dead last. i even cried at the end.  not because of the workout. not because of the pain i had to push through. i cried because sometimes crying is just what we need to let it all go... to cleanse ourselves and start again.  it's amazing how sweating, however you do it, and crying can cleanse the hell out of a person. i was reminded later in the evening that i did not suck. in fact it was just the opposite, i didn't quit and not quitting and giving up and throwing in the towel is far, far more amazing than finishing first.  even at 33 it's still a lesson i am trying to learn, but then again none of us ever stops learning if we remain open to the lessons.



and next week i will go back to the gym and pick up that damn bar and struggle with it and curse myself for not getting it right, but i will also go back knowing that holding the bar just so isn't the ultimate goal. the ultimate goal is not giving in when life gets to hard...


cheers to the freakin' weekend y'all!!

love and hugs
~j

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

february~it's not just for valentines...

(for my new friend tecla~ here is a new post, as you requested ;)


if you are my facebook friend then you know that i have been posting a picture a day since february began in honor of heart awareness month. as i posted today's picture i stopped to think....should i really use this one. you know the one with the fresh incision, iv's, lines and drains coming out all parts of my sons body.  i almost didn't post it, but then i did. you know why? because it's the truth. it's our life. its my sons life.  sure it may not be easy to look at. people may wonder why i would share pictures of my son in that condition. i say this....if he can endure it, you can look at it, learn about it and help raise awareness. if it were your baby you sure as hell would.  it's really easy to look at them and say man that really sucks then continue on with life, but behind the pictures are endless hours, days, months and years of fighting to live. he fights so goddamn hard friends.  isnt' that worth celebrating and sharing and honoring.  if i didn't show you this...

4 days old post norwood


6 months old post glenn

2 1/2 years old post fontan

how could one ever really grasp the depth to which he has struggled.  these pictures... they're just pictures. they don't show the screaming in pain, the delirium from the drugs, the begging for milkie when he's npo, the being held down, the screams of "no mommy no!"   it takes my breath away time and again.   he is amazing. all of these babies are amazing. they go through more pain than grown adults can handle and in the end they smile.
and that is, if they make it to the end. there are many, many, many who do not... they are called home far to early after living an entire life of struggle. it breaks my heart knowing this. it breaks my heart knowing that at any moment we could lose our boy. it breaks my heart knowing others are losing theres as i type this.

most people think that because he has had his three surgeries he is "fixed". he is not fixed. he still has a half of a heart. there is no adding half of a heart to his half.  they call his surgeries "palliative".  we all know what palliative means.....
every day i live with that. every cough, snort, runny nose, gag or puke sends me into a tailspin.  that fear will never leave me.  it will never go away as long as i live because my son, he's sick. he has a congenital heart defect. said to be one of the most complex and serious.  this is my son's life.....















what i know is that without the norwood, glenn and fontan operations paxton would have died shortly after birth.  what i also know is that without doctors and funding and raising awareness these surgeries would not be possible.  it means that if we continue with these things imagine all that could come of the future.....

look at this article..... say what???? are you kidding me.... is it for paxton... doubtful, but but but what if future children can benefit from this. what if my kids kids can benefit from this.  what if your kids kids can benefit from this. we all turn a blind eye on these tough, scary subjects until one day you turn around and its you. and i say that from experience. i remember always watching st. jude commercials sobbing tears and praying my child would never get cancer and here we are today with a CHD.

I could tell you that congenital heart defects are America’s and every country’s #1 birth defect. That nearly one of every 100 babies is born with a CHD or that congenital heart defects are the # 1 cause of birth defect related deaths or even that twice as many children die from congenital heart defects each year than ALL forms of childhood cancer combined, yet funding for pediatric cancer research is five times higher than funding for CHD's. And yet no illness be it cancer or heart or liver or skin, brain or kidney is more important than the other.  they are all just as significant because the bottom line is these are our babies.  our babies who have to suffer. innocent little lives with heartbroken bystander parents and families. 










          =

















And even though this is the only life he has ever known, he still gives us that smile.... good god we could all learn from these children. his eyes tell a lifetime of stories and his smile radiates that strength.  


february is hearts and love month and what's more appropriate than that because our love for these kids is something fierce. there is no valentine card out there that can relay the depths to which we feel for these warrior children of ours.  heros among heros, every last one of them...

so much love
~j

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