Thursday, July 30, 2009

Growing Up So Fast

Hanging out in Daddy's Chevelle

It amazes me to see how fast Gavin is growing.  At 4 months, he is now reaching out and grabbing objects with his hands and is developing a silly, playful personality.  During "spa time," Matt will kiss Gavin's feet and then Gavin will playfully splash his feet into the water.  Also, a few times when I have been holding him in a cradle hold, he will open his mouth and turn his face in towards my chest quickly (almost like he's hungry, but I know he's not).  Then, I'll cover his little face with kisses and he will giggle and turn his face in for me to do it again.  I absolutely love him and enjoy every moment as his mommy!

Being silly

When Gavin wakes up from his daytime naps, he will often peek over the Pack 'n Play at me.  It is so precious, I just had to take a picture:

We saw Dr. Martin, the plastic surgeon, on Tuesday for a follow-up appointment.  He said the scar looks great and that we only need to put sunscreen on it when going outside.  He prescribed Mederma with SPF 30, which is both a scar cream and sunscreen in one.  And we plan on buying plenty of sunscreen sticks - thanks to Darcy's advice!

Checking out his hands and feet while waiting for the doctor at Loma Linda

A Month of Heartache

July 17th marked one month since my mom's passing.  It was a very hard day for my family.  I have cried nearly everyday since she has been gone.  I miss her tremendously and I still have trouble believing that this is real.  It has been especially difficult since I called her daily just to chat or ask for help with Gavin.  I feel so alone now.  Even with all the wonderful support from other friends and family, no one will ever be my mom.  She was the most amazing woman and there will never be another like her.  My heart is so heavy with grief and I only hope that time will help heal my pain.  Below is the flyer I created for her memorial last month, you must click on each page to view it larger.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Craniofacial Team Appointment

Gavin spending time with his Daddy

We have been so busy lately that I haven't really had a chance to blog.  During the past two weeks, we had another appointment with Gavin's craniofacial team.  Grandma S went with us and snapped lots of pictures.

Gavin and Mommy waiting for the doctors

We met with the speech pathologist, developmental psychologists, pediatrician, and geneticists.  The speech pathologist said Gavin is doing great and she won't need to see him again until he is 9-12 months.

Gavin making a funny face with the Speech Pathologist, Heather

Next, we met with the developmental psychologists.  They held a ring up in front of him to see if he would follow it with his eyes and reach for it - which he did.  They also moved his legs around and tried to see if he would sit up on his own.  After the tests, they said that he was doing very well.  They suggested that I refrain from using a walker or bouncer with him, claiming that both of these hinder walking development and may cause him to walk on his toes.  However, I know that Matt and I were both put in bouncers as babies, and we both learned to walk just fine.  Therefore, I think using a bouncer is okay (in moderation, of course).  They also said that Gavin may need to practice more tummy-time, since he was not sitting up on his own yet.  Once again, I thought the advice was a bit odd, since he is only 4 months old.  Isn't sitting up a skill that is developed by about 6 months?  I figured he will sit up when he's ready.  He can sit up with support, but just not on his own yet.

Following the ring with his eyes

Sitting supported

Our third team member was the pediatrician, Dr. Elmendorf.  He said Gavin looked great and was healing very well.  Gav is now 23 1/2" long and 14.05 pounds.  The doctor said that means he's a bit on the short side, but average for weight.  So guess that would mean he's short and chubby!  Ha!  But with a 5'4" mom and a 5'10" dad, I didn't expect Gavin to be the next Luke Walton.  Also, with the recent events in my life and Gavin still adjusting to his new mouth, I was hoping to stay home to care for him for another month, rather than returning to work on August 1, like I was planning.  Dr. Elmendorf was fine with this and wrote me a note to return September 1.  I would love to stay home with Gavin until he is school age, but I know that's not realistic for us.

Our final team members for the day were the geneticists.  They explained that, due to mixed clefting in my family (Gavin with only the cleft lip and my mom and her sister with only the cleft palate), we have a higher chance of having another cleft baby.  Rather than 2-3% chance many other families have, we have a 5-6% chance.  The geneticists also explained that mixed clefting is generally a cause of van der Woude syndrome, most often characterized by lip pits or mounds on the lower lips.  However, no one in my family has or had lip pits or mounds, so we may not have van der Woude syndrome.  She said that we could run some genetic tests to check; however, knowing would not make a difference to us, so I turned down the offer.  She suggested that Gavin return for some testing when he is in his late teens to determine his chances of having a cleft baby.  So I guess I will leave that up to him when the time comes.

Gavin and Mommy with the geneticists

Overall, the appointment went great.  It was nice to have Grandma S there to help us.  I was glad to hear that Gavin was doing so well - although I knew that already!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Do Cribs Induce Sleep???

Checking out the crib before bedtime

First night in the crib

The video monitor (Thanks Grandma & Grandpa S!)

Gavin is growing so fast that we decided it was time to move him out of the bassinet and into the crib in his nursery.  It was such a sad day for me, but I knew it had to be done.  The poor guy didn't have a lot of room in his little bassinet anymore.  The first night was tough for me, though.  I found it hard to sleep because I just kept staring at the video monitor on my nightstand (those are amazing by-the-way!).  I also woke up several times throughout the night to look at the monitor.  However, Gavin did great and must have been much more comfortable because he slept 9 hours the first two nights in his crib and almost 10 hours last night!  Matt actually had to wake him up this morning because my coworkers had a lovely breakfast for me at 8:00 a.m.  We had to get Gav up at 7:45 because he was still sleeping!  We might have to start waking him up in the morning if this is going to be a habit.  For those of you who are familiar with breastfeeding, you know that going 10 hours without nursing is not a great idea.  Although Matt and I got a good laugh this morning when I woke up looking like a porn star!  (But I have to say, it sure makes your waist look smaller when your boobs are that big!  Ha ha!)

The past few days have been great.  Gavin is over the fussiness (so it probably was due to my own anxiety) and is back to his usual, happy self.  Monday and Tuesday Grandma S came over to help us with some errands.  Here are some pictures from the past few days, you can tell I've worn him out:

Visiting Target with Grandma S (Shopping is exhausting!)

Oh, I have a headache!

Taking a nap after a long day

Friday, July 10, 2009

JC Penney 3 Month Photo Shoot

With so much going on, I almost forgot to post some of the photos from Gavin's 3-month shoot taken the day before his surgery.  Some of my favorites are below.  I had taken the little Angel's bat and ball that Gramma C had bought for Gav, and dressed him in the jeans and tennis shoes she got for him also.  I had told her that I would enlarge one for her--which I will still do--and Grampa C will hang it proudly in his house.  I know she would have loved it.

Looking at the photos, you can see that my mom was right, when you compare it to my last few posts, he does look much older now.

My Adorable Little Man

Since I haven't been a great blogger lately, I just had to share some adorable pictures of my little man.  (Remember, you can click on any photo to enlarge it.)

Enjoying "Spa Time" (As Daddy calls it)

Supporting Gramma C's Favorite Team
Gavin used to be Gramma's angel, and now Gramma will be Gavin's angel

He was so tired, but for some reason, refused to nap this day. I caught him trying to look at the mobile when he was supposed to be sleeping. What a ham!

I took this one because it was his first time wearing a t-shirt and shorts. I couldn't believe how big he looked in them! He is growing so fast!

I love him with all my heart!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Taking it Day-by-Day

Post-Op Pic

In my last post, I described Gavin's recovery in the hospital.  That evening, he still wasn't breastfeeding, so I had to try and pump as often as I could, but my milk supply was already slowing down.  The following day, on the 17th, I continued to try to breastfeed, but Gavin was too sore to do it.  I spoke with my mom that morning and teared-up as I told her that I never realized how much I would miss breastfeeding.  I was afraid that he would never latch on again and I would miss out on that special bonding-time that we share while he nurses.  My mom told me not to worry, that he would latch on again in time.  She also told me that she was proud of herself because she had finally figured out how to be a follower of my blog and had left her first comment.  This is what she said:

Hey Kel,
Now that it's all done, I still find that I have overwhelming emotions. The grand parent roller coaster is just as scary and emotional as the parent one. I love Gav's new look, though for some reason he looks older now, but I miss his big smile and will forever treasure that adorable photo of him in the surgical hat, it's precious. I love you all more than you know. Mom/Gramma

That afternoon, Gavin finally latched on and I was so excited, I cried.  I tried to call my mom to tell her, but I just got her voicemail.  She never got to hear that he had latched on...

My dad called at that same moment and I told him excitedly that Gavin had was nursing.  He was happy for us but concerned that he couldn't get ahold of my mom, either.  Later that evening, my dad arrived at the house to let us know what had happened.  I've never been so out-of-control with my emotions.  When I saw his face, I already knew what he was going to say and I began sobbing uncontrollably, shaking, and yelling at the same time.  It was the worst news of my life...

After that, with Gavin still only two days into his recovery, I had a very hard time.  Matt really had to step up and be both mom and dad for Gavin since I spent a few days just sleeping.  I rarely got off the couch and only moved to pump milk, which I wasn't even doing as often as I should have.  I wasn't eating or drinking regularly either, so my milk supply was dropping quick.  I was barely staying ahead of Gavin's appetite.

One Day Post-Op

Two Days Post-Op

Thankfully, I have wonderful, supportive friends and family who helped me get back on track.  I was able to build up my milk supply and continue breastfeeding, which is what I know my mom would want me to do.  She always told me that Gavin comes first and I need to take care of his needs before anything else, and she was right.  Overall, Gavin was doing very well with his recovery.  His scar looked great.  The stitches, arm restraints, and nose plugs didn't seem to bother him too much.  We did take the restraints off for awhile each day while we sat next to him to allow him to stretch his arms.

Five Days Later - Healing Well

One Week Later

On his one week post-op appointment, the stitches were removed and the arm restraints no longer had to be on.  However, Gavin was not happy to be wrapped up like a burrito to have the stitches removed and he let Dr. Martin, his staff, and most of the other patients know it!  After that, he still had to have the nose plugs in for an additional week.

Not Happy to be "Burrito-Wrapped"

No More Arm Restraints!

That week, the nose plugs kept falling out.  They would only fall out of one nostril at a time, but then we would have to keep pushing them back in and Gavin would fuss almost every time.  I know it must have bothered him because it was stitched in through the septum by a single stitch.  So, when it would fall out on one side, it would pull on the stitch and become uncomfortable.  Needless to say, we were very relieved to have it removed.  However, he had to be wrapped up burrito-style once again and once again, it did not go over well.  He yelled all the way to the car!

Happy to be Nose-Plug Free!

Since then, we have been diligently applying bacitracin cream to his nostrils and upper lip four times daily, as directed by Dr. Martin.  He looks great and is healing beautifully.  The only problem we are having now is that he has been very fussy lately.  On the 4th of July, he screamed throughout most of the fireworks show, which I'm sure my neighbors loved.  The noise didn't seem to bother him, it was something else, but we couldn't figure it out.  He finally calmed down after I got him naked and nursed him.  I guess he likes to be naked while he eats.  Hey, whatever works!  Matt suggested that Gavin may be fussy due to the anxiety I have been feeling lately and I'm sure that has something to do with it.

I'm trying my best to relax and appreciate the joy in my life, but I am just so incredibly sad over the loss of my mom.  I feel as if I will never be that happy again.  She was my best friend and mentor.  I know I was too dependent on her, but she never seemed to mind.  I cried today when I remembered a few moments we shared about a month ago.  On one occasion, I went to my parents' house when I needed a break for awhile and my mom let Gavin and I nap on her bed.  I told her that I always felt so comfortable and safe at her house.  When I woke up, I was hungry, so she made me a tuna sandwich.  Then, she even put some extra tuna in a tupperware container for me to take home and make sandwiches with during the week because she knew that I wasn't eating properly since I was so busy with Gav.  She always took care of me, even at 27.  Another time, we were out shopping shortly before Gav's surgery day and he was in need of a clean diaper.  She told me that we would need to change him in the car, and--being a naive new mom--I said, "How??"  She laughed and told me she would do it.  She just laid him gently on the backseat and changed him quickly and efficiently.  When she stood up, she complained of back pain (from years of holding 55 foster babies and 4 children of her own).  I then felt guilty, thinking that I should have done it, but she said she didn't mind a little back pain when it came to Gavin.  She loved and cherished every minute with him.  Oh, how I wish he could know her love!  I could go on forever about how wonderful and amazing my mom was, so I will stop this post for now.

I'm hoping to become more regular with my posting again, since I take pictures of Gav almost daily and love to share his cute-ness with everyone!