Wednesday, September 30, 2009

8 Months



My baby turned 8 months yesterday. I still can't believe he is already 8 months old. This year has flown by faster than any year of my life.

What is Cain doing at 8 months?

-At Cain’s last weight check he weighed 18lbs 10oz.
-The biggest change since last month is Cain is now sitting independently without needing to use his hands to prop himself up.
-He can’t get into a sitting position by himself yet but if he is sitting and starts to fall backwards he can recover on his own and get himself back into a sitting position.
-He can also grab toys around him while he is in a sitting position.
-Taking 6oz. (and sometimes 8oz.) of formula at 8am, 12pm, 4pm, and 8pm
-Eating Stage 1 (and some Stage 2) baby foods.

-Still sleeping from 8pm to 7am and taking 3 naps each day. I’m lucky if he will sleep an hour each nap. They are usually around 45 minutes.
-He still hasn’t mastered rolling from his back to his stomach but he is so close.
-He is making a lot of new sounds everyday.
-He is really starting to develop a sense of humor and will laugh while we are playing, laugh at Sadie, and with his friends. I just love to hear him laugh.

-Cain can also say he's gotten his first black eye. Last week during Cain's therapy, Cain was laying on his back playing with a toy above his face. He dropped it on his eye and the result was his first black eye. If you look very close at his 8 month picture you will see the tiny bruise under his eye.






I now wish that I had taken a whole body shot of Cain each month. It's hard to tell how much he's really grown just by looking at his face. He's starting to look the same in each months pictures yet he's changed so much!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cain's Friends

I've already mentioned the twins that live directly across the street a couple of times.. They moved here before Cain came home from the hospital. I'm so happy they moved across the street. It's perfect for Cain to have friends to play with. Since they are just across the street we walk over a couple of times a week to let the boys play.
Play Date #1
Play Date #2
Play Date #3


And I have good news to report!! Cain is starting to do great at sitting up. We practice all the time but I really think playing with the boys helps alot. I used to sit him in his Bumbo chair while he played but now I sit him on the floor and he will sit unassisted the whole time he plays with Paxton and Kellen. It's so cute to watch them all together! The other day we watched Cain laugh out loud at Kellen. I wish I could have gotten that moment on video. It was adorable to see.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Day I Became a 'Heart Mother'

A year ago today my life changed forever. I remember the day just like it was yesterday. It’s amazing how much can happen in a year and how fast a year can fly by. A year ago today was my 30th birthday. It’s also the day we learned Cain would live the rest of his life with Congenital Heart Defects. I thought the best 30th birthday present I could give myself would be to find out if we were going to have a boy or a girl. I decided to schedule my 20 week ultrasound on my birthday. One thing I never expected was to hear “your child has a heart defect”. At the time we thought that day was the most devastating day of our lives. Looking back I now realize that learning of Cain’s heart defects was actually a true birthday blessing. I wish more than anything that Cain did not have to have his heart defects but I am so happy that the wonderful technicians and Dr.’s found Cain’s heart defects early in my pregnancy. Many families do not learn their child has a heart defect until they are born and problems arise. And sadly sometimes it’s too late. By learning of Cain’s heart defects early we were able to prepare ourselves the best we could. We were also able to have the wonderful NICU team waiting in my delivery room ready stabilize Cain and transport him to NICU. Cain was not breathing when he was born so I always think who knows what could have happened had we not been prepared. Now I am able to sit here today on my 31st birthday celebrating how far we have come in a year. We’ve certainly been through a lot but being able to see how great Cain is doing today makes it all worth it. This sweet face is the best birthday present I could EVER receive!



Many of you have walked this journey with us from the very beginning. Thank you all so much for being there for us and for supporting our family during our hardest moments.

There is a poem I’ve seen many times on websites and blogs since learning of Cain’s heart defects. I thought today would be a perfect day to share it with others since a year ago today was the day I became a ‘Heart Mother’.

The Day I became a 'Heart Mother' by Stephanie Husted
One day my world came crashing down,I'll never be the same...They told me that my child was sick...I thought, am I to blame? I don't think I can handle this...I'm really not that strong...It seemed my heart was breaking..As, I'd loved him for so long. I will not give up on this child..despite your best "advice"...I will give my child a chance...No matter what the price...And I will learn all that I need..to help my child to thrive...I'll even use that feeding tube..My child will survive! Will he require therapy? What if he can't gain weight? Alright God I can do this...I will not curse our fate. The feeding pump beeps,( at 3:00 a.m.)It serves as my reminder..How many parents would welcome that sound? Tomorrow Lord, I will be kinder. Another angel earns their wings..and I run to my sleeping child's bed...I watch him then, for quite awhile...(Bend down and kiss his head)Then I cry for the parent's whose lives have been broken,And I look to God wondering why?Oh Lord, I just can't know your ways..No matter how I try.And yet, I trust You hold his life,(and guide us through each day)My mind says savor each moment he's here...But my heart whispers,"Please let him stay".From... pacing the surgical waiting room...to sitting by his hospital bed...From... wishing for a good nights sleep...to learning every med...From... wondering will he be alright?to watching him reach out his hands..with every smile, my heart just melts..(despite life's harsh demands)For all who see that faded line...I look to them and smile...You see my child is loved so much..I would face any trial...That same scar I trace with my finger..(It's the door to his beautiful heart)I never guessed how much I'd love him...(Just as YOU loved him right from the start)A heart mom is always a heart mom..(Now wise beyond her years)And for those who have angels in heaven..Our hearts share in all of your tears..Everyday I will strive to remember..You chose me for him(and no other)And I will embrace that beautiful day..When I became a "heart mother".


Cain playing with the card he gave me for my birthday


And of course...eating it too!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Belly Laughs

I decided it was time to finally show another video of Cain. I absolutely love to hear Cain laugh. I feel like he is laughing more and more each day. What I love to see the most is Cain laughing at his Daddy.
video

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Great news!!

We had a busy and exciting day today. I've mentioned before that Cain was asked to be part of a research study that will compare babies with heart disease to babies who do not have heart disease. Basically the study is to find out if heart disease and its treatment affect how babies develop.

Cain had to go in today and wear an EEG cap again for the study. He's already done this once and I think he will do this again around the time he turns a year. He wears this cap for 15 minutes while they monitor his brain response to sounds. I was worried what he would think of the cap this time but he really didn't seem to care at all. He was a very good participant.




Another part of the testing was to watch Cain pick up different objects to watch his body movements and hand coordination. He did really well during the testing and enjoyed playing with all the objects they gave him.



Once we finished up with the research study we headed downstairs for an ultrasound.



After the ultrasound we headed back upstairs and found out the news we've been waiting to hear! We were told that the blood clot Cain once had has resolved meaning it's NO LONGER THERE!!!! I can't tell you how happy we were to hear this. Cain will no longer need the shots we've been giving him each day (actually twice a day). Honestly, I hated giving Cain shots but I had gotten used to it. What I'm really happy about is the fact that the clot is gone and that is one less thing we will have to worry about. I hated knowing Cain had a blood clot.



I think Cain was pretty thrilled to know he would no longer need daily shots!


"Hey dad! Did you hear what the Dr. said...no more shots!!"

Monday, September 14, 2009

Cain's First Saints Game

The perfect weekend would have consisted of being able to travel to Louisiana to take Cain to his first Saints home game. Since that wasn't an option for us we decided to dress him in his Saints jersey and find a place in Nashville to watch the game on TV. We found a restaurant that was showing the game out on the deck. Thankfully the Saints won! Maybe Cain was their good luck charm.


Quick cat nap!

He must think his Daddy is pretty funny!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Happy Grandparent's Day!!

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Cain is so lucky to have 3 wonderful Grandparents and a wonderful Great-Grandfather!! He wanted to wish his MeMaw, MiMi, Poppa & Great Granddaddy a Happy Grandparents Day! He says..."Thank you for being the wonderful Grandparents (and Great-Grandfather) that you all are!" He loves each of you very much!!!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Donate Life

I had planned to write about something else tonight but decided I had something much more important to write about. I have been following Paul Cardall’s blog (http://www.mytricuspidatresia.blogspot.com/) for many months now. Paul Cardall is a 36 year old (husband & father) who was born with severe Congenital Heart Disease (Large ASD, L-Tranposed AO, Single Ventricle, Single A-V Valve, Pulmonary Atresia). At 22 hours old he received the Potts shunt. At age 13 a walnut size blister (endocarditis) of staph was removed from his potts shunt. At 14 yrs, surgeons performed the Fontan and Paul inherited pacemakers. For the last 386 days Paul has been on the transplant waiting list waiting on a new heart.

I checked his blog tonight as I do every day and was beyond thrilled to learn that Paul received his new heart!!!! His wife wrote on their blog that the transplant went very well, much more smoothly than expected. What wonderful news this is for the Cardall family!

Just less than a year ago I knew very little about organ donation. Boy have I learned a lot about this subject in the last year (and still have a lot more to learn)! When my license was up for renewal I agreed to be an organ donor. I even remember the week we found out about Cain’s heart defects Brad immediately signed up to be an organ donor. If you are unsure whether or not you are an organ donor and would like to be; you can learn more about becoming a donor at http://www.donatelife.net/.

Paul Cardell has lived 36 years with a single ventricle heart and tonight he has a 4 chamber perfect heart beating inside of him. What a miracle for Paul and his family. Of course with this miracle comes a loss for the donor family. My prayers go out to both Paul’s family and the donor family.

The following are a few statistics I learned this evening.
  • More than 100,000 men, women and children currently need life-saving organ transplants.
  • Every 11 minutes another name is added to the national organ transplant waiting list.
  • An average of 18 people die each day from the lack of available organs for transplant.

I know organ donation is not what most people want to think about. But for us as ‘heart parents’ it’s something that is always in the back (or front) of our minds. Cain will live his life with a single ventricle heart. I pray every day that Cain’s heart will sustain him to live a very long, healthy life and that his heart will never fail him. At the same time I’m happy to know that heart transplants are an option for people who need them.

Again, if you are interested in becoming an organ donor make sure you go to http://www.donatelife.net/.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sadie

Yesterday we had to take our Golden Retriever, Sadie, to a surgeon for a consultation about repairing her torn ACL. For those of you who know us well...you know just how much we love Sadie!! After all she was our first baby. Sadie started limping in January and that is when we found out she had torn her ACL. We could only handle so many surgeries at once so repairing Sadie's knee just had to wait. We've now decided to go ahead with her surgery and scheduled it for next Tuesday morning. I'm going to be a nervous wreck next Tuesday. I had no idea but they will actually have to cut through her bone and reattach it with a metal plate. Ouch!

On our way to the appointment Cain started dying out laughing. I turned around (don't worry Brad was driving) and realized that Cain was laughing at Sadie. I've had many people ask me what Sadie & Cain think of each other and I think Cain is really starting to like Sadie alot. He seems to reach for her and laugh at her more and more.
We finally bought a mirror so we could see Cain in the car. I don't know why it took us so long to buy one. I've decided I love having it and being able to see what Cain is 'up to'.
Cain's cute little hand reaching out for Sadie.
After Sadie's appointment we had to take Brad to the airport. Brad left yesterday and will be out of town all week for work.
Daddy and his groggy baby who had just woke up from a nap.
Hurry back Daddy! We miss you!!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day Weekend

My parents drove up from Louisiana to visit during the long holiday weekend. They were so excited to see Cain. I think Cain was pretty excited to see them too.

I kept Cain up a little past his bedtime so my parents could see him when they got here. I knew they were ready to get their hands on him which they did as soon as they walked through the door. As a matter of fact, I don't remember getting to hold him much during the weekend.

Ha! This picture makes me laugh. I'm pretty sure my mom was saying..."Okay Poppa..you've held him long enough...it's my turn now." And it doesn't look like my dad is ready to give him away.

Cain had to show MiMi & Poppa how well he is doing with sitting up.


We keep practicing and he keeps getting better at sitting.

Seriously studying MiMi

and Poppa

MiMi and Poppa had a gift for Cain and decided he needed to start playing with it right away. I think Cain really enjoyed staying up way past his bedtime and playing with new toy.





On Saturday Brad and my Dad played golf at the Hermitage Golf Course.



While me, Cain, and my mom had lunch and shopped at Babies R Us.

That night we had to get Cain ready for his very first LSU football game!!!!



Cain's "Uncle Jade" sent him this great outfit. It's a little big right now but we couldn't wait to see it on him.


Daddy and his little Tiger fan.

Unfortunately since LSU was playing Washington the game didn't start until 9:30. This poor little tiger fan had to go to bed before the game started. Since he wasn't going to be able to watch the game with us I thought it was only appropriate to put him to bed in his LSU pajama's. He has a book titled "Hey! Fighting Tigers" that teaches him the Fight Song. Of course this is what I had to read him before putting him to bed.



Sunday we had a very relaxing day! Especially my dad and Cain who were caught taking their nap together!


And that night we went out to dinner.



But then Monday morning finally arrived and my parents had to go home. We hated to see them go and I know they hated to leave.


When my parents left we decided we would run some errands, have some Outback, and enjoy the beautiful weather we were having. It was perfect Labor Day weather!!

Cain watching his Daddy hit some golf balls at the driving range.

Overall I think Cain had a great Labor Day weekend. I hope each of you had a great weekend too!