Sunday, July 31, 2011

Stanford

Ev was in surgery when Jim shared with me his morning bout of revelation.

"I had a really strong prompting that I should transfer to Stanford Law School," he said with a reverent mixture of humility and confidence.

Our doctors had told us that post-surgery life would definitely be less adventurous than our Wiggy-life had been, especially until some important genetic testing came back and until Ev received his first round of vaccinations. For lack of better words, Ev would be in a bubble, unless we were carting him around to cardiologist appointments, pediatrician check-ups and visits to our surgeons. We just couldn't risk him getting sick. The thought of doing that in the city, on subways, with crazy-man T and sensitive-baby Ev was, indeed, a harrowing concept, especially since our family support group is on the west coast. I didn't allow myself to get my hopes up about Stanford (the application was due on June 15, but since we weren't planning on transferring until after Ev was born ours wasn't in until July 20), but I told him it was worth a shot.

Everything went together seamlessly. Jim wrote a gorgeous personal statement that we believe was inspired (and mostly written) by a loving Heavenly Father. Two of his Columbia professors (Stanford grads themselves, I should add) wrote him sparkling letters of recommendation. The application was submitted and after less than a week of waiting Jim received a personal phone call from the dean of admissions at the law school asking about Ev's health and accepting Jim's transfer request. He accepted, and we are now Stanford Law students. Whoa!

So, once again, the Wiggy's are packing their bags and taking a big step into the dark. We are sad to leave our friends in New York, and all the amazing things the city has to offer, but we are completely confident that Heavenly Father has laid this path for us. Believe me, it wouldn't have happened without Him. My testimony now is stronger than it's ever been. God, our Heavenly Father, has a plan for each of our individual lives. He know us. He loves us. And everything happens for a reason. I'm so grateful.

Palo Alto, here we come!!!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

EV

Our little puppy is one month old today. It's amazing to think of everything he (we) have accomplished in just one month! We are so grateful for him and love him to pieces. I know some people say that the second child lacks in the picture department, but not around here (at least not yet!) I have literally taken hundreds of pictures of him over the past few weeks. I'm definitely his biggest fan!



Ev love, love, loves his boppy and his swing. He doesn't like to be put down on the ground (or in his bed) but will sleep like an angel in the boppy or swing (or his personal favorite: Mommy's arms!) He is an incredibly smiley baby. I love watching him sleep and smile away! I can't wait until those smiles are given especially for me.




Case in point: Ev hates his bed! He is a super good-natured baby, which actually makes me enjoy his cry and grumpy face all the more. Does that sound mean? I'm not meaning to be mean, but how cute is that mug? Especially when you only see it a few minutes a day!







It's 150 degrees outside (not really, but it sure feels like it) and Jim is in charge of dressing the baby. I should have known this is what I'd find him in...even though it's thick and long sleeved!



Our dinner routine. Mom and Dad tag team to bounce the second and force-feed the first. Always an adventure!



I really don't know what I would do without my mom. She has been SO much help this last month. She is Talmage's best friend during the day and then she helps take shifts at night when Ev needs extra cuddles. And she makes it look really easy. And she's always happy and positive and smiling...and energetic! I am so darn lucky to have a mom like her.

Monday, July 25, 2011

All Things T: July-ish Edition

Crazy. Entertaining. Busy. Talkative. Happy. Cute. Growing too fast.


This munchkin definitely keeps me on my toes. He is full of energy and loves getting into everything. What can I say except for that he's REALLY good at being two! He's craved a little more attention lately which has meant a little feistier T (and a whole roll of TP in the toilet, and Daddy's glasses being broken, and at least a dozen books ripped to shreds) but we've been trying to give him attention for good/cute things...like him wearing my big shades around the house!!!


He loves his baby brother SO SO SO much. He kisses him on the head all the time and likes to play with his "wittle fingers and tosey woseys!" He also likes to be a good example for baby Ev.


His sleeping habits still crack me up. I can't help but take pictures of him when I check on him at night. He's getting so big, but he's still so little. Gosh, he's sweet..especially when he's fast asleep!


T has gone on some big-boy only dates with Mema (my mom) and GG (Jim's mom)/Chaya (Jim's little sister Kate) and he's loved the "special, special time" with them. He saw Winnie the Pooh with my Mom and went to Funderland with Kate and GG. He is still talking about both of those dates. It's great to have family so close.


Speaking of talking... T is doing A LOT of it lately. He can pretty much say anything he wants, and he understands anything he wants as well! Just a few days ago I wanted to take him on a special date to McDonald's and the grocery store (OK...maybe not the most awesome date idea, but he usually loves it). That day, however, he refused to go on a date with me until I brushed my hair. I laughed and kept heading to the car when T ran to the back of the house. He came back with a brush and said, "Mommy, you brush hair." Wow! Then later he said, "I no want go on date with Mommy." It's a good thing I have good self-esteem!


We found some new froggie boots on sale at Target for $3 and bought them for this winter. T already found them, however, and has decided they make for perfect summer shoes. He wears them everyday and loves them! Some things never change, huh?



Those big beautiful brown eyes look even better with chocolate to accent it!


T and I LOVED our snow cones at the Pioneer Day celebration at the park on Saturday. Sure, his ended up spilling all over my white shirt, but that's OK! Mostly I just love T so much. He is such a character and always keeps me laughing. I couldn't ask for a better little friend.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Care's Birthday

We had a BBQ birthday party at the Big Wig's house for Jim's sister Care and it was a blast! She is a beautiful, amazing person and we were thrilled to celebrate her big day with her.


Jim and Care.


Um...I don't think Ev is a dog fan. Whoops!


4 generations of Wiggy men! We'll have to let Ev in on the pics next time!


Kate, Care and T.


Mommo, Joyce and Great Papa!

Monday, July 18, 2011

10 OUNCES!

The excitement of having baby Ev home was tainted by one thing and one thing only: the scale. The only way we could keep him home was if he gained weight. The only way he could gain weight was if he ate. The only way he could eat was by waking up, and the only thing he wanted to do after being bugged for 12 days in the PICU was sleep. And sleep. And sleep.

With threats of another hospital stay looming over my head, I woke that little man up around the clock, urging him to eat. He would take three sucks or so, and then return to slumberland, refusing to eat anything more. On his second day of being home, I called our favorite PICU doctor in tears, asking her what I should do. The next day an appointment was scheduled with our pediatric cardiologist and my fear was confirmed...he had lost weight. Granted, he had only lost an ounce and a half, but the doctors weren't willing to take any chances. They set another appointment for today and told me to do everything I could to help him beef up.

I cried and prayed and nursed pretty much all week long. With Talmage I was very scheduled and only nursed when it was "time." This time around has been so different. Pretty much everytime Ev opens his eyes (or even one eye) I offer him some mama's milk! I've been nursing nearly ever 90 minutes, or more. Luckily, the little peanut gained an appetite over the weekend...and at our appointment today we were given this sticker...

WOO-HOO!!! He's gained 10 ounces since Thursday and overall is doing GREAT! He lost a lot of weight since birth because of his surgery and heart issues, but he's now up to 8 lbs 11 oz. I am so excited. He's also 22 1/2 inches long.


And gosh darn, isn't he so cute? I just love that little baby to pieces. Especially that thick head of hair and big beautiful eyes! Keep eating baby boy...I can't wait for your rolls to come back!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

he's home

and sleeping like a baby.

we couldn't feel more blessed.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Look who is wearing clothes!

I'm pretty sure baby clothes never looked cuter.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Our New Normal

Jim and I were sitting in the hotel cafeteria for lunch when we saw a huge group of people come in. We don't know why they were at the hospital, but our guess was that they were awaiting the arrival of a new baby. They were all happy. They seemed excited. They laughed and joked in anticipation. As I watched their joy I began to cry, bawl rather. I wished for a second that I was still pregnant, excited and ignorant about the path ahead. I wished for a second that I was a normal person that could have a baby and take them home instead of spending weeks in the ICU. I wished for a second that I could see that same joy in childbirth that they saw, instead of the fear I feel.

The last few days have been a mess of emotion. It seems as Everett continues to improve (with only a few small bumps along the way) James and I have been forced to face our new reality. We have once again been forced to mourn the perfect birth we did not experience, and find peace in our new normal. A normal that means doctors and nurses poking and prodding our baby more than we can touch and love him. A normal that means pumping around the clock in hopes that someday his appetite will come back enough to nurse. A normal that means big brother still thinking baby brother is his belly button because they've spent no time together. A normal that means my baby is 10 days old and still in the hospital with a release date that is constantly being pushed back.

But at the same time, we are experiencing a new normal of immense blessings that we know would not have been realized except by this situation. A normal where friends send care packages to Ev and us, brightening our days. A normal where thousands of people, family, friends and strangers, are praying for our family (and we certainly feel the power of those prayers). A normal where our son was literally saved by the hands of skilled doctors and a loving Heavenly Father. A normal where seeing a heart of any kind brings a tear to my eye. A new normal that is more empathetic, more loving, more patient and more faithful. A new normal that is grateful, oh so grateful.

This was not the normal we planned for ourselves, but we are determined to find joy in our new normal. And with the two handsome boys we get to call ours (3 I get to call mine!) it won't be that hard to do!

Everett was able to get his first sponge bath since the surgery and I was in heaven playing with the little man! He can't have a real bath for 6 weeks post-op, but I was just grateful that I could wash his body and head and try to get all the tape off. It wasn't completely successful (I fear he'll have tape rashes for years!) but at least I had him smelling like a newborn!



We've been enjoying lots of cuddle time with Ev. Our biggest stumbling block since his surgery has proven to be eating. His stomach, intestines and bowels were damaged after he was born because they weren't receiving enough blood, so we are slowly trying to help tolerate food. We've worked up to full feeds, but he doesn't always (read: ever) want to take them. Until he's eating like a normal baby, we can't go home...so here we are! Today has been better though, so we're hoping his appetite will only go up from here.




Ev is almost line-free. He has one last IV in his arm (that is wrapped up like a cast) and then lots of monitors, but other than that he is one disconnected baby! It has been fun to see the lines come out of him one by one, but sad to see how bruised his little body has become. We are hoping to get that last line out soon and run, run, run out of this hospital!!!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

One Week Old!

It's hard to believe that one week ago I was blissfully, albeit naively, holding Everett in my arms for the first time. So much has happened and I can't help but feel grateful. This experience has once again proven to me that Heavenly Father knows and loves us each individually.

After the traumatic birth I experienced with T, Heavenly Father knew that my greatest desire was to hold and love on my newborn. He knew I wanted a perfect delivery. He blessed me with an ideal birth and a full 36 hours of love and kisses before the heart condition was discovered. I had time to stare at Ev and marvel at his perfection. I had time to discuss name options with Jim and name our precious heavenly bundle. I had time to kiss him, to hold him skin to skin, to nurse him and to just enjoy the calm. Heavenly Father was so merciful to let me have that time. I know that He loves me.

I also know that Heavenly Father loves Ev. He knew about his heart condition, and he blessed me with the confidence and energy to be his advocate when I could tell something was wrong. He gave Everett a strong, fighting spirit and a healthy body that could withstand this trial. He also gave Ev a peaceful nature that has soothed all around him. I know that Heavenly Father loves his Everett and I'm so grateful He sent him to me!

This week has been another learning experience for me on my earthly journey. I would never desire a trial like this, but I'm grateful for the things I have learned...and I'm sure will continue to learn. One things for sure, we are blessed beyond belief to have Ev in our eternal family.

To celebrate his one week birthday, we did lots of fun things...



We brought out the baseball binkie and let the football binkie take a rest for a while.



We started feeding him mama's milk with a little bottle. His feeds are starting VERY slowly, but he seems to be handling them quite well.



We held him and cuddled him and gave him plenty of love.




Ev had another echo to check on the outcome of his surgery. Looks good!




And...we were visited by Bobby Jackson and Slamson from the Kings. I was (am) a HUGE Bobby Jackson fan, so I was stoked for Ev to have a picture with him. He was so nice and kept commenting on how cute Ev is. He also gave Ev an autographed basketball and a bag of goodies. Hey, I guess there are some perks to having heart surgery!







And on a side note, I just love the heck out of this cute boy. He came to the hospital yesterday and was SO well behaved in the PICU. He even called the doctor by name (instead of growling at her!) He took Ev's special heart pillow home and is keeping it company until Ev can get there. Wow, I'm a lucky girl to have these boys in my life!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

In the last 12 hours...

Daddy was able to hold Everett before surgery. It takes a whole lot of effort to get a baby in your arms when they are connected to a million wires, so we are grateful beyond belief for our wonderful nurses that took the time and energy to make this happen.

Ev got one last photo shoot before surgery. The doctors and nurses actually sent him in to the OR with his football binkie (AKA his best friend!) They let him suck, suck, suck until they put him to sleep. Supposedly he was super calm and that process (which sometimes can be scary for babies and kids, and adults for that matter) was smooth.



Everett was the star of his very own parade down to the OR. There were surgeons, doctors, nurses, and lots of equipment. James and I had to walk him down to the OR, which was one of the hardest parts of the day. Sending your newborn into heart surgery is not ideal, but the surgeons and doctors said there were absolutely no other choices (which actually gave us a little more peace). They wheeled him away, and we were left to wait for hours.



The surgeons were very pleased with the outcome of the surgery. They said the coarctation in the aorta was extreme, but the repair went well. They were able to cut out the narrowed portions and stitch the ends together. They said he handled the surgery and anesthesia like a champ. We are so grateful to these doctors and surgeons that are so committed to our baby. I need to get pictures of them for sure.


Ev was initially hooked up to every machine in the book (as can be expected when you perform major surgery on a 5-day-old). He was intubated, had IV's, pic lines and central lines that were all pumping meds, oxygen and fluids into his body. Such a hero!


AND...duh duh duh duh...this morning when we arrived at the hospital he had been extubated and was completely breathing on his own. That little heart of his is working. Woo-hoo! They are slowly weaning him from medications and will slowly (VERY slowly) start feeding him today. He had major liver and kidney damage after birth so they want to take things slow and steady to make sure his body can handle the food. I've been pumping my brains out and am SO excited that Mama's milk is gonna be in his body again!


Ev and I are both suffering from an awful case of swelling! We're like Mama and baby elephants! But his swollen hands and feet are just so cute and kissable (which is more than I can say about my cankles!)




Thank you, thank you, thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers and well wishes. We know that Heavenly Father answers prayers and we know that He has watched over Ev and our family this last week. You are all in our prayers of thanksgiving. We'll continue to keep you updated on his recovery.