Sunday, November 30, 2008

Happy Birthday Mason!

Wow! Has it really been a year? In some ways it seems like just yesterday we were in the PICU at Primary's for his first surgery and in other ways it has been one really long year.
Mason was an itty bitty 5 lb.s 8 oz. when he was born and has been through a lot, but come a long way! When he was born and I held him in my arms just like my other kids, those most amazing unforgettable "Mommy Moments", something was a little different about him, but had no idea that he had a serious heart problem! He was a bit blue, but we all figured it was bruising possibly from his fast birth. He didn't nurse well right away, but all my other babies had. We just figured he was just tired and maybe because he was so little, not because he just didn't have the strength due to his failing heart function. It seems like a dream just remembering all this! Mason even got a normal score on his apgar test. But over the next few days it all went down hill from there.
I took Mason on Friday to his one year old check up, which was a celebration in itself just to be there!!! He weighed in at 14 lbs. 14 oz. (I was hoping at least for 15! Maybe I shouldn't have changed his wet diaper before!) And he is 26 1/2 inches long. He is almost on the growth charts, but at least his growth is steady. He has come a long way for a 5 lb heart baby!
He is still nursing and eating more and more baby food and a few finger foods. No new tricks for his motor skills, but hopefully we can get him crawling soon.
We celebrated with a few family members on Thanksgiving and will have another little celebration tomorrow night. We have invited a few of the amazing people who have helped in Mason's care this last year, over to our home to help us celebrate this miraculous first birthday. I will post pictures of Mason and his birthday celebration in my next post.
On this day of November 30th, 2008 I am more grateful than words can express for the special blessing Miracle Mason is in my life. Miracles do happen! And prayers are heard!
Happy Birthday Mason Andrew!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mason's First Thanksgiving

A year ago on Thanksgiving I was at the point in my pregnancy that I was anxious to have the baby (but not due until Dec 21). I was ready to be done with the nausea, puking and migraines!! Although, as I look back now if I had known what my poor baby was going to go through and the hardships we would face, I know I would not have been so anxious to have him born early (not that I could have controlled that though really). I would have stayed pregnant as long as possible. He was much safer inside of me!

Also, little did I know how grateful I would be that my baby would live to see his first Thanksgiving! I have realized how much we take for granted when we have healthy babies and children. Normally, we wouldn't think twice about the miracle of reaching each first holiday and each birthday.

So on this special Thanksgiving day little Miracle Mason I want to tell you how grateful Mommy, Daddy, your sister, and brothers are to have you in our lives! We are grateful for your health and strength, as good as could be with only half a heart!!!

Please hug your little ones and cherish every holiday you have together.

Happy Thanksgiving to all. We are so thankful for all your love and support. We are so thankful for the service continually given to our family. We will feel forever in debt for all the service we have recieved, but hope to pay it forward someday!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Spoke Too Soon

Okay, so I think I jinxed myself. Not even 48 hours after after my last post, when I bragged that Mason was "cough free", his "little bit" of a clear runny nose turned into a yucky green runny nose with a new horrible, nasty cough!! I've also had Ammon home from Preschool for several days because of a runny needless to say there has not been a spare minute for blogging. Mason is still cough a little, but finally starting to feel better.

Early last week I took him to see his Pulmonologist for a checkup appointment that had already been scheduled before he got sick. Although he had just come down with this new cough, the appointment brought us good news. His chest x-rays showed that the fluid he has had on his left lung since at least July is finally dissipating and his airways were not as constricted as last a month. The other good thing is that his O2 sats have stayed up even while sick this time. The inhaler meds must be helping. But as the week went on he seemed to get worse, so I took him to the pediatrician who started him on antibiotics for bronchitis and the beginnings of Pneumonia again!!! Although, I do think the inhaler meds helped him not get as sick this time. ( In all reality, I think Mason just likes sleeping with me in the Big Red chair rather than in his own bed!! Little Stinker!)


So in the craziness of the last 2 weeks, having Ammon home from preschool and Mason not feeling well.....Ammon making Mason cry all day, sometimes innocently trying to give him loves, and sometimes I think on purpose out of pure jealousy.....I think I hit my wall for the first time in 11 1/2 months!! It is okay to be overwhelmed right?? 11 1/2 months ago Mark and I jumped into being "Heart baby" parents completely blindly, already having a full plate with our other 4 kiddos and the normal stresses of life in itself. Everyday I've done what I've had to for Mason and my family, because of the love of Motherhood, and because you just naturally do what you can to stay above water when life throws you a storm. Then a couple of days ago I had a melt down. I felt like I was crumbling, with lots of tears, feelings of exhaustion, and overwhelming concern of the "hows & whys" of having 2 kids with special needs and 3 others with lots of needs as well. I felt like I was sleep walking in a nightmare!!!
The next day brought a new day, a new beginning kind of, and I felt better. I guess hitting the wall is necessary sometimes so you can pick yourself up and start over with a new attitude! Crying it out is good too, at least it helps me. Because so many people say to me "I don't know how you do it" .... just thought I would let everyone know that I do crumble at times in the midst of my trials. I have plenty of sad days, and tough days all the time. Probably more than I let my appearance show! But, I wouldn't trade my shoes with anybody.

Thankful For....

Today I am thankful for many things, and here are just a few:
1) Faith in a Father Above who comforts me.
2) Mason slept 4 straight hours last night.
3) Sammi (my helper from the summer), Still comes to visit and help after she has already worked all day. And offers to take Ammon with her to run errands.
4) The young women who come over after school to play with Ammon and/or
help my kids with homework.
5) Friends who call and say"I am going to Costco. Do you need anything?"
6) Another heart baby to whom I was able to give my extra frozen 'mommy milk'
7) A kind neighbor who shows up at the back door with a huge yummy chicken pot-pie
for dinner. She must have known otherwise it would have been cereal again!!
8) Helpful, loving Grandmas who live near us.
9) Mason will be 1 year old next week on Nov 30th! A true miracle!
Have a great weekend!! And Go BYU in the big game tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Mason's First Halloween

As you'll see below I never really decided what Mason should be for Halloween. I know if Mason were to choose between the bear, the mouse, or the skeleton T-shirt he would choose the T-shirt. He didn't like being in the other costumes very long.
The week before Halloween the Strickland extended family had a big Halloween Bash at Grandma Marilyn's so I took Mason to Aunt Michelle's house, who lives right next door to Grandma M, for a little while, so we could see the action but not take him into the crowd. (That is the picture below that I am in with the kids except Kaitlin was over at the party and not in our picture).
Then on Halloween night we went to a "Trunk or Treat " in our church parking lot. So Mason got to see the action from the back of our Suburban. The kids had a fun Halloween and loved dressing Mason up. So for Halloween '08 Kaitlin was a 50's Diner waitress, Preston was a professional Skateboarder, Braiden was a football player, Ammon was "Hot Wheels" the race car driver, and Mason was ...well a Mouse, Bear and a Skeleton I guess.


Sorry I have not blogged in awhile about little Mason. For one, time to sit down at the computer is hard to come by in my life and second my computer has some serious problems and we even just replaced the hard drive. Bummer, I think we might need a new one. Santa are you listening???

However, Mason has been cold and cough free for 2 weeks now! Yeah for Mason. The inhaler meds seem to be helping. He has a bit of a runny nose and has been fussy in the wee hours of the night (whats new right? I now keep a pillow and blankets in the family room all the time for Mason & I for our nights in the Big Red Chair). But, he looks really good. His coloring is pink, he's eating baby food well, sitting up great, rolling some, and jibber jabbering alot. It's so fun to see his sweet personally begin to blossom. We feel blessed he is doing so well right now.

We appreciate our own trials when we look around us and see the trial of others. Our family has been remembering in our prayers some dear friends and want them to know we love them and feel for them during their times of trials. Two of these are other Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome babies. Gracie had to postpone her 2nd surgery until January because of complications. What a stressful time it has been for her family. And Owen has become a candidate for Heart transplant because of complications. Now his family is faced with some big decisions at this time. We also have a cousin of Mark's whose daughter had major throat surgery last week at Primary's. And my running buddy Andrea whose husband George is struggling with Lou Gerhig's disease. We want you to know how much we care. Our thoughts and prayers are always with you.