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    The tears of transitioning…

    Hello hello! So it’s been an interesting week or so. If you follow me on social media which of course you should (click the links above ) you know that there have been some trying times here lately. We have been working to transition Langston off of the bottle and to a sippy cup. My boy wanted NO parts of this. I bought 927 cups minimum… he hated all of them. He may be small but he’s pretty strong and has got quite an arm on him!!  There were cups being thrown in all directions. I learned to duck and dodge like your favorite boxer. We have tried often over the last couple weeks to get him to try a cup and he’s been very resistant. I must admit though, I was quick to give in. I made up in my mind however that I would use the weekend to simply stay-at-home and work on getting him off that darn bottle!  So…I got ready for combat. I had spoken with his occupational therapist who recommended that I use the cup with the spout most like that of a nipple for now.

    Picture it…Saturday morning…my sweet prince awakened as his normal smiling self, ready to play and enjoy his Saturday with Mommy.  You see, Saturdays are special. I typically leave Saturday mornings open for snuggle time. After the hustle and bustle of the week, I really feel like it’s important that we get that time. After playing a bit he was ready for his morning milk. I apprehensively went to fill his new cup…I remembered the past outcomes so I was NERVOUS. I handed it to him like nothing was new.  He looked at it and shook his head. I pleaded with him to try it and he slapped it as far away as he could! He was NOT pleased. I kept trying and of course reached out to fellow Mommies on my Facebook and Instagram for support. “He’ll drink when he’s thirsty enough”, “He’ll be fine”. I kept thinking…they must not know Langston Miles lol. I kept trying then changed to a cup with a different spout…then another…and another… By this time he is in tears and so am I. My poor prince was crawling from room to room on a quest to find his beloved “ba-ba”. My heart was shattering. I could tell he was distraught. Nevertheless…I persisted *exasperated sigh*

    He refused the cups all day and I was TERRIFIED he would become dehydrated. For a full 24 hours he refused the cup. The next morning when he awakened I noticed his diaper was not nearly as wet as usual and I. FREAKED. OUT. I made a decision at that point to give the bottle if he refused the cup again. I got up and fixed his cup, handed it to him and took cover! To my surprise he was drinking…I thought my heart would explode!

    I cried quietly while he finished the 2 test ounces I’d given him and screamed for more. I quickly fixed him more milk in his new cup and proceeded to take pics and video of course He used the cup the rest of the day, then for several days following without issue and I was proclaiming victory…then this happened…

    Yep…he bit a hole in the nipple…

    I started to panic them I remembered I’d bought him a back-up cup exactly like the cup that had become his favorite so I ran and got it and we jumped in the truck to head to my parents’ Once we were there, I handed him and Favorite Cup Part Deux to my mom and headed off to work.

    Later that morning I called to check on him only to find that he had refused his cup ALL MORNING. I freaked out of course but I couldn’t understand as it was literally the exact same cup. No…you’re not understanding…

    EXACT. SAME. CUP!!!

    Typical Langston Miles antics Eventually he took it again and we’ve been cruising along ever since…

    Oh wait…let’s take a moment of silence for some of the cups that didn’t make it

    The Real MVP

    Today is such a special day. I’ve been weepy all day as my sweet prince is finally OFFICIALLY 1 YEAR OLD!! Confused yet??? Yes, his actual birthday was in April and yes he is 15 months old, but in the preemie world it was not official until TODAY- his original due date. I look at him and my heart swells. When we celebrated his birthday a couple months ago, we chose a sports theme and I was so excited about how everything turned out! We hired Epiphany by Erika for our decor and she did not disappoint! It was a truly blessed day and what better day than today to share some of our favorite pictures from that day than today.  Special thank you to Tanci for her amazing photography skills.

    His grand entrance

    Of course the MVP needed his own security!

    He didn’t know what to think about ALLL those people!

     

    The decor was absolutely perfect

    More decor

    Cake by Dana Beasley, Candy Apples by Kustom Events, Cake Pops and Cookies by Princess of Pastries

    Party Favor Boxes made by Langston’s amazing Auntie Kole

     

    VIP Access for our very special guests

     

    Concession Stand Food was on the menu of course!

     

    Kisses from Daddy

     

    Langston with GMa and Papa

    Guests came representing their favorite teams!

     

    The kids had a BALL

     

    Lil Miss Z was happy to get her game face on

    Hanging with one of his favorite aunties

    Team Langston represented HARD! (shirts by Life Pixels Action)

     

    Umm…things got a little messy…

    You know you’re the MVP when your favorite DJ- AKA Daddy is on the 1’s and 2’s #DJWyldChyld

    Thank you all for loving Langston…for cheering him on, for praying for him. I’m so proud of who he is and who he will be. He is strong and resilient. He is never gives up and won’t back down from ANY challenge. From starting off at 1lb 7oz, to surviving 152 long days in the NICU he’s kept fighting. He gives 100% all 4 quarters. He is indeed THE REAL MVP.

     

     

     

    Smiles, Shots and Slobbery Kisses

    Time definitely flies when you’re having fun! We’ve been living, LOVING and basking in God’s blessings. Believe it or not, our sweet prince is already 15 months old (11 months corrected). Friday we went for his 15 month check up and he got a great report. He is now 30 inches long and weighs over 24 lbs. We’re also grateful that he’s knocking those MILEStones outta the park!! I am always in awe as I witness God work through him.  The appointment went smoothly as usual and we were in and out in a flash. He was all smiles as he flirted with his fabulous Pediatrician, tore up the paper on the exam table as usual and then it was time for…yes you guessed it…SHOTS. As a Mommy I hate to see him cry but as a Physician I tear up at the possible alternatives- so bring on the vaccines. I’m always more nervous than he is. He took those 3 shots like a champ and in about 15 seconds he was back to flashing that sweet little smile.

    Speaking of that smile…baby boy went from having only 2 teeth for forever to 8 in what seemed like the blink of an eye! He actually cut 6 at once- that week was one for the history books. He’s cutting his back teeth now so our lives consist of drool by the buckets, unlimited changes of bibs and clothes, and nothing- I mean NOTHING is safe from the intermittent gnawing of tiny teeth (how do such little teeth cause so much pain!?)

    The turmoil of teething soon fades as he looks at me with those gorgeous eyes of his then follows up with the sweetest slobbery kisses. By that point I’m putty in those chubby hands and honestly I would not have it any other way ❤

    Praise and…

    So it’s Sunday right?? Well for us that means it’s time to go to church. I was running super late this morning because a certain 15 month old decided that he was going to be as uncooperative as possible ;-). We finally got out of the house and he was as cute as could-be. Our church is about 20 minutes away so we rode and listened to praise and worship music to pass the time. He was quiet but clapping intermittently. We made it to church and I get out of the car so that we could go in, and I see it… there is poop EVERYWHERE!!!! ( Don’t worry, I’ll spare you the pics) I exclaimed, “Langston no!!!!!” He just looked at me and grinned.

    Oh boy…

    I knew that there was no way I could get him out of his seat without being covered in poop myself. I stood there in the parking lot trying to figure out my next move. It became pretty clear that we would not be going inside. So… back in the car I got, headed to my parents’ house since they live closer. Good thing we got in a little praise and worship on the way… before the poop…🙄

    We’ll try again next Sunday…

    Just breathe…

    “Just breathe”… It all seems so simple but in the NICU world “simply” breathing is no easy chore for many.  Premature babies are often born with respiratory issues requiring the use of mechanical ventilation and long term oxygen use. Langston was no exception and developed a very common condition affecting preemies called Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD). Babies with BPD sometimes develop fluid in the lungs, scarring and lung damage. “Dysplasia” in essence means abnormal changes in the cell. The cell changes in BPD take place in the smaller airways making breathing difficult due to the effects on lung function as a whole. BPD is one of the most common chronic lung diseases in children. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), there are between 5,000 and 10,000 cases of BPD every year in the United States.

    As a mom it can be so difficult to watch your child struggle in attempts to carry out something that we normally do without a second thought. I can remember sitting at his bedside and watching his oxygen levels…praying. Longing for the day I could see that sweet little face without the masks/tubes, etc. I can remember like yesterday the first day Langston was changed to the CPAP ( a device to aid in breathing) and the respiratory therapist came in to change out his mask. That was the first time since the day he was  born that I got a good view his ENTIRE face! I was so excited and snapped away with the camera of course. I was so grateful when his therapist encouraged me to lean in for a quick kiss. I remember the way his skin felt on my lips- that brief moment of “normalcy” meant everything to me.

    As Langston grew and his lungs got stronger he was able to eventually be weaned from mechanical ventilation and was placed on Oxygen. For months we fought what I’ve deemed “the oxygen wars” as I then had a very busy baby who no longer felt the need to keep his cannula in his nose LOL! Most of the time this boy had oxygen blowing either on his forehead, in his mouth, his neck or on the bed beside him. It was QUITE the battle.

    The day we were released by the Pulmonologist (a doctor who specializes in lungs) and the company came to remove all of the oxygen tanks, compressor, pulse oximeters and the like from our home I felt like I had won the lottery.

    Bye Bye Oxygen!!!

    Thinking back I could remember feeling like we would never get there then all of a sudden we had made it! I praised God right there on my driveway as the tech loaded the items into his car.  Now when I’m exhausted after a long day’s work and my sweet prince is allll over the place climbing and turning over garbage cans 🙂

    I’m grateful to take it all in and JUST BREATHE…

    The struggle of “Doctor Mommy”

    As I reflect back on our 152 days in the NICU I am reminded of the struggle between 2 parts of me. As a physician, the knowledge I’ve gained over the years and throughout my training was both a blessing and a curse. Early on in our course I made it clear to the staff and medical team that I just wanted to be his mother. I wanted to be treated like any other mother there. At times his nurses would apologize for fear that they were explaining things that I already knew but I would quickly remind them that I’m a Family Medicine physician and so much of what I was experiencing was out of my scope of practice. The NICU was a whole new world for me! Besides, when it’s your child, all objective thought goes out of the window at times. I made sure they knew that I was a mother first…

     

    I would sit there in his room and stare at his monitors. After a while, the panic attacks started. I was so overwhelmed as I struggled to stay in my lane. I was in such a bad way that I couldn’t stay for long periods of time. The problem was, as a physician mom, I knew too much. I knew what each number meant, I knew the statistics, I knew the lab values… What was normal and what wasn’t. I was terrified. I can remember praying to God to just allow me to be his mommy. I didn’t know how much time I had with him so I needed to maximize on being mommy. I felt like I had a lifetime of being a physician but the life of my little prince was minute to minute.  I am so grateful that God granted my petition to him. I love my ministry as a physician, but I love being Langston’s Mommy more…

    Langston and Mommy

     

    Langston in the NICU

    4 Things NICU Parents want you to know

    Anyone who has been through the NICU experience knows that it is one wild ride! A definite emotional roller coaster of sorts. It’s such a very delicate time. Oftentimes family and friends don’t know what to do or say which can make an already difficult situation seem unbearable. Keep reading to find out 4 things NICU parents wish you knew.

    • We’re not as strong as you think we are

    The saying goes “You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice”.  That’s just it.  Sometimes we smile to suppress the tears.  Many times I was asked how I kept pushing.  How I kept working full time while my son was in the NICU and my answer was always the same “I just do it”

    • We’re terrified

    There are so many alarms and monitors, wires and restrictions … we’re being inundated with lab results and updates, statistics and research studies. Your child’s health is literally minute to minute and at the blink of an eye everything can change. You witness loss all around you…The fear is almost paralyzing.

    • We’re not trying to be rude

    NICU births are unlike term births in many ways. There are so many more layers, so many complex situations occurring at the same time so responses to phone calls, texts, etc. may be limited. It’s all very overwhelming. The exhaustion, stress, and anxiety as well other emotions that may not be easy to understand are at an all-time high. Some new moms struggle with depression and guilt, not to mention the stress of childbirth itself. This is not the time to bombard parents for pictures or recurrent requests to visit the hospital. It’s a very delicate time for both the parents and their new bundle of joy.

    • We don’t know…

    That applies to SO much when you have a child in the NICU. We don’t know why things happen or how oftentimes. We don’t know what happens next. We can only live minute by minute or risk losing what bit of sanity we have left. We don’t know when we’ll get to go home either as things change so ridiculously quick in the NICU world. So when you hear “I don’t know” it’s not a snub or an effort to blow you off, we’re just trying to survive.

    Langston - My miracle

    Miracles and MILEStones

    Miracle : an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs; an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment.

    The last 14 months have been filled with so many emotions…so many ups and downs, disappointments and victories. Every time I look into the face of my sweet prince my heart skips a beat and I can’t help but pause briefly and tell the Lord “THANK YOU”. When I went into labor I knew what the statistics said. I knew what we were facing. I’ll be completely honest with you- I was terrified and devoid of hope…BUT GOD! He was given a 10-15% chance of survival…

    BUT GOD! Watching Langston Miles grow has been the epitome of watching God work. I sit in awe as I see my former 23 weeker SOAR. I watch as he exceeds milestones and wows everyone around him and I don’t take this for granted because I’ve seen where he started and I’ve seen where God has brought him. I’m so excited to have you all share with us as we continue to follow the path that HE has set for us. Each miracle…each milestone…