Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Disney!!!!

Sorry for the lack of posting! We are in Orlando visiting my brother and sister in law and doing a Disney trip! The kids are loving it so far! Calee went to Harry Potter today, and she had a blast!

I promise I will get back to updating when we get home. I have a TON of great posts from Christmas!!!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

NICU Follow-up Clinic

We spent yesterday at Vanderbilt for an appointment with the NICU follow up clinic. They see them at 6, 12 and 24 months. We were excited to go and see what progress Cohen has made since the 6 month visit.

WE WERE THRILLED WITH THE RESULTS! His upper extremities AND cognitive testing was 12 months PLUS! His lower body was 6 months. (We expected this since the issues with his feet and legs)

He waved and shook his head like no, no, no at the doctor. She was super positive and thought he was doing wonderful. The visit really lifted our spirits and made us feel so excited. Justin and I both knew he has really come a long way, but its nice to hear it from a professional that specializes in this field.

We also took the books to Vanderbilt and blankets to Baptist. We got to see lots of special doctors and nurses. I took several pics to show you all! I also got to visit a friends special little boy in the NICU. It was so awesome to see him in person.

We also met up with Emma Claire and her crazy mommy and daddy! That is always a fun time!
This is Cohen's favorite Vandy night nurse Kaitie. She held Cohen all night long in the hospital and spoiled him, but we still love her dearly!
 A, Em and me with EC and CoCo
 Stacy with her babies
 Dr. Haynes with Em and babies

 The boys.
 Stacy and her buddies
 Girls! (and Cohen!)

 EC was not happy....for a minute!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Birthday Books, Blankets and Blessings!

In honor of Cohen's 1st birthday, we took donations for Baptist NICU for Christmas. Last year, Cohen received some really special gifts from former patients. It was so sweet to read him a book donated by a grateful NICU family from years past. He also has many special ornaments made by the nurses at Baptist. It was so fun to put them up this year.

Vanderbilt NICU nurses do a "blanket drive" annually so they can fix the babies cribs all cute and matchy matchy. It always lifted my spirits when Cohen has matching clean and cute sheets and blankets everyday when I came in. We brought many sets, but when you are there for 100+ days and use 3-4 everyday, it becomes difficult.

So, after the party, we decided we would take the donated books and blankets to both NICU units. Especially since we have so many little friends staying at Vandy right now. I can't wait to shower those babies with gifts!!!! I am taking them early next week.

Here are some pics of all the donated "loot". Thank you so much to all our family and friends for the books and blankets. I shed so many tears going through them all. I read Cohen about 20 of the books!

A friend made some precious book labels to add to them. Thanks Marcie! I love you.

One special note read "All babies are miracles---some just keep God working overtime." I loved that. So true in so many cases. Please continue to pray for Cohen, and so many little babies that God is working overtime for. Christmas in the hospital is a blessing. I am so happy we could do this!





Sunday, December 12, 2010

Grateful

I like the word grateful. I like the way it sounds and the way it feels. I am feeling overwhelmed with it today for small things. Watching the snow pile up outside, spending time with my kids, just being home and being a family.

All day my heart has felt heavy and unbalanced for the McGregor family.  I know many of you have been following the story of baby Thomas over the past weeks, and are just as sad I am. It is such a hard time of year and I just cant imagine what the past days have been like for them.

Somedays I forget how blessed I am. On days when the boys are fussing and I am tired, I forget what a precious gift I have been given. I am not perfect, nor am I a super-mom. I wish I was, but that's just not me.

Most days, I gain perspective (at least at some point) and can laugh at myself and my life. Everyday, I am thankful for the people I have met this year. For the little boy that I am lucky enough to hold and love everyday. For the beautiful daughter God gave me 11 years ago. For the Christmas at HOME this year with family and friends.

Sorry to be so sappy and sad, but that is just my heart today. Please pray for the McGregors and the journey they now face.

I love you all, and I am thankful God has placed you in my life. No matter if your part is big or small, I am grateful.

Monday, December 6, 2010

1 YEAR AGO!

One short, (and very long), year ago I was admitted to the hospital to "wait" on our little baby boy. I was only about 25 weeks along in the pregnancy. I started blogging just a few days later.You can read my first blog post here

I won't go into all the up's and down's this year has brought us. Thankfully more up's.

I was so blissfully dumb a year ago. But. I would not change a thing. Well, not much anyway.

Spending last December in the hospital has made me very thankful for THIS December. Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and LOVE TO YOU ALL this season. From my HOME to yours.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

11 months old!

I have been a little behind on the blogging!!! I can't believe it is already December! Cohen was 11 months old on the 23rd. We are getting so close to the big ONE year mark!


I still ask for your prayers for the McGregor family. Sweet baby Thomas is now awaiting a heart transplant. Please pray for this wonderful family and the journey they still have ahead.

Cohen is growing and learning new things everyday. We are more and more blessed my him all the time! Here is a recent pic. Love to you all!


Monday, November 22, 2010

Prayer Request

I am asking for all of you that are so loyal to prayer and have prayed for Cohen to please take time today to pray for some friends of mine.

The McGregor Family need prayers. Janna's mother in law and my mother in law work together. Her twin boys are preemies also, so Janna and I have been communicating for several months now. This family is dealing with so much, from so many directions. My heart is so heavy for them.

My friend Adreinne, and her little Bennett also need prayer. This is another wonderful Christian family that has already endured so much. I am always in awe of the strength and faith they have!

Baby Olivia, is a close family member of one of my best friends in the world, Sara. She has been in the hospital for weeks, and has finally been diagnosed with a lung disease. She will be on oxygen for years, among other treatments. They have been real troopers considering all they have been hit with. Please pray for them and Olivia's healing.

I know this is overwhelming. Thank you all for taking time to read.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Finally 5K

As some of you remember, Justin, Calee and I signed up for the Couch to 5K program with a group of friends a while back. We have been training for 12 weeks, and we ran the 5K this past Saturday.

I can't believe I am going to post these pictures, as I look less than photogenic in them-----but, I am really proud of all of us and can't believe we did it! I literally went from couch to 5K, since less than 1 year ago I was on bedrest and then sat in a chair at the hospital for months!

The 5K was called Strides for SIDS. All the entry fees and such benefit SIDS research. Several parents that have lost babies to SIDS ran and walked the race. I am thankful we could help with such a needed cause.




Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween 2010

This year, we had a "Renaissance Princess" (she was Athena until about 30 minutes before we left the house, then she dug out this dress=) , "Tow Mater", and a "lobster in his stock pot."

The kids had fun, we went to our church for "trunk or treat", then to a friends neighborhood for some old school door to door action. Calee and Ames LOVED it! They have never really done that, so it was fun. We ran by and saw several friends and their little ones in costume.

By far my favorite part of Halloween is the younger kids and seeing their costumes. We saw so many adorable little bees, monkeys, policemen, fireman, tractors, Elmo.....and many more I can't think of right now!

Here are a few snapshots I took of ours and friends. Please take note of the pic with Cohen and the little lion. He is a church buddy of ours that was also a preemie. He spent the entire holiday season last year in the NICU here in Murfreesboro. He is doing great now and I am so glad we finally took a picture of them together!







Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Few Fall Fun Pics

I snapped a few pics on our way to meet some friends for dinner last weekend. Cohen stayed home with Justin's mom, so he is not in these. He is still on house arrest as much as possible!!!!




Monday, October 25, 2010

10 months old!

Cohen is 10 months old! (as of the 23rd) I am a little behind on posting! He is growing like a little weed and doing so well! I will do a detailed post this week, but could not wait to share this new pic with all of you!!!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Friends by Chance

Cohen being in the NICU brought some amazing people into our lives. Here is one of them!

We love the Warren family more than words can say--- What a blessing they are to us!


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Big Boy at the Doctor!

I thought this pic of Coco bean waiting on the doctor last week was just tooooooo funny! He is a little ham!


Monday, October 11, 2010

New Blog----I fixed the link!!!!

My new blog is a hot mess. However, if I don't go ahead with it now I may never do it! Hopefully I will find time soon to work on it and get it "really" fixed up. Bare with me!!!!


http://itscooltobequirky.blogspot.com/

Happy Birthday Calee!!!

My sweet Calee turned 11 this weekend! Time has gone so fast. Here is a couple of pics from this past week. I love how Calee is always looking at the camera and Ames never is!






Thursday, October 7, 2010

ENT Update

Our wireless router has been on the blink, so I haven't been able to update for a few days!

 We went to Vanderbilt to see our ENT specialist on Tuesday. He ran a scope down Cohen's throat and saw that the left vocal cord is still not moving. We were disappointed, but not really surprised. He also felt like he is still having "pools" of secretions in the back of his throat, that are causing his voice box to be irritated and swollen.

We went armed with a huge list of questions. I really trust our ENT, and we wanted to get his opinion on several things. I guess my biggest concern is ruling out Cohen getting a trach (tracheotomy). Unfortunately, he feels like we are not completely out of the woods on this yet. He also feels we need to go back in and look further down the throat, to see if Cohen's airway has grown.

So, we are going ahead and scheduling a broncoscopy for next month. The orthopedic surgeon is also going to go in and clip his heel cord at the same time. Hopefully the bronc will show great growth, and we can throw the trach idea out the window!!!!

The ENT said he felt like keeping Cohen healthy is the most important thing right now...so I guess he will go back on house arrest!

Of course, since this appointment, Cohen has developed a terrible cough. He coughed non stop Tuesday and Wednesday nights. I took him and Ames both to see our pediatrician this morning. Ames has been congested and feeling icky the last couple of days also.

GREAT NEWS! They did a chest X-ray on Cohen and it was perfect! No pneumonia! This is the first clear chest X-ray he has ever had, so I was so relieved. I am so glad to know he can fight off a little cold and be ok. The doctor today said he felt like this spoke volumes about how far his lungs have come.

Ames also just has a little cold, and is doing fine. His first cold and runny nose in over a year! Taking both of them to the doctor is really something-----Cohen laughs and smiles at the doctor, doesn't care a bit for him to look down his throat and in his ears. Ames, on the other hand, screams the minute the doctor steps in the room! You would think it would be the opposite!

We are hoping for a better nights sleep tonight! We have a big weekend up ahead. Friday is Aunt Amy's birthday, then Saturday is Calee's 11th B-day and Justin and my anniversary. Cal also has a performance Saturday at a festival here in the Boro.

Thank you all for your continued support and prayers for Cohen. He is doing so well, and I know he will overcome all of this......I just hope it's sooner than later!!!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Love and Hugs from the Bryant's!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Who broke it?

We have a broken chair in our kitchen. I thought I saw Ames climb up and fall over in the chair, and it bust into small pieces?

However, according to him, Dig Dig did it. Or Pa did it. Or LuLu did it. Even Cohen did it. He blamed Dig Dig (Justin's Dad) for the first several days. He stuck to his story----then, he started blaming anyone he could think of.

The chair is in the corner, hoping it can be fixed. Ames walks over to it no less than 10 times a day and says "_____________ broke the chair." (Insert whomever he is blaming today=)


As I am typing, Ames walked by the chair and said "Mary broke my chair." Mary is our cat.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Upper GI

We went for the Upper GI at Vandy on Tuesday. It was frustrating to say the least. The problem with this test, like several others, is that if he doesn't vomit or reflux during the study, it is hard to see if the nissen is loose or undone.

So, they injected the contrast into his G tube and waited about 5 minutes. He didn't do anything, so they "thought" the nissen was still intact. No explanation for the massive amounts of vomit or spitting up.

I won't even go into the 2 residents that performed the test. They didn't know a nissen from a nissan =).

We go see our ENT on October 5th, so I am pinning my hopes on him for some sort of answers. He usually tells us straight, and I appreciate that. For now, we are just coping and watching him super close.


All in all, he is doing really well and I am thankful for that.

Hope you all have a great Thursday!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Nissen

Some of you may remember that when Cohen had his G tube surgery, they also performed a Nissen fundiplication. This is basically where they "wrap" his stomach at the top to prevent him from refluxing and vomiting.

Well.......a few days ago he started spitting up a little. It had a some milk in it, but I thought maybe it was from us dipping his pacifier in milk during the feeding. I called our nurse and she said it was unlikely that the Nissen would come undone this soon.

Unlikely. Not my favorite word.

He is now fully vomiting after feedings------causing him to aspirate and have some lung congestion. He hacks and coughs all night. He sounds so pitiful. He is, however, still smiling and happy as ever, thank goodness!

 I talked to the surgeon this morning and he scheduled an upper GI for Tuesday, to make sure it's "unwrapped". The he said we would decide from there what to do.

I obviously don't want him to have the surgery again. But, I'm not sure it's safe for him not to have it. I guess we will cross that bridge when we come to it!

If anyone has a child that had/has a nissen, I would LOVE to hear input! We are just so uncertain on what needs to happen. He is on pretty strong reflux meds, so hopefully this will aid in controlling it.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. This is Calee's last weekend in GYPSY, and we will be happy to have more free time when it ends, but she has made some great friends and lifetime memories! Love to you all!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

9 Months Old

9 months have come and gone since our precious little man made his appearance. It will be his 1st birthday before we know it. I am already planning a "Breakfast with Santa" themed party! I can't wait!

It's been a while since I have done a really detailed post about Cohen and all his info---so here we go!

Feedings-
Cohen is still fed 100% formula fed through the G tube. I do dip his pacifier in his milk so he can get a little taste each feeding. We did try baby food for a few days, but his lungs got super congested so our nurse advised we stop. We go back to our ENT doctor on October 5th, he will do a scope and hopefully we will see some improvement in this area. For now, we are thankful for the G tube.

Orthopedic-
Cohen is taking a 1 month break from his brace and cast. The brace never fit very well, and the cast were not improving his feet at all. The ortho doctor wants to do surgery on his left foot later this fall, to "clip" his heel cord. We are waiting to schedule this after the ENT appointment, to make sure we can coordinate with anything he might want to do as well.

Weight-
Cohen's last weight check  he was just over 14 lbs! He is still wearing 3-6 month clothes. We go to our regular ped doctor this week, for his 9 month check up, so hopefully we can get more measurements.

Schedule-
Cohen eats every 4 hours@ 6, 10, 2. AM and PM. We had been letting him sleep through the 2 a.m. feeding, but he always wakes by 3, so we are just adding it back in. Ugh. I am hoping this part passes quickly!
He naps from 7am-9am and 1-3 pm. Usually. He is not the best napper in the world.
Cohen loves playtime! He loves floor time and all his "equipment", i.e.-the exersaucer, mirror toy, bumbo..

Developmental-
Cohen is almost 6 months looking at his "adjusted" age. I would say he is almost a typical 6 month old. He is soooo close to sitting up! He can do it propped in the couch or with the boppy. He can do about 10 seconds without being propped. He is really getting stronger everyday. He laughs and babbles all the time. I will be excited to go to the NICU folllowup clinic in December and see what they say.

Therapy/Services-
Cohen still has his nurse that comes weekly. He goes to Physical Therapy in Murfreesboro. We also have a teacher from TEIS that comes monthly.

Outings-
Cohen has been to church several times now. He also loves to get out in his stroller when Justin and I are running. I am still trying to limit his exposure, so we keep him in most of the time.

This is all I can think of for today! Let me know if you have any questions or want info that I left out!
XXOO

Monday, September 20, 2010

Brothers!

Here are some photos I took over the weekend of the boys! Cohen is soooo in love with his brother and sister-----he laughs at them so much. 


Gypsy Slideshow

One weekend left of Gypsy! Thanks to all the friends and family that have come to see Calee in the play! Thanks to my awesome Mom (LuLu) for watching the boys while we are at the theater for shows!

I wish I had taken a picture of everyone that has come.....I didn't get one of LuLu and Ed, Mayma, Digger and Aunt Amy, Joanna, Sara, Samantha, nor Julie and Bailee! They all came opening weekend and I didn't have my camera!



Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dear Cohen

Dear Cohen,

Mommy is so proud of you. You are doing wonderful. You are so cute and playful.

But, please, please in the name of fashion................... GROW! Mommy can't look at these same ole 3 month clothes much longer. It is making me crazy. I know you have to be sick of them too.

You are a big almost 9 month old little boy. It's time to say goodbye to the old and in with the NEW! New cute fall 6 month clothes I have ready and waiting for you!

Thank you!

Love,

Mommy

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

September?!?!?!?!

I can't believe we are already a week into September! I am so ready for beautiful fall weather. Fall is my absolute favorite time of the year. I love the fall colors, cool mornings and of course UT football season starting =)

Sorry I have been so behind on the blog! Calee's play opens this Friday and we have been "knee deep" in rehearsals. Tonight is the first (of 3) dress rehearsals, and Calee is nervous about a 45 second costume change! It will be interesting!

Cohen is doing well, chugging right along. He is really filling out, especially his chubby cheeks! We have taken him to church the last 2 weeks, and he has done great. I am trying to get him out a little more before cold and flu season begin. I know we will have to really be careful then.

We have Vanderbilt appointments on Wednesday, with the G tube clinic and the ortho doctor. Next week we see a new specialist, a GI doctor. Our regular pediatrician wanted us to see him in regards to some slow gastric emptying issues. I don;t look forward to adding another doctor to the list, but I know its a necessary evil.

I have started to think and pray about our appointment with our ENT doctor, which will be October 5th. He will do a scope and then possibly schedule another MRI and broncoscopy. At that time, the ortho doctor will coordinate with him and do a small surgery on his foot at the same time. At least, that is the plan for now. I know that can change quickly.

My prayer is the ENT visit will show his left vocal cord is working again. This would be a huge step in the right direction!

I am going to post a silly picture of Ames and Cohen. Cohen is making a "shocked face". They are so sweet together. Cohen is completely enthralled by Ames. He smiles and laughs anytime Ames gets near him. I have taught Ames to say "You are my best friend", and he randomly walks up to Cohen and tells him during the day. Its about the sweetest think I have ever seen.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Gypsy

For those of you planning on catching Calee perform in "Gypsy", here is the ticket and date information. They have worked so hard and I think it will be a great show!


http://boroarts.org/about/tickets/#gypsy

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thank you....notes

I was raised right. I really was......

However, I have really let the ball drop on my "thank you notes" lately. I wrote over a hundred when Cohen was still in the hospital, and I probably have that many left to do. I am truly working on them!

Please know if you have brought us food, sent us a gift, etc, that we love you and are SO thankful for you and the kindness you have shown us.

Thanks for your patience and understanding! Love to you all!

Big Blue is BACK!

We hauled Cohen to Vandy yesterday for an Orthopedic check-up. I knew the new AFO (foot brace) he has been wearing was not doing the job. I have not been happy with it, to say the least.

It is by far the most expensive shoe in our house and also the most annoying. Cohen works his little foot until it comes off about 10 times a day. The doctor agreed with me it's not doing what it should be, and he decided to do a few more rounds of casting.

I have mixed feelings about this-----I hate that he has to wear this big, huge cast. I am sad he can't get in the bathtub, which is his favorite thing in the world. However, I want to get this fixed and done with! In my mind he's better off to have a cast now, than later when he wants to walk and run around.

From the beginning, the doctors have thought his issues with his feet were due to my water breaking so early. Now, the Ortho doctor thinks it may be a true club foot, but just a mild case. I am not sure what to think.

Regardless, the solution for the foot is the same, no matter what the "official " cause.

Here is sweet Cohen this morning and his old friend "Big Blue".

Monday, August 23, 2010

8 Months Old!

It is hard to believe our little sweetie is 8 months old! That means he has been home with us almost 4 months! He is such a sweet and happy baby, and we are SO thankful for every moment God has given us so far.

We love you Cohen Thomas!!!!!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Request

Please pray for my dear friend Ann and her Daddy. I know many of you are extrememly familiar with Ann's amazing and insipring journal. They are a wonderful family that has blessed so many lives, including mine. I ask that you please take a minute and pray for them. Thank you. Love to you all.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Will this week ever end?

Seriously. It's only Thursday?

Yes, I am whining. It has been a BUSY week.

 Remember all that excitement ( click here for a refresher) about Calee being in the play Gypsy???? Practice is now in full swing. From 6:30 to 9:30 nightly. She also takes dance and theater classes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 4-7. So basically, we are looking for her a full time chauffeur if anyone needs a part time job! (More on Gypsy play schedule and ticket info soon for those of you planning on coming)

Ames started MDO this week, and Cohen has his usual therapy, nurse visits and doctor appointments thrown in.

Justin, Calee and I have also started training for a 5K race through the Couch to 5K program. We meet on Tuesdays and Saturdays. I was really proud we survived the first run Tuesday night! Tonight we run on our own. We are really excited about this....the run is November 6th, so hopefully we will be ready by then. I will keep your posted on this.

I am still working on my "new" blog, and still struggling with a name for it....if you have any ideas, send them my way!

Hope you all are having a busy and blessed week....Love from us to you!

First Day!

Today is Ames' first day of Mother's Day Out (MDO). I truly expected crying and clinging.....maybe a little "Mama, Mama, no!"

 Instead I got "Bye Mama!" He literally ran in the room and never looked back.

Is it wrong that I am a little disappointed? The picture quality is a little low, taken from a camera phone!



Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Coming Soon--- My New Blog

Yes, I am starting a new blog. I am sure some of you are thinking......."what else could she possibly have to talk about?" Let me tell you,  this mind never stops- I have 20 posts waiting in the wings!

 My new blog will be geared more toward shopping, eating, couponing, etc. I am still working on the layout and all the details, but I will let you know when its up and running. I am not doing this to become rich and famous, but more to aid my connection to the outside world, now that I am "officially" a SAHM. (Stay at home mom)

I never, ever, thought I would be so into this blogging thing. I guess I should know by now that you never say never!

This blog will still be dedicated to Cohen and all things Bryant. Basically, the more important things=)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Me, Me, Me....and some others!!

I get lots of comments that I never post pictures of myself. Those that know me well know how much I dislike being in front of a camera........but, I thought I would give it a go. These are from this weekend. Justin and I went to a very special wedding of a former student of mine in Lebanon. Brandi went away to Clarendon College in Texas like I did, (wonder who influenced her to do that?) and she met her now husband there. They are such an awesome couple-----she was a stunning bride, and has the most beautiful smile of anyone I know!