"The best and most beautiful things cannot be seen or touched-they must be felt with the heart." Hellen Keller

Sunday, November 27, 2011


I know, I know....it is late but that doesn't mean I am any less thankful!:)
I am thankful......that I have a job that allowed me to enjoy this entire week off with my kids. Of course, I never saw Riley really. He was hunting all week and loving it. He is a mountain man!
I am thankful.......that I have a great husband whom I truly consider my best friend. We were high school sweethearts and we have had ups and downs but I can truly say that we have something special and I treasure that.
I am thankful......that my mom is such a big part of my life. She is the "extra" parent that we so often have to call on for help and she has always been there. I am glad she gets to be such a huge part of Bryson's childhood. She is a true blessing.
I am thankful......for Mark's parents. We are close with them and enjoy our times together when I hear so many say that isn't the case in their families.
I am thankful....for my brothers and their families. We may not spend a lot of time together but when we are together it is like we were never apart.
I am thankful.......for Kory. He is such a good person. He has a heart the size of Dallas but sometimes he really pretends that he doesn't. He is going to be a phenomenal father someday (way down the road!)
I am thankful.......for Riley. He is so much a man's man and he is changing so rapidly before my eyes. He is fiesty one minute and loving the next. He ALWAYS keeps me on my toes.
I am thankful.......for my little pickle, Bryson. When I got pregnant with him we were so distraught honestly.....not ready for a third baby with a HUGE space in age. I didn't know how I was going to do it. Little did I know what was in store for us! He is truly so much fun and he is the glue that holds this family together. We all laugh and enjoy him so much. I am not sure how we lived without him.
I am thankful.......for the hard times......I know it sounds crazy and I would never,ever have my child (or our family) suffer like that again. BUT, it opened my eyes in so many ways. I live my life differently and I know that is because of what we, as a family, went through. We survived, HE SURVIVED and for that I thank God every day!
And lastly I am thankful......for my Savior and Lord. He has never left my side and never forsaken me. We, too, have been through rough times but it only made my faith stronger. Thank you dear Lord for the many sweet blessings in our lives. I pray that we, and others, remain blessed this Christmas season!

Friday, November 11, 2011

We have a great weekend planned and I can't wait! We finally purchased a travel trailer and so Mark and Riley are headed to the deer lease. FUN! They can't go until Saturday because Riley has football practice tonight. You know that down in Texas we are SERIOUS about our football. Let me explain the seriousness of it all. Riley is ten years old, fourth grade. He was selected to be on a special, traveling team. They practice EVERY SINGLE NIGHT, except Wednesday. I am talking Saturday, Sunday, all of it and they practice for TWO HOURS, 6-8pm. They actually have lights brought out every day to light up the field so they can practice. We don't play around with our football here! He had his football banquet last night and it was fun. He got a plaque and a medal and a dvd that was so great! Someone put a lot of work into it and it had tons of pictures of the team and all these cool graphics and cool music and in one part they put the speech from the movie "Friday Night Lights". I loved it! When they gave him his award they lovingly referred to him as TANK 2. The reason being there is another kid on the team that is bigger. It was fun! I love football and I really hope that Riley continues to love it too!
On Saturday me and Bryson and my mom are heading to a bake sale/adoption give away at a vet clinic. They are supposed to have zebras and monkeys and a giant tortise. I know Bryson will love it! I ask him every day if he wants to go see zebras and he throws his hands up in the air and says, "YAH!" He is so goofy! Then we have lots of errands and a carpet cleaning appointment and then we are taking Bryson to see Puss in Boots. Honestly he hasn't been to the movies in a really long time, months at least....So I am curious as to how he will do. The kid loves him some popcorn so popcorn there will be! I am such a movie-goer and Bryson has really stifled that as of lately so we are going to prime him up to be a movie buff as well!
And of course we will see very little of Kory as he has now become Mr. Popularity (helps when you are the only one of your friends who has a car!) Somedays I forget what he looks like! Not really, just kidding. I do miss him but I am happy that he is having such a good time. I so enjoyed my high school years and I want the same for him as well.
I have a feeling it is going to be a great weekend! Hope you all have a great one too!!!!

Monday, November 7, 2011


Enough with the depressing post! Am I right people!?!?! I really wanted to post some cute pictures but my computer is STUPID (yea, I called you stupid computer!) and won't let me open them. UGH! Anyway, Halloween night was so much fun! At first Bryson was kind of miffed at the entire thing and thought we were just going for a walk but then he realized that we were getting CANDY AT PEOPLE'S DOORS! Well, then he was soooooo in! I pushed him in his little car and he after the first few houses he refused to get in the car, instead deciding to run from house to house which made me super nervous. So I finally get him back in the car and he sits but he doesn't even give the chance to pull up to the next house before he bails out of the little car head-first and takes off in a mad dash to the door. The kid literally walked for two hours (ran a lot of it too). So cute! And the kids got sooooo much candy! It was our best year yet! I was sure he would come home and pass out....but no....he came home and played and played, and when trick-or-treaters came up to our door he would run over and if they were even remotely small he would say, "babies!" He also decided that he likes to eat Starburst with the package on it. I guess it is better that way! Anyway, really great Halloween! Kory worked and got paid and had a good time too.
Lately a lot of my time has been taken up with band practice. Yea, me and Bryson and Kory and Riley are in a band. Bryson is in charge of the instruments. My old neighbor Elizabeth gave him a bunch of instruments for his birthday and he LOVES them. He comes in (with great authority I might add) hands everyone an instrument and we begin to play. He favors the metal cymbal-like disks that you bang together (like the scary monkey toy in Toy Story) and he bangs them SO HARD and SO CLOSE TO HIS FACE! I cannot believe he hasn't taken off his own nose! It is soooo hilarious because he takes band practice so seriously. ADORABLE!
Riley and Mark went hunting this weekend and Riley shot a raccoon. He was so stinking proud! I have heard about that raccoons insides for two full days now. YUCK! Oh, and Kory is teaching Bryson some really great things....like how to say the word "EEEWWW" and how to put his finger in his nose. I knew I should have hidden the baby and never told the other children about him! There is no hope! :)
Anyway, getting ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas and I am getting soooo excited. So my favorite time of year! I have all my presents bought and wrapped already. Yes, I do.....don't make fun! Love you all!!!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The decisions we make

I probably shouldn't even talk about this....but I have to. You see, right now, is probably one of the most peaceful and happy times in my life. I just feel like everything is good. My "worry-meter" is at an all time low. I'm just so stinking happy. HOWEVER (there is always that however) there is one thing that looms in my mind. At night, when it is dark and I am laying in bed and it is quiet...it crosses my mind....no....it consumes my mind and I feel like the only way that I can get it to leave, is to write about it. I mean, no holds barred, truthful, balls to the wall writing! So I'm gonna write about it in hopes that I can finally LET IT GO!
For those of you who do or don't know...here is the backstory, short version. September 17th Bryson is born and rushed to hospital and seriously sick. For almost two weeks before his birth I was stuck in antepartum because of low fluid and I HATED IT. I missed my boys and Mark so much! So here I am thinking I am going to spend a few days at the hospital and instead I get a c-section and leave the next day to go to Dallas for God knows how long. Needless to say I was sick about leaving my other two boys at home. We wait for surgery, have surgery, wait for his chest to be closed, chest is closed and we are told, "he will be up on the 8th floor and headed home in a couple of weeks!" Ok, I can do that! WHEW! Fast forward to the week before Thanksgiving. We are nowhere near going home and Bryson is declining rapidly, and suffering terribly. I am told over the phone by a doctor that, "he will not survive this....he is just too sick....perhaps you should think about turning off the machines and letting him pass." I talk to nurses (at least two) who agree. They say even if he lives his life will be terrible. He will have a trach, feeding tube, and we don't even know if his brain is ok after all the trauma. His life will be hospital stays and horrors that no child deserves. We have a care conference with the team to discuss what to do. We meet Dr. Koch.....we don't know him from Adam but he knows my son's medical history and he says to me, "give us some time, let us try some things". Mark and I have a lot of discussions about Bryson's life, our life, our other son's lives, fears of Bryson being a guinea pig, but mostly his pain and suffering. Then, we made a decision that I think shocked everyone involved. We decided to go home for a while. This was not a decision that was easily made and many people had problems with us leaving and comments were made and scars were created that will never be healed. Let me start off by saying this.....sometimes, now, I regret it. I feel like I abandoned my sick baby. I understand why people questioned our decision because if I were looking in from the outside I would say, "I would never leave my baby!" Sometimes....I regret it. I think part of the reason why is because people judged us so and I think about what they said and I question my decisions. But then, I remember, I WAS THE ONE WHO WAS ON THE INSIDE! Do you know what it is like to spend every waking moment of your day watching your own child slowly die????? When you question me and my decisions I want you to put that in the forefront of your mind. This was our reality, EVERY SINGLE DAY! Come in first thing in the morning.....Bryson is asleep not because of fatigue but because he was on enough pain meds to kill a horse. He is on the ventilator and his mouth is hanging open and his neck is turned to the side. Bright, colorful toys prop up the breathing tube. The machines beep constantly ALL DAY. There is a sticker with writing on it that covers his entire forehead. His legs splay open because he is so snowed he can't hold them up in any fashion. He has two pigtails tubes coming out of the side of his chest. There are two bigger chest tubes underneath them, which by the way, are barbaric-looking. He has a dialysis drain coming out near his belly button. He has a picc line coming out of his arm, various IV's in other sites. EVERY inch of his body has something coming out of it. He is swollen beyond belief, beyond belief. So swollen in fact that his face is speckled with broken blood vessels. He can't even open his eyes if he wanted to because they are swollen shut. As soon as we get there we hear morning rounds where they again discuss that we can't do anything much today because of the extra fluid. "We will change his diuretic dose and see if we can get some of that fluid off", "Oh and he has an infection somewhere so we have to culture every single tube coming out of his body and every orphus so we can find the infection and until then everyone coming in has to wear masks and gowns". There were many days I couldn't even touch his skin! THIS was our reality (or worse) every, single day and so yea, I wanted to leave. I couldn't take it anymore! I couldn't watch him die anymore! I needed to hug my other kids and love on them. No one knows this but before I finally made the decision to go home for a while...I thought about running off, leaving and disappearing where no one could find me. I had never felt so crazy and out of control in my entire life. I missed my kids so much and the thought of Bryson dying was more than I could bear and I felt so guilty for even wanting to leave but I had to!!! And so I did! it isn't like we LEFT him at the hospital forever but we took a break. We were gone Monday-Wednesday and came back on Thursday or Friday and stayed all weekend. And the doctors and nurses strongly encouraged us to leave. And the nurses there LOVED Bryson. He was in CICU and had medical care 24/7 but it was more than that. Those nurses touched and talked to him constantly. I had NO doubt that he wasn't getting the love he deserved for those few days a week I was gone. They sent pictures to me and I called constantly! And so we left. It was the hardest decision I ever made and yes.....sometimes I do regret it. BUT, sometimes I think it was the right thing to do. For one, honestly, mentally, I am afraid of what would have happened...of what I would have done. It was that bad! Secondly, my other boys needed me just as much as I needed them. They were going through hell too and all without their mom and dad near. I feel like my coming home saved them too. I truly do! And, the more I think about it the more I realize.....his medical care changed. Before I left I had a promise from Dr. Koch that he would send me an email each day with all of Bryson's medical changes....and he did. I was more informed of Bryson's medical care during that time than ANY other time. The medical staff respected us more and shared more with us. I called all day and each time I was given updates. It was almost as if we stepped out of the way and let the medical staff and doctors (and God) do what was needed for Bryson and THEN s - l -o -w - l - y he began to get better. And as he got better and got off of the ventilator we spent more and more time going to Dallas to be with him. And, mentally, I got better too. Once I stepped out of the situation and looked at the "big picture" and refocused.....I was rejuvenated and I felt like I could do this....and so could Bryson. I am not defending my decision....because it was ultimately MY decision but there was something else that people do not realize. If it were today, and Bryson had to do it all over again. I would NEVER leave his side, not even at night. The difference is this....Bryson was born and he was my son.....and then he was in the hospital for so long and I could not hold him or provide any of his care...and then, he essentially belonged to the hospital, not to me anymore. At least that was the way it felt. People may not understand this feeling but we never got to bond....not at all. The power of touch is so important and there were NO opportunities for bonding, there was only fear and horror and it takes a toll on a person. I began to push away my feelings for him and become numb because I was soooo afraid to truly, truly LOVE him. What if I let go and felt that attachment and love and he died? It may sound silly but it was a coping mechanism that I cannot explain. I used to worry back in those days that he and I would never be as close as I wanted because we missed all that bonding when he was born but that was a foolish thought. We are bonded like I had NEVER imagined in my wildest dreams.
I needed to say these things....I needed to validate my feelings....to let go of guilt and move on. I know that some people judged me very strongly for my decisions but I also know that most people understood, truly understood. AND, I learned a very important lesson through these feelings....I will NEVER judge anyone on decisions they have to make. Decisions that I know were hard to make. We all have it in our minds what we will do in the face of a crisis but that isn't how it works. We can have grand visions just like in the movies of us kneeling by our children's beds, never eating, never sleeping, fighting for their rights and NEVER giving up no matter what but you know what......this isn't the movies, it's real life and that isn't how it works. We are human, we make mistakes, sometimes we get it right.....we all have to make decisions.