Thursday, October 31, 2013

me : updates galore

Hi y'all! Happy Halloween!!! Are your Christmas decorations up yet? ;) haha. Mine might start making their way out this weekend. Just saying... 

Well, I have several updates for you all and there's lots of great news, good news, and some not so great news. But stick with me!

First off, I'm coming back to blogging! HOORAY!! Oh how I've missed this. I knew I couldn't devote my time to blogging with 3 kids, a job, AND taking on school, and there were lots of things that I had to cut out of my life. But blogging is one that I really, really missed. I'm glad to be back. 

The reason I'm able to come back is because I've withdrawn from school. Remember, I was going back to school because it's paid for by my company so I thought, why not? But my company is most likely going to be sold, which means I would lose my tuition benefits. So no free school means no school. Plus, there's just so much other stuff going on right now, it's best for me to step back from school. I'm frustrated that I'm (yet again) not finishing a degree, but honestly, I'm more relieved that I'm not going to have to stress about it. I took 3 courses this summer, I made the Dean's List, I realized I absolutely could do this if I wanted to, so all in all, I have no regrets. ZERO. Later on I'll try again. If I get the gumption to do so that is. ;) haha

With me coming back to blogging, be on the lookout for a new design and layout. I might play around with that a bit more. We'll see... 

Second, we have had more tests done on Luke so I do have an update for him. The ophthalmologist did an exam under anesthesia and confirmed that Luke is blind and that he has been since before birth. According to this doctor, there's nothing that can be done for him to fix it. Joey and I haven't had a chance to sit down and seriously discuss getting a second opinion. Also, there are some other things that he saw in Luke's eyes that could mean he has two different kinds of syndromes, which could also mean he has some mental disabilities. Nothing is confirmed about that yet, there's still more tests to be done and more doctors to see. I hate that this poor guy can't get a break when it comes to the genetic department, but I know that we absolutely love him to death and are so thankful to have this special little miracle baby in our lives. 

We were waiting at the doctor for his pre-procedure evaluation and he was trying to figure out how to eat his binky. haha. I just LOVE his expression. 

October means we are celebrating TWO years since Julius was brought into our home. Wow. Oh how much our lives have changed since then. He is such a special little boy who brings laughter and smiles wherever he goes. He loves playing with the iPad, watching Cars 2, and showing off for people. He's such a smarty and we've finally reached the wonderful phase where he isn't screaming and crying when we drop him off for Parent's Day Out. Hooray!!

My mom made this awesome nap mat for Julius for his "school". He absolutely loves it!

Even little brother likes Julius's nap mat. We had forgotten to send the new mat with Julius to school and we found McCrae falling asleep on it. So precious!

McCrae is growing and growing. He's very quiet, and very sneaky. There's really never a time where he's not trying to get into something. He is the one that wanders around the house trying to find something that he can get into and play with, destroy, etc. Tuesday we found toilet paper strewn through the house.... where he had grabbed the end of the roll and just started walking. Great. But even with his mischievousness, he's also super sweet. He likes to cuddle and sit in your lap. It's precious. 

That's the major update. Soon, I'll post about our awesome vacation and it's terrible ending, some updates and upgrades we've made around the house, and I'll update you on how I did this year on my goal of 13 in 2013. Remember that? Yep, lots of updates to be done. 

If you've been with me for a while, thanks for sticking with me and being a supporter and encouragement during this crazy year. If you're new, WELCOME! Love having you. 

Stay tuned for all the updates... I promise you don't want to miss out on some of these stories. haha. 



Friday, October 4, 2013


Hi y'all! Yet again, I promised you an update weeks ago, and yet again, I've put it off far too long. I was going to provide you a fun update about all the fun things that happened to us in July and August (and believe me, a LOT happened) but right now, it's time to provide you an update on something different. Something that is a big life-change... so big I have no idea how big it's going to even be. But I'm ready for it, whatever it is. 

Let me back up just a bit. In May, most of you know we welcomed a new, precious foster baby into our home, McCrae's half-brother who we named Luke. 

Isn't he just darling?!?

I know right?!?!?! Like how could he even GET any cuter????

When we got Luke, we noticed his eyes were crossed but everyone (family, friends, doctors, caseworkers) said not to worry, most of the time eyes will correct themselves around the 3 month mark, and if not, there's a simple procedure the doctors can do most of the time to correct it. No big deal. So, I listened to everyone and didn't worry. I honestly thought the problem would not fix itself, but I trusted that there would be a simple procedure done to correct it. Nothing to it. Plus, Luke was 5 weeks early (as near as they could tell), so this could just be something related to that. No worries. So we waited, and just enjoyed all the cuteness of this new little boy. Life was quite an adjustment with now THREE little boys ages 2 and younger (yeah... it's quite a madhouse I can assure you) but we were hanging in there and life had developed a new (albeit crazier) routine for everyone. 

Towards the end of July, I noticed Luke wasn't following us with his eyes as he should. He would look right at you when you were talking to him, but as far as tracking you with his eyes.... not so much. 

How could he get cuter??? Oh that's right, put a tie on him. ;) 

The first week of August, Joey and I went on a 7-year belated honeymoon. It was a wonderful trip, but it ended in a serious car accident that took us a several weeks to fully recover from. (See... I TOLD you that July and August were eventful. haha. No worries, we're fine now, we have a new car, all is well. I'll share all of that story another time.) In August, Luke was staying awake for longer periods of time, and when he was awake he was more alert than he had been before. So I started playing with him more, and just out of my own curiosity, conducted a few "tests" on him. I would use the flashlight app on my phone and move it back and forth in front of his eyes to see if he would look at it or follow it..... he didn't. I would take a musical toy with flashing lights and move it back in forth in front of his eyes to see if he would follow it and he would.... a little. His eyes would move a lot and if I held the toy still with the music playing he would look more in that direction, but if the music stopped his eyes started moving around like he was looking for something again. I would also turn our bright recess lights on in the dining room and purposefully take him out of his dark bedroom in the morning or evening and go stand directly under the lights to see if he would squint like babies usually do.... he didn't. 

Based on my "educated" opinion... I wasn't sure if our little guy could see. Like, at all. 

I didn't tell anyone this for a long time. Until I finally told my friend Amanda that I was afraid Luke was blind. It was the first time I'd actually put those words out there into the universe. The night before Luke's 4 month well-check, I sat Joey down and told him my fears and concerns. I knew I was going to have to tell Luke's pediatrician everything so we could start getting some referrals to specialists and figure out what was going on. 

The next day, I told the pediatrician everything, let her look at him for herself, conducting nearly the same tests I had done (albeit with more professional looking equipment), and just like I had predicted, she immediately referred us to an ophthalmologist and ordered an MRI for him. 

He fell asleep like this in his bouncer. Isn't he adorable?!?! And look at that red hair!!! Just like mine... Oh how I hope he keeps it!!!! *fingers crossed*

I took Luke in to the ophthalmologist (do you realize how long it took me to be able to spell that correctly... O.o) who dilated Luke's eyes and performed several tests. The doctor said Luke had very poor vision and that the back of his eyes weren't healthy. This is a genetic thing passed down by his birth mother. He said he wanted to see Luke again, but this time at the hospital to do an exam under anesthesia. As he started wrapping up his stuff, and getting ready to leave, I mustered the courage to ask him the two hard questions. 

"Can he tell the difference between light and dark?" I asked quietly. 

The doctor shook his head and said, "No....... I don't think so."

"Is it reparable?" I asked.

Again, the doctor shook his head and said, "No..... I don't think so."

I left the doctor's office stunned. I have never been around a blind person, I don't know what they do, how they do what they do. I don't know the first thing about raising a blind child. I cried as I drove home, looking at everything that Luke would never get to see. Thinking about how he would never see his wife walk down the aisle, never see the gorgeous sunsets that God gives us. How would I explain to him what the color blue is?? And why momma thinks snow is just so beautiful??

Just typing this brings tears to my eyes that pour down my face... 

I got home to find Joey had been crying as well. But this hadn't happened to us, it happened to Luke. There was no reason for our tears, except the sorrow and mourning for a life that Luke would never have. 

The next appointment was the MRI. Since he is only 4 months old, they had to sedate him in order to do the MRI. I watched as the put an IV in his tiny veins, put heart/BP monitors on his chest, and beamed with pride as he took it all like the champ he is! Only crying a little when they stuck him and then settling down as soon as they would let me hold him again. 

Some quick cuddling after they put in the IV and before they wheeled him out. 

They wheeled him out of the PICU room and away he went to be put under sedation. He was already awake when they wheeled him back an hour and a half later. 

Smiling, and hungry. I fed him and after another hour of monitoring his vitals, they let us go home. A week and a half later, I finally got the call about the results... 

Luke's MRI showed that his optic nerve had not fully developed in the womb. Which means, his condition has been this way since before birth. I still don't know if that's a good thing or not. I guess to him it is. I asked the pediatrician if there was anything to be done... she said she'd done some quick research and had some ideas but would talk to the ophthalmologist again to talk things out. But there was something else... 

Luke's MRI also showed a "bright spot" on his pituitary gland. I asked what that meant and the pediatrician said she didn't know, it wasn't her specialty. But she was going to refer us to an endocrinologist for answers. I googled it, of course, and discovered that the pituitary gland controls hormone secretion of nearly everything in your body... body temperature control, growth, sex stuff. We have an appointment with an endocrinologist in Lubbock next month where hopefully we get more answers, but of course, it will also mean more questions. 

That's the thing about this. Everyone wants answers. The caseworkers want an official diagnosis, but we don't have one yet. Joey and I want to know what we can do about all of this, but we don't know that yet. 

Right now, this information that I've just typed, that's all the information I have. There's still so much left unknown. We're still coming to terms with how this is going to make life so different for us. One evening as we sat out on the patio and talked about things, Joey said he was glad that the other boys were so close to Luke's age because they will be able to watch out for him at school. I sighed and said, "Ohhh honey, Luke isn't going to go to a regular school. He'll have to go to a special school somewhere. But I don't know where, or how, or anything... But Luke is going to have a very special life that will be different from anything we've ever known."

I don't know where Luke will go to school. I don't know if we have to send him to a school of the blind and not get to see him all the time. I don't know if the doctors will figure out a way to repair all of this. I don't know how to explain this to Luke's 1 and 2 year old brothers. I don't know what the endocrinologist will say and if it will be good or bad. I don't know anything about what will or might happen. But there are a few things I do know:

I know I love this little boy with everything I have, and am so thankful for God bringing him to us. 

I know that he will have the love and support of a large number of people that he wouldn't have gotten had his mother not abandoned him. 

And I know that while I will be his eyes, he will be the one teaching me to see.