Thursday, April 11, 2013

Contacts and Clarity - The Lessons Learned By Being A Parent

Though my son is just 81/2 months old, and his surgeries were just a few mere months ago, it is easy to forget. Life is fast paced and filled full of the next crazy thing. I can so easily become accustomed to his ability to see, and forget about the miracle that God has handed our sweet son. Thankfully God gives us a weekly reminder that He is good. That our son can see, and that its such a blessing that they have the technology to help him see. How do we see this? Every week when we take Barrett's contacts out over night to clean them ☺ The process is becoming more of an art form that we are slowly mastering, and while we think we have it figured out Barrett is growing and the next week he might be too strong for that method. None the less, I am thankful for this weekly battle we face as a family. When we first take his contacts out he doesn’t behave much differently, but you notice a difference in his eyes, he looks threw you, not at you. We put him down and he goes to sleep like normal. But within a few short hours a long night begins, he wakes up unsure, insecure and afraid. Most these nights end in the dark early hours of the morning when he cant convince himself back to sleep and he just needs to be held close and tight to his mommy. I of course willingly oblige and we wrap up on the couch together and I talk softly to my darling boy while he touches my face, my hands, anything to be sure I am near. When a less early morning arrives and daddy rolls out of bed around five ready to put his contacts back in the really rough part starts. The kid HATES putting his contacts in! A battle breaks out that only subsides when both eyes are back to normal and he can see clearly again. Finally he is able to see, finally he is secure, and finally he goes back to bed. On most such mornings I curl right back up in bed and relish the hour or two more of sleep I will get before starting my day, but not today. Go back a few steps to the time when its way to early to be up and we are awake on the couch, his little fingers grabbing at my nose and mouth, his face snuggled into my neck not even watching his actions, he coos and kaas asking for reassurance, asking for hope and peace. How often in the darkest times do we cling to God, we bury our faces into Him and reach out for anything that feels safe, secure and like a little hope. We trust Him, but we make it clear that we aren’t happy with the situation. We long for the time when we will be able to “see” again, to know where life is going and why, to be secure. That’s normal, that’s good, and honestly I believe that’s healthy. But when we battle and fight against the very God we called out to in the first place to come hold and comfort us, when we fight the process that will bring us out of that dark place in our lives, we are shouting “I don’t trust you!” “I know a better way!”. We are wrong. If our hearts desire is to trust and serve a mighty God, then we must be open to the tools He sees fit to use in our lives, what a frightening and potentially painful thing. Who wants the hard times to let Gods grace and provisions shine threw us? Not one of us. But which of us hasn’t seen Gods hand so evidently involved and in control as we look in on someone else’s dark time? Who hasn’t been moved by seeing the strength and comfort he wraps around a family grieving the loss of their child? Or the courage given to those who battle cancer? The patients and love gifted to a parent with a struggling and rebellious teenager? God is big, He is mighty, and He uses YOU to shine his light to the world, just like we asked, but not how we asked. As a parent I wish putting Barrett’s contacts in was like giving him candy, that it was pleasant and enjoyable for him, believe me I want that. But being just a little bit smarter then him, I know there is no better way. I know that while it is unpleasant for a few brief minutes, the next week of clear sight way out weighs that difficult battle. You know God feels the same way. He looks at each one of us, His precious unique child whom he loves unconditionally and sees a way to something better, He longs for the best for us, He knows there is no easy way, but he will walk with us and make us strong. And after you have suffered a little while, God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. - 1 Peter 5:10 He will restore, confirm and strengthen us. What a beautiful promise of brighter things to come. No one wants to be tested by fire, but all of us want to be found pure and strong. The testing of our faith produces perseverance – James 1:3. Oh if only it said the good and plentiful times will produce perseverance, oh and more good times to come ;-) My son serves as a weekly reminder to stop battling with God, and to start embracing the challenge that’s going to make me see. To start trusting Him at all points in this continual, life long growing process. These ideas are not new ones, but they are easily ignored or forgotten in our worldly hearts that long for nothing but contentment. Just as my son goes right back to his old ways every week, until the next battle begins, we to quickly lose sight of these truths. We stop “needing” Him as much, we are confident, independent, willing to crawl forward on our own because we believe we can see what’s in front of us. until we get thrown another curve ball and our eyes are taken from us once again. So the next time your in a dark place where you cant see, be upset and call out to God, but praise Him for getting your attention, and reminding you that your always in need of more of Him. I praise God constantly that my son can see and experience life since not so long ago he would have lived a constant life of darkness and insecurity. But more and more I praise God for the lessons that being a mommy has taught me, the way it has drawn me closer to Him. I all to often cannot see and cling to a strong and mighty God who always delivers. And while I often ask why it has to be painful at times, I hope that in the future I will remember His promises and know that this to shall pass, and I can rest secure and safe in His loving arms. He will never leave me or forsake me, and he delights when I am in need of him. Just like my mothers heart delights in bringing comfort to my son, in holding him safe and sound in my arms. Oh how sweet it is to be loved by Jesus <3

Monday, October 29, 2012

Our Little Bear

Alright here it is, an update on our little Bear! We finally went to his genetics appointment on the 19th and it went amazingly well considering we had no idea what to expect. We figured we wouldn't leave with many answers, and while we don't know what it is, we did get some answers of what it isn't and that deserves a sweet sigh of relief! Barrett's Dr is almost sure that this isn't Marfan Syndrome (The scary diagnosis) apparently while dislocated lenses are very common in this syndrome it isn't associated with the dislocated pupils at the same time, thank goodness :-) ............ What this does mean is we are still wondering what it is. There is one gene that would mean that this is an isolated issue and as long as everything goes smoothly will be resolved with his surgery and contacts, of course this is what we are now praying for. Barrett's Dr was intrigued by him having never seen this before because it's so rare. If it does come back positive (which we wont find out for a few months) he still wants to see Barrett back because they know so little of this disorder and would like to study him a little more for further knowledge................ If this test does not come back positive then we will be in for a bit of a long haul as they try to figure out what it is, and what else it might affect. Since the issue in his eyes is a connective tissue disorder the other areas that are commonly affected are his joints and heart. There are not any other known genetic disorders that affect the eyes like this that they know of so they would be figuring it for the first time! So the answers could be a wide array of things............... The other thing that was brought to our attention however is that Barrett is displaying signs of another genetic disorder that affects the kidneys. The strange thing is that the signs he is showing are associated with his ears! The genetic world is a fascinating and confusing thing for sure. The Dr said that it is possible that he simply has these traits without them being associated with anything further. We will be having an ultrasound soon which will tell us a little more about this.......... Since Barrett is showing some differences on his ears we are also going to have a professional hearing test just to be sure that he isn't having any issues there. At this appointment little Bear gave some of his blood for the other tests needed. We got a negative test result back on one which was an answer to prayer and now we will be praying for a positive on the second, which will take a couple months to get the results back............. Over all we could not have asked for a more positive outcome from this visit. The Dr was amazing and proactive not wanting to leave anything unchecked. He was interested in our little boy and made us feel that he was truly putting his best interest first which we know is a huge praise! We feel so blessed to have a healthy thriving little man who continues to develop and change every day as if nothing was wrong. His sweet giggles and darling smile are a constant remind that our burden is such a small one compared to what some people have to face......... God is good and our hearts are full as we continue to move forward, as we continue to embrace this little boy into our family. Bear was made in Gods image and he has continued to teach us like any child does :-) We feel honored to love our little man and blessed to have all your love and prayer support...... P.S. I cant figure out how to make it break up my paragraphs, that's why all the..... haha

Sunday, October 7, 2012

A quiet truth...

“My son is not “perfect” in the eyes of the world.” For the past few weeks this thought all to often dances across my mind whenever we are out. I see the way people look at him, and the pointing. Are they not aware that we CAN see them? We get funny questions about them like “Are they real?”… Nope just playing dress up with my 2 month old “Are those protective glasses.” Yes we are afraid your going to spit in his eyes. Or my favorite so far “Where can I get a pair of those!?!?!”
People have nice things to say as well, and I can’t blame them the kid pulls them off like a stud. Even the nice comments can be hard to stomach when your not in the mood however. It’s almost impossible for someone not to say something since its right there staring you in the face all the time, but as a parent you see so much more and you want everyone else to see it as well. He is also handsome, sweet, silly and the spitting image of his daddy!
Even more then what people see when they look at my son, I find myself struggling with what my son see’s, or doesn’t see. When I put his glasses on in the morning I get to watch his face light up and he brings out the big guns flashing smiles and squealing with delight. When I take them off of him he becomes reserved and calm, unsure of his surroundings and in constant need of cuddles (which I love). It’s a reminder that while he will be able to see, he will always be aware that he can’t see everything. My heart aches and my soul screams… “I want my son to see life the way he was meant to”
"Ahh but he is..." It's a quiet whisper; sometimes almost to quiet. It is consistent and caring, it is all knowing… And when I hear it my heart slows to a calmer rhythm and my mind once more focuses on what is true. My son was created in the image of Christ… I am in no way surprised that in this Christ continues to reveal himself to us, and call us to Him for our needs, but I am thankful He is a constant for us always. As a mother, a wife, a human I am falling short of my calling to shoulder this burden, but with His strength and grace I continue to get back up and continue on.
So you want to know what I see when I look at my son? A sweet little boy who still loves to be snuggled 95% of the time with or without glasses he is just a lover <3 A kid who can make your face hurt from smiling back at his darling little grin. A boy who already likes being dirty and screams his head off at bath time. My son who is perfect in my eyes…. And darling little glasses ;-)

Friday, September 14, 2012

I Once Was Blind But Now I See

When our sweet son Barrett was born we noticed right away that his pupils were not in the center of his iris and were also not perfectly round. We asked the Dr, she said it was fine but we got the feeling she didn't totally understand the question. At his 2 week appointment we asked again, this time she understood, agreed and gave us a referral to a Pediatric Ophthalmologist. After a few hang ups and delays we finally had his appointment on the 5th. Unfortunately Cody was gone so I went alone. The kids thankfully both were very well behaved (almost) the entire time for me :-) We met with the tech who took a look at his eyes and then started the dilation process. Because Barrett is so small they had to use a lower concentrated solution drop several times over a half hour to get the needed results, so we waited watching Nemo until it was time. Dr Arnold made a wonderful first impression and I truly feel that Gods hand was involved in getting Barrett in with this Dr.
Anyways he tested Barrett's eye pressure by tapping his eye many times with what looked like a fat pen. He assured me it didn't hurt (he had put numbing drops in his eyes) and Bear didn't seem to mind at all but it kinda gave me the creeps. Then he proceeded to look into Barrett's eyes with many different lenses and lights, from a ton of angles. He would give numbers or words to the tech but other wise remained quiet and focused. After some time he clicked on the lights and reached for a model of the eye, for the first time I felt afraid... I had known that there was a chance he had big problems with his eyes but hadn't aloud myself to think about it and get caught up in all the potential problems until we had an actual answer. Well now it was time for the answer and I wasn't prepared to deal with it yet! "Barrett has something called Corectopia in both eyes." I nodded, I had looked up this word and all it really meant was the displacement of his pupils, which I already was aware of. "This doesn't actually affect his vision." I felt relief flooding through my body, but before it could reach my finger tips (the ending point of all emotional rushes ;-P) he went on to say that the same muscle that had "pulled" his pupils had also pulled and dislocated his lenses and this was greatly affecting his vision. My heart sank, my eyes burned and I wanted to be any place else and hear anything else but what I knew he was going to say.
Because Barrett is looking through his lenses as an extreme angle he is pretty much blind except for some blurred vision for about three inches in front of his face. The solution to this problem is eye surgery to remove the lenses. *deep breaths* they do have artificial lenses that can be put in but Dr Arnold said this was not the right choice for Barrett, instead after the surgery we will be starting contact lenses! Oh my word, contacts on a baby! Have you ever tried to even suck boogers out a babies nose? They sure don't like you in their space thats for sure. Oh well thats a bridge we will cross when we come to it :-) Barrett's eye issues can be associated with other genetic traits and syndromes, so before we move forward with the surgery Dr Arnold wants us to see a genetic specialist first and get the full story of whats going on with our son. He would like to see Bear get his surgery before he is six months old though so we are looking at that in the near future. Until that time our little guy will be wearing glasses to help him see and to prevent any further damage to his eyes from straining, and to create healthy and correct pathways with the brain since his brain is doing all that kind of development right now.
Today we went to pick up his glasses, and thankfully we both got to be there. Barrett got really mad as she started sliding the glasses on his face but once I got him to calm down and open his eyes we witnessed one of the most beautiful things ever, sight! My little boy blinked wide eyed staring straight ahead then turned and looked right up at me... even now I have tears in my eyes thinking about the look on his face when he not only heard and felt me, but could see me! He looked at his daddy with the same wonderment, again my heart about burst with joy for him. No parent wants their child to have to have glasses but I praise God that there are glasses to help my child see, it was such a beautiful thing... We are so thankful that even though the road may be a little rough our son can have good sight, not perfect but good, he will get to see life :-) But our journey, our fears and the waiting is far from over and we would covet your prayers as we go through this as a family. Barrett's genetics appointment will be mid October, the first one will be fairly basic and most likely lead to many more. There is a chance that he only has dislocated lenses, however it is very common for this to be associated with several genetic disorders, some not such a big deal, and others a very big deal.
We have decided that the best thing for our family is to continue moving forward as if it is only Barrett's eyes and not get caught up in all the possibilities, otherwise we could be spending months in fear and worry and thats not what the Lord wants for us, or from us. As we get answers that are sure and concrete we will continue to share them with everyone knowing that the support of friends and family can be such a source of strength in difficult times. We fully trust that the Lord could keep this "problem" simple, but we also know He can use all things to His glory and we trust in His plan. As you think of us in the coming weeks and months, or see a picture of the darling baby in glasses ;-) We would love your prayers. Prayers for the Drs as they continue to do testing and look for answers that they will make the best choices for our sons future, that they wont miss a single thing and that they will be patient and kind. Prayers for us as parents because as much as we wont be pursuing the scary facts we are still
afraid, we are sad and worried for our son. We don't want anything to take from this amazing time with our children and this stage of life. Pray that we make the right choices as well for Barrett and that we can be strong and brave as we are advocates for him. And of course pray for our sweet little Bear. From the day he was born Barrett has been a little more needy, wanting to be held and snuggled close. His favorite spot is having his face snuggled into my neck (or boob lol) he wants to feel safe and close. We truly feel that this has been due to his sight. Pray for healing and continued health.
We will continue to bring updates to this blog as we go forward with our feelings, updates and dr appointments and we really are thankful for your support through all of it. This might be a bump in the road or it might be a turn up a long and steep hill, no matter what we put our trust in the Lord.
Romans 12:12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Here goes nothin...

I am not a motivated person in a lot of areas of my life. I give up on things and don't feel bad about it cause it just wasn't right for me ;-) And while I don't feel like I have ever gotten fat, I also haven't ever been "fit" lol. So after having baby #2 I decided its time to make some changes and get into some good healthy habits before this body isn't so young and good to me and I do get fat, because I love my husband way to much to let that happen :-) So here it is out there for everyone to know and see so I cant give up as easily... I hope
This is me at almost 3 weeks postpartum and 166lbs... I have goals set all along the way so I will feel victorious as I go but the ultimate goal for round one is to be 150lbs come January 1st. I know it is totally doable but I had to make it kinda easy since it is the holiday season Im working with. Cant give up all my fall treats now could I ;-P So there it is and now you know and keep me accountable-ish to my goals, I'll see you back with a hopefully more flattering picture come January 1st!

It's The Mary Kay...

A few weeks back I posted about being in love with Mary Kay but that I would be putting it to the ultimate test during labor, obviously that time has come and gone, so how did it do? I will let you decide for yourself, but I sure felt like it held up! Here is a lovely picture of me after my first labor with Willow.... Just stunning ;-p
And here is one after having Barrett. Both my labors were 18 hours from start to finish, with Willow my water broke and I really didnt feel much until the 12 hour mark when they started the pitocin. With Barrett I went into regular labor and was feeling the contractions for all 18 but they never got as bad as they did with Willow towards the end... so both had highs and lows :-)
So what amazing products did I use? Haha cause I know you really want to know ;-) Well I honestly believe that Mary Kay is made wonderfully, but that it works the best together so please excuse the long list I'm about to give you and know that I realise I might have an excessive product problem, but here it goes. Started with the MK Time Wise face wash, day solution, matifier (first time trying it and it certainly did its job), moisturizer, primer (LOVE this stuff its like silk on your face), tinted sunscreen (didnt want to look to made up for labor lol), loose setting powder, blush of course because you never forget the blush right mom? a little bit of eye makeup (spun silk & granite), Lash Love mascara in water proof love love love it, and I topped it all off with.... MACS Fix+ spray *Gasp* I know its a MAC product but to be fair if MK had anything similar I would probably switch to that ;-)
I give Mary Kay an A+ rating but at the end of the day I really dont care what I looked like. I was holding the most beautiful little boy in all the world. I would look like I did after having Willow for months if thats what it took to get this little guy in my arms... but I am thankful I didnt have to and that MK helped me come out on the other side with some dignity still intact ;-)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Birth of My Son, Barrett Stone Mooney

It’s only been two short weeks since I met my darling son face to face for the first time. He was small, swollen and screaming but to me he looked like the most handsome little man I had ever seen. My heart instantly grew to make room for another “love of my life”, and I knew there was something amazingly special and different about having a son. He was perfect and he was all mine :-) After my first labor and delivery experience I wouldn’t say it was impossible or anything like that, and I didn’t look back on my experience with dread of ever going through it again. I was in fact excited to be becoming a mother again and even looking forward to a second shot at a natural delivery since my first hadn’t gone according to plan. Today however I will tell you that my first experience was miserable and that I don’t want to ever do that again now that I know what it can be like :-) My son was good to me and I was blessed with an amazing experience this time around.
His due date came and went on the 30th, just like his sister he was content to stick around a little longer brewing inside and I didn’t mind. While this pregnancy had been more uncomfortable, the last few days I was feeling much better and enjoying a few days of peace and quiet before his arrival. We had just wrapped up an amazing but very busy week long vacation with all 18 of my family members here in Colorado. Anyways we spent the day relaxing and making a Build A Bar for our little man since we had done the same thing on Willows due date. We went out to dinner and had a last quiet night home, although we didn’t know it. The next day I woke up in a funk. I felt just fine but just felt like something was off. Around 1 in the afternoon I noticed that I had been having contractions pretty consistently but doubted it was the real deal. Cody left for work around 3 and me and Willow enjoyed a quiet afternoon alone playing and reading books together while we gorged ourselves on animal crackers dipped in nutella… should have been my first hint that something WAS going on inside of me ;-P LOL. After I put Willow down I started timing the contractions and found out they were consistently about 6 minutes apart. I let Cody know but told him I still wasn’t sure if it was anything. I tried to get some rest but wasn’t really tired yet and by the time I was the contractions wouldn’t allow it. A little after midnight I told Cody I thought it was time to head home since things were continuing to progress. I was still dealing with everything just fine but since he was an hour away I would feel better if he headed home. He got home around 1:30 and took a nap while I showered and got ready wasting time through more contractions. At around 3 I called Erin and she headed up our way to be with Willow. After she got there I waited through a couple more contractions not sure if it was time to go in yet or not.
At this point in the game my contractions were about a minute and a half apart, so why wasn’t I sure??? Well it just didn’t hurt enough! Now don’t get me wrong I wasn’t happy, and there were even some tears but it wasn’t anything like what I had experienced for hours of labor with Willow. I was afraid that if I went in and I wasn’t far enough along, or thing weren’t progressing they would put me on pitocin again, and in turn I would cave right of the bat and ask for drugs cause I knew what kind of labor it would bring. Finally I agreed it was time to go and we headed off, couple more contractions in the car, few more in the parking lot as I still wasn’t sure I should go in yet and finally I walked through the doors of that hospital. When the nurse checked me and announced I was at an 8 it was like the heavens opened up for a split second and you could hear the angels sing “Hallelujah!” It was around 4:30 and we started the whole check in process, a million and two questions, IVs and getting settled into our room. By the time things were getting wrapped up Cody was answering all the questions and I was feeling something much more like labor! We worked through a couple hours and when they checked again close to 7 I was at 9cm so they offered to break my water… the thought of that has always freaked me out but they promised it would speed things up so I agreed. The minute she was done that kid was on the run to get out! Holy cow did things go from 0 to 60! I looked at Cody and said “I don’t want to do this any more!” Haha Thankfully after only a couple more contractions it was time to push, or more I told them I was pushing cause I wasn’t going to do this any longer! So far it had been so smooth and doable but here is when things got good, I pushed a handful of times, if I was contracting or not I was just breathing and pushing determined to get that kid out :-) And then they said they could see his head! I remember my eyes shooting open and looking at the nurse with shock, I’m pretty sure I even asked if she was sure that’s what it was lol. It was so fast! Another contraction and she said the next could be my last if I wanted it to be. So I shut my eyes and gave it everything I had, but she was wrong. So when I felt the next contractions coming I cried “Please get out of me this time!” and finally pushed that little guy out.
The nurse told me to look and I was able to, I watched Cody deliver our son into the world. It was so different then with Willow, I was hardly able to lift my head off the pillow when they lifted her onto my chest and this time I was reaching for my baby boy. Such an amazing and beautiful experience that I am so thankful for! He was here and now he was in my arms, so sweet and wonderful, a crying little bundle of pure joy. We had done it, all three of us, worked together and here he was in our arms at last :-)
Just like with Willow the world disappeared while I stared at his darling little face. I took in his smell and the little sounds he was making, perfect little puppy noises. He cuddled right into me and I was filled with a mothers unconditional love, so much so that when he started to pee and poop all over me I didn’t even care enough to tell anyone! I didn’t want anyone taking him from my arms just yet. What a blessing to have such a healthy little man to add to our family, ugh those first moments are just the most amazing rush of emotion I have ever experienced :-)
I know without a doubt that my calling in this stage of life is to be a mother. Never before have I done anything that makes me feel so accomplished or proud. Being a parent is the most rewarding thing I have ever done and I feel so blessed and honored to get to parent this sweet little boy. I look forward to the next year knowing how filled it will be with love and joy as we watch him grow, and for many more years to come. Our life is truly overflowing with Gods amazing gifts…