Daddy's Drama: Day by Day

My daily experience being a Dad

Day 841: One Whole Month (Again)

Dad date 841.32

Ethan turned One Month Old today. I took a look back at my previous one month post to see what I had talked about…. And it turns out not much. It was one of my “oh I want to say so much but I’m tired” posts. And while I am still tired this time around…. I do have a few things to say :)

As we reach the one month mark, it is interesting how much had been different this time around. So much had happened in the month since Ethan had entered our lives. Amanda had undergone almost open hear surgery (we are still trying to figure out exactly what to call it. Not a big deal when talking to people; we can always explain the situation. But when Amanda is filling out medical forms and listing past surgeries… I thinking we should go with “Open heart surgery minus the heart surgery”). On top of that, we have also had our first trip to the ER. Fortunately it wasn’t for either of the kids. It was for Amanda, and it wasn’t too serious…. She caught a stomach bug and we didn’t want her to contribute vomiting violently less than a month after two major surgeries in her her stomach/chest area. So we spend a couple hours there during the late night/early morning, go her some meds to control vomiting, and were on our way.

In other things, Ethan is growing like a little weed. He is over 9 pounds at this point and in the 31st percentile for weight (not like huge, but having started so small it’s a pretty big gain in a month). Contrasting that, at this point Jackson was still less than 8 pounds and in the single digit percentiles. We are predicting Ethan will be the bigger of the two, but we are also guessing Jackson will be the more vocal of the two and Ethan will just follow him around. Think, George and Lenny (only we hope Ethan will have just a little better mental capacity).

And that’s what I have for you tonight.

As always, thank you for reading.

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Day 831: So Much So Fast

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Today Ethan turned 3 weeks old. Which is crazy. First, it’s crazy that he is already 3 weeks old. He’s almost 8 pounds now and he’s just getting so big. In fact, tonight he experienced his

FIRST OUTGROWN OUTFIT: It was a cute little newborn size sleeper with a bee on the butt. And he was just to confined in it to get comfortable. After changing him, Amanda and realized we think this was he first outfit Jackson outgrew too. Fun.

Secondly, it’s crazy that it’s only been three weeks. So much had happened that it seems likes it’s not possible it all happened in that short of amount of time. I mean, there had been heart surgery (well, in a manner of speaking), recovering, coming home, checkups with the heart surgeons. And yet, here we are, only Ethan’s 22nd day on this planet. Crazy.

I have started going back in to work on a semi part time schedule in order to make my vacation hours last as long as possible since it will still be some time before Amanda can be left completely by herself.

And that’s pretty much where we are. Three weeks into this second chapter of our adventure and things are crazy crazy crazy.

But they are also good good good.

Thank you for reading.

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Day 821: Love

Dad date 821.12

This picture melts my heart

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Jackson had shown an immediate and incredible love for Ethan. He kisses him constantly. He wants to hold him. He wants to pick him up. He wants to help. When Ethan cries Jackson will perk up and say “Oh, baby need his binky. Jackon help find it” and will rush to stick the binky back in Ethan’s mouth.

We weren’t sure how he would respond, but we couldn’t be more thrilled. It will be a joy to watch them grow up and see just how good of friends they become.

Thank you for reading.

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Day 820: Done

Dad date 820.11

So, it occurs to me I haven’t shared much about my oldest son lately, so let’s show him some love tonight.

I could tell you about how much he grew up in the week he stayed with Papa and Mamaw while we were in the hospital… But I try not to think about that too much (because, oh my, did he grow up).

I could tell you about how wonderful of a big brother he is already. He wants to help hold the baby, he wants to help carry the baby, he gives the baby kisses, unprompted, on the head and nose and mouth, he runs to the baby every time he cries and looks for the binky to stick in his mouth. He loves his brother. You can tell.

But what I really want to share is a short humorous story…. With a lesson ;)

Last night he was taking a little longer to go to sleep. And he was in his room chattering and babbling and protesting. Then it quickly turned to crying. I rushed in, because while he usually gets to crying if it takes long enough for him to fall asleep, it’s never his loud and insistent this quickly. I walked in the room to find him wedged in the corner of his crib, on his back, feet up I’m the air and sticking through the slats. He looked up at me and sobbed “stuck”. I helped him get unstuck and he promptly stood up and declared “Done!” He then shook his head and repeated “Done!”, the pointed to his door and said “Go out there”. I picked him up and suggested we rock instead, and he agreed. But it took everything I had while rocking him not to bust up laughing.

Ok, spiritual analogy time: How often do we find ourselves in rough, unpleasant circumstances and look to God and say “God, I’m done with this. Please take me out of it.” And God just looks at us, and while he probably doesn’t have the urge to laugh at us, He would probably like to be able to explain to us that we got ourselves into this situation all on our own. If Jackson hadn’t been rolling and flailing around in a sleep protest, he never would have gotten stuck. Likewise, how often do we end up in situations that are unpleasant only because we were trying to avoid something else God wanted us to do.

Next time you are about to ask God to be “done” with something, maybe take a second to think about how you got to where you are.

Just something to think about.

Thank you for reading.

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Day 819: And Then EVERYTHING Changed

Dad date 819.10.

It’s been a little while since my last post. And while I’m not intending to be so stringent on the posting everyday thing, I had not planned on dropping off this quickly either.

You may recall that we checked in to the hospital on Thursday the 7th with things going pretty much as they had the first time around. The only difference being that we were planning on a c-section this time, so we figured we would be out of the hospital a bit sooner.

But this time her blood pressure never improved. In fact, it kept getting worse. By Sunday morning we we’re getting quite tired of being in the hospital. And after hoping to get released Saturday and not, we were both getting a little stressed.

Then Amanda started having chest pains. And some numbness in her left arm. She attributed it to a panic attack and used it as further proof we just need to go home. Later that morning we were visited by the hospitalist (which, I didn’t even know was a thing) and he said they were going to run some blood tests, do an EKG, and order a cat scan. The EKG came back normal, and after doing the cat scan, Amanda encouraged me to go home a take a shower. Her mom was there and we were all just sitting around. So I did.

And that’s when things changed drastically.

When I got out of the shower I had two missed calls from the hospital. Some missed calls from my mother-in-law, a voice mail (that I didn’t listen to until later), and several text messages. The first of which started with “EMERGENCY. Come back now” and the last of which said “You have 20 minutes”. There was another on in there with some of the details, but those were the two I focused on.

The cat scan had revealed a major aortic dissection right above the heart. They were rushing her in to emergency surgery to repair it. I was able to make it back just in time to see her before they took her in. And from there it was a whirlwind of meeting the surgeon, meeting the anesthesiologist, meeting the hospital Chaplin, and basically trying to piece together just what was happening because everyone else was mostly focusing on making it happen… The surgery was expected to be about 5-6 hours.

Once they wheeled her in, I started praying. I started texting and emailing people and they started praying. I posted to our churches online prayer board and the prayers started coming in. My mentor stopped by the hospital to see how I was doing.

Oh, and did. I mention the part about Ethan’s discharge paperwork going through right about this time… Yep. In the midst of my wife being rushed to emergency life saving surgery, they were also telling me that Ethan was no longer a patient at the hospital, so I’d need to get someone to watch him….. Fortunatly, as I mentioned, my mother-in-law as there to sit with him. Also fortunatly, I had called my mom (who had just gotten into town and hadn’t even met her new grandson yet) and she got to the hospital to help out. Because, while my mother-in-law was happy to help with my baby….. She was also pretty concerned about her own baby.

I think the hospital kind of recognized how insensitive and horrible heir timing was, because they let us keep the OB room we were in “as long as we needed”.

About 3 hours later they let me know they were closing her up. This was about 2-3 hours sooner than expected… And I wasn’t sure if that was good or bad.

It turned out to be good.

When the doctor opened her up, he did not see anything that looked like any aortic dissection he had ever seen. With 15 years of experience, he knew what it should look like, and hers didn’t look like that. Hers looked healthy… So he decided not to touch anything (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it), close her up, and order another cat scan. He figured it was possible she had moved during the first scan and cause some artifacting that just happened to look like an aortic dissection.

The second scan came back clean. No dissection at all.

Now, a lot of people will addin the doctor simply misread the first scan. They will look at this as a huge mistake by the hospital. And that’s fine.

But it’s not that cut and dry to me. First, from what I can understand, A LOT of doctors looked at the first scan and they all agreed that it showed a dissection. Second, artifacting might show up on one or two images on the scan, but (again, from what I hear, I haven’t seen the scans myself) the dissection shows up clearly on every image.

What does this mean then? Amanda and I think it’s pretty clear. It was a miracle, plain and simple. We think there was a dissection and God simply got in and fixed it before the doctors could. Maybe he knew the doctors couldn’t make it in time. Maybe He wanted to show the doctors something. Maybe He simply wanted to bless us with the opportunity to be a part of Him doing something amazing. Maybe we’ll never get to know why He did this until we get to Heaven. Whatever the case may be, we fully believe a miracle occurred.

After talking about it later, Amanda was convinced she was not coming out of the surgery. When she woke up, she told me she was very surprised to see my face and not Jesus. And if we are honest here (and I’ve always tried to be), I didn’t think she was going to make it either.

But I’m so thankful she did. I have a new found love for her now. She is my miracle wife. I will always remember just how close I came to losing her, and I will be for ever grateful to God for letting me keep her for a little while longer.

And maybe, just maybe, that’s why He allowed this to happen.

Thank you for reading.

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Day 812: Names and Dates

Alright. Here’s the thing. I’ve been trying to decide what to do about the whole “Day XX” thing. Technically, this blog is about my journey as a dad. And no matter how many kids I have, that journey never starts over. So it makes sense to just keep going. However, then it seems like I get a constant reminder of how old Jackson is, but Ethan (and any other future kids) get lost in the background. And I don’t want that. So, you know how in Star Trek, at the beginning there is the voice over that says “Captain’s Log. Star date xxxxxx”? Well, I’m sure there is some significance to how that dating thing works, and I’m sure some Trekkie could explain it to me, but I don’t really care. The point is I’m adopting it for my purposes. I’m going to introduce dad dates. I’ll still do the titles the same, but inside the posts I’ll let you know what my dad date is using the format xx.xx.xx…. Which each set of numbers indicating which day it is for each kid. Confused? Good. You can let me know if this is a stupid idea or not. And I’ll probably ignore your thoughts and do what I want (but also, if it’s seriously stupid, let me know).

So, today is Dad Date 812.03

As of right now, I have only called Ethan by Jackson’s name a handful of dozens of times…..

I’m still a good dad right?

Part of me say it’s just because this situation is so exactly similar to last time that I’m just reverting back…. That could be it. Right?

But I’m guessing that maybe, just maybe, this is normal. Right? Someone with experience please tell me it’s normal. That right now my brain is so engrained with comforting Jackson that it just slips out naturally… Right?

If not, I’ll accept my trophy for worst dad ever and quietly sit in my corner of shame.

In other news, we are still at the hospital. Which is annoying because by this time laser time we were headed home. Well, actually, by admission to discharge comparison, at this point last time we were just meeting Jackson, so we are way ahead of schedule. But on the delivery to going home schedule, we are behind. Amanda has had some higher blood pressure than they would like to see, so they are wary of releasing her. Hopefully some medication will help tonight and we’ll be able to go home tomorrow.

That’s about all I have to share. Well, it’s about all that I want to take the time to share.

Oh, this actually happened yesterday, but I thought maybe you’d still want to see :)

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Oh. And also, I guess my hair is thinning. Something Amanda had known about for awhile a just hasn’t told me :)

Thank you for reading.

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Day 811: Questioning This…. And Then I Held Him

Ok, so, as I was laying on the uncomfortable hospital chair/bed last night, hearing Ethan cry occasionally, hearing babies down the hall cry all night, I started thinking “What were we thinking?”. We know what comes next…. Long sleepless nights. Crying. Fussing. Oh, and we have a 2 year old too, so we don’t get to just relax when he finally does nap or sleep……

And then I held him this morning.

And I remembered why we are doing this.

Yes, it’s going to be hard. I’m sure it’s going to be much harder than we think it’s going to be. But he’s amazing. And everything we went through with Jackson was completely worth it. And I know it will be this time too.

Why are we doing this?

Because of love.

And this face :)

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Day 810: Second Verse, Same As The First

I may have used that title before, so forgive me for that.

You may remember that Jackson was born about two weeks early. You can find all the details about that in my first couple posts. But the cliff notes are that we went in for Amanda’s 38 week checkup and he blood pressure was high so they sent us to the hospital and long story shirt we met Jackson sooner than expected.

Well, today was Amanda’s 38 week checkup for our second baby.

Her blood pressure was high.

We got sent to the hospital.

And maybe you can see how this is going, and why I was ok with using a title I had already used.

Long story short, we got to meet Ethan James sooner than expected.

Although, if we are perfectly honest here, we were kind of, sort of, a little expecting this might happen. But not really. We had just more been joking about how if we made it last today we’d be in uncharted territory….

So, yeah, I am now a father to two wonderfully adorable boys.

Ethan was born at 6:45pm on August 7, 2014. He weighed 6lbs 2oz (one whole oz more than his brother) and he is 19 inches long (a little shorter than Jackson was if I recall correctly).

This is a big new chapter for us. We are super excited, and a little bit nervous. We are probably in for a whole lot more than we are expecting, but at least we know we will get through it. And we know what amazing things are awaiting us.

I plan to hopefully update a bit more frequently for a while. Not every day, but certainly more often.

Pictures will come soon.

Thank you for reading.

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Day 731: Return of the Jedi

Return: (Transitive Verb) To go back in thought, practice, or condition.

Today is Jackson’s 2nd birthday. Wow. Just, wow. Trying to even think back to what he was like when he was born seems crazy. He has grown so much. And yet, it doesn’t seem possible that it’s already been two years.

I can hardly think about what life was like with out him around. And yet, it seems like it was jus yesterday that we were bringing him home with us.

So much has happened. And still it seems like just the blink of an eye.

He’s already two. Two years old. He’s not a baby anymore. He’s not even really a toddler anymore. He’s a kid. He’s a two year old kid.

And boy does he have personality :)

A lot had happened since my last post. And I won’t do anything crazy like promising to catch you up on it soon. I’ll do my best to catch you up on some of the important things in the next couple days, but we all know my track record.

For now I just want to reflect a little on how amazing life has been in the last two years. I have learned a lot about what it means to be a father. I have learned that I am not as good at being patient as I used to think I was. It’s interesting how God humbles us like that. And yet, it’s not in a vindictive sort of way. He simply has a way of showing us we aren’t perfect, and that’s why we need Him.

It’s interesting to watch Jackson as he grows. He wants to be able to do more and more things himself, but he still isn’t quite able to. And you can see that struggle in him. He knows that if he asks for help, he’ll get it. And then he’ll get what he wants. But, what he really wants is to do it himself. And so he will struggle, often times in vain. And the. Get upset. It’s those times where I gladly will step in and help him, even though he didn’t ask, and explain that if he had just let me help from the beginning, he wouldn’t be so frustrated.

Wow…. I mean, seriously. Does that sound familiar? Did I just describe your walk with God. I sure just described mine. These parenting sermons practically write themselves :)

Other times, I won’t help him. Not because I’m mean and want to see him upset, but because I know he can do it… So I will let him struggle. It’s not easy. I don’t like seeing him upset and frustrated (and sometimes hurt because he thinks I’ve abandoned him). But when he finally does succeed… The look on his face. That accomplished look. That’s worth it all.

Do I even need to point it out? Can you see the connection I’m making???

Yeah. I’d learned a lot about what it means to be a father. And that had given me a lot of new perspectives for my Heavenly Father. It’s really quite a cool experience.

So anyway. Jackson’s two now. The last two years have been full of milestones and a lot has happened. A lot has changed since his last birthday. And I’m sure a lot will change again before his next one. Both with him, and the family.

For one thing, he won’t be the only one around at his next birthday. That right there is going to change the whole ball game. But I’m ready for it. Maybe not ready, ready. I sure don’t have everything figured out yet. But I’m ready to tackle the challenge.

Besides, I know who to go to if I’m struggling. And if I don’t get the help I’m expecting, well, I know the reason for that too.

Thank you for reading.

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Day 682: The Empire Strikes Back

Back: (adjective) in arrears, overdue

Well,  it’s that time of year again.  The time of year where I post my long overdue look back at 2013.

Yep, once again, WordPress provided me with a nifty little summary of the highlights from my year of blogging.  And once again I waited for ever to share it with you.

But better late than never, right?

So here it is.  Enjoy.

 

http://daddysdramadaybyday.com/2013/annual-report/

 

Thank you for reading.

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