Thursday, July 3, 2014

Henry is 6 Months Old!

To our sweet baby boy Henry,

I will never forget the day that I first held you in my arms and caught a glimpse of your bright red-orange hair. From the very start, I knew that you were going to be somebody special. In just a few short months, you have filled our house with an unbelievable amount of love and happiness. I can't wait to see what all you have in store for us in the upcoming years. You are already so amazing! We admire your laid-back, easy-going personality (completely the opposite from the rest of us) and how nothing at all seems to phase you. You just have this huge smile and adorable giggle that escapes from your sweet little mouth whenever somebody looks at you. You are a strong, both mentally and physically. You have taught us many lessons in what it means to have faith. Just the fact that you exist is a miracle in itself. Thank you for letting me love you completely and unconditionally. Happy Half Birthday!


We LoVe YoU, HeNrY MaTtHeW!!!

Henry, 3 to 6 Months:

Henry got his first two teeth at 7 and a half months old!

From Instagram. follow me @ Dana52084.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What We've Been Up To

So, it turns out that life with two kids is exactly everything that I had hoped it would be and more! Our little family has been happier than ever and spending lots of time outside, enjoying the warm weather. These past few months have flown by, but I will do my best to fill everything in.

In mid-May, we took a trip down to Florida to visit Barry's parents and grandparents, and to celebrate my 30th birthday at the Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne, where we got married 5 years ago. Wow! Has it really only been that long? Our wedding feels like an entire lifetime ago, and I feel older than 30. (Is that weird?) The gazebo where we said our vows is no longer there, so we just got a picture with the boys in the exact spot that it used to be. Still special, I guess. We got to eat at all of the restaurants and hang out at the beach/pool, which of course, flooded back all of the memories of our lovely wedding celebration. I've always felt blessed, but the fact that it was my 30th birthday and I had my wonderful boys there with me made me feel especially thankful. I can not imagine a more fulfilling life than the one that I have.

This trip brought a lot of firsts for baby Henry: first time on an airplane, at a hotel, at grandma/grandpa's house, in a pool, at the beach, etc. Our little guy took everything in stride and was an absolute pleasure to have along. His big brother Ryan was surprisingly agreeable and well-behaved the whole time too. (On a side note: Ryan is an amazing kid, as always, but age 3 has definitely been his most challenging year yet. It brought a lot of change for him and his unique personality is continuing to develop.) The one bad thing about vacations is the amount of STUFF that we have to bring for the kids and the hassle of getting it all packed and through the airport. But it was definitely worth all of the extra work for this memorable vacation!

Since we've been back home, we have mostly just been hanging out, doing playdates, attending social events, seeing family/friends, and going on day trips. I am grateful that we live in an area that has plenty of kid-friendly places to go, so that we never have to travel too far to find somewhere fun.

Ryan finished school a couple weeks ago, and I must say that, although I love his Montessori school, I really, really, really enjoy having both of the boys home with me for the whole day. We get to take our time in the mornings and participate in late morning activities that run into the afternoon, instead of having to rush to pick up Ryan at school. Plus, I honestly miss him a lot when he's at school. Looking at these before and after pictures make me realize just how much he has grown in the past 10 months:

I love both of these kids so much I think that my heart might burst! So far, they seem to be complete opposites when it comes to their personalities, complexions, and body build. (Henry already wears 12 month clothing at not even 6 months old. Ryan will be 4 years old in September, but he just started wearing 3Ts, and they are loose). Well... they do say that opposites attract and it is already apparent that these guys care about each other very deeply. I can't wait until they are old enough to play together!

The rest of our summer will be filled with swim lessons, music together classes, playgroups, VBS, and plenty of trips to the parks and the beach that is 5 minutes from our house. We will be having some friends from out-of-state visit and stay with us next weekend. I will also be having my wisdom teeth taken out later this month. We somehow always manage to stay super busy, and it feels great to finally have all of my energy back because I love running all over the place with these two!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Skull Surgery

Last Monday was our first experience at Children's National Medical Center in DC. We met with Dr. Keating, the neurosurgeon who would be doing Henry's surgery. Of course we were nervous, but we knew that this is what needed to be done. I'm sure that compared to all of the other surgeries that Dr. Keating performs on a regular basis, this would be considered minor. But still, when it involves your 3 month old baby, it is all very scary.

At the pre-op visit, Dr. Keating measured Henry's head and calculated the ratio of width to length (cephalic index) as 67. Anywhere from 75 to 83 is considered "normal". The goal is that the surgery and further natural head growth will eventually bring Henry into the "normal" ratio range. It will also ensure that he will not have any intracranial pressure in the future, and that his brain will continue to grow normally. After Henry's physical and his blood work all checked out, we were given the go ahead for the surgery. It still didn't feel real. 

We arrived at the hospital bright and early on Thursday morning for the surgery. We received a thoughtful care package from Cranio Care Bears. My favorite item that they sent was a prayer chain made of ribbons with different inspirational quotes and verses on it. We ended up hanging it on Henry's hospital bed and it somehow made the experience a little more cheerful. I also loved the teddy bear with a bandage on his head.

I was surprised how happy Henry was that morning, considering that he was not allowed to eat for the past 9 hours. He is such a good-natured little guy. I held back all of my emotions as I dressed him into his tiny surgery gown and handed him over to the surgeons. It was all in God's control, as it always is.

I can't express how relieved I was when Dr. Keating came out and told us that Henry did just fine in surgery. But then I saw our swollen baby, looking so helpless, being wheeled from the operating room to the PICU. It completely broke my heart, but I felt so thankful at the same time.

Henry did remarkably well with the surgery itself and also with the recovery. He did have some swelling in his face on the first and second days, and he ran a fever on the second day. But aside from that, his incision was looking great and they sent us home on the third day. He has been a little cranky since we have been home, compared to his usually laid-back self, but for the most part, it doesn't even seem like he just had surgery!

Special thanks goes to my Aunt G, who stayed with Ryan for the first day and night, and also the second day, so that Barry could be with us in the hospital. Barry went home for the second night while I stayed there with Henry. 

Ryan has been asking about the "boo boo" on Henry's head. He says to him, "Don't worry Henry, it will go away after a long time". It is endearing to see the concern that Ryan has for his baby brother. He has such a tender and loving heart. I am so proud of our big boy AND our little boy.

So... I can honestly say that the cosmetic results were better than we had even hoped for. I was shocked to see how round Henry's head looked immediately after we took the bandage off. Supposedly, his head should continue to grow in an even rounder shape in the upcoming months/years. I am very curious (and hopeful) to see what it looks like in the future. I think that it looks amazing already! In the pictures above, you can clearly see the dramatic difference. I must admit that I have never thought so much about a person's head shape in my life.

God has truly answered our prayers by protecting our sweet baby and giving him strength to get through the surgery and recover quickly. This was such a humbling experience.

*UPDATES: 3 Weeks Post-Op*

Henry continues to do well and he is just as happy and laid-back as ever. At our 3 week post-op appointment today, Dr. Keating gave him an "A plus" for head shape! The surgery results really ended up being better than anybody expected.

*4 Weeks Post-Op*

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