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Baker the Brave | Before Open Heart Surgery

You knew it was coming, right? The post where I write a letter to Baker and pound out all my feelings about my baby having open heart surgery?

Open. Heart. Surgery.

Like, his heart will be stopped and he'll be kept alive by machines while a surgeon operates on his tiny little heart, an organ no bigger than his baby fist. And then, when the surgery is done, the machines will stop and if all goes according to plan, that little tiny baby fist-heart of his will start beating on it's own. Baker will wake up and get the breathing tube removed and he'll smile at us and after spending a few days in the hospital we'll bring him home as good as new. Sounds easy enough, right? Just take it one step at a time.

Baker :: Four Months Old

Happy F O U R months to our big guy! Another month come and gone and life with this boy is sweet as can be. He's still the chillest babe on the block and we love him dearly.

We had his four month well visit this morning and he weighs in at 12 lbs 9 oz and is 22.5 inches long.  Short and chunky! He's in 3-month clothes and we're quickly using up all of the size one diapers. He has a blowout almost once a day so he definitely needs to move up in size!

We've seen full-blown smiles this month, too! Oh man are they cute. My eyes well with tears every time I see that smile of his. They're coming more frequently but I have yet to capture a good one on camera! His whole face lights up and it's just the best. It's common for kiddos with Down syndrome to mile later than their typical peers and it was definitely hard to wait but so, so worth it. Can't wait to see them come more easily as he grows!

Baker is gaining more strength every day. He went all baby Hulk on me and was legitimately trying to sit up when I was taking these pictures! Look at him lunging forward! I couldn't believe it. We need to do better about him spending more time up off the back of his head. Poor dude has a flat spot developing since he favors his right side. I'm hoping it'll correct itself before we're told he needs a helmet!

Baker is starting to find that voice of his and will "talk" back and forth as he tries to imitate sounds. We usually have some really good conversations after he eats. A few weeks ago, he started refusing bottles (either offered by me or Justin) so he's been exclusively breastfed pretty much all month. I'm a little nervous about this considering he's starting daycare in February and will need to eat while I'm gone. We have some time to work on this and I'm curious to see if he goes back to taking one after surgery.

Speaking of surgery. Baker will be getting his broken heart repaired next Monday. It still doesn't seem real or that the time has come but we head to St. Louis on Friday to meet with the surgeon to go over the plan to get our little man all fixed up so he can continue to thrive. I'm feeling anxious and I have a to-do list a mile long to get done before we leave which is keeping my mind occupied so maybe that's a good thing. Since Baker doesn't get admitted to the hospital until Monday morning, we're doing one long day there and back on Friday for pre-op so we can come home and spend the weekend at home as a family. We're so thankful for grandparents who can help us out during this time - both Justin's mom and my parents will be looking after the girls as we go back and forth in the coming days.

Our little warrior has some tough days ahead of him and my own heart breaks knowing he has to go through this but I've seen time and time again how resilient these babies are when it comes to healing after an operation of this magnitude. Baker is so brave and strong and I'm so incredibly proud him.

Transitioning to the Crib | Newton Baby

This post is sponsored by Newton Baby. All opinions - and cute sleepy baby - are my own.

All of my babies spent their first weeks of life sleeping in the pack 'n play next to our bed. It's handy to keep them close for those middle of the night feedings and to check to make sure they're breathing 47 times a night. The girls were moved to their cribs for night time sleep around the 8-week mark but Baker managed to spend a little more time rooming in with us.

I was nervous bringing him home after he was born knowing he had a heart defect. He didn't have any issues while in the hospital and before we were discharged, we were educated on what to look should he begin showing signs of heart failure.

Sounds scary, right? Heart failure?! To my surprise - and relief - actual heart failure can be a gradual process and often times, symptoms may be managed by medication. But still! My baby could potentially go into heart failure! My desire (want, need, obsession - whatever you wanna call it!) to keep him close at all times was definitely real. 

Thankfully, Baker has never shown any serious signs of distress. He has great coloring, maintains his oxygen levels (even more so now that he's on medicine) and we're close to getting that broken heart of his all fixed up. There was one slight problem, though. 

Mr. Man is L O U D. From day one, he's been grunty and snorty; he squeaks and sighs in his sleep which means I'm constantly popping up out of bed to check on him, thinking he's awake. Nine times out of 10, he's still fast asleep and I was up for no reason. When he was around 3 months old, I decided it was probably time to move him to his own room so we could all sleep a little more soundly.

Thanksgiving 2017

Finally getting around to recapping our Thanksgiving last week! It was very low key, which isn't the norm for us. We're usually traveling either up to South Dakota or down to Oklahoma to spend it with family but with Baker's surgery quickly approaching, we thought it was best to stay home and keep everyone as healthy as possible.

We (and by "we" I mean Justin...) cooked up a whole Thanksgiving feast for our family. Just the five of us. Fifteen-pound bird included.... That's a whole lotta meat for basically two people. We still have some leftover in the fridge!

The kids got up early so we made breakfast and watched the Thanksgiving Day parade. The girls were very concerned that they'd miss Santa at the end and spent the entire morning asking when he'd show up.

Photo {Almost} Every Hour | Tuesday

This is kind of a sorry excuse for a blog post because my "Photo Every Hour" didn't pan out the way I planned. Actually, I take that back. This post very accurately depicts our days around here...

I start out strong...

6 AM | quick snack for the babe

7 AM | up for school with minimal whining

8 AM | preschool drop-off fuel

By 9 AM, I'm feeling good about life and set Leighton up with her songs while Baker naps and I try to work for a bit. She's been super into watching music videos on YouTube. Sometimes they're inappropriate (which is why she watches in my presence so I can reroute if I hear an F-Bomb or two...) and sometimes it's "Shake It Off" over and over and over again...

9 AM | show me how you werk werk werk werk werk

That lasts approximately 17 minutes until I have my assistants helping me send emails...

10 AM | sup bro
11 AM is missing because it involved leaving to pick up Gracyn from school and returning home to quickly shove lunch in the girls' faces before B and I left again for his evaluation with the therapists at our local infant development center...

12 PM | finally got the little dude dressed...
1 - 2 PM? Also missing, but the evaluation went great! Time to scoot home and pick up the girls (we're SO thankful for our neighbors who've stepped up to help me out more times than I can count!)...
3 PM | tired boy
Uh... what time is it now? Between afternoon snacks and tantrums and no naps and work I don't even know what I'm doing half the time. But LOOK! Another picture of the baby! Let's call it 6 PM...

6 PM | first bottle in 10 days!
^^ Silly boy has been boycotting bottles the last week or so. It's cute except when mama has a Saturday night out planned and spends the day worrying if he'll starve while I'm gone. No worries, though, we both survived but I'm still not sure why he stopped taking them all of a sudden. Homeboy must realllllly like the boobie. ;)

Life after 6 PM on this fine Tuesday? I had lost all control. We did the dinner-time hustle, the girls REFUSED to help me clean up the playroom which resulted in them being "grounded" for the first time in their lives, Gracyn asking if I still loved her (I do) and Leighton calling me a "mean mommy!" We had a talk about being good listeners and bad attitudes which I'm sure I'll have to revisit in the morning when they start asking for tablets and phones and television and forget the whole grounded part of the conversation...

I won in the end, though - the girls were in bed by 7:25 and I got caught up on a few things while watching the news and eating ice cream.

Wednesday, I'm ready for ya... :)