Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas 2008

Merry Christmas To All And To All A Goodnight...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Coffee and Lemonade

So... this is the latest development! Two weeks following Jackson's palate surgery we were able to start him back on solid foods again. I decided to try his usual oatmeal but with apple juice this time... and he loved it and gobbled it down in 10 minutes! Afterwards I thought I'd try a bit of juice in his sippy cup and see how it went. Initially I had to hold it for him, while he tried to figure it out. Then he started to get it and want to do it HIMSELF. Then the other night, this happened:

Drinking while Sleeping from Halle Whittington on Vimeo.

I have seen babies fall asleep while drinking before, but Jackson has NEVER done it because he has NEVER been able to take any liquid from anything. And we have tried EVERYTHING! So when we observed this the other night, we had to capture it. I can't tell you how excited it has made me! He can only take little bits from it right now, but he's getting it... and that makes me SO HAPPY!

In other news... Today is my sister's 29th birthday! Happy Birthday Anne (aka Bear Bear)! I love you!

Also, I met the most amazing woman today along with her beautiful girl, Bella. Bella is 3 months old and was also born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate. We found each other through the blogging world and were finally able to meet up today over coffee and lemonade. I can't even express what it feels like to talk with someone that understands much of what we are walking through and knows what it is like to be a first-time mother in the way that I do. Jenny, you are such an incredible mother and I am so thankful for you.

What a beautiful day...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

11 Months Old

It is unbelievable to me that it was nearly a year ago that Jackson entered this world. Like I mentioned in a previous post, the emotions are heavy at times. So many memories. I was on bed rest at this point in time last year, trying to make sure Jackson didn't come too soon. If you didn't see pictures of me prior to delivering, here are a few my friend Monique took:

Now keep in mind these were taken right before I went into the hospital at 32.5 weeks! Right before the C-section, my doctor wanted to take a fundal height measurement to see how big I was. (For those of you who didn't know, I had excess amniotic fluid, also known as polyhydramnios. And excess was no understatement.) Typically, a woman measures 40cm at 40 weeks. At 34 weeks, I measured 55cm - the size of a woman having triplets. Crazy. And, honestly, not very cute. (At least in my estimation.)

Well, here is our boy at 11 months! He is recovering really well from surgery, getting better day by day.

We are so grateful for all of those people who showed us love and support when we arrived home from his surgery. Thank you to the Caldwells, Soderins, Eckerts, Sisemores, Siems and the Bradshaws for the amazing meals! We love you all.

Jackson loves books.

However, we're trying to teach him that loving them does not mean eating them...

We just love that hair! Correction: I love it, and well, Daniel is just jealous...

Friday, December 5, 2008

CHLA Post Op

Here's a video of Jackson in the hospital, a couple days after surgery. The noise you hear in the background is why I was so frustrated with this hospital experience. But our boy is still so sweet, trying to play with toys but not quite feeling up for the task. I just love this little guy.

Palate/G-Tube Post Op from Halle Whittington on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

3 Weeks Post Op

So, once again, it's been awhile... Life has been a bit crazy since Jackson's palate surgery. Seriously crazy.

First, to recap surgery. We stayed the night in the Ronald McDonald House prior to Jackson's surgery Wednesday, November 12th. We arrived at CHLA at 7:30am and began filling out the necessary paperwork. And then we waited. And we waited some more... And we waited a little bit more...

Finally, at noon, they were ready. Now, keep in mind, Jackson hadn't eaten since 9pm on Tuesday night. And we can't feed him ANYTHING because he has to have an empty stomach prior to surgery. Poor guy was really hungry. So we spent those hours finding creative ways to distract our hungry son until the time they called his name. I suppose distracting our hungry boy helped us distract ourselves at the same time. Sort of.

At noon we were brought to another room where we waited a bit more. Thankfully, it was not as long as the prior wait. We changed him into hospital garb and soon our boy was wheeled away from us, having no clue what was about to happen. Handing him over broke my heart because I knew when we got him back, he would be in pain and out of sorts.

Then Daniel and I waited some more. Jackson had 3 procedures done, so we knew it would take awhile, but we weren't exactly prepared to wait for the next 5 hours. His surgeons came to update us occasionally on how it was going. First, his ear tubes were checked. The doctor thought he would need to have new tubes placed, but, thankfully, the tubes looked great! No need for new ones. Phew. Next up was the gastroenterologist. His G-tube went in with no complications. Finally, the plastic surgeons and his palate repair. This was the longest procedure of the day. And it took longer than they anticipated.

Around 5:30pm, they finally called us in to see him. And he looked awful. It is ridiculously difficult to see your 10 month old like this. Not the baby I had left earlier. I couldn't help the tears. He was in pain. And I couldn't do anything to help him. He was also having issues breathing following the anesthesia, so he was on oxygen. Scary. On top of this, Jackson had a stitch through his tongue taped to the outside of his face. This was a precaution in case anything went wrong and his tongue obstructed his breathing, so the doctor could pull his tongue out of the way if needed by way of the stitch. Crazy. And I'm sure very comfortable.

And thus began one of the worst weeks we've yet to encounter together.

Jackson had to stay in Surgery Recovery for over 24 hours because there were no rooms open in the hospital. NO ROOMS. Typically, children only are there for a few hours at the most. So we have a baby that has just come out of surgery stuck in a large room, separated by curtains. Beyond frustrating.

26 hours after he got out of surgery, Jackson finally got a room. We were so happy and relieved... until we arrived in the room. This room was not a large room, however there were 4 cribs in it. I cannot even express the rage I felt. Every 20 minutes or so, our exhausted baby would get woken up either by another baby screaming, a nurse who HAD to check his vitals right NOW, or other families in the room laughing, talking VERY loud, playing the TV at a HIGH volume, and the list goes on. And this lasted until we finally left on the following Monday. I was not a very happy Mama to say the least.

We were originally supposed to leave on Friday. Then Friday turned into Saturday, and Saturday to Sunday... As far as his palate was concerned, the doctors could've released him on Friday, but the G-tube was the primary concern. Prior to leaving, Jackson had to be up to his normal intake of formula. And this took days. Not because it had to, but because there was so much miscommunication between the doctors and the nurses, everything took much longer than it needed to. And meanwhile Jackson is not getting any rest. We just wanted to get him home where we could take care of him.

Well, long story short (or not so short), we arrived home Monday to a very clean house thanks to my Mom. And the saga continues...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Jackson's Last Supper

The night before Jackson's palate surgery, our awesome family took us out to eat at a Brazilian restaurant close to the hospital. Yum!

The food was awesome, the company brilliant and our next-table neighbor was Jackson's new friend.

Here is the video from that night:

Last Supper from Halle Whittington on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Notes From Neighbors

We've all gotten them. The "can you please not fill up the trash can before others are able to use it" note or the "can you please not block my mailbox with your car" note. But, I'll bet you've never gotten a note like this.

Yesterday when we checked into the Ronald Mcdonald house, I loaded our stuff into our room and then we went out to dinner. When we got back this was under our door.

Yeah, totally. I'll bet even YOU feel bad now. And you didn't even get the note.


p.s. on a side note... did you ever realize how LOUD brushing your teeth is?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Tube

For the past 10 months, we have putting been this tube down into Jackson's stomach for every feeding. We mentioned capturing a bit of this process as he will be getting a G-tube tomorrow. Here is the proof (Oh, and I can guess what you're thinking... Wow, Halle is wearing STRIPED pants! Yes, but it was nearing bedtime and I was in my comfy Pj's. Perfectly acceptable.)...

The Tube from Halle Whittington on Vimeo.

We leave today at 1pm to drive down to LA. We will be staying in the Ronald McDonald House throughout Jackson's stay, well, at least one of us, while the other stays with him in the hospital. We could be there till Saturday or possibly Sunday. We will see. Please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Music, Monkey and Memories

There have been a lot of things going on in the Whittington house as of late. Some worthy of mentioning, others not so much.

First off... Jackson is 10 months old today! I can't even believe we are only two months shy of a year. The memories seem to haunt me these days. I can't go through a day without being reminded of last year somehow.

It must be that EVERYWHERE it's starting to feel like the holidays... EVERYWHERE specifically referring to Starbucks and Peet's, but still... I LOVE the holidays! I start feeling all ooey gooey inside (just ask Daniel).

But last year was so different. I was on bedrest from the beginning of December. I spent the entire month there, well, until I finally got admitted to Sierra Vista on December 28th (after a solid month of contractions every 30 seconds to 5 minutes). My family joined me at our house last year for Christmas while I lie on the couch trying to get in the holiday spirit. I feel like I missed last year's holiday season, so I'm trying to enjoy this one as much as possible. And now I have a little companion to share it with.

That all to say, the memories are flooding back. And they're a bit overwhelming at times. It feels as though the pain rushes in, crashing down on me, then departs much like an ocean wave. This past year has been one of the hardest of my life. And now our sweet, broken baby is nearing the ripe old age of one...

Jackson is growing and changing so much right now. He just started rolling over, and now he ROLLS all over the house. It is really quite funny. He's one fast roller! He's also getting better at sitting up. This has been a long time coming, and we are so proud of his progress. He is also getting really tall and weighs about 22 lbs. He is one solid boy.

And he absolutely LOVES people! He will smile and try to engage anyone who comes to our house. In fact, last week the keyboard repair guy came over. The whole time Jackson was trying to get his attention... smiling, talking, rolling towards him. Unfortunately, the repair guy was too busy repairing to notice him. I felt a bit sad for a minute, until I realized Jackson wasn't a bit discouraged. He was just trying harder! And he does this, whether we're in the grocery store, the coffee shop, wherever we are. His sweet yet feisty spirit makes this mom's heart melt.

His palate surgery is set for Wednesday, November 12th, less than a week away. He will also get a G-tube in at the same time. We have been putting a tube down his throat for almost 10 months, and, as you can probably imagine, Jackson is not a big fan. But, thankfully, we have been able to get him enough food and keep him thriving through the OG tube. We are going to try to capture the process of tube feeding, as a type of memoire of the way he had to eat for his first 10 months of life. If and when we do that, we'll make sure to share it here.

Jackson is getting better at eating some solids. So far, he is a huge fan of sweet potatoes, carrots, winter squash, and of course cereal. He is not so much the fan of fruit at this point in time. Crazy, I know. But we just started yogurt, and he LOVES it! In fact, he has gotten mad at me the past couple days when I have put it away. Oh yeah, that brings me to another new thing...

Jackson has been throwing fits! The other day he was playing with a toy piano he has, one of his favorites at the moment. He was lying on his side, playing with it, when I noticed him start to get frustrated. I'm not entirely sure what he was trying to get it to do, but he started yelling at it and pounding on it... HARD. Then, all of a sudden, he threw himself onto his back, and started yelling while slamming his hands and stomping his feet on the ground. I watched in amazement, until it was over, and then I just started laughing. It was just the funniest thing to watch an almost 10 month old do. He definitely has a mind of his own! And we're seeing that more and more these days.

Just a couple recaps... We had a fun Halloween! Jackson was a monkey. I had that planned for awhile, as I thought he would make a perfect little monkey. Then a bit later, we added this:

Every monkey needs a Man in the Yellow Hat!

We spent the evening with our friends and their sweet boy Stewart, who was born the same week as Jackson. Stewie was the cutest little Superman EVER! We had a great time walking around their neighborhood, eating homemade caramel popcorn and yummy chili and sitting around sharing stories.

In other news, Daniel is working on a new recording and has asked ME to play keys on it! This has been a very challenging and yet fun experience thus far. It has been a bit of a whole family experience, as we have been taking Jackson to practices. He sits in his chair with his bright orange earplugs, and listens to the music. He loves it! I think we have a musician in the making...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day - Poverty

Poverty. Truth be told, it wasn't until I was in high school that my eyes began to open to the world around me. But when reality hit, it hit hard.

I remember one specific day. Who would've guessed that what came in the mail that day would change my life and my heart forever.

I was flipping through my monthly Brio Magazine when I noticed an insert I hadn't seen before. Teen Missions. I started reading it. I soon found myself fighting back tears as I read about AIDS orphans and street children in Zimbabwe. I knew I had to go. I had to see. I had to help.

Fast forward 6 months. I found myself on a plane with 30+ teammates. On a Balkan Airlines flight that would layover in Sofia, Bulgaria prior to landing in Johannesburg, South Africa. I still remember the sunrise through the airplane window as we descended over South Africa - breathtaking.

After landing in Johannesburg, we boarded a bus headed for a small village in Zimbabwe. Outside the bus windows as we drove, giraffe browsed the surrounding trees while a herd of buffalo grazed the grasslands beyond.

We spent 3 months in this Zimbabwean village. We focused most of our time on building the foundation for an AIDS Orphanage. What amazed me at the time was that whenever we were out there working, it felt as if the whole village would come out to help. Children would watch from outside the building perimeter.

Every Sunday we would walk to church with the nationals. The day when two of the local children took my hands as we walked will be forever ingrained in my memory.

The warmth and kindness of the people gripped my heart. Their smiles. Their love for one another. The way they cared for each others children as their own. How the way their voices carried into the night as I lie in my tent brought me to tears every time. Compared to what I had, they had so little. But whenever I heard them ask God for anything, it was more mercy, grace and compassion. Something I could use a lesson or two in.

I went to help. But instead, I was the one who needed help. I needed my eyes opened. My heart widened. My reality questioned.
Ever since my heart has ached. I can't get these people out of my head. The children living on the streets with little to eat, drink. No roof over their heads. Parents unable to provide sustenance for their children no matter how hard they work. A disease that plagues the nation. But what can one person do?

I have huge dreams. I love the ONE Campaign. I dream of one day working in Africa, fighting for such a cause. I dream of one day adopting a child from Africa. But where do I start?

Daniel and I made a decision last year. We don't want to be the kind of people that say, "One day, when we have enough money, we will do something about poverty in the world." Because the truth is, if we aren't living it now, who's to say we will when we are in a better financial situation? So we make small decisions. One by one. Decisions that put our money where our heart is. Even if it costs us. One of these decisions is to sponsor this sweet Rwandan boy with Compassion International who loves to play soccer and marbles and sing songs.

It's the small things we do each day, each month, each year that can make a big difference. We hope that the decisions we make in how we choose to live our lives now will shape the way Jackson sees the world. And that he too, one day, will choose to make a difference.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

9 Months and Other Stuff

So we found out yesterday afternoon that Jackson's surgery has been postponed until November 12th. We were really hoping for him to be well on his way to healing prior to the holidays, but it looks like the recovery process will be more right smack dab in the middle of the hustle and bustle. Oh well... (I find myself saying that over and over these days. Hmmm... Maybe I should find a new thing to say? Ideas?)

On a lighter note... Jackson is 9 months old today! While at the doctor's office yesterday, they decided to weigh him just to find out where he's at. Our boy weighed in at a healthy 20.5 lbs! Yes, you read that right! I was wondering why my arm has been hurting. Daniel and I are a bit intimidated by the fact that one day Jackson will most likely be towering over us...

We just started fruits and vegetables. The unfortunate thing about open palates - everything comes through the nose, not to mention ending up all over his face in general.

I can't resist these dimples...

Monday, October 6, 2008

Surgery Postponement

As many of you know, Jackson was scheduled for palate surgery this Wednesday. Unfortunately, Jackson woke up sick today with an upper respiratory infection. He was put on antibiotics, but as any type of respiratory illness amplifies the risks of anethesiology, it is highly likely that his surgery will be rescheduled. We called CHLA today, and we are supposed to hear back this afternoon in regards to whether or not we will move forward. This is very disappointing for us, but also important that we take every necessary precaution. Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers.

Monday, September 29, 2008

"I'm gonna get you..."

This is Jackson's new thing, and we find it hilarious. He somehow learned how to shake his head, and now does it ALL the time. (Sorry about the video quality.)

"I'm gonna get you..." from Halle Whittington on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Swim Lessons

Ever since I dreamed about having kids one day, I knew that I would want them to feel comfortable and confident in the water. Although the fact that Jackson needed tubes in his ears posed an obstacle to this desire, I still tried to find a way to make it work.

Initially when I found out Jackson would need tubes in his ears, I was disappointed as I had heard that it wouldn't be possible for him to go swimming or go under water. I talked to a few different ENTs that have worked with Jackson and they said that as long as I put wax ear plugs in his ears, covering the opening, he should be fine to swim. I was thrilled and anxiously looked for ways to get him in the water.

When one of our good friends, Amanda, invited us to participate in swim lessons at Sinsheimer, we eagerly accepted! Little did we know that not only Amanda and her sweet boy, Stewart, would be there, but when we arrived, some of our other friends were there! And we even made a few more fun friends during those weeks. Thank you to all those who made swim lessons a blast for us! We loved our time with you.

... And as it turns out, our little boy LOVES the water!

Oh, and let's not forget, his bright orange ear plugs!

Friday, September 12, 2008


The month of September is many things for us. One, it's our anniversary month. We've been married 3 years. Two, it's my birthday month. I turn 30 tomorrow! This is a hard birthday for me to wrap my head around.

In September we also remember 9/11. May we never forget...

September is also the month of awareness for two causes very close to my heart:

National Craniofacial Acceptance Month
Ever since Jackson was diagnosed with a bilateral cleft lip and palate, my eyes have been opened to children with facial differences. Something has changed in me. And has allowed these faces to open my heart still wider.

National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
As many of you know, my family lost my brother Gabriel to Leukemia in 1990. He was 6 years old. This year, founded by a mom inspired by her son's fight against cancer, cookies for kids' cancer was launched.

"May God break my heart so completely that the whole world falls in."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fake Cough

Ever since Jackson was sick with a cough, he somehow figured out how he could pretend to cough and get our attention... Funny kid.

Fake Cough from Halle Whittington on Vimeo.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Craniofacial Team & The South County Life

Having just arrived back in California on Sunday evening, July 27th, from Austin, you'd think we'd take it easy for a bit... You know, settle back in, those kind of things.

Well, if you know my husband, life never quite settles down. Monday morning we were in full force search-for-the-new-place mode. As you might remember, my parents had graciously opened their home to us for a few months while we attempted to pay off some of the looming medical debt we had acquired since Jackson entered this world.

Long story short, by Wednesday the search was over and we were set to move into our new place in Grover Beach on Saturday (thanks to the help of our fine friends Tim, Travis, and Los Dos Ryans, you know who you are)! Yeah, talk about fast! And let me not forget to mention that Jackson had his first Craniofacial Team appointment on Thursday, July 31st at Childrens Hospital LA. Needless to say, all of this made for one crazy week.

Well, we left that same Wednesday evening and drove down to stay with my Aunt Mary and Uncle Denny (Jackson knows them as Aunt Mary The Great and Uncle Denny The Great!), who live fairly close to CHLA. We thoroughly enjoyed our evening with them; we even had the luxury of sharing in their hot tub. When we got up early the following morning, the coffee was already brewed and ready for us and we left their house with cups in hand. Thank you for your hospitality!

We weren't quite sure what to expect at Jackson's first Craniofacial Team appointment. We arrived a bit before 8, checked in, and entered the waiting room, filled with other cleft-affected kids and their families. Little did we know then that we would spend the majority of the day in waiting rooms!

We saw many people that day; social worker, geneticist, audiologist, speech pathologist, ENT, and his plastic surgeon. Eventually, a dentist and orthodontist will join his team.

This was our first time talking with a geneticist. Due to the rarity and possible severity of Jackson's syndrome, it has been recommended to us to pursue further genetics testing. There are two main forms of Simpson Golabi Behmel Syndrome (SGBS), one of which is more severe than the other. We will most likely have Jackson undergo testing to determine which one he has. It also looks like I will need to go through genetics testing since we know that his syndrome is X-linked recessive.

As far as other important takeaways on the day, the ENT mentioned that she was unable to see the tube in his right ear, which is not a good sign. They will most likely need to check tube placement and possibly put in a new tube during Jackson's palate surgery. Dr. Urata, his plastic surgeon, put in a booking slip for his palate surgery and we now have his next surgery date: October 8, 2008. One month out! Crazy.

We moved into our new place in Grover Beach on Saturday, August 2nd. We're loving it! And Jackson finally has his own room! There is plenty more to share from the past month and I will try to get right on it. Until then, I'll leave you a couple pics of our boy... 8 months old today. He's getting so big.

Since Jackson still has an open palate, he is unable to hold his pacifier in his mouth like most babies. He, however, figured out a way to make it work and it looks like this...

Monday, September 1, 2008

Long Time No Blog

I know, I know. It's been WAY too long. But we're back with plenty of tidbits to share from the life of the Whittingtons.

So let's recap a bit. The last time we talked we were about to embark on our July Adventures. So we'll start there.

We had a blast in Austin, visiting with Daniel's family. It started out with Jackson and I making the trip out there while Daniel headed to Orlando for a work conference. Daniel helped us check our baggage in at the San Luis Obispo airport and then we were on our own. Jackson did fairly well on the flights. From SLO to LA he slept the entire way, much to my relief. The flight from LA to Austin was not so pleasant, as Jackson screamed from the time we boarded till the time they turned off the seatbelt sign. I apologized profusely and continued to try to calm him down. He finally calmed down while I was feeding him and fell asleep shortly thereafter. We were welcomed in the Austin airport by Daniel's sister, Sarah. A sight for sore eyes.

Our first days were filled with settling in and getting reacquainted with Me Me (pronounced May May), Fauxpa, Aunt Sarah, Uncle Andy and cousins Jeremiah, Caleb and Taylor. Me Me was well-prepared for us, having bought all the essentials plus some. Jackson had a swing (like the one at home), a bumbo seat, plenty of toys, and his bed set up just the way he likes it (thanks to Sarah). We felt right at home.

Our first week we spent without hubby and Daddy. We visited with cousins, took walks in the neighborhood, went swimming, shopping, experienced fast food joints we don't have here on the Central Coast (namely Sonic), ate great food (for example, Kerby Lane & Austin Java), and made cookies with Fauxpa. Oh, and the most important thing, we taught Me Me how to tube feed Jackson! Yes, you read that right! She's a rockstar.

Daniel arrived late on a Thursday night, due to delayed flights, but we somehow managed to get up early enough to head for a day of adventures at Sea World San Antonio. Daniel and I were kid-less for a day, at least that's what we call it. Me Me, since she learned how to feed Jackson, offered to take care of him while we went to Sea World. The highlight of the day was by far the Shamu show, "Believe." It was nice (and a bit weird) to spend the day without our boy, but it was a breath of fresh air for both of us, as we hadn't spend an entire day together (just us) since before Jackson was born. We went on rollercoasters, watched our nephews feed dolphins, visited with the Budweiser Clydesdales, and tasted the brews of Anheuser-Busch. On a side note, the general consensus is the best beer is free beer. But when it comes down to it, for us anyway, we'd much rather have had a cold Dr. Pepper over the crappy beer we tasted that day.

As for the rest of our trip, we were in for many more adventures. I had my first authentic Texas BBQ at Rudy's "Country Store" and Bar-B-Q. And let me just say, if you've never had it done right, you've never lived. I'm just sayin'. We also hiked in (with 4 kids!) and swam at Hamilton Pool. Good fun. On top of our many more shopping adventures, we also enjoyed many more eating adventures including fine Indian Cuisine at the ClayPit, "Mexonesian" Cuisine at Hula Hut, and Southwestern Grill at Z'Tejas. To top it off, we (minus Jackson) saw The Dark Knight in Austin's IMAX theatre, located in The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. Talk about gnarly.

One of the highlights of our Austin trip was Date Night City Style. We've both always loved the big city life and thanks, once again, to Me Me we were able to spend an evening together in Downtown Austin. We kicked off the night at the Elephant Room on Congress and listened to great jazz while Daniel savored his Chimay on tap and I, my Gin and Tonic. This was my first experience listening to live Jazz, and I loved it! From there we went to Lamberts - Fancy Barbecue. We headed upstairs to the bar to listen to yet more incredible live music, this time Cajun music. That, along with appetizers and cocktails, was just what the doctor ordered, along with some much needed time together.

Jackson was an amazing traveler on the trip back and we arrived home just in time to embark on some more adventures! More to come...

Monday, July 7, 2008

Happy 6 Month Birthday Jackson!

I really can't believe Jackson is already 6 months old! Well, sometimes I can. It has been a LONG 6 months. But still, time is moving along and today I'm taking a moment to reflect.

Jackson, 2 days old. Our 6 pound 6 ounce sweetie:

One month old, finally home from the NICU:

2 months old, beginning the NAM procedure:

3 months old, NAM with nasal stints (we hated this):

4 months old, just out of surgery. What a trooper:

5 months old, recovering:

6 months old, our precious lil guy:

So here we are... the 6 month milestone.

Jackson, although it may not seem like it all the time, I love you. You are my lil companion, my "bubba luv", my son. I'm sorry if I get frustrated with you at times, whether it's because I have to put down that tube over and over again because you can't take a bottle, or that you get so wiggly you spill the entire bottle I just pumped for you, or you just won't go to sleep because you're a night owl like your Daddy. It's not your fault. None of this is your fault. I know the past 6 months haven't been easy for you. You have had to endure in the first months of life more than many have to face in a lifetime. And yet, you smile. You have a way of brightening up the worst of days, of making me laugh when I lose sight of what truly matters. Thank you, Jackson. I wouldn't change you for the world. I wouldn't want you to be any different than the endearingly sweet, smart little boy that you are. You make me a more broken, kind, patient, and compassionate person because of what we have to walk through together. I love you my baby son. You are perfect in my eyes.