Cardiologist, Christmas, and Career

CARDIOLOGIST

Nolan had a cardiologist check-up today. He hasn’t been since August and today he had his first echo since the Glenn. I was glad they did the echo because it gives me a better peace of mind knowing they got better pictures to be SURE everything was okay.

For some reason I went in to today thinking something was going to be off. I played out this whole scenario in my head that his valve had gotten worse and there were going to need to do an immediate heart cath to get a better look. I was already planning out who I would call and making sure I had someone to teach my class. I am ridiculous…

Dr. Roten came in and told us everything looked GREAT! His sats were 83% which is where she wants them. His echo looked great and he sounded wonderful. She’s not worried about his blue spells unless he’s also having trouble breathing. She also said his cough wasn’t causing any issues and even though it sounds like it’s in his chest his lungs sounded perfect. We will just have to continue waiting out the cough. I’m so relieved his appointment went well and I need to stop being such a worrier. We won’t go back to the cardiologist for SIX months!!

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Nolan playing with blocks while we waited for the doctor.

CHRISTMAS

Tonight we had Nolan’s CHD Christmas Party! Yet another reason why I love the Cook Children’s! They have an annual Christmas party for all the heart kiddos. We got a picture with Santa and then Nolan got his first Christmas gift: a Little People Helicopter!

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The real star of the evening wasn’t Santa, though. It was Dr. Tam.. We had to get a picture with him! Of course, I’m trying to get Nolan’s attention and little did I know the picture was being taken. It was so great to see Dr. Tam and for Nolan to meet him even though he didn’t really understand.

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Nolan also got to see and pet the therapy dog, Journey. I’m pretty sure this is the same dog that came and visited him while he was in stroke clinic a couple of months back. He LOVES dogs. He was upset when we left the puppy.

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CAREER

Lastly, we might be experiencing a bit of change around here come April. For the past few months Johnny has been going through the process of becoming a police officer for a local department. He took the written test and passed then about a month later he took the physical and passed. It had been a while since we heard back so we were starting to lose hope then he received an email! He had a polygraph yesterday and, of course, passed! He was told that if he passed the Board Interview, Psych Eval., and was cleared Medically then he would be accepted into the Academy’s April class! It’s exciting for him but scary for me.

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We would appreciate prayers for:

  • Nolan’s continued health and for his nasty cough to GO AWAY FOR GOOD!
  • That God’s will would be done in Johnny’s life and with this police business.
  • Peace for me about the potential of my husband being a police officer. 

 

We love you all and thank you for supporting, encouraging, and loving us!

The Day I Became a Heart Mom

September 21, 2015. 1 year ago today. 2 days after our awesome gender reveal. 

We were entering a new week having just found out awesome news. We were going to have our sweet baby boy. We both wanted a boy! The pinata opened, blue confetti fell, and we had our Nolan Robert!

We didn’t think anything could bring us down. We knew we were going in to see a specialist. September 5 we were told something was off about the heart. So Monday, September 21 we were going to find out. Did the spot go away? Was it a hole? We felt good. I mean, it was a rough day because Johnny’s power steering was going out, but we felt confident about our baby boy. 

“I’m pretty sure your baby has hypoplastic left heart syndrome. He will need at least 3 surgeries.”

September 21, 2015 was the day I became a heart mom. I was scared. This little boy that I already love so much… what if I never get to meet him? Or, what if I meet him and then he’s taken away from me? It was a scary, difficult day. It was an emotional week. 

But looking back on it now, I’d be able to tell myself… what it means to be a heart mom.

  • It means LOTS of tears.
  • It means people telling you they’re sorry when they find out because they don’t know what else to say.
  • It means laughing with your husband when you realize you’ve only known for a couple days and could already blackout a “heart parent” bingo card.
  • It means praying you hear your baby scream when he’s born, because that means he’s okay, right?
  • It means only seeing him for a couple seconds and giving him a quick kiss.
  • It means walking through the hospital bawling because your baby was just taken back for surgery.
  • It means meeting amazing new families who GET IT while in the waiting room. 
  • It means anxiously waiting for those phone calls to hear that everything is going well. 
  • It means long nights in the hospital.
  • It means cheering for good days and hoping tomorrow’s a better day.
  • It means being excited for the family across the hall when they’re baby leaves CI, but also being a little jealous.
  • It means being over the moon excited when you FINALLY get to take your boy home.
  • It means spot checks everyday, twice a day. 
  • It means hurtful comments from people, so more tears.
  • It means laughing when people tell you “it’ll work itself out” because they’re trying to be helpful.
  • It means lots of medicine.
  • It means reassuring people that he’s not cold, just blue.
  • It means an amazing team of doctors and nurses.
  • It means your boy surpassing every expectation you had because, by golly, no heart defect is holding him back!
  • It means a whole new understanding of the heart.
  • It means so much love for this amazing, courageous, warrior baby! 

I can honestly say, I wouldn’t imagine my life as a mommy any other way. 

I love my little man, and I love his heart! 💙

Why We Started a Business

We wouldn’t have decided to start a business selling essential oils if we didn’t absolutely believe in them.

Again, we absolutely see the benefit of modern medicine. After all, we have a son with half a heart, without modern medicine we wouldn’t have him. However, we want to try natural remedies before we fill our bodies with some of the toxins that are in our modern medicine.

These oils come from plants. Plants were the medicine “back in the day”. Plants are created by God, so we feel pretty confident using them.

So, why did we decide to do the business side of it? Financial Freedom!

I’m a preschool teacher. I LOVE my job and it certainly helps pay our bills and allows us to do fun things every once in a while. But we would really enjoy if we could take vacations. We’d also enjoy not worrying every time Johnny takes off from work. This year he’s had to take many days off work and he doesn’t have enough vacation days to cover all the time off. The week I was in the hospital delivering Nolan, we didn’t get a paycheck and that was rough because our bills didn’t stop.

I want Johnny to be able to take time off and not be stressed about money.

And as you can imagine, medical bills aren’t cheap! Delivering a baby, two surgeries, and a total of 37 days (between Nolan and I) in the hospital really adds up! We don’t want the weight of medical bills. And we aren’t done, yet. We have at least one more surgery and we’d love to be able to pay those bills off quickly!

We have to opportunity of having financial freedom. We have to opportunity for Johnny to come home and not need to work. (I’ll probably continue teaching just because I LOVE it so much.) We really liked these opportunities and that’s why we decided to start this business.

 

You can also have these opportunities and I’d love to help you learn how!

Living More Naturally

Essentual oils have been around forever! They are not a new thing. But it seems like over the past couple years their popularity has risen. I hadn’t heard about oils until probably 2 years ago. My initial thought was it was the dumbest thing I’d ever heard of. Seriously, the only people using oils were hippies! (I’m sorry, I realize I was wrong). I mean, there’s modern medicine for a reason so just keep medicating yourself and stop pretending oils work.
Then I spent $500 in ONE month because of allergies! I don’t have that kind of money to spend every time my allergies act up. I started looking into essential oils more and relaized there were a lot of people using them and claiming they worked. So there had to be something to them, right? But still not convinced. I started using them occasionally to help with allergies (No more $500) and sleep and noticed they were working. I talked to someone who constantly had strep going around their house. They started using a specific blend and they haven’t had to deal with that.

But the real turning point was last year… As most everyone knows, we found out Nolan would be born with half a heart. When we found out, I officially made the decision to try and live naturally. Try to cut out all of the toxic chemicals and synthetic medications. (We live in an overly medicated society anyway.) I wanted to do anything and everything I could to provide a healthy environment for my son. And oils are another layer of health.

Storytime: A couple months ago, after Nolan’s Glenn, we were dealing with awful headaches. The poor kiddo was in so much pain and the Tylenol, benadryl, and motrin weren’t helping much. He still was having a rough time sleeping which meant mom and dad couldn’t sleep. So I got out the lavender oil, rubbed some on his feet and diffused in his room. He slept much better. He still woke up some but not as much. 

Just this past week Johnny had a sinus infection. His sister brought over a ton of medication and I told him “no”. He wasn’t happy because he just wanted to feel better but I asked him to let me try first. He was taking a shot of lemon, lavender, and peppermint. We’d rub some oregano on his throat. And we were diffusing protective blend. The next day I could tell he was feeling much better and we didn’t use any medication.

We aren’t against medicine. Nolan takes digoxin and aspirin every day for his heart. But, if we can treat things naturally we’re going to try that first.

Do you want to live more naturally? Contact me!
*I was going to write about why we decided to start a business with oils, but this post is already fairly long. So, I will share that with you in a couple of days.

Thy Will Be Done

 

I was driving home from Target today when this song came on the radio. Oh, how I wish I would have heard this song after we found out Nolan’s diagnosis. I felt a lot of these emotions and prayed countless times that God’s will be done. But praying for God’s will is hard! Not because I don’t trust in His plan, but because every time I pray that His will be done, I immediately think “but what if it’s not what I want”. I know I probably shouldn’t think that, because God’s plan is greater than ANYTHING I could every imagine, but sometimes it doesn’t feel that way in that moment. Sometimes, it feels like I know what’s best for Nolan, but really, that’s me thinking I know what’s best for me.

Trusting in God’s plan can be scary. It would be so much easier to just know! But, what I do know is that God is in control. He has a plan for Nolan and His plan is GOOD.

I continue to pray that the Lord’s will be done in Nolan’s life. However, I can’t promise that prayer won’t occasionally sound like this, “You know the desires of my heart, so if my desires could be Your will then I pray Your will be done.”

Happy Half Birthday!

I can’t believe I’ve had Nolan for 6 months (and 2 days)! It’s been an incredible and sometimes difficult six months. We’ve made it through two open heart surgeries and miserable headaches. June was the first month so far that we didn’t have to stay at least one night in the hospital. I love this little boy more and more each day and can’t imagine life without him.

He has physical therapy once a week and he’s started rolling over from front to back and back to front. Just last night, he kept rolling back and forth, until I started recording, of course. He does a decent job of sitting up with some help. We’ve started experimenting with foods. He LOVES apple sauce. We’ve also tried sweet potatoes (not a fan), squash (didn’t care for that), and avocado (he tolerated this).

He’s also, kind of, started school. I went back to work because the preschool was down a teacher. It was an adjustment for both of us. I had gotten so used to cuddling with Nolan all day everyday that I missed him even though he was just around the corner from me. But we’ve both been doing better. He gets to play with Lolli and Grandma Nett all day in the office. This Fall he will actually be in a class with other kiddos 5 days a week. Our biggest concern is health, because just a simple cold could be a hospital stay. So please be praying for a healthy Nolan! We are very fortunate that I work in the school he will be going to, so he will always just be right down the hall!

This first 6 months has been great. I love having Nolan and getting to experience all the milestones of having a baby. I’m excited for this next 6 months because there will be so many more new things to experience (just hopefully no more hospital stays!). Although, I do wish he could be little forever because one day he’s going to be sassy and I’m not ready for that yet.

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Nolan love the Xbox remote. I think this will be his motivation to crawl so he can get it whenever he wants. He’s chewing on it as I type.

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This is his new trike we were given from a family at the school I work at. 🙂 He really enjoys it. We’ve already taken him on a walk in it and he enjoyed looking at the ground. We need to teach him to keep his eyes on the road.

My Sweet, Happy Boy is BACK!

Our hospital stay with the Glenn was only 6 days! It was so much easier and “better” than the Norwood… as far as the hospital stay and surgery go. But Nolan was pretty miserable. Those headaches are no joke! I’m pretty sure I was fairly close to going crazy and pulling all of my hair out. Nolan was so uncomfortable and Nolan wasn’t getting his pain medications as often as he could and should have. There was one day in the hospital that I was in tears because there was nothing I could do to help him and I was running on very little sleep. Luckily, Cook has some awesome volunteers that came and sat with him while I went downstairs and took a quick break. My mom also came up and let me sleep. I was just so ready to be home because I figured everyone, including Nolan, would be more relaxed. I also thought maybe being home would help Nolan feel better.

We were discharged Wednesday, May 25th. I was ready to be home and I was excited because we’d be able to go to my brother’s high school graduation. One of the nurse practitioners was a little hesitant to let us go home because she didn’t think I could handle it. I was warned about this lady… Luckily, the doctor saw no reason why we should stay any longer and we were home by 1 pm.

Nolan did okay. You could tell he was definitely in pain but it seemed it was only bad at night so we weren’t giving him Tylenol that often. Then came Friday… I was able to see my brother graduate but then I had to tend to the screaming little boy. He screamed for 3 hours and there was nothing we could do. We tried Tylenol, Motrin, and Benadryl and he still wouldn’t calm down. It was MISERABLE! After 3 hours and a call to the doctor he finally calmed down and fell asleep.

We didn’t have any more days like that but there were definitely challenges. Nolan didn’t want to take any of his medicines and he was just so unhappy. I was certain the surgery ruined him and I would never see him smile again. We were alternating Tylenol and Benadryl every 3 hours just to keep him somewhat comfortable. I went on Facebook to some of the support groups I was in and asked when the Glenn kiddos got better. I even asked our friends over at Team Rhett if it was really going to ever get better. Amanda assured me that it would get better and for the time being just give medicine. It wouldn’t hurt him and he wouldn’t become addicted. 🙂

Slowly, we were able to back off the medicine. He still wasn’t completely himself, but he definitely wasn’t AS uncomfortable. He started sleeping better and having more happy periods during the day. Then, on Thursday, June 9, exactly 3 weeks after his surgery, it seemed like everything changed. He seemed to be happy again. He was taking naps again. He was sleeping at night. He wasn’t spitting his medicine back at me.

It is such a relief to have my sweet boy back!

Monday he “celebrated” 5 months of being here! He had a cardiologist appointment and it went great. He has no fluid in his lungs so we are able to stop the Lasix. They said everything looked good and his sats were 92%. Typically after the Glenn they’ll be high 80s, but Dr. Tam left his shunt in so his sats will be higher. We also got the “all clear” to travel. We just always need to know where the nearest children’s hospital is. Our first trip will be in October when we go visit Tante (aunt) at school. We were also told that his next surgery won’t be until the Summer after his 3rd birthday. We have TIME!

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I also got a cute video of him squealing today. Isn’t he the cutest? 🙂

Our next challenge: Starting school in August. I’m not sure I’m ready to separate.