SNUGGLES

The day before surgery was the hardest. My first Mother’s Day was very bittersweet. My amazing husband made it so wonderful though. He made sure I was pampered all day long… he is so good to me & our sweet boy.

Being a mom is what I was created to do. I love little Marty more tha I ever thought possible. I would do anything for him & wish I could make everything all better for him. I spent today soaking up snuggles, smiles & coos. Yet I can’t stop thinking about surgery tomorrow.

I am terrified. I don’t want him to have to go through this. It’s not fair & I hate it. He has no clue what’s coming. But I know this surgery is what he needs to heal his heart. I know we have the best doctor & team doing it & that it’s one they do very often. More importantly, the Lord is with him every second. He is holding little Marty in His hands & will take care of him. My momma heart just wants to hold him close & never let go.

Being a mom has opened me up to a whole new kind of love. Which in turn opened me up to a whole new kind of pain. Seeing your child struggle is the hardest thing…I want to take it away but I can’t. All I can do is love on him like crazy & trust God to do the rest.

I am so blessed to have been chosen to be this sweet boy’s mom. I’d chose him every time. He gave me the best gift by wanting to snuggle ALL day. Everything he’s been through in his little life makes my love grow stronger. I love you so much Martin James Clason Jr. You’re the strongest little fighter!!

Handing little Marty over to the anesthesiologist was the hardest thing. I went in the bathroom & sobbed immediately after…it hit me so hard. My sweet baby was getting his chest cut all the way open. I couldn’t bear it. But once I cried until I couldn’t any longer, I felt an overwhelming peace. It was incredible & it’s all the Lord.

I went back out in the waiting room with Marty, my parents, mom Clason, and my grandparents. We all chatted & the time went so quickly. Dr. Haw pulled Marty & I aside & explained how well the surgery went!!! I was shaking. Such an incredible relief!! Felt like a HUGE weight was lifted.

Waiting to see him felt like forever. I was really nervous to see him because he said he’d be really puffy & maybe not look like himself. But he was perfect. He looked so healthy!!! He was sleeping soundly (sedated) and looked so peaceful. I felt like I could finally breathe again.

Yesterday was hard because he just wanted to eat & be held but the only thing I could do to comfort him was hold my hand on his head. He was screaming like never before. I was just longing to hold him & feed him. And today, I’m thrilled to say I’m currently holding my sweet boy after he pounded a 1.5oz bottle with ease.

He already has all his tubes out only TWO DAYS after open heart surgery. I couldn’t be happier. The Lord is so good & faithful. He’s carried us & continues to heal & hold us all. Our prayers have been answered & then some. Your prayers were heard & we can’t thank you enough for them all.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
Ephesians 3:20-21

Round Two

So scary having to take baby Marty to the children’s ER ūüėĘ he was having more labored breathing & I went early to his appointment to see if they could check him…I am so glad I did because they sent us over to children’s emergency. They wanted to rule out RSV which terrified me. Thankfully that was ruled out & basically his heart condition is showing itself.

We knew this day would come but were hoping it wouldn’t be this soon. Once we got there he was his normal sleepy, snuggly self & didn’t seem to be in any discomfort. Of course he didn’t like the IV and blood work but he is such a trooper. He enjoyed his sugar water treats & new pacis though! We were moved up to the PICU so they could monitor him & he was put on oxygen because his saturation was low.

Poor little buddy just got to come home a little bit ago & now he’s back…they have him on two medications to help with his heart & lungs. The cardiologist said there are five levels & they jumped to number two because he knew he’d need it. We are praying those will help & that they can hold off surgery until he is bigger.

They talked about fortifying my milk & I’m hoping they do ASAP. They said it’s like he’s constantly on a treadmill having to work so hard to just eat & especially breathe. Our cardiologist was telling me there’s nothing wrong with my milk, he’s just burning so many calories it would help to fortify it so he’s getting a lot more calories in the same amount of volume. At first I only wanted him to nurse, then I was okay with bottle feeding my breastmilk…but now I just want him to get big & strong so I’m totally ok with whatever they think is best.

It’s so hard to see him hooked up again but I know he is in good hands. I’m so thankful to be able to snuggle & love on him. He is such a fighter & we love him so so much.

3/19
Last night was really hard. Leaving Martin at the hospital felt so wrong. The worst part of the night was waking up at 4am to pump & seeing an empty cradle…my heart broke & I couldn’t help but cry. I always loved seeing him at night & being able to cuddle him & feed him while I pumped. But last night I was alone. I hated it & I was mad. Mad that my sweet boy has to go through this all…again…mad that he was doing SO well, nursing more & eating more & blowing away every specialist who came to see him.

We finally were getting into a routine. And then for it all to seemingly not matter. His heart didn’t care that we were so full of hope & excitement. It is broken & as much as we liked to push that out of our minds; we can’t escape the reality. Our sweet baby will need open heart surgery.

I was so convinced he would be healed without surgery. BUT the Lord is good. Just because I don’t want him to need surgery doesn’t mean the Lord is neglecting him. He has a plan & purpose for little Marty’s life & it’s His plan that prevails-not mine. As I was laying in bed, the lyrics of “Trust in You” by Kari Jobe came to mind:
“When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing you to move, when You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through, when You don’t give me answers as I cry out to You…I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You”
Especially when I’m feeling like I’m crying out with absolutely no answers. But somehow my God gives me peace in the midst of my fear.

This peace doesn’t mean I didn’t cry as soon as I saw him this morning. It doesn’t mean I hold it all together with a smile. It means I trust my Lord even though I absolutely hate this situation. Seeing your baby like this is horrible; hooked up to monitors & needing oxygen to help him breathe…But then he melts into me when I pick him up & that peace comes rushing back.

The fact that the surgery he’ll need is so “routine” & successful is comforting. But no matter how you put it, open heart surgery on my baby terrifies me. We thought his symptoms wouldn’t show until at least 6 weeks & we also thought he wouldn’t need surgery until he was 3-6 months old…and we just found out he’ll need it within 4-6 weeks. No baby should have to go through this & neither should any parent.

In the midst of all of this we are able to trust in our just, merciful, omnipotent, loving, compassionate, all powerful God. He is walking with us. And I know He understands my anger & pain. I don’t need to put on a happy face all of the time…I can’t…I’m having a really hard time & I don’t understand it. I want to take Marty home & take him off all of the machines & not have to worry about the possibility of coming back here. All I can do is continue to cry out to the Lord & look to Him for the strength I don’t have on my own. I thank Him every day for giving me Martin as my partner to walk through this with. He knew he was the perfect man for me. His mercies are new every morning & He gives us just enough for each day. Praising Him in this “storm”.

Martin James Clason Jr.

At around 7pm on Sunday February 14 I thought I felt my my water break. I called my doctor & they said to come in & they’ll check to see if that’s what it was & if so they’d admit me. I was trying to remain calm & not freak out too much so I took my time, packed my hospital bag (oops didn’t have it ready haha) & we headed to the hospital! We got there after 8 & they did a test & came back that my water did indeed break! I couldn’t believe it was actually happening. And that I wasn’t freaking out more!

I was admitted & sent to my delivery room. They wanted to let me labor naturally & if things didn’t start moving along they’d induce me by 2am. It was the most laid back experience. I ate Popsicles, we watched movies, slept a little & felt very relaxed. Then around 2am they induced me & the contractions started. Before they just felt like tightening but then they started getting real…I could only lay on my left side because any other position would make his heart rate drop low so that was kind of scary. But once I was laying that way he was fine. Then with every contraction, his heart rate would dip down so they took me off of the pitocin to give him a break.

I continued to have contractions & once his heart rate was more stable they put me back on it but a lower dose. By 6am the contractions very very painful!! They kept telling me I could have the epidural whenever I wanted, but I didn’t want to be a baby. They told me I was being very tough & that they were really effective contractions. So at 7:30am I said okay I’m ready for it!! I don’t know how women do it without. It made the whole experience so much more enjoyable!

I watched some more movies & even took a nap! I went from being dilated to 7, to 10 very quickly. They called in my doctor & he asked if I wanted to start pushing & I said “yes!! Why wait?!” So I started pushing at 2pm & he was born at 2:09!! My doctor was very impressed with my pushing skills haha. After Martin cut the cord, the doctor plopped him right on my chest & little Martin looked right into my eyes & I melted. It was love at first sight. 5 lbs 7 oz & 18.6 inches long. I couldn’t believe he was ours!!! We both cried with joy.

They asked what we were going to name him & I looked over at Marty & he said “Martin James Clason Jr.” I didn’t know Marty was on board with the name & I was so excited!!! He said he’d been on board for a month & was trolling me haha. He was very blue so they had to give him some oxygen but we could hear him cry so that was very reassuring. My nurses & Doctor were amazing.

We couldn’t believe was a relaxing and peaceful experience it all was!! Little did we know what we were in for…before my parents came in to meet him our nurse pointed out that he had a few markers for Down syndrome: he has one line that goes all the way across his palms, only one joint in his pinky finger, upturned eyes & a gap between his big toe & the rest. At first we were thinking that there was no way! He looked completely fine, they said he was healthy & I am young!! But then we realized they were right…

We had to wait on genetic testing to be sure, but we knew. Never in a million years would we have expected that. Immediately I thought, “did I do something wrong?! Is it my fault?” We both broke down but know our Lord has an amazing plan & we couldn’t love Martin junior any more. Once the initial shock wore off we are so at peace. The Lord will equip us whatever the tests say. Marty is such an amazing dad & the way he’s handing this amazes me. He cried with me when we found out but immediately said how much he loves him & he’s his son so he’s perfect. Martin Jr. seriously SO perfect & I am so blessed to be his mommy.

My parents came in to meet him & when we told them they didn’t even skip a beat & told him how much they love him & that he was NOT a mistake. The tests did come back positive for Trisomy 21 which meant they would do an Echo ultrasound on his heart to make sure he didn’t have any heart problems-which is very common with Down syndrome. We weren’t worried because nothing had shown up on my 20 week ultrasound & they didn’t hear anything off when they examined him since he was born.

But to our shock, a cardiologist came back to inform us that he has an AV canal defect. Which is basically two holes in his heart that makes it so the blood mixes & can get into the lungs. (That may not actually be right, I think I blocked it out) He said it doesn’t repair on its own & will require surgery. I was in complete shock. They couldn’t tell us more until someone could read the ultrasound more completely. They compared it to congestive heart failure.

I cried harder than I’ve ever cried before. I couldn’t imagine them taking my tiny baby away for open heart surgery. We thought we were going to lose him. We cried out to the Lord & begged him to heal Martin Jr. & that if surgery was necessary that He would watch over & protect him. We had just gotten past the shock of his diagnosis & now this. I didn’t think I could handle it. I am so blessed to be walking through this all with Martin Sr. He is so strong & yet he cried with me & prayed when I couldn’t.

Waiting to hear the next steps was excruciatingly painful. The next day, the cardiologist came back & explained that normally the symptoms don’t start until babies are 4-6 weeks old & they start to breathe rapidly consistently in a way that effects their eating. He said it’s a gradual thing & we will know. At that point, they would give him medication to balance out the pressures in his heart & lungs until he is 3-6 months old & strong enough for surgery. I felt like a massive weight was lifted off my shoulders!!

He wouldn’t be whisked off to surgery & it wouldn’t be a sudden tragic moment that his heart would give out. He said the surgery is extremely successful & once his heart is healed he’ll have so much more energy & will likely be able to nurse! We were overjoyed. He joked that he’d never had people so excited about open heart surgery before!!

This was amazing news compared to what we were expecting.
We had family come to meet him and then the day after he was born, he was taken to the NICU so they could keep a close watch on his heart. He also had to be put on an IV of glucose because his blood sugars needed to be regulated.

He looked so tiny & helpless in the incubator hooked up to everything. I couldn’t believe this was happening. He wasn’t getting enough of my milk & wouldn’t latch on & my heart broke. I was so looking forward to nursing & was devastated I wasn’t able to. He wasn’t strong enough, yet I felt like I was the one failing. I couldn’t even feed my baby…the enemy knew right where to strike. Thankfully I was able to pump & they gave him my milk through a feeding tube. Everyone kept saying that my milk was the best thing for him. And I was so happy he was able to at least get it, even if it wasn’t through nursing.

The next 2 weeks have been an absolute whirlwind & roller coaster of emotions. In the midst of it all, we’ve had such an overwhelming sense of peace. This is exactly where we are supposed to be. I feel more sure of that every day. Martin Jr. is not a mistake, there is nothing “wrong” about him & who he is. He is a child of the King & we are beyond blessed our Lord chose us to be his parents. I have such a fierce love for little Marty that grows each & every day!

We couldn’t believe how many people took time to make us meals & bring them to the hospital or to our home! That has been such a gift. The outpouring of love & support is incredible. So many people have committed to praying for Martin Jr. & our entire family & we will be forever grateful.

Blown away at the amount of genuine care we received from the nurses. Every one of my nurses who took care of me & Martin Jr. were so amazing & took such great care of us. Once he was transferred to the NICU they would ask for updates & wanted to make sure Martin sr. & I were doing ok. Their care goes way above & beyond just their job. I can feel it. One nurse, Laurel, who walked me out once I was discharged made me promise to call them all on the floor to give them an update on Jr. ūüôā

The Lord hears your prayers & we sure feel covered in prayer & love. I’m overwhelmed (in the best way) at the amount of people offering to make meals, just talk, or anything else they can do to make us feel comfortable. We have the most amazing support system & everyone at the hospital comments on that & can see it.

We still get to snuggle our little guy which is a huge blessing! He’s getting stronger every day & is actually starting to nurse more. He gets very tired but he definitely knows what he’s doing. We learned how to put in & take out his feeding tube & how to feed him through it in case he doesn’t take his whole bottles.

My mom has been by my side nearly every day when Martin is at work. And I cannot thank her enough. Whether it’s to hold our sweetie while I pump, cleaning my pump parts, being there to talk to or holding me when I cry & don’t think I can do it…she’s been there. You never stop needing your mom. I now am just beginning to understand her incredible love for all of us kids! Now I’m extra blessed to have a mother in love who has come nearly every day to love on our little Marty & to encourage me & listen. I couldn’t ask for more.

The nurses, doctors, occupational therapists, physical therapists, geneticists, & cardiologists have made what could’ve been a horrible experience somehow comfortable. Of course we’d rather have him home, but we feel so confident he’s receiving the best care. And more importantly, they genuinely care for him-not just his treatment & that warms my mommy heart.

It’ll still be a long road but we feel so confident in our Lord & the plan He has for us. We can’t wait to see more of Martin Jr’s little personality & know for a fact the Lord will use him in big ways. He already is. He melts hearts of everyone he meets ūüôā I’m so proud of our little fighter & know he’ll get through this! Thank you all again for your continued love & prayers!!

 

Week 34

34 weeks

Up until this week, I have had tons of energy & was feeling fantastic…now the exhaustion is setting in. My body is making it very clear to me all the work it is doing preparing our little guy for the world. Bending down to get things, standing up from a seated position, and sleeping are becoming increasingly difficult.¬†All that I can manage to comfortably wear are yoga pants, sports bras, and very stretchy shirts. Thankfully I have a job where¬†those types of clothing are ideal. Despite the exhaustion, I’ve forced myself to get up & be active. Although getting off the couch is the last thing I want to do, once I’m done with my workout I feel SO much better. Our little guy is the best motivation to be as healthy as possible.

I’ve been going through the “Waiting in Wonder” devotional/journal & absolutely loving it. There are spaces to write little love notes to your baby, weekly baby developmental updates, a short devotional & questions to reflect on. I cannot wait to read them to¬†our little guy some day. The Lord has been revealing¬†more & more of Himself throughout this pregnancy. I’m experiencing even more¬†of His great love & closeness-I can’t imagine loving our baby more than I already do & I know that doesn’t even come close to my Father’s love for me. He is teaching me of my need for Him & giving me a strong desire for intimate¬†relationship with Him. Carrying this baby in my womb reminds me of my dependence and the grace the Lord has poured on my life.

According to my pregnancy apps, he is about the size of a cantaloupe & will continue to pack on the pounds & body fat. At only 6 weeks until he reaches “full term” he has a 99% chance of thriving outside the womb with no future health problems. Although I really want him to stay safe & sound in my womb, I am extremely comforted by that statistic. We would like a little longer to prepare though haha. I’d like to at least have his room ready ūüėČ

 

 

mommy is feeling: exhausted at times but otherwise great!

weight gain: 15 lbs

food cravings: fresh food

food aversions: nothing

maternity clothes: borrowing lots still & LOVING them

movement: lots & lots! He likes to go up under my ribs & jab me

emotions: I cried for like 20 minutes because shaving is so difficult haha the tears made it even more difficult

sleep: been waking up at 4:30 almost every morning to go to the bathroom

favorite moment of the week: meeting our newest niece Emilie Rose!!

things i’m praying about: strength & patience for the last few weeks. That he would stay cookin till he’s ready to thrive outside my womb.

looking forward to: meeting our little guy!!

Week 29

mommy is feeling: fantastic!
weight gain: about 12 pounds so far
food cravings: sweets
food aversions: nothing
maternity clothes: black dress & pajamas
movement: all the time ūüôā
emotions: pretty normal
sleep: amazing with my new snoogle pillow!!
favorite moment of the week: preparing for Christmas ūüíĚ
things i’m praying about: that he would go full term & that the third trimester would go smoothly!
looking forward to: Christmas with family!! First Christmas married to Marty ‚̧

I’m at 30 weeks now which absolutely blows my mind! I’ve been feeling great & we did a “no sweets” month which I hated…but loved how I felt haha. Christmas was such a wonderful time & we were able to have plenty of time to relax with family-and enjoy TONS of delicious food. I laughed so hard I nearly cried too many times to count. It is crazy to think that our little guy will be 9 months old next Christmas! It will be a blast to have him here to celebrate with & spoil ūüėČ I am very excited to read him stories of the true meaning of Christmas & to share with him the Greatest Gift of all. We pray he will have a heart for the Lord &¬†will be drawn to Him. This advent season is a wonderful¬†reminder of the¬†beauty in waiting. Times of anticipation can be scary, stressful, & exciting all at the same time. We know there is much to learn & much room for growth. We are thankful for this time of waiting¬†& actively preparing. Labor & delivery are scary things to think about, but I know the Lord will give me strength. The reward of holding our¬†little boy will make it all more than worth it.

We are looking forward to this time off of work next week & for much needed time of rest. It’s been such a busy time of life lately & we’re ready for a break from all the activities. I’m excited to cook more meals & have time to sit down for nice dinners. We are also hoping to get his nursery finished up! Our kitties are loving the time at home with us & have been extra cuddly which I love.

The third trimester has been wonderful so far! I’ve been blessed with a very easy & uneventful pregnancy. I’m feeling very large, but in a good way! I had an appointment last week & I’m measuring right on track & his heart rate sounded good. Now I’ll start going every two weeks. He continues to practice his acrobatic skills. We crack up when we look at my stomach & he’s going crazy! It’s fun to try to imagine what he could be doing in there. Each week brings us closer to meeting our little guy & although I’m EXTREMELY excited to meet him, I am treasuring this time of such closeness to him. Being pregnant has taught me so much & I truly am soaking up every minute of it.

Second Trimester Bliss

I cannot express how much I’m LOVING carrying our sweet, active boy! The second trimester has been wonderful. I have so much more energy & feel even better than I did before I was pregnant. I’ve been able to get back into cooking & baking (Marty is very happy about this) & feel more like myself. I was worried I would have trouble accepting my growing belly & that I would feel self conscious…but surprisingly I love the fact that my stomach is getting bigger. My expanding stomach is an outward sign of the life growing & developing inside. Feeling him move around is the most incredible experience. I swear he’s doing barrel rolls all day! It’s been even more fun¬†since¬†Martin is able to feel him as well. I love sharing these moments with him.

We started painting his nursery & found a great crib/dresser/changing table set that I’m thrilled about! I can’t wait to have his room all set up & ready for him. Preparing for his arrival is both terrifying and exciting. We want to be the best parents we can be & trust the Lord will give us wisdom & discernment in the way we should raise him. We know we cannot do anything by our own strength & are humbled were chosen¬†to be his parents. Our friends & family have been extremely generous & we have tons of amazing people to help us raise this child. All glory & honor to the Lord!!

Some updates:

Weeks 21 & 22

mommy is feeling: great other than lots of stomach aches

weight gain: 8 lbs total

food cravings: nothing
food aversions: nothing
maternity clothes: got a lot of cute stuff with birthday money
movement: all the time!!! I love it!! Getting so strong. Marty was able to feel too ūüôā
emotions: I tear up a lot & can be very irritable
sleep: I get soooo hot at night/difficult to get comfortable
favorite moment of the week: finding out we’re having a BOY! And announcing at Bogan Bowl.
things i’m praying about: extra love and patience & that our little boy would continue to grow & stay healthy (as always)
looking forward to: a relaxing weekend with my love

Weeks 23 & 24

mommy is feeling: FANTASTIC

weight gain: 10 lbs total
food cravings: soups & warm foods
food aversions: nothing
maternity clothes: my non maternity leggings & yoga pants still fit but non maternity shirts are getting really short
movement: tons and tons!
emotions: depends on the day
sleep: get up throughout the night but am able to fall back to sleep. I could use a body pillow!!
favorite moment of the week: being able to start painting his room & finding a crib/dresser set!
things i’m praying about: that he would continue to grow until full term! And we would practice the habits we want to have as a family
looking forward to: Thanksgiving with family!

 

Weeks 13 & 14

Today as I was praying, I was thanking the Lord for using my body to nurture and create¬†another life. I am amazed to think that in order for this baby to grow & develop, my body is absolutely necessary. My body that is damaged & flawed; that has been nearly destroyed by the effects¬†of an eating disorder, poor food choices, drinking too much…I don’t deserve this but am beyond thankful. My Savior’s redemptive grace is displayed perfectly through the ability to not only conceive,but carry¬†a child. Honestly, I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to get pregnant. I always knew there was a chance that infertility could be a consequence of the eating disorder. I am¬†brought to tears when I think of what a gift I’ve been given. The Lord has chosen to use me to create a life. Not just despite all I’ve done & failed to do. But because of it. He uses the imperfect to show His glory. This baby is His and we are beyond blessed to have been trusted in caring for & raising this tiny miracle. He has a plan and a purpose & I cannot wait to be a part of it. Humbled, overjoyed, & so so thankful.

Now for week 13 & 14 of updates:

mommy is feeling: fantastic!! 

weight gain: not sure

food cravings: ice cream 

food aversions: anything smelling strongly of garlic

maternity clothes: lots from Ashley! 

movement: hopefully soon!! 

emotions: heightened. Everything hits me harder. 

sleep: great! 

favorite moment of the week: all the family time & also alone time with Martin. Michigan game!

things i’m praying about: that I would be present and enjoy every moment

looking forward to: feeling our baby move!!