Friday, June 29, 2012

It's like Christmas - only not so much

Remember that feeling you used to get as a kid when Christmas Eve came around?  You were SO excited, nervous, ready for it to be here, but not ready for it to be over?  Forcing yourself to go to sleep because you knew that if you didn't go to sleep tomorrow would never get here.  That pretty much describes us at the moment. 

We are so ready to meet our baby, but so scared and anxious and worried about what meeting him entails.  We are both so on edge right now - ready to snap at any moment.  Between the anxiety surrounding Dryden's birth - not to mention other things going on in our lives, things are REALLY hard right now.   Neither of us is sleeping... me, mostly because of the normal FUN stuff at the end of pregnancy... heartburn, leg cramps... oh the joys.  But more than that... night is always the time your brain has time to wander... anxiety has time to settle in... and with nothing to stop you from thinking about everything - sleep just doesn't come easy.

For those of you who know what we are going through - I don't need to explain a thing.  You've been there. For those of you who don't know... I don't think I really CAN explain.   Any time someone says anything about it, I have to refrain from getting upset - like them saying something about it will somehow make the situation worse.  Like maybe, just maybe this is all a bad dream and we will wake up and everything will be fine.  Most parents know, reality never really sets in until after the baby is born.  Until then - until you hold your baby for the first time... second time... maybe even bring them home... it just isn't real.  I feel like maybe if I don't actually say the words, everything will be fine.  

I still find it extremely hard when someone asks about Dryden to actually speak the words Spina Bifida or Hydrocephalus.  It hurts.  Those are words you hear when you are flipping through the channels and see a medical show.  Those are words that describe someone else.  Those are NOT words that describe a baby - not YOUR baby.  

As the time ticks by, and the day fast approaches, its much harder to just stay busy and think about other things.  The optimist in me says, "It could always be worse"... and the pessimist screams, "Yeah, well it could always be better too!".   I find myself more and more thinking about Dryden growing up.  Will he be made fun of?  Will he be accepted?  Will I be a good mom to him?  Will I have enough patience?  What if I can't handle this!? And I hate myself for thinking a lot of these things because I know deep down that no matter what, its going to be ok.  

I suppose the good news is that the tests have all been consistent from week to week.  No significant changes in anything.  The nurses and ultrasound tech have become my new best friends.  At least that's how it seems... I sure do see them a lot more than most of my friends.  Everyone has been so nice and helpful.  And being able to see the SAME nurses really helps to relax you when you are in there strapped to a machine and being poked and prodded once a week!!

Still feel so very lucky to have B in my life.  It's amazing how some people really are just meant to be.  It certainly hasn't been the easiest road... but we are learning.  I've never had someone who I could so openly talk to... be best friends with... and have SO MUCH in common.  I don't think a lot of people are lucky enough to say that.  While I know this journey isn't going to be easy, I always know that there is someone  beside me helping me along and sharing my burden.  Dryden is going to have a great father.  

Tina comes back next weekend - and I have never been so excited to get her back!!  I miss my little shorty.  Usually I'm so booked up for the summer everything flies by and it seems like she is back in no time. This summer... since I've pretty much not been able to stay too busy outside the house, I have missed her every second.  She's only been gone for about a month but it seems like YEARS!!!!

So much going on in the next couple of weeks, I may not be able to write much... but I'll try and stay in touch. Thanks for everyone leaving encouraging comments too.  I just figured out how to read them.  :)  Love all of you guys.  

Sunday, June 24, 2012


frazzledpast participle, past tense of fraz·zle (Verb)

  1. Cause to feel completely exhausted; wear out

I remember how frazzled I got in the weeks leading up to Tina's birth... and then how much MORE frazzled I got every day she was late!!  That little stinker waited TWO WEEKS after the due date - and then had to be induced!!

Well, it's setting in again!!  That sheer panic that there are only a few weeks ... days... until the baby will be here - and OMG we aren't ready!!

I must say... I'm pretty easy going most of the time.  But this isn't my first rodeo... I remember all the things that need to be done!!  Car seat ready... crib set up... clothes all washed and put away... house cleaned THOROUGHLY... kitchen stocked... they all seem pretty simple - but they are all things I won't be able to do right after having him!  And to top it all off... with the surgeries and his extended stay in the hospital - I'm sure I won't be home much anyways!!

Let's throw in that in the middle of all of this I still have Tina coming back from her dad's and I have to get her ready for school to start back up.  School shopping, uniforms, registration, schedules... oh my!!! Things are going to get a little crazy in the next couple of weeks.

And have I mentioned I am still working full time - if not overtime trying to make up for missing so much work because of doctor's appointments - which happen so often now I may as well just start renting one of the exam rooms!!  Yep... frazzled is the PERFECT definition of how I feel right now!!

Let me send out a warning now - if I snap at you, I'm sorry.  If for some reason you find me in the fetal position crying in a dark corner... well... its probably just because I missed a spot cleaning the kitchen or there is laundry piled up.  Nothing to see here, move along.

I swear - everything has me on edge right now.  The fact that I'm not able to move around and get things done has me so worked up that I cried for almost an hour this morning.  And for those of you that know me - I am NOT a cryer!!!  Now, of course, I feel really stupid even admitting it - but there you have it.  I cried about laundry.  Never thought I'd say that sentence!!!



I finally got to meet my nephew and he is so perfect.  He is just absolutely beautiful.  My brother would definitely be very proud of his little dude.   And holding him made me realize even more ... I really can't wait to meet my little man.  I can't wait to see his little face and kiss his nose.  And although it may not be right away - holding him for the first time is going to be absolutely incredible.

What color hair does he have?  What color eyes will he have?  Is he going to look like mommy or more like daddy?!  I know I'm not alone here - there are so many seemingly meaningless things (given the circumstances) that I am just DYING to know.

Come on little dude!!  Mommy and Daddy want to see you!!!  

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Celebrations and Sadness

We got to tour the NICU today and meet some of the staff that will be taking care of Dryden.  We went over how things will go from check in to discharge.  We talked about who would be allowed to see the baby, visiting hours, surgery... all of it.

I have to say... we were very impressed by both the staff and the NICU.  

As a quick detour... Congrats are in order!!

Yesterday my nephew was born!!!!  

Brody Kristian Bell
 8 lbs. 11 oz.
For those of you who don't know... he's a pretty special baby.  His father, my little brother Brad, died in December... two days after Christmas.  

It's been really hard to deal with, but just knowing Brody was coming kept everyone going.  Unfortunately, I haven't been able to meet him yet, but I really can't wait... 


We went for our weekly stress test/ultrasound today to check Dryden's progress.  The great news is that nothing has changed.  He is still growing (up to 5 lbs. today!!) right on track.  They are keeping an eye on his left foot... they said they may see some inward turning in it but that since its so slight and so late, there shouldn't be much to worry about.  While trying to get pictures of his feet though - which he NEVER wants to cooperate with - he did leave us this lovely picture... 

Dryden's BUTT 6-20-2012

Now, I know to some people that is like looking at a blob of black and grey... however... the caption is correct - it IS his butt.  He refused to show us his feet - but GLADLY showed us his rear... man our hands are going to be full!! 

The doctor was pretty wishy-washy on delivering him at 37 weeks now.  I still haven't gotten a clear answer on whether or not she is still on board for that.  Which is a little frustrating when trying to schedule maternity leave and school starting for Tina bug and... well everything else!  She just kinda left it as we will see how it goes... not very helpful!!


Everyone keeps asking how I'm holding up.  And up until today, I can honestly say that I really have been ok.  I've really been trying to be strong through all of this.  I know there isn't anything that can change the situation, and I was determined that being upset about it wouldn't help anything.  

Today that all went out the window.  I think the reality of it all really sunk in and all those feelings came rushing back.  The biggest one being, "It's just not fair."  Please don't misunderstand... I'm not sitting around pouting and saying WHY ME.  It isn't about me.  My heart hurts for HIM.  Knowing that he is going to be born and then rushed into another room and I won't be able to DO anything just hurts.  When they were going through everything at the hospital today I really had to muster up every bit of will power to not break down.  

I have no doubt in my mind that BJ will more than make up for any time I'm not able to spend with him... but that really only makes me feel more helpless right now.  I want to fix him, I want to make everything better... and I won't be able to.  

Sometimes even the strongest people are allowed a few moments of weakness.  And even though I won't let myself in the presence of ... well anyone... I am still going to cry.  It doesn't mean I'm going to wallow in self-pity or pity for Dryden either.  It just means that 99% of the time I will continue to be Wonder woman... but there is that 1% of the time where I just need to be plain old me... no super powers.  

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Father's Dream - Redefined

Society gives you this little box.  Its all wrapped up in this perfect little pink or blue bow.  The problem is, inside that box is everything that society deems "ideal".  Anything not in that box just isn't really acceptable.   

You can't help but get wrapped up in the hype.  In our case, our little blue box was filled with dirt bikes, football, skateboards, drums and guitars.  Its all we talked about.  BJ is so full of life... and so willing to share that life with everyone - especially kids.  I'll never forget the first time I saw him with kids... the way he interacts with them... it really is ALL about the kids.  I know he wanted so badly to be able to share that with his little boy.  

I remember when the doctor told us originally.  Maybe all we heard were the worst things... maybe she just really wanted to give us the worst possible news and work her way down from there.  I just remember her being so ... cold... about it all.  I remember thinking that it was like she was just talking about a picture on the screen... and maybe to her that's all it was.  Hearing that "he may not be able to walk" and that due to the fluid on his brain, "there will be developmental issues".  Every time BJ would ask, is there any chance it isn't that bad... all I could hear her say is, "It's bad... it's definitely not good".  

I remember looking at BJ, watching him take in the news, and seeing all the dreams he had just disappear in an instant.  I felt like I had failed. Like for some reason it was all my fault.  I couldn't give him the perfect little box with the perfect blue bow that he deserved.  

I've since come to realize that we are not a perfect little box with a perfect blue bow kinda family.  In fact... as far as a "normal" family goes... we are about as FAR from it as you can get!!!


Our little box may not be the ideal little box with the perfect little blue bow... but who wants that?!  Instead, our little box is brightly colored, oddly shaped, and the bow probably doesn't match.  In other words... it's perfect for us!!  

For those of you who know BJ... you know that he is about as broken as they come.  All those dreams of football, skateboarding and dirt bikes have certainly taken their toll on his poor body.  Needless to say... his box is busted up, his bow has been ripped to shreds... and he is just perfect.  

Today was father's day.  And I don't think BJ could have been any happier.  Seeing him so exited just makes me so happy to be able to share this little box with him.  

And daddy's dreams... they aren't gone after all.  They've just shifted focus a little.  

I'm such a lucky girl... 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Dryden Jacob Corvers Fund

One of the best parts of living in New Orleans and being a part of the music scene down here is that when the going gets tough - no matter who it's for... everyone pulls together. No questions, they just get the job done. Our friends have put together a huge benefit concert for us at Southport Hall on July 27th. Dryden will most likely still be in the hospital, but I will try my hardest to make it. BJ... well he doesn't get a choice - he's playing guitar that night. :) There will be food, a raffle, and a silent auction - with all proceeds going to a fund to help pay for Dryden's medical costs and care. We have the coolest friends, I swear. Come check out the local music scene that night - as I'm sure the lineup will be pretty killer. Thanks to everyone putting this event on - we really can't thank you enough!! I've put the link in for anyone that wants to donate. Every dollar helps, trust me. No amount is too small when it comes to our little ninja. :) WE LOVE YOU!!!!!!

Little Ninjas

We have joked since we first felt him move that Dryden was our little ninja.  He would kick/punch SO hard that it would literally knock the wind out of me!!  And if I thought it was bad then, now is even crazier!!!  Last night we were laying on the sofa watching TV and he was just going to town.  OMG was it painful, but I have to say... I've come to long for that pain.  When we first found out about everything, one of the first things BJ said to me was I hope he continues to kick the s*** out of you!!  He was right too... just knowing he is moving around so much in there, as painful as it is, is encouraging to the both of us.

Since I posted yesterday, I have heard from so many people reaching out and I must say - it is just amazing. BJ and I are soaking up every bit of information we can but reading things off the internet, as you all know, can be so draining and depressing.  Knowing people who have personally gone through what you are going through is so encouraging and inspiring.  All of the crazy things you really want to know, but are too afraid to ask... seeing pictures of beautiful children who fight so hard and make it look so easy.  Its just awesome.

Here are two blogs I wanted to share... about two amazing little boys and their parents.

The first one is Breighton... I have seen so many pictures of him and I have to say... there isn't ONE where he looks even remotely annoyed, grouchy, or sad.

And then there is Gage.  I've been told that he is the happiest kid in the world... and he looks like it too!!

The world is full of little ninjas... fighting the very same battle!

I've taken so many things for granted with my little Tina bug.  She is such an independent little punk and she always has been.  Even from birth she kinda just said, "Watch out mom, I got this."  She is so laid back and just goes with the flow. She's never really been sick... never had any medical issues... she's just... her!!  There isn't much I have to do for her anymore, she takes care of herself for the most part.  Everyone always tells me that Tina is like a little mommy herself.  Always taking care of the little kids around her.  And I realized... I have the best little helper I could possibly hope for.  

All this time, all I've been thinking about is "my poor baby"... when in reality... Dryden will probably be much stronger than I could ever dream.  My friend told me the other day, "Things may not be normal, but they will be YOUR normal."  And when I talked to Gage's mother... she said, "We just did what we had to do because he was our sweet baby and nothing else mattered."  

I know its going to be tough.  And I know there are going to be days where I am going to break down.  But I have the most awesome man and amazing little girl on my side.  

It still breaks my heart but I find myself thinking a little differently now.  All this time I've been picturing this frail little bandaged up baby when in reality, Dryden will come out fighting... and all those Bruce Lee moves he's doing in there... they are just practice.  

 Our little Ninja's got this. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I guess I should start from the beginning... although that seems like a lifetime ago now.  This one is going to be a long one so here goes:

I must admit, I was scared to death.  Neither of us were ready for this - and we certainly weren't planning on having kids any time soon.  I had made up my mind after going through this once already that the next time I had a baby things would be done right. We would be married, have a house, and would have really planned things out.  Yet, here I was, about to break the news that a baby was coming.

Through my sobs he found out.  And all I got was "Baby, it's all going to be ok".  No fear, no hesitation.  That was it.  And since that moment it was settled.  It was all going to be ok.

We didn't break the news right away... Christmas was around the corner and we really wanted it to be special.  We made up cards to give to the family...

And then the word was out.  There was going to be a Baby Corvers!!  Everyone was SO excited.  The first few months flew by... we had our first ultrasound... and everything was perfect.

And so it began!!  The wait to find out what our little bundle would be!!  We started looking at names and trying to decide on something.  Man was that hard!!  We went through the ENTIRE baby name book... but we kept coming back to the two names that weren't even IN the book!!  Dryden Jacob and Lera Grace.  They were just... perfect.

Time passed (very slowly) until we finally were able to make the appointment.  The ultrasound was great, everything was normal!  Instead of finding out the gender at the ultrasound we decided it would be so much more exciting to find out with everyone else, so we waited.  And let me tell you, the week between the ultrasound and the Reveal Party was excruciating!!   I really didn't think we were going to make it, but especially BJ!  He wanted to know SO badly.

The day came and the cake was cut... it was BLUE!!

We were having a BOY!!!!!!!  Oh my GOD were we excited!!!  Dryden Jacob Corvers it was!!  I really cannot even describe the feeling at that moment!!!!  I wanted to cry and scream and laugh all at once!!

Than came the 3D ultrasound... and we got to see our little monster's face... he looked JUST LIKE daddy.

After that, the checkups were normal, everything was closing in and coming together.  Until our appointment on May 21st.  That was when we heard the words no parent ever expects... "We think there may be a problem".  My whole body went numb.  We were sitting there joking and laughing one minute, and then ...

The doctor explained that they saw more fluid than usual in one of the Dryden's ventricles in his brain.  He assured us that nothing else looked abnormal and aside from the fluid he was a perfect baby.  He made an appointment with a specialist.  I cried all the way back to work.  How could this be?  What happened? But once again, without fear, and without hesitation, all BJ said was, "It's all going to be ok."  I tried to accept that and decided he was right.  It was ok.  The doctor said so - everything else was perfect.

We headed to the specialist fully confident that everything was fine, and it wasn't going to be an issue.  We did the usual intake stuff... and sat there waiting for the ultrasound.  The tech came in and started the ultrasound.  We watched in complete confusion and silence as measurements were taken.  Then they started entering the data.  We noticed that there were a lot of "abnormals" being checked off and all I remember thinking is, no... he said everything was perfect.  After the doctor finished her ultrasound she started talking.  And that is when we found out.  Everything wasn't perfect.  In fact - everything was just turned upside down.  Dryden didn't only have a little fluid in his brain, he had quite a bit.  And not only that... he had a spinal defect.  She started throwing out words I couldn't pronounce, much less remember... and I just stopped listening.  We just cried.  For the first time, I saw the fear... the hesitation... everything wasn't going to be alright.

I think I cried for days.  I didn't answer my phone... I didn't talk to anyone.  I was so angry.  Of all emotions to feel... anger.  How could this be happening?!  I did EVERYTHING right!!!  But there it was.  BJ and I didn't talk about it.  Neither of us really knew what to say.  Added to the fact that we both had stopped listening at some point, so neither of us could quite remember everything the doctor said.

The week between our appointments was hell.  Trying to get through the day was exhausting.  And every day, I'd get home and after putting Tina to bed, I'd just cry myself to sleep.  And then it came... the confidence that had been missing.  BJ came into the room one night and said, "No matter what, he will be perfect."  And just like that - I was ok.  I knew he was right.  I had him beside me, and we were going to get through this... together.

The appointments come and go now... and we have since learned the problems our little buddy will face.  He has a form of Spina Bifida.  It was a defect that was formed within only 26 days of conception.  Nothing anyone did caused it... we were the 1 in 1000.  The fluid on the brain was Hydrocephalus.  There are tubes that run the spinal fluid (which is created daily in the brain) down the spinal cord and keeps everything lubricated.  One of these was blocked creating a "backup" of the fluid in his brain.

The hardest part for us at this point is just knowing that our little baby will be having surgery within days of his delivery.  The first will be to correct the spinal defect and close the open sac.  The second will be to drain the fluid in his brain and place a valve and a tube inside that will drain into his stomach.  The rest is unknown. We really won't know the rest until he gets here.  And then we will only have an idea.  The true test will come as milestones begin to be achieved and progress is tracked.

One thing we do know though is... its all going to be ok.  No matter what.