A big milestone happened this May! This was Asher's first time going to the 2 year old classroom at church! (Prior to this a volunteer watched him in the hallway away from kids, or at our house.)
We are incredibly thankful for all the Lord has healed in Asher and for all He protected him from. I am amazed every time he copies a word I say now. I am amazed at the things he connects and remembers. Because I know that is not a given for every child. I know how delicate the inter workings of a premature brain are. I know that it is all God's grace that so far that Asher has the ability to make connections in his brain. Everyday he is communicating with us more and more. That's a gift. It's not a given.
Then there's his coordination. That's also a gift. He can climb, run, scoot and steer his bike, hit a baseball off a tee, dunk a basketball, hit a golf ball, and he can throw EVERYTHING in sight over the fence and into our pool. Those skills are gifts. And sometimes I am overwhelmed by the number of gifts we have been given through him.
Climbed up by himself! (I stood MUCH closer after snapping the pic!)
Throwing the ball into the sink, and making it in several times!
And then there's his personality. Another extravagant gift. He raises his eyebrows and gets a playful twinkle in his eye when he understands you are doing something silly to make him laugh. He is funny, he is feisty, and he is sweet too.
And the BIGGEST accomplishment for him so far in being a 2 year old is that he has been OFF his feeding tube for over a MONTH now! We checked him into a month long feeding program in April in an attempt to get him to drink so we would not need his feeding tube, and our 2nd goal was that he would eat more table food. Well, through the program he did start drinking by mouth, and he maintained eating by mouth as well…only just blended puree texture-like foods. However, it is NOT easy. He does not WANT to eat or drink. But we are getting it done, using a strict system and lots of reinforcement/rewards with toys, watching shows, and using iPad apps. When he refuses a bite or drink, those things are taken away until he takes it, or we present something different to encourage him to take the bite. The meal is timed, when the timer goes off it's over, regardless of what he ate/drank. Now, that we are at home, we do extend the time sometimes because we know how much we really need to get in to keep him from needing his g-button. For now, he's just eating blended table foods in meals, so we blend up lasagna, soups, etc and feed him those. We are hoping the next big step will be including table foods in meals. He is not super interested in them and his skills with chewing still aren't great. We are praying this is the year that he becomes and eater who LIKES eating and initiates it himself. I can't explain how amazing this would be. And we also pray his throwing up would stop or become a lot less frequent. The last few weeks have been rough with him throwing up once or twice a day. It's part of having feedings issues and a sensitive gag reflex, and reflux discomfort, but this has been more frequent than usual. And now that he's 2, he can voluntarily do it too, where as when he was a baby he didn't have any control over it. This means, he sometimes initiates it himself when he doesn't want to take a bite. So….he's got his gag/GI reasons for it happening, and then the 2 year old "I want to be in control" thing going for him too. Not fun ya'll. Just not fun. We've had times where it's been more like 1x a week, and I would be totally FINE with being back to that.
Drawing on the tray because that what got the bites in that time! We constantly have to try new and random things!
20 wks- 4D ultrasound
This was a big step for me. To even get a "counting" banner, to take these pictures…not knowing how many I would get to take or if it would become painful to look at them after a loss. But, this is faith. Stepping forward, finding joy in the moment right in front of us!
We are immensely thankful the Lord has sustained this baby boy's life so far. I am almost 23 weeks. A few days away from when I delivered Asher and Titus. I'm not in a hospital bed like I was last time at 23 weeks. It has not escaped me how thankful I am that I am walking around doing normal things. I longed for that when I was on bed rest for a month in the hospital, only getting up once a day for a 15 min shower. We are praying we have many more weeks of "normal" in the pregnancy. And that this little boy will not have to deal with fighting for his life when he is born. We know, though, at the end of the day, God will be glorified no matter what. We have experienced that. He is faithful, and He is gracious all the time. In all of our circumstances He has showed us that. We sang these words this week in church…"You are faithful, You are gracious" and my first thought was, yes, He is so faithful and gracious right now. Gracious to allow Asher to not need his tube. Gracious to allow me to carry a baby. But He isn't any more gracious now than on the day He took our baby boy Titus to heaven. Or on the days Asher almost lost his life. Or the days he had surgeries or procedures when he should have been at home being cuddled and played with. Or these days that are difficult now with feeding and throwing up. God was and is faithful and gracious in all those moments. I'm thankful we have the experience of Him being faithful through extreme trials, AND through common blessings. It has given me a different perspective than I would have otherwise.
We aren't sure what this next season holds for us. With Asher's eating, or with his baby brother. But we are praying for God's favor. We are praying for a healthy brother for Asher to play with one day, and for Asher to be able to eat like his friends do, without being uncomfortable or throwing up. We are praying God chooses to be glorified in those things. But we know, He'll be glorified no matter what. We know He will offer us peace and comfort and hope no matter what. We are putting the future of our family in His hands. Sometimes that his hard. Sometimes we wonder. Sometimes we stink at really "giving" over control to Him. But His grace covers that, and each day we try again, sometimes several times a day to trust Him with the future. It is a continual lesson for us to find joy in the moments we are in, not just in the moments we hope are coming! Thank you for reading, praying, and following our family's journey.