Welcome to our journey!

If you are new to our blog, you may want to start with Beginnings - Part 1 and Part 2 to catch you up to speed on Jackson's arrival on December 11th, 2010 (yup, 12/11/10).

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


I begin this post by being quite grateful that Jackson is sound asleep in his crib taking a nap and Grayson is napping in his swing although I think my time with both boys being asleep is coming quickly to a close.  So forgive this major stream of consciousness...

We've managed to make it through PT on Monday and Speech on Tuesday with Grayson napping in his swing which equals no screaming baby while I'm trying to participate in therapy and communicate with the therapist...

Today OT did not go as well as PT and Speech.  There have been a few therapy appointments recently where I'm trying to console Grayson and hear myself talk at the same time, which let me tell you...does not go well.  I know our therapists were trying to tell me something important during that time, but all I can hear is the wailing in my ear as I begin to sweat from the shrill screaming that only a little baby can make.  Last week, I left the room so many times during Speech so that Keri and Jackson could have a little bit of peace and quiet before finally I apologetically told Keri I was going to nurse Grayson real quick to hopefully calm him down.

On Monday we ventured out to the mall to go pick up some shoes and some pants for Jackson now that the weather is cooling down.  His PT wants to keep him in shoes during the day in hopes that they will make him feel more stable and thus make him more likely to stand for longer periods of time (as in, more than one second).  My sister had given us the hand-me-downs from Evan but because he's such a skinny little guy, the pants are a bit too snug on Jackson.  On our drive to the mall, I realized I forgot the Baby Bjorn by the front door and my sling was hanging up to dry from the laundry.  I refused to turn all the way around and told myself that I could rig up the double stroller so it would be safe for him to be in.   We get to the mall, I adjust the stroller carefully so that Grayson was reclined and strapped in appropriately, got his head support from the car seat and placed him in the stroller next to Jackson.  Grayson proceeds to spit up all over the front of his onesie, then moments later starts screaming...but I refused to abort the mission!  So I amble through the mall with baby held in my arms and Jackson sitting in the stroller.  We make it to Stride Rite to get sized and appropriate shoes for Jackson who is not wanting to wear shoes on his feet.  I quickly make our purchase while still holding crying baby and now dealing with a very unhappy Jackson.  I'm telling myself "We are at the mall.  I'm already here.  We are going to now get pants", but as I wheel Jackson and the crying baby through the mall, I decide that enough-is-enough and I hit the abort button.  That's what they make on-line shopping for...crazed, stressed out moms with peanut butter and jelly in their hair and dazed look in their eye, right?

Last week I had a particularly bad day nursing Grayson.  He just wasn't latching on properly and  he wasn't getting enough during a feeding therefore was extremely fussy.  I pumped to see if I could get him to feed better by bottle and of course timed it perfectly with Jackson needing to be fed.  This is what it resulted in...

Yes...those are diapers holding up the bottle
Don't judge...

We've been working on some good things with Jackson and have made progress.  He's actually beginning to crawl "properly" which to be honest, isn't as huge of a priority for me.  He gets around really well with whatever method works best for him, but its still nice to see him crawl on all fours.

He's doing a lot more pointing with his index finger to push buttons and show interest in things.

But the biggest thing we're excited about lately...

We got him to suck from a straw!!!

I purchased these Honey Bear straw cups through www.talktools.com in hopes that I could transition him from a bottle to a straw cup.  Turns out he hated the honeybear cup so much that just by looking at it he would freak out.  We took a major time out from working on this and reintroduced it a few weeks ago.  Last week I said I was going to do it every day.  Initially you hold it and squeeze it directly into the child's mouth. And by day three he was sucking by himself!  We'll continue working on it especially since I still have to hold the cup for him.  So I'm going to increase the practice to twice a day and work up from there.

OT began a few weeks ago and looked like this last week...

For those of you who have missed Jackson's crazy hair...it's back and mama is dying to get him a haircut!
Laura (his OT) wanted to see if he would be interested in finger painting with pudding.  He clearly enjoyed the pudding and wanted nothing to do with the finger painting.

We are finally beginning special instruction and had our initial visit this afternoon.  I'm more comfortable with adding this to our weekly appointments now that I know more about what they are going to look like, however, I'm not going to lie that I don't like having an additional appointment to stress over (which I realize is selfish on my part).  So it looks like our schedule (at least until I go back to work) will be Mondays - PT, Tuesdays - Speech, Wednesdays - OT, and Thursday - Special instruction.

Last Saturday we attended our second Buddy Walk.  Unfortunately we forgot our camera, but I took a couple with my phone and that'll have to do.  Adam's company has been so great to focus their charitable efforts on causes that support the inclusion of individuals with Down syndrome and sponsored the Buddy Walk for the second year in a row raising $2850.  Thank you to all who came out and all who donated!  It really means a lot to our family.

Last, but not least, Grayson is one month old today!!! 

Favorite interaction with brother...stealing his blanket.

Happy 1 month little guy!!!

Monday, September 17, 2012


I began writing this post about a week ago and then got side tracked by the many things going on.  It required quite a bit of editing and revision...so I am going to make a quick attempt to update before I get Jackson up from his nap and have his lunch.

Grayson is 3 weeks old and with each passing day, we see similarities to Jackson and we have had progress on the "brother bonding" but Jackson still ignores him for the most part.

The other day I was watching Grayson sleeping and it reminded me so much of how Jackson looked when he was sleeping.  I rifled through my old cell phone photos and found exactly what I was looking for.  You can't tell the difference between the two at all!

Grayson's hair and complexion are most definitely darker than Jackson's, however his eyes have turned blue and there is no trace of the muddy water that was present when he was first born.  While initially they seemed so different, those differences have become much more subtle.

Some "highlights" of the last two weeks:

1) Grayson peed on our bed in the middle of the night earlier in week number 2.  No, I did not change the sheets as one might expect and yes, I went to sleep on it.

2) On my first day flying solo, I got Jackson up to a complete diaper blowout.  We're talking all over his blanket, pajama pants and crib sheet.  A fantastic way to start the day.

3)  I went to bed one night and a mouse skittered to the corner of the room.  Just what we needed.

4) Jackson had an OT evaluation and we will be getting services!  He actually did really well in his evaluation and isn't very behind in this respect, but his OT felt that he would benefit from services so he doesn't fall behind.

5) The umbilical cord fell off and Grayson enjoyed his first bath...unfortunately he doesn't seem to enjoy bath time that much since then.

6)  Grayson had an umbilical granuloma that is on the mend while Jackson's bellybutton had some weird infection.  It looked much better by the time I got an antibiotic prescription and with all the antibiotics he's been given we decided to see if it would mend on it's own.  Bellybutton is pretty much back to normal without giving him unnecessary antibiotics.

I'm crossing my fingers for a calm week.  Last week was obscenely busy with therapies, doctors appointments, house showings, and unfortunately the passing of my grandmother.  It was a challenge both emotionally and physically, but I found comfort in the support of my family and friends and feel blessed as always that we have such a strong support network.

I hear Jackson playing in his crib, so I'll leave you with a video of Jackson...

Sunday, September 2, 2012

And then there were four...

Grayson's Birth Story:

I reported back to work on August 20th to get things ready for the new school year to many comments of, "I thought you were having the baby this summer" or "how many months do you have left" or "aren't you due any day now".  It was a tough week physically on me as I had not been on my feet nearly that much in recent weeks.

My due date, the 23rd, came and went with no excitement...two days prior my doctor said that nothing was going on down below so I figured I would finish the work week and cross my fingers that the baby would arrive soon.  We had extra people praying for us since Adam's brother Josh and his wife Lacey were leaving soon for a year away in China and they were desperate to meet the baby before leaving.  On Saturday, the 25th, we invited ourselves over to Adam's parents' house for dinner so we could spend some time with Josh and Lacey.  Since I had been having irregular contractions that day, I told Adam that we should leave Jackson there that night just in case.

Because I was induced unexpectedly the first time around, I wasn't sure if I was in early labor or just having more Braxton-Hicks contractions.  I couldn't remember what it felt like the first time other than it being very uncomfortable and eventually very painful.  I kept saying to Adam, if I'm not in early labor, then I have no idea what's going on.

So we packed up camp and headed over to the Bennett's where we had dinner.  Throughout dinner I sporadically was trying to keep track of contractions and was getting increasingly more uncomfortable.  I ate around 75% of my dinner and then we said our goodbyes to Jackson and headed home.  In my heart I knew that this was probably the last time Jackson would be an only child so I gave him an extra squeeze and told him how much I loved him and would miss him while we were gone.

In the car, I was much more attentive to the contractions, timing them using my iPhone app.  My doctor wanted me to call when we were 5 minutes apart for an hour, so when we found out that my contractions were 3 1/2 minutes - 4 minutes apart, we thought perhaps we should go to the hospital instead of home.  Of course by the time we were making that decision we were already in the city, so we parked the car, Adam went into the house and fed the cats and then we turned around and headed to the hospital.  We arrived around 8:30pm.  My biggest fear was that we would get there and they would send us home making me feel stupid...so after they got us set up in the labor and delivery room and told me that I was 3 cm dilated and having contractions, they told us that we were being admitted and got my IV saline drip started.

My labor progressed nicely, my body remembered what to do since I made it to 7cm the first time prior to the C-section.  At 4 1/2 cm, I told them to bring on the epidural (I have no shame) so I could get comfortable and get some rest.  The epidural was a Godsend...I seriously don't know how people do without it...but I wasn't able to get much rest as I couldn't get comfortable in the bed.  I wasn't able to move my leg left and therefore couldn't adjust my position.  And just like the first time, I felt like I had restless leg syndrome, wanting to move my leg badly.  About an hour later, the nurse came in and asked if I wanted to reposition myself which I gratefully accepted and was able to sleep for about an hour.

Around 6am, they checked my progress and I made it once again to 7cm.  Around this time (it may have been before or after), Grayson's heart rate dropped, just like Jackson's did.  However, this time around, when the nurses came in to check on us, they repositioned me and his heart rate rebounded just fine.  Around 7:00am I began to feel pressure "down below", so they checked me again and I was 10 cm dilated, fully effaced and the head was +1 in the birth canal (whatever all this means).  So they wanted me to wait a bit longer before pushing so that the baby could move down further so I wouldn't have to push as long.

At 8am, I told them that I was ready to push as I was getting that desire to "bear down".  Pushing wasn't that bad, although I had a hard time because I felt my head was going to explode from holding my breath.  The nurse kept telling me to hold it in my chest, not my cheeks, but I had no idea how to do that.  I pushed for about an hour and a half when the nurse brought over a mirror to use as motivation.  Probably not for the faint of heart, but this did work a little bit as I could see how close the baby was.  I pushed 3 more times when the nurse told me to stop so she could get the doctor (who was not my OBGYN...since he wasn't on-call that weekend).

The doctor came in and in two more pushes (with an episiotomy) the baby's head was out and they were suctioning him out.  I heard his cries as they pulled him out of me and laid him on my stomach.  I just laughed with relief and pleasure that I was able to successfully do the VBAC.  I was not able to hold Jackson until 4 hours later, and just wanted that experience.  It was such an amazing feeling to have Grayson enter the world and be placed on me just like he was meant to be.  And he looked just beautiful and surprisingly nothing like Jackson!  Jackson was born with white blond hair and bright blue eyes  so we were surprised by Grayson's dark hair (which is actually lighter but seemed really dark at first) and dark eyes that mimicked his cousin Evan's eyes when he was born.  They are a muddy blue color, so it should be interesting to see what color they turn into.

Grayson and a very sleepy Mama

The official stats: Grayson Alexander Bennett was born at 9:45am, weighing 6 pounds 10 ounces, and is 20 inches long.

This hospital stay was so very different than the first.  It seemed that there was such a long list of things that were wrong with Jackson and there was absolutely nothing wrong with Grayson other than a small abrasion on his head.  Everything has been different...nursing has been different (and actually started off much worse than with Jackson..there were no wires to deal with or incubators, Grayson cries a whole lot more than Jackson did, and we got to go home right away.

While in the hospital, Josh and Lacey had their prayers answered and were able to be visit before they made the long journey back to China.  Adam's parents brought Jackson in for his first visit.  He was a combination of tired, cranky, and knowing something was up but not sure exactly what.  He was happy to see his parents, but not exactly a happy camper altogether.

The very happy Aunt Lacey

Jackson in his is Big Brother t-shirt a few sizes too big!

Aunt Lacey and Uncle Josh

"Hey...let's get Jackson in the picture"

Maybe some other time...
"Hey Mama...I miss you!"
That's a little better...
 It's amazing how much we missed Jackson while we were in the hospital.  We were so grateful that Adam's parents brought him to visit with us (twice) so we could see his face and give him some love.  I think all three of us needed those brief visits to make sure we were all okay.

Ready for discharge! We couldn't pack fast enough!

So, now we are getting used to the new normal at home.  One of my favorite moments was Tuesday evening, when the four of us were on the couch. I was nursing Grayson, and Adam was sitting with Jackson who was having a bottle before bed and Adam looks at me and said, "This is awesome".

Checking out baby

Grayson got Jackson a new toy to play with!

I love the way Jackson looks in this picture!

Checking out the new toy!

Jackson's gift to his baby brother.

Sally - if you're reading this...Carson's t-shirt got some use this summer...I swear will get it back to you!

"Don't you dare touch my pacifier"
It's amazing to look at Jackson as I feel like I see him in a completely new way.  He just seems like such a big boy now and he seems to be showing us that he is with his new moves.  Adam caught him pulling up to stand in his crib the other morning playing with the window blinds.  And since Adam has been spending most of the time with him since being home, he witnessed him pulling up to stand at the couch (I'm still trying to see this in action).  Jackson also has started stacking blocks...working on those fine motor skills!

A couple of evenings ago, I headed down to the basement to spend some time with Jackson while the baby slept.  Adam left us alone...perhaps he knew I needed some alone time with him or he may have simply needed a break himself, but I needed to be with Jackson.  We played together for about an hour and I was overcome with emotion at wanting to make sure that he was okay.  At one point, he stopped playing, crawled into my arms and just put his head on my shoulder.  Then I knew that both of us needed that time.  

Meeting my family:

Yesterday we went over to my sister's so that we could visit with her newest addition, baby John, who was born the day after Grayson.  My parents came up to help out so they were around to meet both of their new grandchildren.

Grandpa meeting his new grandson

Baby John (Jackson and Grayson's newest cousin)

Both of the newest grandbabies!

Grandma with the grandbabies!

Opening up his big brother gift from Grandma and Grandpa

Driving his car

Gifts for Grayson

Baby John and his Aunt Becky...he looks like he's puckering up!

Aunt Kim with Grayson

Baby swap! (I think John prefers his Mama)

Baby John and Uncle Adam
Today marks the one week anniversary of our newest addition.  Its been a new adventure for all of us complete with lots of diaper changes (for the record I've been peed on twice and pooped on once), sleepy parents, but a whole lot of love.