Friday, April 24, 2009

The ties that bind us

The Monday night dinner with my parents and little brother was....okay, I guess. Nothing big happened. Nothing terrible.

It's just discouraging, this path that he is headed down. Again.

He is 20 years old and has no plans and no goals for himself. Well, I take that back. He wants my parents to give him his college fund money (from our grandparents) while he is here. He is telling them he wants to go to a technical school in Georgia, but says he doesn't know what for. We know his track record. It is obvious he does not want the money for school. He has no job, no place to live, a girlfriend (yeah, they're back together now) with no job, and a drug and alcohol habit. He and the girlfriend have already had a pregnancy scare in their one month of being together. She has a 16-month-old child that is living with a relative in another state because she couldn't care for him. She is married. She says she's getting divorced, but who knows. My brother talked about fights they have been having - ridiculous, possessive, jealousy-fueled fights that people who have been in a relationship for a month should never have.

My brother told Dave that he couldn't pass a drug test to get a job test now (we knew that). But then he said that he has no interest in staying clean. That he doesn't see any reason to not use drugs. (Really? Are you serious? No reason at all? Not the fact that you have wrecked your life several times over with drug use? You've been to rehab. You've been arrested. Been on probation. Been kicked out multiple times. Totalled multiple cars. Discharged from the Army. Attempted suicide. Hurt your family so badly. Lost friends. You said you knew the drugs were the reason why. You said you were going to get your life straight this time.)

It's so hard to have hope for someone in this situation. I love him so much, I want all of these wonderful things for him, yet he wants nothing positive for himself.

Brooklyn remembers him. It had been four months since she'd seen him, and she reached for him the second she laid eyes on him.

Dave said he doesn't want my brother in and out of Brooklyn's life while he is living his life this way. "I don't want him coming around Brooklyn, around us, until he's clean. He's had chances. This is it," Dave said. He doesn't want our daughter exposed to the hurt that comes with loving someone who is an addict. I understand, but I don't want to take her from him. I know he loves her. No, I do not want him around us when he is high. But I also cannot bring myself to tell my husband that I will agree to this. I already have one brother who we have no contact with because he is a lying, manipulating, violent, hurtful drug addict. My baby brother is basically the only sibling I have now.

I don't want to lose him. But I'm afraid he may be lost no matter what I do. He is heading back down a dangerous road. If something were to happen, I couldn't deal with the guilt...(Could I have done more? I should have been there for him. Why didn't we let him come over? Why didn't we reach out? We shouldn't have bowed out of his life. He needed us and we weren't there....)

It's morbid, but these are the things I think about. The "what-ifs." Especially now that I know he has the capacity (and will?) to try to take his own life.

I don't want to be an only child.

Monday, April 20, 2009

That uneasy feeling

My baby brother is back in town.

He was discharged from the Army at the end of March. Since then, he has been living with a girlfriend that he met when she and her mother were witnesses to the wreck he had when he was trying to kill himself (what a lovely story). He told my mother that he was not going to come back to Texas; he was going to stay in Georgia because the people here are bad influences on him and he needed to make positive changes in his life.

Fast-forward a couple of weeks. On Friday, the girlfriend broke up with him, so he could no longer freeload live with her and her parents. On Saturday, he was back here. On Sunday, he was already hanging out with our other brother and their mutual drug buddies. My father overheard him talking on the phone telling friends that he couldn't wait to get high with them. He takes no responsibility for the things that have happened over the past few months. He has no plans for himself. He is obviously using again. And so the downward spiral continues.

Dave, Brooklyn, and I are supposed to go to my parent's house for dinner tonight. This will be the first time that I have seen or talked to my baby brother since the drug relapse, the suicide attempts and his subsequent Army discharge. We have texted a few times, but I haven't been able to actually pick up the phone and call him. I can't seem to summon up the courage or find the right words. So I just pray. And worry.

I don't feel ready to see him. I don't really know what to say to him anymore. I just have this sick, heavy feeling hanging over me, the kind that stays with you when you are watching someone you love self-destruct. I know that feeling well now.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Brooklyn's first birthday party!

Yes, this post is a month overdue! But I figured it was better late than never! We had a great time at Brooklyn's party. Everything went perfectly smoothly. We had 20 people there...a few that we invited weren't able to be there, but most of the people who were so important in our lives during Brooklyn's first year were there. Brooklyn was unbelievably adorable in her custom-made tutu and birthday onesie. She was in a fabulous mood and did not fuss or get grumpy at all. And the baby girl was completely spoiled with presents. I mean REALLY spoiled! The picture that shows her presents below was only about half of them. She got tons and tons of toys and darling clothes. We had a wonderful day celebrating the birth of our sweet Baby Bear with our friends and family! Enjoy the pics!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Madeline Alice Spohr


November 11, 2007 - April 7, 2009

My heart broke this afternoon when I read that sweet baby Maddie had suddenly passed away.

I cannot stop crying for Maddie and her wonderful, dedicated, loving parents, Mike and Heather. Anyone who kept up with their blogs knew that they treasured little Maddie more than anything. She was their whole world.

Maddie was a fighter from the first breath she ever took. She had such a joy for absolutely radiated from every one of the thousands of pictures her Mommy posted of her. She had the biggest, most beautiful eyes I have ever seen and a smile that could brighten anyone's day. I wish I could have met her, but being her bloggy friend was great too.

I can't begin to imagine what Heather and Mike are going through right now. Honestly, I am terrified to imagine what it must be like. I wish that there were words that could make it better. Of course, there are not. There is no way to understand why things like this happen. Yet, I can't stop asking God why he would let this occur.

All I can do is pray for Maddie's family and ask you to do the same.

Mike and Heather are asking that donations to March of Dimes be made in lieu of flowers and cards. This link will let you donate in Maddie's name.

And please, please pray unceasingly for them as they make their way through these dark days. Pray that God will give them comfort, peace, support from those who love them, and nothing but sweet memories of their precious, beautiful little girl.

Rest in peace, baby Maddie. You are loved by so many. I am so grateful that your Mommy and Daddy have shared you with us for the length of your little life. We are all better for "knowing" you. You have made the world a more beautiful place.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Great news!

This post is nearly a week overdue. I have been seriously neglecting my blog for the past week and a half; in fact, I even forgot that I had this awesome new layout! I don't have any good reason why I haven't been writing. I have been reading and commenting, just not doing anything here! I have been trying to post a blog full of pics from Brooklyn's birthday party (yes, it was nearly 3 weeks ago, I know!), but Blogger hasn't been cooperating. Maybe some of y'all who do picture-heavy posts can give me some pointers? It is failing to upload my pics altogether. Maybe I need to resize the files.


We took Brooklyn for her one year appointment with Dr. G2, the pulmonologist, last Friday. He said that he was IMPRESSED with Brooklyn's progress. He actually said IMPRESSED! He was happy with the way she is catching up on her motor milestones and that she is growing.

Brooklyn's breathing was very uncharacteristically quiet throughout our visit with Dr. G2. I told him that it was quite deceiving because she certainly doesn't sound that good all of the time! She does have some periods where she breathes without a stridor, but not normally for that long. I told him how loud she gets when she plays and crawls around now, and told him about the new noise she has been making - that long, jaggedy, drawn-out stridor. He said that that noise is probably because her body is growing and she is requiring more air to be active. Her airway is apprently folding down or collapsing on itself more as she takes these big breaths to move her body around so much. He said that her body should continue to grow inside as well, and allow her airway to catch up with her. At the same time, the cartilage on her larynx should be starting to harden so that it won't be floppy anymore. We tried to get Brooklyn to play around in the office so that Dr. G2 could hear how loud she gets. We got toys out of her bag and placed them on the other side of the room. Dr. G2 put his keys in the corner of the room as well. We placed Brooklyn on the ground, but she was not at all interested in crawling around. She just sat there looking at the three of us, then held her arms up to me so that I would pick her up. It was much like taking your car to the shop and it won't make "that noise" for the mechanic. Dr. G2 said that we could take a video of her playing and breathing loudly at home and send it to him so that he could see and hear what we were talking about.

Brooklyn weighed 16 lbs, 7 ounces. This is exactly what she weighed 2 1/2 weeks prior, at her one year well visit. But she is super active right now...I mean, the girl is constantly on the move and into everything! So I can understand why it would be even harder for her to gain weight now. Dr. G2 said basically the same thing as Brooklyn's pediatrician...yes, she is still below 3rd percentile in growth, but for her, it is progress and it is okay.

The great news is that Brooklyn does NOT need surgery on her airway! Dr. G2 said that she should outgrow her laryngomalacia by 14 months. We will see him again when she is 15 months old to see whether that has happened. He did not tell us what the plan of action will be if she has not outgrown everything by that time. So we are hoping that he is right....but then again, we were told that Brooklyn would outgrow her laryngomalacia by 4 months...then 6 months...8 months....a year. Obviously it hasn't happened yet.

But I am trying to stay positive and hope for the best. It's easier to do now that we are hearing positive words from all of Brooklyn's doctors. Like what Dr. G2 said last week - that when he first saw Brooklyn, he was very worried about her and had her worked in to see Dr. M, the ear/nose/throat doctor that same day. He said that he didn't do that because we were from out of town, it was because he was quite concerned about Brooklyn. He feels like she is making great improvements and even said that if she has outgrown the laryngomalacia in June, he will release her from his care! I wonder what that will feel like!

We had a similarly good appointment with Dr. R, Brooklyn's gastroenterologist, last Tuesday. He is keeping all of her medications the same and instructed us to continue feeding her exactly the way we are now. She gets 2 baby foods a day and usually a little bit of table food. The rest of the time it is still breastmilk or her increased calorie formula. Dr. R said that we will not transition her off of formula until she is at least 15-18 months. Basically, she is gaining some weight now and staying on "her own curve" (that's what all of her doctors call it), so he doesn't want to mess with what works. Brooklyn is continuing to spit up a lot, but now swallows it most of the time. I was worried about that - but Dr. R said that there really isn't much we can do about it. Her reflux medications will keep the spitup from damaging her esophagus when she swallows it back down. Apparently that is the main concern. We see Dr. R again in 8 weeks.

Baby Bear is my tough little fighter! It makes me so proud of her to see her progressing and surprising her doctors. And the no surgery thing....what a weight lifted off our shoulders. I'm telling you, this baby girl is amazing.
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