You will have significant experiences.
I hope that you will write them down and keep a record of
them, that you will read them from time to time and refresh
your memory of these meaningful and significant things.
Some may be funny. Some may be significant only to you.
Some of them may be sacred and quietly beautiful. Some
may build upon another until they represent a lifetime of
special experiences.
- Gordon B Hinckley

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Everett is Eight Months Old...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

The inspiration for this email comes from a line in a John Meyer song that I heard not too long ago, and it’s kinda stuck with me ever since.  It says, “It won’t all go the way it should, but I know the heart of life is good.”  This really could be our family theme song for 2009 :-)  But all joking aside, Zac and I are starting to realize how amazing (and comforting) it is to know that life always works out for the best.  Even through trials and tribulations, heartbreak and sadness, grief and mourning, there are good and wonderful blessing to be celebrated. 

Everett continues to thrive!  He weighs 12 lbs 2 oz and is 23 ¾ inches long.  He is so alert and talkative and now that he’s found his voice, he often squeals like a little pig just to hear himself.  It is adorable!  He purposefully grabs toys and takes them straight to his mouth, he likes to “pet” his brother Jack, and he is really close to rolling from his back to his stomach.  The weekly physical therapy is making a HUGE difference.  Everett loves his physical therapist, Kate, giving her lots of smiles and talking until she starts making him work and then he won’t look at her.  It is pretty funny.  His personality is shining through and I can see how things will be when he’s a teenager.  His behavioral therapist, Marla, gets all the love because she comes over just to “play” with him.  She also helps Zac and me with adapting to Everett’s needs.  His aren’t much different from any other baby but she helps us incorporate some therapeutic activities into his daily activities.  For example, we work on eye tracking during diaper changes.  This way, if we don’t have the time to do 30 minutes of physical therapy every day, we can still get some of the skills done during the stuff we have to do normally.  She also is great at making suggestions for toys that suit both Everett’s physical size and mental stage.  We are just starting to notice that Everett frustrates more easily than he used to.  Marla and Kate agree that it is likely because Everett’s mind (being eight months old) wants to move and explore while his body (being five months old) can’t follow.  So we think he’s frustrated with not being able to interact with this environment the way he wants to.  But, I’m sure this will come soon enough as the therapy continues. 

On Friday, my mom and I took Everett to the High Risk Infant Clinic.  He will be part of this clinic for three years and its main purpose is to identify any developmental delays in children that are at risk and to make sure that these children are receiving all the services they qualify for.  A therapist performs an assessment of the child’s age in five developmental areas, ranging from physical to mental.  They then compare this age to the child’s actual age.  Everett tested at 4-5 months, which is his age from his due date, so we’re on track.  He also was seen by Dr. G and was visited by Dr. VS, two of the neonatologists who treated him at SV.  They both were thrilled at how healthy he looked and how much he was doing!  Dr. G spent extra time with us, playing with Everett and talking about our experience and Dr. VS said he just had to stop in to see him.  Everett was very popular, as if his reputation preceded him.  We also took him back up to the NICU to visit all the nurses who took care of him.  No one at SV had seen him since the day he was helicoptered out, so you can imagine how excited they were to see him with his chipmunk cheeks and healthy glow.  It was really, really fun!  It felt like coming full circle and offered some closure for me. 

And speaking of closure, Zac and I are just starting to realize how things work out in miraculous ways.  Now more than ever we are convinced that God chose us specifically to be Everett’s parents.  In His amazing plan, He knew that having this experience would bring great and wonderful blessings into our lives.  And it has!  Even more than having the blessing of Everett, alive and healthy, we have the blessing of a stronger marriage, closer family, supportive friends, and a better appreciation for life and a new “don’t sweat the small stuff” attitude.  I can’t help but think that this is how things had to be for Zac and me to learn these lessons.  And I can’t help but wonder if in God’s infinite wisdom, did He know that we’d rise to the challenge?  I think it is amazing that prayers that I said literally years ago are now getting answered.  And while I figured then that God had said “No,” I now know that He was saying, “Wait, I have something planned for you.”  WOW!  I am in awe!!!  I feel blessed to really know my husband, having been forced to have conversations that most couples never have, and am thankful to have a better marriage because of it.  I feel blessed to know that there is nothing in this life that I will have to face alone, knowing that we will always have family and friends who still stand with us.  I feel blessed to know that there is a plan to all things and that each event in my life will bring good.  And I feel blessed to know that God trusted us with one of His most precious creations. 

Below is a poem that I encountered a while back that I love.  It perfectly describes how I feel about being Everett’s mother and the blessing that it has brought to my life. 

You ever wonder how mothers of premature babies are chosen?
Somehow, I visualize God hovering over Earth,
selecting his instruments for propagation
with great care and deliberation.
As he observes, he instructs his angels to take notes in a giant ledger.
 "Armstrong, Beth, son. Patron Saint, Matthew.
Forrest, Marjorie, daughter. Patron Saint, Celia. Rutledge, Carrie, twins.
Patron Saint. . .give her Gerard. He's used to profanity." 
 Finally, he passes a name to an angel and smiles. "Give her a preemie."
The angel is curious. "Why this one, God? She's so happy."
"Exactly," smiles God. "Could I give a premature baby a mother who
knows no laughter? That would be cruel."
"But does she have the patience?" asks the angel.
"I don't want her to have too much patience, or she'll drown
in a sea of self-pity and despair.
Once the shock and resentment wear off she'll handle it.
"I watched her today. She has that sense of self and independence
so rare and so necessary in a mother.
You see, the child I'm going to give her has a world of its own.
She has to make it live in her world, and that's not going to be easy." 
 "But Lord, I don't think she even believes in you."
God smiles. 
 "No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect.
She has just the right amount of selfishness."
The angel gasps, "Selfishness? Is that a virtue?" 
 God nods.
"If she can't separate herself from the child occasionally, she will never survive.
Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect.
She doesn't know it yet, but she is to be envied.
She will never take for granted a spoken word.
She will never consider a step ordinary.
When her child says momma for the first time,
she will be witness to a miracle and know it.
I will permit her to see clearly the things I see--
ignorance, cruelty, prejudice--
and allow her to rise above them.
She will never be alone.
I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life
because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side."
"And what about her Patron Saint?" asks the angel,
his pen poised in the air. God smiles.
"A mirror will suffice."

Thank you to each one of you for the blessing you have brought to our lives.  We are better parents, better people because of the humbling love that you have showered us with.  We love you deeply and know that you were part of “The Plan” too :-)

With Love,

The Bollinger Family

P.S.  As always, pictures are attached. 

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