Sunday, December 21, 2008

Figuring it out

Our little Cameron is back!

Every day we have our challenges and successes - but his pneumonia appears to be cleared up and he couldn't light up a room any brighter than when he unleashes that adorable nose-crinkle, crooked smile! Thank you all for your prayers and words of encouragement.

And ever since my previous post regarding Cameron, my mind has weighed heavy with some things that I have a hard time talking about. But I am going to give it a try anyhow.

Jeremy and I are not perfect people. We do not always say the right thing. We do not always do the right thing. We are not perfect spouses. We are not perfect parents.

And, most importantly, we do not pretend to be.

It was extremely difficult for me to write about what happened to Cameron... I am sure that is no suprise... but it was more than reliving the nightmare of what he went through that day. It was acknowledging to all of you, and MYSELF, that it happened on MY watch and while I was alone. I have never felt so looked down upon in my life as when those police officers came in and were in complete bewilderment asking "Who is here to HELP you?" It was as if they had me under interrigation and I was guilty of being alone with my six children.

Oh I get it alright, six is a LOT when they are all 4 and under, folks. But up until that day, that moment, I had always brushed off the comments that we get: "You are amazing! I could never do what you do! I am just in awe of you!" As much as we are completely flattered by it all, we are also utterly embarrassed knowing it couldn't be further from the truth. Those of you who know us know that we vehemently deny any and all claims that we somehow do it better than any other parent out there would do if put in our shoes. We do not believe that because we were chosen for this role by God that we somehow transend the everyday mistakes and sometimes poor judgement that each and every one of us succumbs to on occasion.

And yet there I was, alone, doing what any mommy/daddy does, taking care of our children the best I could.

How could I possibly let this happen?

But we also believe that what happened to Cameron could have and would have happened if there would have been ten people in the house to help me that day. You just never know. I can sit here and beat myself up that I didn't catch him sooner, or count my blessings repeatedly that I found him when I did.

I choose the latter road. I am grateful to have Cameron here and healthy once again. I can not undo what happened, only try to learn from it and do whatever I can to prevent it from happening again. Our cup is half full, in fact it over floweth, with all of the amazing blessings we have in this life.

I just want you all to know that we pour our hearts and souls into this blog when we do have the opportunity to write.

Often times it is hard to convey the message I intend to. Hard to dictate on a screen what your heart is bleeding about... at least in my little non-journalism world it is. But I try my darndest to write with all that I have so each of you can begin to feel what we do. Especially for the families out there who are living a portion of the world that we are - thank you for sharing with us and now I hope you can take something of value away from what we share with you. Often times I know that I leave myself wide open and vulnerable to critcism and judgement by writing so honestly and without a filter.

Oh well.

I don't believe that sugar-coating our life does any of us any good. We are not the Waltons, we are the Lew Crew and we have good days, and bad days, and everything in between. We have our moments of euphoria and our moments of absolute chaotic meltdown. But in the end, we could not love our family and our life more than we do because we are grateful for each other. We live our lives the best we know how TODAY and if we learn something than maybe TOMORROW we will do it a little better... and the day after that... and the day after that. We have made strides in our confidence and ability to raise our family in a positive way. We have healthy 2 and 4 year olds that are finding their way as their new role of big, BIG brothers. We are so very proud of them. They have come so far with us on this journey.

Every day we get up and put one foot in front of the other and try our darndest to make good choices and show our children how much they are loved in the process.

Some days we do better than others. That is just the way it is. And I presume that most families operate in the same manner. We are no different. We just take away what we can from each day watching our children grow and learn... and melt our hearts in the process.

We love our children. We love one another. And we love our life. This much we know.


Thank you all for calling and writing after reading about our little Cameron. It was so nice to hear from so many of you... to know we had you all out there praying for our family and to know we weren't alone. All of the positive thoughts and insights are priceless. We value every single comment we receive and we are touched that you took the time to share with us. Thank you.

Day by day we are figuring it out. Day by day we get a little better at reading the signals as to what works and what doesn't with our six children. But we have had a LOT of guidance from some DO-ers in our lives as well that I have to share.

Regarding the formula/spit up debacle - let me introduce you once again to my girlfriend Heidi. A classic-case DO-er. She was just DONE with me listening to our peds (whom we do happen to really like) and beyond frustrated that I wasn't doing more to take matters into my own hands. So about 4 days after our hospital stay with Cameron a box shows up on our doorstep. It is a formula called Neocate. This is the gold-standard in formula - there is really nothing above it on the food chain for babies (except breastmilk). I was actually told by a nurse that you can nearly inject this stuff into your veins it is so completely broken down for the babies.


Heidi had tremendous success with it for her son - he had crazy allergies that were making him absolutely miserable until they found this stuff. I talked to our ped about it and he said it was a "bit of a jump" from what they would have us do - which was work our way UP the formula chain of command - instead this was essentially starting at the tippy top.


I wanted to see if this was in fact a formula problem for our babies. I am well aware that I have beat this horse to a pulp. I KNOW that preemies have a horrible time with reflux/spit up and that many of you think I just want to point a finger at SOMEONE, SOMETHING for all the problems we developed after the formula was introduced.

Maybe. Maybe. I can not deny that I just wanted some freaking answers and I just wanted it all to STOP. I was scared sh*tless after what happened to Cameron and I didn't care who thought I was full of junk - I just wanted results.

Just over a week later and we have not had a single projectile vomit incidence since.

I mean it.

We introduced the Neocate slowly because Heidi warned that it tastes radically different than breastmilk and other formulas and we didn't want the babies to reject it. But I kid you not that the transformation in our babies lives is remarkable - spit up is now down to a dribble here and a little blotch there. NOTHING like the shirt and carpet soakers we were experiencing a few weeks ago. It is crazy.
And so for any of you who think that I was living in a fantasy land that I could blame the formula? Well, I don't know what to say except that I am grateful for my girlfriend Heidi taking our bull by the horns and introducing the Neocate to us. And if this is somehow, some way a case of mind over matter? Well, I'll be a monkey's you-know-what if I could manage that with a set of 5 month old quads.

And if we can try to put what happened to Cam out of our minds for a minute - we are otherwise happy to report that we are staying reasonably healthy throughout the winter - a couple trips to the ped for icky coughs with the babies - but they keep reassuring me that we are doing fine!

YAHOO (and knock on wood!)!

We have had tons of visitors for the holiday season - grandma Marge, Uncle G, Aunt Tracy, our friends the Stevens... look at the chitlins in THIS pic!! And cousin Avery had just taken off otherwise she would've been hanging with us too...
Other big news in the Lew fam? Aiden told blue blankie to take a hike to the garbage can... HUGE news here. He even told daddy that he "needed a minute alone" out there (yes, it was spur of the moment - note attire) to decide between the yellow and blue blankies. We were all shocked that blue was chosen to be deep sixed - he's had it since he was born... this kid is really growing up.

Oh, and Aiden also changed his first (of many - I HOPE!) diapers!! Lucky Summer... ummmm....

And many thanks to Aiden and Caleb for donning their helmets and helping mommy de-icicle the roof at the cottage - these boys mean BUISNESS! Too bad they weren't about 3 feet taller so they could actually REACH some of them for me... without me having to hold them up... hmmm... oh well. 'A' for effort here. It was all about the look.

Papa and Uncle G luvin' up little Summer...

Avery, Summer, and Carley Stevens... All da' ladies be chillin'.

Little Caleb - Go Lions?

Aiden and our snow fort - a meager effort this year due to the fact the boys ate all the snow as we built it.

Our beautiful quads: (clockwise from top) Cameron, Summer Girl, Brockee, and Heavy D.


Dana said...


No doubt that there are ups and downs as parents, and it must be so magnified with the number and ages of your crew! I can definitely say the Cam incident could happen to ANYONE--who doesn't let sleeping and quiet babies lie? Love the new pics of the kids--they are all so beautiful and look happy. High five on the successful formula change--I'm sure that is a huge relief.
Here's to a healthy and happy 2009!
Dana M.

luv, gerri said...

Coming up this weekend to see Grammie & Papa...CANNOT wait to see the LEW CREW in action.Cameron's incident could of happen to any baby, please don't beat yourself up anymore! Sounds like he is doing terrific!Actually,all of you sound great! We do keep you and the crew in our prayers on a daily basis.(Never under estimate the power of prayer....miracles happen every day!) See you soon!

Gabrielle said...

There is no perfect parent, you just do the best you can and learn as you go.
Don't beat your self up. The most important thing is that Cameron is ok, happy and healthy!!
You guys are always in my thoughts!!
Love, your cousin Gabrielle

Moni Graf said...

I'm sorry I missed out on so much during my blogging hiatus. Tonya, you and Jeremy depict a vivid account of your very REAL LIFE, and I appreciate you for writing about it honestly. I'm so sorry you had to experience that kind of scare with Cameron. We also had a similar episode with our girl while all 4 were napping. It's awful and really does make your mind spin about a million times a second. It was a close call, but sometimes it makes me wonder how many other close calls we were able to avoid, thanks to our guardian angels.
We have so much to be thankful for!

Anyway, I'm sorry if some negative commenters got ahold of you (which is what it sounds like). Remember that YOU fill YOUR shoes better than anyone else.

Glad the new pimped-out formula is working for the babes. Hope it allows everyone to wean off the reflux meds (if they're still taking them).

Prayers of thanksgiving going out to the Lew Crew from KS!


Kara said...

It is great to hear that life is back to "normal" and Cam is doing well!! Hope you had all enjoyed your holidays and Happy New Year.

Prayers -