Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Art of Sitting

After his fourth day back home, Gideon is enjoying life. Sure, sometimes he cries and it's obviously because he has a headache, but Tylenol for babies usually gives him relief. As the days go by, we are feeling more confident that he is getting back to his old self. This means that I will most likely get back to work soon, probably Thursday. Unlike Alexa, I don't get paid for my days off. This is a disadvantage of being independently employed. But I felt it was necessary to take the time off to relax after our very stressful ordeal and to learn the new and essential things about caring for a Gideon with a sensitive scar on his head. I don't want to mishandle him.

We recently discovered that he now suffers from "brasitis," as diagnosed by Alexa's mom. Brasitis comes from the Spanish word "braso" which means arm. Basically, what it means is that Gideon now wants to be in someone's arms, anyone's arms, at all times. I think he deserves it after all he's been through.

In other news, he is making strides in the area of sitting. I will take credit for this. For about a month now Gideon and I have been playing a game called, "Sitting Like a Person." The game is simple. It involves me sitting down comfortably on the couch and placing Gideon on my lap in the seated position while holding him to ensure he doesn't tip over. Here he looks around and observes his surroundings.

{Silent 5 second pause}

Ok. It's not really a game, at least not a fun one in the traditional sense. But you try to play "Standing Like a Person" all day long with him. It's a workout I tell you. This games involves having Gideon sit on my belly, counting slowly to three, then gently lifting him to the standing position, and finally yelling "Yay! you're such a good boy aren't you?" once he sets his legs straight and firmly on the top of my chest. He doesn't get tired of "standing" like this, but after 20 lifts or so, my arms get tired. Just to see his smile it really is worth the pain though. Also, I have noticed that he consistently begins to smile at three during our "Standing Like a Person" fest because he knows what's coming. Does this mean that he gets the concept of counting? Could he be the next great Astrophysicist? Time will tell.

Check out the latest pictures of Gideon Soto sitting all by himself. All he needs is a remote.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Day 4: Guess Who's Home?

That's right, Gideon himself. He got the ok to come home early today. Right now, he is swinging away on his favorite chair. His recovery is nothing short of miraculous. There are no evident signs of swelling and he's smiling from ear-to-ear. His scar, which is also ear-to-ear, is getting better by the day. It will be there for quite some time, but as long as we are careful with it, he should be fine. The doctor wants to see him in two weeks just to see how's he doing.

He should have been visibly swollen for a number of weeks, although not as bad is it was in the last three days. What we see is a baby with minimal swelling in the least, but in reality is hardly noticeable. In fact, he's back to his old self smiling, crying, eating and pooping; all good things. Your thoughts and prayers are very much appreciated. Our future posts will continue to highlight the life of Gideon and our family including Miggy the cat. As always, stay tuned.

For your delight, here are some recent pictures of Gideon. We love you all.

This pic was from last night. Gideon is pictured here with
Nurse Meghan, Aretha the Lamb and Bear.

Hello, how are you?

I'm so happy to be home.

Day 3: What a Difference a Day Makes.

A number of you told me that my previous post made you well up in tears and cry.

That's good!

No, I am not one who finds joy in making and seeing others cry. I am not a bully, though some of my grammar school acquaintances may tell you otherwise. What I am is a person that loves to share his stories with others in a way that people can relate to and truly understand, emotionally.

Today, I have a happier story. No need to worry about your mascara. Push the tissue box away. No sob story here - unless you cry at happy endings.

Yesterday, the doctors and nurses told us that things would get worse, in terms of his swelling, before they got better. But when Alexa and I arrived to Gideon's room in the morning, we were ecstatic to see that he had both his eyes open. The night before his eyes were so swollen, that he couldn't see out of them because he couldn't muster enough strength to open them. There was still some significant swelling earlier today, but as the hours progressed, it subsided.

There were moments where the swelling moved from one side of the head to the other, enabling him to open only one eye. If we had a patch he'd be the cutest pirate ever. But, we left our pirate patches at home today as we ran out the door of our apartment.

So what does it mean when the doctor's say one thing and God does another? It says that everything in life is not under our will, no matter what kind of control freak you are. Surprises come when you least suspect them. The doctors tell us one thing and God does another. Did God work a miracle in Gideon's life? Were your prayers regarding Gideon’s return to health answered? Here, see for yourself. Compare yesterday's pictures with the ones below, which were taken today.

Ahhhh, music soothes the soul.

I've got my eye on you.

Look Dad, I'm smiling.

No heavyweight, but still a champ!

Happy baby!

The best news of all, we might be able to take him home today instead of waiting until Saturday.
The journey continues.......

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Just a quick word from the mom
Day three at the hospital. Alex and I arrived to find that Gideon is less swollen, and his beautiful eyes are slightly open. I brought his bear, and he seemed to recognize him and jerked his legs and made sounds with his mouth when he saw him. Fortunately, I feel much better today. Yesterday, I had all the signs of having the flu/stomach virus. I was unable to stay the night, and I had to go home and rest. I stayed overnight the first night, and the "bed" they give you to sleep on is like sleeping on a folding table. Truly awful. But today is a new day, and thanks to Tylenol Flu, I am functioning. Gideon has been receiving doses of Tylenol and morphine, which has helped in keeping him calm and in less pain. He really hasn't been eating, but today we are going to try nursing him. Please pray that he sucessfully eats. If he starts a feeding pattern, then they will most likely move him to a regular Pediatrics room. And then home.
For those of you reading this today, I forgot my cell phone at home, so I will not be answering calls that way. Feel free to call the hospital and get our room number. Thank you to all of you for your prayers and offers to help. We already had someone at our church make us chicken soup. (thank you Mary who is 8 months pregnant!) I will write more as soon as we have more updates. Make sure you read Alex's post below. There are some recent pictures. I will post some more once his swelling has gone down. We do welcome visitors, so please come see him. Love you!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Day 2: Heart-wrenching Transitions

When Alexa and I first discovered that Gideon had craniosynostosis, we knew we were in on a journey. While we are not adventurers in the tradition of Lewis and Clark, Alexa and I have driven to places we've never been before. So we have experience. We've traveled all the way from Dallas, TX by car. In this trip I overcame my fear of getting stopped in the wrong part of any town south of the Mason Dixon line and have a cop ask me "Ya nat from around her boy are ya?" A few years ago we traveled from Fair Lawn, NJ to Port St. Lucie, Florida where I drove through two torrential rainstorms of two former hurricanes. During this trip, I experienced my fear of tornados first hand. Recently, I rediscovered a disability I had long forgotten when I threw up on a boat off the rocky coast of Maine.

Throughout the years we've taken many impulsive adventures across the Eastern US singing to a variety of music from gospel choir music, to Prince, to Aretha, to Red Hot Chili Peppers and more. Good times. Good times.

Now we are part of new journey we never imagined. The past two days have been heart wrenching to say the least. I remembered his beautiful smile when they took him away from us. As the nurse walked away, his smile blurred, like a mountain scene in a Renaissance painting. After surgery, when I saw him wrapped with the bandage my initial reaction was mixed - one of joy because he made it through the surgery just fine like we knew he would, but also of sadness. You see, I remembered the smile on his face when they took him away and was hit the reality of his innocence. He was smiling because he had no idea what was going to happen. He didn't know he was going to be forced to sleep by a plastic mask held by strangers. He didn't know he was going to be cut open. He had no clue as to what he was in for.

I knew.

And, at the moment of seeing him all bandaged up and remembering his cute smile, my heart sobbed because I let it all happen to him.

I know that emotions can get the best of anyone and they surely got the best of me. I was overcome by a father's unique instinct that compels him to protect, protect and protect his family by any means necessary. And because I felt that I couldn’t protect him from this difficult episode in his life, I became downtrodden for a brief moment.

But, I know it had to be done and he will be better off. Thank God he was in the prayers of so many people across many states and countries that love him and that he was placed in the hands of caring professionals.

Gideon is now very swollen. Below are some pictures. Warning: the pics may not be for the queasy.

The journey continues and we will keep you updated. Your prayers are still very much welcomed.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Big Day: A Quick Photographic Update

This past Sunday we had a dedication ceremony at church for Gideon. Basically, a baby dedication is where willing parents are charged to raise up their child in the ways of God, with family, friends and the church congregation as witnesses. Additionally, we ask God to bless our child. I guess you can say that it is similar to a Christening or Baptism. Well here is picture of Gideon on that day.

Just 2 days later, which is today, Gideon is wearing something entirely different. Our day at the hospital started at about 6;45am, where Alexa and I found our pastors already there. They were great. They stayed with us all the way up to the point where, Gideon's surgeon, Dr. Arno Fried, told us about the success of the surgery.

As the hours progress and the swelling becomes more notable, my heart becomes a bit sad to see my baby boy in such a helpless condition. I wish he didn't have to go through this. I would take his place if I could, but this is his battle to overcome -- which he is winning. Alexa and I have noticed many positive things to come out of it and we're glad that Gideon's story has touched so many lives already. I am so proud of him for being so strong and I am confident that it is only a matter of time before he is back to his normal, smiling self. Here are some pictures of Gideon after the surgery today.

Again thanks for all your prayers and support.
So today was the big day. We are sitting here with Gideon in pediatric ICU. His sweet little head all bandaged up and wrapped like a turban. He looks like a mago, which is another name for a magician. Actually, Christine is here and she pointed out that he looks a lot like Aladdin. Pictures soon to come.

The surgery went better than expected. While he has tubes of all kinds connected to his little body and is going to swell up to the point where he'll look like a beaten up boxer, he's recuperating just fine. We'll most likely be able to take him home this Friday.

Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers. God has once again worked a miracle in our lives.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Pooh Day at the Library
Yesterday we celebrated A.A. Milne's 120th birthday with a Pooh Party at the library. My sister brought Gideon over so he could be Pooh's Honeypot. Obviously, he was the cutest honeypot that ever was. Below is the evidence:

I am dressed as a chubby Hispanic Tigger.

Shinae is Pooh and Gideon is the honeypot!

The "Hunnie" Pot is staring into the camera

as Mama Tigger stares adoringly at the honey pot.

I am pretty sure that I lost about 5 lbs in that outfit.

Gideon is staring at the windsock craft that we made.

He is obviously already artistic.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Many Facial Expressions of Gideon.

Gideon is already starting to show the many sides of his personality. If we were to show all the pictures we have of all of his expressions, this page may never download. For your enjoyment, here are some examples of my favorite ones.

He wants to laugh but is holding it. Or he's holding something else if you know what I mean.

His impression of the Godfather -- I think. Could also be that he's had way too much formula.

Full blown smile - Mommy's funny.

Bold look, strong boy. Gideon, a little "mighty warrior."

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year!

Super Pistachio Baby Strikes Again!

So, Alexa has been doing most of the posting lately. This is ok. She is a much better writer than I am, even though it is what I do for my career. I know this. You know this. However, she doesn't seem to know this. So please her encourage her to write more.

This New Years Day, Gideon was all about business. While Alexa, her parents, her sister and I were counting down the end of the year, Gideon was nursing. About 5 minutes before the end of 2006, he squirmed around and cried incessantly letting us know that he was hungry. I joked that day saying that he's been eating since last year.

Now that it's 2007, I realize that I've been a SAHD (Stay-at-Home Dad) for about 2 months now and counting. Balancing work and Gideon has been challenging. Thank God I have a flexible work schedule and lots of help during the week. Alexa's mom comes over and provides relief and Andrea baby-sits 1 to 2 days a week.

Gideon and I have sort of come to an agreement. I feed him, clean him, play games (mostly peek a boo) with him, read him fun stories (mostly peek a boo again) and let him see episodes of the Backyardigans and something else about Super Pet Heroes.

In turn he naps for a few hours at a time, which allows me to complete about 3 - 5 hours worth of work from 9 - 5pm. Of course, the whole day I have sing-songy kids tunes stuck in my brain. Plus, I am forced to question the logic behind some of the adventures of some of his favorite shows. Like for example, if a baby dinosaur who is stuck under a big rock and is need of help (to make matters worse, a clumsy Pteranodon sits on top of a huge boulder which precariously hangs off the edge of a cliff right above the location of the baby dinosaur) why would one waste time singing about the situation contemplating what to do and what can happen? Of course, the animal in danger always gets saved, but still.

I keep it all to myself. I just want my son to have fun and learn something everyday. I can only hope that behind Gideon’s outward signs of pure enjoyment and glee that is revealed as the cutest smile the world has ever known, is the same logical conclusion that I have come up with.

Anyway, Alexa comes home to feed him during lunch and we all spend time together. I complete the rest of my work after Alexa comes home between 5 – 6 pm.

So it's all working out fine. And work is doing better than ever. I have more than enough to keep me busy and have extended my working relationship with a major client. Once again, blessings are pouring upon our lives.

I truly enjoy the time I spend with Gideon. I would not have it any other way. There was a time where I was tempted to re-enter the full-time, on-site job workforce once again, but glad I kept the faith and remained strong believing everything was going to work out just fine.
Enjoy the "Pistachio Baby" picture above. Gideon, Miggy, Alexa and I wish the very best in 2007. Thanks for continuing to support our small little corner on the Internet and for your continued prayers for Gideon.