Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Circle of Life

My son Nicholas Alexander was born at 11:43 a.m. on April 10th. A few short hours later, my cousin Raney Leigh (McCullar) Fleck passed from this life after fighting a courageous battle with cancer for the past 18 months. She sadly leaves behind her wonderful husband Chris and their two sweet boys Jaren, age 6, and Conor age 18 months.

As I lied in the hospital bed being prepped for my cesarean section, terrified of course because I have a very strong dislike and fear of needles, IV's, spinals, anesthesiologists (sorry Jesse), surgeons, etc. I thought of Raney. I was talking to the nurse as she gave me my IV and I told her about Raney. I said to her, I keep telling myself that Raney is so strong and willing to do anything and right now she is also lying in a hospital bed literally fighting for every breath, so I can be brave and do this for a happy result--the birth of my child. It's amazing how it really helped me not be so nervous. Thank you Raney for helping me. I was so sad to not be able to tell Raney that it was a boy. Everyone, including Raney, was convinced it was a girl.

I will never forget April 10th and it will always be a bittersweet day, as we celebrate my son's birth but also are reminded of your death.

As all of you have read on this blog and known about Raney's illness, I know you have all offered up so many prayers on her and our family's behalf. Thank you for your kindness.

The circle of life continues.

Raney's obituary:

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

And he shall be called...

Posted by David:
As most of you know from telephone calls, e-mails, and the previous blog post, our son has received a name. In spite of the many complaints that we had perpetrated homicidal suspense--text message: u r killing me!--we deliberated the same amount of time as with our daughter, Ella, about two days. Honestly, since this name will have to stick for a lifetime, two days is pretty reasonable.
Quickly answering the most asked questions:
  1. To our knowledge, neither family has a Nicholas, nor are either of us Greek.
  2. Heather's grandfather and great-grandfather had Alexander as a middle name.
  3. Yes, we also considered Nicholas for our first baby, but Gabriella Marguerite seemed more appropriate for a girl.
  4. Heather refuses to call him "Nick", but prefers "Nicky". I refuse to call him "Nicky", but prefer "Nicco". Alas, this will most likely be decided by the third-grade, as the playground is a cruel arbiter of nicknames and reality. Until then, we agree on Nicholas, while Ella calls him, "Brother".
  5. "People of victory" and "Defender of mankind"
  6. Yes, I realize that the last Romanov Tsar of Russia was also named Nicholas (the Second) Alexander--thank you Dr. Jesse, but no, I do not expect he and his family to be executed in the palace dungeon by a group of trigger-happy Bolsheviks.
  7. Other finalists were Lucas and Atticus (from Antiquity, not Harper Lee), and at Ella's request, Leonardo. We also considered Edward for the middle name, but since Heather did the heavy lifting, her family won the legacy name game, this time.
As music lovers, we prefer names that have a lyrical quality, and a certain amount of distinction, and we consider meaning, family, and historical significance. They should also be flexible enough to last a couple of generations--how many baby girls, or boys, will be named Ainslie/Ainsley/Ainslee/Ainesly/Ainsleigh a dozen years from now? 

On a final note about historical significance, even though we are not Catholic, my favorite Nicholas of all time was probably Pope Nicholas V, who reigned a mere eight years, from 1447-1455. He was a diplomat and peacemaker, who ultimately ended the Western Schism. He was a reader and thinker, who presided over the beginning of the Renaissance and founded the Vatican Library, still today considered a formidable repository of the written word. He was an astute administrator, who filled the Vatican coffers without immediately emptying them. He was a planner, who began the process of restoring Rome from a dilapidated cow pasture to a functioning and thriving city. He was a visionary patron, who put in motion urban designs for the Rome that most people recognize and enjoy today. Of course, I do not expect all these things from my son, but eight consecutive hours of sleep would be nice. Enjoy the new pictures...
Just pulled out of his water world
Awaiting the first bath

Papa with his boy

Just the three of us
Cute little feet

Baby Burrito in his hospital bassinet.
Notice the snow flurries outside on April 10th!

In Papa's arms

Ella meets brother for the first time

Nana meets Nicholas

First kiss for brother

My girl and my boy

Ella's present from brother...

...George books

With Nana and sister

Nana with her first boy in the family

Room with a viewRocking with Mama

Eyes wide open

So cute

So cute again

Already winking at the girls

Getting ready to come home

Going home suit

So this is what clothes feel like

Ready to go home

Really ready to go home
Let's get out of here!

Off we go...

Home at last!

Meeting sister in the lobby

In the courtyard

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It's a BOY!

Welcome to our new SON!
Nicholas Alexander Earnhart
7 pounds 4 ounces
19 inches
11:43 a.m.First family of 4 photo


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Prayer Request

Many of you have been praying for my cousin, Raney, who is battling Advanced Stage IV Lung Cancer. Raney has been on a new round of medication trying to fight the latest spread of her cancer, and it has resulted in an enzyme problem, two types of pneumonia, and many other difficulties. She was admitted to intensive care at the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Scottsdale on Friday, and Sunday evening she was placed on a ventilator.

As of today, they have removed the ventilator and placed her on a CPAP instead. The Doctor's have determined that her breathing troubles are not from the pneumonia, but are from the actual cancer that is now blocking part of her lungs. Raney's wishes are to not be placed on the ventilator again, so we are praying that CPAP can maintain her for now and that she will gain enough strength to come out of this. She is basically going in and out of sedation in order to keep her comfortable.

Please pray for Raney, her husband Chris, their sons Jaren & Conor and all of our family.


Friday, April 04, 2008

Family of 3

Yesterday was our last day to celebrate our family of three. (Nana arrives today). Rather than wanting time alone like originally I thought I might, I really wanted to do something special with Ella. So yesterday afternoon I surprised her with a mother/daughter manicure-pedicure. This is not something I treat myself to very often--but the last time I did, she was there for part of it and they painted her nails for her--she thought it was the greatest thing. So yesterday afternoon when I told her where we were going she was thrilled! This time she got to sit up on a big cushy chair of her own and they filed her fingers and toes and painted them while I got my pedicure and manicure. She loved every minute of it, as did I.

Then we met David and rode the train to a special dinner of her choice which of course took us to Cozy Noodles or "Paroon's restaurant" as she often calls it. It's a bit surreal to think it was our last night at a restaurant as a family of three. We enjoyed most every minute, knowing our next family outing would entail an infant too!

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