Posts Tagged ‘Father’

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Movin’ On Down

March 12, 2010
The best lil' partner out there

My Lil' Partner and I

When Kolette and I thought about having a baby in the years BC (Before Cole) I was filled with concern about what role I’d be able to play.  If you follow the blog at all you know that we’ve been able to do things I never thought possible.

Just this morning we worked our way through another obstacle.

Coleman loves to ride around on my lap.  The problem is each ride means someone (usually Kolette) has to lift Cole up on to my lap, and then help him off when we’re finished.  Well we haven’t figured out how to get him up on my lap yet (although Cole’s REALLY trying), but when it comes to getting him off my chair and on to the ground–check.

We’ve been working on this for a little while, and today it all clicked.  Check out the video below, and prepare to be amazed – for I am.  I am continually amazed at the way Cole, Ko and I figure out work-arounds. Videos like this are precious to me. I watch them over and over and every time my heart is filled with love.

For, it’s quite a thing to watch my lil’ partner work hard so I can be more involved in his big ol’ life

Jh-

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A Letter to Cole (On His First Birthday)

January 28, 2010

Happy Birthday Coleman!!!

There are a lot of birthdays that fill up a lifetime, but few are as historic as your first. Coleman is going to have a birthday party on Sunday where he is going to receive all kinds of presents from all the people who love him. I’ll try to restrain myself, but you can probably guess how successful that venture will be.

However, in addition to the plastic “Fisher Pricey” thing he’ll get from me, I wanted to give him something else—something from the heart. I’ve decided to give him a letter; filled with my idea of how the talents and gifts that are already evident, and innately his will bless him as he grows to be a man—Just a father’s look into the future of his precious little boy on his first birthday.

Dear Coleman,

It’s hard for me to believe that it has already been a year. In some ways it seems like just yesterday I came home from the hospital at 6:00 am, all bleary eyed from being up 24 hours straight. I’ll never forget that morning and how no matter how hard I tried, the thought of getting back to you and your Mom kept me from getting any real sleep at all.

On the other hand, I don’t think I can remember life without you. It’s kind of like “The Three Musketeers.” I’m sure there was a time before they got together, but no one ever writes about it. You’ve completed this family in ways you’ll only understand when you yourself are a Dad.

At the hospital, you were the best thing since sliced bread—even the nurses thought so. They all went on and on about how handsome you were. Then before Mom and I could tell them thank you, they’d reply that they really meant it. One nurse even cornered me in the hall and couldn’t stop gushing about how you may have been the best look baby she had ever seen.

From the very start it was easy for people to tell that you were different from the crowd, and that’s only been reinforced to me over every one of the past 365 days. This letter is filled with some of the things I’ve seen in your little spirit that I hope you keep every day of your life.

Your birth was a miracle and every one knows it. When I showed your picture to my Physiatrist (Quadriplegic Doctor) she told me how happy she was that we were able to adopt. I told her that you weren’t adopted, and that you were my flesh and blood. She was flabbergasted (and freaked out a little bit) as she ran down the hallway telling everyone she saw that you were my genetic child—no one could believe it. So, I went down the hallway after her telling everyone that it was true. Miracles happen my son. Every breath you take is a testament to that. If you ever wonder if there’s a God, or if he hears and answers prayers, stop for a moment, get real quiet, listen to your heartbeat, and you’ll have your answer.

From the first day we brought you home you have had this happy attitude about you. You seem to have a smile for everyone. People love to be around you little Coleman J. Much of this comes from that happy attitude. When people meet you they always tell me what a happy little guy you are—keep that attitude it will bless you always.

Inside you there is a little spark of exaltation and intensity that can serve you well. I love to watch you take a toy in your hand, or get behind your big “standing toys” and shake the tar out of them. You do it with real passion. It’s evident when you bang your hand on the side of my bed or the way you become a whirling dervish in the bathtub. If you carry that same passion and exuberance into your life, you’ll always end up with success.

Man, can you pay attention. In the beginning it was the wall next to your changing table and the fans throughout the house, That turned into a fixation with cameras (which made it a little difficult to take your picture, but Mom worked it out) and now it’s everyone and everything. Never stop watching the world or the people in it. Never miss an opportunity to help another, or cost yourself the chance to do some good by losing your fascination with all that lives and breathes around you.

You have been blessed with a pace and patience that has already impacted me. When Mom and I talked to others about what it was going to be like to try to help you while being in a wheelchair, everyone said that I’d be fine—the only hard part would be my inability to help you because you would wriggle your body and arch your back right out of my arms. But that never happened. From the very beginning you’ve been calm and patient on my lap. It allowed me to feed you, burp you, and even carry you around on my lap. You just sit there. Take life at your pace. Never be in too much of a hurry. If you will, you will savor each year of your life the way I’ve enjoyed this first one with you.

You have a special love for everyone. You’ve always gone to others easily, never had a problem staying the night away from home, and have kisses for all. Give your love freely in the same way you share your little wave hello—plenty for everyone. If you will, you’ll be happier and the Savior will be proud. Remember the words Jesus spoke when he said, “As I have loved you, love one another.”

It didn’t take you long to figure out that you can always count on your Mom. She loves you so much and it’s easy to see you feel the same. I love the sweet relationship the two of you share. You can count on her for anything and everything. Talk to her throughout your life as much as you have “Jibber Jabbered” to her in this first year. You’ll meet a lot of special people in your adventures, but never one you’ll be able to count like your good sweet Mom.

From the first time I held you in my arms, I could feel the power of your spirit. More than once I’ve wondered how such a gigantic spirit fit into such a tiny body. But, more than anything, I’ve felt the closeness you have to your Heavenly Father. No matter how many birthdays pass by, never lose that special relationship with Him. He knows you and loves you and will do so today, tomorrow and forever. He’s never more than a prayer away.

Finally, always remember the three things I’ve told you every day of this first year

I Love You,
Your Heavenly Father Loves You,
And You’re a Good Boy.

Love,

Dad

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Surprises On Both Sides

December 2, 2009

Some friends of ours came to the house to see Coleman the other day.  Our friends have gotten to that point where they don’t even pretend to be there to see us.  All pretense is gone.   They’re there to see Cole and if we happen to be there then its just icing on the cake.

But during all the oohhing and ahhing, over Cole (they hadn’t seen him in months) one of them turned to me and asked how the whole fatherhood experience has been in comparison to what I’d expected.  In my answer, I began to think about what has been easier than I anticipated and what’s been more difficult.

Easier:

  • Holding—I’ve been able to hold him far more than I expected.  Cole’s temperament has been a big player here, and it’s been a little gift from heaven.  From the very beginning, Coleman’s always has been calm in my arms. Whether it was letting me feed and burp him in the beginning to being able to cruise around in my chair with him on my lap, or in my arm, my ability to hold my boy has far surpassed my wildest dreams.

  • Feeding—From the bottle through to our current Gerber/Table food stage, I’ve been able to feed Coleman.  I was sure that this was going to be something that only Kolette was going to be a part of.  However, it’s been something that I’ve done nearly every day.  Whether it’s been throwin’ some formula down his gullet (thanks Boppy), or slingin’ some sweet potatoes into his mouth, I’ve managed to feed Cole nearly every day—at least once. I’ve been able to hold a bottle, hold the container of baby food, and work the spoon.  It’s been a huge help that Coleman sits in his High Chair with his arms down and mouth open wide—but, as a quadriplegic, I never expected to be a part of that part of his young life.

  • Playing—I felt sure that I’d be able to play with Cole, but I thought I’d have to wait until he was older to really “get involved wit it.”  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  We’ve figured our all kinds of things, from throwing him around while I’m lying in bed to playing games after he eats.  We’ve used toothbrushes, cups, pretzels, wooden spoons, and anything else we could think of.  One of the real joys of my life has been playing with my buddy.

More Difficult:

  • Picking Him Up—It’s been hard from the day he was born to the day I write this post to watch him need to be lifted off the floor, out of his crib, from his High Chair, or up from his playpen.  It kills me.  I watch my boy need help and I can’t help him.  It definitely makes me feel helpless.

  • Getting Down on the Ground—If I had ten minutes out of my chair, there’s no question that much of that time would be spent playing with Coleman down on his level.  I watch others do it, and it’s different than having him on my lap.  I love the time I get face to face, but it’s on the counter or in bed.  As I watch him play, it’s easy to tell it’s different when it’s down in his environment—on his terms.  How I’d love to play with his stuff, at his height with no distractions, no counter top, no moving wheelchair—a just me and my boy.

  • Not Being Able to Watch Him Alone—Kolette and I have been able to make it so I can keep a monitor and watch over him while he naps, but if he wakes up, have to have someone to call to come take over.  Kolette works so hard, and when she has to be somewhere else, I’d love to be able to care for him all on my own.  It may not seem like much, but I’m his Dad and look forward to the time that the two of us can stand on our own two feet.

Now, before anyone feels bad, or wants me to look on the bright side, understand this—I am richly blessed. I have more and do more than I ever expected to have or do, before I had my accident. After all my injuries, I realize that I am one of the few that is lucky enough to say that I am married to my best friend and have a champ of a boy for a son.  I love my life—every single minute of it.

But, like every life there are things that are easy and things that are hard.  I think everyone goes into this fatherhood thing blind, but, because of my unique situation, I believe I went in blinder than most.  I therefore thought that it might be interesting to evaluate the good and the bad.  And, I have to say; I was surprised at some of my feelings on both sides.

However, thinking through all of this did bring me to a few undeniable conclusions.

First, I have a saint for a wife.  The majority of the things I’ve figured out to do have been because she was helping me think through them, both to find the answers, and support me through the learning curve.  She is definitely of the “If at first you don’t succeed” camp, and that has blessed my life as much as it has Coleman’s.

Second, a little patience goes a long way.  There are so many things we’ve figured out that we wouldn’t have if we had given up the first go ‘round. I’m grateful for patience.  It’s given me the chance to learn so much more about what I can and can’t do.

Finally, I can’t wait to see what the future holds.  I know there will be somethings that will surprise me and be easier than I think, and some that will disappoint and be more difficult.  But, so far it’s been the journey that’s brought the joy, and I can’t wait to see what’s around the next bend.

Jh-

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We’re Famous!

October 28, 2009
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Cole & I figuring it out in the "early days"

A couple of days ago I was looking at the blog stats for both Man On The Inside and The Champion Inside blogs and I found that we’d made the big time.

For those of you who aren’t “Livin’ La Vida Loca” in the blogosphere your blog stats tell you all sorts of things.  For Instance, you can find out how many visitors you’ve had that day, week, etc..  You can tell what links people have used on your blog to find other information, and you can tell what sites have links that have referred people to your little corner of cyberspace.

Anyway, on this particular day, everything looked pretty normal.  We had the regular number of visitors, and people were using all the usual links to leave the site.

But then, as I began to look at who had been referring people to the blog, I found one link that was different than my usual faithful referrers (Which is always appreciated by the way) and following up on the source of the link led to a big (ok that may be a stretch) increase in the blogs fame and cred.

The link came from Boppy.com.  For those of you who are hangin’ around the baby set know exactly what a Boppy is.  For those of you who aren’t, it’s a big pillow like contraption in the shape of a horseshoe that people use to feed or hold their baby.

When Ko had Coleman, we got one, and I wrote about how I used the Boppy to help me do things as a father that, because of my disability, I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to do. (Click here if you want to read that story)

Well, come to find out, Bobby found the post and put it on their website under a section entitled “Boppy Buzz.”  The landing page for “Boppy Buzz” displays a picture of Jason Priestly from 90210 fame, and speaks about how he and his wife use a Boppy.  But, to the left there is a tab they call “As seen in,” where they display some of the coverage they’ve received regarding their little invention.  Lo, and behold, at the bottom of the page next to an article from “American Baby Magazine” you find the post from “Man on the Inside.” Hard to believe as it is, our little blog has actually been quoted somewhere.

Now I don’t want to say that this makes me a Boppy expert—Especially since they already did, but you can forward all your Boppy related questions to me.So, I was thinking it’d be fun if we show them that we’ve noticed their reference of this little community.  You know that if I’m following the stats on my little blog, they have to be watching the stats on their website. Therefore, if you haven’t already, go to my original post here, find a link to Boppy, and click on it.

We’ll give them a little spike and show ‘em what happens to a site that links to us.

Thanks to Boppy.com and thanks to all of you who continue to come back and watch the crazy things that happen in our little lives.

Jh-

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The Cole Creation (Part II)

January 12, 2009

The following is a continuation of the story of how my wife Kolette and I went from making the decision to have a family, to finding out what that would require, and eventually successfully through the in vitro process.

The decision had been made. Kolette and I were on the same page and prepared to move forward. We were excited and I thought somewhere in 2008 we would begin finding out more about what the process entailed.

At the time our good friends the Cranes were in the midst of the in vitro process themselves. In the past we would casually ask them about how the process was going for them and what they were doing. Now, I noticed a difference in the questions Kolette was asking and in the seriousness of those questions. She was no longer just asking casual questions to be nice, she was on a fact-finding mission.

Kolette found out everything about the process, the cost, the clinic they used, and the doctor they chose. I think from the first time we heard about Dr. Heiner and the Reproductive Care Clinic (RCC) in Sandy, Utah we felt good about working with them. I liked that we were getting information but felt we were simply preparing ourselves for moving forward sometime the following year.

I was again reminded about the way Kolette makes decisions. She spends a lot of time deliberating and discussing but once she’s decided–she’s done; and she had decided that she was ready to move forward now. I too was excited about everything but the “now” part. I didn’t feel well at the time and my poor health kept me from wanting to move ahead with the same vigor.

In June of that same year a bug bite had given me a septic bursa in my left elbow. I had a minor surgery and a few “in office” procedures to rectify the problem but still didn’t feel well.

Even though I was wondering when the right time to actually move forward was, Kolette knew that the right time was now. I’ll never forget the day she returned home from visiting the RCC with the pile of paperwork requisite to begin IVF. I asked her if we needed to finish the paperwork to start next year. She told me we didn’t need to finish the paperwork to start next year, but instead the paperwork was to start the process immediately.

I told her of my concerns about my health and we sat down to see if we could resolve them. As we spoke, Kolette brought up the fact that although I was experiencing a little health “hiccup” 2007 was the first year that I hadn’t spent a night in the hospital and my health was generally as good as it’d been since before the accident. Looking at things through this perspective instead of viewing them through the pain and lack of strength I was feeling helped me get squarely back on board. With concerns resolved we continue to move forward.

Before we even began we knew our situation was unique. I don’t think that we realized how unique until we began to fill out the paperwork. The majority of the questions didn’t even apply, or required answers longer than the page the question was on. We provided the best information we could and then, in order to paint the most accurate picture possible, we attached a cover letter that went through the specifics and complete detail of our medical, social due to the fact I was a quadriplegic and had such extensive surgical and health issues over last 10 years.

With the paperwork submitted the next step was to meet with Dr. Heiner. We set the appointment and waited for the day to arrive. Finally we found ourselves in his office hoping to qualify for a chance to try and have a family.

The nurse brought us back to Dr. Heiner’s office and invited us to sit across the desk from the doctor. Dr. Heiner, who had already completely reviewed our paperwork, looked up and asked us one question. He inquired, “How do you keep the faith?” I can tell you with complete certainty that of all the questions we expected this was not on the list. We replied, “”We just keep going and watch for the miracles that happen along the way.”

Then he asked us what we do when we don’t get the miracles we want. It was obvious that he was asking a question generally with reference to our lives, and specifically with reference to the miracle we were there to inquire about. In response we told him that we believed if we watch closely enough we could not only see miracles consistently happened but we could see how those miracles were right for us. He smiled and asked us how he could help us see if we could make this miracle happen.

It was at that moment Kolette and I knew we were in the right place.

We asked our questions and sure about the direction we were moving signed up to be a part of his next “batch.” At the RCC they put each doctor’s group of patients on the same schedule and call it a “batch.” That way everyone is doing the same things at the same time during the course of one cycle.

Kolette began what was required of her to get us in this batch. There were shots to help her ovaries provide more eggs and hormones to increase her uterus’ ability to capture the fertilized egg. None of it was fun but all that was necessary and Kolette move forward with her usual positive outlook.

Then, just before Thanksgiving 2007 we found out that my elbow wasn’t healing. In fact, things had gotten worse; much worse. I was going to require an additional surgery and six weeks of hospitalization. On Monday after Thanksgiving I was admitted.  In my first week at the hospital my one surgery turned into two and I contracted MRSA (a type of staph infection).

We had to postpone our place in the “batch” and the concern I had before about whether or not we were ready “now” because of my health was heightened times ten. 2007 was supposed to be the first year since 1997 where I didn’t spend a day in the hospital and now here I was three weeks into a six-week stay.

I began to be filled with all kinds of self-doubt. I began to wonder if my health would ever allow me to be a dad. Frustrated, tired, and sick of being sick one night in tears,I shared my fear with Kolette.

Ko slid next to me in my hospital bed, put her arm around me, and began to gently talk with me. She spent an hour telling me about how she believed in my ability to be a father. She spoke to me about how this issue with my elbow was different from my previous health issues, how it could happen to anyone and wasn’t just another extension of the car accident. She reminded me of how good things were in our lives and how much more present I was able to be in our life together.

In an hour I became sure of two things. First, that we should be a part of Dr. Heiner’s next “batch” and second, that I had married an incredible woman.

(To be continued in “The Cole Creation III”)

Jh-

PS I hope to be able to post on Tuesday but am going in for minor surgery on my hand, and so it may be Thursday or Friday before I’m able to post again. Thanks for your continued support.

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Man On The Inside

January 1, 2009

On 11 June 2008, my wife Kolette and I found ourselves huddled around an iPhone in a hallway waiting for Dr. Heiner from the Reproductive Care Center to tell us whether or not our second in vitro procedure had been a success. Just like any other couple waiting for such news our hearts were in our throats and we could hardly breathe. For, unlike many other couples we had waited 16 years to finally have a chance to have a child.

I am a quadriplegic and have been since I was 15. We knew that the prospects of having children were greatly diminished because of my medical condition when we got married. But, what we didn’t know was that five years into marriage I would be involved in a serious car accident. What we never would have dreamed, was that I would be hospitalized for 13 months after the car accident and in and out of the hospital having surgery and therapy for the following 10 years. That’s 11 years altogether.

But there we were waiting. Waiting to find out if the waiting was over. You can imagine the excitement and joy we both felt when Dr. Heiner let us know that Kolette was pregnant. There are people in the world who will tell you the miracles don’t happen. That day proved otherwise, that day proved that miracles are not just remnants of the past but a piece and part of our lives today.

This has been the most rare and incredible event to occur in my life. In so many ways this miracle just should not be. But but that’s why they call them miracles. As a C5-C6 quadriplegic my chances to have children that are genetically mine barely exists at all.

In this blog you’ll find my hopes and dreams along with my doubts and fears. You’ll find laughter and tears. You’ll find things that are funny and things that are sad. You may find things that are little odd and sometimes confusing. You’ll find the ridiculous, the sublime and everything in between. Some of it will be experiences that happen, some will be the feelings of my heart, but it will all be real–my real thoughts and emotions as I begin this next chapter in my life.

From the early days of this pregnancy I have referred to my unborn son (Cole) as, “My man on the inside.” With that in mind, I decided to name the blog “Man On The Inside.” For, here you will not only read what happens as my son and I go through this journey together, but you’ll get a look into my innermost feelings and emotions as well. It will truly be a look inside; inside our relationship and inside me.

So, watch as Cole and I experience this new life together. I’m not exactly sure where this ride will take us, but if we both hold on I know it will be a journey we will never forget.

Jh-

PS For those of you who enjoy the motivational stories and insights you find on The Champion Inside, don’t worry I’ll still be posting there as well. Just click here or go to www.jasonhall.com