Thursday, January 31, 2013

Wear Red!

This Friday, February 1st, marks the official start of HEART MONTH 2013!  

Congenital Heart Disease Awareness week is February 11th, and Heart Day is February 14th. 
To Celebrate, we'll be dressed in RED here at the Hartwell house on FEBRUARY 14, and we would love if you would join us and help raise awareness for congenital heart defects.

What do you say?  Will you join us?  On Valentine's Day pull those red shirts out of your closet and help celebrate Blaise, Landon, our sweet heart angel friends including Charley, and all the other kiddos who are still fighting! 

If you would like, snap a picture and email us at Another way to share is through Facebook.  Here's what do do...


2.  Take a picture

3.  Upload your photo to Facebook with one of the following captions

"Nearly one of every 100 babies is born with a CHD.  I wear red in support of Blaise (or Landon or any others you choose)."

"Each year approximately 40,000 babies are born in the United States with a congenital heart defect. Thousands of them will not reach their first birthday and thousands more die before they reach adulthood.  I wear red in support of Blaise (or Landon or ay others you choose)."

"Congenital heart defects are the #1 cause of birth defect related deaths.  I wear red in support of Blaise (or Landon or any others you choose)."

I know that lots of people who read this site have heart kiddos of their own.  Simply swap out the name and help us turn Facebook RED! Special thank to Kristen at for this great message and idea!

4.  Tag myself (Erin Sudman Hartwell) or my husband (Michael Hartwell) in your photos so that we can see them all!


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Wrapping Up January

I have a feeling God is going to be giving us some of the biggest blessings in our life in 2013. At the crack of midnight- welcoming this new year- I turned to Mike and told him I was ready for a year with no surgeries, and hopefully no stress. A year of making memories ad spending time together as a family. God blesses us each day with pure joy and happiness.

We've been extremely lucky enough to spend some quality time with the Sudmann side of the family lately. A weekend trip to Aunt Jenna and Uncle Mitch's, and a two week stay at my parents with Blaise has been wonderful. I know my parents love getting to spend so much time with Blaise, and he loves them just as much. In fact, at the moment Blaise prefers my mom over me! We are very thankful for all the time we've spent with them!

Blaise had his 9 month check up, and finally got his 4 month shots. We are still pretty behind on these. He didn't handle them quite as well, and had a restless night and icky feeling next day, but a little Tylenol did the trick. The look he gives his nurses after they give him the shot is priceless. I think he could shoot daggers with his eyes! On Monday the 21st, he weighed in at 17 lbs 7 ounces! He FINALLY broke into double digits on percentage on the growth charts in weight at 12% and was as high as 30% on length! We went back tonight for another round of synagis and he weighted 17 lbs 14 ounces!! BIG BOY!

What's new in the life of Blaise?

- He is spoiled. Very spoiled. And I think I'm okay with that :)
- He constant holds his hands up to be picked up. He hates sitting, and would prefer standing all day.
- Still army crawls, doesn't really have any interest in actually crawling.
- Will walk clear across the house when you hold onto his hands.
- Can stand on his own when leaning up against stuff.
- Eats three meals a day of baby food purees.
- HATES eating any sort of table food with texture. I'm taking any advice in this area. PLEASE! Won't eat it and just gags.
- Has learned how to play peek a boo himself. He think it's hilarious.
- Has just learned how to wave bye bye.
- Recently got 9 month pictures taken. I can't wait to share them- they are all for heart week!
- We are pretty sure his first word is "Up" He says it all the time.

I don't have my camera cords to download pictures, so you will all have to wait until next time.

Don't forget- February 14th is Wear Red day!!! Check back for more details!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Heart Awareness

Last Friday night, Night Line did an amazing report on new research being done on stem cells, to reproduce heart tissue. This science blows us away! We pray this type of technique may be available in Blaise's lifetime.

click on link to enjoy!

Also, the week of February 11th is known as Congenital Heart Disease Awareness week, with February 14th being the Official CHD Awareness Day. We are encouraging all of Blaise's friends and family to wear red on February 14th to support Blaise and bring awareness to this disease that affects 1 in 100 babies born.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Cruising along!

It's hard to believe we are half-way through January! Wow, time has flown since Blaise was born! We are already starting to think about first birthday plans! Unbelievable! Blaise is cruising along- quite literally. He army crawls a lot these days. I'm not sure if we will ever get actual crawling figured out. His absolute favorite thing in the world is standing. He can now stand by himself as he leans over to play on one of his toys. Makes him look like such a big boy! He has his first owie last night when he was playing too hard and tipped over and bonked his head. A little bump and a little bruise later and he's no worse for the wear.

We were able to sneak out for a walk today since it was close to 50! He sure does love the change of scenery from being cooped up inside all day. The past few days he has become such a jabber box. Of course, just babble but he likes to "talk" non-stop. He is also doing MUCH better on eating baby puff cereal. Before, he would just gag on them, but he's actually started gumming/chewing them and eating them more easily now.  I'm probably going to jinx myself by typing this, but he is also sleeping much better at night. We almost always make it to 5 am before he is ready for a bottle!

He has his 9 month pediatrician appointment on Monday. He'll get more of his shots, (I believe the 4 or 6 month round, he is pretty far behind on these.) I'm anxious to see if he has gained any weight and caught up on the growth charts. My guess is no, but that's okay too.

Lately, I've been trying to teach him to crawl more, to say actual words and to clap. We will see which he conquers first! Here are some pictures to enjoy!

Cheering on the K State Wildcats during their bowl game
One year after we found out we would have a baby with half a heart!
Giddy Up! Riding my rocking horse
Sitting in my big boy chair, wearing my sperry shoes. 
I got this picture of Blaise blown up and I love it!
Checking out the snow for the first time.
 What is this stuff?!?!
Kendra baby sat me a few weeks during Christmas break, and my other friend Natalie is also baby sitting me a couple!
Bad picture- but first time in dad's semi! We went for a visit while he was cleaning it. 
Hoorah! It's my nine month birthday!

I was just lounging- this toy was a good spot to rest my leg. 
 Blurry picture- but my new bruise is on the right side of my head.

A winter walk!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

One Year Later- Where We've Been

One year ago- January 6, 2012- Michael and I were given the devastating news that our child would be born with half a heart. I still can't believe I even have to  type that sentence. I'll be perfectly honest, at the time it practically felt like a death sentence. However, there was not a single moment that we gave up hope, stopped praying, or didn't believe that our baby would flourish. We knew about the middle of December that something wasn't quite right at our first ultrasound. It took the ultrasound tech forever, and she kept saying the baby wasn't behaving and she couldn't get a good picture of the heart. She even called in our ob. I remember even saying to Mike "something isn't right". A day later I  was getting ready for a meeting at work when I got the phone call saying we had been referred to a cardiologist at Children's.

There isn't a moment about the 6th of January I don't remember. I know the exact outfit I wore. Mike picked me up from work and we journeyed up the road to Children's. I vividly remember walking through the doors of Children's for the very first time. What's become so routine now, but then blindly making our way to the check in desk. Of course, I had done some of my own Internet "research" prior to our appointment and knew I didn't want our baby to have hypoplastic right heart. Then, right on the registration papers that we were holding while waiting for the ECHO tech to come get us, I read "referral notes: hypoplastic right heart". Mike tried reassuring me that our ob tech obviously could be wrong. I shook my head and continued to believe all would be fine.

Ironically, we realized during the ECHO, that we knew the lady performing the ECHO. She was from Treynor and had graduated with one of my aunts. Of course Mike and I talked and were friendly and reminiscing with her during the ECHO. I still wonder what thoughts she had as on her screen were images appearing that obviously proved our baby had major heart defects, but couldn't act any differently during our conversations. She left to go share the images she found with Dr. Danford our cardiologist. I remember going to the bathroom. Then after what seemed like an eternity, a group of Doctors and nurses returned to our room.

They started in on the diagnosis. Drawing pictures of the heart. I remember hearing the first three sentences, and after that it sounded like blah blah blah. I remember wanting Dr. Danford to stop talking, that I just needed to get out of that room and call all of our family to tell them. I KNEW I couldn't look at Mike. I never did, I just stared at Dr. Danfords hands. I was afraid if I were to look at any of them I would burst out in tears. I thought I would look silly. After the incredibly long appointment I remember our ECHO tech reassuring me that everything she knew was private and she wouldn't tell anyone from Treynor. I could have cared less at that moment. All the doctors than left, ad in came Jenny one of Dr. Danfords nurses. I remember thinking she serving the role as a counselor and gave us paperwork on joining a support group. I honestly couldn't believe this was happening. I had done EVERYTHING exactly right. Beyond what was even necessary! This wasn't fair! They tried ushering us down the long hallway. I wanted them to leave us alone and I couldn't get out of the building fast enough. I made it to the sliding doors before breaking down in tears as Mike asked me if I was okay. We obviously knew at that moment that there was no way I could drive. I called my parents right away, and my mom kept asking what was wrong as I couldn't even get the words out. I'm not sure if I stopped sobbing for the entire hour ride home. We stopped and told Mike's parents. My parents got in their car and drove to Oakland, as did my sister from Des Moines.

The first few days were rough. I remember waking up all the time at night crying, and getting on my iphone to do research. I stumbled upon a lady who did a blog for her little boy, who has about the same type of defects and realized that he was doing amazing, and so could our baby. This was the inspiration for our blog. We had friends of friends reach out to us whose babies have similar defects. The support was amazing.

I began to realize how blessed we were. God knew what he was doing when he gave us Blaise Andrew. There is no way I would want anything any different. I guarantee you I hug and love that baby more specially that I ever would have. Our relationship with God is so much stronger than it ever was before. I wish each person could have the same type of one. It's unfortunate not everyone will have the relationship with their child that Mike and I have with Blaise.

That's not saying the past year hasn't been hard. So many hard things. Do we have baby showers, or will people think that it's weird since there were so many unknowns? We took a birthing class that was totally irrelevant to us. Simple things like people saying that would be mad if they didn't get to hold their baby after birth. WHAT? We just want ours to be breathing! I remember thinking! I remember wanting to shake so many pregnant women and say "wake up!" who cares what color the room is and what outfit they are going to wear home! Just be praying that it's healthy! I think the one that gets me the most (and yes, I'm still working on it) is how anxious/excited/important it is for people to find out the gender of their baby at their ultrasound. It serves absolutely zero purpose in my mind except to tell you whether or not your baby is healthy. I wouldn't care if we would have an alien as long as it was healthy. It's so hard to explain that to someone.  One of the hardest things is that not very many people have had the chance to meet Blaise in person. We want to keep him as healthy as possible, so we don't take him anywhere. I can't wait to introduce him to people this summer, run to the grocery store with him. Go to Target or shopping and more!

Our heart journey with Blaise continues, and we enjoy being able to share this remarkable gift from God with all of you! 

What a wonderful past year!