Thursday, December 31, 2009

Rhinoceros Knock On Our Door?

Our collection of books is extensive ... fiction and non-fiction alike.  Recently, Natalie has shown a lot of interest in a book called Mammals.  Sounds educational and delightful, right?  One animal in particular has caught her attention ... and caused great concern ... 

Upon seeing the photos of this admittedly unattractive animal and asking, "Watts dat aneemal called?" she developed a concern that a rhinoceros would come to our house.  Daddy assured her that wouldn't happen.  He even got a globe and showed her where we live and where most rhinoceroses live.  I am fairly certain that concept went way over her head, but it was a good effort.

Over the next few days, Natalie continued to ask, with a certain about of fear in her voice, "R-eye-nos-ris come to our how-se?"  And we assured her that wouldn't happen.  Somehow she even got the idea that a rhino would knock on our door ... I am guessing it would be more likely that a rhino would knock down our door, but whatever.  She now says, "R-eye-nos-ris no knock on our door?"

This little story takes a bit of a turn ...

Natalie has been jumping on the couch lately, and none of our discipline tactics are curbing her enthusiasm for the joy of the jump.  Time outs are hilarious ... she puts herself in time out, sits there all proud and triumphant, says she's sorry and tells us that she loves us.  And, well, we just don't have the extra energy right now to develop a new discipline strategy ... which has led to some serious improvisation.

Which takes us back to the Rhinoceros ...

As Natalie rebelliously jumped on the couch, Chad requested that she stop several times and told her she would be in trouble.  Our two year old did little more than ignore him ... until ... daddy upped the ante a bit and said, "Natalie, did you know that a rhinoceros scoops up little boys and girls who jump on couches?"

Her reaction was immediate.  She stopped jumping and starting making sure that "a r-eye-nos-ris no knock on our door."  For the next two days, Natalie did not even think about jumping on the couch.   It seemed CPV had found our new strategy ... or not ...

We've also discovered that Natalie doesn't want to play in the front room, nearest the door, anymore.  She doesn't even want to run laps from the kitchen to the living room to the dining room because that path leads her too near the door ... the door that she fears a rhinoceros will knock on!  And she doesn't want to sit at her seat for dinner because it puts her back to the door.  We have assured her over and over again that a rhinoceros will not knock on our door.  That rhinoceros only live at the zoo in cages or far away from our house.

It is so sad to see her so afraid ... illogically afraid ... but very much afraid nonetheless.  We are continuing to reassure her, and hopefully her parents are learning from our mistakes ;)

Life with a Newborn

A little size comparison ... CJV versus NHV's size 5 diaper ... potty training - the two year old, not the newborn - is currently on hold until I can get more than two hours of sleep at a time ;)  I'm choosing my battles ... and changing a lot of diapers, apparently!

Sleeping and swaddle-breaching ... Charlotte is a great sleeper ... during the day ... at night, not so much.  She is also giving Houdini a run for his money ... she loves that hand up by her face ... and she can work it out of just about any swaddle ... but she does look peaceful, doesn't she?

Oh, and I just love the newborn "touchdown" ...

Snuggling (and movie-watching) ... I love to hold Charlotte while she sleeps.  I have a hard time putting her down ... especially knowing that this is my last chance to love up on a newborn of my own.  Natalie loves to be near her baby sister (and her mommy), which is just fine with me ... it makes for really good snuggles :)  And, if I am being honest, we've been watching DVDs more frequently these days ... as we were when CPV snapped this photo.

Oh, and here's a photo I snapped of CPV and CJV ... a fairly typical scene since Santa delivered an X-Box to the 35-year old kid in the house!  Chad figured out the cradle-and-controller move within the first hour, which is paying big dividends for me ... he stays up late to play and then does the midnight feeding while I catch a few extra zzzzz's.  Yes, we are skilled in the art of compromise ;)

Giggle:  Doesn't this look like Clark Kent wearing a Superman t-shirt?!

Photos of the Bump

My dear friend - and fellow new momma - Deann ... of Photos by Deann ... happens to be a great and very generous photographer.  She asked if she could "practice" taking maternity photos, and I jumped at the chance ... because a) I regret not doing this when I was pregnant with NHV and b) my friend Chitown Momma assured me that I would regret it again and c) in all likelihood this was my last pregnancy and the last chance to capture the beauty of a bump.

Finding the time between doctor's appointments and nesting-a-plenty proved to be a bit of a challenge, but I am so glad that we did!  And I can't thank Deann enough for sharing her talents with me :)  I am not accustomed to being in front of the camera, and the background and lighting made it feel so official ... like a scene right out of American's Next Pregnant Model!  Once we got started, Deann - very pregnant herself - and I managed to have a very good time ... and, well, the photos are turned out even better than I expected ... considering the model not the photographer.

I also have an admission to make ... a bit of an apology ... to all of those strangers and friends-of-friends out there who thought it appropriate to comment on the small size of my belly ... well, I see it now, and I guess it wasn't all that crazy for you to take notice of my tiny bump.  I may have been somewhat harsh in my reaction to your observations.  Because, no, in fact, I did not look 35 weeks pregnant in those photographs.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Santa, Baby

Despite my strong feelings against it, there were some major advantages to an induction ... like the fact that we were able to squeeze in a visit with Santa ... on the day of my scheduled induction, which makes this post about three weeks late, but who's counting?!

Once I had a date, I was getting done everything I could, especially those things related to the holiday season ... things I knew we would be hard-pressed to accomplish once our lives were invaded by a newborn ... things that were important to Natalie as a two-year old and to memory-making (and photo-taking) as a family. A Christmas celebration isn't complete without a visit with Santa.

Once again this year we avoided the mall (a four-letter word, in my book, because I hate it with a passion anytime of year but especially during the holidays) ... and instead had a delightful and authentic experience at our local zoo.  For the first 10 minutes, Natalie didn't want to have anything to do with Santa ... but that all changed.

We saw reindeer grazing ... well, there aren't actually any reindeer in that photo of me and NHV, but trust me that enclosure was full of reindeer, and their antlers were huge!  I love this photo because I know under my red pea coat is a cute little baby bump ... and it was taken just about 24 hours before CJV was born!

After our visit with Santa*, NHV also enjoyed a candy cane ... with much concentration and enthusiasm and stickiness.  While she devoured her cane, daddy helped her write a letter to Santa reminding him of her wish list*.

When we arrived at Santa's House, he was no where to be found.  A little note explained that he was "checking on his reindeer" and would be back shortly.  We took the time to get acquainted with Santa's decorations, including lots of stuffed animals and two trees full of ornaments.  Natalie pointed to almost every ornament and asked, "Wat's dat? and Wat's dis one?"  As much as I enjoyed that game, I was certainly glad to see Santa just a later.  He walked in, took his seat, and invited Natalie to sit on his lap.   Our once not-so-sure-about-this-whole-Santa-thing toddler, climbed right up but never got completely comfortable.  You can see how her arms are just slightly outstretched ... as if she may reach out for mommy and daddy or make a run for it at any moment.

But she did great and looked pretty darn cute, too!

When Santa asked what presents she was hoping to get this year, she quickly listed these three things ...
a ba-bee dowl,  yittle pe-pole, and a toof-brush.  Apparently, dental hygiene is very important to this two year old!

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ode to the Grandmas

Where do I even begin?
How can I possibly thank them?
What would we have done without them?
I can't begin to imagine!

Once the induction date was set, we frantically make travel arrangements for, first, my mom - Grammy, and then CPV's mom - Mimi. Both were unbelievably gracious about the short notice and leaving town during holiday preparations ... all to come here to be at our beck-and-call ... while sleeping on an air mattress on the floor in the nursery (because NHV's big girl room was once the guest room that is no more).  Oh, and during both weeks, we had the coldest temperatures on record here in the NW.  Aside from a newborn and their two year old granddaughter, we really didn't have much to offer!

My mom arrived that day after Charlotte was born. She arrived to find her new grandbaby still in the NICU. Chad picked her up from the airport and dropped her off at the hospital to spend the afternoon and evening with me. She brought gifts. We chatted and watched talk shows. We walked to the NICU every hour to check on my tiny baby. We cried just looking at her.

I was discharged that night, but had to leave Charlotte in the NICU ... much heartbreak. Instead of cuddling a newborn, Grammy's main responsibility was to occupy, entertain, distract Natalie while CPV and I made multiple trips to the hospital ... for four days.

Natalie had a great time, and I didn't have to worry about her - not even for a minute. I could focus all my energy on resting and visiting Charlotte. What a relief!

My mom left the following Thursday ... amidst lots and lots of tears.  Thankfully, Chad's mom arrived that very same day and took over where Grammy left off ... it was a seamless transition.  Again, Natalie was thoroughly entertained with countless story readings and games of hide-and-seek.

Just as my mom had, Mimi took care of Natalie's morning routine while Charlotte and I slept away the morning - trying to catch up on the sleep we didn't get the night before.  And Mimi made sure I was resting and hydrated.  What a blessing!

Posted by Picasa

I can't imagine how we would've made it through those first two weeks without the help of Grammy and Mimi.  We are so grateful that they were both willing and able to drop everything and fly to our rescue.

We love you, Grammy and Mimi!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

10:30 am

It's 10:30 am, and I am just now rolling out of bed.

Sounds so decadent, right?  Like something reserved for high schoolers and college kids.  At the very least it seems like something done on an occasional Saturday ... before starting a family.

Well, I am feeling somewhat rested, but it's not nearly as luxurious as it sounds.

At 7:30 am, I was feeding a "starving" newborn ... and then holding her upright while those two ounces of breastmilk digested.

At 8:30 am, I was eating a yummy scrambled egg and toast breakfast prepared by my awesome husband.

At just before 9:00 am, I was waving good-bye to my husband and two-year old as they left for a visit to the local kid's museum.

Back in bed just after 9:00 am and managed to sleep until the next "scheduled" feeding time ... 10:30 am.

I am living life in 3-hour chunks.  If half that time is spent sleeping (can that small amount of time even be called sleeping?), then, hey, life is good!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

ESP - Two Weeks Old

Babies are good for three things ...

Eating -- Sleeping -- Pooping

And so, as Charlotte meets the milestone of being two weeks old, here's my ESP Report.


Birth Weight: 4 pounds 9 ounces

Current Weight: 5 pounds 5 ounces
As of Monday, when she was 12 days old,  my little nugget has gained 12 ounces ... and I figure that's an ounce a day!

Length: a little over 17 inches

Overall Growth Percentile (based on gestational age): still hovering between the 3rd and 5th percentile

Disposition: calm, patient, mellow 


Eating - Because of her small size, most of the decisions about CJ's nutrition have been made by the NICU doctor and her pediatrician.  She's been - primarily - bottle-fed on a schedule;  first formula and then breastmilk fortified with small amounts of calorie powder.  This means that every three hours, she gets a bottle of about an ounce to two ounces of breastmilk.  After she's fed, her immature digestive system requires that she be held upright for about 30 minutes - or risk a traumatic spit-up-choking episode, which happened four times at the hospital ... and CJ stopped breathing all four times - yeah, no thanks.

And since the breastmilk is supplied by my hardworking "girls," I have to sit and pump for 15 to 20 minutes.  Including time to clean the pumping accessories, this process takes about an hour and a half.  Thankfully I've had help from the grandmas because this schedule was quickly becoming a huge source of frustration and exhaustion for me.  And I'll let you in on a little secret ... I detest pumping.

After Monday's weigh-in and Charlotte's continued progress, the decision was made to start getting serious about getting her to nurse on a regular basis.  You can visualize a little happy dance right about here.  Now every other feeding is a calming, relaxing, all-natural nursing session ... no pumping required!  We are two full days into this new schedule, and I must say that I am a much happier mama ... and most importantly, Charlotte is doing great ... her latch could use some improvement, but she continues to be flexible and calm and amazing!

Sleeping - As with most pre-term babies, Charlotte sleeps ... a lot ... and she sleeps just about anywhere.  If she had her way, she'd probably prefer to be held while snoozing.  And since maintaining her own body temperature continues to be tough (with so little body fat) and to burn lots of calories, the grandmas and I have been happy to oblige her.  At night she sleeps in a bassinet right next to my bed, and  love having her so close.

It is very rare to hear her cry, but this little girl is a noisy sleeper ... she grunts, honks, (like a goose, not a car) squeaks, beeps, and sighs ... all the time.  I certainly don't remember NHV being this noisy!  I am very tempted to record what she sounds like because it is just so darn funny!  Thankfully I am getting to know her noises ... which ones I can ignore and which ones require me to check on her.

Pooping - I am sure this falls under the TMI category, so I will spare you the gory details ... but this little girl doesn't have a problem with making the poopies (unfortunately, her big sister suffers that infliction).  With that said, we've only had one blow-out ... and it was more of a diaper malfunction than a quantity issue.  Sidenote:  Preemie diapers are a complete rip-off.  They are essentially the same size as a Newborn diaper - maybe a few millimeters difference, but they cost twice as much ... about 30 cents each!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Together, a Birthday Greeting

This is my very best friend, Missy.  My other half; sometimes we honestly share a brain ... even though we live in separate states!  She is an incredible person and mother ...  

And that adorable little guy there in the middle ... that's her amazing, strong-willed, almost-two-year-old son.  He just had open heart surgery - the second one of his short life.  His bravery and strength at such a young age brings tears to my eyes and a smile to my face.

Oh, and that's Joe ... Missy's husband.  Emmett's daddy.  His sense of humor sometimes makes me scratch my head.

I am so glad the three of them are together ... even if they are celebrating from an ICU room in a Children's Hospital.  They are together.  And they are celebrating not one, but two birthdays.

Happy, Happy Birthday ...

Hope you've planned a trip to the yummy cupcake shop around the corner from the hospital :)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sighs of Relief

I think my sweet husband put it best when he said, "It's so good to have YOU back."

After a drama-filled, worrisome, painful, stressful pregnancy, I finally feel like I can breath many, many sighs of relief.


My beautiful BGV was born healthy and as close to perfect as any parent has the right to dream.  Yes, she's tiny, but she's also mighty!  While she/we did endure a stay in the NICU, medical intervention was minimal ... it was really all about monitoring her ... and giving her the chance to figure out suck-swallow-breath ... and being in awe of this tiny 36 week-er who proved that gestational age is just a number ;)


After dreading an induction, I can honestly say it was the best labor experience I can imagine.  I have a great relationship with my OB, and she cleared her entire schedule to be with me at the hospital all day.  She graciously took into account my feelings about natural labor and helped me to manage my pain (and motivate my cervix) without Pitocin or an epidural.  In addition to the best doctor in the world, I also had an amazing nurse who made sure I was comfortable and empowered.  And I fell in love - all over again - with my husband who coached me and kept me focused on the prize :) 

With a dose of "steel-melting" gel on my cervix-o-steel, my uterus stayed true to its grumpy disposition and contracted like a champ. I was able to trust my body to do what it already knows how to do, and I had that all-important "control" over the situation.


My post-partum recovery has been a piece of cake in comparison to the physical demands of a contraction-filled pregnancy.  Physically, I feel great; I've all but forgotten that I even have a uterus!  Birthing such a tiny baby had the advantage of no tearing in the nether-regions.  And with around-the-clock pumping, engorgement (the worst part when I had NHV) wasn't even that bad.  Don't get me wrong, I am exhausted, and I am definitely feeling the hormone surges and dips.  But overall, I am in a much better place physically! 

Of course, the twice-a-week doctor's appointments continue ... but no more non-stress tests or ultrasounds ... just weigh-ins for CJV!


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Daddy's Little Girl

Less is More

I just got schooled by my one week old.

Charlotte has her days and nights a little confused.  Seems appropriate considering the fact that she should still be tucked in my uterus for another few weeks.  During the day, she falls right to sleep after a feeding ... even with the noise of a two year old filling the background.  At night, when our world is so much more quiet, she's alert - love seeing her eyes open - and even a little restless.  Of course, I am ready for bed, so this presents a bit of a dilemma. 

I've been enjoying Charlotte's alertness but watching closely for signs of over-stimulation, a lesson I learned from NHV ... back in the day.  Tonight, CJV offered me a refresher course in this concept.

After several big yawns, the most classic newborn "I'm tired" sign, I took Charlotte upstairs, changed her poo-filled diaper (a task usually preformed just before feeding), and proceeded to rock, sing, and pat her to sleep.  I brought out my signature shushing.  In response, she squirmed and grimaced and seemed miserable. Twenty minutes later, I couldn't figure out what was "wrong" with her; she just wouldn't go to sleep. 

I got up from the glider, sat on the edge of the bed, and cuddled her close.  I stopped moving.  I stopped singing.  I stopped shushing.  I took a few deep breaths and allowed my mind to wonder.

Within two minutes, Charlotte was blissfully, completely ... asleep.

Clearly, when helping a newborn fall asleep, less is more.

Sidenote: In regards to this momma getting enough SLEEP, less is definitely NOT more!

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Oh, that first meeting.
Words cannot express.

NHV has taken to big sisterhood with much enthusiasm and love.
She giggled and smiled and just gazed with such awe.

She must've said the words, "babee sistah" at least a dozen times.

"Babee sistah grew in mommy's be-yy-y."
"Babee sistah ... Charlotte." 

"See babee sistah's tootsies."
"Babee sistah's tootsies ... t-I-ny."
She then counted her toes and leaned in for a tootsie kiss.

"Dat babee sistah's naket (blanket)."

And her best observation ...
"Mommy work hard ... get babee sistah out her tummy."


I cried.  I smiled.  I suddenly understand ...

A mother's love is infinite.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Home is ...

... where the heart is.

Well, I'm home.  Have been for almost 24 hours now.  The hospital takes its 24-hour discharge policy pretty darn seriously.  And really, I slept better in my own bed than I ever would've there.

But a big chunk of my heart is not here with me.

Charlotte is staying in the NICU for now, and I know it's the best place for her.  She is receiving around-the-clock monitoring and exceptional care.  Wish that made it easier to leave her.  Makes me a little weepy just thinking about it now. 

Knowing her gestational age and small size, I expected a NICU stay.  Most importantly, her symptoms are all typical.  She's healthy but immature.  Her systems - respiratory, digestive, nervous - are being required to take care of a lot of things that my womb should be providing for another 3-4 weeks.

She's still having a tough time regulating body temperature, but the nurses  just moved her from the heated incubator to an open bassinet.  This will give her the chance to provide her own heat ... along with help from three swaddle blankets and the tiniest sleeper I've ever seen.  Hoping for good news tomorrow morning.  The problem is that providing her own heat also uses a lot of calories.

The feeds are getting better (suck, swallow, breath is a tough combination) and she's taking a few more mL each time.  I am doing my best to pump a milk supply into existence.  In the meantime, she's drinking high-caloric formula in order to off-set the calories burned during a feeding - as well as whatever meager amount I pump.  She cannot afford to lose any weight ... so far she's only lost about 2 ounces.

So CJV needs to take in enough calories to gain weight ... but those calories also have to help her stay warm and give her the energy to effectively feed.  Seems like a lot to ask such a sweet, little nugget.

CPV and I visited with her for two hours this morning, and Grammy came back with me during NHV's naptime.  I am trying to maximize my time with each of my girls.  The nurse insisted that I don't come back for a third feeding today.  She wants me to rest, pump every three hours, and "take advantage of the most expensive babysitting money can buy."

Now I am counting the hours until the morning feed when I'll get to hold my baby again.

1st Day Photos

Many requests for photos ... can't disappoint the masses ...

Here is a little glimpse of Charlotte's 1st Day:

Not sure these photos really capture just how tiny she is ... she is one teeny, tiny little nugget!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Announcing the Arrival of CJV


Charlotte Jane

arrived December 2 at 6:55 pm

She weighs a teeny, tiny 4 pounds 9 ounces
and measures just 15 3/4 inches long!

The induction was actually a wonderful experience. 
Everything went just as smoothly as possible.

My awesome doctor was here all day.
The nurse took such good care of us.
Hubby was an amazing labor coach.

CJV is spending time in the NICU to monitor her blood sugar,
ability to regulate body temperature,
and oxygen saturation levels during feedings. 

She's been extremely cooperative through it all. 

I am feeling great ... aside from being very hungry and a little sore.

I am the momma of two beautiful daughters. 
How very blessed I am!

Monday, November 30, 2009


Signs of growth 

Sighs of relief

Deep breaths

Tingle of anticipation

We found out at today's ultrasound appointment that BGV did make a marginal gain in her abdominal circumference.  I was not impressed by the very small number (she falls in the second percentile), but my specialist was ... to the point that she is now recommending an induction later this week, Monday at the latest ... rather than tomorrow.  Which means BGV gets a few extra days to grow and allow her lungs to mature a bit more!  Of course, that also means continued monitoring and more doctor's appointments, but ... whatever ;)  I should know the official "plan" tomorrow after seeing my OB for another non-stress test and cervix check ... woo hoo!

At this point, I have completely embraced the idea of an induction.  So many of you shared stories and insights to help me to get to this better place!  I know that drugs will initiate what my body already knows how to do I will trust my body as well as very close monitoring of the baby to see us both through to the very best possible outcome.

Ah, the anticipation of meeting her ... and sharing her with all of you ... is really starting to make me crazy ... in the best way!

Nursery Craftiness

With impending induction weighing on my mind, I had a bunch of nervous energy to focus on ... a bit of Nursery Craftiness.

For the most part, BGV 2.0's nursery is just a hand-me-down from her big sister, the first of many, I am certain! If you'd like to know more about the Alphabet Art created by family and friends across the country, click here.

I already love this room so much, which is why I've done minimal touches for the new baby ... but I did make an effort ... and I've been feeling quite crafty ...

First of all, I made BGV her very own set of curtains - just like the ones you see here. Hers are navy blue with four stripes: red, yellow, green, and blue.

I also bought a new piece of storage - for the hundreds of baby toys and books. This was a Craigslist find, and it's perfect!

Then, I took these two 16 x 20 (super cheap) frames, original finger-paint artwork by my talented two year old, and some letter stickers to make this ...

Can you see what it says? Baby Sister ... I am so clever ;)
Oh, and there's a glimpse of the curtains and storage, too.

And finally, my little late night masterpiece ... created between the hours of 11:00 pm Saturday and 1:00 am Sunday ... a wall mobile that will hopefully calm a fussy baby.

Where did this idea come from?!  Well ...

There's this website - - it boasts "free artwork to soothe the savage beast" ... how's that for a catchy slogan?!  From this site, you can print high-contrast images that are "proven" to capture baby's attention, which enables them to calm down.  I can't remember how I found out about this, but I used the images with NHV, particularly while she was being changed, and well, hate to sound all info-mercially, but ... it worked.

I just printed out the "poster" and had it next to the changing table; she loved looking at the black-and-white images.  For BGV I decided to take it a step further ... I added ribbon because I am obsessed with ribbon right now and a few other random items found around the house.

Since babies like shiny things, I used CDs as the circles, added a layer of bright paper circle, and attached a high-contrast, circular image to the center.

I cut cardboard into squares, painted them black, added some scraps of colorful paper, and attached a high-contrast image to the center.

All attaching was done with Modge Podge ... love that stuff!

I installed the ribbons directly to the wood trim with hot glue and secured the ends to the wall with some putty-stuff.  Viola!

I can just picture me pacing around the nursery.  BGV hoisted up on my shoulder with the Fussy Baby Wall Mobile just at eye-level.  She'll be calmed within minutes, and my sanity will be spared.  Wishful thinking, huh?!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

All About MEme: Excuses, Excuses

with MommyBrain and SupahMommy


Dearest MEeps ... 

get it, MEme + peeps = MEeps?!

I am throwing the pregnancy card ... 

because, well, I can ... and I may not be able to for much longer. 

I am a whopping 36 weeks pregnant after all!

And, no lying, I am - this very minute - 

counting and timing contractions.

Not sure if this is actual labor (probably not) 

or just a Seriously Pissed Uterus (SPU) ... 

an upgrade from my previous GUS (Grumpy Uterus Syndrome).

Just so you know I am not a slacker  

(that's my little pet name for SupahMommy)

in between contractions and deep breaths, 

I am decorating for the holidays,

cleaning house from top to bottom, 

framing finger-paint art for the baby's room,

making a crafty wall mobile for the baby's room,

packing and repacking bags for the hospital,

organizing the linen closet,

snuggling with my sweet girls,

and motivating my husband to finish painting already!

There you have it.  My excuse(s).


ANYONE .. .without an excuse will be forced 
to mop my floors and clean three digusting toilets ... 
before I return from Labor and Delivery!

Come back, link up.  Visit some blogs and give some comment love.  

See you next week ... maybe ;)

XOXO ~ Supah and MommyBrain

Middle of the Night

It's 5:00 am now.  Technically not middle of the night ... anymore.

But NHV has been awake since 2:30 am, and that's sure as heck middle of the night.  I don't know why she's awake, and nothing I've tried has put her back to sleep. 

I've tried leaving her in her bed, tucking her in - again, changing her jammies (because my mom once told me that a wardrobe change can make all the difference), letting her cuddle in our bed for a few minutes, talking through her day, rocking her in the glider, ... it was quite interesting to fit all three of us (Natalie, me and BGV) all in that chair.

During all of that two-and-a-half-hour rig-a-ma-roll, I've heard these phrases - more than once - and it just makes me laugh to think about what it going on in that cute little head of hers:

"I seep in mommy daddies bed."
"Mommy, cuddle."
"Want different binky."
These are all typical things she says if she wakes up in the middle of the night ... and goes right back to sleep.  

"I sawl yights after dinner."
We saw a holiday light display, and clearly it was memorable.

"Elmo and Natalie half kin."
This is from a recent episode of Sesame Street; during which Elmo talks about skin.

"I watch Barney on com-puter?"
Darn that YouTube; it's just so addicting!  And darn that purple dinosaur; I cannot stand him!

"I no say hi to Santa at Kids Quest.  I a yittle bit afraid."
Our trip to the children's museum included a walk through the mall - where Santa available for a photo-op.  Natalie did not want to say hi to him ... she skirted a good 50 feet around.

"Babee sistas room looks pretty."
A very sweet observation made while being rocked in the nursery that once belonged to her.  Makes me smile to know that she considers it to be baby sister's room now.


I had to come downstairs for a glass of chocolate milk.  Seems both my girls are being rather demanding tonight! 

Daddy is reading her a few stories now; we finally gave in and turned on the lights ... that's like breaking a cardinal rule or something, right?

Hoping this works ... I'm exhausted!  If I remember correctly, newborns just eat and go right back to sleep ... no two-and-a-half hours of game playing and entertaining, right?!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

One Year Ago ...

I was boarding a flight to be with my best friend and her little man Big E during his recovery from open heart surgery.  I can't believe it was a year ago.  Despite the circumstances, it is one of my most cherished Thanksgiving memories.

Taking that flight meant leaving my husband and one-year old daughter to fend for themselves on Thanksgiving.  Most of that fending took place in the form of a prepared meal from the local market.  And they did just fine without me. 

Taking that flight also meant being with someone I love very much at a time when she needed me.  What a powerful and amazing feeling ... to know (or at least hope) that my presence could make a difference ... lift a spirit, bring a little sense of calm, be a familiar face, give a hug, ...  

As soon as I landed, I was able to see Emmett  - amongst a tangle of tubes and wires - in the hospital.  I held his mommy's hand while we watched his heart rate on the monitor.  I did my best to understand the medical explanations and concerns. I kissed Emmett's swollen eyes and whispered any words of encouragement I could muster for this sweet little fighter.  I fought back tears and tried to comprehend how and why such a thing has to happen to anyone ... let alone the baby boy of my best friend.

It seemed impossible that we would have to leave Emmett lying there by himself (with a full staff of nurses and doctors caring for him), but eventually we did tear ourselves away and walked reluctantly to the parking lot.  After all, it was Thanksgiving - and we did have much to be thankful for - but we also had empty stomachs.  I considered it part of my mission to make sure Missy and her husband had some semblance of a turkey dinner.  As we drove around the town, just about everything was closed ... except a Marie Callander's restaurant.  Hey, her pot pies aren't half bad, and her Thanksgiving dinner was actually pretty good!  We shared a bottle of red wine and a hot meal, and that was all that really mattered for about 60 minutes of our lives.  We reminisced and laughed and felt thankful to be together.

After many nights at the Ronald McDonald House,  it was decided that a hotel room would be a welcome change.  Missy was able to take a hot bath, one of her favorite treats.  And we were all able to get a good night's sleep before heading back to the hospital to see Emmett.  His condition had actually improved over night.  He could open his eyes some, and boy, did he light up when he saw his mommy and daddy.  Despite all the tubes, Missy was able to hold him in a chair and give some snuggles.  What a beautiful moment to see Emmett back in his mommy's arms, back where he needed to be ... suddenly, everything was right in the world! 

I also introduced Emmett to a new little friend, a lion that he still carries around today.

The remaining hours before my return flight were spent just marveling at Emmett's bravery and reveling in his improving condition.

Big E spent about another week recovering before returning home.  This was his first of three open heart surgeries.  His second is scheduled to take place a few weeks from now, and the final will hopefully happen this summer.

I am so thankful to know ...
the bravery of this little guy
the limitless love parents have for their children
the abilities of modern medicine
the miracles of compassion
the blessings of a healthy child
the strength of a friendship

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

D-RA-MA Queen & Whiplash

So it's official, BGV will further more be known as DQV ... she is such a freakin' Drama Queen!

I was not in good shape last night.  Panic set-in and I just couldn't get it under control. My cheeks were suddenly very flushed and fetal movement was faint and infrequent ... even when I jostled her a bit.  I came very close to calling my doctor, but CPV calmed me down. 

Finally at about 1:00 am, she had a little bout of hiccups and I was able to relax and get some much needed sleep!  I woke up a short time later ... to have a snack because I wasn't able to eat much in the evening ... just too upset and conflicted.  During that quiet time in the middle of the night, I looked at photos of NHV's birth and had an emotional breakthrough, an epiphany, if you will.  I took a very deep cleansing breath, and just felt calm for the first time in several days.   I woke up feeling the same way; relaxed, rested, and calm ... there were even a few peaks of sun through the clouds to punctuate my changed mood.

NHV slept her usual 12 hours, and CPV made us a delicious breakfast.  The morning was off to such a nice start ... and I headed out the door for my fourth doctor's appointment of the week.

The first twenty minutes of the "non-stress" test today were ... well, stressful.  While there was clearly a heart beat, there was no evidence of heart reactivity.  Of course, I wasn't having any contractions either ... after 12 weeks of non-stop, medicated contractions ... nothing.  We gave the baby a few gentle squeezes to get some reactivity, but none of it was unprovoked.  That 20-minutes of tape sent everyone into a panic and paperwork was started for an emergency c-section.

I stayed on the monitor for another hour, and guess what ... Drama Queen smirked her little smirk at all of us (perhaps even thumbed her nose, that little stinker), and her heart was perfectly reactive the entire time.  And the contractions made a come back, too. Her heart rate even sustained through the contractions, which was yesterday's red flag!  The doctors (my OB and one of her partners) were just shaking their heads and saying things like, "Can this even be the same baby?"  I went from sobs to smiles but remained cautiously optimistic because ... that's just how this pregnancy has gone ... one minute good news, the next we're scrambling to figure out an escape plan!  That's the whiplash of growing a Drama Queen in your uterus!

By the end of almost two hours, it was decided that the plans for a c-section would be set aside.  Monitoring will resume on Friday morning, ultrasound on Monday afternoon, and OB appointment on Tuesday morning to determine the "when" of the induction.  There is still a tiny glimmer of hope for a growth spurt. 

At this point, I am accepting the idea of an induction.  There is simply no reason to fret about it or fight against it.  Getting this baby girl into the world happy and healthy is my number one priority.  In the meantime, I am going to savor the next five days with my awesome husband and daughter :)

Thank you again for the continued love for me, BGV DQV, and my family!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

WW: Memory Lane

The upcoming arrival of my second daughter prompted me to take a look back at the first moments of meeting my first baby girl ... what an amazing experience and one I am very much looking forward to again!

For the latest on BGV 2.0 ... induction or possible c-section, click here.

You can see more great photos and Word-less-ful Wednesday
posts here and here.

More News About BGV 2.0

So yesterday's news of an induction rocked my world ... to be sure. 

Today's mention of a possible c-section just about did me in.  At least now that induction seems like a great option ... there's a silver lining, right?!

So why the possible c-section?
Well, during my non-stress test (such a freakin' oxymoron!) today - at my OB's office - BGV's heart was reacting negatively to the many contractions I was having.  Essentially, her heart rate would plummet at the end of each contraction.  These contractions - the ones I've been having since 22 weeks and stop treating with meds last week are still considered "pre-term labor" contractions.  As far as we know, they are not affecting my cervix.  If I am induced or go into labor naturally, the intensity and productivity of those contractions would obviously (and hopefully) change.  Increased contractions with a heart reacting like BGV's would not be an ideal situation.  It would put her in distress, a scenario my OB will not allow to happen.

Now the first non-stress test today lasted for 20 minutes.  I had two hard contractions during that time and both times BGV's heart rate dropped below baseline.  This was such a surprise to me because her heart  reactivity has been a point of praise from the doctors throughout all the previous monitoring.  Of course, I am now off my meds and having more contractions. A second non-stress test - this one an hour in duration (thanks, Janelle for keeping NHV) - was administered and the results weren't as dramatic but still not meeting my OB's expectations.  Rather than race into a c-section, my doctor wants to collect more data ... with another non-stress test tomorrow morning.  Are you beginning to see what I mean about "non-stress" being an oxymoron?!  Consider me officially STRESSED!

At this point, I am choosing to ignore the possibility of a c-section (can you say denial?) ... and instead focus on the induction that is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday.  Between now and Tuesday, I have several doctor's appointments and big plans for our final days as a family of three ... this is the control freak in me ...
  • Tomorrow, November 25- 9 am "non-stress" test to check the baby's heart reactivity during contractions.  This will determine the need for a c-section. 
  • Thursday, November 26 - I want to take a drive to see the snow in the mountains - what could become a Thanksgiving tradition for us.  And we are really looking forward to a delicious turkey dinner at Tammy's  house :)
  • Friday, November 27 - Sometime in the morning, I will need to go to Labor & Delivery for another non-stress test ... because both my OB's and specialist's office are closed.
  • Saturday, November 28 - There is this amazing display for holiday lights at a local Botanical Garden.   I would really love to take Natalie as a holiday season kick-off.  Another family tradition kind of thing.
  • Sunday, November 29 - I should probably rest at some point, right?! And cuddle up with my CPV and NHV :)
  • Monday, November 30 - final ultrasound for growth measurements in the afternoon. This is our Hail Mary pass to see if the abdominal circumference improves drastically ... I am not overly optimistic after a two week stall.  But, hey, anything is possible.
  • Tuesday, December 1 - the big day, the day we meet BGV 2.0 :)  The induction is  not my first choice of birthing methods ... however something Chitown Momma said to me today gave me a whole new perspective.  She said -  in paraphrase format, "You haven't had any qualms about using drugs to control the contractions ... to do what's best for BGV and keep her baking as long as possible.  The induction is the same thing ... it's using drugs to initiate labor ... to do what's best for BGV."  Hearing those words and seeing them typed again here is a big sigh of relief for me.  This is exactly what I needed to understand.  Thank you, friend!  Heck, I'd push her out standing on my head if it meant that she would be healthy!
  • Beyond Tuesday, I don't know what life will be like, and I am not even guessing.  I'll be so enamored with my new daughter and excited to introduce her to Natalie ... not much else will matter :)
If only I can sleep more than two hours tonight ... hoping this little control-freak dump will quiet my mind.

Finally, and most importantly, I am awed and lifted up by the outpouring of concern and support and kind words and shared experiences and words of encouragement ... through blog comments and Facebook wall writings and emails and voice mails.  I know that BGV and I are wrapped in good thoughts and prayers and anticipation for the best possible outcome.  What a tremendous blessing!  Thank you, friends!

Monday, November 23, 2009

News about BGV 2.0

Induction tentatively set for next Tuesday, December 1. 

I see my OB at 9:00 am tomorrow and will know more then.

Heart and umbilical cord/brain blood flow still look good.  Very little growth overall and abdominal measurement completely stalled - no gain in two weeks.

Had first steroid shot today and will get second tomorrow ... to give her lungs a good boost. 

Looking for the positives.  Hoping for the best possible outcome.

I am exhausted.  Will try to put thoughts together in the morning. 

All About MEme: My Thankful Four

with MommyBrain and SupahMommy


an idea inspired by a kid's project

Family OF Friends - I haven't lived in my hometown  (in IL) since college.  In the years since then, CPV and I have lived in three different places - FL, VA, and now WA.  No matter where we've gone, I've found great, caring people to form my support network, my sanity-savers, my holiday-sharers ... my Family OF Friends.  And really, they are the next best thing to "blood" relatives ... in some ways, they're better ;)  This year I am especially thankful for my Family OF Friends ... neighbors, parents of former students, and fellow mommas from my moms' group.  They have all taken such good care of me with once-a-week meals, childcare offers, holiday invitations, optimism boosts, and an amazing SURPRISE baby shower!

My Baby Daddy (aka my husband, my best friend, my CPV) - How he puts up with me, especially while  I've been pregnant and exhausted and feeling crummy and hormonal and overwhelmed ... is beyond me.  But he does.  He even manages to like me most days.  CPV has infinite patience, like more than is humanly possible.  Which comes in really handy when he walks in the door after working 10-hours and jumps right into his role as daddy.  I am so thankful to have a partner who puts his girls first.  He takes such good care of us.  I was definitely thankful to sleep in both days this weekend and to be reminded to rest ... knowing that Natalie was in such good (and goofy) hands.  Despite all the crap I've given him for the duration of this home improvement projects, I am so thankful to have a husband who is willing to spend the time and effort to do a good job with such impressive results.

Being a Mom (and a stay-at-home-mom) - While there have been some aspects of my pregnancy I haven't exactly enjoyed, I am so thankful for the ability to conceive and for the beautiful experience of growing a baby inside me.  The experience of being a mom is an absolute wonder!

What a privilege and an honor ... to get to spend my days with my beautiful, smart, and funny two year old.  To be able to manage financially.  To be able to recognize my role - most days - as important and fulfilling.  To spend leisurely mornings of cartoons and snuggles. To read tens of picture books every day.  To bask in the glow of her new learning.  To attend play dates and library story times.  As a SAHM, I have much to be thankful for. 

Reminders of What Matters Most - Through personal relationships and ones on the blog, I've experienced the stories of families who are struggling with medical hardships, especially those involving young kiddos.  Those stories are woven into my understanding of What Matters Most.  My best friend from high school has a little guy with a heart condition - thankfully a very treatable heart condition - who will undergo three open-heart surgeries in the first three years of his life.  And there's Jaden's story; a young family dealing with the ramifications of cancer plaguing the mother and tiny two-year old son. I have experienced  firsthand - the heart-breaking scene inside a Children's Hospital, and I'll never be the same.  Having a healthy baby/child is something that simply cannot be taken for granted.  This year, more than any other, I am thankful for the reminders of What Matters Most, and I am hopeful that in the coming year a foundation with that same name will begin to help those families who need it most - I am working with three of my friends to make that happen.

  • Put together a post that remotely resembles an answer to the prompt.
  • Be sure to copy/ paste/ post our super fabulous button thingy (at the top of this post) on your post somewhere! (That's how we'll grow and we THANK YOU 100X for helping!)
  • Come back here and link up with Mr. Linky! (If you can't see it at the bottom of this post, hop over to Supah's place and link up there.)
  • Visit the 3 blogs above your name if you have time and leave them a comment!!(This is the secret to growing a blog!) ... and if you're first, ... well then aren't you special! You'll just need to visit the 3 below your when name when they appear and leave a comment!
  • Look for a comment from SupahMommy and MommyBrain; we've made it our personal mission to visit and comment on all of our meme links ... that's how much love we have for you all :)

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