Saturday, November 29, 2008

Saturday, November 29, 2008 - Update

Ryan's friend, Chris, was in town for Thanksgiving with his girlfriend, Kristy. I'm sure Kansas weather was a little less inviting than Florida's. We enjoyed visiting with them a bit this afternoon. It also gave us the little extra motivation we needed to get the rest of our Christmas decorations up.

I love decorating the Christmas tree each year and finding ornaments that I forgot I had. Olivia has quite the collection already. We put a candy cane on the tree for each Christmas we've spent together (we are now up to 8.) We also put a bell up for each year we've been married. My favorite one is the Tinkerbell bell we got the year we went to DisneyWorld. Christmas trees fascinate me. . .they are all as unique as the family that decorates them. I was going to post a picture of our tree, but then I thought, no, I have a better idea.

Some people go on holiday tours to see Christmas decorations of their friends and families. I thought. . . .why not have a tour right here on the blog? (Can you tell that I don't get out much?) Just email me a picture of your Christmas tree. My email can be found on the sidebar of the blog. Please include the state, territory or country you live in. You may also include your last name if you'd like. Try to get the pictures to me by Dec. 12th. Oh, this will be so much fun.

Friday, November 28, 2008

'Tis The Season

It's a tree just my size!
Mommy told me all about the nativity. She even said that I have one of my very own. I'll have to show that to you later.

I even got in the spirit of things!

We made more progress today than we thought we would considering the fact that Ryan threw his back out and we had Olivia to tend to. We don't have all the decorations up or our big Christmas tree yet completed. One of my favorite things to put out is my nativity set. I love the Willow Tree figurines and bought this a few years ago. You won't find another one exactly like it because my father-in-law handmade the stable for me. Last year, he made me a baby angel to add to the collection. This year, Olivia loves looking at all of the lights. I'm already looking forward to Christmas.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008 - Update


It was a little disheartening that we couldn't spend Thanksgiving with our extended families this year. Being around so many people was just too much of a risk for us to take this year. I really missed it, though. We spent Thanksgiving just the three of us, however, we joined my family via webcam for a bit. The plus side is that we got leftovers from both sides of the family, so we're getting ready to have our Thanksgiving dinner tonight. Mmmm. . .Olivia is even going to join in!

It is customary for us to spend Black Friday putting up our Christmas decorations. Of course, you'd never catch me out shopping because
1) since when do I ever get up that early?
2) There's just too many people.
I hope you all have an enoyable weekend with friends and family. We can't wait until next year when Olivia gets to experience everything in full force!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Their Birth Story Part III

When I woke up, I was in a room surrounded by most of our family along with our pastor. I wasn't quite coherent, but I needed to know how my babies were doing. I guess I just kept muttering, "My babies. . .my babies. . .my babies." I would stop as Ryan would explain it to me and then I'd just continue muttering. . "my babies. . .my babies."

Logan William was born by emergency c-section on August 27, 2007 at 6:28 pm, just 10 minutes after his big sister. He weighed 1 lb 1.75 oz and was 11.5 inches long. He, too, was bruised pretty badly, but his skin seemed to be a little more developed than Olivia's. I was unable to see him until later that night/early morning when they wheeled me into the NICU. I remember seeing Logan, but I don't remember seeing Olivia. I was still pretty drugged up.

Many people came to see me in the hospital before I went home three days later. I think it was hard for people. . .they didn't quite know whether to congratulate us or tell us that they were sorry. I didn't quite know what I wanted to hear. It was very difficult to leave the hospital without my babies. I would still pat my stomach and then remember that they weren't there, but they weren't in my arms either.

I don't know why it helps me to tell this story. The more times I tell it, the more my anger lessens. The anger starts to turn into gratitude. I gradually stop wondering "what if" or "if only." I'm grateful for the things that went right. I'm grateful that I was able to spend 1 month and 1 day with my beautiful boy, although I'll never stop missing him. I'm so grateful for Olivia. . .I can't even begin to describe what she means to me. Telling this story reminds me of how far she's come and what an amazing little girl she is. Olivia is what got us through and proof that our Lord is merciful and good. Somedays, I feel that I have had so much taken away from me. . . a full term pregnancy, a joyous birth, a son that I'll never know. But, one thing that will always remain is a heart full of thankfulness for the joys that I do have. That can never be taken away.

A daughter is the happy memories of the past, the joyful moments of the present, and the hope and promise of the future. ~Author Unknown

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Their Birth Story Part II

After my water broke, my contractions got really bad and I didn't have so much as a Tylenol. I actually remember asking for pain meds and they just sort of ignored me. I'm not ashamed. . .I hate pain. I'm the same person who, while pregnant and throwing up in the bathroom and miserable with a horrible sinus infection. . .came crawling into the bedroom crying, "Help me!" Hey, at least I waited until after Ryan's alarm went off in the morning.

It was then that the doctor rambled off all the things that could go wrong with my babies. I didn't want to hear it. I didn't care. . .I loved my babies with all of my heart. I would handle whatever God would bless me with. . .I just wanted my babies. They kept asking us what we wanted to do for them. We just shouted, "Everything!! Do everything! We want what's best for the babies!" I don't know how many times we shouted that. There was nothing to think about or consider. We wanted our babies to have every chance possible. Another blessing was that I was at the hospital so that they could have immediate care. Had I been anywhere else. . . they wouldn't have had a chance.

I remember when they started telling me to push. What? I hadn't gotten that far in my pregnancy book. . .I mean, I had just passed the halfway point. So, I pushed like they do in the movies. Three pushes later. . .Olivia Paige was born.

She was born on August 27, 2007 at 6:18 pm. She weighed 1 lb 1.5 oz and was 11.5 inches long. She was bruised and battered, her skin was almost transparent and her eyes were still fused shut. They didn't wrap her in a blanket and hand her over to her anxiously awaiting mommy. We didn't even get to hear our baby cry. At 23 weeks, her lungs were not that developed. There were no first pictures together, no video of our smiling faces. I didn't feel like the mother of a precious baby girl. . .I felt like a mother who had just lost her child. I caught a glimpse of her out of my eye before they rushed her away. Ryan said, "She's moving and she's beautiful." I kept those words with me.

I had to keep myself composed because I had another baby to deliver. Logan was breech, but they were going to try to turn him and deliver him as well. With Olivia no longer in the womb, Logan must have relished the additional leg room because he turned sideways. They said they would have to do an emergency c-section. And, just like that. . .they rushed me out of the room and Ryan was left in there all by himself. Yet, another reason that I'm thankful that my family was there. Of course, my parents and brother had only stepped out of the room for a quick examination and were probably discussing my long hospital stay ahead. I would have gladly replaced my babies' hospital stay with my own. My family had to watch the alarms go off, the incubators and doctors rushing into my room. My parents didn't even know if something was wrong with me and they thought they were losing their grandchildren. I passed them on the way to the operating room. Again, I just stared at them. I couldn't reassure them and tell them that I was okay, because I wasn't. Ryan wasn't okay. Olivia wasn't okay and neither was Logan. This wasn't supposed to happen. . .they weren't due until Christmas and here we were in the heat of the summer. I wasn't expecting to go full term with twins, but I thought maybe Thanksgiving or, worst case scenario, it might be as early as Halloween.

I remember getting to the operating room and they placed a mask over me after another bad contraction. They told me that would be the last one I felt. . .and that's all I remember.

To Be Continued. . .

Their Birth Story Part I

For awhile now I have been wanting to write a post about Olivia and Logan's birth story. I summarized it at the beginning of this blog, but I know that there are many new readers since then. I tried to do it on their birthday, but I just couldn't. This is, however, a story that I could tell over and over. I apologize if you've heard it too many times before. This week as I begin to reflect on what I'm thankful for, I realize that there were many things that went wrong that day, but I am truly grateful for all that went right.

I will begin my story from when I was put on bedrest. My niece, Izzy, was born on August 20, 2007, the day before I was put on bedrest. I enjoyed spending some time with her during that week. After being sent home from the hospital on August 21st, I was told to stay on bedrest until my next doctor's appointment on September 5th. I was almost a week into it and my symptoms were getting worse. On August 27, 2007, Ryan had jury duty. He was going to try to reschedule it, but how do you do that when you know that twins are arriving? Luckily, he wasn't chosen and he was sent home around lunchtime. He brought me a turkey croissant from La Galette. . .my favorite. Because he had the afternoon off that day, we decided to go back to the hospital. I didn't want him to take anymore time off work to take me to the hospital. I remember getting ready and doing my hair before we went. I called my mom on the way there because she was a little upset that I didn't call her the week before.

Once we arrived and got settled in, my cramping had worsened and I was told that I was having contractions. My mom soon showed up and I thought it was a little silly for her to be there. After they examined me, I was dilated 2.5 to 3 cm and they told me that this was my new home away from home. They had mentioned starting me on magnesium sulfate in hopes to stop the contractions. I was told to remain as calm and relaxed as possible. Soon afterwards, my dad and brother made it up to the hospital. I really wasn't expecting them to come, but having my family there was one of God's great blessings.

A high-risk doctor came in shortly to examine me again and I kindly asked my parents and brother to wait in the waiting room. It was then that I learned that I was over 6 cm dilated and 80% effaced. There was no time for magnesium sulfate or anything else. . . .we were told labor could not be stopped.

Now, when I was first became pregnant, I was carrying three babies. I remember searching the internet for everything that came in threes. I came across a website, which is now and I learned about Cole, Paige and Kaylee who were born at 24 weeks. This is one of the reasons why we chose Paige for Olivia's middle name. I remember watching a video about the first three months of their life and bawling uncontrollably. Kaylee, sadly, did not make it. No baby or family should ever have to go through all of that. It was my first real encounter with what micro-preemies experience and the first time I realized that some babies don't pull through. When I was told that labor was imminent. . .I knew that I was only 23 weeks, 1 day. In my mind, I kept saying, "Cole and Paige were born at 24 weeks. . .they were born at 24 weeks." I knew that every day mattered, but at least I had some gauge as to what was considered viable and what was not. Many places don't consider a baby viable until 24 weeks, but will resuscitate before that if the parents wish. We had prayed for these babies for so long and we already loved them with all of our hearts. They had to be okay.

Immediately following my second examination, my water broke. The room was immediately filled with doctors and nurses and RTs. . .and two little incubators. My contractions got very intense after my water broke. Ryan completely fell apart and I went into some sort of shock. I remember Ryan asking them if I was okay and I wanted to respond, but what would I say? I was far from okay. This was the worst day of my life.

To Be Continued. . .

Monday, November 24, 2008

Bloggy Award

Okay, so I'm a little behind. Not only have I been tagged by Kim, but I've been given an award from Stacie. So, I'm going to sort of combine the two:
1. Mention the blog that gave it to you and comment on their blog to let them know you’ve posted your award.
2. Publish these rules.
3. Share 6 values that are important to you and 6 things you do not support.
4. Grant the prize to 6 people.
5. Mention the blog that gave it to you and comment on their blog to let them know you’ve posted your award.

Six Values That Are Important to Me:
1. Integrity
2. Genuineness
3. Faithfulness
4. Supportive
5. Empathetic
6. Trustworthy
Six Values That I Do Not Support:
1. Unfaithfulness
2. Lying
3. Back Stabbing
4. Unaware of others' problems
5. Demeaning to Others
6. Bad work ethic
And the six bloggers I'm passing the award to are:

Julia and Laura at Glunt Quartet
Shelley at Dizzy from Izzy
Kerry at Just Bailey and Me
Kim at The Snyder Six Pack
Heather at A Big Boy, A Baby Girl and A Precious Pug
Jill at Our Two Sweet Girls

Monday, November 24, 2008 - Update

Thank you for all of your input. I think this is my current plan of action:

I'm going to continue Olivia on her normal formula until she is one year adjusted (around Christmas.) Until then, I might add an ounce or two of Pediasure to very few of her bottles to increase her calories. Then, we will try to switch her over to whole milk after the first of the year. . .again, maybe adding some Pediasure if absolutely necessary. I, too, worry about the high sugar content. The plus is that Olivia loves to have her teeth brushed. Until then, I'll continue trying to get Olivia to try new things and make eating as fun and relaxed as I can. Does that sound like a reasonable plan? Now, if only she liked food as much as she liked playing with her spoon.

I found an interesting recipe a few weeks ago for baked kale chips. My guinea pigs LOVE kale and I love giving it to them because of the high vitamin C content. (Guinea pigs cannot make their own vitamin C and need it from food. . .much like us.) Kale is sometimes hard to find in my grocery store, but my mom found some at hers.

"Nutritious. Delicious. Great substitute for potato chips." The reviewers went on and on.

I envisioned Olivia and I happily snacking on our kale chips. So, imagine my disappointment when they tasted like old rubber tires. Maybe I'll try them again sometime with different seasonings. So disappointing.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008 - Update

Well, I'm unable to sleep tonight because I'm confused over what to switch Olivia to. Her pediatrician's office tells me to switch her to whole milk. Her nutritionist tells me to switch her to Pediasure. Right now she is on Enfamil AR with Lipil and I wonder about the Enfamil Next Step Lipil instead of both? It wouldn't be so frustrating if I wasn't having my own nutritional difficulties. That has made me increasingly aware of what a well-balanced diet should be. . . a diet that I have adhered to very well. . until today. After cutting gluten out, when I start eating it again. . .I have noticed that I feel pretty crummy. Okay, now I'm off topic.

As thankful as I am for Gerber cereal, macaroni and cheese and prunes. . .I wish Olivia would eat other things. I know she's not getting the veggies that she needs. Of course, cost-wise. . .whole milk would be the way to go, but I'm honestly more concerned about what would be the best for Olivia (and maybe that is milk.) This brings me to a multitude of questions and since I know there are many experienced moms out there. . .maybe someone can help.

1) Why is it so important to get children off of formula at a year old?

2) Why is it so important to get children onto whole milk?

3) Any additional thoughts on the alternatives such as Pediasure or the Next Step Lipil (similar to Similac Go and Grow)

4) Or, are there any other alternatives for a child who isn't really drinking out of a cup or straw and isn't gaining quite like they should?

I was happy to see that Olivia has now made it back over 17 lbs. Also. . .drum roll please. . .she made her first real attempt at crawling tonight. Of course, I'm home with her all day every day and the time that I leave to go to the grocery store. . .she hits a huge milestone. Luckily, she did it again for me. It's sort of a part army crawl, part inchworm crawl, part regular crawl, but it's definite purposeful forward motion. I'm so proud of her. As tough as the past year has been on all of us. . .I'm so proud to be Olivia's mom. Watching her grow and learn and develop her own tastes and preferences is just amazing! I remember when I first saw her in the NICU, I couldn't imagine how wonderful it would be to hold her. Then, I couldn't imagine how wonderful it would be to have my baby at home with me. I look at her whole life like that and I can't imagine the joys ahead! I never take a second for granted and love her more than I could even begin to describe. Okay, so now I'm just teary-eyed thinking of my wonderful little girl. I'd better get to bed before I wake her up to snuggle with her.

Bath Time Fun

Here I am in my bathtub.

My mom always makes the temperature just right.

Sometimes my mom and I just hold hands.

Other times, I like to play and splash!

Here I am getting my head massaged.

Ah, I feel so clean!

Now, I'm ready for a rinse and some clean pajamas!