Sunday, February 2, 2014

Abigail Turns 1

Abigail is officially 1, y’all.  Where has the time gone?!  I feel like almost no time has passed since she was born.  This year has flown by.

It’s been amazing to watch her grow.  The fact that I’m incredibly blessed to be able to spend this precious time with another child is not lost on me.  She’s a joy.  She’s so different from Addalee, which has been quite interesting (and will continue to be, I’m sure). 

For her special day, we had a small cupcake themed birthday party.

This is the giant cupcake smash cake I made.  This thing was HUGE!  It used 1.5 cake mixes.  

Just some of the cupcakes

Little Miss opening her presents.

Modeling her Happy Birthday head wear.

 Checking out her cake.

Lazy cake eating...

I used the monthly stats pictures to make a banner.  It was so neat for everyone to be able to see how much she changed from month to month.

Full monthly picture banner.

 The weather was gorgeous, and warm! We all took the opportunity to get outside and Addalee raced with Granna (my mom).

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

2014 - A Rocky Start

It’s a new year (or actually 21 days into it!).  For many that means resolutions. I’ve never been a New Year’s resolution kind of gal.  I guess mostly because I know that I’m not going to stick to it, so why even bother?  Ha.  How’s that for a positive attitude?  Seriously though, I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, but I do believe in making positive changes any time, not just once a year. 

I realize I’ve gotten really bad at updating the blog.  Truthfully, I’ve missed it.  There have been times where I was brimming over with things to talk about and share, yet I haven’t taken the time to sit down and do it.  I’m sad that I’ve not done better at capturing our lives, documenting our ongoing journey of life after losing our girl, and sharing things that make me smile.  So, what do ya say?  Would you like to hear more from us? 

Back to the New Year.  Wow.  I can’t believe it’s already 2014.  It feels like time is just flying by.  I feel like I completely missed the whole hubbub around New Year’s this time around.  Probably because I actually did.  We did.  Our whole little family.  The flu paid us a visit, and made itself quite a nuisance.  A few days after Christmas, Addalee woke up acting a little off.  She was extra whiney and just all around not herself.  She had coughed just a couple of times, but it caught my attention.  When she woke up from her afternoon nap, she was hot.  Yep. She was running a fever.  I figured she’d just caught some crud from all the gatherings we’d been to up to that point.  I wasn’t really worried, just bummed out that she’d gotten sick.  At that point, everyone else was still well.  She kept getting more pitiful though.  She had absolutely no energy and just laid around, which is the opposite of her personality.  When she’d been fevering and sickly for a couple of days, I started to get scared.  (Of course, she got sick on a Friday evening and over the weekend!)  By Sunday morning, Abigail was following behind Addalee.  She had a low fever and a very runny nose. 

Just not herself.  But still sweet.

In Addalee's new ride.

I still believed it was a cold/virus, but knew we needed to get Addalee checked out by her pediatrician.  We took her in on Monday, 72+ hours after symptom onset.  They tested her for flu and strep.  Initially, we were told her flu test was negative, so that’s why they checked her for strep.  But then they came back and said that she was positive for Flu A.  (Oh crap.  I know that some people wouldn’t really be phased by hearing that their child has the flu, except wishing they weren’t sick.  But I started thinking of the horror stories of children that were otherwise healthy and got the flu, and didn’t make it.  I blame PTSD and an overactive imagination.)  Since she was past the 48 hour symptom onset window, she was not a candidate for Tamiflu.  So all we could do was push fluids (almost impossible), and wait (almost impossible).

Even though Abigail hadn’t been quite as sick as Addalee, we felt like she needed to be seen too, since we now knew we were playing with the flu.  And sure enough; Flu A.  I may have broken down in tears in the pediatrician’s office.  They may have thought I was crazy.  The good news was that she could do the Tamiflu.  And the doctor actually put Arthur and me on it as well, just as a preventative measure.  I was thankful for that.

Pitiful little thing, watery eyes and runny nose with fevery cheeks.

Our arsenal.

Somewhere in the middle of all of that was New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.  I couldn’t even tell you which day was when!  I know for a fact that we were in bed LONG before the ball dropped, and I was super annoyed by the people who shot fireworks and would’ve hunted them down and coughed in their faces if they’d caused the girls to wake up!  Thankfully it didn’t come to that.

Fast forward a bunch of long days and long nights, over 3 weeks later they’re both on the mend.  Addalee still has a cough and Abigail is still battling a runny nose.  3 weeks.  And they’re still not quite 100%.  That’s nuts.  This virus is no joke.  I’m thankful that they’ve come through it as easily as they did.  I hate that they missed out on the end of their Christmas season, but Lord willing, they will always have next year.

Getting back to normal.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

On Her 3rd Birthday

On this day, 3 years ago, we said hello and goodbye to our precious firstborn daughter, Caroline Elizabeth. She was born at 7:27pm and weighed 6lbs 11oz and was 21 inches long. She was a whole person, complete. She was perfection. With long legs, piano-player fingers, a perfect mouth and nose...amazing. She was everything I ever dreamed of and so much more, except we didn't get to keep her.

I still miss her. Ache for her. Crave her.

I'm thankful for the promise that I'll be with her again one day. I have so much I want to say to her, so many hugs and kisses to catch up on.  One day...

Happy birthday, sweet baby Caroline. I love you today, tomorrow, forever.

These are the sweet flowers placed on the altar at my parents' church this morning in her memory.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Happy "2 Old" Art Birthday Party, Addalee!

You guys.  My middle baby is 2...what?!  How has this happened?  Seems like just days ago we were bringing her home from the hospital and watching her learn to roll over, eat solids, talk, walk, etc.  Now we're moving into the territory of potty training and drinking from "people cups" (i.e. non-sippy cups).

For her party, we decided on an art/coloring/painting party. 

It came together pretty easily, really.  I was fortunate to hit a back to school tax free holiday to buy a lot of the supplies too, score! 

We had the kids color and paint on the back porch.  I stumbled upon this colorable table cloth (it was actually the LAST thing I found for the party!), and knew it was perfect. We also had huge coloring pads, but they didn't even care about them with the tablecloth!

Abigail got in on the fun too! (Even though she only wanted to eat the crayons)

I made this "necklace" shirt for the birthday girl!

After coloring, we ate fruit, veggies, and most importantly cupcakes!

The cupcakes were iced in white buttercream with candy sprinkles and crayons as toppers

After eating, we went outside again to play in the water!  We had water tables, a splash pad thingy, and a little pool.  We also played with sidewalk chalk, messy outdoor bubbles, and finger (or toe!) paints!

Then it was back inside to finish up.

Then just like that, it was time for goodbyes and favors.

The favors were a little note pad, a pack of washable crayons, a hand shaped clapper noise maker thingy, some jelly bracelets, stickers, party blower, and KitKat.  They sat next to a beautiful framed piece of Addalee's art work. :)

And so another birthday party is in the books.  It sure was a good time!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Addalee Turns 2

2 years ago on this day, our hearts were filled with such hope and our tummies with lots of butterflies. After a very difficult 36 weeks of pregnancy (emotionally and physically), we were being induced on a hot and sunny Monday morning. We couldn't wait to meet this girl we'd fallen for head over heels and prayed for so diligently. At 8:34 pm, with a tiny little cry, she was here. She was teeny tiny and perfect at 5lbs 5oz and 19.5 inches long (much smaller than her big sister Caroline at 6lbs 11oz and 21 inches long). 

Just Born Addalee

"Are you my Momma?"

Sweet little thing

She was like a soothing balm to our broken hearts. She has brought a healing into our lives that we are thankful for each day. It has never been her job to fix our brokenness of missing Caroline. We will always miss her. But we are thrilled to experience the joy Caroline's little sister brings into our lives.

1st Birthday Photo Shoot

Happy, happy birthday my dear sweet girl. You're a joy. Your laughter is music to our ears. Your smiles melt us. We love you to the moon and back!!

Goodness, she's changed so much! 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Diaper Genie

We sold our Diaper Genie today. Actually, we sold the Diaper Genie and our wipe warmer. Big deal, right? Well yeah, kinda. Not because I'm a hoarder and actually got rid of something (technically, I'm only marginally a hoarder), but because of when they came into our lives and what they represent.

Both items were shower gifts at showers thrown for Caroline. Our lives were on track and things were falling into place. Simpler. Naive. Innocent. They were set up and waiting for her, just like us. And they were left sitting in her finished nursery after we lost her.

They sat in that little pink and yellow room waiting for a baby to come use them, and finally it happened, thank God. Twice now. But we've moved on from them. They haven't been used much in ages, so it was time for them to move out and make a little space. We may not have any more babies. Besides, someone else can use them, right?

As the lady who bought them drove away, I cried. Not because we got rid of a Diaper Genie and wipe warmer. I cried because we got rid of something we'd gotten for her. I cried because we let go of something for babies. I cried because we let go. We never let go of Caroline, bit it's still hard for me to let go of the things we had for her. 

I hope they have lots of use ahead of them in a busy, loving home, filled with lots of babies and love. No more sitting and waiting...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Known Love

I ran across this picture on Facebook today and it angered me.

I'm almost certain that whomever created this little image had nothing but good intentions, but it made me wanna puke and punch something. To imply that you don't know love because you haven't mothered a living child, well that's just plain rude and ignorant. 

I'll venture to say that until you've heard a doctor confirm your worst fears, dealt with the reality that your beautiful baby is not ever going to grow into the person you had so many dreams for, made funeral arrangements, kissed your baby (no matter the age) for the very last time and said goodbye, you've not known pain. Sure, life can throw terrible things in our paths. But I've heard so many people tell me that the pain of losing a child is some of the worst there is. 

So because I didn't get to read to her little ears, powder her little booty, and wipe away her little tears, I know a different, but fiercely deep love. The love of a brokenhearted mama; but definitely love. I knew it then. And I know it still when I care for her sisters here. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

It's Almost Here...Again

It's that time of year again. Mother's Day.

I'm happy to say that I don't dread it nearly as much as I have in years past. But it's still kind of an awkward day for me. I'm not completely sure how to handle myself. I don't know if I'll be able to just be in the moment and therefore overall cheerful and happy, or if I'll be sad thinking of the girl who should be here, but isn't. My guess is that I'll land somewhere in between.

It's also a day that my family doesn't know how to handle me. They don't know if they should say something, or just treat it as any other day. I suppose they are just following the lead I set back on Mother's Day after Caroline died. They are just letting it go by without any hubbub. Truth is, I want to be recognized now. I want to be appreciated for the 3 girls that I've birthed, and the 2 girls that I spend my days with. Somehow saying nothing feels worse now.

I do know that I kind of hate TV right now. I despise all the Mother's Day commercials, they just make me a crying mess! I'm thankful Netflix doesn't have commercials!!

Overall, it really is just another day. But it's a day I'm going to try to enjoy this year. I hope that the other moms in the same boat as I am are able to find at least some joy. I know I'll be thinking of all of the sweet babies we're all missing, the ones that made us mothers, the ones that were joining our families with open arms.

So, Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, March 4, 2013

PP Pre-E

Did you know that you can get Pre-Eclampsia AFTER you give birth?!  Yeah. Me either.  But apparently it happens.  It's aptly named Postpartum Pre-Eclampsia, and it's no fun.

I'm a low blood pressure kind of gal.  Like, it never gets above 110/70. Throughout my pregnancy with Abigail (and Addalee, for that matter), I was borderline hypotensive. I had trouble keeping my bp high enough during labor and had to lay flat for most of it. 

Just after Abigail was born, I began having headaches. I have a history of migraines, but this was different. I didn't know how much of my feeling bad  had to do with the birth process, so I wasn't too worried. My blood pressure was monitored for a bit after the birth, and had returned to textbook average. I felt kind of under the weather for the days after. I developed a lot of pain in my right side, terrible headaches, and radiating pain up the side of my neck.

I called my OB, and told them what was going on with me. It had been a week since having Abby, and 7 long days of feeling pretty rough. I still thought that a lot or most of what I was feeling was just my body going through trauma and drastic hormone changes, not to mention the lack of sleep! I figured they'd have me come in just to have a quick look, and they did. They thought I was having hormonal migtaines and some gallbladder issues. I was scheduled for a CT of my head and an ultrasound of my gallbladder the next day. I was also given a shot for the pain. As we sat and waited at the office, my head throbbed with each beat of my heart. It was pretty miserable.

We went home and tried to go about our routine. Unfortunately, the pain meds never really helped and I started feeling worse by dinner time.  I tried to relax a bit, but finally the pain in my side and head was enough to make me cry, and that's not like me. I went into my bedroom to have a little time alone (read I was about to throw up from the pain, and I don't want anyone within a mile of me when I feel sick). While I was upstairs, my mom and Arthur decided to call my doctor. He said I needed to be brought back to L&D. So I got Abigail into her PJs, a bottle of expressed milk ready, and hopped in Mom's car to be whisked away to the hospital. Everyone figured I'd be back later that night.

We got there, it was cold and dark and a Tuesday, just like when we went with Caroline. I sat in the same stupid chair to get checked in.  When we got up to L&D, I was walked back to triage.  I hadn't been back in that room since that terrible night.  As the door opened, I felt like I was going to pass out. I wasn't sure if it was the pain or just being back there.  I tried to hold myself together, and did okay until I was told to take the same bed.  There were 3 in the room.  A 1 in 3 chance of being placed in the same one...and I broke down. I told the nurse that I just couldn't lay in that bed, and shared why.  Ugh. 

Once I got situated, the nurse set about examining me.  She asked questions about how I was feeling and lots of, "Do you have pain here? Or here?"  She checked my temperature and my blood pressure.  When the automatic cuff reached the end of its cycle, I heard the little alarm go off, signaling that there was a problem.  I figured it was just a problem with the cuff.  Nope.  My blood pressure was high, but no one told me.  The nurse started really checking my reflexes.  She was hitting my knees and moving my arms.  She hit the button on the blood pressure machine again, telling it to take another reading immediately, and kept checking my reflexes.  I was annoyed.  I was there because my headache was too bad to hold my head up.  Quit making me kick and give me some pain medicine!  Seriously.  My mom is a nurse and I could tell that she was starting to get pretty uncomfortable, but I was in too much pain to really care.  The nurse, who was a total sweetheart, left to call my doctor and update him.

Apparently, my blood pressure was around 190/99, and my reflexes were troublesome too.  And still, all I was concerned about was the pain!  Mostly because I didn't understand what else was going on.  The nurse came back and told me that I was being admitted, and I was going to be getting morphine to help with the pain.  I couldn't believe I was being admitted.  The only hospital stays I'd ever had were to have my girls!  I was shocked that they believed I was sick enough to be hospitalized!  I still thought this was a migraine!

After a delirious night and morning of medication and pain, I had a CT, an ultrasound, and an MRI.  There were blood tests done and more needles and shots than I can count.  Once the pain was managed, I began to feel at least some better.  My blood pressure came back down to a normal level and the pain in my side went away.  I was in the hospital from Tuesday night to Friday late afternoon.  Thankfully, Abigail was able to come and stay with me, so I was able to continue to nurse her.  

All the tests came back normal and my blood pressure returned to normal (even my low normal), I was given a clean bill of health.  The crisis is over and I'm so thankful.  That was no fun, no fun at all.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

One Month

It's hard to believe that Abigail is already a MONTH old!  Wow!  Time is definitely flying by.  Actually, Addalee is 18 months old now.  Surreal.

It's amazing to watch another child grow.  I'm so thankful to have this opportunity.  Abigail is a joy.  I can't believe how different she is from her big sister, Addalee.  For instance, she's a champion eater.  I tried so hard to nurse Addalee, but she was just too tiny and had a hard time with it (and pumping lead to a low supply).  Abigail has taken right to it, and done well with her weight gain!  I'm thrilled to not have to supplement with formula, at least not yet!