Friday, December 31, 2010

Favorite Picture of 2010!

What a year, what a year! To be honest I could write so many posts on what this year has taught me and what I have learned. But, I want to keep it simple. Instead I picked my favorite picture of the year, which is my profile picture. I can't say it is the best picture in terms of creativity or how either of us look but it is my favorite.

The day this picture was taken was the day that we went to the UW high risk infant follow up clinic for the first time. She had her first specialist evaluation. It was such an exhausting day, long and stressful. She wouldn't eat while we were there, she wouldn't do what I knew she could do. We were in quarantine and I had to have her around all these people which I was sure had swine flu. We came home and both took a nap, had dinner and then took a bath.

After her bath we decided to take some pictures. I had gotten the tutu a few weeks before for fun. I never imagined it would be this fun! I finally felt a bit of relief, after months and months of living on the edge. I finally felt that she might be okay. I guess it was because the specialist didn't tell me anything I didn't already know. Furthermore they all agreed she was super cute and very social. She was starting to hit her milestones. It was a brief break in all my worry to just enjoy my daughter. A break in the clouds and brief ray of sunshine.

When I looked at the pictures later that night when she was in bed, I only thought about how cute she looked and how happy I looked. I finally felt that we were becoming what I had imagined so many months ago when I got pregnant. I liked how her room was coming together. The nursery that I never got to put together was actually looking pretty. The broken pieces were starting to be mended back together. And oh did I love her!

Like I said what a year! More happened than I ever could have imagined. More challenging than I could have dreamed. And along the way I made some pretty amazing discoveries and some pretty amazing friends. Thank you so much for sharing it along with me and I just want wait to share and experience 2011 together.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bite me!

Okay, again there is always going to be negative people in your life. The people that say that it shouldn't be done, it can't be done. You are wrong, crazy or stupid. We all just try to do our best in this world and really I don't think a negative judgemental attitude is helpful in any situation.

I have also come to believe that it is really easy to sit and say "if we were in that situation we would...", but you may surprise yourself when you are in that horrible situation, and you may want to do something totally different. I mean lets just get real, I thought that when I had children I would have them eating wholesome wonderful meals everyday. This is still what I want but the reality is that she has a completely other idea. Thus, when you hear yourself saying if I was in the 'such and such' situation I would just let nature takes it course. Maybe just rethink your stance, because it may be a confusing and difficult situation once you get there.

Furthermore, we are all wrong sometimes. What we thought might happen doesn't. The situation that we thought was going to be unbearable is not. And even when it is horrible the journey of who we become or what we learned is so wonderful that we wouldn't want it any other way.

We need to be accepting.

We need to be understanding.

We need to just smile and realize that everyone is different and challenged, don't judge.

This rant was brought to you because of being asked for the thousandth and fifth time if my daughter is normal. As well as reading some internet rants by some over zealous MSNBC readers on a micro preemie article. Particularly enraging to me was a statement that as a society we should remember that in nature birds will throw their ill baby birds from the nest. We should nurture less and allow nature to run its course.

hmm...


I am glad I am not a bird , and that we kept her in nurtured not tortured in her isolette for a few months.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Stuck in a sugar haze.


We let Katie open some present along the week before Christmas as we thought that it was going to be too much for one day. It took sometimes over an hour to open a present, and sometimes she just wanted to do something totally different. You can see in the following picture what she liked the most. The ribbon or box things came in, the baby doll is off in the background like a Christmas carcass. I just couldn't get over how much different she was, last year she slept most of the entire Christmas day. She screamed when we gave her a stocking. This year she still didn't know what to do with most things but she created her own entertainment with it all.

Last year we were in strict quarantine, we went over to my mother's house in the morning and then spent the whole time by ourselves. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't very cheery. This year we both had a three day weekend, and it was so relaxing and fun. Christmas day we went over to my mother's again and Kate played with her cousins for hours. She absolutely loves watching them play with their big girl toys. She follows them around and tries to sit in their laps. By the end of the day she was a pile of goo, sticky, tired, happy goo.


Now we are in the week after Christmas but before New Years. We both have normal work schedules this week, with maybe a little early time off on Friday. Trying to get Katie back on some type of schedule and regular meals. But, I will admit, I am stuck in a neutral. I don't feel like taking down all the decorations. I don't feel like working on to-do-lists, or working for that matter. I feel like curling up with a book, the fire and just a few more sugar cookies.

Oh, I wish holidays could last a little bit longer!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Toddler wisdom lesson #305.

As we are about to enter a new year I see a new repeat blog coming, Toddler wisdom. I know that it has been done a million times in books, corny sayings and plaques. All the same I am constantly struck by the fact that this little being that can't even tie her shoes has more wisdom and basic humanity than a lot of individuals I deal with on a regular basis.

Now don't get me wrong. I did not give birth to a Zen master. She still has a limited vocabulary. Some of her favorite things to do currently is to stick her finger in her nose, stick boxes on her head and the ever popular slamming her hand down and exclaiming "No!" in her own grunting way.

Thus in full disclosure some of the toddler wisdom is more the wisdom that I have gained from being a parent. The ongoing awakenings that I have in the middle of a busy morning.

Toddler Wisdom Lesson:



You push yourself really hard for what you think might be ahead, and sometimes you are going to be disappointed with what you find. Even if you get disappointed you probably still had a good time reaching for it.

This is the process we are going through nearly everyday and sometimes I think every five minutes. Object of desire is located on counter top. Kate squawking for object. Mother is too busy or doesn't want Kate to have object. Kate now is trying to stand on tip-toes, moving other objects over to stand on them and reaching, reaching and reaching some more. Often more squawking is involved at a higher pitch. Eventually either Kate will get the object via her crazy efforts, or I will get tired of it and give her the object. And as stated above this is where the real lesson is.

Sometimes the object is actually really quite stupid, a make-up brush for example, and other times it is something that turns out delightful (a snow-globe that glows). Either the way, Kate is usually satisfied. Toddler wisdom. It is well worth it to reach for an object you want, even if that object (goal) doesn't end up being what you thought it would be. The fun is in the journey not the destination.


Sugar Cookies.

















Now I will do the cardinal sin of blogging, I will make three or four post in a day or so because I have been too busy to blog regularly. I will shamelessly blame it on all the holiday hoopla. As I finally have time now that I am currently peacefully basking in its after glow. Thus if you don't like the flow of the the next several post, you too can blame it on the holidays.

Last Sunday we had a get together at Grandma's house and decorated the most delicious sugar cookies. My mother has an amazing recipe for cookies, and to be honest she has an amazing recipe for just about everything. She makes the simplest things taste great in what appears to me an effortless way. I remind myself that she has had more practice at this than me, but I may have to admit defeat when I am Grandma that my cookies aren't half as good as my mothers.

Above you will see the beautiful cookie decorators in action. They are oldest to youngest from top to bottom. We could also say that they were from best behaved to worst behaved from top to bottom as well. Kate promptly flipped her plate over and then dramatically slammed her bare feet onto the table top with glee. Once being freed from the prison of her highchair she marched around the kitchen cramming sugar cookie into her mouth. Later I found her out by the Christmas tree kicking a stuffed Santa in the head.

To each their own in the fun of Christmas preparation! Another small lesson provide by the munchkin with sugar cookie crumbs all over her face.

Friday, December 17, 2010

They can't hold you down.

I met my husband when I was 20, on spring break in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Who would have thought that you could meet your husband on spring break?! Well, I did. And I knew it pretty much instantly that he was the one for me. This year we will be married for ten years. And to be honest it has gone by in a blink.

At first glance we are total opposites. He handles things on the inside. I handle everything on the outside. He is calm and quiet. I am social and a bit dramatic. He rolls with the flow. I have it all planned and organized. But, once you get to know us it obvious that we have alot in common with each other too. We both love the outdoors, sports and science. A good beer and a nice dinner. We love a challenge and are horribly competitive in every way. Oh and we are both stubborn, which makes for interesting arguments.

He is absolutely the best father to our daughter. Even at 18 months of age, I am a bit envious of the tight and loving relationship they share. She just glows when her dad is around, and they both make each other giggle like crazy. He fully participates in her care, from meals, baths, and playtime.

The other day I was ranting about a issue I have in my life. An issue that I complain about all the time (and shockingly it is not prematurity or our child). We all have these, one of those darn aspects of our lives that we just can't seem to get right. Being a woman I like to talk about it to death. Then in style that is classic to my husband he simply said, "They can't hold you down.".
I of course kept rambling on and dissecting every last aspect of the day that supported my rant.

Several days later though I was running and thinking over several issues including the one I was complaining about the other night. And like a wise old man, I hear my husband's voice in my head, "They can't hold you down.". Kept running and I hear it again, "They can't hold you down.". Now I am thinking, damn right they can't hold me down. Nobody can hold me down. For that matter nothing can hold me down!

We have our struggles and sometimes don't see eye to eye. The past couple of years have been particularly tiring. Thank god though I have somebody to hold me up and give me strength when I need it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Selfish thoughts...


Okay, just because it is the holidays doesn't mean that I have turned into Mary Poppins. I'll admit that I have been jolly this year, and 9 out of 10 days down right grateful. Today being an exception though, and I'd just like to give the warning first. Now if you are joyfully roasting chestnuts by the fire, stop reading. This won't have a cute little story or ending.

I am hoping that it is human nature, but it may be my nature. Something will be bothering me on a subconscious level and I will have relatively no idea what it is for the entire day. I just feel grumpy, dark and sleepy. I won't go for my run. I eat badly. Get short with other people. Watch the clock for the day to end. Basically do everything to make the feeling worse, but still not be able to really put it to rest or even know what is bothering me.

Then we have a few options, if I am really tired and stressed this mood will end in a dramatic fight or crying breakdown. Starting out about something that has nothing to do with the real problem and eventually wind down to what is really wrong. Or, if I am better rested I can just continue in the funk for a few days until it slowly dawns on me what is wrong.

I am currently living the latter. Quietly brooding. Not knowing exactly what it is but, not enjoying what I have right in front of me. Then today after a trip to the playground, I realized what was wrong. And of course then it seemed so obvious, so ridiculously that anyone but I could have seen it.

My problem is two parts of the same old thing that still haunts me: Damn Prematurity!

First off I am reading "Half Baked" by Alexa Stevenson. This is a mother's memoir of a 25 weeker. I do recommend it for a honest memoir of what occurs in the micro preemie world. I am very different from the author in multiple ways, but all the same her writing and experience are portrayed accurately.

So what is the problem? Well, I guess I am not as comfortable with my experience as I thought. And even though I often blog with intricate detail of my birthing experience and premature child. My mind has actually only allowed bits and pieces out in slow motion. And when I want them. Sitting a reading a whole book about an experience so close to what I have lived is just darn hard. There are times that I don't want to remember, or at least I don't want to remember them right now. Stop reading you say. Easy enough. I tried. I can't, it just keeps sticking with me and I have a compulsion to finish it. All the while setting the scene for me to be in a bad mood.

And then there is the second issue. As background information, I belong to a group of super supportive and outstanding preemie parents. It is a online group that has changed my life in so many positive ways I hate to even bring up this problem. In fact I really dislike that this is bothering me, and know that this is my problem not anybody in the group. All the same it was recently posted to the group, "If you knew you would have another preemie would you still have another child?". Then the members of the group could answer the question.

Now come on, this is the internet. Everybody is welcome to their own opinion and lets be rationale adults and understand that it is their opinion and nothing more. Christ, my own friends and family probably couldn't have a more polite conversation about this particular subject. So, to be honest I don't know if it is the question or the responses that has me so upset. Or the combination of both.

I don't know for sure if we want to have another child. I know for sure I don't want to have another 25 weeker. I really don't think I could survive it again. I don't think I could handle having a toddler and and 25 weeker on the verge of death in the NICU. I don't know if our marriage could survive the stress of this experience again.

Its the timeless question: Is it better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all? Well, ask anyone who has lost a loved one and they might have a very complicated answer for you. Furthermore, it is complicated and sensitive subject for anyone when deciding to add to your family. Add some medical and emotional trauma in there and you have pure confusion.

There was a few responses to this "If you knew question" though that have just stuck to me. And I will paraphrase here, as I know it was not a personal attack just an honest opinion given out to cyberspace. A few mentioned that there is no way that they would willing bring a child into this world knowing what they would have to go through to survive. The world selfish was used several times. As well that it unacceptable to put a child at such risk because you want to have another child.

If I want to have another child, I am being selfish and dangerous? Aren't we all a bit selfish when we have children? Aren't we all rolling the dice and hoping for the best. As far as I know there is no guarantee with any child or any life for that matter. Granted I have a greater chance that I would have a premature child than another person. But, I don't know for sure what would happen. The bad outcome of course shakes me to the core, as much as it did in the days before I had my daughter. Then there is the other side of the coin.

I have my daughter. My beautiful, wonderful reason I get up every morning, daughter. Her laugh, her smile and her quirky personality fill pages of my journal, my blog and our world. What would I risk for that? Something I simply can't answer.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Undoing Christmas

The house is completely decorated now. The tree is up and decorated. My snowglobe collection has been placed out but away from little hands. Its cozy and bright, but I have definitely moved things and made it munchkin friendly.

One thing I've done is to create areas that little K can get into things and explore. I placed a basket that has jingle bells on it full of Christmas books next to her toy area in the far corner. I will admit it gets a bit much with the jingle basket but, she does enjoy getting her books out. I also had a whole collection of old decorated tins and boxes. I used to put these in out in our breakfast nook, but decided they would be just the thing to get her attention. So I filled our book case in the living room. The book case has become pretty empty over the last several months as she likes to get everything down off it anyway. She seems very intense with the tins at times, placing them on top of each other and trying to put things into them.


We placed the tree in a different corner than usual as the other corner has her toy shelves. I thought that it wouldn't be good to place the tree where she has spent the last 6 months getting her toys. She has been really good with the tree, for the most point. We've had a few emotional breakdowns with the 'no's' about pulling on the lights. We don't really have ornaments on the lower limbs. Though now we have an odd collection of her favorite ornaments which includes a picture frame ornament, a snowflake, Santa dog, and a star made by my niece. Its pretty fun to hand her an ornament and tell her to go put it up on the tree. She typically will do it and hangs it so gently, though moments later she is pulling it off as if it is attached with super glue.


I love to glance into the living room from the kitchen and see her stack up Christmas tins and walk around with one of her favorite ornaments. She also likes to take her books and flip through them in front of the tree. E will call up from downstairs and ask what K is up to and I simply state, "Oh, she is busy undoing Christmas right now."

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas tree hunting.


We are living a hellish schedule lately, of daily munchkin wake up being up at 5 am. I can't complain too much because we are sleeping through the night, and she goes to bed early but, no matter what we do (put her to bed later, get up feed her and try to put her back to bed, etc) she is up and ready to go at 5 am. So needless to say, we are up and ready to go in the morning. Typically in fact we've been up for several hours before most things have even opened. Thus last Sunday, we were the first at the Christmas tree farm with not a car in the parking lot and not a sole around. Luckily the donkey was already awake and eating his breakfast. Kate and I were both ready to take him home (Eddie said no).


This farm is about ten or so minutes from our house, and we went there last year too even though we weren't supposed to take Kate out. I kept her away from everybody so we didn't even go near the animals. I obviously didn't realize that if we had just came at 8 am that we wouldn't see anyone. It is so crazy though when I look back at it because Kate was such a little vegetable last year. Just sleeping and drooling during the whole outing. Now she is off, very impressed with her ability to go where she wants to go. Also very curious and happy to see the animals. She really wanted to touch the bunnies but, they were not so willing.


We found our tree. A Norway Spruce. It is a very nice tree, though I thought it was very prickly in the process of carrying it back to the car. I also realized when we got it up on the car, that we choose a very big tree. Not sure what we were thinking with this size of tree, but should be entertaining to get it into the house and up. Nothing like the holidays and trying to put a tree up to strengthen marital communication and love.

Our little tree hunter was crashed out by the end of it. Unfortunately this was just a cat nap that revived her for several more hours. And she was ready to attack the decorations when we returned. All in all though a very successful early morning outing!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Decorating girlie style.



I was sure I was having a boy. I was absolutely surprised when we found out that I was having a girl. I spent the next couple of weeks (all the time I had left in my pregnancy) worrying about having a girl. I have some serious thoughts about the teenage years, and also the whole mother-daughter relationship.

That being said, I now realize that having a healthy child is all that matters. I have also realized that there are some really fun things about having a little girl. Clothes shopping for sure is a lot of fun with a little girl. There is simply tons of cute clothes for a little girl. Second, I have really enjoyed going a bit girlie in her room. And this includes the holidays.

This weekend, I started putting up the holiday decorations. A new addition is the girlie pink Christmas tree I put together in Kate's room. It is complete with purple star topper and cupcake ornaments. I also sprinkled a few bright colored ornaments here and there. She carried the purple holly all over the house until I finally got it back. We now have a bit of glitter sprinkled around because of it.

All in all girlie holiday fun!

Apple Cup and catching up!


Time is flying. I forgot how busy the holidays can be, and in general I am about ten steps behind on everything. Thus, I have a few catch up post to do...

This weekend was Apple Cup, a football game that happens annually. The game is the University of Washington (evil, horrible, etc) verses Washington State University (perfect, solid, etc). We of course are big WSU supporters. Regardless to how our whole season has gone, this is the most important game. And in years like this year where our season was bad it is even more important. Unfortunately we lost, but it was at least close.

All the same we had a good time eating ribs, and other tail gate food. Stayed nice and warm watching it in our house verses the stadium that was covered in snow. Our little ham-bone was in full force during the game running around, eating pirate booty and collapsing on the dog bed. A good time by all.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Prepping for Thanksgiving and the Alien.



The alien in various parts of her collection process.


I got a few extra days off prior to Thanksgiving because of a bunch of snow and ice that came through the Pacific Northwest. We don't typically get very cold in the winter and thus we aren't very prepared when it happens. I didn't really push it to go into work, because I had plenty to do and in general could use a bit of break.

We've been getting the house ready for our company. We are looking at having about 15 people for the big feast tomorrow. I've made more pumpkin cupcakes, a pumpkin cheesecake and this afternoon have the traditional apple pie to make. Ed is frying a turkey, for the first time ever. I am a little nervous that we might end up with a medical emergency. Furthermore his list of other things he is frying is starting to get longer and longer.

In the background of all our preparation is a small alien. She is busy walking from room to room collecting items from this world and taking them back to her world. She walked all around the house yesterday with a full size broom. Because she is such a short alien, she knocked over things, scratched the walls and made a mess with her broom. But, the alien really liked that broom. Today the alien has been into walking around with small oranges and putting them in new locations. Furthermore there is a lot of conversation that takes place with the oranges. Apparently us humans didn't know that an orange could carry on such a good conversation.

If we ever need to find the alien its not too hard. We just follow the goldfish cracker, pirate booty crumbs as we pick up oranges, various shoes, hats, a broom, remote controls, and cell phones until we find the fast moving giggling alien at the end of the trail.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday's are for fun!

I always love Sunday. Neither me or Ed has to work on Sunday and it is typically a great family day. Today it is fore-casted to snow and it is 32 degrees outside. I have put Kate in multiple layers of fleece. Luckily though she is very, very busy today with her new skill which is keeping her warm.

She is busy WALKING!!

She has been working at it for awhile, but I didn't want to call her a walker until I felt like she was going to really stick with it a lot of the time. Now for sure it is her favorite way of getting around, and she is just getting faster and faster. She loves to play chase, hide and seek (modified baby edition), and walk in laps around our house.

I am hoping that she will start learning to look where she is walking. But if she is at all like her mother this may be a skill that she never masters. So fun!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Just something to think about... a bit of a whine.

My dear dog Cookie, I euthanized in our home in 2008
to end her suffering from osteosarcoma (bone cancer)

I absolutely know that other people have some pretty horrible things they do with their job. I appreciate that life is not a competition and there are so many people that are out there with a heavy load on their plate. I also completely understand that this subject that might even offend people, and is a private family or individual issue. I do not want to have or start a debate on this issue. With all that said, I have a complaint...

Euthanasia. It is the humane ending of an animal life. It is part of my job, nearly daily. I take it extremely serious, not only in helping people make the decision, and evaluating my patients to determine if they are a appropriate candidate for euthanasia but also in the process. I want the patient to not be scared, and I want the owners to feel that it was the right decision and I want the procedure to go smoothly and peacefully.

It is not easy. The procedure involves an intravenous injection of a caustic lethal overdose 0f a sedative. Not all animals want to have an injection. Most of these patient are extremely old or debilitated, so their veins are extremely fragile and difficult to find. Owners range from extremely emotional to angry. I will have one or two people present, but I have had up to ten people present. Sometimes I have very young children present, that have flowers and hand drawn pictures of their pet. I have watched people cry hardier than I even knew was possible.

Sometimes the patient is an animal that I am very bonded with. A patient that I have know since they were a puppy or kitten. Or they are a personal friends pet, or a family pet. I have euthanized all of our own pets, and my parents animals. Typically, I try not to cry while I am doing the procedure because I need to concentrate on what I am doing. There are times when I know the patient is in pain and I need to euthanize them, but I do not want to euthanize them, I just don't want to be there.

You would think that I would do the same number of euthanasia all year round. How could death have a busy time? Well, it does. You can ask other veterinarians. We do more euthanasia around the holidays. I don't really know why. I just know every year from about the week before Thanksgiving to the week after New Years I will do more euthanasia then the rest of the year.

I have four euthanasia scheduled in my work day tomorrow, and they are scheduled one after another. 2 hours of euthanasia. Not typical, but really a bit more than this lady wants to handle.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Spreading the word.


We both put on our purple and headed out to spread the word for Premature Awareness today. People are probably tired of hearing about this from us, but oh well, they recieved MOD bracelets and a little card with some facts on it. At least one of us was pretty cute in spreading the word.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Premature Labor.


I had a great pregnancy. We barely had to even try, and I was pregnant. No vomiting, no nausea, and I was tired but it was bearable. I quit drinking all caffeine, and cut way back on the sugar. I was not showing at all, and I enjoyed keeping it my little secret. I didn't tell people at work until I was 20 weeks pregnant. Nobody had even guessed.

I worked full time. I modified my exercising, but kept running. I felt fine, no pain and I was keeping up with everything. My doctors appointments were all normal. Blood test were all normal. We found out we were having a little girl. She was wiggly on ultrasound, so we did two to get everything measured. I could feel her move all the time. We named her Kate. I started to talk to her on my way to work, during a run, or just when I was sitting watching t.v..

Week 23 of Gestation

Monday:
My pants were getting tighter and tighter, and I really shouldn't wear my normal pants anymore. Katie was always active especially at night, and every night I love feeling her move. I looked forward to just sitting down and feeling her move after dinner. I notice today that I am getting a little awkward at work, I couldn't bend over to get that Labrador up on the table. I couldn't even lean over and hold that cat down like I used to.

A client notice I was pregnant today!

Tuesday:
My feet are starting to hurt more and more often. I felt good during my weekly run around the lake, not bad for a girl over half way through her pregnancy. I wondered how long I could keep making it around the lake? Maybe up until 32 weeks pregnant? I'd have to ask at my next doctors appointment next week.

Wednesday:
Day off work, always lots to do to get ready for Kate. Boy, I am feeling really tired. And I have a strange feeling down almost in my pelvis. Is it a cramp, or is it her kicking? Maybe this is what a braxton hicks contraction is like? Sure sounds like what I read in my baby book. I think I will just sit down more today. Luckily those weird feelings seem to go away with some rest. I'll have to ask my doctor about that next week.

Pelvic pressure that feels like the baby is pushing down
Abdominal cramps that may occur with or without diarrhea

Thursday:
Back to work, boy we are busy. I feel so tired this week, I am glad there is a three day weekend and we are going away. I think I just need a few days off. Those weird feeling have come up a few times again but not consistantly. I feel it when I sit down now too. Sometimes its painful even and takes my by surprise. I am heading into the later part of pregancy and she is getting bigger so I bet I just have to get used to it.

I am having a lot of mucous like discharge when I am going to the bathroom. I read that you will have discharge changes in later pregnancy. This seems like a lot though. I think I will call the doctor when I get a second. At least there is no blood.

Watery fluid leaking from your vagina
Menstrual-like cramps
Unusual or sudden increase of vaginal discharge

Friday:
Thank goodness, just one more day until the three day weekend. I have to call the doctor today. I have had a lot of discharge still, and I feel something every-time I sit down. We are so busy at work though, I have six surgical procedure to get through. I've mentioned what I was feeling to my friend and a coworker, and they didn't think it sounded like much.

Called the doctor. They said if I felt better when I rested, then it was probably some mild uterine irritability. Take it easy and they'd see me Tuesday. I feel better about it then. My lower back is killing today, I guess I will just lay down at lunch.

I feel bad I could barely eat dinner tonight. I just kept having those weird pains, and just feeling some nausea. Ed keeps wondering if we should still go on our trip to Eastern Washington. I timed the pains I am feeling. I am not having more than 3 an hour. We'll see how I am feeling in the morning to decide if we should go.

Low, dull backache
A contraction every 10 minutes or
five or more uterine contractions in an hour.

Saturday:
I feel so much better. No more nausea. No more strange discharge. Lets go on our last little trip while I am still able to get around and not too pregnant.

I still have those feelings, but only when I sit down. I just can't believe how tired I am still.
I am so glad we came on this trip. It is good to see old friends and have them touch my belly. My strange pains actually got better last night when we went for a walk back to the hotel.

Sunday:
I am so glad that I have a doctors appointment on Tuesday. These movements or strange feelings are starting to just bug me. And I wasn't even really able to eat again last night. It is hotter over here, and I did get a bit sun burned. Kate is still moving around good and I can feel her flipping over now. It will just be nice to talk to the doctor about it all.

Monday Morning:
I feel fine. I got up to go to the bathroom, I think I did at least five times last night. I looked down and there was a few drops of blood in the toilet. I wiped and there is more blood. I called Ed. I wiped again. We called the doctor. We go directly to the closest ER.

Blood from your vagina

I was dilated to 5 cm with my fluid bag protruding from my cervix. I was given a shot of steriods. The magnesium drip was started. I was going to be helicoptered to Spokane where they would be better able to help me. Ed would have to drive as there wasn't room in the helicoptor.

HOW COULD I NOT HAVE KNOWN I WAS IN LABOR?!? THOSE PAINS WERE CONTRACTIONS! THAT DISCHARGE WAS MY MUCOUS PLUG!
HOW COME I DIDN'T COME IN TO SEE A DOCTOR SOONER?
HOW COULD I HAVE BEEN SO STUPID?

I HAD ALL THE SYMPTOMS OF PREMATURE LABOR.

I've think that I spent the better part of a year beating myself up over not knowing that I was in labor. I still think about it a lot, I still cry over my naive stupidity. I have realized that I just didn't know any better. Pregnancy is a confusing time, your body is changing everyday. You don't want to be 'that type of pregnant lady' that calls the doctor over everything. And when you call the doctor you may need to press about things if you don't feel that they are right.

I had no risks factors for premature birth. We still do not know why I went into premature labor. They were able to hold off my labor to the day of viability, 25 weeks. I received the second steroid shot 48 hours after the first. Kate was born strong and we've have survived.

I beg of you to learn the symptoms of premature labor. Tell them to other pregnant women. Advise women to go to the doctor, ER, or midwife if they are feeling any of the symptoms. Be that type of woman that calls the doctor about anything and everything. Fight for your baby and others because they can not.

SUPPORT MARCH OF DIMES
PREMATURE AWARENESS AND PREVENTION DAY
11-17-10

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Christmas is right around the corner!

Merry Rainbow Christmas 5x7 folded card
Shop Shutterfly.com for elegant Christmas photo cards.
View the entire collection of cards.

I took the easy way out this year, and did it all on-line. Still had a blast making my cards and it was the quickest I've ever done them. Though I still have to get them sealed, signed and delivered, but I have a goal before the first week in Decemeber.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Crazy good times!

It was a great Saturday at the Scheenstra's!

And by great, I mean it in the most simple of ways. We woke up at 6 am, after our second night in a row of sleeping through the night. We had breakfast, got dressed slowly and went and ran a few errands before nap. Nap was easy, no fuss at all. I gardened, which I haven't done in weeks. Then after nap we went to our (mine and Ed's) favorite local brewery.

Our daughter who has been so difficult to get to eat, sat in a high chair and ate quesadilla like it was nothing! And we were able to just sit and eat and drink peacefully. The waitress even commented on how well behaved she was. Okay, that just doesn't happen all the time. I just looked at Ed, and with out saying anything I know that we both felt that this was a very special moment.

Back home, it was more fun times of pulling things out and playing with them and a ton of walking practice. I can almost call her a walker at this point. Kate is just laughing and walking and laughing and walking. Now she is sleeping and the house is a good quiet.

I list it all out not to bore you, but to emphasize the simplicity of the day. Oh, and how good it feels to have a simple good day when you've worked so hard for them.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Premature children are not just small.


A common misconception is that premature children are just small. They catch up right? They just need a little more time to grow right? She perfectly normal now? If only life was that simple. Of course by the time they are adults a lot of preemies have no significant differences from their peers but, unfortunately plenty of premature children live with a lifetime of challenges secondary to their prematurity.

In a way it is the dark side of prematurity. The side that people just don't like to talk about. And as a mother of a extremely premature child it is the side that everybody is very busy to tell you doesn't exist or won't exist for your child. Its the side of prematurity that is publicized but typically not as much as the premature child that goes on to be genius or the star athlete.

Being born early leaves significant changes to the brain, nervous system and immune development of the child. Furthermore, the trauma of trying to survive in the world when one should not be there (i.e. breathing air when you should be breathing amniotic fluid, and laying with gravity when you should be floating in a belly) can also result in further injuries and changes to their body (CPD, IVH, etc). The smaller the infant is at birth, and the more premature they are at birth the more significant the risk for long standing handicaps. These range for ROP or blindness, cerebral palsy, to ADHD and other developmental delays.

We have one of the smallest of the smalls. The hospital where we gave birth does not consider anything below 25 weeks viable for surviving. Our child was born at 25 weeks and 1 day. She was 800 grams at birth. Only 1% of all births are at gestation of under 28 weeks. The doctors told us she had a 50% of survival and of those that survive 50% will have significant life long handicaps.

The other day somebody asked me when our daughter was going to just be like a normal kid. At first I didn't know how to respond. A year ago I would have just started to cry. I looked at them and said, "I finally stopped thinking about that. Kate is who she is and I love her for that.". She might adjust out at 2 years, or maybe not until she is in school. But the reality is that she may never be like her peers either. For a type "A", perfectionist like myself this hasn't been an easy thing to come to terms with. I realize though now and accept that being born premature was not a choice that any of us made for Kate but it happened. We being her parents will love her and accept her no matter who she develops into. Of course we are going to provide her with love and support all the way and hope that she reaches all the goals she every hopes to dream.

I just want to remind you to think outside of your normal, because there are a lot of beautiful people on the other side of normal. And know that premature children are not just small. Please also support the March of Dimes, to research ways to prevent and treat premature birth.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Working momma blues.


I've worked since six weeks after giving birth to Kate. This wasn't easy since I had her some 300 miles from home. But, somehow I managed to set up some lo-cum (filling in) for other veterinarians that needed time off while I was living at the Ronald McDonald House in Spokane. Kate's neonatologist was the one that suggested it, I think he was tired of seeing me sitting in the NICU hour after hour.

Then after three months of being away from home, I got back and started back to working part time then I was back to full time in four weeks. I have been working full time ever since then. I have taken less a little over a week off in the past year. I typically work between 45 and 55 hours a week.

Now I don't write all this to be a sob story more to give a little background. The truth being that I do best when busy. Obviously if a doctor who had only known me for a few weeks, suggested and even made a phone call to get me back to work I most give off a vibe of somebody who needs to keep busy. Furthermore I have a wonderful career. Absolutely one of the best professions somebody could have. My job is challenging, a daily adventure, and I have a passion for my patients. Most of the time when I am at work, I think of nothing else but my patients and the case or procedure in front of me. Well, that was before Kate.

After Kate work has been different. First off, gone is the luxury of coming in early and working late. I think I have been to work early about twice since I had her. Typically I am about ten minutes late. And then if I work late, I won't see her before bed. I have to leave as soon as my last appointment is over to even get to see her for thirty minutes before bed. Because of this I have to get everything done during the work day, this often involves managing every minute of the day to the millisecond. Typing as fast as a I can to get my records done, calling clients with test results while I drive home (hands-free of course) and doing what-ever it takes to get out of there on time.

And then of course there is the conflicts. No childcare. Childcare needs to change days. Childcare is taking a vacation. Doctor appointments. More doctors appointments. Even more doctors appointments. Kate is coughing. Kate is sneezing. Kate isn't pooping. Ed has a meeting. I have a meeting. Grandma has a meeting. Most weeks there is several phone calls, schedule changes and at least three things that I have forgotten or messed up on the home front.

I take offense when people make insensitive comments about working mothers (or any mothers for that point). Or make a statement about it being a choice. Yes, it is a choice in a way. Unfortunately life is not that straight forward. At times in your adult life you have to do what needs to get done and the only choice is in what order you are going to do it. Bills have to be paid, and your decisions are difficult. You do the best you can with what you have.

All the same, sometimes this busy bodied person who loves her career just longs to stay home. To take care of my daughter everyday all day. To have a few things a little less chaotic and less scheduled. To just slow down. To not feel so torn in so many different directions. And above all else not feel like I am missing out on Kate's infanthood or just life for that matter.

And that my friends is the working momma blues.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Premature awareness month.

Our daughter one week after birth at 25 weeks.

November marks the start of Premature birth awareness and prevention month, and thus I could let the first blog of the month be about anything else.

1 in 8 babies will be born premature.

Only 25% of those families will know why they had premature baby.

Babies born premature have increased chance of survival now. Unfortunately the rate of having premature children continues to increase.

This month I will dedicate several blogs on our own birth experience and information on premature children.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween






I think because I've been busy lately and maybe a little over-sugared I have nothing really intelligent to say except, we put on our costumes, we ate too much, then we made it to a few peoples houses and finally we had a tantrum and went to sleep. All in all it was a good day.

More Cupcakes.


I really need to stop because I am going to gain a lot of weight if I don't stop with the baking. But all the same, I made Halloween cupcakes the other night instead of cookies. These where somewhat generic cupcakes, vanilla with orange and black sprinkles and chocolate frosting. But of course there is nothing generic about simple good eating.

I have now perfected black frosting too. I used a chocolate base and then always use the gel food coloring (I get mine at Micheals). The 'BOO' is done in white tic-tacs. I now need to perfect how to get black frosting out of clothes.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Not seeing my background?

Just a little bit of housekeeping. If you are not seeing my background or can't leave a comment, just open my blog in a different internet program (i.e. google chrome, internet explorer). Most of the problem is a firefox issue. I know that I could fix this, but I just haven't wanted to waste the time to figure it out. So until I do, check me out on a different program.

Thanks!

Laundry, feeding, cleaning repeat.


Life can be really monotonous. I mean lets admit it. There is a lot of repeat. Add motherhood in and it moves up to really monotonous. I love the phrase, "Life is so daily.". And that is exactly the type of weekend I was having. A weekend, of trying to get things done while it seemed that Kate was literally trying to get things undone at the same speed.

Laundry alone now seems like a never ending battle. Do one load, then there is a spill, a messy lunch, a leaky diaper, a long run (that is my own addition) and we've got another load. The kitchen is another hamster wheel activity. Empty the dishwasher, fill the dishwasher, wipe the counter, make a lunch, wipe the counter again. I actually was almost in tears today because I couldn't get everything to go back into the refrigerator.

I was then cleaning Kate's room. Actually trying to wipe down things with a cleaning product, not just move the piles of things. At one point I turned around and she had just emptied the entire dresser drawer I had just put away. I was busy putting the clothes back in the drawer and she was busy emptying a drawer in the closet full of crib sheets. I gave her a book, and picked up the sheets. Then somehow in less than half a minute, while I was turned around to empty the diaper pail, she had somehow got her foot stuck under the dresser. This involved screaming, me frantically spitting on her foot (to loosen it up), and peeling her foot out. It wasn't even 11 am yet.

I don't know if it is because of a lack of sleep, a lack of alone time, or because at this age your child can barely even say thank you (I am still waiting for mom). Whatever the reason, it does really add up on you. I think for both stay at home moms and working moms, there just isn't enough time in the day. I roll my eyes at myself, because I didn't have enough time before I had a child. What was I thinking?

Finally the day is done, for that point the weekend is done. Baby in bed, wine in hand, feet up. And I start reading some of the blogs that I keep up on. And I come across the blog update I linked below:

http://babygirltee-jennifer.blogspot.com/2010/10/saying-goodbye.html#comments

Here, I read a fellow preemie mom's post on losing her precious baby girl today. A little baby born at 33 weeks (some 2 months later than Kate), but she had a long hard time in the NICU. And then unexpectedly she lost her battle. I just feel beyond shocked. I also feel a bit ashamed.

I know I am only human. But, gosh why do I let the little things drag me down. Why can't I remember everyday, that I am blessed with all that I have even it includes 20 loads of laundry in a week. Why did I let a a crowded refrigerator nearly bring me to tears when there are others that are experience more suffering and pain than I could ever imagine in the same day and maybe even at the same moment?

And this is where I sit thinking tonight. Thinking of a family who lost their little girl today. A family that will never have the same exhausted frustration of picking up after a busy toddler all day. And instead of whining about all that I have to do, and all that I will still have to do next week, I will take a minute and try to remember a beautiful little girl, and a mother whose life will never be the same without her. And how truly blessed I am to have this monotonous life.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Infant and Pregnancy lost Awareness Day.


October 15th is Infant and Pregnancy lost Awareness day. Before I had a daughter, I hardly thought about what happened in a NICU, a ICU or a children's hospitals. I didn't know about miscarriages, still births and infants that died before their first birthdays. I didn't know how much love my heart could have for my own daughter. I also never realized the compassion and empathy I could have for other parents as they struggled with loss and trauma.

One of the experiences I had when I was staying at the Ronald MacDonald House while Kate was at the NICU was listening to the screaming cries of a mother who had her baby unexpectedly die. I can still remember feeling scared and dumbstruck, that I was watching this painful experience unfold in front of me. I wanted to run away. I wanted to not have this experience in my memory. I feel ashamed that I even thought about myself, when somebody else was in so much personal pain.

Since then, I have had the chance to talk to other families who have lost their babies. I handle the situations better now. I have empathy, and understanding. I am not afraid of their emotions, but instead want to act as a sponge to take some of their horrible pain away. I realize that we can not hide from pain, but instead have to experience it.

Tonight, I will pause and remember those that are not with us but whose spirit will never be forgotten.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sunday at the Pumpkin Farm.




We had a stormy, gray and in general gross couple of days around here. Then on Sunday afternoon the sun came out, a baby woke up from a nap and a family headed out in a Subaru to the pumpkin patch. We went out to a local farm that has animals, two playgrounds (including a 12 foot high mound of dirt called the 'mole hill'), and much enjoyed coffee and ice cream stand (a Carmel apple sundae).

Our littlest adventurer was a bit serious for the outing but, a good time was still had by all. Funny thing she seemed to enjoy the shuttle bus ride across the street the best. Leave it to a toddler, forget all the great nature and adventure... enjoy the bus ride. I am just happy the sun came out on a day off instead of monday.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple frosting... need I say more!


Okay, recently I was reading an article on how to get more followers to your blog. It had some good points, like always try to use proper spelling, try not to offend your readers, and make your post interesting. Of course those are all things that I try to do (unfortunately, proper spelling and English are not always easy for a science major). Then it said to try to only stick to one consistent topic. It is not a good thing to jump all around from one topic to another topic.

I guess I agree. Unfortantly I can not do this. I would admit that I mostly talk about motherhood and my micro preemie. I will try not to talk about icebergs and then gross motor development. But, the reality is that I am diverse. My daughter and motherhood does dominate my life, but I do have other interest. And thus, I have to make a post about the amazing cup cakes I made this week:

Pumpkin Cupcakes with maple frosting

1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 extra large eggs (room temperature)
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (8 ounces)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup vegatable oil

Maple frosting recipes follows
2- 1.4 ounce bars Heath bars chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Spray 10 to 12 muffin liners.

Medium bowl sift together flour, baking soda and powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. In a larger bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin puree, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vegetable oil. Add the four mixture and stir until combined.

Divide the batter among the muffin liners and bake for 20-25 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. Spread with maple frosting and sprinkle with chopped toffee bits.

Maple frosting:

6 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon Maple flavor (real is great, if you are cheap like me... imitation flavor)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups sifted confectioners sugar

Cream the cream cheese and butter on low speed, stir in maple flavoring and vanilla then slowly ad the confectioners sugar and mix until smooth.

There is something so wonderful about a cupcake. A perfect little cake, made just for one. I also love to bake because you put ingredients just right in a bowl, and then you have perfection in an hour later. A lot of baking you can do in parts so that if you are busy you can finish them later, such as baking the cup cakes and then do the frosting the next day.

These were beautiful cupcakes but, unfortunately we ate them too fast for photographs. Enjoy Autumn!