Monday, June 30, 2014

A Little Blue Truck birthday party

I have one year olds.  Oh my, where did time go.  Just doesn't seem right.  Andrew and I sat, reminiscing about a year ago, the day my labor finally reached the point of no return, how they were born, what it was like seeing them for the first time.  I am so incredibly excited for them, for all God has accomplished with them is just one year, and for what this next year will bring.  We were able to celebrate with our families this weekend for a Little Blue Truck inspired birthday party.  Here's what was captured from the event.

Baby Books and the adorable Little Blue Trucks my mom drew.

Baby "chalkboard" signs

Lunch spread

The book inspiring our party

Who would have ever though these beenie babies would find themselves useful??

Thanks to Deb's Sweet Cakes for the wonderful Little Blue Truck cake!  We loved it!

The little cute!

Birthday boys come down for their party!

Is it sad this is the best picture I have of my two wiggle worms sitting together? We made them onesies with their names on it and the Little Blue Truck with animals from the cover of the book

Riding our new tractor!

Standing all by ourselves!

Happy Birthday!!

Warren enjoying his cake!

 Dean enjoying his cake!

 Thanks so much for everyone who came, for my sister taking these pictures (as I surely did not take a single on during the whole party...), for all the fun new toys, but most of all...for a years worth of prayers, support, and encouragement.  We are beyond blessed!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

A letter to Dean...

Happy first birthday, Dean!  I cannot believe it has already been a year since we welcomed you into our lives and saw you for the first time.  I am so blessed to be your mommy, to be able to watch you grow and develop and explore the world.  One year ago today, you were taken along for a whirlwind as your brother decided he had enough time being squished in there with you!  When we learned you were going to be born that night, we were terrified.  I knew God was in control, but it was too early.  You were too small.  But you also came out screaming, defying the odds even then.  You were born 1 minute later and 1 gram lighter, but you never let that stop you from charging forward, full speed ahead.  And you did, from that moment on.

I was able to hold you first, just 24 hours after you were born.  I was in awe at your perfect little nose, those big lips, the feel of your heart beating against mine.  It is a moment I will never forget for the rest of my life.  Those first weeks were full of stress and anxiety, wondering how you would be doing.  We called nightly to check on you, to make sure you were still doing well.  You surprised us all when you decided, at only 3 weeks old, that you had enough of your bubble CPAP and you ripped it right out of your nose.  Man, you hated that thing!  You did well the first time, and I was able to hold you without all the tubes and really see your face for the first time.  But, you weren't quite ready, and it took another few weeks before you could rid yourself of that terrible thing!  You had so many firsts - first hold, first to breath without help, first to take a full bottle - trying to prove that being the younger brother wasn't going to hold you back!

We brought you home 77 days later.  You were our first child to come into our home, such a bittersweet moment as we longed for Reagan and Warren to be able to join you.  But you were the easiest baby we could imagine, so content to be held, or in a swing, or in a bouncer.  You were just happy, such a blessing.  I loved all those early days, when I could just hold and cuddle you without hearing other people's babies crying, fighting for the comfortable chair, listening to endless beeping from down the hall.  It was such a special bond, those rare moments of Mommy and Dean time.

I love so many things about you.  I love how you are always on the go, crawling over everything, climbing stairs, cruising around.  So much energy!  But, you always have time for me.  And you'll sometimes stop mid-crawl, turn around, and crawl right into my lap.  I love that you said "mama" first.  I love how your face lights up in a huge, open-mouth grin when you laugh.  I love how you fall asleep in my arms as I rock you.  I love how you "pat" my face, even with your slobbery hand.  I love how you smile at me when I come to rescue you from your crib.  I love how you splash in the pool, loving ever second of the water.  I love how you zoom your cars across the floor and how excited you were when you finally figured that out.  But most of all, I love that God has allowed me to be your mommy.

Happy first birthday, Dean!  I love you!


A letter to Warren...

Happy first birthday, Warren!  I am so blessed to have you in my life, to watch you grow and develop over this first year.  One year ago today, you were kicking me (hard), frantically trying to get out into the world.  It was a rough time for me, stressful and challenging, but every kick, every time I got to hear your heart beat, I knew it was worth every sacrifice.  You were our firstborn son, the older brother by exactly 1 minute.  I imagine you will be rubbing that in for the rest of your life... When we learned you were going to be born that night, we were terrified.  You were too small!  But you proved us all wrong, came out screaming with one arm raised overhead, shouting in triumph "I DID IT!!"  And, you were exactly 1 gram bigger.  Proved those doctors wrong one more time.

You caused us lots of anxiety in those first weeks as we watched you struggle to learn to breath, fought off panic when your monitors beeped at us, watched your weight plummet down below 2 pounds as you refused to digest anything.  You endured blood transfusion, late night x-rays, needle pricks and blood draws daily, and a constant adjusting of your oxygen settings just to keep you going.  And yet, God carried you through.  Daddy and I were able to spend a little extra time with you, got to watch you fight and accomplish more in those first weeks than most experience in a lifetime.  And you were a fighter!  We learned early that Warren doesn't do things unless Warren is ready.  You study, contemplate, and then...done!  No trial and error, just going for it.  I love that about you.  Our NICU time was a great place to focus on just our children, to hold you, read to you, love on you without the other daily tasks weighing down on us.  So many fond memories.

We brought you home 86 days later, so excited to have both of you home and together at last.  So many sleepless nights were spent holding you, bouncing you, walking with you, swaying with you, rocking you, trying to do anything to calm the screaming and colic pain you were experiencing.  But then, you would look up at me, and smile.  That adorable Warren grin with your dimpled cheek.  And my heart would melt.  And you continued to grow and surpass all expectations, proving that God is bigger than any doctor, diagnosis, or statistic.

I love so many things about you, sweet boy.  I love how you stop crying the second I pick you up, lay your head on my shoulder, sigh, and just relax again.  I love how your face lights up each morning when I walk in to get you, crawl over to the edge, pull up, and reach your arms up to say "pick me up, mom."  I love that you are just a little take an extra second just to make sure it is safe before continuing your cruising, changing directions, or pulling up.  I love that you share your paci with me during story time, truly a sacrifice for you!  I love how you laugh when I tickle you.  I love how your face lights up when Daddy comes home, when he throws you high in the air.  I love how you splish splash in the bathtub, kicking so hard.  And most of all, I love that God has allowed me to be your mommy.

I love you so much, Warren!  Happy first birthday!!


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to my wonderful husband!  What a year we've had together!  Was it really only a year ago we were sitting in the hospital (or he was sitting, I was lying...) trying to control these contractions with every single medication known.  Praying for our unborn children, that they would survive this whole ordeal.  Last year, we spent Father's Day in room 875, left for a very brief wheelchair ride into the courtyard right outside my window, watched some golf.  I didn't want Andrew's first Father's day to be lacking the obligate footprint art, so I had a dear friend bring me Reagan's footprints which we turned into a flower.  But, under it all, there was still sorrow and terror.  Our little girl wasn't here to sit in his lap and giggle as he tickled her, to give him a hug.  Our boys were beating the odds, but still fighting for their lives.  I often wonder how much the fathers who have been through infertility and heartache feel on Father's Day.  Does it sting like it did for me?  Is there this sense of emptiness, of longing, of pain?  It doesn't appear to be, but then, men don't talk about emotion like we do.  I think, under it all, the emotions are there.  Just maybe not bursting forth in fits of outrage and despair (not that I would ever do that...)

This year, there was more joy.  There is still an underlying pain, but we were able to celebrate with our children for the first time.  We celebrated yesterday and had a wonderful morning, complete with breakfast in bed and homemade gifts.  I'm not sure who enjoyed them more, Andrew who received them, or me as I got to make them.  Thank goodness for pinterest!  And each year it will only get more fun as Warren and Dean are able to participate more and more.

My husband is an amazing man.  I don't tell him nearly often enough, but he is a rock for our family.  He works hard so I can stay home with our boys, comes home to a frumpy wife covered in drool/spit up/baby food who hasn't showered all day (or maybe even yesterday), and still loves me.  He takes my frantic phone calls during the day as he's between meetings to calm me down when the boys won't eat, sleep, or stop screaming.  He continues to attend and serve at church, though we know few people still there and though his family isn't with him.  And each day, when he comes home, he makes my boys the happiest little boys in the whole world, as their faces light up with huge smiles and they head straight for him.  I couldn't ask for anything better.  No, our journey hasn't been easy.  And staying home isn't what I thought it would be (though nothing ever is).  But we are blessed beyond words as a family that Andrew is my husband and a father to Reagan, Warren, and Dean.

Happy Father's Day!  We love you so much!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Speech Therapy

Every other week our early interventionist comes to the house and give me a wealth of things I can use to work with Warren and Dean to get them closer to meeting all their goals.  After each visit, I buy the new toy, or make the new sensory bag, play the new game, etc.  I absolutely love it because I am always giving them something new and different to try. (without having to find idea on Pinterest!)  I am intimately familiar with how they should be progressing with gross motor from my PT background.  And that is primarily what I have focused on, especially in the beginning.  At their 9 month evaluation, Dean was right on track with his motor skills without even adjusting for him being a preemie!  BUT, I have neglected some of the other areas.  I just didn't know...didn't know milestones to know how delayed they were getting.  And so, they are currently both 7 months delayed in fine motor.  Oops.  And Warren is 5 months delayed in speech.  Oops again.  (These numbers are without adjusting for their micro preemie status) There is so much responsibility on preemie parents to get their kids to catch up, get them with the right therapist, provide this amazing learning environment.  And here, I thought I was doing it all, but no.  Epic failure.  I saw those numbers, those months of delay, and tried not to feel too disappointed.  Never disappointed in my children, but in myself and my job as a mother.  So, I discussed with Bright Start, and we started speech last week.  Of course, Dean would decide to say his first word earlier that day.  "mama"  Such a proud moment...more on that in another post...

Our first visit was great.  It's weird to be on this end of therapy, after asking so many of the same questions myself during my pediatric rotation (wow, was that really 5 years ago already???).  Getting their long medical history, my pregnancy history, etc.  And then came all the questions.  Does h babble? No.  Does he string vowels together? No.  Does he make noise other than crying to get attention? No.  On and on.  No, no, no. Poor Warren.  I had no clue he was supposed to be doing these things.  Am I just slow?  How do working mothers handle both?  Regardless, the evaluation revealed that Dean (with his newly found babbling, ptyerdactyl screeching, and loud laugh) does not qualify.  But Warren will.  He's always, as the doctors said in the NICU, been a little more immature with his development.  But this is the first time there has been a big enough difference that he will have a service that Dean will not.  Now, those will be some interesting treatment sessions...what to do with an 11-month-old who is into everything and has separation anxiety??  Should be entertaining, to say the least!