27 February 2010

Grey Skies, But Sunny Smiles

Today was a great day. Today was the first day I stepped foot out of the house in two weeks. Today was the day that I was alone for the second time in two months. Today was the day that I drove for the fourth time in two months. And today is the day that my littlest honey turned one month.

Dave stayed home with the girls while I went out by myself for a couple of hours. I cannot begin to express how wonderful this was for my well being. I have the most marvelous husband! And in my venture out I even found a diaper bag that is very nearly large enough for all the accoutrements two very small girls require. (Thank you, Stephanie!)
I have the two most wonderful and adorable girls in the world and thus far they seem to be getting along pretty well. Sylvia stays happy so long as Mama's lap is big enough for her too!
Last weekend the girls received a visit from Great Grandpa and Grumpy. Four generations coming together is always a neat experience. (And I cannot believe I got this good of a picture with one toddler, one infant and one man over 90 present!)
This is our little Veda. She continues to be doing amazingly well. Her little face is filling out and she no longer looks like a newborn. I attached the mobile to her swing this week, as she is finally beginning to look around and study her world, and time will tell, but our Lovebug may be a redhead!

As for my dead computer . . . Well, my files were rescued and my machine was temporarily fixed. Five days later it is dead again. Such sadness. And until I get a new computer my wonderful photo software (that organizes all my pictures and allows me to crop and edit) is gone with it. And so, I offer my apologies now for my upcoming posts that will be scant in photo content.

I have more stories, and maybe some more pictures to go with them, but for now it is time to say goodnight.

19 February 2010

A Death in the Household

There has been a death in the household. Wednesday morning my computer died. It had not been happy for some time and hopefully it's passing was peaceful and serene. At least, it suffers no longer. Sadly, it may have taken some valuables with it to the grave: A year's worth of pictures that have not been backed up and a slew of knitting patterns.

I was just thinking on Monday that I really needed to back up my pictures, beginning from last March. I had let it slide for far too long. Well, I didn't act quickly enough. Our deceased household member is currently residing with "Uncle" Phil, whom we are hoping can extract these valuable files. Hopefully we can get a status update later this weekend.

And I had just loaded a bunch of adorable pictures of the girls Tuesday night in the hopes of posting a wonderful new blog entry on Wednesday. The girls were in their Valentine outfits on Sunday and we headed down to my folks' for the afternoon. They were too cute, especially Sylvia in her little cupcake dress and pink tights. And Veda sported an adorable outfit from Oma Ria on Tuesday that I got a couple of great pictures of her wearing it. Sigh.

As a general update, we are doing pretty well here. This past week Veda has been acting more and more like a "normal" newborn. She has periods of wakefulness (and not just a couple of minutes here and there). She makes more noise, and has begun a consistent feeding schedule on her own (no more having to force feed her). On Wednesday of this week both of our girls had "birthdays." Sylvia turned sixteen months and Veda three weeks (and my nephew, Dax, turned four weeks).

Yesterday was originally slated to be Veda's birthday. I was due for surgery at 7:00 a.m. Our little Lovebug, however, had been very determined to have a January birthday. I am just thankful that it proved to be the 27th and not the 5th of that month. Things are only just now beginning to "catch up" with me: Realizing that we are at the end of February already, I am no longer pregnant, Veda is already several weeks old, and that Christmas and New Year have been done and over for quite some time already. The last eight weeks or so have been one giant blur.

Sylvia continues to be a little helper for Mama. Her newest thing is she has begun to help me burp the baby. She will whack her little hand against Veda's back-- often much harder than I will. And she has even whacked out a burp or two! She is sometimes really good about retrieving things I ask for: Veda's pipe, her hat, bottle, etc. But this comes and goes and I cannot really rely on Sylvia to actually get what I need.

Well, I need to go. Sylvia just brought me a book to read to her!

08 February 2010

Two Week Check & Playing Outdoors

Veda went in for her two week wellness check this afternoon. We saw the new doctor today and we really like her. She spent a lot of time with us and was very kind. I liked her so much that I changed Sylvia's 18 month check to be with her and for Veda's 2 month check to be with her as well.

Veda has a very slight "pop" in her left hip, and while the doctor doesn't want to do an ultrasound or anything else at this point, she wants to be sure to pay special attention to it at two months. If she still hears the "pop" then we will have to do some further analysis. But no real worries yet. Veda also has several birthmarks: Above each eyelid, on the bridge over her nose and at the base of her neck. The eyelid splotches should clear by around 18 months, the one in between her eyes will take a bit longer but should be faded before kindergarten. The one on the back of her neck, well, it could be 18 months, a few years or maybe it will never fully fade. Time will tell.

Veda's stats compared to other two week old girls: She weighed in at 6 pounds and 4 ounces (5-10th percentile), measured at 19" (5-10th percentile), and her head was 13 1/3" (10-25th percentile). It seems very strange to have a child measuring below the 10th percentile and to have it be "okay." But as she started out premature, these stats are actually very good for her. Because she is so little and because she is still several weeks developmentally behind other newborns and because she came in the middle of winter we were strongly advised by her doctor to not take her out for the next three months. So, no church, no large family gatherings, nowhere where germs may reside and absolutely no visitors with even a hint of a cold. It could be a very long three months!

Sylvia had a lot of fun this past weekend. She spent more time "helping" with Lovebug and even got to play outside with Daddy both Saturday and Sunday. This is a new activity for her and she LOVES it! It is rather fun to watch her toddle around outdoors. She is in her chunky snowpants, boots that are a little too large, and she is trying to maneuver through snow on uneven ground. Spills happen often! She loves to touch every tree (and we have A LOT of them!), and she has even gathered snow while sitting on the ground. While her outdoor stints are short, she comes in with a huge smile on her face and an exhaustion level to match!
What a bath does to a newborn:

Like virtually all newborns, Veda does not appreciate being bathed. This picture is from her last bath and I just love the expression on her face and the wild hair on top of her head. One thing that has been kind of fun these last several days is we are finally beginning to see Veda in a wakeful state for more than a minute or two at a time. It is really nice to see our baby beginning to explore her world. Babies are amazing.

03 February 2010

Veda Katherine!

A very dear friend of mine commented that she had not heard an "Internet peep" from me in quite some time. Needless to say, this past week has been unbelievably busy and surprising!

When we last left off, I was scheduled for an amniocentesis Wednesday of this week to check the development of Lovebug's lungs and then schedule surgery for this Thursday or Friday. Obviously, you can see from the pictures that this did not happen! I went into labor last week Tuesday night. I hung around my parents' house for as long as I could, but by 1:00 a.m. I knew I couldn't last much longer: It was time to head for the hospital. My mom took me in, and Dave hopped out of bed to make his just over an hour long drive down.

Labor proved to be hard and fast, and despite how quickly I was in surgery, it still seemed to take too long. I was admitted at 1:30 and Veda Katherine was born at 3:09 a.m. Wednesday morning (27th of January). Dave barely made it to the hospital in time for the surgery!

Surgery was a wonderful experience this time around. A mirror was held up so that I could see the doctors remove Veda from me. While this may seem kind of weird to some, I thought it was absolutely beautiful and as tears rolled down my eyes the anesthesiologist was there with a tissue to wipe them off. The doctor also held Veda up over the sheet and announced "Happy Birthday!" to us. When Veda came out she began to cry! This was such a blessing to hear, as it meant that she was breathing on her own, despite being a month early. She even made more noise than her sister! Dave was able to hold her shortly after surgery and even placed her on the "bed" by me so that I could see her up close. He even got to walk her down to the nursery.

We did not have a camera with us in the operating room. Things happened so fast that there simply was not time. But my mom and Dave did get a couple of shots after she was placed in the Special Care Nursery (NICU).

Veda was 6 pounds, 1 ounce at birth-- a very healthy weight for her gestational age. She was 19" long, proving to be "tall" just like her sister (and daddy)!
This is Daddy feeding Veda her first bottle. I could not be there for this, as Lovebug was in the NICU and I was in my room recovering. Fortunately, my mom and Dave came back with pictures for me to look at.
In fact, I did not get to hold Veda until nearly noon the next day. Because she was in the NICU she couldn't be in my room with me, so I had to wait until I was strong enough to be able to take the wheelchair trip to the nursery to visit her.
This is the owl I made for Veda. This little lady bird received so many compliments from nurses and other hospital staff. I was routinely asked if someone made her for me, and I always took a little joy when I said that I had actually made her for Veda.
This birth experience was far better than what I had experienced with Sylvia just over a year earlier. I was so thankful for the fabulous staff at Holland Hospital.
We were told repeatedly that Veda was doing much better than what they would expect to see from someone at her gestational age. In the beginning she showed signs of minor respiratory distress. Within a few days this cleared up entirely. Because she was eating very well and her heart and lungs sounded good, she was released from the NICU Thursday morning! I was so very happy to have her in my room by me.
I love this picture of Daddy with his newest little girl. As a side note, it looks like I am surrounded by blondies in my house! My mom suggested I dye my hair so that people will believe my daughters belong to me.
On Friday Auntie Stephie came with Daxton. This was Daxton and Veda meeting for the very first time! These cousins are only one week apart in age.
While I look tired (and I was!), I actually felt pretty good. Obviously, I was in a decent amount of pain from surgery but overall I felt happy and excited and very blessed.
When I arrived in my room after surgery, the nurse told us that Veda would not be coming home with me when I was discharged from the hospital. Well, our little fighter proved her (and the doctors) wrong! On Saturday afternoon we were BOTH discharged! We returned to my parents' house, and because Dave had to work Monday, Sylvia, Veda and I stayed there until we could return home as a family on Tuesday.
So, how does Sylvia feel about being a Big Sister? So far she seems to kind of get a kick out of it. She knows who Veda is and has been able to point to her when we ask her where Veda/her little sister is. She offers Veda her "pipe" (what we call a pacifier), and is eager to take little breaks to check on her sister. There have been some moments of jealousy, but thus far, we have been very pleased with Sylvia's response.
This was Sylvia "checking in" on her sister while we were still at my folks' house. She would stand on a little step stool to peek in on Veda and would often wave at her. It was too cute!
Veda's first doctor's appointment was on Monday. Her discharge weight from the hospital was 5 pounds, 8 ounces. By Monday she was already back up to an even 6 pounds! The doctor was very impressed with Veda, so much so, that we don't need to return until her two week check (next Tuesday), just like a normal newborn! We did have to have her blood drawn to check her billirubin count, but I am assuming that came back okay as I haven't heard anything from the office.

And this was the day that we all returned home. The girls received these matching outfits from Grandma. I should really take a picture of the onesies side by side. Veda's is a preemie size and Sylvia's is 18 months. It is incredible the size difference!

We packed up and arrived home around 5:00 Tuesday. It was very strange and almost hard for me to return home after being gone for a month. It really settled in that, in a way, I missed a month of my life. I returned home and Christmas decorations (and movies and music and cards) were still out. Things that I had meant to do the Tuesday I went to the hospital for the first time, remained in their same spot, untouched. There were things that I had wanted to accomplish before Veda's arrival that just didn't happen. I had wanted to spend a few weeks having some quality time with Sylvia, just the two of us, before the new baby arrived. I had wanted to further "Sylvia proof" the living room area of the house. I guess . . . I had just wanted to be me and living my life before Veda's arrival. But sometimes things don't happen the way we plan. Or, in the case of Dave and me, things seem to rarely happen the way we've planned.

I am so thankful for my wonderful family. My mom especially has been amazing and I really miss her. One thing that I enjoyed very much living at my parents', was how often I got to see my sisters and the time I got to spend with my mom and dad. I am really going to miss them.

Dave's mom was also incredible. She came down several times to watch Sylvia while Mom took me to doctor appointments. She also came with pre-made dinners and food and diapers for Sylvia. She is one amazing woman.

Now we are home and Dave will be here until Wednesday next week, when he needs to return to work. We need assistance. Please, please, please if any of you have a day you can spare to come by us and play with Sylvia and attend to her needs let us know!!! PLEASE!