31 January 2011

Birthday Bash

Veda had a wonderful birthday party this past Saturday.  Thanks to having just recently received Christmas presents, attending her cousin's birthday party only one week earlier, and having an older sister to show her how it's done, she was eager to dive into her presents!  We had them stacked up and she kept crawling over there to pick at them.
Auntie Stephie made her cake.  We love Auntie Stephie because she always comes up with the cutest cake designs.  This was the first cake she made up completely on her own, no ideas from any internet sources for this one!  Isn't it adorable?
Her big sister was taking a late nap, and it was kind of nice.  Veda got to open her presents by herself and could see what everything was without having an older sister swooping in to take it away from her!  And she got some great presents (just ask her!):
She really likes having her very own Babydoll (like Sylvia's, Babydoll came from Oma and Opa).  Tonight when we put her to bed, we placed Babydoll in her crib with her.  She lifted her head, saw her Babydoll, grabbed her and hugged her tight.  She got an Elmo puppet yesterday from her Grandma and Grumpy, and I was surprised by how excited she was to see that she got an Elmo.  But I guess I shouldn't be.  Her sister has a couple of Elmos, and sibling rivalry is already in full force!

And let's not forget about eating the cake!  She was very intrigued by her cake and grabbed some frosting while we sang happy birthday.  After her piece was cut and put on her tray she attempted to fool us with some initial daintiness but that didn't last long!
Today was her 12 month wellness check.  She looks great!  She weighed 18lbs. and 13oz. (15th percentile) and was 29" long (around the 50th percentile).  The only current concern, albeit a minor one, is how sensitive her skin is.  She seems to react to everything she touches.  I cut tags from her clothes, wash laundry with Dreft, and now we are hunting down a lotion her doctor suggested using called California Baby.  Despite all of this, she still reacts when we wipe her bottom with a wet wipe, always has little bumps when buttons/snaps come in contact with her skin, and often she will have a random rash that I cannot even begin to guess at what caused it.  But if this is our largest worry, then I am happy to continue playing the allergy guessing game!

And now her Daddy would like to write a word . . .

I just wanted to write a post-happy birthday post for Veda.  She's been such a fun big little girl to get to know.  Lately she's been charging at me when I get home, which is lots and lots of fun.  She still just crawls but usually when I come through the door she looks up, gives her little squeal/growl and comes crawling at me at top speed.  I love watching her explore her world, play (and fight) with her sister, and begin to get into trouble.  I'm really lucky that I get to be her daddy.  Happy birthday lovebug, I love you bunches and bunches and bunches

27 January 2011

Big Week!

Do you know what this is a picture of?  This is a picture of a one-year-old girl.  And do you know who this girl is?  I know you will be shocked when I reveal that this is Lovebug.  My little Veda, also affectionately known as the VedaBug, had her first birthday today.

I know nearly every parent who has ever existed cannot help but stand stunned when they look at how their children have grown.  And there is probably not a parent today nor from yesterday who can comprehend just how quickly time flies by.  But time does move forward and my baby is now acting more like the toddler she is than the baby she was.

I think she had a pretty spiffy first birthday.  She got a phone call from her Oma Ria from the Netherlands.  I know she does not remember her, but she did smile and babble a bit while I had Ria on speakerphone.  She also had a visit from her cousin, Dax (who turned a year just one week earlier) and her Auntie Stephie.  And she had her very own birthday book read to her this evening, Birthday Monsters by Sandra Boynton.  But probably the highlight of her day was taking her first bath in the full tub.  She even got to take her bath with her sister, who insisted, absolutely insisted, that Veda get to join her.  When Dave let Veda go in the tub she began splashing immediately and did not stop.  Ever.  She splashed from beginning to end.  She splashed her entire way around the tub.  She splashed with one hand, she splashed with two.  She splashed with her sister, she splashed without her.  Veda just could not stop splashing the water!

By the time the bath was over her little heart was racing and she was panting!  But at least she should sleep well tonight!

But Veda is not the only one who had a major life event this week.  Her older sister started school!  Sylvia has begun therapy for some speech and motor delays and in addition to her once a week in-home therapy, she also has class on Tuesdays for an hour and a half.  This past Tuesday was her first day.  We made a pretty big deal about it and I even found this adorable backpack:
She loved school.  She was very excited to go, but there were a couple things that made her nervous.  First, we had to take Grandma's car to school because Daddy needed our car to get to work.  Second, I don't think she realized that school was in a building she had never been in before.  She walked very slowly into the building and when I started to take off her coat (to put in her locker, yes, her locker!) she nearly lost it, she was so scared.  But then one of the teachers opened the door to her classroom, revealing the toys inside.  I have never seen such an instantaneous change in anyone before.  She zoomed off and didn't stop until it was time to go home.  I even got to sneak away and take a peak at the lending library.  So, for at least the next year, she (and Veda and I) have school.  [Siblings get to come, but it was very nice to have Grandma come and stay with Veda so Sylvia and I could do her first day with just the two of us.]

Birthday shindigs are this weekend, so more to come!

15 January 2011

Because I Need to Smile

We have had several trials lately and after an event this morning we are left feeling very frustrated with life.  But also very glad to have it.  Dave got into a car accident on his way in to work this morning.  It was a serious accident.  But the only fatality was our car.  For that we are extremely grateful. 

Please be thinking of us.  Our family requires two vehicles (another hazard of living "in the middle of nowhere").  Our family also does not have the means to acquire another family car.  But like I said, no matter how frustrated we are with life, we are also very thankful we have a life to be frustrated with.

I want to post a couple of recent pictures of the girls that just make me smile.  I hope they do the same for you.
I do find it funny that the pictures of my girls that make me smile are the pictures where my girls are not smiling!

06 January 2011

And They Lived . . .

It can sometimes be very cold and lonely up here.  Frequently the girls and I are the only humans residing in the area.  It can be kind of creepy in a weird Shining sort of way.

Perhaps it is the week itself that is leaving me with this hollow feeling.  One year ago I was in the hospital, having gone into preterm labor a couple of days prior.  After two days of a steady IV of my *most favorite* medication, labor ceased.  Or, at least, "productive contractions" had ceased.  Sylvia and I moved in with my parents, I began to take medication every four hours around the clock, and Dave returned home-- an hour away from us.  I was on total bed rest.  I could not care for my child.  And I only saw my husband on the weekends.  And on top of all of that, I was worried about my Lovebug.

It was one of the longest months of my life.  And it was a solid month from the time I left my home after waking up with blood everywhere to when I walked back through my front door, post surgery, with my two beautiful and amazing daughters.

During one especially hard night at my parents', I uttered a desperate prayer.  I envisioned this enormous looming wave of depression just waiting to come rushing at me.  It was a battle of forces and I no longer had the strength or energy to continue warding off this surge.  I needed my child to be born and for my family to be together.  I told God I had only one week of fight left in me after which time the wave would engulf me.

I expressed all of this to my doctor at my next appointment.  She listened to every word.  And she heard me.  She said she knew if I was expressing this kind of distress, then something needed to be done.  She explained she took my words seriously because I never talked unless it was significant.  She arranged the best plan she could:  Another amniocentesis a couple days prior to 37 weeks gestation to check for lung development and then surgery at 37 weeks.

I did feel better afterward because a definite end was in sight, but I had told God earlier in the week that I only had one week left in me.  It was now Friday.  And my new surgery date was still two weeks away.

After one more hospitalization, things reached a rare kind of calm.  I felt pretty good early the next week and by Tuesday evening I was in labor.  Exactly one week had passed since the time I had pleaded with God.

My labor was good.  It was manageable all the way until I was in the operating room, at which point I just really wanted them to put in that spinal block!  Dave just barely made it in time for surgery, but he was there.  My daughter was born and she looked good enough that the doctor held her over the sheet and said, "Happy Birthday!"  Dave even got to carry her to the NICU.  (He likes to remind her that she peed on him during this trip.)

I recovered in my room, during which the nurse was explaining various things to me.  I remember nothing she said except the following, " . . .  when baby gets to come home, and baby will not be coming home with you . . ."  Strangely, I felt an internal smirk and the distinct thought, "Oh, yes she will!"  Her comment seemed absurd to me.  My preterm baby and I were leaving together.  Three days later we did.

While the ending of this tale is a "happily every after," I think January will always have an emptiness to it for me.  It is cold and brutal and it is very lonely up here.  And there is this pervasive feeling of waiting.  Just waiting.  And waiting.  And waiting for a birth.

Waiting for new life.