Sunday, October 27, 2013

Six and a Half

Today you are half way to turning seven!  Time sure seems to be going faster the older you get but I am loving watching you turn into a great young man.  Here are some things I want to remember about you as you turn six and a half.

-I don't know how much you weigh or how tall you are right now, but I do know that you are one of the tallest kids in your class and you seem to be getting bigger daily.  You wear size 7 clothes and size 2 1/2 shoes.  You are going to be taller than me before I know it!

-You are a pretty good eater and are getting better at trying new things.  You usually ask for seconds or thirds when I fix a meal you like!  Your favorites are still spaghetti and tacos.  You also love chicken nuggets, taco salad, roast, turkey and cheese sandwiches, all kinds of fruit, and chips and queso. 

- You love school and are a great student!  I am so thankful that learning comes easy to you.  You love your teacher, Mrs. Brightwell, and are learning so much in first grade.  You are currently reading on a level 27 and your favorite books are the Magic Tree House chapter books. 

-You still love to play video games on the computer, Playstation and iPad.  You get to play for about 30 minutes every day after you finish you homework but you could easily play for hours at a time if we would let you.

-You have reached one of the two goals you set for this year- you learned to ride you bike.  You love riding and ask me to come outside with you every day so that you can ride.  Now we just need to teach you how to tie your shoes, which was your second goal!

-You are so active and love to move.  You recently joined the Mighty Milers running club at school.  The first day you ran 3 miles in an hour and were so proud of yourself.

-Your favorite sport is still baseball.  You were sad when fall ball ended because it means you have to wait 4 more months before you get to play again. 

-You are such a good helper around the house and often help without complaining.  It's nice to be able to have a little help with some of the chores.

I never thought you and I would survive your toddler years but I am so glad we did!  You are such a fun kid and I find myself missing you during the day and always look forward to picking you up from school.  You are still strong willed and stubborn but you are learning how to keep it under control so that it doesn't get you in trouble!  I love you so much and am so proud to call you my son!  I can't wait to see what the second half of your sixth year brings!

I love you to the moon and back, Mommy 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Three Years Old

Lily Claire,
Today you turn three years old!  What a fast three years it has been!  It seems like just yesterday that you made your quick arrival into this world.  You are so passionate about life and bring a smile to my face every day!  Here are a few of the things I want to remember about you as you turn three:

-You weigh 38 pounds (95th percentile) and are 40 inches tall (97th percentile).  You wear size 5T clothes.  You are the tallest one in your preschool class. 

-You are very independent and like to do everything by yourself.  We often disagree on what you can and can not do without help and you often prove me wrong when I think you need help accomplishing something. 

-You are no longer taking naps.  You still need one some days, but if I let you take one, you won't go to sleep at night.  You are still not easy to put to bed at night, but you are usually so tired that you don't put up much of a fight.

-You love to sing!  You can often be found singing while you play or while we are in the car.  You also like to sing at preschool.

-Your facial expressions make me smile every day!  You often get so excited about whatever you are talking about and your face becomes so animated. 

-You love to play outside and color.  You can almost always be found swinging, riding your bike, coloring in your coloring books, or drawing your own pictures. 

-It is rare that you can be found watching TV.  You usually lose interest after about 10 minutes.  Your favorite shows right now are Team Umizoomi and Little Bear.

-You LOVE baby dolls. You can often be found with at least one baby doll in your arms and you always sleep with at least two or three (or ten!) of them. 

-You are a GREAT eater!  You will usually try new things that are offered.  You love fruits and most vegetables.  Some of your favorites are apples, broccoli, strawberries, and oranges.  You also like salad, pancakes, tacos, and chicken nuggets.  Your favorite snacks right now are fruit snacks and goldfish.

-You are strong willed and know what you want and when you want it, which is usually right now!  You do not like when you don't get your way and have been known to throw quite a tantrum.  We are working on being patient and not getting upset when things don't happen immediately.

-You have been diaper free (day and night) for several months.  For the first few months, you got up at least (sometimes twice) a night to go to the bathroom, but now you can usually make it all night long without waking up.

-You are definitely a mommy's girl!  You cry if I ever leave the house without you and will always choose mommy over daddy if given the choice. 

-You give the best kisses and hugs when I leave for work in the morning and at night when I put you to bed.  I look forward to them every day!

You are such a beautiful little girl on the inside and out!  I feel so blessed that God chose me to be your mommy and I pray that you will always know how much I love you!  I can't wait to watch you grow and change over the next year.  Happy Birthday, my sweet girl! 

I love you to the moon and back, Mommy

Happy 3rd Birthday!

Today our sweet, funny, stubborn, strong-willed, independent, enthusiastic, precious Lily Claire turns three years old!  What a blessing it is to be her mom!  I am so thankful for her and all the joy she brings to our family! We hope she feels very special today!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Welcome to the Family!

We are so excited to announce that my sister Meredith got engaged today!  We are thrilled to be welcoming her fiancĂ©, Craig, into our family!  
Meredith and Craig were already coming to Lily's birthday party tonight so we were able to congratulate them in person!  The wedding is only 4 months away and I can't wait to start helping her with all of the planning.  What a fun four months it is going to be!
Congratulation Aunt MerMer and Craig!  We love you both and are so excited for you!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Dallas Arboretum

Today Aunt Emily drove over to Dallas and met Aunt MerMer at the Dallas Arboretum.  Since she had an extra car seat in her car and Lily was the only one of my kids not in school, she invited her to come along to enjoy the pumpkin exhibits with Aubrey and Ryan.  I've never been to the Arboretum before, but after looking at their pictures, I really hope it is somewhere we will be able to take all three kids next year.  They had some amazing pumpkin exhibits and I know Lily had a great time!  I am so thankful for my sisters and that they love spending time with my kids.  Thanks Aunt Emily and Aunt MerMer for a fun day! 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

We Have a Bike Rider!

One of the best things about being a parent is watching your children reach their milestones.  With every stage comes new milestones.  From learning to smile, starting to crawl/walk, hearing their first words, and learning to read, all milestones bring a certain amount of excitement! 
I am finding that the older my kids get, the more exciting the milestones are for me.  Watching Parker learn to read last year was perhaps my favorite milestone yet.  I know that being a reading teacher makes me a little biased on this, but there is nothing like listening to your child read to you for the first time.
This past week, Parker reached another milestone.  He FINALLY learned to ride his bike!  We've been trying since April to get him interested in learning to ride.  I thought that getting a new bike for his birthday would motivate him but I was wrong.  Then I thought that seeing Addison, Jolea, Alexis, Trip and Cole riding their bikes would motivate him but, again, I was wrong.  He just had no interest in learning and seemed perfectly content riding on his Big Wheel. 
Cory and I worked with him sporadically over the past few months but he would always give up after a few tries.  Then one day a few weeks ago, we told Parker that if he would learn to ride his bike, we would buy him the new video game he was wanting.  And that's all the motivation he needed!  Within three days of working with me, Cory, and Uncle Jon, he was riding everywhere!  
A whole new world has been opened for him and he asks about 10 times a day if he can go out and ride his bike.  I am so proud of how quickly he learned to ride!  Now if we can just teach him to tie his shoes!!!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Pumpkin Patch 2013

Yesterday we loaded up the kids for our annual trip to the pumpkin patch.  It was just as chaotic as every year prior to this and getting a group picture proved to be almost impossible (again!).  
Getting a good picture of Parker, Eden and Lily was almost as impossible as getting a good picture of all six kids.  They just wanted nothing to do with it!
Emily was a little more successful with her three!
I did get a few good individual pictures of all of the kids.
After pictures, we let the kids roam around the pumpkin patch for a while.  As always, the wagons were a big hit!
The hay stack was another favorite!
But the best part of the pumpkin patch outing was just being with our cousins! 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Katelyn's Story- Part 3

I know that the last few posts have been very long, but I want to tell her whole story and I know that if I don't finish it today, I'll probably never go back and finish it!  So thanks for hanging in there with me!

The week I came home from the hospital was manageable because Cory took off of work and he never left my side.  I had strict orders to rest as much as possible.  We had several more visitors and the teachers at my school provided dinner for us all week.  Towards the end of the week, I had a checkup with Dr. Deem to make sure my blood pressure was staying down.  She went over the results of the amniocentesis with us and confirmed that Katelyn had triploidy.  She also confirmed that Katelyn was a girl (there had been a little confusion due to the complications of triploidy). 

Triploidy is a genetic condition where each chromosome has three copies instead of the normal two copies, or 69 chromosomes instead of 46.. 
Dr. Deem wanted me to take off another two weeks of work to let my body recuperate a little more but I wanted to go back after one more week so we compromised and I agreed to take one more full week off and then work half days the next week.

Unfortunately, Cory had to go back to work the second week.  I thought that I was going to be ok being at home alone, but it was a lot harder than I had expected.  Being in an empty house with just your thoughts is not a good idea for someone who is starting the grieving process.  I can remember laying in bed, sobbing, and just thinking, "I just want my baby back".  Some days were better than others and I somehow made it through another week. 

The next week was hard because I went back to work part time and I had to face everyone that I worked with for the first time.  Most people were encouraging and supportive, but there's always that one person who doesn't know what to say so they say the wrong thing.  I spent several moments in my room between classes crying over hurtful words.   

The months that followed were full of firsts... first holidays, first baby showers that I just couldn't make myself attend, first time back in church (I spent most of that in tears), etc.  Christmas was very difficult because all I wanted was something that no one could give me- my sweet baby girl.  It was VERY hard to find any Christmas spirit that year.  The only positive thing that happened around the holidays is that I was able to travel to Prague and spend the week before Christmas with my sisters.  It was nice to get away for a week and spend some time in a new place.

The week of Katelyn's due date was extremely difficult.  Luckily, I was on spring break so I was able to grieve at home alone rather than trying to put on a happy face at work. 

Little by little, the days and weeks got easier.  I would still have moments of horrible grief where the tears just wouldn't stop and Cory didn't know what to do with me, but the day to day living was better.  The worst times were when I would find out about someone else being pregnant or when I would see newborns around town.  It was so hard to find joy for those who were expecting, especially when we were having such a hard time conceiving again.  There were moments when I never thought I'd get to be a mom and then when I finally did get pregnant with Parker, the fear that I felt was overwhelming.  I think I spent most of Parker's pregnancy thinking "I wonder if this is going to be the day that I lose him too".  I'm pretty sure the first time I felt relief was the day I finally held him in my arms. 

The experience of losing Katelyn changed me forever.  I am so thankful that I have an angel waiting on me in heaven but I would give anything to have her back.  I still think about her every day and am reminded every year on her birthday how much I miss her. 

"Tears may flow in the night, but joy comes in the morning." Psalm 30:5

A good friend sent me this verse after I lost Katelyn, and I have to admit that there were times when I never thought that this would apply to me.  It took many years, but I can now truly say that when I look at my three healthy, beautiful kids, I am full of joy!  Katelyn made me a better mom because she made me realize what a gift my children are and what a privilege it is to be their mom every day.  When I start feeling frustrated with the daily ups and downs of motherhood (and I'm not perfect- I do this all of the time) or when I start taking my kids for granted (again, I do this all of the time), all I have to do is think of her and my mindset is immediately changed.

Happy Birthday, my sweet angel!  I can't wait to hold you when I get to heaven.  Thank you for helping make me the mommy that I am today! 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Katelyn's Story- Part 2

As I was waiting in the observation room for the nurses to prepare a delivery room for me, Cory started making phone calls.  My blood pressure was still rising (they were checking it every 10 minutes) so the nurses made me lie on my side and stay very still.  I think the only thing that would describe how I was feeling is numb.  And scared.  We were both in complete shock from everything that had just taken place over the past few hours and I had just been told that I was going to have to deliver my baby with a doctor I had just met. 

My first nurse was Skipper (Is it weird that I can still remember that after 8 years?!?!).  She was young and sweet and did everything she could to put me at ease.  Her first job was to start me on a magnesium sulfate IV drip that would prevent seizures.  Unfortunately, you can not have anything to eat or drink while you are on this medicine and it also makes you feel very hot.  She turned the air conditioner down as low as she could and told Cory to grab a blanket! 

Dr. Thigpen was not on call that night so he transferred my care to his partner, Dr. Howard.  Dr. Howard started the induction process about 5pm and explained that since my body was nowhere close to being ready to deliver a baby (I was only 17 weeks along), the process could take up to 24 hours before I delivered. 

My mom and sister had arrived by that point and they sat with me while I waited.  I was still having to lay on my left side and the nurses encouraged me to be as quiet as possible since my blood pressure was still so high. 

The nurses changed shifts that evening and my next nurse was named Babette (I know... it's really weird that I still remember both of my nurse's names!)  She was older and so kind.  She knew how miserable and thirsty I was on the magnesium sulfate and snuck in some ice chips for me to suck on even though she knew it was against the doctor's orders.  These two nurses were truly my angels that day.  I can not say enough good things about them and the compassionate care that they gave me. 

Things were still progressing very slowly around bedtime so my family decided to go home so Cory and I could try and get some sleep.  We all assumed that it would be well into the next day before I finally delivered.  Boy were we wrong!  About midnight, I started having some minor contractions.  My nurse told me to start thinking about whether or not I was going to want an epidural once the contractions started getting stronger.  Around 1am, I started having some very strong. painful contractions.  I told Cory that I thought I needed the nurse to come and check on me.  As soon as we finished hitting the call button, I had one last contraction and then it was over.  Cory was the only one in the room when I delivered Katelyn.  He ran out into the hall and within seconds, Dr. Howard and several nurses were in my room. 

After the chaos had subsided, Babette encouraged me to take the pain pills that Dr. Howard had prescribed so that I could get some much needed rest.  I agreed and was asleep within minutes.  Several important things happened over the next few hours but I was in such a fog from the medicine that I don't remember a lot about them.  I remember talking to my mom and sister on the phone, but I have no idea what we talked about.  A few hours after delivery, the hospital chaplain came in to pray with us.  They laid Katelyn next to me in my bed and as she prayed, I just cried.  It was the only time I ever got to see Katelyn and it is something I will never forget.  All I could think about was how perfectly formed her 10 fingers and 10 toes were.  She had so many things wrong with her, but her fingers and toes were absolutely perfect.  Finally, about 6am (right before the next nurse shift change), Babette brought me a heart shaped plaque and gave it to me.  I was still so foggy from the meds that I didn't realize until much later that day that the plaque had Katelyn's handprints and fingerprints on it.  I still treasure that plaque so much.

Right after the shift change, they moved me up to a regular room in the maternity wing.  The nurses put a special sign on my door that let everyone who entered my room know that I had lost a baby.  Looking back, I thought this was one of the most thoughtful things they did.  They eliminated me having to retell my story to everyone who walked in the room looking for a newborn.  I was finally taken off of the magnesium sulfate drip and was allowed to eat lunch.  They continued to take my blood every few hours to check my levels.  I had several visitors in the hospital, including Dr. Deem, my regular OB, who came by to check in on me.  That night was one of the longest nights ever.  My head was finally clear enough from all of the meds that everything was starting to sink in. 

Early the next morning, Dr. Thigpen came in and talked with Cory and I for a long time.  He told us a little more about what triploidy was and explained that it was not genetic so any other children we had in the future had a little to no chance of having it too.  He also told us that my preeclampsia had turned into HELLP syndrome which is where the liver starts to be affected.  He told me that my blood pressure had reached seizure levels and that if I had not come in for the appointment on Thursday, I probably would have started having seizures at home.  Finally, he said that as long as my morning blood work came back normal, I would be able to go home that day.

Later that morning, I was cleared to be dismissed from the hospital.  Leaving the hospital was one of the hardest things I had to do.  Being wheeled out of the maternity ward without a baby in my arms was extremely difficult.  Little did I know that the next few days, weeks, and months were going to be just as difficult.