Archive for April, 2008

We March for Emmy!

April 30, 2008

Emmy

Emmy was born on February 13, 2007 at 32 weeks gestation.  She weighed 4 lbs. and was 16 inches long.  As part of a dynamic duo, Emmy was known as “Baby A” during my pregnancy and she asserted her little attitude from day 1.  Having already experienced two pregnancies with unexpected endings, my twin pregnancy was watched especially closely.  Things went well until 24 weeks, when the doctor discovered that I was starting to dilate and was having regular contractions.  Even though 24 weeks is considered the age of viability for a fetus, we knew that if our pair were born at that point, their prognosis would be grim.  If they survived, they would have huge obstacles to overcome, most likely for the rest of their lives.  Hearing the NICU staff tell us that we needed to make some decisions about what measures we wanted taken to prolong their lives, if they were born at that point, was very sobering.  I was given steroids to help mature their lungs, in hopes that they would be stronger when the time came for them to enter the world.

With the help of many prayers and 8 weeks of bedrest, Owen and Emmy made it to 32 weeks gestation.  Emmy was born first and was also the first baby to be intubated and put on a ventilator.  Her white blood cell count was high, indicating that she had an infection.  She was also diagnosed with a PDA.  Our experience was different than with Ryan, in that we were able to hold Emmy the day after she was born, in spite of her being on the vent.  Her lungs also perked up quickly and she came off the vent after just 2 days.

Premature girls tend to fare better than boys, and Emmy was no exception.  Her PDA eventually closed on it’s own, and after a week of antibiotics her infection cleared up completely.  She spent some time under phototherapy lights for jaundice, which is not uncommon.  She had a lot of spunk and just needed some time to grow and learn to eat.    She handled her feedings well, though she was slow to pick up on nursing.  Emmy was the first baby to be moved from an isolette to an open crib and gained weight more quickly than her brother.  Overall, she just did better than he did.

After 5 weeks in the NICU, we were able to bring our babies home and have our entire family together for the first time.  Although they came home on oxygen and apnea monitors, they were fairly healthy and strong.  Emmy was able to come off of her oxygen about 3 weeks after coming home, and we know that her lungs are completely healthy now with the demands she screams at us on a daily basis!

Emmy’s development has progressed steadily over the last year, but she’s still hanging out on the borderline of being delayed.  She saw an infant development nurse every 6 weeks throughout her first year, and although she still had some areas of caution, the nurse decided she was progressing well enough to stop seeing her. 

Emmy is full of life and is such a joy to have in our family!  We’re so grateful that she did so well in spite of her early arrival.  On Saturday, we march for Emmy!

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Down to the wire!!

April 29, 2008

We are down to the final days of fundraising for our March for Babies this Saturday!  I was surprised to see a donation come in from a total stranger, so that leaves those of you who know and love us with no excuses 😉 .  We are so grateful to those of you who have already made donations!

I probably should have kicked off our fundraising by introducing you to the reasons we are walking, but since I didn’t I’ll take the chance to do it over the next few days.  If you have been on the fence about donating, maybe our stories will pull on your heart strings enough to get a few more donations in to help us reach our goal–we are SO close!!

Ryan

Ryan was born on July 12, 2004 weighing in at 4 lbs. 15 oz.  He surprised us by arriving 6 weeks early.  While we don’t know for sure why he was premature, the best guess our doctors have is that it was due to an infection–he could have contracted it before, during, or after his birth, and if it was while he was still in-utero it could have caused my preterm labor. 

Along with having premature lungs, his body was working so hard to fight the infection that he was unable to breath on his own.  He received multiple doses of Surfactant (a drug made possible by research from the March of Dimes) to help keep his lungs from collasping while he tried to breath and he was put on a ventilator to give his body the rest it needed to become strong enough to function on its own.  Antibiotics were given to fight the infection, and after many, many blood draws to run labs to determine the cause of the infection, it was finally ruled as sepsis.  X-rays also showed patches of pneumonia in his lungs.

Ryan’s heart also had a common condtion for preemies called Patent Ductus Arteriosus, or PDA.  When full-term babies are born, a vessel in their heart closes, allowing for proper circulation of the blood through the heart.  In many preemies, this vessel doesn’t close.  In some cases, time is the best healer, but medication or surgery is sometimes needed to correct the problem.  Because of this condition, paired with the terrible infection and pneumonia, the doctors decided that Ryan required more specialized care and needed be to transferred to a hospital with a higher level NICU.  The day after his birth, he was loaded into an ambulance and transported to a hospital an hour away.While we felt sure that Ryan’s life was not in jeopardy in spite of his rough start, it was still very difficult to see him so sick and helpless.  We had full confidence in the abilities of the doctors and nurses that were caring for him and spent hours by his bedside praying for a short NICU stay.  At 3 days old, he was finally strong enough to come off the ventilator, and at 5 days old he was stable enough that we were able to hold him for the first time.  What a wonderful moment that was!  He continued to improve with each passing day, and after 4 weeks in the NICU, he was finally ready to come home.  He’s been a handful ever since!To look at Ryan today, you’d never know that he was a preemie.  He was a tiny little guy for a long time, and is still on the small side for his age group, but he’s as active and healthy as any 3 1/2 year old should be.  We are so grateful for the medical advances that are here today that helped to bring him home to us after such a rocky start.  Without the March of Dimes, his story might be a much different one, so on Saturday, we march for Ryan.

Green Thumb

April 28, 2008

I don’t have one.  I know that your lawn shouldn’t have dandelions or morning glory in it.  I know that trees need pruning.  I’ve learned that if you let the wisteria on the pergola have it’s way, your entire fence and the neighbor’s house will soon be overtaken.  What I don’t know is how to enjoy doing what it takes to keep the yard looking good.  I’m just not cut out for yard work.

The previous owners of our house were big gardeners.  When we sold our last house, I made a little diagram for the new owners of what was in the flower beds in the front yard (stuff that took very little care other than watering), hoping they’d find it helpful in taking care of things.  We didn’t get a diagram like that for our new yard, and I feel so lost about what to do with it all (and there is a LOT of stuff growing in our yard).  Last year, we tore out or pruned back  most of what was in the front yard.  We didn’t do anything with the backyard (hence the lesson learned about overgrown wisteria).  The time has come to start working on things outside, but the inside of our house is still too torn up to even think about moving on to a new project.  So, since there’s not much I can do inside without Joseph’s help, I ventured out this morning.

Ryan has a little pop-up tent that I let him take out, and we put O & E  in with him.  That backfired and I ended up putting two screaming babies down for naps so that I could get a little work done.  Of course, Ryan has adopted all of the little gardening tools, so the only thing I could find in the garage were some small shears.  I started in the herb garden.  It was really overgrown, so I just cut everything back and enjoyed the aroma of oregano while I worked (I know some of you are probably thinking “WHAT???  Why are you cutting down perfectly good, homegrown herbs?”  Trust me people, even if they looked pretty enough to eat, I wouldn’t know what to do with them.  I’m not a cook either).

Then, I moved on to the wisteria.  After fighting the jungle it became last year, I knew that we needed to cut back some of the vines early this year, before they greened up.  Some of them were already reaching over onto our neighbor’s roof and the poor tree nearby was completely entangled.  Once that job was tackled, I started on these huge, thorny, stalks of….something.  I have no idea what they are, other than that they are pretty agressive little–or big rather–plants that are springing up all over the place.  The things have these roots like you wouldn’t believe, and they grow really tall.  I think they eventually get a flower, but I can’t remember.  Personally, I don’t find them attractive, but Gina (the lady who used to live here…we still get her gardening magazines in the mail) would probably beg to differ because she planted them all along the fence.  I was able to cut down the remnants of last year’s plants, but I’m not strong enough to pull up the new ones because the roots go so deep.  Another project for another day…..a day when Joseph can do it.

At this point, I was about halfway into a box of Kleenex, because all of this outdoorsiness makes my allergies go crazy.  Ryan was complaining that his movie wasn’t working (that’s right….my idea of outdoor recreation is to use the laptop to watch the movie outside) and I wasn’t really sure where to focus my next gardening efforts.  I could hear babies stirring inside and it was time for lunch, so I left my gloves and sheers on the patio table (remind me to bring those in….another pair of rusted sheers won’t make Joseph happy with me), grabbed the computer and headed in to the safety of the indoors.  It was fun while it lasted (yeah right) but I think I’m just going to stick to making the inside of my house look beautiful for now!

Guess what I got today?

April 25, 2008

You might want to sit down for this.  Today, I picked up our door lever and it was the RIGHT ONE!!!  Shocking, I know.  You thought it was going to be at least another week and two more mess ups, didn’t you?  Well, you were wrong.  I hope this news has restored your faith in incompetent sales clerks….it certainly has mine 😆 .  4th time’s the charm…..

First Steps!!

April 23, 2008

Emmy has been standing on her own for about a month now, and can stand there forever but has been really hesitant to attempt any steps.  All it takes is the slightest little pinky hold for her to take off, but when you let go, she stops.  Today, she took the plunge!  It was just two tiny steps, but they were steps nonetheless!  Several months ago, I predicted that the babies would be about 15 months when they started walking–they are 14 1/2 months, so I was pretty close!  Owen’s standing on his own now too, so I suspect he’ll be following in Emmy’s footsteps (pardon the pun 😉 ) before too long! Can you imagine how much crazier things will be around here once they’ve both taken off??

 She can be such a ham for the camera….wish she’d been this cooperative for you Tammy!

Book Review: The Wednesday Letters

April 23, 2008

The Wednesday Letters
By Jason F. Wright
280 Pages
Finished 4/20/08

Summary:

The Wednesday Letters is the story of Jack and Laurel. Married 39 years, the Coopers lived a good life and appear to have had a near-perfect relationship. Then one night, with his wife cradled in his arms, and before Jack takes his last breath, he scribbles his final “Wednesday Letter.”

When their three adult children arrive to arrange the funeral, they discover boxes and boxes full of love letters that their father wrote to their mother on every single Wednesday. As they begin to open and read the letters, the children uncover unimaginable adventures and the shocking truth about their past.

The Wednesday Letters has a powerful message about redemption and forgiveness. And it just might inspire you to begin writing your own Wednesday Letters.

This was another quick read and a really sweet little story. I read about this book in a magazine or something and put it on hold at the library. I had forgotten all about it until a library run I took with the kids last week, when I discovered that it was in. The cover of the book reminds me of those of Richard Paul Evans, so naturally I’d be drawn to it. The story, however, reminded me more of the writing of Nicholas Sparks, another of my favorites. I don’t handle suspense well, and while this story did have a little (not scary suspense, but rather what’s-the-story-behind-this-story kind of suspense) it didn’t keep me waiting too long for things to come together. If you’re into cheesy little marketing techniques, you’ll love that the epilogue is a letter in an envelope attached to the last page of the book…clever and cute, but a little over-the-top for me. Overall, The Wednesday Letters is a fun read!

2008 Page Count: 3574

3rd time not the charm

April 22, 2008

The saga of getting the hardware for the French doors has gotten even better.  As I wrote last week, they initially neglected to order it.  Then, when it finally came in, it had been ordered wrong.  They ordered it again, and I went in to pick it up today.  I didn’t check it because the guy said “it should be left-handed, right?” so I figured they must have the correct one.  They keyed it match the deadbolt and I went on my merry way, glad to finally have everything sorted out.  When I got home, I took it out of the box and–you guessed it–the WRONG thing again!  It was another right-handed lever 🙄 .  So, back I went…..the poor manager looked so embarrassed to see me.  He was very nice about it, checked the order (they had ordered it right this time, so the place they ordered from screwed it up), and insisted that the shipping be expedited. Hopefully my 4th trip in to pick up the dang thing will be the last! Thankfully, the last time we went in they let us take the deadbolt–the girl who initially forgot to order the stuff said we couldn’t take it seperate from the handle because they had to be keyed together….she was misinformed about that, because all we really needed to match the handle to the deadbolt was the keys–so our house is a little less open to the world than it was two weeks ago, but it’s still been quite the experience getting this thing in. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so picky about the selection at Lowe’s and Home Depot!

Did you know…

April 16, 2008

We are less than $150 from our fundraising goal for the March for Babies, with just a little over 3 weeks to go before the march!  I was at a volunteer meeting last night and had the chance to talk to a few parents with babies currently in the NICU, including one of our own volunteers, who just gave birth to her second preemie.  Being born at the same size and gestation as our twins, I was shocked to see how small he was….time tends to change our perspective and I had a hard time believing that our babies were ever so tiny!  My time in the unit last night was yet another reminder of how important research by the March of Dimes is to the health, well-being, and SURVIVAL of these tiny little miracles.  Help us with one last, final push to reach our goal by May 3rd!!  It will only take a few dollars from each of you to get us there!

A little irritant

April 15, 2008

I don’t really have any room to complain, because the house projects have been going fairly smoothly thus far, but yesterday we hit an irritating bump in the road–nothing major, just irritating.

Last Monday, I ordered the door hardware for the French doors.  The girl told me it would take 3-4 days to get in, so we were hopeful that we’d have handles on our door by the end of the week.  We called Thursday and were told that they *might* be in Friday, but most likely Monday.  Friday was a busy day, so we didn’t call to check.  They are closed on Saturday.  So, yesterday Joseph called to see if they were in and he was told (by two people) that yes, they were, and that they had actually come on Friday and someone had left a message on our phone.  We never got a message, but oh well–they’re in now, so I stopped by after picking Ryan up from school. 

The lady at the desk took forever looking for the stuff and finally came back saying she couldn’t find it.  To make a long story short (is that possible, when I’ve already made it semi-long?) the stuff had not even been ordered!  They were very apologetic, and the manager promised to figure out where the breakdown in communication was (why did someone call Friday to say it was in, and then two people on Monday verified it was in?) and said that the stuff was being shipped that day….meaning 3-4 more days of waiting for it to get here 🙄

It hasn’t been too much of a problem living without it, aside from the draft and the fact that anybody could just walk into our house at any time….nothing big, right? Hopefully by the end of the week our house will be a little more burgler-proofed than it is now. Joseph is taking the rest of the week to work on things, so we should see some major progress in the next few days!

Book Review: A Perfect Day

April 14, 2008

A Perfect Day
By Richard Paul Evans
273 pages
Finished 4/13/08

Summary:

Robert Harlan has three loves in his life: his wife, Allyson, his daughter, Carson, and his writing. As a sales rep for a small radio station, he has hopes of one day leaving it all behind for a successful writing career.When he is unexpectedly laid off from his job, Allyson encourages him to pursue his dream of writing. He writes a novel entitled “A Perfect Day”, based on the last few months Allyson and her father spent together as he died of cancer.

The story becomes a huge success and Robert finds himself swept into a new world far from his wife and home. In time Robert loses track of the things he loves most until he meets a stranger who begins telling him intimate details about his past, his present and, most important, the brevity of his future. Thinking that he has just weeks to live, Robert begins to discover the truth about himself; who he has become, what he has lost and what it will take to find love again.

If you can’t tell already, I’m a pretty big fan of Richard Paul Evans. I haven’t read all of his novels, but they are such enjoyable reads that whenever the chance presents itself, I can pick one up and read it in just a day or two. A Perfect Day was no exception for me. One strange thing about me is that I have the most difficult time remembering what happens in books I’ve read and movies I’ve seen. It has its advantages, as I can re-discover things over and over again and it always feels new. When I started A Perfect Day, I felt strongly that I had read it before, and I kept waiting to come upon a part of the book that would remind me of what happened in the rest of the book. That never happened. So, then I started thinking that maybe it was a sequel to another of Evans’ books that I had read, but a little research showed that to not be the case. While I had hoped that my 10,000 pages would all be ones that I had never read before, I can’t guarentee that the 273 that I just finished weren’t previously seen by my eyes….I’m sure I’ve read this book before, but I can’t remember doing it 😆

That being said, this is another super easy read….perfect for an over-stressed mom who can’t wait for her house to be put back together! I have to admit that I shed a few tears at the end, but not after feeling exasperated at some of the main character’s choices earlier. I’m glad I was able to enjoy it more than once, even though, during most of my reading, it felt like the first time through!

I’m not sure what’s going to be in the lineup next…I’ve got a few books on hold at the library, so I guess whatever comes in first!

2008 Page Count: 3294