Sunday, May 20, 2007

Matt's Birthday Party!

The year that Matt turned 4 years old, me and my dad took him to see the first Spiderman movie. For the past 5 years, Spiderman has pretty much been his passion and we have shirts and toys and blankets and pillows and bedspreads to show this passion. (Pretty much the same way Ski shows his passion for Dale Earnhardt Jr.) Every time a new Spiderman has come out, it has always been on his birthday. This year, he decided that he wanted to take some of his friends with him to see the movie so while Megan watched the baby, we took Jacqui, Matt and 5 of his friends to see Spiderman 3.

Eating Pizza before we left!
Matt and all his gifts.
Matt's guests.
Jacqui was so gracious and actually got her brother a birthday present using her own money. What she failed to tell him was that she actually bought them for herself but she didn't like them so she gave them to Matt.
Cadence saying "Happy Birthday!"
Matt didn't feel good when we got home. He had another fever of 102.0 and just wanted to lay down. It's been a rough birthday for him this year. Both on his actual birthday and his party, he didn't feel good. So, he blew all his germs onto the cake - it was great. The wax looks appetizing also!
My sick baby...
All the boys laying down trying to watch TV. Cadence wanted to be in there the whole time to wrestle with them all. That girl has NO FEAR what so ever!!!!

Megan Classics

In the spirit of our family tradition of making fun of each other, I wanted to post these pictures for Megan so that she'll always remember her trip to California with me, Genie and Jolene. I know she'll probably kill me!

She was so mad at us at this point. We were all making fun of her so she walked out with the baby. In the middle of Bath and Body Works, Cadence spilled a drink and this is how I found Megan. All we could do was laugh cause we knew she was even more mad. Me taking this picture didn't ease her anger any.
We were at Rocki's eating frozen yogurt. When Megan sat down at the table her little ice cream fell over. Of course Genie and I laughed until we cried cause something like that would only happen to Megan.
There are no words for this face!!!!
Megan wanted to take pictures of the kids playing ball - that is Jacqui up to bat. She bends down in front of the stands - and all of the parents - and shows her crack!!!
The four of us went out one night to party in PB and Megan had a few drinks. On our way home, we stopped at Jack in the Box. Megan ordered 3 cheesesticks. The ride home was a little too much for her and she threw up as soon as we walked in the door. Unfortunately for Megan, while she was throwing up, Genie and Jolene were eating her little cheesesticks. Megs was so upset when she found out!!! Still makes me laugh thinking about it!
Only to Megan - while we were walking in Beverly Hills, we walked past a yard that had a sprinkler going and Megan stepped in mud. She had to wipe her shoe and toe off on the grass while Genie and I tried not to pee our pants from laughing.
Megs tried to put that entire spoon in her mouth instead of sipping it like she is supposed to and it kept clinking against her teeth. We of course laughed...
I can say so much about this picture - first off, there is her crack which has been showing the entire trip. Not to mention, this is how Megan does the dishes....
I took this picture for Genie - I think the scrunchie around the back of her shirt is just lovely.
This picture just says it all!!!

Megan - you know I love you! I wouldn't dedicate an entire post to you if I didn't!!!! We definitely have to have another cousins weekend again!!! Tam, next time you better be there!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mothers Day

We had a really nice Mothers Day. We went to the pool and spend the day swimming and having a BBQ with Chuck and Kristi's family! Matt got me a very nice plant for my gift. He brought it in from outside - where he was hiding it - and had this sad little look on his face. Bless his little heart, the pot that his poor little plant was in broke. We ended up putting it in a dixie cup but I loved it just the same! Ski (and the kids) also bought me a picture frame that I can put a memory card in and it will show all my digital pictures. It's really cool.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

My Cousins

We've had more visitors!!!! My sister Megan and my cousin Genie came out for two weeks and my cousin Jolene came out for 4 days. (We tried to get Tam to join our "cousin" weekend but she refuses to fly!) Anyway we had a blast. (Mostly shopping and making fun of Megan - she's such an easy target sometimes!) We went to every mall in San Diego, and found an awesome little sandwich shop in PB to eat at. I think we ate frozen yogurt at least 5 times in the four days that Jo was here. (I suppose it's better then cinnabon - right Megan!!! I'm kidding!!!)

Megan, me and Genie

It just so happened that while everyone was in town, my Aunt Colleen and Uncle Tom (Jolene's parents) were also visiting San Diego for their annual trip with their long time friends. On Matt's birthday we all went to Uno's for dinner together!

My cousin Jolene and my Aunt Colleen
Me and my 9 year old baby!!!

Jo sleeping!

Megan is so proud of the "I love Lucy" Pajama's!

Cadence shopping with the girls!!!
Our trip to Los Angeles (my second in the last two weeks!) We were having a conversation with the people at the table behind us.
Genie and her cleavage in LA.
Ski and I actually got to go out without kids!!! Meg's watched the kids. Unfortunately, because we are losers, all we did was go out to eat at Outback Steakhouse and come home. We really know how to party.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Nurse Genie

Congratulations to my cousin Genie! She is one of the hardest working people I know. Right before her visit to California, she graduated from nursing school. To celebrate, she is taking two vacations - one to see me, and then a day later she leaves for a three week vacation to Europe! I'm very proud of you Genie - and I wish I could see your face when you see this picture on the blog for everyone to see!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

My Preemie is 9 years old today!!!

9 years ago today I gave birth to a baby that was 3 months premature. He weighed 2lbs 10oz and was 13 1/2 inches long. When he turned 2 years old I was in Japan and wasn't able to spend his second birthday with him. That year, I wrote this for him so that I would always remember what we went through. On his birthday, I've decided to share it with all of you!

It’s funny how the human brain has a way of shielding you from the pain. How you somehow pull it together for yourself as well as your child. I remember it like it was yesterday. Just imagine for a second a roller coaster ride of pregnancy and complications. The contractions won’t stop and neither will the bleeding. You wake up thinking you are wetting the bed only to find out that it’s blood. Imagine entering the hospital at 23 weeks to have a check up and fully expecting to go home at the end of the appointment only you are told you would not be leaving until you had the baby. That could be anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.

Your told you won’t make it to term but they would try to get you to 32 weeks. You keep telling yourself over and over that if you just make it to “X” number of weeks he’ll be fine. Imagine being hooked to IV’s and monitors for 5 weeks. Finding out that bed rest in the hospital means bedpans too. Bleeding that wont stop and it seems like no one is in a hurry. Terrified that you are going to bleed (painlessly) to death at night in the hospital bed as you bargain with God for the life of your child. Imagine Magnesium Sulfate. (Only appreciated by those that have had to endure this horrible treatment) Your unable to eat cause your “Mag” doses are too high. It is starting to affect your vision, you have little to no reflexes and you can barely move your arms or legs. This is all happening while your receiving a blood transfusion and you’re having hard contractions.

Imagine the fear that encompasses you, as you lay awake at 2am unable to sleep because you know the contractions you are having aren’t Braxton-hicks. Spending weeks at a time in the hospital as your husband and other child fend for themselves at home. Imagine getting steroid shots to develop your babies’ lungs early. Then having a doctor tell you that if your baby is born right now you have to make the decision to have him resuscitated if that time should come.

Imagine panicking when the nurse can’t find the heartbeat and the doctor looks in your eyes and tells you “This is it! There’s no turning back now!” The combined terror and elation as you realize he’ll be here TODAY! Calling your husband to tell him “It’s time!” even though your only 28 weeks. Imagine how oddly calm you are as the doctor breaks your water and you realize they don’t have time for any type of drugs cause he’s coming way to fast. So many people running in and out while you give birth naturally in the middle of it all.

Your first response is pleasure – your son is here! Next “Is he breathing??” Imagine feeling shock and relief that your baby could cry even though it’s so weak you can’t hear it from 3 feet away. Imagine the first time you see him he is in an incubator. You are stretching to see him from the table you just gave birth on but it’s just too far away to get a good look.

Imagine walking into the NICU for the first time and all the babies are in incubators except yours. He’s on a warming table cause he’s so sick and needs so much care. His head and shoulders are purple, his eyes are fused closed, he is a funny looking little creature but you can’t stop yourself from falling madly and deeply in love. Imagine looking at your nearly lifeless child fighting to live. There are needles in his head and a machine helping him breathe as you watch your baby, on a respirator, try to cry. Imagine that seeing everything though tear-blurred eyes can start to seem normal. Saying to the nurse “Can I touch him?” What a horrible thing for a mother to have to ask. Watching your son in an incubator under bili-lights, with a warmer, a feeding tube and a lot of wires, not really knowing what they were. You hold his tiny little hand in yours. He doesn’t even have enough strength to squeeze your finger.

Imagine receiving news that your baby’s heart stops often because his lungs are too tiny and he forgets to breath. Trying so hard to explain to the Neonatologist that what does not appear catastrophic to him is devastating to you. Almost a full week goes by before you are allowed to finally hold your baby. Your afraid of the ever-present alarms and wires, and afraid that you would be the one to do something to hurt him, after all, you couldn’t keep him safe inside you. Thinking “He won’t remember this right?” Wishing you could be sure, knowing you’d never forget it … wishing you could. Imagine holding him through “Kangaroo Care” Finally feeling as if your bonding with him while you hold him skin to skin against your chest, keeping him warm as you comfort him with your heartbeat. Imagine seeing his full face for the first time as tape used to hold the tubes and respirator in place are removed.

Imagine getting a call at 4am and it’s the Neonatologist, telling you in his soft reassuring voice that your son had to go back on the high frequency oscillating ventilator because he was not breathing well enough on his own. (100% oxygen is a scary thing) Your heart starts to break every time the phone rings because you are afraid it is the hospital calling to tell you something else is wrong. Imagine you stop flinching and just say, “Okay explain the procedure!” After all you are a NICU parent and it takes a lot more then that to shake you. That’s when it really hits you how together you really are in all of this.

Imagine getting a phone call at work from your primary nurse saying your son extibated himself today. After spending hours at the hospital your husband finally talks you into going home to get some sleep. You call when you get home so they can comfort you again by telling you he’s still okay and that they will call you if things get worse. Imagine feeding your son for the first time through a feeding tube that goes through his nose and to his stomach because he hasn’t learned to suck and he can’t handle formula yet. Imagine hearing an all too familiar monitor going off and realizing it is coming from your child because his heart stopped again.

Normal is completely redefined when a good day is one in which you look at his progress sheet and you are happy seeing that his heart only stopped twice instead of five times. You beg your husband to get an apnea monitor to keep until he’s ten. Picture the wide eyed look on your face as your trying to be so careful with this fragile little miracle and his nurse comes up and grabs him like he’s a child’s toy because she is so used to preemies.

Imagine constantly turning his head so that one side of his face isn’t flatter then the other. The doctors and nurses start to pay little attention to your baby because he’s so “healthy” and you are trying to derive some comfort from that. He’s been in the hospital so long now that they start to call him the “Bull Ensign”

Imagine being told that your baby is going home and you were going to have to learn CPR – praying to God you could keep your head long enough if the time to use CPR ever occurred. Imagine finally dressing your son for the first time in “Civvies” even though you lose him in them because they are so big. Your smile doesn’t fade as you pack his bag and put him in the car seat.

Imagine the first night he is home he sleeps on your chest and you don’t sleep a wink for fear that he may stop breathing and he isn’t hooked to a monitor. Imagine he comes home only eating 30cc’s of formula – at least it isn’t through a feeding tube. Imagine a 5-month-old premature baby looking like a healthy newborn. Imagine never knowing how to answer when strangers ask you “How old is he?” The simplest of questions most parents are asked and you hesitate. You look forward to the day when you can introduce your son with out having to say “But he was premature so…”

Imagine the day you realize all the fear and anxiety you went through in the NICU was worth it as you see your son roll over all by himself for the first time and you can’t stop crying. Imagine development that is slow and each milestone means just as much as the one before. You never take his accomplishments for granted. Imagine seeing your two-year-old son running to you (with chocolate all over his face) just so he can give you a kiss. Imagine the first time you hear him call you Mommy.

Imagine…having a preemie.

I never realized that my heart was so willing to share so much love with a stranger so small and needy. He didn’t arrive with instructions, it was strictly learn as you go but my child will always be the precious miracle I gave birth to that day. He was worth every minute of pain I endured.

Back to Today!!!

This year, I made him cupcakes for his class just like I do every year. His favorite is Chocolate cupcakes with either chocolate or white icing - it all depends on the mood.
Genie, Jolene, and Megan were here for a visit and wanted to come with me to the school when I took them to him. Unfortunately Genie learned a valuable lesson about leaving cupcakes unattended when a toddler is running around!

Here we are RE-icing the cupcakes...

When we got to the school Matt's teacher said he wasn't feeling good and the nurse was sending him home! He had a headache and a fever.

Later that evening his temperature was gone and he was feeling fine so we took him to dinner. My Aunt Colleen and Uncle Tom were in town so we went with them to Uno's pizza in Pacific Beach.

Unfortunately Matt's temperature came back and he went straight upstairs to bed when he got home without opening any gifts. I KNEW he must be sick if he didn't want to go downstairs to get gifts. So I brought them all up to him.

Caders had no sympathy for her big brother. She took that opportunity to swing like a monkey and kick him in the back.

My poor baby...