Friday, June 10, 2011

Long overdue update

Whew, where did time go? The past few weeks and months have been busy and full of changes for us. First off, we are all healthy and doing great. We were planning a relocation to Dallas, Texas this week, but we have changed that now and have no idea when we will be moving.

Let's start with the family update. Kiari is doing great. She is eating like a champ and now weighs in at a healthy 13 pounds 1 oz (as of Monday of this week.) She is 26" long and has a great set of lungs. Last night and the night before she actually slept from 10:00 pm to 8:00 am. I like this streak and hope that it continues! That would be heavenly. Last night was the first night she slept in her big crib. It was kind of nice, but I also missed having her there right beside me. This morning, I woke up to hearing her jabber at her mobile above her. That is the best way to wake up in the morning. She absolutely HATE laying on her tummy, but it is the one thing that she needs to do to strengthen her upper body and learn to roll and such. So sadly for me... and I guess her, we get to listen to her scream multiple times a day as she rests on her tummy.

Kate finished Pre-school on the 18th of May. She is now ready and rearing to go to Kindergarten. She is getting so big. It is so much fun to listen to her as she continues do learn and discover this world and form her own opinions. Right now she is in a stage similar to the "why" stage. She asks what things mean. For instance, last night we were watching Dr. Who and one of the characters kept saying, "Exterminate," and she would ask what Exterminate means. She doesn't allow me to just give her a simple answer either. I will answer and she will probe for more information or extra answers and definitions. It is kind of fun. I love hearing how she thinks things work.

Riley has also finished school for the year. She is now headed into 6th grade. She had her braces tightened for the very last time yesterday and will have them removed in August. She couldn't be happier. It is amazing to look at my little girl and no longer see a little girl, but rather a young lady. I don't know that I am ready for all the changes that will most certainly happen this next year.

Garth has finished his residency and is now an attending physician. Along with the new income comes all the debt repayment. Sigh. That should be fun for the next several years. We did take a plunge and bought a new vehicle. We actually ordered it from the factory so we could get it just how we wanted it. We ordered a GMC Acadia. It is a beautiful vehicle. It holds 7 people, so now we can have friends for family come along for various outings rather than take two vehicles.

As I said, we were supposed to be moving this week, but plans have changed, don't they always? In May, Garth had a class in Dallas in preparing for his board exams later this summer. We decided I would go with him and feel out the housing market. Riley stayed here and we had a girl from church that was home from school for the summer, stay with her. We were fortunate (or perhaps not so fortunate) to have my new vehicle come in just days before we left on our long road trip to Dallas. You might have heard about a few of the tornadoes that went through the mid west in the past couple of weeks. Well, sadly, one of those tornadoes hit Irving, Texas. And what do you know? I was in Irving, Texas. We had hail the size of baseballs pummel my brand new car. :( It was so sad... not to mention quite frightening. My new car, which I had only had for 11 days at the time was hit bad. It will spend the next two weeks in the body shop due to the extent of the needed repairs.

Other than that, the trip was great. I spent some time with my sister and am looking forward to getting down there and being able to hang out with her more. I also spent some time with a realtor looking for the ever elusive rental property. While the housing market in Ohio is AWFUL, it just isn't the case in Dallas. So with that said, we will be staying in Ohio for a bit longer. We were unable to find a place that I was comfortable getting and moving in to. The homes are so much more per month than what I am paying for our home here and they are TONS smaller and no where near as nice. Jumping back into the rental scene is going to be a difficult one after owning my own home again. I am more excited than ever to be moving to the Dallas area though. I am much more comfortable and ready to go.

So that is us in a nut shell. We are all alive and kicking and despite a few setbacks, doing wll.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A cause close to my heart

May is Preeclampsia Awareness Month. I know there are so many causes out there and you hear about all sorts of various conditions almost on a daily basis any more, and now I am going to share mine with you.

Preeclampsia has affected my life in the most awful way it can. I have had preeclampsia twice now and was just moments away from a third time.

My oldest (now 11 years old) was born 3 weeks early when I developed preeclampsia. My blood pressure was being monitored throughout the pregnancy as it was elevated from early on. Toward the end of the pregnancy we began to notice a lot of swelling and I also began to spill protein in my urine indicating that my kidneys were not functioning as they should. The only "cure" to preeclampsia is to deliver the baby. Riley was great and other than some jaundice issues, she had no other problems from being born a bit early.

My pregnancy with Kelsi was an entirely different story. My blood pressure began to rise around 16 weeks. We monitored it and I was told that I was at a higher risk for developing it once again. I knew some of the things to watch out for, things like headaches, vision changes, swelling and higher blood pressure. At 22 weeks my blood pressure got into the range of 150/100's and I was started on a blood pressure medication. Even with the meds it never really brought it down much. The doctors continued to monitor me closely. I was totally naive though as I had thought that when the doctors told me I might get preeclampsia again, it would be toward the end of the pregnancy like it was with Riley. I had no idea that I could get it at 23 weeks. But that is exactly what happened. I was admitted to the hospital the day after Christmas with a blood pressure of 170/110 and elevated liver enzymes and a baby that was severely restricted in growth. Kelsi was born just 5 days later on December 30, 2004 weighing only 13oz and a tiny 8 1/2" long. Our Sweet Kelsi lived just 2 1/2 short days and passed away in my hands on January 1st, 2005.

Luckily I was blessed above all others and Kate was born only 4 weeks early with no sign of preeclampsia at all. Truly a miracle, especially when you consider what happened in my next pregnancy.

As you all know, my pregnancy with Kiari was anything but routine. She was a surprise from the beginning. Now, most of you that  read this blog know all about the transfusions and things we went through due to the Rh Antibody. But what you  may not realize is that she was not born 2 1/2 months early due to the Rh Antibody issues. The morning I went in for the 5th intrauterine transfusion my amniotic fluid levels were dangerously low. Prior to that my blood pressure had risen. I had begun spilling protein in my urine and my liver enzymes had begun to rise. Preeclampsia was looming. The only thing that kept me from going into preeclampsia this time was the fact that my doctor delivered my baby 10 weeks early. Had  he not done that, it is most sure that I would have had a severe case of PE within days, if not hours.

The majority of the babies in the NICU during Kiari's stay were born early due to preeclampsia. 

I have met some of the most amazing women through the preeclampsia foundation. While PE has been horrible in my life, it has also been a source of goodness. It has made me realize what is really important in life. It has allowed me to help others as they go through their journey of grief and loss. But the one thing that I cannot do is give others hope that it won't happen to them. Pregnancy is not a joyful thing for me. It is a very frightening and fearful thing for me. As much as I would like to be delighted for others in their pregnancy, I fear for them too. Even a healthy pregnancy can take a very dangerous turn in just a matter of hours.

Because of all I have been through I have done what I can to help raise awareness for the Preeclampsia foundation. I have made numerous pieces of jewelry for them to action off at fundraisers. 2 years ago I was honored as an artist when they asked me to design a piece that they could present to survivors at their annual fundraising gala's.

Preeclampsia Awareness Pin - Designed by Artist Melissa Muir
This year they have taken that design and transferred it onto the shirts they are selling for a fundraiser and also using as their shirts for their annual walk-a-thons.

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to work in the studio of another amazing artist. It was a fun day and I created a necklace for myself.

Everyone has their causes that they believe in. This is my cause. Hopefully with my story I will be able to help others that have gone through the loss or experiences I have and they will know that they aren't alone. If you are able to help with a monetary donation, it really is a great cause to donate to. The monies raised fund research and awareness programs so that others might be aware of what to watch for so they won't be like me.

Both the pin and t-shirt posted above can be purchased through the Preeclampsia Foundation Marketplace. The pin makes a great gift, just as a beautiful piece of art even if the wearer doesn't know the significance behind the piece.

Thank you for allowing me to share a cause that is very important in my life. As I said May is the Preeclampsia Awareness Month. There are numerous Walks being held throughout the United States. Please take a moment to see if there is one by you.

Preeclampsia: I AM A SURVIVOR!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Time Flies

It never seems possible that as much time has lapsed as really has. It has now been another month since my last update. WOW!

Things are going well for our family. I would like to think that we are getting into a groove with the baby, but really, we don't have a schedule. We just go with the flow. Kiari doesn't like to sleep for long periods of time during the day unless you are holding her. She has gotten better at night. A lot of times she will have 4 - 6 hour stretches of sleep. That is very nice.

Both Riley and Kate have been wonderful. They are such great big sisters. They both jump right in to help take care of Kiari when she is in need of something like a bottle or even a diaper change. I am really proud of Riley with the way she has handled everything. We are currently getting the house ready to list. It has been a Super slow process and one day she watched Kiari all day so that Garth and I could get things done. She got rewarded with a video game she has been asking for.

The house, as I said, will be listed shortly. We were hoping to have it listed a few weeks ago. And quite honestly, I have been stalling a bit in hopes that the family that really wants it is able to get the financing to buy it. But we have decided that the girls and I will be moving to Dallas the second week of June. Garth and I will visit Dallas at the end of May and find us a house to rent. We have some friends that will come and stay with Riley so she can finish up the school year her in Norton. I am really going to miss this place. It is all so strange that it is really happening. For 15 1/2 years Garth and I have been together and we have been in "school" for the entire time. It is strange for it to finally be done. Garth admitted to me the other night that it is a bit daunting to know that he is finally "done." I am so impressed with him. He has handled all of the struggles that have been dealt him with such grace. He is not practicing the kind of medicine he always dreamed, but he is really good at what he does. His patience really like him and I believe he will do well with the type of medicine he will be practicing.

I really am fortunate to have snagged him for a husband. I am the lucky one. He asked me 6 times to marry him before I said "yes." I sure am glad that he waited for me to "come around." I couldn't ask for a better husband and father. I haven't always been the easiest person to live with, but he sure has gone out of his way to ensure that he has provided us with a fabulous lifestyle. I really do have the dream life.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Anyone Remember me?

Wow, It has been more than a month since I last posted on this blog. The last time I posted was just after Kiari came home from 9 weeks in the NICU. That should tell you a little about how things have been going here. They are CRAZY!!!!!

Headbands made by my friend Kim.
Kate LOVES posing with her little sister.
She is so fabulous to have home. I really enjoy not having to drive to the NICU every day just to visit my little girl and be frustrated with her lack of progress. I knew that as soon as we got her home that things would get better with her eating. Particularly because I didn't keep her on her schedule and just let her eat when she wanted/needed to eat. Turns out, that worked out great for her. She is now over 9 whopping pounds. She is just a little more than 1 month adjusted age. She holds her head up and is starting to smile. In fact, just today I got her to smile and laugh, repeatedly. It is so much fun!

She looks JUST like my husband. There is NOTHING of me in that little girl. I tease that I am going to change her name to Garthina. She is feeding rather well both nursing and bottle. I am sure that I could exclusively nurse if I wanted to, but quite honestly, her form is awful. She doesn't stay latched. She will suck and swallow about 4 or 5 times and then squirm and come off and relatch, often by sucking me in.... OWIE!

Riley got glasses
The girls have been wonderful having her home. Riley has really stepped up her game. She will hold Kiari when she is crying, change her diaper, feed her bottles and play with her. Kate doesn't do a whole lot with her, but does like to hold her or play with her every now and then. Apparently at school they hear about all the new accomplishments every day.

I wish I could say that Kiari was an easy baby, but she isn't. She has to be held all the time. Her favorite thing is to have her back pat. She doesn't like it if you rub it, only pat it. I can get her to sleep, lay her down and I have 5 - 30 minutes to get things done before she is screaming again. It isn't related to reflux or gas, at least not that we can tell at this point. But it sure is making things difficult in terms of getting my house ready to get on the market. My house has never been messier and it is really hard to look at day after day.

Daddy and his "Mini-Me"
Caught a sleeping smile and laugh
She had another blood transfusion (#8) just a couple of weeks ago. We had her blood drawn last Friday and her numbers were still pretty low. She has some more blood work next Friday and we will see if we are headed in for transfusion #9 or not. People ask all the time how long we will have to do these, it is only until her body kicks in and starts making its own red blood cells. Right now her body is being lazy because of all the transfusions. Add to that the remaining antibodies in her body that continue to destroy the new red blood cells that her body does produce. She also still has a little bit of jaundice and that doesn't help things either as it also contributes to the breaking down of the red blood cells. This isn't any surprise to my husband or I. As I did my research going through the whole ISO process I found a few other moms that had been through the same thing. We knew to expect blood transfusions for 3 - 6 months post birth. We are now just at 3 months, so we will see what happens. Hopefully things will kick in soon and she will no longer have any vampire tendencies.
I wonder what Kiari really thinks. HAHAHA

I am recovering well from my ear surgery. It is no longer looking like I am dopey. I can finally lay on my right side again (I missed that part a LOT.) I had a check up yesterday where they removed the last of the tissue supporting my ear drum. I still have a bit of hearing loss, and I also have a bit of tinitis (ringing) but that may continue to improve. But for now the surgery is a success and the large hole in my ear drum has closed off.

I came home from the store and Riley had Kiari in the Bjorn. She said, "Mom, she just wouldn't let me put her down. I couldn't get ANYTHING done."  ~Hmmmmm, Really?
Pregnancy does strange things.
My hair is no longer straight.
We did get word that we may not be moving to Dallas as soon as we thought we would. So that kind of throws everything out of whack and we are still trying to figure out how to plan around some of the changes. But for now, when the house sells, the girls and I will move to Dallas and wait for Garth to join us later in the year. Things are NEVER dull in my household.

So for now, we are just plugging away. I have made it into the studio a couple of times, but it is never for very long, and certainly never long enough. Kiari has had a few good nights sleeping, but if I try to work while she sleeps, then I don't get sleep. One of these days we are going to get on the same page with one another. As much as I love having a newborn, their little hands and faces are so stinking cute.... but I really dislike the newborn phase. However, given how close we came to losing her, I will just try to grin, bear it and be grateful for the opportunity I have to be a walking zombie with a horribly messy house.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

At Last....

Our Family is Together!!!

I was really beginning to think it would never happen. But after 64 long days in the NICU our sweet little Kiari has come home! She came home on Saturday, February 5th. Kiari was 2 months and 2 days old. She weighed 7 lbs 9 oz and was 22 inches long. She came home at 39 weeks gestation, so she is right on for her size and weight.

Kiari Graduates from the NICU after 64 days (9 weeks and 1 day)
Kate Welcomes her little sister home

We were finally able to meet with the new neonatologist that came on for the month of February and got him to change the required amount she had to take by mouth. That coupled with a new nurse that noticed that Kiari was having a difficult time swallowing the milk and had developed an aversion to eating. She thickened up the milk, we treated Kiari for reflux and within 48 hours Kiari was HOME!

Riley and Kate, their excitement is evident
Kate telling Kiari Good Morning on her first day home

The first night was "fun" as we tried to get into the swing of things. One nice thing about the NICU is that she is on a regular schedule. So I know that every 2 1/2 - 3 hours she will be eating and already has her sleep patterns set. It was really fun to watch her once we got home. She just looked and looked at everything that was around here in the house.
This about sums up our energy level with a new baby here at home
It still seems like she is just on loan. I have felt for the longest time that I just had visitation with this sweet little baby at the hospital. Now it seems that they have just let me take her home for a little while. But each day it gets a bit better and better. She had her first doctor's appointment yesterday. She is doing great, but looking like she is already needing another blood transfusion. This will be her 8th transfusion. Hopefully she will only need one or two more after this.
Right where she should be.
Speaking of blood transfusions. Blood banks right now are at a 10 year low. These past two months they have really noticed a decline in donors due to the weather. If you are able, please consider donating. I will forever be grateful to the people who have donated and saved the life of my sweet Kiari. It may not seem like a huge thing to the donor, but they truly are my heroes.
she LOVES bath time

Kiari also made it home just in time to celebrate Riley's 11th birthday. Riley was so excited to learn that Kiari was due on the 12th of February because she would finally share a "season" with someone in the family. We really thought we would at least make it in to January, but she is happy with Kiari being in the "winter" as well.
Happy Birthday Riley! I am so lucky to be your mom!

With everything that has happened and been going on, I realize that I have neglected to announce where my husband has accepted a position for work once he finishes his training here in April. My sweet family will be leaving the land of cold winters with perma-gray skies and go to where "The stars at night are big and bright." We are going to TEXAS, Dallas, to be exact. He has accepted a position with a group in the North West Dallas area. Let the search for the new studio begin!

Thank you all again for your love, support, prayers, meditations, thoughts and best wishes. Thursday night we had put out the request for family and friends to join us for a special fast and prayer to help us bring Kiari home and Saturday afternoon we did just that. Thank you to all who participated. It has been quite the journey. Now the journey to pay the bills begin. This baby is a pricey one. We actually just got one statement for the NICU stay (and it isn't for the entire time) but it was over $160,000. YIKES. I am hoping the majority of it, if not all, is covered by my insurance. OUCH. We are still trying to figure out how to pay our portion of the transfusions before she was born. I may be closing down my online shop and trying to sell my stuff through Etsy for a little while as I don't have the money to pay the merchant and hosting fees. So if there is something you would be interested in, please let me know. Otherwise, I will be closing up shop for a while until we can get things paid off. Thank you to those of you that have recently placed orders. Hopefully you now have those in hand and are enjoying them.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

So blessed

A little bit of sleep always helps me to have a better outlook. My last post was written in the early hours of the morning. I have been so tired and exhausted and of course that taints the way I see things. One of the comments I get most is how much people are impressed that I have shared everything about the experiences I have gone through. My last post, albeit whiney and complaining, was still part of that. Yes these things that I am complaining about are quite little things in the grand scheme of things, but it is still the way I feel. And I did think about making that last post. I just needed to get it out of my system. Perhaps I would have been better to just write it on a piece of paper that nobody would see. I had thought about that. But I figured if I shared it here, people would get a real sense of what this WHOLE experience is like. The roller coaster and ups and downs... the REAL experience of the good and bad.

Now, with that said, please don't think I am unaware of ungrateful for the many blessings that I do have in my life. I work to make certain every day while I go through some of the struggles and emotions to acknowledge and give thanks for the many amazing blessings.

I cannot tell you how grateful I am for all four of my little girls. I know how truly blessed I am. I really do. After Riley was born, my heart was changed forever. I used to wonder how people who lose their children could ever go on with life. Then I found out. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't let my girls know how much I love them.

I am simply amazed by Kiari. First, she was an utter surprise. And given the state of my ovaries when she was delivered, it was quite the miracle that I ever conceived in the first place. Then I dealt with the early contractions. With the simplicity of which my uterus opened when the doctor was delivering her, it is amazing that it held closed as long as it did. Then there was the Rh Antibody. It was SOOO strong and aggressive. God truly blessed me with knowing that something just wasn't quite right and gave me the courage to push it and we were able to save her life just in the nick of time. I was blessed with a pregnancy length long enough to resolve the hydrops that had formed. Babies born with hydrops really struggle and some don't make it. She could have easily been one of those babies simply due to the severity of her hydrops. By having the hydrops resolve inutero, it removed those challenges all together.

Because we were doing all the monitoring and testing, we were able to see the early signs of preeclampsia, and while not ideal, by delivering Kiari so early, I didn't suffer from my body going into preeclampsia. Then there is preemie Kiari. She is simply amazing. There was no PDA (hole in the heart) No lung issues, that weren't easily treatable anyway. No retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP.) She is growing like a weed. She is extremely healthy physically. Just a pokey eater.

I am grateful for the over abundance of milk I am able to produce. I hate that it will go to waste. I had checked into donating it, but becuase of the blood transfusions I am disqualified. My husband, and some of the nurses and I joke that I should make some "super foods." And sell it as a delicacy. :) HAHAHA Just think of the antioxidants and antibodies that are in that milk. HAHAHA

I am so grateful that my husband is smart and loves me. He works hard so that I can stay at home with our girls. He is very supportive of me in my artistic ventures and even encourages some of my quirky thoughts when it comes to tools and such. Heck, he just bought me a sand blaster for Christmas. :) You should see the studio he helped build. We are fortunate to be in the tough spot of having a house that needs to be sold. It is a beautiful home. We hope that someone else would like to have this beautiful home, but if not, we have been so blessed to have it and been able to do the things we have with it.

I am grateful for Riley. Right now we are headed in to the tween years and that is proving difficult, but what mother of a teenage girl hasn't been there? I know I put my mother through the wringer and I guess turn about is fair play. Even with all that said, Riley is amazing. She got me through some very difficult times when Kelsi passed away. She doesn't care much for Kate but she helps to make sure Kate is taken care of when I am sick or she knows I need sleep.

My family is so blessed to have Kate. Kate is the biggest ray of sunshine. She knows no malice and is full of love and happiness. Even if she is upset, she does it in such a cute way that it is still full of love. She is always happy, bouncy, dancey, singy and just a plain joy. Her facial expressions are hilarious. You always know her true feelings because she wears them on her shirtsleeve. She is full of life and spreads happienss and sunshine wherever she goes.

We were blessed with Kelsi. Like Kiari, she was quite the surprise. In fact, it was kind of interesting the parallels between Kelsi and Kiari's pregnancies. Kelsi was a tiny little miracle. She was born alive despite a very hostile environment inside of me. She was born screaming - which was amazing. She lived for 2 1/2 days despite her health issues. I honestly believe she did this for me. I asked her to wait for me when she was born. I think I knew all along we would lose her, and I wanted to make certain I was able to at least see her alive. But she did wait. She fought hard. I got to see her, talk to her, and when I reached in for the first time to touch her hand, she tightened her tiny hand to hold my finger. While her death was awful and hard, it too was a blessing. The life she would have lived would have been difficult and painful. Through her death, I have met some of the most amazing people and been involved in amazing events that bring hope and help to others.But most of all, she has helped me to see all of the really truly important blessings in my life.

I really one of those people that *seem* to have it all. But more than that, I AM one of the ones that DOES have it all. Yes my morning hours rant was full of small and petty complaints, but it is how I felt at the moment nonetheless. They are the true emotions of a mom going through the NICU. It is all just part of the roller coaster I guess. It is just so much more difficult to see how great life really is when you are currently on one of the lows of the roller coaster. Just wait until I make it to the top of one of the peaks again. :)

Thank you for letting me share and moreover, thank you for the notes and messages of love and encouragement. That is part of why I put my true feelings here. It is a cry for love, validation and support. I am grateful for this little outlet here too. I really do have it all, and I am grateful for the wonderful, blessed and privileged life I have. God has been better to me than I deserve.

Not so much progress...

Well, this week I was so hopeful for us going home really soon. I was so excited when they moved Kiari into an open air crib. She had a blood transfusion and those typically give her a lot of energy. I was really hoping that the new found energy would spark her hunger and desire to eat from a bottle. That has not happened. In fact, I find that she is still quite sleepy and will only make it through about 1/2 of her bottle before she is too tired to finish it. The rest is then fed to her through the NG tube. She hasn't had a full bottle feed in the last two days. Then to make matters worse, they increased her feed amount from 50 cc's to 55 cc's this morning. I just cried. If I can't even get her to get hungy enough to finish a bottle with 50 cc's, what hope do I have to get her to take 55? and true to form today, she didn't. :( I even had to leave the NICU before the last feed because I just couln't bare to watch her take another tube feed knowing that we are still so far from going home.

I tell people my frustrations and then everyone questions why they aren't doing things differently, why aren't I suggesting this or trying that. But when it comes down to it, I have never cared for a preemie before and these amazing people have and I know they know what they are doing and trust them. It is just so hard to be in the NICU still. We were originally told that if all goes well we would most likely be out of there in 5 - 6 weeks. And everything was going SOOOOO well. I really thought we would be home a week or two ago. Now we have been in there for 7 weeks and while I am sure the end is closer, it still isn't in sight. We are now looking at 8-9 weeks total,and that just kills me. I would be 37 weeks pregnant now if I were still pregnant. And actually, I would have never made it that far to begin with. my longest pregnancy was 37 weeks.

I am not sure I am functioning at a top level right now either. I am not sleeping. Even when I can, I don't/can't. Even now it is 1:30 am and here I am wide awake... tired, but awake. There is a lot on my plate right now. Garth is having surgery Monday morning. He is going to be pretty sore I am sure. The girls don't have school on Monday so I am going to need to find someone to watch them. My mom is flying in on Fridy night. I was really hoping that Kiari would be home already and that was the entire purpose of having her come out. My surgery is on the 1st of February. I hope Kiari doesn't decide to come home that day. That would be miserable. We need to get my house listed in just a couple of weeks and it is a WRECK! I don't have the energy to go through all the crap we have and declutter and organize and make things look nice. There is paint that needs to be touched up, there are pictures and things that need to be put up on the walls, drapes to hang, just to name a few. People tell me to rest and take it easy, but there aren't enough hours in the day to do it. Although I have to say, Right now I haven't been doing any of those things anyway, but I am still not exactly getting rest either.

I wish I had at least one more year here. But true to form for our lives and schedules, it always happens all at once. So really, I am not surprised. Just exhausted and frustrated.

It is reallly hard to have Kiari at the hospital and still try to keep my home life going. I feel bad for Riley and Kate. I feel like I am not being the best mom that I can be to them. Even when I am here, I don't feel like i am "here." But they have been troopers.

One other thing that has me pretty frustrated is that I really wanted to nurse Kiari. I worked hard with her to make certain that she could latch properly and get it. She was doing pretty well, but would get pretty tired after about 1/2 the feed. So they encouraged me to not nurse, but rather just pump and give her a bottle. So more than a week ago, I did just that. I stopped nursing and have been giving her a bottle, but I can't see that it has made ANY difference at all except to make it even more difficult to get her to nurse, if not impossible when I get her home. In the meantime, I am quite the producer of milk. I think even the cows would be envious of my abilities to produce milk. I am so efficient at it, it is actually quite embarrassing. I easily produce 3-6 times what Kiari needs. Our freezer is full, the freezer in the NICU has quite the stash and even one of the NICU doctors took some to put in her deep freeze when she found out I was beginning to dump it due to a lack of space. However, for the past week and a half, I have been dumping it again, because once again I am out of space. If you have a deep freezer, it can be stored for up to 12 months. But I don't and it will only be good for about 4 months. Well, at this point some of that milk is nearly 2 months old. So it seems that everything I have stored to this point will have to be dumped anyway. It is so frustrating to go through all of this work just to turn around and throw it all away anyhow.

I am pretty sure I am not one of those people who will pump and feed from the bottle. If I do that I will never leave my couch. There is too much to get done to just sit and pump and bottle feed the baby all day long.

Well, I am finally feeling tired and everything is just rambling on at this point anyway. I just needed to get some of it off of my shoulders. I just hope it is all over soon and she is here with us. At least I would have a really good reason for not sleeping and being so tired.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Virtual Baby Shower Gift for Justine

Through my blog, I have been able to share my experiences, thoughts, feelings, fears and joy with all of you. From time to time, I will get responses both through my blog and through emails. My first experience with Justine was when I was complaining about how sick I was way back at the beginning of Kiari's pregnancy. She offered to send me some Ginger Carrot Muffins. I figured anything was worth a try and she was off to her kitchen to whip me up a batch. Justine has been so supportive of me as I found out that Kiari (AKA: Fruit Loops) needed blood transfusions and I dealt with the fears of preterm labor and the beginning stages of Preeclampsia. You might also remember that she is the one who sent me peppermint cupcakes that ended up having the perfect timing and was delivered on Kelsi's birthday.

Justine has obviously also touched many other lives through her own travels down the road of loss and infertility. She is a strong and very caring woman. I am so honored to have come across her blog, and even more, that she has reciprocated my efforts at getting to know her. Justine is due with her baby girl this next week. She is AMAZING. I mean, the woman is still running and working out. I have never even been pregnant as long as she has, let alone work out that far into the pregnancy. If you haven't already had the opportunity to stop by her blog, A Half Baked Life, take a moment to do it. She blogs about her life, but she also throws in recipes and pictures of tantalizing dishes that she makes.

One of her other blog friends at is throwing her a virtual shower. With this virtual shower, the goal is to shower Justine with with love and good wishes as she completes her pregnancy. 

Justine, in honor of your little girl my family will be saying prayers for a safe and healthy delivery. We pray for comfort and peace as you bring this little girl into the world. We pray for health of your new bundle of joy and that she may come home with you safe and sound. 

As an act of thanksgiving for the healthy and safe arrival of your little one, my girls will be performing 3 acts of service. I don't know what they are yet, but I will let you know when they are completed. 

Some advice for the transition of going from a home with one child to two would be to be sure that your oldest is involved with the care and some small tasks of his new little sister. I found also that my oldest needed a bit more attention from time to time. This could be some extra snuggle time with you and him, or a mommy/son night out while daddy is on diaper duty. But keeping him involved will help foster a sense of security and continued love. I know Riley still struggles with her younger sister and feels slighted as she had to share the attention. 

If you are looking for a good laugh when you are ready to pull out your hair, one that just might bring you to tears is Damn You AutoCorrect. However, I highly suggest that you don't attempt to read it in bed at night while your hubby is sleeping right next to you. Oh, and you may want to have a box of tissues. 

Some of my favorite books to read/listen to currently are the Chronicles of Narnia. I love that I can let my mind slip away in the magic of another world. I have the entire set on CD and have put it onto my mp3 player and can work away while listening to the stories. 

Justine, I am so glad I "met" you and I look forward to meeting you face to face one day. Thank you so much for your love, support and prayers that you have given me as I have gone through the complications of my pregnancy and struggles in the NICU. I really appreciate it. I pray that everything goes smoothly for you in the next couple of weeks and I cannot wait to hear of the arrival of your sweet baby girl. Congratulations and good job on coming this far!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Making Progress

Today Kiari received her 7th (3rd post-birth) blood transfusion. I was pretty sure we were getting close to needing another as I noticed she was looking pretty pale. Funny thing though, even at her palest, she is still far more pink than I am. Dang, I glow in the sunshine. Texas should be interesting. Hope everyone down there has a good pair of shades. haha
Pale Baby (she really is, even if the camera doesn't show it well)

Pink Baby - She looked the color of a cherry fruit loop (how fitting)

Monday was not a good night for me at all. We have now been in the nicu for more than 45 days. It is really getting to me. Monday she didn't take ANY bottles at all. Sunday I could not get her to nurse and I was so beyond frustrated. All she would do is bite me. And that didn't help my hormonal emotions either. I know it isn't meant to be, but again, the hormones get to me sometimes and it just felt like rejection. As I was getting ready on Monday night for another long night in the NICU, I Just cried as I did the dishes. I didn't have it in me. My husband suggested that I stay at home. STAY AT HOME?!?! but my baby is in the hospital. How does a mother stay at home? UNHEARD OF! But at the same time I was dreading going. I didn't want to be there. I didn't want to be angry with her for not eating. I didn't want to be upset about her lack of desire to nurse and bond with me. I didn't want to look at that stupid Isolet. So after many more tears I came to a decision that it was actually better to stay at home and cry than it would be to drive to the hospital, sit there and be upset and cry.
Mother and Baby Pendant

I haven't been in my studio in ages. I miss being in there. I miss being creative. So I spent the night in my studio with silver, gemstones and HAMMERS!!!! Oh how I have missed my hammers and tools. Yes, I am strange. But the result of the night was totally worth it. I figured if I wasn't going to spend the night in the NICU holding my baby I would create a pendant that depicted a mother holding a baby. It was very therapeutic and I felt so much better the next day when I returned to the NICU refreshed... a little. :)
Daddy on Diaper Duty (oh how I love a man that isn't afraid of a little dirty work)

She is doing really well. She weighs 6 1/2 pounds already. She is still not eating everything by mouth, so sadly, there is no hope of going home this week. *Sniff Sniff* However, we did make a great big leap today. After her transfusion and just before lunch, my sweet baby said goodbye to her warm and cozy isolet and HELLO OPEN AIR CRIB!!!! I was so excited. I didn't think they were going to move her into it until she took all feeds by mouth. And boy does that open crib look good on her. There was even mention of "next week." I am trying to not get my hopes up too high as I know it depends entirely on her and her eating habits.

Tonight I am home as my hubby is working and while I should be cleaning my house, I am sitting here on the computer. But this is so much more relaxing. Tomorrow I will regret it when a fellow artist drops by a fabulous new tool for me. Perhaps I will get up early and clean before she gets here.... then again, perhaps she will see the house of a family with a baby in the NICU. 

Monday, January 17, 2011


Wow, it has been a while since I did an update. Things have been busy. I feel like I haven't done hardly anything in ages. I go from the NICU to my house to the NICU to my house, over and over and over and over again.

School is back in session. The first day back I went to the NICU as usual around noon-ish and got home around midnight-ish. By the time I got home the girls were in bed and I realized that I hadn't even seen Riley that day and I only saw Kate for 20 minutes (from the time I got her up to the time she left for school.) That is NOT acceptable. So for the past two weeks I have changed my sleeping schedule. I go into the NICU around 8:30 pm and come home around 4:30 am. I sleep for a little bit until I get up to get Kate ready for school and out the door and then head back to sleep until about 1:00 in the afternoon (or at least I try to sleep.) I pick Kate up from school and spend a little time with the girls, get some dinner prepared and do it all over again. It is exhausting.
First Bath

Kiari is doing amazingly well. She is as healthy as can be. She is still in the NICU however. Friday she turned 6 weeks old and her weight is up to 6 pounds. She is packing on the weight. You can't even tell that she is a preemie. On January 3rd, (1 month birthday) she had  her second blood transfusion. She did pretty well, though it took three veins to complete the blood transfer. Poor little girl. She had her first eye exam and there is NO retinopathy of prematurity (ROP.) That was a huge blessing and the nurses were all amazed. We are truly grateful. We have not really run into any of the expected preemie issues. We are totally blessed!
Kiari got a new friend

She has started eating a little bit more. I have been working with her on nursing, and that is proving rather difficult. At this point, she has totally gone backwards and I am beginning to wonder if she will ever nurse. Yesterday was a good day for bottles. She took three. She has to be taking 8 feeds by mouth per day in order to come home. Right now she is only taking a couple. It is really frustrating. They won't move her into an open air crib until she has been doing the mouth feeds.
Chillin (Check out the foot)

In the meantime, I am pumping and producing more milk than I know what to do with. My freezer is full and there is so much at the  NICU. I have no idea what to do with it all when they send us home. It is a good problem to have, but a problem nonetheless.

We are constantly asked when she will be coming home. Today is day 45 in the NICU. I had hopes that she would be home last week. But here we still sit. It has been a rather emotional week for me. It is only being made harder with her refusing to nurse. I have just cried the last 3 days. There were a group of us that were pretty high risk and all due right around the same time. Of course I was the first to have a baby and a few others have already followed suit. The only difference is, they are now at home with their babies and I am not. It has been really hard to watch babies come into the NICU and leave and again, here we sit.

Next week my husband is having a surgery to remove his tonsils and fix a deviated septum. The following Tuesday (feb 1) I will be having surgery to repair a hole in my eardrum. I am almost positive that Kiari will be coming home right as we are about to do these surgeries. It will be interesting to balance recovery and a new baby at home. Luckily, I have a fabulous mother. She is flying back out to help me for a week. I felt awful asking her to take more time from work and help me, but I didn't know what else to do...or anyone I would rather have. I love having my mother here. She is a great help and it is nice to know that I don't have to worry about my kids.

My Girls
So, there are a lot of things going on and I am sure it will only get more crazy as we attempt to prepare our house for the housing market that refuses to budge. UGH! But we must move forward... Let the Great Purge begin. :)
Gifts for little Fruit Loops