Happy 2nd Birthday!!

Two years ago today at 8:27 a.m. we welcomed Avery Lee into the world ❀ Yup I have a two-year old. Unfortunately her allergies are bugging her today so we are putting her Birthday celebration on hold 😦 But she was able to take a phone call from the Bubble Guppies this morning. They wished her a Happy Birthday and talked to her for a little bit. She loved it!! I set the call up on the Nick Jr. website. They have a couple other characters that can call your little one if the Bubble Guppies aren’t their fav.

I am hoping that she feels a little better this afternoon because we are having a beautiful fall day in Wisconsin!! I think itΒ  supposed to get above 60 degrees!! If you don’t live in Wisconsin or the mid-west 60 degrees in mid-October can sometimes be a feat to reach. Considering we did receive a little snow a couple of weeks ago I will take 60 degrees!!

Avery’s allergies started acting up yesterday and since she turned two today she is able to take Allegra (cue happy music) So we headed to the store to pick some up. Well being the ditz that I am I forgot to bring Kleenex with us to the store. We walked around and picked up the allergy med, Johnson & Johnson Baby Bath Soothing Vapor and Kleenex. The baby bath stuff works really good. Avery is set up for a soak after I am done writing πŸ™‚ Anyway we get to the check-out and then bam she starts sneezing and her nose is running like a faucet. I was digging frantically in my purse and I came up with band-aids, nail-clippers and my wallet. None of which I needed at that moment. I started tearing open the Kleenex’s I was about to purchase. Of course I bought the three pack and for some reason they super-glued the plastic on them. The girl at the check-out was making it obvious she was not happy with me. I asked if I could open them and her reply was “I guess” well too bad lady it’s all over now. I guess she wanted boogers all over the cart. Another shopping adventure with Avery in the books πŸ˜‰

I hope after her soak, some Vicks Vapo rub and a little nap we can get some celebrating in. I still can’t believe she is two. Where is that pause button?!?! Everyone told me it goes so fast and they were right! Now we are moving on to potty-training, big girl underwear and hopefully a little more talking to make the potty-training easier. She is now wearing mostly 3T clothes; it is so crazy. I was in a little size denial and bought her some 2T tops for her Birthday. I think she will be able to wear them a couple of times before they become a skin suit.

She has become the funniest person I have ever met. She makes me laugh everyday with her twirling, dancing and funny expressions. She is so good at cuddling and can be so sweet. I am looking forward to watching you grow and being your mom Avery Lee! The best is yet to be ❀

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October 15

Today is Worldwide Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance day. Obviously this is close to my heart and I am sure many others. Do you know that 1 in 4 mothers experience miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss? That is a lot. I have always wondered why it is such a “taboo” (for lack of a better word) subject.Β  When I lost my son it was like people came out of the woodwork telling me they had a miscarriage or stillbirth. The florist delivered some flowers to my house one day that someone sent me and told me that both she and her daughter experienced a stillbirth. When I lost my son I was working at the largest clinic in my town as an appointment coordinator, so when I went back to work I had tons of people coming to my desk giving their condolences and I was surprised to hear how many of them had been through something similar. But there are also people that really think “it” shouldn’t be talked about. What the what?

I just can’t wrap my head around why no one talks about this subject. I get the whole thing about not knowing what to say. (I am the worst when it comes to saying the wrong thing or having things fly out of my mouth) But for God-sakes say SOMETHING. I mentioned that I had a lot of people give their condolences but I also had people flat-out avoid me or even quit talking to me. I didn’t and still don’t expect people to know what to say but they could have at least talked to me. You don’t even have to talk about what happened just talk about the weather or mutual interests. When I would be at work or in the grocery store I would have people turn to avoid me or zip down a different hallway or aisle. I mean what the crap is up with that? It made feel like I did something wrong. I wasn’t asking for hugs and condolences I just wanted to be treated like a normal person. Even saying hi or some kind of weather we are having would have been fine. Except there were those people who avoided me like the plague. My first day back to work I had three male co-workers come up to my desk. The first gave his condolences and said he was happy to see me back. The second and third talked to me about everyday stuff like fantasy football, work and the weather. I was very happy that they came and talked to me and treated me like I was a normal person not someone with a festering sore on her face.

Yes I may start crying if you bring up my son but you did not say the wrong thing. I might be crying for various reasons. Reason #1: I miss him. Reason #2 I am happy you felt comfortable enough to talk with me about it. Reason #3 Sometimes it doesn’t matter what day or time it is I just cry about it. Reason #4 I DON’T need a freaking reason!! Now there are some people who do say the wrong thing. I had it happen to me. One incident sticks out in my mind like it happened five minutes ago. That woman was not very smart and I don’t think she even realized that what she said was very offensive. So if I do start crying try very hard not to feel bad. If what you said didn’t make me cry I probably would have cried that day anyway. A lot of the times it’s not what people say that makes me cry it’s that I was just thinking about him or maybe I was going through his pictures that day.

Now I know there are people who are just so uncomfortable in sensitive situations it makes their skin crawl. I get it but you don’t have to treat me like I was just diagnosed with some type of contagious disease. Just smile, say hi and move on. Or don’t say hi just walk past me instead of taking another route.

No one person is going to understand exactly how you feel. Everyone is different including your spouse, family and friends. One person said to me after I lost my son “Welcome to the club that nobody wants to be in” That couldn’t be more true. I sometimes kind of feel like I am in a “club” or something. I have made some good friends since losing my son that otherwise I probably would have never met or talked too. We all have one thing in common we lost our child or children. I would rather be in a club where everybody wet themselves or something but this is the “club” I was forced into membership for life. That’s right I said for LIFE. Some people think that after it’s been a couple of years you should just get over it or it “gets easier” I on the other hand think that as time passes I learn how to live with my loss and deal with it better. Like this year for my son’s Birthday we had a balloon release. Best idea I have ever had in the history of my ideas. His Birthday became a little more of a celebration instead of a sad day.

Sometimes you run into those people who have the audacity to say things like “She isn’t upset enough” or “She isn’t crying enough” To those people I say “How in the world do you know what enough is?!?!” Everyone is different, if we were all the same life would be pretty boring and everyone would have the same job and wear the same clothes. When you have something happen to you sometimes you have to be strong even if you don’t want to be. I wanted to crawl under the covers and never come out but I HAD to be strong for me, my family and my son. I didn’t want Mason to look down on me from Heaven and see me in my pj’s bedridden for days. Don’t get me wrong I had my days and still have them but I try my hardest to get up and put on a happy face.

Now there are those people in my life that are so wonderful and I probably don’t tell them enough. People that went running to my side instead of turning away. Those people are special. If you have them in your life keep them and keep them close. For example the nurse I had the day when I had Mason was wonderful. She is one of the most awesome people I have ever met. She was with me all day, she stayed late to be in the delivery room and shortly after. She was the one that discovered he wasn’t breathing anymore and she was the one to bring me my son for the first time. Never once did she say the wrong thing to me. I wish I would have expressed to her more what a wonderful nurse and person she is. I even told her I felt bad for her having to deal with me all day. She just smiled and said no problem. Now that is a great person. Of course my friends and family were wonderful and have been to this day. They brought me food, books, treats and were there for me when I needed them most.They gave me memory stones and angel figurines and other mementos.They also listened to me and hung out with me when I didn’t want to be alone.

Sometimes I know I need and I think other mothers need to know that other people think and still think about the child or children that they lost. It’s nice to know that your child is still remembered by people other than yourself. It always fills me up with a great feeling when someone says “I stopped at Mason’s grave” or “He brought so much joy” Because you know what He Lived sometimes people forget that. He lived in my belly for eight months and he brought me a happiness that I had never experienced before. So if you know someone who has lost a child or children light a candle or give them a smile today. That might just be the thing they need πŸ™‚

Losing a Pregnancy, Finding Community: honoring Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day 2013

InFeRtIlItY

Infertility is the worst roller-coaster I have ever been on. It tests your relationships not only with your partner but with friends and family. Once you get married people think that you should automatically be pregnant. I think people assume that after the wedding you just poof become pregnant. Well for some people that doesn’t happen that way. I found out I was one of them.

Our story begins in September 2008. My husband and I decided to start to try to have a baby. We both expected it to go quickly. He had a son from a previous relationship and I had never had any gynecological problems. We went eight months with nothing then in May of 2009 I woke up with cramps and heavy bleeding. Without a pregnancy test we will never know but after a visit with my provider our best guess is that I had a miscarriage. At that time I really started to wonder why we had not had a successful pregnancy. Well unfortunately you have to wait until a year has passed before anyone will consider infertility an option or problem. So, a year or so went by with no luck I decided to see an obgyn that specialized in infertility. Well he turned out to be no help at all and told me there was nothing wrong with me and to keep trying. I left that appointment feeling so disappointed; I really didn’t know where to turn after that. Luckily, my best friend convinced me to see the Doctor that she was working for at the time. That was one of the best decisions I have ever made. She immediately wanted to get to the bottom of it. After some testing and suggestions with no luck she contacted another ob at a larger facility. That Doctor wanted me to get some lab work done and have my prolactin level tested. When the results came back my prolactin level was higher than it should have been. So I was put on Bromocriptine to regulate my prolactin level and to help me get pregnant. After being on Bromocriptine for a while I started taking Clomid which is a drug that is used to stimulate ovulation. Well, that wasn’t working either. Fast forward to February 2011 we had decided to go ahead and do an IUI. An IUI is a procedure where sperm is inserted directly into a woman’s uterus. So after many ultrasounds to make sure I had enough eggs we were ready to do the IUI. A couple of weeks after the procedure I got my period. I was crushed I really thought that this was our shot and we missed it. After all of the money we had spent on fertility drugs, doctor appointments and ultrasounds I wasn’t sure we could afford IVF. So we decided to take a “break” from trying and save up for IVF. For some reason I had my period on and off for three months and no one could really figure out why. I was feeling faint all of the time and my prolactin level shot up higher than it had ever been before. I always had problems with headaches and migraines but they were awful when I would take Clomid. I kept pushing through because I so desperately wanted a baby. Then all of a sudden I stopped bleeding and life kind of went back to normal.

In July of 2011 I found out I was pregnant. Finally it worked I was going to be a mother!! I can’t even describe the happiness and love I felt when my Doctor called to tell me the great news πŸ˜€ Unfortunately my son was born sleeping in September.

After we had our son we knew we wanted to try again. I was prepared for the long fight we had ahead of us. But by some miracle I became pregnant with our daughter in March of 2012. We didn’t have to do anything besides the obvious; no drugs or procedures. She was born in October of that year and she is wonderful ❀

When I was pregnant with my son I wasn’t sure if I could go through the infertility treatments again. I thought if I could have just one little miracle child that might be good enough. I always wanted more children but I wasn’t sure if we could go through it all again. The Doctor that performed the IUI said most people she does this for come in five years later asking her to make it stop. She was kind of a goof. She said sometimes all it takes is your body to be able to get pregnant and then bam it’s like it finally woke up and it can do it on it’s own.

I mentioned before that relationships can be tested during infertility. Our marriage was tested big time. You kind of feel like a failure. Everyone else on God’s green earth can get pregnant except for you. The hormones and drugs you take make you feel crazy in turn that crazy comes out on the person you live with. Let’s just say things could get a little hairy and some situations arose. Also friends and family sometimes act a little weird around you. People don’t want to tell you when they are pregnant or other people in your circle are pregnant. I know they mean well and are only trying to look out for you. I appreciate everyone for looking out for me and listening to me during the rough times. It is nice to have good friends and family. For me I tried to stay positive. I wanted to be involved when people around me that were expecting. I was truly happy for them. It is a little hard I am not going to lie but I didn’t want to be Debbie Downer. The people that really made me mad and do to this day are the ones that are on drugs and can pop out kids like a vending machine. That drives me crazy!! There are so many people that experience infertility that are wonderful people and would make wonderful parents but instead these people that care more about drugs then their kids keep having them. AHHHHHH it drives me nuts!! But moving on lets just say infertility sucks.

My advice to anyone experiencing infertility is to keep pushing forward as much as you can. If you feel like you are at the end of your rope take a break. Sometimes when you do that a little miracle happens ❀ It is totally okay to freak out, get upset and shed some tears. With all of the hormones running through your body I think you are entitled. For the love of God don’t give up HOPE. Miracles happen everyday!! I know that is true I have experienced two of them πŸ™‚ When you finally get pregnant or adopt it is the most wonderful feeling in the world!! I have never adopted but I know people that have and they love it!! When you hold your bundle for the first time all of the treatments and other business you went through is totally worth it πŸ™‚

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My baby shower for Mason ❀
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One of Avery’s pics from her 2 year old session. The teddy bear is one the hospital gave us when I had Mason. Love this pic ❀

Birthday Hangover

That is how I feel after the big Birthday blowout. So yesterday was the big day; the party was planned, the food was bought and we were ready to roll. At 6:00 a.m. the day started by me putting the ham in the crock pot. Then we moved on to salads, dip and meatballs. Then it was on to decorating and last-minute cleaning. So I pulled out all of my homemade Tangled decorations and away we went. After decorating it was a trip to the store to pick up the cake and balloons. That was an adventure. Somewhere in my sleepless haze I told the store to blow up 17 balloons. OMG what in the world was I thinking!?!? I am sure I looked absolutely ridiculous carrying my balloons across the parking lot in my yoga capris (I upgraded from yoga pants) and no make-up. The balloons overtook me they were everywhere. Finally I just let them blow around behind me while I walked very fast to my car. Then I actually had to get them into the car. I am surprised I didn’t get choked by all of the ribbon. Needless to say I was not able to see out of my back window on the way home.

When I started to get my daughter dressed for her party I realized something. She had boogers in her hair. Ugh I had no time to give her a bath the party started at noon and it was 11:30. So we got them out and moved on. Then the guests started to arrive, we had a great turnout! Avery had tons of littles and adults come to celebrate with her πŸ™‚ She even had her little boyfriend over ❀ They don’t go on dates by themselves or anything they are always supervised πŸ˜‰

Of course the day wouldn’t be complete without Avery going to her toilet water park. We couldn’t find her and then my husband came out of the bathroom with a soaked Avery. So she had a wardrobe change and we went back to partying. Then came the gifts. Tons and tons of them. She has quite a few favorites but her absolute is the Bubble Guppies Check-up Center and Clambulance. I have to admit it is pretty cute. She has been playing with all of her toys ever since her party. She also got a little Minnie Mouse doll. That thing hasn’t left her hand all day. She even held it while she ate supper.

After we had cake it was time to play outside. The kids had a blast running around. Did I mention that I gave out princess wands to the girls and light-up bouncy balls to the boys? My advice is if you give out bouncy balls at a party maybe use them as a parting gift. The kids were really good with them until they got outside. Someone got hit in the eye.

Once everyone left it was time to vacuum my stupid maroon carpet (I’ll explain later, let’s just say it shows everything) Then we pretty much sat around because we all ate too much. We also had a Birthday party for my best friends kids the day before. It was a lot of over eating all weekend. I am happy to report that we were all sleeping my 8:30 last night! Oh happy day!! Avery slept from 8:30 until 6:30 this morning when she fell out of the bed. Not a good morning for her. She is very clumsy and accident prone I think she gets it from me 😦  We washed all of her new duds she got yesterday so she could wear some today.

All in all it was a good party. A little stressful at times preparing and trying to get the house clean but it was all worth it to see how happy she was πŸ™‚ She loved the balloons all 17 of them. She is still loving 16 of them today, we gave one away. We tried to give more away but the rest of the parents were smart and said no. I kind of forced the one parent that took one. Here are some pics of my silly decorations and Avery playing. Enjoy!!

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The Bubble Guppies Check-up center and Clambulance πŸ™‚
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Home made decoration
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More home-made decorations

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O Sleep, Sleep! wherefore art thou Sleep?

For the past seven days Avery has not slept through the night. I take that back there was one night she did, I on the other hand could not. Last night I reached the point of no return; I left her in the bed and let her cry it out. I got 40 minutes of wonderful sleep on the couch. She finally fell asleep and slept until 8:30 a.m. I am not sure why she is not sleeping; she does not have a fever, ear ache, stomach ache, and she does not do illegal drugs that would keep her up all night. She does want to have an all night dance party and play with her toys though. I am starting to feel like she was brought here to make sure I never sleep again. Maybe I am just talking crazy because I am not getting the proper amount of sleep. I have consumed the largest amount of coffee ever in my life. I think if you cut me I would bleed coffee and it would smell like caramel vanilla creamer.

Usually I have a hard time letting her cry it out. I am the absolute worst worry wart you will ever meet in your life. Even though I was at the end of my rope this morning I still worried about the most absurd things. I convinced myself that she had smothered herself in a blanket, gotten a hold of something dangerous and hurt herself or she cried too much and couldn’t breathe. I worry as a hobby. So of course I did the thing you are not supposed to do and I opened the door to check on her. Of course she was almost asleep and when she saw me she started crying again. Ugh why am I so stupid!! Just for the record we do not keep dangerous things around Avery. I also worry that there is something really wrong with her. Last night I convinced myself that she had some weird incurable disease. I even got to the point of thinking maybe I should take her to the Doctor. Then sanity came and I thought what in the world am I going to say during the assessment; “She won’t sleep so she must have something very wrong with her” Then the Doctor would say go home you stupid woman I have a cardiac in room three.

I keep asking myself are the terrible twos here early? I am starting to think yes. Just yesterday she threw an absolute fit because I did not give her a cracker fast enough. Sometimes I think maybe she is just tired and that is why she is acting out then it’s like wake up dummy it’s not that. She is a toddler and she is testing the heck out of me. This is probably one of the scariest things I have encountered. I have heard the horror stories and seen them play out in the grocery store. I had my own yesterday. (Gosh yesterday was stressful with Avery) We were at the checkout and she refused to stay by me. Of course we were behind someone arguing about prices and blah, blah, blah. There was no other checkers coming to rescue me so we waited and waited. Then it happened she took off like a shotgun blast. Off to the liquor department she went. By the time I caught her she had a Margarita in a pouch and was going for some vodka. Of course that’s when you also run into one of the snottiest people you know as your peeling a margarita out of your toddler’s pudgy hands. “Isn’t she a little young to be drinking Autumn?” Seriously?!?! Yes I give my kid alcohol. It’s like trust me if I gave her alcohol I wouldn’t have bags under my eyes and I probably would have put jeans on instead of yoga pants because I would be getting way more sleep lady.

In conclusion I am trying to be optimistic about our sleeping future. Tonight it doesn’t look so bright but the night is young. Yes in my opinion my daughter is the cutest toddler ever. Even at 3:00 a.m. she is cute, by 4:30 things start to get a little hairy but we push through. I guess the only thing I can do is keep on keepin’ on and hope and pray that someday she will sleep. I know I shouldn’t complain but I think I am in some kind of sleepless haze. To all of you that are having sleepless nights I feel ya and hope it gets better for you too πŸ™‚ For those of you that slept eight hours last night please don’t tell me until my daughter is at least 16 πŸ˜‰

A day with some of my favorite littles

Today there was no school for our district so I got to have some visitors today πŸ™‚ I watch a couple of my friends kids when there isn’t school. We always try to do something fun so today we explored the wide world of baking. We ended up making cookies AND cupcakes. Phew it was a sugar overload! Of course my little slept in until 9:00 a.m. I swear she knows the days that I am not able to sleep and she sleeps the day away. Anyway we had tons of fun listening to music (mostly Katy Perry) baking and decorating. Then we moved on to some Just Dance and Dog With a Blog. For some reason I just love that show! I am not much of a Jessie fan so maybe that’s why. That theme song gets stuck in my head for 12 hours if anyone mentions that show “Hey Jessie, Hey Jessie!” Ick.Β  Today the girls decided that they wanted to change Avery’s diapers. I was not going to say no to that. They each changed one and they were over it. It was great while it lasted. One of them requested to change a poopy one. (She had way to much sugar.) Sometimes we do mani/pedis or make crafts. I kinda feel like I am more on their level with crafts until you get that one kid that is really good at a mere nine years old.

It seems like every time I bake it reminds me of my Grandma and my Aunt. I would go there when I was little a lot because they lived down the road. We would bake and listen to music all the time. I thought it was the neatest thing when we would put jelly in the middle of our muffins when we made them.Β  It was great! After today I realized why they had me dry and put away dishes. I did three loads of dishes today and I do not have a dishwasher! They always made me what I wanted for lunch (which was usually a cheese sandwich and pickles) We would watch The Golden Girls and go in the garden in the mornings.Β  I loved going over there; they always had cats. My favorites were Bootie and Snoopy. Mother and son respectively. I still have pictures of them I took with my little pink camera πŸ˜‰ I love that I have those memories and I wish my daughter could have the same with them but unfortunately they have both passed. So when she gets old enough we will definitely have some Golden Girls marathons while we are baking πŸ™‚

Maybe I am old-fashioned or I live in Mayberry but I think it’s great when kids can hang out with family members or close friends by themselves without you and make memories together.Β  I have always been really close with all of my aunts and it is really nice. We go shopping, out to lunch or they come to visit. We try to get together once a year and bake cookies. Usually it’s around my aunt’s birthday that passed away since she loved baking so much.

So now that I think I have some followers (or so my email tells me) lets share some favorite memories with a close family member or family friend. I love hearing stories and I am in a Hallmark Channel kind of mood so let’s hear em’!!

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Our cookies πŸ™‚ I put a little too much milk in them but they were still good!
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Cupcakes! We did frost them but in the mass hysteria I forgot to take pics of them frosted πŸ˜‰
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Part of the kitchen mess

 

 

Ugh just turn the t.v. on

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Chalkboard that I had to do freestyle because the stencils fell through for me πŸ˜‰

I never in a million years thought I would be the type of parent that would let my kid watch t.v. Then I had kids and everything changed. Tonight we were hanging pictures up in our daughters room and she wouldn’t behave. She has been a little stinker all day not to mention she slept like five hours last night and the night before and the night before that. I had gotten her a chalkboard butterfly to put on her door and I was trying with my trusty stencils to put her name on it then it happened. She would not stop; pulling chalk off of the table, climbing on the chair that I was sitting on and pretty much anything else she could do to get my attention. Side note on the stencils; chalk and stencils do not mix. Finally the t.v. babysitter saved me. The Bubble Guppies were on and peace was restored.

I am not against t.v. at all. I have a great appreciation and love for my television and that love runs deep. When I got pregnant I had always pictured me reading books and playing with my kids all of the time. I guess I forgot about the part that included laundry, cleaning and going to the bathroom. You know they never tell you that once you have children you will never go to the bathroom alone again. If I would have known that I would have definitely appreciated my bathroom time more.

I was one of those girls that people with kids laughed at behind my back. I had all of these ideas like my kids were never going to sleep with me, they would never watch t.v. and they would always eat everything on their plate. I probably thought they would never get dirty either. Gosh I was dumb. Now I have learned and all of those things I said I would never let happen, happened and continue to this day. If I met the girl that I used to be I would probably slap her and her little ideas.

Back to the television; you are probably picturing my daughter in front of the t.v. all day while I go about my day. Not true. I am not a Real Housewife of (insert county here) I have become a little more aware of the cleanliness of my home since I started staying home. Maybe because I have to look at my house all day now instead of spending most of time at work. I do have daily chores and then I add some things everyday if time allows. During those chores there is time for dancing, singing and playing. I usually have a little toddler following me and hugging my legs through most of it. There are some precious moments where she actually does pay attention to the t.v. and I can get a little something done toddler free.

All in all things get done and my floors get clean. Now the floors may be clean but there are a layer of toys on top of them. I guess it’s getting down to crunch time since the big Birthday party is coming so I am getting a little frazzled. Normally I would have rooms that are kind of off-limits to guests (Like that closet I shove all kinds of crap into when people come over.) But since we just moved into this house I know people are going to want to take a peek and see the work we have been doing. Which is fine but now I don’t have any secret hiding spots for my crap.Β  I know most people don’t see that spider web in the corner behind the desk but I know it is there. I guess if someone came over and inspected my house that closely I would probably have to ask them to leave.

I guess t.v. really isn’t that bad for kids as long as it’s not all they do. Avery has actually learned some things and she loves dancing and music now. I think it is because of the Bubble Guppies and the fact that I listen to music a lot.Β  Some of the cartoons are really cute and entertaining the first couple of times you watch them. After the 500th time they do start to wear on a person. Now it’s back to cleaning and getting hugged while I am doing it πŸ™‚

 

NICU Ninja!

That is how I describe my daughter in the NICU. She kicked some major butt in there. She was two months early and she thrived since the moment she was born. Having a baby in the NICU is very hard. It stinks that you can’t be with them 24/7 and it is hard to let someone else do the job that you should be doing. I always felt that Avery didn’t know who I was and we weren’t connecting like we would be if she was at home. We went to visit at least three times a day. We always went around feeding time so we could feed and change her. Usually they only let you hold your baby for a limited amount of time and then it’s back in incubator or bassinet they go. Sometimes we would luck out and get a cool nurse that would let us hold her a little longer πŸ™‚ We stayed very close to the hospital so we were able to get a lot of time with her. Don’t get me wrong I am very grateful to the nurses and NICU staff it’s just hard to let someone else parent your child. I wanted to be the one feeding and cuddling with her at night and I couldn’t that was very hard.

Avery was a little spunky in the NICU. She pulled out her feeding tube constantly and she threw her nuk out of the incubator. She wasn’t in the incubator for too long. Avery shared a room with three other babies. The nurses are in the room 24/7 watching the babies and taking care of them. All of the babies were on monitors to watch their breathing and other things depending on their condition. When the monitors went off it was very loud. But the babies always slept through. The nurses had Avery on a schedule which was wonderful. She ate every four hours. They would have us change her first to wake her up a little bit and then feed her. Lastly it was snuggle time ❀ The nurses always let us do what we wanted as far as feeding and such as long as we were comfortable with it. (It does get a little awkward dealing with all of the monitors, cords and tubes.) We were able to bring her own clothes and blankets in for her and she was able to have a couple stuffed animals. We were responsible for washing her clothes and blankets that we brought in which I liked because I felt like I was able to care for her in another way besides “visiting” three times a day. I was told she was the best dressed baby in the NICU πŸ˜‰ Avery was only able to have four visitors at a time including us so we tried as best as we could to let everyone have time with her.

Avery overcame quite a few hurdles in the NICU and shortly after being released. The first and for me the worst hurdle was that she would stop breathing while she ate from a bottle. (She would also quit breathing at random times at first but she quit doing that before she went home. )That is the scariest thing I have encountered in my life so far. (I say so far because I have the worst luck in the world) They call them Bradycardia’s. In the NICU she was on monitors 24/7 so the “episodes” weren’t as scary. Then you bring your baby home and she stops breathing when you are feeding her. I mean she turned blue the whole works. It would only last for mere seconds but it felt like a lifetime. The thing that worked best to get her to start breathing again would be to flick the bottom of her foot.

The second hurdle was a small heart murmur. We weren’t told about it at first because the Doctor didn’t hear it every time he made rounds. So shortly before she was to go home he decided it would be best to do an Echocardiogram of her heart to make sure this murmur really wasn’t a big deal. The problem was when they decided to tell us it wasn’t us. It was just my husband. I was actually getting my port put in for chemo. (I had my first round while my daughter was in the NICU) So I get out of my procedure and I am a little foggy. Not because I was put under, because I was getting chemo and the info they give you alone on your first round of chemo is enough to make your brain hazy. Not to mention the rat poison you are receiving. My husband comes into the recovery room and proceeds to tell my that our daughter has murmur but it’s no big deal and she will be fine. I kind of lost it. Now I know my husband is an adult and is smart and capable enough to understand the whole echo thing and I trusted Avery’s NICU Doctor but I like to be there when information is relayed. I want to hear from the Doctor that everything is going to be okay. I just kept thinking about how much Avery had been through in her little life already and now a heart issue.Β  Now I know they really didn’t have a choice on telling just my husband since I was unavailable at the time between my port placement, chemo and scheduling the echo. I was able to be there for the echo which made me feel better. They did the echo the same day and the pediatric cardiologist was AMAZING. She hugged me and assured me Avery was going to fine and they were just doing this to be 100% sure that there was nothing wrong. (I think she hugged me because I was crying but whatever it was nice of her.) Avery slept through the whole thing and it turned out she was fine. I am glad they did the echo because I would have always wondered if they didn’t.

The third was Jaundice which is pretty common even in full- term babies. Avery’s was pretty minor and she really didn’t have to be under the “lights” for very long. They have to wear these little felt like goggles covering their eyes when they are having the treatment and the NICU drew little eyelashes on them. It was cute πŸ™‚

After three long weeks in the NICU Avery was able to come home!! It was awesome to finally take her home. We were given the option to spend her last night in the NICU with her. We gladly said yes!! So we were given a private room that we could stay with her in. We were told it would be just us except a nurse would come and get her vitals since she was still a patient. It was wonderful to be able to spend the night with her and get used to everything. Especially since help was only a call light away πŸ™‚ Needless to say we didn’t get much sleep that night. Every time she moved one of us would get up to check on her.

I know I mentioned before that I had a hard time leaving her and I was pretty much jealous that all of the nurses and staff got to spend time with my daughter and I had to go home. But that last night I got a glimpse of what it is like for these nurses. At 11:00 as promised a nurse came in to do Avery’s last set of vitals for her NICU stay. I had never met her before because she worked the night shift and we were usually at the Hope Lodge or at home by then. When she came in I really thought she was going to start crying. She kept saying how she had been taking care of Avery since she was born and that she kind of had a soft spot for her. She said how much she would miss her and her little personality. Now I had never seen this woman in my life but here she was caring for my daughter all night while I was resting and she cared for her so much. Then I realized it must be so hard for these nurses to let go of their patients. Now Avery was only in for three weeks but some babies have a much longer stay. One of her roommates had been there for a month or two before she came in and he had a long stay ahead of him. It finally hit me that it really does take a special person to become a NICU nurse. Having to deal with just Avery’s challenges was enough for me but being in a room with four babies that need so much care that takes a very special person.Β  Luckily Avery was pretty healthy but there were a lot of babies in the NICU that were not. Avery was in a room but they also have the “pod” I think they called it were the much sicker babies were. I cannot even imagine what it is like to have that weight on your shoulders. Not only do you have your boss but you have other nurses, Doctors and the babies families depending on you and critiquing your work constantly. I really am very grateful for the nurses that cared for my baby when I couldn’t be there. Some of the nurses went above and beyond. One nurse made little pictures for the babies with their names on them and for the different seasons. Some nurses would take pictures for you. For Halloween the nurses put Avery in a Halloween outfit my aunts bought for and took pictures for me. One of the nurses always explained things to me in a way that didn’t make me feel stupid and made me feel like she was really trying to help us. Sometimes just having people there to talk to was so nice. Even if it wasn’t about all of the things going on in our life it was nice to “forget” for a while. Another nurse was a breast cancer survivor so we would talk shop about chemo and she had tons of advice and gave me a couple of numbers for wig shops. Avery’s Doctor was wonderful. He always made sure we understood everything before he would leave and he didn’t talk down to us. I can only hope that the staff knows how much I appreciated them during Avery’s stay. If you ever have to go through the NICU journey try to understand that the staff is doing what is best for you and your baby. I know it is hard sometimes to understand why a nurse did that or why the respiratory therapist did this but put yourself in their shoes. When you are not there these people are and they are making sure that your baby is going to come home as soon and safe as possible.

 

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One of my faves πŸ™‚
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Sunglasses πŸ™‚
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The first time I was able to hold Avery ❀

 

Planning the Ultimate Birthday Party

As I mentioned before my daughter’s Birthday is coming up. We are busy trying to clean, plan and decorate πŸ™‚ Not sure if it’s just my daughter or if it’s everybody’s kids but she only likes things that are impossible to find. She LOVES the Bubble Guppies so last year we did a Bubble Guppies Birthday party. I would go to stores and ask about decorations and such and all I would get was, “Who are the Bubble Guppies?” I did find some things online but that was few and far between and they were pretty expensive. All I ended up buying for decorations were three plastic cups and a couple of balloons. The rest I made myself. I am absolutely horrible at crafts, I try my hardest but I can barely cut in the lines. I also have horrible handwriting, that is why I type. I see tons of really cute Birthday banners or things that should really be written out with beautiful handwriting and I think how neat but my handwriting hasn’t improved since fifth grade. But I do have letter stencils, they are my friend.Β  Thank God for Pinterest! I even joined the Nick Jr. Bubble Guppies fan club because they email free printable s. So between the emails and Pinterest I put a half-ass party together. This year there is Bubble Guppies party supplies galore. They even make cards now! Ugh! If I didn’t have bad luck I wouldn’t have any at all.

This year her love of Bubble Guppies has not waned but she also loves Tangled. So we are going to give it a go with the Tangled theme. Problem is everyone loves Frozen! Which we do to but she loves Tangled even more. So the hunt is on for Tangled decorations but here is the kicker they are hard to find. There is Frozen stuff everywhere but Tangled is a little harder to find. It would probably be a little easier if I didn’t live 40 minutes from a larger city and 60 minutes from an even larger city with some party stores. So here we sit with the printer humming and me cutting and failing miserably.

Did I mention the cake? Yeah Tangled cakes are complicated to say the least. We did have her cake made last year but this year I am going to try to make her one. I might give up and sell a kidney or something to buy her one because I don’t have enough patience for baking.

Why you ask am I obsessed with throwing her the ultimate Birthday party? I ask myself the same thing and the answer is I have no freaking clue. I think I convince myself that I am actually good at planning things and making things look nice. Last year someone said to me that I should have used walkie-talkies when we were setting the party up so I could communicate with my husband and step-son better. They were joking; I considered it. Maybe I enjoy a challenge and like being stressed out over nothing. The funny thing is my daughter doesn’t even realize the great lengths I go to put these parties together. I tell myself she will have the pictures to prove it though. In conclusion I wish all of you parents that are as crazy as me good luck in planning your kids next party. If you need any decorations that look like a toddler cut them I would be happy to send some your way πŸ˜‰

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The coveted three cups πŸ˜‰
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Cake, cupcakes, treats and a cat tail

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