Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy 1st Day of Fall

My Great Grandma holding me(1973). I knew Harper looked like me, but I really didn't know how much until my mom brought me these pictures. Amazing!

Me at about 4 months old, I think (1973). Harper even has my smile!

Harper just relaxing with me on the couch and I snapped a couple shots.

Harper "cooing" - she loves to talk to me especially when she first wakes up. I LOVE listening to her and watching her sweet expressions as she tells her stories.

Harper and Billie playing together. Every day Billie is still so excited to hold her, play with her, and read to her. It is so wonderful to see how amazing their relationship is and how it grows stronger every day.

Happy fall, y'all! So happy to be having the gorgeous weather we are having. The humidity hasn't been nearly as bad and the temps are in the low 80's. Today is officially the first day of fall and it is supposed to be sunny and '75 here in Knoxville. Billie is out of school today so us girls are going to do something fun together.

Harper is doing great. Just slowly growing, up to 6 pounds 12 ounces as of last Friday at the pediatrician. I was pretty devastated she wasn't 7 pounds yet, but her doctor isn't concerned but is happy with her progress still. She is sleeping so much better! I actually have to wake her up to feed her every three hours. When we go back next week, if she is over 7 pounds, I am going to ask if I can let her sleep through the night. I think she would sleep 6+ hours if I let her! Wouldn't that make a new woman out of me?! As it is, I wake her up, change her diaper, feed her, and she goes right back to sleep. She is sometimes a little fussy at night when she is fighting sleep, but usually rocking her and feeding her a snack will help her fall asleep and then I can lay her down. She loves to be swaddled, the tighter the better! She always tries to scoot herself down into the swaddle until her face is in the covers. I am constantly pulling the covers back away from her face. Luckily, we still have the heart monitor, but when that goes we will have to take away all her blankets. I am sure that will impact her sleep again, but I can't take the risk of her suffocating with a blanket, especially since she insists on covering her face up. She hasn't had any apnea or brady episodes in so long - it's been weeks, so many that I can't even remember when the last one was! That is just amazing. It's funny, though, when I go out by myself, which is only about once a week, it never fails I hear some sort of "beeping noise" and my heart jumps into my throat and I go into panic mode for about 2 seconds! At least the microwave at home isn't doing that to me anymore! I have to laugh at myself when that happens, though. I guess you just wait to jump into action when you hear that monitor go off, that you kind of program yourself to jump at any loud beep. I can just see myself now tackling a poor elderly woman in one of those grocery store motor-buggy things and shaking her silly to "revive" her after her buggy was beeping to warn others of her backing up. That is usually the noise that sets me off. So far I have been able to control my self, and even hide my panic, although I have startled a few fellow shoppers standing close to me in those first few seconds of my reaction.
Harper's eyes are still doing great. The doctor said Tuesday that they looked a little better again this week. Regression takes a very long time, but I feel very confident she will not be facing a surgery for sure now. She still has to have them checked every 10 days, but I think it will not be long until they let her go two weeks between check-ups. It does wear her out to get her eyes checked, she screams her head off from the second they start the exam until they are done. Luckily, it only takes about 2 minutes, but it is an excruciating 2 minutes for Matt and me. As soon as they are done, she stops crying and is easy to console, though. They say it doesn't hurt, but I am not convinced. She just doesn't really cry any other time. She might let out a little scream here and there if she is fighting sleep or hungry, but it is literally one scream and she is done. From the second they prop her eyes open with that mid evil contraption she screams until they take it back out. And it is a blood-curdling scream with great big tears, and a face as red as a tomato. The contraption that holds her eyes open also leaves imprints on her face kind of like pillow marks that last ten minutes up to hours later. But it doesn't really matter because it is necessary, better a few minutes of her screaming every 10 days than risk her vision.
There were conjoined twin girls born in Chicago two weeks ago. Through the internet I am still connected to a lot of families of conjoined twins. The girls are doing good so far, getting a little oxygen support and NG feeding, but surviving. I can't remember exactly what organs they share, but I know they are side by side and share a heart, and only have two legs. Can I confess a little envy that they get to meet their girls and love them and take care of them? Not that I don't want that for them, of course I do and it is what I have been praying for them. I just wish so bad I could have had more time with my boys. I wish they had also beat the odds and surprised all of their doctors the way Hope and Faith have. I can hardly remember holding them and how they felt in my arms. It seems now like a lifetime ago. It was such a short time we had with the boys, and those few hours have to be enough to last in your memory for a lifetime. If I am having a hard time remembering 3 years later, what will happen when I am old and gray? (OK, I am already gray, but you know what I mean) I don't want to forget, I don't even want the memories to fade or get dull. Harper now weighs exactly what the boys weighed together. That is amazing to me. Sometimes when she is asleep in my arms I try to make myself feel her weight in my arms and see if it jars any memories of holding the boys in my arms. Not that I am comparing her to them, but just trying to jog my memories to bring them out and let them tickle my senses and hang in the air around me. It is good to remember as long as I don't wallow. I will always love and miss my boys. That is just never going to change. They can not be replaced, and I don't' want to even try. But I am so blessed with two amazing daughters that fill my days and heart with utter joy. I love remembering my boys and I hope I can always keep those memories close and vivid, but I love living my life with two daughters even more. God has blessed me beyond measure and as I said the other day, "My cup runneth over..." God is good all of the time - Happy 1st Day of Fall to you! Thanks for taking time to visit and keep up with us.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Steady as She Grows

All smiles...she smiles great big smiles at me when I smile at her now! There is nothing more rewarding in the world then a baby smile from ear to ear - it makes everything worth it!
Starting to "coo" a bit! She likes to talk to the animals on her mobile, especially her monkey!

Good morning, everyone! Harper finally has her nights and days straightened out, which means a lot more sleep for mommy! We are doing excellent, and more importantly, she is doing wonderful! She weighed in Friday morning at 6 pounds 5.5 ounces and her pediatrician graduated her to a visit every two weeks instead of once or twice a week! She will sleep 4 hours at a time now if I let her. I only do that once a day/night, though, because I want her to keep gaining weight steadily. She usually eats every two and a half hours, like clockwork she gets hungry and will wake up to eat. But after her late night feeding around 10 or 11, she will sleep 4 hours straight before wanting to eat. As long as she keeps gaining weight good I will continue to let her do that because it helps me feel like a person again to get 4 hours in a row like that! Of course it never fails, I wake up in a panic because I haven't heard from her in a while so sometimes I get two hours, wake up and check on her, and then get about an hour and a half because, unlike Matt who falls asleep before his head hits the pillow, it takes me a while to fall asleep. We still are striving to get her to 7 pounds, but we are getting very close!
She has an appointment with the apnea/synagis clinic and the eye doctor this week. Last week her eye doctor said there was new growth in zone 3 of her eye, which is what we want! It means some of the blood vessels were able to get past the line of demarcation from zone 2 to zone 3 instead of balling up and pulling on the retina, which would have meant plus disease and surgery. This was a huge milestone and exactly what we have been praying for and waiting for. It also meant he would let her go 10 days between visits instead of 7, which doesn't seem like a lot, but three extra days will add up eventually and make life a little easier for us plus keep her away from germs a little longer.
Billie has been sick. She woke up last Thursday with what seemed like allergies, so we started on allergy meds. Then Saturday she woke up feeling really bad, so I called her grandma and asked them to come get her (to try to protect Harper from it, just in case). She never had a fever, but RSV in us is just a cold and not a big deal, but in Harper it would be would mean a hospital stay possible on a ventilator or even worse, so if any of us get anything similar to a cold or respiratory illness we will have to be kept away from Harper. So Billie went to her grandparents for the rest of the weekend, and I disinfected the whole house. Billie went to the doctor on Monday and it was a sinus infection. She came home Wednesday after school. It was horrible to send my sick baby away, but she understood and was in the next best hands to my own with her grandma. She is such a trooper, never complains and always puts her sister first. We are so blessed with the most generous and caring daughter. She missed her sister so much when she was gone, too. Billie is better now, but still has a little lingering effects.
Rain, rain and more rain. I feel sorry for those who did have Labor Day plans yesterday because we got about 5 inches of rain. I am sure the lakes around here were like ghost towns. It is still raining today and will continue through out today, but not as heavy as it was yesterday. We stayed in, and of course would have even if it had been a sunny day, but I know it is usually a day that marks the end of summer around here. It will still be hot for another month or so, though. We usually go to Boone Lake to Matt's parent's boat house for a fish fry. This weekend was Matt's birthday, and we had tickets to go to Detroit to see the Tigers play. His family still went, and actually my dad was able to go and use one of our tickets (we sold the rest online once we had Harper and realized we wouldn't be able to go.) It was a sweep, the Tigers played three good games and everyone had a good time. Matt was a little disappointed, he has never been to Comerica Park, but he said there really was no place else he would rather be than home with us. I tried to get him to go with his parents, but he chose to stay home instead. I promised him I would take him when Harper is older, though. Maybe next year!
So today begins a 4 day work/school week and cooler temperatures for us! Harper and I will enjoy the cooler temperatures on our walks once the rain stops. She loves her stroller and always has a good nap on our walks. I enjoy the exercise and getting out of the house helps me keep my sanity! I am really a home body, though, and I am not struggling with cabin fever yet. That may change, but for now I feel so blessed to have my family together under one roof and have this miracle little baby to care for. I am living my dream right now, being a stay-at-home mom with two miraculous daughters and a wonderful husband. I am just counting my many blessings and enjoying what God has given me. God is so good, all of the time!