Sunday, February 21, 2010

Birthday and weekend photos

Here are some photos from the weekend. It was a great one - the weather was beautiful and we had my parents over on Saturday night for Willow's birthday. We did some skyping with Josh's family too.

We gave Willow one present to open on Friday night, since that was her actual birthday. Leave it to Beth the artist to send a really cute homemade baby toy. Thanks Beth - Willow loves it!

The next morning Willow's friends Myah and Carter stopped by with a gift. What a nice surprise! Here's Willow with Myah - not a great photo, but still cute. Thanks for the cute deer and the books, Myah and Carter!

Saturday Willow had a lot of gifts to open. She had fun with it. The tissue paper was the best part, of course. We had a party hat on her for awhile, then Josh accidentally snapped the rubber band on her chin a little bit, and after that she wouldn't wear the hat anymore.

Grandpa got her a baseball cap that says "Marquette, MI" on it - her birthplace. :) Here it is, although it's sideways so you can't see the words.

I made angel food cupcakes, and although Willow isn't ready for cupcakes (she gags if her baby food has any lumps), she did enjoy the frosting! It was her first experience with sugar.

Today she had her first date ;) . A friend of mine that I met at La Leche League came over with her son Eli. He's just a couple weeks younger than Willow's corrected age. They seemed to have fun with each other. What a cutie! I didn't get a great photo of them (I was bad this weekend), but here's one anyway.

We also went out for a nice long walk today with Ruthie. It was sunny and 35. Made me very anxious for spring! Willow took off her mitten and felt the snow.

Sorry this post isn't very witty or interesting. I'm rushing to finish because Willow needs to go to sleep. Good night!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Happy Birthday Willow

Today is Willow's first birthday. It's definitely been a week of memories and reminiscing. "A year ago we were..." As I write this, a year ago I was in the ICU....but, I'm not going to rehash all that on this post. Today is a happy day!

This morning the guys on the local radio station's morning show wished Willow a happy birthday and told her story; it was really cute. One of the guys just had a granddaughter in the MGH NICU, but she was only there for 6 days. He could hardly believe Willow was there for 105. Josh emailed the message to them last night. "Deve at Dawn" "had a tear in his eye" when he read the email.

We decided not to have a big bash for this birthday. We're just having my parents over tomorrow to open presents and have cake and stuff. We figure we'll have a big party, with kids, for her corrected birthday in May. That's one of the advantages of being a preemie - you get two birthdays!

I wanted to post this video that my aunt Lisa made for us shortly after Willow was born. We are pretty big Beatles fans, but we never knew that Paul McCartney had a song about Willow! It's actually a pretty good song.

When she first sent it to us, a few days after Willow was born, I couldn't really watch it - I was too much of an emotional wreck. I can watch it now though, and we thought you'd enjoy it too. It's far too good to keep to ourselves. Thanks again Lisa!

Here's a recent video too, for comparison. :)

We'll post some photos after tomorrow, of the birthday girl in her party hat with some of her presents.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!


Happy Valentine's Day to everyone! For us, Valentine's Day will now always have a secondary meaning: last year, Valentine's Day was the day I had my ambulance ride down to Marquette. It was the scariest day of my life, in retrospect. The day before that, I was still in denial about what was going on. I was still thinking, "I can't believe they're making me stay in the hospital overnight...I can't wait until this night is over can I can go home." I thought I'd maybe have to take it easy for awhile and then I'd be able to go back to work and everything would be normal again. But Valentine's Day, the night's test results were bad, and they told me an ambulance was coming to take me to MGH. It all happened so quickly-once they told me that, they put me on the magnesium drip and the ambulance was there within minutes. As they were loading me onto the stretcher and my doctor and the nurses were saying good bye, my doctor said, "this baby will be lucky to make it a couple more days before being born", or something like that. And that's when my denial ended. I realized this was really serious. Then Josh and my parents said good bye, and I was facing a 2-hour ride with a very quiet paramedic. I still felt physically completely normal. I kept trying to make small talk with the guy but he was all business. Every 15 minutes he took my blood pressure and checked Willow's heartbeat. I cried a little as reality was setting in. I remember when we arrived at MGH the nurses were surprised at how non-sick I was acting. I actually felt completely fine (other than the gross feeling from the "mag"), up until the night before Willow was born. That's why it's so scary to think about what could've happened if we had gone on our trip to Key West; the same day a year ago that I had my ambulance ride was the day were were supposed to fly to Miami for our week-long vacation. I now know other preemie moms who had HELLP who didn't know it until the very end when they felt crappy and went to the ER. If I had waited until I felt crappy, we would've probably been in a tent camping in the Everglades. We would've been far from a hospital. If we would've made it to one before my liver and kidneys shut down or I had a seizure or something like that, it would've been a hospital in Miami! If Willow would've made it, she'd have been in a NICU down there, we would've had to live there for months, I probably would've lost my's crazy to think of the what-ifs. I was this close to not calling my doctor about my cankle. I always tell my coworker Grace that she probably saved my life (and Willow's) by taking my blood pressure and then encouraging me to call my doctor about it. It's not really an exaggeration! Thanks Grace!!

Anyway, enough reminiscing for now. We are very, very lucky people. Willow is healthy and happy, and so am I. Here are some photos. (Just a warning: I may be reminiscing a little more on the next post for Willow's birthday!)

Willow is quite a handful these days. She's such a busy girl. Perpetual motion, yet she still can't crawl. It frustrates her to no end. I think the crawling is not far off, then we're in trouble!

Here's Daddy demonstrating crawling technique:

There are so many things to see and learn and grab, it's hard to even get her to hold still long enough to nurse sometimes. She'll take a few good swigs, then lift her head and look around, or try to sit up. She still doesn't like baby food much, though we did find out she'll eat fruit much more readily if we mix it with yogurt. She likes that. Here she is with some blueberries:

One of Willow's favorites toys is paper of any kind, but especially cardstock-type paper. At her second PT appointment, she was tired and crabby, and the PT was trying to get her to reach for toys and stuff and she wouldn't. Then we gave up and the PT got out some paperwork for us adults to go over. As soon as Willow saw the paperwork, she got real interested and started reaching for it. So we ended up using paper to motivate Willow to do her exercises - ha. Of course, we have to watch her closely if we let her play with paper, or she's likely to take a bite out of it. Here's a video of her with a business reply card from a magazine. These are the best toy ever. This also shows how she's getting better at standing. We have the perfect coffee table for a baby - it's the perfect height, has a ledge to grab on to, and has no sharp edges at all.

Speaking of PT, she has figured out how to get onto her tummy from a sitting position now, though she can't yet get into sitting from lying down.

Here she is reading a valentine she got in the mail from auntie Jill:

In her "union suit" long johns:

And a few more pictures:

In a few weeks Josh and I are both leaving Willow for the first time: we're going to Cleveland for our friends Cam and Liz's wedding. (you long time readers: they are the ones who would make the "word art" in the blog comments). When we bought the plane tickets several weeks ago, I didn't think much of it, but now that the trip is almost upon us, I'm gettng sad about leaving Willow. I don't know if she (or me!) is ready! I know I left her for a couple days before when I had to go to Wausau for work, but I wasn't breastfeeding then, plus Josh was with her. We're leaving her with Josh's parents when we go (we're flying out of Minneapolis). I know they'll do an awesome job,of course. I just have to realize that Willow will be fine. I just wonder if I will!

Anyway, that's all for this week. Willow's birthday is on Friday. I can remember back during the lowest low points of her NICU stay, thinking that I wish I could just fast-forward to her first birthday. We're almost there! Have a great week everyone!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

First Hockey Game

It's been a busy couple of weeks for us...not that this is unusual! Willow had a doctor's appointment at the end of January, and she's now up to 15 pounds, 2 ounces. I think this is still off the charts for her real age and at the very bottom for her corrected age. I do have a special preemie growth chart I found in one of our books, and she is in the 25th percentile for preemie girls who were less than 1500 grams (about 3 pounds and 5 ounces) at birth. Hey, it's something!

She also had a physical therapy appointment. The therapist was glad to see the progess Willow has made in finally learning to roll over from her back to her front; now she wants us to do more exercises with her to help her learn to get into and out of the sitting position by herself. Willow hates the exercises, and we really haven't been doing them much. I still sort of think the PT is unnecessary. I looked it up, and OK, so 75% of babies Willow's age can get in and out of sitting and she can't. But she has the pincher grasp down, and only 25% of babies her age do. Same thing with saying mama and dada - only 25% of 8-months olds can do that. I'm a little sick of all the comparison and feel that every baby is different, and each individual baby is probably early on some milestones and late on others. If she were behind on everything I'd be more concerned. Willow's doctor agrees with my thoughts on this, and I'm thinking we probably won't even go to PT anymore. We'll see.

Here's a shot of Willow after her doctor's appointment: double band-aids from the synagis shots (ever since she hit 14 pounds she's had to have 2 shots instead of one). :(

We had a really fun couple days last weekend. Our friends Sharon and Andy came to visit from Duluth. On Saturday we all went to the Tech hockey game...even Willow!

It was definitely the biggest social event she's been to yet, and we were a little nervous about it. She did awesome though - didn't fuss or cry once and stayed awake the whole game too. She even got to meet Blizzard the husky:

On Sunday us grown-ups got to go up to Mount Bohemia while grandma Judy babysat. It was a fun, exhausting (I'm out of shape!) day.

I'm saving this photo to show to Willow's boyfriend when she's sixteen - ha!:

Being silly in the exersaucer:

This one was just taken today - on our brand new rug. We got it specifially to be comfy for crawling. Before we had a jute rug and it was so rough your knees would probably be bloody if you tried crawling on it! The rug we got - Mohawk Smartstrand - is also eco-friendly and non-toxic like jute though. At least it claimed to be.