Monday, August 31, 2009

Between a short trip to visit my parents, Morgan Kate's first birthday party, and a fever stricken one year old the blog has been very neglected. I do apologize. I am still trying and learning how to fit everything in and get it all done.

Short recap of the last few days...

Wednesday we left to visit my parents. We had a wonderful trip that included hunting for Travis and my dad and dinner and pedicures for my mom and I. A girl always needs a good pedicure. Oh, and there may have also been some shopping in there. We came back on Friday and spent the rest of the day finalizing things for MK's first birthday party.

Saturday we partied, partied, partied! It was a beautiful day and we had so much fun. I didn't sit down at all, nor did I have anything to eat, but it was all so worth it. I think I got a small taste of what my parents probably felt like the day I got married. Ha. Everything was absolutely perfect and I was so thankful for all of our family and friends that were able to attend. I have a zillion pictures from the day, but I am still working on uploading all of them and thinking of a fun, creative way to share them with all of you. Here's a sneak peek of the birthday girl...

Saturday night we were pooped. I gave MK her bottle, rocked her for just a few minutes, placed her in her crib and then I headed to bed myself. There were toys everywhere, bags that needed to be unpacked and dishes that seriously needed washing, but the bed was definitely calling my name and I desperately needed sleep. Around midnight MK began crying. It was a strange cry, not one I had ever heard before. I let her fuss for a few minutes and then went in to check on her. The minute I picked her up I knew something was wrong. She was so hot and her body felt like it was on fire. I took her temperature and it was 102.

Of course I freaked a little because she has never had a fever. Seriously. My first thought was, "Okay, what is wrong? Is she okay? Is her breathing okay?" My second thought was, "Oh gosh...she was around other children today, what if she got them sick?" Travis and I spent the rest of the night sleeping in our den trading her off. She slept with me for awhile in the recliner and then slept with him for awhile on the couch. Bright and early Sunday morning I called the doctor's office. By this time her fever was only 101 so we waited and made an appointment for this morning. As of 7pm tonight she still had a fever, but today at the doctor her ears were fine, her throat was fine. She's not coughing, she doesn't have a runny nose, no diarrhea, and her flu test came back negative. Thank goodness. The only thing we are still waiting on is her urine analysis which will determine whether or not she has a urinary tract infection. Dr. G said that sometimes little girls get them and the only symptom they have is a fever. If it's not a UTI then I guess the fever must be because she is teething. She hasn't had a fever with any of her other teeth, but she just cut her upper top right tooth and maybe that's why she has a fever. There's a first time for everything, right?

Needless to say it's been a busy last few days. But I am back! I have lots of pictures to share and several things to blog about. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Then and Now

August, 24 2008
1 pound 12 ounces
13 3/4 inches

August 24, 2009
16 pounds 6 ounces
26 1/2 inches
(MK is holding her very first diaper.)

Birth and One Year

Birth with sock doll

Six months with sock doll

One year with sock doll

Morgan Kate at one year

Cell Phone, Very First Diaper, Current Diaper

Monday, August 24, 2009

Happy 1st Birthday, Morgan Kate!

"The Lord is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made."
Psalm 145:13

I am still pinching myself. It just seems so hard to believe that my baby girl is a year old. A year old. It is so hard to even fathom. This has been one of the longest years of my life, yet the shortest at the very same time.

Today was an amazing day. The three of us spent the day hanging out, loving on Morgan Kate and making visits. We started with Morgan Kate's one year well visit. The visit went very well and Dr. G was very pleased. For the first time since birth Morgan Kate is on the chart for height, weight, and head circumference for a one year old. She's barely on it, but on it nevertheless.

Weight: 16 pounds, 6 ounces (3rd percentile)
Height: 26.5 inches (5th percentile)
Head Circumference: 16.5 inches (5th percentile)

Morgan Kate is a very proportional baby girl. She has doubled her length since birth and is almost sixteen times the weight she was. We can now start with some whole milk, eggs and cheese. Basically we can feed her anything she wants except for peanuts and peanut butter. I don't think she will have any allergies to peanuts or peanut butter because Travis and I don't, but you never know and I'm not really interested in taking that route quite yet.

After our well visit we grabbed a bite of lunch and then headed to the NICU. We have been once or twice since our discharge, but we wanted to be sure to take Morgan Kate on this particular day. We were able to see so many wonderful people that made such an impact in our lives and in Morgan Kate's life. We had a terrific trip and one of the highlights for me was getting to meet one very special NICU mom and her precious baby boy.

Yes, the NICU was a roller coaster. Yes, there were especially difficult days. Yes, it was an extremely hard time in our lives. Yes, we were so ready to take our baby home. But the NICU staff was amazing. Truly. They took such good care of our tiny one and they also took care of us. They were supportive and encouraging and honest. They loved Morgan Kate as if she were their own. And we spent 107 days there. I don't think you can spend that amount of time in one place and not leave a little bit of yourself there or take a little bit of that place with you. So while we are thrilled to be home and thrilled to be taking care of our baby girl, there is still a piece of our hearts in the NICU and there is still a piece that we brought home. We will always remember the NICU and all of the exceptional people there. *And "Nightshift", I promise we will come by to see all of you very soon! Promise.

After our NICU visit we headed home to cook dinner and have some birthday cake. Uncle O stopped by and was able to dine with us. It was a low key evening, but one filled with lots of laughs, good times, reflections, memories, and of course even some tears. But this time they were tears of pure happiness.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

This weekend has been filled with so many emotions. Matter of fact, the entire month of August has been filled to the brim with emotions. I'm not sure if August will ever be the same for me. I think I will always reflect back. I will always remember the days that led up to Morgan Kate's birth. I will always remember the moment I saw her. I will always replay the events in my head. And it's okay. I'm okay with reliving those moments and replaying the events. Because it was those events and those moments that made me who I am today and those same moments and events that led to the birth of my precious baby girl.

The night before Morgan Kate was born I was lying in my hospital bed watching the Olympics. I was talking to my mom. We were replaying the last few days and discussing what the next few weeks would be like. Travis had gone home for the night. He and my mom were both scheduled to return to work in two days and he was going home to get some much needed rest. Or so I thought. He was actually at home painting Morgan Kate's nursery as a surprise for me. Around 9pm or so I got an excruciating stomach ache. I had never felt pain like this and it seemed to linger, but I convinced myself that it was from the Lizard's Thicket I had eaten earlier in the evening. Shortly before midnight it subsided and I was able to drift off to sleep.

I awoke on Sunday, August 24th feeling refreshed and ready for the week ahead. I wasn't looking forward to my mom or Travis leaving for work, but I knew it was inevitable. My mom and I shared a big, yummy breakfast and when Travis called to check on me around 9am I told him to take his time and get some more rest. I was feeling good and I would call him later. Around 11:30 or so the nurse tech arrived for my daily sponge bath. Fun, fun. As she was helping me I noticed that she hit the nurse call button. I wasn't sure what was going on, but I felt confident that it wasn't about me. Ha. A nurse arrived within seconds and it was then that I realized something was terribly wrong. I had started bleeding. I immediately grabbed the phone and called Travis. I then called my mom who had walked down the hall with a dear, dear family friend. Within seconds my mom and Mrs. Jackie were back in the room with me. And within thirty minutes Travis arrived. When the bleeding started it was minimal. The doctor was called and he was due to arrive in the next thirty minutes. In a very short period of time the bleeding increased significantly. The doctor was called again and this time he arrived in a matter of seconds. An ultrasound was done immediately and it was determined that my placenta had ruptured and that I had to have an emergency C-section. Shortly before one I was wheeled down to the operating room all alone. Travis was not allowed to come in because I was completely asleep. I remember the doctor saying, "Your baby girl has a 50/50 chance". I remember tears streaming down my face and nurses reassuring me that things would be okay.

At 1:04pm Morgan Katherine Callahan was born weighing one pound twelve ounces (790 grams) and measuring 13 3/4 inches. She was immediately taken to the NICU. Travis was completely torn about whether to stay with me or go with his brand new baby girl, but he made the right decision. He went with her and then came back to check on me. When I woke up around 3:30 he was at my side with pictures ready to share. He was the proudest daddy ever. He had the biggest smile on his face. Thank goodness for his pictures and for digital cameras, because it wasn't until 8:30 that night that I got to see her for the first time.

When I walked it that night I was completely overwhelmed. My heart was in a million pieces. I was absolutely thrilled to see my brand new baby girl, my first born. But my heart ached in a way that I can't even describe. She was so tiny. The tiniest thing I had ever seen. All I wanted to do was touch her and kiss her and hold her. All I was allowed to do was touch her tiny little finger. I spent the next thirty minutes at her bedside watching every little thing she did. I was so happy that my baby girl was here and doing okay for the moment. But I was terrified. Scared to death. I had no idea what the next few days, weeks or months would hold for us.

Fast forward to today.

Today my one pound, twelve ounce baby girl is well over sixteen pounds. And she is one amazing little girl. She is the absolute light of her mommy and daddy's life. She has this contagious personality and a smile that goes on for days. When she smiles her entire face lights up and my heart just melts. She is so strong and so determined and such a fighter. I love just holding her and rocking her and playing with her. I love to have her little head on my shoulder or her tiny fingers wrapped around mine. I love to see her precious face first thing in the morning and her tiny body all curled up late at night. I love listening to her sounds and noises because she has such a captivating voice. Simply amazing. Sometimes I still can't believe she's actually mine.

This past year has been filled with ups and downs and then some. But I can honestly say that it has all been worth it. Every single second, every single moment and obstacle and struggle has all been worth it. Because we have been incredibly blessed. We have this precious, amazing miracle from God and our lives have been changed in such an enormous way.

The little munchkin on the eve of her first birthday. And yes,
she is using the nose thing as a teething device.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The mind is such a strange thing. Isn't it crazy the things you just can't remember no matter how hard you try? Yet, there are other things that are etched in your mind forever.

I have like fifty little scraps of paper lying around with "To Do" lists on them because if I don't write it down then I will forget. As I get older it's harder to remember birthdays and special events. I always forget things while grocery shopping. I can barely remember what I got for Christmas. There are many, many things that just slip my mind.

And then there are those things that I just can't forget. Things that I will always remember. I will always remember the day I left for college. I still remember that I wore jeans and a black and gray tank top. I also cried most of the day because I didn't want my parents to leave. I remember my wedding day like it was yesterday. I remember the song I listened to on the way to the church. I can still see the words on the page of the letter that Travis wrote to me. I can also still remember the way the leftover shrimp in our "get away basket" smelled the next day.

And then there's last August. I know I have referred to that month more than once, but it's crazy the things that I remember and the things that constantly pop in my head. I remember what I was wearing the night my water broke - black pants and a navy blue long sleeve t-shirt. Not sure why I was wearing an outfit that completely didn't match, but I remember it none the less. I remember the look on Travis' face. I remember being really out of it after all the meds and not really knowing where I was. I remember waking up the first morning in the hospital and seeing Travis asleep in a chair and my mom asleep with her head on the "Soiled Laundry" basket. I still remember the smell of my fluid leaking all week. I remember the terrible stomach ache I had the night before MK was born. I can still feel that pain. I still clearly remember the day she was born and how all of those events unfolded. I remember waking up for the first time that day and seeing Travis right there by my side. And I remember how my heart melted, yet broke at the same time, the moment I saw her.

While at times it's hard to relive those moments and it's hard to have all those memories, I pray that my mind is still that clear about this time in my life, this August. I want to remember everything Morgan Kate does and says. This is such an amazing time and I just want to soak it all up. I want to remember the way her little head smells after a bath. I want to remember the way she rubs her nose on my shoulder when she's sleepy. I want to remember the way she smiles and lights up when I begin to sing. I want to remember the way being a mommy to a baby feels. I want to remember what it feels like to have her little fingers brush my face. I want to remember her little coos and sounds and squeals. I even want to remember those sleepless nights where I was up three or four times. I want to remember those nights where I just had to rock and sing and rock. I want to remember everything about her. I want to remember everything about these days and this time of my life. Because this is definitely the best time of my life.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

And they call it, puppy love.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

On Monday, August 18, 2008 I awoke hopeful. Hopeful that I hadn't dilated any further. Hopeful that my cervix was unchanged. Hopeful that my fFN test would be negative. Hopeful that my baby girl would stay put for a lot longer. Hopeful that this was all just some sort of bad dream.

My mom had come for the weekend to help celebrate my birthday and to help Trav take care of me. She was staying until Monday so that she could take me to the doctor and then was planning to return home until the next weekend. My appointment was at 8:45 that morning and we arrived promptly. I was checked and my fFN test was administered. The fFN stands for fetal fibronectin. It's a test used for preterm labor. In short terms - fetal fibronectin is a protein produced during pregnancy. It is typically present during the first 22 weeks of pregnancy. After 22 weeks it goes away and doesn't reappear until the very last trimester. If the tests comes back positive between 24 weeks and 37 weeks then delivery could be possible within the next two weeks. (It all makes perfect sense to me, but I may not be explaining it in the best way.) Basically we wanted a negative test. Before leaving the doctor's office the nurse said she would call late afternoon with the results.

My mom and I left the office and headed to the Chick-fil-a drive thru for a quick lunch. We then headed home. As we were turning into my neighborhood my phone rang. The minute it rang my heart sank. It sank even further when I realized that it was the nurse already calling. My test results were already back. And they were positive. It was a likely possibility that I could deliver in the next two weeks. I had strict orders to go home, get in the bed, and call if anything changed. I was crushed. Devastated. Scared to death. I remember my eyes filling with tears, I turned to my mom and told her she couldn't leave me. I called Travis with the results and we both sat on the phone speechless.

My mom and I spent some of the afternoon trying our best to find out more information about the fFN. What exactly was the fFN? How accurate was it? What were the statistics? Did we know anyone else who had taken the same test? But most of the afternoon was filled with fear, tears, and just complete sadness.

By the time Travis got home from work I had tried to pull it together. I had tried to recompose myself and put on a happy face. I was trying to pretend that I was okay and that I could really handle all of this. My mom cooked us dinner and I ate in the bed. Shortly after dinner the phone rang. It was a friend from work calling to check on me. We talked for a short while and when I was getting ready to hang up, I felt it. A gush. A feeling I had never experienced before. I put the phone down and ran to the bathroom. I immediately called my mom and Travis. I told them that I thought my water had broken. I wasn't sure because I've never had this happen before, but it was definitely a new experience. We called my doctor and she said to head straight to Labor and Delivery at Baptist.

With dishes still on the table and pots and pans still on the stove, the three of us immediately jumped in my mom's car and headed to the hospital. Half way there I began to doubt myself. I wondered if I was making this up? Did my water really break? Travis trying to keep all of us calm and settled said, "You can't be in labor, we haven't even had our childbirth classes yet." He was exactly right. Our classes were still three to four weeks off.

I think my shock began to settle in on the drive to the hospital. Of course I was scared and sad and confused, but at the same time I didn't really know the severity of everything happening. I just kept saying, "Let's go get this checked out and then we can go straight home." My mom dropped us off at the front door and she left to go park. Travis and my mom insisted that I ride in a wheelchair. I was being very difficult and even laughing that I had to actually ride in one so when we cut the corner to the counter at L&D the nurses gave us the strangest look. I found it offensive at the time, but looking back it makes perfect sense. Here's this girl who barely looks pregnant, claiming her water broke, but laughing while her husband pushes her in a wheelchair. But at this point I didn't know what to do or to feel.

They put me in a room and began a series of tests to determine if this was indeed my fluid or possibly just urine. One nurse even said, "Honey, you probably just wet your pants." I may not know a lot, especially about labor, but I knew I had not wet my pants. After almost two hours, two different tests, and endless questions it was determined. Yes. This was my fluid. Again, I was in shock. I remember having tears and I remember holding Travis' hand. I wasn't super emotional. I wasn't freaking out. I was just in shock. And almost two hours later my poor mom was still sitting in the waiting room, alone, and clueless. I had asked for her several times, but because of privacy laws and all the jazz she had to wait outside.

My doctor was called. We had an ultrasound. My water had broken and begun to leak, but I still had some fluid - which was a good thing. Magnesium was administered to hold off labor. It's great at stopping labor, but makes your body feel awful. I remember the nurse saying that I might start to feel hot. I am naturally very cold-natured so I couldn't imagine being hot, but she was right. Almost instantly I felt like I was on fire. Antibiotics were administered to prevent infection. These antibiotics were given through and IV and they hurt. They felt like flames moving up my arm. And steroids were administered to help Morgan Kate's lungs, brain, and intestines develop just in case she were to arrive in the next seven days. At this point we were just praying that I would be able to get in the two doses of steroids that were administered 24 hours apart.

Finally around eleven that night my mom was allowed to come back. By this time I was kind of out of it, but I tried to explain to her what was happening. The three of us just sat there in silence. Hoping and praying that everything would be okay. My dad, brothers and several family friends had arrived at this point to keep my mom company and to check on me. I briefly remember seeing them in the hallway while I was being rolled to a room. A room I would stay in until our baby arrived. Ultimately we were praying for 40 weeks, but our short term goal was 28 weeks.

I might have awoken hopeful that day, but that night I went to bed scared to death. My hope was fading. All I wanted was my baby to be okay. All I wanted was a healthy, happy baby girl. I wanted her to stay put and grow and develop and not arrive for a very long time.

Monday, August 17, 2009

I'm not sure how I forgot to mention this yesterday - must have been all the cake. Morgan Kate's third tooth has officially broken through and the fourth is trying. Both are her top teeth. The left top tooth is clearly visible and the right top tooth will be making its appearance very soon. It's crazy how one day they have no teeth and then all of a sudden they have four. Crazy.

Morgan Kate is trying so hard to crawl. She can get down from a sitting position, get on all fours and begin to rock back and forth. She just hasn't figured out that she needs to move her legs and arms to get places. Right now she just rolls to get places or does an army crawl/drag. I realize that any day now it's going to happen and I really need to prepare myself and my house. Ha.

1. We have been working on using a sippy cup for quite some time. We have tried a Nuby cup and another brand that I can't recall right off hand. So far we have not had really good luck with either. The Nuby is way too large for her tiny little hands and the other brand has issues with the flow, etc. The question is...what brand do you use and why do you like it? I need serious help with this.

Earlier today I had like four questions in my head and now I can't remember any of them. Ugh!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

My birthday last year.

My birthday this year. Funny how things change in just a year.

Last year I blew out the candles and wished and hoped and prayed that my baby girl would be okay. I wished and hoped and prayed that she would stay put and continue to grow and develop. I wished and hoped and prayed that she would be sitting right next to me this year. And she was. What a feeling!

Tonight we decided to do a test run with Morgan Kate and birthday cake. After all, she has a really big birthday coming up and she's going to have lots of birthday cake. She's never had cake before or really anything that sweet so we weren't sure what to expect.

At first she just looked at it.

Then she began to poke it. She was still not sure what it was or what to do with it. I helped her out by putting a little on my finger and feeding it to her. Apparently that's all it took.

Within seconds she was feeding it to herself.

She was one happy camper when it was all over.

Afterward, Miss Morgan Kate was in desperate need of a bath and Kaky graciously obliged. Not only did Kaky give her a bath, but then put her in this adorable little bathrobe. Too cute!

Of course Travis and I had to get some pictures with the beauty in the bathrobe.

And before everyone left they too had to get some lovin'.

It was a great birthday and the cherry on the sundae was having my baby girl with me. I feel like the luckiest person in the world. This past year has definitely had its ups and downs, but I can honestly say that God has truly blessed my life and held Travis and I and Morgan Kate in the palm of his hand through all of this.

What a difference a year makes.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Last year August 14th was a Thursday. 

Last year August 14th was my first day back to work from a wonderful summer vacation. 

Last year on August 14th I was 24 weeks and 1 day pregnant.

Last year August 14th was a changing day. I was shaken. I was scared. I was terrified of what was to come.

I returned to work after a fun-filled, pregnant summer. We typically have a theme for the first day back or a special request. Last year we were to wear our favorite t-shirt. I knew exactly what I was going to wear.

We mingled. We talked. We ate. I worked in my room. I walked the halls. I sat in meetings. Around 3pm I left for a 3:30 appointment with my OB. There were papers all over my desk. Name tags that still needed names. Lesson plans that still needed planning.

It wasn't a scheduled or routine appointment. For several days prior to the appointment I had been experiencing a watery discharge. (Sorry for all the information.) I had called about it and was told that it was normal and things like that happened during pregnancy. I wasn't convinced. I just couldn't shake the thought that this was my water slowly leaking. Travis had been to every appointment prior to that time. Every single one. But this time I told him that I could handle it. I would run in and run out and be home in no time.

Three hours later I was still at the doctor's office. I was sitting in a recliner hooked up to various monitors and machines. Not only did I have a watery discharge, but I was 1cm dilated and 50% effaced. I was alone. I was shocked. Terrified. Scared to death. I could barely move or breathe or even talk. I was surrounded by three doctors from the practice and two nurses. But I never cried. Never shed a tear. And when the doctors told me that I could not return to work and that I was on bed rest, I even protested a little. I tried explaining that I was a teacher. And that today was only my first day. And that there were kids and other adults depending on me. It didn't matter. They weren't concerned with my school, or my co-workers, or my students. They were only concerned with me and my baby.

My cell phone was on the front seat of my car. I couldn't call Travis. I couldn't call my mom. I couldn't call anyone. And I really didn't want to. I didn't know what to say or do. By this time the doctor's office was completely empty. Everyone had left except for me, my OB and one extremely nice nurse. She sat with me. She brought me water. She shared her experiences of pregnancy. She talked about things that didn't involve babies or pregnancy. She stayed with me until I walked out the door at 6:30. The minute I walked out of the door I began to cry.

I got in the car and just sat there and cried. What was I going to tell Travis? What were we going to do? Were we going to be okay? And more importantly, was our baby girl going to be okay? I wasn't supposed to be dilated or effaced. I wasn't supposed to be on bed rest. I was supposed to be pregnant and stay pregnant for many, many more weeks. Our baby still had a lot of growing and developing to do.

I picked up my phone. There were numerous missed calls. Travis. Travis. My mom. My mom. Travis. Owens. Travis. My mom. Owens. I called Travis, but all I could do was sob. I drove home through tears. My eyes were so blurry. I finished talking to Travis and then called my mom. 

The minute I walked through the door at home Travis was there. He just held me and for a long time we didn't say anything.

Little did I know what we were in store for. Little did I know what the next days were going to have hold for us. Little did I know that our baby girl was going to arrive in just ten days.

Little did I know what August 14th would look like only a year later.

Boy, I sure do like the way this August 14th looks. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

FYI - This is a very random post.

In twelve days my baby girl will a year old. I can hardly believe it myself. When people say that time flies when you have a baby, they really mean it. Really. One minute their heads are bobbling around and they can barely smile. The next minute they are babbling away, attempting to crawl, cutting teeth, smiling all of the time and getting ready to turn 1!. Wow! Time slow down, please.

Tomorrow many of my friends head back to school for the start of a brand new school year. I'll be thinking about them and praying that it's a great day and a great year. It feels very awkward to not be getting my room ready, making my annual trip to Educational Wonderland, working on beginning of the year lesson plans, making name tags, etc. I mean I haven't worked in over a year, but I did go last year and get everything in my room ready. My room was about 90% done and there were only a few things that needed to be wrapped up before the students returned. So that part definitely feels different.

Yesterday we went several hours without water. I didn't actually realize how much I used water until we didn't have it. Our water came back on early yesterday evening, but we are still under a "Boil Water Advisory". Ugh! Washing bottles and making formula has become an all new experience. I can't WAIT for our regular water to come back!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tonight I attempted to serve the following to Morgan Kate for dinner.

Before eating it she "politely" investigated the jars before her. No problem. I like that she is inquisitive. 

After only one bite she raised her arms...

and "politely" said, "Stop, no more".

I happen to taste everything that Morgan Kate eats. I have eaten pears with cherries, bananas and granola, chicken noodle in a jar, macaroni in a jar, puffs, yogurt melts. You name it and I have tried it. So of course I tried the chicken with chicken gravy, as well as the peas. After tasting them and attempting to serve them to Morgan Kate, I am left with one question. Who on earth thought it would be a good idea to put chicken with chicken gravy and peas in a jar and serve it to babies? No wonder kids become picky eaters. Can you blame them?

Apparently the chicken and peas were more than Morgan Kate could handle. While cooking dinner for Travis and myself I noticed that MK got really quiet. I looked over and found the sweetest sight. 

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A busy, fun-filled, family weekend. 

This weekend Morgan Kate ate some yummy banana yogurt in the very same highchair her mommy sat in almost twenty-nine years ago.

She also did some "tailgating"...

while her seventy-nine year old great-grandmother drove a four wheeler. And yes, that is the same great-grandmother who fractured her elbow two weeks ago.

Her two bottom teeth are now both clearly visible.

She started clapping. Really clapping. Her favorite song to clap to is "Paddy Cake".

And Morgan Kate ended the weekend with a nice, long bath.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Friends, that big smile is because we are through. We are through with the antibiotic. We are through with the steroid. And we are through with one of our two inhaled steroids. Oh, and that big smile is also because that little girl loves her mommy! Hee, hee!

We went this morning for Morgan Kate's follow-up visit. Both ears were clear and looked great. And Dr. G said her lungs sounded perfect. Whewh! Just what this momma wanted and needed to hear. Dr. G does want us to continue with one inhaled steroid which MK gets through her nebulizer twice a day. We are going to keep MK on this particular breathing treatment until we go back at the end of the month for her one year well visit. Even after people get over a respiratory illness it still takes weeks for the lungs to heal completely. With MK it takes even longer because of her prematurity and immature lungs. This treatment will continue to help things improve. Oh, and MK weighed in at fifteen pounds and thirteen ounces. Exciting! She is just growing, growing, growing!

Speaking of growing. When Morgan Kate grows up she can't decide whether she wants to be a neonatologist or a NICU nurse. Either way, she's practicing now.

And by the way, I did not set this picture up. She was sitting on her changing table playing with the stethoscope. (I use it to distract her while I am changing her diaper and putting on her PJ's.) While playing with it she proceeded to wrap it around her neck. See, she already knows what to do with it. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Big things are happening around here all of the time. One day Morgan Kate is sitting. Another day she is wearing zippered pajamas. Lately she has been getting on all fours and rocking back and forth. I am fully aware that a crawling baby is in my near future. But our big thing for this week is eating. Or maybe I should say feeding. Or maybe I should just come right out and tell you all that my precious baby girl is now feeding herself. I mean not with a spoon or anything, but most definitely with her fingers and hands. 

This is a skill we have been working on for a few weeks. I don't really know when babies are "supposed" to be able to feed themselves. I try to stay away from the monthly developmental milestones that happen to appear in every baby book and baby magazine published. They tend to freak me out a little. I try to mostly focus on Morgan Kate and what she can do and what she is learning to do. 

Three weeks ago she couldn't feed herself. And this week she can. Actually she started doing it last week, but I wanted to make sure she was really feeding herself and it wasn't some sort of fluke. Three weeks ago she could pick things up, even very small things (i.e. PUFFS), but she didn't know what to do with them. It's funny - our OT told us that she would put everything in her mouth except for food. Our OT was exactly right. Morgan Kate was picking up everything and taking it straight to her mouth. Everything except for food. But lately it has just clicked. It's amazing to watch. It truly fascinates me. And because I am surrounded by EI's, PT's, OT's, etc. I know all the technical terms and what to watch for. I know to watch her thumbs and other fingers. I know to watch the way she turns her wrist and how fast or slow she brings her hand to her mouth. But I won't bore you all with those details. It's just neat for me. And it's even neater to watch my baby girl feed herself. Wow!

Monday, August 3, 2009

August has always been one of my favorite months. The other two are July and December. July because it's our anniversary and beach week. And of course December because I am a Christmas-holic. But I have always loved August. One being that August is my birthday month. Two August falls in the summer, my favorite season. And three because the first day of school falls in August. As an adult and teacher I don't have near the same enthusiasm for the first day of school, but as a child I would get so excited. Reunions with friends, new clothes, the coolest school supplies. I loved August.

This year August feels a little different for me. Of course I am excited because it's my birthday month. And even more excited because it also happens to be Morgan Kate's birthday month. But every day I find myself playing out each day from last August. I think about what we were doing last year on each day of August. I think about how I was preparing for the new school year. I think about how I was dreading the summer being over. I also think about how little I knew in the early days of last August. I had no idea that in just a few short weeks I would begin to dilate. Or be put on bed rest. Have my water break. Be hospitalized. And I especially had no idea that my baby girl would arrive so very early.  

While pregnant I kept a journal in which I would write letters to Morgan Kate. I started the letters very early on - only four days after finding out that we were even pregnant. I would write about our appointments and ultrasounds. I would write about different names and nursery ideas. I also wrote about my excitement and my worries. An excerpt from August 7, 2008 reads:

I have been quite busy preparing for the new school year. We start back in exactly one week. I dread the summer being over, but know that the start of school means your birth day is even closer...Yesterday we went for our 23 week visit and you were moving all around...Your heartbeat was 150 and it was hard to hear at times because you kept kicking...Every day I get more and more anxious to see you and hold you. My prayer continues to be that you keep thriving and growing and arrive late November, early December, a healthy, happy baby. 

Just ten days later I write:

Well baby girl, these last few days have been quite eventful...After a four hour appointment I called your Dad to tell him that I was 1 cm dilated, over 50% effaced and on complete bed rest...I am trying to keep my mind busy, but it keeps thinking of you. I am just hoping and praying that you stay in there and grow for a little longer. I already love you so much and I don't want anything to go wrong. Dr. R would like for you to stay put for at least ten more weeks. I know that God won't give us more than we can handle. 

The very next day my water broke. And seven days after that Morgan Kate arrived. 

Today Morgan Kate is doing exceptionally well. She is doing things that at one time we weren't sure she would ever do. Each day she grows and amazes us. This August she is sitting up and on the verge of crawling. She is eating new foods and moving all over the place. We have been so, so incredibly blessed. But I don't think August will ever be the same for me. I will always think back to August of 2008. I will always play those events over in my mind. I will always remember how little I knew and how scared I was. I will always remember how early she was and what a true miracle she is. The March of Dimes website reads:

The earlier a baby is born, the more likely he is to die. About 20 to 35 percent of babies born at 23 weeks of pregnancy survive, while about 50 to 70 percent of babies born at 24 to 25 weeks, and more than 90 percent born at 26 to 27 weeks, survive . 

I know we/are were a statistic. I know things could have taken a completely different turn. And I will be forever grateful that they didn't. 

So yes, August was one of my favorite months. And it will continue to be one of my favorites. Not only because it's my birthday and Morgan Kate's birthday and because it happens to fall in the summer, but because last August I witnessed a true and absolute miracle and each day I get to see and touch and hold and love that miracle. 

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Big night around the Callahan household. For the first time ever, Morgan Kate is wearing zippered pajamas. Funny how that's exciting, isn't it? While on the various monitors at night Morgan Kate had to wear pajamas with snaps so that the cords from the monitors could easily hang out. I liked for them to hang out of the bottom snap so that she wouldn't play with them and so she wouldn't get tangled up. The snap PJ's were fine and very easy, but we received several zippered PJ's as gifts and just couldn't use them. But tonight was different. I found a really cute pair amongst all her clothes and right now she is nice and clean and in her very first pair of zippered pajamas. If you think I am excited, check her out!