Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Whewh! I have lots to talk about today. I will go ahead and tell you that this is going to be a LONG post.

First, car seats. Specifically convertible car seats. So, as you all know, up until about a week ago we were still using Morgan Kate's infant carrier. However, we decided it was time for a change. MK was beginning to scream each time we put her in the car seat and there just wasn't enough room. We purchased this car seat.

I was so excited because she seemed to really like it and I was dreaming of the day when she would finally be forward facing. I thought this would happen fairly soon. Like as soon as she gained three pounds. However, after doing some research and reading everyone's comments I realize that maybe that won't be happening anytime. We may actually have another year of rear facing. Matter of fact, according to one article I read (click on link above) if you have already turned your child forward and they are not two years of age, then you need to turn them back around to rear facing. Oh my! Of course I will do whatever needs to be done to ensure that Morgan Kate is safe, but I was so looking forward to turning her car seat around. Oh well.

I know many parents right now that are about to purchase a new car seat and I also know they would love any advice or help on making this decision. If you have recently purchased one or if you just love one in particular will you leave the name of the car seat, why you like it and where you purchased it in the comments section of this post. I will say that we love our new seat. It's really comfy, great neutral colors, converts to a forward facing seat and then a booster and Morgan Kate seems to really like it. However, it is really large and probably wouldn't fit well in a smaller car. It's also more difficult to move from car to car.

On to the second item of discussion.

We had our second speech session today and it was great. I love speech and I love our SLPs (speech language pathologists)! Not only is Morgan Kate learning so much, but I am as well. Today we worked some with the cup. Our SLP showed us three different cups and they are fabulous. Matter of fact, after seeing these cups today and using them I have a whole new thinking about sippy cups. I think sippy cups are silly. Just my opinion. And that opinion could change next week. I also probably feel that way because they aren't working for us.

The first cup we tried was the "Honey Bear Cup". It is shaped just like a honey bear and has a straw. The straw is adjustable, meaning you can make it longer or shorter. Anyway, this was my favorite cup because it worked so well and because it works in two different ways. The child can suck on the straw just like any other straw or the parent can press the honey bear and liquid will come out of the straw into the child's mouth. The sucking on the straw concept won't work for MK right now because she doesn't know how to suck on a straw. However, she loves for you to press the bear and drink that way. Yes, it requires more work on my part, but it's okay - she's actually drinking from something other than her bottle. Oh, and she was super excited and motivated!

I also loved the "recessed lid" cup. It's a cup that has handles and different lids. The lids have different size holes - smaller for slow flow, larger for faster flow. Anyway, you attach the lids which are recessed and the child drinks from this cup much like a regular cup - so it makes for a great transition. Morgan Kate and I both loved this cup. It was a bit messier, but again, it worked. She was drinking from it and didn't have to try so hard.
The third cup was called the "Nosey Cup". It is shaped much like a regular drinking cup, but has a part cut out for your nose. Basically the child can use this cup without tilting their head back. It's designed for children that are a little bit older and more comfortable drinking. It looked really neat and I am sure it would also work, but we didn't try it today.

The two cups we did try worked really well and we were both super excited. Of course you can't buy them at Wal-Mart or Target, but you can order them online. So, I will be doing that a little later tonight. If you are interested in the links for them just let me know.

And on to the last topic. Sorry for such a long post. So much to say and if I don't say it now I just may forget. Ha!

Morgan Kate is going to be a bumblebee for Halloween. She needs a tutu for her costume and I wanted to try and make one rather than buying one. I went to Wal-Mart looking for black tule, but only found pink. I decided to go ahead and purchase the pink just to test my skills. If it worked then I would look for black. Well, it worked and I loved it. I am not a "fru-fru" person at all (remember I wasn't even sure I liked bows), but I just think these little tutus are too cute. After I put the tutu on I realized she needed something on her head. Again, I'm not a "fru-fru" person, but I grabbed some extra tule off the spool, tied it around her head and it worked. Here are some pics from our photo shoot today.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Well, today this mommy faced her fears, put on her big girl pants and got a flu shot. And I didn't even cry. Or get pale. Or whimpy. I was a total trooper. Let me stop. I am giving myself way too much credit here. The truth is, the nurse giving the shot was very calm and really helped me relax. So a big thanks to her!

And a very BIG thanks to CATERPILLAR! Travis works for CAT and today they had an on-site Health Fair. Family members of CAT employees were able to go and get free flu shots. How nice! It was also nice to meet all of the people Travis works with and put faces with names. Morgan Kate fell in love with several of them. After my flu shot we headed out for a pretty nice lunch as well. Morgan Kate really enjoyed herself! She had pasta salad, peaches and puffs.

I feel like I say this everyday, but it's so true, Morgan Kate is growing up so fast. Too fast. Each day she is doing new things and changing so much. Right now she is crawling everywhere and pulling up on everything. And I mean everything. Baskets, chairs, the entertainment center. Everything. I can't turn my head for even a second. We have had to lower the mattress in her crib and "close off" certain areas of the house.

And we have purchased a new car seat. A big girl car seat. Don't worry. I realize she's not twenty pounds yet and that she still must be "rear facing". But, this little girl was completely and totally over the infant carrier. So, we purchased a new car seat that is rear facing until twenty pounds, then forward facing until whatever pounds they are supposed to be and then it converts into a booster. Perfect. She seems to love it. She loves sitting up and being able to look around. I keep telling her that as soon as she gains a little more weight she can turn around. I don't want to rush anything, but I have to admit, I am so ready for her to be "forward facing". I want to be able to turn around and see that pretty little face!

(The new seat has two straps. However, we had just parked and
I was getting her out when I realized that I wanted to take a picture.
I quickly fastened her back in, but I guess I missed one arm.)

This picture has nothing to do with flu shots, CAT, growing up or new car seats. It's just too darn cute not to post!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sometimes Mondays are hard. It's hard getting up. It's hard getting motivated. And it's hard thinking about the fact that the next weekend is five days away.

This Monday proved to be different. Well, almost. It was still hard getting up this morning, but then it's hard for me to get up any morning. I love sleeping and I seem to sleep my best early in the morning. Ha! However, the minute I walk into Morgan Kate's room my grouchiness and sleepiness just fade away.

This Monday was a great day. Full of laughs, smiles, songs, and getting things done. We began the day with our very first speech session. It went so well and Morgan Kate worked extremely hard. We worked on signs for more, eat and ball. And we worked with cause and effect games, as well as joint-attention skills. Are you impressed with my technical words? After speech we headed home and spent the afternoon doing laundry, eating pasta, cleaning our outdoor rocking chairs, riding in the wagon, watering the flowers and singing. One song in particular was "If You're Happy and You Know It". Morgan Kate loves this song and I love her expressions. To experience this first-hand, or almost first-hand, be sure to check out the video below. Oh, and try not to pay much attention to my singing voice. I usually only sing for Morgan Kate. And maybe Travis, sometimes. Maybe.

Later this evening we enjoyed a nice dinner. After dinner, well after Travis and I were finished, Morgan Kate was trying to finish up her last remnants, but was very distracted by her daddy. If this video doesn't make you smile then I'm not sure what will.

Friday, September 25, 2009

I have never liked getting shots. I mean really, really never liked it. As a child if I ever had to get a shot I would make my mom hold my hand and talk to me the entire time. I would literally squeeze the color out of her poor hand. Right before the shot I would get very clammy and start to turn ghost white. When I was fifteen I had hernia surgery and spent several days in the hospital. On my second day there the nurse came in with pain killers via a shot. I kicked and screamed like a two year old. Quite embarrassing. And I usually always chicken out when there is a blood drive. As an adult I have gotten some better. Some being the keyword. I have to have blood drawn every six months to check my thyroid levels. And at this point I have had numerous IV's, injections, blood draws, and just shots in general. I no longer need my mom to hold my hand or talk to me, but I still do get really anxious and find myself nervously chatting to the nurse.

While I like to think that my getting older and wiser has made shots easier, I really think it's because of Morgan Kate. I mean since day one of her life I have watched my poor baby girl be pricked and poked. She used to have her heel pricked numerous times a day. She's had a broviac, IV's, blood transfusions. Lots and lots of needles. Since coming home from the hospital she has had numerous immunizations, blood drawn and several Synagis injections. Through all of them she has been quite the trooper. The only time she has really been upset or cried for a long time was right after her one year immunizations. She is so brave and I am striving to be more like her.

Today was no different. I took her this morning to have her very first flu shot. I was a little anxious as to how she would react. I mean if she's anything like me then she would be screaming and kicking and crying her eyes out. Thankfully, she's not like me in that respect. I packed several toys and even took a bottle in hopes that one of those things would comfort her. In the end we didn't need anything. The nurse came in, played with MK for a few minutes, gave her the shot and that was that. No flinch. No tears. No crying. What a relief! And what a brave and courageous little girl. Again, she amazes me.

Oh, and as of today Miss Morgan Kate weighs seventeen pounds!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Morgan Kate has a brand new toy. And as with any new toy, she has to get the "hang of things".

But before you know it she is enjoying every minute.

Having a blast.

Just relaxing and taking everything in.

And of course, flashing that big huge smile that takes up her entire face.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I always get a little anxious right before Morgan Kate has any evaluation. I also get a little emotional. I really can't explain why. It just happens. I guess it's mostly because, well, she's my baby and I want nothing but the best for her.

This morning we had Morgan Kate's speech evaluation. And as expected, my nerves set in. I called Travis and my mom several times this morning just to talk. To kind of vocalize what I was feeling and to, in some way distract from the fact that we had an evaluation. However, the minute I walked into the therapist's office I was completely calm and felt very comfortable. Maybe it was the fact that we sat on the floor. Maybe it was the fact at there were toys everywhere. Maybe it was because MK was smiling. Maybe it was because our therapist whom we will call "L" was so, so, so very nice and said that MK was the cutest thing ever. Or maybe it was even the two big dogs that were lying on pillows in the front office. I just felt really good about where we were.

Morgan Kate did end up qualifying for speech therapy (ST). And she will receive services twice a week. She will have two different therapists who work very closely together - so we have "L" and "W". Of course we will work on "speaking", but more importantly we will work on pre-verbal skills and our therapists will work with MK on using a cup. Pre-verbal skills are those skills that you have to have or need before you actually start talking. The therapists have so many ideas and thoughts about cups and what to use and what not to use. They even showed me some different cups today that make so much more sense than a sippy cup. And we will also work on signing so that MK will be able to tell me what she wants or how she is feeling before she can actually say the words. She and I have been working on the sign for "more" for a while now and we will continue to work on that during ST.

I may have been anxious and apprehensive this morning, but I feel so much better this afternoon. I'm excited actually and can't wait for our first official appointment next week. I think this is going to be great for Morgan Kate. And for me.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Nap time used to be somewhat of a struggle for me. You may remember this post or possibly even this one. It took us quite a while to get nap time under control. But we did. Now we have a new struggle. The sippy cup.

We have tried this cup.

And this cup.

And this one.

And this one.

And even this one.
So far? No luck. Morgan Kate either just chews on the spout or throws the cup on the ground. I don't really care which cup we end up with, assuming we ever figure this thing out. I just want to make sure that she can eventually drink from something other than her bottle. Our pediatrician, Dr. G, wants her off of the bottle by 15 months (12 months adjusted). I realize that we have a few months until that time, but I would really prefer this be a gradual change and not cold turkey. Any help, suggestions, ideas? I will tell you this. One, when we try to let her drink from a regular cup she just sticks her tongue in the cup and will not drink. Two, she doesn't get the straw cup (very last picture) at all. Totally confuses her. And three, she loves for us to collect water in a straw and drop it into her mouth.

And just because. A picture of MK in some of her new fall clothes.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Morgan Kate has taught me many, many life lessons. Today my lesson was on sharing. It was a warm afternoon here and I decided to have an ice cream cone. Morgan Kate decided she wanted some too. I am learning that there is very little I can eat and not share with her. These days she wants to "share" everything. And to be honest, I absolutely love it.

Taking her first bite...

Not so sure...

But decided she wanted another bite...

Still not sure if she likes this tasty, but extremely cold treat...

Thinking seriously about this whole ice cream thing...

Yep, she's in love...

*Side Note -
MK is not typically dressed like this. Remember, I always try to dress her in at least one "girl color" so that she is not mistaken for a boy. Also, her clothes usually match. However, this morning we were cleaning out and reorganizing her clothes and I found this little onesie. Travis bought this onesie at CAT long before we knew we were having a girl. Anyway, it was the perfect "ice cream eating outfit".

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Happy Birthday, Kaky!
We love you.

Friday, September 18, 2009

I blog for numerous reasons. One, I find it to be very therapeutic. I love sitting down at the computer and letting my thoughts flow. Two, because it's an ideal way to keep everyone updated on our little muffin. And three, which I feel is most important, I blog so that Morgan Kate will have a record of these days and times and one day she will be able to go back and read through them all. With that being said I feel it's important to tell her about what happened on this special day five years ago.

Five years ago today Travis and I got engaged after eight years of dating. For those of you who I know well you may want to skip this post because I am sure you have heard this story over five hundred different times. Possibly more. Not only was a very special day, but I happen to think it's a funny story too and I love telling it. Even five years later.

Saturday, September 18, 2004
Travis called me early in the week and asked if I was interested in making one last lake trip before the summer officially came to a close. My first question was, "Well who is going with us?" I just assumed that it would be a group celebration. I was wrong. He told me that he just wanted it to be the two of us. I told him I would think about it. After all the forecast called for rain and USC had a home football game. By the end of the week I had agreed. How could I pass up a lake trip with my favorite guy, especially one that only involved the two of us.

Saturday morning we got our things together and headed for the lake. Fortunately the forecasters were wrong and the weather was beautiful. We put our things on the boat, jumped in and nothing happened. That's right. The boat wouldn't crank. I could tell that Travis was a little stressed, but I tried to remain optimistic. After about thirty minutes of this a much larger boat offered to help us out. Within ten minutes the boat was cranked and we were on our way. We spent several hours just riding around and taking in all the beautiful sights of Lake Murray.

After noon that day we headed to a small island. We parked the boat and decided to eat lunch. After lunch we were both just chatting and enjoying the sunshine. I decided that it would be a perfect time to work on my tan and possibly even take a nap. Not ten minutes into my nap Travis said, "What if I told you I brought you out for a reason?" Okay. Well what is that supposed to mean? I mean really. I didn't even look up - remember I am trying to get the last few drops of summer sun. I politely responded, "What are you talking about?" The next thing I know he is on his knees at my side and he has this tiny red box. The box itself was beautiful. It was a perfect square and cherry red with a small silver button. I still have that box. He begins to pour his heart out and I start squirming. I can't sit still and I can't even look at him. And I keep saying, "This better be for real. Please do not play with my emotions." I try to collect myself and turn to him. This is when I realize that yes, this is for real. Travis then asks me to marry him and of course I say, "YES!" I am beaming and giggling and crying. I keep hugging him and giggling and looking at the ring and crying and looking at the ring. The ring was gorgeous. More beautiful than I could have ever imagined.

After the proposal we made several phone calls to share our news. And we celebrated. Travis had thought about everything that day even down to a bottle of champagne. Only one problem. No glasses. But we proceeded with it anyways. We were not going to miss the opportunity. We then decided that we wanted to head back in. We wanted to still try and make the football game so that we could share all the details with our friends. And we also wanted to meet my parents somewhere so that we could celebrate with them as well. My parents had known for almost two weeks before Travis even asked me and they both kept it a secret.

We began to head in, but encountered another problem. The boat wouldn't crank again. This time we tried for over an hour. And this time there was no one around to help us. If I remember correctly we finally got the boat to crank and started heading for the landing. Ten minutes into the ride the boat stopped again. For the next thirty minutes Travis worked with the boat and still nothing. We were stuck in the middle of the lake with the absolute best news and we couldn't share it with anyone. By this point we were both beginning to get aggravated.

Finally someone notices us and offers to tow us back to the landing. At this point I am exhausted. I'm not sure why I was so tired. I mean Travis was doing all the work. I guess I was exhausted from so much celebration. I decided that on the "slow ride" back I would take a nap. Travis decides that he will continue to work on the motor. While dozing I hear a splash. I look back only to see my fiance' in the water and he is getting further and further away. Oh my goodness. I then had to somehow quickly get the nice man towing us to stop and turn around to get Travis. It was quite the ordeal.

By the time we finally made it to the landing it was much later than we had hoped for. However, we didn't let it get the best of us. We decided to stick with our plans. Besides, we definitely had a story to tell now.

September 18th was such a special day with such a special story. And I just can't stop telling it to anyone who will listen.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

So, it's not 100% official. Meaning that the paperwork hasn't been filled out or signed. But I think it's still safe to tell you all that as of last Friday Morgan Kate has been discharged from occupational therapy. Yahoo! She has graduated!

We all knew that Morgan Kate was improving and catching up, but the assessment that our OT completed last week just confirmed things. Our OT assessed MK in the two areas she struggled with - grasp and visual motor integration (VMI). Obviously, grasp is her ability to reach for things and pick them up. She has to pick up blocks and balls and other objects. The OT looks for how easy or how hard it is for her and also looks at finger placement, etc. Bet you all didn't know that there is "technical" way a child should grasp something. Ha. Visual motor integration is her ability to use her hands and movement, or something like that. In this area she had to be able to pull pegs out of a board, pull up puzzle pieces and pull a string towards her in order to get the toy tied to the end of it. When the assessment was all said and done she scored high in both areas. (*Remember her actual age is one year and her adjusted age is 9.5 months.) In the area of grasp she scored 12 months and in the area of VMI she scored 10 months. Both were above her adjusted age! Absolutely no delays with grasp and only a minor delay according to her actual age in VMI. Now that she is crawling that minor delay will improve in no time. While crawling, babies take in a lot of information through their hands - all kinds of tactile things and sensory things. We (me and all of MK's therapists) have decided that right now we want to keep MK crawling so that she can continue to get all of this great information. In the next few weeks we will begin work on walking.

It's funny. I was very hesitant when MK first qualified for OT. I have mentioned this several times. But I really got accustomed to it and accepted it and when we were discharged last week I was hesitant about that. It's like I know she's catching up and improving, but I'm so reluctant to let go of our therapists. However, I know this is the best thing and I couldn't be happier. Just three months ago she wasn't reaching or grabbing or grasping for anything. Nothing. And now she can't keep her hands off of things. I love it!

Next Wednesday we have our speech evaluation. Please say a little prayer!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Crawling. And standing. And cruising. Oh my!

When it happens, it happens. One day Morgan Kate is crawling. The next day she is pulling to a stand and in that very same day she starts cruising. Morgan Kate started officially crawling last Monday and it has only improved since. She is now faster, more steady and moving everywhere. Today during therapy she pulled to a stand numerous times and even began cruising. I was absolutely blown away.

And if all of that isn't enough. Check out this video. Not only is she crawling, and standing and cruising, but she is also talking. Kind of. Another new one for us. MK has been making noises and very quiet sounds for awhile now, but until yesterday she wasn't making any distinct sounds or consonant sounds or words. Matter of fact, she has a speech evaluation next Wednesday. But, look who's talking now.

I have been in tears for the past two days. Not tears of sadness or tears of pain, but tears of absolute joy!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Summer has always been my favorite season. I love the hot weather. I love the green, green trees. I love wearing tank tops and flip flops. I love being able to swim and go to the lake or the beach. I love spending summer evenings sitting on my front porch and chatting with neighbors. To put it simple, I love the summer.

But this year it's different. This year I have been looking forward to the fall. Longing for the fall. The last few weeks the weather here has been quite "fallish" and I have been so giddy. I could sit outside all day and look at the blue fall sky. It's so blue and so clear. I love the cool crisp mornings and nights. And I am even excited about the trees changing colors. I have even already hung my fall door decoration and purchased two fall mums.

At first I couldn't figure it out. I wasn't sure why I was so anxious for the fall. But now it makes perfect sense. Last year we didn't have a fall. Yes, the season came. And the season went. Yes, the leaves fell and changed colors. Football season started and football season ended. Yes, children dressed in Halloween costumes and went door to door. But not us. We didn't really experience fall last year. We were just really beginning our long stay in the NICU. We started our stay in the summer and left in the winter. Anything that happened in between was lost. We watched the trees change colors from Morgan Kate's window. We watched numerous football games from the small green couch in her room. When Halloween rolled around we dressed her in a preemie size pumpkin onesie and I wore my spider shirt to the hospital. For us, fall didn't take place. Or that's how it seemed.

There was a big window in Morgan Kate's room. I remember looking out of that window each day. There was this one particular tree. I looked at that tree often. When we first arrived in late August the tree was full and a beautiful green. By early October the leaves on that same had turned amber and orange and purple. And then by the time we left in early December the tree was almost completely bare. It was a sign of changing times, changing seasons. It was really the only thing or object that helped us realize that seasons were changing and time was moving on.

I'm so anxious for this fall. I simply cannot wait. Of course I am ready for the leaves to change and the weather to turn cooler. And I am excited about football season. But more importantly because this fall we are at home. This fall we are here and experiencing each day with our precious, happy and healthy baby girl. I will always remember and cherish this fall.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Baby Legs
imagine the tune, "Baby Love" by the Supremes

Ohh baby legs, my baby legs

I need you, oh how I need you

Cause you really help me crawl

Protect my knees and break my falls

Tell me, where would I be

If you weren't covering my knees

Baby legs, ooh baby legs.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cold. Congestion. Cough. Flu. H1N1. RSV. All words that make me nauseous. And unfortunately those are words I hear more frequently now that fall is approaching.

Today we had an appointment with Morgan Kate's pulmonologist, Dr. B. We were actually discharged back in March because she was no longer on oxygen and no longer needed any medications for her breathing. However, since that time she has started a daily breathing treatment (inhaled steroid) and she has also needed an oral steroid and lasix at one point. Our appointment today was for two reasons. One, we wanted to get Dr. B's take on Morgan Kate's breathing and two, we wanted to see if she would qualify for the Synagis shot (RSV) again this October.

We don't see any huge problems with Morgan Kate's breathing. But we were concerned because she is still using an inhaled steroid and because at times, especially during therapy or while crawling, she begins to pant and seems very out of breath. The inhaled steroid that she receives daily does seem to help. Prior to the steroid she had very little stamina or endurance because she worked so hard to just breathe. Dr. B agrees that at this time we do need to keep MK on an inhaled steroid. She has been receiving this through her nebulizer, this noisy machine that looks like a penguin. Using the nebulizer is hard work. It has this mask that is supposed to go over her face. She pulls at it and squirms and in the end I'm not really sure how much of the steroid she is actually getting. Dr. B suggested that we try an inhaler. It's the same type of medication just administered differently. I used it tonight and it was terrific. The nebulizer takes about ten minutes and the inhaler took all of ten seconds. Beautiful! At this time Dr. B feels like her breathing issues can be controlled with the inhaler. However, he said that if things change any or begin to worsen then we will have to be more aggressive (whatever that means).

MK also qualified for the Synagis shot. She will receive a monthly shot from October until February. When we were discharged in March we were told that she probably wouldn't qualify. Yes, she was extremely early. Yes, she has chronic lung disease. But, if the same child that was early and has chronic lung disease doesn't need oxygen or steroids 6 months prior to the new RSV season then they don't qualify. Personally, I think that's junk. I think any child born early, especially those with CLD, should automatically qualify until at least age 2. Just my personal opinion. Anyway, since MK was so early, has CLD and still needs the nebulizer/inhaler and because she has also taken an oral steroid and lasix in the past six months then she qualifies. I was super excited. Not so much excited about the fact that she will have to get a shot, but super excited that we get another season of coverage. She will also get a flu shot next week and the H1N1 when it's available.

I asked Dr. B about any precautions for the fall and winter months. He said that we do not need to hibernate like we did last year. We do still need to practice good hand washing and keep MK away from people that are sick. We also need to avoid daycares, church nurseries and the state fair, but we don't have to quarantine ourselves. MUSIC TO MY EARS. I was not looking forward to another fall/winter cooped up between these four walls. However, I know myself and I know how I freak about MK's lungs and breathing. With that said, I know that we will stay away from large crowds and avoid certain places. And I will also have my sanitizer with me 24/7. Recently I have been more lax about it, but that's all about to change.

I guess with all these shots and vaccines and precautions my nausea might subside some. MIGHT. Not making any promises.

MK in her new dress from Ma-Ma and Aunt Jan

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

At four this morning I wasn't sure how the day was going to go.

Morgan Kate usually sleeps through the night. Twelve solid hours. However, the last few weeks she has been waking up once or twice a week around four or five. This morning it was four. I know that most would say, "Just let her cry it out and she will learn to sleep." Well, Dr. G said that if MK wants a bottle in the middle of the night then we should give her one. She needs calories and that's one sure way to get it done. And when she is awake and crying at four in the morning, so am I. I can't hardly continue sleeping when I hear her crying over the monitor. So I proceeded to warm up a bottle and head to her room.

Usually I change her, feed her and put her back to bed. By the time I crawl back into my own bed she is fast asleep again. Usually. This morning was unusual. I changed her, fed her and realized she was wide awake. Her eyes were wide open and she was looking all around. I rocked her for a few and then put her back in the crib. I then listened to her cry for twenty minutes on the monitor. I went back in and rocked her a little more and she fell asleep. I thought. I put her back in the crib and as I was heading to my bed the crying started. After twenty more minutes of this and the fact that it was now a little after five in the morning I head back to her room, pick her up and she and I proceed to sleep the rest of the night/morning in the recliner.

She was off to dreamland in no time. Mommy on the other hand had some trouble. I kept wondering what was going on with her. I kept hearing noises outside. I kept making "To Do" lists in my head. I kept thinking of new ideas for the blog. Anyway, it was a while before I actually fell asleep. I vaguely remember Travis kissing me goodbye. The only thing I do remember is waking up and looking at the clock. It was 8:32 and we were both still asleep and our early interventionist was due to arrive at 9:00. MK needs a breathing treatment, a diaper change, and breakfast. Oh, and I desperately need to brush my teeth and take a shower. Twenty-eight minutes to accomplish all of this.

So as you can see I wasn't real sure how the rest of the day was going to play out. Usually when the morning starts off rough the rest of the day tends to follow suit. But, today that didn't happen. It actually turned out to be a really, really good day. No, I didn't win the lottery. Nor did I get any earth shattering news. I can't really explain or even point out the one moment that made it such a good day. It was just a good day.

As I was eating dinner tonight I was watching Morgan Kate. I couldn't stop smiling or thinking about how blessed I am. I have such a terrific life. I have an absolutely amazing hubby. A beautiful baby girl. Great family and friends. And two lovable (most of the time) doggies. I was also watching MK and thinking about how extraordinary she is. Today she has been crawling up a storm. Everywhere. All of the time. Last night Jenny commented on the blog and said, "Hang on, Heather -- your house will NEVER be the same." Boy, was she right. Our PT saw her crawling today for the first time and even she got teary eyed. MK has also been trying to pull up on things and pulled up to a stand several times during PT. Amazing, amazing. And on the food front things are going so well. She is loving some of her new options and she does so well feeding herself. I just love watching her pick up the little pieces, put them in her mouth and start chewing. It seems like such a trivial thing, but to me it's HUGE. So big.

So the day may have started off kind of rocky, but it didn't end that way at all. In the words of Ice Cube, "Today was a good day."

A few pics of Miss MK. Oh, and total side note. About five minutes after finding out that we were having a girl I began to dream of bows and dresses and pink. I don't know why I dreamed about bows. I always hated wearing bows myself. But, I just knew or I thought my little girl would wear them and that I would love it. Fast forward to today. I think I want her to wear bows. I'm not really sure anymore. I mean I think they are nice and look super cute on other babies. But they always seem too big on MK and it probably doesn't help that she really doesn't have enough hair to actually wear one. But I put aside my "wishy-washy" feelings about bows and had her wear one today. Today she was wearing very neutral colors and I needed to make a trip to Wal-Mart. While there I didn't want anyone mistaking her for a little boy, so I made her wear this bow. She didn't even know it was there, but I did and it helped. No one confused her. Thank goodness.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A BIG thanks to everyone who left comments about feeding. Your suggestions were/are awesome and make total sense. Sometimes I don't think I allow myself to think outside of the box. We have already tried some of these ideas and have also started working on mixing her formula and whole milk. Progress, progress, progress.

Speaking of progress. I think we have a crawler. I say "think" because MK isn't crawling all of the time. She will crawl some, then roll some, then drag herself some and then crawl some more. Either way, this video is proof that it is happening. Yahoo!

And apparently I am making some progress as well. I have been blogging for over a year and never posted a video. I am super excited this worked and can't wait to post more. Watch out, it could be all videos soon. Ha ha.

Monday, September 7, 2009

I don't always follow directions exactly as written. If a recipe calls for a teaspoon of vanilla, I may add a little more or a little less. If instructions are to add eight cups of water, I may add six, eight or even nine. If my spring flowers require watering twice a day, some days it will happen and others day it won't. However, when it comes to feeding Morgan Kate I follow directions to a "T". I would even consider myself a little obsessive at times.

When we first brought MK home we were to feed her every three hours and "x" amount of ounces. Because of her extreme low birth weight we weren't allowed to let her sleep or tell us when she might be hungry. So I constantly watched the clock. When three hours passed I fed her, I knew how much she was eating and I even recorded how much she ate. At the end of the day I could even tell you how many calories she consumed and I was supposed to know. I realize this totally goes against Babywise and many, many other books. But I have also come to realize that aliens must have written more than half of the baby books out there. That's probably another reason why I just couldn't handle nursing - I never knew how much she was getting and then I would start to freak. As MK has gotten older she now goes 4-6 hours between feedings. But I still watch the clock and I still add up all the calories in my head to ensure that she is eating enough to grow adequately. I have gotten a little better at letting her tell me when she's hungry, but I still start to get knots if it's been longer and she doesn't seem hungry or if she doesn't take all of her bottle. My point here is that when Dr. G told us how often and how much to feed MK I followed her directions precisely and even appreciated that I had something to go by.

That leads me to my problem. I can completely and totally handle the bottle stuff. I can watch the clock and remember how many ounces she has taken. But what I don't understand at all is baby food or just feeding your baby food in general. I don't know how much she is supposed to eat. I don't know how often I should offer her snacks versus meals. And just in case you haven't noticed, baby food has minimal calories and with this baby we need calorie rich food. I seriously need directions. Clear, simple and concise directions because this baby food/table food thing is so very confusing for me. So maybe some of you out there can help me...

Little background info before my questions:
MK is still taking four bottles of formula a day. MK has been eating baby food two to three times a day for quite some time now. Recently however that has changed. Now that she can feed herself she prefers to do that and doesn't want us to feed her. So I am now trying my best to find any types of food that she can feed herself. Also, I know this sounds ridiculous but Travis and I eat a lot of foods that have added spices or things that she's just not quite ready for yet, so I find myself fixing our meals and then fixing her stuff. I don't have a problem preparing both, but just need some ideas because there are many times where I can't just feed her off of my plate.

1. How many times a day do most one year olds eat food? (I realize all children are different.)
2. What are some quick and easy finger foods that you especially like? (Veggies, fruits and especially meats)
3. Do you have any creative ways to prepare food that you can use for a few days at a time?
4. What kind of schedule do you have for feedings? (Example - 8am:bottle, 9am-food, 1pm bottle, 2pm food)

Oh, and we are supposed to start adding whole milk. One, she doesn't seem to like the milk and two, she hasn't quite figured out the whole sippy cup thing.
1. Should I supplement a milk bottle for one of her formula bottles or should the milk be in addition to the formula? Just curious as to what others do.

Wow. I have more questions than I even realized. HELP!

Friday, September 4, 2009

I'm going to blame my lack of blogging on the fact that my hubby has been home for two weeks. And it has been the best two weeks. No it's not paid time off, nor is it vacation. Unfortunately, he's been on a two week layoff and there are still two more weeks yet to come later this year. Fortunately, it's not a permanent layoff. While it may not exactly be great for the wallet, it has been so wonderful for us. I love having him home. Morgan Kate loves having home. And the dogs love having him home. We have had some really nice relaxing days, coming and going as we please. Typically he puts MK down for bed and I am up with her in the mornings. However, for the past two weeks I have been putting her down which gives me some great snuggle time and he has been getting up with her. He loves the mornings with her and I love any chance to sleep in a little. And I love the eggs and bacon he likes to cook. I am absolutely dreading next week when he has to return to work. Don't get me wrong - I am thankful he has a job, very thankful! But I do love having all my family at home.

I have been wanting to blog about Morgan Kate's therapy for quite some time, but just haven't found the right words. I still don't know if I have the exact ones I want to use, but it's something I want to write about.

MK has been receiving early intervention services since February. We have been very pleased with all her therapy and therapists and we still are. I know that this intervention is crucial and very much needed. I know that plenty of children and adults receive therapy in some sort or fashion. I am was am a teacher and I have sat in on numerous IEP meetings and either helped or requested that a child receive certain services. I guess I just never thought or even imagined that my own child might need those very same services one day. It's not that I am embarrassed or ashamed or disappointed BY. ANY. MEANS. I am so proud of Morgan Kate. I am so proud to be her mommy and to call her my daughter. In just her one short year she has done and accomplished so many extraordinary things. She has been through and conquered more in her little life than I will ever do. She is simply amazing.

It's just that I hate seeing her struggle. I don't want her to struggle. I don't want her to have any delays. I don't want anything to be hard for her. Hopefully, these are normal mommy feelings. And while I don't want anything to be hard, or anyone to hurt her feelings or break her heart, I know it's inevitable. I know some of these things are going to occur and maybe more than I like.

Back in February we only had an appointment once a week. The appointment was with our early interventionist and it lasted for an hour. I was okay with this. Perfectly content. Matter of fact, I was thrilled that MK was receiving these services. She's a preemie. She was early. This was something she needed. Then in April we added physical therapy. Two appointments a week. No problem. Again, I was okay with this. Late May, early June we added occupational therapy. Three appointments a week. This was a little harder to take. I can't really explain why this was harder. I guess it just felt like she was needing more and more. And I was hoping that she would need less and less.

Last week we had her six month assessment (since we have been receiving services for 6 months). There were so many areas where she had improved drastically. She had even met all of the goals we first set. In several areas she was right on track for her age. All of these were cause for celebration. She has made leaps and bounds in her progress. But then there were other areas where there were delays. Of course there are delays in gross motor (crawling, walking, etc.) and some in fine motor (turning the page of a book, poking at things, etc.). I knew these things and expected them. And I also know that these things are going to come. She's going to do them. But there were new delays. Delays that we didn't see in the beginning. Well, it's not that we didn't see them in the beginning, it's that we weren't looking for them or "testing" them. One specific delay being communication. MK makes noises and kinda sorta babbles, but she doesn't make any consonant sounds and she doesn't say any words. The delay was enough for her to qualify for a speech evaluation. If the speech therapist conducting the evaluation sees or finds the same delays then she will qualify for yet another therapy. Four appointments a week. Again, I am glad that these services are available and that MK can begin receiving them so early. But it was a blow. The kind of blow that makes knots in your stomach. I. JUST. DON'T. WANT. ANYTHING. TO. BE. HARD. FOR. HER. Plain and simple.

So while some of this is hard to accept. And some of this makes knots in my stomach. And some of it breaks my heart. I know it is something that we need. Something that we must do. And in the next six months we will look back and see that she has accomplished the new goals we have set and she will again have made tremendous progress. And that's the part that makes this all a little easier.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


People assume things all the time. I assume things too. However, I am learning that we really shouldn't assume things at all.

Case in point. Two cases actually.

While visiting my parents last week we stopped at a local store. While in the store this conversation took place:

Store Lady: (as we are walking in) Oh my, he's a cutie!

My Mom: She's a girl.

Store Lady: Oh. Well I just assumed she was a boy because she doesn't have any hair.

Bad assumption. And when did the amount of hair on your head become the deciding factor for gender?

Second incident. Same store. Same lady. A little later in our visit.

Store Lady: She is so cute. And so tiny.

My Mom: She's a little thing, but she's grown a lot.

Store Lady: So how old is she? Four months?

My Mom: Actually she just turned a year old.

Store Lady: Oh. I just assumed she was four months because of her size. I mean her feet are so small.

Seriously? Four months? I mean come on. Yes, MK is smaller than most one year olds, but four months old? And again, when did the size of your feet become a sure sign of your age. I know plenty of women and men who are much older and have extremely small feet.

So I am learning. Learning that maybe I shouldn't assume anything. And learning that when I want to tell someone that their baby is adorable and I am not sure of the gender maybe I should just say something like, "Your baby is precious." And learning that babies come in all shapes and sizes and that when I want to know how old a baby/child is I will just ask, "How old is your baby/child?" I will not assume that they are only months old.

Since having Morgan Kate I have learned so many things.