Tuesday, November 30, 2010

This sweet girl will be getting tubes tomorrow morning. Ten percent of me is a nervous wreck and the other ninety percent is just ready to have it done and over with. I really do feel good about the surgery and I really do feel like it will help her tremendously. We met this morning with the ENT, Dr. B. She felt like Morgan Kate was an excellent candidate for tubes because of three reasons. One, the frequency of the ear infections. I think she had six last season and one already this season. Two, the fact that oral antibiotics seems to no longer work in clearing up the infection and that we have had to get the Rocephin shots the last two times. And three, she still has lots of fluid in her left ear, sticky gooey fluid. Fluid that doesn't typically clear up on its own. Fluid that muffles sound. And fluid that breeds bacteria and infections. Yuck. Dr. B wanted to do tubes as soon as possible. She had an opening tomorrow morning and we took it. 

Please say a special prayer for Morgan Kate and her doctors, as well as her worry-wart mommy. I know it's a simple, quick, routine procedure, but it's still happening to my baby girl and it still makes me sorta, kinda nervous.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

We have so much to be thankful for. Family, friends, good health, jobs, a roof over our heads. And this precious little miracle!  

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!
Thanksgiving 2010
Thanksgiving 2009

Thanksgiving 2008

Monday, November 22, 2010

Two day work weeks. My hubby. The Macy's Day parade. Family. The smell of turkey cooking. Friends. Homemade dressing. This precious little girl. All of these things make me smile.

It's going to be a great week. I can feel it.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I love the holidays. I always have. Several weekends ago Owens and I were driving back from somewhere together and we started talking about the holidays and traditions. Owens commented that he knew I had always loved the holidays and loved traditions, but he could really tell how important they were to me now that I had Morgan Kate. And he's exactly right. He's so insightful. 

My parents always provided for me in a way that I can only hope to provide for Morgan Kate. And they gave me things that I will always take with me and cherish. One of those things being traditions. Every day traditions like eating together as a family at the kitchen table. Weekend traditions like getting to sleep in sleeping bags on the floor of their bedroom every Friday night or eating lunch at the Dairy-O after church on Sundays. Summer traditions like our annual family vacation to Folly Beach. Birthday traditions like a cake made from scratch by Mammie and celebrations that last a week. 

And then holiday traditions. 

Valentine's mornings that included breakfast, chocolates and some sort of stuffed animal. The white fluffy cat with the little pink nose was one of my all time favorites. July 4ths that consisted of tubing down the Edisto River and celebrating Kyle's birthdays and of course some sort of grilling. Halloweens that took weeks to prepare for. Finding the right costume, adding the "just right" accessories and then deciding whether we would go by Mama Jean's or Mammie's first. Thanksgivings with family and lots of food, homemade food. No store bought food or food from a restaurant or Country Club, but food made with our hands and hearts. Food that took hours in our kitchen to prepare and cook. Thanksgiving dinners that left us unable to move, not only from massive amounts of food, but from the fact that our sides hurt so much from laughing. Leaving immediately after Thanksgiving dinner to head to the Christmas lights at the Gardens. Christmas Eve always meant and still does mean the candle light service at church and a big gathering and dinner at Mammie's. All of which are followed by an extremely early bedtime, even still today, so that Santa could/can come. Christmas Eve nights also included one of my most favorite traditions, Mama Jean spending the night with us. Christmas mornings meant waiting in Mom and Dad's room until everyone was ready to go into the Christmas room to see what Santa had left behind. Christmas day afternoons of more fun and eating at Mammies. And then Christmas evening back at my parent's house to celebrate with Mama Jean and my mom's side of the family. And to finish out the year and begin the new, we gather at my parent's again with family and friends and a huge bonfire to ring in the new year. 

These aren't things that occurred sometimes. Or just once in a while. These are things I count on. These are things I know were/are going to happen. I rely on them. I look forward to them. I need them. These are traditions. Things that we have done for at least twenty-nine years and things we continue to do. These are the things that have made me the person I am today. And these are the things I want Morgan Kate to know and love.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

November 17 is dedicated to raising awareness of the crisis of premature birth. The March of Dimes invites bloggers like you to get involved.

• Learn about premature birth at marchofdimes.com/fightforpreemies

• Put a badge on your blog during November, Prematurity Awareness Month®

• On November 17, blog for a baby you love and to help others

We need to fight ― because babies shouldn’t have to.


When I look back on my thirty years and think about who I have learned the most from. I think about my daughter. My Morgan Kate. I have learned more from this precious little girl than I ever imagined. Her life, her birth, her spirit, her personality, her determination, have all taught me so many, many things.

I have learned to be a more patient person. I won't sit here and say that I have the whole patience thing figured out, but I do think I'm learning to be more patient in different sitations.

I have learned that life isn't always fair. It doesn't make me happy that this is true, but I've learned it and it's a fact.

I have learned more about prematurity that I ever wanted to know. But, it's information I will take with me for the rest of my life. And it's a cause I will fight for for the rest of my life.

I have learned that even the best planner can't possibly plan for everything. Things don't always go as expected or happen in your time or happen the way you thought they might should.

I have learned to be a more compassionate person. I think I've always been a fairly kind person, but since Morgan Kate's birth I have become much more compassionate and much more sensitive and much more accepting. You never know what the person next to you is experiencing or going through.

I have learned to appreciate everything. I get just as excited when Morgan Kate creates a turkey painting with her hand, as I do when she talks in sentences. I celebrate everything.

I have learned that everyone has their own cause and that's okay. Yes, my cause happens to be the March of Dimes and fighting prematurity. The March of Dimes conducted research that provided lifesaving medications and therapies for my daughter. But guess what? There are many, many other causes and many, many other reasons why people support those causes. Maybe they're like one of my best friends' mom who fought breast cancer. Or maybe they're fighting mulitple scolorosis. Muscular dystrophy. Alzeheimers. It doesn't matter the cause, it just matters that you have one and that you fight for it. 

I have learned to live each day to its fullest.

And I have learned that being Morgan Kate's mommy is the greatest gift I have ever been given. And I wouldn't trade even one day of it. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mondays are long days. Not only do we have work, but Morgan Kate has speech every Monday afternoon. She and I leave the house before seven and don't get home until almost six. We are both tired and hungry and just ready to be home. We sometimes sit in rush hour traffic for what seems to be forever. We sometimes sing and laugh. We sometimes scream and cry. Not at each other, but separately because we are both so exhausted and it's only Monday. But today was different. Today was a good Monday. I'm not sure if it's because we had such a great weekend or we both got lots of rest last night. It might have been the three snacks I packed - one for her to eat on the way to speech, one on the way home and one in case of a hunger emergency. And she ate all three. Or maybe it was the awesome speech session she had today. I must admit, it's probably a little of each of those things. But I know for me personally, the speech session made my heart smile and my eyes all watery. 

I've always liked where we take MK for speech. And I have always loved her therapists and we've had quite a few - four to be exact. But I haven't always loved SPEECH itself. For anyone who has ever sat through a speech session or had a child attend speech, it can be quite frustrating and overwhelming. When it's going well it's fascinating to watch and be a part of. But when it's not going so well, it can be difficult to say the least - or that's how I feel anyway. This may not make much sense, but PT and OT were always easy for me, at least most of the time. I could see, literally, the progress MK was making. I could see the way she tried to pull up or the steps she wanted so badly to take. I could see her hands moving and working. I could see that physically there was nothing standing in her way and I knew she would be okay. Speech wasn't that clear for me. I can't always see things happening because so much of speech takes place in that amazing brain of hers. It was harder for me to know that everything was okay in that department. 

Now don't get me wrong. I know that Morgan Kate is one smart cookie. She is just absolutely amazing. But, she was delayed in talking and that concerned me. I guess I knew she would have those delays, just as she did with PT and OT, because of her prematurity, but it was harder for me to know she would get better with speech and with her thinking. Sorry if this makes no sense at all. It makes a lot of sense in my crazy head. 

But God continues to amaze me with this little girl. There are very few days when his work in her life doesn't bring me to tears. He continues to show me just how miraculous he is and how awesome she is. Just today, during our speech session, I found myself biting my lip and trying my best to hold back tears of happiness. I feel so silly getting all emotional in front of people. We have a new therapist that we've only seen three times (our old one is out on maternity leave) and things are just going so well. She just has a way of working with MK that gets results and leaves me wide eyed with amazement. 

Today when we first arrived MK immediately wanted to go back and play "in da balls". It's this kiddie pool filled with those plastic balls and MK adores it. Her therapist, T, told her that she needed to work some first, but when the timer went beep, beep, beep then she could play in the balls. MK was perfectly content with that. She worked so hard for fifteen minutes or so. They read a book together, played with bubbles, played a game, played pretend and all the while she was talking the entire time. As soon as the timer went off MK jumped up, went to the door and said "Balls....Open, please". She was able to play in the balls for about ten minutes, still talking and working, but not really realizing it. When the timer went off again she cleaned up the balls and headed back to the room to work. No fussing, no crying, no procrastinating. Of course all of this amazed me, especially the words she was using and how she used them. But it was the therapists words that brought me to tears. She commented on how bright MK was and how advanced she was in her cognitive abilities. The therapist was impressed with her play skills, her pretend skills and just how she interacted with others. As I said before, I've always known she was one smart cookie, but it's always nice to hear from other people, especially people that work with her in that capacity. 

I guess I got all emotional because anything that MK really does makes me emotional. I don't know if it's because of her early birth or if it's just because I'm a mom. I can't really put my finger on it. I just know that I soak up every single thing and I just treasure it and hold on to it and I'm just so thankful for it. Every thing she does amazes me because I remember those first few months. I remember so many things and I remember not knowing how things were going to be or turn out. But I do know now and I'm just in awe at how far this little one pound twelve ounce miracle has come in only two short years. 

I love you, sweet girl! You make your mommy so very proud! 

Monday, November 15, 2010

We spent this past weekend at my parent's house celebrating my daddy's birthday. We had THE best time and Morgan Kate had a blast playing with her little cousin, Hunter. He's now sitting up, so the two of them enjoyed some cartoons together.

It was so sweet watching them interact with one another. Morgan Kate loves Hunter and calls every baby she sees (boy or girl) "Hunta". 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I feel like such a slacker. I start each day with great intentions. I intend on getting lots done, one being updating the blog. Instead I end the day with lots still to do and no energy to sit and write and update. It makes me sad. Really, it does. I'm going to really try and carve out some time for the blog. It's such a great way to document what's going on in our lives and besides, I enjoy it.


We got a call late last week from the ENT. We are scheduled to go in for a consultation at the very end of this month. At that time they will decide on surgery and when it will take place. I had some hestitations about the surgery at first, but now I'm at a point where I'm just ready to have it done and ready to have her better. Her ears are clear at this point, but I know that any runny nose or cold could lead to more ear trouble and I don't want that.


I feel like in just the past two weeks MK has really started talking more. It's no longer just one word here or there. She's putting words together, making phrases and has even said two or three sentences. She's also been asking simple questions. Of course she still talks a lot in her own language, but any time I get to hear her sweet voice, I just melt.

We have some changes getting ready to take place with speech therapy. Once I know more, I'll be sure to share.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

After seven weeks, two different antibiotics and three days of rocephin shots, Morgan Kate's ears are all clear. Oh, happy day! 

Thursday and Friday I took MK for her shots. Since she's smaller they decided to break the shot into two doses - one dose in each leg, rather than shoving the entire dose in one thigh. If you can do the math, which I'm sure you can, that's two shots a day or six shots total. After each round of shots you must wait twenty minutes to ensure she has no reaction. Thursday I wasn't prepared. I knew we had a re-check of her ears scheduled, but I wasn't prepared for shots. Thankfully the sweet ladies at the front desk had suckers and stickers and coloring pages for MK to work on,  which was a lifesaver. Friday afternoon I went prepared. I took a Reese's cup for her to munch on in the waiting room and I took a big sucker for her to have afterward. The sucker was a total hit and the tears were minimal. Trav took MK Saturday morning and I shared with him my "tricks". Wasn't that sweet of me? Today we went for the final re-check (we hoped) and her ears were clear and looked great. Now if we could just clear up the huge bruises on her poor little legs. 

Dr. G sent in the referral to the ENT and we are expecting to hear back from them by the end of this week, beginning of next. As much as I don't want MK to have surgery, I do want her to feel better and stay healthy! 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Last night we attended the Signature's Chef Auction for the March of Dimes. Not only did we attend, but we were one of the speakers. 

I'd like to say that I was nice and calm and relaxed. But, the truth is, I wasn't. I was a ball of nerves. The entire time I was getting ready I was going over my speech. I would read it, make changes, read it again and make some more changes. 

I wasn't nervous about the event. And I wasn't really that nervous about speaking in front of people. I honestly don't really mind public speaking. (I realize that probably makes me weird.) I was nervous because I thought I might get emotional. Even two years later I still get choked up when I think about Morgan Kate's birth or I see a picture of her in the NICU or when I share her story. It doesn't bother me that I get emotional - I accepted a long time ago that I was an emotional person. It bothers me because I want to do a good job. I want to speak clearly. I want people to be able to understand me. I want to share Morgan Kate's story in a way that would make her proud. 

As we were driving to the event Travis held my hand, told me to take a deep breath and told me that he knew I could do it. (Easy for him to say, right?) As we drove there my mind drifted back to some of those NICU days. I thought about how hard it was then and how far we have come now. 

The minute I walked onto the stage my nerves calmed. I had two missions in mind. One, I wanted to share our story and explain to the crowd why the March of Dimes is so vital. I wanted them to know how the March of Dimes funded research that ultimately saved our daughter's life. I wanted them to know that the March of Dimes helps all babies, not just premature babies. I wanted them to know that their contributions and their donations and their time really did make a difference. And two, I wanted to make my baby girl proud. One day I'm going to tell Morgan Kate all about her birth and her time in NICU and the impact she made on so many people, especially her mommy and daddy. And I'm going to share with her what took place tonight and what I said and the way that her story caused so many people to stand up and donate to the March of Dimes.

We had a fabulous evening! It was so much fun and we had the best time with my parents. My parents are our biggest supporters and encouragers and we just feel so blessed and so lucky to have them in our lives! They are awesome!

Oh, and as for my speech. I think I did okay. I was able to keep it together for the most part and only got a little emotional towards the end. Hey, I'm only human right?!?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Today I took Morgan Kate back to the doctor for a re-check of her ears. I was feeling 50-50. One part of me felt like the ear infection might be gone, the other part felt like it was still there. She's still just not herself and she's still waking up many nights and not able to go back to sleep. As soon as Dr. G stuck that ear-light thingy in MK's left ear, MK jerked away and said, "Hurt, hurt". And sure enough, it should hurt. It's still infected. Over one month later and the left ear is STILL infected. Poor baby. We've already tried two pretty powerful antibiotics and MK is allergic to penicillin, so it was on to the big guns. Rocephin shots. Three days of Rocephin shots to be exact. (You may remember we had to use these same shots last January when four different antibiotics didn't clear up an ear infection.) MK got her first dose today, she'll get another dose tomorrow and a final dose Saturday morning. Yes, a shot on Saturday. Doesn't seem fair, huh? After each shot we have to hang around for twenty minutes just to watch for any kind of reaction. The first fifteen minutes of that wait today was consumed with lots of crying, big tears and some screaming. Holding and hugging her didn't work. Kisses to make it all better didn't do the trick either. It took a good ole' fashion lollipop to make my girl smile again. I will definitely be taking a lollipop with me tomorrow and then again on Saturday. Whatever does the trick.

Dr. G is also referring us to an ENT. She's going to make all of the arrangements, so we are just waiting on a call back from her. Oh, how we love her. But she's most certain that MK will need tubes. I know this is a pretty standard procedure and that many, many, many children have it done, but it still makes me a little nervous. I know it will be fine, but there's just something about MK and medical procedures that tend to bring up old feelings and emotions and I just don't like to feel that way or have to think about those things.

While I hate seeing my baby have to get shots, especially when I am the one who has to basically lie on top of her and hold her down, I am hopeful that these shots will do the trick. I am ready for my girl to feel 100%! 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

You may remember that earlier this year we were asked to serve as an Ambassador Family for the March of Dimes. It was and continues to be such an honor and privilege for us. 

In January we attended and spoke at our very first March of Dimes breakfast. April brought the walks and again we tested out our public speaking skills. We are now preparing for another big event which will take place next Sunday night - the Signature Chefs Auction/Gala. It's a black tie event which will include a silent auction, live auction and gourmet samplings from various local restaurants. We will again share the story about our precious baby girl and tell many, many people why we support the March of Dimes. In order to advertise the event we have been involved with other speaking events - two radio interviews and a TV interview. Each opportunity has been so amazing and we have again, just been so honored to share our story. 

The first radio interview was by phone. It was live, but I didn't have to be there in person, no one could see my face. I was fine and I think I did okay. The second radio interview (The Magic, 98.5) was also live, but it took place in the studio. There were other people present in the room, but I still felt okay because it wasn't A LOT of people. The radio announcer made me feel at such ease and was so great to work with. I think I would love to be a radio announcer/broadcaster. The TV interview was a different story. Don't get me wrong, Darci and Andrea from WLTX were absolutely terrific. They were so personable and really made me feel at ease. Morgan Kate LOVED them! But, I was so nervous. Not only would I be on camera, but the interview would be live and LOTS of people would be watching. Yikes. In the end the TV interview went much better than I expected and Morgan Kate did a fabulous job. I did shed a few tears, but I was mostly able to keep it all together. Even two years later I still get this lump in my throat and tightness in my chest when I think about MK's start and how far she has come. I have a video clip of the interview, but Blogger is not cooperating tonight as I try to upload it. Therefore, I only have a snapshot to share with you. 

We are so thankful to all of the stations who have allowed us to share our story and promote the Signature's Chef Auction. Please be thinking of me Sunday night as I stand up in front of an audience of about 250 to share our story. I'm really nervous. And when I'm nervous I tend to get emotional. 

Oh, and if you are interested in purchasing tickets for the Gala/Auction just visit the March of Dimes website for Columbia, SC. The tickets are a bit pricey, but the money raised goes toward an amazing cause. We are living proof!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

This past weekend was filled with pumpkins, hayrides, games, carousels and candy. And of course, family and friends!

We started off the weekend by visiting a local corn maze/pumpkin patch with Jessa, Heath and little Miss Annie Parker Friday night. The girls had an absolute blast running through the mazes and playing with all the toys/games. The grown-ups had fun spending time with one another and catching up! Unfortunately, I left my camera at home, so I have no pictures of our fun evening. 

Saturday night we headed to Boo at the Zoo with my parents. Morgan Kate loved it! From the moment we walked in she was mesmerized with the lights and the people and all of the ghosts and goblins. About fifteen minutes before we left MK noticed the carousel. Oops!! The carousel led to big smiles and lots of laughter that eventually turned to crying and kicking and screaming. My girl likes a carousel!

While there we met up with Raven, Koto, Nolan and many of their family members. Nolan was the cutest little super baby ever! 

Sunday evening we ventured out in our own neighborhood to do a little trick or treating. Again, we all had a blast. It just melted my heart and brought tears to my eyes to see my "baby" girl actually walking up to houses and holding her bag out. I feel like she's just not old enough to do all that....but she is.