Sunday, January 31, 2010

Today Morgan Kate got some new "kicks". Actually, they are not only her new kicks, but also her only kicks. Seriously. If I were to receive a grade in the shoe department, I would get a big fat "F". She does have some "cute" shoes, but no shoes that are really supportive or good for walking. And that is why we bought these shoes.

As far as walking goes, Miss MK has decided that she's not really interested. She will walk if we make her or encourage her, but if it were left up to her she would just crawl everywhere. We are keeping our fingers crossed that these new kicks do the trick.


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I was so excited to log on the computer earlier today and see that Team Morgan Kate already had a very generous donation. Wow!

Also, I completely forgot to tell you all where the Orangeburg walk would start. I did mention that the Columbia walk would be at the fairgrounds, but completely forgot about the Orangeburg walk. Anyway, the Orangeburg walk will start at the Gardens.

I am going to create a link at the top of this page that will allow you to access all of the information. Stay tuned for that!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

March of Dimes Q and A

In just a few weeks we will be walking for the March of Dimes and for babies just like Morgan Kate. I have tried my best to think of possible questions you might have and provide answers to them. If you have other questions please leave them in the comment section of this post and I will try my best to answer them.

When is the walk?
We will be participating in two walks. However, this year our big walk will be the Orangeburg walk which will take place on Saturday, April 10 at 9am. The walk will begin at the Gardens. We are the 2010 Ambassador Family for Orangeburg County. We will also be participating in the Columbia walk which will take place on Saturday, April 24 at 9am. This walk begins at the fairgrounds. Please join us in either or both walks!

How can I help?
Helping is easy! You can pray, you can walk, you can tell others about the March of Dimes, you can donate money or you can raise your own money. And if you are feeling especially froggy, you can do all of those!

How do I donate?
Donating is simple. You can click on the purple button located to the right. Once you click on that button you will be taken to a very secure page where you can donate using your debit card or credit card. If you aren't comfortable making donations online then you can send a check through the mail - just be sure to make it out to the March of Dimes.

How do I sign up to be a walker?
There are two ways to do this. One, you can simply leave me a message or send me an email and let me know you want to be a walker. Simple as that. Or, you can click on the purple button located to the right. Once you click there it will take you to a new page. There will be two options on that page. One says To Donate and the other says To Walk. If you click on the button that says To Walk, then it will take you to yet another page where you can sign up to walk and also set a goal to raise your own money. In the end, the money you raise will go toward Team Morgan Kate's grand total.

I'm confused. What do you mean, "raise my own money"?
There are two ways to give to Team Morgan Kate. You can simply donate OR you can help raise money on your own. When you help raise money, you set your own goal and you seek out others to donate to YOU. Closer to the walk you will collect all of your money, send it to me and all donations will go toward Team Morgan Kate's grand total. If you raise $200 you will receive a March of Dimes t-shirt. If you raise $500 then you will receive a March of Dimes t-shirt and sweatshirt. And so on, and so on.

Can you explain this in simpler terms?
Basically, if you are only interested in walking - then just send me an email or leave me a message in the comment section and I will put you on the list. If you want to walk and donate - then send me an email or leave me a message in the comment section and I will sign you up to walk and THEN visit the purple button to the right and donate money. If you want to walk and raise your own money, then click on the purple button to the right, once you are taken to a new page click on To Walk and go from there.

I've never participated in a walk, what is it like?
Last year was our first walk and it was amazing. Last year we only participated in the Columbia walk, so I can only give a Columbia perspective. The walk began at 9:00am (at the fairgrounds) so we all met up a little before then. We all began at the same starting point, but there were two different routes. One route was about 3 miles and the other was 5 or 6. We took our own water bottles, but along the way there were stations with fruit and water. There were people walking, people running, people sitting along side the road and others that weren't able to walk and they stayed back at the starting point. Morgan Kate went along with us and we pushed her in the stroller. There were lots and lots of people and it was such a rewarding and special day!

The walk was over before lunch and different vendors supplied drinks and pizza. After the walk some people gave speeches, awards were given for money raised and some people even enjoyed picnic lunches they had brought from home.

Other information:
This year we are going to have t-shirts made. Once I have more information I will pass that along to you all.

Please let me know if you have any other questions or need any other information.

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After almost four full days of "splotches and blotches" our little one is almost 100% free and clear. Thank goodness for Benadryl! The only thing on this little face is a little left over mac n cheese.


Friday, January 29, 2010

It has been one of those weeks.

A week full of things I wasn't prepared for. And things I hadn't anticipated. But also a week with some proud moments and moments that made me smile. A week that I am honestly glad to see go.

It has been a week full of life lessons. Some good, some not so good. Some I am ready and anxious to share and others are lessons I am still processing and will save for another day and another post.

Wednesday I learned that our baby girl is highly allergic to penicillin. And this was the result...


The sad part? Those pictures were actually taken on a "good" day. The splotches and blotches got much, much worse. They covered her head, her entire face, her ears, her neck, her stomach, her arms, her fingers, her bottom, her legs and her toes. They were everywhere. They didn't appear to be itchy, but were very, very warm. The splotches and blotches were accompanied by some throwing up, some diarrhea and a fussy, fussy little girl.

Later Wednesday I learned that I too am allergic to one type of antibiotic. There are no pictures to prove it and I didn't look like Morgan Kate, but the right side of my face was swollen, especially my eye and my entire right side was tingling.

Thursday I learned that despite some difficult days and a heavy heart, I could still stand before an audience and share "our story".



With these people at my side I can do almost anything.

(It may not appear this way, but my dad really was happy to be there. That's his "tough man" face.)

We attended the Orangeburg March of Dimes Kickoff breakfast Thursday morning. We spent the morning meeting some amazing people and we got to share "our Morgan Kate". We also spent the morning feeling like we needed to explain that our daughter was not contagious, just experiencing an allergic reaction, a bad one. I stood before a crowd and shared from the heart what we had experienced and what the March of Dimes had done to help our baby girl. I would like to say that I was very poised and didn't shed a tear, but I have promised to be honest. I was quite emotional, but was able to pull it all together and get through it. I just kept focusing on these two...


And before it was all over, Travis even won a door prize. This March of Dimes hat, which Morgan Kate was very fond of.

Thursday evening, on our second visit to the pediatrician's office in just two days, I learned that my husband has a very soft heart for his daughter. I actually already knew this, but he shared with me while sitting in the waiting room that his heart had just broken for the first time as a daddy. He watched a little boy look at Morgan Kate and then turn to his own daddy and say, "What is wrong with that baby's face?" I tried to comfort Travis, while also restraining him, and remind him that the little boy was in fact a little boy, a child, and he probably meant no harm in it. And really, whether he meant any harm or not, kids say those things and will continue to say those kinds of things, despite how we feel about it. We just have to remember to be adults and not physically harm every child who says mean things, no matter how bad we really want to.

Besides, how could you look at this face with blotches and all, and not just fall in love?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Wow. So this announcement is well over twenty-four hours late. But, I wanted to make sure I had all the information I needed before sharing the news. And besides, better late than never.

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We are so honored.

We are so thankful.

We are so incredibly excited.

We have been asked to serve as the 2010 Ambassador Family for the Orangeburg March of Dimes.

Oh my goodness! I can't even begin to tell you how excited we are or how honored we feel. Wow.

It is a chance for us to help others. It is a chance for us to share our story. It is a chance for us to spread the word about the March of Dimes and prematurity. And it is a chance for us to help raise money so that the March of Dimes can continue their efforts to help all women have healthy, full-term pregnancies.

Next Thursday we will spend the early part of the morning meeting various March of Dimes Family Teams and other important people in the Orangeburg area. We will also share our story and everyone there will get to meet our little Morgan Kate. We will also help with any other activities and programs before the Orangeburg walk on Saturday, April 10th.

You may remember our team from last year...


And maybe YOU will be a part of our team this year.

There are so many ways that YOU can help. You can walk with us on April 10th. You can tell others about the March of Dimes. You can donate money. Or you can simply be with us in thought and prayer.

Again, we are so incredibly excited and can't wait for the walk on April 10th. Mark your calendars now! And be sure to check back for updates, information and other news regarding this special event.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Let me just tell you. This nebulizer stuff is loads of fun. Loads. Like so much fun that I wish you could all come over and witness it.

Not so much. MK is hating her breathing treatments and I spend more time wrestling with her than actually giving it. I can't blame her though, I wouldn't like it either. But I know it's helping her, so I try and do my best. Not only does she hate taking it, but it seems to really wire her. I don't mind the "wiring", but it made speech and physical therapy quite difficult today. She couldn't focus or be still for anything.

I will say, that all the moving and wiggling around has made her quite sleepy and she has been napping very well. On our way home from speech she fell asleep in the car and once we got home she continued to nap in my arms. While she was napping I decided to watch a movie that I have been wanting to see.

Little background. We recently went with a new cable provider and as with most cable providers, you get like two movie channels free for the first three months. Sounds really enticing and very nice, but the "free" channels turn into an extra twenty-five dollars a month after the three month trial period. And you the subscriber have to call and cancel. Anyway, that was just my rant and little side note. The whole point was that one of the movie channels has been airing this movie titled, Little Man. Some of you may have seen it, it's a few years old. I caught the tail end of the movie a few days ago and became very interested. It was set to air again this morning so I recorded it. I love DVR.

The movie, Little Man, is about a little boy born at twenty-five weeks. (If you click on the link you can watch the trailer for the movie.) It goes into detail about his family, his conception, his birth, his NICU stay and his first few months at home. It was two hours long and I cried through most of it. Most of the movie, especially the NICU portion, contained terms and medical procedures and sounds and sights all too familiar. One of the little boy's mothers was the producer of the movie and she did an excellent job. She really took into account every aspect of prematurity. The toll on the baby, the parents, the family, marriage, siblings, etc. She was very open and very honest and so was her partner. Their case was especially difficult not only because of the severity of their case, but because the two parents were on completely different wave lengths for a period of time.

Needless to say, the movie brought back a lot of emotions and a flood of memories. And as Morgan Kate was sleeping on my chest I couldn't help but look at her, squeeze her tight and think of the amazing miracle she is. And how incredibly blessed and fortunate I am to have her here and doing so well. She is my absolute miracle and the light of my life (along with her Daddy of course).

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Please tune in tomorrow for a special announcement regarding Morgan Kate and the March of Dimes!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Today we had our follow-up appointment with Dr. B, our pulmonologist. I think we saw him back in September or October and he prescribed MK's daily inhaler. Today was just a follow-up to see how things were going and to also see if MK still needed the inhaler.

Before MK got this new ear infection/runny nose/croopy cough thing, she was doing really well. She wasn't requiring the inhaler and had a lot more endurance and stamina during therapy and other activities. However, with this new ear infection/runny nose/croopy cough thing she looks and sounds pretty rough. Dr. B said he could hear some wheezing. So, we are using the nebulizer for a few days. And after that is through, we are to continue with the inhaler through the winter and then we can stop.

Here is snapshot of nebulizer treatment #1 tonight. Oh, and we have like two different masks we could attach, but MK adamantly refuses either one. So, we use this pipe looking apparatus instead and it seems to get the job done. After only one treatment she sounds tons better.


And the best news. We do not have to return for any visits, unless we need him. Yahoo! The pulmonologist was our last doctor, other than our pediatrician, to check off of our "doctor list".

Monday, January 18, 2010

My parents came for an overnight this past weekend. It was an overnight full of laughing, loving and of course, eating. As always, we loved having them here and were extremely sad to see them leave.

Speaking of leaving. As my mom was packing her belongings Saturday morning, she tried packing a little something extra.

These two HAVE to be watched. Carefully. At all times.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Would you look at this ADORABLE dress?



Morgan Kate received this ADORABLE dress (and some other fabulous goodies) from her good friend, Agustina, who lives in Guatemala. Agustina is/was also a preemie and was born just two days before Morgan Kate. Agustina is absolutely beautiful and has the sweetest parents! Not only were they born two days apart, but they seem to be achieving milestones (like walking) very close together as well! Except for the fact that Agustina has lots of hair and MK still only has "sprouts". MK will get longer hair, right?


I happen to think this dress is just precious! And Morgan Kate seems to be pretty fond of it as well. She was more than happy to participate in my little photo shoot.


Thanks Agustina! We love you!
I obviously spoke too soon. But I did enjoy it while it lasted.

What did I enjoy? Well, I enjoyed the entire seven days Morgan Kate was off of all medications. That's right. Seven days. And today we started back.

Morgan Kate has not been herself for the past three or four days. She has been quite the fussy baby and that is just not like her. I mean of course she fusses when she's hungry, wet or sleepy, but other than that, she's pretty darn happy. So when the fussing started I knew something was up. Then the fussing became accompanied by a cough, a runny nose and some pulling of the left ear. I called the doctor yesterday and she saw us first thing this morning.

Morgan Kate has another ear infection, again in the left ear. She will be taking an antibiotic for that. And since this is her third antibiotic in like a month, she will also be taking a probiotic. We are also back on the inhaler for two weeks and something to help dry up her nose.

While I did enjoy my seven days medication-free, I know this is a must. And I will do whatever it takes to help my girl feel better.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

She gets better and better each day. Sorry, no sound or adult facial expressions in this video.

video

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

When it comes to parenting this little girl, I feel like I do a pretty good job. Of course there are times when she falls and bumps her head or puts something in her mouth that's she not supposed to. But overall, I think I do a pretty good job.


Parenting this little girl is a completely different story.


We got Lola shortly before we were married. And she was our everything. EVERYTHING. Our world revolved around this little eight pound bundle of white fur. We cuddled her, played with her and bought her toys like everyday was Christmas. We let her sleep with us, took her on trips and family vacations and never really left her, except for our honeymoon and our one year anniversary cruise. During the summers when I was home she would sleep late with me and stay curled up behind me. We bathed her frequently and kept her groomed perfectly. She was our baby.

And then I got pregnant. Everyone told me that things would change. That I would look at Lola differently and that she would take a backseat to the new baby. I didn't believe a word anyone said. I denied it and swore that I would be different.

I am learning that maybe, just maybe, I was wrong and all those people were kind of right. It saddens my heart to think that Lola has taken a backseat or that things have changed. But I know they have. At least some.

Now when Lola barks, I fuss at her. If she goes near Morgan Kate, I fuss at her. If she has an accident, I fuss at her. If she eats Morgan Kate's food, I fuss at her. She still goes on every trip and family vacation, but I don't cuddle her or play with her nearly enough. And she definitely doesn't get groomed as frequently as she used to. Of course we Travis bathes her and keeps her clean, but grooming her has slipped some. I realize that things are going to be different. But they don't have to be so drastically different.

So after a trip to the vet today and the HUGE realization that things need to change with my "doggie parenting", I am vowing to do a much better job with Lola. After all, she still is my "doggie baby" and I still do love her so very much.

I better run, I have some "doggie snuggling" to do.

P.S. And yes, we do have another fur baby. And a post about him his coming very soon!

Monday, January 11, 2010

I don't use our video camera nearly enough. I love my "picture" camera and rely mostly on it. But, there are just some things that can't be captured with a "picture" camera. Things like walking.

In the video below there is lots going on. Lots. Lola is playing with an annoying squeaky ball. The TV is on. MK is only wearing a t-shirt and diaper and yes, she is carrying around an tylenol bottle. And I think even our lab, Cash, makes his appearance. The most exciting thing however, is that MK takes a few steps and I am actually able to capture it. I could watch this video over and over.


video

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Morgan Kate has taken more medications in her sixteen months of life than I have in my almost thirty years.

Let's see...

Of course she took numerous meds while in the NICU, but since coming home, she's taken Prevacid.

She's taken Erythromycin. And Reglan.

She's taken Flovent. And Qvar. And two different meds via her nebulizer.

She's taken Flonase. Allegra. Singulair. And some new allergy meds.

She's taken iron pills. And vitamins.

She's taken a diuretic.

There's others. I just don't have the brain power to recall them all or my "list" handy. The bottom line is, since the day she was born she has taken some sort of medication. Every morning when she wakes up and every night before bed. That all changed recently. Very recently. Like in the past three or four days.

For the first time in sixteen months Morgan Kate is medication free. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Completely free.

I am one happy mommy!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Santa gave Morgan Kate this book for Christmas.


At first Morgan Kate could have cared less. She didn't seem interested. She tossed it to the side. And she went about her business.

Several nights ago I pulled the book out, sat her in my lap and we read the book together. I guess technically I didn't really read it, I more like sang the words. But Morgan Kate loved it. And now she can't get enough. She loves this book.

Tonight we were all playing in the den and Morgan Kate got a little fussy. I simply began singing, "Polar bear, polar bear, what do you hear?" She immediately stopped fussing, crawled over to her book baskets and pulled out the book. THE book.

Wow. She is one smart cookie.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I had been working on an entirely different post for today. But then something else came up and that post took a back burner. I have something much more important to blog about today. And that something happens to be the "language explosion" my daughter had this morning during our speech session. I don't know what happened. I don't know what prompted her. But she was talking like crazy. And talking with real words. I'm not sure if it was the RSV shot just thirty minutes prior or that fact that she "took care of some business" the minute speech started. Like I said, I don't have a clue what initiated it, but I was so proud and thrilled beyond belief. Like tears in my eyes happy!

First, we were playing with this puzzle that has three pieces, a dog, a cat and a bird. The therapist (SLP) makes the dog sound and MK repeats it. Whoah. MK has never made a dog sound. So that goes on for quite some time. Then the SLP says, "The cat says meow". MK repeats, "Ca" (for cat) and then says "mee-oo". Amazing. I was happy with that much progress. But it continued. We then were playing with this book that has farm animals and while playing with the animals you sing, "Old McDonald Had a Farm". So, her therapist is making the animal noises. And it the conversation goes like this:

SLP: And the duck says quack, quack.
A few minutes of silence. And then...
MK: Qua, Qua. (With a huge smile on her face.)
SLP: And the chicken says cluck, cluck.
Quiet for a few seconds.
MK: Cuck, cuck. (Another big smile and some clapping.)
SLP: And the sheep says baa, baa.
MK: Baa, baa. (Almost in a whisper)

I had this enormous smile on my face. I was so proud of her. And just so amazed at all she was doing and all that she is learning. Just so blown away. But she wasn't finished. This girl just doesn't stop.

Finally, we are ending the session and practicing some "signing". MK is having a little snack of puffs and we are practicing "more". She is signing and eating away. And then we start saying, "P,p,p,p,p,puffs". And we continue with this for a little while. Eventually MK catches on and repeats it. Then she figures out that if she says "Paa" she will get a puff. She was so excited! It's like it just clicked for her.

I promise I am not making this stuff up. It just happened and I am still trying to process it all. She just amazes me every single day. For so many months of a baby's life you tend to focus on physical skills and physical development, or at least I did. And then all of a sudden you see these cognitive skills developing and taking place and it's just miraculous. She truly is growing up and I couldn't be happier. She is one special little girl!


Monday, January 4, 2010

When I was growing up, a sock monster lived at our house. The sock monster only appeared when the laundry was being done, but we always knew he was there. The sock monster was not picky or choosy. He ate socks that belonged to me, my brothers, my dad and even my mom. He ate white socks and brown socks, black socks and red socks. Short socks, knee socks and ankle socks.

It seems as if the sock monster has followed me. Except now he prefers teeny tiny socks. And this is what he leaves me with.


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A Few Updates:

#1:
I am not sure if anyone noticed, but in my New Year's Day post I mentioned that Morgan Kate had taken five steps unassisted/unsupported. We were all so excited! We meaning me, Travis and our PT. Since Wednesday of last week MK has taken some more steps. She usually just takes two or three and then stumbles to the floor. It's the funniest sight ever. I know she's going to catch on any day now and it literally terrifies me. I mean I'm super excited that she is growing and developing so well, but I have no clue what you do with a walking baby.

#2:
Other exciting news on the home front. MK has been using her sippy cup a lot more lately, but only with water. I give it to her at breakfast, lunch, dinner and other times through the day, and she has still been getting three bottles. I know, I know. I realize that I am going to have to stop with the bottles soon, but right now it's not a top priority. I have a list of other things to accomplish. So bottles can wait. Seriously. However, today she did take her afternoon milk via the sippy cup, meaning she only took two bottles. She didn't drink all of the milk that was in her cup and she was definitely ready for her night bottle, but she did a good job. And I of course was super proud of her. And pretty proud of myself.

#3:
We had speech today and it went really well. MK has become so much more vocal in the last few weeks. She talks all of the time. Of course it's in a language that I don't know very well, but she's talking and I am trying to understand. She is still saying "dada", "kaka", "gaga", "baba", "bye" and now saying "ba" (which means bad and she points to Lola) and "pie" (which is short for pee-pie, you know, the hiding game). Also, if you ask her where her head is she will put both of her hands on top of her head. And she is now blowing kisses when we leave people. But of course, only when she wants to or feels up to it. Oh, and she will also put her hands over her eyes, take them away and say "pie"...you know, for the hiding game.

#4:
Last week we had MK's ears rechecked and everything was great. The doc said her lungs sounded terrific and her ears looked great. And she weighed in at eighteen pounds and two ounces. We don't return until her eighteen month well visit in February.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Well, we had a first on New Year's Eve. A first that I hope and pray isn't followed by a second or third or so forth.

The short version. Morgan Kate was crawling around on the kitchen floor. And so was Lola, our seven pound maltese, who I might mention is not very fond of Morgan Kate, unless Morgan Kate is eating. Anywho. Morgan Kate crawled right over to Lola and tugged on her hair. Lola in turn, bit Morgan Kate on the cheek. I will spare the details of my behavior, but let's just say I was very unhappy and dealt with it the very best way I knew how.

After several days of Neosporin and lots of hugs and kisses, Morgan Kate is all better. And I am learning to like Lola again. Learning. (Just want to clarify...I do and always will love Lola, but I didn't like her very much on New Year's Eve.)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year! I hope your 2010 is filled with lots of love, health and happiness!

Friday, January 1, 2010

2009: Year In Review in Numbers

1


One amazing husband who loves me unconditionally, cuts off the ends of my pickles, brings me breakfast in bed and lets me sleep late on the weekends. Travis is the love of my life and he makes me the happiest girl in the world.


2


Two terrific parents who support us, encourage us and love us. We are so lucky and so blessed.


Two brothers who make me smile.


3


MK has had three ear infections this year.


In the third month of this year Morgan Kate was given the final discharge from all oxygen.


4


Morgan Kate has four therapy appointments each week.


5


Morgan Kate took five steps unassisted/unsupported Wednesday. Yahoo!


7


We spent seven days at Folly Beach, the "Vacation Capital of the World", this past July. Good times, good times!

12

Morgan Kate sleeps twelve hours at night. Most nights.

14



Travis and I have watched the ball drop together for the past fourteen years.




16



Our pride and joy is already sixteen months old. Morgan Kate is my heart and my joy. Each day I fall more and more in love with her. My heart beams with pride each time I see her precious little face!




53



Travis and I have been happily married for fifty-three months.




387



Morgan Kate has been home for three hundred and eighty seven days.