Saturday, January 28, 2012

Now Hear This

Gracie "failed" one of the first tests she was ever given...the hearing test.  The nurse told me in somber tones that my child failed her hearing test...when I asked for further elaboration, she said that she passed one ear and failed the other...and when she tried again, Gracie passed the other ear but failed on the one she had previously passed.  So, in my estimation she passed..not so much according to the doctors, who scheduled us with a pediatric audiologist earlier this week.

I enlisted my mother-in-law to come along for the ride, as any trip to the hospital is traumatic for me and I am still too chicken to go anywhere with Gracie by herself.  Off we went, arriving right on time and weaving our way through the maze, baby bags, baby seat, and sleeping baby in tow.  And there we sat for 30 minutes, where sleeping baby became screaming baby.

When the doctor finally came out, she looked at me pointedly and asked "is your baby going to go back to sleep?"  Umm...my baby is four weeks old.  If I knew when she was going to sleep, my eyes would not have bags under them so big you could vacation for a month. 

When I said as much, she conceded to bring me back to her office and suggested I feed the baby.  So there I sat, dripping sweat from the fifteen layers I'd worn on an 80 degree day and the excessive hormones coursing through my body, while I stripped down and exposed myself while my mother-in-law and doctor looked on. 

As soon as the child calmed down, the doctor started scrubbing her head with sandpaper to "attach electrodes".  You can imagine how well that went over, not to mention by this point I was so hot I was afraid Gracie would sweat them right off.  Finally, Gracie calmed down from her first exfoliation and there we all sat, waiting for her to fall asleep...an audiologist, my mother-in-law, me and my exposed chest.

Finally, the doctor said, "okay..she is showing no brain activity..let's do the test." At which point I looked down only to find Gracie staring at me with eyes wide open.  It was like that final scene in Ghostbusters before the Stay-Puffed Marshmallow man shows up...my only though was "don't think ANYTHING!"  Maybe I should have been more concerned that she appeared not to have a thought in her head when wide awake, but Gracie has no problem telling us what is on her mind on a regular basis, so my only concern was putting my shirt back on and getting the heck out of there.

As predicted, Gracie can hear just fine.  Throughout the ordeal, I really tried to remember that there were plenty of parents who came to that office and received bad news about their child's hearing.  You don't have to tell me twice what a blessing it is to have a healthy child.  Still...I am pretty sure I could have banged on a pot beside her head and saved us all from the whole ordeal.


Now Hear This!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

When you said cry it out...did you mean me?

The first week of Gracie's life, I had an open incision and could not bend over to pick her up...so my solution was to let her lay on my chest all day and night.

The second week of Gracie's life, she had a cold and was congested when flat on her back...so my solution was to let her lay on my chest day and night.

The third week of Gracie's life, we visited my parents in Greenville...and everyone wanted her to lay on their chests all day and night.

By week four, we had a tiny little problem on our hands...one that screamed bloody murder any time her precious derriere touched a hard surface.

I know they say you can't spoil a newborn, but I had the sneaking suspicion we were being worked by a four week old.

So, as the parents, it is our job to teach this child right from wrong...right?  Unfortunately, one of the parents is currently at work all day so that just leaves me.

After being assured by everyone from my mother to my pediatrician that the little princess would not be permanently scarred from crying for five minutes, I set forth on my task.

Our first nap time was upon us and as I gently put the angel in her swing for a peaceful siesta, I nearly caved as her little brow furrowed....but I pressed on, giving her a kiss and retreating to the kitchen as the first whimpers began.  Whimpers turned to fuss, fuss turned to yell, and yell turned to scream.  I made it approximately five minutes before I hustled back to the swing, only to find my child covered from head to toe in, well, poop.

I felt like the worst mother on the planet...fully expected DSS to knock on my door at any minute.  Tears streamed down both of our faces as I bathed the little nugget, put her in her softest blanket and nestled her onto my chest.

It wasn't until she settled down to sleep that I noticed the smile on her face. No, I don't really think a four week old has the ability to be that crafty...but I got the feeling that only one of us was truly traumatized by the experience. 

When you said cry it out...did you mean me?


I'v got them alllll fooled


Sunday, January 22, 2012

It's Okay

It's been a while since I have written on this blog, mainly because of the wild woman who turned one month old today...that is SO hard for me to believe.

I've gone back and forth a lot these last few weeks about what to do with the blog. 

This has been such a healing thing for me to do after the loss of Rip, writing about the past year has been better than any therapy I've had...it has been a place I felt like I could be honest about what I was feeling, a place where I could put my best and my worst days for safe keeping.

Even though I wrote about my pregnancy with Gracie here, this blog was mainly about Rip. 

I feel his presence less now...I know feeling his presence at all sounds like wishful thinking to some, and that's fine, but I also know that my little boy has been with me this year.  The last time I really felt him was the morning of Gracie's birth.  Over the course of my pregnancy, I was told that Gracie may have any number of things, including but not limited to Down Syndrome, Trisomy 18, dilated kidneys, and a head that was unusually large.  To put it mildly, I was a wreck.  But I went into that operating room completely calm...I realized that Gracie was going to be born exactly 1 year, 1 month, and 11 days after Rip.  My little Eleven Eleven boy gave me peace that morning.  It's not that I think he is truly gone from me now, and he is never ever going to be anything less to me than he was the day he was born...it's more that I can almost feel him telling me "It's okay now, Mama.  You are okay, Gracie is okay, and I am okay". 

And then there is my second little miracle, our Gracie...whose head is of perfectly normal size, thankyouverymuch.  She is what my family lovingly refers to as "perky" (those not in my family may say "colicky").  She is our little spitfire.  She is stubborn, she lets you know what she wants, she is strong as an ox...all qualities that I hope she never loses as she grows into a woman...also all qualities that leave Parke and me wondering how something so tiny can keep us running 24/7.  We are flat worn out, covered in spit up and/or poop...and so in love. 

So my dilemma has been whether or not to keep writing this blog now that Gracie has arrived.  On one hand, it will be different.  I know that while Rip is always on my mind and in my heart, I probably won't be writing about him as much.  I worry that continuing to write here and not mentioning Rip will take away from what I did write about him, make him seem less important.  On the other hand, this has been such an outlet for me.  If Gracie's first month is an indication, she will give me PLENTY to write about (if she will let me put her down for five minutes...someone (aka me) may have let her get just the teensiest bit spoiled). 

For now, I think I will keep writing as the spirit (or the baby) moves me.  I don't know what this first year with Gracie and this second year without Rip will bring, I don't know for sure if writing about "normal" things is the right thing to do...heck, I don't even know if I will have a chance to get dressed tomorrow.  But I get the same feeling that I did the morning Gracie was born, no matter what happens "it's okay".

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Weeping May Endure

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning Psalm 30:5

I will never understand why some people seem to have so much more to weep about than others.

I started this day staring in the mirror and lamenting my open incision, flabby stomach and two year's worth of baby weight.  I ended it being so thankful for all of those things.

Over the course of the day I learned of a two people who would give anything to be in my postion right now. 

I will say, without the doubt I've had in my heart before now, that there is a God.  He gave me Gracie.  But I will never, ever on this earth understand why human beings have to watch their children suffer, why babies die, why Rip died.

I think it might be easy for me to slip into typical mommy-hood now.  And in many aspects I hope that I do.  But I won't allow myself to forget how lucky I am, and how many people are waiting for what I have... safe and healthy, sleeping in her swing without a care in the world. 

For some, weeping lasts much longer than I night, but I have to believe that, if not this morning then very soon, there will be joy.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

What happened!?

How the heck is this child already 3 weeks old???





Monday, January 9, 2012

Worth a million words

That whole "where does the time go?" expression never made so much sense! Gracie is one her way to three weeks and I am lucky if I get us both dressed by 1 pm.  There are some things I would love to write about but there is a grunting baby next to me in need of her 4:00 feeding...so here are some pictures of said baby instead and all of my deepest, darkest thoughts will have to wait for another day.  Cute baby pictures beat out anything I could write anyway.

Who ARE these people?

Now 'splain this to me again?

Clean Baby!

First stroll...it's a rough life

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Expect Good

I'm not big on New Year's Resolutions...it's not that I don't have a million things I would like to change/do this year, but let's be honest, the chances of me giving up wine or chocolate is just not in the cards.

That said, there is one thing that I really hope I can do for myself this year, and that is to learn to expect good again.

I thought that after I had Gracie in my arms, I would be able to let some of my worries go, but so far I haven't been great at that.  For example, Gracie has a little cold...kids get colds...but as soon as she started sneezing I fell apart.  I just knew we would end up back in the hospital and then the NICU and then, and then, and then.

But the last thing I want to happen is to miss enjoying this special newborn time with my baby because I am so busy worrying about what might (and likely won't) happen.  I don't want to wish away her first weeks, all because I want her to be older and stronger.

What happened to us with Rip was horrible.  It changed me forever.  But I don't want to spend the rest of my life waiting on horrible.  I have a beautiful baby girl and I want to enjoy her.  So, the only goal I am setting for this year is to learn how to expect good again (and to spend lots of time smelling that sweet baby smell).

Sunday, January 1, 2012