Sunday, July 31, 2011

ONE : Sea Creatures Birthday Party

 I'm ONE!

Our littlest one turned ONE! So hard to believe that a year has passed since her birth. I have been looking forward to this birthday all year! I knew that when it came, we would hopefully be past the hardest struggles of having a preemie. And we are! She is still slightly delayed in her gross motor development, but has come such a long way! She is crawling and pulling up now and all the weight issues of her first several months are a thing of the past. She's still a petite little thing, but not far off from where her sister was at the same age.

To celebrate her birthday, we had a joint celebration with a very good friend of mine whose son also turned one in July. The first pictures of them together are so funny. I think we took them at around 6 weeks old and Baby V looks like his doll. Now she's still smaller, but the difference isn't quite so dramatic.

It was fun throwing a birthday party with a friend. It meant that I didn't have to do all the work. LOL She handled all the food and I did the cakes and favors. We chose the theme "sea creatures." I thought it would be a fun summertime theme and perfect for a birthday party celebrating both a little girl's and boy's first birthday. My friend made yummy cream cheese and turkey or ham on tortilla sandwiches cut in the shape of fish. My husband has asked me to make these at home (minus the fish cookie cutter.) ;) Of course, we had to have goldfish crackers too. Along with that some fruit, chips for the grown ups and flavored lemonade. We had the party at a park so we tried to keep everything finger foods.

I made the cakes and cupcakes. I used this tutorial on Hungry Happenings to make marshmallow sea creatures from the sand toys I bought to give as favors. These went onto two different 6 inch round cakes frosted blue like the sea. I made vanilla wafer crumbs to resemble sand and sprinkled it around the base of the cakes. My dear friend Tina, card-maker extraordinaire, made two mini pennants with each baby's name for the top of the cakes. I think they came out pretty cute if I do say so myself.

I didn't get a good picture of the cupcakes I made for everyone else. I used these instructions on Family Fun's website. Super easy and cute! I made not only orange but also blue, yellow and green fishies.

We kept the party really low-key. We had sand pails and sand toys for the kids. I also set up a baby pool with sea creature squirters in it. Overall, it was a fun party to put together. We kept the guest list small which made it manageable, but I wished that I could have invited all the families who have been such a help to us this past year!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Our Story (7) : Birth Day

Our sweet baby - 2 days old

It's so hard to believe that this was a year ago! In some ways it seems like a very long time ago and in other ways not long at all. I was only in the hospital 6 days when I was rudely woken up in the middle of the night to be told that my liver function numbers were not looking good and that I would need to have a c-section first thing in the morning. That was a really horrific night. I sobbed to myself for hours. I wanted so badly to call my hubby. He is my biggest comfort. But, I knew that if we were having this baby 9 weeks early, he would need the sleep. So I just cried to myself in the dark in my hospital room. I called him at 6 am. He made it to the hospital by 7. At around 7:30 my OB/GYN called me to find out what was going on. She said she'd stop by on the way to her office to check on everything. She told me that I still had a say in whether or not I wanted a c-section right now. Even though my situation gave me very little choice, she always made me feel like I had a say in my care. I seriously lucked out having her as my doctor. Then my favorite hospital doctor came to my room. He explained that my levels were not looking good, but if they didn't get any worse, he didn't think that I needed to rush into a c-section. Yay!!

I decided to eat breakfast and wait it out through another round of blood tests. I still was feeling good and not having any of the scary symptoms of pre-eclampsia (well except for extremely high blood pressure.) My good friend stopped by to chat. Everything seemed fine. I told her I was going to try to hold out for another day or so. It seemed completely doable.

This is the picture my husband took so I could see our little girl for the first time

Here is when I tell you that all the crazy precautions that I hated (like being in the hospital) probably saved my life. Right after my friend left, I started to have incredibly intense right upper quadrant pain. Pain right under the right side of my ribcage. It came on so suddenly that it took me by surprise. I had what is called HELLP syndrome. My liver decided that it wanted to stop working. It was so painful that I even asked for pain meds. I was rushed over to the labor and delivery side of the hospital so they could start prepping for an emergency c-section. My doctor was called and she rearranged her afternoon schedule to come over to the hospital and do my surgery. My favorite hospital doctor was there too. Within two hours everyone was there and ready for surgery. The c-section was not a big deal. I'd had three others so I knew what to expect. My doctor told me that I could have had a vbac for sure after she did the incision and saw that the scar tissue from the previous c-sections wasn't bad at all. Well, if I hadn't had pre-eclampsia and HELLP. I know I should have felt vindicated a little for fighting for a vbac, but since I was in the middle of another c-section, it just made me feel sad.

Having a baby this early meant that I didn't get to even see her before she was whisked away to the NICU doctors. I heard her cry. That was it. Gah, it's making me cry thinking about it. Then I was taken to the recovery room. The NICU doctor came in to tell me that my baby was doing really well. She said that she was more worried about me than she was about my daughter. I guess I didn't look so great. They tried to wheel me past her bed in the NICU before taking me back to my hospital room. They were in the process of trying to get her IV in and it wasn't going well, so I still didn't get a glimpse of her. I was told that she weighed 3 lbs 13 oz and was 17.5 inches long. But I didn't get to see her much less touch her and tell her how much I loved her already.

Back in my hospital room, I couldn't move. I was put on magnesium sulfate which is standard procedure for anyone with pre-eclampsia. Let me tell you - that stuff is nasty. I was doing ok at first and then I started to feel worse and worse. I have recovered from a c-section before and while it's no fun, it was nothing like this. I had started pumping to try to get my milk to come in, but I couldn't do it anymore. That's how bad I felt. I was throwing up. I think it was a reaction to the pain meds. I even told the nurses that I didn't want anyone but my husband in my room. It was a miserable 24 hours.

24 hours after her birth, I was taken off the mag and wheeled over to the NICU. I got to hold my precious itty-bitty baby for the first time. I cried and cried. I cried because she looked so helpless with all those cords attached to her. I cried because she had spent her first 24 hours in this world (2 months before she was supposed to) away from her mama. (For the record, she did have her daddy.) And I cried because the whole thing was just so disappointing to me. Yes, I was thankful that she was doing so well for being so early, but it was still stressful and scary. I had wanted so much more for her and for me.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Happy 4th!!

Here's the yummy dessert that I made this evening. I used this strawberry shortcake recipe. It came out delicious! But I tend to like anything with strawberries. 

Yum yum!

We will be celebrating Independence Day by not lighting our own fireworks. The kids are a little bummed, but the state of New Mexico is having serious wildfires so we decided not to purchase any fireworks this year. Instead, we're going to find a fun place to park the car and watch the city fireworks. Hope you are all enjoying the holiday!