Thursday, August 30, 2012


Im not sure if Virginia has been doing alot of growing in the past week or maybe her weight was down a little while she was sick, but in the past week she has gained 9 ounces and now tips the scales at 16 pounds.  Im hopeful that she will make it onto the growth chart for her actual age by her first birthday. 

Virginia was released by the retinologist back in May after 6 months of being followed for Retinopathy of Prematurity.  At our final appointment the Doctor suggested that Ginny be seen by a pediatric opthamologist to be checked for other vision issues that preemies are at risk for.  Despite her upset look in the picture above, she was a perfect patient and did very well during the exam.  The doctor noted that she does have some farsightedness in both eyes but nothing out of the range of normal for her history.  He doesn't need to see her again until she is 3!  Admittedly I spent part of the week worrying about this exam and the possibility of her needing glasses (how on earth do you keep glasses on a 10 month old?!), so I was quite relieved with the good report.

Virginia came with me to my Ob/Gyn appointment today.  She sat with my doctor  (who delivered her) while we hashed out all the different opinions from several different specialists regarding Virginia's early birth and how I may be treated should we decide to have anymore children.  After all of the complications before Virginia's birth and after, Heath and I are so thankful for his knowledge and skill. I often talk about the amazing care that Virginia received in the NICU but of equal (or more) importance to Virginia's outcome was the care that I received from my OB team.  They were realistic (even when realistic opinions were quite upsetting at 22 weeks) yet supportive and did everything they could to keep me pregnant as long as possible.  Most importantly, my doctor made the decision to take me in for my c-section before the emergency situation turned into desperate situation.  I firmly believe this is why Virginia was able to avoid infections and brain bleeds in those early critical days.

He checked in on Virginia often while she was in the NICU, but this was the first time that he held her since he handed off her tiny 1lb 7oz body to the pediatricians last October.    

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

never the same

There are some things that will just never be the same again.  Its really the little things that bring me straight back to all that we have gone through in the past year.  It is the most random things that give me that pit in my stomach.

The smell of athletic tape that used to remind me of high school soccer practice but now brings me right back to kangarooing with Virginia.  Instead of having that newborn baby smell she just smelled like athletic tape from the all of the adhesive tape used to keep her tubes in place.  

The ding in my windshield that I got as I was driving to the hospital to be admitted.  I still have not gotten it fixed. 

The start of football season.  I thought Virginia was going to be a super bowl sunday baby and she arrived during week 7 of the season.  

The hum of the air conditioner in the middle of the night that sounds just like the puffs of the ventilators in nursery 3.  

The super spicy foods that I used to love that now just remind me of the way that my stomach felt while on magnesium.  

I95 south.  The ride south on I95 south from New Haven to Fairfield will always remind me of the drives home from the hospital.  I never wanted to leave Virginia and I often bottled up all of the emotions from any given day... many tears were shed as I passed west haven, orange, milford, stratford and bridgeport.  

Then there are the things that bring me right back and give me that quiet calm.

The smell of the pink blanket that Grandma Fairley made for Virginia.  I still havent washed it and it still has the distinct NICU/Virginia scent.

Getting on I95 North.  No matter where Im going, getting on I95 North always reminds me of that anticipation of seeing Virginia.  I still always feel like I should get off at rt 34. 

Elevators.  The elevator ride to the 4th floor of the children's hospital was always a zen moment in rush to get from the parking garage to the NICU.  Heath and I gave each other the same look as we took a nice deep breath every single night that we rode that elevator.

11:11.  I still see that time on the clock all the time.  Rationally I know that its just that I am aware of it more often, but it is such a special reminder of Virginia's precious life.  

Sunday, August 26, 2012

100th Post

After 100 blog posts about Our Little Virginia its seems appropriate that this post is all about the "sweet spot"  that we seem to be in these days.  After a week of worrying about Virginia's first illness outside of the hospital and trudging through the work week, this weekend was the epitome of feeling like life is pretty darn good these days.

Bob Bob was in town visiting and we spent most of the weekend eating, relaxing, and hanging out at the beach.  We are in a bit of a parenting "sweet spot" these days.  Virginia can sit and play independently but is not yet mobile.  She takes a solid 2 naps a day but is flexible about where, when and what time those occur.  She eats 3 solid meals a day and takes a bottle or breastfeeds 4 times a day but we are no longer tied down the the strict to-the-minute-bottle-better-be-ready schedule that we used to be on.  We are having one of those weekends where this parenting thing seems like it is going pretty smoothly and we have a bit of amnesia about how much we were doubting ourselves and struggling through the previous few days.  Life is funny like that.

Virginia loved the beach this weekend.  She played with toys, babbled at the seagulls, and watched all the big kids play in the water.

Ginny can sit up in a big girl tub now!  She loves splashing the water while Daddy gives her a bath.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

10 Months Old! And 6 months at home :)

Virginia is 10 Months old Today!  Even more amazing is that she has been home with us for 6 months. The first 4 months of her life may have been the slowest and hardest of our lives, but these 6 months have flown by.  

At 10 Months Virginia:
Weighs 15lbs 7oz and is 26.5 inches long.  
Is sitting independently 
Rolling all around - only when she wants to though.  
Is eating 3 meals a day and becoming very picky about her bottles
Is learning how to eat finger foods
Wakes up happy and will roll around and play in her crib until we get her.  

Sadly, Virginia is also fighting off her first cold and ear infection.   She is fighting through it with a smile and like the strong little girl that she has always been.   She seems to be on the mend today, so hopefully this "first" is almost behind us.  

She likes to stand too!  She cant pull to a stand yet, but when she gets close we will certainly be lowering that crib mattress.

Monday, August 20, 2012


Virginia and I both made our first visits to Maine this weekend! Unfortunately Heath had Saturday class, as he does all of this month, so he was not able to join us.   Diana, Nate, Claire and the rest of the Lauring Family were so kind to host us at their gorgeous beach house for the weekend and were so helpful.  I've learned how to travel solo with Virginia, but it is always much easier when you have alot of people around to help :) 

Virginia and Claire loved playing in the sand, dipping their toes in the ocean and generally being the center of attention.  They had us laughing all weekend.  

Thanks to the Laurings & Ostbergs  for such a great weekend!

We finished out the weekend with dinner and lots of laughs with some of our friends from the NICU.  There is no bond like the one between families that have been down this road before.  

Look at how great all of these October 2011 miracles are doing. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Flashback Friday

I didn't think I had any photos from Virginia's pregnancy until I came across this photo on my phone.  I think this was taken around 20 weeks.  I don't really remember ever having a belly that big and Im not sure why I even took the photo that morning but Im thankful that I did. Its hard to remember that part of my pregnancy, the part before things got quite scary, but I can see so much happiness and hope in this photo.  Thankfully we never lost that happiness or hope, it was our only way to cope through the tough times.  Out of that happiness and hope has blossomed one of the happiest babies I know.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

mom confessions

I haven't had one of these posts in a while and there is definitely some things worth confessing.  As a fair warning, baby poop, breastfeeding, and pumping breast milk are all discussed below.  Feel free to skip over this post if those things make you cringe. I promise you wont need to wash your eyes out afterwards and you might even get a little chuckle.  

Baby poop from solid foods is gross.  Dealing with it is by far the biggest downside to cloth diapers.

On more than one occasion baby poop has gone missing in the walk from the changing table to the toilet.  There is nothing more awkward than searching for baby poop on the floor.

I'm ready to be done pumping in general but I know I will miss that break from the middle of the work day on the rare occasion that I just pump and read a magazine and not pump while reviewing contracts or answering emails.   

Speaking of pumping... by quick estimation in 9.5 months I have spent around 800-850 hours pumping (thats a whopping 33-35 days) (yipes.. thats a month of pumping.. straight).  The sad part is that I used to be a slave to the schedule with 8-10 sessions per day and that was a good excuse for never making it to the gym.. That schedule has been dramatically reduced for a few months now I still don't seem to make it to the gym... 

Virginia stares down our food now and I'm seriously dreading having to hide/ get rid of the naughty foods that I definitely don't want her seeing us eat and then wanting to eat herself.  Ice Cream, cookies, and the occasional soda have been fixtures in our house for a long time.

Sadly I have put on as many pounds as Virginia since she came home from the hospital.  Its time to get rid of those cookies and ice cream anyway :) 

I'm so glad my mom sleep trained Virginia for naps.  I'm a big wuss and if my Mom hadn't gotten Ginny to self soothe and go down for consistent naps Id still be doing chores with a napping 15 pound baby strapped to me in the carrier.  

Purely out of curiosity I  showed Virginia a 1.5 minute Elmo video on youtube the other day.  It was seriously baby crack streaming though the computer, unbelievable and horrifying at the same time ;). There was squealing and leg kicking involved (by Virginia, I was able to contain myself ).

Lastly,  I had a rental car last week.  Two rental cars actually.  The first was a sporty-ish black sedan that must have sensed that I wasn't exuding enough mom-ness and died.  The only replacement that Enterprise had available was a white minivan.  Ohh the horror!  After driving that beast around for 4 days I am totally missing the automatic closing doors, the generous cup holders, and the stow and go seating.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

On the road again

Virginia was on the road again this weekend.  We had a busy weekend in upstate New York visiting with friends and family.  We went to the Saratoga race track (again!) , a house warming for some very good friends, and visited with Neno, Papa, Gramma, Aunt Mary, Aunt Dorothy, Aunt Nichole, Uncle Pete, Shane, Kyle and Greyson.  Clearly, the highlight of Virginia's weekend was getting behind the wheel for the first time :) 

Virginia loves watching her cousins play and can't wait to be running around with them soon.   The boys are very sweet to her and even let her hang out in the new grandkids pedal car from Neno and Papa for a little while.   

Friday, August 10, 2012

big girl

It seems like overnight Virginia has changed from a baby to little person.  Not only is she working on some big gross motor milestones, but her personality is really starting to emerge too.  She absolutely loves seeing new people and stares strangers down until they acknowledge her.  Virginia is full of smiles and excitedly kicks her legs for us, other babies, strangers, and friends.  She isn't so thrilled to be held by people she isn't familiar with though.  

We keep adding new foods to Virginia's repertoire.  Like most people she prefers fruits to veggies, but she eats just about anything we offer her.  She is especially interested in what Heath and I eat and drink.  The downside is that she is now starting to lose interest in her bottles.  She still does great breastfeeding but its getting to be a power struggle to get her to take her bottles.  

We also started giving Virginia "puffs," which she loves.  She doesn't yet know how to get them in her mouth by herself, which leads to some funny mouth acrobatics like in the video below.  

Sunday, August 5, 2012


There are lots of changes in our household these days.  Mostly good changes, but changes nonetheless.

Heath is in the middle of his summer MBA classes.  August and September bring a different schedule and the dreaded Saturday classes.

Moma left after her 5 week stay with us.  Tomorrow our new Nanny/Babysitter starts.  This will be the first time that Virginia is cared for by anyone outside of our family (except for those 4 months where she was cared for by the best nurses we know).  I am confident that she will do great, but changes are still hard.  One of the best parts is that she will have a full time playmate.  Our Nanny has a 6 month old daughter and we really feel like we are getting the best of both worlds- the social and developmental advantages that come with being around other children without the exposure to germs and illnesses that come with being in a larger daycare environment.

Virginia is now rolling all around.  She now immediately flips to her stomach for naptime sleeping and when she wakes up in the mornings.  We better start babyproofing our house because I have a feeling that the days of setting her down in one place and coming back to her smiling face in the same place are long gone.

Virginia is now sitting by herself too!  She isnt super consistent and hasn't figured out how to catch herself when she falls backwards so we still keep a boppy around her when she is sitting.

The biggest changes are the ones that aren't so obvious.  We don't want to let our gaurd down but I feel like we have become much more relaxed and less anxious lately.  We worry a little less about the things we can't control.  I have become much less anxious about how much breastmilk Virginia is getting and  now am just enjoying our quiet nursing time together.  Finally, seeing Virginia reach milestones and looking back at her progress has been reassuring.  We find ourselves enjoying the moment and not worrying as much about what she should be doing next.  

Friday, August 3, 2012

Flash Back Friday - Moma

My mom always seemed to arrive during our hardest moments while on bedrest.  She came just hours after the awful day of consults when I was first admitted to the hospital, she arrived the morning after I had to be moved to labor and delivery while I was in a haze of magnesium treatments, and she arrived just a few minutes before I was rushed off to the Operating Room on Saturday October 22.  I was always so thankful that she arrived during those trying times and Im certain that Heath was glad that she was there on delivery morning. Heath had spent the night at the hospital t and was somehow left with a collared shirt, gym shorts, and dress shoes... he was in great need of the fresh clothes that she brought him that morning.

Moma and Heath were the first people to see Virginia while I was still in recovery but it wasn't until Virginia was more than 3 months old that my Mom was finally able to hold her.   

Moma seemed to be there for alot of the good days while Virginia was in the NICU.  For me the best day of any of my Mom's visits was when I finally was able to hand off my daughter to her to hold.  There is no prouder moment as a daughter than to see your mother hold your daughter.  

Moma has been with us here in Connecticut for the last 5 weeks.  We are so thankful for her patience, love,  help, and humor this summer.  We didn't really get anything done on our to do list, but we had alot of fun and Virginia has benefited the most from Moma's love and Physical Therapy expertise.  

Thank You Moma, We are going to miss you!  Come back for Summer 2013?!