Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry christmas from our family to yours!

Virginia is just about 100% on the mend after her first real cold.  I expect her cough to stick around for a while but Im happy to have the fussiness, sleeplessness, and worrying mostly behind us.  I have to say that I'm shocked it has taken this long for her to get sick.  After 3 months in daycare she finally succumbed to the yuckies.  We are so thankful for her better than expected immune system and ever fighting spirit.

Wishing you a safe and healthy holiday season and a new year full of life, happiness, and health.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Safe to say that our visit with Santa didn't go so well....

This is Virginia's 3rd christmas.  She was in the NICU for her 1st and Santa visited her isolette.  Unfortunately the Polaroid photographic evidence was lost before we ever got to see it.  We were in RSV lockdown for her 2nd christmas so we definitely did not venture to the Mall or any "breakfast with Santa" events.  Instead my Dad donned his jolly red suit for some photos last year.  Needless to say we were excited for this little rite of passage this year!

On Saturday we traipsed through the snow to go to a local store to see Santa.  Good friends of ours work there so we knew that this was pretty low key as santa goes... no long lines and no scary elves. I knew to expect this type of reaction, but I really thought that she might do ok.   We were careful to show her Santa and let her wave to him and then go do some other things.  We lingered around watching other kids visit with Santa and we talked about how nice he was.

NONE of that mattered.  I don't blame her.  

It was quick and mostly painless.  There is a funny picture as evidence and she waved as we left so I don't think that we did any permanent damage.

However, I don't think we will be visiting the easter bunny this year....

Thursday, December 12, 2013

And the stocking now...

Roughly 18lbs later that stocking is looking awfully small.   I cannot wait for Santa to stuff that special little stocking in a few weeks  :) 

Monday, December 9, 2013

surviving the holidays in the NICU

Two years ago today on a whim we did something that saved the joy of the holidays for me while in the NICU.  To set the scene you need to understand that we were going on 2 months in the NICU and while our scariest days were seemingly behind us Virginia had failed extubation once again earlier that week.  I was overcome with fear amidst the endless discussion of ventilator dependence, steroid treatment, and the risks of all the different scenarios.  But for one night, with our favorite nurse on duty, all of that was put to the side.  We traveled the right of passage for any new parents and took family holiday photos.  It surprisingly felt totally normal to stuff our 2.5 pound 8 week old in her little stocking and take pictures.  That glimpse of "normalcy" was what we needed that night.  It wasn't much but it was a distraction from the intense fear and worry.  

The NICU is admittedly a difficult place to be during the holidays.  It is literally impossible to be with your family.  You are never actually whole on days that are defined by counting your blessings and celebrating the birth of a full term baby in a manger.  Everyone else is full of holiday cheer and christmas busyness, yet the relentless schedule of pumping, visiting, and NICU worrying allows for little of that and in many cases makes you resentful of all that cheer.  

The NICU does not take holidays.  There is spirit in the air as nurses make footprint ornaments and holiday dinners are provided, but the only way to survive the holidays in the NICU is make the best of those little moments and cherish them.  

Hang a stocking off of the IV pole.
Read christmas books bedside.
Buy that baby's first christmas ornament even if it wasn't supposed to be baby's first christmas.
skype with family... its the next best thing.
connect with other families... everyone is feeling the same way.
Ugly cry to James Taylor's christmas album (or Kenny G may be more your speed)
Ring in the new year with your baby and funny hats.

There is never a "right" way to cope in the NICU and this is especially true during the holidays.  Do what you need to do, one foot in front of the other. Embrace the season where it feels good and turn off the holiday music when you feel the bitterness creeping in.  

Thinking of all of the NICU families in the coming weeks.  I wish I knew how joyful Christmas 2012 and 2013 would be when we were in the throws of NICU Christmas 2011.  

Also thinking of all those post NICU families that are still struggling to find the joy and normalcy of the holidays while navigating their way through RSV isolation.  It gets better :) 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Virginia Lately

Just a good ole fashioned update and mom brag.

This kid is AWESOME.  Seriously, she is awesome.  She is also awesomely naughty sometimes. She is changing and learning so much lately that I am experiencing that bittersweet heartache of pure joy of her continued development and total devastation that she is growing up.

She still LOVES everything elmo.

Her phrase of the week is "whehh _____ go?"  Some variation of this phrase is said 34875203987 times a day.

She practices "running" and "jumping" everyday.  She has a long ways to go but is very enthusiastic about both :)

She insists that everyone's coats and shoes come off when we get in the house.

She is obsessed with shoes.

Her hair is finally starting to grow.  I've never been so proud of a mullet ;)

She licks her finger before turning the page in her books.... imitating much ?!

Lately she confuses "chin" and "Ginny" .. that makes for some funny conversation.

She looked at us like we were totally crazy cakes when we brought the christmas tree in the house. She also let out a huge "WOW" when I turned on the lights for the first time tonight.  We are so so so excited to experience the holidays with her this year.

Virginia will sit on the potty, but only because she wants to use toilet paper.

She is the most ticklish kid ever! and always says "mowr tic tic"

Our bedtime routine has gotten much less dramatic since switching to "how do dinosaurs say goodnight" as our last book of the night.

and now for a photo dump... lots of holiday happenings around here!