My Family!!

My Family!!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Healing the Wound?

An interesting topic has been broached a few times in the past couple weeks.

Has the birth of Ava helped my healing process?

This is a really difficult question to answer. I have replied "yes" to those who have asked simply because I don't know how to adequately explain to them why I don't think it has.

Am I truly in love? Of course! Am I grateful that Avaleen is here and healthy and wakes me up with her cries at night? Absolutely! Has she healed the wound caused by the death of Rosalynn? No.

Yes, the empty arms and nursery are full, however, to say the birth of my second daughter has helped heal the wound of Rosie's death is like putting a band aide on an amputated leg and saying it is healed. Of course my life seems more full, but my first born is still gone, and with her, that piece of my heart will always be missing until we are reunited in heaven.

I have love in my heart enough for both of my girls, just like any mother with multiple children. I just pray that no one thinks that my rainbow "negates the ravages of the storm that preceded it". There is a family member missing still. Her presence will be missed at every holiday, every family function, and every milestone that Ava hits we will have missed the opportunity to watch Rosie hit the same milestones. No matter how many children we have, there will always be one less face missing from the family photos, one less sporting event to attend, one less graduation, and one less chance for Foster to walk his daughter down the isle.

If anything, this new rainbow journey we are on has reopened the wound WIDE. I have cried more in the past 2 weeks than I have the past 6 months over Rosalynn's passing. How screwed up is it that I had to bring Ava to the cemetery to "introduce" her to her older sister? I should have been introducing them here in our home when we brought Ava home from the NICU. However, the life of a Baby Loss Mother and her family will never be that of a "normal" family's. My daughter will be raised to "know" a sister she has never met, she will have books like "Someone came Before You" along with "Goodnight Moon", and she will attend balloon releases and Memorial Walks on October 15th.

So has Ava's birth healed any of the wound from Rosie? I guess the short answer is no.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The New Addition to Our Family

"How is it that someone who weights less than 6 lbs. makes soooo many major decisions in our life?"

This is the question Foster asked after Ava being home for less than a week. I told him he better get used to it, because she will be the reason behind most of our choices from here on out.

We waited till the last minute to get her car seat installed into the car. Call it superstition, call it procrastination, but it wasn't installed until AFTER I had her and she was in the NICU waiting to come home. When I plopped myself into the passenger seat on the Monday I was released, and my knees were in my nose, we realized very quickly that a Toyota Corolla was NOT the car for a growing family.

Last Sunday Foster, Ava and I started the process of looking for a new car. We have 3 cars with no car payments. 2 Corollas, and a 2006 Nissan Frontier truck that is my husband's baby. We had a slight problem. He didn't want to get rid of his truck, and we wanted to keep at least one of the Corollas because he drives almost 30 miles to work every day and you can't beat 40 mpg that the Corolla gets. So we only wanted to get rid of one of our Corollas.

We didn't know what kind of car we wanted. Did we want a station wagon, a mini van, SUV or a nice big sedan? I had to think that I will be watching JJ's son while she works so would need a large enough back seat to fit TWO car seats.

After looking Sunday and Monday, we were convinced that we wanted the Nissan Rogue. We love Nissans, and the Rouge was a nice SUV that got decent gas mileage. For the first time we were looking at having a car payment. This was not ideal for us because for one, I will only be working in January and then becoming a full time mom after that. I still have my photography, but that is not a guarantee steady income. Plus, we just don't like having a lot of debt, and would rather invest our money into retirement or something that can give us a return on our money, not a car that loses value as soon as we drive it off the lot. However, we had resigned to the fact that it was unavoidable this time around, because although we had a large downpayment, we could not afford to pay $20,000+ cash for a car. We had come up with a down payment, and the monthly payment we could afford, and then we headed out Tuesday to check out a few Rouges we had found nearby.

We were unimpressed by the Rouges we saw. A couple smelled like cigarette smoke, and one had a weird shake up front when we hit the brakes (and it was only a 2010!!). We started to head home when Foster wanted to stop by one more dealership. I had to feed Ava and change her diaper and as soon as I finished Foster came up to me SOOOOO excited! He found a Hybrid SUV that he wanted, and the price was completely reasonable. After talking it over with the salesman, doing some consumer reports research on one of their computers, talking him down a little on the price, and getting a quote on our trade in, we walked out with a new (to us) SUV and our out of pocket expense was LESS than what we were planning on putting down on the Rouge!!!

That's right! We STILL don't have a car payment!!! And THIS is our new car:

Saturn Vue Hybrid!!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Week with Ava!!

Life has been so busy lately, I feel there aren't enough hours in the day, and hence why the last blog I wrote was over a week ago.

Avaleen is home. She has been home for a whole week now. Foster and I have been thoroughly enjoying our new little addition to our family. Ava is such a content little baby, and I am just waiting for the ball to drop. She doesn't fuss much, she doesn't cry unless we are changing her diaper, and she is happy just hanging out. When she is awake, she cracks us up with her goofy faces.

There have been a LOT of firsts in the past week. We took her to church...I know, I know, people may be mad at me for taking my 5 week preemie out in public, HOWEVER, our faith is what has kept us sane and strong over the past 18 months, and we felt as if we NEEDED to bring her there. Foster and I both got pretty emotional. We had been praying for over 2 years, and we were finally holding our precious daughter. To avoid too many people poking their fingers into her car seat, I held her in my Moby wrap to keep her close to me and away from all the germs.

We also took her out to see her big sister. This is when I lost it. I know the hormones are still wacky, but I think in the cemetery it finally hit me how sad and happy I was, how grateful, but also still a little resentful I am. How I should be introducing our newborn to our 18 month old daughter, and not to her gravestone. It was all really overwhelming, and I could no longer hold back the tears. I started crying.

We have had TONS of visitors. It was really hectic here the first weekend she was home, but things are starting to slow down a bit. It is nice to be able to hang out with Foster and Ava and enjoy being a family. Foster is absolutely in LOVE! Ava has him wrapped around her finger.

The breastfeeding is going AMAZINGLY! I am such a cow! The lactation specialist was warning me to not get upset if Ava didn't latch until closer to her due date, but just like how fast she graduated the NICU, she has amazed us with her eating skills too! The 4th day in the NICU, we tried. By the 3rd try, she was latched and fed for 10 minutes. I still supplement with pumped breast milk in a bottle, b/c she is still small and gets tired after about 10-15 minutes. It takes more energy for her to breast feed, so I usually give her an additional .5-1 oz of milk after she tuckers out.

Nights are going well. There are 3 positive things about having a baby int he NICU the first 6 days of life. 1.) Ava came home on a schedule! She is on a feeding schedule of 12-3-6-9 around the clock. This has allowed for about 2-2.5 hour stretches of sleep for Foster and I and the occasional 3 hour stretch! 2.) since she was hooked up to all the monitors and checked and monitored for 6 days, if there was any underlying heart of respiratory problem that may not have been picked up in the regular nursery, there is a great chance they would have picked up on it. 3.) she slept by herself in the incubator. This is great because she doesn't need to be held to fall asleep or stay asleep. I was TERRIFIED that she would be a baby who needed me to hold her in bed to fall asleep, and as a Baby Loss Mom, I have heard all the nightmare stories of smothering babies while co sleeping. She sleeps in a bassinet right next to our bed, and I can see into it, and it works perfectly!

OK onto what you REALLY want...the pictures of my beautiful baby girl that does NOT include tubes:-)

In her Little Sister outfit getting ready to go home!!

my sweet baby girl!!

one of her MANY goofy expressions when she is awake!

first time in her swing!

LOVES her daddy!!

our little fur-babysitter. Reagan is absolutely IN LOVE!

UH OH folks! I have a thumb sucker!!!
Ava with Rosie....tear! sorry this is a bad is w/ my phone:-)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Heading Home....Me, not Ava:-(

It is amazing how awake and happy I can be on such little sleep! I am completely enamored by my little princess, and try to spend as much time with her as possible. So I apologize in advance if some of this makes no sense.

It looks like I will be released today. Unfortunately, Ava will have to stay a little longer. She is doing WONDERFUL, however. She is off her oxygen again, and on room air, she had all of her IV lines take out yesterday, and she should be going into an open crib today!!

My milk came in and it looks like I am already keeping up with my little porker! She is taking 40+ ml of breast milk each feeding, and i am pumping 50+ each session. When we have kangaroo time (skin to skin cuddle time for 1 hour), I pump almost 80 ml after that!! It is  amazing how in tuned the baby and mom are and how their bodies react to each other! Did you know that holding her against my chest, my body naturally regulates her body temp? and if I were to have twins and hold one on each bare breast, each breast would regulate each twin's body temperature?!? amazing!!

Any way, we are slowly trying to get her used to breast feeding, and she know WHAT to do, she just doesn't like how much work it takes to get it done. The lactation specialist says this is completely normal for a preemie, since it takes a lot out of them to feed. She told me not to get too frustrated until she gets closer to her due date. So we still practice, but her feedings are still through bottle, but with PLENTY of my milk!!

Bug got to feed her and snuggle with Ava last night because she worked. I am so glad they are getting their bonding time! It will definitely make it easier to leave the hospital tonight knowing Bug will be working:-)

Things are going well, and I feel like the most blessed woman on earth!!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Our Growing Girl!

 My precious baby girl is growing strong. She lost 10% of her body weight already, and was 5lb5oz yesterday, but the way she is eating she will gain it back in NO time. Ava came off her tube the first night around 2AM, and went right onto room air! This only lasted for about 12 hours. She then had to go onto a nasal cannula at the lowest setting because she wasn't keeping her oxygen above 95%. She is eating like a champ! She eats fast, burps fast, and then falls right to sleep on either Foster or my chest.

It is amazing the little quirks she already has picked up. She snores like me (not really a snore, but a clicking in the back of her throat), she frowns like Foster and furrows her brow, and she doesn't really CRY, she whines, and squeaks.

I love her so much! I just am praying she gets to come home with us. It would be hard to walk out of the hospital AGAIN without a baby. However, I would feel better this time, especially knowing that she is with her Auntie Bug in the NICU.

The emotional aspect has taken its toll on me a bit. It was probably a combination of hormones, exhaustion, and memories, but I cried ALOT last night for my Rosalynn. I miss her. I am soooooo blessed and happy to be holding my beautiful rainbow baby, but the memories of our first born that will never be, makes me sad. We never got to do any of this with Rosalynn, and I will love EVERY moment with Avaleen and will never take a moment for granted.

Here are a few pictures:-)

Foster feeding his baby girl. I am sooo happy to see him as a father to an angel here on earth!!

burping Ava

Snuggling with Ava....then repeat 3 hours later:-)

Well, I am going to pump again, and then head down for feeding and kangaroo time! THank you all for the prayers and support! We all appreciate every one of them.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Welcome Avaleen Rose!!!

I wanted to write all this down before I forgot.

It was a WHIRLWIND of a day. I had a ton of things planned over the next week, including 4 photo shoots, straightening up my house, setting up all the equipment for Ava, and getting my car detailed. Well, you know what they say, "The quickest way to make God laugh is to make plans."

Foster and I headed out this morning to go hear our little Ava on her Non-stress test and see her one more time before delivery next week on the u/s. She did GREAT on her NST. She passed with flying colors, and we were done in 25 mins. We then went to the u/s and she wasn't cooperating with the tech. Little Ava kept her face turned to the back so we couldn't get a good look at her face:-( The tech went about measuring her size, the placenta, and the amniotic fluid. She then left and said she would be back with the doctor. I didn't think anything of it, because I was supposed to see him anyway.  She soon returned and asked us to followed her to his office where he would speak with us.

When we got in there, he said "Your sugars look great! When did you last eat?"

 I thought the question a little strange, so I asked "Why are my ketones high or something? I ate around 730am,"

"No the reason I ask is because your fluid levels were low, and with your history, I am not the most comfortable with sending you home for another week. I was wondering how you felt about having this baby today?"

Foster and I looked at each other with wide open mouths and started laughing, "Well, I guess it is as good of time as any!"

He sent us on our way with instructions to be at the hospital by 1pm for a 3pm c-section.

I ran home to get my non-existent hospital bag (can I tell you I almost packed it last night but figured I had ALL week to worry about it?!?!?) while Foster headed to the office to tie a few loose ends. Then we headed out.

Once we got to the hospital, it was a lot of "hurry up and wait". We had our priest meet us and he did a blessing over Ava and I. I sat in the prep/recovery area until 3:45pm (there was some mix up with my blood draws that delayed us for a little bit (to my ED family, you gotta LOVE lab!!! lol).

JJ, Mom, Dad, my aunt, Dave's mom and his sister's husband (our brother in law) anxiously awaited in the lobby as we were rolled back. My sister, Bug, met us in the OR because she had been granted permission as a NICU nurse to be in the OR when her niece made her appearance! I was sooo happy to have BOTH Foster AND Bug with me!

The surgery went great. It was so much different than last time, because they drugged me up with Rosalynn since she had already passed. This time I was WIDE awake, and the tugging and pulling felt SOOOO strange. After taking their time getting to Ava, all of the sudden the doc calls Foster around the curtain to get a pic....she was breech, so her butt and legs were out, and they were holding her up by her legs. It is quite the funny pic, but I am not allowed to share it online b/c you can see her private parts and Foster doesn't like that idea:-) Sorry.

Then we heard it.....the sound that we never got to hear from Rosalynn, that sound that we have been praying for for 18 months. Her little cries. They were the most beautiful sound I have ever heard in my life. It was so surreal! I cannot even explain the emotions that went through me at that moment. I felt strangely at peace, but so filled with love and joy and sadness....our whole family was there, for I felt my precious Rosalynn there with us.

The NICU team looked her over, and noted she was having trouble breathing, so quickly wrapped her up, let Foster hold her momentarily, let me see and kiss her, and then rushed her off.

Unfortunately her little lungs are not quite mature. She had not produced enough sufactant, so she had to be intubated. It is sad, but she is a feisty one!! She is sooo precious, and you can tell she will be off the tube soon, because she is already fighting to breathe around it...which is a GOOD sign!

It helps put my mind at ease that Bug is working in the NICU tonight....almost like I can rest easy...ALMOST! lol.

I feel great. I have surprised all my nurses, I was up and in a wheelchair 1.5 hours after surgery. I am not in that much pain, and not wanting any pain meds as of right now. Foster is fast asleep next to me in the pull out has been a LONG day!

I have a few pics....the first is blurry b/c i had to take a pic w/ my cell phone of a picture on a camera screen, the second and third are of our baby girl in the NICU.....So without further ado, here is Miss Avaleen Rose 5lb10oz, 19inches long.

Delivery DAY!!!

Just to give you a quick update. went into the docs today....Ava passed NST w/ flying colors, but then we went fo the u/s and there was low amniotic fluid. the doc didnt want to take a chance since we lost Rosie @ 34w4d w/ no explanation and I am 35w, so heading in for a c-section this afternoon. just stopped by the house to pick up my bag.please keep us in your prayers!!
I will update as soon as i can

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Nursery

Well, as most of you know, I had the nursery almost finished by the time we lost Rosalynn. However, once we got home without our baby girl, I stopped and closed up the room It has sat unfinished for almost a year and a half. Even through this pregnancy, I hesitated to finish it. I waited and waited and waited....and FINALLY last night, with less than 9 days till we deliver, Foster and I finished it up! So without further are som pictures. Remember, we had no clue that Rosie was a girl, so we tried to keep neutral. Since I LOVED the theme, and we plan on having more kids, God willing, I decided to stick with the original theme.

full sized mural of horses...the white one looks like my horse, and the brown one like my sister's horse

"you are my sunshine"

see the pic of me and Mikey on thee shelf?:-)

a beaituful quilt done by my aunt chris!

LOVE these curtains! the pics over it! the scripture helped me SOOOO much after Rosie passed!

Our little Sunny's bridle hangs on the hook....we miss himSOOOOO much!! Rest in peace little pony!

"Guardian Angel (Rosalynn) pure and bright, Guard me as I sleep tonight"

the crib

obviously the blankets will come out if she sleeps in here!

"Be strong in the Lord"

LOVE this lamp!!! great little details in the room bring it together!!
"As a mother comforts her child, So will I comfort you"

another great lamp!!!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

34 week Survey!

Size of baby: Well considering Ava was measuring in @ 4lbs6oz @ 32 weeks, I would expect her to be around 5 and a half pounds now. BIG GIRL!!

Weight: Still only a 13 lbs gain this pregnancy. This is awesome! It will definitely help in losing weight after!!
Maternity clothes: seriously?!?! Have you seen my belly?!?!?

Sleep: It is what it is. I have problems falling asleep but once I am asleep I am good until I have to get up to use the bathroom 15 times a maybe not 15, but definitely about 3.
Best moment of the week: I have lost weight this pregnancy even though Ava is packing on the pounds! I was able to fit my engagement ring back on my hand!!! I am so excited about  this! Also, Foster and I will be getting our maternity photos take tomorrow!

Movement: She has been a LAZY BABY!! She moves alot, but she sleeps alot too. We have our NSTs and she has to be woken up every time, no matter what time the appointment is. Then she gets mad and wiggles all around. She is getting to big to get a good kick or punch, so now I feel mainly shifts and rolls.
Symptoms: Gestational Diabetes that is staying under control with diet, LOTS of peeing, and I have to do a 24 hour urine today. My BP was slightly elevated @ 139/85 (I usually run around 110/60) and I had 1+ protein in my urine. So to rule our the early onset of Pre-eclampsia, Dr. C wanted me to get a 24 hour urine for him. Praying this was just a fluke!

Food cravings/aversions: anything sweet....which I can't indulge in.

Gender: Still a Beautiful HEALTHY baby GIRL!!!! Miss Avaleen Rose (Ava)

Belly button in or out: Still in, however, it is flattening out, and I have a feeling it WILL pop this time around.

Stretch marks: They wont stop appearing!! I am going to look like and 80 year old woman when this is all said and done!

What I miss: Being able to see my feet and being able to change position s in bed without a rolling start:-) other than that
What I am looking forward to: In 1 week we have our last u/s. In 14 days we have our c-section!!!! So I would say I am most looking forward to meeting my little girl.

On that note, I am NOT looking forward to the next 5 days. 5 days from today is the milestone in our pregnancy with Rosalynn where she grew her angel wings and went back up to heaven. I am just praying that God gives me the strength to get through this, and pray Ava cooperates and moves ALOT for mommy:-)
Weekly wisdom: Spend some quality time with your hubby if you are able to before the baby gets here. I start maternity leave tomorrow, and I plan on taking FULL advantage of the 13 days left Foster and I have as a childless couple:-)

34 week photo:

I feel like I have thinned out in the face a bit:-) better for maternity photos tomorrow:-)


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