Saturday, March 31, 2012

Wendy's First Trip To The Zoo

Okay, so my kid is 6 months old and we took her to the zoo. I knew when we took her she wouldn't understand, but it was a change to get her outside and let her see something other than the walls of our house. She didn't really understand or enjoy the animals, but she loved looking at the people. Wendy was constantly turning her head to look around at everyone. And I had about a million (or ten) people come up to tell me how beautiful my baby was. As a mother, that always makes you smile.

On the downside, tomorrow is Sunday which means my mom is going home. I know Wendy is too young to realize that Mimi has to leave, but I'm not and I hate to see my mother go.

On a positive note, Zed put in our 30 day notice, which means I will be out of this house and back in Georgia before April 30. That also means Zed will have to stay with friends here until May 3. Sometimes the Army is stupid, like when a soldier is getting out and literally goes into work from 5:30 to 6 and then sits at home the rest of the day, however we can't move home until May.

Oh! I also got Wendy a jogging stroller! It's a Jeep Liberty Limited Urban Terrain. You can sit her carseat in it. The tires are slack, so we're going to have to get them pumped up, but hopefully I can do that tomorrow which means I can begin the Couch to 5K workout. Mommy wants to lose some serious weight!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

My Mommy Is Here

Yes, I may be 22, but I still love my parents and get super excited when I get to see them. My mommy just arrived this afternoon for a weekend visit! I will be so happy when we move home and my parents can be a bigger part of Wendy's life, and that goes for Zed's family as well. I hate being so far away and Wendy changing so much and them missing it.

Tomorrow Wendy has an appointment with her surgeon, which my mom and I will be taking her to. Then me and momma are going on a "date" while Zed watches Wendy. We are going to see The Hunger Games, even though we have both already seen it once. Saturday, I believe me, Zed, mom, and Wendy are going to the zoo! Zed also mentioned something about a BBQ Saturday afternoon at a friend's house, and then Sunday my mom will be going home.

Busy weekend. After this weekend, there will only be four more weekends until we move home. Wow, can the last week of April hurry up and get here already?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Productive Day

So far, today has been like any other Wednesday. Wendy had occupational therapy, however she was fussy today and wan't nada to do with it. So instead of working on completely oral, we worked on different ways to do tummy time and ways to get her arms in her mid-line. Wendy enjoyed the arms being brought to center.

After therapy, I went and got my nails done (which I do every two weeks, to get a mommy break). My nails are bright yellow! They make me happy and think of springtime and cute dresses.

I also reached my second goal of $300 for March of Dimes. Now I'm debating, should I raise my goal even higher? I have 25 days left before the walk. I think I could raise another $100.

Well, I better quit blogging and get to work on my lessons while my little hiccup is quiet!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Mrs. McLanahan, I Hope The Kids Can Pronounce It

So, it's official. I have started classes working towards a bachelor's in early childhood education. I made a 100 on my first writing assignment, a 3 page essay on why college is important to me. It's amazing how excited I am about this. Who would've thought that I would eventually want to teach small children. Definitely not me. At least not until I had Wendy.

Wendy has changed so much in my life and I honestly have no idea what I did to deserve such a beautiful and special child. She is absolutely perfect in every way imaginable and as hard as it to admit it, she's growing up. She's learning to eat food. We tried pears today instead of applesauce, but it kind of tasted the same to me. Yes, sometimes I sample her baby food. We also played in her Baby Einstein jumper. But mostly, I wore her around the house in her new Maya Wrap Ring Sling (aka, the best invention ever). That sling is a life (and arm) saver. I actually got stuff done today.

Pretty much, my point of this post is to say how happy I am with my life. I am loving it. I am so happy with my decision to get a college degree. And this career will suit Wendy and work around her schedule seeing as I don't plan to start work until she starts school. Being a mom is the most important thing in the world to me, but that doesn't mean I can't have other dreams as well. I'm just now figuring out that I can be a wife, a mother, and a working woman. I think my life is finally on track. I just hope the kids can pronounce my name!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Seriously Debating

I have been seriously considering what I want to go to school for. I really want to go to college online that way I don't have to be away from Wendy, and then once she starts school I would start work. I'm just trying to decide if nursing is what I truly want to do. Honestly, I would really only like to work with pregnant women, babies, or special needs children. So I'm still deciding. College is still a definite for me, but I need to be sure of the career path I choice.

I'm even considering getting a Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education so I could work with and teach special needs children. This I could do completely online.

It's just frustrating because I have so many options! I had considered Psychology and Nursing and now Early Childhood Education. I know with all of these fields I could work with the type of people that I want, however, I just need to figure out which one fits into my life and Wendy's and Zed's the best. I hope I can figure it out soon! I really want to get the ball rolling!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Big Decision

I have made a huge decision. One that will not only effect me, but my family as well. I have decided to start college when I move back to Georgia. I plan on pursuing a degree in nursing. I am smart and I know I can do it. I had a 4.0 GPA the entire time I was in high school. I know it will be difficult having Wendy, but I will have plenty of family and support around me. (Besides, do you know how many people are just dying to babysit Wendy? Haha.) I have contacted several schools and I am seeing which of them can offer more online classes. I am going to take my SATs again June 2 and then apply for fall semester.

I am nervous as all get out. But now is the time to do something for me. I have sacrificed a lot for my family, moving for Zed and the Army, staying home and taking care of Wendy (which I love), but I know that once Wendy starts school, I am going to need a career, probably just something part-time, maybe only on the weekends.

I also want to know that if, God forbid, something ever happened to Zed, that I could take care of Wendy. I can give her all the love in the world, but I want to be able to financially take care of her.

It's exciting and scary all at the same time. But I think I'm ready.

ON a note about Wendy, we went to the doctor today to get some referrals. She's 9 freaking pounds! Yep, my teeny baby is almost in double digits. We got referrals for an audiology follow up, a neurodevelopmental follow up, and another feeding study. I also bought her first can of baby food because she is 4 months adjusted today! So maybe I'll try it tomorrow! And I bought Wendy a Baby Einstein musical motion activity jumper. I got that one because it is able to be adjusted height wise and grow with your baby, so I figured it would be able to be lowered enough for Wendy. Nope, her feet are still a good 6 inches from the floor. but she seems to enjoy sitting in it. She'll grow into it before long I'm sure.

I really spoil my baby. It's a habit I need to break, whether it be me holding her ALL THE TIME or spending all my extra money on her. I just can't help it, she's just so darn cute and sweet and perfect! This mommy is falling more and more in love every single day.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Year Doesn't Seem So Long Ago

Last St. Patrick's Day Zed and I were in Savannah. We had planned on partying it up since he had just returned from Afghanistan. Our plans changed though. The week before we went I found out I was pregnant. Zed could have still drank all the green beer he wanted, but he didn't. It was crowded and not as much fun as I thought it would be, but still something I had always wanted to experience. I probably would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't been so worried. I think I had my hands constantly wrapped around my belly because I was afraid someone was going to bump into me. Sounds crazy, I know. But I loved Wendy so much already and I wanted to protect her every way I could. This time last year I had just found out I was expecting and now I have an almost 6 month old. Doesn't add up. She should only be 3 and half months old!

This year for St. Patty's Day we spent time together as a family, along with the Harper's and the Wahl's. We went to a place about an hour from here where Zed goes to shoot guns and there's a pond. We took food and blankets and had sort of a picnic while the guys tried to fish. However, they didn't catch anything (I told them they would't!) because they were using these ridiculous bright colored, fake worms. Who fishes in a pond with plastic worm lures? Apparently, Zed. I love him though. But maybe next time he'll get some live bait and actually catch a fish.

Today was kind of rough. I lost my temper a few times. (To get to the pond, we had to walk, through mud and 6 inch puddles, all while carrying a baby with a feeding pump and diaper bag, trying not to slip and fall.) But I still love my husband. And it was the thought of him wanting to spend time together as a family that counts. However, next time, we will take my suggestion and take Winnie to the zoo. :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Laately, Just Lately.

Zed and I have been hanging around with other couples who have small children recently. And lately I've been noticing major differences between them and Wendy. Not only her tiny stature, but also her nose, the shape of her head, her feet, and those are just to name a few. She's getting to the age where I'm really wondering if she's going to be "normal" or if she's going to have major health and developmental problems her entire life.

Mainly, I've been wondering about her developmental status. Doctors have pretty much given us an idea about what her physical problems will be when she's older, but no one can tell us about developmental. I know it won't really make a difference either way because I love that child more than the world, but it's still hard not to wonder and question.

So far, other than not taking a bottle, Wendy seems pretty average for her adjusted age, which is 3 and half months old. Honestly, I feel like she is probably above average in some aspects. As she grows older though I am seeing certain features stand out and I think she is the most beautiful baby on the planet (no offense to you other mothers) but I can't help but wonder if she'll be picked on because she looks a little different.

I'm sure a lot of these concerns go through many mother's minds. But for Wendy, I feel that I have legitimate worries. I would hate to have to hurt a 5 year old because he or she picked on my child. And honestly, it really bothers me when people use the word retarded. I didn't ever really notice it until I had a child that could possibly have some formal of mental retardation and now it really pisses me off. They have the "think before you speak" commercial about how it's "not cool" to say gay. Well how about think before you speak, because it's not cool to say retarded. I guarantee you, sometime saying retarded can hurt people a lot more than saying gay. Just my opinion.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My Responsibility

I am watching season 2 of Army Wives. I'm on the episode that Joan's placenta ruptures. She tells her husband while she's laying in the hospital bed that it's her responsibility. That brought back so many memories for me, and not all of them good.

There are so many times I remember feeling guilty and thinking that my sole responsibility was to protect my baby and keep her healthy and I didn't do that. I dealt with those feelings when we saw the first abnormality on the ultrasound. I dealt with it when I had an amniocentesis. I dealt with it when my water broke at 29 weeks. I dealt with it the whole 10 weeks Wendy spent in the hospital. And now I'm dealing with it every time I have to change Wendy's colostomy bad, every time I hook up her feeding pump, every time I give her medicine, every time I take her to the doctor.

Sometimes it's feelings of guilt. Sometimes anger. Sometimes sadness. But the rest of the time, I feel pure joy. I feel guilty at times because I felt like it was my responsibility to keep my baby healthy. I feel angry sometimes because I wanted Wendy so badly and I did everything the doctor's said. And here I see pregnant women smoking, drinking, and doing drugs, and it disgusts me to no end. Those women don't deserve the privilege of being a mother. Sometimes I feel sad because I just want Wendy to not have any health problems and not have to have all the extra equipment. I don't want to see her suffer through more surgeries. But even after all those feelings, I am one of the happiest mother's alive because Wendy is still here. She has defied so many odds and she has touched so many people, I can't help but be proud to be her mother. Pride, I suppose, is another feeling that I experience quite a bit.

I may endure a roller coaster of emotions, but all it takes is one cuddle, one smile, one happy memory to turn it all around. Wendy is such a strong and courageous person, even at 5 months old and 8 lbs. My daughter has such a beautiful soul. I have a feeling that one day we will both look back on all the trials and hardships we've faced, and we'll smile, because we've overcome it. There is no other option.

Busy As A Bee

Wendy and I had quite the busy day. It started off by going to Once Upon A Child and Babies R Us with Julia and Abel. Then we met Ashley, DeLauren, and Russell at the park. Julia and I only made it one lap before we were sweating to death and decided we were going to Walmart and then heading home.

But of course, as I get to Walmart I realize I've lost my grocery list, so I leave with only half of what I need. Also, they only had one can of Wendy's formula. They are supposed to be getting a shipment in tonight, so looks like I'll be making another trip to Walmart soon.

When I got home I put all of Wendy's cute new clothes and owl backpack in her Easter basket. She is going to look SO CUTE in her little dresses! Then I cooked supper, stir-fry, that turned out amazing, and I showered, ate, and put the baby to bed.

I just got off the phone with my mom and we were discussing ideas for our March of Dimes shirts. We are going to wear ones that say "Walking for Wendy" and Wendy is going to wear a onesie that says "Marching for Me". I've got so much going on between now and the time we move to Georgia, but at least it'll help pass the time by. I'm hoping to be able to squeeze in a few more follow up appointments like audiology, neurodevelopmental, and another feeding study before we move. Mommy is on the ball about all these appointments! I have to stay on my toes if I want to get things done.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Suck Swallow Study

I know many of you are wondering how Wendy's test went today. It wasn't all great, but we did receive some good news. When Wendy swallows, most of the time, it goes down the right way. At one time during the study some formula went up to the back of her nose because her palate didn't properly block her airway. The positive thing about this is, that when this happened, she coughed, letting up know that something wasn't right. Most babies don't do that. So they were pretty impressed with her. They said we could try PO feeds once a day but only do really small amounts like 5-10ml. If she starts drinking like crazy then we take her back and she's reevaluated. The problem with aspiration is the fluid is going into your lungs. Fluid being in your lungs can cause respiratory infections. They said Wendy has a poor suck swallow breath coordination. She breaths for a bit, then takes a quick sip, swallows, then starts breathing again. That's too much work to get enough formula in her to sustain her. They said they feel she will do better with baby food. We can start trying baby food when her adjusted age is 4 months, which it will be March 20. She is going back to have them repeat this study and this time they'll do it with formula and baby food in April. If Wendy can't coordinate sucking swallowing and breathing all at the same time, she is going to have to have a pump to keep fluids in her. We are going to take it one day at a time and consider today a success. It's exciting to be able to sit and try to bottle feed Wendy. I am going to have to work extra hard on her oral touch skills because her tongue doesn't curve around the nipple like it should. Eh, we'll figure it out sooner or later. What works for others may not work with Wendy, so for now it's just trial and error. But we are moving forward now and that's the important thing.

Oh the doctor at Vanderbilt told us it was great to put small amounts of food/liquid on our finger and let her taste them. She we need her used to having different tastes in her mouth because since she is tube fed, she doesn't get to taste different things like baby food yet, so until she's big enough to try baby food they said it was totally fine to let her suck chocolate off our fingers.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Nervous Mommy

I went to sleep at 6:30 because Wendy was sleepy and I know we have a lot to do in the morning. It's now 9:30 and I am wide awake, even though Wendy is still sleeping like a baby. Maybe it's just nerves. I'm really stressed about how the suck swallow study will go. I'm worried they'll tell us she's aspirating. I'm worried she won't even be able to take enough formula by mouth to complete the study. I have a million different concerns running through my mind. So to remedy this, I am downloading Season 2 of Army Wives on iTunes as we speak. (Yes, I am that far behind. I know season 6 just started but I have still only watched the first season.) The insomnia may also be due in part to the fact that I haven't an Ambien in about a week. Zed is going to have to pick up my prescription tomorrow.

On a good note, Wendy had her pictures done today. A fellow army wife and friend, Mary Jenkins (MaryLou Photography, you can find her on Facebook!) came out to my house and we spent a few hours with Wendy, posing her, changing her outfit, and just snuggling at times. I am so happy about the pictures I told Mary that she has inspired me to start using my real camera to take pictures of Wendy and not just use my iPhone. I'm really hoping Mary will be able to do some more photos for us before we move back to Georgia and I hope Wendy is smiling more by then. Either way, today was so much fun and it really took my mind off of worrying about the feeding study.

If you read this before 8:30 am on Monday, March 12, say a little prayer for Wendy. I think if she has any hope of ever learning to eat by mouth, we need to start working with her soon and the only way we can do that is if she passes the feeding study.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Nice Saturday

Well, here I am, listening to a video about small animal nursing and getting ready to turn in a test. It's 10:00pm and surprisingly I'm not asleep yet. It's been a long day, but a fun and fulfilling day. I started the day off much like any Saturday. Zed got up at 5:00am to watch Wendy and I went back to sleep. Zed then went to shoot guns with his buddy, Mike. While he was gone, Mike's wife text me to see if we all wanted to go to the park when the guys got back. So Zed and I packed up Wendy, Pandora, and Ares to go to the park. We left Peanut home because he isn't a very sociable dog. At the park we met up with the Wahl's and the Hopper's. We all let our dogs off the leash and let them play. After a while we decided to go home because the wind was blowing and getting worse and none of us wanted our babies out in it. We weren't ready to end our day though so we all decided to have dinner at my house. The guys cleaned their guns and watched the kids while us girls cooked dinner. I fried chicken and made homemade biscuits. Ashley cooked macaroni and she brought dessert. And Julia made homemade mashed potatoes. It was nice to sit in the living room floor and have dinner with friends. It's been difficult since Wendy was born since we stayed in Nashville for 10 weeks and then once she came home, she was home bound. Also, we were nervous about people coming over because we were scared any little thing would get her sick. It's nice that she's able to go places now. Julia and Mike will be leaving soon to move to South Carolina, so Zed and I will definitely miss them. We will be moving not long after them, but luckily their new home is only a few hours from our house in Georgia, so we'll still be able to visit. Zed getting out of the Army is becoming more bittersweet. I really think I'm going to miss some of these girls here.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Suck Swallow Study

Two posts in one night.. I have quite a bit of stuff floating around in my brain tonight. I figure while and I have the time, I may as well post.

Wendy goes for a suck swallow study Monday. I'm pretty sure it will be the Modified Barium Swallow Study, where they will give her formula by mouth with a bit of barium in it and they will watch on a fluoroscopic screen to see if she aspirates. I am really hoping she passes this test. Wendy loves to suck her thumb now, so I think now is the time to get a bottle in her mouth. I also want her to have the feeding pump gone before she starts going to school (even though she may not even go to a public school because Zed and I are considering homeschool). I'm afraid kids will be cruel to her. There are many parents that don't teach their child proper manners, like it's not polite to stare or make fun because someone is different. Hell, there are a lot of adults aren't that respectful.

I was in Target the other day. Wendy was in her Snugli sling and I was carrying her. Her feeding pump was in the buggy and I had the bag of formula hanging from the handle of the buggy. Two young employees (probably in their 20's and old enough to know better) actually stopped stocking the shelves, turned and pointed at Wendy's feeding pump. I was disgusted. I know they weren't talking about how cute my baby was because she was bundled up against me and no one could see her. I really wanted to ask them what their f-ing problem was and tell them to go to hell, but I figured acting unrefined wouldn't help the situation any, so I calmly got my purse and Wendy's feeding pump and left. I also left the buggy sitting right near the employees, full of everything I was intending to buy. I figured they were being rude by pointing and staring, so I would be rude and let them put up my mess.

Then, Zed and I ordered Chinese last night. I had been sitting in the floor playing with Wendy and her rattle when I got up to answer the door. When I got up Wendy started crying. She lady that delivered the food looked at her and said "What's wrong with her?". Zed and I both assumed she was asking why the baby was crying, so we both replied "She just wants to be held". The lady then proceeded to say, "No, I mean what's wrong with her? Is she sick?" At that point I realized she was talking about the feeding pump. Me, being a mother and very protective, wanted to say "There is not a damn thing WRONG with her." But I didn't. I just said she was premature, signed the credit card slip and shut the door, all the while the woman was still staring.

Just because Wendy has a feeding pump and a colostomy doesn't mean there is something wrong with her. Just because she doesn't do all things the normal way doesn't mean she's not right. I know my child has health problems, but Zed and I treat her like a normal baby and I expect everyone else to do the same. It's hard enough to drag around a feeding pump and try to grocery shop while Wendy is attached to the buggy. People don't have to make it worse by staring and pointing.

You know, I really hate the word normal. What is normal? And who gets to decide what normal is? I mean, who wants to be "normal" anyways? To me, normal is average. And Wendy is far from average. She's extraordinary.

Believe in Something

Wow. I am amazed by the response to my last post! I have reached my goal for March of Dimes, so I just want to say a special thank you to everyone who donated and to those of you who want to donate, please do! Just because I have reached my goal doesn't mean the cause doesn't need as much money as possible. At the end of this post I will try to add a link where you can donate if you want.

As I was lying on the couch tonight I got to thinking about the causes I support and I realized that until it happened to me, it was something I didn't really think about. I believe everyone is like that. Until you experience something firsthand, it's hard to grasp what someone else is going through.

Until Zed joined the Army, I had no idea the hell and torture these men and women endure, for us. I have now seen how much work and training is done before a deployment. I've seen how hard it is to go for a year without seeing a loved one. I've also seen the devastating effects that war can have on a soldier. And unfortunately, I've seen a soldier deploy with my husband and not come home.

The same is true with having a sick baby, having a family member or friend with cancer, losing a home, being bullied, etc. There are so many charities for many different causes and for most people, you can't imagine what the people you are helping have endured, unless you have been through something similar. But just because you can't completely understand, doesn't mean you can't help. So find a cause. Be informed. And be supportive. Believe in something.

Copy and Paste this in your URL if you would like to donate to March of Dimes.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March of Dimes

March of Dimes is a nonprofit organization that raises money to help improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. Having a child born premature or with a birth defect is something many people don't think about. That is, until it happens to you. I know how difficult it is. I know how stressful it can be. I also know that when it happens, it's a terrifying experience for families. And if there is any way that I can help, I want to. So I decided to join the March of Dimes walk in Nashville on April 22. I have my own website where I can raise money. I set a goal of $200. However, I've only raised $50, and Zed and I are the ones who donated that. So if this is something that touches you in any way, please donate. The smallest donation can help.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Bragging on My Perfect Girl!

Every time I look at Wendy I want to cry. She is the most amazing little creature I could possibly envision. I am so proud of everything she has accomplished and the fact that she is alive. When I was pregnant, I had never been so scared of anything as I was of losing my little girl. She was already the most precious thing in the world to me and she wasn't even born. And the fact that she is almost 5 months old, smiling, sitting up almost on her own, trying to stand, and weighing 8 lbs is nothing short of miraculous. Miraculous, that's the perfect word to describe her. She's a tiny little miracle. Wendy brings so much joy and happiness to my life. I can't imagine what I would do without her. Her genetics pretty much baffle doctors, and even though they can't tell us what to expect, I just know she is going to be okay. I am terrified for her to have another surgery. I'm scared she'll end up stuck in the hospital for weeks, I'm scared she won't heal properly, and I'm scared of having to leave her overnight by herself. But I know that my baby is a fighter. And I know she can pull through. She will get through these next 2 surgeries and it may not be without complications, but eventually we will be able to put it behind us. The same way we put her stay in the NICU behind us. Wendy may only be 21 weeks old and 8 lbs but I still say she is the strongest and bravest person I know.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Very Productive!

Zed just left for the weekend and I have been getting things done! I have become a Scentsy consultant (so if you want to buy, buy from me!). I'll post my website at the end of the blog. I also signed up for a March of Dimes walk on April 22. So if you are feeling generous and want to donate to the cause any little bit will help. I'm so excited about selling Scentsy and doing this walk. Hopefully I will be good at selling Scentsy products and bring in a little extra money. And I know the walk will be great because it's for a great cause! It's for helping little babies like precious Wendy!

Here is the March of Dimes page:

And here is my Scentsy page: