from the experts

that is, other preemie parents. i've collected these from a preemie message board i frequent (ok, i live there really). my friends have come up with some fabulous advice that they would love to give their pre-preemie selves. if you're a woman with a high risk pregnancy... or an impending preemie... take heart and listen to what these amazing women have to share.

what would you tell your pre-preemie self?
  • hold on tight, it's going to be a bumpy ride.
  • To take my concerns/worries seriously, and insist on a pelvic exam sooner. 
  • Enjoy every moment being pregnant. 
  • To enjoy my son for who he is and not worry so much about what he is/is not doing, that it's a tough road, but it is survivable, also that I will find an amazing group of women who are all so amazing and strong.
  • Change OBs, demand better care, quit work sooner, and you are stronger than you think. 
  • That it's worth it. That you can stay on bedrest longer than you ever thought possible and do things that you never imagined having to do because in the end you get the most amazing child out of it.
  • Find better doctors, even if it means traveling across the state.
  • It is all worth it.                                                                                                                              They will be okay.   
  • When told to take it easy/relax - do!                                                                                              Take lots of pictures, even if he is tiny!                                                                                      Demand that your BP is under control BEFORE they discharge you the first time. 
  • That it's going to be WAY harder than you already think that it's going to be.                                                                                                                                               
  • That you will get through it and they will be okay.                                                                      
  • To try to get therapy right away, don't wait. 
  • Relax more.       
  • Get a better OBGYN and MFM. Gaining 30 lbs in 2 weeks is NOT normal.                                                                                                                                        
  • Join a support group.                                                                                                                 
  • And remember, everything will be ok!                                                                                       
  • Not to blame it on myself. 
  • It really WILL be okay. 
  • I would definitely tell my pre-preemie self about the signs preterm labor. Every time I hear someone is pregnant now I have a strong urge to tell them the signs. I'd tell myself to DEMAND to see the doctor if anything seems wrong to me even if the nurse says it's all normal. And I'd tell myself to take pregnancy pictures. I don't have any pictures of myself pregnant. I always thought there would be more time.
  • There's no such thing as a "safe" preemie age, and just because lots of babies are fine after XX weeks doesn't mean yours will be just like that. There are worse things than being told you are "over-reacting" to symptoms you are experiencing. If you think you need to go to L&D, GO TO L&D. 
  • To enjoy being pregnant. To rest more. Talk to the doctor before my emergency c-section to see if there were any other options. That it will be OK. 
  • I'd tell myself what a contraction feels like, so that I'd go to the hospital instead of trying to ride out the 'gas pain.'                                                                                                                       
  • That it's not normal to feel THAT bad while pregnant.                                                                
  • To cherish the feeling of them moving inside, as it won't last long enough.                                
  • To stop working when I started feeling like crap.                                                                      
  • That things will be very hard, but we won't lose BOTH boys, and that Hunter will be okay. (Granted, had I followed my own advice back then, or known then what I know now, we might have had a very different outcome.)                                                                                           
  • And that it's not my fault, despite my own ignorance. 
  • That it isn't my fault. Everything will be okay in the end.  
  • Don't compare your baby to others. ALL babies are different.....no matter what size they were when they were born or how soon. ALL babies meet milestones when they are ready. It is not your fault and you do not deserve this. You were chosen to handle the situation. Pray and always believe! And.....if you think you have taken too many pictures take more! 
  • To celebrate my daughter's birth, even if it's too early.
  • Go out on leave at least a week before you think you're going to have your last week. Oh and those 'mild cramps?' They're contractions so lay down and keep your feet up.
  • It CAN happen to me. Nothing worth having comes easy. You are emotionally stronger then you think you are. To push for my doctor to take my concerns seriously. 
  • My gut instinct was right. You can handle way more than you ever thought you could! You are not to blame, you did not fail your precious baby! You & your husband's relationship will be strengthened beyond what you could imagine. You'll find a way to love him even more.  
  • If I knew I was gonna have a preemie I would tell myself                                                             1. That you can do this.  2. It is not your fault.   3. Prayers will be answered. God & angels are watching over.  4. Find the great and supportive ladies of the preemie palace and the bump sooner.   5. She is sooooo worth it. 
 (with few exceptions they're quoted directly.)

i literally cried while reading some of these... they hit so close to home. i think my answer to the question can only reinforce what's already been said.
trust your instincts about your body. demand attention and care. enjoy every single kick. cherish every single stretch mark. you will get through this... 98 days is going to seem like an eternity... but you'll have her home sooner than you know. get therapy... it can't hurt. take pictures of everything. help others with the experiences you've been through.

if you have any advice to share, please feel free to comment and let us know your experience.

if you're a preemie parent looking for advice or support you can join the private board mentioned above [www.thepreemiepalace.com] no lurkers are allowed and you will be asked to provide some details of your experience... i cannot stress enough the friendships that i've developed and the help and support that i've gotten from these ladies. this is a moderated and private board.
[thebump.com] also has a board that can offer lots of support and answer many questions. (it is a public board though, so there can be some drama, and sometimes some real idiots who have no business posting there.) it is a great place to lurk if you're looking for information but aren't ready to talk. :)

after a sabbatical

“the most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.” -elizabeth foley

i hope you all have been growing and been blessed during the recent break in my blogging. we sure have.

so, while i've been away here's what you've missed:
-wren started eating table foods
-wren started eating exclusively table foods in obscene quantities.. like a whole kid's meal. seriously. she gets her own serving at dinner. seriously.
-she started army crawling
-she started army crawling all over the house AND pulling her knees under her sometimes
-wren also started pulling her knees under her ALL the time! (except when she's holding food in both hands, in which case she still wriggles on her belly so she can eat while she's moving.)
-she started pulling up to stand on everything
-she took her first daddy assisted steps (before she would always just plop down on her butt. :)
-she's started nesting blocks, finding hidden toys under things, pointing to what she wants, signing (when she feels like it.)
-she has many consonants now. dada being her favorite. :)
-wren is going on tooth number 3!!!
-she's grown enough hair for a bow. we thought it would never happen- and just like everything- it did!
-she now has her "big girl" car seat... and is loving it. she outgrew the length on the peg... 30in and 30lbs... she'd probably be 3 before she outgrew the weight limit! :)
-she had her first swim
-and first trip to the zoo
-she learned how to drink from a straw
-she learned so much from her EI therapist... i've got to devote a post solely to our amazing therapist!
here are a few pictures:
pretty girl

our great traveler... 8 hour trip

she's always happy when she's eating!



which is the main reason for the break in updates. we've been making trips back home (where the birth mother lives) to go to appointments... and between that and doing all the paperwork and keeping up with wren... whew. this momma is tired! :)
here's a picture of our sweet emeline adel, due november 7 (but will probably be joining us a little early):

it's been so long... i feel like, where do i start?
i've got some really neat ideas about some posts i'm going to be doing in the near future... they'll be coming your way soon!


please excuse the mess

while we redecorate. :)

i'll have a post on the little bird with some updates in the next few days.


the party!

i've got tons of pictures.... but haven't been able to sort through them yet. here are some of the best ones. :)

after the big events, she totally passed out... it was a long day!

we were able to raise around $600 so far, and there is still more coming in! if you'd like to donate you can click to link to paypal on the right- it just takes a few seconds, and every little bit can help! :)
Gaby’s Story
She’s such an amazing little girl.
She’s had a long road; I’ll try to give an abridged version...

Her mom, Jasmine, ruptured at 14 weeks. That is where Gaby’s long road begins. There was no measurable amniotic fluid from 14 weeks on, and Gaby is apparently the youngest baby to survive having no fluid.

The doctors in the ER told her parents that she would die soon anyway, and they wanted to induce. They couldn’t bring themselves to induce while Jasmine was continually feeling her kicks, and knowing that she was still alive, learning that they would just leave Gaby out and she would "eventually die". Her parents decided to keep her in as long as she would stay. The doctors told Jasmine that she would get an infection and have to come back. She didn't. Four days later her regular obstetrician called and checked on her, telling her much the same thing. She said they basically begged her to induce.

Jasmine and Angel bought a Walmart fetal doppler and listened all the time. She put herself on bed rest. The doctors were still not giving her any positive options. At 19 weeks they brought Jasmine in and admitted her. She was still had no infection. She spent the next 8ish weeks on complete bed rest. Gaby’s heartbeat was strong, and every test they did had a positive result. The doctors couldn't understand it. Her doctor said he was going to "throw out the books" and "just learn from her baby"... because it was unprecedented. The doctors said those things while still telling her all the time that her baby would die within hours of birth, that it would likely be deformed… "not like a baby"... missing organs... etc. But they hung in there. They did a c-section at 26 weeks 4 days (remember 37-40 weeks is considered full term). Gaby was perfect, except her lungs- of course. She had a severe bowel issue (where part of the intestines die, called NEC) when she was just a few days old and the doctors told her parents she would never survive. She received a g-tube at a few months old after she wasn’t gaining enough weight… this allows her to be fed through a button on her stomach.

Now all of her organs are intact and work perfectly. Her lungs are the only problem... they are so unhealthy because of the lack of fluid during pregnancy. That is what has kept her on a ventilator for the first year of her life. They were never expected to grow or heal in any way. Her mom told me "she coded so many times it would make your head spin"....

Gaby had a procedure in March (I’m not sure exactly what it was...) and it caused inflammation in her tracheotomy and they had to transfer her from Baton Rouge to Houston. They’ve been there for several months now. At one point, she got an infection and they told her mom she wouldn't make it- to call in her dad, Angel. He was 4-5 hours away, in Louisiana, at work. They pronounced her dead after an hour... turned off all the machines, and let her mom hold her.... Jasmine told me she just cried, and sang... talked to her and prayed over her... and Gaby started moving!!! The nurses rushed over and were like "what did you do?!!" Angel actually has a picture on his facebook from just a few hours after she was pronounced dead. Her doctor said it's nothing they did, "it's the Great Physician at work". Honestly amazing! What a miracle child!

Up until the past few weeks they wouldn't even approve physical therapy for Gaby because they said it would be wasted. They wanted her parents to be "realistic". Now they've approved it and the therapists have said that she has low tone- from being in a bed her whole life- but doesn't seem to have any big issues, they expect her to catch up to normal in about 2 years.

Gaby’s parents met with the transplant board last week and they believe that she may not need a transplant after all. It seems that she is, again, defying the odds and her lungs are continuing to grow and develop some healthy, functioning, parts. They think she *may* be able to go home on a nasal cannula (the clear tube of oxygen that Wren came home on) in about 3 more months. (Gaby’s ventilator settings have been halved in the past few weeks.)
And just this week Gaby passed a swallowing test that now has her able to eat by mouth! She’s been enjoying applesauce and bottles for the past few days now!

Gaby’s story is one of hope and encouragement… and a testament to the power of prayer.


a 1 year old little bird

can you believe it's been a year?

wren eliza morris
1lb 11oz
13.5 in
june 4, 2009

16 lbs (more or less)
27.5 in
june 4, 2010

when you add 5 pounds to her birth weight (saying she could have been about 6lbs 11oz at term birth) she would be about 21 lbs for her first birthday... those numbers seem pretty good to me!

this birthday we celebrated


crazy life

that's what this is.. just one big- fat- crazy- life.

i've been MIA for the last few weeks just sort of dealing with some things... i was so stressed out last weekend that i had a twitch in my eye. (laugh it up- go ahead- but it's stinkin' annoying! :)

the loss of justice hit really close to home for us. even though i didn't know his mom well she was on a few of the message boards i frequent... making it more shocking than if we were complete strangers. and, knowing that justice was born at 27 weeks... bpd kid... so many similarities to wren... he just got sick more. that could be us... that could easily be us.  and then this past week another sweet angel got her wings. born at 26 weeks, weighing only 8.5oz... breathe easily sweet evelyn....

i'd like to give prematurity a swift kick to the shin and a throatpunch. this.just.sucks. i'm reminded how blessed we've been... we've had things so easy compared to some. i suppose this life is all about perspective isn't it?

ok... enough depressing prematurity hating for now. here are some other things we've got on our plate:


those of you who know me from facebook or message boards have probably already heard... a sweet little boy got his wings yesterday. 

when i was thinking about what to write... what could i say?  the survivor's guilt... the heartbreak for that family.... the terror that i went to wal-mart yesterday and didn't bring the shopping cart cover? things like this hit so close to home and are a wake up call for all of us preemie parents. we can't let ourselves "just not worry about it", we can't live by the "it's good for their immune systems" mantra (which i would normally wholeheartedly embrace), every single exposure to illness could lead to an infection that could claim the life of our little one. i know people think we're overprotective... germaphobes, crazy parents, but this is the reality we live in every day.

thadd and i have both shed tears over justice, his life, his fight, and his departure from this world... we can't even imagine what the blakey family is going through right now. i think my friend over at [fertile hope] says it best, so i'll just quote her:

Prematurity claimed another victim today
Justice was a 27 weeker with chronic lung disease who fought through a terrifying case of RSV this past winter. He recently contracted a lung infection and the combination of those things overwhelmed him today. He was a fighter through and through, and battled long and hard. But he was 20 months old and had endured more than many people do in a lifetime. 
Tonight he breathes freely and rests peacefully amongst the angels. Please give the family your thoughts, prayers and condolences. 
And hug your children a little closer tonight. I know I am.

thanks trish, for putting it so beautifully. 

please remember this family in your thoughts and prayers. if you're interested in donating to the family please let me know and i will send you the link. 


early intervention evaluation

[here] is the original post on early intervention... a little about the oklahoma ei program.
[here] is the post telling about how she did on the tests, and that she didn't qualify for ei.

these are some of the things they tested her

alicia graduates and we take pictures

because she's actually that cute.....

happy as a clam!

that girl is always interested in food!

thadd and grandma donaghey

alicia and miranda- the graduates
wren and her papa

wren and her grandma


post it note tuesday

it's time for post it note tuesday folks.... saying what you want, in as few words as possible. (as you can imagine, this is rather trying for me.)

this girl knows how to relax

2.5 months: <5lbs

"if only i had had a hot stone massage...."

11 months:  >15lbs
"now, how can i get those ducks over here without moving? and where are the jets in this thing?"

let's talk about sex offenders

do they exist? yes. do we watch too much "law & order: SVU"? well, that'd be a yes as well. do shows like "to catch a predator" depict an accurate portrayal of the sex offender samplings in our area? probably not.

here are some of my personal experiences with the topic:

during my time as a domestic relations legal assistant i saw some pretty strange things.... mostly icky


i would never....

Mckmama- Not Me Monday

i stinkin' love not me mondays.... it gives me a chance to get all the things i didn't do off my chest... all the things i don't think about... all the things i would never consider.... whew. i'm glad i'm waaaaay too perfect to ever do any of these things.

i never catch myself giving the little bird commands... commands that we use for the dog. NEVER. "stay!" "leave it!" (i'm sure when she's crawling/walking we'll have even more things we'd never say- "sit" or "come".)

i would never even consider using baby wipes if i found, after going to the bathroom, that i was out of toilet paper. that would be... just... unseemly. (and way too embarrassing to ever share.)

i don't find myself secretly longing for the days when you could leave your baby in the car while you "just ran in" to a store, dropped off some mail, forgot your purse inside, or need to pay for gas. it is just way too irresponsible... i would never even think about it.


i do not. ever. walk away from binkies when we drop them in public. that would be like littering wouldn't it? it's not like i can put it back in her mouth... it's not like i have a million more at home.... i never leave them sitting there without more than a second thought.

everyone grab the graphic and list all the things you've never done! :)

it's all mim's fault

wren had her first cheeto... she'd better not get used to that....




once she had a hold of it you couldn't pry it away from her! 

to counteract the 2 cheese puffs she had to do 15 minutes of belly time, a goat's milk cleanse, and eat a handful of kale/spinach veggie puffs. :)

10 things i want to tell my daughter

(just in case i die and don't get the chance)

1. life isn't fair. (and that's not fair.) we have to just put on our big girl panties and deal with it. "again i saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all." ecclesiastes 9.10-11

2. God will be your only constant. even when i mess up, and your dad messes up, and your friends mess up, and people you trust mess up, and people you're counting on mess up (just wait, you'll have a lab partner someday who will punk out on their end of the report- it'll happen- and hopefully it will be the worst you experience), God never messes up... even when the entire rest of your world seems to be crumbling around you... He is always there. "God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. has he said, and will he not do it? or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?" numbers 23.19

3. this life isn't about what happens to us, it's about how we react to the things that happen to us. sometimes we think "this is our movie" that we're the stars of this show... but this is a big, huge, epic production, and we are merely the extras that make the movie possible. always focus outward, never inward. don't become ego-centric (thinking the world revolves around you). trust me, after a certain age even the small portion of this world that you influence doesn't revolve around you. :)  do the right thing, no matter what. this life is about getting to heaven and taking as many people as we can with us. (daddy will be happy to tell you a lot more about this in a few short years- i promise... it goes deeper... for now, lets stick with the basics.) "cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. for some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked." 1 timothy 1.19

4. give people the benefit of the doubt. always. it is hard... and it is a conscious choice sometimes... but you will appreciate the same courtesy being extended to you at times. approach people with an open heart and go to them with a problem... don't dwell on something that upset you... don't hold on to hurts. talk to the people who hurt you and explain to them how you feel. you will be much happier if you see the best in people. be hard to offend and you will have so much more peace in this life. (and fewer people to forgive, which is hard to do as well!) approach people with an open heart and go to them with a problem... don't dwell on something that upset you... don't hold on to hurts. "but i tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. if you love those who love you, what reward will you get? are not even the tax collectors doing that? and if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? do not even pagans do that? be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." matthew 5.44-48

5. everyone has their struggles. everyone has something that tears them away from the Lord. (sin is lawlessness, and it keeps us from being able to be in a relationship with God.) what we forget in our day to day lives is that sin is all sin... and the things that are keeping most of us from Him are the quiet sins... the secret things in our heart that we don't let people see. anger is the same as murder, lust is the same as adultery, selfish ambition the same as drunkenness... not all sins are visible to everyone around. we have to keep ourselves from those internal struggles, just like the external ones. and it is hard! but we must strive to do the best we can. and we musn't think less of people with those external sins that people see as "big sins"... they are separated from God just as anyone else who isn't living for Him- in a big way, or in a little way.. we have to strive for their souls just the same. (and remember, the person with the most to forgive is often the happiest to have that forgiveness.) “two men owed money to a certain moneylender. one owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. now which of them will love him more?” luke 7.41

6. the only boy who wants the best for you is daddy. (and grandad. and papa too. and uncle titus. and maybe a few others, i'll let you know. :) always keep that in the back of your mind. give your heart to your daddy, and someday, when you meet the right man- this most likely will not be in the 8th grade, or even the 10th- give it to him. keep you body pure as well as your heart. keeping your emotional purity will save you so much heartache and so much trouble... keep your crushes crushes and save "true love" for when you're ready to be married. i promise... mommy did this part of her life all wrong... and i wish so much that i had known this when i was a young girl.

7. sex with your husband is beautiful. and it's ok to make yourself beautiful for him.... and it's ok to be a loving, supportive, confident wife in all ways. this world has made sex into something perverse and out of context, leaving everyone feeling like it's always something dirty... but it's not. it is beautiful. it is perfect. it is holy. and outside of marriage, it is heartbreaking. trust me.

8. love yourself for who you are. and be someone you can love. this is something that i've struggled with my whole life sweet little bird. (and i'm sure most women do.) watch some of those commercials by dove for "real women" and don't think less of the ones with cellulite. feel strong and happy in your skin, no matter your shape, color (pasty white as you may be), bad hair day, lack of make-up, mismatched socks... be a person on the inside that you can feel good about... and forget about the outside. (though, i can tell you- a cute purse never hurt anyone. :)

9. be content. contentment is oftentimes hard to muster up- and even more often hard to maintain. (i pray that this is something that will come easily to you like it does your daddy.) you have to take a minute, breathe it all in... and be thankful for that breath... be thankful for that minute.... regardless of the rest. sometimes life is AWESOME!!! and sometimes life is supercrummy.... but if you can be content, no matter where you find yourself, you will always have joy. "i am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  i know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. i can do everything through him who gives me strength." philippians 1.11-13

10. be honest. even when it's hard. even when it hurts. even when it seems like it might collapse your whole world. a lie will fester in your heart and always be a sore in a relationship.  "lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who deal faithfully are His delight." proverbs 12.22

and because it's my list and i wasn't done-

11. i will always love you. no matter what you do. you can disappoint me. you can make me angry. you can make me sad.... but you will always be mine... my sweet little bird that was surgically removed from me and rushed into this world almost a year ago.

happy mother's day to me... your sweet giggles and sleepy snuggles were the best present a mom could get. (making daddy's job much easier.)­­­­­­


march for babies

we're so close to hitting our goal!!! please take the time to donate just a few dollars through the badge above. you can use paypal or a debit/credit card- it's so fast and easy!

a special thanks to everyone who has contributed so far... every single dollar makes a difference for babies!


what should i buy & when should i buy it?

this is a bummer of a topic for a mom who's no longer pregnant and expected to be, a mom who has experienced or expects a loss, or a mom who is high risk and uncertain.

when should i buy stuff?
i was talking to a friend (i think i can safely call you a friend- right? :) about how we


big news!

drumroll please....

folks we have a

she scooted herself from playing with those toys all the way over there! (more of a spinning than a scooting really- but who's being picky? it counts! :) we are THRILLED! right after this picture she rolled onto her back- you can see her pulling the arm underneath to roll in the picture. but the "knee play" idea has been going great! she'll be happy on her belly for fifteen minutes or more now. historically, he would only tolerate belly time for a few minutes, or seconds, before rolling over. 
here's a little bit about the process of learning to crawl from parents.com:

"Before crawling, a baby must first lose his infant reflexes--such as flailing his limbs when he's startled--and learn how to coordinate his arms and legs, which is no small feat," says Parents advisor Steven Shelov, M.D., chairman and vice president of Maimonides Infants and Children's Hospital of Brooklyn.
In addition, your little one can't bust a move until he wins an important battle with gravity. "You've got to remember that when a baby is born, he suddenly experiences a pull of gravity ten times stronger than that in the womb," explains Jody Jensen, Ph.D., associate professor in kinesiology and health education at the University of Texas, in Austin. "Being able to crawl means your child has learned to resist this pull of gravity while developing the strength to lift up from the ground."
Your little one may move backward at first. But with time, he will discover that by shifting his weight from one side to the other, he can coordinate his arms and legs and propel himself forward. (You'll probably notice that your baby spends the weeks--or months--before he actually crawls rocking back and forth on his hands and knees.) Although most babies start creeping between 7 and 10 months, it's not unusual for a child to make his first move much later than this. Experts believe chubbier babies crawl later since it's harder to push up onto all fours and drag their extra body weight.
and the different types of crawls:

Standard: The classic crawl: She alternates a hand on one side and a knee on the other to get around.
Crab: By bending one knee and extending the other leg, she slowly propels herself sideways.
Commando: Lying flat on his belly, he manages to drag himself forward using his forearms.
Roll: Before they are strong enough to get up on all fours, some babies roll to get where they want to go.

ok, now i have to go baby proof my house.


bittersweet news

well, many of you know that we had our EI (early intervention) evaluation yesterday... here's a bit of history on that in case you're unfamiliar with the EI program.

wren passed, er... failed...er... didn't qualify. which is great news! it gives me hope that she's actually "going to be ok". of course, we're still early to see exactly what possible effects her prematurity could have (some we wouldn't notice until she's learning long division).. but even something so small as being "normal" for her adjusted age is really encouraging.

the bad part is that EI is the main source of support for kids here in


not me

i certainly haven't been using puffs as entertainment for wren the past few weeks. (she's not very good at eating them yet, so if i was to put them in front of her all the time, it would keep her busy for at least a good 15 minutes... if i did that she would at least be getting pretty good at her "puff grasp" by now...)

i would absolutely never forget to pack warm clothes (it's spring ya'll!) and happen to find one outfit in the trunk for the 50-60 degree weather... then proceed to have her wear that outfit even after she had a wet diaper leak in it the day before. (IF i did that i would have definitely at least dried the pee pants in the drier.)

i didn't proceed to make a 5 hour trip (which is 6-7 hours for those of you unable to translate that into "10-month-old-babytime") during the middle of the day with the knowledge that my daughter is "such a good traveler" only to find that in reality she is "such a good sleeper" since all of our other recent long trips have been in the evening/nighttime... that would be just plain silly.

not me.


choosing a daycare for your preemie

thanks sara for writing this up! you rock! it's going to be helpful to so many people. :)


I was glad when Charla asked me to share my experiences on going back to work after having a preemie. Since I didn't start my blog (http://takingontheworldwithourboy.blogspot.com) until my son was 9 months, I had never written or really spent a lot of time reflecting on what that experience was like for me. I had so much to say, I asked Charla if we could make this two posts! This post is about the daycare that we chose for my son, in light of concerns about his health.

My son, Marino,


n is for nicu

Jenny Matlock

ok. so n for nicu isn't terribly creative- but i hope this post can be helpful to some of you that are facing a stay in the nicu and weren't able to have a nicu tour. if you know someone who has a baby in the nicu, or a preemie already at home, this can be helpful for you to see where there baby is/was and what they saw and dealt with, as well as preparing you to visit the baby in the nicu if you get the chance. this first post will be about breathing interventions.

as a disclaimer, all nicu's are different. so the machines may be different, the equipment may look different and the procedures and policies will definitely be different... but the general flow of things will most likely be the same. the neonatal intensive care unit can be overwhelming, scary, and is definitely stressful. it's important to seek out as much help as you can and try to prepare yourself as much as possible. if you have any questions about specific definitions you can look to the right in the margin for the glossary.. it has pretty much every term you could possibly hear. (it opens in a separate window- so no fear- you won't lose track of this post.)

to start with... here is a basic diagram i found online. then we'll go into some categories and pictures.
  • in our nicu i never saw a baby with the vent through its nose, but it can be through either the nose or mouth. 
  • the picc line can also be in the arm, or any large vein. 


guilt of a preemie mom

all preemie parents- let's be real- moms deal with guilt. wren is just about 10 months old and i'm still overcome with it periodically. not only do i think about the possible hardships she could face in the future, but looking back i remember all that she's gone through.

in the beginning i felt guilty looking at my baby for the first time in a picture, when i was still too groggy to go visit her... hearing the updates from her daddy.. about how cute she was... and that she was needing help to breathe. then staring through that clear plastic at my baby.... nauseous from the surgery, the meds, and the warmth of the nicu... so sick that i couldn't stay next to her. and every time i left it was just as hard as that first time. blaming myself for what happened- what had we done? that poor baby... all the pain and trials she would face weighed on me. i took refuge in knowledge, learning everything i could about all things preemie. i kept up an emotional wall when i thought of her. she was my daughter, but the guilt and grief were too much... if i opened my heart and gave myself over to being her mommy i could be heartbroken.. things were so sketchy. the nicu is a roller coaster ride, two steps forward, one step back. i remember the first time i told her i loved her... i just sobbed and sobbed.... i sobbed because i hadn't said it sooner. i was dealing with so much self-loathing, so much stress, so much worry... and there was my heart, inside that isolette, and i couldn't even hold her when i wanted to. i felt blessed with every diaper i changed. and i hated that we didn't have her home. i hated that i couldn't keep her in my body- that i couldn't care for her longer! that i couldn't give her what she needed! i couldn't even take care of my baby inside, and that left me unable to care for her outside while she was stuck in the nicu. when i took her home i was constantly jealous of other termie moms. people who weren't dealing with monitors and oxygen, people who didn't have to worry about germs or physical therapy for their infants... they didn't have to worry about feeding issues or weight gain. they could just be a normal happy family.

if you have a baby in the nicu, or recently out of the nicu, or long-time out of the nice, if you had a termie with complications, or you had a perfectly healthy baby and complications yourself.... just know that what you're going through right now is totally normal. any time we have experiences outside of what we expect, our mind grieves a little... the loss of what was expected. whether we expected a natural water birth, a healthy baby, or something silly like a full term pregnancy... all of those are things that we have to adjust to not having.

it takes time. some issues take longer than others. as the baby's health stabilizes, the first time you're able to feed them, the first time they wear clothes, with every smile and sweet snuggle when you get them home.. with every milestone that that precious baby hits it will open up your heart a little more and make all the horrors of the nicu seem a little further away. now, with wren getting so big, and doing so much, my main worries (and therefore my guilt) rest in her developmental issues. will she have CP? will she have a learning disability of some sort? and those are things that we won't have an answer to for a few more years to come.

how to deal

  • make a sympathetic friend. they should have experience with the nicu, preemies, trauma in general, or be the most sensitive person you could imagine meeting. (most people without personal experience are bound to say the wrong thing. and even if, by chance, they don't say the wrong thing, you're likely to dismiss what they say because "they've never been there".) 
  • join a support group. this can be a message board, a group in your area- or at your nicu specifically. i can't stress enough the importance of talking to people who have been there... sharing your pains, asking your questions, venting about stupid nurses or a day full of desats.
  • rely on your spouse for support- but don't expect them to be in the same place emotionally. it is vitally important that you come together with your husband/wife during this time of hardship. (like any time of hardship, you will either come together, or be torn apart.) that said, my husband and i were consistently experiencing different emotions, requiring different things, processing information differently. he was extremely supportive- but mostly he was just putting up with my crazy. (i had to visit at least once- preferably twice per day. her bed had to be cute with matching blankets. she had to have little signs and pictures. i was crying all the time hating myself because i couldn't cook her longer- he was just going to work and doing his thing, dealing with the situation. as women, we're emotional... as men, they're fixers. there's a problem, they deal with it... they don't sit in a room and cry about it weeks later. usually.) so don't get angry when they think you're being nuts for buying a mobile that fits the nicu bed specifically... or they think one visit per day is enough. they love your little one too- they may just be handling it differently.
  • see a professional counselor... talk to a trusted spiritual advisor. this can do wonders. even moms i've known who were skeptical have been happy with the results of seeing someone. you have to make sure you see someone who is compassionate, aware of the situation, and that you click with. anyone that doesn't meet those requirements is just a waste of your time. (because you won't feel like you can open up- and that's the whole point- right?)
remember... many parents have been where you are... and they all felt the same way.

honestly, who designs these things without an off switch?

it doesn't turn off. i threw it in the trunk, and i could still hear the freaky ribbit the entire time we were driving around.

this is an awesome toy for the bumbo tray... the bottom suctions to whatever, and the top part is fun to spin. but for some reason, they've designed it to not turn off. whether it's the baby spinning it with a smile on her face- or it's stuffed in a bag for a long road trip... it continued to play music until the battery died.

i'm sure there's more to come!  if you have any toys that don't turn off... feel free to list them below! save all moms the trouble of putting up with it!

no, not me

i didn't leave the little bird playing quietly on the couch to go check facebook, hear her crying, and return to find her on the floor... not the couch. that definitely wasn't me.

i didn't choose to grab whataburger after church last night because i was still reeling from a migraine earlier in the day when i had perfectly healthy food in my fridge at home. no way!

i didn't start giving the baby her bottle in her bed after naptime THE DAY she started holding it on her own.... nope.

i don't sometimes go in and check on the little bird at night, find her sleeping soundly, and proceed to pick her up just because i love her sleepy snuggles.