Friday, February 4, 2011

Friday, February 4, 2011

I will do my seven quick takes again, because that helps me think a little better.
1.  Gino is currently at the hospital, he will spend the night.  I have not been feeling well.  It's my lungs.  I have a deep cough that is hard to get anything up and if my throat gets dry or I try to take a super deep breath...well, I go into a kind of spastic cough.  Not good.  I tried calling several doctors today but because we have had snow and ice for the last few days, no one was there. 

2.  Snow days.  Ay-carumba!!  Trying to pull out all the Mommy tricks.  We baked, we puzzled, we colored, we played with homemade blue goo, we watched tv, we played in the snow, we built a fort... I'm exhausted!!!!  Luckily, they are too...and each one of the children are fast asleep.

3.  House hunting.  Well, our first home that we wanted did not accept our offer.  The second home that we wanted, we were turned down because the sale was based on our home being was a bid war and we came in at the same dollar amount, so the seller was able to get picky.  The third house... it is big... it has everything we need except a small backyard that is nothing but a square of grass behind the house.  It needs a lot of tlc.  So big.  I feel like the children's rooms would be sooo far away.  I don't know...  anyhow, that is not a done deal, we have been negotiating with the seller on price still.  We only just today got the disclosure.  Tomorrow we are actually going to look at three more homes.  I'm excited about one of them because it is just 3 or 4 doors down from the elementary school.  It is smaller, does not have a study- but a large Master with a bit of a sitting area that could be made into a work area.  It has a pool in the back, but it also has enough space around it plus grass and the driveway is fenced in.  So...we'll see... it is nerve-wrecking house hunting.  Did we do the right thing???  We sold for so much less.  I love this ol' house.  Hardwood floors, close to downtown... community... is this really the time to be trying to build community again??!! 

4.  Marianne.  Her gavage was put back in.  She was just not meeting her minimums.  So, back went the tube.  When they first did this I was physically ill over the whole thing.  Everything.  Marianne, house, lack of sleep... ugh.  I litterally vomitted and had to leave the hospital.  It was icy outside and was one of the worst drives of my life.  Dry-heaving and driving on ice...lovely, plus exhaustion. 
So- anyhow, Marianne is consistantly inconsistant.  She will finish several bottles in a day and than she will only take half other times.  She does not like the early morning bottle.  She does not like her vitamins.  It takes heroic efforts to get her to finish a bottle... sometimes up to 45 minutes or an hour.  The doctor will probably talk to us about a g-tube.  This is a tube that is surgically put directly into her belly.  She will still be offerred the bottle, but at night, we can give her the rest of whatever she did not take.  Now do you see why I was physically ill?  I'm so afraid that this is a slippery slope and that Marianne will not get this figured out if we give her a way out.  However, the baby has to eat and grow, right??  UGh.  And we want her home...we want her home so badly.  It is time for her to socialize with her family...not the nurses.  I worry about bonding with the baby...Gino is up there now, and I'm okay with that.  Is that weird?  Breastfeeding has gone out the window.  This is why it is just time.  We are loosing time and so it is just time to move on with it and get her home so that we can begin to be a family under one roof.  (not sure which roof yet, but that is okay!)

The abbreviated version of our snowed-in-looking-for-a-home-eat-baby-eat-week.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Late Take for Quick Takes

I'm going to try this method...even though it is Saturday.  :)  Might help me get some random thoughts out there...

1.  I might have strep.  Not officially...but all the signs are there...coughing, low grade fever, no appetite, sore throat.  Caroline most likely does too.  She was home from school all week with a low grade fever and coughing.  I should have taken her into the doctor.  But it just did not seem urgent enough to get it checked out.  And wouldn't you know, I look up from my fog of visits to the Special Care Nursery, homes for sale, bills to go through, and all of our kiddos have these symptoms.  HELLO??  Did I mention I have been a single mom for the past 8? 9? days/???  Gino has been working awful hours.  So... here I am, in bed, and Gino has the pleasure of taking four sickies to the doctor this morning.  By the way, (this is for Mom...) I DID call my doctor and I am on antibiotics now and I really am in bed right now...drinking plenty of fluids.   (Muuuwa!  -that's a kissy sound, Mom)
UPDATE:  IT'S THE FLU... Caroline tested positive- she's on day 7, we all received a prescription for Tamiflu.

2.  Marianne is doing really well!!  She weighs 8 pounds, 3.8 ounces... the nurse said she lost 24 grams... (really? chalk that up to a bm??).  She has to have a total volume of a minimum 400 mls every 24 hours.  She has kept to her minimum taking in between 420-480 mls since Monday.  The nurses are starting to talk about "when she goes home"... one even said to me on Thursday, I hope you are gone by the time I get back on Tuesday!!" (this sounds ugly, but it is a GOOD thing around the Nursery!!)  I told her that I did not think I could hope for that right now and she nodded, very understanding and said, "that's okay, I will hope FOR you".  I LOVE the nurses up there (most of them) and am so grateful for their care for our baby.  Her doctor and I spoke yesterday, she knows that I am sick and she said, "you better get lots of rest this weekend because you are going to need it for when the baby comes home!"  This is hospital speak:  no exact day (they don't want you to get disappointed), but just laying down little hints of what's next.
Her total volume for today looks real low, so we'll see what the weekend doc does.  I spoke with her nurse, she knows we are all staying away right now, and she said she was trying very hard to get her to take all her feedings, but the baby has been sleepy.  She'll get there.  Time and patience.

3.  OUR HOME... well, we are officially under contract!!!  I could never imagine what this side of "selling your home" would look like and it is very more calls from CSS (Central Showing Service) to make appointments, no more cleaning it "show ready" before we left, or at the end of the day so we could get out of here earlier, no more figuring out what to do with the children and myself while a showing is going on.  No pumping in the car because I didn't have time!  No anxious feeling when the phone rings.  Just back to living in our home. 

4.  AN OFFER... we put down an offer on one home.  It is a much lower offer than what they are asking and they have only been on for a, kind of a longshot. It has four bedrooms and a study, a playroom and a big backyard.  The backyard backs up to a field and a creek.  It is in a cul-de-sac.  Has a really great space over the garage that could be finished out for an additional playroom or better yet...girls dormitory!!  Really a great layout and fit for our family.  We haven't heard back.

5.  BUDGET... tight.  really tight.  Any tips?  We (the me of we) are thinking of canceling our cable and just using netflix.  Do you do this?  Any other ideas to slash some things from our budget?  Moving to Coppell means no more school uniforms.  I am really not jazzed about that.  Clothes and school just bring back bad memories for me. 

6.  A picture....

7.  Can I just say that it REALLY ANNOYS me when people act like it is the most pitiful thing in the world that Tommy is the only brother amoung ALL THOSE GIRLS.  I mean, how sad is that?  Poor thing must get so tired of those sisters.  This is most effective when said in front of Tommy and his sisters.  UGH.  Judging by the above picture alone...I don't think he minds after all, until someone reminds him again of how AWFUL that must be for poor Tommy.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Today I have spent the day in the Special Care Nursery with Marianne.  It has been nice to watch her, hold her and talk to her.  We have worked on feeding together and that is not going well.  It has been really good to see how much the nurses here seem to love my Marianne.  Thursday night, we had called to check on her and learned that the nurse had given Marianne her first tub bath.  Marianne LOVED it.  I was so upset.  Another milestone reached, but not with me and not at home.  It would be very very easy for me to curl up in this yucky blanket of self-pity.  Instead, Gino and I made arrangements for me to be here for the day, and to give Marianne her first tub bath from her Mama.  No one else can do that.  :)   The nurse, Olivia, was awesome showing me some great new tricks on how to keep the baby comfortable and warm throughout.  And Marianne's primary nurse, Jamie, from NICU was visiting us at the time, so she was our photographer.  It was perfect.  And Marianne LOVED it... she really did!  I've never seen a baby sleep through a bath!!!  But I have pictures to prove it.

So about Marianne's feeding... well, we just don't know what is going on. She doesn't seem to be able to take more than 25 ml. She is supposed to take 60 ml. She just does not like to swallow. She gets tired so quickly, she won't actively engage in her feeding. Reflux? Asphixiation with swallowing? Immaturity? We don't know. I am hoping and praying that we will have more anwers on Monday. Dr. King has given orders to have a swallow test Monday morning. She'll swallow something while being x-rayed so that they can actually SEE what is going on in her throat. It is a little invasive, but it is time for some answers so that we can better meet her needs. She is healthy in EVERY other way. We just need to figure out how to get her to take a bottle.

Marianne's due date came and went and we still do not have a come home date. I'm hoping in about 2 weeks....but I've been saying that for about a week now.

Gino and I had the house clean for several showings that were going on today. We were out of the house by 11 a.m. He took all the kiddos to eat, and than to visit his parents. They always enjoy that. Nonna and Paw Paw keep a freezer stocked with lots of icecream bars. Paw Paw has coloring pictures printed from online curtailed to each child's interests... airplanes, dolphins, fairies, flowers... very sweet.

So this house does not seem to want to let go of us! We are having many showings, but so far, no offers. Maybe we are meant to stay? Oh, but it is so small!!!!


In the back of my head, I keep thinking that there are such bigger issues out there, and a small house is no big gig. And keeping the house on the market is as big a deal as we make it. This is not life threatening, just inconvenient. I can't wait for the day to come when I can sit, nurse my baby- or bottle feed her- and watch the children playing with a mess of toys... and not worrying about a call to show the house. I think this day will come very soon. Maybe in about 2 weeks.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

from Caring Bridge...

Well we are moving out of the NICU!!!!!

Marianne has overcome the hurdle of her two month shots and her a's and b's have subsided. She is now BACK in the Special Care Nursery, (a transitional nursery for the "feeders" and "growers")

Her weight is right at 6.5 lbs. She is plumping up!! Her thighs have a little roll in them. I was marveling at her amazing and miraculous growth. Her legs used to be no thicker than my finger. God is so good!! What a blessing to be a witness to this fearsome part of her life... where God puts on the finishing touches of our bodies before we are born. Oh it has been such a privelidge!!! She's a beautiful baby, and if you don't believe me, ask her Daddy. (Or her Nani) (or her Nonna!)

So now on to the business of feeding and growing. As you know, she has reflux (not reflex- silly me-although all her reflexes are stellar as a newborn's should be!). Reflux is proving to be an obstacle for her to appreciate and love feeding. So sometimes she will take her bottle fantastically and lots of times she struggles with getting just 10 mls down. A full bottle at this point is about 50 mls. It is breast milk that is fortified with iron, extra calories and some vitamins for good measure. We are going to work more on breastfeeding and she is given 4 times a day to try either one. So every other feeding is an opportunity for Marianne to bottle or breastfeed. Her Occupational Therapist has been keeping a close eye on her and is going to experiment with a slower-flow nipple for her bottle and/or a thickener.

All of this will just take practice and time and PATIENCE and TRUST. I'm clinging to the end result: a baby that will bottle or breastfeed for each feeding.

As always, thank you for your prayers for us. We keep you in our prayers, too.

Oh- and the house... well, no news to report. A showing on Friday... I'm just going to put that one back in God's hands.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A home for Christmas...

That is one of my requests for Christmas this year...the other being for Marianne to come home from the hospital.  Well, I guess it's the THOUGHT that counts, right?  Silly Santa.

don't say I didn't warn you...

Another distracted driver has hit the road.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Looking Ahead...with TRUST

“If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze!” – St. Catherine of Siena

It is the beginning of the year and often we look to writing New Year’s resolutions. But last year I sort of bucked the system of “resolutions.” I invite you to join me this year: instead, take on a one-word challenge, one virtue or attitude to help us “be who we should be,” as St. Catherine might frame it. The challenge I set for myself last year was to embody gratitude. At the time, I was in a place where I felt very deserving of many things, and these things just were not happening for me or my family. I wrote “gratitude” on the chalkboard in our kitchen and placed around my home bible verses relating to being grateful. My circumstances may not have changed much, but my perception of them sure did. The Lord allowed me to see how Gino’s long hours were such a blessing to us because that meant a job, a home, food, clothes, etc. Lots of playing and loudness and dancing in the kitchen could have made me grouchy (and sometimes did!), but it reminded me of how blessed we have been with healthy children. An April pregnancy followed by a premature October delivery made me grateful for each one of our five children, all of whom arrived in God’s time and with their own unique personalities full of love and zest for life. Having a baby in the NICU for the past two months (and counting) helps me appreciate the awesome gift of life that each newborn represents. Being exhausted from going up to the hospital each day to visit our newborn and still running our home and running after four more kiddos make me so thankful for the help I have received from family and friends and STAMA moms: help with our children, meals, grocery shopping, decorating for Christmas, doing laundry… the list goes on, and the number of people who have lent a hand over the past ten weeks has been overwhelming. Yes, over the past year gratitude has become ingrained in how I frame the events of my life.

This New Year, I feel called to take on another one-word challenge. We are waiting for our baby to come home from the hospital. We are waiting for our house to sell, and waiting to find our new home. It would be very easy for me to feel anxious, frustrated, and impatient about each one of these situations. And believe me, I have! So, perhaps our Father needs me to work on trust.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, on your own intelligence rely not;

In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:4-5

Marianne is still in the NICU and many prayers for her growth and health are appreciated. Thank you STAMA for your continued prayers and love and help for our family. You can keep up with her progress at:

Prayer for the New Year
O God of new beginnings and wonderful surprises, thank you for the gift of a new year. May it be a time of grace for me, a time to grow in faith and love, a time to renew my commitment to following Your Son, Jesus. May it be a year of blessing for me, a time to cherish my family and friends, a time to renew my efforts at work, a time to embrace my faith more fully. Walk with me, please, in every day and every hour of this new year, that the light of Christ might shine through me, in spite of my weaknesses and failings. Above all, may I remember this year that I am a pilgrim on the sacred path to You.