Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Thrill of the Ride!

I have been enjoying some good times with the girls lately. I would like to tell you about our trip to Hurricane Harbor and Six Flags. Olivia was very excited to go and we thought she was defiantly old enough now to enjoy it. Hurricane Harbor was a lot of fun and we spent most of the time playing in the kids swim areas and floating the lazy river. Olivia was also so very excited about playing in the wave pool. She jumped on those waves and laughed each and every time. We were careful to keep sunscreen on us all the whole day but Josh and I ended up with a bright red sunburn while Olivia left with a beautiful golden brown tan (she has the best skin)!

The next day we went to Six Flags and I was slightly concerned that Olivia might not enjoy it as much, I couldn't have been more wrong!! We got a flash pass so that we wouldn't have to wait in any lines and then the adventure begun. Olivia went on one ride after the other and she couldn't get enough! She loved riding every roller coaster that they would let her on and the especially liked the boat roller coaster that ended up with us soaked to the bone at the end of it. I couldn't have taken a picture that could have captured the happiness on her face, it's a mental image that I will always carry around with me. She was so brave and for being only 3 she truly acted so mature the whole day. We ate lunch on a picnic table and she got to feed some ducks and she also enjoyed that. I couldn't believe how well both days went and how much she enjoyed them. She was grateful that my dad (her grandpa) had taken her on such a fun trip!

It was also my very first time to leave Kiley Rose all night and I must admit I really missed being away from her. I realize that it's good for me to get away sometimes but I sure did miss my little girl. It was good however to have an opportunity to give Olivia some one on one attention and I think she really enjoyed her time with us.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Kiley Rose - Birth Story

The Birth Story of Kiley Rose

(my miracle baby)

 I cannot express in words how grateful I am to be sitting here writing this birth story. It was a long road here but it has a happy ending and for that I feel blessed. I am the mother to a beautiful preemie baby girl who stole my heart the moment I became pregnant with her. In the words of my grandmother Kiley is “small but mighty”. Once you read her birth story you will understand why we say that.
We had started trying for another baby after my first daughter turned 1 year old. I certainly wanted another baby, I had always seen myself having a large family and I wanted my daughter to have a sibling that wasn’t too much younger than her. We went months with no success and I was so discouraged and then 7 months later we ended up pregnant, although I knew from the beginning this pregnancy was not normal due to the constant bleeding that was occurring. My pregnancy ended 12 weeks later when I was rushed for an emergency surgery due to an ectopic pregnancy; they had to remove my right tube. If you have ever been through the loss of a baby then you understand what a devastation it is. It’s something I don’t talk about very often but I think about it every day. There will always be a hole in my heart due to the absence of that child in my life. I think a lot about the “what if’s” and if God has it in His plan, I hope to one day hold that baby in my arms. Although this part of the story doesn’t directly relate to Kiley it does play a role in explaining the miracle of Kiley.

We were told to wait 3 months before trying to have another baby after the ectopic. I also learned at that time that it could take months or even perhaps years before we would get pregnant again due to me only having one tube and some already pre existing fertility issues. You can only imagine my sadness. Here I was mourning the loss of my baby and at the same time hearing that my dreams of having children were slowly becoming complicated by circumstance. I was determined to remain hopeful despite the news we were given, I just wasn’t ready to give up.

I remember standing in line at the dollar store, yet again I was buying a pregnancy test, my husband once made the comment that we should buy stock in them for as much as we purchased them. I didn’t even tell anyone that I had suspected that I was pregnant at this point I had been through enough disappointment to get my hopes up too quickly. I remember I came home and all I could think about was taking the test, so I went into the bathroom shut the door, peed on the stick and waited. When I saw the positive sign I think I stood there in disbelief. I had this huge wave of excitement and relief and then fear and concern. That’s the emotions most everyone has after you suffer the loss of a pregnancy, every pregnancy after that you are so guarded and consistently worried that something might go wrong. I had always wanted to come up with some clever way to tell my husband that we were once again expecting but that whole plan went out the window, I rushed out of the bathroom with the test in hand and I told him we were pregnant. It was a wonderful moment and there began a very long journey.

I immediately called my doctor the next morning and they wanted to see me as soon as possible to make sure that it wasn’t a tubal pregnancy like before. So we went in for a sonogram and sure enough the baby was in the right place, a sigh of relief was shared between my husband and I. At the time I was only 3 weeks along so they wanted to see me again in a few weeks. When I went back for the next sonogram I was 6 weeks along. I thought everything seemed great because we were able to see the heartbeat it wasn’t until the nurse called later that I learned I would now have reason to worry. Apparently the baby had low heart rate which was a sign that I would miscarry, I was told to expect the worst. It’s hard for me to really express what I felt at that time. I think I was so depressed that it’s hard for me to even remember that time in my pregnancy. We had to wait another couple weeks before we had another sonogram that would tell us whether we were in the midst of another nightmare. I remember not wanting to look at the screen when we went in for the appointment; I was worried that I would see my baby on that screen with a heart that was no longer beating. I didn’t think I could possible handle that devastation. The technician seemed to take forever to utter those beautiful words “the heartbeat looks great”. I left with what seems like a thousand pounds off my shoulder. When I was 16 weeks along we went to Tyler for a gender check ultrasound. I wanted to not only find out the gender but also to check on my little miracle growing inside. I was sure the baby was a boy, in fact there was no doubt in my mind. The pregnancy was going completely opposite of the pregnancy with my first daughter. I wasn’t sick at all and I was carrying this baby differently. I remember when we were looking for the gender on the large television screen where we had the sono done and she said “it’s a girl”. I never knew how excited I would be to know I was going to get to be the mom of 2 wonderful daughters. I was overflowing with such excitement. I remember asking my husband if he was at all disappointed that it wasn’t a boy. He said the sweetest thing “I secretly was hoping for another girl”. At that time Josh (who had said he would name the girls) gave our sweet little girl the name Kiley Rose. The next weeks went by slow, just waiting for her to grow inside of me and for everything to be ok. Every doctor’s appointment went well, never was there any reason for worry or concern.

I remember everyone telling me I didn’t look 8 months pregnant, and although I kept hearing it I didn’t really worry  much about the fact that I was still pretty small for 8 months because at each doctor’s appointment my weight gain was good and so was my uterus measurement. On August 17th 2011 I had an appointment with my doctor and before the appointment I was sent for a sonogram to check on how Kiley was growing. I was 35 weeks.  
I had the sonogram and of course they couldn’t tell me anything at that time, I’d have to wait to hear from the doctor if there were any concerns. The morning of this appointment I had felt extremely tired, in fact I had almost called to cancel the appointment but I decided I had better go in anyway just to make sure everything was ok. As I was about to leave the house I had an overwhelming feeling that I needed to pack my hospital bag and bring it with me just in case. I think the level of exhaustion that I was experiencing was causing me to worry that something might not be right.
I sat down in the doctor’s office and a nurse came to take my blood pressure, she immediately left the room and the doctor came right in. At that point I knew exactly what was wrong. The preeclampsia that I had experienced with my first pregnancy had now returned with my 3rd pregnancy. My doctor expressed that she was very concerned with how high my blood pressure was and that I should head to the hospital immediately to be monitored.
Josh and I dropped Olivia off my grandmother who was thankfully nearby and I gave Olivia the most heartfelt hug, I had so many fears at that time and hugging her was my only relief. Once we arrived at the hospital they immediately got me into a room and hooked me up on monitors and started giving me magnesium sulfate to help lower my blood pressure. The nurse came in to draw my blood and this is when the panic started to sink in. It took them 6 sticks before they were able to find a vain and I was miserable.  I remember hearing a nurse outside my door ask the nurse inside what my blood pressure was because she was on the phone with my doctor and they wanted to know. I remember the nurse stepping out and within 5 minutes my doctor was in my room saying my blood pressure was so high they were worried I might suffer a stroke.

Within minutes I was being rushed into the OR and the anesthesiologist was  giving me a spinal and reminding me to keep as calm as possible because my blood pressure was so high and they didn’t want my fear of the OR to cause it to go any higher. At this point Josh was not allowed in the OR yet and I felt so alone and so scared, I knew it was too soon for Kiley to come and I could tell my elevated blood pressure was making me feel weak. My doctor requested the help of another doctor in the OR because of all the complications that could come up. They sent Josh in and he stayed near me providing so much comfort to me at that time, I cannot imagine what it would have been like without him there. My C-Section with Kiley was much different from my first one with Olivia. With Olivia I didn’t feel a thing because I had been given the epidural much earlier and it worked differently than the spinal they gave me with Kiley. When they started to cut and pull on me I was not feeling pain but I was feeling an overwhelming amount of pressure and not having felt that with my first C-Section that caused me to panic a little. I was assured it was perfectly normal to feel all of the pressure and so I laid there just praying to hear Kiley cry and to know that she was ok. Moments later I hear the doctor who was assisting say “Look at this little peanut” and out came Kiley Rose Leonard. On August 17th 2011 at 5:16pm she was born. Weighing 3 pounds 15 ounces. They rushed her over to check her out and to check her breathing. So many of the NICU nurses had warned me that she would probably be immediately taking away and that she would need assistance with her breathing. When I heard them announce her birth weight I literally froze. I can’t explain the emotions that rolled over me at that moment. I had given birth to a preemie baby and in my mind every doubt and fear that you can have just hit me. I wanted to see her and hold her but more importantly I wanted her to be healthy and safe. I heard a nurse say “she is breathing fine on her own” and another one said “are you sure” and I watched as they all crowed around my little sweet baby and examined her over and over again. They said she was fine and healthy and just a little miracle. I cried and cried and there is no possible way for me to describe the feeling of relief that I felt. Josh left and headed to the nursery with Kiley and I knew all of the family was about to meet my miracle baby, I wished with all my heart I could have seen their reaction when they laid eyes on such a tiny bundle of joy.

Once they finished with me in the OR they wheeled me to my room. I was greeted by so many loving familiar faces and that was such a comfort to me. It wasn’t long before they brought Kiley in the room to me and I will cherish that moment in my mind forever when I held her for the first time. I looked at my strong little baby and I just knew my life was forever changed. My next favorite moment was when Olivia got to meet her sister. It was something I had played out in my mind over and over again. Olivia was the most amazing big sister from the very first moment she saw the new addition to our family. She crawled in bed next to me and helped hold her little sister and she kept saying “Awww” over and over again. It was beautiful and it makes me cry each time I think about it. The week long hospital stay following Kileys birth was nothing short of a nightmare. My blood pressure would not return to normal and that caused a lot of concern and it kept us in the hospital much longer then we had wanted to be there. My second C-Section was much harder to recover from than the first one. I was not prepared for how hard and painful it would be. All that was hard but nothing was as hard to deal with as Kiley’s chocking. First of all babies learn to swallow in the womb at 35 weeks, Kiley missed out on that so she had a very difficult time swallowing after she would spit up. The worst it ever got was one time in the hospital she was laying on the bed and I looked down and she was blue, she couldn’t breathe. The nurses rushed in and cleared her throat and she immediately started breathing again but it was one of the scariest moments in my life!! For the next 2 ½ months of Kiley’s life we had issues with her chocking. I honestly don’t think I slept during those months. Each time she would chock we would have to clear her throat with a suction. If we went anywhere I had to sit in the back seat with her because she would choke in her car seat. I never put Kiley down she was always in my arms because I knew at any moment we would have to help her breathe again. I don’t wish that turmoil on any parent.

I was also told in the hospital that preemie babies have a very hard time nursing and most end up having to use formula for the first few weeks. I was so determined not to have that happen because I wanted to nurse Kiley and I knew that her body needed the best possible food source that she could get so I worked really hard and Kiley was patient and such an easy baby to feed. Within a couple of days after she was born she was excellent at nursing. Doctors and nurses from all over the hospital came to visit Kiley, they were all in disbelief that at her size she wasn’t in the NICU.

It appears that the preeclampsia set in before  we were able to tell. My placenta stopped providing nutrients to Kiley probably around 32 weeks of pregnancy and so she was slowly starving to death, which is why she was so small at birth. It wasn’t until my blood pressure started rising that we were able to tell that something was wrong. My doctor said several times how glad she was that I came in that day because Kiley no doubt wasn’t far away from being a stillborn.

Kiley was 4 pounds when we left the hospital. Her lowest weight after birth was 3 pounds 11 ounces. My sweet Kiley Rose was a blessing in our life and I am grateful that she is healthy. No doubt she is accurately described as “small but mighty”.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Things That Girl Says!

My dear sweet Olivia is often known for the surprising, interesting, hilarious things that she says. So I thought I would take a moment to recite some of my favorites.

Olivia and I were in the car and I was looking for the road I needed to turn on so I was not intentionally ignoring Olivia but apparently she had been trying to get my attention for some time so finally she said "Mommy, listen to your daughter!!!!"

Olivia and I went to get Kiley out of her crib the other day and I was changing Kiley's diaper and telling her what a beautiful baby I think she is and Olivia interrupted and said "She is not beautiful Mommy, she is GORGEOUS!"

I was holding Olivia in my lap and she said "Mommy I love you like I love peaches, they are yummy and fuzzy!"

The other day we noticed a cut on Olivia's foot so I asked her what happened and she very seriously said     "A BIRD CAME IN MY ROOM AND ATE MY FOOT!!!"

With Olivia you just never know what your going to hear!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Hungry? Have a Burrito!

So I have been reading a lot lately about moms who plan meals ahead and who do a lot of freezer meals. This is something I am really interested in because I try to do a lot of cooking in an effort to avoid eating out. I do this because 1 its cheaper and 2 its healthier for my family. Today I decided to take on the challenge of making a bunch of breakfast burritos and freezing them for us to have for the next 2-3 weeks. This was an extremely cheap meal idea and it will be great for breakfast times and even some snack times when we are looking for something quick and fast!

Here is what I bought:
30 eggs - $2.88
onion - $0.76 (I only used a little less then half of it)
bell pepper - $0.75
flour tortillas - $5.36 (40 count, small size)
pork mild sausage - $2.78
bag shredded cheese - $2.16
Salsa - $1.98 (I used one whole jar)

Total = $16.67

I had enough to fill all 40 tortillas and we had enough for breakfast this morning! I want to try some corn tortillas next time!

So I started by preparing the meat. I cooked the sausage and bell pepper and onions together and I added some garlic powder, pepper, seasoning salt until it had the right amount of flavor. Once that was done I sat it to the side and cooked my 30 eggs (seriously that is a lot of egg cracking!). I added some milk to my eggs as I was beating them. I added some butter to the skillet before cooking the eggs just to add some extra moisture to the eggs since I would be freezing them and I didn't want them to dry out. Once the eggs were done I added the meat mixture. I also prepared the cheese and salsa in bowls so it would be easier to build my burritos. Then I tore out foil to wrap each individual burrito in, I also heated my tortillas in the microwave to soften them us so they would be easier to fold. This is what my work station looked like:

This is what it looked like when I was finished:

I must add that I have two of the best helpers when I need to go grocery shopping:

Table Food Time!

My sweet Kiley Rose is now starting to eat table food. I noticed she was becoming very interested in the things we were eating and so after giving her a few taste of new things we discovered she is finally ready for table food. Here is my favorite picture of her enjoying some black eyed peas!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I'm long over due for an update! We have been so busy it is unbelievable and I have so much I want to share about the things we have been doing lately but today I would like to just take some time to write about something that is on my mind.

Today I was holding my sweet Kiley Rose and I couldn't help but be overwhelmed with so many emotions about her first few months of life. She is now 10 months old and the sweetest baby you could ever be around. I love how different Olivia and Kiley are, each of them have their own ways of being special. Olivia is my independent, fun, smart, caring child. She loves adventure! Olivia also likes her own space but there are times when she comes and says "mommy I want to snuggle" or "Daddy can you hold me for awhile" and when those moments happen they are so very special. Kiley on the other hand is so different. I realize I have a lot to learn about her personality but from what I can see now, she is my cuddle bug. She wants to always be held and hugged. She is the happiest little baby that I have ever known. She smiles at everyone and everything! She is curious and quiet and enjoys being talked to. I can sit her in my lap and she will literally just sit there and spent that time with me she won't try to crawl away or find something more entertaining but rather she just likes to sit and enjoy your company. I adore this about her. In our chaotic life Kiley makes me stop to smell the roses....perhaps Rose as her middle name is more appropriate then I could have imagined it would be. Kiley does have a quicker temper then Olivia does but just as quick as she is to get mad she can turn it around and instantly be happy. I love both of my girls and I'm learning so much everyday about who they are individually.

Today though as I was holding Kiley I felt an overwhelming sigh of relief come over me. 10 months...I can't believe it. I think the reason for the sigh of relief is because of how everything happened with Kiley's birth. She weighed 3 lbs 15 oz when she was born and I cannot explain my fears for her everyday since her birth. She was so tiny and my knowledge on how to care for a preemie was so limited. I had a million questions along the way. I suppose as we journey into motherhood we are really left to figure it out along the way. We don't get a preview of our lives down the road to know what we will be dealing with. We don't know if our babies will be healthy, or full term, or with special needs, or if when they are older we will see developmental, social,  or physical issues that we could not have seen coming. It's all a big risk, a big mystery and while it is is scary I know most every mother would agree that it is worth it. I can be honest in saying that the first 2 1/2 months of Kiley's life I was a wreck inside. I couldn't stop worrying about my tiny baby and I just had to hope I was doing everything right by her. From the time I was told I would have to deliver her until the time she was 2 1/2 months old I don't think I breathed. And in all fairness Kiley has always been in good health so I cannot imagine what it must be like for mothers who give birth to preemie babies with health issues, my heart goes out to them. Motherhood is a journey and I strongly encourage mothers to band together in support of one other during difficult times. I perhaps was not as vocal as I should have been during the months of Kiley's birth or in the time after I lost a baby through a tubal pregnancy but those times were some of the hardest of my life and I know support from other mothers would have been a great source of comfort for me. Josh has always been my better half and I cannot thank him enough for all he has done for me but sometimes there are only things that another mother can understand, and to be honest I may not always have the words to express how I'm feeling but to another mother who may understand what I was going through my silence would have spoken volumes. I recently read a blog about a mother who said "your hard is hard" and I found that to be such a powerful statement. We should not try to compete or compare our "hard" situation to another mothers situation but rather to appreciate the fact that every mother is dealing with something. Instead of down playing another persons issues compared to your own we should instead remember that "your hard is hard" and "their hard is hard". I always loved the saying "don't judge a person until you have walked a mile in their shoes" and I feel so strongly about that. Lets give more support and less judgement.

At Kiley's 9 month check up she weighed 13 lbs. This is a great accomplishment for us, even though the normal weight for a baby her age would have been 20-22 lbs I am just grateful she is healthy and happy. She is now starting to crawl around and thankfully her doctor has no concerns about her development at this time, she may be a lot slower in reaching the milestones that most babies her age have already met but she is small and should be allowed to take the time she needs to catch up. I don't worry over the milestones she has missed for her age but rather I breathe a sigh of relief each time she smiles at me because she is here and she is healthy and I have learned to be so thankful for those things. The time flies so quickly and I want to remember how special this time was with each of my girls. I found a poem I would like to share:

At first you didn't lift your head;
You didn't know to smile.
The time before you knew my voice
Seemed such a long, long while.
I couldn't wait for you to roll,
And then to sit and clap.
And now you're off and crawling,
Not helpless in my lap.
Why didn't someone tell me
How fast a baby grows,
That every little baby stage
Soon comes, but sooner goes.
So I'll enjoy the fleeting time
Before you learn to walk.
and treasure every tiny noise
Before you learn to talk.
For soon you'll learn to walk,
Then run,
And talk and sing a song,
And never be my babe again.
The babe's forever gone.
Little baby, take your time,
For while you are tiny, you are mine.
Diane Woolley

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Reading Books = Creating Memories

I remember when I was young how much I enjoyed looking at and reading books. Even now I enjoy picking up a good book and getting lost in the pages as they turn. I have found that Olivia has this same love. When the house gets quiet I know that Olivia is either up to something really bad or she is sitting in her room looking at books. We have made it a routine to read to her every night before bed and often times there is a negotiation on how many books will be read. Olivia keeps interested the whole time we are reading to her and after we have finished the book she likes to take it and read it back to us (since she is 3 and cannot actually read words she just repeats the story back to us as she remembers hearing it). Josh took a picture of me reading to Olivia the other night, you can see in her face that we are not just reading books…we are making memories. 

Ducky Bath Time!

The girls took a bath together and they loved their new ducks to play with! Kiley is learning to enjoy bath time!

A New Baby is Reason to Party!

I recently helped throw a baby shower for my sister-in-law who is having a baby in June. They do not know the gender so this was my first time to throw a shower with no specific gender to go by! It was fun and Olivia counted down the days until she could eat cake! Olivia cannot wait until her new cousin gets here! Here are some pictures of the party:

Tents, Smores and the Great Outdoors!

A few weekends ago our family and some friends of ours went on a camping trip to Beavers Bend. The best part was how excited Olivia was about going. She kept asking me if we were taking our tent and our food and of course her new sleeping bag! Olivia might have been almost as excited as Josh.  Josh just loves the whole camping experience and even though I didn’t grow up camping I can see that it will become something we do on a regular bases. We had a great tent and we had brought along good food so we were all set to go. We went with our friends who have a little girl who is Olivia’s age and they are best friends. The hardest part about the whole experience was fitting two families and all our camping gear in our SUV. The pictures below will show how we managed it! Olivia loved making smores over the campfire and skipping rocks in the lake. We took a hike that mostly consisted of us walked along a road looking for the hiking trail that we never found (haha). On our way to our campsite we saw some deer who obviously had little fear of humans because we got some up close pictures that I will share below. It was a great trip and I won’t lie, I had my doubt about the whole thing but I was pleasantly surprised! 

Trying to load the car, this required a little skill and a lot of faith

But we managed it! This is at a gas station only 10 miles from home, Olivia already had to take a potty break!

The deer

Our campsite!

My lil camper....she steals my heart no matter what she does

Josh working on getting the tent set up...I was helping by taking pictures ;)

Kiley enjoyed camping too.....

....well maybe not

Ready to go hiking

Kiley loves her tongue now that she has discovered it

Breakfast the next morning