Struggle of two lives converging....the life I had before October 19th and the one after October 19th

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Quirkiness Part I

As Abigail grows we are fairly certain she is her own human being with her own wants, needs and desires. Until this point, it has been easy to tell her when she is hungry, what she should eat, when she should bathe, play, watch TV, play outside and etc. Lately, she has been reminding us that she doesn't necessary want to do the things we think she should be doing. Part of this includes little quirky habits that we adore.

Thank You
Abby uses what I call a "preemptive" thank you (pronounced "Tank Too")This is usually put in the place of "please". For example, she will hand me her sippy cup if she wants more milk and say "thank you!" Sometimes I find myself doing what she wants simply because it must already be understood that I am doing it!

Abby learned how to "jump" from Elmo (shocking I know that she would have learned something from the at least 10 hours of Elmo a week). Abby's jumping consists of her lifting one foot and stomping it down hard and repeatedly. Not only is this absolutely adorable and hysterical, but she has actually gotten me to question myself on this subject.

Adam or I will jump and say "you do it!". She will then do the "Abby jump". We show her how to really jump, and again she does the "Abby jump". She then looks at both Adam and I with such disgust like she is embarrassed by our jumping abilities. Then I start to wonder, "maybe she is right?"

Since Abby was old enough to sit up to eat, she has employed her own diet scheme to keep her trim and healthy. She does not yet have the vocabulary to tell me the name of her innovation, but I am sure it will be something like "Groovin' Eats" or "Shaky Snacking".

When Abby tastes something she likes, she begins to schimmy. She rocks side to side quickly all the while chewing her food and exclaiming "ynummy!". I think it's the reason she has such great abs!

Abby has a few Monk-like tendencies. If you have never seen the show, shame on you! You are missing classic TV. If you have, then you will appreciate the following:

1. Head Tick - First, Abby has the head-shoulder tick down pat. I can picture her in my mind walking away from me, lifting her right shoulder up, bringing her head down to the shoulder and then shaking it off.

2. Baby Wipes - She is obsessed with baby wipes. Anytime Monk shakes any one's hand or touches something dirty, he puts out his hand like it is diseased, and repeats "wipe, wipe, wipe wipe" until one is put in his hand so that he can clear himself of germs. Abby does the same thing only she says "ehhh!!!" while reaching for the baby wipes. Sometimes if she falls outside and has to get up, she will use her hands on the ground for balance and then she refuses to move until I clean them off.

3. Cleanliness - Have you seen the episodes where Monk cannot move on with a conversation because of something stupid's collar is up, all the kids but one in a row have their hands raised and etc. Well, Abby does the same thing. For example, while she is eating if she drops something on the floor, it must be picked up immediately. If I ignore the fallen debris, she points at it while screaming "ehhhh!!!" and refuses to eat any further.

4. Hates Trash/Loves Trash Cans - Did you see the Monk episode where the trash men went on strike and Monk went crazy? Well, Abby constantly is picking up things off the floor that normal 2 year olds would swallow and stick up their nose. Only, instead of swallowing and choking on them, she hands them to me using the aforementioned "preemptive thank you". Also, she once walked up and down the aisles of a DSW Shoe Warehouse collecting all the trash people had left on the floor from the shoe boxes and threw it all out at the ends of the aisles in the trash cans. (at 14 months old).

And with that - we will end this post. I'll do Quirkiness Part II soon :-).

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Monday, May 07, 2007

They're Baa-aack!

Wow. It has been forever since I have written. So much has Abigail, in our lives, in me. But the reason I decided to start writing again is Abigail.

When Abby does something absolutely adorable or bewildering, I tell family and friends. I replay it in my mind and laugh out loud for no reason. I tell myself about how I will relay the story to her when she grows older. But I have realized as time goes on, that those stories are getting lost.
Not because they are useless to remember, but because she constantly gives me a new story to tell. It's because of this that I have to start writing again. I want to remember all the idiosyncrasies. I want to remember the joy in the "firsts". I want Abby to look back and see our joy in her "firsts" and know how much fun she had with life (as I am sure she still will be having).

And while we are being honest for the beautiful, perfect, sweet, wonderful future Abigail, I should tell her something. Sometimes I think back about everything I/We have given up to have you. I think about the career I could have had. I think about where I would have been today. How much more money we would have had. How much cleaner the house would be. How many more vacations we would have gone on, movies we would have seen in the theater, romantic dinners we would have had holding hands across the table. How many more times I would have gone out with friends, instead of staying home while you were sick. How we could stay out later than 7:30 at night (your bedtime) or have a whole day planned without worrying about missing your naps. I think about all those things. And then I realize something amazing.

The career I would have had would have meant 60 hour work-weeks with lots of money but no time to spend it. Without you, we would have been in this very same house, but with two empty bedrooms surrounding our own. Without you, I wouldn't stub my toe on your table and chair set, or step on your blocks, or have to clean up your toys every night. I wouldn't have sticky hand prints on my kitchen table, stains on my carpet or pieces of your food absolutely everywhere. I wouldn't have mopped the bathroom floor because you peed on it before I could get you in the tub. I would have seen more sights and places, wasting time before "starting our family". I would have paid more to see horrible movies in the theater rather in my comfy Pj's at home. Without you, I would have spent dinners out having the same conversations while being fairly confident all food and drinks would remain on our plates or in our glasses rather than spending dinners out watching you taste something for the first time, rubbing your tummy and saying "ynummy". Without you, I would have spent nights with friends reminiscing, instead of being there for someone who needed me so desperately. Without you, I wouldn't have learned the power of multi-tasking and taking breaks which coincided with your naps. Without you, life would have been about me, and us (Daddy and I). And how silly that life would have been. It all seems useless now.

So, Abigail, in case you ever wondered if you turned our lives upside-down, I can say unequivocally, yes. You turned our worlds from absolutely useless, to meaningful, powerful and important. You have changed our priorities, taught us to love, taught us to be patient, taught us to be silly.

Thank you. Thank you for taking the thermometer - every single night before bed - and taking the temperature of your toes. Thank you for constantly trying to wear Daddy's shoes everywhere around the house while laughing -every time you do it.
Thank you for making me watch ELMO more times than I could stand because I get to watch you love every minute of it. Thank you for being in our lives and for turning them around. Even when we didn't realize they needed to be turned around.

You are the most important thing in our lives and without you, we didn't have life. I can't wait to write about you again. Here's to keeping up with the journal this time.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Scents with no sense

When you are pregant, there is a neverending list of things that people tell you in order to try and "prepare" you for once you have the baby. First let's just address the fact that all of these helpful hints dissolve out of your already overloaded pregnant brain as soon as you hear them AND that, honestly, you have to learn it all yourself anyways. You can't just trust that it is a possibility that the baby might become much like a lawn sprinkler for the nursery when you take his diaper off - you have to LEARN it.

Anyhow, this list usually encompasses absolutely everything that has ever happened to anyone else and their child, how to fix it, and how to ensure it doesn't happen again. Most often you gather a few conflicting stories: "Always put rice cereal in the bottle first" versus "Never put rice cereal in the bottle" and so on...

But never, ever, does anyone mention the new realm of odors that your new little addition will allow you to explore. Sure they mention the bad-smelling, gag-inducing poop odor, but no one ever touches upon all the other various odors that will be made my your adorable bundle. These odors include, but are not limited to:

1. Poop - As we have discussed, Abigail's smells like buttered popcorn - mixed w/ poop.

2. Neck cheese - We won't go further with this one for our sensitive readers.

3. Warm formula burps - Generally combined with a splatter of half-way digested formula.

4. Fresh out of the bath - Ah. A favorite. When baby and baby's hair smell like yummy lavendar/aloe soap.

5. New baby smell (much like new car smell in its popularity and its inevitable fading away) - combination of diapers and wipes smells which are constantly touching the baby.

6. Spit-up - self explanatory.

But the top and the most recognizable of them all:

7. The smell of your baby - as a person.

This may sound dumb, but I never thought of the fact that Abigail would have her own scent. One that is uniquely for her. As her mother, I feel like I can tell this scent from anything. Go ahead. Test me. Blindfold me and hold another baby to my face. I am positive that I would not confuse that smell with any other.

It smells sweet and warm. I like it best at night when she has fallen asleep on my lap, her head next to mine. Sometimes during commercial breaks I catch myself turning towards her, nose to her head, just to breathe in that smell. There is no better way to relieve stress than to see her little chest moving up and down, watch her hand holding onto my finger, and smelling her hair knowing that this won't last forever. There will come a day when Abigail's hand will no longer fit in mine, when she can hold more than one finger of mine at a time, when she will not need a nap before bed, and when she won't want to nap on me. Thankfully, those days are far away, but in the meantime, I just keep breathing her in. Though I can't recreate the smell, I do feel like I can remember it when I am not with her. Or at least the way it makes me feel.

And so now, while she still lets me, and before it becomes a "strange" thing to do, I relish every moment I can smell my baby. Most often right before bed so that when I lay down to sleep, her scent still lingers around. It is just enough to last until morning when I can pick her up, kiss her cheek and eyelids, and jog my scent memory with her perfect smell.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

An Unplanned Plan

Looking back on Abigail's birth and her coming into existence, Adam and I realize just how special she must be. It is absolutely clear to me that God has some sort of plan for something for her. It might be her directly, or she may be a part of a ancestrial plan to create some special person down the line. Either way, I am convinced that she is meant to be here right NOW. She arrived just on time completely unplanned.

Let's start with the most obvious:

1. I was on the pill which had worked perfectly for 4 years.

2. It was an extremely stressful time of the year - tax season.

3. 3 negative pregnancy tests cannot be wrong.

4. Urinary tract infection including antibiotics which should NEVER be taken when pregnant.

5. Visit with the "you are fat" doctor due to horrible, life-threatening illness including ALL DAY sickness, ginger ale and saltine diet only and constant dizziness. His diagnosis? Ulcer. Took prilosec for 2 weeks which should NEVER be taken when pregnant.

Let's interject here my constant craving for velvetta shells and cheese and milkshakes to which my mom responded "you are pregnant" and to which I responded "No, I am not. If this is what it feels like to be pregnant - no one would ever do it".

6. Call to the "you are fat" doctor to check up on sickness and why prilosec is not working. He responds by telling me to double the dosage....because! I am fat!

7. Call to new doctor to get second opinion. He listens to my rambling, tells me the "you are fat" doctor sucks, and tells me I am pregnant.

"Ha. No. I am not".

8. Call to gynocologist who tells me that unless I have decided to keep the baby -she will not see me. In the meantime, I am getting bad pains in my lower tummy. Call back to gynocologist who rushes me to ultra sound to ensure baby is not ectopic (ie going to rupture my fellopian tubes) We find out I am 13 weeks pregnant - baby looks like a baby on ultrasound.

9. Back to doctor to "check-up" on my pregnant status. He notices a very bad heart murmer and sends me for an echocardiogram. (Turns out find in the end)

10. Ordered by gynocologist to go get level II ultrasound to ensure nothing is wrong with the baby especially after the "you are fat" doctor tried to kill it. Ultra-sound shows two potentially bad things:

1. Placenta Lakes (baby might drown - just kidding) These are large pools of blood in the placenta to which the ultra-sound tech says "i have never seen them this big". We never found out why these are bad.

2. Echogenic focus on the baby's heart. This is sometimes indicative of down syndrome.

We leave ultrasound with orders for genetic counseling, follow up ultrasounds and testing for down syndrome.

11. We go to genetic counselor who tells us there is little concern but asks about the down syndrome test results. We note that it has only been a week since I have had the test taken. She notes that that means the test is done and ready and gets us the negative results over the phone. 5 weeks later my gynocologist calls with the same results (thanks for the quick response there...)

12. Return for additional ultra-sound. The nurse notes that the echogenic focus on her intestines (note it was origially on her HEART) is ok. (she confused us w/ another couple - but since she ordered an additional ultra sound, we werent going to pass up the chance to see Abby again...)

13. Return again for last ultra-sound. Everything looks ok and baby is in the right position (this turns out bad later).

14. Get letter from gyno that says she is leaving the practice 1 month before I am due but will continue to take patients at a local office. She will also be "borrowing" the referrals secretary (introduce CINDI) from the OLD practice who did not tell the OLD practice she is working for NEW practice - therefore she can only work after hours.

15. Try and make appointment with CINDI. She never returns my call.

16. Try and switch back to old practice - and CINDI finally returns my call. Make appointment.

17. Get pubic symphasis. A condition where the baby has a lighter in utero and actually lights your pelvis on fire at the most inopportune moments (such as trying to walk or turn over in bed). Burning gets so bad that it is impossible to turn over in bed without writhing in pain.

18. Go to gyno for the millionth check-up where she does an internal exam. She feels around, gets big eyes and leaves the room. She comes back and immediately asks:

"when was your last ultra sound?"
"10 weeks ago"
"we need you to go again"
"what is wrong?"
"we cant find the baby's head"
"maybe that is why I lost 3 pounds this week?"
*non-amused look from gyno*

(how can you lose a head?!??!?)

19. Ultra sound shows baby Abigail almost indian style breach. C-section necessary. Open appointment on October 18th which is grandpa's birthday ( a very good choice). Call CINDI for appointment. She never calls back. It is a week before the 18th. Call doctor frantically two days later and note that my c-secion has not been scheduled. C-section can now only be scheduled on the 19th.

20. CINDI tells me she will call me with information on getting bloodwork done on the 18th. It is the 17th and NO CALL. surprised? I stop by the office and get information on where to go.

21. Get to hospital on the 18th. Lab says they do not have orders from the doctor to take my labs. They cannot reach the doctor ...or CINDI. Nice nurse makes exception and takes labs so that I can have the c-section.

22. Morning of c-section walk into hospital maternity ward and nurse says:

"who are you".
"Courtney ******"
*look of bewilderment*
"Not the name you were looking for?"
"No, I thought you were someone else"
"Well, I have a c-section scheduled for this morning"
"OH! Come on in this room"

23. Blood pressure machine won't work on me.

24. Nurse says "we lost your labs from yesterday"

25. Adam and I hear from my hospital room "We don't have a scrub tech b/c we didnt know there was a c-section this morning" "We can borrow one from the ER but they need to be back on time so the c-section has to go on time" "Do you know where doctor Jackson is? (my gyno)"

26. Found my labs.

27. Ana...the gas lady hits a nerve which makes my leg twitch while she is trying to make me numb. Nurse yells at me for moving.

28. Scrub tech from ER arrives and scrubs.

29. I throw up a couple times during the operation.

30. Abigail has her cord wrapped around her neck twice and thigh once - never would have come out naturally.

And after all of that surgery goes off without a hitch, perfectly healthy baby girl is born, and the most beautiful baby I have ever seen is placed in my hands. Her little forhead wrinkles at the sound of my voice. Her eyes fix on my face but only for a second.

And here I am 11 weeks later enjoying every moment of her. Laughing more with her than I have with the funniest of friends. Feeling my heart, ACTUALLY FEELING my heart grow when she starts laughing at me in the middle of a feeding. Milk dripping out the sides of her mouth. Little giggles for no reason at all except she was looking at me. She likes me. She likes me and I love her more than I could imagine.

She was unplanned by me, but meticulously planned by God. And if the above doesn't convince you of that...I don't know what would. I can't help but think that God must miss her little spirit in heaven, and I can't help but thank Him for allowing me the joy of loving her.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Neck Maintenance

Before Abigail made her royal entrance, I took a class on baby maintenance. In this class we learned about everything you could possibly dream, except one important thing; neck maintenance.

As you can see in pictures, Abigail has no neck! And as you have also noticed, this is made up for by having multiple chins. In the many creases and crevices of Mount Abigail, there can be found, at any given time, neck cheese. Daddy has coined this disgustingly delightful term for the whitish, greyish, sticky, rotten milk smelling, film that forms all along the crease where her neck should be.

This "film" smells so bad that before I take Abigail out for any social event where people will be holding her, I take care to wash her lack of neck. Of course, I also attempt this during our bathtime. And you are saying "What is the big deal?". Well, in case you did not know, neck cheese is a precious commodity. So precious, that Abigail is extremely protective of it.

The second I try to lift Abigail's second chin flap in order to mine for the cheese, she pushes her head downward and in the process creates an additional 3 chins. These 3 chins come down like a concrete barrier between me and the neck cheese. Abigial's eyes get big and she stares me down as if to say

"Go ahead, I dare you. Try and break through my minions of chins!"

"Not only will I try, but I will conquer and forge every bit of neck cheese out of your caverns and into the trash!"

I make the first attempt and lift chin number 5 up. To my surprise, underneath is another fleshy layer which covers the cheese. Do the folds of skin ever end? I try and lift that flap, but with the weight of the other 5 chins, I just cannot maneuver. No, I will have to resort to the "lift".

This technique is where I lift Abigail up and hold her on her back. My hand does not hold up her neck, but instead, the very top of her head. I see Abigail struggle to keep her chins down, but inevitably, she gets tired and loses control! Yes! Her head falls back just enough and I see it, in all its glory. It is almost too bright and I look away for a second.

There it is. Long strands of neck cheese lining every crease of her soon to be neck. With one fast wipe, I get all the cheese and her neck is clean. Abigail looks defeated but pleasantly surprised that she does not smell like rotting milk anymore. Until next time....

"You just wait until my neck muscles are fully formed! The neck cheese will be mine!"