Thursday, September 24, 2009

Happy Birthday Baby!

It seems like just yesterday, you were a tiny little pea that slept your days away, like this:

And, you are still that sweet, sweet pea, but in the last year, we've watched you grow into a little girl that's full of smiles, giggles, and oh so much love.

Thank you sweet girl for being the happy little bean that you are. You are beautiful. You are perfect. You are my Bean. I love you all the way to the sky and back . . . This has been the best year of my life, and I cannot wait to share all that life has in store for us with you and your dada. You are our world.

Happy first birthday my sweet Sammie B.

Your ever lovin' Mama

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Exactly one year ago today, I woke up, barely 35 weeks pregnant, and just felt “different.” I’d been on bed rest for 6 weeks, but my doctor had released me to do a little more light activity. I had plans to do lunch and a movie with my friend, T. But when I woke up that day, I could tell something was different. The Bean felt lower, and I was having more tightness than usual, and I felt less movement. So, I called T and said I’d still do lunch, but I wasn’t up for a movie. So, we met for lunch, and ate at one of mine and B’s favorite little cafes near our house, where we sat outside. I sat there and told T that I just knew my baby was going to be born soon . . . I’d never been pregnant, nor given birth, but I knew.

After lunch, I drove home, drank a huge sprite and laid down for my periodic “kick counts” the doctor had me doing. After I laid down, B called. I told him how I was feeling and said, “this baby is coming SOON. You should stay at work late and get anything done that you need done before you go out on paternity leave.” We hung up the phone, and I went back to waiting for the kicks so I could count them, when suddenly, I heard and felt something POP inside my body. I had NO idea what it was. I jumped up, wondering if it was my water breaking. Sure enough, water came trickling out, but not like the gush I would have expected, just slow trickling that would not stop. I called my OB’s office to tell the nurse about it, and realized suddenly that my stomach was hurting - badly. The nurse said, “well, honey, we are having a baby today!” She also said she was worried that my stomach was already hurting so badly, so she didn’t want me to wait until my husband could get home from downtown, but that I should get someone closer to take me to the hospital and have him meet me there. So, I called T, who should have only been a mile or so away . . . only she wasn’t answering! I frantically texted her, and kept calling and calling . . . turns out her phone was frozen - she knew I was calling, but couldn’t answer, but started heading back my way. So, B drove straight to the hospital from work and T took me to meet him. B beat us there, but they went ahead and gave him a room :o) T has a super cute mini-cooper with leather seats, so I thoughtfully brought along one of the puppy pee-pads the nurse that taught our birthing class suggested we buy . . . that way, I didn’t leak on her seat!

Once we got to the hospital, I felt SOOOO relieved to just see B. I was scared! The nurses were initially not nice -- it was like they didn’t believe me that my water broke, but once they tested me, they changed. I kept asking, “just tell me if I’m staying so I can tell my mom to get on a plane!” Finally, the nurse said, “you are staying.” And Gigi bought the next flight out.

I had planned to go without an epidural. I knew I’d be a more effective pusher if I could make it without it, and to be honest, part of me just wanted to see if I could do it. I think I did a great job of breathing through my contractions for the next 3 or 4 hours (B seconds this!). I do remember that B kept his work clothes on -- a shirt and tie, forever, and it was making me nervous. I finally told him I needed him to change and be in comfy clothes, like he was staying for awhile. He did a fabulous job of monitoring my contractions, holding my hand, and encouraging me. But then I had one contraction that hurt SO BAD and LASTED FOREVER. During it, I asked B if it was almost over. He checked the monitor and said, “holy shit, that’s the mother of all contractions. I don’t know if its almost over.” At that point, I said, “get the anesthesiologist.”

So, the anesthesiologist came, and he was super nice. The epidural hardly hurt, though I was having some pretty intense contractions during it. The nurse had checked me right before the epidural and I was 4 centimeters dilated. She checked me again right after (literally less than an hour passed) and I was EIGHT centimeters a (or so she thought). They called my OB (actually just the OB on call for my OB) and he came to the hospital. But, he disagreed and thought I was only like 6 cm. He was annoyed with the nurse, and went home. Less than 15 minutes later, I felt like I HAD to push. It was intense. The nurse felt and said, “the babies head is right there . . .I told you you were 10 cms.” So, she said I COULD NOT push until the doctor was back in the building. Fortunately, he made it back quickly, and it was time to push.
BUT, the epidural hadn’t worn off a bit and I couldn’t feel the lower half of my body at all, so pushing was hard. I FELT like I was pushing, but my OB kept telling me I wasn’t being productive. I hated him in those moments! He called the anesthesiologist back and asked him to turn down the epidural, but it didn’t work. Then, for whatever reason, the fabulous anesthesiologist took my left hand, while B held my right hand, and the two of them, along with the OB and L&D nurse coached me through the rest of the delivery.

I always say that my OB gave me the stink eye through the entire thing -- he didn’t like my pushes. I really was trying my absolute hardest (and I still wonder, on that silly mama-guilt level, if I SHOULD have pushed harder, if it would have made any difference for Sam her first month of life, or this first year). B told me afterward that he knew I was mad at the OB b/c I wouldn’t look at him, I would only look to the side at one of the other three in the room. And B counted and encouraged me through every push.

Sam’s oxygen level went down a few times, so I had to wear an oxygen mask during the delivery. At the time, we just went through the motions, it was all very surreal. I think at that point, even the fact that there would be a baby at the end of all that seemed unreal, but looking back, the oxygen mask seems scary. Finally, with the help of the vacuum (again, the mama-guilt and wondering) Sammie B made her official entrance into the world.

Because she was coming early, a NICU team was in my room waiting on her, and the OB immediately passed her off to them, without even letting me hold or see her. That was hard. I sat, feeling helpless, and sobbed as the NICU team worked on her in the side of my room. The anesthesiologist, still holding my hand, asked me, “why are you crying?” And I said, “because she isn’t.” I felt like something was wrong. But then he said, “Sweetheart, stop crying and just listen.” And, when I did, I heard my baby’s first cries.

I have no idea how long they worked on Sammie B (probably less than 30 minutes?). The doctor was finishing up with me, and I didn’t even care, all I was paying attention to was the activity in the side of my room . . . watching my baby, trying to get a peek at what she looked like.

And finally, the NICU team asked if we wanted to hold our daughter. Of course we did! We even had time for her first picture.

Then they took Sammie B off to the NICU, and said they’d come get B when she was completely stable. Those were the hardest hours of our lives. I remember that it comforted me that we'd held her. I knew if she wasn't in good shape, they wouldn't have let us hold her, they would have whisked her away immediately. The nurses told us we should get some rest . . . as if!! All we wanted was to hold our baby!!! Finally, around 3 am, the nurses came to get B and he got to go formally introduce himself to his daughter. He took pictures and brought them back for me to see, since I couldn't get up yet.

He learned that she'd been in respiratory distress, but stabilized quickly, and that because she was a little early, she didn't have the "suck, swallow, breathe" reflex down. Everyone said over and over (including the neonatologist the next day) "your baby is going to be just fine." During her NICU stay, when we'd ask when she'd get to go home, they would tell us, "when she's ready." It was so frustrating because I wanted them to be able to tell me WHEN. One of my favorite NICU nurses told me, "this little girl was put onto this earth to teach you patience."

Soon after his visit, I had to switch rooms to go to the post-partem rooms, and on the way there, I got to stop in to visit with my Bean. Already madly in love with her, I just sat and held onto her little hand for as long as I could before being wheeled off to my room. I didn't hold her until later that morning.

The whole time I was pregnant, I'd worried that I wouldn't be nurturing enough. That "mommy" wouldn't fit me well. But, the moment I saw that Bean, and when I first held her, instantly, I felt like "mommy" and knew that role would be the most important one of my life.

Last night, I wrote that it felt defeating that we aren’t in the place we thought we’d be at a one-year (even though, over the last six months that “place” I thought we’d be has kept changing), but today, driving home, I sat and I thought about what that NICU nurse said . . . just as I did then, today, I want someone to be able to tell me WHEN things will be easier. But, its not for me to decide. I'm just along for the ride with Sammie B. Patience. So, we might not be in the place we thought we'd be but we are in OUR place. Sammie B’s Place. The only place that matters. And we are together . . . and so, it’s a pretty magical place to be. There are no two people on the world I’d rather be with.

A Smiling Bean to Start The Day

This is one of my favorite pictures of Sammie B. It really just shows her personality and HUGE smile. Our nanny takes pictures often throughout the day and emails them to me so that I get them on my blackberry. When I got this one, my heart melted. Could she be any sweeter? Any happier? I have this picture saved as my background on my blackberry, and every single time I look at my blackberry throughout the day (which is a lot), I am met with my Sammie B's huge smile and bright eyes. And everytime, a little piece of my heart melts.

I cannot believe tomorrow is my Sammie B's first birthday. One year ago today, I had lunch with a friend, happy to be on "light activity" and not strict bed rest, went home for a rest, and my water broke. One year ago today, this little bean decided she couldn't be held at bay, she was determined to make her entrance into the world and meet her mommy and daddy. And, she's been melting our hearts, over and over, ever since.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

In a Funk

I'm in a funk. And, I feel guilty and angry at myself for being in a funk because its the Bean's birthday week. There's no sadness at birthdays. So, I'm trying to pull myself out of the funk, and I may be succeeding. Some possible reasons for said funk:

- I'm tired. Not sure if this is a symptom or a cause. It seems no matter how much sleep I get, I'm still tired. Of course, last week, I went one night with NO sleep, so maybe I just can't make up for that now. Not sure, but I am dragging. I FINALLY followed up with the endocrinologist I saw after I broke my foot during maternity leave and had the "troublesome" bone density scan results. I have a severe vitamin D deficiency, so I'm starting a blast of vitamins (8 week period of really high dosage). I'm hoping this gives me some more energy. I also decided that as much as I WANT to do the red-eyes when I fly for work, so I don't miss bedtime with bean and can do that then walk out the door, its just not good for me . . . I feel like crap for days after a red-eye.

- Last week, on my flight to Cincinnati, a girl (18-years-old) in the row in front of me died. In flight. She obviously had struggled to stay alive her entire life (she had multiple birth defects, and from listening to her mom, who was with her, she was never expected to even live 18 years). Her family (brother, mom, dad, and grandmother) were traveling with her for medical care. And, while we were in flight, she stopped breathing. I watched as a physician and 5 nurses on board did CPR for a half hour before we landed (unscheduled). I held the IV bag as they started the IV on her. I watched as her skin went from peachy to blue to white. I watched as life slipped away from her, and even worse, I watched as her family watched as her life slipped away from her. All I wanted to do after that flight was come home and hold Sammie B and to be with her and B, but instead, I made it through my quick trip to Cincinnati, and made it home. But, there have been passing moments in my day where I cannot help but conjure up those images from the plane, and think about that family.

- When I feel in a slump like this, my glass-half-empty outlook on life rears its ugly ugly head. And, so this week, the week of Sammie B's first birthday, I find myself feeling a little defeated, thinking about how we are in such a different place at this birthday than we thought we'd be. Last week, at a birthday party for a friend's kid, once again, someone asked if Sam was crawling, and I said, "no, she's a little behind," and I got the lecture about how I should thank my lucky stars . . . b/c once she's crawling "my life is over." I refrained from telling her about the three therapy sessions Sam gets each week, or how hurtful her comment (which I know she meant to be helpful) actually was. I know there is growth in struggle, but today, I just feel tired of struggling. Somedays (many days), I just wish things were easier for her. Through our journey, I've started reading several other blogs of moms with special needs kids, and one theme I see is throughout them is "I wish things were easier for her/him." None of us would change WHO our children are, but we just wish they didn't have to struggle. And, that's where I am today. And,I kick myself for feeling this way. For the worry I let creep in, the feelings of defeat, etc.I am mad at myself.

- I debated about writing about the way I'm feeling, because it is, after all, Sam's birthday week, and I'm supposed to be in celebratory mode, but I started this blog for myself, to help sort out feelings, and I'd only be doing myself a disservice if I didn't own up to these feelings too.

And, to end on a positive note (because sometimes, the glass-half-empty girl in me needs a royal kick in the ass, and a reminder to think more positively!) Sam's birthday is going to be fabulous. We have nearly 50 people coming over to celebrate the Bean's first year in this world. It hasn't been an easy year, and we still have a lot of work to do, but we will keep on keeping on!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

When the Bean Was Known as "Mini-B"

(In honor of Sammie B's first birthday this week, I've decided to write a series of nostalgic posts - about my pregnancy, her birth and the very beginning of our journey together).

When I was pregnant with Sammie B, before we knew whether she was a boy or girl, we called her "Mini-B." And shortly after we met her, I remember holding her and saying to B, "this is MINI-B!!" It really is amazing that something that starts out as just an "idea" becomes a person. Mini-B became our Sammie B.

I got pregnant with Sammie B in February, before leaving for a one-month trial in Boston. I knew I had some possible infertility issues, so we were supposed to start a round of fertility drugs after my trial. We'd decided we were "ready for baby," but we were prepared for it to take awhile . . . but instead, we got pregnant right away, without the drugs.

In Boston, I worked more and harder than I ever knew I had in me. We worked 16, 17, 20 hour days, and toward the end, there was even a period where I worked all night, went home, changed into my suit, and headed for court. I was tired, and feeling sick, but just attributed it to lack of sleep. Then, one morning, room service came (that's a perk of being away at trial - one of the few - hotels and room service, which I dig), and I threw up. The next morning, same thing . . . room service, throw up. Then, I was working in my trial office and kept getting hot, then cold. Suddenly, it hit me, and I RAN two blocks to CVS, bought the test, RAN two more blocks to my hotel room, took the test, saw the two pink lines and thought "Oh my god, I'm pregnant, and I have to go back to work." Then, I picked up my purse, and ran back to work, trying to call B all the way. He was in training and didn't answer, but he sent me a text saying, "is everything okay?" And I sent back, "go outside and call me." He, of course, was worried that something was wrong, and ran outside to call me. When I said to him, "B, I'm pregnant!" I could HEAR his smile through the phone. We were both elated, but it was very surreal. . . we both had to hang up the phone and get back to work! I made it through the last week in Boston without anyone finding out . . . I was sneaking off to the bathroom to throw up, barely eating, and feeling HORRIBLE.

That was pretty much how the first 13 weeks went . . . I felt like crap, couldn't eat a thing, and lost weight. We joked (still do) that B was showing before I was. We would go out to eat, and I would order, take two bites, and say "I'm done." And, he would finish my plate and his. But after the 13th week, I suddenly felt fabulous, and my energy returned. I actually felt better than EVER throughout my second trimester. I had tons of energy, and just LOVED being pregnant, which surprised me. I kind of had just thought of pregnancy as a means to an end, and when people told me how much I'd love it, or how much they'd love it, I just sort of thought, "yeah, but that's not me, I just want a baby, the pregnancy part, I could do without." Not true. Loved it. Loved feeling her kick, wiggle, and roll. Loved talking to her, and dreaming about what her life would be like. I work with mostly men, and there were so many occasions where I sat in a room full of men, for meetings, talking about important stuff, where I just wanted to scream with pure joy, "I can feel her kicking right now!" I just wasn't ever the girl that dreamed about being pregnant; I dreamed about career and success, but not about pregnancy or motherhood. I think I just took for granted that those things would happen too. This is why the pregnancy, and the last year of my life as a mother, have surprised me so . . . because really, I can't imagine NOT having done this. NOT having experienced that little girl growing inside me or watching her grow outside of me. For a girl that never imagined this life, I can't imagine NOT having this life, and my own crazy maternal instincts have pleasantly surprised me (though at times, the intense worry of it all has overwhelmed me, admittedly).

Here's a pregnant me - at 16 weeks - I was SO proud of that belly, I was most definitely poofing it out with all I had:

And at 20 weeks, on a cruise with B's family:

Just after that cruise, we found out "Mini-B" would be a girl. I'd wanted a girl SO badly. I felt afraid to say that out loud, lest people think I wasn't just interested in a "healthy baby" (of course I was!). But, I did . . . I wanted a girl. I'd known for YEARS (as in pre-B) that my first girl would be Samantha Abigail (good thing he loved the name). I also just liked the idea of a first-born girl. I was often jealous of my friends (boys and girls) who had older sisters. I know older brothers are supposed to be protective, and mine was sometimes, but a lot of times, he was just mean. So, based on my past, and a whole lot of other reasons, I guiltily hoped and hoped for a girl. So when the doctor said it was a girl, I was THRILLED. And when the doctor walked out of the room, B looked at me with such joy and excitement and said, "we are going to have tea parties!" My heart melted, and I knew then that I couldn't wait to watch their tea parties!

Knowing that "Mini-B" was "Samantha B" made the pregnancy even more fun. Suddenly, "it" was a "she" and "the baby" was "Sammie." I can remember sitting in a deposition, again, the only female lawyer (only other female was the court reporter) and feeling Sammie kick, and thinking, "I wonder what the world will be like when she's grown up. I wonder whether the legal profession, other professions, will be more equal. I wonder what she'll be!!"

And, here's me at 24 weeks (yes, I ate with abandon while pregnant!)

28 weeks - this was before our friends' engagement party:

Around 26 weeks, I started feeling a lot of tightness in my stomach. I called my OB's office and described it to them, and they said I was having contractions and to time them. Ultimately, I ended up going in for monitoring. The doctor sent me home that weekend with orders to "take it easy," but otherwise, things were okay.

Then, at 29 weeks, I had an evening where I kept having to go to the bathroom. I hoped it was a UTI, and figured it was, but the next morning decided to ask the OB about it at my regular appointment. Just like all of my other appointments, I was dressed and ready for work that day and planned to go straight to work when it was over. But, it turned out I was in pre-term labor. That's when I was put on bed rest. I went straight home, took the work clothes off, and crawled into bed. I cried most of that first day (and weekend). I cried to B, I cried to my mom, I cried to my friends, and I cried to B's mom. I was so scared.

I stayed on bed rest for 6 weeks, and it was very hard. I don't know that I can describe the heavy burden I felt like I was carrying. I mean, when you are pregnant, the baby is always counting on you to take care of it, and treat your body well, but my baby NEEDED me to keep her inside me for a bit longer. I felt guilty if I got up to get a glass of water, but at the same time, it was SO hard for ME (of all people) to sit still. I spent so much time reading about premies, trying to prepare myself. Everyone kept telling me what THEY would do if THEY were on bed rest (as if it were some kind of vacation) but I couldn't do anything besides think about the baby. I spent my days surfing the internet and watching "The Baby Story" and "Bringing Home Baby" on TLC. I sobbed during every episode when the baby was born. Seriously. My mom came out for a few days and took care of me, which was THE BEST. B got everything we needed for Sam (I made a very detailed shopping list!) and he got her room ready for her while I sat in the rocker in her room and watched. We didn't want her to come early, but in case she did, we wanted to be ready, and we were. Both our home and our hearts were ready for our Mini-B!

Our first year has been amazing, and we are still looking forward to when Sammie B invites us to our first tea party :o)

A Year Ago Today

A year ago today, my friends from work came to my house to give me a shower. The shower was supposed to be an at-work shower, but because I was on bed rest, a few of my work friends brought the shower to me . . .

When I think back to that day, it seems crazy that I didn't even KNOW Sammie B yet. I mean yes, I already loved her. Madly. I used to lay in bed and wait for her to kick. I used to rub her little tush when she stuck it out. I'd tell my friends, "that's her butt, want to touch it?!" I didn't know that day, when we had my shower, that just days later, we'd get to meet our Samantha. We didn't know how intensely we'd love her; how much joy she'd bring to our lives, or how she would change us. In such wonderful ways. Its hard to even put this into words -- we knew we'd love her (like I said, we already did) but we didn't know, couldn't know, the depths of the love we'd feel for our Bean when she got here. What a year!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Sittin' with Sammie B!

Our nanny took Sammie B on a playdate last week with someone she knows and their twins. When I saw these pictures, my heart melted because (1) Sam's freaking adorable in her little purple outfit and glasses AND (2) she's sitting and playing just like the other babes!!! Really, these pictures brought tears to my eyes I was so proud of her and happy!!!

I cannot believe that Sam will be ONE in less than a week. B and I both commented on how in some ways, it feels like she's been here FOREVER (we hardly remember life before her!) but in others, it seems like just five minutes ago, we were bringing her home from the hospital! We were both reminiscing -- remembering that first time she laughed out loud, laying on her changing table while B and I got her dressed for bed, B did something and she just laughed from her belly. We were so surprised and just looked at each other and said, "she just laughed, didn't she?" Then, we both just laughed uncontrollably, which kept her going. It seems so long ago! We are so lucky to have shared so many giggles with the Bean!

We were also laughing a little about OUR early experiences . . . when she'd wake up during the night, we were always frantic. We both got up every time (b/c we dubbed night feedings a team effort); and one of us would frantically get the bottle ready while the other changed her diaper (b/c they told us to do that when we were in the NICU; we later realized of course, that this was just waking her up more, and making it harder to get her back to sleep and only to change her at night if she'd leaked or smelled!). Anyway, one of us would give her the bottle while the other laid in the floor. We were both so exhausted that often, the one in the floor would fall asleep. One time B had to throw things at me just to wake me up as I lay sleeping in the floor! We've learned SO much since then, and also relaxed SO much as parents. We are no longer the frantic brand-new parents trying to figure out what to do. We've got a routine, crazy as it sometimes feels, and we know our Bean. We know what her cries mean, we know what her tired face looks like, we know her hungry whines, and we share smiles and giggles daily. One year of the Bean = Best year of our lives.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Doing the Wave!

Last night, my Sammie B waved at me for the first time. We've been really working on it with her and last night, I sat at the computer while she sat in B's lap and I turned to her and waved and said "Hi!" and B held up her arm . . . and she waved her little hand at me. So timid at first, but it was clear that it was purposeful. I was delighted . . . so much so that I immediately got tears in my eyes, ran to her and kissed her, and then texted our nanny to let her know that all of HER efforts in working on the wave have paid off. And today, when I left for work, Sammie B waved me off. My heart soared all the way to work, and each time I thought of that super sweet wave all day. What a way to start the day! Now when she waves to us, we (whatever combination of mommy/daddy/nanny are present) make such a big deal out of it, and a little proud grin just spreads across our Bean's sweet face. She's just as delighted with herself as we are. The wave is certainly a nice compliment to the High Five, which she's had down for awhile. Oh sweet sweet Bean!!

I'm off to Cincinnati for work again tomorrow for another two day stint. It always kills me to leave the Bean at home . . . but alas, there's nothing I can do about it. I can only hope that having a career mama is an inspiration to my babe someday in the future.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Slowly but Surely . . .

What once felt impossible is beginning to be a regular occurrence . . . . As we watch Sammie sit and play, we feel ecstatic that the world is opening up to her in exciting new ways! We are also filled with so much gratitude for the people that have helped us get here . . . all the members of team Sammie B (especially our PT!).

Sammie B Loves To Read!!

I love these pictures, because they show how engaged Sammie is in her books. She LOVES books. When we sit her on the corner of the couch, she immediately reaches toward her pile of books on the table next to the couch. And, when she cries when we take something away, its always a book. We love reading to her, and love that she loves it :o)

We had a great weekend. Saturday, we met friends at the park where Sammie sat in the sand for a long time, and then all had lunch. It was a great time! We are lucky to be connecting with so many fabulous families in LA. After our park and lunch date, we had a long family nap (glorious) and then Sammie B and daddy hung out while I ran out to return a shirt I'd bought for myself. I went to THREE stores all by myself, which is rare occurrence. I hoped to find something cute for me to wear to Sammie's bday party in a couple of weeks (I haven't bought myself ANY casual clothes post-baby, and its time!) I coudn't find anything though so I was a little bummed . . . I left on my solo-shopping trip and came home with nothing more than two bags of baby food from Whole Foods!!!!

Sunday was a mommy-Sammie day and we had a GREAT day -- we went out for breakfast (bagel for me; peach oatmeal from a jar for her); took a walk to the ocean to see boats, and then I got a PEDICURE. (ALL before noon no less!) This was my first attempt at getting a pedicure with the Bean in my lap, but it was a HUGE success. She sat there watching everything the girl did, and was so calm. She kept reaching toward the water though so I asked the girl to squirt her, and she loved it. After that, we took a nap together and then headed out shopping AGAIN to look for clothes for me and her. I want her to have a super special outfit for her birthday, but I can't find anything -- b/c all the stores have fall clothes out, and its too early for that here. So, I didn't find anything for her, but found several things for me (THREE OUTFITS . . . I bought with the idea that I'd return some -- I didn't try them all on since Sammie B was along for the trip, but I love them all too too much --- I'm just lucky my husband is a sucker for cute clothes and agreed that I should keep them all). Through all of the shopping, Sam was so good and so patient, and just enjoyed riding along in the stroller. B tells me I'm crazy, but I feel bad when she spends long periods of time just riding along in her stroller. I try not to run too many errands on the weekends, b/c I don't want her stuck in her stroller or car seat all day . . . plus I always feel like we should be working with her - practicing PT, etc., so I get these guilt-issues on days like today where she spends much of the day in her stroller. It's probably silly, but I do feel that way. B reminds me though that those are new experiences too . . . and she loves the walks, and still got to spend the WHOLE day with me.

She only took a super short nap in the car on the way home, and then was awake all evening - we did her PT exercises with her, had dinner, and went for a walk with the Dude (that's our dog for anyone that doesn't know!). A GREAT day and a great weekend. I'm always sad to see the weekends end, and to head back to work on Monday. I will be up late tonight working, but its worth it to have gotten so much Sammie time this weekend. I'm also going to be traveling for work this week, which I hate more than anything. I try to minimize time away by flying red-eyes and heading straight to the office, but then I end up beyond exhausted.

I'm in such a great place lately -- we've really settled into a routine with PT/OT, etc., and Sammie is just doing so well in everything. Even more important -- she seems to ENJOY all the therapies, which certainly makes them easier for all involved. The progress feels slow at times, but lately, the improvement has been more obvious than ever. I may wish that I could make things easier for her, but really, I just look at her, and know that she's perfect just the way she is.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sammie B's FIRST 1st Birthday Presents

These pictures fascinate me . . . not just b/c its my daughter opening her FIRST (early) FIRST bday present, but b/c you can see in her eyes how interested she is in what we are opening . . . how much she truly wants to understand and figure out exactly what is in front of her! I love it! And, she loved the gift - her first purse from Auntie D and Uncle P :o)

I'm still here!

Each night, I fully intend to blog. I even write the blogs in my head during the day. But then night comes, the Bean is sleeping, and I am toooooooooooo tired to write . . . and usually have work to do to boot. We had an incredibly busy week last week -- with our regular two PT appointments, an OT appointment, and a neurologist appointment. Plus, our nanny was out of town, so we had house-guests -- B's mom (a/k/a Nana) spent the week with us to take care of Sammie B. We are so lucky that she's willing and able to drop her life in Cleveland for a week to come help us. I know that to her, the time with Sammie makes it all worth it, but we really are appreciative. And, like me, Nana's favorite part of the day was naptime . . . there's nothing sweeter. Nana also brought Sammie B her first toothbrush for her two partial teeth!!!

This brings me to a confession . . . Sam has not taken a nap in a crib in 4 months. Not since she left daycare. I never made her nap in a crib at home, I always just nap with her, or hold her for her naps. Our nanny does the same. Generally, Sam's naps are short (like 45-minutes) so it just works. I truly believe this time in her life is about loving her, and teaching her to trust and love, so I don't care what the books tell me about naptime or sleep training. Nap times are glorious.

B's dad (Papa) and aunt and uncle also joined us for the last weekend that his mom was here, so we all got to spend time together. It was a good week and weekend with family.

Sam's OT evaluation went well last week (the regional center is paying for OT once a month right now; just for monitoring; though we are pushing for once a week) -- no surprises from the evaluation -- gross and fine motor delay; no cognitive delay; and no social/emotional delay. Same news, different day, but always reassuring. Having multiple evaluations over time is good for me - so I can SEE the progress, b/c its easy to miss it in the day-to-day shuffle where it really feels sometimes like we are just creeeeeeeeping along. Its also fun to watch the evaluations -- as Sam gets older, the tests change. For instance, this time the therapist brought out something new - a yellow plastic thing with holes. I asked, "what's the point of that one?" and she said, "just to see if she's curious to explore it and if she thinks to put her fingers in the holes." Sam did both. Immediately.

She's been SO curious lately. She's really changing right before our eyes. When we sit her on the couch, she immediately leans as far as she can toward her toys. She reaches for things in ways she didn't before, and she's finally starting to sit and play (with both hands) which is incredible. Its so exciting to watch her, and as her motor skills improve, the world just opens for her (and us) in new and exciting ways. She is such a joy.

She's also saying "mama" and "dada" more and more. Not always discriminantly, but sometimes (or at least we believe so). The other night, she was crying and saying "mamamamama" and when I picked her up, she stopped. Melted my heart.

Her first birthday is just around the corner. The party invites are out. What an incredible year. What an intensely wonderful year.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Neurologist appointment went well. B and I are convinced that our neurologist is the best doctor either of us have ever seen for anything --- for ourselves or Sam. She spent over an hour with us, and is just incredibly thorough and explains things so well. We got to ask all of our questions, and she answers them in a way that is both teacher and doctor, which is incredible. She's super pleased with Sammie B's progress in PT and can really tell that she is getting stronger. And, with continued hard work (PT/OT), Sam's muscle tone should continue to improve, and she'll do all the things we want her to do. And once again, it seems her cognitive development is right on target (or ahead, if you look at her adjusted age). For each of the sort of quirky little movement things Sammie B does, I asked "is that common with hypotonia?" And each time, the answer was "yes, and it will get better." So that's encouraging. Sammie B is still doing some funny things with her eyes that the neurologist doesn't quite know why she does, but those are things we'd raised with Super Doctor and he wasn't too concerned. They know each other well, though, so they will collaborate. So, for now, we exhale AGAIN. We'll follow up with the neurologist again in 6 months.

I barely ate all day. Just a knawing feeling and nervousness about this appointment . . . I wish this were all a little more black and white; I wish I had a crystal ball and could see the future, but I can't. There are just too many unknowns -- Sammie B's brain is still growing and developing each day. So, there is no crystal ball. So, for now, I just listen to the doctor, embrace the all of the positive news, and exhale.

Lately, several of my friends (and my mom) have all been saying how proud they are that B and I are doing all that we are doing with and for Sammie B, and that she's lucky to have us. While of course, there's never been a question of whether we'd do everything under the sun for us (she's our Bean after all -- we are lucky to have her!), and while we aren't doing it for pats on the back, I have to admit, it feels good when others tell us how great they think we are doing. We are running ourselves ragged sometimes with the appointments, working in Sammie B's daily PT exercises, our own work, and life. It hasn't been easy, and there are days I've felt like I'm being held together by a thread, but we do make it. And, we have each other and some other wonderful people supporting us along the way, cheering us AND Bean along.