Sunday, April 22, 2012

Where We've Been

Sorry for the lack of posting!  I suck, I know!

Really though, we have been Go, Go, Go for the past few weeks and it's hard to find a moment to sit still.  I guess, that's the first sign that summer will be here before we know it.

We had a wonderful Easter.  What could be better than being surrounded by family, friends and more food than we could possibly shovel into our bellies and then chase down with wine, juice and lots of water.  While the weather wasn't too lovely the days before or after, the day of it was gorgeous.  It got a little chilly in the evening, but not too bad at all.

We hosted at our house and Dusty made his yummy turkey to match the ham and gazillion other sides we had.  I ended up filling 300 plastic eggs for Kaitlyn, Camaryn and Samantha to hunt.  Although, when you have that many eggs, even in a decent size yard, it isn't much of a hunt...  I set up the camera with the remote control so the girls could take picture after picture of themselves.  We were together and it was nice.

We started Easter on Saturday.  The Easter Bunny came on Friday night and brought Matthew's basket along with a note (reminding Kaitlyn to be good) and some magic jelly beans.  On Saturday, we visited the cemetery to take Matthew his goodies and then went out to a yummy dinner together.  It was wonderful, except for when Kaitlyn slammed her fingers in the door, but some chocolate cake cured it pretty quickly.  We went home and dyed Easter Eggs.  I learned that Kool-Aide works so much better than the dye kits and from now on, that's so what we are going to do!  After eggs, we planted our jelly beans (which, Archie came quickly behind as soon as Kaitlyn was distracted and ate all up!) to turn into lollipops the next morning.

Sunday morning, we had to hold Kaitlyn off a couple hours before we went and woke Samantha up to open her basket and hunt for Eggs.  Samantha loved her basket, and so did Kaitlyn.  They both got what they wanted and way too much more. 

We hunted for Eggs, we showered, we dressed and we cooked.

After everyone arrived, and we had chatted and finished cooking and eating, we convinced Samantha that her chocolate bunny was not a toy, but food.  I think she fell in love with the idea.

After everyone went home, and Easter was all cleaned up, it was time to start packing!  From Saturday to Thursday, we went to Alabama to visit family on Dusty's side.

Unfortunately, I didn't take a lot of pictures :(  So, I don't have many to share.

This was a last minute trip, we actually booked our tickets 13 days before we left.  That is so not how I normally do things, but it was necessary.  Dusty's grandma has not been doing well for a while, and was doing worse.  Since she hadn't met Samantha yet and the last time we were out to visit was nearly 2 years ago, we wanted to be sure to visit and see her.  We had an amazing trip with such wonderful people and as always, it was hard to leave. 

Samantha hated the plane ride on the way out there and did better on the way back, but that was when I hated the plane more than words could express lol.  Terrible pilot, too tiny seats and a strong desire to punch someone the next time I heard the annoying "Fasten Seatbelt" sign come on quickly came over me.

Samantha also proved that she is a creature of habit and much prefers to sleep on her terms, in her bed, with her blanket and nothing can change that.  After sleeping terribly while we were there, she bounced back as soon as we got home.  :)

While we were in Alabama, Kaitlyn got an awesome call that brought her so much excitement!  We won a private, Build-A-Bear party with Victoria Justice from the Nickelodeon show Victorious.  She is over the moon excited.  She gets to invite 15 friends, they will be filming and shooting a promo while they play and have fun!  The only drawback is that it is in Glendale, but, it ends up being a positive because we will get to meet up with some awesome friends that it's been far too long since we've seen!  So, Sunday, Kaitlyn is going to party like a rock star!

Saturday, we get to March For Babies!  Woo-Hoo!!  What an exciting day this is for us every year.  It's a day we get to share our son with the world in a very special way.  It's a day we get to give thanks for the research that not only gave us time with him, but also give back for the research that gave us Samantha.  It's truly a great day.  And so far, our team has raised $10,505!!  What an accomplishment!!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

17 months.

In less than a month, Samantha will be half way through her second year.  She has grown so much, each month it seems like she's closer to being a full blown kid and further and further away from being our little baby.  I know I'm slaking a little on this update, since it's been 4 days, but she likes to be on the go.  And on the go we have been!

That first paragraph, I did write on the 13th.  Obviously, I'm slacking.  HAHA.

So, let me fill you in on her.

Samantha talks.  A lot.  And a lot of people can understand her.  She repeats everything that she wants to and there are some things she'll say once and that's it.  It is as though she just wanted to prove so could say it, and that was it.   She loves to look at the pictures on the wall (and you know we have a gazillion) and say the names of the people in them.  She's started saying "CHEEEEESE" when a camera is pointed at her and she is quick to yell no at Kaitlyn when she's irritated.  She definitely communicates a lot.  And sometimes, she communicates in the form of throwing fits.  She throws herself on the ground, she screams, she tries to hit you away and on Wednesday she made the mistake of biting me until it broke through the skin.  You can easily tell if she is happy, sad, mad or anything else.

She is running everywhere.  Sometimes she falls, sometimes she doesn't.  She has finally (I don't know why I'm excited, I know how this turns out) started climbing up everything.  Typically, she falls.  She loves to dance, loves to sing songs and make faces.  She talks to her babies for nearly an hour after I put her in bed and she falls asleep.  Her favorite game is to walk in circles, over and over and over until she is so dizzy she falls.  Then, she does it again, or tries walking backwards.

If you are eating, she is your best friend.  It doesn't matter what it is, she wants a bite.  If she likes it, she's by your side until it's all the way gone.

At home, she's an amazing sleeper.  In the car, she sleeps good.  Anywhere else and there is little to no hope.  She still has constipation issues, she's been on her first plane ride, her hair is growing, she loves her sister and other kids, she hates hair bows, loves playing outside and Elmo, she walks around with her baby doll and tries to feed her, and next weekend, she'll not only walk for babies, but she'll go to LA with us to meet Victoria Justice!

She's amazing.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Matthew's Team

This year, we will walk for the fifth year in a row in honor of Matthew's memory.  We will be surrounded by families that have been affected by prematurity, infant illness and child loss.  We will walk with those that have both had miraculous endings and those that have felt the pain of saying good-bye to their baby far too soon.  In 25 days, we will walk, one step at a time to give more babies a healthy start at life.

Every year (with last year being an exception) our team, Matthew's Team, holds a fundraiser to help raise money for the March of Dimes.  The money raised goes towards research to help more babies be born full term and healthy, as well as help comfort families on the NICU roller coaster.  The goal we set for our team this year is $10,000.  That money can do a lot of good for a lot of families.  It can help prematurity become a thing of the past and infant mortality something that affects fewer and fewer families.

Saturday night, we hosted Taco Night.  It was a success.  Thanks to the AMAZING sponsors, the INSPIRING team and everyone involved we raised more than $3,500 in a single night!  Thanks as well to a special check presentation that night and our grand total for the evening exceeded $8,500!!  Amazing.  Incredible.  Inspiring.

This is not something I could have even thought about doing alone.  Starting months in advance, the planning begins.  Many of our Sunday dinners were spent putting together team shirts, organizing the generous donations from the community, sending out donation request letters, preparing tickets and finalizing decor and details.  We had some great help from family members in selling tickets and getting the word out for donation needs.  Our moms and grandma were fantastic the day of with cooking a whole lotta tacos!  Our families were much appreciated with setting up, serving food, cleaning up and helping everything run smoothly.

And look at this amazing list of sponsors:

Many people have asked why we still walk.  It won't change our story.  It won't bring Matthew back.  It won't make a difference to us.  And not only does that not matter to me personally, but it is wrong.

We started walking to do something for Matthew.  As a mother, not being able to do anything for your child is such a helpless feeling.  March for Babies was, and continues to be, a way that his name can live on.  His life can have continued meaning to more that just us.  And, it's a thank you.  Matthew had time with us because of the work the March of Dimes has done.  If he had been born a decade or two before, we may not have had any time with him at all.  We may not have had those 10 amazing weeks with a sweet little prince.

And, without the research done by the March of Dimes, we would not have Samantha. 

When I was first pregnant with her, we were told that we had a 30% chance of getting to viability and a 10% chance of getting to 38 weeks.  Turns out, I wasn't one of those women who got a positive pregnancy test and that meant a baby would be here 9 months later. 

During my first trimester, I went through repeat loss testing and it was determined that I had Factor Leiden V.  A blood clotting disorder that can cause blood clots to form and increase your risk of stroke.  It also means that you are more likely to develop blood clots during pregnancy.  Blood clots in pregnancy can even result in preterm, premature rupture of membranes.  Also known as your water breaking early in pregnancy.  Sound familiar?  The disease can be controlled and managed with baby aspirin and close monitoring in pregnancy.

Because of research done in prematurity and preterm labor, during my pregnancy with Samantha, p17 was approved by the FDA as a way to prevent preterm pregnancy.  I started my shots at 16 weeks and continued to get one a week until I was 36 weeks pregnant.

Samantha was born at 39 weeks and 3 days.  By cesarean because she refused to come out.   She was born healthy, full term, screaming and has thrived in her 16 months with us.

So far, our team is $544 away from our goal of $10,000.  I think we can do it.  I think we can make a difference.  If you want to help, or register to walk with our team (because awareness and support are just as important as donations) you can do so at: Matthew's Team!