Two Pokes (Or how I almost punched a nurse!)

Today we went for blood work ordered by S's endocrinologist. The nurses were nice and all, but they had to stick my toddler TWICE!!! The first time, the nurse literally rooted around in S's arm for MINUTES!! I looked at her and said,"You have five more seconds to get it, or you need to try another vein!" I was so irritated that she would try so long on a BABY!! WTH? While I'm not prone to violence of any kind, I'm always surprised by the mother lion that comes out when something is going down with S and I was tempted to push her away (or hit her)!
She finally got it on the second attempt. But still.
I guess she felt kind of bad, because she came in with a huge stack of stickers for S. I told S she could choose ONE and the nurse said she could have them all. Here is S holding her new found stash of stickers (which Mommy promptly hid to dispense after breathing treatments and trips to the potty!). S was so good though, so I let her have 4 stickers on the way home.


Getting Dressed is So Hard!

This is my daughter.
Miss Independent.
Lately she has wanted to do a lot by herself.
As evidenced by these pictures.
She was trying to put shorts on.
Four pairs to be exact.
All while watching Elmo.
She's talented isn't she?
Able to multitask at 2? :)
I love this girl!


Arrest This Bread!

You know, I'm all about odd injuries. When I was a kid, I kicked my brother in the butt and broke my ankle. I tripped up the stairs at a water park and cracked my shin. But this? This I never expected. This is a piece of Wasa bread. It's like a thick, coarse cracker and S loves them.
I was trying to brush her hair after a bath. This bread was on the recliner and when she tried to escape, as toddlers often do, she rubbed up against it. This was the result. I felt horrible.


ABC Song

We've been doing this for a while, but I can never get her to do it in front of people and haven't been able to get her on camera. Until today! Enjoy!

Water Water Everywhere!

S received TWO water tables for her birthday! Seriously, what are the odds of that happening? :) Here she is thanking Grandma for her water table and some pictures of her playing with it. I like to say that my mom gave her a water table, but gave me a few minutes of peace! :) S plays with the table while I cook dinner. Awesome!


On this day my love was born!

I'm skipping ahead a bit in the story, but our birth mom has 3 other children who were all delivered past her due date and she had to be induced.

So on this day, two years ago, at 6:30am her water broke. No contractions as far as I know, but she decided to head to the hospital at 6:30pm. 12 hours later. Triage took one look at her and heard her story and sent her immediately to the OR. S was born at 8:05pm via C-section. Four pounds six ounces (2000 grams exactly) and 17 inches long.

We didn't know about her two years ago today.

Unexpectedly, S's birth mom had called birth dad to attend the birth. We had not gotten (and were not legally required to get) his permission for the adoption. But since he had shown up for the birth, we legally couldn't pretend we didn't know who he was. All of the sudden the agency wasn't sure if the adoption would go forward. So they didn't call immediately.

The agency actually didn't call us until 10am the next morning. I was standing in my classroom (prepping for the next school year) and my cell phone rang. Our case manager asked if I was sitting down. She told me that my daughter was born last night. I said, "My what?" So she repeated herself. She briefly told me that S was in the NICU and doing well and that we could head down to the hospital to meet her. I also remember her telling me that our birth mom was upset and worried that we wouldn't want S because she was so small.

I was so flustered that I don't even remember if I called my husband first, or raced out of the school first. (Sorry Honey if it was the latter). I ran into my assistant principal and principal and told them that "I've gotta go. My daughter was born last night!" and I raced out the door.

I do remember hyperventilating a bit on the phone with M. The hospital was more than an hour away so I believe that we met down at the hospital and drove separately.

We stopped by to see C (birth mom) first before we went up to the NICU. She was NOT in good shape and had apparently lost a lot of blood during the c-section. Nothing life threatening, but she certainly was medicated enough to vaguely recognize us.

Then we went up to the NICU. It was a smaller NICU and S was still in a warming bed. And she was beautiful and tiny. Here are our first pictures of her and with her.
Here are two video clips that give you some sense of perspective on her size. The first is her first ever feeding. A whopping 5ccs of formula. I adore the kitty sounds she's making in the second one.

Later on in the day we got to come back and hold her for the first time. I would be lying if I didn't admit that it was a magical moment for me and for M. Pure bliss.S was a dream come true.

So S has gone from 4 lbs 6 oz and 17 inches long, to 28 lbs and 32 inches long. She can walk, run, talk and has the best giggle. She amazes us with her new "tricks" and is the light of our lives.

Happy Birthday Baby Girl! We love you!


The Story of S Part Three

Read Part One or Part Two to get more of the backstory.

After we attended the adoption workshop in August, we had a lot of things to discuss. One of the things we really wrestled with was if we wanted an open or closed adoption. A closed adoption is one where you have no information about the birth family and never meet. And open adoption is one where the birthparents and adoption parents know each other and remain in contact after the adoption. There are many, MANY variations of open adoptions that include letters, visits, prior contact before birth, actually being there for the delivery and several permutations of these options.

Side note, both M and his sister were adopted and have very limited information. Both of them handled this lack of information differently. M knows nothing about his birthmom (except her name which we discovered when we filling out international marriage information to get his visa) and doesn't want to know.

Ultimately we decided to go with a semi-open adoption. This would allow us to have information about the birthparents, meet them, potentially be at the delivery, and then remain in contact after the birth. This was standard practice at our agency. We were scheduled to send pictures every 3 months for the first year and then twice a year after that. We send things directly to the agency and they send them out to the birth parents. (I would have been comfortable with more direct contact, but ultimately because of who S's birth parents are – this was the safest, healthiest option for us. More on this later).

We spend most of the fall discussing our options and I got the initial paperwork to fill out in October when we finally decided to move forward with this process. We received the extensive documents to fill out for our homestudy. I believe it was 50 pages total (health physical forms to be fill out by our Dr.s, financial info, and MANY questions for us both). If I remember correctly it was questions like:

How was your educational experience in elementary, secondary school?
How were you disciplined as child?
How do you plan on disciplining your child?
In what faith do you plan on raising your child?
And random questions about our past, marriage, financial health, etc.

I dragged my feet on answering this questions because I was in the middle of teaching and we didn't want to get a placement TOO early. (which is laughable to me now...what in the heck we we waiting for?) Ultimately we finished all of the homestudy paperwork and turned it in just prior to Christmas. Actually we didn't even turn it it. My best friend took us to the airport to depart for Christmas in Europe and she ended up taking our paperwork to the agency for us because we (as usual) were running late to the airport.

We spent a nice Christmas in Europe with M's family and then we we returned we got a phone call from our case manager to schedule our homestudy visit. January 23, 2007.

Oh as a side note: when we first started this process, they told us it would be an 18 month to 2 year wait for a caucasian newborn. Umm...yeah, not really, eh?

To be continued...


Endo, MRI, and misc...

This has to be quick: I'm supposed to be working on stuff for my "other" job (besides mommy) and it's already late. But here we go.


Had an appointment with the endocrinologist. She didn't have S's complete medical record so she didn't want to do too much. I was pretty impressed with her at first, but then it happened....

She made some comment like "Your daughter is so advanced for her age!" I thought it was a little odd but smiled politely. (Don't get me wrong, I agree - BUT she just met S). The conversation continues for a while and then she shows me the growth chart. They have S marked on the chart as a 12 MONTH OLD!! So when the doctor said she was advanced, she thought she was an advanced 12 month old and not a 23 month old. Er..I may be a little dense here, but if my doc can't tell the difference between a one and two year old, how am I going to put stock in her decision making skills? Or just her skills in general? NOT. GOOD.

End result with the Endo is that we are going to check her hormone levels (thyroid) and doc is going to review S's entire medical record and see what other tests she might order. She did also mention the pheochromocytoma and the dreaded 24 hour urine catch - but we're holding off for a little longer. Oh, and did I mention she thought my kid was ONE? Sheesh!


We did stuff around the house in preparation for S's big 2nd b-day party here on Saturday. Note to self: If you are planning on throwing a party on a weekend, don't unearth all of your things (messes) and try to get them organized. Or your living room might end up looking like this: These are old clothes of S's to sort before they go up to the attic.


We had S's Flash(aka Quick) MRI done at 10:30. The last time we went in there, we waited for over an hour before being called. This time, only 5 minutes. I must remember to make weekend appointments more often. Spectacular. They had to strap her down and wedge her noggin in a helmet like device and she didn't like that much. I was able to calm her down a bit and the MRI lasted only about 5 minutes, but S did NOT like the sound of it at all. Even with earplugs. No results yet, I will keep you posted.


This morning we went over to the elementary school where I used to teach. I needed to pick up all of my teacher stuff that has been sitting in a closet for almost 2 years. I only brought home about a third of my stuff. I'm not sure where it is going to go but my mom is going to come over tomorrow morning and help me organize. Thankfully. This afternoon was spent running errands (bank, post office, etc.) and then S got a good dose of playing with Daddy.

Speaking of Daddy, S would not snuggle with anyone but me until 3 nights ago when I convinced her that Daddy was perfectly capable of snuggling with her. She must have believed me, because now Daddy is getting a good dose of snuggles before S goes to bed. I get mine before nap time. So it's a win-win-win-win-win. (A point to the person that actually gets this reference).

More tomorrow. Or soon...


I'm in love with the curls...

Here are two pics of S from our visit to the fun resort pools. Check out her curls. So cute!


A Visit to the Early Intervention Program

S and I had an appointment with our local Early Intervention Program. It was an interesting conversation with the Intervention Specialist. We originally contacted this program when we discovered that S couldn't hear due to her ear infections. I wanted to get her into speech therapy because at 20 months, she only said a few words - but after her surgery (when she could hear!!) she didn't qualify because she wasn't "hearing impaired" anymore.

But I decided to take her in to have a developmental eval done anyway. It's funny, because I never really "think" about S being a former preemie but instead of the 24 month scale, they used the 22 month scale. I was pretty surprised by the results.

She didn't qualify under the 22 month scale. She probably would have under the 24 month scale.

Her speech, which was my concern...was off the charts fantastic. I even downplayed her skills a bit but then little Miss S started jabbering away and the specialist couldn't write down all her vocabulary words fast enough. She followed all the directions. Knew obscure body parts (like elbow, neck and knee) and was forming simple sentences. Today she actually said a 4 word sentence. It was "More milk please Mommy!" All this from the kiddo that wasn't talking 3 months ago!! She amazes me.

Her motor skills were delayed. There needed to be 25% deficiency in her skills according to her age for her to qualify. She was at 20% deficiency in both gross and fine motor skills. She can't hop. She has trouble kicking a ball while standing still (*but so do I at 31!) and has some balance issues that led to the deficiencies. Her balance problem interferes a bit with her ability to run, stop, and start running again.

I always thought her fine motor skills were on track. And they are. I mean, really, is the world going to end if your kid can't put 4 blocks in a straight line and push them like a train? Is that really a necessary skill to get into college? Will she not become President because of this? Or an astronaut? (okay so maybe that is a bit of stretch...but still). THIS I've decided not to worry about.

The gross motor skills... I guess we'll hit the playground a lot this summer. Oh darn! (Except is Florida and a bazillion degrees with 100% humidity and mosquitoes. Anyone want to get us an indoor playground?)

I left with S's case being dismissed because she didn't qualify and with the Specialists pronouncement that S is brilliant! (Yes she really did say that).

A good friend of mine used to volunteer with students with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and brought up the similar facial features that S and FAS kids share. I did my research and much of the literature discusses cognitive difficulties and mental retardation. Although she does have similar eyes...there is no doubt that S is very smart. Her personality is really starting to come out too...so watch out world!!

We spent the rest of the day at home while S explored using the potty. All. Day. Long. 9 times in 4 hours. She loved it. I was tired. And still no successful use of said potty, but enthusiasm abounds. But I have to record her pee-pee song. It's just too funny. I'll keep the video for me to torture her with when she's a teen and the audio I'll post here. You'll laugh. Promise.

Tomorrow we meet with the endocrinologist at 10:00am. Flash MRI is scheduled for Sunday at 10:30. Until tomorrow. 'nite!


Lessons Learned

This is how my knee looks (4 days later mind you!) after an incident with a water slide, a baby, two boys, and the bottom of a pool. Remember this place? I took S down the slide. We had fun. BUT, when I tried to get out of the way of my cousin's kiddos coming down, I slipped. With the baby in my arms. Oh, did I mention I was walking on my knees? In the pool? My other knee is bruised too and I thought (along with my mom and Emi) that I broke my big toe on my left foot. OUCH! Toe is better, but knee isn't. Still sore and I'd forgotten how much scraped knees hurt!!

And speaking of ouch (not pictured) - S came up yesterday to give me a big hug. I was standing. She was hugging my legs from behind. I thought, "How SWEET!" Until....she bit me! On my arse cheek! OUCH OUCH OUCH! She got time out. I got ice!

Lessons learned!
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Late Night

So, let me preface this by the fact that I LOVE our pediatrician.
Not so much today.

The phone rang last night at 8:30 from an unknown number. I KNEW it was Dr. V. She wanted to know if S was any better and I said that she was worse. (Which M and I both agreed. She was wheezing, and rattling and coughing up a storm.) S didn't have a fever anymore, which was good, but her breathing...well...it just plain sucked!

Dr. V wanted us to go downtown to a urgent care (pediatric) center to get a chest x-ray just to be safe. So I got S back out of bed (she wasn't asleep yet) and we headed down to the urgent care center. We got there at 9 and waited until 10 to get back to a room. Can we say, tired and grumpy toddler at 10pm? Fun times.

S was in LOVE with this doctor. She has a thing for African American men (which when she dates it will be interesting to see if that continues) and this doctor was no exception. She stopped coughing and started flirting. Oh. My. Gosh. It was so cute. If it hadn't been the middle of the night, and if I hadn't been pissed we were there, and if I hadn't been so worried - I would have really thought it was adorable. (Which it was). She even followed him into his office to flirt some more. She is totally NOT afraid of strangers anymore and so I think I will need to watch her even closer now.

He listened to her and said that unless she exhailed rapidly, that he could not detect any wheezing and didn't see the necessity of a chest x-ray. And he sent us on our merry way.

At 11pm.

We were sent down there for a chest x-ray. And in hindsight I should have argued, but at the time, I agreed with the doc. She seemed fine. Ha! Little did I know...

Got home. Put her to bed. Were awakened no less than SEVEN times to race into her room to make sure she was okay. She was wheezing, rattling, choking and coughing. Terrifying stuff.

This morning she is right as rain. In a wonderful mood and just got a dose of .31mg Xopenex. And since TWO docs pronounced her fine, to hell with it...we're going back to the splash park this afternoon to play with Emi and the boys.

More later.

Oh and hopefully I'll continue to Story of S later tonight. I have some work to do for my other job first. If not today, then hopefully tomorrow. It's amazing how much time I find to blog now that I am no longer working or in school. :)

Haircut for my plant!

How not to care for a plant:

1. Never water it.
2. Leave it on the porch for 2 months without water.
3. Water said plant and check and make sure some of it is still alive.
4. Cut off dead parts. (More than half of the plant).
5. Hang plant back on porch and try not to forget it for another two months.

In my defense, I did NOT inherit any of my family's green thumbs - nor have my mother in law's gardening skills rubbed off! But I have managed to keep this plant alive for 13 years (I took it college with me!)

Off to water my other plants. :)


1.25mg instead of .31mg, Really?

So S has been a bit under the weather all weekend. She has been showing signs of increase frustration which we are hoping are just because she feels kind of icky. (I'm hoping it is not a sign of the terrible twos...though it could be).

Nights are the worst. We can her her rattling and wheezing. We haven't given her too many breathing treatments because a) they freak her heart rate out and b) she simply won't sit still for them without being physically restrained (which is not fun, let me tell you!).

Last night she had some horrible coughing fits that would last minutes and leave her gasping for air and her heart racing. She also had a slight fever so I decided to call the pediatrician this morning and take her in.

It a word it was ODD.

When we got there, her oxygen sats were 93 and 94 with a pulse of 120. Low O2 but pulse was okay. Blood pressure was fine too. (Sats with doc in the room. 95 and 96) When the doc listened to her - nothing. No rattles. No wheeze. Lungs "perfectly clear". Umm... really? Not to be picky or anything, but she was coughing and rattling ALL night. And now clear? ODD.

So the doc decided to give her a nebulizer treatment (which led to me restraining her and getting pinched and kicked until it was over...good times) and then recheck her sats. Sats were now 96 (no change) and her pulse was 145-150bpm (high). Blood pressures were still fine. ODD.

Dr. V listened to her again and pronounced her "all clear" again. She was retracting a bit (using her stomach muscles) though and breathing rapidly (around 47 per min, normal is 30) but doc felt comfortable letting us go home. We got a prescription for a chest x-ray (if needed) and a new prescription for an inhailed nebulizer medicine.

Now here is the kicker. Our ped was worried that S was using the .63mg Xopenex, which was making her shake, heart rate race etc. so she bumped us down to the .31mg Xopenex. I didn't fill it at the pharmacy because I didn't know what we already had at home. I got home and too my utter SHOCK, I discovered that S had been getting 1.25mg of Xopenex. THE ADULT DOSE!! I'm so mad. So so mad!

She has been getting this stuff for months! MONTHS!! Oh my gosh. We've been careful in the last six weeks or so...but prior to that, she was getting 3 doses a day!! THREE ADULT DOSES!!

I'm pissed!