Monday, 29 October 2012

Someone just turned 2

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     Tears. There have been many over the past few weeks. But Friday were tears of happiness and surprise...because when I couldn't do it myself, my wonderful friends and sister took over for me.

    Our little girl turned 2 this past Saturday. And in the whirlwind of everything that has happened I just couldn't get it together enough to throw Mya the big birthday party that she deserves...and I was feeling really really guilty about it. I realize that she's only two and really, she wouldn't necessarily notice if her birthday came and went without a huge celebration and all of the fixings and details that I love putting together. But she's my girl..and I wanted it for her. I wanted her to feel the excitement, the love, the thrill of everyone coming to celebrate her. And although we were still planning to of course have a little family celebration for her, I still wanted her to have the party with her little friends and ours as well that I had always envisioned.

    She got it though. But even better.

     As I got the kids out of our van on a dreary, rainy Friday morning and walked up the steps to my friend Andra's house, I had absolutely no idea what was in store for my girl.

     I opened the door, Mya in my arms, Carter asleep in his car seat, and walked in to hear "Surprise! Happy Birthday Mya!". It took me a moment to even process what was happening as I scanned the room to see the faces of my wonderful friends, Jen and all of their little ones running around holding balloons, squealing with excitement.

    Before I could even say a thing, tears filled my eyes as I began to process the reality of what they had done for me and our little girl. Saying 'thank you' is not even enough to thank them for what they gave me that day. They gave my girl something that I couldn't...and they took away the mommy guilt that I just couldn't shake. I am forever grateful to you girls...thank you a million times over.

    I walked in to find Andra's house decorated beautifully in pink and white decorations, balloons, streamers, a table full of delicious food, a pile of presents and cupcakes waiting to be eaten. Overwhelmed just isn't even a strong enough word for how I was feeling. I was thrilled and incredibly surprised. You got me girls...big time.

 Thank you girls for being so thoughtful, sneaky and wonderful...I'll never forget it.



Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Dr Seuss Birthday Party

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     The great thing about life is that it keeps moving forward by giving us a fresh new day each and every day, even if you're not necessarily ready for it. It's not a bad thing though, since it keeps the focus on the good, the great, the important stuff...instead of allowing you to sit in the negative and get stuck. Getting stuck just isn't an option here. So the day after we got home from the hospital, I pulled up my boots, put a smile on my face and kept moving forward, even though my mind was still left behind a bit in the NICU--because if you look hard enough, there is always so much good to look forward to.

Our little Oliver turned 1 two days after Carter was born. And a celebration was definitely in order.

     In the whirlwind of our NICU stay and then finally getting discharged and being able to bring our little man home, my mind was also racing with Oliver's big Dr Seuss party which I knew was only days away. No time to waste.

     The day after we got home from the hospital, I woke up early and started baking. I was determined to follow through on my promise of making my little nephew's birthday cake, and although Jen tried to convince me that buying a slab cake would be just fine...I disagreed, wholeheartedly.

And I made a cute little smash cake for the birthday boy to dig into as well of course.

     Knowing that my due date was so close to Oliver's birthday, Jen and I had been planning this party for months ahead of time. We spent countless nights cutting, pasting and making all of the little food tags, birthday banner, cupcake toppers and all of the other fine details of the party (and we even found the perfect Dr Seuss font online to boot!). Mom, Jen and I baked up tons of delicious goodies ahead of time, froze them and then pulled them out the day of the party--every fine detail planned out so that it wasn't a huge rush days after Carter was born. So with our sweet little boy tucked perfectly in my arms, only a week old, we welcomed friends and family to celebrate our little Oliver's first year.

    To our sweet little Oliver, Happy 1st Birthday. We love love love you, oh so much.

Since pictures can sometimes tell an even better story than words, here is his Dr Seuss party in a nutshell.

Amazing what you can find on Kijiji for free...this little photo spot provided great entertainment

And a Dr Seuss book all of a sudden becomes a great birthday memory book for Oliver as everyone wrote a little message to the birthday boy. One day he'll be able to look back and read about all of the people who love him and who came to his 1st birthday party.

 Party favours--Chinese red envelopes with chocolate coins inside

...and little homemade colouring books for the kids.

Happy birthday sweet Oliver!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

A little healing through writing

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     Writing has always been therapeutic for me. My dresser drawer is full of old diaries from years ago, depicting every emotion, feeling or thought that crossed my mind as I furiously scribbled with a pen from the time that I was twelve years old. But sometimes there's a type of hurt that writing can't even cure. I wasn't sure if I was even going to publish this particular post, as I honestly just need to write it for myself. For my own healing, for my own closure and to be able to get it out of my head and release it so that I can move forward. Writing always does that for me. This is one of those instances where I just write without we go...

     We're home now, soaking up that newborn smell, that newborn softness and the joy that only a new baby can bring. I feel like I can breathe again. I feel like my heart has finally stopped pounding and I can finally relax. But the flashbacks, memories and feelings still haunt me. I laid in bed last night and tried to push the thoughts out of my mind...but they kept coming. 

     I looked down at my sweet little boy, curled up so perfectly in my arms late at night and I felt the tears begin to burn my eyes as I thought back to the moments in the NICU that haunt me the most.

    On the second night in the NICU I awoke at 3:00am for another feeding and started heading towards Carter's incubator. The lights were dimmed down, all was quiet and no one was in sight as I passed by the nurses station, past all of the other tiny little babies and around the corner to where my little boy lay. As I turned the corner my heart dropped as I saw the nurse holding my boy, pounding his back, his entire body limp and completely purple from head to toe. He wasn't breathing. 

     She looked up at me with panic in her eyes "Go get the other nurse, quickly please!". My mind couldn't even process what I was seeing, but I ran...I ran screaming through the NICU for a nurse, tears streaming down my face. It felt like my feet couldn't keep up with my screams. It felt like every turn that I made I found no one, until an angel poked her head around the corner and asked me what was wrong. I could barely speak as the breath was sucked right out of me..."My baby's not breathing..he's not breathing"--and she ran, that lovely nurse..she ran as fast as I had run. Both of those wonderful nurses worked on my boy until we heard the most wonderful little cry out of those tiny lungs and his colour began coming back.

     I held him for so long after that, rocking his tiny body back and forth, pressed close up to mine, kissing his warm head over and over again into the wee hours of the morning. I could barely keep my eyes open by the time the nurses finally told me that I needed to put him back into his incubator and go back to sleep before the next feed. What I didn't know at the time though was that that was only the beginning of many choking experiences to come.

     The next morning I found myself furiously pulling Carter out of his incubator and running with him, lips purple, not breathing, patting his back as I called out for help with tears racing down my cheeks. The wonderful nurses came quickly once again and grabbed him from me, once again being able to bring his little breath back. I wish that I could get the image out of my head. I don't think there is anything worse than watching your child turn purple, not being able to breathe and seeing the fear even on the faces of the nurses.

    We weren't allowed to leave the NICU then until these choking incidents stopped, until all of the mucus and liquid in his system was gone. So after being away from Mya now longer than I ever have in her little life, we had to keep waiting. I saw her for literally 2 hours that fateful week--once when we were discharged from the hospital and I raced home to get more clothes before heading back to the NICU for another feeding, and once on Oliver's birthday when I arranged to get home for an hour to sing Happy Birthday to him and eat a quick celebratory dinner before heading back once again.

     I cried coming into our house each time, feeling the reality of coming home without our baby...and I cried, along with Mya, when I left both times...feeling guilty leaving my other baby behind. It's a feeling that never leaves you as a mother and something that I never want to have to experience again.

     But my girl made me laugh too that night--which I needed more than anything at that point. Chocolate cake and the carefree innocence of a 2yr old happy to have her mom home always makes everyone feel better.

   We're home now though. I'm trying to force the bad memories away, push the images out of my head and live in the moment here and now with both of our wonderful babes. Finally home, finally moving forward, finally feeling like life is easing into a sense of routine, feeling sleep deprived...but feeling grateful for our lack of sleep because it means that our boy is now home with us. And there's nothing in the world that feels better than that.

     Carter gave Mya a gift that we were intending on giving her at the hospital the day that he was born...but we ended up having to wait until he got home so that the two of them could be together when she opened it. She was thrilled regardless, having no idea of her mom's original plans.

So happy to have our little monkey home with us.



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