Monthly Archives: February 2014

The Myth Of The Common Parenting Experience

After a brief recuperation period from my gall bladder surgery, it is back to business as usual. Charlie and I have resumed our regular activity and appointment schedule. However, something is different despite the familiar routine. Lately, I’ve been having the reoccurring thought:

There is no such thing as a common experience.

One of the things that I felt I lost when I became a micro preemie mom is the common parenting experience. Because of this, I struggle with envy and jealousy from time to time. It does not take long for a random parenting article such as “How Your Child Can Become Fluent In A Second Language” to pop up in my news feed and that pang of envy follows. Second language? We are desperate for a few words of a first.

I frequently battled the anger, frustration, and hurt that surfaced whenever I heard someone complain about a parenting problem I wish I had. Worried about having to pay future college costs? I’m busy scrambling to cover my child’s astronomical medical bills now.

Even though I’m surrounded by amazing people, I felt lonely and isolated. I secretly desired to rejoin the “regular” parenting experience. But then, something happened.

One night while seeking new blogs to follow, I surfed through countless sites. As I read through blog posts, I noticed that there were single parents, loss parents, gay parents, special needs parents, working parents, religious parents, holistic parents, adoptive parents, hospice parents, and a multitude of other parenting identities.

It clicked. The common parenting experience that I longed to be a part of doesn’t really exist. My observations over the next few days further supported the realization. I saw other types of parents at the store and at the playground. Not one of them was the same as the last.

I suppose the “common experience” is that everyone has their own unique experience and challenges. The grass only seems greener on the other side. Knowing this takes away from the bitterness brought on by envy and jealousy. I am starting to see beyond my own hurt. If anything, I feel less alone.

Charlie examines the slide before going down it.

Charlie examines the slide before going down it.


Post Surgery Hiatus

Today, my sutures were removed. I’m healing well from the surgery. However, I’m mentally and emotionally spent.

You may have noticed the lack of posts. I’ve been enjoying the down time outdoors.

Unfortunately, it is back to the grind tomorrow. I hope I can keep up.

Lake Anna Lake Anna2

Charlie’s first time walking in the sand at Lake Anna State Park.


Happy Bloggerversary To Me!

OK, so the blog you are reading did not appear until Charlie’s first birthday. But, Tatum at Ain’t No Roller Coaster inspired me to write my first post, No Apologies, on my tumblr account a year ago today.

I have been posting ever since.

My most popular posts are listed in the sidebar. In this post, I list my picks of the lesser read posts and the reason why they are some of my favorites.

1) Lucky – Almost two years into our journey, I continue to hear these comments regularly and I still feel the same way about them.

2) Crying In The Car Included – Not every relationship with a medical professional is a good match.

3) A Little Bit Of Ordinary – One of the many times Charlie has surprised me for the better.

4) Peer Influence – I learned a valuable lesson as Charlie learned to eat!

5) Skylar – Sometimes there are no good answers.

6) Three Legged Dog – A glimpse into my struggle with envy and jealousy.

7) Pride – I will always remember the first time Charlie felt rain.

8) In Case We Become A Micro Preemie Anecdote – There are some things I want told with our story.

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Surgery And A Guest Post

Despite my fear and anxiety, my surgery went well yesterday. Actually, the pain over the past few months was worse than the surgery. Currently, I am resting so I don’t reopen my wounds or restart any bleeding.

Today’s post is a guest post (written before my surgery) that can be found on JAM Sessions: Lessons Learned Through A Micro-Preemie. The post Seven Sensory Sensations is part of the blog’s brilliant Surviving Isolation series.

Enjoy!

 


Thin Skinned and Short Tempered

Charlie has been teething something fierce for the past week or so. I hope this is the reason I haven’t heard a word other than “Hi” or “Bye” out of Charlie the last few days. She doesn’t even say “Ma ma” anymore. She has reverted back to using grunts and screams to communicate.

My concerns over this regression had to be hidden as we waited in line at the crowded grocery store this afternoon. Charlie smiled, waved, and blew kisses to the people around her. One lady asked, “Does she talk yet?” I adverted my gaze, shuffled my feet, and with a sheepish smile said, “No, not yet.” In reality, I wanted to snap, “Do you hear her talking!?!”

It didn’t end there. Another lady said, “Pretty soon, you will wish she didn’t talk.” I groaned silently to myself. But, politely smiled and kept my mouth shut.

I detest those type of comments. It reinforces how we are strangers to the “typical” baby/toddler experience. People frequently make remarks about how I should enjoy that she can’t run around, be thankful she doesn’t talk, or that I should remember babies grow up so fast. None, of which, are true for us.

We continue to exist in another world. A world that they can not possibly understand. And I hate that.

Maybe today, I am more susceptible to those negative emotions due to the stress I’m feeling. Other than what’s happening with Charlie, my upcoming surgery is also weighing on me. Logically, I’m aware that things will be fine with my surgery. Emotionally, it is not as easy.

I worry what will happen to Charlie and her medical care in the tiny chance something bad happens to me. Additionally, I have a Pavlovian kind of nervousness and fear. Mostly, because the four or five failed epidural attempts felt like torture before my last surgery (my C-section).  I’m not looking forward to getting back up on the table.

Today, I’m a little short and snippy. I’m scared. I don’t know what to do about it other than take a deep breath and get through it.

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One of my favorite pictures of Charlie swinging.


Sunshine On A Snow Day

I have been nominated by Love, Support, Educate, Advocate, Accept… for the Sunshine Award. I would like to thank Julie for the honor. I am always flattered to receive recognition from a fellow blogger.

“Sunshine, as the name suggests, is an award for bloggers whose blogs are bright and full of life.”

The rules for accepting the Sunshine Award are:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog
  • List 11 facts about YOU!
  • Nominate 10 other blogs to receive the award
  • Announce the nominations to the nominee

So without further delay…

About me:

1) I love chemistry and music but do not want a career in either. They are hobbies that, in one way or another, make an appearance in my life daily.

2) I read many travel and geography books. I am incredibly curious about foreign cultures, languages, and linguistics.

3) I am socially awkward. I read more etiquette books than the average person to build my confidence for social situations. Nevertheless, I usually end up saying or doing something weird.

4) My interest in a social work career has been reinforced by having a micro preemie. As tragic as it was, I found it to be an excellent and unique learning experience to be placed in the role of a client.

5) As a parent, I have no idea what I’m doing. I play it by ear and figure it out or make it up as I go.

6) I avoid people who think they know everything, experience has shown they generally know the least.

7) College was more than a means to a degree for me. I gained self confidence, discovered a love of learning, learned self discipline, tried jobs or classes outside of my comfort zone, and accomplished things I wasn’t sure I could do.

8) Volunteer work, giving to others, cheering for the underdog, and helping others have always been important values to me.

9) My hope for Charlie is that she finds a sense of belonging and she is happy… whatever that means to her.

10) I am not brave. Most of the time, I’m scared of or intimidated by many things in my life. I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and go through with whatever it is.

11) I would much rather know what is than wonder, “What if…” .

 The ten blogs I nominate are:

1) Laughing, Living, Weeping

2) Normal Is The New “Boring” 

3) Undiagnosed But We’re Okay With That

4) MOM – Not Otherwise Specified

5) Hydrobabies

6) Life On The Moon

7) JAM Sessions: Lessons Learned Through A Micro Preemie

8) Premmeditations: Reflections On Premie Parenting

9) Child Life Mommy

10) Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities And Remaining Sane

Happy reading everyone! I hope you find a new blog to enjoy and follow.

unhappyinsnow_edited My favorite picture of Charlie’s two minute snow play experience. An example of how not everything we try works out.


Happy Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day. Look at how far she has come!

First Valentine's Day

Charlie’s first Valentine’s Day last year.

This Val Day

Valentine’s Day this year.


5 Activities For Parents On A Snowbound Day (Or Any Day)

According to local news, we had about twenty inches of snow dumped on us. We are stuck at home for a day or two. Last time we were forced indoors, I suggested activities for the kids. Today, I have ideas for adults.

1) Make a weighted blanket. Charlie’s OT had suggested that we try a weighted blanket with Charlie. I attempted to make one because they can be rather costly. I’m not very crafty. When I finished, there were beads everywhere and I cursed the suggestion. I wish I had found this Sewing Tutorial from Mama Smiles prior to my attempt.

2) Start a parent group. While the post is specifically titled How To Start A Preemie Support Group by the amazing Urban Flowerpot, the steps can be adjusted to create any sort of parent group. I love my moms groups.

Charlie's NICU Shadow Box

Charlie’s NICU Shadow Box

3) Make a NICU (or newborn) shadow box, scrapbook, or baby book. Assemble all the odds and ends saved from your child’s start in life. Then, organize the pictures, piece together a display, or fill out a baby book. A permanent keepsake can be made out of the memorable clutter.

For the strictly digital parent, Mashable provides a nice list of online scrapbooking resources. Kidmondo offers an online baby book.

4) Read. I enjoy Bloglovin and Scribd. Bloglovin allows you to find and add blogs to a feed. Scribd is like the Netflix for e-books.

5) Visit Share Your Story. Share Your Story is a great website resource provided by March of Dimes. Parents can post on forums that address infant loss, pregnancy loss, NICU stays, life after the NICU, infertility issues, pregnancy, and just about everything else.

In addition, parents can start their own blog on the site. I cross post this blog on the site (SEO suicide, I’m aware). The site is a great way to connect with other parents on similar journeys. There is even an annual gathering of the sites regular users.

Personally, I would like to spend more time on ideas such as these. However, I am preoccupied by having to remind Charlie, “Don’t climb on that!” or “Get that out of your mouth!” I’m thankful for the long nap Charlie takes daily.

Charlie was not a fan of playing in the snow today.

Charlie was not a fan of playing in the snow today.


Today’s Small Victory: Obtaining Speech Therapy

I couldn’t sleep last night so I sought speech therapy options via the internet. When I woke up this morning, I decided today was the day I was going to find the recommended speech therapy for Charlie. The task ended up being easier than I anticipated.

To begin, I called Charlie’s insurance provider. I wanted to understand what speech therapy services are covered, how many sessions are covered, what is the co pay, who are the in network providers, and what language the prescription needed to have to ensure coverage.

Once supplied with the information, I started to problem solve:

  • Early Intervention (in our state) will only provide speech therapy once a week at the most. It is an option, just not an ideal option.
  • The local pediatric therapy providers were in network but the insurance co pay was high and only once a week services were covered. Another option, but not a very good option.
  • There was the possibility that both of the prior options could work complementary with each other. That idea is a better alternative.
  • During last night’s internet search, I discovered a nearby university with a speech pathology program offered speech therapy. This seemed to be the most promising of all but needed to be investigated further.

I called the university to inquire about the program. Jackpot! They offer speech therapy and it was at a reasonable cost with a possible fee reduction option. Additionally, forms are provided for possible insurance reimbursement.

The university program looks like our best option. I will learn more as we move further along the intake process.

So far, I have received the necessary intake forms for the program via email and the developmental pediatrician is faxing the needed prescription. Our next step is to return the forms and schedule an appointment. The first appointment will assess Charlie’s speech, language, and hearing.

The process didn’t involve the predicted fight that I was prepared for. Nevertheless, I felt pretty victorious afterwards.  My hope is that this post will help other parents generate ideas for securing services for their child.

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Another Vocabulary Word: Apraxia

Charlie’s appointment with the developmental pediatrics clinic yesterday was so-so. It could have gone better. On the other hand, it could have been worse. I have been given a new word to learn and digest: Apraxia.

The day started when Charlie met with the speech pathologist for her evaluation.

The speech pathologist was thrilled with Charlie’s feeding progress. When she was evaluated last April, she would not allow a spoon to pass her lips. Yesterday, Charlie happily munched on crackers and sipped juice through a straw. I proudly rattled off the list of foods Charlie will eat. We discussed my concerns that she often chokes and does not eat enough solid food to meet her nutritional requirements.

During the second half of the evaluation, the speech pathologist assessed Charlie’s speech delay. From what I understand, Charlie should have more words and the few words she has should be clearer. However, her receptive language (her understanding) is great. The speech pathologist mentioned the word apraxia.

The occupational therapist was the next to assess Charlie. During the evaluation, she placed a peg board with pegs in front of Charlie. I had not tried anything similar with Charlie and I wasn’t sure she would be able to do it. Much to my surprise, she followed the OT’s cues and placed the pegs in their holes. I was ecstatic.

Charlie tested slightly below her adjusted age which is a huge improvement over her past OT evaluations. I am proud of Charlie’s progress. A year ago, I was elated her hands had finally opened and she was strong enough to hold a light toy. I did not dare to hope that Charlie would be where she is today. There was too much heartbreak at stake.

Next, Charlie saw the developmental pediatrician. He further discussed apraxia with me and suggested, if at all possible, Charlie receive speech therapy twice a week. He mapped out the obstacles I face such as insurance coverage and finding an appropriate therapy program to provide services.

Also, we discussed whether or not Charlie needed another set of AFOs. He didn’t think it was necessary but wanted to see what the physical therapist suggested. Charlie has hypertonia in her ankles and hypotonia in her knees and hips. We finished our meeting with a discussion about changing from Early Intervention services to private center based services.

Finally, Charlie was assessed by the physical therapist. Overall, Charlie did really well (for Charlie). The physical therapist recommended that Charlie have shoe inserts rather than AFOs.

We finished the long day by fitting Charlie with her new inserts.

Overall, I’m delighted with Charlie’s progress in the PT, OT, and feeding part of the speech evaluation. Although, I’m a little crestfallen that her speech delay is more complicated and of greater concern than I had expected.

Now, I  have the task of implementing the clinic’s recommendations while navigating the obstacles of insurance and available services. It feels a little overwhelming. However, I am chipping away at things a little bit at a time. Hopefully, things will be in place before I know it. Day by day is all I can handle right now.

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Another Big Day With The Developmental Pediatrician Tomorrow

Charlie has a follow up with her developmental pediatrician tomorrow. I call it the special needs decathlon. She will be evaluated by the clinic’s physical therapist, occupational therapist, and speech therapist before seeing the developmental pediatrician. Afterwards, casts will be made to create her new orthotics.

I’m generally a little restless before these appointments. I don’t fret the two hour drive to the clinic because it is mostly enjoyable. Charlie and I sing together through a good portion of it and she sleeps on the return trip.

I have a decent idea of where Charlie is skill wise. I don’t expect any new discoveries. However, that is it: I am afraid of being surprised with another discovery.

We have been working so diligently on the known issues that adding another one would be a little demoralizing. It would be like struggling the entire way through second semester P Chem, unexpectedly passing, and having a prof say, “Oh, by the way, you are also supposed to be working on advanced inorganic chem.”

Yep, that kind of kick in the gut.

If Charlie has another issue that needs addressing, there is really not much I can do about it other than rise to the challenge. Fingers crossed that we have a good appointment tomorrow. Ready or not, here it comes…

Charlie's first time going down a slide by herself. Despite the look on her face, she asked to do it " 'gain!".

Charlie’s first time going down a slide by herself. Despite the look on her face, she asked to do it again.


Another Item Checked Off: Charlie Discovers Amtrak

I checked another item off of the to do list yesterday. Charlie went on her first train trip. Despite all of the preparation, I was a bit nervous. However, things worked out as they generally do.

1229827_10101547387854209_1385365604_nWe boarded the train early in the morning. I selected a seat in the very front of a car so as few people as possible would be disturbed if Charlie acted up. The umbrella stroller clanked as I tossed it in the overhead compartment and we sat down. I held my breath and hoped the seat next to me would be occupied by a baby friendly fellow passenger. Relief washed over me when another family with a child filled in the surrounding seats.

Initially, I was concerned about Charlie’s sensory issues. Fortunately, I had no more difficulty than any other parent traveling with a small child. Overall, Charlie seemed to enjoy the ride. Admittedly, the cheese and crackers from the Cafe Car kept her entertained for the majority of the way.

Once we arrived in Philadelphia, I worked to move quickly so we would not hold up the bustle of the other passengers. We were traveling light, but I looked like a pack mule as we headed up the stairs into the station. A friendly voice offered, “Do you need a hand?” It came from a man dressed neatly in a business suit. He smiled and said, “I remember those days.” I declined his offer but the acknowledgement did boost my morale.

We had a lovely day in Philadelphia. Before I knew it, it was time to come home.

By that time of day, Charlie was tired and cranky. She fussed while we stood in line for the platform. Concerned, I said, “Don’t worry, we won’t sit near any of you on the train.” to the people in line with us. They laughed and made incredibly kind remarks such as, “It won’t bother me.” or the hopeful “Maybe, she will fall asleep once the train gets going.”

1907346_10101547387584749_1817111701_nOn the train, Charlie munched silently on a few crackers before falling in to a deep sleep. With Charlie asleep in my lap, I glanced across the aisle and saw another passenger attempting to watch the opening ceremony of the Olympics. It reminded of the the night I watched the opening ceremony of the  summer Olympics with Charlie during her third month in the NICU. That was almost two years ago but it feels like it was much longer ago.

Our station was the last stop for the train that evening. Charlie and I stayed seated as we let the other passengers file out ahead of us. A considerate man retrieved the stroller from the overhead compartment without being asked. One of the passengers from Philly leaned into to Charlie and said, “You did so well!” as she walked passed. I breathed a sigh of relief. We had made it.

There are many things I enjoy while traveling by train. I like the scenery, the legroom, the sleeper car option, the dining car, the ability to move around as needed, the wifi, and the power outlets at each seat. However, I think my favorite thing about this journey was the people. Ultimately, Charlie’s first train journey was a success because of them.

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This Premature Baby’s Day To Shine

Most of the time, I dread Charlie’s doctor appointments. Today, I woke up and felt kind of excited to take Charlie to the pediatrician for a well visit. For once, there were no problems that needed to be solved, nothing that needed to be diagnosed, and not a reason to be referred to another specialist. It was an actual well visit.

Charlie’s progress over the past month has been incredible. It generally goes through ebbs and flows, but the past month or so has been a flood.

Instead of the usual stroller ride, Charlie held my hand as she walked into the pediatrician’s office this morning. During the weigh in, the nurse remarked how premature baby weigh inmuch Charlie had grown since she last saw her. The pediatrician was delighted to see Charlie walk, blow kisses, and say, “Ma ma”. Charlie loved the attention and flirted shamelessly with her admirers.

Charlie still has several things to work on (such as eating, speech, and new AFOs) but I’m awestruck. A year ago, I was enthusiastically sharing pictures on Facebook because Charlie’s hands had finally opened (after months of infant massage) and she was strong enough to hold a toy.

I have similar feelings today as I did when Charlie was transferred to a lower level NICU. I knew she would go home from the NICU at some point but I didn’t dare hope that it would be soon. The transfer was that little bit of reinforcement that she would not be in the hospital forever.

Today, I feel like our layover in Holland won’t last forever. Our flight to Italy just appeared on the airport flight status board. We won’t get there by age two, but it will happen at some point.

Life After Premature Birth

Charlie holds on to her dad’s hand.


10 Activities I Use To Occupy My Preemie Toddler When The Weather Is Lousy

Today was one of those days. The weather was of the worst kind. The roads were icy enough to prevent us from going anywhere and there wasn’t enough snow to play in. What is a parent to do with an active toddler on days such as today? Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time it has happened. This time, I was ready. Here are a few of the activities I was armed with:

1) Kid’s meal toy bin: Charlie has yet to realize that most kids meal come with a cheap toy. Instead of giving it to her immediately, I keep the toys in a bin in the closet. On days like today, Charlie loves to dig through the bin and explore the “new” toys.

2) Finger painting with food: This is a sensory play idea from her therapist. While seated in her high chair (to contain the mess as much as possible), Charlie is presented with yogurt, ketchup, apple sauce, and whatever food “paint” that is handy. She enjoys spreading the condiments around the tray and will sometimes taste them.

3) Playing with dough: These  recipes are kid safe and simple to make. I usually have the items around to make one of the three recipes.

4) Play with boxes and packaging: We use online ordering often enough that we usually have a box or two waiting to be recycled. If the box is big enough, I show Charlie that she can climb in and out of it or make a tunnel to crawl through. For the smaller boxes, Charlie likes to put small toys in and take them out. The bubble wrap and other packaging that is frequently included with the boxes are added fun accessories.

5) Musical Accompaniment: Charlie has a toddler musical instrument set. But, her favorite is the simplest and cheapest to make. When beans, rice, cereal, or whatever is on hand is added to a closed container it makes a drum and a shaker. I construct a play list of different types of music. Charlie likes to shake the instrument, sing, or dance to the different kinds of music. 

6) Explore Different Textures: I fill a clothes basket with different textured fabrics and items. At first, I let Charlie explore it on her own. Later, I sort through it with her. We discover different textures as I ask, “How does it feel? Is it rough? Is it soft? Is it scratchy?” Often, we end up playing peek a boo with the different fabrics.

7) The Straw Game: This is another idea that came from Charlie’s therapist. In order to work on Charlie’s oral motor skills, I present thicker substances to her with a straw. She likes to suck up apple sauce, jello, yogurt, pudding, and other thicker liquids.

8) New Story: I find a book that Charlie hasn’t read yet or hasn’t read in a while (library books are great for this). I present it to Charlie and let her look through it first (if she is interested). Afterwards, we read it together.

9) Bowling: I use plastic soda bottles out of the recycling bin and put a little rice or beans in the bottom. Charlie likes to knock them over. However, I’m trying to teach her to use a ball to do so.

10) Indoor Bubbles: Depending on the indoor interior, this may or may not be a good idea. I blow bubbles with Charlie. She works on blowing (I still blow the majority of the bubbles), she pops the bubbles in the air, or steps on them if they reach the floor.

Premie

Charlie finger painted today with hummus, yogurt, and strawberry apple sauce.


Another One Of Those Moments

I’ve been waiting for the right moment to take Charlie to Chuck E Cheese. The place is a bit much for my sensory threshold, so I was concerned that it would be sensory overload for Charlie. On the other hand, I knew she would love the singing mouse, the pizza, and play. I decided to take Charlie while everyone else was watching the Super Bowl.

Despite the nearly empty restaurant, Charlie was a bit overwhelmed when we first arrived. She clung to me, munched on pizza, and watched the few other kids that were there. As she picked apart her second piece, the mechanical mouse started to sing. She was mesmerized. After he stopped moving and singing, Charlie meowed at him.

After the show ended, she was feeling brave enough to play a few games (with my help) and try a few rides. The motor cycle that rocked and vibrated was too much for her. She wanted to get off of it immediately. The seat on the merry go round was her favorite. 1779194_10101540988199169_1473971453_n_edited

We were almost out of tokens when a staff member and someone in costume called for the kids to follow. Charlie gestured and made that weird glottal sound she makes when she wants something. I carried her and we followed the string of kids.

The parade of kids came to a stop in front of the mechanical mouse. The kids formed a semi circle and prepared to sing Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes. I knelt behind Charlie and supported her at the hips as she stood.

Charlie can take a few steps at a time but she falls A LOT. She is unsteadier than usual because she is in between AFOs.

The kids started to sing and gesture while I steadied Charlie. Charlie “sang” her own version of the song complete with her own gestures. She wore a huge smile and kept turning around to look at me as if to say “Look! I’m doing it!” It was one of those moments that I had to fight back tears. Charlie finished the song with an enthusiastic “Yay!” I lost the fight and a couple tears trickled down my face but were hidden by the dark.

We finished the evening with sensory play involving cotton candy. Charlie refused to touch the cotton candy and did not want it near her mouth. The evening was far from perfect but I don’t think I could have had a better time. I hope Charlie feels the same.


Liebster Award Nomination: Much Obliged

liebsteraward

I have been nominated by Tales of a Twin Mombie. I am always flattered when one of my blogging peers recognizes me. For those of you unfamiliar with how this works, I am to answer ten questions asked of me and pose ten more questions to the blogs of my choosing.

1. What led you to start your blog and how long have you been blogging?

I never intended to have a blog. It started almost two years ago in the NICU. I found that piecing together a scrapbook and filling out Charlie’s NICU baby book was incredibly helpful for me. Once Charlie came home, I started to log our journey on Facebook. That got old fast. I moved on to a Tumblr account. Shortly after, my rants and rambles became too long for that.

On Charlie’s first birthday (May 2013), I started the blog you are now reading. The blog has been a wonderful way to document Charlie’s progress, connect with others, a source of stress relief, and an aid in my processing of things. It was also an opportunity learn about blogs, platforms, and social media as a way to expand my skill set during my time as a stay at home mom. I was concerned about my skills becoming obsolete while I was out of the work force.

2. What did you accomplish in 2013 that you feel the most proud about?

I am proud to have procured the services Charlie needed in order to thrive. I am proud of my new found ability as a special needs mom and advocate.

3. If you could recommend a MUST READ, what would it be and why?

I am a Scribd addict. It is tough for me to narrow books down to a MUST READ. However, because this is a preemie blog, I will recommend a preemie MUST READ. The Preemie Primer by Jennifer Gunter, MD is my MUST READ. The Preemie Primer was my favorite and most useful of all the preemie books I read while Charlie was in the NICU.

4. When you are feeling stressed out, what is something that almost always works to calm you?

I go for a hike with my dog. I love the outdoors.

5. What TV character do you identify the most with and why?

Lois Griffin… but I’m not as hot. 🙂

6. If you had to give yourself a superhero name, what would it be and why?

Impromptu Girl, I can improvise and make just about anything work within a moment’s notice.

7. What do you admire the most about your husband?

He is one of the nicest people I have ever met. After I lose my patience and reach my breaking point, my husband continues to be nice when dealing with a situation.

8. What is your guilty pleasure? Something you shouldn’t indulge but just have to sometimes?

Beer. Although, I don’t indulge as much as I would like to since Charlie’s birth.

9. What’s your occupation? Do you enjoy it? Why or why not?

Right now, I am a stay at home mom. I do enjoy it. I know how fortunate I am (on many levels) to be a stay at home mom. I know my time, as such, is limited. I try to make the most of it. However, I do wonder what comes next.

10. Three favorite online shopping websites?

To be fair, I order quite often from Amazon but that doesn’t mean it is my favorite. The sites that I peruse regularly, watch prices on, and find my heart beats faster when I click the “Order” button are:

REI Outlet, The Virginia State Parks Reservation Website, Amtrak

Now, it is time for my nominations. I nominate the following blogs written by other amazing preemie moms:

Handpicked Miracle

Urban Flowerpot

My Amazing Ella

My questions for these blogs are:

1) Who is your favorite musician(s)? Have you seen them live?

2) What is your favorite memory so far on your preemie journey?

3) Why do you blog?

4) In your opinion, what is the best benefit you’ve received from blogging?

5) What do you want others to know as a preemie mom?

6) What do you wish you knew while your baby was in the NICU?

7) What is your favorite food?

8) Do you have any pets? What kind? Why or why not?

9) What other hobbies/interests do you have?

10) What are your top three favorite websites?


Finding The Something Good

I do not believe that everything happens for a reason. However, I do believe that something good can come from the circumstances of Charlie’s early birth (other than Charlie, obviously). It wasn’t until recently that I figured out what it was.

I managed to hold it together while I was hospitalized at twenty four weeks with severe preeclampsia. But, Charlie’s birth at 26 weeks shattered me into a million pieces. Afterwards, I laid motionless in recovery devastated by sadness, raging with anger, and envious of all the women around me with crying newborns. For the first few weeks, I could hardly breathe and sobbed uncontrollably.

March of Dimes NICU Family Support helped me begin to piece myself back together again. I became empowered, stronger, braver, and began healing.

The journey is not over for us. However, I am far enough along in my journey that I can begin to give back. I say “I’m listening and I care.”  to other mothers affected by premature birth, birth defects, or loss. I support and cheer for fellow NICU mothers. I speak at events when asked to give a face to prematurity. I share our story.

While I’m honored to do all of these things, I am further privileged for my family to be this year’s March of Dimes Ambassador Family for the Northern Shenandoah Valley. Our walk is on May 31 (two days after Charlie’s second birthday). The button link to our fundraising page will be in the tool bar on the right until the walk.

I would like to reach our goal but I’m just as happy with people giving to any team. The important part is to give (every little bit matters) to March of Dimes and support all babies.  In case you missed it, I have written a post about the many ways MOD has helped us specifically.

In my healing process, I have the need to turn something so devastating in to something good. If reaching out to others, sharing our experience, and helping where I can is that something good, then so be it. I have been given so much love and kindness to pass on.

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This year’s Northern Shenandoah Valley March of Dimes Ambassador


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