30.6.13

WE NEED A BACKUP


This was Lauren's face a few nights ago when she lost her stuffed bunny. While she was impartial towards her stuffed animals until recently, now she has decided that only this specific bunny and her baby doll cabbage patch are satisfactory.


In the morning, she yanks her bunny through the crib slats and out into her day. If we go in the car, the bunny comes with her. When she goes down for her nap, she holds her bunny tight in the crook of her right arm as she drifts off. And apparently at night Lauren relies on the presence of that soft genderless bunny (I can't decide if it is a boy or a girl) to comfort herself throughout the night during her periods of wakefulness.

Ugh.

That night that she was without her bunny, she was with me. Until 3:30am.

First thing in the morning, I had ordered a new Pat the Bunny from Chapters.ca and I had planned my route home from work so that I could go to the only Chapters in town that had Pats in stock. That way I would have Pat and backup Pat.

But I was saved a trip when I got a text, "Have Pat. Bring a million dollars." Well, that was a fib, but I would have brought the million to get Pat back. When Lauren and I were out visiting, she had left the bunny in the stacks at a library (she was having way too much fun exploring to have her arms tied up like that).

So thankfully this story has a happy ending. Lauren has her trusty sidekick back and I have my sleep... and a backup Pat is in the mail on its way.



29.6.13

SO HOW'S SHE DOING WITH...

When I see people who read the blog, they often ask me about some of Lauren's most basic day to day struggles, so I thought I would give you an update.

It all started with her new reflux medicine and the doctor dangling the carrot of a full night of sleep... but that was just a carrot. Then one of my doctors told me that for my own health I should consider not breastfeeding anymore and that night was the end. Matt grumbled that his vacation days were spent sleep training (aka not sleeping) but since then Lauren has consistently slept through the night. Sometimes Lauren has bad dreams and then she'll need a cuddle before going back to sleep but that is nothing compared to getting up every 45 minutes to two hours with her like I was before. Exhausting!

Lauren typically goes to bed between 7:30 and 8:00pm and she doesn't wake up until 8:30 or 9:00am the next day. She is not a morning person but that works just fine for me! Lauren's naps are a bit less predictable. She usually naps for two hours but it can be as short as 30 minutes or as long as three and a half hours. But I'm so not complaining! Being able to finally get nighttime sleep has helped with my depression, activity level and ability to function with both eyes open throughout the day.

Lauren has been signed up to see feeding specialists since last October, almost 9 months ago! Since then we have spent countless hours cleaning up vomit, doing laundry and wasting time and money at the grocery store trying to find food that she could keep down and put some weight on her bones. In the last month, it is like Lauren has flipped a switch and suddenly she can, and wants to, eat! 

A few months ago, all of her foods were purees and now she rarely eats purees. She self-feeds and is adding to her food selection daily. Today she ate proscuitto and pears for the first time. 

Of course, during this month of incredible progress she has finally gotten in to see the complex feeding team. When they ask me what the problem is, it is hard to find too much to complain about! I know that Lauren is still behind other kids her age for eating but it is hard not to be so impressed by her leaps lately. 

However, the best part of all might be that she hasn't puked in a month now! While I love that it cuts down on the laundry (though eating is pretty messy), I love even more that she doesn't have to go through that. And it only reinforced that eating was bad because that scary pain of puking would only happen when she was eating. It is so fun being able to eat with my little girl, to share our food and our time together.


The day after her first cardiac arrest the doctors pulled us into the back room and told us to prepare ourselves for cognitive issues due to oxygen deprivation. For a period of time after the hospital, Lauren was behind in everything. It was like life had continued but she had been put on pause. With her muscles becoming weak, she had to relearn a bunch of gross motor skills that she had previously mastered and that took most of her energy and focus. 

Since she has recently caught up on her gross motor skill and then her fine motor skills, she is now working on problem solving. Today she was tested and she is ahead of her age. No big deal, but my baby is kind of a genius (well, she was able to figure out how to get a small candy out of a bottle and stack some blocks a certain way). 

She is still behind on her speech, but that is coming along as well. Is it weird that her first "word" is "Wow!"? When I point to things or share discoveries with her I find that I will say what the thing is and then say, "Wow!" so she has started to copy that. Any time that something is new or she does something great, she says, "Wow!" It is so cute because she draws the word out and opens her eyes really big when she says it. 

Wow, Lauren, wow.  We are so proud of you!

27.6.13

STROLLERS ARE FOR BABIES

Oh man, this girl is developing some serious  attitude  personality. She is constantly active, constantly opinionated and always vocal about her wants. She doesn't put up with being in her stroller unless we are in motion. As soon as we stop, the whining, crying, moaning and thrashing begins. But take her out of the stroller and let her walk and she just goes and goes and goes. 


While walking to meet my dad, Lauren first walked half a kilometer in the cemetery and then wandered in the grass. As part of her development plan I am supposed to let her walk in grass and on surfaces with lots of variety. Perfect because she likes to walk from grave to grave as if she's playing a game of headstone hopscotch. It makes me a little uncomfortable but I think the people resting there wouldn't mind too much so I let it go.  




We got up to Central Park and we had some time to wait for my mom. Lauren walked back and forth at the entrance to the park, charming everyone around. She was totally fascinated by some skateboarding Japanese exchange students and I think she would have happily left with them if I would have let her. I have never seen her look that enamored with a new person before! Once my mom came, Lauren walked almost all the way across Central Park to the children's playground. On the way she saw her first squirrels and she was in love. As they darted off and up the trees, she would follow them over the tree roots and between the trunks. It was some very good practice for her development plan! This little girl, there's no stopping her!




26.6.13

MORE ABOUT THE GARAGE SALE

Here is the flyer that we've created for the garage sale. Please save the date in your calendar and pass it on!
                                                                           
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<



>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

And here's a picture of Lauren with post-it tabs on her head. Why not, right?


25.6.13

STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES... OR PURPLE FLOWERS

I am a lover of lists, organization, planning and following a plan. In my world, spontaneity is a four letter word. As hard as this year has been, there are some changes that it has brought to our lives that I thank God for. After coming home from work today, Matt and I went out for a run. At the end of the run, we let Lauren out of the stroller to walk with us as we cooled down. It was dinner time and I had not yet started making dinner. And Lauren was walking like she didn't have a care in the world because, let's face it, at 16 months old, how many cares do you really have?

The old Amanda in me was screaming inside, "Do you know what time it is? You have this and this and this to do for dinner and you should just get inside and get this going. Because if you don't do this soon, Lauren won't eat in time and then her bath will be late... and it continued until I think Lauren was going to grow up crooked because of her lack of green vegetables or something crazy like that." And then I took a look at Lauren and saw the pure delight that she took in walking around and jumping. I should explain the jumping. Lately she will stop, go up on her tiptoes and then throw herself forward into her walk as if she is revving up and then taking off. It looks adorable and ridiculous at the same time. My dad does a great impression of her but he looks a bit more ridiculous than adorable (no offense, Dad).

It was then that we saw the largest butterfly that I have seen in a very long time and I forgot about everything other than experiencing the butterfly through Lauren's eyes.



In the end, we still had dinner. It was late. Matt and I ate on the floor of the bathroom as Lauren played in the bath but we were together as a family and that was the most important thing.

23.6.13

BRING IT ON!

One of the things that I liked/hated about being on my depression medication is that I haven't been able to cry. In public or watching TV, that can be a great thing. In dealing with feelings, it can make things pretty bottled up. Sometimes you just need a good cry to get feelings out and then you can move on. As I've been decreasing my medication it has allowed me to cry again. The tears are not intense and they are usually really quick but they don't cease to surprise me time and time again. 

Last night I was reading a book called "Wonder" about a boy who is born with multiple physical facial abnormalities. At one point, his sister is thinking about him and mentions his little body with needles and tubes everywhere and a sob shot right out of my mouth as my brain flashed to pictures of Lauren in the exact same position. I find that as we get closer to the anniversary of her admittance, I'm being reminded of many of her struggles and triumphs of this past year. 

And that is just what this year has been. On days that I'm stuck in the past, I see her year as a struggle, but on days when I'm living in the present, I look at her and I see such a triumph. She has triumphed in so many ways by having such miraculous healing and coming so far with her development. We continue to triumph over sadness and depression and fear. Most importantly, God continues to triumph as we know that every step that we take as a family, from the moment that he pushed us to go to the hospital at exactly the right moment (that in and of itself is such an amazing miracle!) to every day that Lauren grows stronger, we take in his hands. 

We are just over a month away from the anniversary of the worst day of our lives. One day, just over a month ago, Matt came upstairs with a look in his eyes. Usually when he has that look, he has some way to reorganize the basement or he has some great rugby to watch (both situations which make me groan inside... and out loud). Instead, he was on fire with a way for us to give back to the people who helped to save our little girl. In the past, we have done a garage sale each summer. It has been a way for us to save for having a baby, pay for the items in her nursery and save for her education. 

This year, we are going to hold the garage sale of all garage sales and every single penny is going to go to BC Children's Hospital. EVERY. SINGLE. PENNY. Then Matt took it a step further by taking it to his work and getting them to agree to sponsor it - and match the first $500 we raise! 

But here's the tricky part... Matt is an obsessive purger. Some people are hoarders, he's a purger. So we don't have all that much stuff to sell. Here's where you come in. Those knick knacks that you don't need anymore, that bed frame that you've had sitting in the garage, the kids toys that no one actually plays with anymore - send it our way and we will sell it and send every single penny to BC Children's Hospital... and get the donation matched by National Bank!! Or maybe you love a good garage sale (because you're more of a collector than a purger) - come on down to our backyard on Saturday, July 20 between 9am and 3pm and find a new treasure for your collection. We would love to see you there! 

For full event details, check out our Facebook page or event info. Even better, like and share the Facebook page or invite your friends to support the garage sale by donating items or coming to the event so that we can make this a huge terrific success. 

So to summarize: 
How can you help?

1. Clean out your house and donate items to the garage sale! Contact myself, Matt or Elysha to arrange for drop off of pick up of your items. If you're not friends with us on Facebook, you can always email me at focusingonmiracles at gmail.com

2. Help us sell at the garage sale. I am terrible at this because I hate talking about money. Matt is great because talking about money is his job. Maybe you love to talk to shmooze or haggle over prices. Contact us to let us know that you would like to help in this way. 

3. Donate to the cause, either by buying something or donating online. Children's Hospital has set up a special donation page so that all donations done online will be added to our total. As a bonus, any donation over $25 receives a tax receipt. Online donations can be made here.

4. Pass this information on! Like and share the Facebook page and event. Let's make this the biggest garage sale possible!






22.6.13

A BUMP IN THE ROAD

I was so excited for Lauren to be registered for daycare but now it is up in the air again. When I first contacted them, I told them that Lauren had a pacemaker but it seems that they are rethinking what that will mean for them. To hear that a little one has had a heart defect, now has a pacemaker and needs to be given medication multiple times a day, you picture a baby who is fragile, quiet and inactive. I'm meeting with the daycare on Monday and bringing Lauren with me so that they can meet her. I think that they will see that she is the exact opposite of fragile, quiet and inactive! I'm hoping that seeing her in person and being given doctors notes that say that she is fine to be in a daycare will help to put their minds at ease and be okay with having her. Until then I'm praying hard that she gets in. However, if this past year has shown me anything, I know that God already has his plan for Lauren in motion.

Here are some more shots of my little bundle of energy from the past few weeks. She has loved her pool, walking (really far actually), giving Austin hugs and eating more and more (it has been weeks now since she has puked! Amazing for her!!!). She has made such phenomenal progress in the past few weeks in all areas. I'm so incredibly proud of this little fighter. 

 


21.6.13

BE PROUD OF YOUR MUSTACHE, BABY GIRL

Lauren's weight is holding on because we continue to establish some of the worst eating habits possible by adding fats, butter and cream to everything that she eats. Awhile back she figured out what chocolate chips were and now she's moved onto chocolate chunks. I was sneaking a few chunks from the bag for myself (it was so one of those days) and she attacked. She's quick like lightning when you've got something she wants.


Lauren wasn't satisfied with being handed chocolate at my discretion, so she held one chocolate morsel tight in one hand and, with the other, shoved chocolate into her mouth as fast as possible. Her warm little fist made a beautiful chocolatey mess and she ended up with chocolate all over.


It looks like she is trying to give herself a little chocolate mustache and goatee. What a lady. 


20.6.13

BACK TO WORK

Dealing with an unexpected first year and the subsequent depression and anxiety caused me to be on medical leave from work for a few months longer than my pre-baby plan. The school district agreed to give me my position back in the same elementary library but I had to spend time this month doing work hardening. Thankfully the young teacher who has filled in for me in the library while I've been gone is a little spitfire! I have been so blessed that I haven't had to worry about a thing while I've been gone.

Together we have come up with a plan for the library for next year. My job during this work hardening period has been to a) be okay being apart from Lauren and b) purge. I love throwing things away. I'm almost done a big reorganization of the library but I thought I would share a few VHS tapes that I purged from the collection. There were some doozies.

Ewww...

 A decade later...

I don't know if this would entice anyone to pick up yo-yoing...
And my fave (I think I yelled out loud a bit when I saw this one)...


Oh my gosh.

I signed Lauren up for daycare today for September. At first Matt and I were a bit nervous about it and tried to figure out a way to have her cared for by family members but seeing Lauren around other kids in the last few weeks has made me feel much more comfortable with her going to daycare. I think she will really enjoy it! The daycare that she is signed up for is quite small and has a very good adult to child ratio. Also, all of the children are under the age of 3 which is nice (big kids are so... big). She will start to go in the end of August when they have gradual entry to allow the children (and parents) to get used to the daycare. It is also nice that my schedule at work will allow me to start my day a bit later because Lauren typically wakes up between 8:30 and 9 in the morning. She's got a teenager's sleeping schedule already!


MY CHILD IS THAT CHILD

Yesterday Lauren had another specialist appointment at Children's. It was in an area that serves a whole bunch of doctors so the waiting room is huge and stocked full of toys. Most kids are happy to play in the general vicinity of their parents, even if that means that huge toy potential on the other end of the waiting room might remain undiscovered. My child, on the other hand, is not satisfied with that. She has no qualms about joining other kids while they discover a playhouse or, her favourite, a playgarden. She doesn't hesitate to touch the kids or look closely at what they are looking at.

After many laps of the waiting room, we went out into the hallway (aka the" baby run" if your child's name is Lauren Charlotte) and she discovered the walkway to the other side of the hospital, two people having a meeting, a bookstore, the toy area in said bookstore, the stairs, the elevator and the glass window ledges that serve perfectly as seats.

In a way I would love it if Lauren would sit quietly like I used to as a child, but I know that I sat quietly because I was afraid of the world and so painfully shy, two traits that I don't want Lauren to have. Good news... I don't think she's got them.

As we were exploring the waiting room (and much of the rest of the hospital) I could hear people whispering about her, "She's so busy!" or "She's into everything." Yes she is. This little girl is curious, a future explorer and someone who, as we get near to the anniversary of her time in the hospital, has shown us all just how much she can and will do.




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