Thursday, May 22, 2008

Happy Birthday, Little Monkey

Dear Zoe,

Exactly one year ago your daddy and I were anxiously waiting for your arrival. I was lying on an extremely uncomfortable hospital bed with monitors on my belly to keep track of my contractions and your heartbeat. The contractions were steady and your dad was very helpful in telling me when I was having a contraction since he was watching the tape very, very closely. Your dad, (you’ll learn) has a strong appreciation for graphs and data - the nurses thought he was a hoot and very helpful. I was so glad he was there with me and he knew just what to say to relax me and encourage me.

Right about this time a year ago, your Nana K and Grandpa Joe were visiting us in our room. You could tell that they were nervous and excited and anxious for you to make your appearance. Your Nana was also very interested in the season six finale of American Idol and searched our television for her channel so she could see the show. Unfortunately, our remote only had up and down arrows and we had no idea what channel she needed. It was crazy and funny and took my mind off of the contractions for a bit. The cool thing is, we’ll have something to tease your Nana about every year.

One year ago today I was anxiously waiting for the doctor on duty to come in our room and check my progress with the Cervidil. In a span of 48 hours, I was given two doses of Cervidil to induce labor and bring you into this world. Just about ten hours earlier the doctor had checked on us and you were engaged and we were making progress. Your dad had been so excited and said “See honey, your engaged!” And I said, “People break engagements all the time!” Apparently, my contractions had me a little on edge… but I don’t know.

Just one year ago I was preparing myself emotionally for giving birth and getting to see my baby girl. I was so worried you wouldn’t like me right away. I was so worried I wouldn’t know how to be your mom the way you needed me to be. I had these fears that I was going to let you and your daddy down. I was so wrong to have those fears, but I’m going to say it was the adrenaline and the hormones and the fear of the unknown.

About a year ago today the doctor came in to check how we were doing and you were no longer engaged. You “broke” the engagement. It turns out my bones aren’t shaped the right way to let a baby pass through so the doctor said we needed to go ahead and get you out via cesarean section. I was shocked (“But I have huge hips!”) and sad that I wasn’t going to have that birthing experience to share with you and your father. I was worried about you and truth be told, I was scared to death to have a major surgery. But there was really no time for dilly-dallying and the next thing I knew I was being prepped for surgery and our nurse (Rae) was calming me down and assuring me that everything was going to be OK.

I have no idea exactly what time the doctor came in to check me. I have no idea how long the prep and the paper work and the spinal block and the actual cutting took. What I do know is that you came into this world at 12:18 A.M on Thursday May 23, 2007. I was completely out of it, but they held you up for me to see and I saw this little tiny being (you were 8 pounds 5 ounces, but looked SO tiny to me and your daddy) with her eyes closed tight and her mouth wide open in a scream to let us know she’d arrived. They took you away to clean you up and I told your daddy to go be with his daughter while I anxiously waited for them to sew me up so I could see you again and touch you and smell you and feed you and hold you in my arms.

The day you came into our lives was the most wonderful day in your daddy’s and my life. We waited for nine months to see and meet you, and every day since we have fallen more and more in love with our precious baby girl who has helped us see the world in a different light. I am your mother and someday you are going to roll your eyes when I tell you this (but I will never stop, not even when you have children of your own): You are an amazing human being. I strongly believe that you will do great things in your life. You make this world a better place just by being a part of it. You will always, always be my little monkey.

I love you with all my heart. Happy Birthday, Zoe Angeline!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Drained

This last week (and especially the last 41 hours) has been physically and emotionally draining. Between finding out we have a new baby on the way, our little girl being sick, me and Daniel being sick, and then losing Evan Saturday night... I'm exhausted. Seeing Zoe's happy little face, focusing on our growing family, the support Daniel and I get from each other and our friends and family is what is getting us through this.

My dad put it very well yesterday afternoon when he told me how blessed Daniel and I are to have such strong relationships with our friends and family. He said one of the dangers of having so many amazing people in our lives is that eventually we are going to lose them and that really, we all go before our time. He said what we need to hold on to is the time we did have with our friend and make more memories with the people still with us.

Unlike my husband, I didn't get to spend a lot of time with Evan - but I'd looked forward to those camping trips we said we'd all take at Leakey. I looked forward to my children being around their uncle and learning his quirky, fun sense of humor and about his interest in travel, language, movies, etc. My hope is that the rest of us can all plan a trip to Leakey sometime soon to keep that tradition alive over the years. Leakey has been a special place for Daniel and his friends. I think now more than ever, we should try to make it a tradition to return there to continue celebrating the various rites of passage our lives take (already there has been 4 marriages, 1 birth and now two wives are pregnant now - our tribe is growing).

Losing my grandparents was painful and sad and I miss them every day and wish they were here, but losing someone who had so much life in him and who had so much to offer this world hurts beyond measure and leaves me sad... angry... scared. It scares me that life can be taken away so quickly. I found myself panicking when Daniel left the house yesterday and this morning. I felt anxious driving Zoe to Cheryl's today. I feel myself wanting to put all of my loved ones in a little bubble to keep them safe and protected even though I know this is unrealistic and irrational. I feel less naive today than I was two days ago. I feel drained.

In about two hours I have an appointment at my OB/GYN's office for my "orientation". I'm sort of perplexed since I was nine months pregnant a year ago and don't really feel like I need them to tell me what not to eat and how to take care of myself and this baby. What I am looking forward to is getting the results of my quantitative blood test. We really have no idea how far along I am because I was so irregular, so I'm hoping this test will pinpoint more of a range based on my HcG levels. From there we'll be able to decide when the best time is to do our first ultrasound and then we can get an even more accurate measurement. Like I said before, it helps to be able to focus on this new life inside me and on Zoe. We'll take all the good news and joy we can get right now.

Do me a favor - reach out to your friends and loved ones today. Make plans with people you haven't gotten together with for a while. I promise, you won't regret it.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

I Hate Goodbyes

I have always admired Daniel's friendship with "the guys" as I dubbed them. They had a closeness that even though none of them are especially good at picking up the phone or emailing, they picked up where they left off when they saw each other. That bond, (those friendships) was one of the things that made me fall in love with Daniel.

And they made me feel welcome and a part of that group right away. First when I met some of them on my first trip to Austin and then when we went to Midland for Daniel and Sarah's wedding. I'd known Evan for less than 24 hours and he was telling me that he loved me and smacking me on the ass. I was slightly overwhelmed then, and then after some explaining from Daniel and just being around him, I came to see that that was his way of bringing me into the group and making me feel welcome. I'd like to believe that smack was his sign of approval.

We got some very sad, horrible news today that Evan was in a fatal car accident. We don't know details, all we know is that he's not here anymore. Zoe and this little one on the way aren't going to meet their crazy uncle Evan - but they will hear stories and they will see pictures.

The guys back in their college days:
Camping

Tossing rose petals after we got married:
Rose Petal Toss 6

Evan got into it and I'm pretty sure all those roses I found in my dress that night were from his vigorous throwing:
Rose Petal Toss 7

Waiting for their turn

Acting natural?

I'm not sure what was happening here, but they were having a good time:
?

!

On the patio

I'd tried to set up us all getting together when we were in Texas a few weeks ago. I'd sent out an email to everyone and this was the message I got back from Evan:

"YAYYY!!

HUZZAHHHH!!!
This calls for celebration!
haha
This is awesome; I know I don't keep in touch with everyone very well (it's kind of a superpower of mine, I think), so I'm just really grateful that YOU keep in touch with ME and tell me these things, because I MISS YOU GUYS!
And of course I'm interested to see what kind of Zoe creature you and Daniel have produced.
I know Nigel & I will be working during the week, but your trip kind of falls on TWO weekends almost; I'm positive we'd be able to come down Friday & Saturday, at LEAST. Though, I guess I shouldn't speak for Nigel, since I don't know his schedule. We're both in Fort Worth now, so don't go looking for me in Houston! If you found someone who looks like me, take my word, it's a robot.
HEY!
Keep me posted?
Daniel knows I'm not the most schedule/plan/memory-friendly guy, so feel free to send me all the reminders you want!"

Right now, more than ever we wished we could have met up with him. Right now, more than ever we wish we were in Texas with our friends.


HUZZAHHHH!!!, Evan. We miss you.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

We're Back*

I've been tired lately. Really Tired. Cranky. And I'm going to go ahead and say it... bored with blogging. My heart stopped being in it for a while there. I was feeling restless. I was feeling like there was something off with me and I wasn't sure what... so I decided what I really needed was a break from this blogging commitment. It's been kind of hard for me in the last couple weeks to stay away. Last week we got some news that sort of turned my world upside down. And then Zoe came down with Bronchiolitis, which has been really hard. I kept wanting to turn to my blog to share, but I kept away until today.

What I did do is write a letter to my darling monkey. I thought I would share that with you now:

Written on Thursday, May 1st, 2008
Dearest Zoe,

Today is a very important day for our little family: I took a home pregnancy test and found out that you are going to be a big sister. Your Daddy and I are extremely excited for this new adventure and for what this means for you. A small part of me is overwhelmed and shocked that this is coming so soon for us.

Your dad and I first started talking about giving you a sibling while I was still pregnant with you. That desire only grew stronger as we brought you home and got to know you. Being a new parent is not easy, but we found ourselves imagining that we could do this and wanting to have a larger family.

We’d originally planned on waiting until this August to start trying, but after talking with our nurse practitioner about it we decided to start trying this past February. Given the time it took to make you, we thought there was no sense waiting. We fully expected to give it a few months and then start again on the infertility journey again. Just yesterday I had started that ball rolling and had set up a blood test to check my hormone levels and see what we could do to get me on that road. I haven’t had a cycle since the weekend after you were in the ER, but had taken a couple tests (one in March, one at the beginning of April). I had told the nurse on the phone that I felt like I was still ovulating, but I just didn’t know for sure.

I’ve been complaining for the last week or so about my body temperature. In Texas, I was freezing whenever we were in Grammy and Grandpa Ricks house. When we got home, I felt like I was having hot flashes. I told your dad I felt weird, different. And then last night Bailey was especially clingy – keeping her head close to my belly just like she did before we even knew you were growing inside me.

Your dad kissed me good morning/goodbye this morning and I asked him to wait just a minute before he left. I got up, went into the bathroom and grabbed the last test I had in our cabinet. I thought to myself that I was wasting a test and that we’d have to buy more when the time came. I was so tired I didn’t even turn the light on in the bathroom, but very quickly I saw a line form. I remember thinking it was strange that it was forming on the wrong side and then I saw the second line and I felt my heart jump in my throat. I swung the door open into your daddy’s and my bedroom and showed him the stick. And then I started laughing, uncontrollable laughs that seemed to burst from me. We were pregnant. Your dad instantly tried to do the math and figure out when your sibling would arrive. He’s saying January, but I’m not so sure. We won’t know for a while how far along I actually am.

What we do know is that we love you. You are one of the greatest gifts we’ve ever been given and we worked so hard to get you here with us. You will always be my Zo-Zo Monkey. You will always be my little girl. Life is about to change for us all, but there is always that constant. My life changed the day you were conceived, and I am forever grateful for you coming into our lives. You’re going to be a great big sister! I love you infinitely.

* And by "We", I REALLY mean we.

There you go, Missy. I told you it wouldn't be much longer! :)

And.... Hi Matt! So, yeah... when Daniel and I said maybe a little sooner than a year, we had no idea how right we actually were. We're thrilled.