Sunday, May 31, 2009

A year in the life


1 month

2 months

3 months

4 months

5 months

6 months

7 months

8 months

9 months

10 months

11 months

One year old!

Friday, May 29, 2009

And the winners are...

Just pulled our three winners using the random number generator!

The winner of the $25 Target gift card is Carrie M.
The winner of the $20 Cub Cash to Build-A-Bear is Kim S.
The winner of the donated necklace is Pam S.

I'll be in touch with all of you about getting you your winnings!

Thank you to EVERYONE who donated. You all have my love and appreciation.


Paid It Forward

What a fantastic day this has been!

Truly, from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much to everyone who donated to this drive. You made today an amazing day and I thank you.

I'll be drawing names for the raffle tonight, so stay tuned!


David had informed that he didn't think he'd be able to get away from work to help me. I was disappointed, but understood.

A friend helped me sort through stuff during the day yesterday. She also helped me decorate nearly 6 dozen cupcakes to take with us.

Last night I put our custom made stickers on most everything and got it all boxed up. David loaded my car so all I would need to do is load Robbie and the cupcakes and go.

This morning I called my favorite chaplain from the hospital and told her we were coming to visit and bringing some donations. She offered to meet me at the door and bring a car. YAY!

So I loaded the car and away we went. We were close to the hospital when David called. He was able to get away from work after all, and was on his way!

We got to the hospital and Chaplain Laura was waiting. She helped unload the car and watched Robbie while I parked.

Then we trekked up to our old home-away-from-home.

We walked down the hallway that I walked a year ago today. I was transported back. I felt the fear and dread wash over me like it did that day. It was truly the most terrifying day of my life. I started to choke up a bit as we walked. I was afraid I was going to cry. We passed the counter where I checked in that day. I found myself looking in the faces working there wondering if they were the same ones from last year. It's such a blur that I'm not sure I'd even remember.

We finally passed it, and my anxiety eased. I reminded myself that I knew how the story turned out. Let go of the past.

Then we were at the NICU. Laura called for the volunteer coordinator to come down. A few nurses stopped out to say hello.

I took a box of cupcakes to the family waiting area across the hall. I felt a little shy because there were a lot of people there, but finally cleared my throat and told them that my son, Robbie, was a NICU graduate. He'd been born, I told them, a year ago Sunday and to celebrate, I'd brought some cupcakes. Then I set them down.

Right away, a new mom in a wheelchair started asking questions. Gestation when he was born? How big was he? How big is he now? I got Robbie out of the stroller and showed her.

She asked about his lungs. Another mother asked about his eyes. Her son has ROP.

David had arrived by then and he talked to some parents and helped show Robbie off a bit. By then, it was beginning to feel a little circus-like- but in a good way.

In the meantime, Laura had called for the hospital photographer to come take some pictures. (Much to my chagrin.) We posed for a few pictures. There's some talk of getting them into the next NICU newsletter.

Laura and Kathy (the volunteer coordinator) took the cart of boxes and the cupcakes down to the "new" NICU and we followed shortly thereafter. That's when the REAL fun began.

I didn't think we'd be able to go into the NICU because of germs, but they said we could come just inside the door and wait on a bench. So we did.

As we came through the door, they had started pulling stuff out of the boxes and spreading it out. They looked like kids at Christmas. It was so much fun!

More and more people started coming to see everything. I retold our story. They thanked me. I thanked them.

I cried, of course. I told everyone that without them, this year would have been the worst of our lives instead of the best. I thanked them for this year and everything they do.

There was lots of hugging and smiling and cooing over Robbie.

They decided to leave some of the items out on the counter for everyone to see, then took the box of bears around and started distributing them right away.

The clothes and blankets went to their donation closet.

Kathy was very pleased to see all the books. She said they'd just discussed starting a book drive so parents can read to their babies. Now it's started.

We saw lots of familiar faces. It was honestly just spectacular. Doctors, nurses, therapists, even one of my old lactation consultants came by (I got to brag that I'm still pumping.) to say hello.

Finally, it was time for Robbie to be fed. Laura took us down to Pastoral Services and found us a private place. Robbie was fed (and promptly puked on their pretty couch) and we visited a little while longer. Then we headed back home.

Tonight we'll draw for the raffle and tomorrow we'll get ready for Robbie's birthday on Sunday.

Thank you so much to everyone who participated. You made today a great one not just for us, but for the family and staff in the NICU. We are all truly blessed.

And of course- PICTURES!

many, many cupcakes


Scrapbooking/sign making supplies



Stuffed animals

burp cloths


more accessories and decor

Robbie is escorting all the goods.

Even the front seat is full.

Chaplain Laura tends all the precious cargo in front of the hospital.

The loot

Robbie's daytime primary, Dara, is in the center.

I wish I'd have worn some make up.

No one can resist Robbie!

David, Robbie & Laura


Thursday, May 28, 2009


A year ago today a friend on a message board saved our lives.

I had started having "heartburn" and was feeling pretty rough. I hated to complain too much about it because I was just so grateful to be pregnant, that something as minor as heartburn seemed silly to complain about. But it REALLY hurt.

I made a post on the board about the heartburn and a friend, Danielle, encouraged me to take my blood pressure. I told her she was being silly. But she was not deterred. She'd had HELLP herself, you see.

At her urging, I bought a blood pressure cuff that night. Then I didn't believe the reading. But I promised if I still felt badly the next morning I would call. And I did.

When I left the house that morning, I had no idea I would be a different person when I returned to it 8 days later.

But if it hadn't been for the urging (Ahem- nagging.) of Danielle, I wouldn't have called. I probably would have had a stroke at home before I'd known something was wrong.

She very likely saved both my life and Robbie's.

Thank you, Danielle. I'm forever in your debt.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Did you need something, Mommy?

Hmm. What does THIS button do?

The latest in baby discipline. A playmat shackle.

Watching TV on Daddy's "mattress".

An afternoon nap on Mommy's "mattress."

Sitting up like a big boy!

I love my rattle.

Hangin' out at Grandpa's house.

Singin' and dancin' with my microphone.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pay-It-Forward reminder

The donations for Robbie's Birthday Pay-It-Forward are starting to come in. It's such a joy to get the mail these days!

It brings tears to my eyes to see the generosity people have.

Several people have asked when things are "due." We plan to deliver everything to the NICU on the 29th, so we need anything to arrive by the 28th. That's two weeks from today.

Don't forget there are a few raffle items to be given away. Anyone who donates anything is entered into the raffle.

We have gift cards to Target & Build-A-Bear, plus a crafty friend is donating a handmade necklace to be raffled off as well.

Don't miss out!


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Family Outing

Someone should have warned me how exhausting it is to leave the house with a small child!

Now that are restrictions are semi lifted, we took the opportunity to get out. I'm not sure the zoo qualified as "no large crowds" but since it's open air and doesn't require touching a lot of common areas, we thought it would be safe, so Robbie had his first trip to the zoo.

He didn't seem to feel too strongly about it either way. He wasn't terribly excited, but also didn't get fussy or restless at all. He doesn't really understand pointing at things yet, so I don't think he knew what he was looking at most of the time.

Less than impressed by the lemurs.

He did seem to enjoy petting the goats, so at least there was that.

He didn't seem terribly impressed by the butterfly house.

I think his favorite part of the visit might have been when Mommy & Daddy had refreshments.

I may not like MY bottle, but mommy's is tasty!

Either way, mommy and daddy had a good time. It was our first family outing. (Hospital visits do NOT count.)

After the zoo, we came back home for a feeding/puking session. (His reflux is still awful.) David and I got changed and headed out to a nice dinner for Mother's Day.

We went to a local Italian place- Mungo's. Robbie did great. He flirted with the patrons waiting next to us and was pretty perky throughout most of the dinner.

He had his first taste of big people bread and boy was it a hit!

He started to get a little restless towards the end of dinner, but was pacified by the joy of playing with my to-go bag.

Bread is good, but paper is better!

All in all it was a great day. It was exhausting, though. Robbie fell asleep in the car on the way home and I could have easily done the same.

But it truly felt great to get out of the house and seem almost normal. It was the greatest Mother's Day gift I could have asked for.


P.S. One more bonus picture. Robbie had his first trip to the grocery store with me the other day. I brought toys, but in typical child fashion, the best "toys" are always mom's.