Thursday, December 30, 2010

What the Years Have Meant

There are days I find myself daydreaming about when Betsy was born. I remember how extremely tiny and fragile she was and all I could do was hope and pray she would survive. I wouldn't count her life in days and months but in minutes and hours. One more hour. Yes. She made it another hour. And so on and so on. After Olivia died I quit counting the days, at this point she was 37 days, and I started to turn to months. Something in my head just clicked and I knew Betsy HAD to survive. We sat vigil by her bed in the NICU day in and day out. We watched her have good days and really bad days. Eventually we started to shed the bubble we were trying to place around ourselves and faced things in a new light. It was as though a door had opened and a light bulb came on in our heads. It took almost two months for us to register and digest every single thing we had faced and try to deal with it. I journaled every single night when we got home from the NICU and there were days I didn't remember things happening until I went home and read about it. We lived in a fog and our bodies were on auto-pilot. I remember talking to other NICU mommies and some of the nurses who would always say, "By the time she's two you won't even be able to tell she was a preemie!" Ha! We thought that was the most hysterical thing. Seriously?!? This little 1 lb 9 oz baby would grow up and be a normal toddler????

I would have never in a million years imagined those words could ring more true. It now seems so long ago that she was that tiny fragile little baby and I look at her now and sometimes I even forgot she was so small. Crazy how that works. The past two years I really look upon in amazement. This. Is. Not. How. It. Was. Supposed. To. Be.

I always like the saying about How do you make God laugh? You tell him your plans. I mean that could not be more true in my life. Yes. This is exactly how it was supposed to be. Exactly how God intended it to be.

Ever since I gave birth to my babies and ever since Betsy came home, the years seem to be more cherished. I used to give a rat's patootie about some things and pretty much lived a carefree live. I would say that would not be the case anymore. I definetely have learned how precious life really is and how quick life can be taken away. Betsy defied all odds with her birth. She truly is a gift from God and I cherish every minute, hour, day, month and YEAR she is here. Over the past two years she has taught me more about myself than any self-help, Dr. Phil book ever could. She will never know the impact she has had on me and her daddy's life and how very much she helped us. My dream for her in the years to come is that she continue to flourish and blossom just the way she has. I know that God has a very special plan for our special little lady. I try so hard to have the strength, the will, the DRIVE that she had when she was only the size of my hand. It sounds so crazy to say but I want to be just like her. She's beautiful and smart and so determined. My life will never be the same now that she's here and I know that is so cliche, but Lord have Mercy....walk a minute, just one minute in my shoes and see if she doesn't brighten your lives. Betsy my love, you are going to be somebody someday and if you bring just as much joy and love as you have these past two years....look out world!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Back to Normal

Christmas is over and although we really enjoyed the craziness of it all, I'm glad it's over. Tony took a week long vacation the week of Christmas and it was so nice to have him here with us, even though we were so busy we didn't get to spend any time just sitting around and relaxing. We got lots of Christmas shopping done, spent time with my sister, niece and nephew who are visiting from Louisiana, and got to go see Christmas lights and spend lots of time with family. It seemed every night we were busy with something which was fun. On Christmas Eve we started a new tradition of making cookies for Santa and letting Betsy open a special gift of Christmas pajamas. We had tons of fun doing that and something to definetely look forward to every year! I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! We did and although we always miss the girls and this year missed my cousin Lance, we still had a very peaceful and joyful Holiday.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!

I'm sorry I don't feel like posting all our Christmas pictures. We did so much and had different activities going on that when I initially started the blog I had marked the pictures I wanted to use. There ended up being 24 of them. Whoops. Instead I will show you Betsy on Christmas Eve posing in her new Christmas jammies.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


I recently blogged about Betsy's Christmas Program at her little school and how much we all enjoyed that as a family. What I failed to mention is that we chose to attend Betsy's Christmas Program as opposed to something else that is important to Tony and myself.

Since the girls passed away Tony and I have belonged to a parent support group from the hospital they were born at. Our support group is called P.R.I.D.E. Which stands for Parents Responding to Infant Death Experience. We have always enjoyed our meetings with them and twice a year they always do a big memorial service. One for Spring and one for Christmas. The administrators of the group will make special Christmas ornaments for each individual baby lost and that is something we look forward to bringing home and putting on our tree to honor our girls who will be forever missed at Christmastime. They put on a very special program, complete with sweet songs, poems about missing our babies and read each baby's name for all to hear.

Well this year the P.R.I.D.E. Christmas Program was on the exact same night, at the exact same time as Betsy's Christmas Program. When I received the invitation in the mail my heart just broke. There was no way to make it possible to go to both programs. So we had to chose. Of course we were going to chose Betsy's program. It wasn't even a second thought. But to even have to think of the circumstances and that we would literally have to chose between our children was a pretty hard pill to swallow.

We know that there will be many, many more P.R.I.D.E. Programs and there will be many, many more Christmas Programs for Betsy. But it just sucks that we had to miss paying a special tribute to Grace and Olivia. I am so torn up about this. It's sad that their special ornaments sat there without anyone hanging them on the tree for all to see. It's sad that when their names were read aloud there was no one there to know them, to cry for them, to remember them. Yes, we had a blast at Betsy's program and without a doubt I know we made the right decision, of course we will always chose Betsy first, but her sister's were pushed aside...something we have never had to do and something we never anticipated doing. It was almost a sad realization that sometimes Grace and Olivia just won't be as important. It's tough to deal with that. I could never imagine our lives WITHOUT them in it, then our lives WITH them in it. I picture all three of them in our sweet little Betsy. She is so amazing to me and as I watched her dance and play around the stage at her Christmas Program, I remembered just how far she has come and just how important she is in our lives. I can't miss one second of her little life. To think of her being born so tiny and to be a survivor of three little Our love for all three of our girls can never be expressed in black and white.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I totally understand the words now to that song. Where they sing, "It's the most wonderful time of the year. It's the hap-happiest season of all." Whoever sings that song MUST have children. And those children MUST have had Christmas Programs. I just can't imagine what the words mean if not.

Tonight Betsy had her very first Christmas Program courtesy of her Mother's Day Out program. I just absolutely love this little school and so does Betsy! They are just too sweet and really, really go all out for these little ones. They have been practicing for their Christmas program for well over a month and I honestly didn't know what to expect. I under-estimated them I suppose. It was most definetly the hap-happiest thing I have ever seen. We did get a million pictures but most of them turned out crappy. Sorry. I don't know what happened. Maybe the lighting or something. I videotaped the entire thing and of course stood there crying like a weirdo. I can't help it that I am so proud of my little girl. The way she danced on stage was something I could never get tired of seeing. She absolutely melts my heart.

Here are a few of the good ones we got.

Betsy is standing just left to the lady directing in the center. Betsy is wearing a red dress with a white shirt under it. In this picture she is looking to her left. Please note the two babies that they had sitting in Christmas presents. How cute is that!

In this picture Betsy is dancing. She is directly underneath the hanging cross.

Betsy was really excited to go see Santa. I was shocked! She almost wouldn't wait her turn in line. Santa asked if she was a good girl and she said "yes".

I would have to agree Betsy.

Giving Thanks and Getting Sick

Well I'm a little disappointed in myself for not keeping up more often on my blog. I always try to do better then things get in the way. Plus our computer is basically a piece of crap so sometimes I just avoid it all together. So here is what has happened with us lately.

We had a great Thanksgiving. We always travel to my grandparents and it's wonderful to spend time with family. There is about 30 of us that gather at my Ma and Pa's house. My family is the absolute world to me and I enjoy every second I have to spend with them. It was a little tough being our first Thanksgiving without my cousin Lance. It was an obvious void felt by the entire family and so strange that he never walked through the door. I actually did okay until we all gathered around to be led in prayer by my grandpa. For some reason it really hit me then and I couldn't hold back my tears. Apparently that was it for all of us because after I lifted my head I saw many tears from most everyone. We all miss him so much and even though we all had a good time, he definetely wasn't far from anyone's minds. I have to say that as close as our family always was, I noticed that we all seemed a little closer. I think that after we lost Lance we all realized that our family was closer than any of us could have imagined. I'm so very thankful God chose these people for me to be my family. I couldn't have chosen better people and I will thank him for it every single day.

Here I am with my brother (farthest right) and my best friends in my cousins. Lance would have stood far left next to his brother Cody and sister Anna. It's so strange to look at this picture of all my cousins and him not be there.

So the day after Thanksgiving we had plans for all us to get together and go look at Christmas Lights in a nearby town. However, shortly after breakfast Betsy threw up. It was strange because Betsy has NEVER thrown up. This wasn't like a little spit was straight up puke! She seemed to be acting okay so we thought maybe she had just ate too fast. She went on and finished eating her scrambled eggs and then played just a little before throwing up again. This time it was alot. I put her in the tub and she was crying and crying. After I cleaned her up she just wanted me to hold her and she obviously didn't feel good. She was very lethargic and actually fell asleep on me, which my little energetic daughter that she is, she never does this! We knew she was sick and we decided we should pack up and make the journey back home. Even though it's a good 3 hour drive, we thought the best place for her to be was at home. We especially didn't want her to be around so many people by staying at my grandparents. We loaded up the car and Betsy threw up another 3 times before we got home. By that evening, she was running a fever of 102 and started having diarrhea.

She did this on and off for a few days and I even called the doc reguarly to check in. She told us it was just a stomach bug that is going around and to make sure we keep Betsy hydrated. Betsy is usually really good about drinking when we ask her to but she was so sick that she did not even want to take one little sip. She hadn't thrown up since Friday and by Sunday we thought she might be getting over it. She tried to play and really wanted to have energy but still wasn't eating and drinking properly. We got to the point we were forcing liquids down her and that made the situation worse. Sunday afternoon she starting throwing up again and we couldn't control her fever. We took her to the Emergency Room and said yup, it's a stomach bug and she just has to fight it. The attending physician said that it also appears she has got an ear injection that stemed from the virus but turned into a bacteria. He gave her an antibiotic for that and sent us on our way.

Monday morning I followed up with her pediatrician who didn't like the antibiotic he prescribed. She said it wasn't very strong so she gave her a shot of Rocephin. Betsy continued to be sick and had almost constant diarrhea. She hadn't thrown up again since Sunday but she was so sick. We went back to the doctor on Wednesday and she admitted Betsy to the hospital for some IV fluids. She said it would be a lot easier on everyone and we wouldn't have to force liquids down her so much. She said this was just give her a little "tune-up" and she would feel so much better. Of course we were scared to death. She hasn't been back to the hospital since she left 2 years ago and all we could think of was 'hasn't she been through enough!' I wish God would cut her a break sometimes.

So we were directly admitted to the hospital and Tony went back with Betsy to get her IV started. I haven't felt this bad for her in a really long time. I just feel so helpless for her. She has been relatively healthy given her rough start to life so when anything happens I just freak out.

So we spend night #1, Wednesday, in the hospital. It was very rough. The three of us probably got a total of 5 hours sleep. As soon as Betsy would fall asleep she would use the bathroom. And her little bottom was so raw that she would just scream in pain. It was just a nightmare. It was one of the longest nights of my life. We sure were looking forward to going home the next morning.

Thursday morning Betsy's pediatrician came in and said that Betsy's lab work came back and showed that her potassium was very low. This was due to the fact that she hadn't had adequate nutrition in the past six days. She said that since she continued to have diarrhea all night and even threw up once, it was due to her potassium levels. It can be a dangerous deal when this happens so she decided to keep her another night to run another bag of potassium. We were so sad. I have to say though that my little angel is such a trooper! She was so good on Thursday and even played alot. We could tell she felt so much better and went all day with only a handful of dirty diapers. Such an improvement. By that evening Betsy went to sleep soundly and slept ALLLLL night in her little uncomfortable hospital crib with her arm stretched out beside her with her IV. I'm so proud of that little girl, words cannot express.

By Friday morning we were cleared to go home. Bety's stool cultures came back positive for rotavirus, just a type of virus. There is a vaccination for it but since she was in the hospital for the first four months of her life she didn't receive it. You have to have 3, or 4?, shots by the time you are 32 weeks and her pediatrician did not feel as though she should receive it being so tiny. So she got it, may not be the last time, but if she ever gets it again it wont be as bad. Thank God. And Thank God for watching over my little princess and keeping her as healthy as possible for a 24-weeker. She is such a miracle.

This is Betsy upon arriving to her room. We were waiting for the topical anesthesia to soak into the spots on her arm to try an IV and also waiting for the nurse to bring over the crib for her to sleep in.

Betsy wandering the halls. They had a playroom but she enjoyed the train in the hall the most.

Playing with her interactive DVD.

Here is Betsy with her new doll, "Debbie" as she named her. She really tried to play with her when she first got her, but she just didn't feel good. :(

This was our last morning. Betsy was feeling so much better and was HUNGRY! It was so nice to see her have her appetite back and her doctor said let her eat what she wants. So she got bacon and eggs.

It took a solid week. A REEEEEEALLY long week for mommy and daddy and Betsy, but Betsy finally felt better and was just as energetic as ever. Welcome back Betsy!