Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Funny girl!

Becca just laughed at herself in the mirror!  Too funny!  I hope she always has such great self-esteem!  ;)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas pictures!

Hey, folks!
Not much time at the moment, so I'll save the descriptions of all our fun Christmas celebrations, but here are some pictures. That's what you really want, anyway! :) Enjoy!

The inconvenience of my feet hanging 8 inches above the ground doesn't mean I don't like the jump-a-roo Santa brought me.The inconvenience of my feet hanging 8 inches above the ground doesn't mean I don't like the jump-a-roo Santa brought me./caption

It makes a nice place for a nap.It makes a nice place for a nap.[/caption]

In the process of rolling over - she can go belly to back now!In the process of rolling over - she can go belly to back now![/caption]My beautiful My beautiful flapper bow[/caption]

Daddy thinks it's silly
.Daddy thinks it's silly.

Another bath picture to see how she's grown - check out that tummy!Another bath picture to see how she's grown - check out that tummy![/caption]

Smiles: not rare. Smiles caught on camera: very rare.very rare.[/caption]

In my new Bumbo seat from Aunt Jenny Speas and crew. I'm such a big girl in a tiny girl's
body!"]In my new Bumbo seat from Aunt Jenny Speas and crew.  I'm such a big girl in a tiny girl's body![/caption]

In my other new chair - my fancy rocker from our friends at Northside UMC. Love it!In my other new chair - my fancy rocker from our friends at Northside UMC.  Love it![/caption]

Daddy's a big fan of the new glider, too.Daddy's a big fan of the new glider, too.[/caption]

Monday, December 22, 2008

6-month Update (and it might take 6 months to read it...)

Becca and I have had a busy time since I last posted (especially for two girls stuck in the house!).  We actually had several adventures into the big, wide world that turned out to be more adventurous than we had anticipated. 

Last Wednesday, Becca had an appointment at the ENT clinic at Vandy.  John was in the process of coming down with strep throat, so we left him in Bethpage to visit the Hope Clinic.  Becca and I went in early that day andhad an early lunch with a few of Becca's primary nurses.  It was great to see Stacy, Leigh, and Carla, and they were amazed at how big Becca had gotten.  Stacy was wearing a really fuzzy sweater that Becca loved.  She kept nuzzling into it to feel it on her face, which was pretty adorable.  We met them at Panera and found a quiet little alcove that I think remained fairly germ-free until the lunch rush started coming in (and we headed out).  Becca LOVED being in new surroundings and was fascinated by a whole new set of lights, colors, movement, etc.  This girl's going to like the big, wide world come summer!

We headed over to the hosptial (after collecting the ADORABLE cups that Stacy made for my nieces and nephews for Christmas - if you are looking for monogrammed and/or embroidered treats for little ones, be sure to check out her website by clicking here) and got to the clinic just in time for her appointment.  Becca, who had been calm all day, decided to melt down and test out her lungs in the office, which made for a really good time for everyone.  First we saw Mary, the wonderful pediatric audiologist, who repeated the test of her eardrums, which were still not moving.  Then we saw an ENTdoc whose name I am withholding because I was not particularly pleased with him.  He tried to touch my baby without washing his hands.  And then he acted like I was crazy when I asked him to do so.  Andthis was after he nonchalantly asked if there was "anything abnormal about her delivery or birth?"  Um, yes.  Please read her chart.  I actually just laughed at him when he said that.  Anyhow, I was glad to let him think that I was a crazy germ freak if that got him to wash his hands before touching Becca.  Seriously?   The smallest baby ever to survive at Vandy?  The baby who cost $667,000 plus doctors' fees?  The baby I'm not allowed to take out in public for 6 months?  Yes, I think you can manage to wash your hands.   Ugh.  Anyhow, after he did wash his hands, he looked at her ears andaffirmed our hunch that she does, indeed, need tubes in her ears.  He will be the one to place them, but he doesn't do surgeries on Mondays, which her hernia surgery was scheduled for, so we are postponing the hernia repair to a time that both he and Dr. Morgan are available so that we only have to put her under once.  After the surgeries are completed (but while she is still sedated), Mary will repeat the ABR (the extended hearing test we did several weeks ago) to make sure that the tubes do fix the problem.  If not, we'll have to investigate more, but she seems pretty confident that the tubes will clear everything up.  All in all, then, it was a good visit, even if I did have to ruffle a few doctor feathers.  (His resident, by the way, was in the room for that exchange, and I think he was pretty entertained by it.)

After leaving the ENT clinic, we visited around a bit, seeing a few of our nurse practitioners, some of the MR's who knew us, and Dr. John, Becca's first fellow.  (That's funny.  He wasn't, like, her first date.  He was the neonatalogy fellow in Stahlman for the first month of her life.)  We made a round through Green Hills, stopping at Calvary, where we saw Libby, Jule, and Peter (who, I found out, was a preemie himself - he's now, what, 6' 6"?), and then by Carol's house, where I got to introduce Becca to Tate and Martha.  I didn't take her out of the car in either place (you know, germs and all), but I showed her off through the car window.  It was a bit like looking at a small animal at the zoo.  A travelling human baby zoo, that is.  After a visit with Jeannie at her office at 2nd Pres., Becca and I began the trek back north to the hinterlands.

It took a little longer than expected.

Four days after Becca was born, her crib was recalled.  (Even though she was 3 months early, we already had a crib, thanks to our friends, the Satterlys, in Louisville and Elizabeth Satterly'swillingness to move into a big girl bed.)  With other things on our minds, of course, we didn't realize this until a few weeks ago, so we've been in the process of getting it replaced.  The crib we had purchased had arrived at Babies 'R Us, which is right on the way home from Vandy and at least 30 minutes from our house, so I really wanted to stop and pick it up.  I called ahead and had them bring it out to the car for us and everything so that Becca wouldn't have to go into the germy store, which they were more than willing to do.  (Turns out one of the managers also had a baby in the NICU at one time, so she understood.)  I pulled up, called them to let them know we were there, turned off the car, cleared out the back, and closed the door so that it would stay warm for Becca while we waited.


Apparently my doors lock automatically when you close the back (it's a wagon).  I was outside the car.  The keys were still in the ignition, though it wasn't running.  Becca was inside the car.  It was 37 degrees outside.  And this is why I am The World's Greatest Mom. 

Becca is a miracle baby.  She overcame tremendous odds, dire predictions, and every obstacle thrown her way.  She lasted longer than they thought she would in my crappy womb.  She survived delivery.  She quickly learned to breathe on her own.  She didn't have any brain bleeds.  She is developing normally.  She cost our insurance and the State of Tennessee very nearly $1,000,000.   And I locked her in the car, without the heat on, in nearly freezing temperatures.

Big oops.

This is not the first time I've locked my keys in the car, but it is the first time I've locked a child in the car.  I did lock Tate and me out of the car together once, but it was summer, and all was well.  Turns out there are a few benefits to having a child in the car when you lock your keys in it.  It's declared an emergency, and the cops come, sirens blaring.  Someone from the store stays with you to make sure you don't freak out.  And the locksmith doesn't actually charge you.  At least there is an upside to it.

Long story short, one hour, two cops, two managers, one shopper who used to be a locksmith (or a car thief, not quite sure which one), and one bona fide locksmithlater, I was back in the car with sweet Becca, who was still warm, and, while irritable (after all, she was stuck in her carseat, her hat was in her eyes - which she HATES, and she had dropped her paci), she didn't seem to notice that life was any different than it was on the hour-long drive to Vandy.  Just for the record, Ford Focus wagons are really hard to break into (thank goodness, because I know otherwise everyone would be clamoring to steal my mom-mobile), the folks at Babies 'R Us (in Rivergate) were WONDERFUL, and the cops successed in getting into my car before the professional locksmith (a feat of which they were very proud).  And then the crib didn't even fit in my car.  Sheesh. 

So somebody send me my medal or little gold statue or something, because, gosh, aren't I who you want raising this miracle child?  Thankfully, though, Becca is too young to remember it, so she won't have to mention it to her therapist later.  Being a double preachers' kid, though, I'm sure she'll come up with more to talk about.  ;)  Oh well.  All's well that ends well, I guess. 

After a day of cozy hibernation in the house (with TWG Mom still flying solo as John was still technically contagious, though it's difficult for babies to catch strep), Becca and I trooped again on Friday for her 6-month well baby visit to the pediatrician.

That's right:  BECCA IS 6 MONTHS OLD!  Yesterday was her very first half-birthday.  Can you believe it?  That also means we've lived and worked in Bethpage for half a year, which is even more crazy.  No, it's more crazy that Becca is 6 months old.  WOW!

Since Responsible Daddy John was with us, this trip was logistically less eventful, although poor Becca had to get 5 shots (4 regular 6-month vaccines and her monthly Synagis RSV shot).  She was NOT happy, though she recovered pretty quickly.  Dr. Collins was happy with her growth and progress anddoesn't need to see her back until her regular 9-month well baby visit.  (A nurse from Vandy home health is going to come to the house to give Becca her monthly shots and weigh her so that we can keep her out of the germy, germy, germy pediatrician's office.)  She's on a regular baby schedule for her doctors' appointments, then!  (Except, of course, all of her specialist visits and her upcoming surgery.)  That's exciting!  It feels like a graduation of sorts.  

Except that we ended up back at the office the very next day.  On Saturday morning, John woke me up to tell me that Becca had a fever, even though we had been giving her Tylenol after her shots.  It was 101.8, which was a bit higher than I would have expected in a vaccine reaction (gee, since I'm the expert and all ;) ), and since a) we know she has fluid in her ears that could easily cause an infection; b) she was in the office the day before and thus exposed to all kinds of sick kid germs; c) the office is closed on Sunday, so if we followed the regular rules of waiting 24 hours, it would be Sunday morning, John and I would be at work, andwe'd have to go to the ER withfolks who didn't know Becca at ALL; d) Becca never had a reaction withher 2- or 4-monthshots; and e) let's face it, Becca's kind of a fragile girl, infection-wise, I insisted that the doctor see her.  Mom and I took her in while John and Dad took their big car to actually pick up the crib.  (My parents were in town for our Christmas and to babysit for my first Sunday morning back, but more on that later.)  It was one of Dr. Collins's partners, Dr.  Murray, who had not yet met our little rock star; neither had the office staff who were working that day.  When I asked if there was an exam room open that I could take Becca back to, I was told there wasn't, even though there are more than a dozen rooms and only one doctor on duty who couldn't possibly have that many patients at once (at least, not given the state of the parking lot).  We waited in the car for 45 minutes before I went back in and (hopefully politely) pitched a mini-fit and they opened ONE OF THE 9 ROOMS THAT WERE AVAILABLE for us.  Ugh.  Our pediatrician's office is GREAT, once you get someone who knows Becca and her story.  In the meantime, though, people just seem to think I'm a jittery first-time mom who is overreacting.  ("What do you mean, she can't wait in the waiting room?"  "I mean, she CAN'T wait in the waiting room.  Doctors' orders.")  Once we got to the nurse (who did know Becca) and Dr. Murray, everything was great, and they didn't even make me feel bad about bringing her in.  Dr. Murray checked her ears and her breathing and cleared her for another 24 hours unless anything changed.  I was glad that we saw him, especially in case anything did change, and we ended having to call him in the middle of the night; at least then he would have seen her once when she was just a little ill.  Turns out it was just a reaction to the vaccines, which our physician assistant friend says is a really good sign because it means that her body is mounting an immune response to the vaccines.  Though she ran a low-grade fever most of the day, by Sunday afternoon, she was clear.  Mom, Becca, and I got home just in time to see - really, to EXPERIENCE - our first Bethpage Christmas parade. 


I don't know where all these people came from, but it was HUGE!  I mean, not quite Macy's huge, but bigger than I ever would have imagined.  I was supposed to be in the parade with our youth, but since we literally snuck through the barricade to get back to the house minutes before the parade came by, I missed out on the fun.  When we did get home, there was a party in our driveway, as the parade passes right by the parsonage.  I sent John in to get a couple of blankets, wrapped the little one up in several layers, and joined the party as the parade rolled and rolled and rolled by.  I'll have to get pictures to put up later, but let me just say that I have never seen so many tractors, old cars, ATV's, motocycles, horses, and MULES in one place.  It was crazy, amazing, and wonderfully Bethpage.  A couple from our church served as the grand marshalls, andI cried when I saw them.  (Yeah, I'm a crier these days.  Good thing the Olympics are over with their gut-wrenching McDonald's commercials.)  It was sweet.  The cub scouts rolled by, and I cried.  The youth rolled by, and I cried.  And then Santa rolled by, and I tried to wake Becca to show her, but she was so burrowed andcozy that there was no waking her.  I thought it was very kind of Santa to come to her house to see her this year since she's not allowed to go to the mall to visit him. 

And speaking of Christmas...like I said, Mom and Dad Speas were here for Christmas this weekend, but this is already the longest post EVER, so I'm going to save that story and pictures for its own post.  Surely Becca's first celebration of her first Christmas is worthy of its own post.  ;)  As is my first Sunday back at work, possibly.

A couple of things I do want to go ahead and mention, even if it makes this post longer than some master's theses:  Becca is now officially on the Tiniest Babies Registry.  I had no idea anything like this was out there, and I would have loved to have come across it when Becca was still tiny or before she was born, but I'm glad to have found it now.  It's just what it sounds like: a registry of the world's tiniest babies (click here).  Surviving babies born under 400 grams are eligible to be on the registry, which is run by the University of Iowa Children's Hospital.  I submitted Becca's info, talked to a neonatalogist there, had the info verified by Dr. Ashner at Vandy, and now's she officially baby #97.  If I counted correctly, she's tied for the 66th smallest baby ever to survive in the world.  Wow!  It's really fascinating to look at this list and see how the babies are doing now.  (There is updated healthinformation on many of them.)  Three of the babies on the list were born in the 1930's!  That's unbelievable (except that it's been verified, so I do believe it)!   It's encouraging to know both that Becca isn't alone and that she is one of a precious few.  Very fun. 

Not quite as fun are the circumstances that led me to discover this list.  One of my friends from high school, Adrianne, is 24 weeks pregnant with twin boys.  She has gone into pre-term labor and was admitted to the University of Iowa hospital.  Since I know that her boys are at a very precarious age, I was checking out her hospital online to get a sense of how their NICU is.  I'm so glad to saw that it looks like they have state-of-the-art facilities and a talented faculty (like Vandy!) so I know that Adrianne and her boys are getting GREAT care.  Please remember her, her twins, her older son, andher husband.  I think they've been able to get the labor under control, but these little boys sure could use another few weeks before they enter the world on their own!  If you'd like to follow their story, click here.  Adrianne is tough, positive, and amazing, so I know those boys are in good hands (metaphorically speaking, that is).  :)

If you made it to the endof this you are either a) family; b) a very good friend; or c) stuck at work just before Christmas andtrying to avoid being productive.  Whatever your reason, thank you!  :)  I'll be back on with more Christmas pictures of Becca, including shots of her in her new Bumbo seat, which she LOVES (thanks, Aunt Jenny Speas and crew!).  If I'm not back here before then, have a very, very merry Christmas, andrevel in the joy of the truly miraculous baby whose birth we celebrate.  This year, I'm celebrating two miracle babies.  :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Just want to do the math for you on that last post. If she's 7#, 13 ozs, that's 8 ounces in 5 days. Geez!

Another weigh-in

Um, she's even huger than huge. As of last night (12/16), she was 7 pounds, 13 ounces. Good God, she's growing like a weed! Must be all that milk I used to pump at 3 a.m.
Upcoming: if Becca, work, and Christmas cards give me a few spare moments tomorrow, I'll let you all know why I am The Greatest Mom in the World. John has strep, so I'm flying solo with Becca tonight and tomorrow - wish me luck! It's quite the inopportune time for him to get sick (for his sake), as he preaches on Sunday, and then again on Wednesday (you know, Christmas Eve - pretty big!), has family in the next 2 weekends, and still has to work on his ordination papers, which are due just after the new year - plus all the regular church work - eek!
So now I'm going to sleep. Hopefully I can update you tomorrow, both on my "award" and on Becca's visit to Vandy today.
But now, I sleep (after I mix her milk, stuff the Christmas cards, pump, and shower, that is). Phew.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Weigh in

Um, I just weighed Becca (in the non-scientific manner - me holding her on the scale minus just me on the scale), and it looks like she's a hefty, hefty, hefty 7 pounds, 5 ounces.  Wow!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Status Line

Many of you know that I am a facebook addict.  My favorite feature on facebook is the status line.  Each person can have one status line on their profile at a time, and you can read all of your friends' statuses on one page and comment on them.  They can be updated as frequently as you like, by default they start with your name and "is" (though you can drop the "is").  They range from anything like the syrupy-sweet-look-at-what-a-good-Christian-I-am "Janie is just so thrilled to be singing songs to her boyfriend, Jesus," to one of my favorites, the simple and yet descriptive, "Nancy has to pee."  They are fun because they are a snapshot into your friends' lives - or into what little (or big) facet of it he or she chooses to share. 

I've been known to update my status line a lot.  (Kind of a flashback to the old Learnlink days...ah, Learnlink...)  Some of my best friends say that I have no internal monologue; that is, my "internal" monologue is all processed externally.  Hence the proliferation of status lines.  However, I hold that I do have quite a bit of internal monologue; it's just that my mind doesn't stay still long enough to sort through it all without saying some of it out loud.  (Um, I think that might be the definition of an extrovert with ADD.)  But the point is, there is always, much to my dismay, more going on in my mind than even my jumbled ex/internal monologue - or my status lines - can hold. 

All of that is to say that every night when I go to bed (finally), my mind reels with potential status lines that describe my day and/or my present state of mind.  Sometimes I'm tempted to get out of bed just to update my status line - with several lines at a time.  Like I said, I'm an addict.  However, so far I have managed to stay in bed and sort through them all in my nest of pillows.  But last night it occurred to me that all those lost status lines might make a good blog entry that would, as I said, give you a glimpse into life at home with Becca - and my crazy mind in the midst of it all.  I'm sure there will be sequel entries of this sort, but to start, here are a few of the potential status lines that have drifted in - and out - of my scattered days.

Nancy had no idea that taking a shower was such a privilege.

Nancy appreciated that shower this afternoon but really thought that Becca would have more than 30 minutes of sleep left in her.

Nancy refuses to move the new glider out of the den even though it is in the middle of the floor.  It's so damn comfy!

Nancy walked out to the mailbox in the rain with a broken umbrella, simply to get out of the house for the first time in 2 days, and found only junk mail at the end of the rainbow.

Nancy occasionally remembers that a) her baby survived and b) we elected Barack Obama and is overwhelmed with joy.  Granted, one makes her happier than the other, but both are monumental.

Nancy takes immense joy in decorating her daughter for Christmas.

Nancy is really, really liking this whole Santa gig.  Good thing Becca can't leave the house, or we'd be in major Target debt.

Nancy is quite impressed with Becca's chunky monkey thunderthighs.  We've had to move her out of the newborn diapers just to accommodate them.

Nancy laughs at the "size 1" diapers that creep up darn near Becca's armpits.

Nancy, occasionally, believes that she might just be Superwoman enough to make it all happen.

Nancy is neither the mother, the wife, nor the minister she had hoped she would be.

Nancy counts down the days until she can introduce Becca to all her cousins - especially her very new cousin, Miss Lucy Kate Speas!

Nancy compulsively plans vacations for the non-RSV season.  May - September, here I come!

Nancy really feels Michelle Obama on the whole work/family balance thing.

Nancy wishes the dogs would learn to tell time and not ask for dinner until AFTER 5 p.m.

Nancy is ready to get Becca started on that whole potty training thing.

Nancy is looking for a few good babysitters for Sunday mornings.

Nancy is anxious to try to the whole pregnancy thing again to see if she can get it right this time.

Nancy is not anxious for another baby.

Nancy moves from the living room to the den for a change of scenery.

Nancy contemplates.

Nancy finds something quite satisfying in doing laundry and mixing Becca's milk.  Two of the few chores that have something to show for them at their completion.

Nancy dreads the conversation about dinner.

Nancy wishes desperately that there were a Chick-fil-a in Bethpage.

Nancy very much appreciates her husband bringing her Chick-fil-a from his big trip into Hermitage.

Nancy's dreams change as frequently as her pajama pants.

Nancy loves that she could, essentially, stay in pajamas for 6 days straight.

Nancy is proud of Becca's developmental assessment scores (more on this after we meet with our TEIS coordinator on Friday). 

Nancy does not understand why the doctors want Becca to "catch up" size-wise.  In 10 years, she'll be feeling the pressure to downsize.  Can't we just let her be for now?

Nancy does not miss driving to the hospital, but she misses the hospital.

Nancy does not -at all - miss not living with her baby, but she misses her nurses.

Nancy eagerly awaits packages and is very, very thankful for the invention of the internet and the resulting ease of shopping and entertainment.

Nancy just heard her husband pull into the driveway.  Time for the dreaded conversation about dinner!

That ought to be enough for now!  :)

One more - Nancy finds it ironic that her blog's spellchecker doesn't recognize "blog" or "internet"!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Lots of eloquent thoughts on miracles, Thanksgiving, and Christmas to come.  For now, though, just this:

My baby smiles at me.  Hot damn, that's great!  I tend to smile back.

Also in Becca news:  she has developed "The Becca Noise." (Each member of our family has a noise.  Perhaps someday I'll share the others.)  When holding her paci in her mouth, she babbles, saying, "waggawaggawaggawaggawaggawoooooo."  I like it. 

I had to pack up most of the preemie clothes yesterday.  There are a few things left out, several that I need her to wear one last time, but we're moving into the newborn clothes (which is good, because I never did find Christmas outfits in preemie sizes).  Not quite ready for the 0-3 months, but out of the preemies.  The amazing thing is that it's mostly the length that has become a problem.  She's 18 inches, 6.5 pounds now - like a newborn, only 5 months older.  And cuter.

Never did tell you about the endocrinologist - nice guy, not sure if her hypothyroidism will be chronic or not, adjusting her meds, and will recheck after Christmas and possibly decide to readjust, depending on her levels.  Didn't learn much about the vision issues associated with septo-optic dysplasia.  I'll likely call the pediatric ophthamologists and, um, politely request that they see her earlier than the spring visit she has scheduled and tell us what in the world we may be looking at (no pun intended, but I kind of like it). 

Starting work again.  Conflicted about this.  Not sure how to do it all: full-time childcare (though with an extremely helpful husband/father) and "part-time" youth ministry.  We'll see.  One week at a time.  Speaking of, if you want to wrap presents at the Christmas Bazaar on Saturday, e-mail me at nancyhillbumc@gmx.com.  You know you want to!

Really, that's all I've got.  Very tired and achey.  But congrats to Narcie (who is surely more tired and achey than I) and Mike on the birth of adorable Evangeline Grace!  And because I love you and would like you to smile, here's the Santa Becca picture.