Friday, October 30, 2009

Mommy's Girl

Becca got into my coupon stash. She was sorting them out for me. If I didn't already love her, this would have sealed the deal. Grandma Charlotte must be proud!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hunter and Becca's First Kiss

Our friends Katy, Sarah, and Hunter came to visit this week! It was SOOOO fun to see them -- definitely a major bright spot in a grey, dreary week. Katy stayed with us for a few days, and Sarah and Hunter trekked out from the city on Monday afternoon. Hunter and Becca hadn't seen each other since May, so it was very exciting for our two little lovebirds. Hunter recently learned to kiss, but at first he had trouble with her helmet. (But he was nice enough to sanitize first.)

Once the helmet was off, he was ready to cuddle. (And we re-sanitized after right after this.)

It was a pretty day, so we stayed outside and snapped a few more shots. I've got to say, it was a lot harder to get a still shot of Hunter than Becca. She's happy examining a piece of grass for 15 minutes; in the meantime, Hunter is crawling/walking laps around us - literally. He's so adorably everywhere. So while Becca does this:

Hunter does this:

It was especially fun to try to change his diaper in the wide open. Good thing Sarah's got quick

Check out the height difference on these kids! Hunter is really tall, so Becca's not quite as far behind the average kid their age, but this is pretty hilarious. I love our itty bitty girl! Katy's such a good "aunt" -- she let the kids "beep" her nose all afternoon long. Too cute.

And one more shot, just because he is so handsome, even though he does look like Jason...Clark and Colin, you've got some competition!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What A Difference A Year Makes!

Today marks the day that our sweet girl has been home with us for 1 year!

Sometimes I can't believe it's been a year, but other times, it feels like it's been much longer. Time is weird like that. Especially as you are watching your baby grow up.

I remember people telling us that the NICU experience would be hard, but someday it would just be a blip on the screen. I wouldn't say that we are there yet. I'm not sure we will ever actually be there. That's quite a blip. One that forever changed our lives. It saved our daughter. It changed our relationship. It changed how I look at the world.

It changed me. Not all for the better, mind you, but it changed me...kind of like that song from Wicked: "Who can say if I've been changed for the better? But because I knew you, I have been changed for good." I know in many ways I have matured and been made stronger through this experience, but I certainly wouldn't say that I'm nicer for it. In fact, I'm pretty sure I'm not. But, to quote another favorite musical (Into the Woods), "Nice is different than good."

And Becca has certainly changed. Here she was a year ago (at 4 pounds, 10 ounces):

And here she is today (somewhere around 14 pounds):

Or how about this? Then:

And now:

Oh, how I love toddlers and their messes. It's so fun to watch their curiosity spill out. I'm thankful that Becca's body is finally catching up so that she can explore how she wants to. Life is good.

In honor of Becca's homecoming, I am finally going back and catching up on her last month in the NICU. Remember how I just left you hanging, and then - all of a sudden - she was home? I'm trying to fill in the blanks. If you'd like to rewind with me, here's the first post. I'm post-dating them so that they fall in chronological order, so you can also get to them by going to the 2008 archives and scrolling to late September. I'll try to finish the rest up this week. We'll see how that goes. After all, I've got that toddler to contend with. Life. Is. Good.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Vote Early, Vote Often!

Okay, since I'm kind of that mom and Becca is the cutest kid ever...and because I could have some serious fun with a $1000 Baby Gap gift card, I entered Becca in the Gap Casting Call. The professional judges will pick the finalists in each category (Becca is in the baby girl category, but you could probably figure that out), and then we'll get to vote on the winner - after they fly us to New York and take us to see The Lion King! BUT you've got a chance to vote now, for the Fan Favorite. Just visit the site, log in (it's quick), and vote - and come back tomorrow and do the same! You can every 24 hours between now and November 17. The contest started a while ago, so we've got some catching up to do!

Have at it! And feel free to pass the link along! Thanks!

Preemies and Pain

Here's an article for all you medically-minded folk. It's over my head, and I'm a halfway intelligent person with an honorary MD (I gave it to myself, so there), so here's the gist of it: preemies who experience a lot of invasive procedures (i.e. needle sticks, intubation, injections, IV placement, etc.) experience a lot of pain (duh), which both desensitizes them to pain AND to pain medications. This would explain why Becca didn't even cry when she got her H1N1 shot last week. Not a bit. The whole not feeling pain thing is nice, in a way, but remember that pain is actually your body warning you to take action - as in, when you stick your hand in the boiling water, you feel pain so that you will remove your hand before tissue damage sets in. Anyhow, I found it interesting - the parts that I could understand, at least!

Hmmm...I don't seem to be able to get the text to paste. Here's the link, at least: click me!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pumpkin Patch Birthdays

This weekend, Nana Dana and G-Diddy came to visit for their birthdays. (How fun is it that they come to us for their birthdays? I love it!) Jen and Colin came, too (so fun!), and we made the trek to Hendersonville for Becca's first trip to the pumpkin patch. (Yeah, First Methodist Youth!) Becca LOVED the pumpkins and had a great time, even though it was cold. She was so excited about playing with these fun orange things with sticks on top that she didn't mind!

Here she is among the big boys:

And in a patch a little more Becca-sized:

Posing with Aunt Jen and "Uncle" Colin (will we get to remove the " " 's someday?....hhmmm...if it were up to Becca, we definitely would! ;) :

I love this picture of John snuggling with her...he's such a great daddy! (And I don't know why it is doing funky things with the font here - sorry!):

And, of course, Mommy had a great time, too:

Somehow Nana and G-Diddy managed to make it out of the patch without posing with Becca, but here they are at their birthday dinner at the Hibachi grill - yum! We hope you had a happy (early) birthday! Aren't they cute?

And we got Nana a Jim Shore angel for her birthday, but, let's face it: here is her real present:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Privacy, Please

Becca has pretty much given up on crawling and insists on rolling everywhere. Unless something is directly in front of her (in which case she will army crawl to it), she will log-roll her way over to it. And she's pretty quick, even banking off of walls to change direction. It's pretty funny to watch, and I finally caught it on film. She loves to roll to the bathroom, and just before this clip, she had been in there and knocked over the cup of water we keep for the dogs in there (so as to discourage toilet drinking...still working on that). You can see John's legs in there cleaning it up. Such is life with a toddler - or roller, I guess.

Aside from the bathroom, Becca's favorite place to be is in front of the storm door. She particularly loves to sit and bang on it when her doggies are at the door. She's begging to get out, and they are begging to get it. She's squealing; they are barking. They egg each other on, and it's kind of a hoot. I don't have a video, but here's a cute still shot of it. Don't mind the smudges all over the door. I think they might be using their sticky fingers and slimy noses to write each other secret messages.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Miracle of Miracles

My daughter eats broccoli.

Okay, so maybe by "eat" I mean that she ate two bites and threw 14 bites on the floor.  (Yes, I did just count the pieces of broccoli on my kitchen floor.)  But if you are one who recalls my many years of sitting at the table long hours after everyone else left until I could stealthily feed my vegetables to my dog  finished my vegetables and/or my having to eat my leftover supper vegetables for breakfast the next morning, you know that it is a small miracle that any green at all would pass my offspring's lips.

Tonight's supper was a particularly toddler-esque meal.  We tried diced cooked carrots, a la Gerber (floor: 3 bites, mouth: 0 bites).  We tried the broccoli (floor:14, mouth: 2).  We tried de-li-cious homeade potato soup (this one stayed on the spoon with just a drop on her tongue).  We tried whole grain "veggie" crackers, which have very little vegetable matter in them (floor: 6, mouth: 1).  We tried a cut-up Gerber chicken stick (floor: 5, mouth: 0).  We tried quartered and peeled grapes (floor: 5, mouth:1, mom:2).  The score before I brought out the ringer: 33 bites on the floor, 4 bites on the floor.  And 1/2 a grape for mom.

Thank God (and Mr. Leo and WIC) for Pediasure and its total nutrition-y goodness.

I admit defeat and bust out the shredded colby-jack.  Even her blessed cheese is scorned tonight, though not after she shovels a few bites in.

Oh well.  At least the dogs will feast tonight.  I mean, just in case John is reading this, at least I will have fun sweeping tonight.

Any advice?  She will only let you feed her ice cream or sweet yogurt (like, say, Yoplait whipped chocolate and raspberries).  Everything else, she has to finger-feed.  Help!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Always in the Back of My Mind

"Since having my son at 24 weeks gestation, almost 4 years ago, I have tried to create more awareness about these tiny fighters. When someone hears that you have had a baby 16 weeks early the first thing they ask you is if the baby is okay. If you start to explain that lots of therapy is needed and that problems could come up at a later date that is where the understanding ends." - from

I just stumbled across an article (quoted above) that hit home with me. The author, preemie mom Lisa Arneill, reflects on the risks associated with a preemie, even one who appears to be doing great. The effects of prematurity linger a lot longer than most folks consider a child a preemie. Yes, Becca is amazing and doing very well, and no, I don't want her (or me!) to be defined by her prematurity, but I as her mother (and John as her father) have to be vigilant and proactive about potential issues and risks. Becca is strong and sturdy, but she still missed out on some major development in the womb; there's just no getting around that. There are reasons why pregnancies are supposed to last 40 weeks.

I think it's human nature to want things to be finished and finished well. I think we like not just happy endings, but endings in general. We don't do well with ambiguity. We're not good at waiting and seeing. So it's natural for folks to want to think that Becca is "over" being a preemie. Sorry, folks, it's just not that easy. I wish it were. You know, of course, that I couldn't be happier with how well Becca has done and is doing, but I can't just let down my guard, enroll her in preschool, and get on with my life.  Not everybody understands why I do what I do with Becca, and we humans are quick to judge (especially new mothers, it seems), but until you truly understand what it is to have and to be a preemie, neither you nor I should expect you to understand the sometimes difficult and unpopular choices we have to make on Becca's behalf.

I don't think we can really comprehend what it is to be born severely premature. What must that experience have been like for Becca? She nearly, in a sense, suffocated in the womb and died from malnutrition. She was taken from this dangerous place into an even more dangerous one, transitioning from fetus to baby far before her tiny body was ready to breathe air, eat milk, see, hear, or even be touched. She was designed to be safe and secure for 3 more months, but instead she was immediately intubated, hooked to machines, covered in wires, poked and prodded and stuck endlessly for months. There was not a single system in her tiny body that was really ready to be functioning outside of the womb. Machines had to do the work that her body was not yet able to do, and it went on that way for months. I am ridiculously, inexpressibly grateful for her nurses and doctors who took incredibly gentle and loving care of her for those months...but let's face it, there's no way to make a spinal tap comfortable for a fetus baby.

I thank God every night that Becca made her appearance at just the right time, no sooner, no later, given our circumstances. I am comforted by the fact that she won't have any recollections of these first too-early months.  (Except for you guys, Leigh, Millie, Carla, Heather, and Stacy...I firmly believe that as long as she keeps seeing you guys, she will remember you!)  But we all know that she was born too soon.  And the question of what that may mean for her 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, and 50 years down the line is always in the back of my mind.

Grandma's Little Ninja

Grandma Speas is here for a quick visit, and we've had a lot of fun. I had to have caffeine yesterday just so I could keep up with her. (Yes, I'm 29 and she's, um, older than that.) (By the way, this is the Halloween dress I made for Becca!)

Yesterday afternoon, we walked to the church to swing and visit daddy. We had to cut across a farm/orchard kind of lot and walk on the highway a little bit (which was safe, I promise), but it was worth it! We even took the
puppies with us, and they haven't been on a real walk in a loooong time. (I tried to take the dogs and Becca on a walk once, and it's a little overwhelming.) After I attacked the swing with Clorox wipes, she had a great time in it! We even went down the slide together - so cute.

We tied the puppies up so they could stand guard. Here are our vicious attack dogs:

I tried to convince Sasha to carry Becca's backpack for me on the way home, but she didn't get very far with it.

Some of you probably remember mom's "Ninja Baby" video that she took of Becca sometime in her first few days. None of us can figure out how to slow the video down on her camera, so it all goes in high speed. It's pretty funny. I know you've been asking for a video of Becca rolling/crawling, so here it is. ;) (BTW, if you are epileptic, you probably shouldn't watch this video. :) )

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Some readers have mentioned that they are having trouble leaving comments on the new site. I think you have to click on the "Comments" link at the bottom of the post (where it says "2 comments" or "0 comments" or whatever). Alternatively, you could click on the title of that particular post, scroll down, and post directly in the comment box.

Hope this helps! I LOVE comments. Seriously. Love them.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Bye Bye, Virus!

I think she's kicked the virus. She was much happier this evening after another nap and some Saltines. I would whine all day, too, if I didn't get to eat anything. When she squealed and started babbling, I realized that I hadn't heard those happy sounds all day. Her temperature had popped back up to 99.9 just before her bath, so we gave her another dose of Tylenol, but I think she'll be okay tomorrow. Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers!

At supper on Saturday night, I finally made the connection that the wild flailing motion that Becca had learned was her version of waving. No silly hand twitching for Becca - it's got to be a full arm flail. It's pretty darn cute...but now that we're @ blogspot, you can judge for yourself without leaving the site! Let me know what you think!

Lazy Day

Still have a sick girl. Her fever is gone (97.4 temp this morning), but she threw up at breakfast (after just a few sips of Pediasure and a few Cheerios), and she's really lethargic. Really lethargic. And pitiful. I talked to the pediatrician's office, and they aren't worried. I've started Pedialyte, and she wants to chug it. (I'm not letting her.) But she's pitiful. Poor girl. I'll let you know how the day goes.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Ick - Queasy Alert

Pitiful Becca...

Just put Becca to bed after a long evening. She hasn't eaten much the past two days, and she was kind of dry heaving yesterday. She's had 3 mushy poops today, and she threw up at dinner. Yum. She's been acting a little funny, and her temperature just before her bath (but after watching the rain with me on the cool front porch for a few minutes) was 100.5. I think the wee one has a wee tummy virus! Of course, she was still happy as a lark in her bath today, even though she dry heaved a few more times and was off balance. I love my waterbug!

Don't worry; I'll keep you posted, but my hunch is that it's just a little bug. We've got Pedialyte on hand already. I'm not feeling so hot myself, so we may be sharing it (the bug, not the Pedialyte). Let's hope we're over it soon!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Going Vertical

Becca loves standing.  We're still really hoping that she will eventually crawl on her hands and knees because it would be better for her strength issues (and for general coordination), but given how interested she is in being vertical, it just may not happen.  We're still working on it in physical therapy, but in the meantime, Becca's working really hard at learning to stand.  And it's pretty cute.  She loves being tall!  (And we're not about to tell her that she's not!)  She's fairly stable when she is standing, and the fact that she has a helmet makes both her and me more comfortable with the tippiness.

Here she is standing in the jungle:

Becca October I 009

And here's a link to a video of her practicing in the tub.  It's a bit long (2 minutes), but if you watch the whole thing, you get to see her standing up, sneezing, and sitting down, which is a pretty funny process.

I haven't been able to get a video of the rolling/crawling because every time she sees the camera on her, she stops and smiles, the little diva.  I'll keep trying, though!  Lately she's been skipping the infantry crawl part altogether and log-rolling everywhere, even all the way down the hall.  I'm starting to think that she likes being dizzy.  It's quite amusing.

Friday, October 2, 2009


I've reworked a lot of the blog, mostly layout kind of stuff, and I'm ready for some feedback!

Do you like the new layout?

What would you like to see on the blog - any widgets, etc?  And what about content?  Do you like the medical info, the day to day, the photos, or what?

PLEASE comment!  Thank you!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

RSV Season, Round 2

Becca's public service announcement:

Today is October 1st.  We are now officially back in RSV season in Tennessee.  Though Becca's risks if she is infected are not as dire as they were last season, she is not receiving the preventative shots (Synagis) that she received last season, so, in a way, she is more likely to get sick.  Henceforth, Becca's public appearances will be rare and ought to remain touch-free.  This especially involves crowded public places and place in which people are tempted to a) be adorable yet germy toddlers; b) be present when ill; and/or c) touch Becca.  Thus, church appearances will be rare, pediatrician appointments will be very brief (and possibly involve the back door), and grocery shopping will happen only in off-hours (particularly during school).  Your understanding and support is greatly appreciated.  If you love Becca, you will respect her needs.  And if you love her mom, you won't give her crap about it.  Thank you.

Nancy's addendum to Becca's PSA:  While we will be in semi-isolation, feel free to invite me and/or John to social events.  We still need friends.  And we have some very reliable babysitters.  But please understand if we have to decline.  We still love you.

Stay posted for a video (when I get it uploaded) of Becca almost pulling herself up to a stand!  Yay!