So we’ve decided to move Zoey to private, in home daycare.  I still have good things to say about The Goddard School and their infant room but once she transitioned into the Toddler room, it became obvious that the ridged structure of a daycare center setting was not for her (or us).  First, she was required to give up having a bottle during the day.  I’m all for slowly transitioning her off the bottle and to the sippy cup but it was literally, when she was 11 months and 28 days she could have a bottle and now that she’s 12 months and 3 days, no bottle.  Babies don’t work like that. 

Second, she was reduced from napping whenever she wanted (usually a nap in the morning and one in the afternoon) to only 1 nap, from 12-2pm.  That wasn’t working for her.  She would get home at 5pm and be a freaking mess.  Frustrated and crying and tired…not good.  I think she should drop that second nap when she wants to, not because she’s moved up to another room.  Third, I feel like the teachers in the infant room, because they were new, checked out on my kid about 2 weeks before she moved to the new room.  She split crib time with a little boy who was taking over her spot, she split her cubby with him and split her bin in the fridge with him.   One day, I came in and couldn’t find a single item of clothing that she came to school in.  I’m serious.  Apparently she’d been zealously enjoying her lunch and had to be changed into a new outfit.  That’s fine.  That’s why I have an extra outfit packed.  But the pants, shirt, sweater and shoes she’d worn to school that day where not in her cubby or her bag.  And her blanket was gone.  Twenty minutes later, I’d tracked down her sweater (on top of bank of cubbies), her pants (in Lila’s cubby) and one shoe (in Alex’s cubby).  I finally said – nicely – I might add, “I can’t do this any longer because I need to get home and let my dogs out…”  The teacher took offense that I dared want all of her things in one place.  It took them 2 days to locate all of her things. 

Fourth, I didn’t like how the school handled the firing of Zoey’s infant room teacher.  One day Mrs. G was there, the next, it was someone else….I don’t know this person, why am I handing off Z to someone I don’t know with no explanation.  You don’t OWE me an explanation, I get that you are running a business but that business is the care of my child.  At least give me a head’s up about this change (and apparently, to be fair, there was an email sent at the end of the day but they had already moved my email to the Toddler room list so I didn’t get it).  Lastly, money.  The new daycare is less expensive, in a smaller setting with more individualized care by a woman who has a Masters in Early Childhood Development.

But can I tell you how freaking terrifying it is to switch to a new daycare?   All these questions like: am I doing the right thing?  Should she stay where she’s been for the last 5 months?  What about consistency?  Will she be safe?

I’m going to be a dang wreck again on Friday when she goes for her first day at the new place but I do feel like we’ve made the right decision.

Dear Zoey:

I decided that I would write you a letter on your birthday every year until you tell me you don’t want them anymore.  The advantage this year is that you can’t talk and tell me that you don’t want one….I figure I’ve got at least a few years of letters to write.

I watched you sleeping this morning.  I brushed the long dark hair from your eyes and stroked your cheek.  You have such soft, beautiful skin – such a beautiful face.  You were snuggled up next to me, curled up in the space between me and your Daddy – close to my heart – forever where you belong.

I think back on this day a year ago.  I got up and got ready to go to the hospital, finished (over)packing my bag and struggled to tie my shoes – your Daddy had to help me – my belly was big and round.  I slowly, with his help, walk through the snow to the car and settled in for the hour ride to Chapel Hill.  I was nervous and excited and anxious that everything would be alright.  At 9;51am, there you were.  So beautiful, so pink, so sweet.

Over the past 12 months, you developed from the quiet, sweet baby I brought home to a fun, sometimes willful, chatty little social butterfly.  You are almost walking – you taken steps without holding on but prefer to hold Mama or Daddy’s hands as you cruise around the house.  You’ve said “Mama,” “Dada,” “Dogh,” and “Baba.”  You crawl around like crazy and are a speed demon with the walker.  Your favorite foods are sweet potatoes and peaches and macaroni and cheese.  You are such a good eater.  You love people as long as your Mama is nearby.  You can’t wait to walk/run.  You love books and your favorite seems to be “Count My Kisses Little One.”

You were a giraffe for Halloween – the sweetest little giraffe that I’ve ever seen.  You helped me make Christmas cookies and devoured your first one, giving me the sign for “more” over and over again.  You took your first plane ride and trip to California in August.  You were a dream on the plane.  You are always such a great baby.  Christmas was so much fun.  You tore open presents and then ignored them, heading to the next wrapped box like a baby godzilla with a grudge.  Your favorite presents seemed to be the blocks from Aunt Amy and the Abby Cadabby doll from Aunt Angeline.

I can’t wait to see what next year brings.  This year has flown by and I have to remind myself to slow down and enjoy you.  Like this morning – just watch you sleep.

I love you Zoey.  You are the best thing I’ve ever done.  At some point in your life, that statement will embarrass you.  Too bad.  It’s true.

Just remember, I will always be….

Your Mommy.

First Birthday Party

I remember what it was like to hate this time of year.  From Halloween to New Years, I was angry and sad and tired.  Facebook is rough for the “fertility-challenged.” 

Now that I have Zoey, I am guilty of posting every single minute of her wonderfulness (if you are Facebook friends with me, you know this is no exaggeration).  Part of this is because I have several friends and famly members who cannot, for the life of them, download a picture or video.  If it’s not done for them, they are confused…there are phone calls that make me want to pull my hair out (“the screen has a funny icon on it…”  sigh….)  Facebook is an easy medium to share pics.

That being said, I’m sorry that this causes pain.  I know what that is like.  I’ve tried to be more sensitive to this and will do better.

I’m still a lostbabymama too…

Christmas 2007 was filled with such excitement and joy.  I announced our pregnancy to Hubby with a pair of baby booties as an early Christmas gift (only one pair, I didn’t know they were twins until about a month later).  We were outted to our family by the inability to get Lasik…we stayed home to enjoy our last Christmas, “just the two of us…”

Christmas 2008 was filled with sadness and anger and depression.

Christmas 2009 was filled with sadness and hope.

Christmas 2010 was filled with trepidation, anticipation and anxiety.  In just 3 days I would hopefully have my healthy little girl safe and sound.  We were on the lookout for any bleeding that could signal an emergency trip to the hospital.  My name was on a helicopter transport list – Dr. Hot Rockstar would deliver my little girl if he had to snow ski through Chapel Hill to do it.

Christmas 2011 is filled with joy and gratefulness and still a little sadness.  I have my little girl.  She’s perfect and I love her so much.  I miss my boys.  I’m lucky and grateful but I’m still a lost baby mama.  This year we can’t afford to make our usual donations honoring the boys so I organized a quick toy drive at work for Toys for Tots.  I’ve gotten a ton of donations and that makes it a little easier.  I reminded Hubby last night that eventhough we can’t buy each other gifts, there isn’t anything else I need…I have him, Zoey and the dogs (well, honestly, I could use a new nursing bra – this one is poking me like crazy!!). 

I’m lucky, I know it.

That phrase could apply to about 10 times in my life…since I showered alone (without a little human chatting outside the curtain), since I had a hair cut (OMG, it’s long and scraggly), since I went on a date with Hubby (bad, bad parents), since I could friviliously blow money on something…anything…a new sweater…makeup…(finances are still not recovered)…well you get the point but mainly I wanted to say that it’s been a while since I posted…I’ve been working on Exhale Magazine.  If you don’t know it, read here.

I wouldn’t trade this for anything.  Not one thing.  I didn’t sleep well last night because Zoey didn’t sleep well.  I did get frustrated with her and have spent most of this morning beating myself up over it.  Would I trade my life with her and Hubby for all the sleep in the world?  Absolutely not.  

Zoey’s 1st birthday is in 16 days.  I can’t believe it.  Oh My Dog, do I love that little tiny girl…

On a more personal note, my milk supply is decreasing.  I noticed about a week ago that I wasn’t able to pump as much during the day.  I’ve been worried that Zoey has not been satisfied with feedings and it seems prehaps I was right.  When she woke up last night, she seemed really fussy but more like hungry fussy.  It was definitely a hunger cry.  Hubby gave her 3 ounces of formula and she was sound asleep.  I guess I need to pump more and supplement.  Could this be the end of the boob?  Sigh.  I love nursing her to sleep….

So I went to the new Guy-nee…unbeknownst to me, she recently left UNC Hospitals to move to this practice closer to her home.  She asked about which practice I was with there.  When I told her Maternal Fetal Medicine, she seemed shocked that I would need the high risk group.  Then the nurse did a history.  Of course she asked all of the questions that I dreaded and of course, I didn’t fit into any of the usual boxes.  I tried to keep it light.  Finally, she said, “I don’t know how to put that information into the computer so I will ask the doctor and come back.”

Yeah, well, I’m still trying to figure out how to put that information in my head so when you figure it out…let me know.  Words like “stillbirth,” “miscarriage,” “I’m sorry, I’m not finding a heartbeat…” they don’t compute easily, even after nearly 4 years.

Other than that, it went fine.  The doctor asked if I was on birth control…I laughed for a good minute or so and said, “no…”  She said, “oh, you figure if it happens, it happens?” 

Ah, no.  I figure if it happens AND sticks it will be a Christmas/Hannukah/New Years/Valentine’s Day/etc. miracle (seeing as how we finally have a living child, we only seem to “do it” on holidays….)

I think my 3 children are enough….

 

I’m participating in Once A Mother‘s Friday Rainbow Baby Blog Rodeo, a place to celebrate the amazing children who have come into our lives after loss, and to strengthen our bond as a community of Rainbow parents.

Every Friday (that I remember it’s Friday and get here to post in time :) )we can gather here to share our little ones’ triumphs, brag like the proud parents that we are, and yes … even own up to our epic fails in parenting (all in good fun of course).

Zoey is just amazing to me…she’s giggly and so incredibly mischievious…she loves to share her snacks with me, “Da-da” and the “Dohgs” (our two dogs who are ecstatic to have discovered that she’s got treats).  Her little personality is so fun to see as it changes almost daily.  She gets soooo frustrated that she’s not more mobile yet.  She scoots and pulls up but on her own, she’s not crawling forward or walking yet.  She’s so close though, you can just see it.  Put in her the walker?  Oh she’s a holy terror.  You can heard her coming down the hall…stomp, stomp, stomp…squeallllllllllll as she chases after the dogs….

I teared up last night as I realized that she will be a year old in less than 2 months.  That’s right.  The bay-bee that I never though would be is going to be a year old.   I’m so incredibly grateful everyday for her. 

I’m planning a first birthday party.  Me.  I’m her Mommy.  And I’m so damn lucky.

Zoey on a Fall day sporting her pink cape...she's my super baby!

This is the year of taking care of myself and I’m focusing on my health.  Along with $800 worth of dental work, I am long overdue for a trip to the Guy-nee…I was proudly telling a co-worker that I was going to a new doctor on Wednesday. 

Me: “I used to go to UNC because that’s where I went with the boys and then Zoey and they just knew me and my story and I didn’t have to tell them anything…oh crap….”

I stopped and looked at her and said quietly, “they are going to ask me about the boys…”  She put her hand on my back and said, “yes but you’ve told their story before, this is just one more time…”

How could I have forgotten?  Tomorrow I will have to navigate the waters of “How many times have you been pregnant?”  (Lots)  and “How many children do you have?” (Three – 1 living and 2 dead) with a complete and total stranger. 

And Oh. My. Dog.  Please don’t let there be the form with the teeny-tiny blanks and boxes that ask you all kinds of questions that people like me can’t answer without writing a dissertation or the answers make absolutely no sense…I once had a new nurse at UNC make me fill out a form (she didn’t know me from previous visits – she may have been a temp actually because I never saw her again).  Where it asked, “how many times have you been pregnant?”  I answered 6-7 times.  Where it asked, “how many children do you have?”  I answered zero.  She looked at me and said, “so what you are saying is that you’ve had several abortions?”  Sigh….

Can’t I just show my lostbabymama membership card and be done with it?  But no, I can’t.  Because even as I typed that, I remind myself I was lucky to be the boys Mommy.  I am lucky to have experienced all I experienced with them, even the bad.  I wouldn’t trade that time in my life – despite it being the worst thing to ever happen to me and Hubby – for anything.  I wish it had been different.  I wish that I had 2 little boys AND a little girl.  I wish my 3 year old sons were down the hall from their 10 month old sister but they aren’t.

But I don’t wish it didn’t happen and that’s the reason I can walk into the doctor’s office tomorrow and tell their story.

I got my first Halloween with my baby girl.  I remember thinking about this day after the boys died and how much I wanted to see my child dressed up for Halloween.  We didn’t take her out because it was wet and cold but she was dressed up all day for school and she loved seeing the kids dressed up when they came to the door.  She’s 10 months old.  I can’t believe it.  She’s 10 months old. 

It seems like I just had her.  I waited so long for her and the time is just moving so quickly – too quickly.  I want time to stop so I can just look at her.  I try not to look forward or backward but try to live in the moment now.  Previously, when I would look at her, a tiny voice would creep in and ask, “is that what the boys would have looked like at 6, 9, 10 months…”  I try not to get caught up in the day-to-day grind.  It’s so easy to come home and deal with the “have-tos…”  You know what, the schmidt will get done when it gets done.  I just try and live for today.  Oherwise, I get so incredibly sad to think about her brothers who aren’t here.  I’m still struck by how painful the loss pulls at me 3 years later.  In contrast, I’m so happy, grateful, blessed, ecstatic to be Zoey’s Mommy.

Here’s my little giraffe:

We’ve been battling illness in our house…poor Zoey was sick with the yuck for a couple of days and now it’s developed into her first full blown ear infection.  Awesome.

I knew something was wrong on Sunday night when she would wake up screaming.  Not crying.  Screaming.  In pain.  It was awful and I was terrified.  No amount of cuddling, nursing, rocking, singing, holding or soothing would help.  This is not normal for my little girl.

What if she has an intestinal blockage?  What if it’s pneumonia?  What if it’s cancer?  What if?  What if? Immediately my mind went to The Fear. 

What if she dies?

Yup.  I know it’s an ear infection and I know no one dies from an ear infection but at 3 am on Monday morning, I didn’t know that it was an ear infection.  I was ten seconds from packed her up and taking her to the ER.  I was deep in the throes of The Fear.  I took a deep breath, she settled down and fell asleep on my chest in the rocker. 

I sat there and watched her breathe until my alarm went off at 6am.

That’s the lost baby mama fear people.

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