April 26, 2010

Choosing Thomas and Eliot

Since Rachel's birth, we've been told many times that we won the lottery when it comes to genetic disorders. And while I now see that is true, at the time of her birth nothing felt that way. I've since been drawn to the other genetic disorders, to find out more about them. Trisomy 13 ( Patau syndrome) and Trisomy 18 (Edward Syndrome) are the other two more common. When your child is diagnosed with Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome) many doctors only give you the option of termination, ending the pregnancy. Usually, when you find out your baby has Down syndrome, you are already in your second trimester, you've seen the heartbeat, you've see arms and legs and movement. I would think, the thought of purposely killing your child, one who looks so normal on the ultrasound screen, wouldn't even cross your mind. But it happens every day. With syndromes like Edward and Patau, most babies do not survive. The parents are told that they may not even make it to their delivery date alive. What would you do in this situation? You have, by this time, seen your baby on the ultrasound screen, moving and kicking and heart beating. Do you choose to terminate? Because, what you've heard from the doctors is this baby will only know suffering and pain. Or do you choose to continue? To give life, or as much of a life, to this baby inside you? I want to believe that I would choose the later. Here are two stories, from two sets of parents, who chose to continue with their pregnancy, their firstborn. Please let me know your thoughts....
Choosing Thomas
99 Balloons

April 18, 2010

Dexter and Rachel...

had another playdate! This time we enjoyed some lunch followed by a stroll in the park. Afterwards, we went back to Dexter's house and they "played."

Pointing out the fine details on her cardigan...

This time instead of trying to sneak a kiss, Rachel went for a hand-hold. :)

April 12, 2010

To All Soon-to-be First Time Moms...

Planning. Seems like the second you find out you are pregnant, you start planning. Is it a girl? Is it a boy? What colors for the nursery? What kind of crib? Will you breast feed or use formula? You even set out to make a "birth plan." You know, just how will you have that baby. In water? Drugs? No drugs? Music in the background while you meditate? You like to kid yourself that when the baby comes, you will stop this planning nonsense. Guess what, you will stop planning because you can't plan. NOTHING ever goes the way you would like it. In fact, don't even make a birth plan. It's ok to say you are going to try to go natural. It's ok to say that you want the epidural. But don't even think that it has to go that way because more than likely it will not. You may want to breast feed and find out you aren't cut out for it because the baby takes up every second of your time and you can't even sleep for more than two hours without having to feed him. You may think you are going to get an epidural but then your labor comes so quickly you find yourself in the car on the way to the hospital with no time to spare. Your baby may not like the swing you got. You may hate having the bassinet in your room. You may find yourself going "Why in the world do I have 3 bags of cotton balls? What was the purpose of these things again?" A baby doesn't care what your plans are. Go ahead and throw that script out the window.

Worry. While pregnant you will worry constantly about the baby inside you. You will fret over the foods you eat or don't eat. You will take prenatals religiously. You will freak out if you haven't felt the baby move in over an hour. This is normal. But it never goes away. In fact, I think worrying gets worse after the baby arrives because then you know what you could possibly lose. You are going look at that little face sleeping in your arms and tears are going to stream down your face at even the slightest sad thought. You think your hormones are bad now, crying during a commercial or song, wait until your baby is born. It's like every song is made just for them and every movie has some special meaning in it directed towards them. Driving becomes a hazard because a Celine Dion song comes on, you look in the review at the baby and the tears start. "You're my life's one miracle, everything I've done that's good. And you break my heart with tenderness and I confess it's true, I never knew a love like this till you." *Whaaaaaaah!* You will feel like a mess constantly from now until forever. It never stops but it's something you would never change.

Sleep. Everyone always likes to point out that "you should enjoy your sleep now because you'll never sleep once the baby comes!" Yeah, yeah. We all know that babies wake up a lot. That they don't sleep long periods of time. If you didn't know that, then why are you having a child. You should probably do some reading first on the subject. But I digress...I would like to point out that usually (and I say usually because, again, you can't plan anything) babies start to string sleep together longer by the third month. They start to realize that nighttime is for sleeping and daytime is for playing and smiling at mama and daddy. The first couple of months are horrible. I will not say that they are not, but do know there is light at the end of the tunnel and you will get sleep again. And try not to punch anyone in the face who decides to point out you won't be getting sleep.

Things. You may be all excited about registering for your baby gifts. You may be terrified at the thought of doing it. Going to Babies R Us is a nightmare for the new parent. THEY. HAVE. EVERYTHING. Going in to the bottle section is frightening. Where do you start? And what makes it worse is they give you a book with a list a mile long of "stuff you have to get. Stuff you won't live without." You need netting for your stroller to keep the bugs away from your baby. You need a wipe warmer so the little bundle of joy won't be scarred by the feeling of a cold one. Please. Half of the stuff on there you don't need. Or you don't need right now. Words of advice from me on this...go register then have a couple close friends who just had babies look at your list and tell you if you need that swing with all the bells and whistles or if you can save a few bucks on one that just swings. And read the reviews. Make sure what you're buying works for most people. You do not want to get your baby bath home, fill it up and have it leak all over (like ours does). Also, you really don't have to put clothes, blankets, bibs or hats on your registry. People love to buy that stuff and you really don't have to ask for it.

The baby. If you were anything like me, you may not be a "baby person." I wasn't even sure I wanted kids. But I kept hearing, "It's different when they are your own." I wanted to think that this was just something people say so the family line continues. But guess what, it's true. It's so very, very true. Just wait, because in X amount of months, weeks, days, your life is going to be 100 times better than it was and no lack of sleep, money or sanity will keep you from feeling it. :)

April 11, 2010

Rachel's Favorite Thing...

is to roll. She does it all the time now...
My favorite thing...is her. She is grabbing on to my ear in this picture. :)

April 5, 2010

A Beautiful Easter Day and The Pool!

Sunday, Rachel and I spent the day together like we do most weekends since Stephen works We got all decked out in our "Sunday" best and went to Church with a friend. Rachel looked around for about a half hour then slept through the whole service (yes!). Afterwards, it was home for a quick change and then we met another friend for a walk in the park. It was a hot day out but Rachel didn't mind.

Today, we set up a little blow-up pool. Rachel's first big time in the pool! She actually didn't hate it and I expect as time goes on she will love it. Watch it here!

April 3, 2010

Play Date with Mack and Wilson

Friday, Rachel had a play date with Mack and Wilson. Mack was in the NICU before and after Rachel and they even shared a room for a little while. His mom and I had many talks and even some tears during those days. It was wonderful to see them all together, outside of the NICU and I finally got to meet Wilson. Happy times were had by all...even some naps were taken!

Rachel relaxing in the shade...beware the rolls!

Mack checking out Rachel in her pretty dress.

Mr. Mack enjoying life outside of the NICU. :)

Mr. Wilson thinking a nap sounds good....