Monday, April 25, 2011

A Different Kind of Easter

We knew she was born a free spirit; we cherish her sense of adventure. We knew she can be a daredevil; we embrace her fearlessness...we should have been more prepared.

Instead of last-minute cleaning, a grocery store run, food preparation, and Easter basket decorating like we thought we WOULD be doing on Saturday night, we found ourselves rushing to the ER with an actively bleeding child.

It happened like this:

I was in the other room repurposing the old butcher block into a beside table for Kyle. Kyle was fixing our plates of chili and baked potatoes for dinner. Meggie, like she always does when she's hungry, had climbed up onto her high chair and buckled herself in, making known that she's ready to eat. Except this time, she lunged forward for something on the table and the whole contraption - Meggie, booster seat, chair - toppled over, sending Meggie's forehead directly into the corner of the kitchen table.

Kyle reached her before I did, pulled her up, and we both noticed the gushing blood. Frantically, we scooped her up, grabbed bah-bah and paci, applied pressure to stop the bleeding. In the middle of all three of us screaming, I heard Kyle, as he inspected her wound, murmur: "Yep, uh huh, ok, we're gonna have to go to the hospital."

Seconds later we were all in the car headed downtown, me in the back holding a blood-drenched towel to Meggie's head. Kyle threw directions out from the front seat: "Watch her for signs of vomiting. Make sure her pupils change with the sunlight. Keep pressure on her forehead. Is she swelling?"

Meggie watched us both with pained eyes and requested her favorite song over and over: a good sign, neurologically speaking.

We were immediately seen when we got to the ER by a kind resident who also discovered, on Meggie's physical exam, an all-encompassing red rash (WHICH HAD NOT BEEN THERE PRIOR TO OUR HOSPITAL VISIT!) and diagnosed Meggie with the roseola virus in addition to her puncture wound. Kyle and I looked at each other over Meggie's head and thought: we are a pair of messes, here. Fortunately, we had already told the doctor about Meggie's virus and fever from this week...apparently with the roseola virus, the trademark rash doesn't present until after the fever breaks which is why we hadn't seen it before.

The resident consulted with the attending who declared Meggie's gash to be of the kind that could handle derma bond - like super glue for skin - with a special adhesive bandage over traditional stitches. Hallelujah! They "papoosed" her with several soft blankets, washed out the wound with salt water, and applied the skin glue. Meggie, our scientist, focused intently on all the doctors' gadgets and never cried - as if she were an outsider observing the whole procedure. She even tried to "brush her teeth" with the doctor's scope. What a girl.

We kept speaking of her bravery, her strength.

After about four hours, they discharged us. We drove straight to Wal-Mart for more medicine, bought a chicken nugget happy meal for Meggie, and went home to bed.

When Meggie was safely tucked in and slumbering, the emotions of the night for us released. I have had difficulty since then stopping my tears, thinking: "what if...what if she had hit any lower and gotten her eye, what if she had hit on the side of her head and fractured her skull, what if Kyle wasn't home - what would I have done?, what if her wound was so deep that they had to do real stitches, what if she has a terrible scar, ...what if..."

And then I remembered, on this night before Easter, that the same God who holds the nations like a drop of water in his hand, holds my Meggie girl. He's her creator, redeemer, protector, friend. He loves her even more than I do - with a kind of love greater than Kyle or I can ever comprehend...and he rose again so that one day, when she accepts him as her personal savior, she can live with him in eternity. Live and dwell with him in a new creation - a wondrous place where she won't know pain or weeping, but only singing and joy. Where this mother's heart will be absent of worry, free from the grief of what if and why didn't I protect her better, and where she can dance safely at the mouth of the adder's den.

Though we all got less than four hours of uninterrupted sleep that night, my dishes weren't done, the house wasn't "Easter" perfect, Easter dinner was served late, and we didn't take any Easter pictures, we were reminded of the more important Easter perspective. That God provides for us and is faithful to his people. He provided for our Meggie girl through Kyle's presence at home and his knowledge of first aid, through the quick care at the hospital, through an injury that only needed skin glue stitches and not the traditional kind, comforts like "bah-bah," "paci," a box of goldfish crackers for dinner, and her very first popsicle, the best kind of friends who welcomed us over for Easter dinner and some sense of "normalcy" after a traumatic night, even in Meggie's own personality - our fearless one. All this provision around the same time as we remember his ultimate provision, a way of salvation for us on the cross.

Christ is Risen. He is Risen Indeed.

below are the only real Easter pictures we have...cause this is pretty much what we did all day:

poor baby. you can't really see in these pictures, but her stitches are right above her left eye.

we did manage a couple 33 week pictures with Baby Girl.

sorry for the blurriness? weird.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hope Springs Eternal

"Meggie, stop your running feet!"

"Stop, stop, STOP!"

"Meggie, wait, slow down, Mama said to stop."

"Stop and stay by Mama."

"That's right...right there by the car."

"No, wait, wait, that's too far."

"Meggie, Meeegggiieee, come back. ::sigh:: stay right there."

"Meggie, stop your running feet."

"Walk. walk. WALK."

"Meggie, we're in the street - you must hold Mama's hand."

"Wait, don't you go out that door --"

"Come back and try again."

"Let's try that again, please. Let's walk this time and..."

"hold Mama's hand!"

"Meggie, stop your running feet!"

And just when I begin to dismay, these oft-repeated phrases

like dizzy bees fleeting in summer, seemingly teaching nothing,

I stop. I watch. I notice.

Two boys crying on the playground. Meggie stands confused.

She hugs first one and then the other, patting on the back.

It's okay. Meggie's here. Don't cry.

I catch these glimpses of you.

Of who you're intended to be. Of who you will be.

Oh, my mother's heart. The tears.

I cry. I praise. I sing.

And then you jump, skip, smile and it's back to:

"Meggie, stop you're running feet!"

Easter Egg Huntin'

On Saturday, the Navy side hosted all officer and enlisted families for an airwing-wide Easter Egg hunt...Meggie's first Easter Egg hunt. We got there at 10:00 and the hunt began at 10:30, so K and I had a tough job of containing our free-spirited girl to the small patch of grass that held no eggs. She was ready to scavenge!

When the whistle rang, she delighted in putting any egg she could see into her basket. Although, in typical Meggie fashion, she was more interested in how the eggs opened and closed than in the whole process of seeking them out. I remember last year, when Meggie was just learning how to crawl, envisioning this year, thinking of how much Kyle and I couldn't wait to share this special first with her.

My one disappointment of the day was the weather - I had the sweetest Easter bunny, seersucker dress all laid out and ironed for Meggie to wear, but we woke up to blustery winds and chilly-ness. So, into long sleeves and jeans we all went. :)

how do these fit together asks our little scientist?

they go in here?

Daddy was a big helper in the hunting.

attempting to steer Meggie back to the eggs - she was headed straight for a huge ditch!

family pic - I'm pretty sure I was saying something silly like, "say Easter for the camera, Meggie!"

we kept throwing treats - or "tttttt," as Meggie says - her way to keep her awake on the way home...

from the looks of things, she likes chocolate just like her mama.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Douglass Update and Other Thoughts

So right now it's Friday night and I'm sitting on our big red couch listening to Kyle talk on the phone for work and watching my stomach jump with Baby Girl's's her time of night - she always gets them between 9-10:00 for.evah.

I'm pondering going to get Sonic ice cream treats for the second time in three days. See, I can't keep sweets in the house because I have no self-control when it comes to chocolate...especially not when I'm almost 32 weeks pregnant. My only solution is to sneak away at odd times of the night once Meggie's asleep to indulge my cravings. For Sonic. And ice cream.

Tomorrow is our neighborhood garage sale. I've been stock piling stuff in a huge corner of our bedroom as we've made room for baby. Can't WAIT to get that stuff outta here and reclaim our retreat.

Our little Douglass is curled up in his chair, belly full and pumped with pain killers. He made it through his surgery yesterday "beautifully" - according to the vet. They were able to remove all the stones from his bladder, but took x-rays again and he still has three stones stuck in his urethra. The vet told us that he should pass these stones on his own, but we're supposed to keep an eye on him to make sure that he's still functioning regularly. If not, then they have to go back in and reopen him in another area to remove those last stones.

They sent the stones home with us to be mailed off to a research facility. Kyle thought the stones were "awesome looking," but they made me throw-up.

We were able to bring Douglass home last night after his big day, and he immediately crawled back into his little nest in his crate. He had us up several times during the night - training for our soon-to-be return to life with a newborn. But, for now, all is well. He's eating and drinking readily and taking his twice-daily pain killer/antibiotic concoction without any trouble. We couldn't ask for a more ideal patient.

He even spent most of the day today enjoying the view from his favorite big window, so we know he's feeling better.

And, sweet Meggie has been most concerned with her beloved "Douck," pointing out his IV bandage to me and saying, "OOOOW, OOOOW," as in my doggie's hurt. She's been more persistent in feeding him tidbits off of her tray since he came home and, for right now, I'm turning the other way, pretending I don't see this break in the rules.

Everybody needs a little treat now and then...especially when they're the most faithful of dogs straight out of surgery. Thank you for thinking of us and caring about our Douglass dog.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

My Bow-Headed Gal

Strange, right? Meggie went from bald baby, to ripping out anything that came close to her head, and now to "allowing" me to put huuuge bows in her hair these last several days. No complaints here. As long as I've dreamed of being a mama, I've dreamed of having lots of little southern girls wearing bows as big as their heads in their hair. I just think she's precious.

she loves to turn the tv off and on - I'm glad she doesn't really enjoy watching it...just figuring out how the buttons work.

Yesterday, the VQ-3 Spouses Club hosted an appreciation luncheon for our hard-working men and women in the squadron ready room. Meggie and I fixed a big dish of chicken enchiladas and met Daddy for lunch. I brought my camera hoping to get a shot of them together in the ready room, but one of us was always chasing our rambunctious girl so that the other could eat, so these were the best we got (in the parking lot):

Meggie sure is proud of her daddy.

she's requesting "JUICE!" in this picture

about five minutes after we strapped her in her carseat, she fell fast asleep. so much for her nap when we got home. sigh.

this morning before "school" - I just love when she sits like this, balanced back on her heels.

and I love when she sits like this, too. Here, she's imitating the crying baby on the page.

grown-up girl putting on her own shoes.


And with the bows she looks older to me - more two-year-old and less baby. The twos have come on us suddenly. Meggie's done everything early in her young life (expect to arrive...and even that makes sense to us about her. She's a lady who does not like to be rushed.); she got her first teeth at four months, crawled around 6.5 months, took her first step at 9. It should not have surprised us that the typical two-year-old behavior also is here early - at 19 months. And, yet, it did.

I think Kyle and I are both beginning to embrace this season of a new normal. Y,all. I'm exhausted. We knew from an early age that she preferred her independence to help from us, but now this preference has turned into tantrums and unpredictable crying jags. I've struggled with how much I want to record in writing on the blog because even though I want to honestly record our parenting joys and dilemmas, I also want most of all to preserve the good memories, to focus on the purities of raising our younguns.

I'll just say this: the last couple days have tried our parenting patience and made me feel like "mean mommy" (i.e. stern voice, time-out giving, reprimanding) is around more than fun, carefree, praising mommy. I know, too, that it's all a necessary part of her development: we all need loving parents to teach us right from wrong and how to ask for help when we need the right way. Everyone goes through this stage and I recognize the distinguished privilege Kyle and I've been given to help steer Meggie through hers...but it also hurts (as in us emotionally) and at the moment I feel more overwhelmed than I do ready.

After too many time-outs to count yesterday, I decided to pray not only that God would give us the wisdom, patience, and guidance we need to parent Meggie appropriately, but that he will also work in me to see her in this disciplining phase as he sees me - and all his children. His mercies are new every morning; he makes our sins as white as snow - as if they never happened. AS IF THEY NEVER HAPPENED. I want to see my job as Meggie's mother this way: not to number the days by how many interventions are needed, but after she says, "sorry," and gives me a hug and I say, "I love you, Meggie, I forgive you," to authentically feel like it never happened. And at the end of the day, regardless of the outcome or my exhaustion, at my very core know that it was a good day. To give Meggie the grace of new mercies in the morning. Such is my hope and expectation for our family.

And, of course, to enjoy all the short time I do have with my bow-headed gal. :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

31 Weeks

We had an especially tired girly on our hands Monday morning, so I have three welcome guests with me in this 31 weeks picture: Meggie, "bah-bah," and paci - or "adi" as Meg likes to say.

Yes, Baby Girl is now due to arrive in about 8-9 weeks. I'm a tad terrified, but mostly excited. Nervous, but feeling more prepared now that Kyle's home and the practicalities of bringing home a new baby are lining up. I'm ready for these physical things to be complete so that I can focus more energy on the emotional things - going through my memories of labor and delivery and Meggie's first weeks - pondering what worked and what I want to try differently this time around. Though Kyle and I have often said during this pregnancy that we are THANKFUL that this baby is #2 and that we NEVER have to live through adjusting to a first baby again - read: we're a pair of first-borns who like to plan and have an expected outcome. Babies are never "according to plan" and "perfectly predictable" - this will be our first time with a new born and an older sibling. While the newborn territory does not seem as frightening or unknown to us, and we very much remember what that sleep deprivation is like, newborn territory plus a two-year-old bears some level of anxiety sometimes.

Baby Girl now measures at least 16 inches and I can feel it. She's roughly 3.5 lbs, or the size of four navel oranges. At our latest appointment, our midwife said that she's still head down with her "small parts" (I'm guessing this means fingers and toes?) resting on the left side of my stomach. Which explains the intense pressure I get in my right ribcage when she stretches. Oh my. I'm noticing that she gets the hiccups almost every night for long stretches of time and that orange juice really makes her jumpy. She's also quite aware that she's the second born child. Meggie girl constantly climbs all over my belly, poking her and shouting, "BABY!" When our midwife tried to find Baby Girl's heartbeat, she would get a clear reading followed by a faint reading. She laughed and told me that the baby was squirming away from the doppler every time. I giggled knowing that poor Baby Girl probably just thought it was her big sister up to usual tricks on the outside. We finally got her to sit still for a few consistent seconds, enough to know that her heartbeat is now in the 140s. She's doing exactly what Meggie did: both girls started with high heartbeats at 170s/180s for the first several weeks, then dropped to 160s, by the 20 week ultrasound they were in the low 150s, and now 140s at the end. Meggie's heartbeat rested around 145 through her labor and delivery. She's still measuring smaller than Meggie, though, with my stomach measuring 29.5 weeks at the 30.5 mark.

As far as cravings go, I'm still really into chocolate and fruit. Pretty typical for both my girls. I've been trying to implement some substitutions, though, such as frozen whips yogurt for icecream, to put a halt on my rapid 2nd trimester weight gain. Only 8 more pounds left to gain and I'm at my max gain with Meggie. Oy. I've noticed my stomach starting to shrink with the growth of the baby - thank goodness. :)

All considering, I do love pregnancy and the promise of new life. I especially love knowing that our family includes two precious daughters - they feel to us like jewels in our crowns of blessing. How appropriate that Meggie's name means: Pearl. And even though my hands and body are bursting with carrying over 60 lbs. of baby (see below), oh what happy hands and body they are!

I also have to share one sweet little glimpse into big sister's world. I've always adored this quirky gesture she has of resting one foot up on things. Daddy took this picture of his biggest girl on our Monday Chick-Fil-A date:

And it reminded me of when she used to go riding like this:

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Let it be Known That..., with Daddy's help and a ton of distraction, we finally succeeded in putting Meggie's hair in a pony-tail with a bow as big as her head. A life dream of mine. :) And, she even left it in (the third time around) all the way through Sunday School. What a precious cutie! Can you even believe it?

getting all fixed up in Mama and Daddy's bathroom

These picture were from our first successful attempt...about five minutes after we took them and while I was finishing getting ready for Church, I heard an, "UH-OH," and then Daddy say, "Meggie, your pretty bow!? Maaaa-Maaaa...oh, Meggie - what is that on your mouth?" :) those five minutes not only had she classically ripped out her pony tail and bow, but she also found a marker and decorated her mouth with "lipstick." Luckily, it was washable. So, we tried two more times and quick ran outside for these pictures:

Hooray for a banner day!

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Crib is Up! The Crib is Up!

...and the curtains, too!

My sweet husband got home from his latest deployment yesterday at 5:00 pm. And because we don't know how much time we'll have with him before Baby Girl arrives, he was working in the new nursery by 8:00 this morning.

At the end of the day, the crib is up, assembled, and ready for sleeping - with matching curtains atop the window.

Poor Baby Girl, totally already the 2nd born, really doesn't have a "nursery." Our plan for her accommodations is to combine the current guest bedroom with a crib for her and a dresser that Kyle's refinishing for his girls. We'll use the guest bed as a changing table for now. This way, we'll still have the use of our guest bedroom for out-of-town visitors that come to oogle Baby Girl in June. Then, in about another year-and-a-half, we're going to get matching twin beds, get rid of the guest room, move Meggie in, and have a full-fledged girls' room (if we stay here in OK, that is). The new crib is white to match our future vision of white furniture in the girls' room just in case Baby Girl isn't quite ready for a twin bed by the time we're ready to combine both girls into one room. We're saving our money on nursery decorations now, to go all out for the more "permanent" girls' furniture later. The old nursery (Meggie's room for now) will then be free for another new baby, we're hoping. :)

After much contemplation and hand-wringing, we've decided to keep Meggie girl in her crib for the time being. Being the active one that she is, we would've guessed that she'd have scaled the sides of her crib already. But, she seems respectful of its boundaries leading us to believe that she's still comforted and lulled by sleeping in her crib. With the addition of the new member to the family, we're doing our best to keep change to a minimum, so we're going to keep Meggie in her familiar bed until she shows more signs of being ready to move. So, come June, we'll have two crib-sleeping babies.

That's "the plan" anyway.

Here's a sneak preview (sorry for the atrocious lighting). Go with me - you've gotta use your imagination so far...

It's hard to tell from this picture, but the sheet is pink to match the bedding which is covered with tiny rosebuds. The bumper has a ruffled edge of pink stripes and eyelet lace to match the dust ruffle. Our future color scheme for the girls' room is pink, green, and blue, so this bedding will go perfectly should we need to keep it in the room if Baby Girl is still in the crib when we move Meggie and not ready for a twin bed.

For those of y'all who've been in our house, the crib is set up against the wall opposite the window in the guest room. We moved the guest bed against the wall by the window so that the headboard/footboard faces the door. The dresser is now adjacent to the window and next to the closet while the old butcher block is a repurposed bedside table for Kyle. Make sense?

This picture gives you a better idea of the bumper. Reasons why I love this bedding: 1. I found it at a consignment sale for $20 - the whole set! 2. It's feminine - to match the tender feelings I have when I think about Baby Girl. 3. It's "vintage" - my style - reminding me of a bassinet from the 50s. LOVE.


Another curtain view from the door to the room. Notice the dresser at which Kyle's been hard at work. Between all his assembly and moving projects today, he also found time to sand one more drawer. Eventually, this dresser will be painted white with pink porcelain handles - which Kyle picked out. I'm so thankful for the way Kyle loves us through his service to our family and the way in which he worked so diligently on his first day home.

I'll be sure to update with pictures as we add details and finalize Baby Girl's corner of our home.


In other Van Heest news:

We took Douglass to the vet today to be rechecked after his bladder infection. Around lunchtime, Douglass' vet called with the news that his urine still showed signs of inflammation. X-rays were performed and bladder stones found...apparently these are common in mini schnauzers. The only way to remove these stones is with a permanent dietary switch to food that changes the pH in his urine (to keep them from coming back) and surgery as soon as possible (to take away the ones that are present). We scheduled surgery for next Thursday to the tune of $930.00. Yes, that's right. As in almost $1,000. EEEK.

We're consoling ourselves with the assurance that we've caught this problem early, the stones are small, and Douglass hasn't been in too much pain for an extended period of time. Hopefully, this Thursday will be the only time he needs this particular procedure. We're also grateful that these stones showed up now as opposed to 8 weeks from now to coincide with Baby Girl's arrival. Please remember our first "baby" in your prayers/thoughts throughout this coming week - and I'll keep you updated on his medical situation.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

We're Better Together

Today, I had to wake my sleeping baby at 8:30!?!

There are many reasons why my usual early bird slept in so late (new black out curtains, late night last night, etc.), but the most fun one is that Kaitlin, my cousin, and her husband, Adam, were here visiting over the weekend. Baby Girl was just plum tuckered out from all the excitement.

Well, I say that they were here visiting us, but the REAL reason they were in town was to see the Lady Gaga concert in Tulsa on Monday night. :)

Seeing Kaitlin and Adam was extra special this time around because this is the first time I've seen them together as future parents-to-be. Kaitlin turned 14 weeks on Saturday and is definitely coming into her "second trimester glow." Out of all the activities we shared, my favorite one was (and always is) long discussions about parenting, pregnancy, baby birthing, and baby mooning. We also took every opportunity to indulge in pregnancy cravings like frozen yogurt from Orange Tree, a trip to the zoo, and sending Adam out for BOTH Chick-Fil-A nuggets and McAlister's sweet tea. Poor Adam - all alone with two pregnant ladies and a toddler for company; he was a great sport. :)

With both of our families living so far away over the last three years, Kaitlin and I have taken to leaning on one another for support. But, it's a relationship that's better than just family because she's also my great friend, hence our affectionate term of "frousin" for each other. I've loved sharing pregnancy with Kaitlin and can hardly contain my excitement to know if Baby "O" is a boy or a girl. Though I have my suspicions about "who" is in there, I'm secretly hoping "O" is a little playmate in pink for Big Baby Girl and Little Baby Girl.

our pictures from the zoo:

my independent lady

getting a peek at the elephants

our zoo has a newly opened, beautiful elephant habitat with two elephant sisters...

and the herd is about to have a new member - this elephant is having a baby in May and demonstrating a favorite activity of all pregnant gals.

Meggie did lots of pushing the stroller and walking on her own. She's learning to "follow Mama" when we're out and about and is the happiest when exploring her environment outside of the stroller.

Oklahoma was true to its windy self all weekend.

watching the Koi swim around...and I totally look like "that mom with a fanny pack," but I promise it's just my overstuffed camera bag. :)

We also have this fabulous new children's zoo within the zoo - complete with a slide built into a tree trunk. I'm not so sure this slide is truly built for "carrying" two babies, though. :)

and cousin preggo pictures...cause it's WAY more fun when you have a buddy:

Me: 30 weeks Kaitlin: 14 weeks

and then we tried some outside:

how does this preggo pose go again?

there we go!

can you believe there are babies in there?

and babies in there!

and who could forget the FIRST baby cousin of the O'Connell clan?