Sunday, February 27, 2011

Weekend Wrap up!

Miss Mia had a packed weekend!  Friday night Mia and I went to a local Kids gym with some girlfriends, Angela and her daughter Lanna!  We had dinner first to give the girls some *fuel* then headed over to the gym for 2 whole hours of running-like-a-wild-banshee fun! Ha!

The girls watching some Mickey Mouse!

I know the pics are blurry, but she was on the move the *whole* time!

That's about as good as it gets of the 2 of them together! Ha!

Watching the biggER kids go down the slide!

In the foam pit!

Angela and Lanna ♥

Mia and Mommy ♥

Mia had so much fun that she slept until 10, yes TEN the next morning!  We should go to that gym more often!

Saturday Mia spent some time with Grandma Rhonda and great Aunt Terri doing some fun girls shopping and lunch!  Mia of course came home with bunches of goodies :)  While she was on her girls date, Daddy and I had a little date of our own!  It doesn't happen often, so we had to take advantage!  We had a *quiet* lunch and then a little shopping!  My idea of a GREAT day! 

You know how we do!!

While we were at the mall, we were *supposed* to buy ourselves clothes because we always wear the same things over and over to add to our wardrobe, BUT, I just had to stop by some Mia stores ;)  We found the cutest little yellow and white polka dot bikini for Mia and I found one to match!  I may look like a muffin in mine, but were gonna match!  Haha!  At the end of the shopping trip, Mia had racked up and Dave and I both got one thing for ourselves.  Oops. 

After shopping we met our friends Pam and Damon for dinner then headed to their house to hang out.  All in all, awesome day!

You know how I was telling you how *obsessed* Mia is with our iPhones?  Well, she looovveess listening to music and watching the music videos as well.  When I woke up this morning, this is what I found...

Listening to some tunes together!  ::heart melting::

Well guys and girls, that wraps our weekend! 

How was your weekend?  Anything fun and exciting?


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Since we last talked...

Here's what we've been doing...

We perfected sliding 4,239,561 times

took 2 hour naps...

had breakfast in bed with daddy...

went for wagon rides...

ate yummy snacks...
took more naps (with face covered!)...

got our very first ponytail...

had more healthy snacks...

stayed in our PJ's all day...

got a surprise visit from Poppy! AND..

 we played in boxes!

Showing off her new trick!  "Arms up"

Finally, we...

took loong fun baths...

complete with writing on mommy's tub!!

After our nice long warm bath, we finish up with the "spa" treatment (what we call Mia's nightly routine)!  Here's our nightly ritual...

We wash with this...

then after the bath we...

brush our pearly whites.  Then...

apply desitin.  Every. Night.  Not because she has a rash, just because.

Then miss M gets a mini massage with night time soothing lotion.

Then slathered in aquaphor from nose to toes :)  Helps keep that skin pretty and soft!

Lastly we tousle her hair in Moroccan Oil.  Amazing. Stuff.  My cousin introduced us to this and it is
Fab-u-lous!  Gives her that cute little curl and her hair just lays better :)

Our arsenal of beauty supply.  *Not shown: stuff when we have a cold.  Saline, suction, vicks!*

AND... complete!!

Love that kid!

That's our story.  Soaking up every.last.minute before I go back to work tomorrow.

What is your nightly routine with your kiddos??



Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentines Day

I'm not gonna lie.  When I was in high school, I was obsessed with V-Day.  I couldn't wait for my high school sweet heart (my husband) to profess his love to me for all of my friends/classmates to see.  I was all in the hype of the holiday.  But, NOT now.  Not today. 

*Sappy-ness coming at cha*

Today I woke up like any other normal day, we spent time together and ate lunch at our favorite little Mexican restaurant.  Dave went off to work and Mia and I (and Uncle B) spent the night hanging out together.  Nothing special.  HOWEVER, tonight when I was about to go to bed, Mia woke up crying.  I went in to rock her and IT HIT ME.  Who cares about V-Day?  I have my Valentines gift  My daughter is my absolute favorite little person and I cherish every moment we have together.  While I was rocking my precious girl, I started getting teary eyed, thinking about how she is growing up *so* fast and how one day I won't be able to go in and rock her back to sleep.  I started thinking about all those mommies and daddies out there who have lost their babies, young or old.  I could not imagine my life without my girl. 

I sat there in that glider, trying desperately to fall asleep with her, but I couldn't.  I didn't want to miss a thing.  Then I started singing...

I could stay awake just to hear you breathing
Watch you smile while you are sleeping
While you're far away and dreaming
I could spend my life in this sweet surrender
I could stay lost in this moment forever
Where every moment spent with you is a moment I treasure

Don't wanna close my eyes, I don't wanna fall asleep
'Cause I'd miss you baby and I don't wanna miss a thing
'Cause even when I dream of you the sweetest dream would never do
I'd still miss you baby and I don't want to miss a thing
I don't wanna miss one smile, I don't wanna miss one kiss
I just wanna be with you, right here with you, just like this
I just want to hold you close, feel your heart so close to mine
And just stay here in this moment for all the rest of time

I know this song is not about a mother and a daughter ok?  I get that.  But, for that situation, IT FIT!  I didn't want to miss one thing.  As my little lady was snuggled up on my chest and I could feel her breathing and could feel her heart beating.  Moments like that could last forever and I would be happy.

Therefore, my Valentines Day was perfect.  The best one so far actually.  Far better than any roses, candy or teddy bears.  Far better than anything money could buy.

The love in my heart for my family is so tremendous that it is not explainable.  HERE is the kicker:  God loves Mia more than I do!  HUH?  I don't even know how that is possible.  I can't even fathom it.  I do think I give Him pretty tough competition though!  Ha!  It's such a great feeling to know my precious angel is so loved. 

With all of that being said, I did not forget my husband.  Although we didn't do gifts this year, he knows he is loved more than life itself.  He is my *bestest* friend and I adore our relationship.  We don't need a made-up holiday to feel loved and cherished.  We show it all year long (with a few off days of course)! HA!

Hope everyone had a great Valentines Day and that you got to spend it with your sweeties ♥


Friday, February 11, 2011

Mia's Birth story (long version)

This is the WHOLE story of Mia's life, starting pre-conception, in the womb and after delivery.  This story is intended for Mia to read later and for my memory.  I did not have a blog at this point in life, which is why I am just now writing this.  Plus, it's a little hard to relive...


This post will contain graphic images as well as very detailed explanations, descriptions and stories.  It will be narrated as if I am telling Mia (older Mia) the story of HER!

Mommy and daddy tried VERY hard to have you.  Mommy had one previous miscarriage (June 2007) before you.  This was one of the most devastating things I had ever went through.  We wanted a baby so badly, and now we mourned for a child that we only knew of for a week.  After the miscarriage, we were told to "wait" 3 months before trying to get pregnant again in order for my body to heal.  After those 3 months, we tried for 3 months and NOTHING.  But something wasn't *right.*  I was having pain and didn't know why.  This was something I never had before the MC.  I consulted Dr. Paul (ob/gyn) who thought we should do an exploratory laparoscopic surgery to check for endometriosis.  In November 2007, I had the surgery only to find that I had very "minimal" endometriosis.  All the pain for that?  Now I'm really scared because endometriosis can cause difficulty getting pregnant.  Our infertility journey starts here.
Fast forward SIX months of trying with all negative pregnancy tests.  When you are trying for a baby, every month is a vicious cycle.  You experience EVERY hormone/mood possible.  During the ovulation period, you are filled with stress and anxiety.  Maybe it was *that* time?  Hope.  Wonder.  Pray. Excitement.  Optimism. Then the week you are supposed to have a period, you hope and pray to God it never comes. You are constantly running to the bathroom to make sure you hadn't *started.* After aunt flow makes her visit you feel hopeless.  Disappointment.  Stress.  Pessimism.  Along with many more...
Another visit with Dr. Paul.  Game plan was to start Clomid-a fertility drug to help induce ovulation (May 2008).  First month of clomid=Big fat negative.  The next month (second month of doing clomid) we also did an HSG (hysterosalpingogram), which is a short procedure in where a radiologist shoots dye through your fallopian tubes to make sure they are "open."  Second month=FAIL, yet again.  The third and final month of Clomid came and I was emotionally spent.  We went to Florida with the family and all I could concentrate on were ALL of the kids with their parents at the beach.  Dave and I were married, had stable jobs and a house.  We went to church regularly, had plenty of family support and had LOTS of love to give.  Why could WE not have a baby?  What did we ever do to cause this?  I was sad, but mostly angry.  I was angry that God would give some people babies but NOT me.  I wondered why my parents could be SO fertile and me not be.  Infertility is something that NO ONE, not even your own mother, knows how it feels unless they have been through it.  You hear all of the "don't think about it and it will happen", "just relax", "It's all God's plan", "you WILL have a baby" and "stop stressing" comments.  Just for the reference, NONE of those help.  Nothing helps.  I was bargaining with God.  Pleading to Him.  I would do anything if He would just let me get pregnant. 
**Keep in mind that I am a mother/baby nurse.  I see plenty of woman, every day, who have done drugs while pregnant, who have gotten pregnant accidentally, who have 4 and 5 kids, who live off the government, have no job and the ones who give their babies up for adoption.  I will never forget one patient I had while going through this.  She was not even 20 years old and was on her 4th, yes FOURTH child.  All of the babies had different fathers, none of which were involved.  I remember her telling me that I should try to get a bottle of "Absolut" (vodka) and get drunk.  Then I would get pregnant.  Really?! 
Then, on top of all of that, I get to SEE babies everyday, which was like putting salt in an open wound.  Every single month the wound was getting bigger and bigger.**
On August 8, 2009, we FINALLY got the + pregnancy test!  Can you say WOOHOO!  It was the 28th day of the cycle and I just *needed* to take a test.  I kept telling myself if it was negative I could just quit wondering and worrying about it.  So I went downstairs (we lived with my parents at the time while our new house was being built), while Dave stayed upstairs with my parents.  I didn't tell anyone I was taking the test, for it is too painful to tell negative results EVERY month.  I peed on that First Response test and before I could even get my pants zipped there were TWO lines that popped up.  Utter. Shock.  I immediately began crying and yelled for Dave to come downstairs.  He came down and I couldn't say a word.  All I could do was hug him.  He knew.  He had the biggest smile on his face ever!  We were finally going to be parents!
No sooner than the excitement began, the worry started.  I couldn't tell anyone.  What if I miscarried this one too?  The next day, I spilled the beans to my little brother.  I just couldn't help it and I knew how excited he would be.  After keeping the secret a couple more days, I told my mom.  Not exactly point blank.  More like while she was in her car, backing out to go somewhere and I kind of said maybe I was, type of way.
I had a five week ultrasound to make sure everything was "where it needed to be" and to calm some of my fears.  I also had the lab work done to make sure my HCG (the hormone in your blood and urine when you are pregnant) levels were normal.  Both tests were perfect.  Praise the Lord.  We then scheduled our *normal* prenatal visits and our first official ultrasound for 9 weeks gestation.
Only one week had passed when I had the crazy anxiety kick in.  I called the OB nurse and was crying to her about how I wasn't sick and my breasts weren't sore.  Aren't I supposed to have those things?!  I pleaded with her as to why I needed another ultrasound to make sure everything was ok.  She told me not to worry, the HCG was normal and typically those symptoms do not appear until about 8 weeks gestation.  I remember pacing the floor in my parents foyer and I uttered these words to the OB nurse:  "I don't care if I'm so sick I can't stand it, for the whole pregnancy!  I just want everything to be ok!" 
The day after that phone call, I was at work, on night shift and Dr. Paul was on call.  What was a stressed out nurse to do?  I did the only logical thing I could think of.  Page her!  I had to go *around* the nurse and go straight for the doctor herself!  After talking to Dr. Paul, I had an ultrasound scheduled for the very next day!
Seven week ultrasound looked fabulous.  Heartbeat was great and baby was developing just like it should.  Relief.  For a day or two.  Then came the habitual "boob feeling."  Multiple times a day, I would push or poke my breasts to make sure they were *still* sore.  I did it while I was driving, if I was alone, if I was around people, while at restaurants, wherever.  It was an obsessive and chronic habit.  I couldn't stop myself.  THAT is how worried I was. Every. Single. Day.  Until, the ALL day sickness started (around 8 weeks).  I was SO nauseous I couldn't think about anything else.  ::Open mouth, insert foot::  And I was SO tired.  I could sleep for 12 straight hours, wake up to eat a snack and then go back to bed for a nap.  I was exhausted.  Basically, I would sleep, wake to take a Zofran, eat, pee, then back to bed.  I was pretty much useless.  But hey!  I'm growing a human here!
Nine week ultrasound rolled around and once again everything was completely normal.  I could NOW start on my regular prenatal visits.  But wait.  You mean I have to wait FOUR whole weeks before coming back?  What if the baby dies?  What if, what if, what if? 
I made it through the next excruciating four weeks somehow.  And then the next five weeks (only because at this point I had started feeling the baby move).  At 18 weeks I had the "big" ultrasound (the sex of the baby and all the important stuff).  That morning I drank a mountain dew and had some M&M's.  I was NOT leaving that office not knowing whether it was a boy or girl.  I was SO nervous.  I was a train wreck.  Sweaty armpits, sweaty palms, heart racing and beating so hard I thought it may very well come through my chest.  I just didn't want anything to be wrong.  I got to see my healthy-looking baby girl, all big and sucking her thumb.  I cried tears of joy. 
After the ultrasound you have to follow up with the doctor to go over everything.  I was petrified.  Then the knock on the door.  My heart sank.  ::This is where my world comes crashing around me::  Dr. Cawthon entered the room and the first thing she said was "Well, we have a couple of things to discuss."  WHAT???!!  I KNEW it!  I just KNEW it was all too good to be true.  My heart was pumping faster than I had ever felt it pump.  My face and ears got hot.  I was instantly nauseous.  I felt weak, as if I might faint right there on the table.  What did she have to discuss?  Then she proceeded with "Do you all plan on doing any of the genetic testing?"  WTF!  Seriously.  Get to the effing point already.  I responded, "well, I guess it depends on what you are going to tell us."  She then very calmly told us that our baby girl had a choroid plexus cyst on her brain.  In a nutshell, it is associated with
Trisomy 18, a chromosomal defect that is incompatible with life.  ::insert major freak out::  It can also be related to Down Syndrome (the biggest of all fears of mine while pregnant).  Oh.My.Gosh.  God MUST hate me, right?!  Dr. Cawthon said that most likely it was nothing because everything else looked good.  A CPC develops in 1% of all pregnancies, and the majority of those are all completely normal. With Trisomy 18, you *usually* know on ultrasound because those babies have severe abnormalities, like in the heart, for instance.
Now for the second thing.  I don't know if I can handle a SECOND thing to be wrong.  She said that I had a placenta previa.  These typically resolve by the end of the pregnancy, but that meant ABSOLUTELY no sex until the placenta moved.  Ok.  I can handle something to be wrong with me.  But what if I started bleeding because the placenta is pulling away from my uterus?  Then my baby will be starving for blood and oxygen!  How will I ever make it through this pregnancy?!  Are you stressed reading this yet?  Because I am stressed all over again WRITING it.  And guess what?  This is only the freaking beginning!
My instructions were to follow up at 24 weeks gestation at a high risk OB office to have a very detailed ultrasound and to check on the placenta.
For the next six weeks, I spent the majority of my time on the Internet researching the CPC.  I would feel optimistic one minute and devastated the next.  I had the fear of Trisomy 18 AND the Down Syndrome fear, I could NOT shake it.
At the 24 week ultrasound there was no evidence of a CPC and everything checked out well.  The previa was still there, but had moved up some.  All in all, a very relieving appointmet.  Follow up in 4 weeks to check the placenta again.
The 28 week ultrasound showed another small improvement in the placenta previa category, but now revealed that my baby was measuring small (like the 20%).  NOOO.  Not again.  The insults just keep coming.  Follow up in two weeks.  Lots more internet surfing.
Another scary appointment.  At the 30 week appointment, the previa was now just "marginal" BUT Mia was now in the 10%!  Off to the high risk OB, AGAIN, for bi-weekly ultrasounds and BPP's. 
Fast was just a small kid.  Period.  All US and BPP's were normal and previa was finally resolved.  Finally, at 38 weeks and 4 days I went in for what was my last prenatal visit.  I was 4 cm dilated and 80% effaced.  Dr. Paul stripped my membranes and said I may not make it through the night before going in to labor, but if I did, she would induce the next day (because of your smallness and my whining).  I just wanted her out so that I could SEE that she was ok and so that I could FEED her what my placenta was failing to feed her.
The next day, April 8, 2009, my daughters birthday, was the best yet worst day of my life, by far.  After not sleeping a wink all night, we arrived at the hospital at 7:30 am and got the Pitocin started shortly thereafter.

38 weeks 5 days

Last day with a belly. (well, a pregnancy belly that is!)

Dr. Paul arrived around 10am and broke my water.  She asked if I wanted my epidural at that time and I said no, because believe it or not, I actually felt great at this point!  After about 20 minutes I was on that nurse light *pleading* for an epidural, STAT!  My nurse and fellow classmate, Angela, was awesome!  She got me all set up and ready for the epidural and before I knew I was resting comfortably!  As much as I was ready for her to be here, I was scared silly!  My life was about to change, forever. 
Around  2:00pm Angela came in to check my status.  She looked up and said I was "complete."  Wait.  What?!  Already?  NO.  I'm not ready yet!  Holy crap!  OhmygoshcallmydadNOW.  My dad had run home to let the dogs out because we weren't expecting her to be here until around 5-6ish.  Angela was very sweet and said "ok we will let you sit up and let gravity take hold and bring her down before you start pushing."  Ok.  I can handle that.  I just needed a minute to process.  About 2:45 I started feeling some "pressure" but nothing big.  Angela came in said it was time and we started pushing.  After about 2 small pushes, she said she was going to go call Dr. Paul.  Oh geez.  This is REALLY happening.  Like, right NOW!  ::Que puking here::
Dr. Paul arrived right after 3:00, I pushed with my mom, husband and friend Brittany at my side, and my little princess was born at 3:36 pm.  She was placed on my chest and...::incredibly ridiculous statement coming up:: the very first thing I did was look at her palms to see if she had simian creases (one possible sign of Down Syndrome).  She was fine!  She looked so normal and healthy!

The proud new daddy with his new baby girl!

That is where the "best day of my life" part was.

Here is where the worst day of my life comes in to play.  This is the part that I struggle to talk about. 

Right after delivery, I was puking like crazy and I had a postpartum hemorrhage, which required Dr. Paul to do A LOT of pushing on my belly.  I was so sick I couldn't even concentrate on what was going on with my baby.  Once I was all taken care of, I noticed my baby...
Mia, you were having a tough time breathing.  You were "grunting" (a sign to us nurses and doctors that signals respiratory distress, but not always serious.  Most babies transition out of this phase within the first 4 hours of life) a little bit while daddy was holding you, but it was nothing I hadn't heard before.  I didn't even hold you when I told Angela to go ahead and take you to the nursery to get checked out.  You would be back soon so that I could hold you right?  WRONG.

In the nursery getting checked out

I finally got wheeled over to the postpartum unit, where the Neonatologist, Dr. Shah, came in to my room.  He told us that you were requiring lots of supplemental oxygen to keep your own oxygen up.  He decided it was best to take you to the NICU for more care.  Ok.  Breathe.  I've seen this so many times before.  You will be fine.  I visited with all of our family that came while my legs were still numb, before I could go see my you.  At the time I was also struggling with my own weakness from losing so much blood.
A lot of the next stuff is all kind of a blur for me.  I remember Dr. Shah coming back into my room about an hour later.  He didn't look good.  He asked that everyone step out while he talked to Dave and I.  ::insert tears.  Then and NOW::  I will never forget that feeling.  Complete emptiness inside.  Heart racing, yet again.  He told us that you began coughing up blood once they got you in the NICU.  They had to put you on the ventilator and they were "doing all they could."  He said it was most likely a "pulmonary hemorrhage."  Honestly, I don't even remember much that happened immediately following those two statements.
Later that night, everyone had left (except your Meme, Poppy and Uncle B and of course your daddy) and the nurse came to get me up so I could go see you.  I had to have help up because I was so weak and dizzy from the blood loss.  At this point I didn't know where my parents were (they had been waiting and watching outside of the NICU.  They dropped to their knees and prayed HARD for you), but I had to go see you.  When we arrived, I saw you and instantly felt weak at the knees.  My poor, poor baby girl. 

**GAHHH, this is the hardest thing I've ever wrote.  I am sitting here, reliving all of this with tears flowing down my cheeks.  I am so blessed to have my baby girl.**

After we saw you, we talked to Dr. Shah and he appeared stressed.  He told us that you did in fact have a pulmonary hemorrhage.  The chance of a full term baby, not having previously been on the ventilator, was 1 in a million. 
::To this day, the BEST explanation any of the doctors have given us was that you had a "superficial" (close to the surface of the skin) artery that ruptured when you went from breathing water, to breathing air:: 

He told us he was "hoping and praying."  Those are not words you ever wish to hear from you child's doctor.  Dr. Shah didn't tell us that night, but later we were told that you had only a 20% chance to make it through that first night.
That night was the single most horrific night in my entire life.  I've never felt such emotional pain in my life.  I'm glad I was half out of it from the blood loss, because I may have very well had a mental breakdown if I would have been with it completely.
All I remember from that night was being cuddled up in that twin hospital bed with your daddy, repeating to him "I will NOT make it without her.  I will be in the casket with her" and then pleading with God as to why he should keep her here with me.  I realize I was selfish for worrying about Down Syndrome and He certainly showed me that it could be much worse.

The next morning, you were still alive!  Hallelujah!  It was another tough day, but hey, you were still here!  We had lots of family support at the hospital and family members were putting us on prayers lists around the country.  We had pastors from our church coming in to pray with us and over you.  The amount of love and support was phenomenal. 

  In the next two days, you and I both received blood transfusions.  I started feeling better and by day 4, YOU WERE TAKEN OFF THE VENTILATOR!!!!!!  Oh happy day!  Such a great feeling!  You, my lady, are a fighter, not a quitter!  You beat the odds.  You and God make a pretty awesome team :)

I didn't get to hold you on day 4 though, because you still had medicine going through your umbilical artery. We didn't want to risk that accidentally coming out and I certainly didn't want you to be poked again.

At least I got to clean you up!
BUT! The next day, day number 5, we were FINALLY back together again! I get chills, still now, remembering how awesome it felt to finally snuggle my little baby. It was a rough 4 days, but WE MADE IT!

**Notice the tube in your nose? That tube went to your belly to give you your food. At this point, you had yet to eat anything on your own**

Also, on day 5, I was able to breast feed you!! I was so happy! Such a great bonding experience. The pump wasn't nearly as cute and cuddly :)

At this point in the game, the plan was to get you eating. Eating WELL. The NICU requires you to be eating a certain *amount* and to be gaining weight before discharge. That seemed doable, right? Well sure, but not without *hiccups* in the process. Given our history, that was just par for the course.

A few days after being taken off the vent, you were still lethargic and had no energy to eat. You would start out awesome, then gradually start to fade. We had to work and work with you to eat the "required" amount. The doctors kept attributing your lethargy to the medicine they had given you to keep you "asleep" while on the vent. I immediately started feeling guilty. I was on Xanax at the time (to help me cope) and I started worrying about the breast milk I was giving you. I also hadn't eaten ANYTHING. I wasn't eating or drinking. The stress was killing me. What if the Xanax was making you sleepy and lifeless? What if my milk was just like water because I wasn't eating and that was why you weren't gaining any weight? I demanded they give you a bottle of Neosure (with extra calories) ::Que neurotic freak nurse turned mommy:: and I pumped and dumped. I was so mad at myself I was determined to quit breastfeeding/pumping. So I did what any rational crazed mom would do. I bound those suckers up and applied ice. Lots of ice. I was on the hunt for Sudafed to dry up that useless milk. I just couldn't bear the thought of doing harm to my child. The lactation consultant told me that the benefit of breast feeding far outweighed the risk of Xanax passing through the breast milk to you. I didn't care. She wasn't your mom and I *felt* like I knew best.

Daddy and his princess ♥
In the NICU, they only give you 30 minutes to get the specified amount down. Any more than the 30 minutes, you start burning more calories than you are taking in. If you didn't get the desired amount in by mouth, they would then give you the rest by NG tube. Each time they had to tube feed you, put us back another day. Each feeding time was like a job. I had a goal and had to reach it. I wasn't even getting to cuddle you while feeding you, all I could do was WORK. It's just my nature.
One day, we were visiting you and we were approached by Dr. Cohen.  He told us that your PKU came back with a really high number for your thyroid. He told us that it was possible that you had congenital hypothyroidism, but he would re-check the labs and let us know. ::Insert ANOTHER freak out:: We immediately went back to our room and what did I do? Googled it. Bad. Idea. I saw was the words "mental retardation" and "lethargy." I had NO idea what else it said, but all I could focus on was mental retardation. Ya know that all too familiar heart-racing-ears-burning-nauseous-faint feeling? Yeah, it's back. I slowly started feeling myself withdraw from you. I felt very disconnected. As sad as it is to say, or even hear myself say that, it was true.
The next day the lab had confirmed elevated thyroid levels. You immediately were taken down for a thyroid "re-uptake" scan. They insert a dye and then look at the thyroid to see if it passes through. NOTHING passed through. Not only were you officially hypothyroid, but they didn't think you even had a thyroid AT ALL. Dr. Cohen was SO supportive. He went over the details and gave us the game plan. He said that mental retardation only happened when hypothyroidism went undiagnosed or untreated. We started treatment THAT very night. Day 9 of life. Treatment requires taking an "artificial/supplemental thyroid hormone" pill, every day, at the same time, on an empty stomach.
On a positive note, this was why you were lethargic and pooping out while eating. You had no energy. At this point I was actually kind of relieved. Ok.  Hurdle number 1,023,984 cleared!

Precious baby girl

Finally, over the next week you really started picking up on your eating.  We had lots of help from Rebekah, the speech therapist who helps the kiddos learn to eat, and to this day I just love her and don't think we would've made it through without her! 

Dave and I finally went "home" to my parents house after 14 days in that little hospital room.  I was so sad to leave you, but I knew you were in great hands and were on the UP swing to come home.  I would call the hospital first thing in the morning, sometimes even through the night, to check on you, see how you ate through the night, what your weight was, etc.  Soon after that we would get ready and head up to visit.  I will never ever forget, on day 15 or 16, I got a call from Rebekah first thing in the morning, even before I had time to call and the first thing she said was "Your girl took 70cc!!!!"  All. On. Her. Own.  NO NG tube!  Can we say WAHOOOO!  I was so thrilled and proud I could hardly stand it!  The heartache was finally coming to an end.  Oh no, wait!  Theres more...
We arrived at the hospital on day 16 in fantastic moods!  We check in the NICU and see Dr. Hill sitting there, looking at us, waiting to tell us something.  A not-so-good something.  He said he had some bad news.  For the love of God, not AGAIN!  He told us that you had "referred" on your hearing screen, in both ears.  TWICE.  Now my child is deaf??  I know in the grand scheme of things, deafness is not a big deal.  But after all we had been dealt, I felt completely broken.  I was in a daze.  Could not believe what I had just heard.  How many hits can one person take before they crash?  Dr. Hill knew I was upset, so he came over to your bedside, where we were holding and loving on you and said something like this (exact words I don't remember):  "This is the small stuff.  Your baby IS HERE, and she's beautiful.  The rest you have to deal with.  Mia only had a 20% chance to make it through AT ALL and she IS HERE."  I know he was trying to get me to look at the big picture, but I was still upset over it.  However, I put my big girl face on, grinned and bared it.  Once we hit those doors to leave, the river of tears and sobs and nose snot started pouring.  I immediately called my parents.  As always, they were there to offer the best advice.  My mom said "Lauren, so what if she is deaf?  Are you not going to love her anyway?  WE will love her no matter what!  Do you think deaf people aren't happy?"  And it went on and on.  Yeah, what if you couldn't hear?  There was nothing I could do about it and I was still going to love you.  When we got back to the house, mom and dad BOTH started with saying they loved you so much that it didn't matter if you could hear or not!  ::More tears:: Can I just say, that knowing that people love your child that unconditionally is very humbling.  Makes me extremely proud to call them my parents.  You see, my biggest problem was not for me, but for you.  I just couldn't stand the thought of you being an "outcast" or being made fun of because you were "different."  Just imagining someone, ANYone, picking on you, brings upon the feeling of RAGE inside of me.  The feeling of literally wanting to hurt anyone who dared mess with you was overwhelming.  ::I still have that feeling, but that will never go away.  Don't mess with the mama bears cub!::  My question was, HOW did this happen?  I didn't believe for a second that you were born that way.  When I was pregnant, as soon as I put headphones on my belly and talked to you or played music, you started going crazy in there.  So, no, I was not going to accept that you were born this way.  I don't remember exactly why, but you did end up having to go on some very strong antibiotics for 10 days. I actually think maybe these were started while you were still on the vent, but I can't be for sure?  These certain antibiotics you were on have been linked to hearing loss, so that is what I'm blaming it on.  Obviously, you needed the antibiotics, but I do believe in my heart that that is what caused it.
 Finally, after settling down a bit, Meme and I went back up to the hospital to see you again.  This time, good news!  You were eating so well that they told us you would be getting to come home within the next couple of days!  Music to my ears!  Mom and I left HAPPY!
The next day, day 17 of life, April 25, 2009 we were all at the laundry mat, trying to catch up on all of the laundry we had accumulated over the past to weeks, when my phone rang.  It was the nurse practitioner helping take care of you and she told us that she was discharging you THAT DAY!  Ohmygoodness, the excitement was unbearable.  We were all so excited, we raced back home, showered, got all of your goodies and headed to the hospital.  The excitement was so great that we devised a plan to go out and celebrate after we picked you up!  What better way to celebrate than to go eat sushi!  ::Que 2nd greatest day of my entire life::  Yes, I realize now, in retrospect, taking a previously sick 2 week old newborn out in public was asking for disaster.  I still hold guilt about that and would not do it again if I had it to do over.

The morning after we brought you home ♥

Finally, after one year of trying to conceive, 9 long stressful months of pregnancy and a very traumatic delivery and recovery, I get to bring a baby home!!  Hallelujah the Lord is good!

Mia Camille Huff
April 8, 2009 at 3:36 pm
5 lbs 13oz and 17 inches long


*After follow up visits with an endocrinologist, Mia DOES have a thyroid, but also has congenital hypothyroidism.  We take her to the endocrinologist every 3 months for a check up and blood work.  She takes 1 pill per day, first thing in the morning.  Her dose has only been increased 3 times since birth (technically 2 because the dose she is on now is a little too high) and the doctor wants to try to take her off Levoxyl when she is 3 to see if her own thyroid "kicks in."  If her thyroid does not kick in on it's own, she will remain on treatment for the rest of her life.  On a good note, she is growing and developing perfectly :)

*Mia went through multiple hearing tests shortly after leaving the hospital and the results were MILD, high frequency loss.  The audiologist told us she would have trouble with the "s" and "th" sounds.  She said that Mia would have a little trouble sitting in the back of the classroom with a soft spoken teacher.  Hello?  So would I!  We did buy hearing aids for her, which she NEVER wears.  Her speech is developing just like it should and she shows no signs of trouble! :)

*As far as the lungs go, we have had no follow ups.  The doctors told us we have no reason to believe that anything like that would ever happen again.

*I am so, extremely grateful for all of the love, support and prayers from all of our friends, family, coworkers, doctors and nurses.  I will NEVER in my life be able to show you the appreciation and gratitude I have in my heart for you.  Thank you!

*My faith was put to the test and I definitely questioned God while going through all of this.  I know He has his own plan but it is SO hard to see that while going through it.  However, now, I can look back and tell you exactly why *I* think it happened. 

Sorry for such a detailed, loooong post, but I had to put everything I remembered in here so that I wouldn't forget.  I want Mia to know everything about her arrival into this world.

Love you Mia!  Forever and Ever,