Saturday, August 13, 2016

Beach Day

For a very long time, our beach trips have looked like this: drive over with the dog, go down to the beach and walk a little, maybe pick up a few shells and rocks, throw the ball for the dog, pack up the dog, go to Rogue Brewery for lunch, and go home. The only messy bit was the dog and we'd just hose him off if he was really bad.

Now, of course, things are very different! Yesterday I took Ivy to the beach for the "first time." (She has been before, but she was young enough that she didn't even touch the sand, I just carried her - and it looked a lot like our old-normal trips.) I was going to take Linus, but in the end I realized it'd probably be a lot of extra work so I left him home.

It was supposed to be 95 in the valley yesterday, so an escape to the beach was really nice. It was still foggy when we got there at 10am, and when my friend and her kids arrived we loaded ourselves up and made the short trek down to the beach from the parking area at Cape Lookout State Park.

Ocean-blue Eyes

We set up our little shade tent cabana things, managed to figure out how to eat some lunch without getting too much sand everywhere, and it turns out Ivy's favorite pastime at the beach is playing in the surf. I held both of her hands and we'd walk out towards the water, and then when a wave came I'd run backwards with her to a spot where the water would only reach to her ankles. We did this over and over, until my back would get too upset with me and then we'd go back to the little cabana for a break.

In the meantime, we practiced together how and when and where to put on sunscreen, how to keep a hat on, and how not to eat sand. Sorta. Not really the last one. As Ivy started getting tired and punchy, she started to eat more and more sand, and we played the really not that enjoyable game of "try to keep the sand out of my mouth and fail, mama." So as my friend and her older kids (who do not eat sand) played more, I packed up our stuff and got as much sand as I could out from between toes, and Ivy slept in the car as we made the hour trek to Lincoln City to meet some relatives for a couple of hours. And when we got home I was happy to see I succeeded in my attempts to keep sunburn at bay!

I think it's still going to take some practice, but for a first try it was a pretty successful little trip.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Two Things

Two random things that happened in the last few days:

Cory said he was watching Ivy play alone the other day, and she was talking to herself, and suddenly started laughing. She must have told herself a joke. I wonder what it was.

Also, yesterday I was trying to read to her before a nap, and I pulled a book off of the shelf and showed it to her and she shook her head and said "no." (It sounded like "nah" though.) I ended up going through all of her books, showing her each one and her shaking her head and saying no, until she settled on one. It happened again in the evening, but she was much more amenable to books than she was in the afternoon; I think she was just learning that she could say no to something so she was practicing. If it keeps happening, though, we're gonna have to start hitting the library for some new material!

Bonus thing: this weekend was the pits for poor Miss I, but she was such a trooper. On Friday we went for a little drive up to Mount St. Helens, and partway through the day I noticed her eye was a little swollen and gunky. Turns out it was the beginning of conjunctivitis! It spread to the other eye over the weekend, and on Monday first thing I called the doc and they called in a prescription just based on my description over the phone. Then on Sunday she reached for one of her little walkers and lost her balance and hit her mouth on the handle, and either split her lip on the handle or bit it with her new teethies. I think it was the first bloody injury she's had to deal with. It's still swollen today, but it hasn't seemed to bother her since the initial shock and pain. Poor thing. And her eyes look much better now that she's had a day of antibiotic ointment, but I'll be spending most of the next couple of days checking my own eyes in the mirror to see if she shared her germs with me.

Cory's been making little videos of our travels this summer; here's the one from St. Helens.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

13 Months

I didn't mean to sit down and write a post on Ivy's 13-month birthday, but here we are. (Edit: sometimes we forget to hit the publish button. Whoops.) She is currently taking one bite of chicken and throwing the rest of the handful on the floor. Both the dog and cat will love her today.

This weekend we visited my mom, three hours away. Ivy got a convertible car seat that was delivered on Thursday, so we switched out the baby seat (a friend sent me a link to Consumer Reports, who said it was dangerous for kids over 1 to stay in an infant seat, and I also got a really really good deal on this one - a Graco Size4me 65, for $45!) and headed over the mountains. Turns out Grandma's house is magic: last time we were there (Memorial Day weekend I think), Ivy popped her first tooth. And this weekend she popped her second tooth (on top, same side as the bottom one) AND took her first few steps unassisted! I need to go there more often, I think, so she can get caught up on her teeth. She didn't fuss, either, which was great - I just happened to see that it was there. I'm praying for my poor nipples now, haha.

We also THINK we are hearing more words. She said "hoo hoo hoo!" along with us when we were playing with her little stuffed owl. I'm pretty sure she says doggie and kitty. She says "uh oh" when she drops things, of course.

We are at that point now where she is almost not interested at all in baby food anymore. I'm not sure if it's that she likes feeding herself, or if she just prefers "real" food, but I have been wasting squeeze pouches left and right. She is doing a really good job swallowing everything, and when she does get something stuck in her esophagus a little bit of water gets it the rest of the way down. And I can tell she's eating some pretty big chunks of food sometimes. Chew, silly!

She's also learning body parts. She did a good job with "nose" until we taught her "ears," and now when we ask her where her nose is she points to her ear. We're also practicing "toes" and "tummy." Sometimes she gets it.

There's also a lot of new personality developing, which is so great to watch. The other day she crawled all the way across the park from where we were sitting in the grass, across two cement paths, and into the wood-chipped play area. She "sings" a lot. And she likes making people laugh - she's getting pretty goofy. I love it.

Ah, dinner was short-lived. Someone is tearing her bib off.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

What Comes Next

Thought I'd pop in really quickly with a little anecdote from last night.

Our bath time routine is what everyone else's is, I'm sure: get in, play, wash, put the toys away, open the drain in the tub, get out. At the end of Ivy's bath last night, I had her hand me her toys one by one. When the toys were cleaned up, she turned and pointed at the drain plug. Yes, baby, that's what comes next! Good job!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

One Year Checkups

Ivy had back-to-back doctor appointments a few days ago, one with the surgeon and one with the pediatrician.

The surgeon appointment was super quick, as usual. Ivy got to get weighed on the big-kid scale, standing up with all of her clothes on, which was pretty neat. The surgeon looked at her scar and at her chest, and said that everything looked great and he would see her again in six months or so. He also told us to start weaning her off of the omeprazole, which is super exciting - it's no fun to have daily medicine, especially when you have to keep it refrigerated. So we're doing every other day for a week and then every two days, and then we'll be done. He also mentioned that he'd want to see her for a few years just to keep an eye on her development, especially her chest wall - I'm not sure what that meant, but so far it all looks good.

The surgeon also asked if we were planning on having more kids. He said "don't let the fact that Ivy had TEF keep you from trying for another baby; the odds of having a second TEF baby are very low." I wish it were as simple as being worried about TEF, doc! I said "well, we had to do IVF for this one, so chances are we just won't be able to do it again." It gave me a little short-lived twinge of sadness to say it out loud again.

And then the next morning we checked in with the pediatrician. Ivy got three shots, and everything else looks fine. She weighs 18 pounds 4 ounces, which is way down towards the bottom of the scale; her head circumference is even lower, but she's 75% percentile for height (29.75"). So she's still a pinhead beanpole. We'll see the pediatrician again in three months.

After the surgeon visit especially, it felt almost like we'd graduated. No more medicine, less frequent visits - it's a great feeling. It's especially sweet because a year ago at this time we had just completed Ivy's swallow test and were preparing to get her chest drainage tube removed; and my social media posts from then bring back a lot of emotions.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Ivy is ONE!

Bad things come in threes, they say. It was that way for us this past week, and the repercussions affected Ivy's birthday.
Last Monday, the dishwasher stopped working. Minor thing, really, just an inconvenience.
Then on Friday, the power steering went out on our brand new car. (Our old car broke about 60 miles from home over Memorial Weekend, and we had to be towed into town, where the car was pronounced dead and we sold it to a car tinkerer friend.) That was also an inconvenience except also a safety concern.
And then Friday night, Cory was roughhousing with Ivy and she tore his glasses off his face and broke them in half, right across the bridge.

***

I woke up on Ivy's birthday at first light and laid in bed as she slept, stroking her little face and thinking about the past year. A clap of thunder got me out of bed to look out the window: no rain, but I had fruit skewers to make, so off i went.

Ivy woke up shortly thereafter, and I gave her her birthday present: a pair of silver shoes, which are too big for her now but she's also not walking yet so it's OK. We also made plans for the morning - Cory wanted to go to the eyeglasses shop and see if they could repair his glasses, because the tape I put on them wasn't working at all.

I did maybe 40 skewers, and decided that if people ran out of those they could make their own, and dumped the rest of the fruit into a bowl as we ran out the door to the eyeglass shop.

After striking out at the shop (the frames aren't solder-able, and it's against the rules for them to drop an old lens into a new frame apparently), we decided that now that we had a bit of time we could go to the grand opening of the Burgerville in our town. So we drove towards some very dark clouds, and as we were getting out of the car in the parking lot, the heavens opened up. We ordered some food and in-between managers coming through asking how we were doing I checked the weather app on my phone and fretted about the deluge. We were supposed to have an outdoor party in two hours!

Home we went again, and Cory started calling the dealer to ask about our car, while I started getting party stuff packed up and ready to go. The rain had stopped, but it was still looking threatening out there. Some family arrived, and we took one load of things to the park, where it started raining again. And then it was ten minutes until the party, and I started panicking a little, because we hadn't set anything up. I ran another load to the park in our car, even though Cory had said the dealer told us to stop driving it, and that the tow truck driver was going to be at our house between 1:30 and 2, right during Ivy's party.

When we finally brought the last load over, there were several people there already and my mom (who had stayed at the park with the first load) had enlisted some of them to help set things up. I handed Ivy off to Cory's dad, and finished setting up, and the tow truck driver called to say he'd be late so Cory ran over to the park, and then it was time to party!

Ivy's Birthday Cake

Ivy ate probably 3/4 of her cupcake. It didn't take her long to figure out what to do, and actually most of it got in her mouth, which was pretty impressive. (She also kept sticking her fingers in other people's cupcake frosting for the rest of the party.) I cleaned her up while Cory ran home to meet the tow truck, and he came back when we were almost finished opening presents.

It looks like Ivy's favorite gifts (so far) were this little chair which she has not stopped climbing all over and sitting in, and a dolly. She's really starting to like dolls, she puts them to bed (puts a cloth over them) and gives them little kisses and cuddles. She got a lot of great stuff that we will definitely be enjoying for awhile.

And then it was over! My family (which was the majority of the guests) helped pack everything up and deliver it back to our house, and then it was NAPTIME. For everyone. Ivy didn't have more than 20 minutes of a morning nap, but she didn't fuss at all, even towards the end of the party - she's such a good girl.

And then the rest of the evening, and so far today, we have just been hanging out at home as a family. Cory has been super busy with work lately, preparing for his trip, and now that he's home we're decompressing and being quiet and together.

***

Some new things Ivy does:
Cuddles and pets dollies
Sticks her finger up her nose (uh oh)
When I say "ni-ni, dolly!" she puts a blanket on her doll
Eating lots of solid foods with no trouble swallowing for the most part
Starting to walk with help
Kisses us when we pucker up. With her tongue out.
Climbing - up the stairs, onto laps, onto her new chair
Standing by herself here and there, and catching herself when she falls
Babbling with more variety, including whispering
Imitating sounds and actions more often
More adventurous - will cross a room or go down the stairs or go into the other room in order to do something or get a closer look at something

Proud Parents

Friday, June 17, 2016

Ivy Eve

This morning I texted Cory to say "a year ago this morning I was awakened by a contraction!"

Cory is in Washington, DC on business; he left early Tuesday morning and comes home tonight. Before he left, I was worried I wasn't going to be able to get all of the prep for Ivy's first birthday party done, on top of normal making-dinner and doing-chores stuff all alone. But that part has worked out just fine; I just miss him. I've been melancholy for the past couple of days, partly because of all of the terrible things that have been happening in the news lately, and partly because of this crazy milestone that's imminent and bringing up all kinds of memories and feelings.

I actually have been left with pretty decent memories of the NICU. I'm grateful for that, because I've been reading back in my blog posts and of course it's bringing back memories of how overwhelmed I was, and how scared for Ivy and her future; and I'm glad that most of the icky feelings associated with the NICU have faded a bit. I think the most powerful memory that I have of last year around this time is the moment I finally made it to Ivy's room after being stuck in the hospital where I gave birth, waiting for blood transfusions for three days. I dropped all my bags on the floor and ran to her bed and just sobbed. It's a very vivid memory.

Today last year was the culmination of so many things. It was the end of my pregnancy, and going into labor I wasn't nearly as uncertain and worried as I thought I might be. The pain came and I worked through it. And my memory of the days before is peaceful - gentle reflection and gentle anticipation.

It also marked the culmination of the raw, close pain of infertility and the IVF process. It wasn't the end of the total pain of infertility, I think that will always have a little place inside of me that gently reminds me of its existence here and there. I was telling someone the other day that I will be happy to stop marking IVF anniversaries and start marking Ivy's anniversaries. Another reason it will never fully go away is that, whether I like it or not, we are likely done having babies. I sometimes think about how it'd be awesome to be able to do this all again, to feel the excitement and fatigue and closeness-to-another-being of pregnancy, to feel more like I know what I'm doing with a newborn, to have another breastfeeding relationship with a little one, to give Ivy a sibling to play with and fight with, to hopefully be able to fulfill the after-birth part of my birth plan where I get to check out the placenta and enjoy brand-new-baby-bonding-time and take my baby home sooner than 17 days after birth.

But none of it matters right now - Cory will be home tonight, we will get to cuddle in bed as a family, and then tomorrow we get to celebrate our little miracle. <3