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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

40???

It’s hard to know where to start on this post, so I guess I’ll just jump right in….grab a cup of coffee, I’ve got a LOT to report on!!!

How can I be 40, I don't feel 40, I'm finally a mother, 40, it can't be.....

Our Vacation:

WOW, WOW, WOW. I guess that sums up the place we stayed.

For those who are new to my blog, Brian and I took a much needed vacation to the Dominican Republic to celebrate my 40th birthday as well as our 2nd wedding anniversary. We also just needed some time together, with no responsibilities (no vomit, no syringes, no feeding pump) and to reflect on the year we’ve had: (infertility, it’s ups an downs, IVF, the shots, getting pregnant FINALLY, with triplets, miscarriage of my triplet at 10 weeks, amnio at 17 weeks which caused my water to break, 10 weeks of bedrest, moving into a our first house, emergency delivery at 27 weeks, the birth of our twins on October 4th 2005 who each weighed 1 ½ pounds, the loss of our first born daughter Corinne 3 hours after she was born, my becoming very sick with sepsis, our 2nd born daughter Kaitlyn needing heart surgery 4 days after she was born, she was touch and go for the early days, Kaitlyn spent 4 months (127 days) in the NICU, having unknown # of blood transfusions, surgeries (including an eye surgery which saved her from blindness), she spent a month on a ventilator, and many other months on other breathing devices, finally coming home to us 1 month after she was due on 2/9, weighing 7 pounds, but not eating well; 6 weeks after she came home we realized we had to have a g-tube inserted surgically because she wasn’t eating anything by mouth, and was constantly vomiting. Upon coming home from surgery, she continued to vomit, a LOT, and we had to learn the life of feeding a child through a tube in her stomach. I pumped breast milk for Kaitlyn for 8 months, and produced well over 3,000 ounces, I filled completely a 6 foot tall freezer, I stopped pumping, not realizing that Kaitlyn was going to have even more problems with formula, so amazing women have donated their breast milk to us. After Kaitlyn came home, we also had to put our 12 year old dog to sleep, as she was sick and surgeries couldn’t find the problem. Yesterday, was 11 months to the date from when my twins were born.

You can see why we needed a break!

In that Kaitlyn’s medical needs don’t allow us to have family members take care of her (and the fact that we don’t have local family), we sent her to an amazing place, The George Mark Children’s http://www.georgemark.org/ house that is 30 minutes from our house. This home was written up in People Magazine and is the ONLY one in the entire United States to give parents Respite (a break) or to help in the case of children who are dying (Hospice). While we gone the nurses checked in with me via email to give me reports on Kaitlyn. It made me smile and giggle with thoughts of her every time I got one of their emails. They even called my mom to give her a report too! Thank you GM House, and thank you to the volunteers and nurses who took such good care of Kaitlyn while she was there.

We decided to go to a plush all-inclusive resort (we are usually the more adventures types), but this time around we wanted to RELAX with a capital R. We went to the MOST AMAZING resort I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been to a lot of nice resorts in my past. This is where we stayed: http://www.paradisuspalmareal.com/ (Check out the pictures on their site)…When we checked in they actually upgraded us to the Royal service, as they had a special Romance package I had emailed them about in advance. They also knew a bit about our situation, with our twins, my birthday and our anniversary, and I have to say thank you thank you Paradisus Palma Real!!!!

Upon arrival, we headed straight to the beach:


The resort is not even one year old, and was amazingly beautiful. When we checked in, we were treated to warm washcloths and champagne and a private tour of the resort with our butler! Our Royal package included a butler!! Our man Jefferson was the best!! Thank you Jefferson!



Yes, we had a butler and a private royal pool.

Our pool bartender Roberto and Pool/Cabana Boy Ahmed were amazing. They never left us without a drink in our hands!

Amazing beaches:






Just to give you an idea, of how exclusive this resort is, I understand that Pamela Anderson stayed there a few weeks back, and while we were there, there were NBA players from the Atlanta Hawks. We had lobster a number of nights.

On our anniversary, we had a restaurant called “Passions”, and our butler had spread rose petals on our table, waiting for our arrival. Upon returning to our room that night, out butler had spread rose petals as we entered our room, he had drawn a bath and the amazingly large tub, with candles, incense and a bottle of wine.

We had an amazing ocean view suite on the top floor, just a few doors down from the resorts 2 super exclusive suites (which we didn’t have).

Just down from our room was our private pool with our own pool bar (remember, everything was included). The pool bar had reserved cabanas with these amazing pillow beds to lie on that our man Jefferson would reserve for us. There were covered cabanas and ones in the sun. You had your choice of cabanas on the beach or at the pool. Both were amazing. The private pool (as well as the main HUGE pool) had these cool lay down things with drink holders. Every morning they would lay out towels with flowers.


When you walk into the resort the view is absolutely stunning, marble entry ways, water fountains, the pool and then the blue ocean beyond. Wow! I’m just imagining it again now.

At night time we would sit outside in the vast courtyard just looking at the sites.

Every night the resort had entertainment, one night they had a Michael Jackson impersonator and dance troop that was actually quite good. (I expected to laugh my head off, but the dancers were quite amazing). One of the restaurants:

We got a couples massage in the cabana below.


We rented (for free) a little sail boat many late afternoons, and we would sail down the beach to one of the beach bars, I would run in and get “road sodas” – Like frozen mudslides or something) and then get back on our sail boat. Brian scuba dove every day (for free), as the resort was all inclusive. When we scuba dove, I happily laid in a cabana and read 3 pleasure books! Yes 3 books!

Afternnoon siesta....

We spent 8 days there, the Hurricane Eduardo that came through (While we were in the DR it was called Eduardo, but I see it also named Ernesto here in the US – who knows?). The day after we got in, we had some torrential down pours, major wind and over cast skies for a few days, but that was about it. The island in the Caribbean where Dominican Republic is shared with Haiti. Haiti and a city on the DR, were affected much more than where we were, they actually had some major flooding and there were a couple of fatalities sadly from roofs collapsing. Funny enough, we were contemplating going to Cabo San Lucas for this trip, and upon returning home discovered that Hurricane John was bearing down on Cabo. I guess we picked the right place to go!! You can see the storm wind in these trees:



Flying to the DR from California was quite a trip. It’s a LONG ways. We had a 4 hour layover in Atlanta, and were very tied upon returning home. We only met 1 other west coast couple while we were there, everyone else was from the East Coast or Europe. We met a wonderful family originally from DR and a great group of couples from NJ (Hi guys!).



Last day on the beach before we left to catch our plane:





Well, I think that about gives you a flavor of our vacation.

Kaitlyn update:

Of course, on the return plane trip home, I couldn’t WAIT to get back home to see our little girl!! We got to the George Mark center at 1am (which was 4 am our time), so we were quite beat!!! She looked so different! She had grown and I just kept staring and hugging her close! It was so wonderful to have a break and even more wonderful to scoop up my little peanut into my arms and hold her tight!

I was so hoping that I’d finally get that much awaited smile, showing that she recognized me (or her dad), but alas, still super serious baby!

Upon returning home, we discovered that her 2 front bottom teeth that were just starting to pop out, completely popped out, and she was learning to almost sit on her own.

NOW, she is definitely sitting on her own – but I wouldn’t leave her, as she’s still wobbly and falls down. I’ve also discovered that she has gotten much better with the use of her hands. She now knows when something is dropped (well, she’s discovered picking up things and then dropping them), and she looks for the object. Before out of site, out of mind. She can now also pick up cheerios – no not eat them, but she’s able to pick them up and throw them. I have discovered the thrill of picking up stuff all over the house.

I was also secretly hoping that the vomit would be miraculously gone upon our return, but no such luck. Her vomiting has changed, but she’s still vomiting. It’s “quieter” now, which in a way, is tougher, as she surprises me, and it’s now almost always projectile. I’ve tried spoon feeding her still with veggies or fruit purees, and she wants NOTHING to do with it. Now she’ll put about everything else into her mouth, but she is quite adept at knowing when there’s food on a spoon. An empty spoon, she’ll happily put into her mouth, food, forget it! I’ve even tried the mesh feeder that someone visiting my blog suggested, but no luck with that either.

Today was sort of “back to my life of Doctor visits”, Kaitlyn had a PT appointment, where her PT is indeed pleased with her progress, but stated she is still quite delayed (acting like a 5 month old, as compared to her 8 month adjusted).

Kaitlyn is still a bit under 15 pounds, so I think her weight gain has dropped off the last few weeks, which has me a bit worried.

Tomorrow, she has a major lung function test, to see how bad her BPD (Bronchi Pulmonary Disease) is or how well her lungs have healed. This won’t be an easy test for me to watch I’m sure, but we are really looking forward to the results. Right before we left, I gave Kaitlyn a cold, and luckily she seemed to have weathered it quite well (her first cold) and it never went into her lungs. This is a BIG deal!

We’ve noticed that her eyes are still crossing a bit, so we’ll continue to keep an eye on them (pun intended).

Welcome Home MOM - Boy did I miss my Beautiful Miss Kaitlyn:

See my 2 new teeth! It's hard to see them, as she doesn't often her mouth often, so I had to "let" her bite my finger.

Serious Katilyn - but bigger!!!
I took this picture today....She's sitting!!!!! and every day a bit less wobbly!

Hanging out on the couch in her cute outfit.

Getting fed in her bumbo seat.

Sleeping, in her swing, in obvious deep concentration!

11 comments:

Heather said...

Happy Belated birthday. Looks like you guys had a great time. Good to see you back. I LOVE the pictures. I wish we could take a vacation like that. I love the pictures of Kaitlyn. She is so cute and she is getting so big.

stephasteph said...

Wow, i will definately keep that place in mind when I get to take a vacation again. (its been 8 years) Kaitlyn hair has grown! She looks so pretty!

Jenny said...

OH MY GOSH!!! that sounds like so much fun liz!

and WOW! look at kaitlyn! she is getting SO BIG! she DOES look like a different baby! i love that pic of her sitting in the big chair!

Good job sitting up miss Kaitlyn!

Kristin said...

Happy belated, Liz. Sorry that the mesh thing didn't work. I'm also discovering the joys of no food on spoon. :( Its our first major preemie obstacle. We try every week as she's just coming up to 5 months adjusted, but I'm not going to stress just yet... I'm hoping I don't have to relate just yet.

Glad you guys had a good time on holidays, it looks like a beautiful place, but I like you guys, prefer the adventure type holidays but looks like a perfect place to do some serious R & R.

Billie said...

Yay! Thanks so much for the long post! Your trip looks fabulous and you and Brian deserved it. Happy happy birthday to you. You and I both celebrated big ones this year, only a few days apart:)

Kaitlyn is beautiful as always. I can't believe she is sitting. Makes her seem so much more grown up!

Stacy said...

What a great trip - Kaitlyn is definitely bigger!

A few weeks ago, I met a mom here who had preemie twins. Her son had a paralyzed vocal cord. He is now 3.5 years old and talking up a storm! I couldn't have told he had a paralyzed vocal cord if she hadn't told me. I thought it would give you some hope - and if you want to touch base with her, I can get her contact info. (Her son also just lost his G-tube a few weeks ago.)

Kaitlyn is looking so big...the developmental stuff will come. It takes time, but at 2.5 years old - our twins are nearly "normal" now.

Kim said...

You so deserved that upgrade with the personal butler--you have spent the past year focusing on someone else and it must have been great to let someone focus on you for a change! Happy Birthday to you! I am SO happy that you and Brian had such a good time!

And that Kaitlyn, man, she is a cutie!

Michelle Flannagan said...

Happy Belated Birthday- It looks as though you enjoyed it thoroughly. That place looks amazing, you two more than earned that trip with everything you've been through this past year! How do you adjust to life without your Butler?? The one picture of you sitting in the chair with a huge grin is great to see!

Kaitlyn looks great, I'm glad she's sitting up now. Let's hope the vomit patrol gets a break. Take care, Michelle

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Liz & Happy Anniversary to you & Brian too. It looks like you had a wonderful vacation. You deserve it!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Liz - and Happy Anniversary to you & Brian too. I remember reading about your engagement and crying my eyes out over how perfect it was. Your vacation looked like a dream of a lifetime - you deserve every minute of it. 40? Come on - you look better than most 20 year olds. Kaitlyn is getting so big! Will keep checking in on you.

Sue Tuxill

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your vacation stories and photos. What a beautiful spot, it looked dreamy! Keep doing it, a happy mom makes for a happy child. Happy 40th birthday, Liz!

Maria K.