Monday, December 28, 2009

Pictures at last!

Well, I admit, I've been horrible about updating and posting this year...

I finally uploaded a whole bunch of pictures!

Here's a link on Flckr to see them!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Night Before Christmas - in the NICU

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas...
No, I haven't done Christmas cards, I'm still hoping to maybe get out New Years Cards, so if you are wondering why you haven't gotten yours...well, just been too crazy as of late.

This was posted on my Micro Preemie Support group that I started, (which is now almost 600 members strong!) If you would like to join (if you are a parent of a micro, here's the link):

Twas the night before Christmas, and in each isolette
Little creatures were squirming and getting all set;
Machinery sat by their bedsides with care,
In hopes that good breathing skills soon would be there.

Day shifters were home all snug in their beds,
As visions of overtime danced in their heads;
While preemies on ventilators, and some on CPAP,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap...

When out in the hall there arose such a clatter,
The residents woke up to see what was the matter.
Away from the sink I flew like a jet
To make sure all was well at my baby's isolette.

Some bilirubin lights with their powerful glow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to babies below,
When, there before my wondering eyes, it would seem,
Was an oversized stroller and a medical team.
With a handful of needles with which they could stick you,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nicu.

More rapid than eagles his specialists came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
"Now, Nurses! Now, Residents! Now, Neonatologists!
On, Social Workers! On, Respiratory and Occupational Therapists!
From the front of the unit! To the end of the hall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

Up to each baby's cribside they flew,
With the stroller full of toys, and St. Nicu too.
And then, in a twinkling, they stopped at each bed
And tucked in the babies and got them all fed.

As I looked at my baby, and was turning around,
Down our aisle St. Nicu came with a bound.
He was dressed in red scrubs, and I could instantly tell
That his clothes had an obvious hospital smell;

A bag of stuffed animals was flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
A little red pen he held tight in his teeth,
And a stethoscope encircled his neck like a wreath.

He was chubby and plump, with a few extra pounds,
And I laughed when I saw him there doing his rounds.
A turn of his clipboard and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke few words, but came straight to my side,
And running down his face was a tear he had cried.

And laying his hand on the back of my head,
He gave me a nod, and slowly he said:
"Each night you come here you're aware of the danger,
But your baby is loved by the One in the manger."

Then the medical team gave a thumbs-up and smiled
And St. Nicu placed an animal next to my child.
But I heard him exclaim, as they rolled out of sight,
"Merry Christmas, tiny baby, and have a wonderful night!"

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Worldwide Candle Lighting

On Sunday December 13th at 7:00 in every time zone across the globe, millions of people will be lighting candles in memory of the lost children in their lives.

Please join me in the celebration of life and memory and light a candle in the name of my missed angel, Corinne Margaret McCarthy who we so dearly miss.

If you decide to participate in Corinne's name, please leave a comment here for us!

For more information:

From the website:

"The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting unites family and friends around the globe in lighting candles for one hour to honor and remember children who have died at any age from any cause. As candles are lit at 7 p.m. local time, creating a virtual wave of light, hundreds of thousands of persons commemorate and honor children in a way that transcends all ethnic, cultural, religious, and political boundaries.

Believed to be the largest mass candle lighting on the globe, the Worldwide Candle Lighting, a gift to the bereavement community from The Compassionate Friends, creates a virtual 24-hour wave of light as it moves from time zone to time zone. Hundreds of formal candle lighting events are held and thousands of informal candle lightings are conducted in homes as families gather in quiet remembrance of children who have died, but will never be forgotten."

Visit The Compassionate Friends website to find a formal service near you, or light a candle in your home at 7 PM knowing you will be joined by hundreds of thousands of people who are thinking about the children around the world who are gone, but continue to live on in the hearts that they touched.
A Remembrance Book will also be available on The Compassionate Friends' website on that day to post a message or tribute.
The Worldwide Candle Lighting held yearly the second Sunday in December

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Life is Wonderful!

First of all, to my loyal blog followers, I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I hardly post any more.

Life is flying by, I never get to bed before midnight any more and my personal blog just always seems to take a back seat.

I have so many pictures and videos but the thought of trying to deal with them is just too much when all I want to do is sit and veg out and get away from my computer. so sorry, this is a text post.

(and to those friends that I owe pictures too. I'm sorry, I PROMISE I'll get them to you. I really really haven't had a minute to spare)

Kaitlyn and Quinn update:

Quinn (although still a sensitive guy) is finally walking at 16 months!! 2 weeks ago he started taking one step and then falling forward. But he is now full-on walking. He is so proud of himself. His PT thinks that the delay came from his standing on tip-toes all the time, but he really seems to have the hang of it. It's amazing how quickly he caught on. From hardly taking a step to taking 3 and then "diving" for me or the couch to full own toddling all over the house! The first week of his walking was hysterical as he could only walk side-ways, as he was used to furniture walking. It was so funny! Good thing our house was fairly baby proofed already, but there are time I "forget", like a few nights ago when I found him sticking Kaitlyn's butterfly net in the toilet and was having an absolute blast!

Quinn is also talking, he's got about 10 words I think. This happened probably 2 months ago and I haven't been able to get to a post...his words:
Mama, Dada, no-no, more, bye-bye, ball (or ba), wawa (water) aqua (yes, he's already bilingual), duck. He is catching on to the talking thing so much easier than Kaitlyn did. Kaitlyn's first word was dada and everyone was dada (even me!)

Q is definitely a little mama's boy, he loves to nibble on me, especially if I've wearing something fuzzy. He loves fuzzy blankets and goes "mmm-mmmm" and nuzzles when he gets a hold of me or a blanket. He loves to be held at night before going to bed. How I love this, Kaitlyn never wanted to be held. He is FINALLY sleeping through the night (if he's not teething, as he screams all night and I have to rely on Tylenol) .

Quinn loves to smile and giggle, he super ticklish and has the BEST laugh. Remember K never smiled EVER until she was about Quin''s age. Where he smiles all the time (when he's not screaming that is).

Now, as much as I'd love to call him a "happy baby", that's not the case. Now, Quinn is still a sensitive guy, he cries a LOT/ I call him extreme baby, as he's either having a blast or screaming his head off. It's so bad at times that our neighbor knows when we are having especially trying days. Yes, he's LOUD and it's NON-STOP! It's horrible.... Thankfully (most nights) he likes to be held at night so I can calm myself down over the stress that his screaming (and my crazy buys day) causes me! I just love to kiss his little blond head as he nuzzles close to me. It's absolutely heaven on earth!

Kaitlyn is eating up a storm. Yes, I can't believe I can say this! It's like a new little girl arrived from somewhere who LOVES to eat. I cannot believe I'm saying this. Even this summer it was still a chore, as she rarely ate anything, but I changed my philosophy in feeding her to try to let her little body to teach herself what hunger was. it took 1.5 years, but her hunger and appetite finally kicked in. AND low and behold she weighs over 31 pounds now! I think it was only a year ago that she was stuck at 26 pounds... I'm not sure how tall she is exactly, but she is shooting up like a weed. She was always 1 or 2 sizes behind her age, and now she is wearing size 4 (her age). Even most size 4 pants fit (with a belt) as size 3 are way too short for her.

She's doing really well in her main-stream pre-school. The teachers can't believe what a difference. This is the same class she was in a year ago, as she is repeating the 3 year old program. She's now finally able to draw, (a year ago she was hardly drawing squiggles), now she loves drawing happy faces. She interacts a bit more with other kids, but still prefers to do things on her own.

What is currently worrying me is some weird new happenings. She clenches her jaw, grinds her teeth and goes: nnnn-nnnn-nnn as she shakes her hands up and down, or puts her hands on either side of me and hits me (gently) , she does this ALL the time. Seriously. at least 10 times an hour. It' sort of hard to explain. It's hard to get her to stop, she's sort of "stuck" doing it. She still also gets really wired/hyper and the best thing to calm her down is to put a "heavy frog" on her or the new weighted vest that I got. Both are therapy items. I say to her take deep breaths, hunny, it's time to calm down. But she can't seem to. She rolls around on the floor, pillow, soccer ball (whatever ball they were using in "sports class" that she just took)

Other stuff:
This is Prevention of Prematurity Month and as my role of March of Dimes Ambassador and Family Teams Chair I've visited two NICU's this week. the Nicu where my children were all born, and everyone was so happy to see me. Of course I cried as I thanked the nurses, (this was March of Dimes show of appreciation for all the NICU and L&D workers). I thanked the nurses again for giving me my most favorite picture of my 2 girls together for the last time.

I've wanted to post all month about it being Prevention of Prematurity Month, and of course haven't gotten around to it.

I also helped start a local Bay Area Twinless Twin group, and we got together for dinner this month. IT was wonderful and sad at the same time. There were 5 of us there and a lot of tears! I think next time we shouldn't meet at a restaurant so the waiter doesn't think we are all crazy. Then again, as we get to know each other and our stories, maybe it won't be quite so emotional. It was really nice to be able to support some moms with recent losses.

I also this month met with my feeding tube support group and continue to help new moms that come into the group whose children have serious feeding issues or are on feeding tubes. The moms that I've met in this group have become some of my closest friends.

Our heater went out on Thursday, (as I was rushing trying to prepare for the Board meeting and my poor children and nanny where at home freezing!) I had to deal with this too. Thankfully it was just a door left open to the blower, but it took PG&E to come out and tell us this as neither I nor any of my neighbors who tired could get the darn thing to start. (It all started when a helium balloon got sucked into the air intake and in process of taking it out the door was left ajar)

Real Estate Update
OH and yes, I think most of you know, but I do work full time as Real Estate Broker!

Yesterday I ran a full-day board retreat as my new position as incoming President for the Marin Chapter of The Women's' Council of Realtors. This took a LOT of time to plan and prepare. I'm sooo happy that it's over and that it went so well. I'm looking forward to working with my Board next year and am excited that everyone is so willing to help me as obviously, I have a LOT on my plate.

I helped sell a friend/client from my local mom's group sell their condo (we are in escrow) and are looking for a replacement home. We've put in two offers but neither of them have stuck yet.

I've spoken to 2 new wonderful clients (one is looking for a 2nd home and the other is coming back to the bay area and couldn't imagine living anywhere but Marin County). I plan on meeting both of them just after the holidays. I've been helping 2 other sets of clients make the move from SF to Marin for our great schools, but I can't see to find the right house for one family! If anyone knows of a high end very contemporary home, (preferably in Larkspur) please let me know!

I helped some clients relocating from NY purchase a house in West Marin (Inverness) after 3 weeks of serious negotiations. This was the hardest deal I've ever had to get into escrow as my buyers are self-employed and we had to pull out all the stops as it's next to impossible to get financing now if you are self-employed.

OH, and I went to San Diego last week for 5 days to attend the National Women's Council of Realtors Meeting as well as the National Association of Realtors meeting. I'm helping launch a brand new website for the California State chapter of Women's Council, so that's taken a lot of my time. I was so lucky to get to listen to some great presentations, Condoleezza Rice was the head-liner for NAR and Sashi Koto (former CNN Anchor) was the speaker for the Inaugural lunch of the National WCR 2010 President. I also took many classes on Real Estate, primary all focused on Social Networking for Real Estate agent. So much great stuff, but I don't seem to have the time to get anything started!!

The day I got back my pediatrician's office called and let me know they finally had the H1N1 in, so rushed to get them the shot in the comfort of our doctors office. Of course the shot gave them both a "cold" not too bad, this was on the heels of them both been sick earlier in the month, which of course for Kaitlyn means breathing treatments and all.

Ok, and that's just been this month!

Whew, I'm tired just writing all of this!!

The kids and I are heading solo to Los Angeles to visit my mom for Thanksgiving (it's a very, very very long drive (as Kaitlyn puts it), so I'm going to try to head down late Tuesday afternoon and hope Quinn will nap and sleep. Brian has to work on Thanksgiving, so figured we might as well go spend some time with Grandma Corinne as everyone knows I don't cook!!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!!! Be thankful for all that we do have in this serious time of uncertainty. I know I'M thankful for my two children here on earth with me and for how amazing they both are. I'm thankful for my husband's willingness to put up with all that I take on (and that he KNOWS I don't cook) I'm thankful for all of my friends who are always there to lend a helping hand (which I often need), I'm thankful for all of my WCR Board members who are so willing to help me as I take on the Presidency. I'm thankful for my Real Estate clients who continue to know that I'll take good care of them. I'm thankful for all of my on-line friends for continued support of my family and my blog (when I rarely post any more). I'm thankful for my co-moderators of my Micro Preemie Support group (as I so rarely even have time to read the posts on the group any more). I'm thankful for the March of Dimes new friends I have that are willing to help me help the March of Dimes.

And mainly I'm thankful that life is wonderful. Life with all it's up and downs, it's still a wonderful road to be on. Life. I'd never be the person I am today without all that's happened in my life. Good and Bad. I'm a much better person that I could have ever have hoped to be. I constantly think about all the people that are now in my life that I would have never met and I'm so thankful that my life took the path it did (even thought I'd still trade paths a million times over), I'm totally at peace with the road that was chosen for me.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

It's Fall

Guess it was only a matter of time. This is Kaitlyn's 3 cold this fall so far. This one went directly into her lungs and she has mild bronchitis. Her coughs are just soooo horrible to hear.

Quinn now caught it today too.

At least the last 2 weren't too bad. We are back to doing round the clock breathing treatments and she's on antibiotics. I'm mainly soooo fearful of the swine flu. I've heard of some really horrible stories, a father supposedly passed away who lives near by who was healthy, and a 30 year old former preemie spent 4 weeks on a ventilator in a medically induced coma.

Can you believe that this happened:

Bankers getting vaccines

That wall street bankers are getting H1N1 Vaccines, while children like mine can't find the vaccine? My pediatricians office hasn't gotten any in yet at all.

What are your thoughts?

Oh and another "fall" story:

Oh, and yes, if you see my face book posts (which I am doing MUCH more often than my blogging updates as I'm sure you can tell). Quinn fell out of my car. It was horrible. It was sort of the perfect storm of events that happened, I felt like a horrible mother after wards.

But after another ER visit (we had just left Urgent Care an hour before to check on Kaitlyn's lungs from her last cold). K was very hungry, we stopped to get food, there wasn't any place to sit, so I had both kids, K was having a temper tantrum (from being so hungry) busy parking lot, my carrying Quinn while holding take-out food, his food, my purse, Kaitlyn's had, tried to put K in car, but had to open her car door and as I stupidly put Quinn in his car seat (for just a second) that's in the middle of the car, he got out of his car seat as I sprinted to the other side of the car, to make sure he wouldn't crawl out of the seat he rolled out of the car in front of my eyes before I could get there and onto the pavement.

Stupid mother of the year award I know....sigh.

Thankfully, now 2 weeks later, he no longer has a black-eye and his scratch near his eye is just a bit red still

Thursday, October 08, 2009

The Best Doctor Visit - EVER

Today was Kaitlyn's 4 year old Doctor Check-up AND we went to the Dentist also.

The day started out great, Kaitlyn was very excited to go to the Dentist and her teeth looked great! She had fun and loved the small dog in the Dentist office and of course the staff loved Kaitlyn. All good reports on her teeth.

Then we were off to see Kaitlyn's regular Pediatrician for her 4 year old check-up (Kaitlyn had already been given a flu shot a month ago) so there weren't going to be any shots involved, but for the first time ever Kaitlyn was fearful of the Doctor and the check up. (at her 3 year old check up she WANTED a shot, which was certainly a bit strange). I actually felt it was good news that she was showing some fear (meaning to me that she doesn't remember all of the horrible things she's had to endure) and that she's doing basic kid normal things.

Kaitlyn is 30 pounds!!! I weighed her the day before her birthday and she weighed in at home at 30.0 pounds, and today, her official doctor weight was a bit more (but with clothes on). Wahooo!! 30 pounds puts her at about 3% on her ACTUAL birthday growth chart. (not the adjusted for her early birth chart).

She is 38.5 inches Tall. That means she's close to 50% for height (not-adjusted chart).

Everything looked and sounded great. I asked the Doc about possibly needing surgery to correct her gtube "hole". Her old g-tube whole looks almost like a 2nd belly button. Poor thing, I can just imaging her as a teenager wearing a bikini getting kid about having 2 belly buttons. I think something will need to be done (and the doc agreed and decided to ask a surgeon, whether it should be done by a plastic surgeon or not and when).

Also one of Kaitlyn's toes is curling under another. I've been paranoid that I had her in too small of shoes or something and the doc said, not it was going to happen no matter what. I guess she's not going to have the cutest toes, but at this point all-in-all, that seems minor. The scars on her arms from her recent crazy bug bites or poison oak episodes that she scratched to bleeding seem to be healing, and the doc felt the scars would go away.

But, I think the most important thing of all, is that Kaitlyn's doctor told me how absolutely incredible Kaitlyn was doing. On the way out, she said to me that she could never, ever have believed that Kaitlyn would be doing so incredibly fabulous for all she's been though, and you know what, I totally think so too. Going into this check-up was a joy. I KNOW she's doing great. I was all smiles. The last 6 months have given my the most amazing little girl I as a mother could ever hope for. So many of my posts over the years have been mom worrying. Mom fighting to find answers. To find help.

My daughter is a miracle and is the most amazing, beautiful, full of life, smart little girl. She has the most wonderful sense of humor, loves to laugh, is one tough little thing and people are drawn to her wherever she goes. I love her more than life itself.

At her IEP from special education she tested in the 4 to 6 year range in many levels (except some of the pragmatic (socialization) skills, but she is doing so very well there too. They said that she likely does have sensory processing issues and in unstructured environments she does go a little haywire (which I know). Her teacher said she's changed so much in the last 6-8 weeks and I totally agree. My amazing, little micro preemie is the most amazing, bring tears to my eye daughter.

But today, which really helped me to realize what's the most important thing in life: Kaitlyn's Doctor and I were emailing each other this afternoon after the mornings Check-up (about my needing to have some breathing medicine on hand for this upcoming winter and her gtube site) and this is what she wrote to me:

"BTW, I just loved my visit with Kaitlyn today. She is delightful. Even though she was fearful, she was able to comply with and become engaged during the check up. To me this reflects maturity in her behavior. I recognize that Kaitlyn's accomplishments are the result of the extraordinary efforts required of her parents, who were willing to step up and do what was needed. She and Quinn are very lucky children!"

I truly think that was the best email I've EVER received. I've known in my heart how hard I've fought for my daughter (and Quinn too) but to know it was noticed by our doctor was really was special to me. I can't change the fact that all of my children were born early, I can't get my daughter back, but I could do everything in my power to help ensure Kaitlyn and Quinn's future. Isn't that a moms job??

Enjoy some great pictures:

Last day of school (Special Ed) last week

Last Day of Special Ed
No eating issues here...

And to think that the package of M&M's was Kaitlyn's FAVORITE gift, boy have we come a long way!
Celebrating her Birthday on October 3rd with Mom and Dad at home
Kaitly's Birthday Celebration at school on her last day

And of course Quinn got in on the celebration too!

Even my little man is growing up too!

Friday, October 02, 2009

A few days away

Fun picture of Kaitlyn at our neighbors super duper sudsy fun party (well and Margarita party for the parents)! They put bubbles in the hot tub for the kids to enjoy!

The girls birthday is coming up again. October 4th is around the corner. I CANNOT believe that Kaitlyn is going to be 4 years old!

Today was her last day of Special Education (she is still going to qualify for a 1.5 hour program 2days a week), I kept tearing up the entire day! Her last day of school with an AMAZING teacher that has done so much for Kaitlyn and we celebrated her birthday. I took some great pictures, but just don't have the time to process the pictures at the moment.

Her face broke out with glee as the other kids sang happy birthday to her. It made my heart sing with joy!

Quinn started "walking" today, with the aid of a little push cart/walker toy. Oh my, he was sooo happy with himself! He's become quite the mamas boy lately, gets very upset when mom leaves the room (or the house!) I captured on video, but again, don't have time to edit and post it.

Last night dad and I got all fancy and went to the March of Dimes Celebrity Chef's event in SF. It was very touching and nice, but I got teary eyed listening to the family share their story, all preemie stories are so touching. It was nice to get out and dress up, it's been a long time and the food and wine were just amazing, I've been a bit slow all day today.

Real estate is CRAZY at the moment. It seems to take 3x as much work for every deal. I've had some difficult ones recently that are sucking up my time (time which I don't have anyways). I'm leaving to attend a Women's Council of Realtor Conference in San Jose on the girls birthday, which is heartbreaking to me. We had to move Kaitlyn's birthday the following weekend. My mom will be coming up for it. I feel very guilty. Dad and I are going to celebrate with her tomorrow (as I don't think she'll know the day of the 4th vs the 3rd). But I'm going to have to find time to work, pack, oh and plan her party that I have done NOTHING for.

I'm overloaded and overwhelmed and totally exhausted at the moment, sorry for not posting very often, or with much news...I guess the good news is that the kids are doing really well and remember, I usually post when I'm down and worried about them, I guess that's a good thing right, that they are just being kids and I'm a busy working mom!!!...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Yosemite here we come

Brian and I went to Yosemite and climbed Half Dome last month for our 5th year wedding anniversary and my 43rd birthday!

And we are off to Yosemite again with the kids this time for a few days!

Sorry for the long blog silence, just really busy and tired. Have too much on my to do list.

Kids are doing great, Quinn has officially outgrown his reflux and is finally a MUCH happier baby (but he still has his moments). He's crawling all over the place and is really close to walking.

Kaitlyn is almost finished with Special Education, as she'll likely graduate on her 4th birthday which is only a few short weeks away!

I DO promise to blog more soon, Just too tired and too many things on my to do list!

Liz and Brian celebrating their 2nd ever "summit" to the Top of Half Dome. This time it was a LOT harder, in that I'm now in my 40's have had 3 children and am very out of shape as compared to the last time (BUT I still kicked Brian's butt on the climb!) Pictures a bit out of order..
Tired and very happy to be nearing the bottom of the hike. My legs were like RUBBER coming down the steps at Vernal Falls. We had hiked about 15 miles at this point. It was 4pm. We started our hike at 4:30 in the morning. We did get to spend 2 hours on the top of Half Dome though.
Pictures a bit out of order here, but this is from the morning after. I'm a "bit" tired after hiking 18 miles and climbing 5,000 feet UP and 5,000 feet DOWN in elevation in one day. But there was a deer near our tent, so Brian got me up to take a picture.
In the morning (probably just at sun-rise, as we are no longer using flashlights). We've already been hiking for about 3 miles (Brian's already got a sweat going from going UP UP UP the stairs). For a lot of people, hiking to Vernal Falls is a BIG deal. This was just the start of our hike. We left camp at 5:20. Vernal Falls are right behind us, but it's too dark to see.
Coming DOWN the cables. We were soooo happy to be on the cables by ourselves in the morning, as it's a nightmare (and dangerous) to have to deal with all the yahoos on the cables. That's me on the left passing someone as they are just going up.
Me again.
Liz on top of the world! 8,000 feet up! (we climbed 5,000 feet in elevation from the valley floor)

A view of the top portion of Half-Dome before we head up it. It's very imposing. And this is after you've just hiked about 7 miles.
Liz going down, passing people
This is why we left so early in the morning. All of these people were going up and we had to pass them on our way down. Not fun
Brian on top
Brian heading down. We don't have any pictures of us going up, because Brian wasn't doing well and he had the camera (yes, really the truth, something had to do with the amount of tequila he consumed the night before our hike). He was so slow, and I hated looking down waiting for him, that I just scrambled up as fast as I could and waited at the top for him. He's looking much better now on the way down.
A picture of the valley floor, hard to tell how far down it really is, but I couldn't stand at the edge, made me very queasy to my stomach.

Brian and Liz on top of Half Dome, one of the most famous places in the world. We felt very proud of ourselves. It was nice to have a small break from our kids for only the 2nd time since the twins were born. When we first got to the top it was very clear, but the smoke from the fire blew in while Brian was recovering. He really wasn't doing very well.
The view of the cables before we headed up
Right before our trip up the cables
The very large pile of gloves at the bottom of the cables that are necessary for the climb.
Trying to show how steep the cables really are.
another view of the cables in the morning with no one on them.

Bad fire that started in Yosemite just as we arrived in the park

Cool shot of the helicopter sucking up water to work on the fire (as we headed out of the park)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Quinn update

Wow, what a difference a few weeks makes!

We got Quinn off the bottle (amazingly easily) and transitioned from horrible tasting/smelling elemental formula onto real milk, with very little issue! I was so hoping that his milk protein allergy would go away and it seems to have.

- I am now even weaning him off reflux meds (he's been on huge doses of both Zantac and Prevacid) and tomorrow we may try to go med free for the first day

- The little guy has finally started to: roll over, rock on his knees, crawl backwards a few inches, crawl forward maybe 1 inch, and loves to pull him self up to standing anytime he can, and I've found him sitting up in his crib a few times too! (just a month ago he wasn't doing anything). Now we have started him on weekly PT, but I wonder if going on real milk had anything to do with his recent gains. They started at the same time (real milk and the real gross motor skills).

-The PT is still concerned, that he always clenches his fists and toes and easily gets upset.

The best news is that his incessant crying has decreased - oh he still has his spells (I know when it's really bad when my next door neighbor asks about him), but it's getting so much better and (3000% easier).

Kaitlyn has gotten sick again with her 2nd summer cold. Hopefully it will be a quick one!

I'm sorry I haven't been posting, I've been crazed with work (a good thing) and blogging has had to take the back seat lately!

Monday, August 03, 2009

I Pledge of Allegiance

Our smart little girl! While we were on vacation we realized that Kaitlyn knew the entire Pledge of Allegiance. We think she learned it in her Special Education class. Thank you Mrs. Gail Wish! Turn up your volumn as Kaitlyn's voice is quiet!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Made me cry

Real Quick (it seems that's always my blog title, real quick).

Quinn just turned one last week! Wow, where does the time go? Both kids are sick, (I think a ton of kids have this yucky summer cold or thing going around).

I'm trying to pack to get ready to go to Chicago for 3 days. I'm attending the Leadership Academy for The Women Council of Realtors, as I'm going to be the President of my Marin County Chapter in 2010. (Like I don't have enough on my plate!!!)

Quinn has qualified for Regional Center and Early Intervention (as he's so delayed -poo on you Jean (read earlier post). Just had the PT come give an evaluation (used to be K's PT) and she said she thinks it's sensory issues also. We'll see. sigh.....

But here are 2 amazing pieces of news:

1. Kaitlyn is potty trained! wahooooo! It seemed we'd never get there. NEVER. All of a sudden (as everyone said it would) she jsut got it. After 2 days of accidents (the last one inside REI in Corte Madera, sorry REI store!) we've gone 3 weeks with no accidents (except a minor incident at the park for Quinn's birthday party last weekend). AND we are even dry at night. So Kaitlyn loves wearing her new big girl underwear (she loved them before, but never minded peeing/pooping in them), but finally now she gets it! I'm so proud of her!!

2. I've found a donor for my milk. And, this is the reason for my blog post title. Get your tissues ready. I was hoping that I could donate my milk to my good friend in Los Angeles who is desperately trying to find a baby to adopt. She's been through 5 IVF's and so wants to be a mom and will be the best mom ever. She's been here for me supporting me though so much and I couldn't' think of a better place for my milk. BUT at this point, my oldest milk is from the beginning of January, so I started feeling that I should find another home for it.

I had put out a post on the Yahoo Milk Share site months ago, and I had a TON of moms interested in my 2,500 ounces. But I told them I was holding it for my friend.

I think many of you know that I belong to a local Feeding Tube Support group. Even though my daughter no longer h as a feeding tube, I continue to go to monthly meetings to be with some of my now closest friends as well as support new moms who join the group.

We had a new member join a few months back who emailed me. I suggested that she try breast milk for her daughter, as her story sounded hauntingly familiar to mine. A micro preemie. Gtube fed, unexplained vomiting and not getting any better.

Well months later, she finally come to the meeting in person last month. She was at her wits end. The docs weren't helping much and told her under no uncertain terms should she use breast milk (it's not pasteurized, etc).

Well, I suggested (saying that I'm not a doctor) that it worked for me and I got donated milk from women I knew as well as complete strangers all of the country and it was the only thing that allowed Kaitlyn to gain weight.

She tried my milk this week. When she emailed me the next day after her small trial tat it was working. I got some more milk to her and she did an over night trial. She wrote back saying it was the first nighttime feed she'd ever had without vomiting!!!!

Her email to me:

"Update... Sis really doing so much better since we started the breastmilk!!! She hasn't thrown up at all at night so far, and only twice during the day, and that was on formula. I cannot thank you enough for introducing hope to me at a time I felt like giving up."

Then today again I was in tears as I read her email to me:

"Yes, it is definitely going to a good cause. You don't know (or maybe you do!) how much happier I've been this week, to see "S" happier, and not feel the constant fear of her vomit coming...

Liz, I don't know how to thank you for all this... You have opened my eyes to new hope, A feeling I'd forgotten about. I'm feeling more optimistic, and am so much more able to cope and function since we started the milk and her vomiting is so much better."

Anyways, I'm so happy my efforts at the pump have come back to help someone that needed help like I did. This is for all the moms who so graciously donated their milk to my daughter in my extreme time of need!

Thank you!

(And if you are a local SF or Marin mom, she's going to need more than my 2,500 ounces of milk so if you have milk to donate, please let me know!!)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Happy 1st Birthday little man!

I Can't believe that today is Quinn's 1st birthday???
It seems like just yesterday that I was in the hospital for preterm labor for 2 weeks and my little man came on July 21st, 6 weeks early.

Where does the time go?

In that both kids are sick and Brian is working today, we didn't have much of a "celebration" but I've got a cake on order for tomorrow (Yeah, Free cake for 1st birthday's at Safeway).

It's 10pm, I still need to have dinner!

Just wanted to share the news that my little man is 1 year old today!
How fast does time fly. Wowee!

PS, here are a few pictures that I had taken a few months ago of my precious children! Enjoy!

Happy 1st birthday little man! I love you!

Kaitlyn HATES being next to her we weren't able to get any shots of just the two of them. and only got 2 decent ones of the three of us!

These pictures were taken by a friend of mine, she does great work if you are looking for a Bay Area Photographer! She'll come to you! She puts your kids at ease (as she's a mom too!)
Sharon Neves Photography
Call her and let her know you heard of her via my blog! (she didnt' ask to be on my blog, by the way!)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Corn on the cob!!

I can honestly say I NEVER thought I'd see my little g-tube fed vomiter voraciously eat 2 1/2 ears of corn! After the first, she couldn't get enough and wanted another one.

I took a video to capture the moment. Hopefully I can get around to processing the video. It's AMAZING!!


Sorry for the absence from blogging, just returned from a 10 day trip to Western New York with the in laws and aunt/uncle/cousins! We had a wonderful time and got to see Sesame Street Live!

Just trying to get caught up, will promise to post pictures and more soon!


Friday, June 26, 2009

Horrible News!!

My client's Floating Home burnt down last night!!!

After I heard the news I called Jim (my client) and he said he was going to call me to tell me "that he wanted to drop the listing price." But I had already heard the news.

My heart goes out to him. His home was crafted entirely by him, it was some of the most beautiful wood work you could imagine.

From the Marin IJ:
"Firefighters with the help of two fire boats were able to contain an explosive two-alarm blaze Thursday afternoon that gutted one houseboat and nearly destroyed another on the Sausalito waterfront.

Fire crews who arrived near the end of Liberty Dock at Waldo Point Harbor at about noon found a big column of smoke rising from a two-story houseboat at 49 Liberty Dock that was fully engulfed in flames. Fire then shot over to the neighboring houseboat at 48 Liberty Dock....

News story Link w/pictures of fire

Watch video of fire

There are more pictures of his home on my listing website:

There is going to be a benefit for Jim, my client. As soon as I know more, I'll post it here!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Response to Comments from Happy and Sad Post

Felt this should have it's own post.

This is in reply to a commenter from my previous post:


Sorry but I had to reply. My gosh!!!

I could just delete, but if you've been reading my blog for any length of time, I don't delete others opinions, but I had to reply....

Jean's Quote: " as a regular reader, I have to finally say that I wish you'd please, please, stop classifying your children as "super-duper delayed" and focusing on the loss of Corrine. Kids develop at varying rates - some are faster than others and some are slower than others. And not every child who doesn't sit up when you want him to needs some sort of intervention. "

My response: Quinn is STIFF, very STIFF. So Stiff that I can't get him into his car seat, bend his legs to put his leg into his pj's and I can't put him in sitting position at times. He also wants to arch backwardes out of my arms. This isn't my "wanting" him to sit! His is now totally able to sit on his own (and prefers to at all times) he can't get to sitting position, He can't roll, nor do much else.

Our Pediatrician did notice at his 9 month review that he's delayed (3 months delayed, reminder he is only 6 weeks early). She offered the ability to visit a PT one time. I declined, feeling (hoping) that things would get better. They haven't, they have gotten worse and I know that our Pediatrican will agree when we see her for our 12 month check up next month.

Quinn hyperextends his legs and arms and it's preventing him from developing as he should. At this point PT and EI CAN help him to get back on track. I KNOW this. It's not when I "want" him to sit up. How can you "offer" opinions when you don't really know what he's doing? I haven't posted much about it, as I've been hoping that he would stop doing the stiff legs and arms and hoping it was from reflux. But it's getting worse not better.

You think I don't know that kids develop at different times? If he was just developing slower than I'd agree. But Quinn is doing things that are very noticeable.

Jean's Quote:

"Many kids aren't good drinkers of breast milk or formula. Life with an infant can be difficult - most infants are not fun most or all of the time, they are a TON of work! "

my response - do all infants have blood in their stool and scream bloody murder? No. Because of my persistence we discovered that Quinn had a milk protein intolerance (from my drinking dairy). After we got him on an elemental formula and reflux meds he went from hardly drinking 3 ounces at a time and screaming all the time, to drinking 8 ounces.

Ok, and what's normal? Probably not your neighbor coming over to ask if everything is ok when they've heard Quinn screaming for hours on end.

Jean's quote: "But constantly complaining, worrying and researching which dreaded disorders your children might have takes away the precious time you have with them - time that is particularly precious if you're a mom with lots of outside activities and a demanding career."

my response - constantly researching dreaded disorders???? WHAT?? Not sure where you fabricated this from...Don't even know what to stay about one... Is this in regards to Quinn? Fabricating bloody stool? Signs of reflux?

Or Kaitlyn? I believe that is my research to find solutions is why Kaitlyn is doing so well today. She is going to graduate out of special education at her 4th birthday. I'm soooo happy. She still has issues, but she is doing GREAT. Really Great!

Jean's quote:
" I know Kaitlyn has difficulties that need to be addressed, but for goodness sake - let Quinn grow for awhile without trying to classify him as a candidate for (in your words, not mine) "the short bus.""

My response - Quinn WAS a preemie. He IS delayed. He is hyperextending his legs, arms and trunk, he wants to stand on tip toes when put on his feet. He goes stiff at any opportunity. This can be from reflux from pain. I don't know. He had a GI follow-up today and The GI couldn't believe how stiff he gets. She said that he indeed should be evaluated.

I'm SAD and BUMMED that this is happening. I'm not making this up. I wanted a regular experience this time around, and Quinn isn't easy. I've EVER expected babies to be easy. (I'm sure you've got something to say about my comment here).

I KNOW that he'll be fine. But I also know that EI will help him. and I NEVER said that he needs special education (or my one time of saying the short bus...which you took totally out of context."

Jean's quote: "Finally, I truly believe you should see a counselor for your paralyzing grief. I know you will always grieve Corrine's loss - it was and is a terrible thing. Despite that fact, you need to move forward. You need to let Kaitlyn be Kaitlyn and not attribute her perfectly normal habit of talking to herself (i.e. entertaining herself) to missing her sister. Kids talk to themselves - frequently while lying in bed waiting to fall asleep. While sad, it is true that Corrine and Kaitlyn shared a womb and that Corrine died so Kaitlyn will never know her. But the reality is that Kaitlyn didn't know her and can only be hampered by you not letting go of them as a two-some. Any grief she feels now and in the future over that loss will be because of your desire to instill grief in her psyche, not a cosmic attachment from the womb."

my comment:

"shesh! paralyzing grief! Did you not read that I stood outside my daughter's door for almost 10 minutes smiling from ear to ear at how amazing my daughter is?

The grief that came on was from a realization that I wish my TWO daughters were talking to one another. Is this paralyzing? hell no! I miss my daughter. I miss her not being here. I don't know if you have lost a child or not. BUT I know that I will hold the empty space in my heart for my ENTIRE life.

I don't recall writing as Jean said: the reason she was talking was due "to missing her sister" . I felt it was so great that she is having imagination play (she's only been doing this for a few months now) and I loved it. Yes, after quite a long time, I got hit by a wave of sadness (which I honestly said here) and I got sad that she wasn't in the room "playing" with her sister, should her sister be alive today.

And yes, maybe you find it creepy, but I do believe that Kaitlyn's sister Corinne watches over her. And I'm sorry if you feel that I have paralyzing guilt" that I thought of Kaitlyn "talking" to her angel sister.

I recently met a grandmother in her 80's that told me she lost a child. She carries that "grief" still, but she's living her life. It's not paralyzing me. It's healthy the way I look at it, I think it's more worrisome for those that ignore it. That grief IS there somewhere inside. How can it not be? It's what you do with that grief and whether you let it run your life (I certainly do not).

For those that know me, they would NEVER call me paralyzed with Grief. I'm a very happy person. I love helping others with their situation (just today a mom called me with a difficult decision to make about carrying twins or not).

Jean's quote: "I have always found it a bit disturbing that you take Kaitlyn to twins events. It sometimes seems like a pathetic plea for attention - "look at me, I'm the mom with one surviving twin, feel bad for me because my daughter died at birth." I think it is creepy that you would force your young child to be a singleton at twin events and absorb the idea that she will never be a whole person in your eyes - she will always be the live one-half of a pair for which you endlessly grieve.

My response. Now in this case I think you have a point. I realize that. When I first attended a twin moms event not long after Kaitlyn came home from the NICU, the Club President told me, "Liz, we'd still welcome your membership, you are a mom of twins and will always be a mom to twins." That's stuck with me.

There are a few reasons I still belong to my local twins club and I'll tell you: 1) The moms that I met when my water first broke hold a special place in my heart. They were there to support my in my darkest times and I will forever cherish their friendship and support (to me a stranger at the time) . I attend functions to see them and they always want to know how Kaitlyn is doing. They really care. Now I mainly attend the mom's functions. These are my friends!

2). I had a hard time bonding with moms in regular moms groups. Their experience of motherhood was nothing like what I was going through with Kaitlyn. It's harder to be a mom of twins than it is of a singleton. They "got" a bit more of how hard my life was so I didn't have to hear women complain about how their child "spit up" or applying for preschools (when I just wanted my daughter to eat)" That may sound heartless, but it's the truth.

3) I haven't taken Kaitlyn to any twin events now for close to a year as now she is getting older and I don't want it to be uncomfortable for her. (this is where I think Jean made a good point), I don't want to be there for a pity party for me, especially for the moms who have never met me before. It was nice to go when I knew so many members and know their children, I have more friends in the local twins group than I do in other mom's club. It felt like "home" to me.

4) I continue to belong to the club as I get asked all the time to help mothers who have lost twins or are having serious twin pregnancy complications.

jean said: "I started to read your blog because it provided some information I needed when dealing with a similar situation. But now, I look because it is like a car wreck - I can't seem to turn away."

My response: Train wreck? hmm, don't know how to comment on that one!

Jean's quote: " Please, please, get some help for yourself before you damage your children. And yes, fellow blog readers, I know I am a terrible person for saying these truthful things, but I am concerned for those two beautiful and perfect children - Kaitlyn and Quin. Sometimes, the truth hurts, but that pain might trigger a change for the better. Probably not, though. And to make everyone happy, I will now avert my gaze."

My response: "damage my children" How in the world am I damaging my children? The truth hurts?

I'm all for the truth. I will tell Kaitlyn about her sister. I am very aware that she could suffer from survivors guilt. I will do EVERYTHING in my power to prevent that from happening. I know that Quinn wouldn't be here with me today if I hadn't lost Corinne. We only wanted to have 2 children. I'm forever blessed to have my son Quinn.

Those who really KNOW me know that I have found the positive in Corinne's passing. I tell folks this when they ask me how I can seem so "unaffected" when I tell them about Corinne's passing.

I truly believe in finding the positive in really crappy situations. I'd take Corinne back in a heart beat, and spare Kaitlyn from her prematurity related issues, BUT I have found: amazing new friends, strength that I never knew I had, the ability to help others more than I ever had in the past, getting involved with charities, and the ability to overcome such hardships to come out a better person.

So, please tell me what type of damage I'm inflicting?

Oh and one other thing, I often write how I am feeling at a moment in time. I'm crazy busy. (you can probably tell by my infrequent blog posts). Life is good. Really good. I don't take the time to post as I'm spending time with my kids (and working), which is MORE important than blogging right?

And to the poster after Jean, how dare you say that "Kaitlyn find her voice" do know that Kaitlyn has a paralyzed vocal chord don't you? What type of voice do you "want" her to find? You said rebel against me? Do you know how often I hold her tight (when she lets me, which is ONLY in the shower due to her dislike of being held) and tell her over and over how special she is to me, how much I love her and how happy I am that I'm her mama?


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy and Sad

Kaitlyn LOVES to talk to herself. She does it all the time.

She often (when not finding excuses to leave her bedroom) talks to herself in her room for almost 2 hours before she falls asleep.

Tonight, she was talking so much I stood outside her door and listened, which brought such a huge feeling of joy to me. She is soooo darn cute! She was talking about wearing party hats that had a roller coaster on it, and says things like: "oh, yes, I'd love to wear a party hat." "Oh, I lost the party hat, where is it?" "oooh, I think it's in the bushes." "Yes, there is a roller coaster on my party hat!" "Yes, I'd love a cupcake, oh, it's an imaginary cup-cake, mmmmm it's good, Yes, I'd like a cupcake.".....

So darn cute. I felt so incredibly happy listening to my little miracle

Then all of a sudden, I got hit with an incredible sadness. I started tearing up there outside her door. It hit me as I listened to her for over 5 minutes talking with herself (or her imaginary friend) that she might be talking to her sister. She SHOULD be talking to her sister. Maybe that's why she talks to herself so much, she's actually talking to her angel sister who I KNOW is always looking over Kaitlyn's shoulder.

Oh, I miss Corinne. She should be here with us.

Happy Father's Day!

Brian and Kaitlyn are going camping for the next 3 days. I can't go, I'm swamped with work (a good thing obviously), but I'm sad as I really wanted to go on Kaitlyn's first camping trip, and I've been working 7 days a week for along time now and could use a break!.

But we ARE going on vacation soon to the East Coast (Chautauqua, NY, I can't wait! (and Hope I can get everything done until we leave!)

More about Quinn in a later post, the little guy LOVES to eat real food (talk about the tears this brings me, as he's never been a good milk/formula drinker), but he is super duper delayed. I'm finally quite worried about him. I've got to contact the Regional Center about getting an evaluation. sigh. it's never easy is it?

Kaitlyn today at a birthday party for her friend Eliza from her Special Ed class. The most amazing balloon guy was there, and of course, Katilyn tried to take everyone's balloons.