Friday, February 26, 2010

Let It Snow: Winter 09/10

It figures. We were warm and tan at Disney World and on our Bahamas Disney Cruise in early December, so the weatherman decided to punish us with the snowiest winter ever! About 60 inches of snow in the past couple months - and we're in Virginia - isn't this supposed to be the South?

Here's Lilly putting out milk, cookies, and carrots for Santa and his reindeer. Hope he got food at other houses as well because Lilly drank his milk and ate his food as soon as she put it out.

Merry Christmas!

Lilly unwrapping her dollhouse.

Lilly and her daddy.

... and her mommy.

About a week AFTER our first snowstorm - this one was about 3 feet!

During the first snowstorm. Lilly and I weren't happy!

Lilly and her cousins in Atlanta, in the obligatory matching pj's of course.

Another snowstorm...

Lilly couldn't walk in the snow - it was too deep!

So she started to shovel her way out. :)

Jon had to sweep snow off our trees so they wouldn't break. Two of our big pine trees are still completely sideways, weeks later.

Valentine's Day! Lilly wined and dined (or milk'd and ate chicken nuggets and carrot sticks) with her boyfriend Jack.

They make an adorable couple.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lilly's Little Brother (or Sister)

Since Lilly turned 2, everyone's been asking. Even the formula company has been sending us new samples once again. I guess it's what many people do - have the first child, and then have the second child a couple years later. I mean, it sounds like a good plan in theory - get the two kids out of the way, then they can grow up together as best friends, and while your life is crazy for a few years, 20 years later you are free again. And I guess once the first child gets out of the "baby" phase, a biological clock should in theory start ticking again that it's time for another tiny little bundle of joy.

Well, not for us. Just the thought makes me feel panicky. Here are the 10 reasons why Lilly's little brother or sister is not going to become a reality for a few more years...

  1. I still haven't lost all the weight from being pregnant with Lilly! I always said I wouldn't think about child #2 until I lost the weight from child #1. And with the 60 pounds I gained with Lilly, I still have 5-10 pounds to get rid of.
  2. It's hard raising a 3 year old! Not that I don't enjoy every minute of it, but 3 year olds are definitely not low maintenance. I'm teaching my child her abc's, numbers, reading, sign language, and how to be a nice respectful little person with manners. It's a lot of work! Luckily we're out of the tantrum phase, but she still wants her own way some of the time, and I can't imagine juggling her plus another little angel.
  3. It's easy raising a 3 year old! I know, this is the exact opposite of the last one, but really: Lilly is such an easygoing little girl. She is my little companion, and I love teaching her how to cook and how to appreciate all the great movies (Dirty Dancing, Annie, Sound of Music). She's at the age where we can take her almost anywhere - to a play, to a restaurant, to a 5 star hotel, on a 12 hour flight, you name it, without really worrying about how she'll do. She's a great traveler and appreciates so much of anything we do together. Plus, she's relatively predictable - once she's asleep for the night, I can rest easy. Once we're buckled into a plane reading In Touch Magazine (I'm such a good mom) I can relax for the next two hours. So honestly I'd like to enjoy the easy-ness of having my one three year old before diving into the baby craziness once again.
  4. Lilly was such a good baby. (And good child.) Not that all siblings are polar opposites, but I hear more often than not when my friends have a second child that they are completely different than the older child. Lilly slept through the night since she was 3 weeks old. She's been easy-going and fun-loving. Noise doesn't bother her, and she's flexible on what we do. She's always been a good eater, except for being a little picky (which I can't really blame since I don't eat meat and would also eat pizza for 9 out of 10 meals if I could also!). So I don't feel prepared to play the lottery with the next one yet because I don't think I could win twice.
  5. I'm selfish. I mean, I'm not that selfish, since I work full time and am a full time mom. My husband works crazy hours and we have no family in town to help out. So I'm not completely selfish but I guess since I'm in my late 20's, and so many people my age are still single and childless, they get to enjoy the last little bit of their 20's and do things without being tied down to kids. While I'm not exactly envious, I do feel like I have a little right to still be selfish. She gets along well with babysitters so Jon and I can still easily go out to dinner or do what we want without feeling super tied down. Furthermore, if Lilly had a brother or sister to play with, I'd get cut out of all the fun. Now, Lilly and I play together doing either 3 year old activities, or activities mommy likes. Which is a lot of fun for both of us. Another kid would make Lilly not want to play with me as much - or give me less time to play with her. :(
  6. I love working. I love being a mom too, but the 60 inches of snow that we've gotten in Charlottesville over the past 2 months have shown me that I don't necessarily think I'm ready to be a full time stay at home mom at this phase in my life. I really enjoy the challenge of new projects and meeting deadlines, and at the end of the day I'm so much happier to see Lilly because we did have our time apart. Also, Lilly absolutely has benefited from daycare over the last couple years; she's had amazing teachers, met great friends, and learned so many skills. (Her latest skill that she's learned: she now listens and follows directions most of the time - which she 100% learned from school and is insanely wonderful.) Not that I couldn't work with child number 2, but I think it gets harder to juggle it all when you throw another child into the mix.
  7. I want to go to Italy. I don't know when exactly. Maybe next summer 2011? Of course I have my eye on a Disney Mediterranean cruise or an Adventures by Disney Italy trip. But I think it would be so cool to go to Italy and within either of those scenarios I think Lilly would be an excellent traveling companion to Jon and I - we'd get a little adult time but she really would appreciate the trip. (And the pizza.) Another child would not only put that idea off by a couple more years, but maybe 10 more years, because traveling internationally with 1 child is not very complicated; traveling with 2 would be insane.
  8. I'm 28. Jon is 33. We still have plenty of time to have kids. Furthermore, my sisters are my best friends, and they are 8, 13, and 16 years older than me - I don't see any downside to having kids spaced apart.
  9. Lilly is enough. I'm not going to say that I don't want any more kids eventually, but what I do sincerely feel is that if we couldn't have any more kids or if we decided not to have any more kids, I wouldn't feel disappointed. I feel so blessed to be Lilly's mommy, and have had such a wonderful experience, that if she were our only child, I feel like that would be ok - that I wouldn't necessarily be "missing out" on anything.
  10. We've been relatively nomadic over the past few years, and I feel like I'd like to settle down before tackling the "new child" thing again. We moved from Atlanta to Charlottesville, then had Lilly, then moved to New Zealand, and now we're back in Charlottesville again. Which leads us to our news...

WE'RE MOVING TO NYC!!! July 2010, we move to NYC for a year. And
we have no idea where we'll be after that. So, it would definitely be nice to be settled down in a real house and not an apartment before we tackle kid #2, and hopefully be in a more permanent situation.

So - you don't have to wonder. Lilly's little brother or sister is not part of our intended plan for a few more years. :)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Best Case Scenario Girl

Tonite just before Lilly drifted off to dreamland, she leaned over for one more kiss for her mommy, and one more kiss for "Troy" and "Gabriella" (Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens whose High School Musical characters are on Lilly's pillow). A few minutes later I tiptoed out of her room, thankful yet again for my little blessing.

Exactly a week ago, we had just survived Lilly's surgery. As I wrote last week, we were terrified. It was the single scariest moment of my life by far. I was giving my little child over to have her heart fixed, with all the potential risks weighing heavy on my heart.

In theory it wasn't a complicated surgery; however, involved in it were doctors, residents, and nurses all of whom could have an off moment and mess something up. The hole could have been bigger than anticipated which would have led to open heart surgery. Lilly could have had a complication to the anesthesia, especially going into the operation with a cold.

We don't usually think worst case scenarios, but you have to understand. Lilly is just so lucky. All the time. She is actually our best case scenario little girl, and we don't take that for granted. She was a great baby, easy going and slept through the night from an early age. And she's turned into a wonderful little girl, with a funny little sense of humor, sweet but cheeky, and always knows when to give her mommy and daddy the perfect kisses and hugs. With all the worrying I've done in her little life, nothing ever actually goes wrong. She's had amazing experiences at school. She makes friends and enjoys every activity. She loves singing, dancing, and playing on the playground. She's an excellent traveler, and an incredible little companion.

You'd have to know Lilly to really understand, but every since she was really little, it's like she touches people in a special way. And everything always kind of falls into place even better than we could imagine. I'm almost starting to anticipate that whenever I have a worry about anything, it will resolve because anything Lilly-related always turns out well.

So you see, with such good karma, we were terrified. What if we were taking all this good luck for granted? What if we truly thought it was an "easy" operation and then the worst case scenario happened? So we freaked each other out. And at the same time, we did not take a single moment in that week before the surgery for granted; I was so nervous in the back of my mind that it might be the last time that we danced to a certain movie, or the last time she ate macaroni and cheese. I know it's morbid but I was so worried and couldn't see straight out of fear that I might lose my girl.

Last Wednesday night, Lilly and I gathered in my bed and watched Hannah Montana and American Idol. Then I tucked her into bed and said good night. And then I closed the door and sobbed, praying so hard that God would take care of my girl the next day.

Sometime during the night, Lilly ended up in our bed (which is very untypical for us) and on Thursday morning the three of us woke up at 6 am. When we left the house, we told Lilly should could carry one thing of comfort - I thought for certain she'd pick one of her baby dolls. Not our girl - she picked up her new Camp Rock dvd (which we only got a few days before but she'd watched it 3 days in a row) and proudly held it the entire carride. When we got out of the car, I again offered her "Baby," her favorite Cabbage Patch. But no, she threw down "Baby" and clutched that Camp Rock dvd and that was her prized possession the whole morning. (Note: there was no dvd player, she just wanted the dvd itself.) We were at the hospital at 7, and checked in. Then there was a mix-up with insurance and Jon and I freaked out. If the hospital couldn't figure out our insurance, how did they expect us to trust them with our child?! Two days earlier, at a doctor's appointment, the nurse checking Lilly in also got confused and started doing a "well child" visit instead of a "sick" visit, which made me again worry about stupid medical mix-ups. It all just seemed like a bad omen. On top of that, Lilly had a cough and a runny and stuffy nose, which is a bad thing when you're going under anesthesia.

One of my fears too is regarding residents - while I love the resident I am married to, and I know they all need training, I am very much against their training on my daughter. And Lilly was at a teaching hospital, which made me even more worried. We mentioned to the doctor 10 times before surgery that if it was ok, we'd like as little resident involvement as possible. So finally they took us to a pre-op room and I kid you not, there were at one point about 10 people in our room - residents, fellows, nurses, interns. Which multiplied my fear, and also, made Lilly a little overwhelmed herself, as she was getting poked and prodded by a bunch of different people. She kept running out of the room.

There were about a dozen moments that morning where we almost just walked out of the hospital because we just thought there were too many bad signs on this particular morning. At one point, everyone was surrounding us and we were talking about whether or not we should actually do the surgery or postpone it due to Lilly's cold. Anesthesia said they felt comfortable although the risks were higher. And I looked around at the ten new best friends that I had to trust with my daughter's life. "Did everyone get a good night's sleep last night?" I asked. They all said yes, and I thought - let's do it. So Lilly sat on the potty one last time, we put on her hospital gown, and gave her a little medicine to relax her (of which she spit all of it out, of course - and I almost thought it was another sign but at this point I didn't want to turn back).
A friend whose child had surgery before told me the day before that even though Lilly doesn't understand that she's having surgery, that I should explain it to her in these terms: that everything that was going to happen was to help her body, and to not be afraid and know that they are all doing something that will help her little body. So the whole morning I reassured her of this, and that everything would be ok. Jon, Lilly and I held each other and said a prayer, and then Jon walked out of the room holding my little girl. I was sobbing and so scared, and I just kept praying for the next 10 minutes. A nurse discretely brought in kleenex. I was just about to tell myself to get it together, that it would be ok, and then Jon came in - crying himself. I can't remember him ever crying like this before - and we both lost it.
Jon adds: I held the consent form for surgery in my hand and felt
paralyzed. I was so scared for Lilly. In getting over her cold, the anesthesia
attending stated that upon going to sleep she could go into laryngospasm
requiring her to get additional medications or even put fluid into her lungs. On
the other hand, nothing could happen and if we waited she could have a new cold
the next time we tried to do the procedure. With all the courage I could muster,
I signed the consent form and proceded to carry my little girl in to the Cath
Lab. She layed down on the table and immediately looked to the ceiling at the
collage of dinosaurs. She started to point at them as the doctors gave her the
medications to allow her to drift off the sleep. No coughing, no problems,
peaceful. She was such a good little trooper. I kissed her on the cheek and
could help but cry as I left her to join Cathleen in the waiting room. Leaving
her in that room was probably one of the hardest things I have ever had to do
(including GaTech, Med School, and now residency). I gave Cathleen the biggest
hug when I got back to the waiting room and completed my shedding of tears. The
hug made me feel much better.
Another friend told me, whose child had a similar surgery, that her advice is to not be on the phone with family and friends, but instead to do something mindless - a puzzle, or reading a magazine. We at first didn't follow this advice, as Jon called a family member and they asked so many questions that it made it 100 times harder. He hung up and we decided to hold off on talking to family until it was over. So we went downstairs to get coffee and some breakfast, and ran into one of Jon's friends, and we sat for the next 45 minutes discussing neurosurgery, real estate and jobs. Which is actually usually terribly boring, but on this morning it was exactly what we needed. The surgery was scheduled to be an hour and a half long, and after an hour we went back to sit in the room and wait in case they needed us.

As we walked back in, we saw Lilly's cardiologist standing there. When I saw him I didn't know if it was good news or bad news, but thank goodness it was good news - the surgery was over, and Lilly did fine. I think I exhaled for the first time in an hour. I wanted to hug him, but I moreso wanted to see my girl! We still had to wait a few more minutes, but while we waited he showed us a picture of her heart, and the catheter, and the device being placed inside. I joked that the picture would be on facebook within an hour. Actually it took two hours, because the hospital cell phone reception is so bad. :)

10 minutes later, after I read a magazine and Jon was sleeping (of course) we were able to go into recovery to see our girl. The number one rule of this surgery is that for the 4 hours following, she needed to keep her body straight so that the catheter site at the top of her leg would close easily. Well, as she was rolled in right as we walked in, she was already trying to climb off the table. *Sigh, that's our girl.* Jon and I took turns holding her. He held her for 20 minutes while she slept; and then I held her for 20 minutes while she was wide awake. She is exactly like each of her parents when she is with us. :) She got bored with us after awhile, and we let her watch her dvd player. An hour later, it was time to go up to her room, and as she sat on the gurney and was wheeled up - without clothes, I might mention, because she didn't like the gown, she watched her dvd player (whom she lovingly calls "Lala" I might add) the entire way - she made quite the sight.

We spent the rest of the day taking it easy. By 1 pm she was eating a grilled cheese sandwich, and watched movies all day long. Jon and I felt so overwhelmingly thankful that once again, our "best case scenario" girl came out on top.

We thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers, because it meant so much to us.