Monday, September 26, 2011

Lilya Turns 3!!!

Loves her teddy bear from Anne
Jumping with Judy!
I cannot believe she is 3 years old already.  She wanted a Hello Kitty birthday party, and for gifts...a teddy bear and flowers (real and pink).  I have no idea where that came from, but of course she got all she wanted and more.  I was really worried about what the weather was going to be like.  We do not really have space to accommodate a lot of people now that our house has been taken over by baby furniture.  We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day filled with friends and family.  Here are some pictures to give you a peek into the party if you were not able to be there.

Emily and Amy swinging their little ones.

Thank you, Brenda Thomas, for a beautiful cake and delicious cake pops!
Time to blow out the candles!  Love the faces of everyone!
Just sneaking a little taste...
Enjoying her favorite birthday lunch, taco salad, with Kaleb.
Yay, a Hello Kitty shirt from Aunt Carolyn and Uncle John
Didn't even mind sharing her new Mustang with her friends, Claire and Isaac.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tis The Season...

First (hopefully the last) stay at Riley.
It's that time of year.  It is only the middle of September yet some stores have already started putting out their Christmas decorations.  It seems like it gets earlier and earlier each year, and I swear that as soon as the decorations are out, cold and flu season hits.  I have been dreading this season more this year than ever before.  With 4 times the risk of RSV (Respiratory syncytial virus, which causes infection of the lungs and breathing passages, is a major cause of respiratory illness in young children.
In adults, it may only produce symptoms of a common cold, such as a stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, mild headache, cough, fever, and a general feeling of being ill. But in premature babies and kids with diseases that affect the lungs, heart, or immune system, RSV infections can lead to other more serious illnesses.), the chances that we will have to spend some time in the hospital between now and spring are pretty good.
Poor Sick Little Guy
In fact, it's already struck the Stewart household.  This past weekend, all of the kiddos (Lilya included) came down with runny noses.  By Sunday, we were running two vaporizors, using nasal spray and lots of kleenexes, and using the suction bulb often.  While everyone had it, Lilya and Benjamin were the only two that were coughing, and it sounded pretty bad.  I called our doctor on Monday morning, and because of the fact that Benjamin was a preemie, she decided it would be best for her to see him.  I really didn't think much of it.  He has always sounded a little raspy, and when I had asked the doctor about it before, she said that his tonsils were big, so it caused him to breathe a little harder than the others.  After stripping him down to a diaper in the dr.'s office, I watched his little diaphram work as he took breaths in and let them out.  I felt terrible...I hadn't realized that he was working so hard to breathe.  His oxygen levels did register low, and even after a treatment with a nebulizer, the dr. decided that it would be best for him to get a little extra attention from the folks at Riley.  I was in shock when she said that they wanted me to take him to the ER, and they would send a transport team to get him. 

It was so hard to see him in that big hospital bed with the oxygen canual on his face.  Thankfully, after a few hours of oxygen, a steroid shot, and a few breathing treatments, the dr.s felt like he would be okay to come home.  We are still giving breathing treatments every four hours, but it is nice to be back home with the rest of our family.  Praying that is the last of our stays at Riley.

Happy to be going home!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Off to Pre-School

Wow, we have been so busy.  Last week was Lilya's first week of pre-school.  She is going to Blue Ridge as a peer in their developmental classroom.  She loves it!  It probably helps that her teacher is Miss Sarah, who just happens to be one of my good friends that has been around all summer.  I was prepared for her to cry on that first day.  Instead it went more like this:

As we pulled into the school parking lot.
Lilya:  Oh, there's my school!  I'm going to love it here!
Me:  Yes, you are.
As soon as the teachers came out to greet them.
Lilya:  Bye Mommy, I'm going to school all by myself today! (with a big smile on her face)
Me:  Bye Sweetie, have a great morning. (with a tear in my eye)
No tears shed by the little girl who wouldn't even be three until the next week, but a couple by her mommy that couldn't believe she was already going to pre-school.

She LOVED it! She has cried 3 out of the 4 days when I picked her up, because she didn't want to leave.  Sarah says she's doing great.  She enjoys singing, reading books, coloring, playing with the other children, and singing...yes, I know, I said that first.  She talks mostly about how they do music.  She loves to sing, and this is obviously her favorite part of the day.

Here's to hoping that she continues to enjoy school this much for the next 15 years or more!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Reason For Everything

Although I have five beautiful children now, I remember clearly the days when I thought that I would never be a mother.  Infertility was hard on me.  It took a toll on my emotions making me wonder why I couldn't just be "normal".  The first fertility drug I took, Clomid, made my hormones go crazy.  I would have highs in which I felt on top of the world and lows when I thought that things couldn't get any worse, all in the same week.  I could be laughing one minute and crying the next, you just never knew what you were going to get around me.  The fact that my body didn't respond the way that it should to the medicine, made me feel even less of a woman.  Moving on to see a specialist and to try the next steps in treating the infertility had another set of challenges.  With the injectible medicine, not only did I still experience the emotional roller coaster, it added in physical challenges as well.  With this treatment came daily blood draws and ultrasounds (not the fun kind).  My arms were black and blue by the end of the week.  I remember the pain of hyper stimulated ovaries.  I couldn't sit or walk with my back straight as my stomach filled with fluid, but it all became worth it the day the nurse said to me, "I think all of this pain is a good sign."  Less than a week later, the blood test showed a positive result!
This was definitely not the end to the emotional and physical pain.  I had said through the entire process, "I would rather God not let me get pregnant at all, than take a baby away from me."  Of course, I was talking about miscarriage.  Unfortunately, His plans were already set.  20 weeks after getting pregnant for the first time, I gave birth to two precious little ones.  Gavin, our little boy, was already gone, but  I will never forget holding little Greta, so tiny, as her little heart stopped beating.  I couldn't help but wonder why.  It has been four years today that I gave my first babies back to God, and I no longer ask that question.  I have always been a true believer that everything happens for a reason.  My trials and losses while working my way to motherhood have made me the person that I am today, and I am so happy to be the mother of five beautiful children.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Reason to Celebrate

September has not been the best of months for me.  In fact, until 3 years ago, Sept. 12th, I absolutely despised the month.  It holds the two worst memories of my life, my car accident that took the life of one of my best friends and the loss of our twins, Greta and Gavin.   If you have lived through any kind of tragedy, I'm sure you can relate to the way I feel during this month.  I think of Monica and the twins daily, but as the anniversaries of their deaths approach, it seems as though I recall the incidents that led up to them more clearly.  They are by far the worst two days of my life, and not only because I suffered a loss, but because of the loss that I feel like I put upon others.  As thankful as I am today for the love and support through our most recent joy, I am so grateful that I had the same love and support during those difficult times.  I read a saying today that said:  I am strong because I know weakness. I am compassionate because I have experienced suffering. I am alive because I am a fighter. I am wise because I've been foolish. I can laugh because I've known sadness. I can love because I've known loss.
This month, I will celebrate my oldest daughter, Lilya's, 3rd birthday.  I will not think any less of the events that took place on Sept. 17, 1994 and Sept. 4, 2007, but I am grateful that God has given me reason to celebrate the month of September.  I am so glad that I am able to share my joys with those who love us, and thankful for those who understand my sadness.