Thursday, November 19, 2009

Where has the year gone?

I can't believe it has been so long since I posted something on here! I feel like the whole year has just flown by. It feels like Grace just started preschool, when in reality, she has been there for almost 3 months already! So many changes in our family have taken place over the last couple months that I just haven't been able to keep up with all of them!

Grace is in preschool at Loving Hands Preschool in Green. She is quite the little leader at preschool. At first, here teachers called her "challenging" because she always wanted to be the leader and answer every question before the other kids had a chance. After a couple weeks, she learned to take turns and wait to be called on for questions. Her teacher, Miss Jenny, described her as "the perfect little preschooler" on Open House Night. She goes Tuesdays and Thursday from 9-1 and looks forward to it every week.



Grace is also in ballet class on Wednesdays. She really enjoys her half hour class, and her first recital is on December 20th. I'm not sure if she realizes she'll be dancing in front of an auditorium full of people or not, but we have to sew a special costume so she will be doing it whether she likes it or not!



Ella is my little helper. We hang out together while Grace is at school and she helps me with the housework and bills. She really just likes to spend some downtime by herself, now, too. I am looking into getting her started with swimming lessons at the YMCA at the beginning of next year. I'm also working on getting her used to the idea that she will be starting preschool next fall, but she is much more attached to me than Grace was. She really doesn't like talking to any adults that she doesn't know, and sometimes doesn't talk to people that she does know!



Last month, my cousin, Aaron, and I went to Universal Studios Orlando for Halloween Horror Nights. We went for a weekend and it was so much fun. We went to Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios Orlando, Planet Hollywood, Downtown Disney, and Universal CityWalk. It was a nice break from work. Two days after I got home, I had surgery. I had a septoturbinoplasty for a severely deviated septum and a sinus resection. It sounds awful, but it wasn't too bad. I took two weeks off from work to heal, and I am so glad I opted for the surgery. I haven't had any sinus headaches or earaches since I've been back to work.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Playing With Friends

So far this summer, Grace and Ella have made many new friends. They've had a lot of fun playing with friends and cousins. Here are some photos of the girls with their playmates!

Ella throwing snaps with Aiden and Dylan on July 4th.



Ella and Baby Jack playing trains.



Grace, Ella, and Lilly reading books.



Grace and Ella playing with their cousins Lucy and Riley.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Surgeries

On Monday, June 22nd, we ventured to Akron Children's Hospital for Grace's and Ella's surgeries. After a long winter with two very sick little girls, we decided it was time to get tubes in each other their ears. Grace also had a problem with snoring and sleep apnea, along with frequent tonsillitis, so we decided to get her tonsils and adenoids out, too.

Grace's surgery was schedule for 2:30pm, so we had to arrive at the hospital at 12:30 for testing. Ella's surgery, which was only going to take about 10 minutes, was to start right after Grace was done. The girls weren't allowed to eat anything that day and they were only allowed water and Gatorade up until 10:00. Surprisingly, they didn't complain at all about being hungry (which supports my theory that if I didn't make them eat they could just go without food).

Children's Hospital is wonderful. Everything was on time and ran very smoothly. Grace went back for her operation right on time. Jesse, Ella, and I sat and watching The Weather Channel in the holding area anxiously awaiting some news, while Aunt Pat and NaNa waiting in the waiting room. About an hour later, our doctor came out to talk to us and let us know that all in all the surgery went well, but 3 things happened that weren't expected. For one, Grace's tonsils much larger and vascular then he expected, for two, Grace's tonsils were currently infected, and for 3, Grace had a laryngospasm (her airway closed off) when she was extubated from the ventilator after surgery. So, due to her spasm, she had to have some extra medication to help relax her open her airway back up. At that point that was all we knew and we just had to wait until we could go back and see her in recovery to know how she was really doing. Also, the nurse came to take Ella at the same time.

So, we gathered our things and went out to meet our family. By the time we sat down and updated them on Grace, they were calling us to go see Ella. They informed us that Grace was still unstable and needed some extra attention, so we couldn't go see her yet. Needless to say, we were nervous, but felt better when we got to see Ella. She was not a happy camper. Ella was tearing her leads off, ripping out her IV, and screaming like a crazy person. She calmed down and was able to go home with Aunt Pat and NaNa. Once Ella got home, she was acting completely normal and didn't even know she was just at the hospital!

After Ella went home, we were finally able to go and see Grace. She was having trouble breathing and keeping her oxygen saturation up. She was also not waking up from the anesthesia as quickly she should. Grace stayed overnight, and because she was having some complications, had to be closely monitored by a one-on-one nurse on a transitional care unit. Throughout the night she had difficulty breathing, but she was able to rest in between the spells. Momma, however, didn't get much rest and was a nervous wreck, especially when she stopped breathing and turned an awful shade of blue.

Around 4:00am, Grace finally started to wake up. She started talking to me and wanted a drink. After she drank a few sips of juice, she wanted to go for a wagon ride in the hallway. So, we gathered the oxygen tank, the IV pole, and all of her wires, and went for a little adventure. It was such a relief to see her awake and trying to talk. After the short walk, we went back to the room and watched "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" together and fell back asleep for a couple hours.

Grace got better and better throughout the day on Tuesday and we were able to bring her home that day. We figured that she must take anesthesia differently than most children, and that the surgery was still a great benefit to her long-term health despite the complications. She turned out to be just fine and we are looking forward to a winter of healthy girls this year!

We've been home for a week now and we can already see a difference in the girls. Ella has stopped pulling on her little ears all the time and seems to be hearing more clearly. Grace is back to her old self, running around and playing. Her voice has changed since the surgery; she doesn't sound as garbled or nasaly. She is also sleeping much better since she doesn't snore and stop breathing in her sleep anymore! Our follow-up appointment is on July 6th, and, not surprisingly, I am going to find out if I need to get tubes in my ears that day! I'll keep everyone updated.

Akron Zoo

On Sunday, June 21 we went to the Akron Zoo. We wanted to do something fun before the girls had their surgeries on Monday. The weather was perfect and we had a lot of fun together.

Momma with the girls at the entrance to the zoo.


The Jellies are the girls' favorite part of the zoo. They loved them last year, too, and couldn't wait to see them again.

Grace dancing in the jellyfish play area.


Grace and Ella by the little bears.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy 2nd Birthday, Ella Rose!


Ella is two years old already! We had her birthday
party on Sunday, June 7th at our house. We had a cook-out with an Abby Cadabby theme. (For those who aren't familiar with Abby Cadabby, she is Sesame Street's newest fairy.)
Ella's actual birthday was Thursday, June 18th.
We happened to have their pre-surgery tour
that night at Akron Children's Hospital. After the tour, we went to Dairy Queen and got a
delicious ice cream cake that I am still feasting on nightly.

Gracie and Delaney sliding down the giant blow-up water slide in my yard.


Ella with Mommy as we were getting ready to light the candles on the Elmo cake.


Ella with her favorite Great-Cousin, Aaron.


Ella opening her presents.

The party was on a wonderful, sunny day. Everyone had a ton of fun! The weather was perfect for the giant water slide and, as Grace calls it, the "jumpy house."

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Busy, busy, busy

I just realized that it has been a very long time since I made a post on our blog! So much has been going on that it has just been pushed to the back burner!

We went to Disney World in May and had a wonderful time. It was very beautiful in Florida and it was very difficult to get on the plane to come back home. The girls had such a great time and got to experience so many fun things there. I will post some pictures soon!

Ella's second birthday is coming up quickly! On June 18th she'll be 2. I really can't believe it. Her party is on June 7th at our house. We're having a cook-out just like we did last year. I hope the weather holds up. Look for pictures next week sometimes from the party!

The other big "happening" in our household right now is the girls' surgeries. Grace and Ella go to Akron Childrens Hospital on June 22nd for operations. Grace is having tubes put in her ears and her tonsils/adenoids taken out. Ella is having tubes put in her ears, too. They both have had continuous ear infections since January and need the ventilation tubes to help them drain. We found out that they both have pretty bad seasonal allergies and that Grace has asthma, too. It has been an eventful winter/spring. Much of my time was spend going back and forth to doctors appointments, hearing screenings, and specialist visits. I hope the surgeries will take care of these problems so they can be healthier next winter!

Check back soon, as I will be posting photos of vacation and Ella's party!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Our Little Fishy


video

In this video, Grace's instructor lets go of her and she swims a couple of feet all by herself to the pool's ladder!

We are nearing the end of Grace's third session of swimming lessons at the Green YMCA. She has so much fun learning how to swim. Our first class was a "Pre-Pike" class and I had to go in the water with her. She learned how to go under water and hold her breath, how to 'scoop' the water, and how to get safely in and out of the pool.

The class she is in now, called "Pike", has about 5 kids in it and they go into the water by themselves. The instructor takes turns showing each child basic skills like kicking, scooping, and how to float. Grace will be in this class until she can swim 5 feet by herself.

Grace is the youngest child in her swimming c
lass. It is for children 3-5 years old. She does very well, but sometimes she gets bored and starts swimming around when she should be holding onto the wall waiting for her turn.

Grace's favorite part of swimming class is at the end when the kids are allowed to go down the slide in the deep end of the kiddie pool. (Most of the kids can touch in the deep end, as it is only 3 feet deep, but since Grace is just under 3 f
eet tall, she still can't touch!)


video

She has the biggest smile on her face when she comes down the slide.

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Look Back...Ella Rose

What a lucky little early birdie my Ella Rose is! Ella's birth wasn't as nice and planned out as Grace's was. Ella was born about 6 weeks premature, on June 18th, 2007 at 5:32 pm. She weighed in at a whopping 4 lbs. 14 oz. and was 17 in. long. She, too, was born at Barberton Citizens Hospital where I work.

My pregnancy with Ella was nothing short of eventful. I was a gestational diabetic, which means I had to inject myself with insulin several times a day. Also, I had a lot of contractions and preterm labor, so I had to take medicine every day to try and stop those contractions. Well, around 34 weeks gestation (a normal pregnancy is 40 weeks), Ella decided it was time to make her appearance. I went to Dr. Kovacevich's office that Monday morning for a routine test and, again, I was having contractions. Jesse took me from the office right over to the hospital and I was monitored for a few hours. I knew something felt different with my contractions that day, but we really didn't expect to be having our baby! Well, as it turns out, I was in true labor. So, to the OR we went...again!


Ella Rose was born by c-section at 5:32 pm. She screamed and cried right after delivery just as much as her full-term, much larger older sister did. But, shortly after her birth, Ella started having respiratory difficulties. Her lungs weren't fully developed and she wasn't able to breathe effectively. The Akron Childrens' Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit's transfer team came to Barberton Hospital to evaluate her and take her to the NICU across town.


Ella strapped into the isolette for her ambulance ride to Akron Childrens Hospital.


It was very sad knowing that I would be in the hospital after my surgery for 3 days while my new baby girl was at a hospital across town. I didn't even get to hold her before she left in the ambulance.

The next day I was able to leave Barberton Hospital for a short time and visit Ella at Akron Childrens. It was difficult to see her with IVs, a feeding tube, and machines hooked to her. She actually did very well, though. Ella was in the NICU for 6 days after her birth and came home on June 23rd. We went to see her every day that she was there. Grace even went to visit her a few times. The day we brought her home from the hospital she only weighed 4 lbs. 2 oz. She was the tiniest little baby!

The day after Ella was born.


Nena and me with Ella in the NICU.


Grace meeting Ella for the first time in the NICU.


All ready to go home!


Ella is still tiny for her age, at almost 2 years old she weighs 20 lbs. Grace weighed 20 lbs. at her 1 year check-up. She still wears 12 month clothes, too. However, her development has been spot-on target ever since she started walking at 12 months. You would never know she was a preemie if she wasn't still so tiny! Ella talks more clearly than Grace did at her age and she runs, jumps, plays, and fights back with the best of 'em!


Ella at one month old.


Ella at 6 months.


Ella at 12 months.


Ella at 18 months.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A Look Back...Grace Josephine

Our first daughter, Grace Josephine, was born December 14, 2005 at 4:37pm. She was born at Barberton Citizens Hospital, on the maternity unit where I work! This is a look back at the day she came into the world.

After a seemingly endless pregnancy of 39 weeks filled with a weight gain of nearly 60 pounds, overwhelming bilateral lower extremity edema, and long nights of Butterfinger bars and Mountain Dew, I was schedule for a labor induction at 0600 on the morning of December 14th, 2005.
Shortly after my admission, Pitocin was started
to bring on the contractions. Then, around 1100, Dr. Sutter broke my water and my labor was officially under way.


I was so swollen that my face didn't even look like it was mine anymore. My nose was huge! This was a wonderful photo of me after laboring for about 5 hours already. I was epiduralized and getting pretty tired already.


After my water was broken, Grace's heart rate kept dropping significantly after every contraction, called " persistent late decelerations". Unfortunately, she wasn't moving down into birth position and I just wasn't progressing very quickly. After interventions to help bring her heart rate up didn't work, it was pretty evident that an urgent C-section was the best option for everyone.

Before I knew it, I was in the operating room around 4pm. Poor Jesse was so worried and nervous!


This is me as I was lying on the operating table waiting for Grace to be born. Jesse was right next to me the whole time taking pictures.



Here she is! Grace Josephine arrived at 4:37 pm, weighing in at 7lbs. 3oz., 19 inches. The first thing Jesse said when he saw her was, "She looks just like me!"



Grace was wide awake after she was born. She was pink and chubby with a cute little birth mark shaped like a butterfly right between her eyes. The one thing that everyone commented on when she was born was how long her fingers were! People still tell us that, too. Maybe she'll play piano or guitar some day...

The whole family was there when Grace was born. Everyone was waiting for her when Jesse carried her out of the OR to the nursery.


Our first family photo.



Aunt Renee, Chaela, Steve, and Nena (my mom), watching Grace through the nursery windows.


Grace's first bath while I was in the OR. My friend at work, Denise, cleaned her up while Jesse took pictures and our family watched through the nursery windows.


Back in my room after the C-section, I got to hold Gracie for the first time. It was the best feeling in the world!


My Dad's first photo as a Pap Pap with his new granddaughter.


Jesse's sister, Roberta, now more commonly known as "Aunt Sis", holding Grace for the first time. Grace is named after Roberta; they have the same middle name, Josephine.



One day old.


One month old.

Six months old.

12 months old.

18 months old, with a newborn little sister.

24 months old.

2 1/2 years old.

3 years old.

Grace is an amazing, smart little girl. She is an awesome big sister and we just love her with all of our hearts. I love watching her grow and learn every day!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spring Pictures

We took Grace and Ella to get Spring pictures last week and they turned out great!