Thursday, June 30, 2011

4 Days

It's hard to believe it's already Thursday, and that four days from now, we'll be in the hospital, preparing for the hardest and longest day of our lives.  The past four months have proven what wonderful friends and family we have, and how the support of so many people we don't know can make an impact on our lives.  For that I am grateful.

As it stands now, I'll be taking a short hiatus from blogging, Facebook, etc.  Basically, I'm shutting my computer off for a few days.  I'll be back on Monday night from the hospital, or Tuesday morning to provide updates on how surgery is going.  I want to enjoy the next few days with my daughter and husband.  Not to mention, I still haven't bothered to start packing.  I appreciate all of the thoughts and prayers that you are sending to Kennedy and our family. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Smiles for Mommy and Other Ramblings

It hits me every day just how much Kennedy is growing up.  Before too long, I suspect that she'll be sitting up on her own.  She can do it with minimal support, and she loves it.  Much better than tummy time!  Have I mentioned what a sweet baby she is?  She wakes me up in the morning by kicking me.  What on Earth would she do if we didn't sleep together?  She wakes up such a happy baby.  I get some of the biggest smiles of all.  Each smile melts my heart more than the last.  I can't get enough of them.  This afternoon we snuggled up in bed, she looked me in the eyes and was smiling and cooing away.  This resulted in one of my "accidental naps" that I used to take when I was pregnant.  It was so good to snuggle up with her and have a nap on a rainy afternoon.  This is exactly how I wanted to spend our time the week before surgery. Tonight she sat in her high chair and played with her toys while I made dinner.  She is growing up way too fast!  I'm not ready for this.  I love seeing her learn and do new things, but it is also so hard seeing her grow up so quick!

I don't typically use the blog for product reviews, but I can't NOT address this one.  Anyone who has had to pump for any amount of time knows what a pain it can be (literally!)  I've read many reviews on Pumpin' Pals, and finally got a set.  Let me tell you, these things are amazing.  I was able to pump more milk, in less time, and COMPLETELY pain free.  These things have seriously changed my life.  They have given me a renewed feeling of confidence that I can pump for a year if I need to!  I highly recommend them (

It's so hard to believe that we're just around the corner from Kennedy's surgery.  That next week at this time, we'll be on our way to being recovered.  I am so thankful to all of our family who will be traveling or taking time off to spend with us over the next couple of weeks.  I am thankful for the family, friends, and for my readers who are all keeping Kennedy in their thoughts and prayers.  Everyone's words of kindness, encouragement and prayers mean the world to us.  This is what will get us through this challenge.  THANK YOU and keep those prayers coming over the next few weeks!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Day With Grandma

I can check one more thing off my list off things to do before surgery.  Blood donation - done.  I was pretty nervous after they advised against it while breastfeeding.  My iron levels were great, so I was good to go.  30 minutes later, and one less pint of blood, I was out of there with out incident.  It was a rough morning.  I just kept thinking, "next week at this time she'll be in surgery."  The good news, next week at THIS time, it will be done and hopefully she will be on her way to a speedy recovery. 

We had lousy weather again, so aside from donating blood, it was another day in the house.  Grandma came over for some quality time with Kennedy.

Big smiles for Grandma!

Sitting up like a big girl with mommy!

Mama Kisses!!!!!

Look who can "stand!!!"

Grandma snuggles.  All tired out after a day of play.

One Week

I cannot believe that our surgery date is so close.  I got the pre-admissions call today and I felt sick after I hung up the phone.  The good news is, we don't have to be there until 4pm on Monday, and they are admitting us directly to the CVICU, so we will not have to change rooms at all. 

I have no idea where the past four months have gone.  Like I've said before, I'm so glad that Kennedy is unaware of what's ahead and that she's laughing, smiling and having fun every day.  She's not feeling the worry and anxiety that we are.  I just wish I could take it all away from her.  She doesn't deserve to have to go through this.  No child should.  I keep looking at pictures of babies post-op.  Nothing can prepare me for the moment that I see MY baby like that.  But I cry just seeing pictures of what other babies have been through.  No matter how hard it is, I have to be strong for her.  I know I'm going to cry, but I have to be able to keep it together for her.  She's strong.  She's a fighter.  She's proven  a lot of people wrong and she's doing a lot better than everyone imagined she would be at this point.  Everyone says that I won't know how sick she was until her heart is repaired.  I'm just trying to focus on the excitement of seeing all the craziness she will bring once she's recovered, and all of the wonderful things we have planned. 

Tomorrow I have to go donate blood for the surgery.  But other than that, my week is reserved for Kennedy.  We will play and snuggle every moment possible.  I'm going to hold her as much as she'll let me to make up for the first days that I won't be able to.  If the weather gets better, I want to take her swimming.  I want to do all of her favorite things.  We're going to take her on her first trip to the aquarium on Saturday.  And of course...I'm going to take pictures.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Fun and Games

Today's agenda was to finish cleaning the house and go food shopping.  I didn't accomplish either of those things.  It was raining.  Again.  So instead of cleaning or food shopping Kennedy and I just spent the day having fun.  We did tummy time, played with toys, sang songs while we danced and rolled around on the floor.  It's REALLY hard to take pictures while you're doing all that.  I wish I had some sort of a camera and video camera attached to me so I could capture all of Kennedy's giggles and smiles.  I can't get enough of them, and they just melt my heart.  She is SUCH a happy baby, with so much personality and so many expressions.  I am one lucky mama.  I love you Kennedy Aleise!

Sleepy baby - one would think she slept for hours after all that playing.  No, not really.  She slept 20 minutes.  And then stayed up until 11pm.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Paying It Forward

Since Kennedy turned four months old last weekend, I have been thinking about how it feels like Kennedy was just born.  I remember how hard those first days in the NICU were, and how difficult it was for us to accept adjust to all the changes in our life.  We received an incredible amount of support from so many people.  Even people that I got to know online, or met through other people.  We'll be leaning on those same people for good thoughts, prayers and support in the coming weeks as Kennedy undergoes her open heart surgery.

Today came my chance to help another mama and baby in need.  Their need is a little different than mine were.  And their story made me realize once again, that things could be worse or even harder.  This mom has a baby with Down syndrome.  Unfortunately, mom also has cancer and is in need of breastmilk.  As I've mentioned in past posts, I've been blessed with an incredible supply of milk.  The deep freezer we purchased last month is already half full.  Pumping is VERY hard and time consuming.  But it's worth it.  And it feels amazing to be able to give this mama and baby a part of my stash.  We have a lot of variables in our near future.  I'm hoping Kennedy will exclusively breastfeed eventually, and it's quite likely that after surgery she'll increase the amount that she eats per day.  I want to make sure that Kennedy has breastmilk until she's at least one, but I hope to be able to continue helping this mama and her sweet baby.  I know how hard I had to work and fight to make sure that Kennedy was able to continue getting my milk.  I want to be able to help a mama who knows the importance of breastmilk, but isn't able to provide it herself.  I'm also on a mission to find other moms who may be able to help.  So, if you're in the area or know someone in the area who may be able to donate milk, please send them my way.  They can contact me via email at  I'm sure this mom will appreciate anything that she can get.

Of course, I can't finish this post with out another picture of just how big Kennedy is getting.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What Happened To My Baby?

It's like ever since Kennedy turned four months old, she's not a baby any more.  She's turning into a little girl.  This week has been filled with so many new things.  My mom came over to visit for a few days, and she even said that she's like a completely different baby compared to last week.  Yesterday she started laughing hysterically.  I'm not sure why she thought I was so funny, but she was cracking up!  It wasn't the little baby giggles that we've been hearing from time to time.  It was non-stop laughing with an ear to ear smile.  It was definitely one of the greatest mom moments to date.

Let's see - what else has she been doing?  She's finds extreme joy out of making raspberries.  This typically means a mouth full of breast milk being spit out.  If you do it, she'll copy you.  It's adorable.  She was doing it tonight at the dinner table and it was nonstop laughs for Grandma and I!  Do you all remember my post awhile ago about how Kennedy was gagging herself when she took her Lasix, and then throwing up?  Well, that's a thing of the past.  Now she completely seals her mouth and sucks in her bottom lip.  Oh, and I can't forget that she now tries to fight me and usually the syringe goes flying through the air.  This morning it ended up all over her head and hair.  Speaking of this morning....Kennedy has decided to perform acrobatics in her sleep.  I'm thinking it may be time to move her to her crib, otherwise Daddy and I will not be getting much sleep.  She's taken to rotating and moving around our bed.  This morning at 5am, she was laying horizontally across the bed, with her feet up on my side.  So adorable, though I'm not quite sure how she managed it. 

Kennedy has been sucking her thumb for quite awhile now, but that's been taken to a whole new level lately.  Teething?  Maybe.  She will only tolerate tummy time, because it's easy access for putting her ENTIRE hand in her mouth.  Then she gags.  Her hands have definitely found their way to her mouth, as are her toys.  Only time will tell. 

Last but not least - my daughter has learned how to use an iPhone app.  We're in trouble now.  This is proof as to why I need an iPad.  I've been researching a lot of apps that can help children learn.  I've already downloaded a few to my iPhone.  We have several versions of flashcards and a "piano."  The piano app has always come in handy as a last resort for amusement while we're waiting in random doctor's offices.  Well, Kennedy has now learned that when she puts her hands and fingers on the phone, it makes noise.  She LOVES the piano app.  I guess we'll be going out to buy one of those infant size pianos this week. 

Poor quality image, but I didn't have a camera handy, and she was using my iPhone.  

Well, this toy is interesting mom.

 My thumb tastes really good!  (Followed by a head dive over the boppy.)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Fast Forward Please

I was sitting here this morning, enjoying my much needed coffee and loving all of Kennedy's big gummy smiles when it hit me that two weeks from now - she'll be in surgery.  She'll be "asleep" and completely unaware of what's happening.  Marlon and I will be pacing the floors of the surgical waiting area, desperate to hear the words that the surgery is over and that it was a success.  Those will be the hardest and longest four hours of my life.  As hard as this is, I'm glad she's so young.  She has no idea what's going to happen.  She isn't worrying or upset about it.  She isn't going to expect to be in pain.  She will remain blissfully unaware that anything is least until we get to the hospital the day before.  And even then, she won't completely know what's going on. 

I keep thinking about everything I need to do, and need to pack.  I started a list, but cannot seem to get anything together.  I just set up my appointment for next week to donate blood for her surgery.  It's unlikely that it will be enough, but at least I can feel good knowing that I did what I could for her. 

I think I'm pretty much useless for the next two weeks.  I'm taking every chance I get to hold and snuggle Kennedy.  I have a lot of snuggling to do in order to make up for the days we won't be able to.  I'm trying to be positive about the surgery.  I'm trying to focus on how exciting it will be to bring her home, better than ever, and see how much energy she has for all her toys.  She's not an overly sleepy baby, so I suspect that she will have me on my toes even more after surgery.  This doesn't make me any less terrified.  I'm not one to wish the time away, but I would give anything for someone to hit fast forward, and make it July 21st so I can be sitting here, snuggling my baby and have all of this behind us. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day! (Picture Overload)

Kennedy and I were FINALLY able to show off our secrets to daddy!  Anyone who knows me, knows I am horrible at keeping a secret.  When we found out we were pregnant, I was determined to keep it a secret until the second trimester.  I was barely eight weeks when I posted our exciting news on Facebook.  Needless to say, I was pretty excited when Kennedy woke up at the crack of dawn.

Daddy LOVED all of his surprises.  He had absolutely no idea what was going on or how I managed to get the photos done and everything together.  I was just proud of myself that I didn't blow the secret!  As I said in my last post, I was really excited to be able to spend Father's Day with not just my wonderful husband and the father of my daughter, but my dad.  It was the first Father's Day I've spent with him in about 10 years.  It was really great to give him the photo in the "Best Grandpa Ever" frame from Kennedy.  This weekend was a ton of fun, and we reminisced about all of the crazy things we did when I was younger.  Everything from making blue snow cones to searing for moose in New Hampshire.  My dad was always the photographer in the family, so there aren't a lot of pictures of us together, but one of my favorites is from before my wedding ceremony started.

In a way, Marlon and my dad have a lot in common.  My Dad traveled a lot when I was a child, but we always had an amazing relationship, and even though we only see each other a few times a year now, we have maintained that relationship.  Marlon and I have talked about having kids since we first started dating.  Okay - so that was almost 9 years ago - let's just say it gave me a lot of time to dream and imagine.  I knew Marlon would be a great father, but seeing him with Kennedy has shown me just how amazing he is.  The way he looks at her, the way talks to her.  The way that he makes her laugh and smile.  The things that he teaches her, and the silly things that he does when he's with her.  Not to mention - he never complains about changing a stinky butt or giving her a bottle - no matter how many hours he's worked that week.  I'm really lucky to have such an amazing husband and father for our daughter.  I know that as she grows up they will have an amazing relationship.  I love to watch them interact, and right now I'm looking at Kennedy all snuggled up on daddy's chest.  Such a precious sight. 

Okay - enough of the mushy gushy stuff.  Today Kennedy turned four months old!  I can't believe how fast the time has gone, and how much our baby girl is growing up.  Though she may still be small, she has a huge personality and is so much fun.  I will say it once again - I don't know what life was like before her, and I know it will get better and better!  Now, on to the pictures I promised everyone. 

Grandpa finally seeing his granddaughter again - last time he was here, she was only a week old!

"Mom, please tell me you're kidding?  Grandpa CANNOT leave this backdrop here."

Proud Daddy tickling his baby girl!

Look guys!  I got good at this posing thing the other day when Mommy took me to the mall.

Kennedy is excited about all of the new clothes she gets to wear now that she's in her 3-6 month size.

 "Are you really making me do this, Mom?"

 Our Beautiful Family

Proud Grandpa getting in his last minute snuggles before he has to head back to New York. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Grandpa's Here!!!

It's so wonderful to have my dad here for the weekend.  He hasn't seen Kennedy since she was a week old, do needless to say - she has changed a lot!  He's enjoying how active and playful she is.  Even if it means tripping over all kinds of toys that make music. 

I'm not ready for the weekend to come to an end, because of course I'm not ready to drop my dad off at the airport again, but I have to admit I'm pretty excited about Father's Day!  I've been going crazy trying not to show Marlon the pictures we had done last week, and it's killing me!  Not to mention, this is the first Father's Day that I've been able to spend with my Dad in about 10 years.  I thought last year was his best Father's Day - that's when we called him and told him we were pregnant.  I'm pretty sure that spending the day with hus granddaughter tops that!

There will be tons of pictures to come tomorrow night.  I'm letting Grandpa be the photographer that he is and enjoy capturing every moment while he's here.   

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What an Exciting Day! (And TONS of Kennedy's Cuteness)

Grandma came to visit today and what an exciting day we had.  Let me tell you - Kennedy is a trooper!  She put up with SO much today.  We started out the morning by working on a surprise for Father's Day. one tell Daddy!  (And Marlon - if by any chance you actually do read this blog - CLOSE THIE WINDOW - NOW!)  We went and had some professional pictures done, to make a few Father's Day surprises for Daddy and Grandpa.  I was really nervous, based on how she reacts to the EI Therapist.  Well, she did fine.  Clearly she just hates the girl.  The pictures came out sooo adorable!!!  Here are just a few!  (By the time we got to the end - she was over it!  This was about a 90 minute photo session, so she did amazing.)

Can you tell she was over it by the last picture???  Now the hard part will be keeping it a secret until Sunday when we can show Daddy!
She was exhausted after our photos!  The poor baby slept through mommy and grandma having lunch.  We also had Kennedy's 4 month well baby visit.  Because surgery is on July 5th, I had to move our appointment up from next week.  This meant we had to see the nurse practitioner instead of the pediatrician we saw the first time.  Needless to say, I was incredibly nervous after all of the issues we've had thus far.  I'm happy to report - she was WONDERFUL!  Kennedy is in the 15% for height (23 inches) and the 10% for weight (11lbs 3oz).  This also puts her in the 50% for both on the Down syndrome growth charts.  They were thrilled with her growth and her development.  While she was being examined, she was kicking and rolling, had the paper on the table all torn apart.  She was grabbing at the stethoscope, and pulling at the nurses hand.  It was so cute!  She said it's way too soon for stranger anxiety.  Did I mention that Kennedy didn't have any issues with her OR the nurse?  Another example of her clearly hating the EIT.  She had to have 3 shots and the oral vaccine, in order to be caught up before surgery.  She didn't even flinch for the first two, and only cried for about 30 seconds with the third one.  I was so proud of her.  I will admit, that I was expecting extra snuggles tonight, but she's wanted to play and carry on just as normal - and she still is going strong for the night.