Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
We had a good week...on Wednesday, we got to see our friend Lauren (she and I had some girl time to celebrate her birthday). Marino showed her all of his new tricks, including tackle:)
On Saturday, we met some of our internet friends at North Beach. It was a really beautiful day and Marino loved the beach, including the water this time! I think he felt more confident seeing other babies go in the water, but he played in water up to his chest and did lots of splashing. He even lunged forward and went under for a couple of seconds but still came up happy!
It's funny to me that he actually looks "chunky" in the picture below:) I had to buy these crab trunks from Gymboree...they have a whole "crab" line of clothes for toddlers right now (we love crabs in our family since we all share the zodiak sign Cancer). I resisted the urge to buy them all but I had to get him these trunks (I currently justify all Marino expeditures as "birthday presents").
And here is Marino playing with his new friends Nicholas (15 months) and Natalie (18 months).
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
What You Can Bring
- Books for Mom and Dad: "Preemies: The Essential Guide for Parents of Premature Babies" and "Preemies" by Dr. Sears seem to be the 2 favorites of preemie moms.
- Books to read the baby are a good suggestion for parents spending many hours in the NICU.
- Gift cards: restaurants around the hospital, gas cards (travel back and forth to the NICU can get expensive)
- Frozen meals (mixed reviews on this, some moms said they didn't use these, some said they loved them)
- Goody bags for long days in the NICU: magazines, snacks (especially for breast feeding/pumping moms), crossword puzzles, a journal to record NICU days.
- Clothes for baby. Most NICUs allow preemies to wear clothes from home after they reach certain milestones. All clothes for the NICU must snap down the front to allow monitor wire access. Our NICU didn't let us put bottoms on him, just tops. Preemie size is best, but newborn size works too (its ok if the clothes are too big). Kimono style tops are great. It's a nice feeling to do something "normal" like dress your baby in something cute.
- Rides to and from the NICU are often needed for moms having had c-sections. I could have used someone to take me to and from my room to the NICU when I was still in the hospital (transport takes forever, although most moms aren't hospitalized as long as I was).
- Offer to visit the NICU with your loved one, or meet them at the hospital or nearby for lunch, dinner, etc.
- Babysitting other children or animals - this was a BIG one!
- Grocery shopping
- Mow the lawn/shovel snow/rake leaves
- Cleaning the house, doing laundry, taking out the trash, doing the dishes. These seem like simple things but when you are emotionally drained, it seems like climbing a mountain. When Marino was in the NICU, my wonderful friend Sonia came to visit and helped with seemingly simple tasks like sanitizing bottles, folding baby laundry, washing toys for the baby...things I had been dreading and just couldn't seem to motivate myself to do. It was a big help.
- If you are a decent photographer, offer to take pictures (possibly a family photo) or loan the family a digital camera if they don't have one (or buy them a disposable one).
- Offer to update friends and family for the parents.
- Offer to do baby shopping...lots of families say they didn't feel they had time to spend their days in the NICU and shop for baby.
- Just remind your loved one that you care and are excited for the baby as you would be for any other baby. Send congratulatory cards, send text messages to say you are thinking of them, fawn over pictures of the baby. I was always surprised if people said it was upsetting to see pictures of Marino with all his tubes, wires and things...to me he looked like the most beautiful creature in the world!
- Be there to listen and be positive but not to the point of downplaying what the baby/family is going through. "Oh, baby will be fine" is a nice idea, but the reality is many preemies are not "fine" their first year or two of life the way term babies are. Most have some issues, from reflux to developmental delays, to more serious complications. Don't downplay the experience or the journey...just lend an ear, support and hugs.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
This weekend was a lot more relaxed than any we've had in the past month, which is fine by me! On Saturday, Evan and I tried to get started with our cleaning since we have company coming in a couple of weeks. My best friend Sonia and her family are staying for a few days...I think this will be the most time we've gotten to spend together in the past 3 years and I'm really looking forward to it. And, yes, our house is that much of a mess that we need 2 weeks to work on it! It was a stormy day - good for cleaning.
Later on, our friend Gabrielle and her mom, Kristal, came over. We met them in our Waterbabies class. Gabrielle is the sweetest baby ever. She's 15 months old and just adorable -very gentle and loving. Of course, Marino is loving, but, gentle? Not so much. In fact, he kept trying to eat her tiny fingers:( Here's a couple of pictures...I couldn't get a good one of them together (too much movement!).
In this picture, she is snapping her fingers, which is how she tells her mama she wants to hear music. Is she cute or what?
I just wanted to let Evan know how much I appreciate him being such a great dad, especially when Marino was first born and I couldn't be there for him. Evan spent his days and nights going back and forth between Marino and I, bringing me pictures, videos and reports from the nurses back from the NICU. He was so excited the first time he got to hold Marino, change his diaper, feed him half an ounce. In fact, Evan had to teach me how to do firm touch with Marino (preemies' skin is too sensitive to stroke, so firm touch is what feels best for them), how to change a diaper, give him a sponge bath, feed him a bottle, burp him, etc, etc. Marino REALLY loves his Daddy and it's fun to see them together and imagine the fun they will have as Marino grows.
I also wanted to say Happy Father's Day to my own wonderful Dad. My Dad had always been my #1 fan and so much fun to be around. I love him!
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Hanging out in the pool with Raiden
For those who don't know the story behind his name, we named Marino after our mutual favorite thing, the ocean. We were married on the beach in St. Thomas and we both love the beach so we searched for a name that had an oceanic theme. Marino means "from the sea" in Italian (it also happens to be the name of my great great uncle, so named because he was born on the boat immigrating from Italy).
So far, Marino is not quite living up to his namesake. He HATED the waves. Oh, boy, the first time a wave came (and these are tiny bay waves, not ocean waves), he climbed up my leg. When I tried to put him back in the water, he held his legs up to his shoulders!
Tara, Rahsaan and Baby Raiden
Daddy and Marino (Sonia pointed out, no peace sign in this picture! A first!!)
Marino's daycare was closed for a professional day on Tuesday so I had to take the day off. Lucky for me, my mom and stepfather were on vacation on the Maryland western shore, so Marino and I went and met them at North Beach. But first, Marino did something awesome at home...he waved bye-bye to Daddy!
This was my first time at North Beach and I really liked it. It was nice, quiet, clean and everyone was very friendly. AND there is a little bake shop down the street that sells dairy-free gelato!! It wasn't a very sunny or hot day, but really that made it more comfortable for all of us. I somehow still managed to get a terrible sunburn on my knees (?!).
Here's Marino hanging with Grandma. He liked looking at the water but wanted no part of getting in (it was chilly anyway).
Here's Marino with Grandma and Grandpa Ray. See the cool boat playground in the background?
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
One of my internet friends is Amber (who I know because we both had destination weddings). Without the internet, I would never have had the pleasure of knowing her, but she is a truly amazing person. Amber is now 32 weeks pregnant and carrying a baby girl, who she has named Megan Grace. Megan Grace has been diagnosed, in utero, with Osteogenisis Imperfecta, Type II. You may have heard of OI, as it is the subject of Jodi Piccoult's newest book "Handle With Care" (and if you don't know who Jodi Piccoult is, you must have avoided all book stores for the past decade). Type II OI is fatal. Amber has known that Megan's OI is fatal, but she decided to continue her pregnancy, to give Megan Grace a life, even if most of that life is inside of her womb. Pretty amazing, huh? Amber is a completely selfless mom already and I am just blown away by her strength and love for Megan. I wanted to share this story, because it is on my mind and in my heart every day. Megan Grace will likely arrive in early July.
If you are interested in following Megan Grace's story, Amber keeps a blog for her at http://formegangrace.blogspot.com/. If its on your heart to do so, please leave a kind word for Amber on her blog. And, I'm sure this goes without saying, but please pray/send good thoughts and vibes to Amber, her husband Steve and Baby Megan Grace.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
A year ago today, our friend Dave King took the pictures above for us. I was 29 weeks pregnant and blissfully unaware of what the next few months had in store for us. I definately enjoyed being pregnant (once I got past the first trimester)...as I mentioned before, I never got to the point in pregnancy where I didn't like being pregnant anymore. I definately loved having Marino kicking inside of me and daydreaming about who he would be.
I'm feeling very emotional as Marino's 1st birthday approaches. It's not really so much that he's turning one but more a feeling of being overwhelmed when I look back at the past year, with all it's twists and turns. I have to think that in my adult life (barring any unforseen tragedy), I'll never have another year where life will change so drastically as it did this past year (I think this is probably true for all first time parents, regardless of the circumstances around their baby's birth). To think that a year ago, it was just Evan and I... and now our lives are so FULL with this amazing new life. Looking at these pictures just makes me realize that I could have never dreamed of what was to come for us. I've tried to find the words to express what it means to be Marino's mom, but everything seems so inadequate.
Monday, June 8, 2009
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Grammy Deb has really cool transition lens glasses and Marino is sort of obsessed.
Here he is laughing at Don's dancing:)
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
- he got his first tooth (second one is coming in next to it and the top 2 are swelling)