Note to blog readers: This is a long post mostly written for me and for Olivia. You're welcome to read, but don't feel like you have to! Our main update is that Olivia is a year old, she's crawling, she's happy, and we love her guts! If you would like, I've included some pictures from her first year that I've had fun seeing again- you can look through them, too. I've included a long, boring post about my feelings about my daughter. And finally, at the end, I'll have a list of her favorites, and some typical Livieisms. Enjoy!
One year ago, today, our baby girl came home from the hospital for the first time. We were on our own with her for the first time, she met her cousins for the first time, she had her first car ride, her first night in her bassinet, her first time in her bouncy chair, met Wilson for the first time, and for the first time since she was born, our family was all together. That was such an awesome day.
It was also a nerve-wracking day. It was her first day without a pulse-oximeter and blood pressure cuff. I sat in the backseat with her on the way home from Primary Children's Hospital with my finger under her nose to make sure I could feel her breaths. I washed my hands about sixty times that day, to prevent introducing any germs into her fragile system. And even though we were very sleep deprived from pumping all the time and driving back and forth in the night when I just had to see my baby and tuck her in again, we both kept one eye open that night. We couldn't believe our little fighter was actually home.
Olivia has brought so much to our family in her first year and two months. She's humbled us, and taught us to rely on our Heavenly Father. She's illustrated our need to invite the Holy Ghost into our home. When she caught MRSA as a newborn with a fragile immune system, we found out before it was a scary hospitalization. Because we felt prompted to have her pediatrician look at her surgical site- she said it was "beautiful," but took a culture because we'd taken the time to drive to American Fork to see her. We caught it in time to sterilize everything in our house and warn off her therapist, who might have taken it to other fragile kids.
Olivia's brought so many smiles and giggles into our home. We will do anything to make that kid smile, because she is so good at it! I'm kind of a shy, reserved person with new people, but Olivia has pulled me out of my shell on more than one occasion. The other day at the play place at the mall, Olivia made "friends" with another girl her age... then climbed into the lap of that girl's mom and looked through her diaper bag! So obviously, I needed to make friends, too. That was new for me, and surprisingly really fun!
Olivia's wreaked havoc on my nerves. But in some ways she's also chilled me out. I have anxiety about her feedings, her vomits, her behaviors. I'm afraid I'm going to do something wrong with her and make her life something that it shouldn't be. But I no longer freak out about dog hair in her mouth. I'm not really phased by piles of laundry like I used to be. I'm grateful that she's exploring and finding dog hair (and adventures) on her own. I'm excited that we get to put her in all the adorable outfits her aunts and grandmas have made/sent her. She takes full advantage of her wardrobe.
I'm starting to get in touch with my inner toddler again, and it's fun. Pink is funny. Sunglasses are hilarious. Blankets are so cozy and kittens are intriguing. I can't wait to put her in her first tutu. I love seeing her light up when she experiences something and loves it or hates it so dramatically. Swimming pools make her shriek with laughter from the parking lot to the actual pool. Ice cream is decidedly yucky. Even Ben and Jerry's. Even Dippin'Dots. Even creamsicles.
Olivia's special needs have opened up a whole new world to me that previously, I'm ashamed to say, would have gone unnoticed. I've joined an online support network of friends with kids like mine, and I'm learning patience and humility along with all the research and feeding tips they provide. When we were first told that Livie's lack of oxygen at birth may result in some real problems for her, we were completely out of our element. But they prepared us for the worst, and Olivia wasn't listening. She's faced developmental delays, but she has therapists and doctors working with us to help her find her way. She's crawling now, and just this week she learned to climb the staircase (yay?). She's babbling all day long, and she says nigh-nigh to us at bedtime. She may take longer than others to learn to eat, learn to talk, learn to read... she may not. Only time will tell. But either way, our home is filled with love and silliness, and she will grow up in a gospel-centered family.
Olivia, I'm so grateful you came into our lives, and I'm so grateful you decided to stay. I love you more than I knew I could love!
-we go to physical/speech therapy on Tuesday, and occupational therapy on Wednesdays. You hated this at first, but now when we pick you up at the end, you wave and try to get back to playing. Ryan and Allison are your favorites!
-We babysit our friend from the ward on Thursdays and Fridays. We usually head straight to the pool, which you love! You can recognize the parking lot, and start giggling and dancing from the time we park until we put you in the water. You are part fish. Koi, I think. Something big and floppy, anyway.
-Saturdays and Mondays are our fun family days. We usually have Papa home to ourselves, and we play with him. Papa is your favorite person in the whole world. You call his name "Ahpa!" first thing in the morning, because you know he'll come running to squeeze you and start your day. We like to take him to the mall play place, because he chases you around and keeps you safe from the bigger kids would have tried to crush you. Thank you, Papa!
-Sundays are hard for you. Church is during your naptime, and you will not sleep anywhere but your crib. No matter how much cuddling, coercing, swaddling, etc is involved. I teach relief society once a month, and Papa teaches the youth sunday school, but you have no end of baby-sitters who are aching to take you off our hands at church. Thank you, Grandma, Tantes, and Grumpa.
-you wake up happy, every morning around ten. We couldn't ask for a better kid. You sing in your crib until you're ready to get up, and then you stand up and call your papa over.
-you sleep through the night when you're feeling good. You have since the first night you were home. If you're not feeling good, you wake up around one, and shriek until you barf. Then you feel better, and we play until your pj's are changed, your sheets are changed, and maybe you've had a bath. Then you happily go back to sleep. Until it's time to barf again.
-We feed you every 3 hours, except from 1-6 am. We give your tummy a break. Lately, you've been barfing upon waking, so we're trying out a new schedule that will feed you more late at night, and less in the morning while you're groggy. We'll see how it goes. Every day is a struggle to get the alloted number of calories into you, but you don't seem to notice either way, and your dietician is always impressed with your weight, so we try not to stress. (well, I try not to. Papa medicates me, and then puts me to bed when you insist on regurgitating your calories and fluids. Thank you, Papa.)
-You LOVE your puppies and kitties. You squeal and go nuts whenever you see them. There are four in our house, so you are often nutty and silly. Grant likes to hang out under your spot at the table, and he trials foods right along with us. So far, you haven't taken to purees, strawberries, ice cream, cookies, chocolate bunny, bananas, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, peas, toast, or much of anything. Grant has, though. You are making him fat. You tend to prefer crunchy, salty foods. You like sun chips, baby carrots, string cheese (in the package only. Not opened) and you don't swallow those. You LOVE ice cold water from your bunny cup with a straw, though. And you like when we give you Mylanta- you suck it from the syringe.
-When we ask where your belly button is, you point to your tube button. I think that's hilarious, and so do you.
-You are a crawling maniac. You love to pull yourself up on things, but you don't trust gravity. You bend your knees almost till you're down, but then get nervous and stand back up. You usually need a pep talk to get down, and sometimes some help. We try not to do it for you, though.
-Your blanket is your favorite item in the house. When you get sleepy, we hand you your blanket and you bury your face in it and moan. That's called "passing the tired test" according to your Aunt Lizzy. It means you're a goner, and you tell us "nigh-nigh."