Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Ghost of Christmas Future

I realize that we are now responsible for how our daughter views Christmas and giving gifts and what it's all about. It makes us pay a little more attention to how we approach the holidays. It's really easy to let it just be about eating and decorating and shopping and getting stuff. I know she doesn't get it now, but we want to be more purposeful about what goes on around her during this season. I hope she grows to love Christmas for good reasons, and I'm sure she'll still want an iPod or a Wii or whatever. But it has been more meaningful for us because of her. I hope she learns to ski as soon as she can walk!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Our Favorite Holiday Ever

Carolina was watching us play football...not really.

The REAL reason for Thanksgiving, our annual football game.

Our little family.

As this holiday season is under way, we realize this one is already more fun than any other. It means something different when we think of Carolina and what it will mean to her as she grows up. I wasn't cranky at all about dragging up all of the Christmas boxes from the basement, usually it's a pain. She was in a great mood as we put up our tree, she was smiling a lot. I was tempted to find a way to stick her at the top of the tree, but we settled for the star.
Thanksgiving was a whirlwind. Three full family meals in three days. Enough with the turkey. Carolina finally got to the place where her eyes just glazed over from all of the commotion, she was a trooper, though. She got a lot of love and a lot of attention, she might be spoiled.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

We haven't posted much recently, I guess it's because we're sort of growing accustomed to the fact that she is going to amaze us everyday and all of you might not be quite as amused as we are. So humor us every so often and let us post pics and talk about Carolina and share the little things that make this parenthood so incredible.

She is pretty much smiling every day, sometimes almost on cue. There have been two or three times when she looked at me, recognized me and smiled. There is nothing better. She also recognizes Luke the Dog now, and she really likes him. She has been a champ about the colder weather, never a whimper about it. Maybe it's because she was frozen for eighteen months. Her hair is thinning a lot in the front and on top (shout out to Uncle Matt) and it seems to be getting lighter. She hasn't been weighed in a while but we're guessing 8 pounds-ish. She is a great baby, she rarely gets fussy and cries when she's really tired or hungry. This is the best thing we've ever done.

Uncle Gene gets sucked into the vortex that occurs whenever she falls asleep on your chest. You could take Mountain Dew intravenously and it wouldn't matter, you'd get sleepy.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

5 weeks already?

We just like this picture!

She is starting to smile more, we're not sure if it's on purpose or not.

She accidentally found her fingers one day...she hasn't since.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Monumental Occasion

The last few days have been quite exciting for our little popsicle. On Sunday afternoon, she attended a birthday party for the first time. Her very good friend Lily Sitarski turned one! I'm not sure she knew she was at a birthday party, but she was pretty content anyway. On Monday, she FINALLY got to meet her Uncle Matt and Aunt Vicki, who flew all the way from Guam to meet her. (OK, so they had a wedding to attend as well, that just happened to be convenient for them.) She has heard so much about them and has met just about every one of her aunts and uncles but was holding out a little special lovin' for Matt and Vic. She went to the Iwaszkowiecs' for dinner last night to celebrate the Weltons and life and friendship. She seemed very pleased to be in such a warm place with ridiculous quantities of great food, tasty beverages and wonderful friends. We were able to see pictures of their travels and Carolina is already well educated on Guam, Bali, Mt. Fuji Japan, Kyoto Japan, the Australian outback and avoiding coconuts that were "rinsed" (fell into) in the "river" (sewage). And we learned a new tip, those crazy big bouncy balls that people use for aerobics and such are magical baby spaceships. Leigh bounced her for a few minutes and she was rendered nearly unconscious for much of the night.
Carolina finally gets to meet Matt

She's a big fan of Johanna and Vic

Amie, Carlos, Jon, Me, Jeff, Matt, Vicki, Johanna and Rachel via Skype from Seattle.

Lily at her 1st birthday party

worth a thousand words

These are some of her more beautiful poses as of late.

Friday, October 3, 2008

If you have not read the book The Shack, you should. ( It's a story about tragedy and God and how the two collide. It resonated deeply with us as we wandered through miscarriages and failed fertility procedures and wondering why God wouldn't bless us with a child. The main character experiences deep hurt that lingers, the kind that lets you get on with life but without passion or desire. He refers to it as The Great Sadness. The darkness that hovered over us for almost six years was likened to that. We were able to live and live well even at times, but a pervasive cloud made every snapshot a bit dim, every memory saddened. I would never have wanted to admit that having a child was a bargaining chip with God, but it sort of was. I still trusted God and listened to Him, but I had an issue with Him about it. As one week has passed since Carolina's arrival, I realize that she was the breath of God. He took six years to inhale deeply enought to blow The Great Sadness away in one sweet gust. I know it gets harder this being a parent, and I'm okay with that. I'm ready for it. And I know, too, that this little girl will break my heart more than it has been yet. She'll get sick or date a loser or get drunk at 16 or worse. But it won't be the same as The Great Sadness. It's gone now. Every difficult experience from here on out will bear the resemblance of the breath of God. I see it in her, and it's better than anything I've known.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Home Again For The First Time

We were booted from the hospital today around 9:30 a.m. Our insurance company didn't want to pay for ONE more Tylenol. We were actually pretty ready to leave. It's nice to have all the doctors and nurses there to help, but it gets to be a lot. We're just going to have to figure it out here at home.

Carolina has been a peach all day; sleep, change, eat, burp, repeat. She did get me with the obligatory you-just-changed-my-poopy-diaper-so-now-I'm-going-to-blow-this-one-out poop.

Luke the dog has been really great with his new baby sister. He has been calm and gentle, he licks and sniffs her and even seems to be getting even more protective of his property. If you sneezed in our front yard he'd be on you. We're curious to see if he starts sleeping in her room instead of ours.

A lot has changed in four days. It is feeling like fall in St. Louis, today is quite beautiful. The news is pretty gloomy, it seems the economic sky is falling. Baseball season is over (for the Cardinals, anyway). We have a kid. That little detail seems to make all the others pretty insignificant right now.
Even with all of the advise we've been given (solicited and not), there are a few things we didn't consider. (1) We're going to use FAR more laundry detergent. In three hours I'd worn three shirts, used two burp cloths, soiled one big blanket and I should change my shorts, but what's wrong with a little milk vomit? It's a good thing Kim and Carolina are pretty much going naked these days...I don't think I could keep up with the laundry. (2) They say a baby eats every two hours, so it seems like you should be able to sleep for ALMOST two hours in between, right? Bull. It seems like they eat every 18 minutes. You have to start the time when they START eating, so if they eat for thirty-forty minutes, get burped and changed and settled back to sleep, you have very little time before they start all over. Just enough time for US to eat or go to the bathroom, forget cleaning or laundry. (How do single moms do it?) (3) I will now be able to tell new dads by the way they drive. As we're heading home and I'm driving with an infant in a car seat for the first time, I suddenly became an 84 year-old driver. I was hacked off at all the drivers "flying" by (going 65), I used my blinker seven miles before each turn and I was perfectly content to go 54 in the far right lane. I hope this road paranoia subsides or we are going to be REALLY late getting places.
I cannot believe this will go on forever, literally. Barring freakish twists of fate, I will feel like this about another girl besides Kim for the rest of my life. There are few things in life that are this good that you know you get to keep.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

This is nothing

When you have every manner of medical professional checking in on you every seven minutes, newborns are easy. I suppose that first day home can be a bit daunting. We are relishing in a lot of the small things. My new favorite thing in life is to see her yawn. I want to cry like a little girl every time. She just burped like a trucker and we thought it was the greatest thing. We're proud of her for pooping. When she wails, there is nothing annoying about it. I know it's all a great honeymoon period, and we don't want to miss it at all. I think the fact that we waited and prayed for her for so long makes us a little less annoyed at her. Again, we're just two days in but I completely dread going to work next week because I don't want to miss anything.
The hospital experience has been great, our greatest admiration for the folks at St. John's Mercy. Great people from day one. The only tough thing about all of the medical opinions is all of the medical opinions. Every nurse, doctor, resident, personal care assistant, housekeeper and room service attendant has a different opinion about breastfeeding, sending your baby to the nursery for the night, pacifiers, bottles, sleeping arrangements and choice of college. We're pretty laid back I guess, but Kim wants to nurse and there are a LOT of opinions about that. It can be a tad smothering. I guess you figure out what is best for your baby and do it. I know some folks feel differently, but the scheduled C-section is the way to do it. I was whipped after a twenty minute procedure, I can't imagine doing the 20 hour labor thing, let alone what it does to a woman. Women are the tough ones for sure.
Finding out we were pregnant and having a girl were amazing moments. Doing this whole pregancy thing with my good friend Brandon has been the icing on the cake. God makes amazing things really amazing sometimes so we remember that He likes to see us smile. This is him with my daughter.
This is my daughter with Brandon's daughter Kaelyn. They are less than 8 weeks apart.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Kim Jr.

I am pretty overcome by the events of the day. All in all, everything was as easy as it gets. Dr. Herrmann, our hero and Doctor of the year, was a bit late in arriving because he had to deliver another baby at St. Luke's. Our 12:00 C-section started to roll about 1:15, Kim was in the OR at 1:35 and I was holding Carolina at 1:55 p.m. CST. That was a long-a## twenty minutes. I cried a bit (or a lot depending on your definition) and pretty much saturated the surgical mask which makes for some pretty humid breathing ( I see what Rach means about burping in your mask). She weighed 7lbs 4oz and has GREAT lungs...opera singer lungs. I'm a Dad, I really love this little girl and I love Kim more, too. It really is instantaneous the unconditional love part, I don't know quite how it happens. Kim is feeding her and both are figuring each other out, I think they're ahead of the curve for eight hours old. Here are some highlights from our greatest day yet.

Kim had just gotten to the hospital. A month ago, Carolina was head down and ready to roll. Last week she had flipped to breach which isn't too common, hence the scheduled C-section. Today, right before the procedure, they did an ultra-sound and she was flipped again head down. We did the procedure anyway, no way we were going home empty-handed at this point. This little girl is trouble.

Kim is now under the influence. Can you tell in the squinty eyes and the crooked smile? If you've ever seen her with a bottle of wine...

Apparently Carolina is not all that happy about the frigid air and the poking and prodding. She looked pretty rough at this point, but I was smitten.

Our first family photo. I'm overhwhelmed with joy and pride, Kim is high. She looks just like her mom.

I have always had this dream of seeing Kim and her momma with our baby. This was one of the most memorable moments of my life.

This is my new favorite picture in existence.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

...and counting!

Waiting is brutal. I know billions of people in the history of the world have experienced this, but it is exciting and overwhelming and nauseating and beautiful nonetheless. I thank you for praying for us and for Carolina and the chance we get at parenthood. This miracle is not ours alone, God intends them for everyone.

She is all we have waited for.

Monday, September 22, 2008

This just in..........

Carolina Kimberly will be making her debut on Friday afternoon at 12 p.m. or so. I have a planned c-section and will be in St. John's Mercy. We will be there over the weekend so if you want, please come and celebrate her advent into our world!
Love you all!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

One Frozen Dream

I know that every new life is a miracle, and our constant references to miracles is in no way meant to diminish or cheapen the actual meaning of miracles. Our understanding of the idea has changed in the past six years as we embarked on the long, arduous and eventually fruitful journey of pregnancy. After several failed fertility procedures, including two In Vitro cycles, we were moving towards adoption. We had two embryos that were cryogenically frozen from the second IVF and we had decided to do a "natural" Frozen Embryo Transfer. Natural just means Kim wasn't all hopped up on hormones and steroids and other questionable narcotics. The embryos were thawed and one of them was good, one was great. Both were implanted in January. The success rate isn't very high for FET's, so we were sort of trying to close a chapter and move on. However, seven days after the procedure we were told that Kim was pregnant. Here we are in September, mere days from her due date. I was reminded of this miracle the other night when Carolina had the hiccups. I had felt her move before and seen Kim's belly contort and bubble, but seeing her and feeling her with the hiccups made me realize that she was real, a real live person, more than anything else. We are so thankful to have had the experience of pregnancy, we still pray for all of those who are waiting for their miracle, and we wonder if adoption is still in the plans for us. For now we just want to meet our little popsicle.