Sunday, June 29, 2008

Great Grandmother Love

A recent visit to Kaitlyn's Great Grandmother (GGma) was truly as tender as these photos illustrate. GGma was in Heaven and rightfully so! We went over to deliver some photos of Kaitlyn wrapped in the beautiful blanket that GGma had knitted. She was beside herself, swimming in a childish happiness. The look on GGma's face when she was handed Kaitlyn to hold and love was just memorable. She sat there on the sofa, Kaitlyn upon her chest, and never shed her smile. Babies do things to people. Here I lied next to a woman who had lived a full life, 90 years of it only to be contrasted by a baby who had only just begun to live...I was somewhere in between, living.
It was a gorgeous day for this outing which added to the enjoyment of the visit. When GGma walked us to the car for the big departure, tears streamed down her eyes. My heart was crying, too. There may not be too many more of these visits and then again, there could be another ten years of them. GGma is in good form, but like many of the elderly, her memory is failing. It makes for some good laughs as she has been known to forget she just consumed a bowl of ice cream and so she goes to make herself a second helping. Or my favorite was last Christmas, she had been out shopping with my mom. GGma was told 'Happy Holidays' by the cashier and she looked at mom and said, 'Is it the 4th of July?'. Laugh? Yes. Heavy heart? Yes. We'll all be there someday.
I celebrate this memory and can't wait to further tell Kaitlyn about her GGma, both of them along with the Great Grandpa's who are all angels in Heaven watching over her!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Uncle B-Man

Benet is warming up to holding a baby. I think it won't take him too long until he becomes extremely comfortable. He's already animated and thus captive. Kaitlyn sure likes him. Go Uncle B!

Curls, Glorious Curls

I know, it's a lame attempt to capture her curls...but, can't you see them? After the bath time the curls come out to play! They don't last long since Kaitlyn tosses and turns, squiggles and giggles all night long, but they are there! I think they will be tighter than mine, but like my hair, they will be curly when it's humid and more wavy when it's dry weather. Oh she's a doll!

Timeless Keepsake

My brother Denis had this blanket, a yellow blanket, that he apparently carried with him wherever he went. I had a baby doll named Pinky and she was carried every where I went. When I think what possible object may Kaitlyn grow to love and obsess over I imagine it being the lovely blanket that her Great Grandmother knitted for her (shown in this photo). It's the perfect baby/toddler size, large enough to swaddle her, small enough to pack in a bag and colorful enough to add a sparkle to any room--and more importantly, easy to find if ever mis-placed!
My Grandmother is a healthy woman, but her memory has been victim to pockets of forgetfulness. In a phone conversation with her I could repeat Kaitlyn's name five different times and her birth date three times. We could jump from one topic to another and then repeat the first topic of discussion as if we never addressed it before. While the sporadic memory failure is part of life and surely a bit frustrating for my grandmother at times, she never forgets who I am or the man I have married--who she referred to as 'the boyfriend' and now 'the husband'. I don't think she always remembers his name. Whatever the case, she did remember to knit Kaitlyn a blanket (even though I have a strong feeling my mother may have had a part in prompting her memory). It was no easy task as it was reported to me that my grandmother would pull it all apart, forget who she was making it for, and then as if her memory never failed, she would talk to you as if she knew about Kaitlyn since I conceived her and this blanket was a full time project she was determined to complete.
It's endearing to hear about the love that went into its creation. Knowing my grandmother will not be around too much longer, this is a timeless keepsake that I will cherish. If Kaitlyn doesn't take to it like I did Pinky or Denis did his yellow blanket, I may possibly be the one who carts it around!

Daddy's Little Girl

When I stumble upon moments like these, the camera better be nearby. Steve is like a huge teddy bear when he holds Kaitlyn. My heart melts. Wouldn't yours?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

My Sleeping Beauty

I'm in love. It hit me this week--that feeling of truly being in love with your child (what all baby books talk about). I admit this feeling was not present at first as the entire NICU experience was surreal. This week, however, Kaitlyn has brought me a new dimension of what love means. I miss her when I go to the store without her. When I'm napping and Steve is on baby duty, it's as though one ear is always alert to hear her hunger cry or cooing sound. My senses are heightened because of her existence! This love is different than the love I feel for my husband, or the love I feel for my dear friends or even my family. This love comes from another depth of my soul. Kaitlyn came from me. Wow. That's enough to keep me speechless for some time. Here she is in a deep slumber, totally nestled in my arms and chest--complete contentment.
I've enjoyed her so much today. While I didn't get too much sleep last night due to her hourly crying spells, this morning began with an alert happy baby. We held great conversations and eye staring matches. This delicate energy has remained with her all day and into this evening.
My favorite Kaitlyn moments:
When breastfeeding, she grabs onto my shirt while her other arm is tucked up by the side of her head as if propping herself up.
Foops (farting poops). I know it's gross but it tells me that her bodily functions are working! The sounds of a foop just make me laugh!
Her HUGE eyes when she is holding a conversation. They are so animated.
Bath time--especially when washing her hair (she stays so calm, eyes wide open and often accompanied by some cooing sounds).
Okay I could go on...but will save my thoughts for another post...until then, I'm enjoying my sleeping beauty.


My mother told me that when I was born all my brothers crowded around and looked at me with great curiosity. Seeing this photo I was flooded with the visual of what I must have caused in my home growing up. A little girl arriving to be welcomed by six older brothers (Benet was not in the world at this time). Now, I am the one with the little girl and on this joyous day I had some of my brothers over to welcome her to this world. Four curious uncles and one thrilled GRANDpa! This was really quite a sight to see. The cameras were constant and so were the animated faces. Kaitlyn was in a deep slumber for most of the flashes, but it didn't stop the Paparazzi Heames bunch from snapping away. Each brother took their turn holding her and saying a few charmed words. She was in total bliss.

Raider Nation

100% Daddy's girl...
Lounging on a Raiders fleece blanket...
Hanging with some of Dad's tools...
Wearing a Raiders jumpsuit...

Okay, I admit, this entire photo was staged. For Father's Day I got Steve a Craftsman tool cart and thought it would be fun to have Kaitlyn captured hanging with some of his tools while decked out in her Raider gear. The ultimate idea was to have these photos inside the tool drawers...but the photos never made it. Rather they were printed and given directly to Steve. No matter, it stole his heart!

Thursday, June 12, 2008


During this past week I have certainly gained new mothering confidence. Having endured some long nights, explosive diapers and testy burp times, Kaitlyn has provided me an opportunity to stretch my knowledge, patience and sense of calmness. In the midst of the frenzied moments lie moments of absolute stillness, wonderment and pure humor. Kaitlyn is free entertainment, no doubt. I'm blessed, we are blessed. She is a treasure.

We had our first doctor appointment yesterday and this joy passed with flying colors. She has incredible strength in her grip and legs (I could have told you about the leg strength, I sure felt them throughout her stay while in Belly Hotel Sarah). She is now 8lbs 10oz and has grown an inch since her birth, bringing her to a grand height of 20.75 inches. Her hair gets longer each day and where the NICU nurses shaved her forehead, that area is beginning to grow back as well. The final great news of the day...her umbilical cord stump fell off while waiting for the doctor! I had been waiting for this to happen for the past two days as it was just hanging on by a thread.

I have yet to obtain some of the family shots from this past Sunday when the uncles came for a visit. There were some hilarious moments and real paparazzi fanfare! Stay tuned for those memorable Kodak images! Until we face another adventure...

Buckle Up

I am not surprised that our little buttercup enjoys her car seat so much. Father like daughter. Truly, with Steve's passion/obsession for cars and driving, I was not surprised to see Kaitlyn buckled up and in pure contentment. When we saw her holding onto the pads, my smile kicked in and I knew it was over. Our little girl will be a car loving fool like her father. Earlier this week Steve was commenting on how fast she is...she poops fast, she burps fast, she eats fast..concluding that she will probably drive fast so a Hyundai will have to be her mode of transportation, no BMW for her!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

A Sweet Homecoming

I'm rested, for at least another 30 minutes. I have officially survived the first night of motherhood. Wow. I'm emotional about it. Had no idea I would be flooded with tears of joy one minute and then tears of helplessness another minute. Will I be able to do this on those nights when Steve is working and Kaitlyn and I will be flying solo? Will I be able to soothe her teary eyes and heartaches or tummy aches or whatever she is suffering from that I may never be able to fully know? Rest assured, I have a husband who wins the gold medal. He has been so encouraging and affirmative along with being helpful. So, let me give you the play by play:

8:20am-Friday, June 6th
I call the NICU to find out about coming in to breastfeed Kaitlyn and find out if we truly will be able to take her home at some point in the day. Due to an early feeding (aka, HUNGRY BABY) I missed the timing so I decided to stay home a little longer and pump then Steve and I would venture to the NICU for the final Doctor assessment.

8:30am-Friday, June 6th
NICU calls us! 'Hey, come pick up your baby, she's ready to come home'!

The rest of the day as you can imagine was a whirlwind of emotion. We were met at the hospital with a great NICU nurse who had a goodie bag of delights for her, some paperwork for discharge and the hospital photographer. Steve and I got her dressed in her departure outfit, finished our hospital business and then were escorted to our car with Kaitlyn in tote, fully tucked into her Orbit Baby car seat!

We arrived at home just around noon and were greeted with an excited dog! Cosimo was elated she was finally here as he knew something was up. He's been such a patient dog and at the same time such an obnoxious dog. His instinct was right on, he knew our home was changing and as we expected, he came over to her and sniffed her out, gave her the 'A-OK'. Best buds, right from the start.

My afternoon was filled with figuring out breastfeeding, figuring out how to comfortably hold her with confidence, now that she was IV free, and figuring out how to handle myself. Our first adventure with feeding turned into a milk bath! And burping, oh my. Burping is really a chore, but very rewarding when you can sit it out to hear the big, and I mean BIG burp!

11:30pm-Friday, June 6th
Kaitlyn is crying, I'm crying. She's a natural crier like her mom, but this cry is a cry of real discomfort. A solid two hours later (I think, it seemed like an eternity), she was finally rested. I was exhausted and felt like I was entering into a crucial period of learning. Being a mother is really an exceptional career. How these mother's do all this juggling of baby care with family care is such an adjustment. Now, I will not leave out fathers. That is an exceptional career in itself. My husband has a touch with swaddling, with diaper changing and soothing a crying baby. Oh, and even changing baby clothing. Really, would I have expected this from Steve? I knew he had experience, but I didn't know he had a whole package of experience--more than changing diapers and burping ER babies. I'm really blessed as he has the right balance of experience to still allow me to be free as a learning mother and a mother with instinct. He has been very affirming.

3:30am-Saturday, June 7th
Kaitlyn starts her cries again. I'm up with the first rustle of the blankets! Steve puts his arm on me and says to wait until she really lets out the cry to ensure she is up. I wait and to my surprise gain another 15 minutes of sleep. Then the cries stir again and they are real. Up we are and feeding starts. We enjoy a lovely hour of cuddle time in our nursery. I cherish the time, the looking down at her when she is nestled in my chest, he sound of her breathing, the content sigh she releases. She is tucked back into bed, rested and well fed. I feel successful. I feel like I can do this. I feel empowered.

6:00am-Saturday, June 7th
Kaitlyn is clockwork-she's up again. It's light outside so I feel awake this time around. We do another session in our rocker in the nursery. This time she's not so tired, she decides to stay up and hang out with Nana (Steve's mother--another SAINT). Eventually I have her in my arms again and we both fall asleep in the rocker. A real Kodak moment.

That's a snap of the first 24 hours as a mom. Now that I'm in the 36 plus hour of motherhood (full time motherhood, I became a mom a while ago...but full time as she is home now), I'm blown away at all the moments of learning that I have enjoyed since 8:20am yesterday. Bring it on I say! I need the guidance. I need the encouragement. I need the tips. I need the other mom's as support. I'm in the mommy club now. It's powerful, it's emotional, it's challenging and the most important, it's ever so rewarding!

A sweet Homecoming for sure.

FYI...her hair was shaved from a portion of her forehead (both sides) as she had IV's stuck up there!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The clock keeps ticking

Let me first start by saying I want to post new pictures but the ones that we have been taking lately show our little girl with tubes in her nose and 'head gear' (the IV they place into her forehead as she's a hard stick--takes after me)! Upon her discharge Steve and I plan on doing a special announcement with glamour shots of our dear Kaitlyn, as she is quite the heart stealer!

The latest and GREATEST news is that she may come home on Friday instead of Saturday. While I don't want to get my hopes up too high, it looks pretty promising. This morning's visit will reveal the real deal so my patience is once again being challenged! Isn't patience a virtue?

Highlights this week, thus far:
Kaitlyn smiles in her sleep.
She loves using her hands: to clutch onto your finger, to suck on them when she's hungry, to stare at them while they move, to reach out as if saying 'Hi Mommy and Daddy, good morning'!
She tucks her thumb underneath her index finger when making a fist!
One of her toes takes after one of mine-genetics working in mysterious ways!
She moves her head--indicator of great strength!
She makes belches that echo through the whole NICU.
Hiccups are a common occurrence after a satisfying meal (Mommy's liquid gold: breastmilk).
Breastfeeding, we are doing it on and off--it really takes some determination as it's not that easy....yet!

She's a gift from God! Steve's already making comments about having another think Daddy's got the baby bug?

Until we know more the clock keeps ticking!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Update

Well, it's been a long day. And now a long week. Kaitlyn is not able to come home tomorrow. Her CRP has not dropped to the level that was expected and needed thus she was prescribed three more days of antibiotics making her NICU experience a 10 day cruise. We are very hopeful as her progress in all the other areas has been tremendous--and really, we've gone six days already, tomorrow she will be one week old...what's another three?

Life in the NICU

I make it on time as I don't want to miss the opportunity to feed Kaitlyn, first by breast and then by bottle with more breastmilk (she's quite the eater, my 'guzzle baby'). She's on a schedule and occasionally due to her gregarious appetite she throws it off, but nonetheless, I arrive by 8:45am each morning to welcome her into a new day.
Upon approval, I enter the scrubbing room, this is where I must scrub my hands and arms up to the elbow for three full minutes. Some days it feels like an eternity. All I want to do is walk straight in and see my baby girl...breathing, in deep slumber. But, due to policies, and rightfully so, I scrub faithfully thinking about each of her little limbs.
Once scrubbed and suited in a blue hospital 'gown' (glamorous I might add) I am free to walk into the unit and obtain that peace of seeing her.
Some days she is wide eyed, as if she knows I'm coming and she wanted to see me. Other days she is in such a deep slumber when I lift her little fingers they are like feathers-a great sign, really, a sign of pure contentment.
This leads me to the staff at the NICU. The staff help create this contentment for the wee little lives. I have yet to encounter a nurse that makes my heart yelp out with fear. Every nurse has been extremely gracious, genuinely caring and always willing to offer any answers or information that would make any nervous parent (aka, me) at ease. I feel that they are angels watching over not only my Kaitlyn, but the other NICU roomies.
I would imagine some NICU atmospheres are very bland, sterile and cold. Not this one...the walls are painted with a lovely farm scene of all animals and colors and above Kaitlyn's crib is a lovely tree with abundant leaves as if providing her protection and warmth. Very fitting as she will leave that tree and arrive to her own nursery unit at 'Hotel HOME Patterson' with a lovely tree adjacent to her crib to once again provide protection and warmth.
When I arrive at her crib each morning there is a social club going on. The mothers of the other roomies are there holding and cuddling their infants who, much like Kaitlyn, have a unique story as to why they are there. Some are so incredibly tiny, others are wrapped with eye shields and under a tanning bed (not really, that's just what it looks like), and then there are others that look like Kaitlyn when she first arrived--under a special plastic tent with oxygen and IVs and loads of other equipment. The social club has become a familiar gathering and a welcomed way to start the morning. We all say hello to each other and encourage one another with how well our babies are doing, feeding, growing, and even crying. Two of the mothers who maintain a similar schedule to mine, have babies that graduated to crib school simultaneously with Kaitlyn. This means the babies began to wear clothes and can be wheeled into the family room for visitors! Babies are so cute naked and then a different kind of cuteness arrives when they are placed in regular baby clothes! As if clothes make a personality, but in the NICU, the color against their face and the fun little embellishments upon the garment add to the character of the situation and take your mind off the fact that she's still in NICU.
The family room is a wonderful place for respite and for gatherings to show off your baby. We have made our fair share of trips to the family room and I frequent it often after a visit to Kaitlyn to top off my visit with a pumping session to increase my breastmilk supply.
When I leave any of my NICU visits, no matter the news I find out about Kaitlyn's progress or maintenance, I leave with a sense of fulfillment and hope. It's a whole body feeling that takes over. Even when I cry as I leave, the tears are from being fulfilled and hopeful for a new tomorrow.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

She has arrived, please, roll out the carpet!

My angel, my daughter, my love, my sweetpea, my dear...all the names of joy, beauty, glory, peace and love belong to her. Our daughter has been born. She arrived to this lovely world, taking her breaths of life, on Wednesday, May 28, 2008 at 3:05PM. She was a hearty baby, weighing in at 8lbs 1oz and measuring in at 19.75 inches long. Her head was graced with soft dark curls and her lips have grown the reputation of 'people would pay money for lips like those.' We decided to name her:
Kaitlyn Marie Patterson

We are so eager to share her with all the family and friends that surround our life, along with the curious on-lookers for she will certainly have a fan club, she's gorgeous!

Now she faces day 4 of living and has gained some more weight, has a super strong latch when breastfeeding, has frequent bowel movements, can snore and has an uncanny ability to make you laugh when she slumbers--her facial expressions tell all sorts of stories!

Upon her delivery she was admitted to the NICU for administration of antibiotics and monitoring as she aspirated some meconium during the birthing process. While this created a great deal of heartache, mainly due to the separation factor, I was, and now am, overjoyed to know she is healthy, no complications! She will be released from NICU this Wednesday, the 4th of June, a full week from her birthdate!

In the meantime I'm feverishly pumping my breastmilk and heading to the hospital for visits to do anything related to her: take her body temperature, change a diaper or two, hold her, massage her, tell her I love get the idea, with the latest and greatest being given the opportunity to actually breastfeed her (and she's a natural)!

Please enjoy the beautiful photos of her and know more are to come!
Love & Blessings,
Sarah (an actual MOMMY)