I've been a bad mommy blogger. I've been meaning to work on this year-in-Hallie retrospective all week, but between childcare (Ami was off for a couple of weeks and Sharon is working) and trying to get some of my own work done (very overdue book review is first item on list), I've not really had time to sort through things.
Anyway, rather than let this project go, I've decided to try, even if the results are less than perfect, to review Hallie's past year. Oddly, this coincides with Hallie's much-delayed (three months late) Early Childhood Intervention annual review, but I'll talk about that in a separate post.
Princess Hallie hit ten pounds this month, which seemed enormous to us, and she was beginning to outgrow the cute little holiday dress that we had bought her on the last weekend she was in the NICU. We were still in the midst of some horrible feeding issues and met with, and then decided never to return to, CHOP's Feeding and Swallowing program.
February brought a visit from the cousins, Aunt Laura, and Grandma Sandy, who were all very impressed with how big Hallie was getting (now weighing around 11.5-12 lbs), Hallie's "I'm home longer than I was in the NICU" party and a visit from three out of her four primary nurses; and a nasty case of the croup that coincided with both Valentine's Day and an ice storm. CHOP's ER was empty and the steroids she got were amazingly fast acting and so Hallie recovered VERY quickly from her first illness. Even more significantly, Hallie got rid of oxygen full time at the end of the month.
March witnessed the onset of swinging weather, and Hallie started going to one of the many playgrounds pretty regularly. This was also the month when she perfected her hat- and sunglass-removing skills, so we stopped being able to keep those on her! Hallie put in a brief cameo appearance at Karina's first birthday party and ended the month with a huge milestone: adoption day.
Hallie sat unassisted for the first time on Easter Sunday and was a champ at getting into the sitting position on her own not long after. She closed out the month in summer dresses and new sandals. You'll notice that she's already trying to take off her shoes. She worked on the hat next.
April also ended with the participation of Team Hallie & Olivia in the March of Dimes annual Walk America (now the March for Babies). We raised nearly 4000 dollars this past year and hope to raise even more in 2008.
May was a harder than average month for Hallie. We ran out of mommy's milk and had a hard time figuring out what she could eat. Her tummy issues and reflux picked up big time and she ended up with a nasty cold in the middle of the month that had her at CHOP's ER a couple of times, briefly hospitalized once, and at the ped's office so many times that we were awarded the Munchausen Moms' Award (just kidding). This began our long search that has led us to the discovery of some of Hallie's underlying conditions. Even though this process has been really difficult and even though it led to the cutting short of our much needed and now indefinitely postponed vacation, all in all this has been important knowledge to have.
Good things that happened this month included: Hallie learning how to clap her hands and crawl (obviously this month was brought to us by the Letter C); hanging out with micropreemie pals Maya (25 weeker) and Sydney and Payton (23 weeker twins) at their first birthday parties; and playing with the cousins until she got sick. Hallie began crawling and pulling to stand this month and cruising was imminent.
Bittersweet events this month included our first annual Mothers' Day visit with Hallie to Pastorius Park, which is the site of Olivia's grove.
We celebrated Hallie and Olivia's birthday in June and had a blowout bash for Hallie at Smith Playground on the Sunday following her birthday. Lots and lots of friends attended and we released balloons in honor of Olivia. We brought Hallie to Pastorius Park again on the 28th of June to commemorate the day we lost Olivia. Fittingly, the evening ended in a sudden and theatrical rain storm.
The rest of the month was devoted to continue figuring out what was going on with Hallie's GI tract and breathing. She was doing great from a lower respiratory standpoint but never quite shook that cold that did her in during the middle of the month of May. She ended up nursing that "cold" for at least fourteen weeks. Turns out that that "cold" was a symptom of her massive reflux and her probable aspiration of thin liquids (of which Pediasure, the food she was on, was one of the chief culprits).
On July 4th, we had an impromptu and very fun meetup with Holland and Eden at Sesame Place and got to meet some of Hallie's (now, more than then) favorite characters. That night, Hallie learned to climb up the stairs for the first time at Aunties' Renee and Kim's house---this is forever and indelibly etched upon the brain of Aunt Laura, who has to play the video we took for Hallie's cousin Adam multiple times a day STILL.
Hallie also spent some time with her favorite real life pals: our neighbors Karina and Ethan; cousins Hannah, Adam, Sarah, and Megan who live down at the Shore; and her friends Maya and Benjamin from the good ole (?) days in the ICN. During her playtime with friends and at home, Hallie perfected her cruising skills, which began to emerge back in June. We continued to have a ton of visits to the doctor and lots of attempts at antibiotics that did not really help Hallie much. In desperation, we began bringing Hallie to St. Joseph's in Paterson for Feeding and Swallowing issues and scheduled Hallie for a series of scopes to be performed inpatient in early August.
The early part of the month was taken up with medical diagnoses: laryngomalacia, left vocal cord paralysis, failed swallow study and aspiration. Fun stuff. At least we knew that the Simply Thick was a good idea (too bad the doctors never thought of it!) and that we were not totally nuts. We briefly got rid of the 14 week illness at the end of the month, but a week later, it was back again.
Hallie spent Labor Day weekend at the Shore, but got sick again, and we were back on the roller coaster ride. Hallie got to be a ring bearer at Aunt Neystice and Aunt Kim's Civil Union and enjoyed this role very much. Sharon lost her job and got to spend more time with Hallie, and I stepped up my research on how to handle Hallie's various issues. We now added a new diagnosis, Delayed Gastric Emptying, to the mix and began our ongoing quest to make Hallie poop.
We celebrated Hallie's adjusted birthday on October 3rd, her homecoming on October 10th, and Hallowe'en throughout the whole second half of the month. Hallie got ear tubes on the 29th and these proved a godsend---she's now cleared two colds without any repercussions. Otherwise, her health concerns and lack of eating advancement continued to mark our lives, and things seemed to be getting worse on the reflux front. We invested in large quantities of pediasure with fiber and nutren, jr. with fiber (that now resides in our basement), huge amounts of various herbal/organic/natural remedies, and nothing helped.
This month will go down in the history as the Month of the Goat (milk). It will also go down in history as the month that Hallie learned how to walk. We ended the month by being thankful for nanny goats and mobility. Thanks, Aunt Laura, for such a lovely Thanksgiving celebration!
Hallie entered the holiday season on two feet, three pounds heavier than she had been at the end of September, and in generally good spirits. This month, Hallie outgrew her first real shoes and started using language more consistently. We had a great time celebrating Chanukah and Christmas with friends and loved ones.
So Happy Holidays everyone! And may this be a wonderful new year, filled with joy and great things for all of you!