Friday, December 30, 2011

Wow, What a Year!

It has taken me a few days to compile a little review of the past year. When I look back on all that has happened in 2011 I am a little amazed that I am still standing. Whew! What a ride.

We started out the year with the happy news that our little one was on her way!

A blizzard dropped about 20 inches of snow on Columbia, closing down Mizzou for three days.

We get our first glimpse of teeny tiny baby Rowe. She was about the size of a gummy bear.

UK makes it to the final four - Ron wears jorts.

Happy news that our baby was a girl, and devastating news that she had a serious birth defect.

More doctors' appointments and tests lead us to the decision not to have prenatal surgery for Ryleigh's myelomeningecele.

After 18 years of higher education Dr. Rowe, JD finishes his last degree.

We get our first new car ever.

Traveled to Indiana for a baby shower.

Celebrated our second wedding anniversary.
Ron studied his butt off for the bar exam.

Ron's 36th birthday
PS. he's not tanning bed tan in this pic, it's just the lighting and paint color in the restaurant.

Ron takes the Indiana Bar Exam

The final count down. Getting little girl's room all ready for her to come home.

August 26th we welcomed our sweet Ryleigh Katherine into the world. She was immediately transported to Cardinal Glennon Children's hospital for surgery.

We are residents of St Louis.

September 5th Ryleigh has her second surgery.

September 21st we got to put Ryleigh on her back for the first time.

September 28th finally headed home!

Ron starts his new job at the State of Missouri Department of Social Services.
Mommy and Ryleigh spend some quality time at home.

Visit from Gramma Kim, Aunt Christy, Cousins Madi and Avry.

My 35th birthday!

We decide to buy our first house.
Visit from Mimi and Pop.
Mommy has to go back to work and Ryleigh starts daycare.
Little one starts to discover her voice. (and her hands)

Move to our new home.

Visit Santa.


Visit from the Rowes and Ryleigh meets her cousins for the first time.

Well, there you have it. Law degree, new car, new baby, new job, new house. We are big time grown-ups. Cheers to a much calmer and more relaxing 2012!

Wishing all the best to our family and friends in the coming year. Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

iPhone Snipit

I hope everyone had a great Christmas! We definitely did. The Rowes pretty much spent three days relaxing, enjoying each others' company and watching Christmas Vacation (over and over again). I'll post some photos and perhaps a video or two of Christmas soon. Ryleigh wasn't all that cooperative when it came to Christmas videos, and seemed to get quiet every time the camera came out.

But for now a couple gems from the ol' iphone.

I just think little miss looks so pretty in this pic, and MUCH older than four months.

This all went down shortly after our visit with Santa. So happy and smiley, then it goes south oh so quickly. We have noticed that in Ryleigh's world there is a very fine line between laughing and crying.

Seriously, less than 13 seconds. Hmmm, I wonder where she gets that world-class pouty face from?

Man, I love this kid. She had her four-month check up yesterday. Our little chunker is above the 95th percentile in weight. She's 18 pounds, yes she's only four months old. Healthy and happy, she's doing great!

Friday, December 23, 2011

What Blog?

Remember when I used to be a blogger? Well, it turns out I might not be all that good at it. English major married to a philosopher/lawyer means I get a little wordy. So, if I haven't had the time to write a dissertation on everything that has been going on, I haven't been writing at all. So I'm changing gears and my blogging philosophy. Update more often, and keep it brief. If you all want to know more you know my phone number or email address. Just ask me.

I also added a fancy little "follow by email" gadget over there in the corner. I know a couple people have asked if I could email them when I post updates. Now blogger will do it for me. You just have to add your email. I love technology...

So what have we been up to? Eh, not much...

Just buying a house.

Taking Ryleigh to see Santa.

We went to our local Bass Pro Shop to see Santa, because we had heard the lines were shorter and at the mall they don't let you take pics with your own camera...lame. I had never been to Bass Pro, and I was impressed. It's like a redneck wonderland! Freaking awesome! I have never seen so much camo in my life. But really, they have a pretty cool set up for Santa and all sorts of christmasy activities for kiddos. I had to add the official Bass Pro photo, so you all could see the set was complete with dead, stuffed reindeer. I told you it was awesome.
I love the look on Ryleigh's face, as if she's not all that impressed by the fat man.

And we've been getting ready for our new house.

Ryleigh's first ornament:

And another new ornament this year:

So there you have it a brief little update complete with photos. 
I guess it's worth mentioning that I went back to work at MAA the week of Thanksgiving. We were able to get Ryleigh into a daycare that comes highly recommended from a lot of people. So far so good there. It is hard leaving her in the care of others for most of the week. I do love those big smiles when I come to pick her up though. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas!

Friday, September 23, 2011

What a Whirlwind!

Wow! I cannot it has been four weeks since we first met our sweet baby girl. And I have pretty much missed the entire month of September.

Miss Ryleigh Katherine Rowe joined our family at 8 am on Friday, August 26th. Bright and early that morning Ron and I got up and headed to St. Mary's in St Louis for our scheduled c section. Actually, since it was about 5 am when we rolled out of the Holiday Inn it wasn't so "bright" but it was damn early.

Dr. Daddy, scrubbing in for surgery. 
He did a great job making me laugh because I was so nervous. :-)

Me in my sexy pre-surgery get-up.

Everything went pretty much as scheduled and I headed to the OR just before 7:30 for surgery. Ryleigh came out and sneezed right on the mask of one of the doctors. No need to worry if she was breathing :-) She was whisked away to a side room for measurements and vitals and to wrap her up to protect the lesion on her back. She was 7 lbs 9 ozs and 19 inches long. Daddy took a couple pictures and brought them back to me, as I was getting my belly put back together. Soon I was in the recovery room and the transport team brought Ryleigh in so I could see her and hold her for a few minutes before she went to Cardinal Glennon.
Ryleigh Katherine Rowe

 Mommy meeting Ryleigh for the first time.

 Mommy, Daddy and Ryleigh

While I was at one hospital recovering from surgery, Ryleigh was getting ready for her surgery at CG. The afternoon of her birth she underwent surgery to repair the myelomeningocele on her back. Her surgery went well and she was back in her NICU room recovering by early evening. I look at the pictures of my little girl in those first couple days and I do not even recognize the baby I know now. She was pretty swollen from the fluids and meds they gave her during surgery. She kind of looked like a Cabbage Patch Kid. Saturday I was able to get a "hall pass" to come over to the hospital to see my little one for a bit. She still had a breathing tube and was pretty sedated from all the pain medicine. It was hard for mommy to see. Sunday by the time I came over to see her again she was off all oxygen and breathing well on her own. She had even started to eat from a bottle. An accomplishment that surprised many of the medical staff...they thought she would be on a feeding tube for at least a while.

On September 5th, Ryleigh had another neurosurgery to place a shunt to drain any excess fluid and pressure in her brain. Her recovery from this surgery was a lot easier for her. But it came with a pretty bad haircut courtesy of Dr. Elbabaa. They had to shave one side of my baby girls head. All her long hair...gone. :-( He told us that it is a common joke that neurosurgeons give the worst, most expensive haircuts you can get. After just a few days Ryleigh was able to lay on the right side of her head, where the shunt is, with no problems. She incision is healing really well and her hair is starting to grow back little by little. 

Because of the myelo surgery she has had to stay on her belly for these first few weeks to allow her back to heal. Last Friday was the three week mark. The plastic surgeon has said four weeks from the beginning, to allow enough time for her incision to fully heal. In the last couple days we have gotten the green light to go ahead and put little miss on her sides and back for short periods of time. She was so funny when we laid her on her back for the first time. She was a little disoriented at first, but then really seemed to like being able to look around. and she didn't show any signs that her incision was hurting her at all. Yay! Our attending neonatalogist has said that if things keep going well we could be home by early next week!
Our little chubber on her side for the first time. Can you tell she is a good eater?
She's tipping the scale at nearly 10 pounds now.

First time on her back, looking at her daddy.
She has one small incision on her belly from the shunt tubing. It goes down to drain any excess fluid into her abdomen.

For now we spend about 12 hours a day in Ryleigh's room at Cardinal Glennon. We use terms like "neuro" and "plastics." We know what all the beeps are on the monitors around the hall. We have come to love our kooky favorite nurse Joanne, and she has been hooking us up with some free supplies for when we go home. I wear sweatpants out in public more often than I care to admit. We have met a lot of good people at the Ronald McDonald House. We have met other parents in better and worse situations than ours. There are actually two other babies in the NICU right now with the same condition as Ryleigh. One underwent the prenatal surgery that we had considered thru the Fetal Care Institute. The baby ended up coming early and had some of the complications of being premature that we did not have to worry about with Ryleigh being healthy and full term. While their case is different from ours; being able to meet this family and hear their experience really confirmed what Ron and I felt: that we made the right decision to forgo the prenatal surgery. We have no regrets at all about our decision.

Our Ryleigh is such a good baby. For all she's been through already she doesn't cry much, eats well and sleeps well. ...Of course I just jinxed us. Just like any other newborn, she cries when she's hungry or when she needs her pants changed. Being on her belly, she wears her diapers backwards, Kris Kross style. Let me tell you backward diapering is a challenge for rookie parents. We will be experts at it when we get to put them on the normal way! She is so tough and I am so proud to be her mommy. We are looking forward to so many fun times with our little girl.

And just a few more pics of our sweet girl:
Mommy and sweet Ryleigh the first time I got to hold her.

Daddy holding little bug for the first time.

One of mommy's favorite pics.

Another mommy & Ryleigh pic.

Close-up baby face.

Cardinal Glennon NICU, Pacifiers as big as your head.

Everything is going great. We are cruising toward being paroled early next week. We are SO looking forward to getting our little bug home and having her all to ourselves. ...Remind me I said that when I am up feeding her at 4 am. ;-) I was starting to get a little nervous about going home and having to do everything ourselves. But the three of us make a pretty good team and I am so excited. Things have been going really well for us the last week or two. Ron got a job, found out today that he passed the Indiana Bar and we are getting ready to take our Rymonster home to her purple room. Today is a great day! Hopefully it won't be another four weeks before I post an update. 

One last thing to share. A real tear-jerker of a video Ron took the first time I got to hold Ryleigh. You may have seen it on Facebook already. 

Thanks for all the love, support, kind words, thoughts and prayers. It has meant so much to us through out these first few weeks. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Big Reveal

No, it's not our baby girl's name. You have to wait just a couple more days for that. But we do have baby's room almost finished and have some pics to share. Almost as good, right? :-)

Even though we live in a rental and don't know for sure how long we'll stay here, we decided to throw caution to the wind and paint little girls bedroom. It took daddy a few days to get it done, but he did a great job. We still want to get some pictures and things up on the walls. But if she came home tomorrow we would be ready.

Two trips to Target this past weekend we found some great additions to baby's room. Like the pink lamp. We got one on sale on Saturday and decided to get another. Well, wouldn't you know Sunday they weren't on sale anymore. Poo! I still had to have it. I love the pops of pink they add to the room.

 We are going to put toys and books on the shelf, the blankies are just stashed there temporarily.

I made this R to hang with the other frames and pictures once they are ready.

Please pay no attention to the wrinkles.

Another shot of the dresser.

I LOVE it! I have been going in and just sitting or reading. I cannot wait to bring my baby girl home to this beautiful room. Getting everything ready has definitely helped me feel more settled and excited about baby's arrival. I'm still nervous. It's just not overpowering my other feelings at the moment.

Just a couple other things.
 Snuggabunny swing all ready for a little snuggabunny. :-)

This has seriously got to be one of the CUTEST outfits in her wardrobe! With the little matching tights...Presh! I can't wait until it fits her.

Just two more days until she's here!