Monday, July 30, 2007

Preemie Parent Request - Updated with my Response

-- I received this e-mail over the weekend and thought I would share it with everyone so that more people had the chance to reply. I will post my reply once I complete it.

Dear Preemie Parent:

Hi. My name is Andrea Ball and I am a reporter with the Austin
American-Statesman in Austin, Texas.

I am writing a large story about the mental health effects of premature
birth on families. This story is funded in large part by the Rosalynn
Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellowship Program.

The main story follows a family with three premature children. We look at
their childrens' hospital stay, their challenges at home, the effects on
the parents' marriage and the financial problems caused by medical costs.
We explore the issues of depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress
disorder. We are also looking at the long-term effects on prematurity on
the child.

As part of this, the newspaper would like an online presence of parents who
have been through all this.

If you are interested, please answer the following questions and email them
to and>

Please make sure you put the words PREEMIE PROJECT in the subject line so we
are sure to see it. Here's what we need:

Your name

Your child's name

Your city and state

Hospital photos and current photos of your child.

If you have videos of your child on YouTube, please send us a link.

Then, please answer these questions (there is no word limit):

What were the circumstances of your premature birth and at what gestation
did the baby arrive?

What was your NICU experience?

What has been your experience since your child came home?

Please discuss any mental health effects you or your child have experienced
as a result of prematurity (depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress
disorder, marital stress, OCD, bipolar disorder)

Please discuss resources you used to get your family through the
stressful/emotional part of this time. (counselors, spiritual leaders, etc)

Thank you so much for your help. Your kindness is greatly appreciated.

Andrea Ball


My response:

Your name: Shannon *****

Your child's name: Darsie and Elise *****

Your city and state: Port Orchard, WA

Hospital photos and current photos of your child.



What were the circumstances of your premature birth and at what gestation did the baby arrive?

With Darsie's birth, I had a routine doctor visit at 27 weeks that showed a high blood pressure. We did the PIH labs and everything came back normal. That following Friday evening was particularly rough. I didn't feel well, I didn't sleep well, and I knew that something was just plain wrong. My whole back ached and things just weren't normal. I took my blood pressure at home and it was so high that I thought the machine was broken. Saturday morning I called into the doctor office and they asked me to go to the local fire station and have them take it to confirm either the reading or that the machine was broken. The fire station confirmed my high reading and off to the hospital we went. At the hospital, the nurses immediately gave me a steroid to mature the baby's lungs and did everything in their power to lower the blood pressure. After the baby started suffering because of the blood pressure, it was decided that she needed to be born and by Sunday at 9pm, she was here weighing in at 1 pound 12 ounces at 28 weeks and 1 day.

With Elise, I was taking every precaution in the book. So, when 33 weeks rolled around and my blood pressure started being weird, I knew that we were going down the preeclampsia road again. I went to the doctor on Tuesday and of course everything was normal. By Thursday evening I was experiencing high readings and off to the hospital we went again. I was monitored and given meds to lower but again, nothing was working. Steroids were given for the baby's lungs. On Sunday at 7am my doctor decided that Elise needed to be born. I was put completely under and she was here by 9am weighing in at 3 pounds 7 ounces at 33 weeks and 5 days.

What was your NICU experience?

Darsie was in the NICU for two and half months. She was on the vent for only 24 hours but on oxygen (either CPAP or cannula) for a month and a half or so. She had a grade IV IVH which has resulted in hemiplegia cp on the right side of her body. We had a pretty decent experience, visiting every day and really involving ourselves in her care. We had numerous "scares" but they all resulted in nothing really major (except for the bleed of course).

Elise was only (as if there is an "only" involving the NICU) for two and half weeks. She was mainly needing to be taught to eat.

What has been your experience since your child came home?

Darsie was diagnosed with hemiplegia cp on her right side due to the IVH on the left side of her brain. Since she was one, we have been involved with early intervention and receiving PT, OT, speech therapy, and hydrotherapy. She turns 3 in September and transitions to the school district, so that should be "intersting". She wears a DAFO on her foot and a brace on her hand.

Elise is only 12 weeks old but has developed plagiocephaly. At this point she has not been casted for a helmet.

Please discuss any mental health effects you or your child have experienced as a result of prematurity (depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, marital stress, OCD, bipolar disorder)

We have been pretty lucky in the mental health department. I think with Darsie we were just so focused on moving forward that we didn't have time to stress out. There was some relationship stress and more arguments that normal, but everything worked out. I think with Elise, because we had a 2.5 year old at home and it was almost impossible for Jeff and I to visit Elise at the same time that there was more stress than with Darsie. Jeff was working from 8am-7pm and then visiting her and not getting home until 10 or 11. I was recovering from a c-section, watching Darsie during the day, and fitting in a 2-3 hours visit with Elise. We were very stressed from that and when she came home, we had some difficulties adjusting to having two children and everything that resulted. After she was home for a couple of weeks, I switched from pumping full time to breastfeeding and I would say our most difficult adjustment period was during that time.

Please discuss resources you used to get your family through the stressful/emotional part of this time. (counselors, spiritual leaders, etc)

Baby and the Bumbo

One of "THOSE" Days

I'm starting to wonder what the quality of my day will be like.

It started out with the baby waking before the alarm clock went off wanting to be fed and hasn't gone to sleep again.

Jeff misplaced his wallet. Or rather (in his defense), he put the pants with the wallet in them in the clothes hamper and the wallet fell out which resulted in CODE YELLOW search for the wallet this morning. Luckily we found it in time before the late ferry left and before we started canceling credit cards.

And the latest involves the aforementioned baby. Some very wet sounds emanated from her nether regions and instead of thinking "oh, yes, the long awaited poop has finally arrived", I stupidly stuck my finger in her diaper and of course, was covered in poop. Did you know that baby poop can get under your wedding ring and despite washing your hands with soap and water, still track baby poop everywhere? It is like a miracle substance with absolutely no purpose except grossness (my husband thinks that there might be a commercial application for slug an industrial grade lubricant or something).

On a happier and somewhat more clean point...Elise is three months old as of yesterday! How in the WORLD did that happen?

Pictures soon. I put her in the Bumbo seat yesterday and she LOVED it! Darsie then also had to sit in the seat and consequently got stuck and scooted all over the living room trying to find some traction to unstick herself. Total comedic moment.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Spooning and Spoons

Darsie and I have two entirely different ideas about what "spooning on the couch" means.

Mine is more along these lines:

while hers is more along these:
(image from wikipedia)

Imagine my surprise when she presented me with a spoon after I asked her if she wanted to spoon with me on the couch.


I will often times go back and reread posts and just think bleh. I wish that blogging was more train of thought from my head rather than train of thought through my fingers because it gets seriously messed up somewhere between my brain and my keyboard. *I* think I'm much more eloquent than my blog writing portrays but who really knows. I think part of it has to be that even when I have the time to sit down and write something out I either have a child needing me or a list of things in my head that need to be done.

At least my girls are cute.

And my husband is a hunk who knows how to fix brakes.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

I make milk...

I make milk.

I received a $7.00 check from Enfamil good until September 30th. I obviously don't need it (especially since they also sent me two of the small cans of formula). So, anybody want it? I could sell it on ebay, I guess, but I don't really see the need, plus I'm too busy at the moment to sit down and list it.

Just send me an email: lilliputianmama at gmail dot com

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Remodel 101

Jeff and I (mainly Jeff because I was either pregnant, in the hospital, or recovering during much of this) just finished remodeling a house that we had previously rented out for a couple of years. Below is a photo comparison of before and afters. I think he did a great job (though I will admit the exterior colors are what we did our own house in, so we kind of cheated there...but they look great together!). It is listed and up on the MLS for everyone viewing pleasure (or buying pleasure). Anyways, here goes:

A lovely "yellow" color before...
to Nantucket Gray (kind of a gray green) with Ultra White trim and a Red Rock front door (all Benjamin Moore colors, although you can have other companies mix them for you). The ivy is trimmed back and part of the deck rebuilt. We did some additional landscaping (you can't see it in this photo and cleaned up/repaired the roof).
Lovely panelling....

Painted white and the carpets pulled up and the wood beneath it refinished.
The house had new cabinets when we bought it but a hideous green formica countertop..

To new vinyl flooring, new tile countertop, and brand new appliances.
A very funky bathroom...
A new tub, toilet, bath, tile surround, floor, etc. etc.
A dinghy bonus room (converted garage)

New carpet and vinyl.

A trashed back yard..much cleaned up.
Back door.

Cleaned up and new hardware/light.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Nothing wildly important to say. I just hate having a "mean" post be prominent. So, to smooth ruffled feathers and spread some love - photos!

Darsie helped Jeff redo the brakes on the Rover. They had fun...kind of.A pretty girl in pink.
Jeff in front of the house we remodeled. It went on the market today. I'm formulating a post about it to be featured soon.

Monday, July 16, 2007

My Link "Policy"

I link to lots of blogs (see Other Cool Kids and Other Blogs I Read). While I LOVE links to my blog, I don't check to see if each of these blogs link back to me nor do I care if they do. I link to sites that I enjoy visiting and that I find interesting. But there are FOUR things about linking that I absolutely cannot stand:

1. Blogs without a list of links that ask me to link to their blog (especially when they have a GAZILLION Google Ads). I don't mind ads (heck, I have them, too!) but don't expect my visitors to go to a dead end stop at your site. I know all about web logistics, Jeff runs e-commerce sites for a living. My lingo may be off, but I understand how it works. If I share my web traffic with you, I expect you to share it others, too.

2. People who put the URL to their blog in other people's comment section to drive traffic to their site (I guess this only applies to Blogger users). If I (or other people) think you sound interesting, they'll click on your name to go visit your blog. Don't use MY comments to direct traffic to your site. I delete these comments.

3. Asking for donations.

4. Doing all of the above.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

3-Year EI Transition

We are in the middle of "testing season" around here as Darsie rapidly approaches both her 3rd birthday and the start of the school year. She is going to be transitioning out of the Birth-to-Three program and into the school district's preschool for delayed toddlers, at least that is what we THOUGHT! Well, I should say, there is still a possibility that she will be going in that direction.

On Thursday I took Darsie to have the cognitive section of the testing done with her current EI preschool teacher and you know what....Darsie is a NORMAL 3-year old girl cognitively! WOOOO HOOOOO! I know that she is smart and all that good stuff, but I think this is the first time I have EVER heard NORMAL and DARSIE in the same sentence.

Up next week: Speech assessment and motor assessment

So anyways, when we finished the cognitive assessment, her teacher mentioned that because Darsie scored normally on the cognitive aspect, that she may not qualify for the school district preschool. This is all fine and dandy, but it leaves me in a preschool conundrum. I've just been planning and knowing that she would be going to this preschool that the possibility of her not going is mind boggling. I guess this means that we really will have to start potty training so she can go to a regular preschool? I guess this means I need to call some preschools? YIKES!

On to other Darsie non-related items. Jeff and I are going to be putting a house on the market. So, if you or anyone you know is looking for 2 bedroom/1 bath house in Bremerton, WA in a great neighborhood, let me know! It has been completely remodeled inside and out. Once I get it listed (did you know I am a Realtor on the side? My company is Reid Real Estate in Port Orchard) I will put a link up to the listing.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Only Stupid People...

bake muffins on one of the hottest days of summer.

But, they are GOOOOODDDDD!!! I found blackberries cheap at the market but I'm 100% positive you could switch fruits or even sub chocolate! Oh yum.

Find the recipe here. I would take photos, but her are much prettier than mine. Darsie helped.

Friday, July 06, 2007

July 3rd Fun in the Sun

Early every 4th of July there is an unofficial boat race around Vashon Island. A couple of years ago, Jeff raced his jet boat around it (yes, in the Sound, but early morning it is flat). However, soon afterwards, the motor was blown due to an unattached water cooling tube (do you like my terminology?) and ever since, he has been sidelined due to not having the time to fix it. Anyways, what I'm getting to, is we went over on the 3rd to spend the night at Jeff's dad and step-mom's so he could be up at 4:30am to go and watch the race. We had originally planned to take our Bayliner down to Vashon but alas, it has a HUGE exhaust leak and parts have been ordered so we can make our San Juan vacation this summer.

We had a great dinner and then Jeff thought it would be fun to take Darsie down to Dockton park and play on the playground and we could visit the docks.

(On a side note, I just saw a deer and her fawn leaping through our front yard).

Monday, July 02, 2007

The Great Cookie Challenege

Here are the cookie entries for The Great Cookie Challenge! I'm glad to find I'm not the only one uses Crisco, too!


Added another entry on July 5th!

This Window - cookie entry

Cerebral Palsy Baby - cookie entry

Kathy - cookie entry

No Whey Mama - cookie entry

Swistle - cookie entry

- cookie entry