Archive for April, 2009

Introducing Isabella and Andrew

April 29, 2009

I was lucky enough to visit with my sister and brother-in-law yesterday, and meet the famous twosome causing such a fuss these last few weeks. These little tykes are adjusting quite well to their strange new world, even though it is a bright blue world for them under the bili lights. Both of them are on moderate breathing support, of course—big sister Isabella is nearly breathing room air, while Andrew is misbehaving in the respiratory department and demanded a chest tube for the air leak in his lung. Typical boy. With a mostly stable start for these two, we are hoping their newborn course remains as uncomplicated as possible. Your prayers and good wishes are so welcome and appreciated, thank you all for the loving care and comfort you all have sent to my sister and her family.

But enough talk.

web1

Kate with the evidence: baby times two!

web0

Bili Beach–also known as the Double Blue Light Special

web2

Andrew, styling in his protective eyewear, chin strap and CPAP snorkel.

web3

Baby toes. Tiny and perfect. And you NICU types will appreciate how beautifully oxygenated they are!

web4

Poor little guy—the pacifier is nearly the size of his whole face.

web5

And the lovely Isabella. One minute older than her brother, and excelling at this newborn thing so far.

web6

It’s so hard to tell scale in these photos, particular since I’m mostly shooting through the isolette and can’t get close. That’s mom’s wedding ring on her toe.

web7

And if this photo doesn’t melt your heart, nothing will.

Andrew was desaturating until he grabbed his mom’s finger. After grabbing on, in just a matter of seconds, he went from 81 to 99 on the monitor.

Can’t wait to see you again, babies! We love you!

Advertisements

Whoops

April 28, 2009

As I’m looking at that last blog post, where I tell you that I hope the next update I give you about the twins in our family will be many weeks from now, I just have to wonder a little about karma.

As of yesterday morning at 6:39 a.m., my sister is no longer home or pregnant. She and her husband, are, however, the proud parents of a girl and boy, born nearly 10 weeks premature. As many of you saw on Facebook, the initial reports are good and stable, so we will hope and pray for continued good news on the baby front as these little ones grow and mature. Thank you for all your kind thoughts and words of congratulations!

* * * *

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, look who we had at our place this weekend!

img_1927_web

We had a summit of some of our favorite friends, some with babies and kids, many of them meeting for the first time. Will reveled in his role as oldest, as you can see.

(Henry was unavailable for his closeup, he picked this day to debut a stomach bug, previously unseen in our home.)

img_1791_web

A girl after my own heart. (Of COURSE we had cupcakes, thank you Sarah and Rush!)

img_1804_web

Mmmm.

img_1773_web

This trio, now 14 months old, made their long-awaited debut in our state with their adventurous and completely laid-back parents. We’re so glad you came!

img_1835_web

And the last time you saw this guy, he was about half the size and sleeping. We’ve been waiting for his visit, too, thanks for coming, River!

img_1871_web

And even though Lil just came from across town, we’re so glad she was here, too.

img_1901_web2

Next time? We just need to add all the friends we missed this time, and at least two more sets of twins when they are ready to join this mayhem!

Still here

April 22, 2009

You all are too much. So many thanks for the phone calls, texts and emails about my sister. I am so sorry to leave you hanging this week, but the good news is I have the following to report:

After a harrowing two weeks, my sister is

A) still pregnant

B) at HOME

C) 30 weeks and 1 day!

The babies are doing beautifully at more than 3 pounds each, and she is being monitored closely for her special pregnancy brew of mild pre-eclampsia, ICP (a pregnancy-induced liver disease) and Epstein-Barr virus, probably a little gift from the kids in her classroom. We never would have thought she would be either A, B or C at this point, (and neither did a team full of doctors), and we are all so grateful those little ones have some more time in Club Utero. Your prayers and good wishes are clearly working, thank you! Hopefully the next update you’ll hear will be about two near term or full term babies born early this summer.

***

In the meantime, on a completely different topic, I also have a family waiting patiently for their preview, so here you go:

This little lovely was all dressed in her Easter best, and lasted about 2.5 seconds before pulling off her shoes and eating them.

bull_preview_web1

This whole endeavor was followed a few minutes later by full-on toe nibbling and then full-body rolling, two of my all-time favorite baby activities. Little Lizzie is particularly good at them.

bull_preview_0409-web3

bull_preview_0409-2web

bull_preview_0409-3web

bull_preview_0409-8web

bull_preview_0409-6web

Her big brother Brandon wasn’t as enamored of the whole photo thing as she was.

bull_preview_0409-7web

He was having a Zen kind of day, swinging and playing in the garden, and wasn’t too interested in us.

bull_preview_0409-9webbw

But we got him. 🙂

Michelle and family, thank you for having me on such a beautiful spring day!

Fisheye fun

April 14, 2009

Our cousin Ben is engaged to a photographer, which makes for great discussions at family gatherings. She just got a fisheye lens, so we had some fun with it this past weekend. I haven’t downloaded my tries with it yet, but I just love these photos, courtesy of Steph Stevens Photo (and the last one courtesy of her fiance, Ben.)

img_5735

img_5741

img_5776

And of course we had bunny cupcakes for Easter, didn’t you?

Still waiting

April 13, 2009

img_1069

She’s still pregnant. Thank goodness.

img_1075

And while the hourly ups and downs, including zingers like “we need to deliver you today” (now heard appx. every 18 hours) and “we are concerned about your liver failing” are nearly impossible for even my sister and her husband to keep track of,  as of right now, those babies are still just where they want to be.

Thank you, H & W readers, for your kind thoughts, words and prayers. It’s working.

img_1135

Got any suggestions for a name for each of these cherubs?  Jumper and Dancer not currently under consideration, though they would evidently be appropriate names.

Food Friday: Magnesium sulfate and sugar water

April 10, 2009

Today’s Food Friday was going to be an Ina Garten cookie recipe, and it’s a good one.

But instead,  I’m with my sister in the hospital while she staves off preterm labor on a cocktail of magnesium sulfate, and gets a drip of sugar water in lieu of food. She can’t eat, because she is waiting to hear if she will be having a c-section at 28 weeks into her twin pregnancy. Twenty-seven weeks into a mostly easy twin pregnancy, she was hospitalized with preterm labor, and now is fighting the dual complications of preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome. The only real cure? Delivering her babies.

These little ones have a due date of  July 1, though,  and while we are most anxious to meet them, we were all hoping to wait just a little longer before we discover if H & W have two girl cousins, two boy cousins or one of each. (And JUST two cousins—last night my sister, her husband and I all stared, perplexed, at the THREE monitors banding her belly until the nurse explained the obvious–one for each baby and one for mom’s contractions. She assured us they had not discovered a third baby—yet, anyway.)

The babies don’t seem to notice their new locale. They are happy, growing and as hale and hearty as delicate 28 weekers can be. We spent time watching the “baby races” on the monitor—fetal heart rates burbling along, sometimes in synch, sometimes one sprinting briefly faster than the other…133… 145…141…138… My sister assured us she was fully aware of the sprints we were seeing on the monitor. We debated the old wives tales about heartbeat. Do you think slower heart beats are boys or girls?

So we wait. They test liver function and blood pressure and weigh those numbers against the fact that these little ones would really prefer another 9-12 weeks of  membership to club utero.  My sister and her husband are no strangers to critical care. This is the same hospital that provided a stem-cell transplant for my brother-in-law just a year ago. They have an easy rhythm with each other, with the infuriating flow and ebb of information, with the idiosyncrasies and personality pecadilloes of the hospital staff and with the knowledge that it is all out of their hands, once again.

Today they’ll assess her status, and determine a plan for today. And meanwhile, those heartbeats still percolate away…132…145…136…Boys or girls? I think those numbers mean HEALTHY.

A new computer and a new baby (but only one is mine)

April 7, 2009

owen_march2009_-2

So my tired but trusty five-year-old iMac, bought just months before the arrival of my now almost five-year-old boy is about to be relegated to general family use, which, if you ask the almost five-year-old would include looking at pictures of toothy sharks and growling panthers online (nationalgeographic.com) or watching race cars, scuba divers, excavators and footage from the Iditarod (youtube.com).

Still a perfectly wonderful computer for documents, Internet use and viewing fierce panthers, it has been lurching and groaning through my image files for months, and now that I shoot almost exclusively in RAW, it whimpers and just about plays dead when it sees me coming with a loaded 4G Compact Flash card. Sometime in the last week it decided that launching Lightroom was a signal to move in SLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW motion, like maybe if I move this slow you’ll stop using me for photos.

I got the hint, and a replacement iMac is on its way, all glorious 24″ inches of it soon to be hand-delivered* on a cloud, covered in a silken cloth and flown to my home by a multitude of silver-winged angels with the Apple logo embossed in their gowns. But in the meantime, I met with this lovely family and took photos of their newest little love, and I can’t make them wait another day for the results.

So old iMac and I had a heart-to-heart. I told the iMac how much he had meant to me over the years, processing and revealing the first images of my own newborn babies, my first digital SLR images and my first professional images. I told the iMac he needed to fire up the processors just this one last time, long enough for me to extract enough images to tide these new parents over until I send them the whole shoot.

And so the iMac complied.

Meet baby Owen, less than two weeks old, and his mom and dad, Jen and Thor, plus their four-legged baby, too. And bid a fond farewell to the old iMac, because you are looking at the last photos ever to be processed on it.

owen_march2009_-3

This was at the beginning of the shoot—and he’d already had enough?

owen_march2009_-52

Owen and dad


owen_march2009_

There’s a reason for all the interest, and it isn’t just Owen. (Owen is good at hiding doggie treats in his blankie.)


owen_march2009_-6

Owen is either singing a sea chanty or expressing his opinion of hanging out in a bucket. These parents were great sports, and came up with this when I asked them to find some meaningful object for our shoot. When Owen is eight and swinging this bucket down the dock to his family’s boat, everyone will love looking back at these photos. Even Owen.


owen_march2009_-7

Utterly calm once back in mom’s arms.


img_0410-1_edit

And there’s more than one star of the show here, just in case anyone forgets.

*Free shipping at http://www.apple.com

And some days they can be so sweet your teeth hurt

April 6, 2009

Just one question.

When, exactly, did they get this big?

hw_april09_01

Will, age 4 3/4

hw_april09_02

hw_april09_03

hw_april09_04

Henry, age 2 3/4

hw_april09_05

hw_april09_06

Some days you just want to pretend they aren’t yours

April 5, 2009

Scene:

Busy YMCA family locker room, packed to the gills with kids and parents post swimming lessons.

Players:

Will and Henry, darling preschool-aged brothers, in the shower (a handicapped-accessible room with a door) rinsing off after their lesson.

Mom, the gorgeous, slim, thirty something mother of Will and Henry, frequently mistaken for their big sister or babysitter. She momentarily leaves them in the shower to go spin-dry their suits.

Twenty or so other mothers, fathers and children, many of whom are waiting to use the exact shower Will and Henry are in.

Scene 1:

Door opens, Will sticks his head out.

Will: “MOOOOOOOOM! Henry just peed on me in the SHOOOOOWER, and it was a LOT!”

Sound of crickets chirping fills the locker room.

Looking around to see who really knows she is connected to that child, Mom trills: “Be there in a minute!” without making eye contact with anyone.

Mom returns, swinging her shiny, silky locks, opens door a crack and offers admonishment: “Henry, we don’t pee in the shower, we pee in the toilet. That is not good manners and you need to apologize to your brother for peeing on him.” She repeats several times for good measure and to be sure all parents in the room have heard her “utter disapproval” (while rolling her eyes a little on the inside, because she is certainly not going to die on this particular hill, and at least they were in the shower when he peed on his brother.)

***

Alternate ending: (Check with focus groups re: approval) Mom waits outside shower with patented “who me?” expression on face until everyone who witnessed Will’s statement is gone.

Fade to black.