Sunday, December 30, 2012

We Really Are Still Here!

I know you might not believe it since I haven't done a blog post since May 20th, and I also haven't been around to comment on posts, but we really are still here!

Honestly, anymore, the best place to keep up with me and for me to keep up with anyone is via Facebook, and that's sometimes hit or miss.  I've missed pregnancy announcements, adoption announcements, birth announcements, engagements, and more because of being MIA.

So, what has been going on in our world since Cameron had her eye surgery in May that has caused me to be so absent from my social media world?

Well, Cameron has been keeping us busy!  Since I work full time, I only get to be with her a couple of hours on the weekdays and the weekends are spent entertaining her!  She became mobile early on by crawling and actually started walking without assistance by 11 months!  We've had a 1st Birthday and party, we've had a second eye surgery, made it through the holidays, and now are battling our first illness and also a reaction to shots!  We've made it through 9-10 teeth, bumps and bruises, and soaked up smiles and giggles! 

She's been exactly what we have needed for the last 2 1/2 years...our own little piece of heaven, sent to help heal our hearts.  It still hurts my heart that she will never know her big sister and I still think about the "what ifs" and "what might have beens", but the reality of everything is...this is our life.  And with all of the messed up things in this world going on, all I can do is cherish every moment we have with this precious little girl, because the news lately just reminds me even more than what I already know...nothing is guaranteed.

In non-Cameron news, the only other major thing going on here is we are on a major debt paying mission.  Operation-Pay-Crap-Off has been going on full-force since October 15th.  I can honestly say that we haven't used the credit card once since October 14th, and by the end of January, as long as everything goes according to plan, we will have paid off over $10,000 in debt.  We are still far from being debt-free, but we are well on our way! 

I'll leave you with some pictures from the last few months...I hope to do better at both keeping up with blogs and writing on mine!

This was one of Cameron's 6 month pictures taken by Eden Wilson Photography.  Sara is a volunteer for NILMDTS and took Bailey's pictures in the hospital, which is where we first met her.

A comparison shot - This is Cameron in May 2012 at her first eye surgery and again in November 2012 for her second surgery...sitting on the same bench...my, how she has grown!

Another comparison - this is one month prior to Cameron's first surgery and one month after her second surgery.  She still appears to be crossed, but she really isn't!

Mommy/daughter picture on Cameron's first birthday!

Yum....cake!

Thanksgiving Day 2012 - Picture by my sister!

Family picture on Thanksgiving Day!
 
Stocking time on Christmas Day!  She hates the camera flash!

What is this white stuff?!

Family picture in the snow!


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Just Can't Believe It

This post is going to start heavy...but it will end positive! 

There are many things that I can't believe. 

I can't believe that I struggled with infertility for 2 years before even getting pregnant.

I can't believe I had two early miscarriages.

I can't believe that I am the mother to a beautiful baby girl I had to bury.

I can't believe 2 years has passed since we said "hello" and "goodbye" to Bailey.

I can't believe that I had the courage to go through pregnancy again after what we went through.

I can't believe that I am now the mother to a beautiful rainbow baby girl.

I can't believe that Cameron is now 8 months old.

I can't believe that as of yesterday, my 8 month old now crawls!!

I can't believe that as of today, my 8 month old pulls herself up to a standing position!

I can't believe how quickly it all goes!

The last 2 days have been VERY eventful in the Southerland house!  Cameron officially is a crawler!  Not the army crawl or scooting crawl...it's the "take off on all fours and see what kind of mischief I can get into" crawl!  Her favorite item to crawl to?  Desmond's toys!  I swear...I think my dog puts his toys just out of reach from her so she will crawl to get them.  He knows what he is doing!

Then tonight, right before bath time, she crawls over to her exersaucer and pulls herself up to a standing position!  She was so proud!  And I have to admit, I am one proud mommy!  But, that means she is getting so big and before I know it, she's going to be walking and talking and causing all kinds of trouble!

I guess it is officially time to baby proof the house!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Eye Surgery Success!

I don't think that I ever posted that Cameron was going to have eye surgery.  She was a classic case of Infantile Esotropia, which means she was severely cross-eyed!

So, this past Thursday, Cameron had eye surgery on BOTH eyes.  She made a small incision on the inside of both eyes, detached the muscle, and reattached it 7 mm back from where it was.  This will allow her eyes to go to where they are supposed to be.

We checked into the Surgery Center at 6:15 a.m.  We met with the nurses, anesthesiologist, and her Dr. before she went in.  They took her back at 7:00 and we got called to the front desk at 7:30.  They told us she was done.  Her doctor said she did great and once she woke up we could go back to recovery with her.  They called us back at 7:45.  She was NOT a happy camper!  We gave her a bottle, and then shortly after 8:00 they told us we could go home!  So, we did! 

As soon as we got outside, she popped her eyes open and started looking around.  And then she cried!  Seeing bloody tears come out of her eyes was a little on the creepy side, but just seeing her eyes for that first time...there was a HUGE difference!  See for yourself....

Taken on 5/10/2012 - right before her surgery

Taken 5/10/2012 - evening after her surgery

Taken 5/13/2012 - 3 days post surgery and at Target


The worst part of the surgery was the 2 days after...we had to put drops in her eyes, and she did NOT like that!  In fact, we had tricked her on Thursday night and put the drops in while she was eating her last bottle.  Uh, Friday night...that trick didn't work.  She saw the eye drop bottle, launched her food bottle, sat straight up, and screamed bloody murder!  NOT fun!

It is highly likely that she will have to have another surgery later this year due to the severity of the cross, and it is possible she may have to other surgeries in a few years.  We'll cross those bridges when we get there.  But, the change has been amazing! 

For MONTHS we though she had colic (and she may have).  You name it, we probably tried it.  For the past 8 months, we have had the baby who screams every night.  Come 6:00 (used to be before), she would get horribly grumpy and scream.  It was all we could do to get through the last hour before her bedtime. 

Post surgery - she is so happy!  She plays and smiles...she watches EVERYTHING and is so observant!  She laughs at most everything!  We joke and say that it's like we traded in the grumpy version of Cameron and got the version that is happy!  We really do think she was probably having headaches which was what was causing the fussiness.  We'll see how long the happy version of Cameron lasts though!

And to top it off, today she is 8 months old!  Of all her pictures I tried to get this morning and this evening, this one is my favorite.  She looks exceptionally bored with this whole picture business!

Hurry up...okay mom?

Playing with her feet and tongue out...that's my girl!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Bailey's 2nd Birthday

The anxiety leading up to today has been overwhelming.  Has it really been two years?  I just can't believe it.  Adam and I were talking on our way home from my mom's birthday dinner last night and I made the comment that there are many days that I still can't believe that this is our life.  He agreed.

Sleep was a rarity last night, and what little bit I got was not restful...Adam didn't sleep much either.  And at 3:33 a.m. this morning, my eyes popped open...and I came apart.  I typed my Happy Birthday post to Bailey on Facebook and cried as I posted it.  And it was absolutely fitting that it was pouring down rain this morning as I remembered everything that happened on that fateful day.  Every time a text message came in, a facebook comment was posted, a picture or a video was posted, the tears flowed. 

Finally today, Bailey was also moved to her final resting place on this Earth.  She is no longer at the foot of my Grandma's grave.  And even though, I have no doubt that my Grandma would have been honored for her to be there (stone and all), I no longer have to worry about the drama.  We really wanted her and her stone moved before her birthday so we could put out flowers and it all came together.  Her stone was moved on Friday and she was moved this morning.  Because everything is done, we were able to go out to visit and put out her flowers.

We went to Hobby Lobby and picked out the flowers we wanted and Adam got his cat tails to add to the bouquets...those will always be included in her birthday bouquets.  It's his thing...and I love that he has a special thing just for her.

We put them out while Cameron tried to eat dirt and we stood and just held each other while the tears flowed.  It's so hard to believe this is who we are...this is our lives.

2 candles lit for her 2nd Birthday

Cameron and Daddy try to figure out how the wreath goes in the ground.

New flowers for her final Earthly resting place.

My Dear Sweet Bailey,

Baby girl, I can't believe it's been 2 years since you left us.  So much has happened in two years...but we still miss you like crazy.  I remember everything about the day you were born.  I remember holding you in my arms, and being overwhelmed with such incredible love for you and at the same time, being overwhelmed by such incredible sadness because you couldn't stay.

Two years ago, you gave me the most precious gift of my life...you made me a mom.  I know had you not left us, you never could have sent us your sweet sister.  I know you watch out for her every day.  As the butterflies were in the yard this weekend, I wondered if you and your friends came to visit.  I know you have so many friends up there, because I am blessed to be friends with their mommies.

I know you are having the best party up in Heaven today.  I know you are enjoying some cake and ice cream and loving every single bit of it.  The Heavens were crying this morning as mommy cried too. 

You are such an amazing little girl and I am blessed that you are mine.

Sweet girl, please keep your sister safe and watch out for her.  We tell her about you all the time and she will know that you are watching out for her.

Happy 2nd Birthday my precious little girl!  Mommy, Daddy, and Cameron love you so much and so do so many others.  Your short time here on Earth has affected so many others and you are so incredibly loved.

Love,
Mommy

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Storms, Tornadoes, and Better Weather

Everything changes when you become a parent...EVERYTHING.  And it doesn't matter if it's being a parent to a living or deceased child.  It all still changes.  You are no longer just looking out for you...it's so much more than that.

Friday, a tornado touched down less than a mile from where I work.  My entire 4 story building made their way to the basement.  I've lived in Oklahoma 28 years and I can only remember a handful of times of going to a cellar or basement...Two of those times being in the last year...Last year I was pregnant with Cameron and this year we have her here.

As Adam and I watched the weather all throughout Friday evening and the talk of more storms and the talk of deadly tornadoes, we decided to pack up and go to my parent's house...my mamaw lives a block away and she has a storm shelter should we need it.  So at 9:00 at night, we are packing a suitcase for me, a bag for Cameron, and gathering her things to spend 2 nights at my parent's house.  As a parent to a living child now, her safety was my one concern, and I wanted to make sure she would be fine.

As we were packing everything, Adam asked me this question:  "Should our house blow away this weekend and we come home to nothing, what in this house can you not live without?".  There was only one response "Bailey's tub...everything else is replaceable".  Bailey's tub...That encompasses a lot of stuff...Bailey's tub contains her memory box from the hospital that has her outfit and hat that she wore at the hospital.  It also has other things that were hers that I wanted to make sure we knew where they were.  So, it got loaded in the car too.  As a parent to a deceased child, the safety of that box/tub was a major concern.  It has irreplaceable items that were hers...the only things we have that actually belong to her.

Fortunately for us, the storms were rain and strong winds, but no tornadoes in our area.  Other parts were not as fortunate, and my heart goes out to those communities.  We still stayed at my parent's house for Friday night and Saturday night, just to play it safe though.  One of the first things on our agenda is to get a storm shelter.

On Sunday, Cameron turned 7 months old, and it rained for a good hour at my parent's house...so I took it as the perfect time for some pictures!

Someone just woke up...sleepy girl!

Ball...check!  Foot...check!  Clean diaper...well, we're working on it!

 She sticks her tongue out at everything nowadays....

Picture with mommy!  Excuse my wet and unbrushed hair...

I can feed myself!
 

7 month picture with her Hello Kitty Dog

7 month picture by herself.  I couldn't get her to sit still!

Yesterday was beautiful weather though and Cameron was not extremely thrilled to be inside, so as Adam was using the tiller in my flower bed (we're re-doing the whole thing), Cameron and I went outside.  She loved being out on the front porch and she was being so cute that I couldn't help but take more pictures!

Happy girl with her teeth shining through!

 Sitting on the porch and hanging out!

 Tongue is out again!

 Taking a picture with my happy girl!

 She stuck her tongue so I thought I should too!  My phone started slipping before I snapped the picture!

It's so much easier when she's in a good mood and happy!  I love her even when she's a grump though!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Time to Play Catch Up!

I have been such a horrible blogger.  Let's just say that 2012 has been rather stressful.  January started off with me finding out my job was going to be eliminated.  That was just fantastic let me tell you.  I was never in danger of any kind of lay off, but those who were displaced had to find other jobs and that just stressed me out because I enjoy my job (most days).

February brought on the drama of having to make the decision to move Bailey and her headstone.  We quickly got that resolved and figured out what we are going to do.  All paperwork has been approved to have her moved, we just need the weather to cooperate with us a little bit so we can get the headstone moved, and then she will be moved at or around the same time.  Bailey will be next to where my mamaw will be and my papaw has been moved from Missouri as of last week too.  Adam and I bought the lot on the North side of my mamaw and papaw's lot, so one of us will eventually be buried next to Bailey too.

Here are some pictures from February!  Bows in the face, chilling on daddy, her 5 month picture, wearing her "Little Sister" outfit from Allison, Josh, Genevieve, and Drew, ready for a walk with mommy and daddy, and in her Valentine's outfit.




March - I decided to just lay low.  With Cameron turning 6 months, getting teeth (she has both of her bottom teeth now!), having a 6 month photo shoot (got some REALLY cute pictures, but I have no digital copies to post), and everything in between - we just needed to chill.  Cameron had her 6 month appointment - she weighed in at 20 pounds 7.5 ounces (98th percentile) and was 26.5 inches (77th percentile).  She thought playing with the paper on the bed/table was too fun!

Here are some pictures from March! I stood her up in her crib and just hung out like that, bathtime and a climpse of the 2 bottom teeth, playing with her Hello Kitty dog, St. Patrick's Day outfits (one for mommy and one for daddy), how she starts off in her crib...and then how she ends up, and her 6 month picture!

   



April is now here - Bailey's month.  Last year was so different.  I was pregnant with Cameron and I was a nervous wreck in the weeks leading up to April 30th.  I don't know why, but I just felt like on that day, it was possible my world might come crashing down again.  It of course, didn't happen, but it just felt like it could.  This year, I still feel the anxiety and disbelief that it's been 2 years already.  But, our lives are filled with such a joy that Cameron brings (even when she is cranky...which is a daily occurrence here!).  It's such a strange feeling to have a mixture of joy and sadness all at the same time.

April has also brought a promotion and raise for me, so now I can rest a little easier about the job situation.  Bailey will hopefully be moved before her 2nd birthday, because I refuse to put more flowers out until she is moved...I hate to think it, but I'm pretty sure I now know where her flowers at Christmas went. 

We are 3 days away from Cameron being 7 months old.  She is eating Stage 2 foods (we tried some stage 3 tonight and that was an EPIC FAIL!), holds her bottle on her own, rolls both ways now, and continues to amaze us every day!  We go back to her eye doctor on the 27th to have her eyes re-examined.  We see some progress some days, and others it feels like there are none.  I suspect she will have to have surgery to correct her eyes.

Here are some pictures so far from April - these are all from Easter Sunday.  Hanging out with her cousin Desiree, hanging out with daddy, picture with the big egg, trying to reach for the big egg, really working at getting the smaller pink egg, and then trying to eat it..., making funny faces, and then finally over all of it!



Almost 7 months!  Time is just going by way too fast!

Friday, March 30, 2012

23 Months

Twenty-three months.  Seven Hundred days.  One month away from 24.  We are one month shy of Bailey's 2 year birthday.  And honestly, it blows my freaking mind...there is no other way to put it.

We have come a LONG way in 23 months.  We have been through the worst.  We have had horrible days that were ONLY consumed with sadness and tears.  We have had days of hope, and we have had days of pure joy.  We have had days when we didn't know what emotion to have so we had them all! 

We still miss her.  That will NEVER change.  I can say I am a much stronger person because of her.  I have learned so much because of her.  I have met some of the most wonderful people because of her.

We are blessed.  We are healthy, we have jobs, we live comfortably, and we have Cameron.  But, we will always be missing her, so our family will always be incomplete.

I can't believe it's been almost 2 years.  I just can't believe it.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Moving Updates

First of all, I want to say thank you to everyone who commented either through Facebook or on my blog since my last post. You all have helped me in so many ways.

So, where are we now in the process? The people we no longer associate ourselves with have called City Hall and the monument place. We have talked to both and my dad has started the paperwork with the funeral home to have Bailey moved.

We have discussed our options and we have decided after talking to my Mamaw that Bailey will be moved to the cemetery plot that will be next to my Mamaw. We went on Tuesday to City Hall and we also purchased a lot (a lot = 5 plots) on the north side of my Mamaw's lot. So, our Valentine's Day (which I call a Hallmark Holiday) was spent by spending $800 on burial plots.

Bailey's headstone will probably be moved first and will be moved as soon as the ground is dry enough that the monument place can come out and move it. It is going to cost us $250 to have it moved. We definitely want to get it moved as soon as possible as there has been talk of it being "forcibly removed". If it is "forcibily removed" and something happens to it...use your imagination of my reaction.

Then, once everything is filed to have her moved (has to be approved by the State Health Department and then also by the County Health Department) then she will be moved to her FINAL place.

I'm doing better now that the week has progressed. I'm still exhausted though.

On a brighter note...Cameron is 5 months old now! She's growing like a little weed! I can't post any pictures right now because I am posting from my iPad, but I promise to get some up soon!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

I Have To Re-live It

This is going to be a novel...but I have had a HORRIBLE weekend and I have to get this off my chest...

There are two days I don't want to relive...one I would if it meant a different result and the other one wouldn't even have to be if the first day had said different result.  I know you know what two days I am talking about.

Day One - April 30, 2010...23 weeks pregnant and I go into labor...and it's too late to stop it when we get to the hospital.  A beautiful little girl is born with only a 5% chance of survival.  You know how that day ends.  It ends with death, broken hearts, sadness, and emptiness.

Day Two - May 4, 2010...the day of Bailey's funeral.  The day we have to bury our daughter.  The day we have to permanently say goodbye.  I remember it like yesterday.  I remember crumbling into Adam's arms as I got out of my parent's car and saw the tiniest white casket with flowers on it.  My baby, my daughter, my first born...my Bailey is in there.

And I have to relive burying my sweet girl...I have to relive a part of that day.

Some of you, depending how long you have followed my blog, know that Bailey is buried at the foot of my grandma's grave.  This grandma is my mom's mom.  When Bailey died, we had to make decisions no parent should ever have to make.  We decided no cremation, so we knew we would have to bury her.  But, where?  We had no plots...this wasn't something we planned.  So, my dad made phone calls and asked my mom's siblings if it would be okay if we buried Bailey at the foot of my grandma's grave.  Everyone agreed.  This normally isn't allowed by city ordinance, but since my dad has been Fire Chief and a well-known member of the community, they made an exception for us...especially since she was so small.

When we got ready to order Bailey's headstone, the monument place would not let us order the headstone knowing she was buried at the foot of my grandmother's grave until they heard from the city about two things:  First, would we be allowed to place a headstone there?  Second, if the answer was yes, would it have to be a small marker or could it be a regular stone?  The city called back and the answers that came back were:  Yes and they can put whatever they want there.  So, we ordered Bailey's headstone.  It was set at the end of July 2011.

Fast forward to this past Friday.  My aunt gets a letter from the city saying we are in violation because of the headstone...and all hell breaks loose.

My uncle decides to go look on Facebook for any pictures of Bailey's headstone, and he finds one from Christmas 2011.  He proceeds to post this comment:  "what is this? the burial was only to be temparary, what about my mom and dad's space and respect, on top of that it is in violations of all the codes, please call me."

First I was stunned.  Then I was hurt.  Then I was infuriated.  Cue waterworks and a hysterical phone call to my parents.  Temporary?  Respect?  Violation?  WTF?  And to top it off, let's put it out on Facebook where all my friends can see...and especially without me knowing anything thing about it!

Come to find out, my family thought us burying Bailey there was temporary.  They say they didn't know about the headstone and were stunned to find out we put one out there.  (It's been set since July...It's February now...if you haven't known about it for the last 7 months, that tells me NO ONE has been down there except for us).  After talking to an aunt, she tells me they don't mind if she's there, even though they thought it was temporary, but it's the stone they really have a problem with.  I guess she is supposed to be there without anyone knowing about it.  Taboo subject, much?

We NEVER would have buried Bailey there or put a headstone there if we thought it was disrespecting my grandparents.  NEVER!  I was always close to both grandparents and we truly thought they would want her to be there with them.  We never buried her there with the intentions of it being temporary.  The only instance in which we ever talked about moving her was if something ever happened to me or Adam early in life.  If something happened, we talked about the possibility of moving her to be next to the other.  But, we never thought we would have to move her because my family is causing a stink about it.  We understand we put everyone in a VERY tough spot when we asked if we could bury her there.  But, even with the situation as it was, if they didn't want it to happen, someone should have said so...the whole situation already sucked...I don't think it could have gotten much worse.

I talked to the uncle who posted the comment on Friday evening and told him that it was crappy that he put it on Facebook. He should have called me. He proceeded to tell me that the comment was private. When I told him all of my friends could see it, he responded with "Only if they click on the picture". Well, yes, that is true, but it still can be viewed! And that just isn't how it should have been handled! I told him we are having her moved, and I'm done.  His response..."Ok, thanks for calling".  So, I am done.  Done meaning, I am cutting ties.  Don't call me, don't visit me, don't think about me.  I'm DONE.So, now...21 1/2 months later, we are making plans to have Bailey moved.  We have options because Adam's grandpa had bought an extra plot for his second wife, but she was buried elsewhere and that plot was left "for any Southerland to use".  My mamaw (my dad's mom and only surviving grandparent) has offered us one of the extra plots she has.  She bought extras and is in the process of having my papaw moved from Missouri.  My best friend's mom (she's Ma to me, and has been since I was 10) even offered us her spot because she doesn't plan on being buried.  So, we have options, which I am grateful for.  My mom's side has even said my grandparents had bought extra plots and they would like to offer one of those to us.  We are not taking that option because we don't want anything from them.  We don't want anything to be held over our heads.  And whose to say in another 2 years that someone won't come back and say "Well, that was just supposed to be temporary too".

Having a child die is hands down THE worst thing I think a person could go through.  It isn't the natural order of things.  To make the decision to bury or cremate your child is tough.  But, to bury your baby and then later have to have her dug up and moved because of your "family"...I just have no words for that.

Things will never be the same with any of them.  Even if we can get "over" this, the next time I see anybody, I am always going to wonder what the thoughts are.  There will always be the hurt feelings.  There will always be the huge pink elephant in the room and it will be this subject.

If you made it through this, you are wonderful.  But, my question to you as a reader, and please answer honestly: 

What would you have done?  How would you have reacted?  Do you think I overreacted or am acting childish?

Friday, January 27, 2012

What's happened in January?

I have been a very neglectful blogger...We are either not home, too busy, or just flat out exhausted.  What has happened in January?

We kept my niece Desiree over the weekend of the 14th.  Having a 2 1/2 year old running around when you aren't used to it is EXHAUSTING!  She was good though, and it's a good thing, because I was SO sick that Saturday night.  Adam got a full dose of caring for 2 kids at the same time.  He called his mom in as a reinforcement though!  I was miserable...migraine, throwing up...not a good night.  Desiree loves loving on Miss Cameron though!


Cameron is getting so big!  She is 4 months old now!  We are still having horribly fussy evenings.    It is funny though, because she thinks being undressed on the changing table is the most hilarious thing in the world!  That usually works as our instant happy button!  :)

Taken a couple of days late - but Cameron's 4 month picture!

At her 4 month appointment on January 16th, she weighed 17 pounds 10 ounces (96th percentile) and was 25 3/4 inches long (90th percentile).  She got her shots, but took them like a champion, and once she was done with her shots we had a bottle ready and it was instant happy!  Well...probably not happy, but at least she wasn't screaming at the top of her lungs!

Who is that girl looking back at me?

Just a diaper and socks while waiting on Ms. Amy!

We were given the go ahead to start cereal.  She tolerates it, but it isn't her favorite.  We have also given squash and apples a try.  She likes both of those!  Tomorrow, we are going to try some green beans!

One year ago today we found out that Bailey was going to be a big sister.  One year later, we are taking her little sister to a pediatric eye doctor to have her eyes checked out.  Our pediatrician noticed Cameron's eyes are still pretty crossed.  They wanted us to have them checked out because if we can work to correct it now, then that's probably best.  So, today, we went to the eye doctor.  Cameron has a slight astigmatism (not enough to need glasses) and her right eye is definitely crossed.  So, now we have to patch her good eye (her left) for 1-2 hours each day and try to force her right eye to work and hopefully line itself out.  We have an appointment in 3 months and if it isn't corrected, she may have to have eye surgery.

She's our little "pirate"....Arrrrrrrrgh!

We are just plugging right along!  We are staying busy, but so far, all is well!