Wednesday, April 28, 2010

We Marched for Babies!

Thank you so much to all of our wonderfully generous and supportive family, friends, and blog readers!!! Team Holland and Eden was able to raise $6,186.00 for the March of Dimes, making this our best year yet. We couldn't have done it without you!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Celebrating Life

In just 3 short days we will once again participate in March for Babies to help raise money for the March of Dimes. This will be our fifth March, and over the years we have helped to raise over $16,000 in honor of Holland and Eden.

April gets to be a very busy and stressful month for us. John and I both have deadlines at work (tax season and end of school year referrals). Throw in a little pneumonia, Operation Feed Yourself failure, PMS, and a yearly girls trip (for me) scheduled one week from tomorrow, things start to get a little crazy. It happens every year that I start to lose my fund raising mojo. I have to reevaluate and ask myself, "Why am I doing this?"

So, why are we doing this???

First and foremost, we are doing this because we don't want other babies and other families to have to face the trauma, grief, and life-shattering reality of extreme prematurity. The March of Dimes is leading the way in bringing awareness to issues related to prematurity, and in funding research targeted at our personal goal of seeing fewer babies born too soon, and improving the care of babies in the NICU so that the long-term negative effects of prematurity can be minimized.

We also walk out of gratitude, for the role that the March of Dimes has played in making Holland and Eden's survival possible, and in celebration of their lives. There is still not a day that goes by that I am not reminded of their early birth on some level. There is also not a day that goes by that I do not remember how truly lucky I am. There are still many nights when I go into their bedroom to check on them before going to bed. I listen carefully for the sound of their breath and tears will spring to my eyes...because they are peacefully. I don't take that for granted and I am forever grateful.

We walk in memory of the babies who did not survive, and for the parents who grieve their loss. My heart truly aches for those families, and I have shed many, many tears for them.

We walk for all of those reasons. We also walk because it gives us a sense of community and purpose, and a sense of giving back. We walk because we want to instill all of these values into Holland and Eden. We want them to understand the impact that their actions can have on the world. We want them to do their part.

We don't want them to take their lives for granted.

We want them to celebrate their lives!

John and I made our donation today. We donated 100 dollars for each pound that our babies weighed at birth. Won't you help us celebrate Holland and Eden's lives by donating a dollar (or 5...or 10) for every pound your baby(ies) weighed at birth?

Or give up that Venti Latte for just one day and donate $5 to our team in the hopes that someday fewer babies will be born too soon.

Every little bit counts!

Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed so far. We read all of your comments and feel so lucky to have so many people, both in real life and online, who care so much about our family.


PS. Notice the new haircuts??? Aren't they adorable?!?!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Full Disclosure

In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that yesterday we had a major setback in Operation Feed Yourself. We lasted 12 days. Eden lost one pound, Holland a pound and a half. After too many meals of them just sitting and staring forlornly into space, and too many entire plates of food scraped into the trash, I lost my nerve (and maybe my mind).

So, yesterday we fed them all 3 meals and they ate great.

We are going to take a week to regroup and come up with a new plan.

I can't help but feel like a failure.

The PMS is not helping.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

It's a Chili's Kind of Day!

Just a quick reminder that today is another Team Holland and Eden day at Chili's in Canton!

Let them know you are there to support Team Holland and Eden in March for Babies before you place your order and 10% of your total bill will be donated to the March of Dimes!!!

The March is quickly approaching...just a week and a half left to make your donations!

Thanks to everyone who has supported us so far :-)

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Operation Feed Yourself

That's it. I have had enough. I am at the end of my rope with the endless vortex of time spent feeding these kids. Something has to change...starting today.

I won't go into the history of our feeding woes, because it has been pretty well documented here. What I can say, with a trace of pride actually, is that we have made a TON of progress. Holland and Eden really enjoy food, and they are not picky eaters at all. They each have their preferences and eat their favorite foods with gusto. They have slowly but surely gained weight, and while both are still classified as "underweight" based on their BMIs, they are the closest to "normal weight" as they have ever been (and maybe ever will be).

That's where the pride ends and the guilt kicks in. We have clearly stalled in our operations. Yes, they eat, and yes, they enjoy eating. The problem is that we still have to feed them the vast majority of their meals bite-by-painful-bite.

This was acceptable to me for a long time. It was much more enjoyable than the active resistance to eating that we endured in the past. But I gotta admit that it is getting really old. Meals take forever. They are SO passive about eating that it is annoying. They do whatever they can to distract us, talking, playing, singing when they are supposed to be eating. There are many meals where they won't even pick up their fork and/or put One. Single. Bite. of food in their own mouths.

We are finally at a place where I feel like they WILL EAT if they are HUNGRY. This was not always true, and we resorted to feeding them in a (now deemed successful) attempt to avoid feeding tubes. But now, finally, I do trust that they will not starve themselves.

Soooo. Where do we go from here?

I read a book "How to get your Kid to Eat, but Not Too Much" by Ellyn Satter eons ago (before we were anywhere near ready to go there). It's a good book, with a lot of tips that make good sense to me. Her main philosophy is that it is our job as parents to decide what foods we will provide for our child, and our child's job to decide what and how much they will eat. Outside of our job of providing good, healthy, well-balanced meals, we should be entirely hands off about eating. This is pretty much the opposite of what we have going on right now and at this point our methods are not helping...and are maybe even harming Holland and Eden's relationship with food and with their bodies.

To put our new plan into place I (we) will have to do a lot of deep breathing and relaxation training. We are going to have to change A LOT about the approach we have been using up until now. It means more than just no more actually putting the bites in their mouths. It means no more verbal coaching, "take a bite, take a bite, take a bite." It means no more "5 more bites and you can go play." It means no more "if you finish your whole plate of food you can earn a surprise from the prize box!"

It means that we are going to really have to "keep our nerve" and let them do their jobs of deciding what and how much food they need to grow the way they are supposed to grow.

I started working on it at lunch today. I had a talk with them and told them that Mommy and Daddy and Nana and Papa aren't going to feed them their food any more. I told them that they are old enough now that they are ready to feed themselves. I made them a plate of food that I know they like...macaroni and cheese, sliced cucumbers, and pear cups. I sat with them and ate my lunch. I was finished with my meal before they took a single bite. Eventually they ate a couple of bites each, then they started with the games and I could feel my stress level rising. It was very difficult for me not to pick up their forks and start feeding them. I KNOW they would have finished most, if not all, of what I made for them if I fed it to them. Normally I would sit with them until they were done, but instead I HAD to walk away. I told them I had some work to do, and I set the timer for 20 minutes. I told them this was all the food they would have until later, so they should eat as much as they needed so they would not get hungry. And I left them to it. For the first 5 minutes they were quiet and eating. Then they just kinda sat there and goofed off until the timer rang. Each ate about 1/4 of a cup of pears, 4 slices of cucumber, and five good sized bites of mac and cheese. Maybe 100 calories worth of food...maybe.

About 2 hours later they started asking for snacks, and I set them up again with the rest of their mac and cheese. They each ate maybe another 2-3 bites and I ended up tossing the rest of it.

Dinner was pretty much a repeat of the same thing. We had chicken, rice, and green beans. They each ate most of their rice, and a couple bites of green beans and chicken. Again, maybe 100 calories.

If I can stay strong, I know hunger will kick in eventually. It's going to be tough to make it through the week though.

I feel like I need a coach, someone I can call when I am locked in the bathroom during meals to help me keep my nerve up and stay strong. I need someone to tell me...

They will eat when they are hungry.
They will not starve themselves.
They will eat what they need to grow.
They will grow at their own pace.
You are doing the right thing.

They will not die.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Eat at Chili's, Support Team Holland and Eden!

Hello to all of our family and friends!
Just wanted to let everyone know that we are having two "Chili's Nights" for Team Holland and Eden to raise money for the March of Dimes. All you have to do is eat at the Chili's on Ford Road in Canton any time on Tuesday, April 6th or Wednesday, April 14th, and 10% of your total bill will be donated to Team Holland and Eden!!! It's a win-win get to eat some yummy food and we raise some extra money to support a great cause and help save babies. Feel free to go ahead and splurge with that delicious appetizer and an extra margarita! Please remember to let them know you are there to support Team Holland and Eden so we are sure to get your donation. There should be fliers available at the door, or you can send me an email and I'll send you one that you can print and bring with you.
Thank you all for your support! Enjoy your meals!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Good Friday

As you can see, Eden is feeling muuuuch better and we are thoroughly enjoying the warmer weather!

The pneumonia turned out to be bacterial (a very small focal area in one lung), and once she started the antibiotic she was feeling better pretty quickly. We had about 4 really bad days where I was on the fence about taking her to the ER, but by Monday she was ready to go back to school. Now we are just dealing with the yucky side effects of 10 days on antibiotics...only 2 days left!

Thanks for all of your kind thoughts and words!

Happy Easter!

March for Babies is 3 weeks from tomorrow. Go Team Holland and Eden!