Tuesday, November 29, 2011

the best things in life...

"The best things in life, aren't things", a quote that has been my motto for quite some time. I'm not sure of the author, just that it came from a 70s canvas cloth wall hanging, rainbow artwork and all, that used to hang in my parents kitchen. 
On the heels of giving thanks for all that is good, the night after Thanksgiving was one my husband, family, and friends, will never forget. I am thankful that since Tatum is just a year old, there will be no memory to speak, except that which is told to her.
Freshly bathed, I brought sweet Tatum to her daddy at the dinner table with the rest of the family and some friends. As I finished bathing Anna, I hear a high pitched crash. I see Kieran at the edge of the table, I think he has knocked over a wine glass and has gotten in trouble. I whisk him out of the way, to find that he is not the reason for the commotion.
It's our baby. What's happened? Why is my mother-in-law and father-in-law standing at the counter holding her face?
It doesn't register, until I see her tears...and the blood. 
Calm for just a moment, I slide her over to me and hold her face as well. I see the cut, which looks as though she may need some stitches or glue, nothing more.
A closer look and I see her eye.
It's the size of a small bouncy ball.
We are in trouble.
The next several minutes are as though we are in another world. Tatum is crying, I rock her back and forth on the floor. "We need to call 911!", I shout. 
Erik and my father-in-law run to the neighbor who happens to be a doctor. 
My friends ask how they can help, my mother-in-law tells me to follow Erik.
In my sweats and wool socks, I race down the stairs, baby in my arms, heart beating out of my chest.
The neighbor's door swings open. He attempts to examine her but her eye is so swollen, there is nothing he can do except to tell us to get in the car and rush to the hospital.
We run back to the house, Erik has the car in the middle of the street ready to pull away. I hold her in my arms for the 10 minute ride, a first and a last as I am the biggest stickler about car seat safety over any of my friends.
Still not knowing what really happened, I race her into the ER and attempt to explain what happened. Too shocked to make any sense, they ask Erik to speak and ask me to sit down.
There are others in the ER, but it is quite clear that we are the most urgent case.
We are seen and the doctor is very kind, but it is clear after just a few moments, that we must drive an hour and a half away to a Children's ER. 
The baby sleeps the entire way from the adrenaline rush, she is exhausted.
I am exhausted. We've had no sleep and have shed enough tears you would have thought we would have run out.
I am able to sing to Tatum to avoid being sedated for the ordered CAT scan. The whir of the machine and finger to her lips, and the sound of my voice as I sing round after round of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star calms her, and she falls asleep.
They are able to get the scan, but the results are terrible.
The opthamologist looks at her scans for over an hour, while we wait.
He approaches our room and proceeds to let us know that he is unable to perform the task. We arrange for a small winged plane to take us to another hospital. I am terrified, but will do anything at this point for my baby.
Praying to God that my baby will not lose her vision, I ask my late grandmother, Frances, for whom Tatum is middle named, to watch over her. I am thankful to God at the same time, knowing that Tatum is here, she is alive and no matter what lies ahead, the best things in life aren't things.
The UC hospitals are not able to accommodate us, but the local plastic surgeon who is not on call, decides to come in and take a look.
5 minutes and he says he's ready.
5 minutes? Really?
"The reality is, there is no one else and if it were my family member, I'd get in and get that glass out". Well then, that's enough for us.
He examines Tatum and is looking for the cut to Tatum's eye. The injury occurred while being held toward the table and she sandwiched her little body forward, and hit her cheek on the wine glass. 
No one would guess what was to come.
We wait for the anesthesiologist to arrive. He's young and he has twin 3 year olds with a baby on the way.
"I'm here for you. I'm here for her. We're going to take really good care of her". At that moment, he wasn't just a doctor, he was a dad, and he got it. That, and the fact that he was the first to say, "she". Everyone prior to that kept calling Tatum a boy. Insignificant, I know, nevertheless, it drove me crazy.
Erik, my father-in-law and I give her a kiss as she's carried away to surgery.
We each crash on a couch in a waiting area. We are the only ones there, it's the middle of the night and we are physically and emotionally drained. Somehow, Erik and I manage to drift to sleep as we wait. We are awakened by the doctor's approach and he tells us that he has retrieved a lot of glass. The reason for no cut on the outside of the eye? The glass entered the cheek and shattered, and then traveled all the way up around the eye!
Miraculously, the glass did not sever anything or damage the globe, from what they could see.
Another CAT scan shows that not all the glass is removed. He must go back and retrieve what is left. 
More time passes. 20 minutes? 30 minutes? I don't really know. Time was moving quickly, yet seemed to stand still.
The doctor returns with a small cup which holds around 20 pieces of glass, one of which is clearly the rim, all the way down to tiny shards. "Would you like to keep this?
he asks. "It's pretty incredible." That, it is, but we decide to forego his offer as the mental picture is quite enough. 
A third, and final CAT scan shows the all clear. We thank the doctor for his amazing work and for all he has done. The anesthesiologist returns to tell us that the baby is now awake. 
He invites me back alone and lets me know that she has done well, he's changed her diaper and she is now resting. I thank him profusely. How can I ever repay the plastic surgeon or him, for taking care of my baby? Thank you does not seem enough, but it's all that I have.
Tatum pats herself three times, and then me. She's been taught by our loving "Weezie", our daycare provider, to pat herself when we say her name and pat the other person when we say theirs. She takes large gasps of air in and out from the discomfort of the tubes down her throat, yet she nurses and takes comfort in my arms.
The nurses give us a blanket to keep her warm and a stuffed duckie with a cute bandage over its eye.
It's perfect. It's the first animal sound that Tatum has acquired in her repertoire. "Qua-Quack", she says.
We are wheeled out to the car and I put my sweet girl in her car seat. She claps her hands as if to applaud everyone for taking such good care of her. She claps as if to say, "Hooray, we're going home!"
We drive the hour and half back to the house, to try and get some rest before finally heading home that night.
It's Erik's birthday, one he'll never forget.
He is greeted by sweet cards that his mother helped Kieran and Anna to make:

We are home and wake the next morning to treat her eye.
She is agitated by the tape and nothing more.
She sweetly scoots off to play.

She's had a cold and I wipe her nose ever so gently a thousand times over. She prefers that I do not.
I could retouch the images to save others from seeing the "yuck", but then it wouldn't be real. And this, all this, was very, very, real...surreal. 
My mother arrives to help with the kids, though with Tatum's incredible spirit, it's to help me the most.
Little ones are incredibly resilient. 
A balloon and stuffed animal delivery from my office manager and friend from school on behalf of my 
staff certainly makes her day.
Yesterday, we received the seal of approval from the pediatric opthamalogist. 
"You are incredibly lucky", she says. You can remove the patch and I'll see you in a month.
No longer a pirate, as Anna would call her, but now with a rainbow eye, she is expected to make a full recovery. A complete freak accident, one that could happen to anyone and one that I would never wish on anyone. Though I'll certainly never forego a good glass of wine, I'll never look at one the same.
Still, I am reminded especially this Christmas how precious life is and the true gifts that we are given by God.
The gift of sight.
The gift of scent.
The gift of sound.
The gift of taste.
The gift of touch.
This Christmas, and always, may you hold close to your heart,
that the best things in life,
aren't things.
We love you, sweet Tatum.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Thankful for this moment...
when Kieran walked out on to the stage at his Kindergarten performance of Thanksgiving songs.
In the sea of children, he was the only one to see his parent, and beam.
It brought tears to my eyes. This moment will be in my heart forever.
 Thankful...for all of life's blessings.
Thankful...for my husband and my sweet family.
Thankful...for all the moments that God has given and will give.
Truly, truly, 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

we're here

We're here...
we're just enjoying the break as a family that the Thanksgiving holiday has brought us, 
and loving every minute!

Friday, November 11, 2011

1 on 11/11/11

Dearest Tatum Frances,
The hands of time, how they move ever so quickly...

 from the very second that you took your first breath...
to the very minute that I held you in my arms.
You were loved at the minute that we knew that you existed and when you arrived one year ago today,
{photos courtesy of Melissa:Mel@the Larson Lingo}
it was as if you had always been here.
The hands of time, they tick away, whether I like it or not. 
Each month, I have celebrated your milestones and the little person that you have become.
You are quite possibly one of the happiest babies I have ever known and that is saying a great deal as your brother and sister were incredibly happy as well. 
I cannot fathom what life would have been like without you?
You are amazing, you are so special to your daddy, brother and sister and me.
You belong.
Excuse the fact that I took your 11 month old pictures yesterday. Make no mistake that just because you are third in line, does not mean I will cheat you in any way. 
You are uniquely you and that is what makes you so wonderful.
No matter that you have never crawled like most babies do...
you scoot around wherever you want to go and get around just fine.
Asked how big you are, you are quick to respond...
along with clapping, blowing a kiss, touching your head, saying oh-oh, quack quack, and waving bye bye. You go through your list of "tricks" every time!
At eleven months, you were done with baby food and like to use a fork. You let us know when you are finished by signing "all done" and now say it. You bounce like crazy in your jumper (just like your brother), and you laugh like crazy with your sister.
We're pretty sure that you say "Daddy" and "Mama" and we're now working on "Love You".  
God is good. He blesses us in so many ways. 
We are forever grateful for the little girl that we have in you, Tatum Frances.
You will be too little to remember but what a fabulous day to celebrate being
1 on 11/11/11. 
That's pretty lucky if you ask me.

Monday, November 7, 2011

i heart faces {black}

I could have picked this one...
or this one...
for I Heart Faces this week.
She's in the middle of a giant cloth covered tubing that is set to go under our house for drainage. 
Who wouldn't want to squish themselves into a giant donut hole?
Naturally, you'd laugh like this:
which is why I picked this one.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

because she can...

Halloween has come and gone, 
but a new costume given as a gift is the perfect opportunity...
to save the world.
It's the perfect opportunity to run around all day long as 
Captain America's daughter...
because she can.
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