Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Allison Update

I know everyone pretty much visits my blog to get their Allison fix and I have been neglecting my responsibility of posting more pictures of her than you care to see. She's changing every day, so I have a lot of new things to share.

These first pictures were taken in early February and I never got around to posting them. Right after she got her first two teeth she changed her smile to what we called "Scrunchy Face" - I think she did this to show off her teeth. She doesn't do it anymore so I'm glad I got a couple of them on camera. About that time she also learned how to feed herself small things like Cheerios. Since then she's been eating dinner with us every night and I feed her whatever we're having in small pieces. She loves bread, chicken, potatoes, veggies, and rice. She'll try anything and usually likes it all. We also have picnics on the floor while I eat breakfast and lunch. She has learned to expect to be part of meals so I try to share with her whenever I can.

Here are some pictures of Allison with her best friend Ellie (our neighbors daughter). We got them matching t-shirts for St. Patrick's Day. They were so cute!

I love this picture of her sleeping. This is pretty much how I find her most of the time, but Frank was the one brave enough to risk the picture. He was going to pay if she woke up!

Another thing we can thank Frank for is her love of door stoppers. In the evening you can hear the sounds of the vibrating springs echoing through the house because he encourages her fascination with them. Here she is with one right outside our kitchen.

This next picture is hard to see, but it's hilarious. One day last week I was laying in bed reading while she napped, and she woke up happy and was content to play in her crib, so I decided I could probably get away with finishing the chapter I was reading. All the sudden I look over at the monitor and see a huge face looking right at me. It had finally happened - she found the camera we put on her crib. I didn't think she could reach it so I went and got my camera to get a picture of her face in the monitor. Right after I get my picture I see a hand coming at the monitor and it's getting bigger and bigger. I ran for her room and as I rounded the corner to her hallway I heard the crash. :) Strange thing is that she has forgotten all about the camera and we haven't had any more incidents.

Allison and Maggie are still buddies. Since Allison has become mobile she is all over poor Maggie, and Maggie just takes it. I've seen Allison pull out large chunks of hair, poke her in the eye, and pull too hard on her ears, but Maggie just licks her.

Finally, Allison is completely mobile minus all out walking. She can crawl almost as fast as I can walk and she likes to follow me from room to room. She also does laps around the kitchen. She pulls up on everything and can stand on her own once shes on her feet. She doesn't try to walk much yet, but I don't think it's too far off. One of her favorite things to pull up on is the dishwasher. I think she likes her slight reflection. Isn't she cute in her brown pants??

That's about all for now, so I'll leave you with the most recent pictures of her - from today! Correct me if I'm wrong but she is totally starting to look like me. :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


In my last post I mentioned the problems I was having with my back, and at the time was excited about it's improvement. Since then, my back flared up again and I was beyond frustrated. Nothing I tried was helping and I was again stuck in bed while my mom cared for Allison. At the urging of our neighbors, who are also our good friends, I made an appointment to have an MRI done to find out what was going on, because it was obviously something beyond what I had been treating it for.

Sure enough, the scans showed severe deterioration of the lowest disc in my spine, causing the bones to rub together and nerve endings in that area to be irritated. The doctor sharing this news with me explained it in very simple matter-of-fact terms as if I had broken my little toe. I stood staring at the black spot on my MRI where a disc used to be and tried my hardest not to cry so I could come up with questions for the doctor to help me move forward. I asked why this happened - what did I do to get this way? What about future pregnancies? What can I do for the pain, because I can't even pick up my daughter? How long till I heal? The doctor didn't have any great or satisfying answers, and my will to stay tear-free was slipping. This happened out of just pure "bad luck", and could be genetic. He usually doesn't expect to see a case like mine unless the person is at least in their 40's. Future pregnancies are certainly an option, "but will be very painful". As for pain, he offered to write me a prescription for pain pills, but I'm allergic to those and have no desire to build up a dependence just to make it through the day. How long will I deal with this? For the rest of my life. Surgery is definitely in my future, but we'll try steroids and physical therapy first.

I left the clinic with the most composure I could manage, but broke down into sobs when I was safe inside my car. I sat there thinking of all the parts of my life this would effect. I understand that this does not compare to something like cancer, but I still felt like a part of my life was being stripped away. I had just spent the better part of 6 weeks in terrible pain, and leaving my mom to care for Allison - which is my job, and I LOVE it. I missed out on her during that time and I felt the separation from her so deeply that I couldn't imagine this going on any longer. I had gone to the clinic looking for a solution to this problem, and instead I got a bleak diagnosis from a young uncaring doctor.

The depression I felt that day was so strong that I cried the whole way home wondering what kind of life I could have when I can't even bend over to put a plate in the dishwasher. Mostly I was sad for the time and experiences I would miss out on with Allison and any future kids we have. I want to be able to run with her on the beach when we go on vacation, swing her around the backyard by her feet, help her climb trees, and still be able to pick her up and hug her when she's five and skinned her knee for the first time after falling off her bike. I don't want to miss out on any of the small things. The older Allison gets the more I go crazy over her. I really think I've found my place in this world as her mom, and I can't imagine it any other way - so to think of losing even part of that breaks my heart.

I don't write all this out in order to search for sympathy, but because I'm amazed at how God placed people in my life that day to encourage me. We had made dinner plans with Marcus and Tricia for that night, but we canceled since I was so upset. They sent me a cookie bouquet the next day, which really surprised me! They were delicious, but more than that they reminded me of what great friends we have. When I called Tricia to thank her she shared a story about a guy she knew who had the same diagnosis, and who has been pain free for 3 years now since going through physical therapy and continuing a daily routine of exercises to treat the problem. I can't tell you how much I needed to hear that!

We were also blessed that day by our neighbors Kyle and Andrea who brought us a wonderful dinner. To top it off, Kyle shared that he had this same problem in his neck, and after taking the steroids and doing physical therapy you would never know he had any problems. This was coming from a guy who was told by four doctors that surgery was the only way for him. Three years later he's doing great and doing all the things he was told he'd never be able to do again.

And, of course there was the support I can always count on from Frank. I tried to get him to admit that he felt like he had married an 80 year old, but he wouldn't confess. :) He's never made me feel guilty about the stress that this has put on us logistically and financially. He's always interested in my well being first and foremost, which means a lot because Frank always means it.

I start physical therapy tomorrow, and I'm taking these success stories with me because I need a constant reminder that this can have a good ending. I have a hard time trusting this process, but knowing that other people have gone through it is exactly what I needed to avoid giving up. The steroids I'm on have worked wonders so far, and have given me the ability to care for Allison all yesterday and today by myself. Thanks for all the prayers that I know some of you have been lifting up. I can't imagine going through this without the support God has sent my way.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

9 Months Old!

Wow, it has been a loooong time since I've blogged! I have a pretty good reason though, I think. Around Super Bowl Sunday my back started bothering me some, and I ended up pulling it out because I was sick and went into a violent coughing fit (of all things!). After that it seemed to heal up, but about 4 days later it was so bad that I couldn't even pick up Allison. My mom was a saint and came to my house every day for a week to watch her for me, since I could do no more than give her a big hug and a kiss. I ended up seeing an orthopedic doctor because the therapist who was working on me suspected I might have a slipped disk! Thank goodness that was not the case, but it has been an extremely long road to recovery. I can take care of Allison now, but I still can't sit in the car for longer than a few minutes without getting shooting pains in my back. Since then I've been trying to regain control of everything that was pushed aside while I was in bed for a week. All that to say, it's been busy around here!

On to more important things... My baby turned 9 months today! It's totally unbelievable to me how quickly she grows! She is still crawling everywhere, and is even brave enough to try her skills on the tile floor! She can pull up on anything that doesn't slide out from under her, and a few days ago she started using props to "walk" from one toy to another. It won't be long!

We went out this morning to take her portraits, and she did so great! The only problem was that she was very distracted by all the things around her so it was challenging to get her to look at me. We took these pictures at a couple of run down gas stations (perks of living in the "country") so she found all kinds of neat things like an old rusty washer that I was barely able to swat out of her hand before it went in her mouth. After that she was picking up fist fulls of dirt that she intended to eat, but mommy saved her from that one as well. I did however let her put the flower in her mouth. Don't judge me. :)

By this time next month I hope to have an actual photography website to post these on because I can't express enough how much I hate what blogger does to my images. So maybe FRANK (*ahem!*) will take care of that for me.

Now for the fun stuff. Here's my baby!