Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Four years old!

We are parents to a boy who decided to decorate his own birthday crown (the crowns are a Dutch tradition) at day care by writing his name, with no example, and no encouragement. He wrote his own name, commenting the K was a bit hard to write. But looking at this picture I think this is a pretty darn perfect K for an almost-four-year old.

Our big boy, once 610 grams, will be four years old tomorrow and I can barely wrap my mind around this thought.

This past week has been drenched with memories of four years ago. For whatever reason, four feels different from two and three. Of course one was huge... somehow four feels big too, though. I guess that, here in the Netherlands, four means starting school, and perhaps that is part of the reason? Or is it that Loki is developing rapidly and really changing into this big kid who now fluently speaks two languages and reasons up a storm?

Whatever the explanation, my memory of pregnancy, early birth, and endless hospitals is more vivid than it has been in a very long time. It started almost a week ago on the date of my PPROM (water breaking), and it comes with mixed emotions. I couldn't even say if these feelings are good or bad, pleasant or not. Whatever they are, it feels comforting somehow. Odd, isn't it? What felt like terror and hell at the time, now feels comforting four years later. To think about being hospitalized, high on drugs, thinking about trying my very best NOT to give birth to the baby whom I already loved more than anything before he was born, feels comforting. It is comforting to think about waiting in the recovery room for hours before I could meet my child, however heartbreaking it was way back then. It is frightening yet comforting to think about all the ups and downs throughout the NICU, the years of medical issues, tube feedings, vomiting, sleepless nights, surgeries, scary illnesses, everything. As much as I hated it, I also love these memories. I would change them in a heartbeat to make life easier on Loki and us, yet still these memories are me. They are what I am. How on earth is this possible? How on earth can I cherish the most frightening days of my life?

I think I understand. I look at where we are today and I realize the ridiculous luck we have had. Also, Loki's difficult start is a huge reason why he is who he is. And what is not to love about this funny, witty, smart and handsome boy? The terrifying start is who we are and how we became parents. We survived and we came out stronger.

There is so much I would love to share about all Loki says and all Loki does. But I choose to celebrate his fourth birthday by sharing my gratitude and love for this wonderful human being in our lives.

Loki, you deserve all the love coming your way, and boy am I grateful that you are the person who you are. Le'ts celebrate by eating cake; playing Micky Mouse, Dora, Elton John, a pilot crashing an airplane on water safely; dancing before our invisible audience; writing our own stories; and celebrating your life. Because sweetie pie, you can do all these things just in one day.

Have a  very happy birthday Loki-doki-artichoki!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Photos from Indiana

We visited family and friends in Indiana, where I am from. We all had a great time. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen Loki enjoy himself so much. Here are some photos of him during this visit. Unfortunately, I lost my camera-phone, which had some great pictures, such as Loki splashing in creeks. But I think we found enough from other sources.

Of course, spending time with family was top priority. Papaw Mark (my step-dad) took a lot of time from his busy schedule. Here, he took us out on the first of two boat trips on Lake Monroe:

Loki's #1 play partner was Cousin Chloe (Mark's granddaughter):

Stacked smiles:

Tea party:

With Papaw Mark:

With Cousin A.J. and Uncle Brent:

In the kiddie pool with Cousin Marlee (another granddaughter of Mark):

Loki was even able to get Nana, my mom, playing rough:

Loki shows Papaw Mark how to build a helicopter:

It turns out that Papaw Mark repairs helicopters:

Ready for take off:

Nana threw an early fourth birthday party for Loki, with a carnival theme:

Cousin Ashlyn paints Loki's face:

Huffing and puffing on a beautiful cake made by my step-sister, Loki's Aunt Lindsay:

With Marlee, two cats:

Loki pinned the tail exactly right on the donkey:

Whack the piƱata:

On a boat with Nana:

Loki is sometimes naughty:

At the helm:

With Mama:

Nana took Loki to Build-a-Bear, where kids choose an animal, watch it 'come to life,' groom it (here), name it, and give it accessories:

He names his female musician rabbit Chloe, except when she is a he, and then he is Chlo-dee:

Mirrored at a children's science museum (Wonderlab in Bloomington):

Pinned at the museum:

A kiss for Nancy, Loki's great-great-aunt:

Looking to the future (photo by Ashlyn):

About Loki Sky

Loki Sky is a special little man. He was a very early micropreemie, weighing only 610 grams (1 lb, 5 oz) after 24 weeks, 3 days gestation, born to an American Father and a Dutch Mother in Berkeley, California on October 18, 2008.

On January 11, 2009, while still in the hospital NICU, his one kidney stopped working. It was repaired after three surgeries. After spending time in three hospitals in three cities, Loki came home on February 17. He struggled with eating, and then stopped in July, leading to 8 days in the hospital, a failure-to-thrive diagnosis, and a NG feeding tube. On October 10, a minor surgery installed a G feeding tube. Another procedure replaced it with a new one, and then again with a Mic-Key button in Jan. 2010.

In August 2010, he and his parents moved to the Netherlands.

Read about his first name.
Read & hear about his middle name.
See photos.
See videos.

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Loki's Holiday Gift Drive

Please consider donating to Loki's Holiday Gift Drive for the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center NICU. You can donate by Paypal or credit card here:

Click here for more information, including how to pay by check. For all posts on the Gift Drive, click here.