Sunday, February 27, 2011

Quick and To the Point

One week ago we were eating strawberries. This week we are hanging out at the hospital recovering from a nasty little virus called RSV. BOOOOOOO.

We took Charlotte to the ER on Wednesday night as she was not looking so hot and her sats had dropped into the low 60s. YiKEs! We've been there ever since getting steroids, oxygen, fluids and breathing treatments.

Charlotte is doing much better. Yesterday she was talking up a storm and was even "friendly" with the nurses (i.e. didn't scream every time they walked in the room!)

Hoping to be out tomorrow but it all just depends on how much oxygen she requires. RSV is nasty, but for a heart kiddo it can be a complete nightmare. If I hadn't been in panic mode I would have taken a picture of her on Wednesday night so that you could see what a little blueberry baby truly looks like.

More updates later but I'm just getting ready to head to the hospital to relieve Matt.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sweet Sweet Sunday

Valentine's Day was a week ago, but today is the SWEETEST day!

Today is our second anniversary! Two years ago Matt and I were standing on a beach in Jamaica, surrounded by our family and friends, becoming husband and wife. I love you Mathew. Together we have experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, but together we have remained strong. Thank you for giving me your heart and for taking such good care of mine.

To celebrate such a SWEET day, we ate STRAWBERRIES!

At first Charley wasn't so sure about it.

Then she LOVED it.

Then she was afraid that I was going to take it away. (Please take note of the double chin. We are very proud if that chin. We finally hit 16 pounds!)

Then she found a new game--throw the strawberry on the floor. Yes I see the dog hair. No I didn't give the strawberry back to her. Yes, I will go clean my floor!

Hope that your Sunday was just as SWEET!

Monday, February 14, 2011


Its been awhile since I last posted. I would like to say that its been because I have been so incredibly busy with work, home, etc. but that would just be a bunch of lies. Truth be told, Matt and I are addicted to Sons of Anarchy. He watched the whole first season before I even started in, but now its a part of our nightly routine. Dinner, Charley's bedtime, Sons until bed. We are junkies and as a result, I'm a day late on this post.

First off...Happy Late Valentine's Day! It was just your average day here, that is, if you get 2 dozen roses sent to you at work on an average day! Matt broke the $10 Valentine limit that I had implemented and sent me flowers. He got a card. Maybe his excessiveness and my minimal-ness balanced each other out!?

More important in our household, Valentine's Day also marks Charlotte's 9 month birthday!

Miss Charlotte,

I absolutely cannot believe that it has already been nine months since you were born. It just doesn't seem possible. You have always been my little peanut, but I looked at you tonight, playing contently in your Jumperoo, and was caught off guard by how big you are getting. You are learning new things every day and really starting to figure out the world around you. I love watching you discover your surroundings--you are oh, so curious about everything! At the same time it makes me sad to realize how quickly you are going to grow up. Nine

This past month....

You decided that you were going to drink whole milk like a big girl. It wasn't Mommy's first choice, but I suppose its better than nothing. I can't say I blame you for not wanting your ICKY MSPI formula. It was so stinky!

In addition to milk, you continue to try new foods (and of course you like the more $$ organic stuff most). You are trying crazy things like purple carrots, spinach and mangos! You also had a special treat with your uncle Abe this weekend--AN OREO! Chocolate chip cookies and an Oreo? You must have one awesome mommy!

You have started to give kisses to Mommy and Daddy. Thats easily the best part of my day!

You are perfecting the art of standing. You don't get into that position yourself or balance on your own quite yet (even though you act like you don't want my help). Your little legs have gotten so strong! I'm pretty sure that you will skip the whole crawling thing and go straight to walking.

You attended your first big party! This past weekend we went to the Midwest Heart Connection CHD Awareness Banquet in Omaha. We spent the night with family, heart buddies and many of the doctors and nurses that take such wonderful care of you when you are in the hospital. Our favorite part of the night was seeing your buddy Talia! As you can see in the picture below, you took the night very seriously!

This might not sound like something to really celebrate, but today on your nine month birthday you wore a dress that was size 9 month. Then I put you to bed in size 9 month jammies. You've always been a size behind so I was pretty thrilled! I'm positive that you will be 16 pounds by the end of the week.

There is no denying it little girl, you are growing up right before our eyes.

Mommy and Daddy love you to pieces!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Kate McRae

"Twice as many children die from congenital heart defects each year than from all forms of childhood cancer combined, yet funding for pediatric cancer research is FIVE times higher than funding for CHD." -The Children's Heart Foundation

Wow...that's a hard one to swallow. It should be pretty easy for me to get upset about that statement, right?

Yes, it is CHD awareness week. Yes, there needs to be more publicity. Yes, research is grossly underfunded. Yes, its extremely hard to justify the inequality in that above remark.

But the bottom line is that no child should have to suffer. Not due to an imperfect heart, not from cancer, not from any other health condition.

I want to share a CaringBridge site for a little girl named Kate McRae that I have been following for a while now. At the age of 5 Kate was diagnosed with a very aggressive brain tumor and her family is in desperate need of prayers this week. Last Tuesday Kate (now 7) had an MRI that revealed some new spots and needless to say, they are devastated. I will tell you now, don't go to this site if you don't want to cry. Its a tear jerker, yet at the same time this little girl is so incredibly brave and inspiring.

Just a blurb from todays post....

"We deal with the conversations of cancer as they come up, trying not to make it the only thing we talk about with the kids. Again, we were talking and I tearfully told Kate if there were anyway I could fight this for her, take this on myself, bear her pain myself, I would. I would readily take cancer over seeing her have to battle it. In her deep desire and ability to love, she softly said, "oh no mom. I would never want you to have to fight this. I would much rather fight it myself than watch you." I am astounded at her maturity, and her deep love and compassion for others. It makes me unbelievably proud, and it hurts so unbelievably bad."

Please pray for the McRae family and this incredible little girl.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Picky Like Her Daddy

I've shared a lot of pictures lately, but I just realized that its been a while since I actually wrote a post with much substance. To be honest, pictures have been easy...the rest of life hasn't been following suit, so I think that I've just opted for the no brainer approach! Lets just say that I've been on a blogging mental vacation.

Charlotte was discharged from the hospital on January 12, and I can honestly say that every day up until this past Friday has been a struggle of infinite proportions. We had the NG tube that kept getting pulled out (not to mention a puking baby every time we used it). Once the tube was out we had a battle with every single bottle. When I say battle I mean full out pursed lips and head shaking. When we finally got something in her, she would show us who was boss by letting it all come back up...all over me...all over the carpet...just to make sure we were paying attention. Solids were a feeding dream come true, but that bottle, it got the best of me. It just didn't make sense.

After 3 weeks of our 2 man circus trying to get her to eat and many frustrated tears (from both Charlotte and myself!), I hit my wall. With every bottle I felt my tolerance getting less and less. I knew it wasn't her fault, but I was getting angry that she wouldn't eat! Then 20 minutes later I would feel terrible for being so impatient with her. What a vicious circle.

Thursday I took matters into my own hands. I was going to figure this out if it killed me. Bottom line, Charlotte's milk/soy-free formula sucks. It stinks to high hell and I can't imagine that it tastes any better. Well, she finally figured that out for herself. After experimenting, I learned that she now hates anything with the word formula in it. What does she like? Milk. Straight up WHOLE MILK. (Mind you, this is my baby who has a milk protein intolerance that caused bloody stools.) We fed her milk all weekend long. It made her so constipated that I had no way of knowing if we were going to have issues again--but I prayed and prayed and prayed some more that she had outgrown it.

Today it finally happened. She pooped. I was like Sherlock Holmes with my face closer to a dirty diaper than I ever wish to have it again.

No blood.

This is going to sounds absolutely crazy, but I literally sat on her floor with a poopy diaper in my hand and I cried. I think that I was so terrified and stressed that there was going to be blood and that we were going to have to stop the milk. Then what would we do? We've already established that she will fight anything else. I cried like a stinkin' baby! THANK YOU GOD!

So that's what we've been up to. Feeding, fighting, feeding, fighting, success. Lets just hope it continues! We went to the GI doctor today just so that we are all on the same page. Charlotte is officially 15 pounds, 12 ounces. That puts her right around the 7-8%, but when they plot it relative to her height she's 25-50%. Good girl Charlotte, good girl. She really didn't lose much ground through all of this--surprised and relieved.

2 other things and I'll quit rambling.


#2 Today marks the start of Congenital Heart Defect Awareness week. Most of you probably didn't know that there was such a thing...sadly, it doesn't get much publicity. But let me tell you, heart families around the world are doing our best to change that! Each year ~40,000 babies are born in the United States with a CHD. Thousands of them will not reach their first birthday and thousands more will die before they reach adulthood. Expect lots of CHD facts from me this week! Also, Charlotte and I are heading back to Omaha this weekend for the Midwest Heart Connection CHD Awareness Banquet. We're looking forward to spending the evening with family and lots of heart friends...and to see some of our doctors and nurses OUTSIDE of the hospital.

While this life we are living is hard--full of ups, downs and tears for both sorrow and celebration--its our life and we embrace it. We are fortunate to be a part of such a supportive heart community and blessed to have each other. Keep fighting Charlotte Delene...and always know that Mommy and Daddy are fighting right along side you!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl Sunday

Its a big day in the Ritchie house! The Packers are in the Super Bowl!

Its Charley's very first Super Bowl and she is so excited to watch her boyfriend Aaron Rogers lead the Packers to a victory.