Saturday, December 31, 2011


As the final hours of 2011 come to a close, I am reflecting on the year and how I will remember it.  2011 was filled with some of the most difficult moments of our lives as well as some of the most joyous.  Veronica's birth and the days and weeks that followed were traumatic to say the least.  The experience is still something I think  But I also think about how remarkably well Veronica has done and how things could have turned out so very differently.  We are so grateful for Veronica's health and progress and feel blessed beyond words.

So although 2011 was one of the most difficult years for us, it really turned out to be one of the best.  Instead of focusing on the more challenging and traumatic moments of the year, I would like to share some of my favorite Veronica moments of 2011: 

- The day Veronica was moved to an open crib.  The transition from the isolette to the open crib felt so significant - she no longer seemed to be the smallest, most vulnerable baby in the NICU.   

- Holding Veronica for the first time.  She was nearly 5-weeks-old and just over 2 lbs.  I don't even think I can put into words how amazing this moment was.  I will never forget it.    

- When Josephine met Veronica for the first time and we all got to be together as a family.  This was otherwise a very difficult day for us because we thought Veronica would be coming home that day but we learned early that she wouldn't be.  One of our favorite nurses allowed us to break NICU rules and convinced the doctors to allow us all to visit together in the breastfeeding room.  It was a brief visit but it was fabulous!  

- August 15, 2011 - the day Veronica came home!  For me, this was truly one of the best days of my life.  It is right up there with our wedding day and the births of our other five children. 

I can't wait to see what 2012 has in store for Veronica and the rest of our family! 

Thank you for following Veronica's Journey.  Happy New Year!!

After about 30 tries, this was the best we could get.  It's not easy trying to get 6 kids to smile at the same time!

At the Garden of Lights in Wheaton, Maryland.

Veronica enjoyed the Christmas lights but not enough to stay awake!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

"And the angel said unto them, be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this is the sign unto you: Ye shall find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger.  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."    Luke 2: 10-14

From our home to yours, wishing you all the joys of Christmas!  

Friday, December 23, 2011


See any similarities?

Liesl and Veronica 2011

Liesl and Josephine 2009

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


The past few months of tummy time are starting to pay off:

Go,Veronica, go!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

119 Days

Veronica has been home with us for 119 days which is the same number of days that she spent in the NICU.  So after today, we can officially say that she has spent the majority of her life at home, and not in a hospital.   However strange this may sound, I figured out when this day would fall a month or two ago.  But even then, I didn't realize how significant this day would feel.  I feel like we are starting a new chapter in Veronica's life.  And a small part of me feels as though it's now time to let go of the entire NICU experience - although I'm not sure I am ready to do that.  I wonder if I will ever be.  And I wonder when, or even if, the day will come when I don't at some point think about Veronica's birth or NICU experience.  If that day never comes, is that necessarily a bad thing? 

For now, we will enjoy this day and even celebrate a bit - for the past 119 days have been wonderful.  Watching Veronica grow and reach new milestones has been amazing.  I don't want to brag too much, but isn't she adorable?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

We're Back!

It has been too long since I last posted, but I guess that's a good thing.  There really isn't too much to report as far has Veronica goes.  She continues to amaze us everyday just by her being.  This past Sunday she turned 4-months-old, corrected that is.  I like to focus more on her adjusted age since that's the most accurate way to describe her, at least for now anyway.  So at 4-months, she has great head control, plays with her hands, holds a rattle, smiles like crazy and even giggles at times.  We're still waiting for her to roll over but we have a few more months before that would be anything to be concerned about.  Veronica loves to watch her siblings play and doesn't seem to mind all the chaos and noise.  She continues to be fed only breast milk and we'll continue that until she is 6-months adjusted, unless we see some obvious signs sooner that she is ready for something more.  As far as I'm concerned, there is no rush to starting solids.  At times I feel like I already have enough on my plate trying to feed the other five. 

As far as growth goes, Veronica is currently 24 1/2 inches long and weighs 14 lbs, 6 oz.  The big news is that she has actually made it onto the growth chart for her weight.  The doctors measure her growth in terms of her actual age (7 1/2 months) and she is currently in the 5th percentile for weight and almost on the chart for her height.  I am amazed by her growth and so glad that this has not been an area that we have had to worry about.  She has actually doubled her weight from the day she was discharged which I think is remarkable in four months. 

Today Veronica had a follow up at the developmental Clinic at the Children's National Medical Center (CNMC) in DC.  She was evaluated by a neonatal nurse practitioner who had no concerns regarding her progress which of course was a relief to hear.  She will return to CNMC at 9 and 18 months corrected age as part of a research study.  On Veronica's 2nd day of life, we agreed to allow her to participate a study called Neurodevelopmental Outcomes of Very Low Birth Weights (VLBW) Infants Managed with Early Nasal Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (ENCPAP).  Although I really didn't understand what I was agreeing to at the time, I am glad to have enrolled her in the study. I am hopeful that whatever is learned from this study will at some point be beneficial for other premature babies.

Veronica continues to be visited once a month by an occupational therapist from our county's early intervention program.  Over the course of two visits, she trained me on the techniques of infant massage.  I try to do it every day but admit that it doesn't always happen.  When we do get the chance, Veronica really seems to enjoy it (who wouldn't?) and I love that it forces me to give her some undivided attention.  See the photo below.  Can you tell she is enjoying it?