July 2, 2003 ~ Enter Miss Nichole

Nichole was the fourth baby. I was in the middle of a divorce when she was born, and I was semi-dating a guy who was more of a friend to me than anything. When I went into labor and got to the hospital, I was pretty determined to do the entire thing by myself. (What’s that saying about making plans and God laughing?)

I’m the first to admit that I’m a big baby when it comes to pain. When I was in the delivery room, in labor, I was emotional and terrified so eventually asked David to join me and hold my hand, when he happily did.

One of the nurses, an RN named Whitney, just happened to have gone to high school with me, so I was semi-embarrassed (not quite the reunion you want being in stirrups and pushing life out of your vagina) and semi-grateful because she was one of those sweet natured girls in high school and truly a wonderful nurse. The doctor, on the other hand, was ridiculous. At one point, he came in asking me if I was ready to push. I wasn’t. So he got angry and left. I never saw him again until after Nichole was born. (What a douche-bag!) I was having my fourth child. I think that entitles me to the experience of knowing when I’m ready to push and when I’m not.

When Nichole entered the world, Whitney delivered her with the assistance of two other nurses in the room. Frankly, I was pretty glad the douche-bag doctor hadn’t returned if he was going to have an attitude like that. Do you really want to anger a woman in labor? You’re likely to get kicked in the jaw!

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Nichole was such a sweet little baby girl, but she did need some assistance breathing when she was born. They kept her in her incubator for 24 hours, using the oxygen hood bili-blanket-use(see photo). She was allowed to go home the following day. She came home with a bilirubin blanket (see photo), as she was also somewhat jaundiced. She had birthmarks all over her sweet face, when she was born. One on each eye lid, one above her nose, one above each ear, one on the crown of her head and one on the back of her neck. Poor baby looked like she’d been in a bar fight.

About a week or two after she was born, the doctors found her hydrocephalus, which I’ve previously posted about, feel free to search my posts for that story.

World Wars

Have you ever watched television or movies and wondered how in the hell these families

AR000902have kids that don’t constantly fight? This plagues me constantly. It hurts my heart to hear them talk about how much they hate each other. I’m well aware that siblings everywhere fight, but I can’t figure out at what point in time that all finally ends?

17523436_739932349500584_4913308194758659748_nI have an older brother myself, but we didn’t really grow up together. The few years that we did live together as kids, I do recall the occasional arguments here and there, but he was also five years older than me. He had his friends and his life, and I wasn’t included in any of that. By the time I was 11, we no AR001202longer lived together.

These days, my kids have had their whole lives together. In the last couple of years, Darcie and Cassie have finally gotten to the point where they’re close and loving sisters. It was a long, hard road because they’re 10402378_10152144751115925_129885094075340088_nalso five years apart. Stolen makeup and sibling arguments kept them going for a while but now they’re close and loving and have learned to appreciate each other.

 

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My issue is my son’s relationship with his sisters. And the girls’ relationship with their brother. I don’t know how to solve the issue, especially when none of them are interested in making the effort. My son is almost 19. At what point do they begin to make adult relationships with their siblings?

I feel like pulling my hair out.

I included “happy sibling” photos to remind myself of the few times they were happy together….*sigh*

It’s a Mario Kind of World

On July 2nd, Miss Nichole turned 14 years old. Wow, 14! So….since she’s still deep into her Mario obsession, I decided to take her (and Cassie, Ryan, and my ex-husband, Rob) on a Mario inspired adventure at The Infield in Lexington, Ohio. First, we tackled mini-golf (inspired by Mario Golf, no less). Now we 2515598-mariogolf_wt_1920_042314haven’t taken Nickie mini-golfing since she was around 3 or 19601515_10154544348870925_8313605813444906953_n4 years old. She was far more impressed back then, than she was now. Still cheats though!

After we finished around 15 out of the 18 holes of golf, we waited for a few minutes until Darcie, Jason and Tessa arrived. We headed for the go-karts! Whychar_mario have a Mario inspired birthday without a little Mario Kart? All the kiddos raced first, so I managed to get a lot of pictures. Poor Nickie had never been go-karting (me either, for that matter), so she drove her car slowly, taking the scenic 19601101_10154544428655925_4704771385241263456_nroute apparently. She loved it though.

After the first race, the kids all watched while Rob and I had our turn. I lost, by the way….badly. Then some of the kids took another turn. Nickie wasn’t terribly fond of the loud noises, even after we warned her that it would be noisy. You’ll have that with Asperger’s though. She was okay pretty quickly, tolerating the noise for the sake of the day.

We finished out our adventure with a Mario (pizza) Party! A good time was had by all, and she actually told me when we pulled into the driveway at the end of the day, “I had a really great day! Thank you!” and that is something I don’t think I’ve ever heard from her.

Enjoy the photos!

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The Okays.

As we draw closer to Nichole’s birthday, I keep remembering when she was little. Most children learn their first words and quickly pick up a vast vocabulary. Nichole didn’t. AsIMAG0360 I’ve mentioned before, her development was delayed. So, her first words were later than most children’s. She picked up the usual “mama” word pretty quickly but her favorite word was “okay” and my goodness, did she have 900 different ways to say it. That was her answer for everything!

Are you hungry? okay!

Are you sleepy? okay?

Do you need changed? OKAY!

Nickie, I love you. Do you love me? *giggles* okay….?

IMAG0417She just cracked the rest of us up with her 900 okays. It was almost a godsend when she finally picked up a

19075000_10154476580525925_1782095831_nfew new words. Then, when she really started talking, we missed the okays.

She was such a precious, precocious little girl. And now, we’re merely a week away from her being a 14-year-old, precocious young lady. I love her with every fiber of my being, and I know that no matter what, she’ll always be “okay”….

 

Nichole ~ Birth to 3 Months Old

When Nichole was born, she was a beautiful baby girl with birthmarks all over her face, AR005202above each eye, above her nose, above each ear, at the crown of her head, and the back of her neck. My grandmother referred to them as angel kisses. I think I have a photograph of her at that age, that shows them well. When she was a week old, I took her to my family doctor, who then sent us to a pediatrician, because Nichole was showing signs of being jaundiced. She had to spend some time under the bilirubin blanket. When she was a month old, I took her to the pediatrician for her one-month checkup, and the doctor was particularly concerned that the soft spot on her head was hardening and her head was expanding more than it should, giving her a little light-bulb look. We were sent to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. We met with a neurosurgeon named Edward Kosnik, who immediately took her for an MRI. She was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, and was taken promptly into surgery to 28a493d441f66ff33674557d04806503place a shunt in the back of her head, with a drainage tube that led down into her stomach. Now I don’t know if you’ve ever had to put your 4 week old baby into the hands of strangers who were hell-bent on cutting into her head before, but for a mother this is absolutely terrifying. They left me in this tiny room that had an exam table and a rocking chair. As we waited for the surgical team to come and get Nichole, I sat in the rocking chair and held her tightly, and just cried. I was absolutely terrified. Anything could happen during a surgical procedure. ANYTHING!

After they took her to surgery, I happened to notice that there was a little brass plaque on the rocking chair. Now, I don’t know about all the hospitals around the country, but Nationwide Children’s Hospital has these little plaques everywhere. Some are attached to plastic wagons that parents use to pull their kiddos around the huge building. Some are attached to benches, some are attached to rocking chairs. Each of these plaques are printed with “Donated in Memory of….” and someone’s name that has passed on. The rocking chair that I was sitting in happened to say, “Donated in Memory of Barry Heagren” and Barry just happened to be my uncle. I picked up my cell phone and immediately called my grandmother, whom I lived with at the time. I told her about the chair and the plaque and she just cried right along with me. She told me that was a sign that Barry would be watching over Nichole. I prayed that was true. I needed that to be true.

Thank God everything went well with the suAR005302rgery. Nichole and I spent a week at Children’s before finally getting released to go home.  We had to return once a week for an MRI to watch that the shunt was continuing to work. We did that for a couple of months. When Nichole was about 3 months old, she had to have the shunt replaced, as it had quit working. Afterwards, we continued with the once a week MRIs for about a month before they released us to every other week, and then once a month, and then once every three months, and finally once every 6 months. Now, we’re at once every year, which we have been for years now.

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Family Vacations

Over the years, I haven’t always worked. I was a stay-at-home mother with Nichole for many years. Therefore, vacations were never something we took very often. Usually, vacations consisted of going south to Mississippi to visit my mother. I did manage to get my kids to Niagara Falls once though. Most of our time we spend together is more local, such as the trips to the zoo or going canoeing.

When I took the kids to Niagara Falls, Nichole was four years old, Cassie was seven, Robbie was nine, and Darcie was twelve. They really weren’t impressed at all. I was. The falls were beautiful. But I suppose I understand that a bunch of water isn’t all that interesting to kids. You can really tell looking at their faces how much they truly didn’t care. A decade later, it kind of makes me laugh….

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I’ve managed to get them to Mississippi quite a few times over the years. As I gather more of my pictures later and scan them into my computer, I will add them here. For now, here are pictures from:

2015

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2017

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Down the Creek WITH a Paddle

One of the things I started doing a few years ago for my children’s birthdays is little day trips. This year, Cassie chose for us to go to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Last year, 13260092_10153544884450925_6774664386418963996_nfor Darcie’s birthday, we decided to go canoeing down the Mohican River here in Ohio. I hadn’t been canoeing in 18 years, 13342987_10153536830070925_5498415774584568104_nso I was particularly excited to go. My kids had never gone before so I knew they’d have a blast. She’s wanting to do it again this year, so this Sunday, we’ll be canoeing once again. Pray for me, as I’ve divorced my canoeing partner, so I guess I’ll have to paddle myself this year.

13406917_10153536743115925_7018479267310073463_nLast year, we took along Darcie’s boyfriend, Jason. He’ll be attending again this year. This year, Cassie’s boyfriend, Ryan, will also be attending. Robbie will not be attending, due to recent life changes he’s made. Nichole doesn’t want to attend either, but her beef is merely because of the water. Asperger’s children tend to migrate 13419181_10153536787765925_5278684630110918410_naway from certain textures that make them uncomfortable. Water is a hot button for Nickie, especially since our canoe tipped last year and she and I both went under water (which was a little more than knee high at that time).
Hopefully, this trip will be even more fun than last year.

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