A Letter to Myles: 10 Days Old and in the ER

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Dear Myles,

On Wednesday, October 24 at about 8pm I arrived at the ER with you.  You had a fever of 101.5 which calls for a mandatory ER visit when babies are under six weeks of age.  So of we went.  I got us checked in, sat down and started crying; the tears were two parts worry, one part sleep deprivation. Another lady in the waiting room asked me your age just as the water works started and I replied, unashamed of my tears, “10 days.”

“Oh honey, he’s going to be in great hands. He’ll be just fine. They are really good at their jobs.”

We get called in before anyone else in the waiting area.  Again, with newborns, they don’t mess around with fevers.  I’m told you will get the full work up: blood drawn, urine taken, and a spinal tap.  I cringe at the thought of all of it, especially a spinal tap, but straighten my back and prepare for the worst of it.

I sat there with you massaging your legs as they pinned your little arm down to get an IV in.  First poke was in the right hand and took but then they lost it.  Second poke in the right inner elbow but was no good. Third poke was to the left hand and took and they secured it.  I hated the way your little arms turned purple so fast with the armband they use to draw blood.  I hated having to listen to you cry and not be able to hold you and nurse you.  I was so disturbed I nearly passed out actually.  I felt my head start spinning so I grabbed for my water bottle and chugged. I must have been pale and desperate-looking because the nurse wisely offered me some juice to pick me back up from my adrenaline plummet.

Next up was the urine sample.  This one done by catheter and was terrible to watch.  I nursed you while she put it in.  You cringed and the look on your face was so disturbed, sad, and mortified all at the same time.  That was worse to watch, but at least I got to hold you and comfort you more.

All I could think after both those two procedures were done and I looked down at your sweet face, was how much I wished I could have taken the whole burden from you:  the IV, the catheter, the spinal tap, all of it.  I realized in a new way in that moment how much Jesus’ heart must heart for me when I’m in pain and suffering and how much more he wants to step in and take the pain away but can’t.

Then the doctor came back in and talked me through the spinal tap.  Myles, I was so scared.  Sure, it’s a procedure with very little risk and is super straight forward, but it’s your spinal cord we’re talking about here.  When the doctor left the room I dissolved into tears again.  The nurse tipped the doctor off about my state and he came back in to reassure me, “I know this is scary.  He’s in very good hands and we will take such good care of him.”  Then he dismissed me from the room to wait in the waiting room. Thankfully the procedure was fast, uncomplicated, and apparently you slept through all of it.

Five and a half hours after our arrival in the ER we were finally walked up to our room.  At 2:30am the nurses finally let us snuggle up for sleep.  We are here for three nights, provided all the labs stay clear, so we’ve got one more to go.  I’m exhausted because, though you can sleep through all the comings and goings of the nurses and other staff, I’m roused for each visitor.  Between your sleep cycle, the routine check in for vitals, the antibiotic regimen, and the necessity to eat and use the restroom, apparently leaves very little time to try and get some rest for myself.

Despite being scared for your life, the lack of sleep, and missing the girls fiercely, I am thankful for being forced to rest these past couple days and heal the rest of the way myself and that it’s showed me just how much I truly love my life at home taking care of our family.  I knew I had the dream, a job I loved that I can do largely from home so I can raise and care for you kids myself, but now I feel this experience will color even the hardest of days with grumpy kids just a little bit lighter.  I so can’t wait to get back home and on my feet to play with you guys at the park, to care for you, to dance with you, and to snuggle all of you in my favorite bear hugs.  I even can’t wait to get back to my daily cleaning, tidying, and cooking responsibilities I want to be home so bad!

I love you so Myles and am so sorry you had to go through all of this.

Love,

Mommy

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Maisy’s First Day of P4J

Well, my website’s administration is not functioning but I still want to post my regular photo blog post so to the “blog” I go!  Anyone else have the most frustrating time ever with WordPress.org hosting though?  Can’t get customer service and it breaks often… time for a new service I guess!  Anyways…

Maisy’s first day of 4 year old Kindergarten was Tuesday!  I love that she has this chance to attend school at St. Pauls Lutheran where they start the day with Bible time and yet since they are a P4J school we don’t have to pay for it!  Best of both worlds in my opinion.

This girl thrives off of being around people and loves friends so I’m just so excited she gets to spend every morning with kids and learning.  Can’t believe how big she’s getting though!  I just love her so much.

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This site is all about my journeys as a professional photographer in Madison. But first and foremost I am Kaia. Kaia means “Earth” in Norwegian and I live up to that by tree hugging, dog loving, and nature walking.  My first word was “happy,” I still love to jump in puddles, I strive to live simply and self-sustainably, and my favorite color is yellow.  I’m married to a stunningly handsome, ridiculously talented, and intensely loving musician husband. We have two spunky and sweet baby girls (see more of Maisy HERE or Penny HERE), one furry friend (see more of her HERE), and we all live happily ever after in a house on a hill in the land of southern Wisconsin.

I am a photographer bent on capturing the uniqueness in life.  I strive to serve my clients lovingly, creating a series of memories they can cherish forever, and making them my forever friends.  I shoot honest photography – real people, real colors, and real life.

My primary photographic endeavors are weddings, senior portraits, boudoir, newborns, birth, and family photography (especially in the fall).  I offer many gorgeous products ranging from prints, to albums, to wall art products and more, but I particularly love creating my custom designed Coffee Table Albums with my clients.  My work is also featured in Madison Magazine, in publications at the Madison Children’s Museum, Main Street Hub, Tough Mudder Rockford and in every issue of BRAVA Magazine;  I’ve had the privilege of being on the cover several times now!

Do I sound like so much fun and you are so in love with my work?  Next, step/mouse over to my “Contact” tab and let’s get started on some great pictures!

I do the majority of my photography as a Janesville senior portraits photographer, Madison wedding photographer, Janesville wedding photographer, Madison boudoir photographer, and Janesville family photographer and any place that my camera will take me.  I am available for travel worldwide as your destination wedding photographer!

A Letter to Maisy: Finding the Balance

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This is possibly my favorite outing with you girls yet, our trip to the Rock County 4H fair!  We had so much fun!  Featured in this mix is evidence of my favorite cow, your favorite goat, a creepy turkey that scared the bejeepers out of you, this awesome corn pit, a duck and pig race, us munching on cheese curds and fresh lemonade while watching the race, a picture of you being team cheerleader (you won the right by cheering so loud they picked you!), and pictures of you being so brave way up high on the ride you chose to go on.  I’ll cherish memories like this with you forever!

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Dear Maisy,

Growing up, I remember mostly entertaining myself all day long outside creating “soups” in various vessels, climbing my favorite tree, and otherwise exploring the great outdoors.  I remember times playing Beanie Babies with my brother or the occasional play date with a friend.  I remember enjoying that time by myself but also loving going to a friend’s house.  I don’t remember being entertained by adults, parents or our day care providers.

I think part of the difference is that I’m naturally more inclined to want alone time, much more of an introvert and you simply are wired to crave people time every minute of your life, waking and sleeping.  I love that about you! I love that you love people so much.  But that doesn’t mean that I don’t find it clashing with my need for alone time and to otherwise not have to be hands on with you.

Now-a-days I’m face with the daily struggle, since all of our day care kids but one no longer needed my care, to find the balance between spending time with you and spending time getting my work done while you play by yourself.

I know that it’s unrealistic for you to expect me to entertain you all day and that it’s actually not healthy for me to dictate your activities all day every day. It’s during free play that creativity is born and nurtured.  I firmly believe it’s so valuable for you to play by yourself, but I always feel guilty.

What I don’t know is if the childhood I’m offering you makes you feel equal parts wholly loved and cherished but also capable and creative. What I do know is that free play breeds creativity, that I love spending time with you and that I need to get photography work and chores done during the day.

As for time spent with you, I love it and I love that it’s so obvious that you love it.  I love when you cook with me.  I love coming up with something to bake, just the two of us.  I love having you join me in the garden or helping me with laundry.  It’s so amazing and special that you truly love spending that time doing even the most mundane of chores alongside me, being such a sweet helper.  I love setting up a tea party for you or helping you with a craft, and largely because you love these things so much.  Out of all the things we do together my two very favorites are play a game, card or board game, and to read books and snuggle at bedtime.

In this season with you and your sister being so dependent and mommy-oriented I often finding myself wishing there was a script to follow in our every day that somehow met all your needs and wants that will shape you into the best version of yourselves but would also allow my needs to be met for me to be at my best.  So far, the best I have is to take mornings for work and chores, by and large unless we have library or some other plans, and then to spend my afternoons doing something special with you and Penny.  Granted my mornings are still severely interrupted and often times you two are on my lap or next to me coloring or otherwise participating in “work” of your own at my desk, but it works most of the time.  Maybe this strategy is good enough and means I have figured it out, that I do have a good, healthy normal, but why do I still feel guilty every time I’m working?  Why do I feel guilty turning you down for play any time even if the thing I’m working on is for you?

I pray you feel loved and cherished but also challenged and like every day you grow into an even better little person.

I love you always and forever,

Mommy

A Letter to My Girls: I Love That I Get to Love You

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Dearest girls,

I love that I get to love you exactly the way I want to.  It’s truly one of my favorite parts of parenting!  I can squeeze you, kiss you all the time, hold you whenever I want, snuggle you, tickle you, toss you, rub your back and legs and head and belly, speak love over you, encourage you when you’re feeling blue, snuggle up and read books with you, bake with you, build Lego castles with you, play games with you, sit with you while I work, and I can give you the presents I know you’ll adore.

I love that you never turn away a hug.  I love that you always let me hold you and love you in this way and don’t push me away.

I love that I can kiss you all over your face a few dozen times all in a row and you take it all in with an eye to eye smile on your face and a glow in your eyes.  I love that I can kiss your neck, your belly and your toes whenever I want.  I love that you hunt me down every time you get a certain calibre of owie just for my healing kisses.

I love that I can steal you off the ground and hold you whenever I want, even if it’s only for a moment.  And I truly soak in the times when you snuggle in for the long haul, especially just after a nap or when you’re not feeling well.

I love snuggling with you before you go to bed, holding you close to my body as if trying to suck you back into my womb, all while taking in deep breaths of your sweet scent.

I love to tickle you just to see that smile and hear that amazing laugh.

I love to toss you onto the bed or the couch, again, to see that amazing smile.  It’s like capturing a thousand shooting stars, the brightest sunshine, and the most delicious homemade cookie all at once.  It fills up my whole body with complete joy and I can feel the echo of your smile on my face.

I love soaking in the sensation of touching your cute little, barely hairy, legs in particular.  Maybe it’s because this is a luxury I know is more limited – that when you’re school age you probably won’t let me anymore and I’ll be stuck with just rubbing your back, and not even skin to skin but through your clothing.

I love that I can speak love over you in ways I know you completely understand because we’ve been intimately woven together since your birth.  I love that I have a special knack for communicating with you.  That I know my words find the core of your being, even if that means for the worse in my grumpier moments.  I know that, because I’ve spent so much time in your young days and talking to you all day long every day, that we have a verbal connection that is just mine. I love that my words can also go so far in your heart to repair any heartache or misunderstanding.  Even your daddy knows that sometimes it’s best to defer to me to communicate consequences, feelings, daily happenings… you name it.  I cherish that connection and pray I never lose it.

I love that I can spend quality time with you in ways that fill us both up like reading books together, baking, playing games, or building Lego castles with you.  I love that mostly you’re just happy with any way I can include you in on what I’m doing whether that’s in the garden, in my office, in the kitchen or in the laundry room.

I love that whenever a gift-giving holiday comes around I get so excited at all the gift ideas I have for you.  Even though a sensible mind and the budget restrain me a good amount, I’m so pleased with the joy my gifts bring you and how you treasure them. It feels so validating to have “nailed it.”

I love that I get to love you.

With all my heart,

Mommy

A Letter to Baby: Gender Reveal

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Dear Baby,

Many weeks ago now we went in for our 20 week ultrasound to check in on you. The reassurance I receive when seeing that everything checks out well with you is hard to describe.  As your mommy, I feel so responsible for your well being.  That I could make mistake in nutrition or somehow otherwise wound you sometimes nearly debilitates me with fear.  Before having kids I truly was the opposite of a stress pot.  I was care free and go with the flow so this kind of worry and stress is brand new to me.  I hope you know that’s an indication of how much I already love and care for you, that I would do anything to ensure your safety and healthy passage into this world.  Gosh, I can’t wait to meet you!

For the first time ever we also decided to find out what we were having at this ultrasound – yes, both your sisters were surprises!  Per your awesome Aunt Sarah’s idea, we decided to take your gender in an envelope to open in private over dinner together as a family.  I loved the idea of a more intimate setting for finding out something so intimate.  When we arrived for the ultrasound we informed our tech of this choice.  So, during the ultrasound, she would occasionally suggest we avert our eyes so as not so find out unintentionally.

Immediately following the ultrasound I had to spend the rest of my afternoon in meetings and working so I stashed that envelope in my purse and felt it’s weight like a ton of bricks.

Finally, after three hours that felt like three days of waiting, we got to meet up for dinner to open that envelope.  Before opening we each guessed your gender, just for fun:  I said boy, daddy said boy, Maisy said a girl, and Penny had no idea what was going on.  I opened the envelope and froze momentarily on the word before me:  boy!  I got teary immediately and hugged your dad.  I’m so excited to hold you, my sweet boy!

I actually honestly always pictured myself as a boy mom, all boys.  And then our first was a girl, all 7 day care kids that have come in and out of our home have been girls, our dog is a girl, our chickens are all girls, and then our second baby was a girl.  I always thought that ironic and quite comical seeing as I’d pictured myself with boys.  Why did I picture myself with boys?  Well I figured I’d have a better handle on that gender because I’ve always had more of a knack for hanging with the guys that really getting a grip on being a good friend to girls.  Besides, all of my favorite things were less feminine my love of sports, like climbing trees, being fascinated by bugs and all things animal related, playing in the mud and, later, preferring hard rock music to any other variety.  I could picture myself passing a ball around, climbing trees, hunting for bugs, camping, canoeing, hiking, and otherwise having outdoorsy fun with my boys.

All that to say, your sisters are the most amazing girls I’ve ever known.  Maisy is so giving and compassionate, she never shies away from reaching out to make someone feel loved and to share a toy or a treat.  Penny has such a vivaciousness for life, she is so full of spunk and joy, and she’s such a goofball, she makes me laugh all the time.  And I’m proud to say they are not at all afraid of bugs or getting dirty, in fact, they love it!  You are one lucky little man to have these two sisters as your older siblings.  And I pray you will be that baby brother that also helps us keep those two incredibly gorgeous girls safe from boys until the proper time.

Baby boy, I’m so excited to meet you and hold you and kiss you.  You’re quite the fiesty wiggler in there, I swear I should be able to just squeak you out right through my skin since it feel like you’re game to bust out of there on your own anyways.  The layer of skin keeping you from my arms is so thin it oddly feels silly that I can’t just take you out of my belly and hold you.

Can’t wait to meet you,

Mommy