31 December 2009

Rose Bowl Ready

Sorry Great Grandpa Roth, we're not rooting for your Ducks.

I put a flower on Daphne's head while out in public so people wouldn't mistake her for a boy. I have to do my part to keep the masses from being confused.

She was having the best time ever with this cup. She can be such a kooky baby sometimes.

So Ohio family, are you proud of us for publicly wearing Buckeye gear while in Duck territory??

30 December 2009

Finally A Winter Wonderland

Snow, snow, happy happy snow.

But being stuffed into mounds of clothing gets tiresome for the baby after awhile.*

*Actually, here is the true story behind the grouchy face: I put Daphne down for a nap around 9:30 while David was still sleeping. He got up a little before 10 and I heard him making lots of noises down by Daphne's room. I thought to myself, "surely he is not talking to Daphne!" But lo and behold, he came up the stairs with Daphne in his arms. He said he heard her and assumed she was awake from her nap. Um, no. She hadn't fallen asleep yet. Hence the grouchy, grouchy baby.

28 December 2009

Photo Fest

Let me tell you about the insanity that ensues when you throw a birthday party in the midst of 5 Christmas celebrations! We are currently experiencing party hangover.

I'm not complaining, though. It's nothing if not loads of fun.

Sadly, Daphne was in a bit of a mood at our many Christmas/birthday parties. She's doing her best to sleep as little as possible at this stage in her life. This stage in her life has been going on for 12 months now, so I'm wondering if she will ever grow out of it?

Now that Daphne has turned 1 I am really looking forward to continuing to watch her grow. I'm excited for the walking and the talking. I'm excited to be able to say, "Daphne, I'm making your lunch right now, so please stop trying to climb up my leg and crying like you've never been held even once in your life." It would be nice for her to understand more words than just "Daphne" and "lunch."

We've switched her over from baby milk to goat milk, and she's handling the transition perfectly fine. No tummy issues or weird diaper issues. I don't think she's even noticed the difference. It's nice to know that she could blend in with a herd of goats and be just fine.

Now for the pictures (none of which are very good because Daphne is refusing to sit still for photos these days).

Being grouchy her birthday morning.

Pulling it together enough to enjoy her birthday sweater from GAL and OSU football from her dad.

Birthday cards are super cool.

Being grouchy on Christmas morning.

Looking thrilled while posing with the Christmas tree.

Lola can always make her happy.

Really enjoying her Christmas outfit. I could not for the life of me get a good picture of her in it.

Dressed up for family photos at OSU.

Daphne's birthday cake. It sure was yummy and beautiful.

Did Daphne like her birthday party outfit? It's really hard to tell.

I have no photos from her actual birthday party because I was too busy trying keep the grouchy birthday girl from completely falling apart. One day to take a nap, and of course she laid in her bed the whole time and cried. She needs to work on her hosting manners a bit.

And finally, being silly on the drive to Albany.

24 December 2009

Birth Story: The Grand Finale

So where did I leave off?

Midnight on the 23rd, 37 hours of labor, still no baby...OK.

I guess it's around that time I finally started pushing. And I think that is actually when the neonatologist and his posse came in and then left once realizing that pushing did not necessarily mean a baby was about to be born.

Maybe I should back up a bit and explain why we needed to be at a hospital with a level 3 NICU before I share the rest of the story. At our 18 week ultrasound there were quite a few problems that were discovered with our baby. The most notable were that her long bones were all measuring too short, indicating a skeletal dysplasia. One of the main reasons this can be life threatening is if the baby's ribs are also measuring too short. If this is the case, the baby's lungs cannot be supported after birth because of the too-small rib cage. Daphne's ribs were fine at the 18 week scan, but as the weeks went by (we had scans every 3 weeks until she was born) her ribs did not appear to be growing correctly. Our doctor told us there was about a 50/50 chance our baby would live after birth.

Before the birth we met with the neonatologist (Dr Rabin) to discuss what might happen after the baby was born. If she cried, this would be a good thing because it meant she was breathing and they could check her out in our room. If not, that was a bad thing and they would take her directly to the NICU to see what life saving measures should be taken, if any. Dr Rabin said we would probably have an OR to labor in so that we could be close to the NICU, but they ended up having a regular L&D room right next door so we got to use that instead. Way better.

I'm not sure exactly how many people were in our L&D room when the big moment finally arrived. David and I and Carissa, of course. My fabulous nurse who stayed several hours past her shift so she could see us through to the end. The doctor who delivered Daphne (our doctor was on vacation), a doctor in training who actually did the delivering. Dr Rabin and several neonatal nurses, maybe a few other nurses? And Amy, our Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep photographer. Yeah, it was serious party time.

After three long and actually quite excruciating hours of pushing, we finally had a baby! 2:48A.M., 6 lbs 11 oz, December 24, 40 hours of labor (that's a long time). I've mentioned before how David was supposed to announce the baby's gender, but he was confused and sounded unsure of himself when saying "it's a girl." I would put an exclamation point there, but there really was no exclamation. It was more like, "it's a.....girl?"

I was so tired I couldn't keep my eyes open, so I didn't see her. She didn't cry, even after the staff spent a bit time in our room trying to get her to. I think her first APGAR was a 4. David said suddenly one nurse scooped her up like a football and ran to the NICU. He got to follow and watch as they did a bunch of crazy stuff which ended in putting her on a ventilator.

The new daddy meeting his baby girl. I bought him the shirt he was wearing, which he saved to wear for Daphne's birth; it said "Fight to the Finish."

We had two names chosen for a girl, Daphne being one of them, but we had actually planned to name her the other girl name. Then David came back to our room after meeting her and said that she looked just like a Daphne to him. I think I'm a little jealous that I didn't get to have that moment of seeing her and saying, "yep, she's a Daphne." Maybe that's OK, because when I finally did get to see her I think I was more noticing her misshapen head and nose. Sorry, Daph.

A good view of Daphne's weird looking head and nose.

It was quite awhile before I was ready to go visit Daphne (no need to share here all the details of the horror I went through after Daphne's birth). I actually was an invalid at this point so gladly accepted the offered wheelchair.

I don't know if I'm the only person in the world who did not look at her baby and say, "she's so beautiful! I love her!" I mean, I did love her, but it's true that she wasn't that beautiful. She was pretty squished and her chin was small. I'm just sayin'.

Carissa and I meeting little Daphne

Obviously you know the end of the story, that Daphne is alive and perfectly healthy. She was on the ventilator but kept trying to breathe on her own over the machine. Finally on Christmas morning the new doctor on duty came in our room and said they were going to take Daphne off, "just to see what would happen." She asked if we wanted to come watch. Come watch to see what might happen? I don't think so. But Daphne was fine, and we got to hold her later that morning. They did several x-rays and her ribs were perfectly normal. Before we got to take Daphne home from the hospital Dr Rabin said she was a little miracle baby.

David holding Daphne for the first time. It was really hard to hold her because of all the stuff she was hooked up to. Her belly button IV was the hardest to work around, I thought.

This photo shows the first time I thought Daphne was cute. She didn't seem as squished, plus she was wearing clothes! I think this was the 26th. When we came into the NICU that morning her nurse had put a onesie on her. She looked like a real baby.

We had an errand to run at St. Vincent's yesterday, and while there I saw a huge banner that said something about St. V's being the only Nation Top 100 Hospital in Oregon. I totally believe it after being there. I was amazed that every staff person we came in contact with had actually read my birth plan and followed it as closely as they could. (Apparently I have a hidden talent as a birth plan writer, in case any of you need my skills at some point.) Since I wanted a natural birth they gave me a nurse who had been specially trained to aid in unmedicated births. I had heard that because of the high epidural rate at St. V's, there were L&D nurses who had never even seen an unmedicated birth. I was so thankful that they took the time to find a nurse who would best suit my needs. The staff even let David and I stay an extra night in the hospital so that we could be near Daphne longer. The greasy doctor was the only person who kind of made me nervous, but I guess it was good my labor was so rediculously long that I outlasted his shift. (Good teamwork, Daphne.)

Believe me when I say that we know how blessed we are that we got to keep Daphne here with us. She is a constant reminder of the many other families we know and love who had to let their babies go. Daphne is our physical reminder to never take for granted the gift of having a child.

Happy 1st birthday, little one. May you be blessed with many more.

23 December 2009

An Interruption

I have to interrupt the birth story to share a little Christmas cheer.

Last year in the NICU one of the night nurses dressed as Santa so that the babies could get Santa pictures for their first Christmas. Isn't that just the sweetest thing you've ever heard? We came in one morning to find a lovely little card showing a photo of Daphne and Santa all cuddled up together.

(You'll see in these next pictures how poor my computer skills are. Seriously, if Blogger didn't make their site 'blogging for dummies' there is no way I could ever have a blog. I had to scan these pictures in but weird things happened during the process that I can't even explain. I'm really sorry.)

Daphne's first Christmas:

Yesterday we took Daphne for her second Santa visit. She looked at me the whole time like, "Mother, why are you making me sit on this strangely dressed man's lap??!" Again, I apologize for the poor quality and very small photo. If you click on it you'll get a larger, grainier view. I should have just snuck a few pictures with my own camera, but there were huge signs all around saying "no outside photos." But then the people behind me took their own pictures! I hate that I feel I must always follow the rules.

I was so happy we found a Santa who was not 18, skinny and wearing a fake beard. This Santa was pretty nice, and he didn't even smell like cigarette smoke. (That was also a characteristic I was looking to stay away from.) Santa opened shop at noon and we were there a few minutes early, so we did get to watch as he made his grand entrance, pushing a cash register. Yay for commercialism.

I mean, Merry Christmas!

22 December 2009

Birth Story Part 2

Continuing on with the saga of Daphne's birth...

I was awake all night long on the 22nd wondering what was up with these crazy pains I was having. Throughout the course of the night they got closer together and stronger in intensity. But they weren't covering my whole stomach, darn it! And the internet told me they would if they were real. (I believe everything the internet tells me.)

I was also going on a tip from my midwife, who told me to go to the hospital when I couldn't walk, talk or laugh during contractions. Leave it to me to get confused over such simple instructions, because I took this to mean go to the hospital when I was unable to walk, talk or laugh while having contractions. I think now she meant not being able to walk, talk or laugh during one contraction. Do you see the difference? I would have one contraction that would nearly knock me off my feet (meaning I could not walk, talk or laugh during it) but then the contraction would be over and I could go on doing my thing, feeling perfectly fine. Therefore I saw no rush to go to the hospital.

By the time David got up on the morning of the 23rd (so nice of me to let him sleep, yes?) I was having the mysterious pains every 5-7 minutes. He suggested I call our doula, Carissa, but I really didn't want to bother her the day before Christmas Eve for no reason. I called her anyways because David really wanted me to; she told me to call her back in an hour or so with an update. By the time that hour was up my mysterious pains were every 3 minutes apart. I said, "but Carissa, they aren't covering my whole stomach!" She said, "you're in labor, dear." Oh.

Thanks to the snow, it felt like it took days for her to get to our house. I'm not sure in real life time how long it took, but it was enough time for me to get some vacuuming done. Always a good thing to do when you're taking a break every 3 minutes for labor pains that you cannot walk, talk or laugh through. I also remember my friend Candace calling me asking how I was, and when I said I was having contractions every 3 minutes she said something to the tune of "get to the hospital!!"

Once Carissa got to our house we pretty much just jumped in our Explorer and took off. We were set to give birth at St. Vincent's because of their level 3 NICU, but that hospital is pretty much the farthest away hospital from our house, and you remember the snow. Fortunately the freeways were pretty clear and I actually found the drive quite relaxing.

We got to the hospital in one piece around 1P.M., got checked in, and then it was time to see if I really was in labor. And what do you know, I was dilated to an 8!! Yahoo! I really wanted to labor as much as I could at home, so it was a real bonus that I got to while being in denial about actually being in labor. It was also important for me to have an unmedicated birth, so I was happy to be so far along already. I had been worried that once I got to the hospital the staff would bug me about getting an epidural or whatever. I think I heard that St. V's has like a 95% epidural rate, so I knew being un-epiduraled (I made that word up) was very unusual for that hospital. Anyways, after being checked the staff told me that it would be 1/2 hour to 3 hours, and we would have our baby!

Well...it's not a good thing to get a person's hopes up by telling her that her baby will be coming soon. Not good at all. Please note that Daphne's birthday is not December 23. Please also note that at this time, 1P.M. on the 23rd, I had already been in labor for approximately 25 hours.

The rest of the afternoon passed in kind of a blur. I do remember the greasy doctor on call when we checked in, who after meeting us started talking about C-sections. That was really confusing to me because we had been there for about 5 minutes and the baby was not in any distress. I was so glad that his shift ended sometime that afternoon. I also remember every time I would try to walk somewhere I would be offered a wheelchair, and I was like "I'm not an invalid!" Sheesh. One perk of not having an epidural was having the freedom to walk the halls and spend a few hours in the jacuzzi tub without being hooked up to any medical devices. I appreciated that.

I also remember sitting in my room staring at the clock as the hours passed, getting nervous that my poor baby was going to be born on Christmas Eve. I would say at 9P.M.: "we only have 3 hours for the baby to not be born on a holiday!" and at 10P.M.: "we only have 2 hours for the baby to not be born on a holiday!" My nurse told me to stop looking at the clock or she was going to cover it with a sheet.

I remember the neonatologist and his staff coming in because they thought the baby was going to be born soon, and then I remember them LEAVING because she actually wasn't. Talk about a real downer.

Let's see, by midnight the 23rd, we were at 37 hours of labor. Will this baby ever be born? Stay tuned...

Birth Story Part 1 (because my labor was so long the story needs to be told in chapters)

Last year on this exact same day I woke up feeling a little yucky. Throughout the morning I felt these little pains in my stomach, but assumed they were just pre-labor pains (aka Braxton Hicks). They didn't hurt and I barely noticed them. David and I wanted to go on a "last date" before baby Kemple made his/her appearance (that's right people, we like to do things the way God intended and wait for the baby to be born to find out the gender. Ha!). I really wanted Italian food, but if you recall, last year at this time we were blanketed in 1 1/2 feet of snow. And since Oregonians can barely handle driving in the rain, let alone the snow, our entire city was pretty much shut down.

David, the super snow shoveler. Before this storm, I had never been around snow where you actually needed to shovel it. Snow shovel? What's that?

David had the driveway shoveled in case we needed to make a quick exit from our house, because the baby's due date was 12/24. I was hoping for a 12/28 or 29 birthday so I really wasn't too concerned about it. Around noon on the 22nd we headed out to find a restaurant that might be open. Thanks to all the snow, driving was very slow, so I had time to sit and watch the clock. I realized these small and not painful pains were coming every 7 minutes. Interesting.

The only open restaurant we could find was Izzy's. I'm not a big fan of Izzy's and it wasn't exactly where I envisioned our last dinner as two people. But what can you do? So while having these crazy every 7 minute pains, we went to Izzy's.

Driving home from Izzy's and looking down our street; this is the last picture I took before Daphne was born.

David has been waiting all year for December 22nd to role back around so that we could go to Izzy's again. He thinks this needs to be a yearly tradition.

Daphne and David enjoying Izzy's pizza and a whole lot more. Do they still sing that song? I haven't heard it in awhile.

We got home where I continued having these pains all afternoon and into the evening. David went to bed because I was sure it wasn't real labor, as I had read somewhere that a real contraction will be felt over your entire stomach, while my pains were just on the lower half and around to my back a little. Plus they didn't really hurt that badly, and in between pains I felt totally fine.

OK, we'll save the next installment of this thrilling story for tomorrow. I'm sure that will keep you on the edge of your seat. You're wondering if we had a boy or a girl, huh?

18 December 2009


The pictures of Daphne yesterday were taken while we were spending a long morning at Hanger (the folks who make Daphne's leg braces). A month or so ago she got some new braces with a platform underneath the feet so that she could stand with them. But for many reasons they were just not working for us so we went out there several times this past week to work something else out.

Doctor office tables are such fun when you're 11 and 3/4 months old.

Our waiting paid off, because look who has clearance for walking!

We love these things. Yes, they are not winners in the looks department, but it is so freeing for Daphne to be able to get up and cruise around! Today I held onto her hands as she walked across the living room floor, something she has never done before. I also got to buy her some socks, something I have never done before. I never knew it could be so exciting to buy socks.

Cheers for Daphne's first pair of platform heels! Don't worry, I'll help her out later to refine her tastes a bit.

17 December 2009


Daphne has become quite expressive in the past months. I love that she now realizes how funny she is, so therefore continues her silliness in order to keep us laughing. She is especially good at being silly during church and keeping the folks behind us laughing throughout the entire church service.

So beware, church people, here is her new look:

She has to fight her own smiles at times.

We appreciate the addition to this well-known look:

And it's very important that she checks to see if we're still laughing on the other side of the camera, hence the deep lean you see here.

A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance. ~Proverbs 15:13a

15 December 2009

A Big, Fat Thank You

A surprise side effect to starting this blog is that I have 'met' some very cool people in blogland. Of course there's always the chance that the people I think are cool are actually freaky ax murderers, seeing as how I've never actually met them in person. But would a freaky ax murderer send something as cool as this hat for Daphne's birthday...?

Yeah, I didn't think so. Daphne is pretty much drunk with happiness over it. She also was fascinated by the birthday card that came with it.

I met Amber some months ago after learning through another blog that Amber's soon-to-be-born little girl, Megan Grace, had been diagnosed with a lethal form of skeletal dysplasia. Amber showed amazing bravery and grace as she anticipated the birth of her little girl, knowing that saying hello would also mean saying good-bye. I appreciate that Amber has continued to be a part of Daphne's life even after Megan's birth and death in June. I can only imagine how hard it must be to watch someone else celebrate the joy of their baby's first birthday, when your own baby's first birthday will be spent in Heaven.

Thank you, Amber, for such a sweet gift. You continue to show grace as you navigate your life without your baby girl. We are honored to know you.

12 December 2009

Growing Up

Here we are on the countdown to Daphne's first birthday. The venue is booked, invitations are out, and the birthday girl's outfit has been chosen. We're still working on teaching her to hold up one finger to show us her age. She can hold up one finger to try to gouge my eyes out, but other than that she seems confused. She's better at high 5.

Daphne is a mover and a shaker these days, doing her best to tear our house apart. But I am not complaining (yet) because taking time to pull out every toy from her toy box or all my freshly folded laundry from the laundry basket keeps her entertained for a whole 5 minutes. I can get lots done in 5 minutes. (Mostly refold the laundry.)

She's as egocentric as any toddler can be, so I've taken to getting out a big mirror for her to entertain herself with. Hey, that's another 5 minutes (for me to put all her toys back away)!

Bath time is still a favorite, and even more fun now that she has the whole big tub to scoot around in. So much better than the little baby tub she used to use.

It seems like just the other day I was sitting with her in her room, showing her the baskets of toys and trying to convince her that playing with toys was fun. She was still at the stage where she could only see about 8 inches from her face, so the mysterious blurs I was waving over her head weren't really getting the reaction I wanted. Now she watches us do something, then pushes our hands away so that she can do it herself. We've moved on from tiny plastic teething rings to complex singing giraffes.

It makes me a little sad to think of leaving Daphne's first year and moving on to the second. But when I think about it, there's no way I would go back to her earlier days. She gets so much more fun with each passing month.

Plus, she says 'mama' now, clear as a bell. There's nothing better than that.

08 December 2009

Christmas Baby

I think it is the sweetest thing when David is out shopping and comes home with something he picked out for Daphne. I love it. Yesterday he came home with a Christmas outfit for Daph. I tried to take some pictures of her by the tree.

She was very uncooperative. I would sit her up in a nice pose and she would get a look in her eye that said, "nope, I would rather go stick my fingers in the light socket and chew on the baby moniter."

At least the light socket picture nicely shows off her ruffly buns. Ruffly buns are a good part of any outfit.

03 December 2009

Civil War Party Time

Alright!! Go Beavers!!!

Daphne really loves the huge sponge hand.

A Civil War

It's here.

It's finally here.

I hope everyone's TV will be tuned to ESPN tonight for the biggest game of the year.

Because it really is that big.

We want an OSU vs. OSU Rose Bowl!!

Go Beavers!!!