30 December 2008

Zoë's First Christmas

Our First Family Christmas

Santa Baby

Five Generations

All We Wanted

23 December 2008

6 Weeks

Well, 6 weeks has been pretty good to us.  We're all becoming better adjusted to each other and sleep is happening in greater amounts of time and with less interruptions.  Thank you, Lord!   Zoë is smiling up a storm and trying her best to talk.  We've been venturing out more and I'm slowly becoming more comfortable driving with her.  She is starting to scream less in the car and usually ends up falling asleep by the end of our journey.

Our Little Present
Good Things Come In Small Packages

On Friday we took Zoë to see Santa.  I was very nervous about it, but knew I would regret it if we didn't go.  It's such a chore getting out of the house and I wasn't sure how she would handle being in such a crowd.  Well, I was nervous for nothin'!  She did great.  She was so wide-eyed and just wanted to take it all in.  Our little missy wasn't going to sleep for anything!  It was so funny, there was a 9 week-old boy in line ahead of us who slept through the entire thing...waiting in line, sitting on Santa's lap, getting the pictures afterwards.  But, no...not Zoë!  She breezed right through nap-time and wasn't about to miss a thing.  I wonder what this says about future outings??
Zoë & Santa

Our gift after a big afternoon out at the mall was 6 hours between Zoë's feedings that night.  A Christmas miracle! ;)  Once again, I know it probably won't last...but, hopefully it was a taste of what's to come.  And mommy felt so good after several hours of sleep.

17 December 2008

Zoë Love

More Magic From Karen

15 December 2008


*cue angels singing*
Zoë went FIVE hours between feedings last night...only woke up ONCE during the night...and Mama got FOUR consecutive hours of sleep!  It was a good night! ;)  Now I know better than to get my hopes up that this will continue...but, I have to believe if she can do it once, she can do it again.

Overall, Zoë seems to have turned a corner when she hit one month.  She is crying less and napping better during the day.  And at night when she wakes up to feed she has been going right back to sleep.  All of these things we were majorly struggling with a couple of weeks ago.

Now if I could just get a shower everyday for a full week...I just might recognize myself again! ;)

11 December 2008

1 Month

Dear Zoë,
My sweet precious angel, today you are one month old.  It's so hard for me to believe you have already been with us for a month.  Everyone says how fast these weeks go by...and they are right.  And you, little missy, are changing so much!  We took you for your one month pediatrician appointment today and you did so well.  You totally charmed the Doctor and pleasantly enough kept your screaming to a bare minimum.  You now weigh 9lbs 12oz and you are 22in long.  I couldn't hide my excitement that you have gained two pounds and your daddy said, "Well, I think you are proud of yourself!"  And I am!  Nursing is challenging and very time consuming.  Most days I feel like that is all I have accomplished.  But seeing you on that scale today made me realize that it's working!  And, yes, I am very proud.

My greatest joy the past week has been seeing your smiles.  I quickly realized that what we are seeing aren't "gas smiles" at all!  You are smiling in response to hearing our voices and seeing our faces.  Talk about making a Mama and Daddy melt!  And of course there are the drifting off to sleep smiles which are equally as precious...as well as the full on in-your-sleep belly laugh.  Too cute!  The only difficulty is actually capturing these smiles with the camera.  You'll have to forgive all the obnoxious noises and faces we make trying to get a good shot.  We just want to share all the cuteness with everyone else.  

You are also becoming much more alert and attentive during the day.  You like to see faces and interact as opposed to sitting by yourself.  It took a few weeks, but you are now enjoying the swing more and will stay in it for more than two minutes (which is about all you would tolerate at first).  You are also starting to notice the rotating mobile that's above your head in the swing.  You still don't like riding in your carseat.  Your daddy and I have to really turn the music up to get you to stop screaming.  Thank goodness you like good music!

As you can see you still have all of your fabulous hair.  Everyone says it will eventually fall out...but you haven't lost any of it yet.  And at this point I can't imagine you without it! 

The past few weeks have been difficult and challenging in ways I never could have imagined.  I don't think there is any way to fully prepare for all the physical and emotional demands a newborn requires.  And there is definitely no way to understand how the complete lack of sleep will wear you down.  Everyone tells me, "Don't worry, it gets better."  And I am believing them.  I know you are just adjusting to your new life and what you want more than anything is to be held close.  But, being a new mom is hard...and there are so many books that try to tell you exactly how to do things.  These books can make you feel like if you don't do things "their way" you're doing everything wrong.  As if we don't already feel inadequate enough!

So, after a couple of weeks of trying to buy into a parenting style I don't believe in I am letting go.  I have decided to throw out all the books that tell me to not to spoil you by holding you too much...and not to let you fall asleep in my arms or you'll never sleep on your own...and to get you on a schedule or you'll never sleep through the night.  I am following my mother's advice and trusting my instincts.  And my instincts tell me that this is your "fourth trimester" and what you want and need more than anything is to be held and comforted and loved.  My job for now is to feed you when you want to eat and show you by my comforting arms that this world is ok.  Since I realized all of this and let go of following someone else's ideas things have felt more natural around here.  We'll work on schedules and what not next month.

Zoë, for all the challenging and difficult moments...there are just as many moments of sheer awe.  Sometimes I just sit and look at you and say silent prayers of thankfulness that you are finally here.  And oh that smile makes it all worth it.  I can't say it enough, little one...Thank you for choosing us.


10 December 2008

Daddy Love

My Two Favorite People Lovin' Each Other

08 December 2008

Lots of firsts

Zoë has had lots of "firsts" the past few weeks.  Here are some pictures from some of them...

The day after we came home from the hospital we had a pediatrician appointment.  Her office is in Decatur so we thought it was a good time to go by and introduce Zoë to her great-great Nana.

Zoë enjoyed her first bath at home.

Well...for the most part.

Rockin' her Kit Hughes hair-do.

A couple of weeks ago we had a warm day and decided to take Zoë to Piedmont Park.  It's one of our favorite things to do on a pretty weekend.  Too bad Penny didn't get to go this time.

Ryan, Lesli & Sydney got to come by for a visit a few weeks ago.  Sydney was precious with her new cousin.  She was so loving with "baby Zoë".  I think they're going to be good friends!

04 December 2008

Worth the Wait

Karen seems to think miss Zoë was worth the wait.  I think we might agree with her.

We had a wonderful newborn photo shoot with Karen this weekend.  I can't believe how well Zoë cooperated.  Check out a few of the pictures she has posted on her website.  We are excited to see the rest!

If you're in the Atlanta area and in need of some fabulous photographs I can't tell you how highly we recommend Karen.  Aside from her obvious talent...she is so calm and has the ability to make you feel comfortable while she does her magic.

Thanks again, Karen!  You're the best!

02 December 2008

3 Weeks

Zoë's first Thanksgiving
Well, I know I have been so bad about posting updates and new pictures.  The days and nights are blurring together in a haze of feeding, changing diapers and rocking.  The few stolen moments I get during the day I find myself choosing between eating, sleeping and doing random stuff around the house.  So, my emailing and blogging have taken the back-burner for now.  Zoë & I were so blessed to have Kit home for almost 3 weeks.  He's back at work full-time now so little miss & I are figuring out our days alone.

Thankfully Zoë is eating like a champ and growing everyday.  She is sleeping pretty well...even if it is only in hour and a half increments.  When she is awake she is so precious and alert.  She'll even treat me with a smile or two every once in a while.  Granted they're probably just gas smiles...but, I'll take 'em! ;)

I can't believe she'll be a month old next week!  I'm trying to savor these moments even through the extreme sleepiness and moments of inconsolable crying.  I know she will never be this little again...and it's already going by so fast.   

25 November 2008

2 Weeks

I took some pictures of miss Zoë today to show how much she is growing!  It's amazing how slow the last two weeks of my pregnancy went...and how fast these first two weeks of Zoë's life have flown by.  I'll post more pictures later of all the fun we've been having this week. 

sweet baby

getting bigger

striking a pose

Zoë's first tummy time

Penny wants to play too


18 November 2008

1 Week

One week ago our world completely changed.  Here are a few pictures from the first precious moments of Zoë's life.

Welcome Zoë!

So happy & proud

Yep, I'm your mommy

Falling in love

Baby's first bath

All sudsed up

Washing all that dark hair

Meeting Gigi & Deeda

17 November 2008

A Year Ago Today...

One of Lisa's favorite quotes:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
~Nelson Mandela

Lisa, Kristen, Me & Lori in 2001
Posted on Lisa's Carepages today by her family:

Our dear, dear Team Lisa,
I really don't know what to say to you but I feel compelled to say something. Today is a sad day as it ends our first year of life without Lisa. I think we were all anxious for this day to come, hoping it would be a milestone that would magically lessen our pain and sorrow. It is in a way as I personally find more of my thoughts of Lisa to be good memories rather than the painful memories of her illness and this day one year ago. The past year has been filled with all of you and your messages, calls, cards, kindnesses, donations and support. We know that as we think of our gratitude to you that you too are thinking of Lisa today and everyday.

As you all know, our family's grief extends far beyond what we anticipated just a month ago. We take some comfort in the fact that Doug is with Lisa and she is taking good care of him. We also hope they are driving fast cars with music blaring, playing golf everyday and that the stock market in Heaven is permanently at an all time high. Lisa has taught us how to grieve and survive. We have learned that it is the positive thoughts and memories that get us over the rough spots and we have learned to cry at a moment's notice and not be embarrassed about it.

We have also learned that life goes on and take great comfort in the fact that our friends continue to remember Lisa and Doug. Our first grandchild will be born in late March and Lisa's good friends, Kit and Laura Hughes, have named their new baby Zoë Annelisa. My brother, Mike, had emergency triple bypass surgery 5 days ago and is doing great thanks to his extra angels. And your generosity in supporting organizations seeking cures for leukemia (including financial support, hikes, marathons, bone marrow drives) is astounding and we are so grateful.

We have decided to shut down Lisa's Carepages at the beginning of the year. I will send you information about ordering copies which include Lisa's messages and all the messages to her. It is a beautiful chronology using Lisa's own words and those of her "team" to inspire us and remind us of her courage, love and optimism. More to follow on that.

Meanwhile, enjoy this day as Lisa and Doug would have – pretend Dad and Daughter are together snorkeling the beautiful reefs of the Bahamas or just busy taking care of all of us.

We love you.

Lynn, Chris and Shannon

14 November 2008

An Angel Among Us

We're home!  We were discharged yesterday around noon and have been slowly learning how to take care of all our little angel's needs.  I still feel like it's all a dream.  Our time in the hospital went by so fast.  I'm shaking my head in awe that just 4 days ago she was still a part of me and we were trying everything we could to bring labor on.  Which, by the way, I have to tell you all that I have a "Scalini's baby"!  For those of you who don't know what that means I'll tell ya.  Scalini's restaurant has a nationally famous eggplant parmesan dish that is supposed to put full-term pregnant women into labor.  Well, by Sunday I was desperate to avoid a Tuesday scheduled induction...so, I thought what can we lose!  No kidding, my water broke less than 12 hours after we ate there.  So miss Zoë gets her Scalini's onesie and we get a gift certificate! 

All dressed up & striking a pose

Kit and I have been talking about how it's been an adjustment to start calling this little one Zoë after she's been Baby B for so long.  We find ourselves calling her "Zoë B"...I call it her "transition" name. ;)  But speaking of her name, I wanted to share with you all a little more about her sweet little name.  Zoë is a name I have always liked, but I haven't always known that is what I wanted to name our daughter.  In fact, for the entirety of our relationship our daughter's name was going to be Ella after Kit's grandmother.  Well, the more we talked about names I noticed that I would bring up Ella but Kit never would.  I asked him about it once and he said, "Well, I guess I just always think that's who our first baby was."  Tears filled my eyes and he didn't have to say anything else.  We had this name so picked out and with our first pregnancy there was never a question that would be the baby's name if it was a girl.  So, after years of loving that name, I let go of it.

So, who was this girl?  One of the reasons I have always liked the name Zoë is it's meaning.  Zoë is a Greek word that means "Life".  In the original Greek text of the Bible it's this word that is used when Jesus speaks of Eternal Life.  I added this name to our list a couple of months ago and it wasn't long until we began to feel that this is who she was.  After so much death and loss...this angel is our gift of "Life".  And it just took spending a morning with her to realize, yep, she's our Zoë.  We think it suits her already!  

Annelisa is of course after our precious and so missed Lisa Anne.  We have known almost as long as I've been pregnant that we wanted this to be a part of her name.  It still aches so much that Zoë will never know Lisa and that Lisa is not here to share in this miracle with us.  Oh, I know her spirit is with us...and I have felt it so much in the past few days.  But, it doesn't take away the fact that it still hurts that she's gone.  I hope in some way that giving her this name will honor Lisa's spirit and help carry her life & story into the next generation.   

Zoë latched on to her favorite person

Ok, now I have to say this picture is such a portrait of how things are...and, I'm sure, what's to come.  This girl loves her daddy!  And here she is just two days old letting us know with her little look that holding onto him is really all she needs.  But, seriously, it really is amazing the way he is with her.  First of all, he is a master swaddler (thanks to Brian and Page for giving us the Happiest Baby on the Block video...no, seriously...it's been a lifesaver!).  He can calm this baby down in seconds with his mad baby whisperer skills!  And he is so sweet with her.  I had no idea how much it would melt my heart to see how tender he is with her.  I didn't know just how much watching him become a daddy would make me fall deeper in love.

Please accept my apology if I haven't returned an email or phone call.  We are still adjusting and trying to sleep when we can.  But know that all of your messages have been so loving and well received.  We can feel you all rejoicing with us and it feels good...really good.

12 November 2008

And then there were three...

Please join us in praising God for the safe arrival of our precious angel!

Zoë Annelisa Hughes
born at 2:45am on 11/11/2008
7lbs 11oz
21 1/2 inches long
Mommy's cheeks & Daddy's hair

Rocking our world and stealing our hearts ever since...

02 November 2008

40 Weeks

                                                                                         40 week belly
Well, here we are November 2nd and no signs of baby.  I guess that's not exactly true...there are plenty of signs of her hanging out and doing her dance in my belly.  There's just no signs of her actually making a live appearance...at least not today.  And to be honest with you, we have really enjoyed having the extra time to take care of things and spend some quality time together.  Kit and I had a perfect weekend together.  I finished some laundry and cleaning on Saturday and then Saturday night we had a great dinner at Brio.  The Brio at Perimeter has a great outdoor patio by a lake and the weather was beautiful.  So we sat outside and ate delicious pasta and soaked up what could possibly be our last date night...for a while at least. 

Today we ran errands together and Penny & I went for a walk in the Highlands while Kit got some immunization updates at CVS (good little tidbit for you Atlanta folks--that CVS has a minute clinic that treats common illnesses and does vaccinations.  They even take insurance--very convenient!).  And those of you who know me well know that no Sunday would be complete without the uninterrupted-marathon nap! ;)  Another luxury I know we'll be missing so very soon.  Tonight we're going to kick back and watch a movie.  And Kit's going to make us mint-chocolate chip milkshakes.  Yum!  I really couldn't have asked for a better weekend with my hubby.

I know some women are really miserable by this time in pregnancy and don't really have the energy to do anything.  I am actually feeling better than I was a few weeks ago...which is I'm sure why I haven't really minded that she isn't here yet.  I am still working and plan on going in on Tuesday if she hasn't come.  My co-workers look at me like I'm crazy for still being there...but, honestly the longer I work, the more time off with pay I'll have stored up.  So, that's really my incentive to keep it up.

I have been having some signs of early labor: contractions, cramps, lower back aches, and other things I won't mention...but, nothing has been consistent.  Everything I have read says that with these signs labor can start in a matter of hours or days.  I guess we're working with days.  It's weird the way things have started moving in slow motion.  I have said this before, but knowing that at any moment labor could start and B could be here really makes the days go slow.  It's so hard to grasp that this very day could be the last one as we know it.  Thanks to all of you who have been calling, texting, emailing, facebooking to check on B's status.  I can't believe after all this time she really is going to be here in a matter of days!

30 October 2008

Remembering Our Second Angel

My mom recently commented to me on what a different Halloween this is from last year.  Today, we are anxiously awaiting the birth of this sweet little one God has blessed us with.  On this day last year my husband was working in Boston and I was having a D&C to put a final end to our second pregnancy.  The Lord gives and the Lord takes away...blessed be his name.  Last year I was helping my parents pass out Halloween candy, resting, recovering and mourning our loss.  This year I will be with my sweet Kit and we will be passing out candy, anticipating B's arrival and feeling so much gratitude for the healing & gifts of this past year.

When I found out I was pregnant the second time I was so happy.  I honestly didn't have that much fear.  I believed what everyone told me when they said, "These things happen once...and then you will have a perfectly fine pregnancy."  I had no reason to believe that this baby wouldn't make it.  Our anniversary baby.  That's when I was due...right around our anniversary.  Kit was heading to Africa just when I was going to be 8 weeks along.  That's the earliest they would schedule an ultrasound to check on the baby's status.  As much as I wanted him to be there, I didn't think I could wait another 2 weeks to find out how the baby was doing.  Plus, I figured everything was fine and I'd have a precious little picture to show him when he got home.  I never imagined that the time he was in Africa would be some of the longest, loneliest days I have ever had.

I had my mom go with me to the appointment, just in case.  We had a long wait and I was glad she was there.  When the ultrasound tech did the scan she pointed out the baby and said, "There it is.  The baby is measuring about 6 weeks."  Well, I just lost it.  I knew the baby should have measured 8 weeks...and I knew in my heart at this stage that wasn't good.  The tech was confused and my mom explained what I had been through.  The tech tried to console me and pointed out that the baby did have a heartbeat (even though it was slow) and that maybe I was off on my dates.  I knew I wasn't off on my dates.  I knew something was wrong.  After that I had to stay and talk to a nurse.  My mom tried to pump me with hope and reassurance that everything was going to be ok.  I met with the nurse who could offer no explanations or suggestions other than for me to come back in a week to check the growth.  Having to tell Kit about this appointment when he called to tell me he had arrived in Africa safely totally sucked.  He was so excited to be there...and I so wanted him to have an amazing trip.  But, at the same time I needed his strength and I know he wished he was with me.

I ended up waiting a week and a half to schedule the next scan since I was supposed to go to Chicago for a conference that week and Kit would still be in Africa until that time...and I definitely wanted him to be there.  So on October 8th we had the ultrasound that showed us the baby had not grown and his heart had stopped beating.  This did not come as a surprise to me at all.  While I was definitely choosing to remain hopeful, I knew in my heart this baby was not going to stay with us.  In fact, I think the only reason I was able to stay hopeful was because of Lisa...our great ambassador of hope.  Right before I had the first ultrasound she found out that the leukemia had returned.  If she could be hopeful in the face of her fears...so could I.

That week and a half of waiting for the confirmation was a time of deep prayer and introspection.  That weekend I was alone so I spent Saturday at a retreat center right outside the city that has great trails and a prayer labyrinth that I love.  While I was walking the labyrinth I placed my hand on my belly and prayed a simple prayer...dear God, be with me and this baby.  Over and over like a mantra I said it.  And as I walked I felt the Spirit telling me that I was this baby's mother and that I shouldn't disconnect from him just because I was scared.  I felt something in me realize what a precious and holy gift it is to be the vessel for a little soul.  How amazing conception is!  From two little cells a miracle begins and God breathes life into existence.  What a gift to be a participant in this process.  It was a remarkable realization for me.  I finished walking the labyrinth and stepped onto the trail leading to the lake.  As soon as my feet hit the trail something inside of me said, "Now let him go."  I nodded my head and knew that I was not going to meet this baby here on earth.  But, as I was walking to the lake I felt that God was telling me not to worry...I would be a mother to an earth baby one day, it would just be a journey to get there.  When I got to the lake I took a big seed that I had found and dropped it in the lake to symbolize letting go of this baby...and accepting God's will.  This is why I wasn't surprised when we found out the baby was gone.

I know some of that may sound hokey and "out there".  But, it was probably one of the few times I have truly felt God's presence with me.  And I don't think it has anything to do with His presence...but, more to do with my openness to Him during that time of desperation.  I would like to say that I carried the peace of that day with me over the next month...but, I really didn't.  I had moments where I would remember and know that God was with me.  But, mostly there was a lot of sadness and anger and "why me".  I tried to miscarry naturally, but it just wasn't happening.  And having to have a D&C felt like the devastation-icing on the cake.  Although I can say now with the gift of hindsight, it was the best thing I could have done.

If you've made it this far, thanks for reading.  I feel pretty emotional after reliving the journey of those days.  But, I think it's important for me to honor that baby and the lessons that he brought us.  It's also important for me to acknowledge that God has answered his promise and has given us another chance to be parents.

Here are some pictures from a trip my friend Amber and I took to the Abbey of Gethsemane in Kentucky in mid-October last year.  We had this trip planned before I knew about the pregnancy or miscarriage...but, the timing couldn't have been more perfect.  This monastery has always been one of my happy places and I was glad for the peace and quiet while I was struggling with so many questions. 

Abbey of Gethsemane
Peaceful Lake
Stolen Moment with the Deer