Thursday, July 28, 2011


There were moments when we first discovered that Little Tree had some problems that I wondered what I had done in life to have deserved such terrible repercussions.  What did I do that was so bad that I deserved to lose a child and then have another who would have to fight so desperately hard during his childhood for his chance to live.  What did my son do to deserve this?

And now as I think on it, I was looking at Karma the wrong way.

The Karma that I am experiencing right now isn’t bad karma, and it isn’t present in the form of the bad things that are happening, but in the form of the overwhelming love, support, and help I have been receiving during this.

I don’t think God or the fates or the universe caused these bad things to happen.  But I think maybe, if we take care of those around us, and we try to be helpful and kind, we will find that when bad things do happen to us, Karma will come around – and prove that we are not alone.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fetal Echo and Amnio

Original post date – July 27, 2011

Today we returned to the Perinatal Specialist who preformed our ultrasound last week.  This week, they did a Fetal Echo of Rowan as well as doing an Amniocentesis on me.  The Fetal Echo mapped out Rowan’s developing heart and looked at the direction and strength of blood flow.  This will hopefully give the Pediatric Cardiologist a better understanding of Rowan’s specific case with Hypoplastic Right Heart.  The Amniocentesis was a bit of an ordeal.  Once the needle went in, I started having contractions, which is not horribly abnormal, but is horribly uncomfortable.  They had to dig around with the needle a fair amount to avoid problems and I am feeling incredibly sore now.  The purpose of the Amniocentesis is to look at Rowan’s DNA.  Some heart defects are a result of a chromosomal abnormality, and we want to make sure that is not the case with him.

We don’t know when we’ll get results back from these tests, but we signed  a medical release so the results could be faxed to us and we will have the reports to read over ourselves.  I also have an OB appointment next week, at which point I imagine we will discuss some of what we know.  I still think it won’t be until we meet with the Pediatric Cardiologist August 11th that we have real answers – and they will probably be vague.

Rowan looks like Little Bird, but slightly different.  I can see so much resemblance.

The more I have read about other families and their experience, the better I feel about our chances.  We have an amazing team working with us giving us ever chance of having the best possible outcome.  It’s just hard not knowing what exactly the best possible outcome is.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Coping with a Kid

Children are highly intuitive.  This is one of the hardest things for me right now about being a mom.  I am feeling much more optimistic about Rowan’s future and the future of our family.  However, there are still times where I feel so overwhelmed I can hardly keep it together. 

Reading a book with Little Bird where she points at the baby on the page, and then points at my tummy and says “BABY!”

Seeing Rowan’s clothes in a box in our room.

I just get teary – and when I’m alone with Little Bird, me being upset translates to her being extremely unsure of her environment. She cries more, feels less comfortable being in a different room than me, wants me to hold her more often (which is not okay for me to do anymore).

I keep reminding myself that I have to stay calm for her.  I don’t ever want to make a child deal with adult problems.  This is something she will have to deal with when Rowan arrives and should not have to deal with it now.

So -

I’m cutting myself some slack.  We’ve been cuddling up watching movies together.  We take our time getting things done right now and try not to be in a rush so that I don’t get stressed.  If I do get upset, I tell her “Mommy is sad today, but it’s okay to be sad sometimes.  Let’s go get a drink/build some blocks/sing a song to help us not be sad.”  I’m putting less pressure on myself to be supermom in the next few days, and just letting myself be “mom”.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


The last few days have been emotionally very difficult.  Many of you know that Doc and I experienced a miscarriage with our first pregnancy.  At that time in our life, we did not have family nearby who could offer support.  Our friends did not understand the weight losing a child could hold.  When we first received news about our son, I never expected to have such a different experience.

We have been so grateful for the overwhelming promises of support and outpouring of encouragement and love from friends and family.  All of your calls – flowers you sent – trips you are planning to be with us – scheduling to be here for us in December and March when we will need it – it has been the most heartwarming, comforting, and humbling thing I have ever experienced.

You are giving us the strength we need to get past the heartache and move into the place of preparing, finding peace, and believing that despite how hard the coming year will be, we will not be alone.

Thank you.  You have no idea what this has meant.

For those of you who have been asking what you can do now – we need the encouragement you have given, and often – so please, keep it up.  We need the reminders that you will be here and we will not be alone.  We need the diversions of visits or invitations to remind ourselves that life can still be normal-ish.  And if you know anyone who has had a child go through something similar, we’d like to hear their stories.

Day 5–Mommy and Little Bird’s Day Out

Even though we were really loving our time with my family, with me being pregnant, driving up into the really high altitudes wasn’t a good idea for us – and it’s a really fun trip for the rest of the family.  So Little Bird and I decided to spend the day – just the two of us.

We got up early and drove into downtown Estes Park.  Estes Park is a beautiful little town right outside Rocky Mountain National Park.  Their downtown area is full of little shops, creameries, chocolatiers, cafes, art dealers, etc.  We walked and looked in shop windows.  Little Bird loved the Native American art shops the most.  She loved some of the ornate bead work.IMG_2664

We stopped in a souvenir shop and bought a fleece a few sizes bigger than the one Little Bird wore this trip so she’ll have one for winter and our son can wear her old one.  They’ll match!  She also picked out a little orange and brown onesie with a moose on it for her little brother.  She told me “for a baby'” and carried it around the store until it was time to go.  She was very excited, and definitely knew it wasn’t for her.

IMG_2661Then we stopped at a chocolatier and bought a few little treats.  We sat on a bench to eat them together.



After that, we were ready to head back up into the mountains.  Trail Ridge Road goes all the way along the spiny ridges that separate the eastern and western sides of the park. 


IMG_2666We drove up to the first stopping point to see Pika, Chipmunks, Birds, and Marmots.  Then, we drove back to camp for naptime.  When Little Bird and I woke up, we explored the rocks and meadows near our camp, learning words, feeling the textures of our environment, and just enjoying our alone time.

It was a wonderful end to a fantastic trip.



Friday, July 22, 2011

We Interrupt Our Normal Broadcast…

For some kind of crappy news…ok, well, super crappy.

We had our 20 week ultrasound Thursday.  It didn’t go well.

Our son has what is known as hypoplastic right heart syndrome.  We are looking at a lot of testing in the near future to figure out what our exact situation is.

Our current best case scenario is that when he is born, he will be taken into his first of 3 open heart surgeries.  1 at birth, 1 at 3 months, 1 at 4-5 years.  If we are lucky, that will be it.  Some of the children with this heart defect will require a heart transplant sometime between the ages of 15-30.

I’m terrified.

I can feel him stretch, and kick, and wiggle around just like a normal fetus.  But he will not be able to survive after birth without serious interventions and a likely long stay in the NICU.

We are summoning our courage.  We will learn all we can.  We will prepare.  The road will be rough ahead, but we have to find the strength to be guides to our daughter and to our son.  We have to teach them strength and courage and love.

To my son -

We love you.  We will be your strength and comfort.  You will never be alone.  We will have you and hold you.  You may be in the hospital for a while, but you will come home.  You will grow.  You will crawl.  You will walk.  You will never play football, but let’s face it…we knew that already.  You will live a normal life with a few extra doctor visits and a few surgeries.  We will get through this.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Day 4–Bear Lake Trail, Smores, and Sunset

IMG_2557Out of respect for hygiene, we went into Estes Park to use the showers a Dad’s Laundry in town.  While there, we did some laundry to get rid of all the food smell on Little Bird’s clothing (so as to keep bears away) and did some shopping at the grocery store for take along meals.  By the time we made it back into the park and up to Bear Lake Trailhead, it was IMG_2582already lunch time!  Little Bird and I climbed onto some nice cozy rocks to eat our sandwiches.


Bear Lake is a nice easy trail to walk around.  IMG_2590


The entire lake is actually handicap accessible, and from here you can head up on a 5 mile hike to see other beautiful lakes, and even take the adventurous 11 mile hike Doc and I braved 4 years ago when we were last up here. 






I hiked the Lake, while Little Bird hiked some, but did receive a little bit of assistance from a very willing Grandpa.  We saw lots of birds, fish, and of course, chipmunks and ground squirrels.







After all that excitement, Little Bird was fully ready for a nap.





Later that evening, we made smores at the campsite.




Then it was off to see the animals that come out at sunset! (No, she didn’t really get to ride here, but the idea sure excited her!)







Saturday, July 16, 2011

Day 3–Touring the Park

IMG_2461After so much time spent traveling, Little Bird slept like a champ in the tent.  When she woke up the first morning it was “HEY GRANDMA!!!” and non-stop excitement for the kiddo.  We hiked to the bathroom to brush our teeth, wash our faces, comb our hair, and then put on our tennis shoes and hiking boots, layered clothing, and loaded up the car to visit Ranger’s Stations and take in the scenery.IMG_2474

Little Bird loved the trails.  She could run and hike on them without wondering if she was going the right way, and her Grandpa was right beside her incase of a gigantic rock where she would “need help” to “step step” over it.  The Ranger’s Stations have hands-on programs and talks for kiddos, so my sisters and cousins had a blast learning all about the geology of RMNP.

They learned about the mountains being pushed upward from merging plates, and how the Rocky Mountains were partially shaped by glaciers that have been receding.  They also learned that the Rockies are relatively young mountains, and that is part of the reason they still are so jagged along their peaks.


The late spring snows this year have made the waterways in Estes Park and in Rocky Mountain National Park fill to the brim, making the streams and rivers even more spectacular.


IMG_2483We visited Sprague Lake, a glacier formed lake.  Little Bird chased ducks and observed the trout in the Lake.  She also climbed rocks. 




Believe it or not, she climbed to the top of that rock all by herself. 

She is a mountaineer in the making….and may be getting a climbing harness for Christmas.



And after all that climbing and running, it was time to relax around a campfire and watch the beautiful sunset.

Day 2–Denver Museum of Nature and Science then onward to RMNP


Monday morning, Little Bird and I quickly packed up our overnight bag, ate a continental breakfast, and loaded up the car.  Even though we were off on an adventure in the wilderness, we decided to spend the morning in Denver to adjust to the altitude a bit before climbing into the Rockies.  One of my favorite places in Denver is the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.  This grizzly bear statue we are sitting in front of has been here for ages.  There are pictures of my dad as a small child standing next to it from his family’s vacations.

IMG_2381This museum has a little bit of everything.  There is an incredible space exhibit with a large model of earth (seen here to the right) and a hands on “Space Training Center” for small children. 


Grandma and Grandpa helped Little Bird suit up for flight!  There were flight suits for ages 2-5, moon rocks to move, ship controls to push, pull, twist, and turn, and Little Bird had a blast!







There is also a wonderful exhibit that shows with very good visual models the theories of evolution and development of creatures overtime.  Little Bird enjoyed the ocean floor exhibits but was very impressed by the many dinosaur fossils throughout the museum.  In case you were wondering, all dinosaurs say “ROAR!!!!!” and must be pointed out with exclamations of “Oh My!”


We also journeyed through the wildlife of America exhibits and looked at stuffed and staged animals from the Colorado landscape that we would be seeing on this trip (and some that would allude us).  After a very busy morning, we ate lunch at Casa Bonita, watched the water fall divers, then headed up into the mountains.



Of course, we had to stop in Loveland, CO to take a picture with a miniature statue of liberty.

In exchange, I got to make the family stop at the Dam Store to take pictures on our way up Big Thompson Canyon and into Estes Park.





Day 2 also led to us seeing Big Horn Sheep, Elk, Mule Deer, Coyotes, Chipmunks, Ground Squirrels and many beautiful birds.



We set up camp, ate beans and hotdogs, and drifted to sleep….well Little Bird did.  I worried about bear attacks for a while.  Our campsite was the furthest from the rest of the campers (and the bathroom) you could possibly sleep at.  Great for seeing wildlife, bad for pregnant women who need to use the restroom a lot.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Day 1–Drive to Denver


Sometimes, life gives you choices.  I had the choice of staying in Tulsa while my family went camping in the Rockies, or braving the 13 hour drive to Estes Park with an 18 month old and camping out while nearly 5 months pregnant without Doc, since he’d be on call and working all week.  I chose the adventure.  So last Sunday morning at 5 AM, I woke up Little Bird, told her we were off on an adventure and among tons of “WAHOOS!” and “YAYS!” drove to meet up with my parents and sisters for Day 1 of our trip, the drive from Tulsa, OK to Denver, CO.



My family has this horrible lasting tradition of stopping to take a picture of all of the children at every single miniature statue of liberty we drive past on any vacation ever.  So at some small town in Kansas, early in the morning drive, we had to jerk into the parking lot of a small park for a photo.  Did I get out of it now that I have my own kiddos? Heck no.  Little Bird enjoyed getting out of the car to run around though.  It was sad not having my brothers on this trip to share in this tradition – I’ll get you back boys….



We also stopped in Dodge City at the what used to be the World’s Largest Free Swimming Pool.  Then they added slides and now charge a dollar.  We also stopped in Garden City at the playground there to let my sisters and Little Bird play on playgrounds…but even in the early morning, Little Bird would run away from the slides and say “hot hot!” So we continued on!



IMG_2293Between Dodge City and Garden City is a historical landmark from the Santa Fe Trail.  You can see the wagon ruts that were carved into the landscape from satellite images, and if you stand up on the benches, you can almost make out the trails taken by pioneers.

While trying to find the wagon ruts was fun, looking at all of the walking sticks, odd bugs, and beautiful flowers was just as much fun for Little Bird and I. My sister managed to get two walking sticks on a limb to show them to us.  You can see the different colors.



After about 9 hours of driving, we made it to Colorado!  Kansas is pretty boring to drive through, but when you’ve done it as many times as my family has, you know how to break it up with fun activities for the kiddos…and which routes have plenty of restrooms for the preggos!

We drove into Denver after dark and stayed at the nicest La Quinta I have ever been to. Little Bird and I enjoyed our last bath for a week, snuggled up with soft pillows, and went to sleep playing the “I Love You” game, where we just say I love you back and forth until Little Bird goes to sleep.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011


I got a new camera!

I used my financial savvy to talk Doc into purchasing a really nice camera for us to use to take pictures of a high enough quality that we can have them printed on canvas and blown up to decorate our home. 

Also – I may have mentioned all the money we’d save on having professional photos of our two children over the next while…..holy hell TWO children!

So now I have the lovely new Canon Rebel – the only difference being that you can swivel the screen.

So now I have a few days to study the manual and test things out before Little Bird and Little Tree (Rowan means tree after all) join the Millington side of the Fowlington Family for a week of camping out and hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Also, on the rebel note – I painted a room in the house while Doc was at work…and didn’t tell him I was going to do it.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Going Through Clothing - Again

Nothing seems more wasteful to me than all the clothing sitting in a house no one wears.  So I decided today was a good time for a clean out.

Donated unused clothing is a great way to help someone in need and give you some simplicity to your closet.

Get rid of what you don’t wear (you’re never going to wear it…let it go) and store what you won’t wear until next season or until you have your next child.  Labeling boxes clearly and storing them where you can see the label is the best way to make sure you pull them out and use them again.

So off to the clean out for us- 

Now that we know our little expected one is a boy – bye bye all of the gender specific clothing we saved from Little Bird – it is off to Goodwill!  Hello all those outfits we bought for Little Bird that are in gender neutral colors so Rowan can wear them!  Time to air out and inventory what we have and what we need.

Now that my slowly but surely growing bump has made me no longer comfortable in some of my skimpier items or tighter clothes, hello storage for those – and welcome back my “maternity” clothing.

Now if I could just wave some magic wand so Doc didn’t actually need to change clothes 3 times a day…our wardrobe would seem so much simpler.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Love, Love, Love

Lately, I’ve just been feeling so in love

Love with my husband, a man I respect, who listens with compassion and treats me with respect and consideration regardless of how ridiculous my mood swings might be.  Who believes in his convictions and is my partner in all things.

Love with my daughter, who grows into her own little lady more and more each day – who sings when she gets to ride the tractor – wraps herself in her blanket-cape – bosses around the dog – and always asks me “you okay?” if I look down.

Love with my family – who may be crazy and high maintenance, but will always be a system of support and strength for me – where I feel safe, and will always find entertainment.

Love with our little boy – who slowly moves and stretches, reminding me he is growing and growing and through his gentle movements, tells us that he is the very compliment to our daughter - We are all excited to know you are coming Rowan -

Love with the past our little family has at together.

Love with the present – and the joy we find in each other.

Love with the future – and all of the adventures and happiness it holds.