Monday, July 30, 2012

Happy 6th Birthday Paige!

Paige is our strong willed child, and we are so grateful for it.  Sometimes when Paige and I are butting heads I have to remind myself that I am thankful for that desire in her to fight and push the limits.  Without that natural desire to fight she wouldn't be with us today.

Alexandria Paige Wiggins
July 30th, 2006
8lbs 9oz 20 inches long

Paige's delivery was hard and complicated... I will try to make this short as short as I possibly can.  Paige suffered an Hypoxic-Ischemic Brain Injury at delivery, her apgar scores were 2/6.  She also suffered from Erb's Palsy and was born with a Sacrococcygeal teratoma.  Very, very scary and stressful time for Craig, myself and our family.  Within 24 hours of deliver she was transferred from Trident Medical Center to MUSC Children's Hospital where she spent the next three weeks in the level three NICU showing us how strong willed she already was.

The day we were given Paige's diagnosis was a very emotional day, I was nursing Paige in a rocker in front of her incubator, something I wasn't able to do until she was about 15 days old.  Craig was there and we were very cozy behind the folding screens they put up for privacy.  Her team of Dr.'s approached us and said that we could stay on the floor if we liked since I was nursing, that normally we would go discuss these types of things in a conference room.  The Doctors told us that basically Paige would never be "normal (what ever normal is), she would most likely suffer from Cerebral Palsy, physical and mental handicaps".   The seizures, MRI & MRS results, clonis and hypertonia all indicated a serious brain injury caused most likely during delivery.  They did tell us that babies brains are amazing wonders, that they are super resilient, we held on to these statements for the next two years.  We asked questions, they answered and then they left.   We sat there starring at each other full of worry, and scared beyond belief.  God was with us and we soon realized that, when on the other side of the NICU, just three feet away, behind another set of folding screens we heard the anguished cries of a Mom and family as their baby was taken off life support and passed.  God wrapped his arms around us and at that point, we decided we were blessed to have Paige in our lives ALIVE no matter what the Dr's said she would or wouldn't be as she grew. 

Paige looked very peaceful just hours after deliver, but was already suffering from serious seizures at this point I didn't know what was going on.

She was so big.. 8lbs and 9oz... just two ounces shy of being 2lbs bigger than her older sister, Reese.

This is her ready for transport from Trident Medical Center down to MUSC Children's hospital.  They brought her to my room and took a picture a Polaroid picture of her for me.  I remember doing this all by myself and calling my Mom bawling.. Craig had gone home to shower and see Reese for a bit.  She was pretty content.

this is how we found her at MUSC... bloated, fully intubated and her brain would not stop seizing.  Was very, very upsetting.  She looked terrible, not at peace and it was heartbreaking.

after a couple of days on Topomax she was a bit better and didn't look so bloated

I think this is right before she went for surgery to have her her tumor removed.

a few days later finally able to hold her

off oxygen, still had a feeding tube.. awake and adorable.

My sister, Kelly (14 at the time) was visiting us for the summer, I don't want to speak too much on her behalf but I know this was one of the hardest things she had to witness and go through. The day before she flew back to CA I was finally able to get her to hold Paige. 

just a few days before we took her home.. we were down to just a PIC line.. here she is all snuggled.  It was always hard to go home at the end of a long day in the NICU but when we go to this point it was a lot easier knowing she was at least healthy.  Craig would go into the NICU really really early like 3-4 am and he would find the nurses snuggling on Paige.. though she was one of the sickest babies they had at birth she was by far the largest.  It amazes me the strength and devotion those neonatal nurses and doctors have.  Without them... well we had them, that is all that is important.

She has still gone through so much in her short 6 years, withdrawal from phenobarbital, high risk clinic visits, a lot of physical therapy, occupational therapy, oral aphagia therapy, SPEECH therapy, three surgeries, a handful of MRI's, allergy testing, annual hearing tests, finally done with semi annual blood draws.. more than most adults have to go through. Thanks to amazing providers, teachers, family and friends, Paige today is "normal." She will continue speech therapy at school and will work through her Apraxia for years to come, and that is about it. She is smart, energetic, flexible, funny and frustrating. LOL. We do love her so much, and I can't wait to see what kind of young lady she grows into. 

Happy Birthday Paige Poo!!!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Frankfurt Friday Four

Here are Four random picutres of Frankfurt for your Friday enjoyment..

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thursday Three - Taylor Reese

It is hard for be to believe that this little girl will be 8 in September. 
I love her personality and her smile
.  For the next three weeks I am going to share my three favorite pictures of each of my Three Hands Full girlies that I have taken so far here in Germany. 
Reese LOVES schnitzel!  We are in Rudesheim eating lunch.

the door is at the entrance of the Ubahn at the Eschenheimer Tor station.

waiting for ice cream on one of our many quick trips down to the Romer.

next week Paige :)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Paige and Reese

This is an adorable video from November of 2006 of Reese and Paige laughing at each other.. We were so happy to have Paige developing normally and it was such a relaxed time finally in our household.. This video will make you grin for sure. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Rudesheim June 30th

Back on Saturday, June 30th we went to Rudesheim, Germany with the Shields family. The Shields family have been our unofficial sponsor family.  Our actual sponsors are fantastic, they just don't have children yet so the Shields stepped in to provide loads of info and FAMILY support.  They have been great to us. Leslie has really  made me feel welcome and I know we will become good friends over the next few years. They have 4 adorable children, that have been super sweet to the girls.

  Rudesheim is on the sunny side of the Rhine. Surrounded by the best wine growing areas of fine Rheingau Riesling wine, Rüdesheim lies on the romantic river current and proves on sight why the town belongs to the most well known spots on the Rhine.  I am hoping that we can go back with out the children to partake in all of the wine tours.

on our way to Rudesheim, an adorable town on the Rhein river.

yummy grape vines

 Eagle Tower, a late Gothic tower that is part of the former city fortification and was built in the 15th Century

retro add for the cable cars

I loved the stone wall on the edge of town, you can't really tell that this was a steep little hill.

Craig and the girls in the heart of Rudesheim

I somehow manage to snap a picture of this cute street with out anyone on it

on our way up to the Niederwald monument

our family

Goodbye!  We will be back..

Monday, July 16, 2012

Craig's Birthday continues...

Craig decided he wanted to go downtown to the Romer and try an Italian restaurant a friend had suggested and it was YUMMY...

Reese relaxing.. We are slowly adjusting to the European dining experience.  It is  SLOW, RELAXED time at meal time.  

Paige liked sitting and watching the people around us.

This was seconds before Claire broke this water glass... Yup, "Bruiser" is in action at all times.

HANDSOME BIRTHDAY BOY himself.. oh, how old?.. 36.

I have short arms, well I also have short legs but that wasn't my point.  My short arms make it really hard to take a picture of the two of us.  My German still stinks so I am going to even attempt to ask someone to take it.

Craig's Birthday...

Craig's birthday was back on June 29th.  The girls and I had a few things up our sleeve.  Here are some pictures of what we did.. :)

The girls love to help out in the kitchen.. it was very interesting because I don't have any of my actual  kitchen supplies so we made the best of the welcome kit that the CSA (Community Support Association) provides to the Consulate families.

Reese starting the cake.

Paige mixing in the eggs.

Rewe (pronounced Reve) gluten free chocolate flake cake... Was very good!

I think this was a first for Claire, it was actually fun having her in the kitchen.   She really helped out, she took her time stirring in the chocolate flakes.  I was really impressed with her patience.

When we went to IKEA earlier in the week I was able to buy some construction paper, markers and ribbon all with the plan of making a banner with the girls for Craig.

This was one of the best Three HandsFull activities to date.. all three girls really got into making this banner for their Daddy.. I drew each letter out  then each girl picked out the letters they wanted to color.  It was so much fun.  Looking back I am still amazed at how easy it was and how much they each enjoyed it.. no more screaming toddlers but three growing little girls.  I get excited about the crafting projects we will be able to do TOGETHER now that they are ALL getting a bit older. 

Craig loved his special handmade cards from each of the girls.

These girls ADORE their Daddy.

I am pretty sure the feeling is mutual.

to be continued.....

Sunday, July 15, 2012

First Frankfurt Four....

WOW, we have been in Frankfurt for FOUR weeks already... Time is flying by.  The girls are adjusting very well.  I think Craig and I are adjusting about the same.  It definitely took us longer to adjust to the time change and the very LONG days...

Most of you know that the process and journey for our family to finally get to Germany was long, stressful and an extreme emotional roller coaster.  Thanks to some amazing friends and a great family we made it.  With out all the support and kind words of faith and encouragement I know I wouldn't have made it for sure.  I would have been pleading with Craig to call the monitor and ask for something stateside.  With all that said, Germany is going to be worth it for sure.  It is amazing here.  I truly hope that you all will make an effort to accept our OPEN invitation to come and visit.  Our place is HUGE and with 5 bedrooms we have plenty of space.  I will eventually post pictures of our home/apartment/flat once our household goods arrive.  Hopefully in the next two weeks.  The truck arrival is much later... predicted for the middle of SEPTEMBER.  Please hurry up, we need our independence.

Wiggins Family in Rudesheim, Germany.

I have so much to share about our first four weeks here and I have no idea where to begin... I think I will just back through my camera and slowly post pictures of our adventure so far.. I will try to post them in order.  I need to get the big comp hooked up, working on this mini laptop is problematic.  I am attempting to get back into blogging, seems the best way to share our adventures.

Oh and since the title of the post is first Frankfurt Four..  I had and idea to post 4 things I have learned so far..

1.  Germans really do love their beer, even at 0700 on a Sunday morning.. they drink it ALL the time.

2.  My THREE hands full girlies are 1hand full more than the normal German family, so I get lots of looks here in the city.

3.  I only seem to have Euros now, never US dollars.  It is so strange to hand someone a 10 Euro bill/note to pay for something that is 2 Euros and get all CHANGE (coins) back... they only have 5 Euro/notes.  My wallet weighs a lot with all the 1 and 2 Euro coins.

4.  I will have great legs and a nice butt soon.. with all the walking and my three flights of stairs to get to my house.. :)