Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Our New Addition

Adam and I brought home our new addition, Riley, last month. Our chocolate lab puppy has kept us quite busy, but we are loving him! He has also helped Adam and I get our booties back in shape considering we need to walk him about 4 times a day to get all his energy out! I am starting to run with him...but we both wear out after about a mile, our goal this summer is to be able to run a 5K....we shall see! Between the holes in our clothes, ruined shoes, nips on our hands, arms and legs...we have decided puppy school is a that begins this summer too! However, I will say that Mr. Riley has been house trained and it only took a proud! Riley is so much fun and I'm excited to spend my summer with my secretary teaching skills will be tested this summer as I attempt to train Riley...I will keep you posted!

Ok...enough about our puppy (can you tell we are obessed with him) summmer has arrived and I am looking forward to enjoying some quality down time with my family, friends and of course Riley.  It was quite a year, but it ended on a high school nominated me for Teacher of the Year at my school (which was a huge honor itself) but it didn't stop there...I was awarded the District Teacher of the Year much to my surprise! I work with so many amazing teachers, I was in total shock when my name was announced. I am truely humbled and still quite shocked! My class was so cute and so proud of me...they were the reason I decided to come back to work this winter, they were my inspiration and such a great group of kiddos!

So life is starting to give us more ups than downs and Adam and I are continuing to find peace in knowing that our angel is watching over us and blessing us each day! This summer we are looking forward to traveling to see our family and friends who have given us so much love and suporrt this year!

As always, we thank you for your continued thoughts, prayers and support! Riley needs a I guess that's all for now!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hello Spring

It's been awhile since our last post...we are not very exciting these days. The change of seasons and warm sunny weather could not have come soon enough! Springtime has arrived and we are slowly learning what has become our new "normal". Adam and I continue to move forward each day while continuing to grieve the loss of our baby girl. I have started to run again which is a great way for me to relieve stress and it also helps me think through everything that has happened this past year. Along with running and sunny days, my amazing friends and family have helped me realize that life is full of up and downs, some harder than others but most importantly that Olivia was a true blessing and she will forever be apart of our life.

We continue to be touched by everyone's generosity to Olivia's memorial and by your continued support and love. Olivia's memorial fund will be used to help other grieving parents remember their loved ones as well as provide a comforting place for them to spend with their child. I am proud that Olivia's memory and spirit will continue to help others during a very emotional time.

On another note, we are looking forward to getting a puppy this summer. I have always wanted a chocolate lab and Adam finally gave in:) Our puppy was born in March and we are looking forward to meeting our new puppy soon!  We haven't decided on a gender or name yet, but hope to be able to take our puppy home sometime in May.

Thank you for all your continued love, support and prayers! Happy spring!!!!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Visit to Riley

 A lot of people have been asking Adam and I how we are doing, if we are holding up okay and if we need anything. To be honest, we continue to take it day by day. Some days are better than others and we know we are fortunate to have such a supportive group of friends and family. We thank all of you who have emailed, sent cards, and made donations in honor of Olivia, we continue to be amazed by all of the support.

Today we had a good day, we decided to visit Olivia's friend, Graham, at Riley Hospital. Graham was born the day after Olivia and we became friends with his family during our time there. Adam and I have been following Graham's story through their blog and he has had quite the challenging month. He has amazing parents, Katie and Bill, along with a very supportive group of friends and family. was great to see them today and to see Graham again, he is hanging in there! He's such a little fighter and we know our angel Olivia is watching over her friend and giving him the strength he needs at this time. Please keep Graham and his family in your prayers.

I head back to work's been a tough couple months at home and I think the best medicine for me at this time is to head back to work. The kids always bring a smile to my face and their parents have been truely amazing to Adam and I during this time. My coworkers are also extremely supportive, I'm so blessed to work in such a great environment.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Olivia's Memorial Service

We are sorry that it has been a little while since our last post (hopefully, you are all still checking in on occasion), but we wanted to make sure that we had all of the information regarding Olivia's memorial service available before we posted anything.

We will be having a memorial service for Olivia at Our Lady of Mount Carmel (14596 Oak Ridge Road, Carmel, IN) this Saturday, January 9th, at 12 noon (Eastern Time).  A visitation will be held in the church from 11-12 before the memorial begins at noon.

Also, many of you have asked if you can do anything to help us honor Olivia.  We have decided to donate to the Riley Hospital for Children.  If you would like to make a donation as well, please do so to the Riley Children's Foundation and fill out the memo line to read NICU Family Support - Olivia Burns.  Checks can be mailed to:

Riley Hospital for Children
Attn: Susan Sears
Section of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine
699 West Drive, RR 208
Indianapolis, IN 46202-5119

If you would prefer to make your donation online, please refer to the following website:

The gift is to benefit "Riley Children's Foundation", In memory of Olivia Burns.  We also request that under Additional Comments you add "In Memory of Olivia Burns to support the Riley NICU Family Support Program Memory Boxes".

We continue to thank you for all your support!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Father's Story

It wasn't that long ago that Jodi and I woke up to go to the hospital for the birth of Olivia.  It was snowing that morning, not the kind of snow that shuts down airports or makes you stock up on bottled water and batteries, but the kind of snow that reminds you of childhood.  Waking up and hoping school would be cancelled so that you could sled down the hills behind your house, putting on your gloves and boots for the first time, or that magical snow on Christmas morning.   I woke up this morning to that same snow and realized that for the rest of my life that first magical snow of the year will always remind me of my sweet little girl.

In the months leading up to Olivia's birth, many of my friends who were fathers said, "This is going to change your life.  Nothing will ever be the same."  One even said, "I know what you are thinking, everyone keeps telling you that your life is going to change, but you don't think it is going to change that much.  Well, I used to think the same thing, and life does change THAT much."  I smiled and said, "Yeah, that is what everyone has said."  Not thinking that life would really change that much.  Well, they were all right.  My life will never be the same.  Having a girl didn't help matters.  Of course I have no frame of reference by having a son, but it only took a matter of seconds to realize that Olivia had me wrapped around her little finger.  There are even some photos to prove it.

The first few days in the NICU were a little bit of a blur.  Olivia was transferred so quickly, and the first surgery came so soon, that I hardly had time to think about what was going on.  I was thankful that the hospital relaxed their visitor policy that first day so that my mom could come back to the NICU with me or else I would have been a complete wreck.  But as soon as Jodi came in the door, my mom had to leave.  Jodi still required a lot of rest, so most of the first few days I was alone with Olivia.  The nurses kept me sane, explaining all of the devices, tests, and people.  Being an engineer, I found some small solice in the numbers.

The numbers didn't change that much over the course of the next few days.  That was a small gift in itself from Olivia.  It got me to stop focusing on the machines and start focusing more on my baby girl.  I began to appreciate the small things.  The way she would squirm just a little when you rubbed her back, the way she would grab on to our fingers when we touched her hands, and the ticklish spot she had on the right side of her belly.  See Olivia gave me memories in those 9 1/2 days that I will be able to hold on to for the rest of my life.

I would sit by her bed and allow myself to dream about what a remarkable little girl we had.  All of the surgeries and procedures Olivia went through only to keep squirming when we touched her back, grab our fingers, and shake just a little when we tickled her stomach.  Olivia kept surprising us every day, and kept us dreaming.  Jodi and I go back and look at the support we received from our families and friends, and realize that there were a lot of people out there dreaming for Olivia too.

Olivia was surrounded with love.  Jodi and I know that.  Her family and friends from afar sent her love and prayers constantly. Jodi and I thank you for that.  The outpouring we were shown is a testament to the love that Olivia had.  We thank you all for your support and generosity, and hope that you too can continue to dream with us for Olivia. We know that there is a special little angel now, looking out for all of us.

As I finish writing this post (it has taken me most of the day), I look out the window and I can see that it is snowing.  That means I get to dream of my sweet Olivia, again.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Thank You

I'm not sure how I am supposed to begin this post except to say thank you. Thank you to our family, our friends, our doctors, our amazing nurses, and most importantly thank you Olivia!

My baby girl is now in heaven and I was so fortunate to be her mommy. Adam and I have been blessed to have Olivia Elizabeth in our life for 9 1/2 days! She went to heaven at 8:44pm Wednesday night. Although it was not easy to let her go, Adam and I both knew it was the right decision and we thank Olivia for that.

Even though our story has not been what we hoped or dreamed for our baby girl, it has been an honor to know and love her. Olivia taught me so much in the short time I had with her and I know her daddy feels the same way. Olivia taught me what it means to love so much it hurts, to be patient, more caring and hopefully become a better person. In short, she is and always will be my miracle.

Adam and I know that Olivia will continue to bless her mommy and daddy along with all of you who have loved her and followed her story. We thank you for your continued love, support and prayers. I know Olivia has touched many lives and will continue to live on in all of us.

A lot of people have been asking how they can help honor Olivia and if we will have a memorial or service. To be honest, Adam and I are unsure what our plans are, but we know Olivia will continue to guide us in the right direction during this difficult time. As soon as we know what feels right, we will let you know. For now, enjoy pictures of our beautiful angel Olivia and remember to take time to slow down and love your families this holiday season.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Day of Firsts

Friday was a day of firsts for Olivia and her family. We already knew that obviously Olivia would be our first child and my parents' first grandchild, but there were more firsts on Friday as well.

Adam got to change his first diaper! YOu may ask yourself..."Self, how would Adam get to be almost 32 years old and never change a diaper?" Well the answer is very simple, planning ahead. In the past if I have been in a room with a baby that has just eaten, I leave. If I smell gas in a room, and know for a fact it wasn't me, I leave. If someone asks, "Adam do you want to change the diaper?", I leave. See, a very simple strategy. Well that worked for me until Friday night.

The nurse tending to Olivia found out that I had never changed a diaper, so she was bound and determined to make sure that I would before the end of the day. After some routine tests, it was time to change the diaper, and I had no escape route. So I pleasantly changed a diaper that wasn't even soiled, but I did it.

It was a little tricky navigating all of the extra wires and tubes, and I only made one mistake. I accidentally pulled out the catheter. The wire had been taped down when I started, and came unstuck by the time these fat fingers were done. The result, Olivia's first bikini wax!

This week Olivia also got her first haircut. It was not exactly even, but it did the trick for her surgery. And in taking after her father, Olivia has a little bit of hair on her earlobes. Sorry to April and Rebecca, but she got her first ear rub from her daddy.

(We do have pictures of all of the above, but have not had the computer and the camera in the same room long enough to get them downloaded.)

Jodi and I appreciate the following from everyone on our family's status. Olivia loves the attention and appreciates all of the support. It would be remiss if I did not give you a quick update as well. This weekend has been a challenge for Olivia. In addition to the spina bifida and hydrocephalous, Olivia has had some problems with regulating fluids and establishing a stable breathing rhythm. The doctors have said that this could be a permanent condition or a side effect of a week full of surgeries. We pray that it is the latter.

Jodi and I have been extemely appreciative of the calls, emails, and texts. We are sorry that we cannot respond to you all individually, but are spending as much time as possible with Olivia. We continue to ask for your prayers.