Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Newborn Photos

Here are some of my favorites from our session...

Mona Lisa Photography

Sunday, October 28, 2012

One Month Old!

I just have to say this-this month FLEW. I've seen moms write this before, but never, ever understood how fast time could go. I feel like we just left the hospital yesterday. I just can't believe it.

Today Ellie and I went to the Dr. for her one month well check. B is back to work so we were flying solo. I made sure we had plenty of time to get ready this morning, and also scheduled her appointment for a time were she was to be napping. Fully belly. Clean diaper, sleepy girl-it worked out very well. I brought her in her car seat and snapped it into our Maclaren easy traveller stroller  She was an angel for the Dr. and the Dr. agrees that she is a perfect baby.

She is now 9lbs 3oz, up from 7lb 8oz at birth and 7lb4oz at her two week check. She has grown to 21 3/4 inches. She is right around the 50th percentile for both height and weight. I kind of have to laugh because we really thought she'd be a big baby. I'm so glad she's growing and is considered "normal". It really is so fulfilling to know I have a healthy, growing baby!

We are just starting to move out of the newborn clothes. They still fit her around, but the sleepers and onesies are just too short. We've also moved into size one diapers. She's still too small for most of our cloth diapers, but we are making use of the prefolds/covers. I haven't been keeping up with the laundry like I should be, so we're using them about two days a week.

Eloise at One Month:

Weight: 9lbs 3oz
Height: 21.75 inches
Head:   14.29 inches
Diaper size-using up the newborns but mostly size 1 and newborn GMD Prefolds
Clothing Size-just moving out of newborn
Milestones: lots of kicking movements, strong grasp and good eye contact. Lifting head well. Sleeping about 4-6 hours a night and feeding every three hours during the day.
Events to Remember: 10/6/12-Auntie J's 30th birthday was your first trip to San Francisco.
                                     10/21/12-First bottle of mommy's milk fed by Grandma (you took it but were very

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Moms on Call

I'm not sure where I very first heard of the Moms on Call program--several bloggers have raved about it. I finally looked into the program and saw that you should/could start at 2 weeks old.

Eloise at two weeks. Photo by Mona Lisa Photography

For the first two weeks, E was sleeping ok. Some nights for four hours in a row, and some nights waking every hour, on the hour to feed. There was one night where I did feel at my wits end with her. She was so fussy and wanted to feed but was hysterical at the breast and I knew there was just nothing left in there for her. It was rough, but it was just one night. But it made me think to look into the program.

I started out watching their youtube videos, and reading information on blogs and other websites. I wanted to make sure this was something I would follow through and do. Something I believed would work. I was convinced and a few days later I purchased the Moms on Call online seminar. It is a very comprehensive program-and has you schedule your entire day and night, promoting good sleeping and eating habits. They, and the bloggers I've read, advocate that you must follow the program to the T in order for it to work. I was so hesitant. I did not want to let my baby cry at all and also did not want her in her own room. I'd been so paranoid since she was born that she would stop breathing, or spit up and choke. I couldn't imagine not having her bedside.

We finally bought a video monitor and were willing to give it a try. I will admit it has not been easy on me, or B. We felt really guilty for putting our 14 day old, precious baby on a "schedule". I wrestled with it for the first two days, even though it was clearly working. No more waking up every hour at night. She was napping very soundly during the day, and also very alert during the designated "awake" time.

But my mommy heart just felt bad. I wanted to be holding her all day. I wanted to rush to her side at night and feed her. Moms on call says to let them "cry it out" for 3-5 minutes. And those few minutes just felt like an eternity. B could barely stand it, which did not help me at all as I already felt so guilty. But, it worked. She stopped crying on several occasions and put herself back to sleep.

Now that it's been a week, I am feeling much better about it. I do hold her for a nap or two a day to get my snuggle fix in, but when she's in her own room sleeping peacefully for two hours, I am actually able to get things done. I don't feel like I'm just watching the days go by. We've also been able to go to lunch, run to home depot, etc during her nap times because we know she will sleep. (Now that it's been two weeks on the program-I highly recommend it and recommend the monitor we bought-it's been a lifesaver for me).

As for night time, she's improving but still not sleeping through the night. We are getting 5-6 hour stretches which is awesome. I want to buy their book soon to get even more information since I really like their style. I even got some tweets back and forth with Laura, one of the two pediatric nurses who started the program and wrote the book.

I can tell that some of my friends who are veteran moms are skeptical of this program and probably find it humorous, since it's pretty typical of my personality to think I can schedule my baby. But when I got together with the girls last night, and casually mentioned she'd slept 6 hours the night before, and then gone back down for 3, I could tell they couldn't believe it. B has come around and admits it must be good for her because she is getting really good sleep and so are we.

Mona Lisa Photography

I'm not sure how we will have to adjust once both B and I are back at work, but we will cross that bridge when we come to it. Now, I have to get to work on introducing a bottle to my baby so that I can leave for work in a couple weeks. Again, my mommy heart is so conflicted and sad. I don't want her to be bottle fed. I never, ever thought I would be so sensitive and hard on myself, but all I want is to be with her and not have to worry about real life. Thank goodness E is such a good baby, she hasn't added any degree of conflict, just me.

I started writing this post a week ago, and am just now finishing. E is still doing great on her schedule. We are able to tweak it here and there and she is pretty cooperative. Still not sleeping through the night at 4 weeks, but almost there! I'll update as we progress!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Birth Story Continued

There I was, with my little baby girl in my arms, skin to skin on my chest. My OB asked for her name and we told her and she squealed. We'd really managed to keep it a secret!

B began texting everyone and called my parents who were still at our house, 40 minutes away. They could not believe it and were not prepared to drive out so soon. My mom had been a little sad that I didn't want her in the room for the birth. It wasn't that I didn't want her, it was more that I just wanted it to be B and me. She totally understood, as she had wanted and had the same thing with both me and my brother. But she couldn't help but want to be there. So when we called at 7:15 and said, "she's here!" my mom said she couldn't get to the hospital fast enough!

Side note-I'd seen other blogs say to make a call/text list and bring it to the hospital. We did not do that and I regret it. B sent out the majority of the texts, but didn't have everyone's number. I only texted my far away friends. We forgot a couple people and definitely hurt some feelings. Of course they understood that we were not exactly thinking clearly, but especially since SO many of our friends were very much there for us during this pregnancy, we felt so bad that we didn't think to let them know our girl was here safe and sound first thing.

They weighed my girl and I couldn't believe how tiny she was. 7lbs 8oz and 19 inches long. I was shocked. But I had to smile and tell my mom, " I got my 7 pound baby!". I'd said for a few weeks that I'd hoped she was a nice, normal 7lbs. I was over 10 pounds myself so my mom was amused at how excited I was. She replied, "Amy you just got everything you wanted. I can't believe you went into labor on your own".

I was having a hard time believing it myself. I had pretty much given up hope of laboring on my own.

The night before my parents had arrived and we'd gone out to dinner. I was not in the best mood. My parents always get so annoyed with me when I get like this, but I'd warned them before they arrived that I was super emotional and still frustrated with being induced- and did not need a pep talk from them or a reminder that I can't control everything. They were pretty good about it and just tried to keep my spirits up. We watched TV until about 11, I painted my nails with my mom and had gone to bed feeling better. As I crawled into bed that night, I talked to my Grams. I told her I wished she was here and also said, "help me out Grams". I suppose I still had some hope left...
Last Pregnant picture taken 9/21. We went and saw "Trouble with the Curve" that night-might be our last movie for a while!

Ellie instantly snoozed on my chest and my Dr. was still down there cleaning me up. She told me I had a really small tear that she needed to stitch. Despite my total elation, I was still feeling quite a bit of pain and my Dr. could see it in my face. I said, "isn't it supposed to stop hurting?" I was still having pretty bad cramps. She massaged my belly a little and I felt the placenta pass. It was a lot more painful and a lot larger than I'd anticipated. She told me everything looked great and got to stitching. The nurse mentioned my Dr. was the best "seamstress" of all the OBs--good to know!

That part didn't hurt a bit as she numbed me up before she got to sewing. At that point E took to my breast and I was so relieved. Her suckling wasn't very strong but it was nice to know we had made the first step towards breastfeeding.

I'm not sure how much time passed, but we were then sent to another room. I met my post partum nurse and she wheeled me into a room that was already occupied. My eyes got wide-I'd never even thought about the chance of having a roommate. I tried not to pitch a fit as she clunked me past this girl's personal items and showed me my bed. It was the smallest area ever and I was so uncomfortable. The nurse apologized and said they were very full. My OB said she would see what she could do. She kept telling the nurses, "this is my very special patient" I was so happy she was the one to deliver Eloise. My specialists were actually the ones who were very in tune with this pregnancy, but my regular OB has been with me for 7 years and she knew what this baby meant to us. Love her.

My parents and B's parents and Grandma arrived and visited for a couple hours. B left with them to get lunch and E and I drifted off to sleep. They told me not to sleep with her on my chest, but it happened anyway and it was heaven.

The charge nurse came in to introduce herself. She finished her talk with, "is there anything you need?" I looked at her with my best puppy dog eyes and said, "is every bed full? Any chance of my own room?" she didn't give me much hope but said she'd put me on "the list".

My nurse came in with my lunch and once my tray was cleared another nurse came in and said, "is now a good time to move you to your own room?" I could have kissed her.

I felt so good, I popped right out of bed and we gathered my things. I was so thrilled and felt so special. I don't know if it was my Ob's influence or my begging or some combo-but I don't care-there's no way I would have been comfortable in such tight quarters. Luckily I had come prepared with homemade pumpkin chocolate chip muffins to give to my nurses. I handed her the basket and she seemed so surprised. My Grams had always told me you bring homemade treats when you're in the hospital. I'd never done it until now. It worked out perfectly as I knew I'd be there on Monday, and all the nurses seemed very grateful. Several asked me when on earth I'd baked them. Most of them didn't realize I was scheduled to be there. So I just accepted the compliments and was glad they liked them.

We had several visitors that afternoon and evening. E was awesome. So quiet and nursing like a champ. Her latch wasn't perfect, but she was getting something so I was willing to endure the pinch. My nurses helped and by nighttime she was doing a lot better. I developed a couple teeny blisters that looked like blood blisters on my nipples. My nurse told me to rub my own breast milk on them and also use the nipple cream. It helped....but I was still wincing a little bit with each latch. (by day 3-4 that was a thing of the past). Overall I felt amazing. I had zero soreness "down there" and was up walking around and enjoying our visitors. I thought for sure I would feel swollen and tender, but I never did. My recovery this time was so much easier than my recover with Bremy. It's still hard for me to believe that, but I'll take it!

Despite my own room there was no where for B to sleep. I sent him home which was something we didn't anticipate, but I just felt like I wouldn't relax watching him try to sleep in a chair. So it was just me and E for the night. I was extremely glad that the stand-in NFL Referees blew the call in the Green Bay Seattle game-because not only did I get a healthy beautiful daughter that day--but I also won our football pool! I think the nurses were very confused at my interest in the game. But hey, mama's making money over here!

I hardly slept a wink that night. The nurses came in every couple hours and I was instructed to wake up E to feed at those times. She was sleeping so peacefully, but they said it was important for my supply and for her health as she was likely to skip meals to sleep. This was something I hadn't read about and didn't know, so I was thankful for their guidance. They were all very "pro" breastfeeding and really helpful which made it easier.

Soon the sun came up. The nurses asked if I'd want to stay another night. I didn't, but I also didn't want to rush to leave at 11am (the discharge time) so I asked for a "late check out" and took my time before B and my parents arrived. I got a shower in, met the pediatrician who said E was "perfect", managed to put some makeup on and straighten my hair and get dressed into real clothes. I'm so glad I brought my hair dryer and lots of toiletries. It definitely made me feel human.

E passed her hearing test and got her pictures taken. By then my family was there, I ate lunch and then we started packing up my room.

Around 230, it was time to leave! I had anticipated being wheeled out in a wheelchair-but that didn't happen. We just walked out-and the nurse carried my baby? I was caught off guard but it all happened so quick and my nurse was kind of hard to understand, so I didn't ask a lot of questions. I'm so glad my parents were there because they made sure we got lots of leaving the hospital pictures!

Despite feeling like a car seat pro, I had a lot of trouble getting E in the car seat. I had it set way too small/tight and completely forgot how to adjust it in the moment. It was super hot out which added to my confusion and frustration. My dad helped me while B held E in the a/c and my mom took pictures. We finally got it together and we were on the road.

It was just me, E and B in our car and as we pulled out of the hospital parking lot, B reached his hand back for me to hold and said, "We finally have everything we wanted, but I can't help but think of Bremy" I was having the exact same thought and burst into tears for the first time since E was born. He seemed startled by my insta-tears and tried to calm me down. I looked down at E and felt such intense emotions. I'd been to the hospital twice weekly for testing, my specialists office was across the street--I'd driven out of this neighborhood many, many times-but suddenly it was like we were leaving without Bremy all over again. Luckily, my sadness dissipated by the time we hit the first stop light. E was sleeping so peacefully and even though that hole in my heart was still there, my heart was more full than it had ever, ever been. I put my chin down on her car seat and tried not to blink. I just could not take my eyes off of our precious girl.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dear Eloise,

Dear Eloise,

At this moment you are laying on your tummy on the left side of my chest. I can hear your little breaths and every so often your tiny hands tug at my neck and melt my heart. When you are in this cozy position the top of your head gets covered in kisses and my nose seems to find your head every few minutes. Your smell is intoxicating and I can only take it in with eyes closed.

With the exception of two fussy days (where you didn't go poo) you have been such an easy going baby. No one can get enough of you and I don't think you've been anywhere but someone's arms for 90% of your life. But when we do put you down you are still happy as can be.

You are feeding well, sometimes too often for mama to keep up! Now that you are two weeks old we're going to put you on more of a schedule, so we will see how that works out. 

Last weekend was a busy one for you. We went to San Francisco to celebrate your Auntie J's 30th birthday. I was so nervous to take you anywhere so early. We went early to visit and left as soon as the party started. Mommy and Daddy were both unable to relax with you there, even though you slept the entire time and were on your best behavior. You are still so little! 

The next morning we had your first photo shoot. We were lucky enough to meet this photographer at a party and we just love her. Seeing her with you was magic. She was so good with you and you cooperated really well! The pictures look amazing. I was trying to hide my emotions at the shoot, I was just so overwhelmed with happiness. It still feels unreal. I can't' believe you are mine. Ours. 

After our shoot we went to your Nana's for a small family gathering with your Daddy's side of the family. It was very relaxed and you slept the entire time. We took lots of pictures and headed home to watch football just the three of us. We were surprised to have Daddy's best friend and wife come visit and watch with us. They are our great friends so we just completely lounged with them and ordered some pizza that night. It was lovely. 

You are still such a sleepy girl, but I love when you open your eyes and "dance" for us. You wiggle your arms and legs and coo a little bit and I can't take my eyes off of you. I just can't get enough of everything you do. 

Daddy loves you so much and has been home with us since you were born. He loves to hold you, sing to you and yesterday, as I came out from a shower and getting dressed I caught him dancing for you as you stared at him in your bouncy seat. He was making breakfast and apparently keeping you very entertained. Talk about melting my heart! 

Ellie, you are so wanted and so loved and so many are so happy you are here. I hope you continue to be a happy, healthy little girl. I hardly remember how we lived without you. 

All my love, 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Eloise's Birth Story

I lit up my phone to check the time. 4:08am. I nestled back into bed, thinking-ok two more hours til I have to get up to prepare to be induced. I had big plans of hair and makeup, lotion, shave and some pictures before we took off for the hospital. While I really didn't want to be induced, I was going to take advantage of the perks of knowing when my baby would be born.

As I found a comfortable position to sleep away the next two hours, I heard a pop. I froze. Was that my hip popping, or had my water broken? I got up and felt some fluid. Not a lot, but enough to hurry to the toilet. I took a deep breath and almost instantly felt a very sharp pain.

I could hear my mom had woken up and was letting her dog out (my parents were staying with us in anticipation of the induction), so I made my way to the family room where I felt another sharp pain. We both smiled--this is happening! I thought I had plenty of time, but the pain was pretty bad, so I got into the shower. I started timing the contractions on my phone. The shower really helped ease the pain-but the contractions were coming pretty quick and seemed to be picking up.

As I attempted to do my makeup, I saw that they were almost three minutes apart. I opened the bathroom door and woke up B. "It's happening. We have to go!" I told him. He popped out of bed SO quick and practically put his shoes on. I told him I thought he had time to take a shower.

Once he was out I was in severe pain. Moaning and groaning a lot. Contractions were now less than three minutes apart and  I wondered if we'd make it to the hospital.

I kept avoiding getting into the car. B had it running and had grabbed some water. Everything else was already packed and ready in the car thank goodness. I reluctantly climbed in, placing a folded beach towel over my seat--I had a feeling more fluid was coming (and I would be right).

At this point it was after 6am and we had a 40 minute ride to the hospital. We had moved at the beginning of my pregnancy but I wanted to continue seeing me Dr. and also wanted to deliver at the hospital with the best NICU available. By the time I made it to full term I didn't want to deal with switching.

At this moment I was regretting that decision. I was dreading this car ride and had no idea how I'd make it through.

B drove like a crazy person, and in between contractions I almost laughed thinking about the post I'd written in tears on Saturday night. I'd wanted this car ride. I'd wanted these feelings. Despite the pain, I kept saying out loud "this is a good thing". I quickly instructed B not to say one word. I've never liked being "encouraged" when struggling with something. I don't like being cheered on. I turned the radio completely off and the air conditioner all the way up. I almost broke the handle above the door I was pulling it so hard. I kept banging on the floorboards, the center console. They were so close. Almost two minutes now. The "relief" was hard to come by at this point.

Once on the freeway I rolled down the window. You know when people smack themselves in the face to avoid some other source of pain? This was my version.  The shock of the cool hard air distracted me just enough. I could barely breath and the forced air felt good. I'd roll it up and look at B. He just stared straight ahead with such focus.

Finally at the hospital, I insisted on parking and walking. Getting out of the car felt glorious. I moaned and groaned all the way down the hall, no one paying me much attention. Once at the labor and delivery desk ( I had manged to call and tell them I was coming and would NOT need my induction) I could not even give the nurse my name. They very quickly got me in a room.

I immediately didn't like my nurse. She seemed alarmed at my level of hysteria and was moving fast. All I wanted to do was sit on the toilet-so I did. She brought me a gown as I rocked back and forth, honestly wanting to pull out my hair. She asked me a bunch of questions and I shouted the answers back very quickly. She had the worst coffee breath and I wanted to tell her. Somehow I resisted.

 I was still about two minutes apart. She asked me to sit in the bed where she checked me and told me I was at a 6. Once she started on another task I got right back up. Lying down was the last position I wanted to be in. I went right back to the toilet.

They asked if I wanted to get an epidural and I hesitated  I was at a 6, this was more than half way over, but if it took much longer I felt like I was going to die. B stepped in and said, "Get it now!" he was in such agony watching me in so much pain. The nurse said if I wanted it, I needed to let her know right now. So I told her to get the anesthesiologist on stand by. I knew in my head it wouldn't be much longer until I was at 10cm, but I wasn't totally sure (after all, what do I know). What I did know is that it takes a minute, or 10 to get the Dr. in for the epidural.

I could tell B was getting flustered. We are both very big rule followers and normally follow instructions very well. I know he was shocked to see me doing whatever I wanted. The nurse asked me to come back, they needed to get a heartbeat on the baby and needed to start an IV for me. I went back but at this point there was zero relief between contractions. I was twisting and turning like a tied hog. She couldn't get the IV started (an issue I have every time) so they called another nurse in. I instantly liked her. She took total control of the room and was forceful enough to where I did listen to her. She checked me herself and told me I was at an 8. "I can't do this!" I pleaded, panting for air. She told me I could. She told me I was in transition, that this was the hardest part. That made me feel so much better. I knew it was almost over.

Just then, the anesthesiologist walked in. I was shocked. He was there quick. My head was saying no, but my body was saying yes. And so was B. The Dr. asked me a few questions and I was barely able to talk with him. I was practically climbing the walls at this point. The monitors were not staying put, my IV was barely hanging on and the nurses were getting pissed.

"Amy, if we cannot establish fetal heart tones, we will have to use an electrode and put it in your baby's head". I screamed back "noooo" I had just read about this and knew I didn't want it. I used every ounce of self control to stay still. B helped hold the monitor and we heard her heart.

Dr. Epidural was still standing in the wings waiting for my answer. I looked at my preferred nurse and said, "I'm pushing!" It was the craziest feeling in the entire world. I could feel her moving lower and felt this intense reflex. Not a feeling of needing to push, but a reflex to push. The only thing I can compare it to is throwing up. Yep, it was like barfing out of my lady parts. There was no stopping it. It was out of my control. My nurse managed to check me and confirmed I was at 10cm. They called my Dr. and pulled my legs up.

Understand that I was a loud, moaning, panting woman the entire time I was in the hospital  There was nothing ladylike about the first thirty minutes of my laboring there. But the next five minutes were a whole 'nother level. I closed my eyes and let out the worst screams I'd ever heard. They were half scream half groan and they were 100% primal.  I have no idea what happened in those next few minutes. All I know is I pushed, they told me they could see the head and I screamed back, "I knoooooow" (I could feel everything people!). Then they told me to slow down or I'd tear, and I did my best to do that. I know that when I opened my eyes I saw my OB, and then, I saw her holding my baby. I believe it was three pushes total, but I'm telling you I would have had her out in one if they'd let me. Trying to stop or slow down was completely unnatural.

And then, they handed me my daughter. My full sized, alive and well baby. And suddenly no one else was in the room but her. I didn't cry. I didn't say much. I just stared.

 Time elapsed since arriving at the hospital? Forty two minutes. I was in total shock my baby was here!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Three Years

Today is our 3rd Anniversary.  I spent it with my husband and my daughter. And I can't think of any better way!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Our First Week with Eloise

This has been the fastest week of my life by far. So far E is a dream baby. Life feels so incredibly complete and I have to admit I get a little teary each day just thinking how lucky we are to have this beautiful life.

We are adjusting to life at home rather well. My mom just left today. Having her here was awesome. She took care of the house while I just stared at E and loved on her all day long. We will miss having that extra set of hands, but I think we're settling into some type of groove. Or at least getting used to all of the changes.

 Gifts from E's Great Grandparents. Love her first Eloise book!

 So far breastfeeding is going well. We see the Dr. in the morning to make sure she's gaining weight. It took about two days for her to really get the hang of latching on, but we're getting to be old pros now. The first three days I'd have to wake her every two to three hours to feed, but she's waking up on her own now to let me know she's hungry. Getting up every couple hours to nurse has taken some getting used to, but we're getting by with the help of a big afternoon nap each day.

On day four we noticed she was a little jaundiced. The Dr. ordered blood work and her levels were high enough to where we needed to go back the next day for more blood work. Watching your baby get pricked is not fun. The first day was much worse than the second, but thankfully we didn't need to go back--her levels were fine.

Her cord stump fell off just in time for Grandma to give E her first real bath. She wasn't too fond of it, but calmed down quick once wrapped in her cute little hooded towel.

So far we haven't needed much in the way of baby products. We're doing disposables for now, as we were gifted quite a few. I'm loving my comfy glider and also really love by Brest Friend nursing pillow. We're now using the boppy newborn lounger on our laps so we can look into E's beautiful eyes, but this child hasn't touched a "hard" surface other than her bed since she was born. I just can't seem to put her down. And there always seems to be a willing set of arms to take her when I have to be doing something else.

We also busted out the Moby wrap and we all love it. Even B put it on (with my help) for a walk around the block.

Our spoiled dog Maverick is having a pretty tough time adjusting. He will not leave my side and goes crazy any time the baby makes a peep. He kept me up the first night but has gotten better with each day. He just seems so confused and upset. No one in our family is surprised as he was the king of this household before Miss Eloise arrived. We just hope he comes around and loves her as much as we do!

Birth story coming soon!