Thursday, July 31, 2014

Newborn Necessities

I'm sure this list is different for every mom and baby, but I wanted to share a quick list of several items that have helped keep our household semi-sane throughout the first 2 months.  In no particular order:

  • Cloth diapers for use as burp cloths {you can't have too many of these, as they are super absorbent!}
  • Aiden & Anais muslin swaddle blankets {light, breathable and multi-purpose -- can be used for swaddling, as a blanket, stroller shade, nursing cover}
  • Footed pajamas with hand covers {to keep those tiny tootsies warm and to prevent Emily Scissorhands from scratching the heck out of herself while she sleeps}
  • Hand mittens {those little nails are sharp I tell you!}
  • Sleep Sheep {ahhh, white noise}
  • Fisher Price Rock 'n Play {the only thing we can get her to sleep in for long stretches of time}
  • Baby Connect app {super handy for tracking feedings, diapers, sleep and medical info!}
  • Boppy newborn lounger {she snoozed in this on the couch next to us a lot during the first few weeks home}
  • Glider / Nursing Chair {I've spent a lot of time feeding this little one, so a comfy place to sit is a must!  Here is the model I have, which I've been happy with.}
  • Swing {This is the one we have but there are numerous different sizes and price points out there}
There are lots of other items that have come in handy during different times as well, but these are all items that we use on a daily basis and I feel have really helped make things easier.

Moms out there --- what is/was your favorite newborn necessity???

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


...And I don't mean the alcoholic kind.  We're talking two month vaccinations.  On July 25, Emily got her first round of vaccinations: TDaP, Rota virus, Polio, Influenza and Pneuoccocal.  Thankfully, it was only two shots and an oral dosage instead of 5 (!) shots.  Emily braved it like a champ.  Her mom...well, let's just say Emily was not the only one crying after getting her shots.  Here is our little girl right before the nurse came in; doesn't she look happy (and maybe kind of confused)?

After some quick measurements (93% percentile for height!!) we noted our little chubster was over 12 lbs!

But then the needles came out.  After two quick jabs in her little thighs (thank goodness for all of that chub!) we had this:

Note the real tears in the corner of Emily's eye.  If you look closely in the bottom picture, can you see Mommy's tears too?  Emily wasn't the only one crying that day...  C'mon Mom, you have to be tough for her!!  Kidding aside, it was tough for both of us to see her scream in pain like that, and a loud scream it was.  She was a bit clingy and weepy that night and was crying as if she was uncomfortable or in pain, so at the recommendation of the pediatrician we gave her some infant Tylenol.  Despite running a low grade fever the next day (totally typical from what we were told by the doctor), Emily was otherwise fine and smiling periodically throughout the day.  We repeat the same process in September. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

9 Weeks New!!!!!!!!!

We can't get enough of our little cutie pie!  #oncloud9

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

2 Months New!!

Guess who is 2 months old, and adorable as ever!!

All About Emily:
  • Salivary glands and tear ducts are in full working order; she now sheds baby tears when she cries (breaks my heart!) and blows spit bubbles like crazy!
  • Hair gets more wispy by the day; I love how it goes up my nose and tickles my face when I hold her up on my shoulder.
  • Speaking of holding her on my shoulder, she has such great upper body strength that she now flexes her torso to hold herself completely upright instead of leaning against my shoulder..... and she looks like a cute baby cobra when she does!
  • Her hands are now uncurled most of the time, and she loves holding on to her burp cloth, my tank straps, and my fingers.  Her grip is quite strong!!
  • Her legs are also strong!  She loves "standing up" (with a little support under her arms of course)!
  • Poor baby recently had some eczema and little acne, which thankfully has mostly cleared up.
  • Likes singing the "Hokey Pokey" and "Head Shoulders Knees and Toes" with Mommy.
  • Loves burying her face in the crook of Daddy's elbow to fall asleep when he's cuddling her.
  • Enjoys looking at crib mobile and in mirrors at her reflection.
  • Her face is starting to thin out a little, and I think she's starting to look a little more like me but maybe that's just wishful thinking.  ;)
  • She holds her head up nice and high when put on her tummy!  ... Until she decides to roll onto her back when she gets tired of tummy time after a couple minutes.
  • She follows toys and our faces from side to side if we move around the room.
  • Smiles all the time and does a wide-mouthed silent laugh that we just adore.
  • Kicks her legs up in the air when put on her back.  I've also seen her touch her hands to her feet during diaper changes!
  • Makes a ton of cooing sounds, and has started to have "conversations" with us.
  • Loves when I stick my tongue out at her; she has recently discovered her own tongue which she now sticks out too.
  • Sleeps slightly longer at night.  She recently slept for a record duration of 6 hours & 23 minutes on July 20th, with a total sleep amount for that day of 15 hours & 56 minutes!!  Though it was an anomaly, we'll take it!  ;)  Typically though, she's been sleeping one long stretch of ~ 4/4.5 hours per night, with an average sleep total of 13-14 hours a day
  • Cranky time after last "nap" of day (usually around 8 pm) until she goes to sleep for the night (usually around 10-11pm)
  • Has such long legs that she's already outgrown most of her 3 month-sized footie pajamas!
  • Weighs 11 lbs 11 ounces (as of 7/21)!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


I've had a feeling for a few weeks now that Emily might have what they call "silent" reflux.  She never really spit up a whole lot but starting a couple weeks back she would frequently gag and make faces and noises like she had a hairball.  She would also arch her back when we picked her up after she'd wake up from sleeping.  I mentioned the behaviors and asked about the possibility of reflux to Emily's pediatrician at her well visit last month.  The pediatrician's response was that all newborns have reflux to a certain degree because their digestive systems aren't yet matured.  That made sense to me, and since the pediatrician wasn't concerned I tried to let it go.  I hate drugs -- I rarely even take Tylenol myself, so I certainly wouldn't want to give my baby any medicine that isn't necessary.  But, as time went on and I kept seeing her gag, it made me sad to think she might have acid in her throat that I don't know about or that we don't fix.  The pediatrician's view was that as long as she's eating well and gaining weight there is likely no need to do anything.  I accepted that response, but kept a close watch on her behaviors.

On July 9, there were 2 instances where she spit up while laying on her back and the milk came straight up into the air about an inch above her head, like a little geyser.  It wasn't an abundance of spit-up, but I did think it odd that it came straight up like that.  I mentioned it to the pediatrician, who advised that I keep an eye on things to see whether it would happen again.  On July 11, she was screaming randomly throughout the day for no apparent reason, she woke up crying from several naps, and was nursing a LOT... to the point where she actually did spit up a lot bc she ate so much and didn't have room for it in her tiny tummy.  Through my online research I discovered that breast milk can act as an antacid to babies, which I thought might possibly explain that day's behavior -- though such behavior could also be the result of a growth spurt.  On July 14, I was holding her upright near my shoulder when she spit up while looking at me.  Instead of going down her neck and short, her spit-up shot straight out and hit me in the neck, which was several inches away.  Again, it didn't seem like an exorbitant amount.

Beginning last Monday, Emily's nursing time dropped pretty drastically.  Though she would spend between 2.5-3 hours total nursing on a typical day, her nursing time last week was down to ~ 2 hours per day, and on certain days as low as 1.5 hours.  This didn't make sense to me, because as she grows and her tummy gets bigger, it would reason that she'd need MORE food to feel full, not less.  Additionally, it appeared she was spitting up a lot more than usual.  I checked her temperature, and kept a close eye on her wet and dirty diapers.  Though she was having fewer diaper changes, the numbers were still in the normal range.  On Saturday night after I fed her, I was holding her upright in front of me, facing me, when she vomited a thick stream of milk that came out of her mouth and propelled OVER MY SHOULDER.  The milk spew that ejected from her mouth looked about 1/2 inch in diameter and traveled at least 10 inches from her mouth over my shoulder, where it soaked my entire back, my pants, and the bed I was sitting on.  It honestly looked like the entire amount of milk that I'd guessed she just drank.  This was not normal baby spit-up.  This was projectile vomit.

Sunday she was acting okay, spitting up a lot but nothing projectile, thank goodness, and not too much crying.  I decided to take her into the doctor on Monday though just to be safe, and I'm glad I did.  By the time we got to the pediatrician's office a little after noon, she was very uncomfortable.  During the 1 mile walk from our apartment to the office, I had to stop 5 times to take her out of her stroller to hold her and pat her back, because she kept gagging and actually choking on what I imagine was spit coming up into her throat each time I placed her in the stroller -- and she hadn't even just eaten.  She was crying a painful cry and I was convinced it was reflux.  I explained all of her symptoms to her pediatrician, and the doctor agreed, so we've started her on a low dosage of Zantac.

Administering a liquid medicine to a newborn is challenging!  I was really nervous the first time I gave it to her, but she actually did pretty well.  Slow and steady was the key!  By the end of the dose, I actually had her laughing and smiling.  Maybe she realized that weird liquid Mommy was squirting into her mouth was going to help her.  :)

I feel so badly that little Em has acid reflux, and has been experiencing it for weeks!!!  On the one hand I wish I had pressed the pediatrician a bit more earlier; perhaps if we'd started the medicine sooner it wouldn't have gotten so painful for her.  On the other hand, if she was happy and not in pain, perhaps the medicine wasn't needed earlier on.  Either way, I'm glad she's got what she needs now and hope it helps her.... she seems to be in better spirits so far!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

8 Weeks New!!!!!!!!

Guess who's 8 weeks old already?!?!?!?!

July 17, 2014

She smiles and laughs more and more, and luckily for me, thinks my jokes are hilarious!!!

Last weekend we captured this great video of her laughing at and enjoying the breeze on her face.  She is mesmerized by the wind!

All about Emily:
  • She now has several patches of wispy hairs that are oh-so-adorable
  • She makes a bunch of new coos and loves having conversations
  • She laughs when I get boogies out of her nose with the suction bulb
  • At night, she's been consistently sleeping 4.5 - 5 hour stretches this past week!
  • Her head control is very good; she can keep her head upright for several minutes when being held up in your shoulder!
  • She recently developed a hobby for banging her head into my face.  She also has tried on several occasions to give me a tracheotomy with her razor-sharp nails while I'm burping her over my shoulder.
  • She weighs ~ 12 pounds and her legs are already too long for most of her size 3 months footie pajamas!!!
  • She refuses to suck on a pacifier or drink from a bottle {we are working on this!}
  • She laughs when Daddy sings her funny songs about poop while he's changing her diaper
  • She loves being held and rocked to sleep.  Here's a snuggle selfie:

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Emily's Birth Story {Part 2}

{Read Part 1 here}

After checking in at the nurse's station we were taken to a triage room, which was basically a bed and some monitoring equipment behind a curtain.  At this point, I was pretty much in constant pain -- contractions were long and very close together.  I changed into a hospital gown, the nurse took my vitals, and examined me.  Much to my chagrin, I was only about 3 cm dilated.  Seeing as I was 2 cm dilated at my exam on Monday, and had been experiencing such painful contractions for several hours, this was a bit disappointing.  I had originally hoped to wait until 5 cm before getting an epidural, but the contractions were so intense I knew at that moment that wasn't going to happen.

The triage nurse called my OB {Dr. S}, who said that she wanted me to get to 4 cm before being admitted.  Seriously????  {Yes, this was the same doctor I spoke to on the phone before heading to the hospital who heard how much pain I was in and "never heard" of contractions as long as the ones I was experiencing.}  The nurse suggested I walk around for a bit, but my contractions were so intense I could barely stand up straight, let alone walk around.  She hooked me up to a contraction and fetal monitoring system to get some readings, where she saw why I was in such pain -- my contractions were clustered together.  What I thought was one long painful contraction was actually 2 on top of one another.  They were so close that I couldn't even feel the break in between.  She told me I'd need to be hooked up for 20 minutes to get the readings she needed, but what she didn't tell me was that I shouldn't move at all.  Well, there I was standing in agony waiting for my 20 minutes to pass.  As if that wasn't trying enough, a medical student came in to ask me a few questions.... the SAME EXACT questions I had literally JUST answered a minute before.  Now, I realize that I was at a teaching hospital, and I am all for learning opportunities.  But having me answer questions to which the answers had been recorded not even 10 minutes earlier, while I'm in excruciating pain, just seems cruel!  I went ahead and did it anyway, and when the medical student wrapped up his Barbara Walters interview he skedaddled.  The nurse came back in and apparently I'd turned or took a step or something during one of my contractions, which caused the belt monitor to come a bit loose, and therefore not record anything.  The 20 minutes needed to be consecutive monitoring, so we had to start all over again.  UGH!!!  I'm not positive {it's all a little bit of a blur now} but I'm pretty sure this happened more than once.... even though after the first snafu I knew to stay as still as possible, the belt came a bit loose and the monitor stopped reading.  I think the nurse realized how much pain I was in and what a crap monitor she had me hooked to and finally let it go.  By this point I was begging for an epidural.  But, the nurse had disappeared, and there was nobody in sight.  Seeing how uncomfortable I was, Shep started walking around looking for someone.  I'm relatively sure I used the F bomb wondering where the entire staff was seeing as it was the middle of the night and we were the only ones in the triage area.  It turned out there was a delivery going on, so the nurse was going back and forth between triage and the L&D area.

When the nurse came back, she checked me again.  About an hour had passed and I was still only ~ 3.5 cm dilated.  With the encouragement of our birth doula, I requested to be admitted anyway {despite Dr. S's preference of waiting until I was 4 cm} and to receive an epidural.  So, the nurse disappeared again, to get everything prepared.

After what seemed like many painful hours finally passed, the nurse and anesthesiologist finally arrived, and that's when the real fun began.  Shep asked how dilated I was and the nurse replied: "Oh, I didn't tell you?  5 cm".  We looked at one another, confused, both knowing full well she hadn't told us that -- that number would've been encouraging!  Last we heard, I was still approaching 4 cm.  Shep replied:  "I thought you said 4?"  The nurse made a face and whispered very quietly to us that the anesthesiologist wouldn't give the epidural to me unless I was 5 cm.  {So much for the video we watched in our prepared childbirth class that explicitly stated epidurals would be given at any time if the patient requested!}  Mind you, the anesthesiologist was standing RIGHT behind her.  And by right behind her I mean literally less than a foot away, so I have no idea how she didn't hear the whisper, but I guess I'm glad she didn't!  Prior to receiving the epidural they needed to insert an IV line into my arm.  Well, apparently all of my veins were in hiding because nobody could get the IV in.  One nurse tried.... OUCH!  Didn't work.  Then the original nurse tried.....   OWWWWWWWWW!!  Wouldn't go in.  She remarked "I've never seen veins like this before...the other nurses usually come to me with the difficult IVs and I can't do it!"  According to her, my veins were "very illusive".  Great.  The anesthesiologist suggested they try the other arm.  In fact, the anesthesiologist might have even tried to get the IV in that's how bad it got.  Everything around that time is a little of a blur -- between the painful contractions and the pain of being stuck multiple times with needles, it was hard to focus.  Eventually, AFTER FOUR TRIES, they got the IV in, and I breathed a small sigh of relief -- until the next contraction hit...

The time was 1:55 am and they moved me into my delivery room.  I finally received the long-anticipated epidural at 2:15 am, and almost immediately felt relief.  Finally, I could breathe again...

The nursing staff advised us to get some rest, while we waited for my cervix to dilate a bit more.  Shep changed into the "dad to be" shirt I had bought him and we snapped a few photos -- he wouldn't have that status for long!  Shep was able to sleep on a cot in the corner of the room while our birth doula Annette slept sitting on a chair with her head down on a table!  Though it was the middle of the night following an emotionally and physically exhausting day and I hadn't really slept well the night before, I just couldn't sleep.  I laid there in my bed, awake with anticipation.  All I kept thinking was "I was going to have a baby TODAY".  It was a feeling that's hard to describe -- I was excited but not in an energetic way; I was nervous, but much more calm than I had been earlier that week.  I think because I knew our little one's birth was happening that day, all the guesswork and a little of the scariness stemming from the unknown was gone.  I'm sure the epidural had something to do with it, but I felt almost serene.  I remember looking around the room, at the monitors, at my handsome hubby sleeping in the corner, at the baby warmer stationed next to my bed, at the receiving blanket and little hat that was ready to be wrapped around baby, trying to remember every detail.  I knew my life was about to change drastically, and i just wanted to soak it all in.

A few more hours passed, and during this time period I had 4 or 5 little "day dreams".  They were like little clips of a movie playing, almost like regular dreams, except I wasn't asleep.  I kept hearing the doctor say "It's a girl!" and then the vision would cut to another scene and I'd hear it again and again.  Could it be?  Was this a last-minute premonition?  Did I finally have a gut feeling about the sex of our soon-to-arrive baby?  Only time would tell but the flashes I saw and heard were pretty vivid...

At 4:45 am they inserted a foley catheter.  What would've happened if I had to tinkle between 2:15 and then, I wondered?  Good thing we didn't find out!  At 5 am, I was 90% effaced and 5 cm dilated.  At 5:20 am they administered Pitocin to get things moving along quicker.  Thanks to our childbirth prep classes, I knew this might happen, so I was prepared.

At 7:15 am I was 100% effaced and 7 cm dilated.  At 7:50 am I was 8 cm dilated.  The show was on the road and there was no turning back now!  Another OB from the practice, Dr. R., was going to take over at 8 am, and asked Dr. S to break my water before she ended her shift.  It was quick and painless, and the fluid was clear.  Dr. S. made a joke saying that she wanted me to have the baby by 10 am, and I replied that I'd do my best!  She left the room and I thought about how I would likely have a baby in my arms in the next 2 hours!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

7 Weeks New!!!!!!!

We've had 7 wonderful weeks getting to know our little girl!  Each day is a whole new adventure, seeing the world through her beautiful blue eyes.  Her head and neck control are getting stronger by the day, she is more and more alert all the time, and is making all kinds of cute new little sounds daily.  She LOVES to laugh, albeit silently, and when her mouth opens into that big open smile, my heart skips a beat.  Here are some recent photos of the little goober.... look at those cheeks!!  She's my 11 pound mush pie and I could just eat her up!

Her new skill this week is touching her hands to her feet during diaper changes!  She also got sooooo close to getting her tiny little thumb into her mouth, but couldn't quite figure out how to unclench her fist enough.  Ironically, she managed to accidentally get her little pointer finger stuck up her nose for a second yesterday.  ;)  When I hold her over my shoulder, she wraps her arm around my arm tightly to hang on to me, almost like she's hugging me!  She also has a tendency to open her mouth and attack my face when she gets excited.... I am pretty sure she's trying to eat me but I like to pretend she's giving me smooches.

We've been working on her napping schedule and I'm proud to say that we are making some progress!  Not only did we reach 13-14 hours of sleep per day 4 days this week, but she's slept 4-5 hour stretches at night for 6 nights in a row now!  Hopefully I didn't just jinx myself...  ;) 

50 days of Emily in my life . . . so thankful for my little sweetie!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

6 Weeks New!!!!!!

I can't believe how quickly the time is passing -- Emily turned 6 weeks old on Thursday!

She likes:
- Looking at lights and the ceiling
- Sucking on her arm and maybe even a finger if she can get it into her mouth
- Making all kinds of super-adorable facial expressions that melt Mommy's heart
- Having her knees pushed up to her belly and having her belly rubbed (both of which help with gas)
- Sleeping with her arms up next to her head, or her hands by her mouth

She still doesn't like:
- Being swaddled (though I was able to successfully semi-swaddle just her arms for 2 naps this week)
- Any of the 3 baby carriers I own (though I did get her into the Ergo again one day this week while we were home and after a crying fit and a struggle she fell asleep for about 30 minutes)
- Pacifiers

She smiles frequently each day, and has recently started uncurling her fists a little bit and holding on to my shirt.  She's also been sticking her tongue out a little bit more in a playful/experimental manner rather than just when she's hungry.  She can lay contentedly on her activity mat or play mat for several minutes, kicking and staring at the ceiling and "talking" to herself; though she still doesn't love tummy time.  Even though she can lift her head and hold it to a 90 degree angle, she often just puts her head down on the mat or rolls herself over onto her back instead.  But when we hold her upright, she'll raise her head and turn her neck in every direction!

She is a very alert and curious little girl.  When we go for walks in her stroller, instead of sleeping she just wants to look around!  Even when she's exhausted and her eyes are drooping shut, she'll pop them open to look around if she hears any noises or sees any light.  Speaking of sleeping...

Her sleep routine is still very wonky.  Some days she'll take great naps (mostly in my arms) but some days her eyes pop open mere minutes after she falls asleep.  Since around the 4 week mark, we were doing pretty well with her sleeping and she was getting 13-14 hours of sleep per day, more days than not.... though the past couple days she's down to 10-11 per day again.  Waxes and wanes!  There is a big growth spurt that newborns grow through at about this time though, so that likely has something to do with her erratic sleep cycles.  Last night and last Friday night she slept for a 5 hour stretch overnight -- the only two times she's done that and both on a Friday.... interesting!

Here's a peak at her size now in comparison to her size at 2 weeks:

Look at her grow!  Her neck is hard to clean because of of her multiple chins, and her thighs are practically edible they have so many rolls in them!  She is gaining weight like a champ and gets cuter by the day!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Independence Day!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Duck & Cover!

This morning while I was mid-diaper change with Emily, she pooped.  But it wasn't just a regular poo.... it shot out of her cute little bum all over my arm {covering my arm from mid forearm to mid bicep!} and onto the floor 5 feet away!  I know this because instead of helping clean me off Shep ran to get a tape measure to assess her projection distance.  ;)

Well that's one way to wake up in the morning!  But honestly, who could get mad at a cute little face like this?!

It amazes me that things I never thought I'd be able to tolerate or even discuss before seem like ordinary life now!  I've never used the word "poop" as much in my 30+ years of living as I have over the past 6 weeks.  I'm normally a little very squeamish when it comes to anything remotely "yucky".... and it's shocking to me that having most of my arm covered in human waste was no big deal!  It's a good thing that my skin is a little bit thicker now {no pun intended} ... dealing with poop, puke and who-knows-what-else is part of my job description and daily life now!  Honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way.  I'd do anything for my little kissy face.
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