Saturday, August 30, 2014

100 Days

Remember when we were counting down the months and days until we would meet our little bun in the oven?  That 100 day countdown seems both like it was forever ago, and also like just yesterday...

Well, today Emily is 100 days *young*.  Stop the clock -- time is passing too quickly!  She is so smart, strong, determined, funny, silly and beautiful, and we fall more in love with her every single day!  I certainly don't want to wish time away, but I am very excited to see what life has in store for this baby girl as she grows.  100 days is a huge milestone for a little baby, but this is only the very beginning of what I hope to be a long, healthy and happy life for her.  As we say in my family...

Sto lat!!!!!

I feel incredibly blessed to have the privilege to share my life with my hubby and this little love.

Friday, August 29, 2014

14 Weeks New!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

{August 28, 2014}

14 weeks already?!?!  How did that happen so fast???

Emily is teething, big time.  She shoves her hands into her mouth every chance she gets, and while it's adorable to watch, I feel bad that she's so uncomfortable.  We have a bunch of teething rings and toys for her, but she prefers her little fists and fingers, or sometimes chewing on a wet washcloth or her burp cloth.  Her reflux is also acting up this week, which I think is exacerbated by the additional saliva from her teething.  Needless to say, she has been a bit more fussy than usual, poor baby.  She's also had some trouble sleeping during her daytime naps.... though she seemed to be doing fine here:

Sigh . . . my heart just melts at the sight of her.

She has gotten even more vocal this past week, which is adorable to hear.  Here's a little video of my baby girl; aptly entitled "Emily's yellaugh" because it's hard to tell if she's laughing or yelling!  ;)

We took a short ride in the car over the weekend to the store to try to get her a little more used to her car seat.  While she didn't scream to the point where she stopped breathing {which she has on two prior occasions}, she was NOT happy about being in that car.  And we only drove about 2 miles!  :(

In Mommy news, I finally got my hair cut for the first time since the end of March.  That haircut was looooong overdue -- I feel 5 pounds lighter!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

My Pregnancy Product Picks

I recently realized that I never shared my list of favorite pregnancy products!  Well, without further ado, here they are, in no particular order -- my pregnancy product picks!  Say that 10 times fast.  ;)  These are the products that kept me sane/rested/healthy/comfortable during my pregnancy:
For that never-ending nausea I experienced!


Prenatal Vitamins
To keep Mommy & Baby healthy!  I found these easier to swallow than the Rx vitamins my doctor provided samples of, and they contained a more complete array of vitamins than most of those samples did as well!


Snoogle Pregnancy Pillow
Shep bought me one of these for my birthday back in November and it was soooooo comfy!  It especially came in handy as my belly started getting bigger and I couldn't sleep on my back or stomach.  Cuddling up with this thing definitely gave me some additional Zzzzzzzzzs.  I even used it for about a month postpartum!

Nine Naturals Body Wash
This stuff smells great and is 100% natural.  My skin is sensitive, but this wash is mild so I was able to use it daily without any problems.  In fact, I still use it and plan to keep buying more as I run out -- I love it!

Clarisonic Mia
Pregnancy can wreak havoc on anyone's skin, and mine is sensitive and prone to blemishes on a good day.  I bought this little doodad about 1.5 years ago and it has seriously changed my life.  Well, it's at least changed my skin.  ;)  You use your normal cleaner with it, and the soft bristles ensure that all make-up and dirt is lifted from your skin, while allowing the cleanser to really penetrate the surface of your skin.  After using it, my face feels smooth as a baby's bottom, which helps my moisturizer absorb better.  I love my little Mia!


While we're on the topic of skin, I've been using these products from Dermalogica for over 5 years now and have been really happy with the change my skin saw once I started.  If you're in the market for a new cleanser/moisturizer, I recommend trying these out.  They're a little on the pricey side, but a little product goes a long way and I can always find a 20-25% off coupon for one of the online skin product stores that sell this line.


Old Navy Low Panel Jeans
Moving on to clothing...  I'm so lucky that I get to wear jeans to work, and even luckier that I came across the super-comfy low panel maternity jeans at Old Navy pretty early on in my pregnancy.  The price can't be beat, and they have different styles and colors.  I think I bought a total of 7-8 pairs and loved them.  Since I started wearing maternity jeans in week 9 {gulp!} and lived in them all week long for many months, I definitely got my money's worth out of them.  In fact, truth be told, I don't ever want to wear "regular" jeans again!  Seeing the shape of pants buttons stick out under shirts is a huge pet peeve of mine, and this elastic band solves that!!  ;)  They say to buy your regular size in maternity clothing, but I purchased the next size up in these jeans.  During the second half of my third trimester, I bought 1-2 additional pairs in the next size up from that {so 2 sizes above my normal size} because the ones I'd been wearing were getting very snug.  Could've been the fact that I put them in the dryer, or my growing belly.  ;)

Skechers Flex Appeal
I'm normally not a sneaker-wearing kind of girl.  I don't really love the way traditional sneakers look, and don't find them very comfortable either.  That was until I met these blue bad boys.  First, they're blue.  Instant score.  Second, they're made with memory foam.  Whaaaaa???  Yeah, you heard me.  They feel like slippers, I swear!!!  Even my swollen achy third trimester pregnancy feet felt great in these things walking to and from work in the city every day, and they feel even more comfy now that I have my old feet back again!  I lived in these things from the time I bought them in early April through my delivery of Emily.  And let me tell you, as soon as the weather gets too cool to wear sandals again, these are going to be my new old best friends again.

And last, but certainly not least, prenatal massages.  Ahhhhhh....  Most physicians and massage therapists will advise you to wait until your second trimester for a massage, but the wait will be oh-so-worth-it once you finally get on that table.  I am definitely a spa-loving girl, and have had more than my fair share of professional massages.  I was a little nervous about getting a prenatal massage, but as soon as I got one I wanted another!  There are so many benefits to massage, and if pregnancy isn't a time for pampering oneself, then I don't know what is!  Just be sure you see a therapist certified for prenatal massage, as there are certain trigger points in the body they'll want to avoid.  Once your belly is too big to lay comfortably on your front or back, they can prop you up with pillows in a side-lying position.  Alternatively, some spas will have special tables or pillow bolsters that have a cut-out for pregnant bellies.


So tell me ladies -- what is/was YOUR favorite pregnancy product/pampering tradition/splurge?


Disclaimer:  I have not been paid or otherwise compensated in any way for writing this post.  The opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

Monday, August 25, 2014

3 Months Young!!!

As of Friday, our favorite little cutie pie is no longer a newborn! At 3 months "young", Emily has officially graduated to infant status!  She survived her first 3 months with a set of rookie parents in charge, and we've learned a lot during that time!

Since Emily's birth, Shep and I have changed over 1,300 diapers, I've fed her 1130 times for a total of over 277 hours and she's slept over 1,150 hours {which is a total of 48 days}!  I guess it's true what they say -- time really does fly when you're changing diapers having fun.  ;)  I'm not exactly sure how many hugs and kisses I've given her {our handy app doesn't track those stats}, but if I had to guess I'd say it's somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 million, give or take....

One thing that hasn't changed now that Emily's graduated into infancy from newborn-ness -- she's still as adorable as ever.  And Shep and I fall more and more in love with her with each passing day.

She makes us laugh on a regular basis, and we can definitely see her own little personality developing as time passes.  She smiles frequently, is very alert, can be very determined, and enjoys snuggles too.  She's smart, lovable, strong, funny and beautiful!

Emily is sooooooo close to being able to roll from her back to her tummy.  She bends her knees to lift her legs in the air and then swings her body to the side.  The only thing stopping her from a full roll onto her tummy is those knees, so as soon as she figures that out and straightens her legs once she's in motion, she'll be on her tummy!  It's the cutest thing to watch her though -- she has such determination!

All About Emily
  • Loves to grab my hair with her little hands, and she grabs my shirt sometimes when I'm putting her down, too.  Let me tell you; those fingers may be cute but that grip is STRONG!
  • Wraps her legs around our arms like a money hanging from a tree when we're changing her diaper or dressing her, and knows she's funny when she's doing it.
  • Blows little spit bubbles and went through a phase where she would stick her tongue out a lot.
  • Holds her head up for longer periods of time, and isn't as shaky when doing it.  She can also hold her head up super high during tummy time -- those muscles are getting stronger every day!
  • LOVES playing on her piano mat and her gym -- she talks and laughs to herself while she plays and swings her arms and legs so much!
  • LOVES looking at herself in mirrors, and sometimes even laughs at herself!
  • Smiles a big gummy grin when she sees Mommy or Daddy.
  • Likes being read to and sang to.  "Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes" and "Hokey Pokey" are still favored over "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and "Mary Had a Little Lamb".
  • Loves looking straight up at the sky when taken out for walks, and still loves the wind!  :)
  • Babbles all the time, with new sounds weekly.  She also has a little "yell" sound when she gets mad or impatient, which is so cute.
  • Her skin feels like velvet . . . I could hold and smooch her all day long!
  • Has shown some signs of early teething -- poor baby!!  She tries to shove her entire fist into her mouth and sometimes gags herself with her little fingers.
  • Can bear her full weight on her little feet and moves her legs like she's walking if held upright on a flat surface.
  • Can pull herself up from laying to sitting position by holding onto our hands.
  • Has the start of a cute little dimple in her left cheek.
  • Slept 7-8 hours overnight about 4 times over the past month!  She still needs to be nursed or held/swayed/bounced to sleep though for naps and at night, but on days where we get her to nap frequently enough she doesn't fight sleep as much.
  • Has just recently over the past week started to take decently-long naps in her crib.
  • Is wearing pajamas in 6 month sizes, and other clothing in sizes 3 months or 6 months!
  • Eats on average every 2-3 hours, sometimes more frequently if fussy or sleepy.
  • Currently weighs 13 pounds, 7 ounces and is 24 inches long!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

13 Weeks New!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's her last day as a "newborn" and our once-little baby is getting sooooo big!  Just look at her!!!  Such a doll.

Even though it's a bit on the early side, I am pretty sure Emily is teething.  For the past week, she wants to shove anything and everything she can get her hands on into her mouth.  Exhibit A:

In fact, she's been shoving her entire hand in her mouth to the point where she gags herself.  Poor sweetie.  She can't quite figure out yet how to use the teething toys she has, but wet washcloths and my knuckles seem to be doing the trick.

Those beautiful blue eyes absolutely take my breath away . . .

She also hasn't been sleeping as well as she previously was.  It is tough watching her struggle with her discomfort, waking up in the night and from her naps the past few days with little whimpers.  Even though she's uncomfortable, between her reflux and gum soreness, she's still at heart such a happy little girl.

Even if a bit tired . . .

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Church Adventures

This past weekend was Emily's first time attending Sunday mass.  SOMEONE wouldn't go down for her nap on time sooooo we got there a little late, and quietly took a seat in the back row.  We were worried about bringing her to church without any idea what to expect (given her reflux issues and propensity to randomly yell at the top of her lungs).  All was going well, with Emily quietly being held in mom's arms. Until the homily.  Smack in the middle of the homily, while the priest was talking, Emily let out the loudest BURP I think we've heard come from her little body to date, which was of course made louder by the echoing acoustics of the church.  Nicole and I looked at one another and couldn't help but laugh, before quickly apologizing to the people seated near us.  The woman behind us replied "Oh, that was a good one!".  I think it's safe to say that we'll remember this "first" for a while!

She's a very entertaining little girl, that Emily -- even when she's not trying to be!  No wonder why she's the family favorite.

Monday, August 18, 2014

In My Daughter's Eyes

In My Daughter's Eyes
by Martina McBride

In my daughter's eyes I am a hero
I am strong and wise and I know no fear
But the truth is plain to see
She was sent to rescue me
I see who I wanna be
In my daughter's eyes

In my daughter's eyes everyone is equal
Darkness turns to light and the world is at peace
This miracle God gave to me
Gives me strength when I am weak
I find reason to believe
In my daughter's eyes

And when she wraps her hand around my finger
Oh it puts a smile in my heart
Everything becomes a little clearer
I realize what life is all about
It's hanging on when your heart has had enough
It's giving more when you feel like giving up
I've seen the light
It's in my daughter's eyes

In my daughter's eyes I can see the future
A reflection of who I am and what will be
Though she'll grow and someday leave
Maybe raise a family
When I'm gone I hope you see
How happy she made me
For I'll be there
In my daughter's eyes

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Postpartum Reflections

{Originally written on June 23, 2014 -- Sorry for the late posting!  I was originally waiting to post this until after I shared Emily's birth story but that took a little longer then I expected!}

In the first couple weeks after Emily was born, I did a lot of staring at her.  Who am I kidding, I still do.  ;)  But while she slept cozily in my arms, I realized a few things about my childbirth experience....

Labor & Delivery

I expected labor and delivery to be harder than it was.  Yes, my delivery was dramatic {and some might say traumatic} but aside from "the Pitocin incident", I think it was generally easier than I'd imagined.  Yes, there was pain, but thanks to modern medicine it was mostly bearable and more important, fleeting.  By the time Emily came out, I honestly didn't care about what I'd just gone through.  When Shep calculated the number of hours I'd been in labor and pushing, I was shocked.  It didn't seem that long while I was going through it.  I guess I was so distracted by the thought of meeting the newest love of my life that not much else phased me!  I recall Dr. R. express surprise at how I was smiling and making jokes during labor and praising how long I pushed for and how I "never complained once" throughout the long process.  I reminded her about my Pitocin crying incident, to which she thought my response was "appropriate".  Wow, I guess if a doctor with decades of years of experience delivering babies thought I did a good job at keeping my cool, that's something to be proud of!


This is the category that surprised me the most.  Perhaps my 3rd degree tear {ouch!} is to blame, but my physical recovery was much more painful than I realized it would be.  Sure, I knew that my lady parts would hurt after squeezing a watermelon-sized baby out of a much smaller opening.  But, I didn't realize the extent to which that pain and soreness would affect daily functioning -- going to the bathroom, taking a shower, bending over, sitting down, lifting my leg up to put pants on...  I didn't feel like a fully functioning human until almost several weeks after Emily's birth, and didn't feel 100% back to "normal" until Week 5-6.


Shep and I always joke that the only hobby I have in life is sleeping.  Needless to say, I was terrified of the lack of sleep, and how it might affect me.  Sleep deprivation, after all, is no joke -- anything that is used as a torture tactic is no walk in the park.  I'm not sure whether the lack of sleep I experienced during most of my pregnancy and especially during my last trimester primed me for the sleepless nights of new motherhood, or whether "new mom" adrenaline is to thank, but I didn't sleep more than a dozen hours the entire first week of Emily's life and I honestly did not feel tired.  I didn't sleep the night or day I was in labor, nor did I sleep a wink my first postpartum night in the hospital.  I think I was awake for over 48 hours straight and could not fall asleep, nor did I feel like I needed to.  I got maybe 1 hour of sleep during my second postpartum night and a maximum of 1 hour of sleep each of the first 2 nights we were home from the hospital.  But shockingly, I didn't feel it!  It wasn't really until the week leading up to her 4 week birthday that any fatigue hit me... but even so, it isn't nearly as bad as I'd once dreaded it to be.  In fact, I almost pop out of bed when I hear my little love start to stir or cry... in a way, she energizes me!


During my pregnancy, I was very worried about breastfeeding.  What if I didn't produce any milk, or it hurt, or I didn't know how to do it right?  To my great surprise, Emily latched on like a champ as soon as I got into my recovery room after her delivery, and she kept on latching and feeding like a pro for the first several weeks.  It wasn't until about 20 days after she was born that I started having some issues with her staying latched.  She would pull off, bob her head back and forth, and other fun things that made me question what the heck she was doing!  But, so far we've soldiered on through it and I'm counting on this temporary tricky patch to disappear like a designer dress on the clearance rack at TJ Maxx.

All in all -- every step I've taken to get to this point has been sooooo worth it, just to get to hold my sweet little snuggly in my arms.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Emily's Birth Story {Part 3}

The last part of the exciting trilogy...  ;)  {Read Part 1 here & Part 2 here}

Shep came back into the room {he'd stepped away to get something to eat} and told me about the woman at the coffee stand who simply couldn't believe that we didn't know the gender of our baby.  Apparently she didn't think people waited to find out these days and was super excited for us, even though she didn't even know us!  She offered Shep free coffee the next time he came back.

After the overnight lull in energy, and having my water ruptured, we began getting excited again ourselves. Our baby would be here soon!  At this point, we started texting and calling a few close family members and friends to let them know that baby was going to make an appearance shortly!  I remember getting a sweet message from a friend wishing me luck at around 8am and responding that it would be "any hour now!".  He replied "hope it's minutes not hours!".  Shep told his parents to expect the baby before noon.  I don't think I'm spoiling any endings when I say that they were both completely wrong.  ;)

Once I was completely dilated, Dr. R instructed me on how to begin pushing and I started.  During the first push, the baby's heart rate dropped a bit.  I knew something was off when I saw Dr. R's reaction to the monitor.  After a second or so the heart rate bounced back to normal and Dr. R assured me that everything looked good with the baby, but suggested we wait a few minutes before pushing again just to make sure the baby recuperated.  And just for good measure, they wanted me to breathe into an oxygen mask between pushes, to ensure that the baby was getting enough O2 during the process. It was a bit scary to see the Dr's expression upon that first push, but our childbirth instructor had mentioned the possibility of this happening during labor, which helped keep me from panicking while it was happening.

I was pushing, and I thought I was doing so correctly based on how the Dr. reacted to each push, but it was really hard to take a deep breath in before each push as the doctor had instructed because I kept getting a sharp pain near my left rib that was prohibiting me from filling my lungs with air upon inhaling.  The doctor tried massaging the area, thinking perhaps the baby's foot or something was jabbing me.  It didn't help, but we pressed on.  I had pushed for maybe 20-30 minutes when, as my luck would have it, the epidural wore off at the exact time that the Pitocin {which I was administered in order to help move things along more quickly, just as our childbirth instructor has mentioned would be the case} kicked in at full force.  Needless to say, I saw stars.  Actually, I didn't see or feel anything except P-A-I-N.  I honestly don't remember much, except that I started crying and asking them to turn it off.  I physically could not continue pushing because the pain in my abdomen was so bad that my entire body tensed up and I couldn't relax in order to control my muscles enough to work on pushing the baby out.  After what seemed like an eternity, the anesthesiologist finally arrived and re-administered my epidural.  I was instructed to rest for a bit to give the epidural time to calm things down, so we took a break from pushing and went back to waiting.  I actually don't know the exact time frame, but I think I rested for about an hour.

Once the epidural was working again, we were ready to once again begin pushing!  The time was 12:09 pm.  Dr. R and the resident were at the foot of the bed, Shep was to my left handing me the oxygen mask, the nurse was tasked with holding my left leg and Annette our doula was holding my right leg.  The nurse was also going back and forth to the monitors to ensure everything looked good.  My left leg was soooo heavy that I couldn't lift it myself, and I remember getting so annoyed at the nurse because she wasn't getting back to the bed in time to help lift my leg during each set of pushes.  It's funny the things that stand out in our memories.

The team was cheering me on and the doctor assured me that I was doing great pushing.  An hour passed.  I kept pushing.  I was making progress.  Dr. R announced that she saw dark hair and asked whether I wanted to touch the baby's head or see it in a mirror.  The answer was an immediate "no thanks!", which she chuckled at.  Another hour passed.  I was still pushing and getting at least 2 really good pushes from each set, if not 3.  The baby was moving down the birth canal and I was so excited to meet him or her.  I kept pushing, and the way everyone was cheering me on, I expected to hear the baby's cry any minute.  Instead, sometime around 2:30 pm, Dr. R explained that my sacrum was shaped like a hockey stick, which was prohibiting the baby from being able to pass freely through the opening.  While the doctor was assisting with stretching the area as much as she could without risking a fractured tailbone and the baby was negotiating the tricky shape as best as possible, the baby's head was not passing through because the opening was not as round as it should be -- my sacrum was jutting out.  The baby was coming down with each of my pushes, but then moving back up a little bit between pushes because the head was not clearing the opening completely.

This all sounded a little confusing to me.  If I was making good progress and pushing well, I thought I just needed more time.  I looked at the clock and knew that they had to allow me at least 3 hours of pushing before recommending a c-section, which meant I still had more time.  Annette chimed in to correct me by saying that I actually was allowed 5 hours of pushing if I wanted, but the doctor didn't think it would help and was worried that I was exhausting myself.  I didn't feel exhausted though!  I wanted to keep on pushing so I could meet my baby!!!  I asked what the options were and the doctor explained that she was going to try to assist with the baby's delivery through the use of a vacuum, but that she was only going to give me 3 pushes to get the baby out before they were going to do an emergency cesarean section.  I think I stopped breathing.  Tears started flowing down my face.  The doctor continued to explain that they were going to prep an operating room with a double set-up, so that if the vacuum didn't work I'd be ready for an immediate c-section.  I cried and asked for more time pushing.  I didn't want a c-section.... I was petrified of one.  I asked what the chances were of the vacuum being successful and she advised that it was 50/50.  I cried some more, knowing that I don't have good luck, and asked to push some more.  The doctor explained that I needed to conserve my energy for those 3 final pushes, and left to get ready for the OR.

I felt like a failure.  It was the most important moment of my life to date, and I wasn't accomplishing what I
was supposed to.  I didn't understand why everything was blowing off course so quickly.  I looked at Shep, who looked back at me.  He looked nervous, which made me feel even worse.  I cried that I'd screwed everything up by asking for the epidural, which caused the staff to administer Pitocin.  This is exactly what our childbirth instructor warned us about.  Annette was so sweet and reassured me that I didn't screw up, and that I needed the epidural due to my intense and clustered contractions, and that medical interventions were available for situations like this.... when they are needed.  Shep held my hand and tried to reassure me as well.

The anesthesiologist came back into the room to adjust the epidural to be a bit stronger and cover more area so I was ready for the c-section if needed.  Nurses came in and out of the room.  Everyone was fluttering around, while I just laid there, scared. Shep was given scrubs and a mask to wear, and a cap was placed on my head. The staff wheeled my bed out of the delivery room, down the hall, and into an operating room.

There were a lot of people in the OR {Shep later told me he counted 18 at one point including scrub nurses, assistant nurses, three doctors, residents, the anesthesiologist team, and various other personnel!} and the lights were so bright.  It was really cold.  Everyone was really friendly and the various doctors and nurses all introduced themselves to me behind surgical masks while I laid on the bed staring up at the lights, crying silently.  One of the doctors assisting Dr. R saw how upset I was and gave me the kindest pep talk.  I don't even remember her name or exactly what she said, except that I needed to stay calm and conserve my energy for pushing.  Her voice was so confident but gentle, and she held my hand while she told me that she had faith in me.  Her eyes peeking out over her surgical mask were so warm.  I looked back at Shep, and his eyes peeking out over his mask, but didn't know what to say.  He was holding my left hand and I was hanging on to him with every bit of hope I had.  I tried to tune out all the other people in the room in order to relax and focus, but I couldn't.  They had two teams of staff prepped and ready to go: one for the vacuum procedure and one for the C-Section.  Our little baby was going to have quite the audience when he or she arrived!  At one point, Dr. R asked to no one in particular, "Can we get a bigger room?" to which someone replied, "This is the biggest one there is."  Even though the room was very crowded, it gave us some comfort that so many medical professionals were all there ready to help bring our baby into the world.

I couldn't feel my legs at all.  The epidural dosage I was given was so high {in the event I needed the C-section} that I couldn't move any of my lower body.  I felt woozy.  I remember thinking that there was no way I'd be able to push the baby out without feeling anything in my lower body, let alone in only 3 pushes.  I quietly continued crying, while resigning myself to the C-section that was now practically inevitable in my mind.  Dr. R instructed me to push, and I tried with all my might.  I couldn't feel a thing, so looked to her face for some clue as to whether I actually was pushing correctly or whether the vacuum was helping to hold the baby in place between my pushes, but above her surgical mask I saw eyes that gave me no information whatsoever.  I pushed again.  At least I thought I was pushing... I couldn't feel anything!  2 pushes down, 1 to go.  Dr. R said, "Almost more big push!"  This baby did not want to come out easily it seemed.  My mind raced.  In a matter of seconds, I thought, they will be cutting me open to remove the baby via C-section.  This is not the way in which I wanted to meet my baby.  While my first two contractions came fairly quickly, the last one seemed to take forever.  I had to wait to push for the contraction to come, so we had a brief "time out".  Shep said everyone was watching the monitor like it was the last play of a tied Superbowl game.  Eighteen sets of eyes glued to the monitor! The final contraction finally came... I tried as hard as I could and while I was pushing I saw what looked like a baby in the doctor's hands at the end of the bed.  Could that be my baby?  Or was I hallucinating?

"It's a girl!", Shep announced!  "It is???" I replied, tears streaming down my face.  "Is she okay?"  For some reason I didn't think I heard her cry, but the doctors assured me that she was perfect.  {Shep told me she cried a little later.}  Shep cut the umbilical cord and they brought our little baby girl over to the side of the room for her APGAR tests and footprints and Shep followed.  39 weeks of being pregnant and 29-ish hours after realizing I was having my first contraction, she was finally here.  So perfect and worth every minute of the wait.

I could not believe I did it!! I escaped an emergency C-section by the skin of my teeth.  While the nurses checked and measured my baby girl, Shep looked on adoringly at her taking her first photographs, and I laid on my bed, catching glimpses as best I could of the newest love in my life.  Seeing the smile on Shep's face as he watched over our baby girl getting cleaned up was enough to make my heart soar.

I was still pretty numb from the large dose of the epidural, so much so that my arms and chest felt a bit weak. They also had me on a narrow birthing board so I was nervous to hold our baby right away for fear that I might drop her!  So, Shep held her first, standing beside me, and showed her to me.  She was absolutely beautiful.

Suddenly, we were a family of three, and I knew my new life would never be the same.  I was a mother now.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

12 Weeks New!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sometimes I feel like I should pinch myself -- I'm the luckiest that I get to spend every day loving this little cutie pie . . .

She may be just 12 weeks new, but I honestly can't imagine my life without her in it.  She brings so many smiles to our home and to our hearts.  I think I tell her how cute she is and how much I love her about 12 times a day.  Times ten.  ;)

Emily's favorite activities of the past week include:
- Shoving her little hands into her mouth and sucking on them so LOUDLY it makes me giggle
- Sucking on my shoulder or arm while I'm holding her
- Pulling my hair and holding on to my shirt -- she may still have tiny fingers but she has one strong grip!!
- Gabbing to herself and to us -- she's quite a talker!
- Sticking her tongue out {I may have something to do with this one as I do it to her to make her laugh!}
- Trying to walk up our bellies or chests
- Smiling and laughing when waking up from her naps
- Trying to sit up on her own
- Rounding her tummy and pushing up on her legs while getting her diaper changed -- not sure where she got this one from but she seems so proud of herself when she does it, despite it making mommy and daddy nervous that she's going to hurt her neck!
- Touching her hands to her feet when laying on her back
- Staring up at the sky when outside for walks
- Playing peek-a-boo, especially when she's getting dressed
- Listening to nursery rhymes
- Making a lot of noises, including little grunts and monster sounds.  Speaking of little monsters...

How cute is she?!?!

She's been sleeping pretty well at night, and I even got her to take several naps this weekend and during the week in her pack-n-play..... shocking!!  She can entertain herself a bit when she wakes up in the morning and from naps.  She is just so curious and takes everything in that she can see, hear or touch.

Happy 12 Week Birthday, Baby!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Weekend Happenings

Emily had a big weekend!  On Saturday she met her Great Aunt Barbara and her cousin Myles!  Of course Emily had to dress for the occasion...

Every lady needs a little black dress for a special Saturday!  :)  Don't let the ruffles and ribbons fool you, though, because she is one tough cookie!  She loves to show off her strength by lifting her head and pulling herself up, even though she's not yet even 12 weeks old!

On Saturday night she slept from 10 pm until after 6 am.... an 8+ hour stretch and her new sleep record!

On Sunday, Daddy painted Emily's new bookshelf and hung a picture ledge in her nursery.  Now we can decorate her room with all the wonderful little mementos she's gotten from loved ones!

Last night she did an encore sleep performance and slept from 10:20 pm until 6:10 am!  She must have been tuckered out from all the weekend excitement.  :)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

11 Weeks New!!!!!!!!!!!

The weeks are just flying by!  I wish I could stop the clock and soak up as many snuggles of my little mush as humanly possible while she's still this little.  Although, she's not that little anymore!  At just over 2.5 months old, Emily weighs 12 pounds 10 ounces and is FULL of personality!!!

I think I mentioned in her 2 month post that she is so strong that she can actually stand on her own, feet on the floor supporting ALL of her weight {with a little help from Mommy for balance of course} for several seconds!  She also loves climbing up your tummy while you're holding her upright; that little mover!

As if that's not advanced enough, I am pretty sure she started trying to sit up this week!  What??  At 2.5 months old???  She keeps ducking her head down and at first I couldn't figure out why, but yesterday and today I noticed that while she flexes her neck and ducks her head, she curls her tummy in and if you are holding her hands she'll start pulling herself up with her arms!  Today while I was holding her in a lean-back position on my lap, she grabbed onto my hands and tugged herself up partially!  I'm telling you, this kiddo is going to be sitting up in no time at all!

In other "way ahead of her age" news, she's almost able to roll from her back onto her tummy!!  She started rolling from tummy to back at a very early age, mostly to escape tummy time.  ;)  But over the past week, I've seen her bend her body in a way that gets her from her back onto her side.... she just needs a little more power and then she'll definitely be able to get on her belly on her own.  I can't believe it!!

My little girl is so strong, determined and smart!  And she's growing up way too fast.

Speaking of growing up fast, for some extra fun let's have some #TBT action.  The photo on the left takes us all the way back to when Emily was 1 month old.  If Kate Middleton can recycle her outfits, so can Emily!

Can you believe how big she's gotten in just 5.5 weeks?!?!  Neither can I!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Sleeping Beauty!

Guess who slept through the night for the first time last night????  This girl!...

Emily slept for over 7.5 consecutive hours last night, from 10:51 pm until 6:32 am!  When she woke up we changed and fed her, and then within 20 minutes of waking from that loooooong slumber she fell back to sleep for another 2 hrs and 48 minutes!  We were both shocked!  I bet she had some pretty great dreams because when she woke up she was sooooooo happy...

It must have been the awesome panda pajamas!  Or maybe it was the Prevacid finally kicking in and calming her reflux.  Or maybe it was a fluke...

I have heard that as babies approach the 14 pound mark that they can start sleeping longer stretches because they don't need to eat as frequently.  Only time will tell!  The little sleeping beauty is snoozing away now.... let's see how long she sleeps tonight!  {I hope I didn't just jinx myself...}

Monday, August 4, 2014

10 Weeks New!!!!!!!!!!

We've reached double digits!!  Emily turned 10 weeks "new" this past Thursday, July 31, and she is getting soooooo big!

... not to mention even more adorable.  ;)

She has graduated to size 3 diapers, even though they are wayyyy above her weight range, because her cutie patootie thighs need the extra room.  ;)

To celebrate her 10 week birthday, we took some photos and then took a loooooong nap on the couch in her newborn lounger.  She was super sleepy -- it must be tiring being 10 weeks old!!  Of course being the superstar mommy I am, I forgot to include the little 10 week old note card in her photos, so we had a repeat session the next day.  Shhh.... don't tell anyone!  ;)

Speaking of being sleepy.... someone set a new sleep record!  On 7/29, Miss Emily slept for 6.5 hours overnight.... wow!  We also took her to the ENT to get her upper lip & tongue tie looked at {the Dr said both were totally fine and didn't recommend snipping them} and registered her to be baptized in late September!  It was definitely a productive week!  :)

Funny things she's been doing this week include wrapping her legs around my arm monkey-style and holding her shirt up, both when I'm changing her diaper.  She also hits the toys on her play gym with more purpose.  She's really starting to get better control over those hands and legs so quickly!

Friday, August 1, 2014

On Our Bookshelf: Pregnancy

In order to prepare for the arrival of our little bundle of joy, Shep and I each did some reading.  I thought I'd share a list of books we read in case any of you are looking for some reading material while you're expecting!

We enjoyed reading "The Pregnancy Countdown Book" together each night before bed -- it was a fun way to bond and wind down each day.  "What to Expect" and "Your Pregnancy Week By Week" each had similar weekly formats and content, but each had their own strengths and weaknesses.  I really liked the exercises included at the end of each weekly chapter in "Your Pregnancy Week By Week", though of course I didn't do them all thanks to that never-ending nausea I had!  Shep relied on "The Expectant Father" to translate things I was telling him into "man speak".  ;)

And then of course, there were these:


Have you read any of these books?  How did you like them?  Any recommendations for other books I don't have listed here?  Please do share!
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