Wednesday, September 24, 2014

You Made Me a Mother

I saw this video last winter, when it first aired as part of an advertisement.  It may be a commercial, but the message is so true.  I cried the first time I saw it, when I was pregnant and dreaming of meeting my baby one day.  Now that Emily is 4 months old, it resonates even more with me. Today I got the happy news that the world has 2 new babies to love -- one is a friend's and one is my cousin's.  In celebration of these new babies, and another friend's baby due to arrive any day now, I wanted to share the video.  To all the babies and mommies out there -- enjoy!

To My Emily, who made me a mother..... no words could ever express how blessed I am to have you in my life.  Yours forever, Mommy

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

4 Months Young!!!!

All About Emily At 4 Months:

  • Is now a master at rolling from her back onto her tummy, which to date she's been doing exclusively via her right side.  Just in the past day or two though she has started attempting to roll to the left!
  • Is desperate to start crawling -- every time she's placed on her play mat she immediately rolls to her tummy and starts "swimming" while grunting because she isn't getting anywhere.
  • Has laughed aloud 5-6 times now, mostly all as a result of her father's fine comedy!  The first time I ever heard her laugh was when she and I were home alone, but all the other times have been at Daddy's shenanigans!  Each time she laughs, I get weepy -- it's honestly one of the most beautiful sounds I've ever heard.
  • Shoves her hands in her mouth all. day. long. {thanks to teething!}!  And, as luck would have it, she always absolutely HAS to have the hand you're trying to insert into her arm sleeve while dressing her in her mouth at that very moment.
  • Loves standing and sitting up with help.  We bought her a new chair that she can sit up in but she isn't quite sure how she feels about it yet....

  • Has started holding her little fists in a different position -- Shep and I call them her lobster claws.  It's hard to describe but she sort of turns her clenched hands together so that her inner wrists almost touch one another.  I'm thinking it might be the precursor to her being able to grasp things better.
  • She's always let out little sighs when she yawns, but over the past month those sighs have gotten LOUD!  When I'm trying to put her to sleep and she yawns her super loud yawn I can't help but giggle -- it's so funny to hear such a large moan come out of a little girl!
  • The dimple in her left cheek is getting more pronounced and I think I might have seen the start of a dimple in the right cheek too!
  • Is currently in the middle of the so-called 4 month wakeful period.  She's never been a superstar napper, but even night sleep is not our friend these days.  It's a good thing she's cute, because nothing else would get me up out of bed at 1 am, 3 am, 5 am and 7 am.  :)
  • Approaching 15 pounds!  We'll find out her updated weight, length and head size at her visit next week, but last week she weighed in at over 14.5 lbs so I think 15 lbs isn't too far off!
  • Wearing mostly size 3 months and 6 months clothing, though she's nearly outgrown her 6 month footie pajamas!  Still wearing Size 3 diapers.
  • Her "biscuit" feet measure almost 4 inches long by 1 7/8 inches wide.  I just want to eat them! Speaking of eating her feet, Emily tries to do this daily.  It's adorable to watch as she strains to pull her foot towards her mouth with her hand -- I think her chubby thighs get in the way sometimes!  When I fake-eat her feet while I'm changing her diaper she gets all smiley.  Little cutie pie!  This foot-eating makes changing her diapers and clothes a little but of a struggle though!  Such a little goober.
  • She is incredibly strong.  When she gets a grip on my hair or my shirt it takes all my might to un-clench her little fists!  She also has a tendency to try to dive off my lap when she sees something interesting and it takes both hands for me to hold onto her.  She's strong-willed and physically strong.
I am thankful every single day for the time, love, and cuddles I get to share with Emily.  I am beyond grateful to be her mommy.  Even on days that I'm tired or frustrated about something {I'm talking about you, reflux!}, all it takes is a smile from my sweetheart to make everything seem brighter!

Friday, September 19, 2014

17 Weeks Young!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Emily is growing sooooooooooo fast.  I know I keep saying that, but it's true!  See for yourself...

Yes, that is the same nightgown.  And yes, that is the same baby!  Where has the time gone?????  17 weeks, gone in the blink of an eye.  It was hard to snap a good photo of my little cutie pie this week because all she wants to do is eat her hands!  Nom, nom, nom, nom . . . .

She is teething BIG TIME.  She also has decided to go through the so-called "4 month wakeful period" a bit early.  Remember when she would sleep 6, 7 or 8 hours straight at night?  Not anymore!!!  Her sleep stretches started decreasing a week or two ago, and now we're waking up 3, 4 and 5 times a night.  Sometimes to a laughing baby, who thinks it's hysterical to wake up at 3:30 am and refuse to go back to sleep for an hour!  {That only happened one time so far, *knock on wood*!  But her adorable smile is simply too sweet to get mad at, even in the middle of the night!}  Like all things at this age though, it's just a phase and it will pass.  I like to think of it as a developmental progression, not a sleep regression, as the linked blog post explains.

Emily is learning so many new and interesting things -- it's no wonder her brain is too excited to sleep all night!  She is super active, and even more observant than before.  She gets easily distracted from eating or sleeping at even the smallest sound or sight.  She smiles A LOT and is getting more control over her little hands, which she has been holding out like little lobster claws over the past few days.  These days, she spends most of her time on her tummy, with head held way up high, trying to crawl.  Though, she still loves laying on her back and looking up at the adorable baby in the mirror of her play gym, whoever that beautiful baby is that smiles back at her!  ;)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

16 Weeks Young!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm super late with this update, but better late than never!  Last Thursday, Emily reached 16 weeks of age!

She decided to ring in the week with a new skill..... eating her feet!

Ever since she started rolling onto her tummy, she spends most of her time trying to crawl!  She can lift her head waaaaaaaay up, along with her shoulders too.  She moves her arms and legs, while grunting, and it looks like she's swimming!  Though she technically can't crawl yet, she does pull herself across her mat {doing an "army crawl" as it's called} and can turn around in circles, so she's definitely not immobile!

She surprised me three times this week by falling asleep on her own in her swing, hugging Sophie and her burp cloth.  Such a nice treat, and she looked ADORABLE cuddling her little friend in the swing.  I tried to take a photo but it came out blurry due to the movement of the swing and I sure the heck wasn't going to chance turning the swing off to get the photo!  Next time.  ;)

This week has been full of drool.  Drool, drool and more drool.  Teething has started, and although it's early, it's in full force.  Her gums have been bothering her at night moreso than during the day, and sometimes interfering with her falling asleep.  Poor baby!  I don't know why I'm surprised that she's already teething -- she seems to be doing everything slightly ahead of schedule!  Not sure where this kid got all her energy from.... I guess my "lazy" gene didn't get passed down to her.  ;)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

One Year Ago

One year ago today, we started an otherwise ordinary Saturday morning in a big way:

Here's what I wrote in my journal that day:

POSITIVE PREGNANCY TEST!!!! I took the test as soon as I woke up, and though I meant to lay it face down and do the 5-minute-wait with Shep before we both looked at the results, it turned positive WHILE I was still peeing on it!!!! Wow, not sure what that means but I hope it’s good!!

Well, it turns out it was a good sign, and we now have an amazing little girl to prove it.  ;)  Shep and I were both a little hesitant to get our hopes up too high about the positive test after having gone through a miscarriage just a few months prior, but though fear lingered in the back of our minds we were still both excited, and cautiously optimistic, at the wonderful news.  We spent the morning together, quietly thinking about our future and daydreaming of a healthy, happy baby.

The next day we attended a family celebration -- a Christening for my cousin's baby.  It was a little tricky keeping such positive news {pun intended!} to ourselves in the presence of dozens of extended family members -- part of me wanted to shout with joy and hope from the rooftop, but it was still very early so we kept our lips sealed.  At the reception after the mass, we were sitting at our table chatting with other family members when my cousin came over and randomly handed the baby of honor to me to hold.  There must have been at least 50 other guests there, so I found it a bit ironic that of all the people there she handed ME the baby, especially given our new secret news.  My face must have turned 27 shades of red, and Shep gave me a sly grin, but luckily nobody noticed.  I remember hoping that it was a little sign from the universe that I'd soon enough be holding my own baby in my arms.  And thankfully, that's exactly what happened!

366 days ago we had no idea what our future family would look like.  Now, we can't imagine our family, or our lives, without Emily in it.  It's amazing how in a matter of just minutes {5, to take the test} and weeks {39.5, waiting for her to arrive}, life is forever changed.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Hospital Bag Checklist

One of the most important items on a mommy-to-be's "to do" list before the big day arrives is to pack a bag of all the necessities and nice-to-haves for her hospital stay.  This was something I procrastinated a bit on when I was expecting, partly because I hate packing and partly because I was a little overwhelmed.  I scoured the internet looking for tips on what to pack, and the lists seemed endless.  Finally, when the clock was ticking and I didn't think I had much time to spare, I got my bag packed and helped Shep with his.  Below is the list I compiled for myself, from a bunch of different sources on the web.  Feel free to use it if you're expecting {here is a printable version}, and also let me know if I've left anything off that you found helpful during your hospital stay if you've already had a baby!

For Mom-to-Be

__ ID + insurance card
__ Birth preferences sheet (3 copies) -- Just in case one gets lost/accidentally discarded!
__ 1-2 bed pillows with favorite cases -- I ended up not bringing these, and fared fine with the hospital pillows.
__ Lotion or massage oil (unscented)
__ Back massager tool
__ Soothing picture for focal point
__ Sugar-free lollipops/hard candies/lozenges for a dry mouth
__ Lip Balm for dry lips
__ Paper fan -- In case the room is hot
__ Refillable water bottle + favorite bottled water -- I am a little of a water snob so this was a treat I enjoyed!
__ Bendy straws (to drink from cup while laying down or sitting back)
__ Brown paper bag (to breathe into in case of hyperventilation) -- Luckily I didn't end up needing this!
__ Music and music playing device for labor, birth, and nursing the baby -- I worked so hard on creating my play lists during the last week before I had Emily, and then never used the music! D'oh!
__ Bathing suit top for shower during labor
__ Flip flops for shower (disposable)
__ Warm socks (disposable) -- My hospital provided slipper socks with rubber grips on them so I didn't end up needing the socks I brought or my slippers
__ Slippers (disposable)
__ Nightgown(s) that opens in the front for nursing (2) (disposable) -- I ended up just wearing the hospital gown during my entire stay, which had snap closures in the front for easy nursing access
__ Bathrobe -- I decided at the last minute to leave this home because I didn't want it to get ruined and didn't miss it at all
__ “Granny” panties and nursing bra -- I didn't end up using these either. The mesh panties that the hospital provided worked great for me, and I didn't need to wear a nursing bra in the hospital since my milk didn't come in until I got home
__ Breast pads and lanolin cream -- The hospital provided breast pads along with saline solution for soreness
__ Mouthwash, toothbrush, tooth paste, breath mints -- These will be the first step in helping you feel like a human again!
__ Shampoo, Conditioner, Face Wash, Face Moisturizer, Body Wash, Body Moisturizer
__ Hairbrush & hair ties
__ Sleep Mask & ear plugs -- Extra helpful if you have to share a room
__ Makeup -- I didn't end up using this at all..... not even for our first photos with Emily taken by the hospital photographer, which I now regret. ;)
__ A notepad and pen to record important information -- It's amazing how quickly things can happen and how details and information can get forgotten quickly in the post-birth chaos/excitement.
__ Comfortable / loose clothes and shoes to wear home -- You will still look pregnant, so stretchy pants and a loose top are musts!
__ Bag for taking extra items home -- The hospital provided us with a cloth bag to take supplies home and we still needed our extra bag! They really stocked us well before we left! {More about that on a coming post!}

For Your Partner

__ Snacks for labor (yogurt, nuts, bars, dried fruits) & drinks -- It's important for the coach to stay energized.... though probably not a great idea for your partner to eat in front of you if you're not allowed to. ;)
__ Electronic devices (e.g., phone, tablet) + chargers
__ Reference handouts from childbirth class -- In case you forget any breathing or relaxation techniques!
__ Camera + spare battery for birth and baby photos and video
__ Change of clothing & pajamas
__ Toiletries, including razor
__ Glasses/contact case/saline/eye drops
__ Baby name books -- If like us you're totally unprepared to name your newest favorite tiny person!
__ Swimsuit & t-shirt, flip flops (in case mom-to-be wants to stand in shower during labor)
__ Towels for shower (optional) -- The hospital towels are less than soft, but we didn't end up having room in either of our bags to pack our own towels so we fared with the hospital ones.
__ Magazines & pens
__ Change for vending machines
__ Money for food delivery / take out
__ Prescriptions

For Baby

__ Blanket & beanie hat for hospital photos -- Doesn't need to be anything elaborate, but if you have a blanket or outfit or headband or hat that is special to you, bring it for baby's first photos!
__ Going home outfit w/ legs, including a hat, socks and receiving blanket -- It's important for baby's outfit to have legs so that you can strap the baby properly into the carseat. Newborn babies don't hold their body temperature well, so it's important to ensure you dress baby warmly enough... layers are helpful. I read that it's best to dress baby in the amount of clothing you'd be comfortable in and then add one more layer, like a thin blanket.
__ Car seat already installed in the back seat of the car -- Check with your local police station, fire department or hospital if you need help installing it or getting it checked to ensure it's installed properly! You don't want to wait until the last minute for this!
__ Information of pediatrician on note card -- The hospital will need this information; we found it easiest to just hand them a card with the information on it rather than repeating it to different hospital staff members.

__ Baby memory book (for footprints) -- We didn't end up doing this, but I've heard that some hospitals will put baby's footprints directly into the memory book if asked. They need to take baby's footprints anyway for their own records, so save yourself the mess of applying ink to baby when you get home! ;)

Well, that's my recommended list!  So tell me, experienced moms -- what did I forget???  :)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

15 Weeks Young!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This past week was full of excitement!

On the morning of August 31, Emily rolled onto her tummy for the first time!  As I mentioned in a prior post, she's been so close to doing it, but couldn't get those pesky knees out of the way.  Well, determination won out and after a few tries she got onto that tummy, and has been rolling over ever since!

Then on Sunday afternoon Emily met another of her great aunts {this time on Daddy's side} and a cousin too!

On Wednesday, baby girl had her first little giggle fit, which was so adorable.  She's been doing wide-open mouth silent laughs for a while, and has made little squeaks here and there over the past month.  But, this was totally different.  She was laying on her mat on her back, staring up at me.  It was unusual because she's resisted laying on her back since she figured out how to roll on Sunday.  I was looking at her, and she was looking back up at me with a serious expression, almost like she was pondering something or concentrating.  Then out of nowhere she started laughing!  The sound of her laughter was so pure and so sweet -- I got all misty-eyed!  I would give anything to know what she was thinking that got her to laugh so hard!  She hasn't done that since, but I cannot wait to hear that laugh again!

Thursday marked 15 weeks since Emily entered the world . . .

And what an amazing 15 weeks it's been.  Our little girl is reaching so many milestones sooo quickly!  Someone please stop the clock -- the time is just flying by!  I want her to stay little forever!

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