Friday, December 3, 2010

Moving Day!

New location.

I had mentioned not being completely satisfied with my blog for multiple reasons, so to fix it I have decided to switch servers. WordPress offers a lot more - I can reply to comments, more professional layout, and it allows readers to subscribe and be updated via email when I add a new post. All of the content has also been transfered as well, so you don't have to worry about losing all of those cute pictures! I think this will be a lot better for everyone! Sorry for any inconvenience it may cause. 

If the link does not work, the web address for the new blog is: http://heartofpassion.wordpress.com/

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Officially in Print

Look who made the newspaper!


She gets cuter and cuter every day! It is impossible for me to believe that she is already four weeks old. Also that it is already December! November seems to have just disappeared. On Friday, Elly will officially be one month old. Crazy. I am so glad (and lucky) that I am getting a chance to be a stay-at-home mom and spend so much time with her... watching her as she learns and develops.

On Tuesday she got her first real "big girl" bath in her baby tub. Her cord fell off a few weeks ago, but Brent wanted to be here for her first real bath so I had just continued with sponge baths until we could give her a bath together. She hated it.


 ....but she survived and we survived! Plus you can really tell she is starting to get a belly! and pinchable cheeks. So cute!

We are doing great with getting her into a routine. She was awake almost all day yesterday and slept almost all night. She wakes herself up every 2-3 hours to feed, but she puts herself right back to sleep afterward. This is really helping Brent and I catch up on some much needed rest. As far as her being fussy and awake, we have determined that caffeine is the culprit and that her little body cannot handle it, so I have to give that up until I am done breastfeeding... or until she gains a few more pounds.  That's okay, she's worth it! She has also been sucking on her thumb more, rather than just trying to eat her entire fist. Her facial expressions are still cute as ever and we are noticing a lot more smiles (and seeing lots of her tongue)! She is learning and developing so well, we are so proud of her!




big beautiful eyes!
Yesterday we had a home visit from one of our lactation consultants (we see two, but they both work together). She said everything is going great! She watched a feeding session and was impressed with how well Elly latched and stayed focused. She also said that I could back off on the pumping, doing it only a few times a day rather than after every feeding! Great news for me.

Today we have a meeting with our registered dietician. Since Elly had a low birth weight she wants to track my diet to make sure I'm getting enough of the nutrients that Elly needs to grow properly. I don't think we have an issue, but it will be good to make sure. Elly will also get weighed while we are there... Brent and are I thinking she is over 5 pounds.... we'll see!

Brent is off today, so after our appointment we plan on finishing the decorating! and probably watching ELF!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Blog Business

It's December!!!
It's snowing!!!
Elly is FOUR weeks old!!!

Where is the time going?

We are still in the process of decorating for Christmas. Between Brent's work schedule, Elly's eating schedule, and me not being able to do much or lift anything the decorating has been drawn out and we still haven't finished. However, it is starting to look like Christmas in our apartment and I am loving it. Pictures coming soon, I promise!

I am in the process of overhauling the blog. I am still not quite satisfied with the layout or the colors. I would love to have a picture banner at the top but have yet to get one that I think works well, so I am trying to design my own. Please bare with me over the next week or so as I try and work out the kinks and get my blog looking perfect. There will probably be lots of background and color changes, but the content is still here and the pictures will keep coming.

I am also going to try and keep my posts consistent and get at least one post up a day - this could be a recipe, a new food we've tried, updates about Elly or the family, random stories, or maybe just a picture or two... whatever the case, expect at least one post per day (sometimes you may get more!)

If you haven't noticed, I am also adding tabs to the top of the page. I have a lot of readers from all over the world - met through online communities and pregnancy groups, so not everyone knows about me or the people I write about on a daily basis. I have also included a "recipes" tab since part of this blog is also dedicated to my passion for cooking and baking and several people have expressed interest in my recipes... so hopefully combining them all onto one page will make them easier to access.

Comments are always welcome! Unfortunately, I have not figured out how to reply directly to comments, so if you leave a comment I will most likely reply through e-mail.

I have a great update planned for you later... including lots of pictures!

Monday, November 29, 2010

That Time of the Year

It is officially "that time of the year".

This Christmas season, Brent is management in a retail store - that means longer days, more hours, and less time off. It's worth it because he is the only one working right  now, but it also means less family time. We are adjusting and rolling with it, but that doesn't make it less hard. At least he loves his job and the people he works with... that makes it much better for all of us. Plus, his co-workers are always receptive of my baked goods and it is about time for Christmas cookies!

Christmas aside for just a minute, this is what made my morning:

These two are my world! I love them both more than anything. :)

Unfortunately I had to wake them both up from their nap... things needed to get done.


 Time to decorate!!!!



Sunday, November 28, 2010

Good Morning!

video

We love her! She has such a great personality, I really hope nothing ever changes that. Brent and I have also decided that her little noises make her sound really constipated, but trust us... she is not! Hopefully we can get some cute little "coo"'s soon. 


Everything else is fabulous! She is starting to have more awake time during the day and she is sleeping better at night, only waking up every two to three hours to feed. We are noticing more smiles, which are adorable as always. She is showing more interest in raising her head and wigggling around during tummy time. She still hardly ever fusses, unless she is hungry. I would say we got very lucky, and that we have the best baby ever. 

Or maybe I'm just a little biased. 

She has started wearing some newborn clothes. Preemie stuff still fits her, it's just getting tight in the legs (which seem to grow longer and longer everyday)... and the newborn stuff is still very baggy and loose in the arms and tummy area, so she is at the in-between stage. Either way, I consider it a milestone!

We have noticed that she is getting a very mild case of cradle cap, but it does not seem to be bothering her at all. We have a meeting with our lactation consultant at the hospital this week so we are going to ask the nurses about it when we go in, but until then we are going to try and not worry about it. 

Don't forget to let me know if you want a Christmas card!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Latte

I realize that pumpkin is now out and peppermint is in, but I cannot give up on my pumpkin spice latte that easily.

I first discovered the greatness that is a pumpkin spice latte about two years ago. Unfortunately, daily runs to a local coffee store can be damaging to the wallet so I knew that habit wasn't going to fly. Instead I just indulged in the treat a couple of times a season and was completely satisfied.

That is, until this year.

I gave up almost all caffeine during my pregnancy, so I made zero runs to the coffee store while the pumpkin spice latte was in full swing. Since it is only offered seasonally I figured I would treat myself to one after Elly was here. Sure enough, about a week after her birth I hit up the local Starbucks. Since it was still so warm here I ordered it in frappuccino form. It was delicious! Unfortunately, that was the night she would not sleep and became very fussy. Apparently even the small amount of caffeine was going to be too much, so I backed down to not having any - which is quite a feat when you are sleep deprived!

However, a few weeks ago my mom got Brent and I a coffee pot and some decaf coffee to home brew! Since then I have been trying to research home made recipes. I had not come across any good ones, and then as if she was reading my mind Ashley posted this recipe for one she had tried!

I tried it immediately and loved it, however if I were to make it again I would try a little more pumpkin to up the flavor a bit. The only downside was that it was hard to watch and make while keeping Elly happy, but it is definitely worth it.

Until I found this.

I love Silk soy milk products, and when I saw this at Target I had to buy it. Then I had the great idea to steam some and add it to my coffee. The result is delicious, creamy, pumpkin-y coffee.

I'm currently on my second cup.
Yeah, it's that good. :)

'Tis the Season

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Stores have their shelves stocked with red and green, lights are sparkling in the neighborhoods, and Christmas carols can be heard over speakers.

Unfortunately, the seasonal spirit has not hit our house. The tree is still in the box, garland un-hung, and lights not shining. I still have not even started my Christmas cards! This is very unusual for me, as I usually have them ready, addressed, and in the mailbox the morning after Thanksgiving and then immediately begin decorating. That is, until a little bundle of joy becomes much more important that when the Christmas tree gets put up. It's okay, I'm not complaining.

However, I was getting a little antsy about my cards. I love sending out Christmas cards, and wanted this years to be especially good since it's our first family Christmas... even though we thought we weren't even going to be able to get pictures taken, I still wanted to get cards out to our loved ones. Yet, every time we went in a store none of them caught my eye, or I just completely forgot.

Then I got great news from Shutterfly. They are giving away 50 free Christmas cards to bloggers!

This promotion could not have come at a better time for us. Elly will be almost two months old at Christmas time, and this year is especially wonderful because it is her first Christmas ever and our first Christmas as a family. Thanks to Shutterfly we will have the perfect cards to document this special Christmas and have beautiful cards to send out.

As far as our first family pictures, we are planning on getting them done by Nicole! She used to be my manager at Subway, but now is trying to get her own photography business started. Her photos are fabulous and offer much more character than us sitting on an ottoman in front of a Christmas tree backdrop, and I feel like this will help make our cards and first family Christmas even more perfect!

The possibilities are endless, but here are a few of my favorites!



I already have a list of recipients started, but if you would like to receive a card leave a comment and let me know!

It's the most wonderful time of the year!! I LOVE Christmas! :)

[If you are a blogger and are interested in this promotion, you can sign up here.]

Friday, November 26, 2010

I am Thankful

I hope everyone (in America) had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

We could not have asked for a better day! It was Elly's first Thanksgiving.. we are very thankful that she is with us and that she is very healthy and happy!

My mom and Whitney came up here to celebrate with us. My mom made a delicious lunch and we all watched the Thanksgiving Day Parade. After they left Brent, Elly, and myself all went into food coma for a few hours. When we woke up we ventured out to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. The movie was amazing. I think it is my favorite of the films thus far! What was even more amazing than the movie was Elly. She slept through the entire movie, only making little noises when the movie got loud at sudden points. She was fabulous! We are so lucky to have such a great baby.

Then, around 3:30am we left the house to give Elly her first taste of Black Friday. Nuts, right? Brent thought so, but I really wanted to go... so we did. It was actually a LOT of fun. The only bad part was having to wait outside in the cold and snow to get into Target, but after that I really enjoyed myself. I got Brent's Christmas gift bought (Lord of the Rings trilogy on Blu-Ray - normally $75.99, on sale for $23.97!!!) and my favorite find: Silk Pumpkin Spice soy milk... it is SO good.

Now Brent is at work and I am cleaning the apartment in preparation for Christmas decorations! I am so excited for the holiday season this year! :)

I love my family!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Invisible Ice Cream Cone

I am 3 weeks old today!

This picture makes me laugh. I loved it even before Ashley pointed out that it looks like Elly is eating an invisible ice cream cone. I cannot deny that I lived on ice cream for a good portion of my pregnancy, so Elly must just have an early taste for the delicious dairy treat. I'm okay with that.

I am not okay with the fact that she is already THREE weeks old. Time is flying by way too fast, and I feel like I'm going to blink my eyes and she'll be graduating high school or something ridiculous. I am trying to savor every minute and capture lots of pictures (and now videos!) so I can always look back on these precious first weeks when she is really started to develop and discover new things.















Elly loves her Boppy (and her name letters from "Aunt" Ashley)!






Photo shoot with Mommy and Daddy! We love her so much.

As mentioned previously, we took Elly in for a check up yesterday and things went much better than we could have hoped! We absolutely love her pediatrician. He was so confident in her (and us), and things worked out perfectly. He never once suggested that we add formula to her diet, and while the every 2-hour feeding schedule was grueling it was definitely worth it. She has surpassed her birth weight by almost four ounces, and continues to grow! Aside from her weight, everything else was great as well. We are very happy about this and very lucky to have such a wonderful, healthy little girl.

We are also noticing that she is hitting all of her developmental milestones. She is having lots more awake time during the day and has slept better the past couple of nights, only waking up to feed. She is showing lots of personality and different expressions. And she is raising and holding her head a lot better!
She lifted her head off my chest all by herself!

Tomorrow is also a big day: Elly's FIRST THANKSGIVING! Grandma (Sherry) and Aunt Whitney are coming up to have lunch with us and then Brent, Elly, and myself are going to see Harry Potter. We feel it is very important to introduce Elly to Harry Potter at a young age since that is where her name came from (Emmeline - a member of the first Order, she was only mentioned briefly in the books.)

I hope everyone else (in America) has a wonderful holiday and enjoys a delicious feast!

I know I'm cute.
I also know I already have Daddy wrapped around my little finger. :)


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

small BIG update

We went in for Elly's check up today and she weighed in at 4 lbs. 10.8 oz.!!!!! She was 4 lbs. 7 oz. at birth, and 4 lbs. 4.6 oz. at her check up last Tuesday so she gained almost half a pound in a week!! And I am proud (and very happy) to say that we did it without supplementing with formula!

Everything else is great, and we do not have to go back to her pediatrician until her two month check up, when she will be getting her vaccinations.

Brent is off today, so we are enjoying a nice relaxing day as a family! I love it, and Elly is having LOTS of awake time right now so I think she loves it too. :)

We did her three week photo shoot (a day early) so I will have lots of pictures to load later, along with a better update BUT for now I will leave you with this:

video

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Happy Days!


giggles!


Remember that smile I said we couldn't catch on camera. I finally got it! This face makes my heart smile. I love her so much! :)

Last night was the first time she slept really well at night. We had to wake her up to eat, but she fell right back to sleep every time. This has never happened before, but I hope the trend continues. I am thinking that caffeine may have been a factor in her nighttime fussiness, before yesterday I was drinking about a cup to a cup and a half of coffee a day, and she always got fussy at night. Yesterday I had no coffee and she slept like an angel. I'm going to try experimenting and not have caffeine for a few days and see if that really is what was causing it. No fun for me because I could definitely use caffeine right now... but if it's making her fussy then it's not worth it.

*Note: I am aware that I am allowed to have a small amount of caffeine every day, this was okay'd by our doctor, the nurses, and our lactation consultant. However, I did not have any caffeine throughout the entire pregnancy and I think that introducing it to her through the breast milk may be a bit much on her little system.

My goal for this week is to get our Christmas cards done. I am finding it hard to believe that it's already Thanksgiving week! I tried to convince Brent that we needed to go ahead and decorate and put the tree up, but Scrooge said we couldn't until Thanksgiving was over. Lame. :P

I think we are planning on braving the grocery store today and hoping it won't be too busy or too cold outside.

Oatmeal Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Delicious.

These cookies were definitely a success. They were chewy, moist, and had the perfect pumpkin taste! I got the recipe from Julie, and after seeing it I knew immediately that I wanted to try them. SO glad I did.... and I'm pretty sure Brent is too. :)

Recipe:
Ingredients
  • 1 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1 c. canned pumpkin
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 c. old fashioned oats
  • 1 c. all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 2/3 c. slivered almonds (walnuts or pecans would also be delicious)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Mix sugars, egg, water, pumpkin, butter and vanilla
  • Combine oats, flour, baking soda and pumpkin pie spice and slowly mix into the sugar mixture until evenly combined
  • Bake for 13 – 15 minutes
  • Enjoy!
I highly recommend making these! They are very easy and extremely delicious.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Milestones

Elly is hitting quite a few milestones and I feel like I am not doing a great job of recording them.

First, she lost her umbilical cord on Tuesday November 16. Lucky for us we unzipped her onesie at the doctor so she could get weighed and it was just gone. It left the belly button bleeding, scabbed over, and nasty looking. I probably would have freaked out had there not been a nurse standing there telling me that this was completely normal looking.

She also has excellent neck control. She is capable of turning her head from side to side to look around. We have also noticed that when she is laying on our chest or we have her on her tummy she can briefly lift up her head, hold it for a couple of seconds, and let it back down. She can do it all without her head flopping around like a bobble head, so we are really proud of her for that. She must get her strength and muscles from mommy. :)

We are also noticing a LOT of smiling and other cute facial expressions!



She has so much personality! We have yet to capture a good smile on camera, but trust me when we do it will be posted. :)

Her eating habits are also spectacular. She is still on her 2-hour feeding schedule and she is eating like a champ! She nurses really well, and seems to love mommy's milk. I am still pumping, but now we are giving her the supplement in a bottle rather than through syringe. She will take the bottle sometimes, but other times she just pushes it out of the way and will go back to getting it straight from the source. ;) She knows where her noms come from... she is already one smart cookie!

Unfortunately, with the strict feeding schedule it has been hard to try and establish a sleep schedule for her. She sleeps really well during the day, but becomes almost wide awake at night between the hours of 11pm and 5am. She will doze off, but will immediately wake up if we try to put her in the bassinet. That means that either Brent or myself is always on night duty. We are hoping that once she can just feed when she's hungry it will be easier to get a better pattern going and try to work on fixing her backward schedule.

She is still in preemie clothes and diapers. They are still big on her. Unfortunately, she seems to be growing longer a lot faster than she is putting on some fat. The onesies are starting to get a little tight when she stretches out her legs, but the pants do not fit her in the waist. Poor girl is having clothing issues already. :(

The cats are warming up to her. Kenji especially is very protective and it is SO cute! Tonight I was pumping and we had Elly sleeping in the pack and play. Kenji walked into the living room, went to the pack and play and "stood up" on his hind legs and just stared in on her for a good two or three minutes. He had no intention of jumping in, it was like he was just checking to make sure she was okay. After he was satisfied, he backed away and went back to napping. It was adorable.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Guess Who's Back?!

Betty Crocker is in THE HOUSE!

During my pregnancy I found I had a passion for cooking and baking. I had always liked to cook and bake, but had never really experimented with recipes or tried new things. Also, most of my baked goods came from a box. I was a little worried that my new found love for making homemade goodies was only a symptom of nesting and that I would lose interest once Elly was here.

I was wrong.

I cannot say that I have really branched out much since Elly was born. In fact, up until a few days ago I have not even had an appetite. I know that I should be eating (especially since I am exclusively breast feeding) but I have not really felt hungry. I think it is mostly because I feel like I have a ton of other things that I need to be doing. Well, that is starting to change because I am noticing that I am becoming almost ravenous and I'm eating what I want, when I want. Luckily, it has been mostly healthy. :)

Today I made pigs in a blanket for lunch. I had it with some left over chili (that I made a few days ago). No part of this was healthy, but it tasted so good! I also made chocolate chip cookies on Wednesday... the whole batch (2 dozen) has already been devoured. I am making barbeque chicken and baked potatoes for dinner with cupcakes for dessert. I am cheating and making funfetti cupcakes, but that's only because I still have a mix in the pantry and I'm trying to clean things out a bit. However, I am also going to experiment with a new recipe for oatmeal pumpkin spice cookies. I will post a review (and recipe) if they turn out delicious!

I am also excited that I can drink coffee and eat cookie dough again. The simply joys in life... :)

And because no post is complete without a baby picture, here is my current favorite!

Elly and Leela sharing a moment.
Elly's face is priceless.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Two Weeks


Yesterday (Wednesday) was my official due date. Instead we celebrated Elly turning two weeks! We even made cookies and had a special pre-Thanksgiving with Aunt Kristin and Uncle Brad.

I cannot say it enough, but time is seriously flying. I still cannot believe that she is already two weeks old. I still cannot believe that she is our baby and that she is here with us, very happy and healthy. She is absolutely perfect and we love her so much!

We are still new to the whole parenting thing and we learn new and exciting things everyday. Like the fact that boys are not the only ones who shoot pee at you when you change their diapers, little girls are perfectly capable of that as well. Or that they can (and will) poop twice during their bath. Also that they are very confused when it comes to night and day. Let's not forget the mass number of people who will stop you, no matter where you are or what you are doing, to dote on and stare at our little girl.

Brent and I are still very sleep deprived, but she is worth every minute of it and every sleepless night. We catch naps when we can, but since she is on a strict 2-hour feeding schedule it is difficult for me to really catch up on sleep. However, today we met with our lactation consultant and she said that since Elly is doing such a great job with the breast feeding and since she is now two weeks we can introduce a bottle (filled with my pumped milk). This means that for one feeding a day Brent can just use the bottle and I can hopefully get a little extra sleep.

I had my two week check up today with Dr. Elliot. Everything is looking great and he said my incision is healing ahead of schedule, so that is good news. He also said that he got the placenta report back and Elly was not suffering from IUGR as it was previously thought, she was just a small baby. This explains why she was still so healthy and had very little complications despite being two weeks early and having such a low birth weight. More good news! I was also complimented for how quickly I am losing my pregnancy weight and that I am keeping my blood pressure low! Overall, I would say we are all doing a fantastic job.

We would also like to thank everyone again for all of the love and support that you have given us. We really appreciate it! :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Updates!

I have decided to totally revamp the blog and do things a little bit differently.

This blog was originally started as a way to document my pregnancy, but now that Elly is here with us I wanted to change things up a bit to reflect my journey as a new mom... including everything from my adventures with breast feeding, diaper changes, sharing (way too many) cute photos, family stories, and my cooking ventures and recipes. In order to do that I wanted to get a "fresh start" with a new background and layout, something a little more simple and easy to read. I have also imported everything from my food blog to this one so I only have one blog to worry about, this means that everything will be all together in one place! Makes life simple for everyone :)

Now, on to the important things!

Elly went in for her second check up with her pediatrician this morning and everything is looking great! Her weight is up to 4 lbs. 4.6 oz., so she still isn't back up to her birth weight BUT she is still gaining and she is doing excellent on her diet of strictly breast milk so we don't even have to worry about starting a formula supplement. YAY! She has also grown about an inch since her last appointment (last Tuesday)... I think she is growing longer instead of wider. I hope this changes soon because she cannot fit into any of the cute clothes that we have for her... even the preemie clothes are too big on her right now.

After being home for a week and a half now, I think we are finally getting the hang of things. We are those parents who are worrying about everything and have made several phone calls to the doctor, but that's okay. We have a schedule down for us alternating naps between Elly's feeding schedule and (thanks to my mom) the house still looks nice! :) Oh, and the cats have almost completely forgot about the fact that there is a new tiny human in the house... except they don't have 24 hour access to the rocking chair anymore.

I am doing fabulous! I am up and moving, probably better than I was two weeks ago. The end of pregnancy definitely took a huge toll on my body and I am happy to report that I am in a better mood, can sleep better (the little amount that I do get) and I can move around better now! I sometimes have pain and cramping in my incision area if I overdo it, but that doesn't happen too often. My two week check up is tomorrow afternoon so I will have a better idea of how well everything is progressing. The only downfall is that I still have not regained my appetite. I don't know if it is because I feel like I have a hundred other things to do besides eat or if I just have not gotten over my aversions/lack of appetite or a combination of both but I cannot wait to enjoy LOTS of food again. However, a combination of the low appetite, giving birth, and breast feeding I have already lost 20 pounds (I gained a total of 44 pounds during pregnancy), so I am halfway back to my pre-pregnancy weight!

Brent is also doing great! He is so wonderful with Elly and making sure she is always happy and taken care of. She definitely has won his heart over and it is absolutely adorable to watch them together. He was lucky enough to get a week and a half off after she was born to spend at home with us, but as of this week he is back to work.

I cannot believe that tomorrow Elly will already be TWO weeks old! Time is seriously flying. We are loving every minute of this exciting new journey. We are definitely very lucky to have such a wonderful little girl who is healthy and happy.


Love her. :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Daddy's Little Girl


This makes me tear up every time.
I love how great Brent is with Elly. It makes my heart smile.
My little family is perfect. :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

It's been one week...

I cannot believe Elly is already a week old! Time flies, but we are loving every second of it.

A lot has happened since Elly was born eight days ago.

When she was born, her APGAR scores were 8 and 9 - which is excellent! Unfortunately she failed her newborn hearing screening in both ears. They scheduled us for a follow up in January.. but yesterday we got a call saying that they had a cancellation and that we could come in today. We took it. It was a long 3 hour test, but she passed and had excellent hearing in both ears!

We were told by a few nurses that Elly being small in utero combined with my low fluid at the end could indicate that around week 34 Elly started suffering from IUGR, or intrauterine growth restriction, meaning that she was no longer growing properly. They have no idea why, or what could have caused this. Unfortunately, since she was still in breech position they had no other option than to perform the c-section. At my 37 week appointment my doctor had mentioned he thought she might be head down because she had the hiccups and they were so low in my abdomen, unfortunately she either flipped back around or her hiccups were that strong - and after seeing her hiccups firsthand, I would definitely say they were just that strong. :) Either way, I have no regrets about what happened and I am not disappointed at all that my "birth plan" did not go at all like planned. I'm just glad we have a happy, healthy baby girl.

Also while in the hospital Elly became jaundice and her bilirubin levels went from 11 to 15. This became a concern, but not too much of a concern to keep her in the hospital an extra week. Instead her pediatrician sent us home with a bilibed. This is very similar to a tanning bed for babies, but it's job is to get rid of the yellowing in her skin. The only downside is that she has to stay in it all the time, except during feedings and diaper changes... that means if she starts crying we just have to sit there and watch her. It literally breaks our hearts. Luckily she is taking it like a champ and has not really been fussy at all. AND, we get to take it back tomorrow (!!!) and then we can hold her all the time.

Her weight also dropped. At birth she was 4 lbs. 7 oz. She dropped to 4 lbs. 1 oz., and only made it back up to 4 lbs. 1.2oz. by the time we were discharged on Sunday. Tuesday she saw her pediatrician and was up to 4 lbs. 1.6oz. and today she was up to 4 lbs. 2 oz., so she is gaining weight.. yay!

I am a firm believer in breastfeeding. This was also one of my biggest concerns. However, it is working out wonderfully. Since she does have such a low weight I have to pump and we supplement her with the pumped milk through a syringe and we have to feed her every two hours. It's obviously working because she is gaining weight.. and we did it without resorting to formula! My plan is to breastfeed for as long as possible, with the goal being 12 months. After speaking with the lactation consultant she thinks this is a great idea, and the absolute best for Elly and myself.

Mom and Dad are doing great, just extremely sleep deprived. Brent is such a trooper and gets up every two hours for her feedings to sit with me and keep me company. Since our bed is so low and she is on the bilibed we have all been camping out in the living room, but it's nice to be together as a family. I am up and moving around great. The nurses were all impressed at how quickly I bounced back from the surgery.. I was up and out of bed the day after and had IV pain meds taken out because I wasn't really feeling much pain. I'm also proud to say that I've already lost 17 pounds (!) and am on my way back to my pre-pregnancy weight... without much effort, yay for breastfeeding. :)

The cats have been very curious, but have not tried to get too close to her.

I have a ton of pictures, but they will have to wait for another day.. Elly is hungry. :)

Thanks to everyone for the congratulations and well wishes! We really appreciate all of the love and support.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Birth Story

Emmeline Cambria Johsnon
November 3, 2010 // 5:34 pm
4 lbs. 7 oz. // 17 inches


To tell our birth story we have to go back to last Thursday, October 28. We went in for our follow up ultrasound to re-evaluate her size and position. As you may have noticed, I never posted on the outcome of the ultrasound. I noticed from their measurements that she was still measuring small, and she was still completely breech with over half of her body cuddled up in my right rib cage (face, both arms, and both feet) and her butt planted right on my bladder. Since U/S techs are not allowed to give out information, they said our doctor would receive the results on Monday or Tuesday and would discuss them with us them. We just assumed he would discuss them with us at our next appointment, which was scheduled for November 3 and I would write about it then after having a better idea of what was going to happen.

Well, Monday (November 1) rolls around and I get a phone call from the OB office. When I answer, it is the doctor himself...

Not the receptionist to remind me of my appointment.
Not the nurse to say the doctor received the ultrasound report.
But the doctor.

My heart sank.

He said that Elly was now measuring four weeks small (at our ultrasound two weeks ago, she was measuring two weeks small)... so she had not grown at all in four weeks. He said everything else looked fine, and that my fluid levels were great but he wanted us to see an ultrasound specialist at a hospital in Saginaw.. and he wanted it done this week.

Our appointment with the specialist was set for Wednesday morning, 8am. Which meant we were leaving our apartment at 6:30am to make it there on time.

She did the ultrasound and noted that the baby was small, measuring around 5 lbs. but there were no noticeable complications... except that my fluid was very low. This scared me, because our doctor had just told us my fluid level was great... but it had apparently dropped in a matter of a few days. The specialist said she was calling our doctor and recommending the baby be delivered TODAY. And because of the positioning and the low fluid, it would be done by c-section.

I was told to not eat or drink anything and to immediately report to the OB unit in Mount Pleasant.

So, we drove back and went straight to the hospital. I got registered and we went up to the OB unit and were put in the triage area. The doctor came in, along with several nurses. It was determined that I had made no further progress in dilation and that my water had not broke, it was just getting low. The doctor agreed that Elly would be coming out that day... unfortunately, it would not be until later that night because the hospital had experienced a power outage Wednesday morning and the OR schedule was backed up. We were told to expect our c-section to be around 8pm. This was at 10:30am... long day is long.

Well, around 4pm we finally got moved into our own room and at 4:30 Brent decided he was going to go get himself some food since neither of us had eaten all day (and now I wasn't allowed to eat). Shortly after he left Elly's heart rate dropped to 77 bpm then only rose to 84. Two nurses came rushing into my room, put my bed into a flat lying position, threw an oxygen mask on my face, and told me to roll onto my side. They couldn't find Elly's heart beat. They told me to try my other side. Still nothing. Finally to sit on my hands and knees. Still nothing. At this point the doctor was in the room as well, already in scrubs saying that we were going in NOW. I started freaking out because Brent had JUST left and now we were prepping for surgery. I started crying and my mom was frantically trying to get a hold of him. Finally, he made it back just in time. He got in his OR outfit and we headed back.

Once in the operating room I got prepped for a spinal (basically an epidural, but it is just one heavy dose rather than a continuous flow). After that was done, Brent was allowed to come in. The procedure after that took about 15 minutes. Unfortunately, while the procedure was fine, I was not. I was fine, laughing and joking and talking with Brent. Then all at once my body felt like I was being suffocated, my lungs started burning and I realized that my legs were just dead weights and I started panicking. I started to fight against the arm restraints I was in and I started screaming and crying, even though everyone was reassuring me that everything was fine. Around this time they pulled the baby out and I heard Elly crying. Brent lost it and he started crying and telling me how much he loved me. It was a wonderful moment. Too bad I was still acting like a freakshow and had to be sedated. I don't remember much else after that until I woke up an hour later in the recovery room.

They took me back upstairs where I was reunited with Brent, Elly, and my parents. I remember crying because Elly was absolutely beautiful.

The rest is just a blur... I can't believe that she's already a day old... I still can't even really believe she is here, and she is ours, and she is so perfect. We love her soooo much already.

We are happy to report that she is very healthy, but loves to make everything complicated.

I will update later with fun stories of everything we have encountered since her birth, but for now we are still camped out in our recovery room at least until tomorrow or Saturday! Elly and I are doing just fine, and Brent is doing everything he can to make sure we are taken care of.

I love my family. <3.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

All My Children

We went in for our 37 week appointment today, and everything was great! My blood pressure is still low, no weight gain, and size is still good.

Important updates: I am about 2cm dilated (!!!) and I am GBS negative. Both of these things made us very excited. Obviously 2cm is good progress, but some women are 2-3cm for weeks before they actually go into labor, so it doesn't really mean too much. Still exciting. Being GBS negative means that I will not have to be given antibiotics through IV during labor, which means I do not have to go to the hospital early once I go into labor.

Unfortunately, he thinks that she may still breech. He felt around on my stomach and said she may be head down, but he could not say for sure. He scheduled us for another ultrasound Thursday (tomorrow!) night!!!

We also had our first non-stress test today (NST). A NST is where we get hooked up to the fetal heart rate monitor and the uterine activity monitor, and I am given a clicker to record her movements. She was being extremely stubborn at first, but eventually started to cooperate. I think she knew she was making daddy late for work and she didn't want him to go :). After about 35 minutes, they said that she was doing great - we had lots of movement, and her heart rate held steady around 156 bpm.

Our next NST and appointment are scheduled for next Wednesday! And while he will not give anything specific, he says he guessed I had about one to two more weeks... which would put us right around our due date if she cooperates and things keep progressing like they are. :)

On an unrelated note, our furbabies have decided that they love mommy's new rocking chair.

For those of you who are new to the blog, these are our furbabies.

Leela is on the left. We just adopted her from the local animal shelter in September. She is one and a half years old. She came in as a stray in April, and we brought her home with us after seeing her and playing with her at the shelter for several weeks.

Kenji is on the right. We adopted him from the shelter in May 2009. He is two and a half years old. He also came in to the shelter as a stray, and was there for about seven months before I finally convinced Brent that we really needed to bring him home.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Full Term

October 27... Brent's 25th birthday and my pregnancy will officially be considered "full term." :)

We will go in for our 37 week appointment.
Our doctor is scheduling our final ultrasound.

The end is so close!!! I can't believe that in 21 days (or less) I will be holding my little girl.

Brent is also very excited. He already loves her so much, it makes my heart smile. This past weekend we went to one of my good friend's wedding. When she walked in with her dad and they passed by our pew going toward the front of the sanctuary he grabbed my hand. I noticed that he was starting to tear up... after we sat back down he looked at me and said the tears were because he was already thinking that one day that would be him walking Elly down the aisle. This obviously made me tear up as well. :)