Thursday, April 27, 2017

Fruffles

Welp...I still have a blog (thanks to my technologically savvy brother-in-law who helped me fix it a couple of weeks ago).  Who knew?!  Perhaps since the blog has been saved, I should take this opportunity to ask Quinn how to update my photo to include our third child...

ANYWAY.  I digress.

As we are nearing the end of Lillian's preschool career, I have been in a sort of funk about my babies getting bigger.  Time passes so quickly and I find myself in a constant struggle of how to make it slow down and make my babies remain babies for just a little while longer.  I also find myself constantly thinking about how sad I'm going to be when they don't need me anymore.  Dan says that they'll always need me, but the ways in which they need me will be constantly evolving.  I don't like it one bit, I tell you.

I was telling someone just this morning how I am so torn, because I love seeing each of my children get bigger and develop their own little personalities...but I also don't know where the time has gone and can't believe that they aren't still babies.  If someone could give me more hours in a day to get everything done while we're at it, that would be lovely.

We had Lillian's end-of-year teacher conference at school today, and, embarrassingly, I teared up.  And not even just once...multiple times.  I am telling y'all, I am going to be a hot.mess. on the first day of kindergarten.  L is ready - sometimes I think she was born ready.  She loves school and learning and is so excited for this next journey.  Her mama is decidedly not ready.

I'm not really sure why I popped in today to ramble on about nothing other than I miss blogging - I especially miss having something to  look back on to remember what was happening in our lives at any given time.  I am constantly noticing things about my children and filing them away and praying I remember them when they are older and I need some piece of their childhood to cling to.  

So today, I'll leave you with "fruffles," which is what Lilly calls ruffles.  Example: "Mommy, I love this new nightgown that you bought me SO MUCH, it is my most favorite nightgown in the whole world.  Aren't the fruffles so beautiful?"  

I will be completely and utterly devastated on the day that she starts calling ruffles by their correct name.


Easter 2017

Slow down, sweet babies.  


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Dear Ward

Dear Ward:

You are one year old today.  One year old.  I can hardly believe it.  I don't know where the last 12 months have gone, and I am having a hard time articulating how I am feeling on your very first birthday.  I've spent most of the day trying not to watch your birth story on repeat and cry.

When you're old enough to read this, I suppose you'll be old enough to know that you were quite a big surprise for Mommy and Daddy.  A big (literally, at 8 lbs 9 oz...but big brother Craft still has you beat!), squishy, handsome, wonderful surprise.  Your first year of life has been nothing short of chaotic.  I can't count the number of times during your first months that I brought you inside from running errands and didn't remember to take you out of your car seat for at least an hour.  You never seemed to mind, though - you'd laugh at your big brother and big sister, or play with your toes, or sleep.

Speaking of your big brother and big sister, they adore you.  I worried a lot when you were still in my belly that Lilly and Craft might resent you or be jealous of you, but from the moment you entered the world it was like you'd been here all along.  That's not to say that there haven't been jealous moments, but they love you so much, and it's such a joy to watch the three of you together.  Lilly and Craft both love to help take care of you - they want to help feed you, and change you, and play with you, and lately they've both started picking you up underneath your arms and carrying you around, or dragging you away from whatever it is they're playing with that you're trying to destroy.  I have a feeling that the three of you are going to get in lots of trouble together - especially you and your big brother.  Even Layla tolerates you poking her and pulling her hair, which is a testament to both your persistence as well as your sweet demeanor.

You are such a happy baby.  People who don't spend as much time with you as we do often say that you are serious, but I think you're just observant.  You like to study your surroundings and take it all in.  People you aren't as familiar with have to work harder to make you laugh, but once you warm up and flash that little dimple you are much more giving with your smiles.  I have a feeling that sweet dimple will get you anything you want, always.

You are the definition of a snuggle bug, when I can get you to sit still (and these days sitting still is rare!).  When you were smaller, you used to curl your little body into mine and nuzzle my neck.  Even now, when you are tired, or you're not feeling well, or just want some mama time, you will tuck your little head under my chin and snuggle up and I am positive that there is no better feeling in the world.  You rarely let me rock you to sleep anymore, but you have obliged for the past couple of days, and I have taken full advantage.  

I've spent the last year of my life trying to embrace the chaos.  I am constantly wishing that there were more hours in a day, or worrying that one of you isn't getting enough attention, or feeling guilty that I haven't written many blog posts about you, and the list goes on and on.  It's not easy, this stage of life, but I am so, so glad that you are part of our crazy chaos.  You have taught me so much about myself over the past year: that life isn't always easy, but that I am strong and I can do anything I put my mind to.  You have taught me to ask for, and graciously accept, help from my village (and thank God for our village!).  You have taught me to love and appreciate your Daddy even more than I did before, because he does so much for all of us.  You have taught me to slow down and to try to be present in the moment.  You have taught me to let go and let loose sometimes, and to try not to worry so much.  But most of all, you have taught me, just as your brother and sister before you, what it feels like to love absolutely unconditionally with my whole entire heart.

So, to my sweet baby boy, on the very last "first birthday" I'll get to celebrate: I could not possibly love you any more.  I am not sure how any year could top this past one, but I can't wait to watch you grow (although if you would slow down a little bit, my heart would greatly appreciate it).  I am so, so proud to be yours and Lilly's and Craft's mama - it has been both the most challenging and the most rewarding accomplishment to date.  I know your Daddy would agree that you are the best surprise we've ever gotten.


Happy Birthday, sweet boy.

Love, 

Mama

  



Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Ward: One Month Old

So, technically my (not-so) little peanut is almost 1 month + 3 weeks old at this point (how has it already been a month + 3 weeks?!).  I've been working on this post for almost a month now and can't eve seem to get very far before one of my three angels needs something from me.  Never fails.  :-)  Anyway, here we go, before it's time to write a 2-month post...

Official One-Month Stats:  

Height:  22 + 1/8 inches (77%)
Weight:  11 lbs 5 oz (85%)
Head:  15 + 1/8 inches (83%)
Weight to Length:  75th percentile



Sleep:  Sleeping  patterns have really varied (as they do with any newborn), but for the past week or so Ward has been giving us some pretty good stretches between feedings and getting up once overnight.  For the past week anyway, he'll usually go down sometime between 10-12, wake up some time between 2-4 to eat, and then go back down until sometime between 7-9.  He did give me one 7-hour stretch earlier in the week, which I have been hesitant to speak of for fear of jinxing but it was much needed and I'm thankful.  He sleeps a good amount during the day as well and is really only ever up for an hour or an hour and a half at a time.  At night, Ward sleeps in his crib, swaddled.  During the day he usually sleeps wherever he is at the moment, whether it be car seat, play mat, pillow, my chest, etc. but I try to get him in his bed at least once during the day.  He seems to really enjoy sleeping on his stomach as well, so I'll be interested to see if he becomes a stomach sleeper like my older two were for a while!

He has the Eaker chicken legs, for sure!  Big sister had those too for about 30 seconds.

Feeding:  Champion status (clearly, based on the above stats).  Ward was induced pretty early so I worried a little that nursing may take some work (like it did with big sister), but fortunately from day one his latch has been great and he hasn't looked back.  I am very lucky, for sure.  He is eating every 2-3 hours during the day, cluster feeding during the evenings from around 5 to whenever he goes to sleep, and then waking up usually once per night (at least for the past week).  We have given him a bottle one time and he took it without any issue (granted, we used the boob-shaped bottles that we bought for Craft, because they were so expensive we figured we may as well get our money's worth), so let's hope it continues!

As an aside, I was thinking today that it's hard to believe that there were only 7 months between nursing Craft and Ward!  It seems like forever ago that I was nursing Craft, when in reality he stopped around his first birthday in February because my supply suddnely dropped significantly (Also hilarious that I thought the supply decrease was due to C eating more solids and stress at work, but it turns out I was pregnant, which literally never once crossed my mind.  Whoops!).  Craft seems like such a big boy in so many ways these days that it's hard to remember that it wasn't too long ago that he was a baby. Time slow down, for all of my babies!

Firsts This Month:  I can't really think of anything to put here, other than things like first visit to the hospital (for the bilirubin incident), first "well visit" to the doctor, first outings with mama (to and from school with the big kids, to the mall and grocery store, etc.), and first time meeting family and friends, etc.  Oh!  Ward also voted for the first time this month and went to a Bluegrass Festival (see below)!



Developments:  Ward has excellent head control. He was holding his little head up on the day he was born, and he's spent the past month improving that skill.  He's getting pretty good at it!  Still some wobbles of course, but it makes me laugh when he's laying on my chest and picks that head up and turns it all around.  Ward has also discovered that he has hands just a couple of times, mainly when he's laying on my chest and wanting to nurse and will latch onto anything in his line of sight.  

Likes:  Eating (he likes this a LOT!). Sleeping.  Cuddles (y'all know I LOVE this.).  Ceiling fans.  Being outside.  Baths.  Walks.  Shopping/errand running/hanging out with his mama.  Swinging.  The bouncer (only when it's vibrating!).




Dislikes:  Being cold.  Being hungry.  Gas pains.  Diaper changes.  Hiccups.

What I'm Thankful For:  Our village.  Whoever came up with the concept of "it takes a village" was maybe the smartest person ever.  We have had to rely on ours a lot with three littles ages 3 and under, and I have never been more thankful to have such wonderful friends and family!  My in-laws and my parents both have dropped what they were doing several times in the past month to come help out and I cannot appropriately put my gratitude into words.  So many friends have brought meals and come over for baby snuggles, and we are so appreciative!  I am also so thankful for my sweet husband.  It certainly is not rainbows and daisies all the time, but he has once again stepped up and taken on lots of extra responsibilities, especially around the house and with the older two, so that I can tend to the baby when needed.  I know for a fact that I don't tell him nearly often enough how much I appreciate him!

What I'm Looking Forward To:  The Holidays!  The October - December time frame is, I think, my favorite time of year.  I know that Ward obviously won't "get it" this year, but I'm excited for him to experience it anyway and looking forward to enjoying Lilly's and Crafts' excitement, too.

Next Pediatrician Appointment:  Wednesday, November 11th for Ward's 2-month well check.

I'll end the post with a few of my favorite photos from month one:

LOVE this gown by Candy Kirby Designs



Dan:  Look!  A baby unicorn!  (Fool.)



Getting some snuggles from big sister

Why does L look like she's 7 here?!

Family outing to the IBMA Bluegrass Festival downtown

Sweet snuggles from Bubby!




Happy one month birthday, sweet boy.  You have completed our family in a way I never thought was possible, and I'm so glad I get to be your mama.  I love you to the moon and back!








Thursday, October 8, 2015

Ward: The First Week

Well, I have blinked and my littlest man is almost one month old.  How is that even possible?!  I say it with every child, but I honestly cannot fathom how almost a month has already passed.  Time, please slow down!  

The week that we brought our sweet baby boy home from the hospital was an eventful one, to say the least.  We were discharged from Rex on Sunday afternoon, and I was so, so happy to be home and be with all of my babies under the same roof!  While I used my hospital stay to stock up on rest, I really missed my older two.


Naked eating is totally normal, right?

One of the grandmothers sent this to me - I can't remember where they were going but I thought the photo was hilarious!
Ward had a doctor appointment first thing Tuesday morning, and it came at a perfect time because I wanted to talk about his coloring - he looked a little yellow to me, and although I am no medical expert, I was concerned.  Lilly was a little jaundiced right after she was born - enough that they re-checked her bilirubin levels before they would discharge us, but she ended up being absolutely fine - and Craft never had any issues.  Ward looked a little yellow in the hospital, but they re-checked his levels and determined that he was fine and we were good to go home.  By Monday, however, when we'd been home for a day, the yellow coloring looked worse to me.  


On our way to the doctor on Tuesday, 9/15
When I discussed it with the pediatrician, she did not seem concerned at all.  She checked his records from the hospital and agreed that his levels had been fine when he was discharged.  He was eating really well and looked great.  She said that a little yellowing is normal in babies, especially those with olive coloring like Ward's, and she didn't think there was cause for concern.  I need to state for the record here that I trust our doctors implicitly.  I have not seen a single doctor at our practice that I dislike; they are all wonderful.  With that said, though, something about this just didn't feel right.  I explained to the doctor that the reason I was concerned about Ward's coloring was two-fold: First, when we came home from the hospital it was just his face that looked yellow in color, but over the course of the next day and a half it spread all the way down his body into his legs and feet.  Second, and this one turned out to be the kicker - Ward was a meconium MACHINE when we were in the hospital.  From midnight to 12pm on the day we were discharged, homeboy had 6 or 6 meconium poops. After we were discharged and got home, he had plenty of wet diapers, but no more poops.  

SO, taking all of that into consideration, the pediatrician decided that we should check his levels just to be safe and make everyone feel better.  She got out this hard-to-understand chart and explained that a normal bilirubin level for a baby of Ward's size and age was 12ish.  She said that she expected to hear that his levels were 13 or maybe 14, because other than the coloring he truly was perfect, and that if anything we MAY consider getting a blanket shipped to our house for some at-home therapy, but she didn't anticipate anything worse than that.  Off we went to Rex for my poor buddy to have some blood drawn.  

Fast forward a couple of hours.  Dan called me and said he had Dr. B on the line.  Yet again at a very important time, my phone had chosen not to ring.  Ugh!  Anyway, Dan conferenced me in and Dr. B very calmly said, "Okay I don't want you guys to panic, but I need you to pack a bag and get to the hospital as soon as you possibly can."  Talk about conflicting (and panic-inducing) statements.  Apparently, Ward's biliruben levels were much higher than anyone anticipated - almost 20!  I am so, so thankful that I trusted my instincts on this matter.  I know that with Lilly and even with Craft I would not have been confident enough to question not re-checking levels.

I had done some googling while I was waiting to hear from the doctor and so I knew that jaundice and baby's bilirubin levels can affect liver function.  What I did not read and was told later is that if the bilirubin gets to a certain level (I think they told me 21 or 22 and up, maybe?), they start to worry about other effects like brain function.  Thank the Lord I didn't know that at the time of our conversation with the pediatrician, or I might have had a breakdown.  He told us that we should anticipate to have to stay 2-3 nights.  I flew upstairs and for the second time in two weeks I packed a bag that I to this day have NO IDEA what was inside.  I was thankful when I arrived at the hospital to discover that I'd thought to put my yoga pants and a pair of slippers in there, and that I'd remembered my nursing pillow and an iPad.  Little buddy was admitted to WakeMed around 48 hours after we were discharged from Rex for some baby suntan therapy.


Not sure how it's possible that he still managed to look cute under those lights?!?!?!

The calm before the storm...he was relaxed before he was "over it" with the lights!
To make a long story short, Ward rocked it and we only ended up having to stay one night.  Thank the LORD, because it was torture on both of us!  He didn't seem to mind being under the lights for the first little bit, but after a couple of hours the poor guy had had enough.  I think he was hot and sweaty and just generally uncomfortable with all of the machines.  They were having me nurse him every 1.5-2 hours to try to get him pooping again in order to help get the extra bilirubin out of his system, and about the time I'd get him settled down and back on the machine the nurses would be back in to poke at him and take his temperature or stick his foot to draw blood.  It was pitiful, and we both got far less sleep in the hospital than we were getting at home - which made me extra thankful that our stay was short-lived.

I have to give my mother-in-law a shout-out here, because she was so helpful during this whole process.  She made plans to stay with us the first week that we were back at home, which ended up being a huge blessing because she was able to be with our older two when we had to rush back to the hospital.  Lillian and Craft (Craft especially) were VERY confused when they woke up from their naps and I was gone again after just getting back home, and that was eating at me just as much as my worry about Ward, so it was nice that Susan was able to be here with us and help.  Dan stayed with Ward and I at the hospital for a little while, but at the end of the day there was really nothing he could do to help since I'm the milk machine, and it was much more important to us to try to keep things as normal as possible at home, so he came home to be with the older two while Ward and I were at the baby tanning spa.  I was ecstatic when we were finally able to return home and I once again had all of my babies under one roof, hopefully for good this time!







Lills and Craft were ALMOST as excited to see mama as they were to see their baby brother...almost.
We went back to the doctor on Thursday morning, and they confirmed that Ward was indeed a rockstar.  His bilirubin levels had rebounded a little, but they assured me that this is totally normal.  The doctors said that it would take several weeks for it to get out of his system entirely, so not to be alarmed if he still looked a little yellow.  To further make us feel better, the doctor made us a chart of his levels from his birth through day #5 to demonstrate his huge improvement from our one-night hospital stay:

9/15/15 @ 1:28pm 19.8 
9/15/15 @ 6:33pm 18.8 
9/16/15 @ 12:10 am 17.8
9/16/15 @ 6:38 am 13.8 
9/17/15 @ 9:42 am 14.6

Apparently the bilirubin rebound is safe if it is rising <0.2mg/dL/hour, and in the previous 27 hours Ward's was 0.8 mg up total or 0.03mg/dL/hour, which meant he was in the clear.  Hallelujah!

SO, that was our eventful first week at home (and the hospital).  Luckily, we haven't had anything else quite that exciting happen since our (second) hospital visit.  We're so glad that little man is okay, and have spent the weeks since our hospital stay(s) adjusting to our new "normal," which happens to be total chaos all.the.time!  :-)


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