Thursday, February 24, 2011

5 month photo shoot

5 Months but still a bit wobbly

I'm falling Mom...

Isabella, you have become a lot more vocal this month- squealing, screeching, babbling, and laughing more! You have such a cheerful smile. We were in a line today and I heard the man behind me babbling baby talk. I looked at you and you were just smiling away at him.
You are pretty content most of the time unless you are tired or hungry. I have been reading a book about sleep and you seem to have fallen into the pattern it describes as typical for baby your age. You still fight sleep, but still need to sleep a lot. For morning nap we lay in the bed together and read books and then you drift off to sleep (except for those times you cry for one minute and then fall asleep). It is one of my favorite parts of the day. It is one of those moments I want to freeze in my mind. I love the moment in the present, while I look forward to when you can read the books to me, while I also wish your tiny-ness could stay.
You have been watching us eating and drinking and seem to be very interested in what we are doing. I think you will be ready to try some cereal or something in the next month or so. You are putting everything in your mouth these days and exploring as much as you can. You watch the world going on around you with the most delightful curiosity.
Daddy is still so wild about you, doing the silliest things to try to make you laugh.
As for me, I am in love also. You will always be the sweet baby that made me a Mama and my baby girl.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Saturday, February 19, 2011

What I have been up to: Isabella edition

Here I am just chillin on my way home from Dallas...kickin my feet around...

Mommy picked out this Easter basket and Mimi ordered it for me. It was MUCH bigger than Mom expected!

I had my first sleep over at Ava's while Daddy was out of town. (Of course Mom stayed with me.)

I have been sitting at the table for dinner with Mom and Dad like such a big girl. Too bad they eat all these yummy things and don't give me any!

I got dressed up for girls lunch!

I tried out my bumbo seat

Falling asleep is still such hard work. Pretty much every time I end up with my hand up on my face like this- Oh the drama of it all!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Who's the cutest?

Who's the cutest?

I'm the cutest!

Thanks for my cute jammies Auntie Flower!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Day Celebrations

I think I felt extra celebratory this year for Valentine's Day for two reasons. One- having Isabella makes everything seem more special. Two- last year for Valentine's Day I had nausea with a side of vomit, and could have cared less about the day and it came and went with no special observance. So this year I C.E.L.E.B.R.A.T.E.D! :)

I made heart sugar cookies...

(I can't wait for my girl to be able to bake with me!)

Isabella and I had a quiet morning at home.

I love her so much!

A man delivered flowers to my house and stated "Happy ValentiMes day" as he handed me the flowers- I love it! (But more so with small children, grown ups should be able to say it right!)

I bagged up the cookies...

And we surprised Daddy at work with a visit, cookies, and lunch.

Then for dinner I called in a to-go order at 501 Cafe. We shared a fresh pear salad- My favorite!

And shared the slow roasted sirloin- my other fav...

We opened our cards and small gifts. A framed picture of my favorite shot of Michael & Isabella for Michael, a sweet thoughtful gift Michael made for me, and a pop-up I love you book for Isabella. I cried at the sweet card Michael got for Isabella- her first Valentine for many years to come from her Daddy!

I made these super easy chocolate molten cakes for dessert.


We have had a variety of valentine's celebrations over the years, from purposely doing nothing, to watching Major Payne in my dorm room, to a fancy hotel and dinner. This year's was different than any other. Sitting at our dinner table together, the three of us, wearing sweats, entertaining a baby while we ate, pausing before dessert to feed her...
It may be years to come before there are fancy hotels and dress up dinners again- but I wouldn't trade this season of life for anything!

I can't believe it is mid-February! Didn't we just have Christmas last week?!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday Best

Me and my little love

Re-wearing our Christmas dress in honor of Valentines day!

We had a fun weekend! It began with spending Friday at Affair of the heart with my mom and sister and then we headed south to Dallas. The OC roadshow went great, I got my cupcake, we got to visit our favorite church there, and made it home in time to unpack, grocery shop, and do some things around the house.

Love her feet in this one, because she puts them like this all the time these days.

Tomorrow is our first Valentine's day with our sweet girl! I love all holidays, including Valentine's day. I read on someone's facebook that Valentine's day is just for gold diggers (now I aint sayin she a gold digger...), but I disagree. You don't have to spend lots of money to celebrate with the ones you love. And not that you need a day just to be able to celebrate those you love- but I love celebratin and will take any excuse to do so! :) I love chocolate, pink, red, yummy food, sweet children that say Balentines or Valentimes, flowers, cards, and hearts. So, regardless of your thoughts about Valentine's day...Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Happy Weekending

We are in Dallas for the weekend for an OC event. Once again our traveling girl did awesome in the car on the ride down. When she wasn't playing, she was sleeping.
Hope your weekend is full of rest, fun, and those you love. Mine will
be full of those things and hopefully a sprinkles cupcake! ;)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Snow, snow, and more snow

I looked out the kitchen window to a fresh blanket of snow yesterday morning. Covering our dead grass and last week's snow in the streets that had turned black. Beautiful, fresh snow.

We ran some errands today, but this is all for our snow pictures as the temperature was not even in the 20's! I had to get that baby inside.

As the ring dish in my kitchen says: Life is good, enjoy the little things...

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Meeting Isabella

This story has been swirling in my head for over 4 months now- our story of meeting Isabella. I thought I would write it out right away, but it seemed like too much at that time. And now I feel I better write it before the freshness of it is even more gone than it is now. Let me give fair warning...this is long, over detailed, and will be boring to some. Turn away now if you like- I will never know! :)

As explained here, we checked into the hospital to be induced on September 23rd. Ann (our midwife) explained what would happen going forward and a nurse came and put in my IV about 7:00 AM. Then a Dr. came in to apply some medicine that would "jump start" the induction process before they started the pitocin. This part was incredibly painful, and I think my screams traumatized her as she came back later to make sure I was OK and apologize again. About 30 minutes after that my nurse came back to start a fluid drip, the pitocin, and to put on a heart rate monitor for me and one for Isabella. I was hoping to avoid continuously having to wear a fetal monitor, but due to my high blood pressure and being on pit then I had to. Ann promised us they would do the pit slowly and humanely as possibly in an attempt to mimic natural labor. The pit was started at level one. And then my labor began.
Ann told us to just do whatever we had planned to do at home and we were left alone. There were several things we had been taught in our childbirth classes with Karen to do during labor so we began our cycle of walk around, drink water, rest, eat, walk, rest, eat, etc. I had brought grapes, fiber one bars, dried apricots, dried peaches, trail mix, naked juice, smart water, and of course some ghiradelli caramel chocolate. I was having contractions every few minutes, but they were not very intense.The nurse came by every once and awhile to check on us and raise or lower the pit level. They never put it above a level 4.
After a couple of hours I started having some painful back labor, and when Ann came to check on me she said Isabella had her body turned backwards. She explained some movements or exercises I needed to do to work on moving her. I began doing those on a large exercise ball, having a contraction, resting, and repeating. Overall the pain was still not too bad at this point.

I was still walking around, texting, and smiling! We played music, listened to my hypnobirthing CD, watched some of the today show, and Michael played silly youtube videos for me.
My sister and David came by to visit us. My sister stayed with me to relieve Michael to get some lunch in the cafeteria with David. We talked, I had contractions, and we waited.
In the early afternoon, my contractions began getting stronger and I was ready to get in the tub for some relief.

My monitors were all water safe, so in I went. The warm water was a relief and being in water helped relieve some of the pressure. The shower head detached, so we could turn the water up hot and spray it on my lower back. It really helped relieve some of the back labor pain. After a while I got out and continued the walk, rest, drink water cycle.
I continued doing the exercises Ann had instructed and eventually felt a huge flip in my belly where Isabella turned her body around. This was good as it relieved the pain in my back, but not long after I began having more painful contractions in the front. Karen had taught the three C's which are: compliment, cool drink, and comfort measure which were to be given to me by Michael after each contraction. Comfort measures could be back rub/massage, chapstick, etc. This is attention a girl could get used to! (I wished sometimes during those early weeks that I would get the three C's for each night feeding I did!)
Ann came by to check me and I was dilated to a 5. I was getting uncomfortable and called my friend for some encouragement. She shared with me in preparing for her natural birth she thought about imagery of Christ suffering on the cross and how His suffering and pain brought new life for us and how her pain would bring forth new life to their family. She spoke confidently that I could do this.
I got out of the tub, for the last time in the late afternoon, and from then on pretty much had no contact with anyone outside the room and had to begin to focus. All day I kept thinking 'how much worse than this is it going to get?' 'I can handle this...but how much more'. I used to run a lot, which requires a lot of endurance. I had thought about labor like a race. But the thing I kept getting hung up on is in a race you know how far to the finish. I had no idea how long labor would go on and how much pain I would feel. Which mentally made it hard for me. I kept saying 'I'm scared about the part when she has to come out'. Ann assured me, regardless of that fear, she would be coming out at some point.
The pain from this point was on a steady incline from not too bad, somewhat bad, to BAD, intense, and really really bad! We moved to the bathroom to get in a position Karen had taught where Michael sat on the edge of the tub and I squatted between his legs with my back to him. We would stand up between contractions and then when one would come he would sit and hold me while I squatted. Weird- I know. I'm not sure why, but it really helped with the pain. The contraction would end and we would stand again. It was during this time I felt a huge gushing and wondered if I had peed on the floor or if my water had broken. Again, this was all new to me. Michael called the nurse in who confirmed it was my water. After my water broke things got even more intense.
I moved to the bed because it was too painful to stand. We moved the head of the bed up and vertical and I faced the bed, on my knees, hanging my arms over the top. Ann had said when she drops down all the way, it will feel like a ring of fire burning, and that is when I would know to push. From then on I heard Johnny Cash singing 'and it burns burns burns the ring of fire'. :)
A couple of times during these intense contractions I would lock eyes with Michael, attempting to connect my brain to something other than pain. Those were moments were incredible. He never left my side and continuously supported me. I yelled at him once this day and it was during this time. I yelled "TALK LOUDER". This confused him, but I needed to hear his voice louder than the pain I was experiencing. I had to focus on my breathing to stay calm and get through each contraction. That became the goal. Just get through this one, now this one, I can make it to the next one...
About 8:00PM I felt what I thought was a ring of fire (how should I know- never having birthed a baby and all) and told Michael to go get Ann. He said she was sitting at the nurses station knitting, just patiently waiting for me to have a baby. She came and checked me and said it still wasn't quite time, but very close. She called in the other nurses and they began prepping the room for delivery. She told me I could start pushing if that was what my body was telling me to do. I moved into a position that seemed comfortable, although my body was extremely uncomfortable.
At about 8:45 with Michael, Ann, and two other nurses gathered around me, I began intently pushing. There was a clock on the wall, dead in front of me, that I stared at thinking, by 9:15 I will meet my girl. 9:15 came and went. By 9:45 I will have a baby...The pushing was worse than I had ever imagined. Searing pain that was slightly relieved during a push, a minute rest, followed by another incredibly painful contraction.
Ann was a champion coach. She was stern, but kind, encouraging and strong. She never offered me medication, I never felt pressure that we were running out of time, and she never insinuated I couldn't do this. And my love for him grew in those moments as he held my body, whispered in my ear, and encouraged me along.
Around 10:00PM I began feeling frantic. Was this ever going to end? I asked to go home many times. I screamed. I yelled. I tried to grasp onto a book I had read about "quietly breathing out your baby". Riiiight. They kept saying they could see her head, her hair, she was coming. It felt like it was all lies. Ann instructed, instead of screaming, to use my energy to push. I tried. But I kept screaming all the while. I felt like crazy woman.

And then about 10:55 after all of that pushing, in an instant she slipped out. I couldn't believe it. I had imagined the part when she would come out being slower, more drawn out. But really it was one push and she was entirely out. It was a surreal.

Immediately, they placed her on me while they set about doing the things they do post delivery. I checked over my beautiful red baby, looking for 10 fingers, 10 toes- everything was there. She was screaming and screaming- I guess we had traded places. (I love this picture with her newness and vernix still covering parts of her.)
Women that have said "the moment you hold your baby- you forget all the pain" are either liars or had a different experience than me. While holding my sweet baby was definitely a distraction, my body and mind hadn't forgotten. While stitching me up, (yes, you read that right) Ann instructed "focus on your baby". I did, but I still could feel the tugging of her needle and the stitches.
I held Isabella close to me for about 45 minutes until I let her go to have her check up and bath. Michael stayed by her side and helped the nurses.

She did not like her bath.

Nor the check up.

But finally, she was dressed, swaddled, and cozy and calm. We were ready to share our joy with our friends and family. But it was so late.

(Cappy and Isabella)
We were glad to find out Michael's dad was in the hospital waiting for our announcement. He came back to meet our Isabella Grace. He was the first family member to hold her.

Michael called my parents, and they came. Joining us in the late hours of the night to share our joy and meet their newest grandchild.

Mimi and Isabella (How beautiful is my mom at 1AM!)

Her dark, alert eyes- being held by my Mom while I detailed what our day had been like and finished off my entire bag of grapes.

Finally around 3:00AM we were taken from our birthing room upstairs to our "recovery" room. As we were moving through the hallway our nurse didn't know how to work the new security system and the alarm for Isabella was set off. This means to the staff that a baby is being stolen. In a matter of seconds nurses came running, quickly followed by police. Once that was settled we were able to move along to our room.
Isabella was taken to the nursery for some other checks while I was situated.

Her daddy was by her side for the first time she was taken out of the room from me.

In the moments and days following, we began to learn our girl, I began to try to figure out nursing, and we were immersed in parenthood. We loved having our family and friends come see us in the hospital and meet our girl that next day. Sharing her with my siblings, her great grandparents, my best friends- it was so special.

Parts of her birth did not go exactly how I had hoped/planned/envisioned and other parts did. But that is life, right? I get things in my mind, I want them to be a certain way, and things don't always work out how I plan. But usually God surprises me with a "better than you planned outcome". Isn't He great that way? Even though I had to be induced, ended up having some medical complications that kept us in the hospital another day and me a tearful wreck, and I wasn't able to "calmly breathe down my baby"- the parts that really mattered were still present.

Our girl was born, she was healthy, and we became a family of three.