Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Thankful Reflection

"We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures."
-Thornton Wilder

It really is true that you can never be fully prepared for motherhood until you happen upon it.  Whether you give birth, adopt, or foster, you don't know what to expect and each day brings something new. 

I thought I knew what tired was until I started living on 2 hours of sleep.  It's gotten better thank goodness, but it is amazing what you can still accomplish on so little sleep.

I thought I knew worry until I had a little life to worry about.

I thought I knew faith until I had a little life to worry about.

I thought I knew gratitude until I looked into her big blue eyes for the first time.

I hope she never stops taking my breath away.  I don't want to ever take for granted the precious little miracle that she is; a true gift from the Lord!  Even though we didn't have fertility problems or major health issues to overcome, she is still our miracle. 

We are abundantly grateful. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

One Month Old!

Surely I must be sleepwalking dreaming because I cannot believe Kathryn came into the world a whole month ago!  Yesterday, officially, was her one month birthday.  We did not have cake.  We had some spit up, 6 poopie diapers, a doctor's appointment, and no naps.  We know how to celebrate!

At her one month appointment, she weighed in at 7lb 12oz.  I feel certain that this is the only time in a little lady's life that eager anticipation is had for the scale to keep climbing.  Since her last weigh in she has put on an ounce a day.  She also grown 3 inches in length, measuring at 21 1/4 inches! 

She is responding more and more to us and her environment.  I moved her swing in front of the Christmas tree because she loves the lights.  Her swing has a mobile that moves in a circle with a mirror in the center and I've caught her watching it a few times.  She is all smiles these days!  She started smiling at 2 weeks old and will give us these huge grins!  She is also really strong, kind of a ninja baby.  But I keep telling myself that she isn't stronger than me [yet].  She always has to be moving in some way, and gets bored easily in the baby any baby apparatus that we attempt to occupy her with.  We ordered a really cool play mat so I can't wait for it to arrive.

Our pediatrician noticed an issue with her hip at her first meeting with him, and after a month it is still there so tomorrow we are having an ultrasound done.  I'm not really sure what the problem could be exactly, but I know that she may have to wear a brace for a few months.  Please say a prayer for her if you don't mind.  We have been blessed so much more than we deserve with a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby.  We know that in all things we will give thanks to the Lord.  I'll update on the situation as soon as we have results.  It may turn out to be nothing.

Now that we've made it through the first month, I feel like we can make it through anything.  We've had some tough days and even tougher nights [especially since she doesn't like to nap], but we are so happy to be Kathryn's mom and dad. 

She is actually napping right now but I expect her to wake up ready to eat any moment.  I can't complain too much about her not napping though, because in general she is in bed before midnight and sleeps 4-5 hours.  Then we wake up, eat, change her diaper, and she sleeps another 2.  She eats every hour [sometimes twice] but the good news is that we are pretty much off formula.  Once she reached her birthweight I wanted to phase out of using it but I was going to let her do that on her own.  Over the weekend she went from having 4-5 bottles a day in addition to nursing to having one or none.  It is exhausting feeding her so much!  The lactation consultants and pediatrician in the hospital told me to feed her every 3-4 hours...DOESN'T WORK!  We are all so much happier and well-rested now that I nurse her on demand. 
On Thanksgiving it was just the 3 of us.  We had a great day of just relaxing and enjoying Justin being home for a few days.  She took a couple naps which allowed us to put together our little Thanksgiving meal.  We also pulled out our Christmas decorations and got those going.  It was a great day!

Today I had one of those moments when I realized that it was lunch time and I was still in the same clothes I had worn all day yesterday--with a few spots of spit up, mind you-- and had yet to brush my teeth.  Yuck.  I'm all fixed now, though, don't worry. ;)  Dinner is actually in the's amazing what I can accomplish when she naps! 

I can't help but share a couple funny pictures---enjoy!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Photo Card

Merry Candy Dots Christmas
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bumps in the Road

I don't want to jinx anything but my little one is actually sleeping.  Last night I rocked her for awhile [don't judge me] to be certain she was asleep.  I ended up rocking myself to sleep as well, but I did put her in her bed at 12:45.  She didn't wake up until after 5!  We snuggled, ate, and changed her pants and then went back to sleep for another 2 hours...whoa!  AND...she has eaten again and is now sleeping peacefully in her swing.  I don't know what to do.  Justin already folded all the laundry. 

I think I mentioned yesterday that Kathryn is not much of a sleeper.  In the hospital it was hard to tell because of all the nighttime interruptions.  I sort of assumed that all newborns slept like 18 hours a day.  I hear that some do, but they must come from a different part of heaven than my daughter did.  It's only been in the past 3 days that she has taken decent naps.  She's more of a power napper; she'll close her eyes and breathe deeply for about 10 minutes and then her eyes pop right back open and she's ready to go for another four hours.  We even had some days when she did take a nap but didn't close her eyes again for 12 hours.  That makes for one tired mama!

In the hospital, we did have a few hiccups.  On Sunday [the third day] she gradually became fussier and fussier.  Well, let me back up.  On Saturday & Sunday I had a really hard time feeding her.  I didn't know that my milk wasn't just readily available, and neither did Kathryn.  She was hungry and I wasn't getting it right.  I spent a lot of time with the lactation consultants on those 2 days.  Of course she could latch on while they were there but every other time she needed to eat was a struggle.  So, fast forward to Sunday, and we were headed toward an international incident.  For 8 hours or so, she screamed.  We tried everything.  At some point [I think around 4am] our nurse took Kathryn for her nightly assessment and told us that she had lost 14oz that day, taking her weight down to just 6lbs.  She lost almost an entire pound in one day!  Our nurse told us that we may need to supplement with formula, gave Kathryn back to us, and left.  At that point we were at our wit's end, and Justin called the nurse back and asked for formula.  I'm not sure why she didn't give it to us in the beginning.  Kathryn was thrilled and so were we.

One other problem Kathryn had was that her frenulum needed to be clipped. Apparantly it was all the way to the end of her tongue.  Thankfully, the wonderful pediatrician at the hospital did that for us the morning we went home without us even knowing.  The problem with her having that type of frenulum is that in the womb she learned to suck incorrectly.  So she is having to learn to suck all over again.  I nurse with a shield which is a lifesaver, but she is slowly getting interested in nursing without it.  Here's one of her milk drunk faces.  :)

Two days after we came home from the hospital [5 days old; 3 days since she lost the 14oz] we went to our pediatrician for a weight check.  She had gained back 5oz, but her doctor told me she wasn't getting enough to eat.  We were excited about the weight gain but our bubble was burst when I felt like I had been starving my child.  No wonder she had been screaming all night!  Giving her formula--not to mention discovering gas drops--was making her feel much better.  The next week at her appointment, she had gained another 5 1/2 ounces, but that still wasn't enough.  So I started giving her 2 ounces of formula after each time she nursed.  Ever so slowly, she became a more calm and satisfied baby.  Last week at her appointment, she weighed 7lbs and 1.5oz--victory!  She goes back on Monday for her one month [I can't believe it] appointment.  She should weigh pretty close to 8 lbs by then. 

Nursing is still pretty tough, but it's much better than it was.  I'm offering her less formula and nursing more often.  As in, almost every hour in the evenings but only every 2 or 3 during the day.  Hey, whatever works for her!  I'm not very sore, although sometimes I have to remember that nursing her for an hour [she likes to savor each drop] is way more important than anything else I could be doing. 
All in all, we are thankful for such a healthy little one and we realize that our "bumps in the road" are totally normal and nothing compared to the struggles that so many other people have to endure with their precious babies.  We are thankful every day for this sweet face.

Monday, November 21, 2011

She's Here

On October 28 at 8:21am, Kathryn Grace entered the world.  I had prayed many prayers for her birth, not the least of which was for her to come out screaming.  Which she did.  In fact, she loves to scream.  :)  She weighed 6lbs and 14oz, and was 18 3/4 inches long.  Tiny, tiny, tiny. 
It was a frigid morning as we made the 61 mile drive from our house to the hospital where she was delivered by c-section.  I was terrified.  As we made the walk from the parking garage to the labor & delivery floor, I was a bit weepy.  I thought when we got up there that I'd have more time to sit and avoid the inevitable, but our nurse was ready for us.  There is a lot that goes into a c-section!  All I can say is that I'm thankful mine was scheduled and not an emergency. 

One of my other prayers was for a great anesthesiologist.  I had imagined some crusty old man who would have no idea how I felt, but was blessed with Donna [who was in fact, not a crusty old man].  She was quite nurturing and when I got to the OR, had a shot of valium waiting on me.  She stayed by my head the whole time, explaining what was happening, distracting me when I started to fall apart, and brought much comfort to Justin and me.  When I heard my doctor say he'd made the uterine incision, Donna took our camera and documented each step of him pulling Kathryn out.  What a priceless memory!

Justin said as soon as they pulled her out that I looked at him and said,"I feel so much better!"  I don't remember saying it, but I do remember feeling it.  One of the good things about a c-section is that you get to stay in the hospital for 4 days.  That gave me plenty of time to be taken care of by amazing nurses and kind of get the hang of things.  Although, we were quite ready to get home by the fourth day. 

My recovery has been great.  I won't lie; it was quite painful to move around for the first 10 days or so.  I may have pushed myself a bit too hard with moving around, but it was better than the alternative.  I haven't had much pain after the first 10 days and have hardly bled at all.  I went for my post delivery checkup last Friday and everything is looking great. 

I can't write about her birth without bragging about my husband.  In the hospital, he stayed with her every minute she was away from me.  I told him that when they took her from the OR to the nursery that he needed to go with her.  She needed one of her parents.  I was going to be fine.  He listened. 
He changed her diapers and picked her up when she cried for those first few days because I couldn't get up.  He has waited on me hand and foot since we got home, and especially after my mom left.  He is such a great dad.  I know he feels bad that he sleeps at night while I'm up with her, but I keep telling him that the best way for him to help is to be rested so that he can provide for us.  I have always been grateful that I got to marry him, but now I am even more overwhelmed with that blessing. 

So how is it going?  Well, we've made it 3 weeks and 3 days.  I think that means we're ok.  :)  We were blessed to have my mom stay with us for 2 weeks [perhaps against her will].  She cooked, cleaned, and even had my dad vaccuum the ceiling when he was here.  She comforted Kathryn those first few nights when all she did was scream, and all I did was cry.  I don't think we would have made it without her.  We were scared when she left, but mostly just sad that she lives so far away and won't get to see her as often.  Looking forward to Christmas though!
There is so much more to share, but I'm already on a shoestring here with "me" time.  I will share more about how her personality is, but suffice it to say that she is not much of a sleeper.  So I have to go now...haha.