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07 January, 2014

Growth

I can't believe it has been nearly 6 months since this little 8 pound 2 ounce bundle of love entered our lives!  It has been the best few months of my life and I wouldn't trade it for anything!  Life as we knew it has completely changed and though there have been ups and downs, I wouldn't trade a minute of it!  Some noteworthy moments from the past few months:
Summer spent the first month of her life making frequent trips back and forth to the doctor's office.  Her biliruben level was too low and so we had to have it tested every 2 days or so.  She ended up needing to be put on a bili-blanket to get her levels up where they belong.  When she was about 3 weeks old, she finally was able to get rid of the blanket!

We also struggled a little bit with getting her weight back up.  She lost about 14 ounces after birth and my milk took about 5 days to come in.  Once it was in we were off to a good start and able to get her weight back up.  The doctors were concerned and requested weekly weight checks to be sure she was gaining weight.  She was, just at her own pace!  After about 3 weeks she was back up to her birth weight.

Some other noteables from month 1: July 23rd--grasped my finger and sucked her thumb (interesting because she hasn't  really sucked her thumb since then).  August 6th--smiled at me!  August 7th--grasped a toy and brought it to her face.
Month 2 was pretty uneventful!  This was a good thing based on what was to come...

Noteable events from month 2:  Week of August 26th--discovered her voice and started "coo-ing".  August 30--grabbed and pulled my hair!  September 7--slept 6 hours at night! (approximately 6 weeks old). September 6--laughed out loud.
Month 3 is when things got a little crazy!  On October 21, Summer quit taking her bottle.  We thought it was a one time thing, but when she refused it for Grandpa the next day, we knew something was wrong.  In the 2+ months since then, we have tried every bottle we could buy, tried different positions, temperatures, all kinds of tricks!  Then I was doing some research in November and learned that I have a high level of lipase in my milk.  It causes the taste to go bad after about 24 hours, but can be stopped by scalding the milk after pumping.  (Seriously!  After tasting bad milk and then the scalded milk, I realized that it was like comparing vinegar to chocolate.  No wonder the poor girl didn't want to drink the milk!)  I started this process late November/early December, but it still didn't get Summer to drink from a bottle.  In the meantime, we were able to get her to take the scalded milk from a spoon.  She didn't get much, but it was much better than nothing at all!  I am thankful that she only misses out on about 5 feedings a week while I'm at work.  (As of the writing of this post, we haven't tried a bottle in over 3 weeks.  We will try tomorrow and are hopeful that she has forgotten about her dislike of them!)

This month:  Approximately 9 weeks old Summer began sleeping consistently 6-7 hours at night.  October 4-6--we went to Canada for the weekend.  Summer did great in the car!  11 weeks old--first cold that lasted about 5 days.  October 12--said "goo-goo".  October 19--first belly laugh when Mike and I were playing peek-a-boo with her.  October 20--grasped and held onto a spoon.
On top of the lack of bottle feedings, in late November, we also began to struggle with our bed time routine.  After sleep training Summer around 6 weeks, she had been sleeping great on her own. Then, the day before Thanksgiving she started having issues.  She screamed for about 1.5 hours before falling asleep.  We attributed this to 4 month sleep regression, but her sleep still has not returned to normal.  Once she falls asleep, she sleeps great, it's just getting to sleep that is problematic!  (We only have this problem at bed time, nap times are just fine!)

This month Summer became very vocal and began laughing daily.  She is ticklish, especially under her arms.  Mid-November she began consistently cooing.  She also started falling asleep on her own without being rocked.  She discovered her hands this month and they were constantly in her mouth.  We think she is teething but has yet to pop any teeth!  November 19--tried rice cereal for the first time (in an attempt to thicken up breast milk on the spoon.)
Then in December, she stopped pooping!  After 2 weeks without a bowel movement, I took her in to the doctor.  They recommended giving her apple or prune juice (easier said than done when the baby doesn't take a bottle!).  When that didn't work, we ended up using a suppository which provided relief in less than an hour.  I hated feeling so useless when Summer was in so much pain.  We've continued giving her prune juice along with her probiotics daily in an attempt to keep her regular.

I joked with my mom the other day that babies do 3 things: eat, sleep, and poop; and my baby has had issues now with all three!  But, she brings so much joy to our lives that these little inconveniences are worth it and easily overlooked!

December brought a few more fun firsts!  On December 6 she sat up long enough for a picture to be taken.  And on December 10 she rolled over from her stomach to her back.

Like I said before, we are so blessed with this little girl.  Being a mommy is more challenging and more rewarding than I ever could have imagined.  She is the most precious baby and her smiles just melt my heart!

21 October, 2013

Birth and Beyond


I loved being pregnant. Knowing that I was carrying a precious life inside of me, every kick, all the hiccups. It is such a miraculous time.

That being said, my last week of pregnancy was miserable. It was hot, I was tired, and I was in pain. The baby's head was so low that every movement hurt. I was actually sent home early from work on Wednesday (a first!) and only went in to do the necessities on Thursday. I was so ready for the baby to come, that I was willing to do all of the wives tales ideas to get her out! I went for a long walk on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. But nothing happened. On Friday night Mike and I went to go see a movie, we ended up going to the theater again on Saturday. Our goal was a nice relaxing weekend-- I give up on walking the baby out!

When I woke up and Sunday morning my underwear was wet. I wasn't quite sure what's going on so Mike and I decided to wait it out a little bit. We opted not to go to church because I could not bear the thought of sitting in those chairs! Around 10:30 I called my doctor. she gave me 3 options: wait and see if my water broke or contractions started and then go to the hospital; wait until 9 pm and then if I was still leaking go to the hospital; call her the next morning if the leaking stopped.

We decided to still go to my parents house for the afternoon, mostly so I wouldn't be sitting around our house driving myself crazy waiting for something to happen. We put my hospital bag in our car just in case. By the time we got home from mom and dad's nothing had happened.
 At 8:30 Mike and I decided that we would head to the hospital since I was still leaking. I think we were both nervous as we had no idea what was going to happen.

We walked into the hospital and checked in at the emergency room. An OB nurse came and got us and brought me upstairs in a wheelchair. She took us to a hospital room where I got changed into a gown. I got into the bed and she checked me for progress. However, the baby's head was too low, and it was too painful for me, so she was unable to tell if I was dilated. The nurse then hooked me up to a machine that monitored my contractions as well as the baby's heartbeat. The machine showed that I was having contractions but I could not yet feel them.

The next step was to find out what I was leaking. The nurse did a test where she tested the liquid on a piece of pH paper. If it was amniotic fluid, the paper would turn blue. Much to our dismay, it did not. The nurse went to call our doctor to find out what she wanted her to do next. The nurse came back and said the doctor wanted her to run another test, an amniosom, which would give us completely accurate results. The PH test could have been negative due to fluids masking the amniotic fluid. At 9:46 she ran the swab test and went to bring it down to the lab. I laid in bed watching the contraction monitor. I told Mike I had a feeling we were going to be sent home. He tried to get some sleep because if we went home he would have to work the next day.

After a while, I saw something come across the screen that said the amniosom was positive! I said to Mike, "does that mean what I think it does?" A few minutes later our nurse came back and confirmed that the liquid I have been leaking all day was indeed amniotic fluid! Our baby was coming soon!

By this time my contractions had started to become uncomfortable but not painful. Since my water had been leaking for over 12 hours I was told they would need to start Pitocin get things moving. The nurse tried checking me again and I was 2 centimeters dilated and 90% effaced. After all the pain I had been through the past week, I was shocked to find out that I had not dilated anymore and was only 10% more effaced  than my last check up. My fluids and Pitocin IV was started at 10:30. Mike and I both called our parents to let them know that we would be staying in the hospital and their granddaughter would be born soon. We also contacted our employers to let them know we would not be at work the next day as well as a few friends we wanted to know that we were in the hospital.
We both tried to get some sleep at this point. Mike was successful but I was not tired. I tried to sleep but ultimately ended up playing games on my phone.

The nurse had started my Pitocin at 1 milliliter per hour. As time went on she increased the drip and my contractions got stronger and closer together. At one point I was receiving 10mL.  (She did drop it down later when my contractions were coming too quickly.)

At 12:40 I felt a gush and then a lot of wetness. I  woke Mike and told him that I had either peed myself or my water had broken. We called the nurse and she came to our room and confirmed that my water indeed broken. She helped me get to the bathroom to get cleaned up. Mike and I both laughed because I left a trail of water through the whole room! I got back in the bed and the contractions continued. A little after 1, the nurse suggested I eat something so I ordered a sandwich.

At 2:10 the contractions were strong and painful enough that I decided it was time for some pain medication. First the nurse checked me and I was still at 2 centimeters dilated and 90% effaced. Almost 4 hours and no progress... I couldn't believe it! The nurse gave me my first dose of Stadol-- it made me dizzy and my face felt really warm. But it provided almost immediate relief and I was able to get nearly an hour of sleep. I woke up again at 3:10, and the medication was starting to wear off. I told myself I had to wait until 4 for the next dose. By this time I was moaning and groaning, so Mike came to hold my hand.

At 3:50 I asked for my second dose of Stadol. Unlike the first dose, it provided absolutely no relief. My contractions were coming hard and fast so the nurse backed the Pitocin  down a little bit. At this point, I told Mike I needed to do something other than just lay there. We decided to do some walking around the labor and delivery wing.

We did one slow lap and then the monitor that was keeping track of the baby's heart rate slipped. The nurse said she would meet us in our room so she could fix it. As she was adjusting the monitor I got very light headed and felt like I was going to throw up. I decided to get back into bed.

The nurse checked me again at 5:15, and this time I was 4 centimeters dilated. Finally, some progress! But, only 2 centimeters in nearly 7 hours. At this point I told Mike I wanted the epidural. The pain was unbelievable and my contractions  were coming so close together that I had absolutely no relief. A short time later I felt another gush of water-- a good sign that labor was progressing!

The anesthesiologist finally arrived at 6. He was fantastic and I wasn't nervous about the procedure at all. At 6:09 he inserted the epidural and by 6:15, I was totally numb! It was incredible! The nurse checked me again at 6:40 and I was still just at 4 centimeters.

My parents arrive around 7, and Mike's mom came  a little while later. (His dad was working so he would pop in every once in awhile.) We originally had planned to have our parents just wait in the waiting room, but ended up letting them coming to the hospital room.  It was nice to have the distraction from labor (even though I was no longer in pain!)

Our nurses changed shifts so we had someone new at 7. We liked our day nurse as much as our night nurse.

At 9:30, we send our parents down to the waiting room so the nurse to check me again. I was so surprised when she said I was fully dilated! She said I could start pushing soon but for now they wanted me to labor down on my own for a while. Mike went down to tell our parents that their granddaughter would be here soon.

We waited nearly an hour before the nurse came back at 10:30 and asked if I was ready to push. My whole body was shaking with adrenaline and anticipation. She said our baby's head was very low and she didn't think it would take much pushing.

At 10:45, they called the doctor to come and I was allowed to start pushing. Mike and the nurse each held one of my legs up and coached me to push through the contractions. It took me a few contractions to get the hang of pushing, but once I figured out what I was doing, I felt great. They kept saying how well I was doing and how close I was getting to pushing the baby out. I was afraid the doctor wasn't going to make it in time, but she showed up at 11:30. She got changed and prepared all her equipment, and then got in catching position. The nurse and Mike continued to coach me.

Finally, they said she was ready to come out. (I wasn't sure I believe them, as they have been telling me I was "so close" for the past hour!) I pushed as hard as I could, and the next thing I knew my baby girl was laying on my stomach! It was the most incredible feeling I've ever experienced!

The nurses rubbed her down while she was on my belly. I couldn't stop staring at my baby! The doctor delivered the placenta and stitched me up while Mike and I marveled at our little baby. After about 20 minutes Mike got to cut the umbilical cord. The nurse quickly took our baby to measure and weigh her.

Summer Joy was 8 pounds 2 ounces and 19 inches long. Everything about her was absolutely perfect!

Before our doctor left our room, she asked if she could pray with us. She prayed a blessing over our new family. It was a powerful moment!

After an hour or so of marveling at our baby girl, Mike went to get our parents. We also took a few minutes to text some friends our big news! The grandparents couldn't wait to see Summer. They all got a chance to hold her. Everyone was instantly in love!


After a couple hours, they left (begrudgingly) so we could get a little rest. Then Great Grandma came to visit.

They finally took Summer away for a few minutes (though it seemed like forever) to bathe her. They brought her back all swaddled up and wearing a pink knit hat.

Jen and Tyler came to visit after dinner. And surprise, so did Nate! Summer's aunt and uncles were smitten too! Finally, our visitors left and we were left as a family of 3. Our night was exhausting as every sound Summer made woke us up. We didn't know what was normal and what wasn't (everything was normal!) or what her cries meant. We were able to get some sleep though.

Tuesday morning my parents came back...Tracy and Rich came too! Our day was filled with sporadic visitors: Jodi, Brett & Rachel, Jen & Tyler, Mark, Jen, Kaylyn, & Libby.

Mike asked if we could send Summer to the nursery on Tuesday night so we could get a little more sleep. I agreed, as long as the nurses would bring her back to eat--no formula and no pacifier. We still didn't get much sleep as she was back a few times to eat!

Nursing was taking us a bit of getting used to. But we had an "angel" nurse that night. She told us we should have been waking Summer up every 2-3 hours during the day to eat. We had previously been told that as long as she at twice in the first 24 hours, she was fine. Turns out she wasn't getting enough practice nursing, so that was probably why she wasn't wanting to latch on. Our nurse was so patient and showed me various positions and techniques to help both Summer and I. The sugar water really helped! We were so thankful for that nurse!

Wednesday afternoon we finally were discharged and got to go home. It was so nice to be in the comfort of our own home, but at the same time felt so odd to have a baby in the house. We had a rough first night, but it was more the dog's fault then Summer's! Every time she made a noise, he would whine or bark or scratch his cage. It was a long night for all of us!

Friday, we had Summer's 1 week doctor appointment. They were a little worried that she had lost too much weight, as she was down to 7 pounds 4 ounces. They suggested that we supplement with formula to get her weight back up. They also said that her bilirubin levels were too high, so we had to go down to the lab to have it checked.

The blood test showed that Summer was at a 17, and normal is 10 or below. We were told she needed to be on a biliblanket to bring her levels down. We also needed to have her levels tested every day. She peaked at 18 before slowly going down, and so she was in the biliblanket for 2 weeks. It was an inconvenience for us to have to have her constantly laying on the blanket, but it was important for us to get those levels down! Since she needed to be on the blanket as much as possible, we had her sleep in her Moses basket in the living room. The tubes and wires would be a pain to put in the crib, and her basket was easier. I slept on the couch next to her every night to keep an eye on her and the blanket.

For the first 2 weeks of Summer's life, we were at the hospital or doctor nearly every day for a bili test or a weight check. At her 3 week appointment, she weighed 8 pounds 6 ounces and we were told we didn't need to return until her 2 month appointment. Finally!

We began to settle into a routine--eat, sleep, poop. Life is great, things are going well, and we can't imagine life without our little Summer Joy!

29 July, 2013

She's Here!!!




Summer Joy was born on Monday, July 22, at 11:59 am. She weighed in at 8 pounds and 2 ounces and was 19 inches long. She is doing well and I am head over heels in love with her!  One of these days I'll share our birth story, but for now, I'm off to cuddle my little girl!

21 July, 2013

39 Weeks


How far along: 39 weeks (7/20/13)
Baby size: About 20 inches from head to toe and about 7 pounds. She has probably reached her birth length and weight.
Total weight gain: 52 pounds
Maternity clothes: Yes! And even some of my maternity clothes are too small now!
Stretch marks: None :)
Sleep: I'm tired all the time.  I went home early from work a few times because I didn't feel good and was so exhausted--I love any sleep I can get!
Best moment this week: The baby shower that my co-workers threw for me.
Miss anything? Sleeping through the night...but I suppose it's just preparation for when baby comes!
Movement: Yes!  She's moving all over! 
Food cravings: Speedy Freezes and Twizzlers and Snickers Ice-cream Bars
Have you started to show yet? Yes, for sure!
Gender: Our little one is a girl!
Labor signs: Yes, and no.  I've been having non-painful contractions, but we know that they are doing something.  The doctor didn't check me this week, we'll see if I make it to next week's appointment!
Belly button in or out? In, but it's flat now.
Wedding rings on or off? On.  Permanently on. :)
Happy or moody most of the time: Happy!
Looking forward to: The first real contraction and having my baby!

15 July, 2013

38 Weeks

How far along: 38 weeks (7/13/13)
Baby size: 20 inches from head to toe and about 7 pounds. She has probably reached her birth length and weight.
Total weight gain: Around 50 pounds.  I want to add that the doctor is not concerned about my weight gain because my blood pressure and other levels are great.  She said this is just my body's way of reacting to pregnancy.
Maternity clothes: Yes! I am able to wear some pre-pregnancy clothes still (like the tank top under my dress in the picture above), but most of my clothes are maternity.  My maternity pants are too small though because my hips have spread :(
Stretch marks: None :)
Sleep: Doing well again this week!  I feel like I'm getting enough sleep, but I am also waking up a lot for the bathroom, and by bedtime I am exhausted.
Best moment this week: Getting all the "last minute" things done--installing the car seat, putting crib sheets on etc.
Miss anything? Sleeping through the night...but I suppose it's just preparation for when baby comes!
Movement: Yes!  She's moving all over! 
Food cravings: Speedy Freezes and Twizzlers
Have you started to show yet? Yes, for sure!
Gender: Our little one is a girl!
Labor signs: Yes, and no.  My body is definitely preparing for labor.  At my appointment on Wednesday (7/10), I was 80% effaced and 2 cm dilated.  TMI: I lost my mucus plug Sunday.  I've been having contractions but nothing painful.  I keep waiting for the pain--I'm ready to have this baby!
Belly button in or out? In, but it's flat now.
Wedding rings on or off? On.  Permanently on. :)
Happy or moody most of the time: Happy!
Looking forward to: The first real contraction and having my baby!

07 July, 2013

37 Weeks


How far along: 37 weeks (7/6/13)
Baby size: 20 inches from head to toe and about 6-1/2 pounds. 
Total weight gain: around 40 pounds; I have stopped weighing myself at home.
Maternity clothes: Yes! 
Stretch marks: None :)
Sleep: Pretty good this week (minus all the fireworks going off!)!  I'm starting to feel tired all the time though and feel like I could always sleep.
Best moment this week: Our baby showers.
Miss anything? Sleeping through the night...but I suppose it's just preparation for when baby comes!
Movement: Yes!  She's moving all over! 
Food cravings: Speedy Freezes and Twizzlers
Have you started to show yet? Yes, for sure!
Gender: Our little one is a girl!
Labor signs: Not yet, but at my doctor appointment on Monday (7/1/13), the doctor could feel the baby's head and said I was about 50% effaced.  Statistically, he said most women whose babies are this low and who are 50% thinned out at the point I was (36w2d) don't make it past 39 weeks!
Belly button in or out? In, but it's flat now.
Wedding rings on or off? On.  Permanently on. :)
Happy or moody most of the time: Happy!
Looking forward to: Our baby's arrival!  It really could be any day now!

02 July, 2013

36 Weeks

How far along: 36 weeks (6/29/13)
Baby size: 20 inches from head to toe and about 6 pounds. 
Total weight gain: around 40 pounds; I have stopped weighing myself at home.
Maternity clothes: Yes! 
Stretch marks: None :)
Sleep: Pretty good this week!
Best moment this week: Finishing the nursery.  Now all we need is the baby!
Miss anything? Being able to move like I used to! 
Movement: Yes!  She's moving all over! 
Food cravings: Speedy Freezes
Have you started to show yet? Yes, for sure!
Gender: Our little one is a girl!
Labor signs: No, but baby girl is head down (she has been for a while now) so she's getting ready!
Belly button in or out? In, but it's flat now.
Wedding rings on or off? On, but it is getting harder to get them on and off.
Happy or moody most of the time: Happy!
Looking forward to: Our 2 baby showers this week!

26 June, 2013

Baby K's Nursery

This past weekend, Mike and I put the finishing touches on the nursery!  It is now ready and we just need the baby! ;) 
Walking into the nursery from the hallway.

The crib and glider.  Not pictured is the side table I just purchased.  It will go beside the glider and has drawers for bibs and blankets, as well as a place for me to stash a few snacks and a water bottle!

I love the window valance!  I also made a couple word art pictures that I framed and hung up.  The stroller will eventually  be kept in the garage, but for now it's safe in the nursery.

Baby girl's closet is starting to fill up!  I have most of her clothes still on the hangers, but a few might be transferred to her dresser.  We also have the pack and play as well as a box of miscellaneous toys/stuff in the closet for now.

I love this area of the room because I feel like it's where I've spent the most time making things for her.  I painted the lamp pink and we are using a shelf from Mike's old bedroom to display some books.  We have a bunch of cloth diapers on the changing table shelves for when she's big enough to wear those!

The view from by the window.  Champ is quite excited to be a big brother--though he doesn't quite understand why we won't let him in the room!

24 June, 2013

35 Weeks


How far along: 35 weeks (6/22/13)
Baby size: 19 inches from head to toe and about 5-1/2 pounds. 
Total weight gain: around 40 pounds
Maternity clothes: Yes! 
Stretch marks: None :)
Sleep: Pretty good this week!
Best moment this week: Both of my parents were able to feel Baby K move!
Miss anything? Being able to move like I used to! 
Movement: Yes!  She's moving all over! 
Food cravings: Snickers Ice Cream bars
Have you started to show yet? Yes, for sure!
Gender: Our little one is a girl!
Labor signs: No, but baby girl is head down (she has been for a while now) so she's getting ready!
Belly button in or out? In, but it's flat now.
Wedding rings on or off? On, but if I'm warm, I can't get them off again! 
Happy or moody most of the time: Happy!
Looking forward to: Our first shower this weekend.
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