Dec 30, 2008

Snow Angel

Well, I was feeling the need to get out and about. We were going to have my mom come over and watch Ella while Jason and I traipsed through the woods. But today was warm enough that we decided to take her on first outside walk. As you can see, she was quite bundled, we kept the blanket up covering her face unless we were taking pictures and she stayed toasty warm. She loved it! Slept through the whole thing, only making the cutest little grunts and coos as she napped!

Dec 28, 2008

Ella's First Bath

Ella had her first bath on Christmas Eve day...we thought we'd get her all spiffed up for all the visiting she would be doing in the next few days. (However, in the nap immediately following she spit up and got it all through her hair...so goes baby life!:)
Jason is so cute. He was taking the pictures and he's really not big on the naked baby pictures...he thinks the world does not need to see our baby's private parts. I was all, "Why aren't you taking the picture?" He was like, "I'm waiting to snap it until she moves her leg to cover her privates." Gotta love him!We thought she would wail the whole time as she's not super fond of diaper changing or being undressed. But she didn't make a peep. She was wide eyed the whole time, looking at me and looking around and actually seemed to enjoy it!

Dec 27, 2008

Fun With Friends

Yesterday we went to Peter and Shannon's to hang out with friends and finish off Christmas leftovers. It was a wonderful time and at the end we snapped some pictures of all the chitlen. Peter and Shannon have Natalie and Charlotte, the oldest girls. Scott and Esther have Kirsten born about 6 weeks before Ella, and then of course ours is the little peanut. I thought for sure we wouldn't get a shot because they were all (save for Natalie) a bit fussy before the picture but as soon as we laid them down they were content and entertained! So great!

The Highs and Lows of Mommyhood...3 weeks in.

Warning: Don't let the lows of this post discourage you from having children. They're meant to give other mommies and knowing chuckle and it's all worth it!

High: Giving birth. By far the hardest, most amazing, most empowering experience!
Low: Feeling like my innards are going to fall out of my nether region afterward.
High: Seeing and holding Ella for the first time...Indescribable!
Low: Needing help just to pick Ella up or sit up in bed because my ab muscles had been stretched out to the max and could not function until shrinking back to size.
High: Taking a shower the morning after giving birth. (Perhaps one of the best showers ever!)
Low: Nursing Ella through the times when my milk was coming in, everything hurt and my nipples felt like they were going to fall off.
High: Nursing Ella, the rough part didn't last long and it is such an amazing bonding experience!
Low: Having a crazy roommate at the hospital for 6 hours.
High: Getting moved to a private room as soon as the sympathetic nurses could.
Low: Not being able to sit and having to use a donut pillow.
High: Retiring the donut pillow in the first week and healing much quicker than I thought!
Low: My first (of several over the next couple days)uncontrolable crying spell the day after we got home (set off by spilling my sits bath water all over the bathroom floor because I was trying to do it without any help!)
High: My amazing midwife who reasuringly explained hormonal crashes, my wonderful husband who loved me and took care of me and held me, and my amazing friends who called to check on me and talk to me and share their symathizing stories!
Low: Pure physical and emotional exhaustion, wondering if I'd ever be able to take care myself again, let alone Ella as well!
High: Again, my amazing husband, my mom, and everyone who supplied us with meals (we literally still have not cooked dinner since Ella was born) and feeling more normal with each passing day, far quicker than I expected.
Low: Trying to sort through all the advise and theories on childrearing and trying to figure out what our baby needs!
High: Beginning to feel like we know what Ella's different cries mean and starting to feel like we've got a healthy routine going.
Low: Much less sleep.
High: Much more sleep than we thought as thus far we've been blessed with a baby that naps and sleeps like a champ inbetween feedings, some nights goes for a 5 hour stretch in between and really only cries when she's hungry or gassy.
Low: Not having anything to wear as maternity clothes were too big but regular clothes were still to small.
High: Fitting into my pre-prego jeans at the two week mark on the dot.
Low: During pregnancy thinking I'd be really concerned and fixated on my body not being the same afterward.
High: Having a belly that is shrinking far faster than I thought, dropping pounds like crazy even though I eat like a horse, and having a very laid back attitude about the whole thing that is very unlike me!
Low: Already stressing about going back to work because I don't want to leave this little munchkin for one second of one minute of one day!
High-ish: Relying on prayer and trying to take things one day at a time and savor each moment I have.
Low: Poopy diaper blowouts that get her beautiful new clothes all stained already.
High: Jason's hilariously vocal reactions to the poopy diaper blowouts and to all of her lovely bodily noises.
High: Watching Jason with Ella.
High: Taking endless pictures of her cuteness.
High: Holding her.
High: Kissing her.
High: Watching her sleep and feeling her warmth against me when she naps on my chest.
High: Watching her make all of her interesting and funny faces. (The "scrunchy" face, the "one eye", the gas smile and so on.)
High: Listening to all of her adorbale noises (grunts, snorts, "elephant noises", hiccups, coughs, sighs, coos and so on.)
High: The moments she's wide awake and looking all about with her inquisitive eyes, trying to figure out what all the blury images are!
High: When she turns her head to find me because she knows me voice!

I could go on an on! Yup, it's all worth it.

Dec 25, 2008

To Our Family Far Away!

video

Merry Christmas all. This is not the best video as it has the logo in the middle. We're learning slowly and will try to get it up without that in the middle. But for now we wanted to get some video up for our family we can't see in person and haven't yet met our little one in person! She eats and sleeps a lot, so far we've been blessed with a little angel disposition wise, but we will try to get some video when she's awake too! Enjoy! We miss you and love you!

Dec 22, 2008

Merry Christmas!

My Cord Fell Off!

Lovin' My Sling

Ella's First Day at Church!

A Mushy One!

(Ella making her "scrunchy faces" at her daddy)

I had been praying all during my pregnancy that God would grow Jason and I even closer together and bond us even more as we started our family.

Jason is a guys guy, a manly man. He's laid back, tough, and not super emotional. I knew he'd be a great dad I just didn't know exactly what that would look like.

Well, let me tell you. There is nothing like watching him with Ella. And, with the way he has taken care of me, I feel like I couldn't have dreamed up a better man. It literally makes me fall more in love with him every day.

He's pitched in like a pro with housework, as he knows that will help me relax. He makes sure I eat well, and eat enough and brings me food all the time. He makes me take naps 'cause he knows I need them. He stays calm and level headed when I'm frustrated and overtired. He hugs me and kisses me and holds me through those weepy hormonal crashes! He prays for me. And he tells me all the time how strong and amazing I am and what a good mother I am.

And Ella has just melted his tough guy heart! He thought he would need me to tell him what to do but he is a natural! He holds her and stares at her and tears up sometimes. He talks to her in the cutest little voice and calls her things like, "cutie" and "beautiful" and "my girl". He can't help but laugh uncontrollably when adult size bodily noises come from our little munchkin (it never gets old for him!). His first day back and work he came home and said it felt like he'd been away from us forever, that he missed us all day and all he wanted to do the minute he walked in the door is look at Ella and hold her.

So yeah, I think God answered "yes" to that prayer.

Dec 19, 2008

So the Question is....Can Mommies EVER shower?

Jason is back to work. My munchkin is fast asleep, tightly by my side in the wonderful ring sling I made...so glad she likes it. I've napped for a few hours already as I had to PROMISE my husband I would do. So I thought I'd get a little input from you all on a recent situation.

Yesterday was my first day home alone with Ella. Somewhere mid-morning she had nursed and was fast asleep. I laid her in her pack n' play in the living room and grabbed myself a quick shower. All was well in the world.

Later, as Jason and I were recounting our days for each other, this whole shower bit was obviously mentioned but it was brief part of my day and I was about to skip on ahead when Jason interrupted:

Jason: "Is that okay?"
Sarah: "Is what okay?"
Jason: "Taking a shower?"
Sarah: "Yes, yes it is. I try to do it a lot in my life."
Jason: "No, I mean taking a shower and leaving her without anyone watching her."
Sarah: "Well, I was there. We leave her in her pack n' play to sleep all the time."
Jason: "Yeah, but you can hear her. In the shower you can't hear her."
Sarah: "Well I only took a really quick one. I didn't think about it."
Jason: "Maybe it's fine. I don't know."
Sarah: "Well then how will I ever shower? Do mom's just not shower?"
Jason: "I don't know. I remember your Aunt talking about never getting a shower anymore (Sorry for lettin' that out of the bag Kirsten :)"
Sarah: "Yeah, but I think that she was saying that just 'cause she was so busy. She had two at that point."
Jason: "Yeah, I don't know. Maybe you should call people. Call other people and see what they do. Will you call people?"

First of all, SO adorable that he is so cautious about our little one. Shocking how a baby can change you as this conversation flowed out of a man that is one of the most laid back I know!

So yes, I called people and got some advise. And today I put her in her boppy swing in the bathroom while I showered so I could peek out at her the whole time. All is well with the world.

But...I would like to hear from all you mommies out there on this topic...So tell me, what do you do about showering!?

Dec 16, 2008

Ella's Birth Story (Part 2)


We got to Debbie’s office at a little after 4pm and I was already 6cm 100% effaced. She sent us right over to the hospital. We called Evelyn and Evelyn and Debbie met us over there. We were settled into our room at a little before 5pm and I continued to labor in my sweats and t-shirt. I spent most of my time standing, draped over the birthing ball, swaying or rotating my hips back and forth. Evelyn talked to me. Jason held my hips a lot and massaged my back. I did a lot of breathing and low moaning through each surge, putting into action everything I had practiced and felt like I was able to keep my whole body relaxed. By 7pm I was 8cm and things became more intense. It was harder to stay relaxed, I was tensing my face and making higher pitched noises and getting to a point where I thought I could not do it. Everyone encouraged me, Evelyn’s voice reminding me how to relax was very grounding. Then Evelyn did a hypnosis script with me while I laid down. I felt my whole body relax again, it felt Sooo good.

I did not progress past 8cm as quickly as any of us thought I would. In hopes that doing so would get me to 10cm and pushing faster, I agreed to have Debbie break my water. After that the surges became even more intense and I went back to the point (which Evelyn had warned me would come) where I wanted out! I didn’t think I could do it. I prayed for relief and focused on verses like,“I can do all things through him who strengthens me” –Phil 4:13 and “Do not fear for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” –Isaiah 41:10. It got to the point where I felt nauseous at the peak of each surge. I can remember Evelyn encouraging me to throw up, saying “Go ahead, it’ll give you another centimeter.” So, I tossed my cookies and sure enough after that I was 9cm. Debbie then encouraged me to push through one or two contractions in order to help get that last centimeter of cervix out of the way. That was by far the worst part of the whole thing. But at last I was able to push…..

I began pushing around 8pm. While it was the hardest workout I have ever had, it was a totally different sensation than contractions and after I got the hang of it felt really good to push. I pushed in the bed and also sat on the toilet and pushed through some surges. I could feel her move down more when I did this (because it allows gravity to work and allows your tailbone to expand backwards in a way that it can’t when it’s pressed up against a bed). But by that point I was too tired and shaky to do all of my pushing sitting down.

I pushed for 2 hours (it seemed like a half an hour to me) and at the very end little Ella began to become stressed. Her heart rate didn’t recover up to the rate they wanted it to in between pushing and then there was meconium (she pooped, which can cause infection if they inhale it when they come out). I could feel the atmosphere in the room become more intense and the tone in Debbie’s voice changed a bit as she told me that I needed to get her out in the next few contractions. I heard her start to consider an episiotomy (which was one of the things I wanted to avoid) but everything changes when you hear your baby may be at risk and I told her to do what she needed to do, so she did. And with two more surges I pushed little Ella out into this world. There is absolutely no sensation in the world like it! It was amazing!

Because of the special circumstances they clamped and cut the cord with lighting speed, showed us our baby for a split second and then took her to the corner of the room where a doctor and two nurses where waiting to check her over. They cleaned out her airways and put a little oxygen mask on her and I kept looking over her way because she wasn’t crying. Jason had to leave the room because he caught a glimpse of all the blood and of the placenta and it was really crowded and hot in there at this point. He came back in quickly though and stood by Ella, then came over to me and asked if I was okay. I was shaking and shivering violently which they assured me was normal. But I was bleeding too much. They massaged (and by massaged, I mean REAMED on) to get my uterus to start contracting. They did this three or four times and then had to give me medicine to try to make it stop. Within 20 minutes, my bleeding was slowed to normal and Ella was in my arms doing just fine. There are no words can describe that moment.

She was a bit confused at first, wide eyed and looking all around, intermittently crying. Then she settled a bit and nursed for a good 45 minutes. The nurse brought me a little bit of food and Jason fed me while I fed her. It was beautiful. We spent a few hours with her in the delivery room and then they took her to the nursery and her daddy went with her while I got cleaned up. My nurse told me that Ella weighed in at 7lbs 8oz and was 20 inches long.

We got to our room at about 1:30am and Jason brought Ella back in to nurse again. She stayed with us the whole rest of the time at the hospital and we brought our little girl home Wednesday the 10th!

Ella's Birth Story (Part 1)


First I will start off with this interesting little tidbit that you can take for what you want. During one of my hypnosis sessions with my Doula, Evelyn, she asked me to ask my baby when she would come. (I remember thinking at that moment, “This is a load of hooey” but deciding to try it anyway.) Immediately I continued to see the numbers 8 and 12 over and over. Well, she was born on Dec 8th and my labor really began at 12pm! Coincidence? You decide.

Monday the 8th I went in and saw my midwife, Debbie at 9am. I was a good 3cm dilated and 90% effaced. I had felt some slight cramping that morning and she and I agreed she would strip my membranes. I felt very uncomfortable as I had the past two weeks after Debbie had checked me. I left her office and went to Evelyn’s where she did a fear release/hypnosis session to induce labor. At the end of the session she asked if I was feeling any surges (contractions) and I said, “No, I just feel really crampy, but it kind of comes and goes.” She looked at me in her funny, matter of fact way and said, “Sarah, those are surges.” “Oh!” I said with a chuckle. They weren’t regular and didn’t feel like much though. I headed out and it was about 11:30 at that point.

On the way home the surges began to become stronger. I got home, did the dishes, did some laundry, and swept the floor. I began to have to breath through them but could still walk through them. I walked back and forth through the house, sometimes stopping to rock back and forth through a surge. At 12pm I began to time them and they were between 7-10 minutes apart. I called Debbie and described what was happening and said, “So am I in labor?” because I still didn’t think this could be it. She confirmed I was and said she would check in with me in a few hours if I hadn’t called her.

I called Jason at 12:15. Of all the times, he didn’t answer his phone! I called again 5 minutes later and he still didn’t answer. I called the office and had them page him. He called me back and I could hear a flutter of chatter behind him. He excitedly said, “I’m standing here in front of my whole class and they want to know if it’s time.” I told him it was, that I was in labor but it could still be a while. He said he’d be on his way out the door.

Jason arrived home at 1pm. I laid on the couch and breathed through each surge while Jason timed them. They had already progressed to a consistent 5 minutes apart, 40 sec long. I called Evelyn and updated her. She then said, “You sound sleepy, what are you doing?” I told her I was lying on the couch. “Sarah,” she said in her matter of fact, you silly girl tone, “You need to get up. Go take a shower, go walk around.” I told her things were really good right now and doing that might make them worse. We both chuckled at my reasoning and she said, “That’s the idea.”

I got up and took a hot shower, practicing some of my pregnancy yoga moves. I wanted to stay in that shower forever! Debbie called to see how I was doing. I told her what I had been up to and said I thought they’d gotten closer together but hadn’t really been timing them. She asked if I wanted to continue to stay home. I said yes. She said she would call back in one hour and to plan on heading up to see her after that.

Then I jumped on the treadmill, eating a little toast and drinking a lot of water while I walked and breathed through each surge. Jason timed them and also hopped on the computer and read me all of my friend’s latest blog postings to keep me entertained. Then he informed me that the surges were already 2 minutes apart, 50 seconds long...like clockwork. I walked for a bit more and called Debbie back to tell her. “You’d better head up” she said. Jason and I put our things in the car and headed to her office. On the way we talked about how surreal it felt. Even though I was in labor we still could not believe we’d soon have a little one....

Dec 15, 2008

Ella One Week Old

Now don't get the wrong idea people, I certainly do not look like this every day! In fact today was the first day that I wore clothing that did not include sweats, pajamas or oversized t-shirts since Ella was born. It was also the first day that I wore make-up, had my hair in something other than a ponytail holder and managed to throw on a pair of earrings. The occasion was our first doctor's appointment and my first time out of the house since we brought her home. But here she is with mom and dad at 1 week old.

Signs You've Chosen the Right Doctor

So, Ella had her first check up today. She's perfect and gaining weight like a champ, she's 8lbs on the nose now! Anyhoo, I was SO EXTATIC about our first visit and so happy with the doctor we chose! His name is Jack Forbush and he is from our church, it's his own family practice and here's the website so you can check it out!

The first thing that greeted us when we walked through the door (besides the beautifully decorated office and pictures of Jack and his family) was his black lab named Zeek. Then we went up to the desk to check in and were greeted by a super friendly receptionist who said, "We have something for you," and proceeded to turn around and whip out THESE!The receptionist oohed and ahhed over Ella as did the nurse. And the word "perfect" was used multiple times :). Then we saw Jack and he checked her all over and took time to answer all of our questions and was very informative. We also talked about vaccines and he is on the EXACT same page we are so that was huge as well. Ella needed to feed again before we left and he told us to stay in the room and take as long as we needed. It was just the BEST experience I have ever had at a doctors office! Love it!

Dec 11, 2008

Welcome Ella!

She's Arrived! This will be quick, just the general stats and such and I'll post some more details later. (Everyone tells you and you completely believe that you'll be exhausted but you just don't fully comprehend until it happens! So it's a miracle this post is even getting done!)

I went into labor around 12pm Monday the 8th and Ella Renee was born at 10:03pm. She weighed 7lbs 8oz and was 20 inches long. There were a few little scares near then end with her and I (which is why she looks a little pale in the first picture) but she and I are perfectly fine and healthy and I was able to achieve my goal of all natural childbirth! Yay!

Here she is about 20 min old, still looking a little pale. Her daddy was taking pictures and I was oblivious! Here she is after we got her back from the nursery at about 1:30am. Only 3 1/2 hours old and already that adorable! The next morning it felt SOOO good to take a shower and this is the scene I I found when I came out, melted my heart. He was already SO smitten and would often tear up just sitting there looking at her. Here she is with mommy on Tuesday morning. Yup, it's safe to say we're both madly in love! And here she is this morning. So adorable (even after an EXTREMELY long night) we just had to snap a picture!

Dec 7, 2008

Staying Busy!

So now when people ask me when the baby's due (which is happening much more frequently) it's fun to speak in past tense. "Yesterday!" Oh my gosh, how do you feel is inevitably one of the next questions. "Unfortunately, I feel FRICKIN' fine!" is my reply.

If nothing happens by Tuesday I'm still plannin' on working because lets face it. I NEED to stay busy. Here's how I stayed busy today...I made Christmas gifts. I baked a double batch of two different kinds of cookies and then hand crafted these fun little gift bags. I highly recommend it as an inexpensive way to make bulk Christmas gifts. I made a Christmas tree "stamp" out of a sponge and hand stamped the bags, adding a bit of gold glitter for pizazz. I then used a marker to write Merry Christmas and the people's names on them and below the tree is a bible verse "for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." -Luke 2:11. I finished them off by putting the cookies and a copy of the cookie recipes inside and tying them shut with some curled gold ribbon.

I made 16 filled bags (but the bags came out so great that I decided to make 30 extra bags in case I want to give away more or use them for other gifts!). The first one went off to our new (super nice, extremely reasonably priced) plow guy. The rest will go to neighbors and friends.

How Adorable Is This Hat I Made for Ella!?

Dec 6, 2008

I'm Sick!

Yup, somehow I managed to stay quite healthy through my entire pregnancy but two days before my due date I fall ill. Full blown cold nastiness.

I have an attractive hacking cough that sounds like I'm an 80 year old smoker that's been puffin' away since I was 13. My nose is somehow constantly running and yet I cannot breath through it which makes for and awesome chainsaw snore that drives my husband to the couch and wakes me up 50 times a night. If you called me on the phone you might be able to decipher a few words through my pitiful hoarse squeekiness. And I'm sure my husband will attest to the fact that I'm just about as fun to be around as a pissed off polar bear protecting her young!

However, I shall choose to look at the silver lining. The way I see it, God knew I was going to get sick and that is why Ella has not arrived yet. He knew that instead of passing on this lovely sickness to my newborn, He would keep her inside to receive my immunity and then bring her into the world stronger with a healthy, happy mommy! And He sure as heck knew that a cranky, sleep deprived, miserable Sarah trying to give birth naturally would be good for NO ONE involved!

So I'm sure that as soon as I start feeling up to par I'll pop this baby right out!

Dec 4, 2008

Just Call Her Crash

"Well, you can nick name her crash," the doctor said. "Everything is fine, she's probably just wondering why the roller coaster ride is over."

These were soothing words to hear after my impromptu mid-week check-up. You see I was in a car accident on Wednesday. I was driving my agency van with two clients. We were at an intersection and the light was green but traffic was at a complete standstill and the car in front of me was halfway blocking the intersection. So, like the good driver I am, I stopped at the stop line for the intersection and was sitting there waiting for the traffic to move forward and *BAM*. Didn't even see it coming, because of the force of the impact and the fact that there were no screeching break sounds so I'm thinking the girl never even touched her breaks. She was like 18 and was all "The light was green, I thought they were going," to the police officer. Needless to say the officer listed it as totally her fault.

The clients were a little shaken up and we all had some soreness from the good jolting but everyone was fine. The EMT's checked us all over and everything. I knew I was fine and knew Ella was fine but the people at my work were TOTALLY freaking because I'm so pregnant and they made me call my doctor and go get checked out and then go home. Doc said I was fine and we listened to Ella's heartbeat which was pumpin' strong. I'm so glad God made the uterus to be such a good air bag!

And now it's really funny because the insurance people are all worried and I think they think I'm gonna sue them, and they won't settle the claim until I have the baby and make sure she's like not deformed or anything. Yeah, they're making quite the big deal out of it! Anyhoo, that was my excitement for yesterday and even after all of that....I'm still not in flippin' labor!

Dec 1, 2008

T-minus 5 and counting.

Baby update: Had my (hopefully) last appointment with my midwife today. Didn't go exactly as I'd hoped. I only made like 1cm of progress in the last week and am still the same amount effaced (I was hoping for lots of change). But it's all still very good. She now thinks I could still go sometime this week, or I could even go as much as a few days late. Of course these are all hypotheses. Ella will come in God's good time!

Say What you REALLY mean!

See that cute man with that cute dog there to the left. It's a good thing he's so darn cute.

I tried this new idea that I got from a magazine called REAL SIMPLE. You take the pictures you have on your walls already and wrap them like presents and hang them back up. I love to wrap...it's festive...and it's very inexpensive.

So I spent a LONG time meticulously wrapping my photos, varying the paper, coordinating the bows, curling ribbon etc. Look how good they came out! He comes in and I stand tall waiting for him to soak it all in and I ask with proud excitement, "How do you like the pictures!?"

His POORLY veiled response of disapproval went like this, "(long silent pause as he takes in the scene.........) They're....umm....different."

I bust out laughing. He sheepishly chuckles and says, "What?"

I reply, "I'm not stupid. I know what that means. That means you do not like them." He laughs harder. "Why don't you just say what you mean honey?"

He begins the attempted back pedal, "No, I like them. They look nice. I mean, if I were decorating I wouldn't choose that particular look but...no I mean...They look GREAT honey!"

Oh silliness. Little interactions like these just crack me up. Thought I'd share!

Deck the Halls!

So here's the little casa all decorated. I just LOVE decorating for Christmas! The house feels so warm and cozy, the candles are burning, the smells are lingering and the carols are playing! You just can't help but catch the Christmas Spirit!


Gettin' a Tree!

We went to our friend's tree farm on Sunday and got our Christmas Tree. It was fun because we went with two other couples and then went back to one of their houses and had a nice relaxing time with some yummy pecan pie and hot bevs!
Look at this sweet action shot I got just as the tree was toppling :)Here's the whole gang. We have three stages of mommy-hood here. There's us, with bun still in the oven (which you totally can't tell when covered by my puffy jacket!) Scott and Esther with their 4 week old (who is hiding inside a gorgeous baby sling which, incidentally, I made :) And Peter and Shannon with their 5 month old and two year old. And very cool because all three of us have the same midwife and I've been able to pick their brains about pregnancy, natural childbirth and mommy-hood all along the way!