Saturday, July 19, 2014

4th of July

I'm going to be honest here. I've never really been a fan of the 4th of July. I mean, go USA and all of that but ever since I was little I've hated loud noises and fireworks are really loud if you weren't aware. But there's something that happens when you have a child that makes you reexamine how you spend your holiday's and what they mean to you. There are so many 'firsts' that life seems new again. You're watching your child experience things that you've done a million and half times for their first time. It's magical really. 

E obviously doesn't 'get' the fourth yet but having him with us to celebrate this holiday just made it seem more special. 


                                   

We spent the morning lounging around our house and we headed over to my mom's house for the traditional cookout. It is such a blessing to have my family so close that we can see them whenever we want. Having E surrounded by people who so obviously love and care about him makes my heart swell. It is the most precious blessing I've received in a while.  

                               


                               

If you listen carefully to the picture above you can almost hear E whining about his dad being such an embarrassment. Which is exactly what a parent should be to their kids. ;) 

                               

                               

E's Grammy and Aunt Kelly love this little dude to pieces. One thing is for sure: he will never grow up wondering how much he is loved. And for that, I am truly grateful. 

               


                             

                             

I live for these sleepy little moments. When I can feel his weight on me, knowing he is completely relaxed and at peace. Sometimes during nap time I'll keep him on my chest for the entire nap just because I can. I sit there and just hold him. I try to quiet my mind as much as possible and just live in the moment. I know that soon he'll be walking, running, going to school, and growing up. I always kind of rolled my eyes at parents who said that kids grow up too fast and it seems like time goes by in an instant but having a 5 month old already when it seems like we just brought him home yesterday has made me realize they were right. 

The quiet moments make the best memories. 



Monday, July 7, 2014

Summertime in Northern Michigan

                It's been a few years since I've been able to vacation up north and I have missed it so much. Growing up it just wasn't summer unless we spent a week or so up north in Traverse City, Glenn Arbor, Silver Lake or Bellaire. Between college, moving to Utah, and just general 'life' getting in the way, I've missed summers spent on Lake Michigan.  



               

I also realized while I was gone that Michigan's concept of 'up north' is something uniquely Michigan and it's part of what makes me love this state so much. I've come to believe that people from Michigan have a certain pride about being from Michigan, a pride that I just don't think other people have. 

Going 'up north' is quintessential to the Michigan experience and I'm glad I had the opportunity to share that with my husband and baby. E won't remember his first swim in Glenn Lake, his first glimpse of Lake Michigan, or watching the sun go down on the dock while daddy rocks him to sleep. But we sure will. 

                

I've found that the memories made and the experiences we have as a family are what keep us going from one thing to the next. Life isn't always good, but there's always a possibility of taking a weekend off and heading up to the lake. And the possibility is what makes the monotony worth it. 

               

We made the most of our week, that's for sure. We went into Traverse City, Glenn Arbor, Leelanau, and Suttons Bay. We shopped at a lot of old familiar stores (and some new ones too). We went to Boone Docks for dinner a few more times than should be allowed. In general, we just relaxed and let the lake living seep into our pores. 

               
             

                   

                            

After our week was over, I didn't want to go back. I didn't want to leave the simplicity of what being up north inevitable brings you. The lake sunsets. The fresh ice cream. The humid days that you can only stand because there's a lake right outside your door and you can go swimming at the drop of the hat. These memories and experiences that define what summertime in Northern Michigan is part of the reason I was so excited to move back home. There is no place quite like it anywhere else. 

I hope you're enjoying your summer! Just remember there's always a possibility of a lake escape somewhere in your future. 





Friday, June 20, 2014

one...two...three...four








I've been taking these photos of Ethan every month in the same spot on the rocker in his room just to see how much he grows in his first year. It just amazes me how much he's changed from his one month pictures to now. I can't believe he's been in our family for four months already. It seems as if he's been here forever and not having him just doesn't seem right. 

Ethan at four months: 
Can roll over from back to front and front to back
Loves arching his back during diaper changes making it hard on mom and dad! Little bugger!
Smiles at all the girls. We have a serious flirt on our hands. 
Loves his blankie and snuggling with dad and mom at night before bed. 
Has giggled once for mom, but not for anyone else (making mom feel kinda special.) 
Has been sleeping through the night for about a month now! 
Is already in 6-9 month clothing, the little chunker. 



Thursday, June 19, 2014

A father's blessing

                   
Waaaay back in May (yes, I am that behind on posts around here! Whoops!) was a very special day for our little family. In our church we don't baptize children until they are 'of age' to make the decision themselves, usually around 8. So instead of a baptism, we have a baby blessing. The father, or other worthy Priesthood holder, takes the child to the front of the congregation and with the help of other male Priesthood holders, the child is blessed. While it wasn't Ethan's first blessing (Todd had given him one while he was in the NICU), this was the first 'official' blessing he received and was also when Ethan's name went on church records. 

Watching Todd go up to the front of the church and listening to his blessing was one of the most wonderful moments in my life. He spoke about how Ethan had been saved for this time and place and that he would make a good missionary when he was older. He spoke about how he would be raised to respect women and womanhood and that there were several women that would be in his life that would raise him to be a good person. He compared Ethan's faith to an oak tree; small and tiny at first but eventually growing into something that was strong and unshakable. At the end of the blessing, my eyes were filled with tears and my testimony of the power of the Priesthood stronger than it had been minutes before. 

We were blessed to have my family there to witness it and I think everyone enjoyed the service and the blessing. Afterwards, we went out to breakfast as a whole family. I am really enjoying being back in Michigan and being so close to so many loving family members that get to see Ethan grow up. I can't wait to see what is in store for our family as time goes on. 

                            

                                      

 
                         


                        

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Ethan's Birth Story - Part 2

Within minutes of me agreeing that a c-section was the way to go, they were wheeling me into the operating room. Todd was waiting outside as they prepped me for surgery. Ethan was unhooked from his monitors, which made me really nervous because we couldn't tell what his heart rate was doing, but they assured me all was fine. When they went to put me on my back on the table, my back suddenly siezed up because I had been on my side so long during labor. I couldn't lie back it hurt so much. The nurse promised me some stronger pain medication as soon as Ethan was out, so I had that to look forward to. 

Once I was prepped, Todd came in and stood by my head as they got Ethan out. I don't remember much from here on out because I was pretty drugged up, so I'm going off of what's been told to me. Ethan came out really blue. His APGAR score when he first came out was a  4. That's really bad. Really bad. I'm glad I didn't see him like that but I do remember asking Todd why he wasn't crying and nearly panicking because my baby wasn't crying. They did get him crying and all was good. 

They took me into recovery and I finally got to hold Ethan. Honestly, I don't remember that first time I held him. I was pretty cloudy from the drugs and I regret that. I wish that I had the presence of mind to refuse the additional pain medication they gave me because of my back muscles. I don't know if that would have made a difference but it might not have in the long run. 

The next thing I remember is being wheeled to my recovery room with Ethan in his bassinet behind me. We tried to nurse, but he just wasn't having it. He started showing signs of his sugar dropping, which tends to happen in babies of diabetic mothers, so they had Todd try to give him some formula. He was really lethargic at that time, so a nurse tested his blood sugar. It was 30. Thirty!!! Which is dangerously dangerously low. Next thing I know, he's being taken out of Todd's arms and whisked away to the NICU. I was still pretty out of it at the time and wasn't scared for some reason, but looking back, that was a terrifying moment. The nurses in the NICU said later that he was the 'floppiest' baby they had ever seen come back. His sugar was that low. 

He ended up spending 5 days in the NICU. Todd and I made the trek from my recovery room on one side of the hospital to the NICU at the other side of the hospital multiple times a day. Every time we left to go back to my room I sobbed. I felt so bad leaving him there, all alone, with an IV in his arm after another unsuccessful attempt at nursing. My milk hadn't come in and he was still really lethargic from the c-section and the low sugar. I had been dead set on breast feeding before he had gotten there and with every failed attempt, I felt worse and worse. I started pumping on the third or fourth day and started to get a little, but not much. 

It was on the third day that he started developing jaundice because of my lack of producing enough milk for him. He got extremely jaundiced and at that point we decided to refocus on getting the jaundice taken care of and work on breast feeding later. I felt defeated that I hadn't been able to provide for my baby, but knew that it needed to be done to get him out of the hospital and that was what we wanted. 

Once we got him on formula, he perked up and the jaundice went down with the help of the bili lights. By Thursday, I was released in the morning and we were hoping that Ethan would get released that same day too. Once his results from his bili levels came back we got the best news ever...they were low enough for us to go home!! His sugar was completely stabalized and he had been off the IV for a day now and with the bili levels going down enough, the doctors were okay with us going home. 

He turned one month old yesterday and is thriving. He was a chunky 8lbs 15oz and at his last doctor's appointment had gone up to 10lbs 8oz. I call him Chunka, Mr. Chunks, and Chunka Monka and his cheeks just kill me every time I look at them. He's brought so much into our lives in the short time he's been with us. Being a mom has changed me in ways that I didn't expect and I love that little monkey more than anything. 




                                    

                 

                  

                                

                               

                               

                    

                    

                         

                                     

Monday, March 17, 2014

Ethan's Birth Story - Part 1

I feel like the title to this post should really be 'I Have A Feeling...' because I think I made that statement four or five different times as things progressed in ways we weren't expecting during my labor. 

I went to the hospital for the second of my twice weekly Non-Stress Tests on Valentine's Day. My Blood Pressure at the previous NST had been slightly elevated but they hadn't been worried about it. When I got out of bed that morning I said to myself 'I have a feeling my BP is still elevated. Wouldn't it suck if it were and they kept me over night for observation. Nah, they wouldn't do that.' Ha. I should have kept my big mouth shut because a few hours later, my BP was still elevated and they did admit me overnight for observation. Ethan was still doing good, moving well and his heart rate was perfect, so I wasn't really worried. My mom, dad, and sister all kept me company that evening until Todd could get to the hosptial from work. 

Satruday morning I repeated what I now consider my birth 'theme', "I have a feeling I'm going to be induced today." And wouldn't you know it, when my tests came back I had protein in my urine and was diagnosed with preeclampsia.  So, they started me on an oral medication (Cervidil? I can't remember what it was called now...) to start contractions since I wasn't showing any signs of labor. 

I wanted to go as long as I could without pain medication and told my nurse that. She was really supportive of this and said that she wouldn't ask me if I wanted meds unless I asked for them. Todd was really supportive of me attempting a med free too and was encouraging the entire time. Once the contractions started to get more intense, my nurse brought in a birthing ball and showed us how to use it. That thing was amazing and really helped me get through the contractions. If you have the option to use one while in labor, take it!!! 

I labored for about 12 hours (I think...the timing gets a little blurry) without meds and then I hit a wall. Whoever said that kidney stones (which I've had plenty of in my 25 years) are worse than contractions was completley full of sh...well, you know. The contractions were getting really close, less than 2 minutes apart and I was having trouble resting between them. And then a woman came in from the ER downstairs in labor completely screaming bloody murder. The two things combined really freaked me out. If she was in that much pain, how the heck was I going to do it without medication? I let her get inside my head and really kind of lost it. Todd was telling me to breathe (which I responded with 'if you tell me to breathe one more time, I'm going to hurt you) and that I could do it without meds. 

So, I broke down and asked for IV meds. I don't think I could have done more without anything to dull the pain. I don't know how women do natural birth. I got IV Staydol and minutes after getting it, Ethan's heart rate dropped severely. All of a sudden there were 5 or 6 nurses in my room putting oxygen on me and putting me in different positions to try to get him back to where he needed to be. That was the scariest part of labor for me. I felt like my need for rest had put my baby in jepordy and I felt guilty for it. They eventually got his heart rate back up and at that point I was so tired I asked for the epidural. I had wanted to avoid that at all costs but (here it comes again) I had a feeling that I couldn't have done it without the help of the epidural. 

Thankfully, the hospital I delivered at has an on-call anesthesiologist so I only had to wait a few minutes for him to come walking into the room to save me. The epidural was the most magical thing ever. I went from completely unable to rest because of the contractions to being able to sleep and not even feeling them. Fantastic. Best decision ever. Let me tell you. 

After I got the epidural though, my labor slowed. I made it to 10cm but something happened. I'm still not sure what, but my doctor said I wasn't progressing and even though I was at 10cm, I physically couldn't have pushed him out. At that point I had been in labor for quite a while and they were worried about the stress on Ethan. My OB came in and said it was time to move to a c-scetion. After I had gotten the epidural I had had another 'feeling' that things might end in a c-section but hadn't voiced it for fear of it coming true. I didn't want one (I mean, who wants major abdominal surgery?) but I admitted that I was pretty tired and I was worried about Ethan's ability to be okay thourgh a normal delivery. So, I agreed and we went ahead with the section. 

Part 2 will be up tomorrow with the rest of his birth story! 

To entice you to come back tomorrow for the rest of the story and more pictures, here's a picture of Mr. Chunk himself. 


Friday, January 31, 2014

Baby Shower!

We have been incredibly blessed since moving back to Michigan. A few weeks ago, my mom threw me a beautiful baby shower to celebrate our little Bean. It was small, just family, and it couldn't have been more perfect. We had a small room at one of my favorite restaurant's in Birmingham, Mitchell's Fish Market and let me tell you, my tummy was happy after lunch. 

How cute are these?! My mom made these using some Pinterest inspiration. 


The ducks just killed me! So cute!






These cupcakes from Taste Love Cupcake were to.die.for. Seriously. No wonder they won Cupcake Wars!!





We are so thankful to be surrounded by such an amazing support system here. Saying 'Thank You' doesn't seem like enough to show our gratitude, but we are so much more than simply grateful. We couldn't be surrounded by more supportive, loving, caring people and I thank God every morning and night that we are lucky enough to be blessed by having these people in our life. Bean will grow up in a nurturing environment that will ensure he thrives and I have all of the wonderful people involved with Todd and I to thank for that. 

From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone who has shown us love and generosity during this time of preparation and change in our lives. We are excited to welcome Bean into our family and introduce him to the community that has surrounded us with love already.