Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Thanks, Mom!

I have been meaning to post this for a while now, but haven't really had the opportunity. Turns out, life is busy with a newborn!

Today, I would like to thank my mom!

Not only is she a wonderful mom, but an awesome grandma as well.

She came and stayed with us for the better part of two weeks (work weeks, anyway) after Leah was born, which was incredibly helpful, considering that I was so limited in terms of my mobility and ability to get up and tend to things.

Generally, I am pretty independent and greatly enjoy and take pride in doing things on my own. So I was a little apprehensive about having someone come to my house to take care of me. But it was awesome having her around! She took great (and much needed) care of me, which allowed me to have time to bond with my daughter and learn more about how to best take care of her.
During the day while Casey was at work, it was so much fun to have her there; to ask her questions about the little pumpkin, to have her help in completing the every-day tasks that were very difficult for me, but mostly, just to enjoy her company. In the evenings, she made dinner for us all then gave us time to bond as a family.

All in all, I couldn't have asked for a better post-partum experience. It was such a wonderful opportunity to have my mom around, and I am incredibly grateful for her advice, her kind and considerate help, but most of all, the time to enjoy her presence!


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Angel Baby

Two weeks old!

Why that seems like such a momentous thing, I suppose I don't know. Next week, she'll be three weeks old and so on...

But, for now, I'll celebrate my beautiful baby's two-week birthday.

The Bible tells us that God won't give us anything we can't handle; Casey and I must not be able to handle very much at all, because we have one of the sweetest, funniest, easiest babies in the entire world.

1. She sleeps for about four hours at a time every night.

2. In her 14 days of life, only one of those has been a "difficult" day.

3. She makes Daddy and me laugh with her emerging personality and wide array of expressions.

4. She almost never cries - maybe 30 minutes total in a day, and that's mostly to get our attention when she needs to be fed.

5. To my intense surprise, I have had exactly no issues breastfeeding. Don't hate me, mothers everywhere! Leah attached beautifully just a few minutes after arriving in the world, and it has been easy ever since.
In fact, one of the things that most surprised me about becoming a mother was how absolutely natural breastfeeding feels. I thought it would be strange and foreign; instead, it is as if I have done it a million times! What could possibly be more natural?

6. She loves to be cuddled.

7. She enjoys kisses from mommy (or at least, I like to pretend she does!).

8. She has one of her awake times right when Daddy gets home. Perfect!

9. She still gets the hiccups about one hour after eating, and she still doesn't like to sleep in the car. So familiar to me from her time on the "inside!"

10. She is already strong and independent. From holding up her own head to rolling over, I am routinely amazed by Leah's strength. She also shows such signs of being her own little lady - she doesn't ever want anyone to help her as she latches on; she already likes to do it herself. She also likes to hold her own passi (assuming her little hands can find it!).

My favorite pass-time of the past two weeks has been to sit and stare at her. No, I don't get much done, but it is amazing how gratifying and special it is to gaze at my daughter. Besides, what else could possibly be more important?! It certainly won't be like this forever, so I have to take advantage of it while I can!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ready for her close-up

Yesterday, we had Leah's first "official" photo shoot.
Of course, she has been a favorite subject of our camera all her life - not one of all 11 days she has been alive has gone by without some documentation of her many amazing feats! But this was a professional photo shoot; I wasn't sure she could handle the pressure.
Fortunately, she is a pro and slept the whole way through the photo shoot.
It was a wonderful experience. The photographer came to our house and set up a portable little "stage" to take pictures. I can't wait to see the results; I think (and hope) we captured some awesome images that we will always treasure.

Here is a little teaser from our camera:

In other news, Leah had her first bath at home on Friday.

It started off okay...

By the end, though, she wasn't too thrilled.

She also did something rather amazing: she rolled over!!!!! All by herself!!

It was completely incredible (and coming from her fully unbiased mother, you know it must be true!). She was lying on her back getting ready for her bath, and the next thing I knew, she was on her side, then on her stomach. She couldn't quite get her arm out from underneath her to fully complete the roll (probably on account of the fact that she was nine days old!), but she was solidly on her stomach.

Of course, I had to call immediately for Casey and my mom, because I was in awe. I put her on her back, just to see if she could do it again, and this was the result:

All in all, a big weekend for a very big, grown up girl!

Friday, March 19, 2010

9 days old

Big girls...

Hold up their heads for (nearly) minutes at a time.

Have brand-new bellybuttons.

Hold their own passifiers.

Sleep in their own beds.

Big girls break Mommy's heart with cuteness!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Rockin' the Green

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Leah had kind of a rough introduction to major holidays; we went to the doctor today and she wasn't very pleased.

The good news is, she is almost back to her birth weight, which is awesome. The bad news was, she had to have a little blood drawn to run for some one-week tests.

I think she handled the latter much better than her mommy!

Incidentally, today is also her due date. That is SUCH a bizarre thought; that she - and all her cuteness - could still be inside of me! Instead, our lives are vastly different than they were at this time last week, and we couldn't be happier about it.

I have been thinking about that a lot, and it is incredible to imagine life without her. As much as our lives have changed, in many ways it feels like things haven't changed at all. She simply completes our family. It is amazing how easily she fits into our lives and our hearts!

Monday, March 15, 2010


Things I love about being a mom:

That Daddy's and my hard work paid off.

Baby bundles!

Funny moments with Daddy

Loving companions

Dainty little fingers

Nap time!

Tummy time (aka the BEST time of the day!)

Trying new things

Absolutely everything!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Happy Birth Day!

Home, safe and sound, and with a sweet little 7 pound bundle of cuteness and love. It is a wonderful thing to arrive somewhere as a couple and leave as a trio!

But how did we get here? That is a rather long story...

The much anticipated morning of March 10th arrived early. Even though I slept much better than I imagined I would - I got about three hours and even slept until the alarm went off at 4:00 a.m. - I was feeling tired but extremely excited.

My eyes flew open as soon as the alarm went off, and I immediately bolted out of bed.

"It's baby day!" I exclaimed to Casey, who was a little groggy. I had to shake him a few times to get him to wake up.

It was very odd to have a chance to curl my hair before leaving for the hospital to have a baby... but that's what I did. We checked our bags to make sure that we had everything, Casey loaded up the car, and off we went to have a baby!

I was a little nervous once we got to the hospital. We checked in at 5:30, they gave us a room in Labor and Delivery, and I changed into my gorgeous gown. About this time, my mom and sister joined us. I was hooked up to a fetal monitor, and everything really began to move from there.

The worst part of the day was having my IV put in. I have terrible veins, and they had to stick me three times before they were able to actually set the IV (I now have a huge bruise on my right arm from where the nurse went "hunting" for my vein. Lovely!)

To help increase my blood flow before the surgery, they put me under a hot blanket. The odd thing was, it was hooked up to a vacuum-like contraption and filled with hot air! It was very strange, but kind of cool.

By 7:15, it was time for Casey to put on his scrubs before they wheeled me to the operating room. Casey really liked his outfit! We had a few minutes to say goodbye and take a few pictures, and then it was time. By this point, I was extremely excited, but nervous as well - mostly about the spinal block I knew they would give me to numb me for the c-section.

I didn't start to truly feel anxious until we actually got to the operating room. I closed my eyes and prayed... that I would be able to handle the spinal, that I would be safe, but mostly, I prayed that it would be an easy delivery for my precious baby.

The anesthesiologist had me sit on the operating table. He preped me for the spinal - he would give me a small shot to numb the area, then he would insert the big "scary" needle into my spine. This was the moment I had been absolutely dreading.

...And, as it turns out, I was massively over-reacting! I jumped a little when he inserted the first, local needle. It felt like a bee sting, but mostly it just surprised me. When the needle for the spinal went in, I hardly even felt it.

I did start to feel a warm sensation that started in my bottom and moved to my legs. It quickly spread, feeling exactly like the sensation you get when your foot falls asleep. It was so strange!

Before long, I was completely numb from the chest down. The doctor put up a blue curtain, and I could feel her moving me around as they washed my belly and prepared it for surgery.

I had so many emotions at that point. It was overwhelming to know that a) I was awake, b) I was about to be cut open, and c) my baby was about to come into the world. Casey was wonderful. He was talking to me soothingly and trying to help distract me.

I remember taking deep breaths and trying to use some of those relaxation techniques we had learned in our Bradley class... they might as well not go to waste!

After just a few minutes - maybe three or four - the doctor told Casey that she had a little leg! I couldn't believe it, but Casey stood up and looked over the curtain. He had been stroking my head soothingly, and at this point, he got a little intense. I wanted to ask him to stop, but I was too interested in what he was seeing on the other side...

Casey and the doctor both told me that her little hiney was out, followed quickly by arms, shoulders, and finally... a head.

I couldn't hear her cry yet, but one of the moments I remember most vividly was hearing and watching Casey when he said that our daughter was looking at him. She came out and looked right at her daddy!!! I wish I had been able to see it fully, but it was easy to see what an incredible effect the moment had on him. His was the first face she ever saw in this world, and that fact was clearly not lost on him. It was amazing! We both had tears in our eyes.

And then, all of a sudden: the most wonderful sound! A quiet but strong little cry.

I could kind of see as they took her over to the warmer to clean her up. Casey left my side only for a moment, to cut her cord. Then, the nurses wrapped her up and - finally! - Casey brought her over to me.

What an incredible feeling!!!!!

I didn't see her little face very clearly because of the angle, but I remember that one tiny hand was on my face. I just kept kissing and kissing those little fingers, and telling her how happy we were that she was part of our family. Casey alternated between kissing me and kissing her, and it was absolutely, without question the most perfect moment of my entire life.

It was an amazing experience, from start to finish. And the most incredible part of all is that it is just beginning. No matter what we went through to get to this day, Leah Madeline will always have been worth it!

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