Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy New Years!!!

Happy New Years (and happy 40th birthday, Daddy)!

Christmas 2008

Ellie's First Christmas! Artie and I have looked forward to this day since we found out we were pregnant. We bought a new Christmas tree and decided to go white. We went back and forth about it ("Will Ellie grow up thinking green trees are weird?"), but decided to buck tradition and go for white. In the picture, you can see Ellie TRYING to get a peek at the tree. We had to put the box the tree came in right in front of it to protect the tree from EllieMonster! She is now pulling up on EVERYTHING and semi-walking all over the place. In fact, we learned that she has a new trick----she can climb up our stairs. So, we have to have the baby gate on all the time.

We had a fun December. Artie's best friend from childhood drove up from Ft. Lauderdale with his family to visit on their way to NC.
We celebrated Hanukkah with them, which was cool. They let us participate, so it was a neat learning experience for us. I got to light the shamash (starter candle) for the first night, which was pretty awesome. I learned that Jewish families typically eat jelly doughnuts after lighting the candles. What a wonderful religion!!!!

Right after they left, we welcomed Mimi and Oppa for Christmas. They bought every other toy and outfit that we didn't get Ellie for her first Christmas. Ellie was so excited that Santa was coming, she didn't sleep well on Christmas Eve. Um, and it has NOTHING to do with the fact that she now wakes up several times at night anyways.
Ellie had a fun time opening gifts---for the first hour. Then, she crawled up onto Oppa and slept for an hour. Mimi and I continued opening Ellie's gifts! :) She got the ball popper thingy (which she isn't sure if she likes or not. She will play with it, when sitting on my lap.). . . some books. . .CLOTHES. . . and a ride-able lion who roars. Ellie LOVES that! Mimi makes funny faces, noises and does the sign for "lion", which Ellie REALLY loves! Ellie loves funny mouth noises and faces.

Ellie is doing really well, development wise. She's 10 months old right now, which blows my mind! But, her pediatrician was very impressed with her at her 9 month appointment. She is 30 inches long (90th percentile) and weighs 19 lbs, 10 oz (62 percentile). Her weight percentile went down from her 6 month visit, which caused us to be concerned. But, the doctor pointed out that El is crawling everywhere and burning up more calories. Naturally, her weight gain issues from the beginning was playing on our mind, but the doctor reassured us that we are out of the woods with that. Yay! Ellie has 5 teeth that are cutting/coming through right now. So, after they are done, we'll have a break for the teething for a while. Hopefully, we'll go back to her regular sleeping habits after that is over. HOPEFULLY!

November 2008 (yeah, a little late, too)

November. Never has a month gone by so quickly. One minute, it was Halloween. The next? Thanksgiving.

This year, we went to Big Mama and Jack's house for Thanksgiving. We have gone to the Wingate's house for Thanksgiving since I was in Kindergarten. Jason, Richard and I were always stuck at the kids' table. This year, our kids were at the kids' table! After eating ourselves into a food coma, we were able to get all the kids together for a super cute picture.

Afterwards, Mimi and Oppa gave Ellie a stocking early to get her ready for Christmas. Notice anything odd with this picture? See the tiny specks of fabric on each side of Ellie's stocking? Ha ha! But, she enjoyed presents!!!!
It gave her practice for Christmas. We also enjoyed spending time with Auntie Amy and Da Boyz. Ellie has a crush on Connery. Her little face lights up when she is around him.
Auntie Amy and I think it would be funny if Ellie and Connery got married. What cute pictures to have in their house. :)

Halloween 2008 (a little late)

If Blogger gave out awards to the worst mom blogger, I would win hands down! I could be passive aggressive and say something like, "Well, I'd rather spend my time with Ellie than on a computer typing about her." Yeah, that works! ;) But, truth of the matter is that keeping up with a full time job, commute, Ellie, Artie, house, etc., the last think I want to do is get on my laptop.

So, here are some Ellie updates. . .
For Halloween, Ellie was "Buzz. The Georgia Tech Mascot." Cute, huh? I was Cleopatra. We went to Trunk or Treat at our church and saw many other bees there. None were as cute as Ellie, but I'm not biased or anything. :) As you can see from the above picture, Ellie is a crawling maniac! She started crawling the day before Halloween and hasn't stopped yet! Artie and I tried thinking how we would TEACH Ellie to crawl. Needless to say, you don't have to TEACH a baby to crawl. In typical Ellie fashion, she didn't want us to see her crawl until she perfected it. One day, I was in the kitchen and Ellie was (or so I thought) in the living room. All of a sudden, she was in the kitchen. And, she had her big toothy grin on her face when she saw the surprise on my face! Artie kept saying "I can't wait until she starts crawling" when she was little. Now that she is crawling, we don't get a moment's rest! We need, "That's not for Ellie's" and "No" on loop in our house. We've baby proofed (and re-baby proofed) our house, but Ellie seems to find our weaknesses. She's a BIG fan of power cords, laptops, cell phones, and shoes. Her toys? Not so much!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Surgery, Part 3

Oy! So, remember when I said that her plastic surgeon said that her mid August surgery was her last? Just kidding! At her follow up appointment at the end of September, her surgeon noted that her hemangioma was growing towards her left eye. Soooooo, another surgery was scheduled for Oct. 10th. She was the first one scheduled, so we had to be there at 6am. UGH! This time, I was allowed to go back into the operating room to calm Ellie down for the anesthesia! The doctors and nurses kept preparing me for the procedure. They said she would cry and scream, etc. So, I was prepared to be strong. When the doctor put her gas mask on, she just started licking the air! No tears!!! No screams!!! Just licking like a puppy dog. Evidently, the gas is fruit flavored. The doctors and nurses all commented that this NEVER happens. Then, a nurse escorted me back to the pre-op room to get Artie. We made our way to the post-op room to wait for Ellie. As soon as we got to the post-op room, the doctor came and said the surgery was over and that NOW he thinks this was the last surgery. :) He beefed up the intensity of the lasers and worked in a wider area, so hopefully this will stun all the cells to keep them from growing. He also said that the growth is more fiberous than before, which is supposedly good. The nurses came in and said that Ellie would be rolled in to the room in a minute, but she would be upset when waking up from the anesthesia. So, Artie and I sat and stared at Ellie until she woke. And, surprise surprise---Ellie woke up just like she was waking up from a nap! She looked over at us and gave us a big ol' smile. The nurses were all surprised that she didn't have a meltdown when waking up from the anesthesia. She's such a good girl. :)

Mimi and Oppa came into town for this surgery, so Ellie had a wonderful weekend. So did Mommy and Daddy, because we were able to sleep in instead of waking up at 7:30. Mimi and Oppa spoiled us, too!

September Madness

Hello Family and Friends! I hope this post finds everyone well. September has come and gone. Like I say. . . "Time flies, when you have a kid!"

I meant to post on here awhile ago, but that didn't occur. So, let's catch you up on life with Ellie. . .
In mid-August, we had Ellie's second hemangioma surgery, which went REALLY well! In fact, her plastic surgeon said that we were done. Yipee! While Mimi and Oppa were in town, Artie and I decided to use the free babysitting services to celebrate our 6 year anniversary. So, we went to a swanky place called The Capital Grille. VERY yummy! So, as we go to leave the restaurant, Artie starts pointing out all the fancy cars in the front of the restaurant that the vallets were parking. But, where was our car? Evidently, my mom-mobile with the Fisher Price sunshades was not worthy of being parked by the vallets in the front of the restaurant! Ha ha!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Ellie's Baptism

At the beginning of August, Ellie had her baptism. It was in the same church that Artie and I were married in 6 years earlier. We got a bit nervous, since Ellie was supposed to wear the Christening gown that my mom made for me in 1975. For so long, we tried to get Ellie to gain weight. Wellllll. . .that is no longer an issue! But, it fit her like a glove! She looked so beautiful!

As you know, Ellie enjoys throwing up. I was a bit nervous that she would want to show off her skill during her ceremony. I thought that if she spit up pea soup, we might have to have an exorcism right then and there! But, she didn't spit up AT ALL!!! Yay!

Afterwards, we went back to Mimi and Oppa's for brunch. We were so fortunate to have so many of Ellie's friends there.

Ellie's First Date

Ellie had her first playdate in August. My friends from USC, Katie and Jamie, had Jack a few days after Ellie was born. Even though Ellie has played with Kieran and Connery many times, this was her first time seeing someone her size. You could tell she enjoyed being able to talk with someone who could actually speak her language.

It was so cute to see Ellie interact with Jack. Since she isn't in daycare, Ellie hasn't been around other babies. I took tons of cute pictures of their date.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Men (and Women) in Ellie's Life

If you are ever looking for Artie, Mimi or Oppa, please check around Ellie's little finger. It is quite possible that you will find the three of them hanging around there. The night before Ellie's surgery, Oppa slept with Ellie on his check in the recliner in E's room. I'm surprised that Ellie recognized her crib after Mimi and Oppa went home! And, do you think that spoiling occurs only at our house? Noooooo, even when we are in Huntsville, Ellie gets spoiled rotten! When we walk into Mimi and Oppa's house, Ellie is snatched from our arms. We don't get her back until we head back home. It is a rare moment that Ellie does not have Mimi or Oppa right near her. I have never seen my parents fight, but they will re-enact an episode of Jerry Springer when it comes to whose turn it is to hold her! :)

And, please don't get me started about Daddy. Ellie as much coughs in her crib, and Artie runs to check on her. Mind you, this is the same man who is deaf in one ear and "can't hear me" when I ask him to take out the trash. BUT, Daddy rushes to Ellie if she even THINKS she might be the slightest bit unhappy. Yep, before she cries.

As for me, I'm as cold as ice and NEVER pull her on the couch to get some lovin'! ;)

Another Day, Another Surgery

On Aug. 8th, Ellie had her second hemangioma surgery. This time, Mimi and Oppa were here to experience it. Once again, we had to starve Ellie from midnight until 9am (surgery time). As you can imagine, this did not phase our "I don't want to eat" baby. The doctor said this surgery would be much easier, since he didn't have to cut her tongue this time. And, he was right! The surgery, from start to finish, took about 30 mintues. As the nurses wheeled Ellie into the recovery room, the doctor came in and said that he thinks this will be the last surgery! Whooo hooo!!!! Of course, Artie said it was because the doctor's new Jag was paid off. But, as I type this two weeks after the surgery, I really feel he was right! There is no cure for the hemangioma, so she'll have it on her face until she's about 4 (according to what the doctor said), but hopefully the laser treatment/cortisone injection will stun the cells into not growing. We use to call it her "strawberry" because it was so red and raised. But, now it's just a little discolored and more flat. In fact, from a distance, you can't even tell anything was wrong!

OK---back to the surgery day. The nurses told us not to wake Ellie up, because she would be fussy. They encouraged us to just let her wake up on her own from the sleeping gas. Well, as the nurse was giving us this order, I looked over and there was Ellie. Wide awake! No kicking and screaming this time!!! It was almost like she was waking up from a nap. Right after we picked her off the gurney and they unhooked her from all the machines, we had to give her a bit of Pedialyte to make sure she was a-ok; she downed it! So, about 15 minutes later, we got the green light to go home where Mimi and Oppa were waiting patiently.

If I haven't mentioned it before, Mimi and Oppa are SO good for Ellie (and us). When we got home, they cuddled and kissed her, so Mommy could sleep (and Daddy could mow the lawn---ha ha!).

The rest of the weekend was spent spoiling Ellie (scroll up and read the part about Mimi and Oppa being in town) and relaxing.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Happy 4th of July and Beyond!

One of my favorite holidays is Independence Day. Obviously, a holiday celebrated by grilling out and swimming is a-ok in my book. But, this was Ellie's first time with fireworks! So, I was REALLY looking forward to the Fourth this year. Unfortunately, she really didn't look to the sky with awe and amazement. She actually fell asleep on Neighbor Judy's shoulder!

But, this was a remarkable weekend, because we started putting a little cereal in Ellie's bottles. Yes, it's a SMALL milestone, but Ellie really took to it. Has it helped her NOT spit up all the time? Hmmm, not so much, but it HAS helped her increase her intake. She was at about 25 oz on a good day. But, now, we are at about 30 oz.

Artie takes Ellie to the GI for a weigh in every two weeks (stupid lack of weight gain). Since we've added cereal into her bottles, she gained 2 pounds in 2 weeks! Whooo hoooo!!!!

In July, we also took Ellie to the pediatrician. At the beginning of the month, she was at 26.6 inches long. Unfortunately, she has Artie's LONG torso and short legs. Poor kiddo! She was at the 59th percentile in weight at the beginning of the month and is now (July 26th) at the 75th percentile. Thanks, rice cereal!

Another visit we had in July was to the plastic surgeon. Unfortunately, we need to go in for another surgery on Ellie's hemangioma on 8/8/08. We're hoping that this surgery will be very successful. They will probably use a stronger laser to attack the hemangioma. Naturally, we are afraid that it will burn the skin, so please keep your fingers crossed. We'll keep you posted on it.

Sweet Home Chicago!

Don't you love it when things work out? My national conference for work was in Chicago during the last week in June. Soooo, that meant that Ellie was getting to meet the Chicago family for the first time. It also meant that Ellie was going to take her first trip on an airplane. Unfortunately, it meant that I was going to fly alone with Ellie. Hmmmm. When I booked my ticket, Delta didn't really give any instructions on how to fly with a 4 month old. If you know me, you know that I like to have everything all planned out and don't like it when I don't know what the master plan is for a situation. I think I obsessed about this 2 hour flight non-stop for MONTHS. Seriously, I had dreams where I left Ellie somewhere at the airport or plane and had to go to "Baby Lost and Found" (evidently lots of mothers also left their babies somewhere) to find Ellie. But, I couldn't recognize her! (Yes, I remember this episode of Friends that was based on roughly the same situation). In fact, the night before the flight, I was sick just thinking about flying with Ellie! The day of the flight (after tearfully saying goodbye to daddy), we checked in and had the most helpful folks at TSA get us through security (no, I'm not kidding). As I was checking in, the nicest passengers offered to help carry my diaper bag. . . fold down the stroller, etc. I had a very helpful gentleman seated next to me that enjoyed talking to Ellie. But, you will be very impressed to know that Ellie was an angel on the entire flight! So tears or screaming. She slept the entire flight!

Ellie LOVED getting to meet her Nana and Papa, aunts and uncles, and cousins! Mimi and Oppa were there to take care of Ellie while I was at my conference. Was Ellie spoiled by all the attention? Um, yeah!!! But, she had a great time. I felt bad for her when we got back, since she didn't have tons of people to watch her every move---ha ha ha!

The flight back home went just as great as the flight to Chicago! I sat next to a colleague of mine, so I was able to actually breathe and enjoy flying with Ellie. Thanks, Anna!!!!

When we got back home, Daddy missed Ellie MORE than words can say. While we were gone, Daddy cleaned house, did major yard work, cleaned the carpets, and did laundry. Hmmmm, maybe Ellie and I should go on MORE trips!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Surgery Update

We survived Ellie's first surgery. Like I said before, we were pretty nervous about the whole starvation before surgery part of the day. The doctor said she could have formula until midnight, breast milk until 1:45am and Pedialyte until 3:35am. Nothing after that, though. Well, Artie was able to get 7 ounce down her at 10pm (go Daddy!). We gave her a bath and fed her formula at 11:30 (another 2 ounces---go Daddy, again!). At 1:15, Artie woke Ellie up and gave her 1.5 ounces of my milk. We decided not to wake her up for the Pedialyte, since she had never had it before. So, Artie went to bed. I told him I would stay with Ellie, in case she needed anything. Well. . . at 3:30am, Ellie starts screaming like we have never fed the child. Sooooo. . . I whip up a bottle of Pedialyte. Hindsight being 20/20, we probably should have exposed her to this product before. Ellie didn't know what to do with this substance in her mouth! It dripped out of her mouth as she continued to scream for a real meal. I was watching the clock begging her to take some of the Pedialyte and stopped promptly at 3:45. Then, I stuck her paci in her mouth and rocked her to sleep. Did I get to go back to sleep? Um, no! I had to get ready, since we had to leave the house at 5am.

We got to the hospital at 6am (after a stop at McDonalds!) and signed our life away on a million pieces of paper. Finally, they took us back to the pre-op area, which was a glass walled small room with a privacy curtain around the room. The nurse let Ellie pick out a toy to play with to remind her of her visit. Ummmm, not much there for a 3 month old. So, we picked out a sandbox kit, for us to bring to the beach with us. The anesthesiologist came in to do some pre-op stuff. After hearing that Ellie has acid reflux and spits up all the time, the doctor said that he might put her under via an IV and not the gas. As you probably figured, I was most concerned about her being under. But, the doctor assured us that she'd be fine. Ellie's plastic surgeon came in to check on her. He broke the news to us that we will probably need more surgery after this one, due to the location and size. That was not what we wanted to hear. After every doctor/nurse/PA in the hospital came by to see Ellie, the OR nurse came in to pick her up and carry her to the OR at 7:45am. Then, we were led to the post-op room. At 8:15am, the doctor came in to tell us the surgery went well. The frenulum has a Z cut with two stitches and looked like it would heal nicely. The hemangioma was bruised, due to the lasers and would be swollen for the next few days/week. They injected the hemangioma with steroids (Ellie should be able to now play professional baseball---ha ha!). The doctor said that we need to meet him in his office in 4-6 weeks to discuss "the next step", but if the hemangioma started growing, we needed to schedule another surgery ASAP. He mentioned possibly doing another surgery in 4 weeks. When Artie was feeding Ellie in the post-op room, we noticed she was bleeding on the outside corner of her eye. Evidently, the cornea cover to protect her eyes from the laser must have scratched the inner lid of her eye. But, this evening, that had healed.

The nurses came in to do our discharge instructions. She needs an oral antibiotic 4 times a day. We also have a gel to rub on the hemangioma. Due to the pain, she is on tylenol with codeine. It took us a while to get her to calm down in the post op room. So, I sung "You Are My Sunshine" about 30 times until she calmed down enough for us to put her in her car seat. She slept the entire way home and for about an hour afterwards. We have struggled all day to get her to eat. We are now at the point where are putting her milk/formula in an eyedropper. It appears that she can suck on her paci, but she doesn't seem to want to suck on her bottle. Artie just gave her my milk in a bottle, which she took (but not without a fight).

Right now, she is asleep (I guess codeine will do that to a girl!) We hope that she will be able to sleep off some of the pain of her frenulum and will feel better (and hungry) afterwards!

Thanks for all of your well wishes. We sure felt comforted today! Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Ellie's Surgery

On Monday, June 9th, we go in for Ellie's surgery. She is having a hemangioma next to her eye lasered and her tongue clipped. A hemangioma can be translated into "bloody tumor". It is most common in premature babies, girls and Caucasians. We went to a pediatric opthomologist who recommend treatment, since it can put pressure on her optic nerve/eyeball and nasal passage. Want to hear something interesting? The doctor recommended we see "the best plastic surgeon in Atlanta, but it's hard to get on his calendar." It turns out that the occupational therapist we saw a couple of days earlier to help figure out why Ellie wasn't eating had already made an appointment with this very doctor! Yay!!!

For the hemangioma, there are two lasers. One will work on the blood blister-y looking thing on the outside of her skin. The second laser will work to reduce the capilary congestion under the skin. The lasers will also help stun the cells to tell them to stop growing. Hemangiomas have life cycles, so we don't know if we'll have to have the laser treatment again. Hopefully, this will treat it and life will be good! A biology professor I work with had her son treated for the same thing, so it was helpful to see pictures and hear about hemangiomas from someone who actually paid attention in biology class! :)

For the tongue tie, the surgeon is going to do a "Z" cut on her frenlum (the dohicky that you see when you lift your tongue up to the roof of your mouth). The "Z" cut is supposed to prevent it from growing back. We are praying that this will help kick Ellie's feeding into high gear.

Artie and I are a bit nervous about the surgery, since the doctor has to put her under for it. The main reason he is putting her under is because he has to use lasers. And, really? I can't blame him. Ellie is really wiggly these days! :)

People ask if Ellie can feel the hemangioma. We don't think she can; she doesn't appear to be in any pain. She has learned what her hands are and will rub her little face with them. Every time she rubs her "strawberry", I cringe. But, she never fusses about it.

We have to be at Children's Hospital at 6am on Monday. If you have met me for more than 20 minutes, you know I am not a morning person. The surgery doesn't start until 7:45. We can't give Ellie formula after midnight the night before. Then, she can have breast milk until 1:45 and Pedalyte until 3:45 am. So, THAT part shouldn't be hard. And Ellie, like her mom, is a VERY good sleeper.

So, I ask you to pray/think about Ellie on Monday. I will post pictures and update this on Monday afternoon (hopefully)! The doctor said she'll be under for about 10 minutes for the entire procedure. We should be home a couple of hours later.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Happy Memorial Day

For Memorial Day, we went to Huntsville for some R&R. We are so lucky that when we go to Huntsville, Mimi and Oppa watch Ellie, so we can get a complete night's sleep. It's wonderful!!!!
While we were there, we decided to give Ellie her first pool experience. She loves being in the bath, so we were wondering how she would enjoy the pool. I was hoping she would be a water baby, and she was!
Before I give the details, let me just tell you how cute she was!!!! Mimi bought Ellie a white and brown tiger striped bathing suit at Baby Gap, when she was in town for Mother's Day. She was the perfect accessory for Mommy's brown suit! :)
We slowly entered the water, making sure we didn't appear nervous. Mommy and Daddy cuddled with Ellie in the water; Oppa gave Ellie her first dunk underwater! I think Daddy was more nervous than Ellie! :) When Ellie resurfaced, she had a confused look on her face and let out a little cry. But, after getting cuddled by Oppa, she was just fine. Check out our Picasa site for a million pictures of Ellie's pool experience.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

But, She's Got A Great Personality

People often ask, "Does Ellie sleep through the night?" The answer: YES! Well, she wakes up every three hours to eat. Artie and I don't mind feeding her in the middle of the night, since we are so desperate to get her to gain weight.
But, the thing that amazes us is that she has such a strong personality! People say, "Oh, when she hits three months, that is when the personality really comes out!" So, I thought I would post some of the ways Ellie's personality is shining through!
1. When Ellie is done eating, she locks her lips together and won't let the bottle in her mouth. She has done this since birth. Artie says she gets her stubbornness from her mother. Whatever.
2. If you make kissing noises to her, she will get a big goofy grin on her face.
3. She has so many things to say! She'll tell us something, so we respond. Sometimes, she'll make a face at us after she hears what we have to say. I'm sure she's said something like, "I'm tired of mommy changing my outfits all day long. I'm not your personal Barbie doll, woman!" When we say, "Oh, yes Ellie. You are right!" I'm sure she thinks----"Well, that was easy enough!"
4. She is not a fan of having socks on her feet or a blanket on her. We tried swaddling her, but she would get very squirmy. As for the socks, when we manage to get her feet in them, she will kick them off in seconds. In fact, the white thing you see in this picture is her sock about to go flying from her foot.
5. She LOVES cuddling. In fact, when she gets fussy (which isn't all the time), we lie with her on the couch or in bed. She could sleep for hours; we could watch her for hours! She makes the cutest facial expressions when she sleeps.
6. When you pick her up after she's been sleeping, she stays tight in a ball as you put her up to you.
7. She LOVES to stretch (which could be why she hates being swaddled). She makes the funniest faces when she stretches, too. She'll raise her eyebrows and purse her lips together.
8. She has a passion for leather. She enjoys lying on the couch. And, she can stare at the back of the couch for HOURS. She will giggle at it, too. Which freaks Mommy OUT!
9. She will smile and giggle at nothing. I'm convinced that her Guardian Angels are entertaining her at those times.
10. She hates having a wet diaper. If she has a #2, she would sit in it for hours----no problem. But, if she tinkles, you better change that diaper right away.

Overall, we are so lucky to have such a happy baby! I can't wait until she gets older and more of her personality becomes apparent.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Another Day, Another Doctor

Sooooooo, we are really getting our money's worth out of Blue Cross/Blue Shield! In the last two weeks, we have seen our pediatrician, an occupational therapist, a speech pathologist, a radiologist, and a pediatric GI trying to figure out why our Nicole Richie baby will not eat or gain weight! And, we are no closer to a solution. I'm learning that medicine truly is an art and not a science. There is no mathematical formula to plug in Ellie's symptoms to produce a diagnosis. It's just so frustrating for me because I want her to thrive. Oh, do you think we are finished with visiting every medical professional? NOPE! Ellie has a hemangioma next to her right eye. So, we are meeting with a pediatric opthomologist on Wednesday and a pediatric plastic surgeon next week. I try to stay positive by thinking how blessed we truly are! When we were at the pediatric GI, there was a 9 day old baby there. And, when we go for our weigh ins at the pediatricians, there is a baby with tubes running from her into her mom's bookbag. A friend of mine from high school has a son with stage four high risk neuroblastoma. Thinking about these babies really puts things into perspective for me.
For the record, I am TRYING to breast feed Ellie. Unfortunately, since she isn't gaining weight, I have to pump into a bottle and feed Ellie that way. Plus, we have to mix a half a teaspoon of formula into the milk, to increase her caloric intake. At first, I gave Ellie breast milk because I felt this overwhelming desire to do it. Everyone kept saying "Breast is Best" while I was pregnant; I believe I became brainwashed. I am aware that Ellie is getting benefits from the breast milk, but the extra step of pumping is really exhausting. So, I find myself thinking, "Is formula REALLY rat poison??? Will Ellie still be President of the United States if I ONLY give her formula????"

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Maternity Clothes and Time. . .

Tonight, I packed away my maternity clothes. In a way, it was nice getting rid of the shirts that looked like I could had a small army under it. But, in another way, it made me sad. It reminded me that time really does fly. When we found out we were pregnant and told my folks, my mom took me shopping for my first maternity pieces. That feels like it was last week, even though it was last July. I know for some women, they hate being pregnant. Hate watching their bellies grow. Miss seeing their feet. Detest wearing tents for clothes. But, I loved everything about it (well, the bed rest in the last month was painful, but I digress). I loved knowing that my body was protecting this tiny miracle. And, when you think about conception. . .pregnancy really is a miracle.
My mom took me out shopping for some transition pieces (working my way back into regular clothes). I didn't want to continue wearing my maternity clothes, for fear of someone asking when I was due! But, wouldn't you know it, everything in the stores look just like maternity clothes! Who knew it was so chic to look pregnant?!?!
I also put away a couple of Ellie's newborn outfits, since she is growing (lengthwise) out of them. Once again, I cried.
Sometimes, I think of all the things I need to do (laundry, file papers, straighten house, etc.) when Ellie is having her "I want to be held" moments. I have to remind myself that one day, she will want to pretend she doesn't even have a mother! Motherhood is making me slow down and appreciate the small things in life. Like, when Ellie makes funny faces when she sleeps. Or, when we have tummy time and she gives me a huge smile.

March 2008

Ellie is not gaining weight. I feel bad saying this because she entered the world weighing over 10lbs and looks very healthy, but it is a cause of concern. The doctor wants to measure all that she intakes, so I have to pump and document how much she eats and how many wet/dirty diapers she has. When I google how breastfeeding moms know how much their babies are eating, experts say it depends on their output. Well, Ellie is doing just fine in that department! We were fortunate to receive boxes of diapers as shower gifts; we are flying through them! But, I have to take her to the pediatrician every two days for another weigh in. And, she keeps losing weight. It's distressing. A friend of mine is an anatomy professor (thank goodness, since he was my "phone a friend" whenever I had pregnancy questions). He said that Ellie was born with lots of brown fat and was fine. That was very reassuring, since the pediatrician's office was more concerned about it.
We have started calling Ellie "Nicole Richie", since she isn't eating and cries whenever she gets on the scale. Well, she also started vomiting after eating. Not spitting up. Projectile vomiting. Artie fed Ellie and she vomited 2 feet and nailed me (at about 2 in the morning----what everyone wants to deal with at 2am!) So, when we told the doctor this, she thought maybe Ellie had pyloric stenosis, so we had to go to Children's Hospital for an ultrasound. Turns out, she didn't have it. I feel bad saying this, but I almost wished she did. Then, we could do a little surgery and Ellie would be better. Unfortunately, we are still trying to learn why Ellie isn't eating.
This month was Ellie's first holiday---Easter. Mimi and Oppa came to town to celebrate. We took Ellie out to her first restaurant (IHOP). Words cannot describe how much I love IHOP. In fact, it was the last place I ate before I had Ellie! (Sidenote: I had to fast from midnight until after 1pm when I had Ellie. I'm not one to complain or anything, but that was harder than childbirth!) Anyways, I LOVE it when Mimi and Oppa come to town----they totally take over with Ellie. Artie and I catch up on our sleep and just relax.
At the end of the month, Ellie had even more spoiling! Auntie Amy and Uncle Sandy came to visit so Aim and I could see "Avenue Q" (HYSTERICAL!). Auntie Amy also took over for us, since she is a pro at babies. Uncle Sandy and Artie babysat for Ellie while we were at the play. They looked like an "alternative lifestyle" couple (not that there is anything wrong with that), but Ellie survived "My Two Dads". Ha ha!!! I know Ellie was sad to see them go, as were we, since it reminded me of the fact that my best friend lives far away from me. :(

February 2008

We brought Ellie home on Sunday with no instruction book. BUT, we did get something better----Mimi (my mom) stayed with us for the week. It was so great to have someone who knew how to bathe a baby in the kitchen sink. . . wasn't exhausted from childbirth. . . could ask intelligent questions of the pediatrician, etc. I HIGHLY recommend having your mom stay with you if you are giving birth in the future. Oppa (my dad) even stayed a couple of extra days (something about him not being able to stay away from Ellie). I must confess that when my parents pulled out of the driveway, I stood on the front porch holding Ellie and bawling my eyes out. How was I supposed to function as a mom all by myself? I thought about how my mom lived in Hawaii when I was born (thousands of miles from her mom) and was by herself with me a week after I appeared (daddy had Army stuff to do). But, she survived as a new mom and I did too!

Artie and I learned that we need to stay one step ahead of Ellie at all times. We learned her sign that she was hungry (starts gnawing on her hands), her facial expression when she makes a dirty diaper, and how she will cry very hard if her diaper is even slightly wet. We got Ellie on a routine (asleep at midnight, up at 3 to eat, up at 6 to eat again and start the day). Mommy and Daddy learned (kicking and screaming along the way) how to survive on a couple of hours of sleep.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Delivery Day

We checked into the hospital at 11am on Feb. 20th. The two hours before the c-section flew by. I felt sad to know that I had protected her for 9 months and now I would have to share her with the rest of the world. But, I knew that everyone else was excited about meeting her.
After three epidurals, I was strapped to the operating table. Artie came in dressed in a head to toe surgical outfit! The operating room was very relaxed---music was playing. . . the doctors were joking with each other. Then, my OB said "I've got a foot." At 1:36pm, the OB lifted Flash over the curtain so I could see her. My first words "God, she is huge!" Artie went to cut the cord and take a million pictures of her. Unfortunately, Flash had low blood sugar, so they had to give her formula immediately. All this occurred while I was getting stitched up. When I was finally moved to the recovery room, I had to pry her from everyone else just so I could hold her! On the way to the hospital, we finally agreed on Flash's name. We thought about Ansley Grace, Grace Elizabeth and Elizabeth Grace. We always liked Ellie as a nickname, so we decided Elizabeth Grace.
Ellie's first days on earth went by in such a blur. I remember she had jaundice and wasn't eating well. I was exhausted and wasn't eating well. Like my doctor said, "A hospital is no place for sick people!" We came home on Sunday and the real fun began!

Third Trimester

The third trimester included attending wonderful baby showers and doing last minute obsessing. It also included preeclampsia and being on bed rest for a month before Flash was born!
I went to the doctor's office the first Friday in February. My BP was through the roof, my protein in my urine was high and I was swollen like a giant marshmallow! The doctor admitted me to the hospital and said that there was a strong chance that they would have to get Flash that night, if I couldn't get the BP down. I had a fantastic nurse who got the BP down, so the doctor sent me home on strict bedrest. My folks came into town to help us get the house and nursery ready for Flash. I felt so lazy lying on the couch counting kicks while my parents did my nesting for me, but they assured me that they were happy to help.
A week later, I had an ultrasound to make sure everything was alright with Flash. Imagine my surprise that Flash was breech and weighed approximately 9 pounds (and I had two weeks left before delivery)! A week later, Flash was up to 10 lbs and was about 21 inches long. The doctor said that we needed to schedule Flash's birthday---she was going to be born via c-section. Nothing is more bizarre than selecting your daughter's birthday!

Second Trimester

The second trimester was pretty uneventful. Well, we did have one issue. In October, I had some cramping and bleeding. My doctor admitted me to the hospital for observation and testing. Artie and I were on pins and needles waiting to hear her heartbeat. My doctor showed up at 1am to check on me. After reviewing the results and checking me out, the doctor sent me home to rest. And rest I did! :)
The rest of the trimester consisted of us trying to figure out how we wanted to decorate Flash's nursery (all the cute nursery decorations were for little boys!), ordering furniture, reading baby books and obsessing about the pregnancy.

First Trimester

Artie and I wanted to wait until the first trimester was over to tell anyone the big news, but I HAD to tell my parents. So, we went to visit and brought them a gift that we got them on our trip to Pensacola. It was a frame with baby ducks on it and, inside the frame I put a note that said "Picture due to develop in February 2008." My parents were stunned, to say the least. You have never seen two people more excited to be grandparents in your life! I made them promise to keep things under wraps until August, which was torturous for them.
The first weekend in August, we had everyone over to my parents and announced the good news to them. Naturally, they were stunned. Two days later, Artie and I had to go to a perinatal specialist. Unfortunately, we received horrible news. Flash had cystic hygroma (a watery tumor) and didn't have a good prognosis. There was a 65-70% chance the hygroma was caused by Down's or Turner's Syndrome. There was a 30% chance that it was caused by a genetic defect that would make Flash not make it very long. There was a less than 5% chance that everything would work itself out. We were so blessed when the genetic results came back all clear; Flash was just fine! Originally, we weren't planning to find the sex of Flash, but we knew 100% (due to genetic testing) that Flash was going to be a girl!
Other than that horrible event of cystic hygroma, I was very lucky to only have two bouts of morning sickness (once, after eating pasta too fast. The second event came from smelling Appalachian Chinese Food at a leadership retreat)!

Learning About "The Big News"

At the end of June, I went to my friend Karen's birthday dinner at a wine restaurant. Oddly enough, the wine just wasn't sitting well. So, I had to duck out of the party early. When I got home, I got online and chatted with my friend Brian. I mentioned to Brian that I was craving jelly beans, to which Brian asked how long I had been pregnant---ha ha. Just for kicks and giggles, I decided to take a pregnancy test (at about 11pm). Imagine my surprise when it came back positive! I ran into the study, where Artie was on the computer, and screamed at him "The stick is positive, but that can't be right because there is no way it can be positive because that means we are pregnant and that can't be right." Or, something like that. I was a BIT hysterical. Artie looked at me and said, "What are you talking about?" So, I calmed down a bit and told him we were pregnant. We ran back into the bathroom and looked at the stick. After realizing that the test expired the year before, I made Artie go out (at midnight) and get the expensive tests! Six tests later (all positive) it started sinking in that we were going to be parents. The seventh test in the morning confirmed that it was not a dream. The eighth test in the doctor's office solidified it for us----we were going to be parents! That night, I was a upset because I thought there was no way we ready to be parents. I mean, we didn't even have any baby names picked out! (Not like we would have 9 months to think of names, but you don't think about that when you are hysterical!). Artie told me that there was a name he wanted to name his little sister when she was born, but his mom said no. I thought it might be a family name or something, so imagine my surprise when Artie bent down to my belly and sang the Flash Gordon theme song (how many of you knew Flash Gordon HAD a theme song???)
And that began 9 months of Flash!