Friday, July 7, 2017

Letters to Leo...2 months

Dear Leo, 

To say you are the sweetest little baby boy ever - would be an understatement. Now that you've been here for a couple of months I get many questions from friends, colleagues, and family members such as, "Hows the baby? What's it like having 3? Does he cry a lot? I bet you're not getting much sleep?' Common questions after becoming a family of five, but everyone seems to be so surprised when I say how easy it's been because you are just so sweet, content, and flexible.  Because of your mild "chill" demeanor, we've been able to just carry on as we always have. You're happy to be along for the ride and with you around we've never been happier!

Late afternoon snuggles

Bucky loves you!


Thanks for pulling over to feed me mommy!

Milestones/Special Firsts:
*2 month appt. stats: 11 lbs 9.5 ounces and 23.75 inches 
Doctor's Office - 2 month appt. 

*You are a smiling ball of sweetness right now! Last month, it was only certain people that could get you to smile and now you smile at anyone that comes to talk to you.  
Melts me

*You had your first shower with mommy and daddy this month.  You loved the water and didn't whine for a second.  

*You also had your first bath with your brother and sister. Now that was a trip! Ari and Elle were so eager to help. Both of them wanted to wash you and the most coveted job was rinsing you.  They poured cups of water over body, with your belly being the most favorite.


*You are a talker! We have actual conversations with you. We say something to you and you respond with a sleuth of coo's...back and forth.  It melts our hearts.

Things You Like Right Now: 
* Summer is in full swing and you've enjoyed our trips all over exploring.  We celebrated Memorial Day with a bbq at the PHFB, went to a graduation party, the Koch BBQ, visited Grandma & Grandpa up north, and even went on a trip to Great America!

Memorial Day BBQ with your cousins

**You are still an amazing sleeper! We usually wrap you around 8:00 p.m. and you will sleep until 6:00, 7:00, even sometimes 8:00 the next morning. After your first nursing session, you then like to go back to sleep on mommy for another hour or so. 

*In the mornings, you like to sit in your bouncer and watch everyone make breakfast, have coffee, and play games at the kitchen table.  You are content taking it all in, kicking your little legs like crazy. We know you're in a REAL good mood when those legs take off! 

*Your hands! You know you have hands now and you like to munch on them any chance you get.

Your Current Dislikes: 
* We can't figure out quite why, but you aren't a fan of being in your car seat lately.  You are content at first, usually lasting for about 30 minutes.  But at the 30 minute mark, the whining starts, which then leads to crying.  We took the infant insert out and that seemed to help a bit. When the crying starts, we roll down your window for a little while.  This initially distracts you and you stop crying for a couple of minutes.  Then you realize, "Oh yeah, I was mad!" and start crying again.

Your Brother & Sister: 

*Ari has especially been into games lately -- like chess, checkers, and cribbage. He likes when you watch him and always requests that you can "be on his team"...haha. Your brother and sister are both currently beside me arguing about whose team you will be on when we play a game of Scrabble this morning. 

*Elle continues to take the role of helping very seriously.  She is very protective of you and always wants to make sure you are well cared for and happy.  

Afternoon nap

*We've come up with a good system now for who gets to sit by you in the car.  We have been alternating, although sometimes we forget whose turn it is - which can lead into a meltdown.  It's so cute how you just gaze over at whoever is next to you and smile away.  

*School's out for the summer! Ari finished up 4K and is really excited to spend his summer with you.  We sat down one morning and made a bucket-list of all the things we want to do this summer. 

Family Bucket List

Your Daddy: 
*Yay! As of mid-June your daddy is off of work for summer vacation! He is always eager to get out each day and make the most of his summer with us.  He likes taking you all to soccer practices at Slinger or Monches Park.  You sit in the stroller and love watching. It won't be long before you're out there running around too! 

Your Mommy:
* I've finally found my rhythm.  For the first half of your second month, Daddy was still at work and I was on my own with all three of you.  Each outing on my own definitely gave me more confidence and now I feel like I can finally say "I got this."  You're nursing every three hours, which means you and I are pretty much glued at the hip.  You even came to one of my meetings this month and slept right through it.  I'm so grateful & proud that you're my baby boy.  As the "baby" of the family--you have such a special place in my heart. 

Mommy's 6 week post partum visit

A break from tummy time, make up, and cars

We're all excited for the month ahead as we have many adventures planned in July!


Your Mommy

Monday, May 29, 2017

Letters to Leo - 1 month old

Dearest Leonidas,

Happy 1 month birthday! Yesterday we celebrated your time with us and we are in disbelief you are already a month old.  You've been the absolute easiest and sweetest baby ever. I'm always saying to Daddy,  "How is it possible that we are THIS lucky?!?"While this first month went so fast, I find myself having a hard time remembering what life was like before you.  You've brought our family so much joy in just your short time here.

Milestones/Special Firsts:
- You came home from the hospital on a Thursday.  Saturday a.m. was our first venture out as a family of 5. We started our morning at Tosa Pediatrics for a weight and bilirubin check.  Then we went out for a light breakfast at Einstein in Brookfield, followed by a trip to the indoor soccer complex for Ari's soccer practice. By the end of the day, Mommy was hurting a bit and realized she had overdid it.  You did very well and definitely enjoyed your first trip to the of many, many more I'm sure. Dr. Marsho called us later that day to tell us your bili number had went down and you wouldn't need any treatments for jaundice.
Visit to the pediatrician

- At just 11 days old, you went on your first overnight camping trip! I'm pretty sure our entire campsite would agree, you were absolutely perfect! At an early age, it's been determined you are meant for the outdoors. A highlight for me was waking up in the morning and pulling you into my sleeping bag to snuggle you. It was chilly (low was 32 degrees)!  A few minutes later your brother and sister woke up and joined us.  My heart was full and so was my sleeping bag, a moment I will never forget.  Sleeping wise, we put you in a base layer, hat, and double swaddled you - your regular swaddle with a fleece swaddle over the top.  Daddy lined the bottom of your pack and play with a wool blanket, which really helped.  Then we laid a blanket over your legs and you didn't budge or peep the whole night.  We had to wake you every 2.5 hours to eat as you were still super little and needed to eat frequently to make sure you were gaining weight as you should. Your camping highlight included being many of your family members around the fire. There was even a waiting list of who would get to hold you next.  I found myself extra lucky to nurse you as that was the only time I got you all to myself. Daddy can correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think you cried the whole trip.
 Headed to Devil's Lake

 Post nurse session 

 Sleep set-up

 Tent life

Campfire snuggles

Full bag & heart 
- At your 2 week check up, you were back to birth weight.  This was such a relief to me as there is a lot of pressure nursing the first couple of weeks.  I wanted to make sure you were getting what you needed and I felt so happy nursing was off to a great start.

- You lost your belly button on Day 15!

- You had your first official bath.  Daddy had taken Ari out for the day and Elle helped me give you a bath.  You loved the warm wash cloth over your face, but did whine a bit as you were chilled.  I should have put the heater on sooner. Your sister was so sweet to you.  She hopped right in the tub and sang to you to try and calm you down when you were upset.  She took a cup of water and sprinkled it over your legs.
First bath! 

- You literally started smiling the day you turned one month old.  I have been the lucky one as you've smiled at me a handful of times already.  Nonee even got a smile last night before you went to bed! Daddy is trying and hopeful you will give him one soon.  I imagine you're saving an extra special smile for Daddy.

Things You Like Right Now: 
- Sleeping!!! You are our first baby that we can literally lay down at night wide eyed and swaddled and you will put yourself to sleep!
Morning sun

- Snuggling with mommy in the morning.  When you wake up around 6, you will nurse and then snuggle with me as long as you can before we have to get up and ready for the day.  This also happens to be one of my favorite memories with you.  You cuddle up right next to me and you're so content as you fall back to sleep.

-You love when Daddy puts you in the Baby Bjorn and you get to face outward.  You're pretty strong and love looking around as daddy walks around the house or outside.

- You love sitting in the bouncer in the bathroom when mommy or daddy showers.  It must be something about the sound of the shower (and hairdryer) that is soothing to you.
Shower put you to sleep

-You enjoy when mommy gives you a spot bath with a wash cloth.  We sit on the edge of the bath and your sister loves to help. You especially like it when we put the warm wash cloth over your head and face.

Your Current Dislikes: 
- Gosh, this one is tough! You are really the such a content baby and there isn't much that bothers you.  I'd have to say the only time you really full fledged cry is when Daddy gives you your eye massage.  You have a blocked tear duct right now and in order to clear out your eyes we have to massage the corners of your eyes twice a day.  You're getting more used to it now, but definitely will give us a good wail.

- Tummy time comes along with its fair share of whining right now.

Your Brother & Sister: 

- While Ari is pretty busy this time of year with school, soccer, chess, and card games -- he is always very concerned about you.  "Mommy how's Leo?...Where's Leo?...How is Leo doing?" are the questions we hear frequently throughout the day.  He also doesn't go to bed without coming to give you a mockie.  We also have the daily argument to look forward to with his sister about who is going to be lucky enough to sit next to you in the car.
 Holding Ari's hand

First walk around the block 

Before bed mockies

- Elle is little miss helper.  She wants to be involved in absolutely everything that has to do with you. She is very motherly and wants to make sure her baby brother is well taken care of. She helps me change your diapers and get you dressed. In fact, she even changed your diaper once all by herself. She sings to you, loves to hold you, and gives you countless mockies each day.
 Napping together 

 She adores you. 

First big girl diaper change

Your Daddy: 
-Daddy has been enjoying his 5 weeks of paternity leave.  We're very lucky to have this time together as a whole family.  He has been such a huge help while I've been still recovering from surgery.  He takes Ari to school every morning and has been in charge of activities with your brother and sister (soccer, bike rides, chess, card games, magnatiles to name a few).  I've been extra spoiled as he's been serving me breakfast in bed, which means even more snuggle time with you.
Proud daddy

Getting ready for bed 

-There have been a few days I had to tend to things at on campus and I could not have done it with our your daddy.  He had some very special days with just you solo while I went into work.
Milk smile 

Your Mommy:
- I am definitely starting to feel much better, recovery wise.  The start of Week 3 was the turn around. I've been able to be more active the past week or so, without paying the price the next day.  I even went on a little bike ride the other day.  I have my postpartum appt. coming up next week and I'm looking forward to getting the okay to resume normal activities. We have an active summer ahead of us and I'm excited to get back in shape.

- This first month postpartum has been a bit different in the sense I've had to wrap up some final things on campus at the end of the semester.  I went back to work one week after having you to teach two classes.  The first class was pretty tough - I tried to stay off of my feet as much as possible, but I truly felt it that night and the next day. Weeks 2, 3, and 4 I had to attend some meetings and finish up my grades.  Luckily Daddy brought you to campus so I could nurse you right before (and after) my meetings.  You even joined me in my office one day and helped me with some paperwork!
Campus nursing session 

-I had the best Mother's Day ever this year. We woke up early, went to the park, Pancake House for breakfast, and then on a short hike at Lapham Peak.  I wore you in the Moby wrap for the first half of the hike and then daddy wore you with the Baby Bjorn for the second half.  We even climbed to the top of the overlook tower, which was a highlight for your brother and sister. I couldn't help but thinking back to how much I used to dread this holiday, how much it used to hurt to be reminded of what I couldn't have at that time. Fast forward about ten years and I find myself blessed beyond measure and my heart is bursting.   I'm a firm believer in trusting in God's plan.  Little did I know what He had in store for me was better than I could have ever imagined.


Your Mommy

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Letters to Leo - Birth Story

Dearest Leonidas, 

For days leading up to your scheduled c-section, I kept losing more and more sleep.  The anticipation was hard to manage, as I couldn't help but worry about everything going smoothly, with your delivery and overall health.  I wanted nothing more than you to get here safely and for us to start celebrating as a family of five.  I think it's safe to say the night before your birthday, I probably got an hour or two of sleep.  I was wide awake when the alarm went off at 3:30 a.m. We needed to be to the hospital by 5:30 and I wanted to take a shower beforehand and curl my hair.  Daddy ended up sleeping in until 4:15 and then he got up too to shower and do his morning coffee routine.  We ended up leaving the PHFB a little later than anticipated, close to 5:00.  

We pulled in to the Women's Pavilion and daddy dropped me off at the door with all of our overnight bags.  When he came back we continued our tradition of taking one last photo before heading up to the 2nd floor (Labor/Delivery).  To this day that specific entrance gets me super emotional.  Daddy and I have had some special moments there leading up to the births of you and your brother and sister. 

Once we arrived to Labor/Delivery, one of the nurses took us to a receiving room where they began to prep me for surgery.  I changed into my gown and used the lovely heated wipes to ensure I was extra clean.  The nurse then hooked up a heart monitor to my belly to monitor your heart rate and any contractions.  When I first was hooked up, I wasn't having any contractions.  Then she started my IV and within a few minutes the contractions started.  I couldn't believe how intense they were getting and fast.  We were just in awe of how this naturally happened once I was relaxed and all prepped for surgery.  It's like you knew it was time and you were ready to get things rolling.  Auntie even came and stayed with us while we waited.  It was so nice to have her there as we chatted and it definitely was a distraction for me versus sitting there worrying about what was to come.  Next. Dr. Powell came in and reviewed with me what I should expect once getting in to the OR, followed by the anesthesiologist.  A little after 7:15 a.m., it was time.  A nurse escorted me to the OR and things sure got real, fast.  Walking in that OR is truly one of the scariest things I've faced. It's bright, cold, and there are about ten people waiting with their mask covered unfamiliar faces.  Dr. Powell wasn't in there yet and Daddy wasn't able to come in until they were ready to begin the surgery. 

I sat down and within minutes the anesthesiologist was standing behind me giving me instructions.  I had a nurse on each side of me holding my shoulders still as I hunched over and he administered the spinal.  It was taking longer than normal and my heart was beating faster than ever. The nurses draped a couple of heated blankets over me as I was shaking from it being so cold.  And whole right side of my body jolted! It felt as thought I had been electrocuted (let's just imagine I know what that feels like..ha).   The nurses needed to brace me strongly to prevent me from moving further.  Later on the next day when we spoke with the anesthesiologist we learned he had hit a nerve which explained what I had experienced.  

I then laid down and continued to wait for daddy.  As we got closer and closer to starting the surgery, Dr. Powell told me she was going to start testing my abdominal region to see what I could and couldn't feel.  It definitely took longer than my previous c-sections to become numb.  The anesthesiologist even tilted the bed back so my head was directed towards the ground to help the meds move further up my body.  I heard one of the nurses say she was going to get daddy and within the next minute Dr. Powell made the incision.  Daddy came by my side, which was such a relief.  I started crying because I was so scared and with daddy there I finally felt like I could breathe. 

It wasn't long before Dr. Powell said they were almost ready to pull you out.  Dr. Powell lowered the blue part of the shade and left a transparent shade up, one in which I could literally see her pull you out of my tummy.  This was the first birth I actually was able to watch this part happen and it was absolutely amazing. I will never forget that moment that I saw you for the first time. You instantly started crying...maybe I should rephrase started screaming. You had such a high pitch scream, all the nurses and doctors were giggling about your set of lungs.  The nurses took you over to the other side of the room to make sure you were doing okay, determine your weight/measurements, and clean you up.  Daddy was right by your side watching, taking pictures, and he was able to cut your cord.  You were born at 8:02 a.m. weighing in at 8 lbs 4.8 oz and you were 21 inches long. 

It was just a few more minutes and the nurse was able to bring you over to me.  She put you real close to my head and I just kissed your cheeks and felt you beside me.  I was in absolute heaven.  Baby boy you made all of our wildest dreams come true.  Never in a million years did I think I would be this blessed to have not one, not two, but THREE beautiful and healthy children.  That feeling in that moment was indescribable and one I will never forget.  

From that point on, daddy held you while Dr. Powell continued to sew me up.  My chest really started hurting and it became more difficult to breathe.  The anesthesiologist explained that it was because of all the pushing on my organs to pull you out.  I started freaking out a bit and Dr. Powell assured me that my vitals were good and that everything was okay.  The anesthesiologist gave me some meds to help the pain and it slowly began working.  When Dr. Powell was all done, they moved us all to a recovery room.  We were there for about an hour and a half.  The first thing I was able to do when we arrived was nurse you for the first time.  Right from the start, you were amazing at nursing.  You knew just what to do and latched on very well.  It was such a relief! Daddy took a few minutes to text everyone the good news that you were here safe and sound! 
Recovery room - about 9:00 a.m. 

By late morning we made it to the room we would stay in for the next 3 days.  The first person to come see you was Auntie and everyone else made their way to the hospital throughout the day.  Everyone was so excited to meet you, especially your brother and sister! By the evening, our hospital room was FULL! We had yet to reveal your name and for very good reason were waiting for Aris and Dayne to arrive before announcing it.  Since they were coming from Neenah after work, it took a little longer for them to get to you.  The actual announcement is another moment I will not forget.  The look in your uncle's eyes when he heard that we had chosen to name you after him was so sweet and heartfelt.  We waited until the following day to ask Aris and Dayne to be your godparents and I wish you could have seen their reactions.  I've witnessed some pretty amazing moments in their life and being your godparents ranks as one of the happiest times I have ever seen them! 
Meeting your brother and sister for the first time 


Auntie couldn't wait to hold you 

Nonee love

 Namesake news

Proud Nouno & Nouna 

The next three days in the hospital with you was pretty wonderful.  Nonee brought Ari and Elle to visit you every day and many of your other family members came for second visits too! We nursed, took pic after pic, and snuggled for three days straight (with many naps in-between).  That time in the hospital with you was so special to your daddy and I. Leaving the hospital with you, was super emotional. I was so happy you were here safe and sound, yet so sad our time together solo in the hospital was over.  I actually cried on the way home as I said to your dad, "Leo's only time solo with us, is over." As we arrived home, it became very real that our time would now need to be shared between you, your brother and sister.  Please know there isn't anything else in this world that I would rather do, other than love you and your siblings.  I promise to give you my heart every single day. Your daddy and I have so much love to give and we are so grateful God sent us you. 

Your mommy