Thursday, February 13, 2014

Dear Alexandra...2 weeks old

Dearest Alexandra,

I still cannot believe you are here already ...not to mention 2 weeks old!  Your due date and scheduled c-section was just yesterday and here you are, beautiful & thriving at home.  You are such a sweet baby that has taken over our hearts.  Every time I look at you, I just want to pinch myself.  I can't believe after all we went through to have a family, you're here, you belong to our family, and you're healthy.  Life really doesn't get any better than this!

 First Saturday at home

 Sneaking a snooze in your brother's bed

 About to yawn 

 Fell asleep on the changing table 

 Those hands 

Stare down with mommy

Milestones/stats/firsts from your first 2 weeks of life:
-When you were born you were 8 lbs and 8 ounces.  While at the hospital your weight dropped to 7 lbs 9 oz, which is normal.  We left the hospital on day 4 and went to see Dr. Timm on day 5.  By your fifth day, you were up to 7 lbs 14 oz, which was a relief.  We went back to the doctor two days later to check on your jaundice levels and you were already up to 8 lbs 4 oz, almost back to birthweight. The doctor was shocked with how fast you were putting weight back on, since she said about an ounce a day was considered normal, and you were far exceeding that. 
-  On your fifth day after the doctor, we went shopping for the first time with your auntie.  We went to babyGap, Goo Goo Ga Ga, and buybuy baby.  We found tons of cutesie outfits for you for your first few weeks of life.  It was so much fun picking out the outfits and even more fun putting them on you at home for the first time.  You were a rockstar on our first outing.  Slept the entire time, which was especially nice when we had lunch out at PF Changs.  
- You are an amazing sleeper already.  Some nights mommy has to wake you to eat.  We're waiting for the "okay" from your doctor to let you keep sleeping once we verify that you've gained enough weight.  You are currently sleeping 4 to 5 hour stretches at a time through the night before mommy wakes you up to feed you.  
-We were so lucky because your Auntie Shelley stayed with us our entire first week home.  She helped me take care of you and Ari, ran errands for me, and made sure we were all well fed.  I'm so thankful to have'll realize very soon how blessed you are to have such a loving auntie.  
-On day 11 you lost your umbilical cord.  We just happened to be at buybuy baby again.  Mommy was undressing you in their nursing room and when she opened you up, there it was - it had fallen off.  
- 2 week doctor appointment stats:  9 lbs and 13 oz!!!!!

Things You Like Right Now:
- You love skin to skin time with mommy.  After everyone leaves in the morning, you continue sleeping for another hour or so.  Then you wake up, and we snuggle skin to skin under the covers in mommy's bed.  It puts you at such ease and you usually doze right back off again.  It's part of our daily routine and I absolutely love feeling your soft skin up against mine.  I could cuddle all day long with you.  

Skin to skin

- You seem to enjoy being swaddled for bed.  I think it is a good signal for you that it is night time and it's time to sleep by yourself in your bassinet.  

Sleeping in

- You tend to be awake for about an hour around 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.  You're very content during these times and just look around.  
- You love being in the bathroom when mommy or daddy is showering.  The sound of the shower and fan seems to really calm you.  
- You definitely are all about eating.  You nurse approximately every three hours.  You have been an all star at nursing.  From the day you were born, you latched on well and were able to satisfy your needs.  
- Eating, peeing, pooping, and sleeping about sums things up for you right about now.  :) 

Your current dislikes:
-Mommy's cold hands! You wail when I change your outfit the second you feel my cold fingertips.  I think I need to start warming them up under the faucet from now on.  
-Hiccups! At night after I feed you, I lay you down in your bassinet and you seem to fall right back to sleep.  However, about 3 minutes later, you get the hiccups and have a hard time settling.  I usually pick you up then and hold you upright for about 15 minutes.  This seems to do the trick and when I lay you down again, we're usually in the clear.  These hiccups only affect you at's a mystery that I have yet to figure out.  
-Jaundice checks.  Your poor little heels have been pricked too many times.  Luckily, your number has started to decrease so you won't need any jaundice treatments.  You are a lil yellow in some of your pictures though.  

Doctor appt - Day 5

-That's really about it for this one.  You are such a calm little lady. You barely cry...if you do, it's because I made you wait about 20 seconds too long to eat.  Fingers crossed, but as of right do not have a "fussy time".  You don't even spit up after eating.  Daddy and I keep saying to each other, "This is really too good to be true," in regards to your calm demeanor and mild mannerisms.  

Your Dad:
-Daddy took off of work the first week of your life.  He even called in sick the following Monday to help me with your trip to the doctor ...and well, he just couldn't bear to leave you yet.  While we were in the hospital, he went back and forth between the hospital and home to help with your brother.  He always made sure he was back in time to sleep with us through the night though to help watch over you through your first few nights of life.  Your daddy is very special.  
- When Daddy gets home from work he takes the first "night shift" as we call it.  Daddy cooks dinner for us all, bathes Ari, puts Ari to bed, and then gets to snuggle with you until he heads to bed.  This is my time to sleep and I usually pass out on the couch within minutes of Ari going to bed.  
-The bond your daddy has with you is already so amazing.  You are his little girl and seeing the two of you together makes my heart so full.  I can't wait to watch your relationship with Daddy continue to grow.  
-Daddy is the "tummy time" king! He always makes sure you get 1-2 sessions of tummy time with him before bed.  In addition, he texts and calls me throughout the day to make sure I am doing tummy time with you as well.  He is very involved with your development and wants you to be nice and strong.  He also monitors which way your head is turned/facing throughout the day and night.  Even when I send him pictures, he's analyzing you're every position.  He's hoping to prevent any issues with torticollis, that we experienced with your brother.  

Quality time with daddy

Your Brother:
- I have to say we were really worried about how your brother would adjust to having a baby sister.  We were concerned because he had soaked up all of our attention for the past 17 months.  Would his feelings be hurt? Would he be jealous? are questions that we asked one another.  How would he handle sharing his parents with you?  We are so thrilled because Ari is simply in love with you.  From the moment he met you, he has adored you!  In the morning before he leaves for school, he walks into my bedroom to say goodbye to you in your bassinet.  He wants to see you the second he gets home from daycare.  He talks in this cute high pitched voice to you and says "hi" over and over.  He also shushes us.  He literally puts his finger over his lips and says "shhhhhh" when you are sleeping.  He likes to rock you when you're in your carseat and bouncer.  He uses gentle touches and likes to help me burp you by patting your back.  He kisses you on the top of your head.  Just last night, you were laying on the ottoman doing tummy time.  You started to fuss and without any prodding, Ari came over to you all on his own and started rubbing your back.  He recognized you were sad and wanted to comfort you.  Daddy and I no longer have any worries about how he will adjust.  You won over his heart instantly.  

 Shushing us

Waiting for dinner

You shared your changing table with your big brother

 Ari wanted to hold you

 First time snuggling in bed with mom, dad, and brother

 Brotherly love

 So precious

Ari loves you very much 

Your Mom:
-I call you my "little princess", because really that's what you are...a princess! You amaze me every day because of just how sweet you are.  You are a perfect baby...everything about you makes mommy's heart melt. 
First time in a girly headband..sorry Daddy

-I'm recovering from my c-section quite well. My recovery time was much different this time since I had a scheduled c-section with you and had labored for hours upon hours prior to having a c-section with your brother.  I was up and moving around in the hospital on the same day and even took a shower the day after you were born.  Once I got home, I feel like I jumped right back into the swing of things and have helped with things around the house as much as I can.  I just ask for a lot of help lifting your big brother.  
- I'm really enjoying and embracing our time together, just the two of us.  We have two more weeks together solo before your brother will start joining us in March.  I love our daily routine...most of all the snuggling.  My favorite place to kiss you is on your neck, just under your squishy cheeks.  

Watching your brother at swim class

We love you so much and your so grateful to have you in our lives.  Happy & healthy! We are blessed!


Your Mommy

Monday, February 10, 2014

Alexandra's Birth Story

So dear Alexandra decided to come two weeks early! I was not expecting an early arrival AT ALL.  Ari was almost two weeks late, so I assumed we would make it to the date of our scheduled C-section, February 12th.  Alexandra had her own plans.  Flashback to Monday, January 27th. Hubby and I both had off of work due to the cold weather.  We also knew already that school was cancelled for Tuesday, the 28th.  So that Monday we did absolutely nothing.  We literally just laid around the house and played with Ari.  Keep in mind we really didn't have much prepared for the new baby.  We had the necessities taken care of, as we still had them from when Ari was born.  But we had a laundry list of "to do" items before baby girl arrived.  

I had been sleeping awful for probably the past two weeks.  My hips would become numb and I'd find myself constantly waking to reposition and turn over to the other side.  This entailed me pulling on hubby this way and that because I couldn't even turn over by myself anymore.  So between the repositioning and peeing, I wasn't getting much sleep.  Gus came to bed around midnight that Monday night.  As he was getting out of the shower I told him to come and look at my belly.  The baby had made a massive shift and now was positioned on my left side, rather than the right.  She had been on the right side for weeks. My belly was sooooo lopsided! I really didn't make much of it though and fell asleep. Throughout the rest of the night I kept waking up "leaking".  I was pretty sure I wasn't leaking pee because I kept going to the bathroom and emptying my bladder.  A few minutes after laying down from going to the bathroom, I would feel more sneak out.  This happened about 4-5 times throughout the night and I was starting to worry.  I woke up Gus at this point and he suggested calling the doctor.  I said I would wait until the morning and tried falling back to sleep.  Around 4:30 my lower back started hurting. It felt as though I was getting my period.  I said to Gus, "Something is going on."  We had a scheduled doc appointment for that day, so again I told myself I would just call in the morning and ask to come in earlier.  Gus put his arm around me and moved closer to me to spoon me.  When his legs nudged my butt, I felt even more leaking and got up to go to the bathroom.  Just as I entered the bathroom, I felt the gush.  My water had broken!

Gus and I looked at each other and said, "She's coming today! She's really coming!"  I put in a call to my OB's office and was waiting for a nurse to call me back.  In the meantime, I jumped in the shower.   Luckily, I wasn't experiencing any contractions, so was able to enjoy that last shower pregnant.  The nurse called me back and wanted to verify that my water had really broken.  She told me to come on in and asked what time they should expect us.  I said about 45 minutes.

Gus and I looked at each other and our next thought was, "What do we do with Ari?"  Not only was it 5 o'clock in the morning, but it was almost one of thee coldest days of the winter.  School was cancelled and it was about -5 degrees outside, -30 with windshield.  We contemplated calling one of Gus' brothers to come to the house and just be there with him when he woke up versus bringing him to the hospital.  Gus then said, "We're a family. We're going to go together."  So we started the remote start on the truck and woke up our son.  I quick threw a few things in a bag for the hospital and stocked Ari's diaper bag.  We did a pretty good job packing...except for the fact we forgot toys and books for Ari.  :( We called Gus' parents on the way and they said they would meet us at the hospital to watch Ari.

All bundled up, ready to head to the hospital 

Last belly shot at the hospital....37 weeks 6 days 

We arrived at the hospital around 7 a.m.  We were admitted into one of the triage rooms on the labor and delivery floor so a nurse could check and verify that my water had really broken.  Once it was verified, things moved right along...quickly.  The nurse told me Dr. Dobbs would be doing my c-section, since she was the doctor on call.  I politely told her that Dr. Powell had told us she would do my surgery, even if she wasn't on call that day.  The nurses said they would check my records and give her a call.    Around 7:45 a.m., they told me they planned to start the c-section around 9 a.m.  I looked at Gus and said "Good, we have another hour to make a decision about her name."  We both knew we wanted it to be Alexandra Margaret long ago.  We had that name picked out for a girl when pregnant with Ari.  There were a couple other names though that came up the weeks prior that we were considering. About 20 minutes later, Dr. Powell showed up in her scrubs ready to go.  She sat down on her stool, crossed her legs, and said "How are you doing?" She was such a God send to us throughout my entire pregnancy.  I can't thank her enough for all the extra love and care she gave me throughout my visits.  I felt at ease knowing she was there and would be doing the surgery.  I knew she would take care of me and Alexandra.  Gus' parents had arrived now and had Ari out in the waiting room.  Gus said he was going to go check in with them and go to the bathroom.  A few minutes later, a nurse came in and said "Everyone is here, we're going to wheel you back and start early, if that's okay with you."  I asked Gus to bring in Ari one last time to say goodbye to him before the surgery and by 8:20ish I was wheeled back.

Oh wait, I guess this is the last belly shot :)

About to become proud parents of two! 

Last few moments with Ari before heading into surgery

Once I got into the operating room, things continued to just fly by.  They prepped me for surgery and in a matter of minutes my doctor was doing "the test" on me to make sure I couldn't feel anything.  I was laying there with every possible thought and emotion going through my mind as the surgery got started.  I couldn't help but remember laying in that same place about 17  months ago when Ari was born.  Ari had a very traumatic entrance and I was so worried our daughter would also endure complications.  Doctor told me they were getting close and a couple minutes later they pulled out our beautiful daughter.  She instantly started crying!!!! What a relief.  My eyes teared up knowing she was doing well upon her arrival.  Gus even got to cut her cord, something he didn't get to experience with Ari.  Gus watched the nurses clean her up and get her ready to meet mommy.  He was able to hold her and sit with me the entire time I was being sewn up.  This was so special to us both because Ari had been whisked away to NICU when he was born. Our daughter never left our sides.  Gus brought her down to my level and I kissed her sweet cheeks.  In the recovery room, I breast fed her for the first time.  What a champ! She latched on without any hesitation and has been an amazing nurser ever since.  Once I was finished in recovery, they wheeled me upstairs to my room where I would stay for the next three days.  My nurse went over our folder with us and gave us a chance to ask any questions we had.  We were so anxious for her to leave.  We just wanted Ari to be able to come join us with the rest of our family that was there.

 First pic of Daddy & his daughter

 Recovery room

Ari's expression when he walked in the room

 Ari wanted to reminisce

 Alexandra Margaret

 Cuddling with mommy

 Meeting his baby sister for the first time

Nonee and Alexandra

Auntie and Alexandra

Nap time 

Pretty girl 

He looks proud

My heart could not be any more full

Everyone was so anxious to meet precious Alexandra Margaret, born on January 28th at 8:56 a.m.  Even though she was early, she was still a big girl weighing 8 lbs 8 ounces and was 21.5 inches long. We chose the name Alexandra Margaret after both of our late grandmothers, who were both so influential in our lives.  Alexandra's nickname is "Elle", which means sun ray or shining light.  She definitely is a ray of light in all of our lives, and already has brought us so much bliss.  I find myself staring into her eyes and literally pinching did I get so lucky to have a beautiful son AND daughter?!?!?! I am a firm believer that God has a plan for all of us.   God's timing for our family of four couldn't be any more perfect.

We had a wonderful stay in the hospital.  A lactation specialist came and saw me every day.  We worked on perfecting our latch while waiting for my milk to come in.  On my last day there, I was sure it was about to come in as my boobs felt like they were full of rocks.  It did indeed come in that next day at home and we've had a pleasantly smooth breast feeding experience so far.  It was such a treat to have cousin Nicole as our aid the last day there.  It wasn't very busy that day on the recovery floor, so she was able to spend lots of time with Elle and I in our room.  Going home day was kind of hectic.  Daddy went home that morning to pick up our car seat, knowing we would probably be discharged from the hospital after lunch.  He got home and to our dismay....the car seat was nowhere to be found.  He called me at the hospital and was like "Uh, the carseat isn't here."  We remembered that we had borrowed it out to some friends of ours, but were told it had been returned to our house and was no longer at Nonee and Papou's house.  Daddy called Nonee and she went to her house to double check and sure enough, it was still there in a closet.  So Daddy had to drive out to Holy Hill to pick it up, which put a little hiccup in our going home plans.  Luckily, Nicole was still with me which helped the time pass.

We still are in shock over her dark hair! 

 Going home day 

Elle's birth was so relaxed, especially in comparison to what I experienced with Ari.  It all went so fast, I didn't have much time to process and worry.  There wasn't much time for my anxiety to set in.  I think it happened this way for just that reason.  If she would have waited until her scheduled c-section date of the 12th, I would have been a mess worrying about a safe delivery.  She's here safe and sound and an absolute perfect baby.  We are blessed.  God is good.

Welcome Alexandra Margaret! We love you so much!!!!!