Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The good, the bad, and the beautiful....

Yesterday was a bad day. It just was. Brenna was up before Jonathan left for work and was already crying. Feeding her helped the situation, but she was still pretty fussy right after we finished - not typical. We laid back in bed for awhile, but she never fell back asleep. So, we were up for the day. And what a day it was! When the paci comes out before lunch, you know you have a problem. It was out before we ever got out of bed! It worked (some of the time) between feedings, but she just was not happy. I'm pretty sure it was gas - but even mylicon didn't seem to work this time. By the time 5:00 rolled around, I was crying as loud as she was and just needed some help. Unfortunately, when I called Jonathan (who gets off at 4:00 mind you!) he was still at work because something came up he had to deal with. Happens all the time - usually not a big deal. But this just made me lose it. I was so tired and just wanted her to feel better! When he did get home, I fed her and then he took her out driving so I could have a few minutes of peace. He took her to Panera to get us some dinner then to look at a house we found online that we seem to like. By the time he got back, she out like a light! Actually, he says she was out before he left our street. Poor baby! So anyway, she slept until bedtime, ate again and got changed, and went back down really easily.

So, I'm thinking we're in trouble since she slept so well all night. However, I heard from a wise mommy yesterday that "well-rested babies sleep better". So true! She woke up at 2:00 for a feeding, which worried me (again!) because she usually doesn't go back to sleep very well. However, the next thing we know, it's 6:30 and she has slept for another 4 hours. Jonathan gets her to me in bed, she eats again, and then we just spend some time staring at one another - no crying involved!! At this point I've slept from 10:45 - 2:00 and 2:45 - 6:45. Oh, but I'm not finished. We hang around here until 10 or so, eat a couple more times, and then I take her back up to our bed to rest since I saw her yawning. I even swaddle her - which usually I don't do during the day. We lie down about 10:30ish and she is pretty awake. By 11:15 we are both asleep. I wake up about 12:20 and thank the Lord for the 1,000th time today! I pump her a bottle for when she wakes up, eat lunch, finish laundry, and type this blogpost. It's 1:19 and she's still sleeping. Poor baby was exhausted! We had plans to head to stroller time at the gym, but it ends at 2:00. Even me, the mom who knows very little, knows that it's not a good idea to wake a sleeping baby. So, see you tomorrow stroller time!

My baby is beautiful. Maybe I'll go snap some pictures of her while she's sleeping so you guys can see it, too!

Friday, March 26, 2010

I have a whole new respect....

for stay at home moms!
Brenna and I have made it through our first week home alone together, and boy, am I tired! It's been a huge adjustment, but I wouldn't trade it for anything! Brenna is really on no set schedule yet, but we are realizing that it's about time to get that show on the road! For example, yesterday she really didn't sleep much at all during the day, except a few minutes after each nursing session. Today, she's been asleep for 3 hours (including our entire trip to the mall!) in her car seat. We'll get there, though, right? :)
And for more of Brenna's "firsts" from this week:
*She went to church for the first time on Sunday - and slept right through most of it!

*She rode happily in her Moby for the first time - our entire grocery shopping trip on Sunday! :)
*She went shopping with just Mommy for the first time.
*She wore a PREEMIE outfit! Weird!
*She went to Panera Bread for the first time with Sheri, April, and Paige.
*She nursed in the car for the first time - we're such multi-taskers now.
*She got up more than once during the night to feed for the first time last night - BOO!
*She ruined multiple outfits in one day by spitting up.

Brenna weighed in at 8 pounds, 1 ounce on Thursday (3 weeks old) - so we are ALMOST back to birth weight! YAY sweet girl!! :)
We have 9 days until she is one month old - where has the time gone? She's growing tooooo fast!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spinach Chicken Pasta Bake

Here is the recipe for one of our favorite homemade pasta dishes. It's super yummy! Enjoy! :)

1. Chop up 1 cup of onion, put it in an 11x7 dish with olive oil, and back at 375 for 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, cook 8 ounces of rigatoni and drain.
3. Meanwhile again, cook 3 cups (about 1 pound) of chicken, cubed.
4. Mix onion, rigatoni noodles, chicken, 1 can of diced Italian style tomatoes, 1 container of chive&onion cream cheese, 10 oz. of drained, chopped spinach (I buy frozen and thaw it), and a little salt and pepper in a large bowl. Put into the same 11x7 dish you used for to cook the onion. Cover with as much mozzerella cheese as you want.
5. Back for 25 minutes at 375 with aluminum foil. Take off foil and cook for another 10-15 minutes.
6. Let it set up for awhile so it's not runny when you eat it.

Monday, March 22, 2010

New Friends

So, most of you know about my good friend Kelley who I taught with during my crazy first year teaching in NC. If not, you can read all about her here. Anyhow, during the time that I had my miscarriage, she got me in touch with her friend Merritt because she had just gone through a similar experience. Merritt and I became email friends and she was a huge support for me during that crazy time - and also as we both got pregnant again. She had her baby boy Finn in November and I've racked her brain many times about pregnancy and new baby stuff. Here are some reasons that I'm glad I've gotten to know Merritt over the past year or so.
  1. She always gives honest advice, opinions, and information. She is always willing to answer questions, even when they are about weird, gross pregnancy things!
  2. She writes blogs about her (former) students. I do that, too. I bet she was a super fun teacher!
  3. When she says she'll pray for you, she really does!
  4. She has a cutie patootie son who she blogs about and they are super fun to read!
  5. She lives in D.C. and gives me good advice about places to see when we travel there. She also agreed to show us around if we ever make it there without sixty 7th graders in tow!
  6. She shares her BFF (Kelley) with me!
  7. She's a great mom and she has a lot of great wisdom already (after only 4 months - impressive!)

And recently I've also gotten to be email buddies with another college friend of Kelley's - Erin. We got to be cyber-friends through a discussion on her blog about cloth diapering. And then we realized we were cyber-soulmates! When I read her emails it reminds me so much of myself it's not even funny! Here are the reasons I'm super glad I commented on her blog that first time.

  1. She makes me laugh. Outloud. I often read her emails aloud to Jonathan because they are so hilarious - and true!
  2. She doesn't call me mama, even though we both are crazy about cloth diapers. By crazy I mean totally obsessed in a ridiculous way.
  3. She will say whatever's on her mind - we've talked about some really gross and personal things through email, and I've never laid eyes on this girl!
  4. Her hubby is an engineer (like Jonathan) and they love to travel (like us)! And, um, her name is Erin. Coincidence? Yeah, probably, but still cool!
  5. Her babies were both late. That makes me not hate her like all the other moms who had early babies. Just kidding....kinda.
  6. She keeps my cloth diaper buying in check. Or at least she tries. Sometimes I don't listen - like those 4 minky blueberries she told me not to buy - oops!
  7. She likes lists. How could you not love that?

And that is my synopsis of my two new internet friends. Maybe they'll become real-life friends during my maternity leave while I have some travel time. Granted Merritt and I have met, but a visit to DC sounds super fun, don't you agree?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Week 2 - Success!

Well, we've finished up our 2nd full week as parents, and it's been great! I must admit that I'm not sure what I would have done if Jonathan hadn't been home with us for these first two weeks. I'm DEFINITELY dreading him going back to work on Monday - we're going to miss him and I'm going to miss all his help! It's been so fun being a new little family together - doing everything together was lots of fun and a lot easier! Brenna had lots more "firsts" this week...

*She met her great paw-paw for the first time. He was sick when they came to the hospital, so he stayed in the car.
*She went to her first sit-down restaurant - Ruby Tuesdays - which is where I went into labor a few days earlier! Oh wait, she went to the Crown Buffet Mongolian Grill before that - but I'm not sure I'd call that a "sit-down restaurant". It's pretty ghetto - but delicious!
*She went to the mall for the first time - she loved the Gap Outlet!
*She had her first photo shoot with "Uncle Muscles" - AKA Jeff, who is the most awesome photographer I know and is going to be Brenna's future uncle-in-law! (He's London's uncle!)
*She went on her first walk to the Huckleberry - and cried most of the time. :( We'll keep trying though, it's one of our favorite things!
*She visited mommy's school for the first time today. It was SO fun! We got there while my kiddos were at lunch, so I visited with my teacher friends for awhile. Then I took her to meet my class, and they were beside themselves with excitement. The first thing I hear when I walk in the room is, "Your belly is flat!" from my little Jacob. Oh, Jacob, you're my favorite just for saying that! They begged to hold her, but I had to say no - little germy monsters! Maybe they can when we visit again in a few weeks! Then my little Devin came down the hall while Sheri was holding Brenna. She said, "Do you want to see Mrs. Halsey's baby?" He just looked at my stomach and was super confused. It was too much! Anyway, Brenna got to meet most of mommy's favorite people at Macy and got lots of love and hugs from bunches of people!

Tomorrow is going to be our first BIG outing. Brenna and I are going to Roanoke with Sheri and her other bridesmaids to look at bridesmaids dresses for her wedding. Let's pray she doesn't cry the whole time - it's a good thing that the carseat seems to be a sleep machine! :)

Here's to the second half of Brenna's first month - may it be just as wonderful and rewarding as the first half has been!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

And We're Back in the Game!

Brenna has gained 8 ounces since Friday!! She weighed in at 7 pounds, 13 ounces today....so only 6 ounces under her birth weight!! The nurses were super impressed. They don't need to see her again until her 2 month appointment, but encouraged us to bring her in as much as we want to keep checking on her weight. I'll probably take her late next week and then at her one month mark - and if she's still gaining we can start letting her sleep longer at night! Hallelujah!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

My Shrinking Baby

My sweet little baby is doing great! She's really a joy to have around all day. She sleeps well at night and is normally pretty happy during the day as long as she has some milk in her belly. She has become quite the eater, which we are super thankful for.

Brenna was 8 pounds, 3 ounces when she was born. She lost 6 ounces the first day (which is totally normal) - but lost 7 more ounces before we went home. This put her at 7 pounds, 6 ounces when we left. The pediatrician asked us to supplement with some formula until she got the hang of nursing, so we did. We took her back the next day and she was still at 7 pounds, 6 ounces, so we kept supplementing for a few days until she got good at eating. When we took her back last Friday (5 days later) she had lost another ounce. The doctor wasn't too concerned, but said to bring her in on Tuesday (tomorrow) for a weight check. He felt like she would catch up, and I feel like she's been eating WAY more, so I have high expectations for our check tomorrow. If she's still the same or has lost more, we'll have to be a little more serious about supplementing her. However, if she's gained a little (hoping for 2-4 ounces) then we're good to go! We would appreciate your prayers about this - even though it's not a really big deal right now, it's no fun to hear that your baby is going backwards! I'll update again when we know more - but for now, enjoy looking at our sweet little "piece of heaven" - a direct quote from our pediatrician! ;)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Week of Firsts

Brenna is one week old today. I've wanted to blog a million times, but other things just seem more important right now. But one day I will want to go back and remember these early days, so I'm trying! Jonathan commented today that he has learned more this week than he did in 7 years of college. So true!!

Thursday, 3/4 - Brenna takes her first breath, We hold her for the first time, She meets most of her grandparents and great-grandparents and her aunt and uncle, She meets lots of other friends (and London!), She gets her first bath, She nurses for the first time

Friday, 3/5 - Brenna passes her first test (hearing), applies for her birth certificate, and meets lots more friends and family

Saturday, 3/6 - Brenna sees her home and nursery for the first time, meets her Grandpa, meets Maggie, and sleeps in her cradle

Sunday, 3/7 - Brenna goes on her first outing - to the pediatrician and Food Lion for a few groceries. She sleeps through the grocery store!

Monday, 3/8 - We have our first day together as a family of 3. So glad Daddy is home with us for awhile!

Tuesday, 3/9 - Brenna goes on her first trip to Target and CFA - and she doesn't seem to be a big fan! She does, however, like her first cloth diaper!

Wednesday, 3/10 - Brenna gets to play with London and starts eating really well. She also has her first nasal congestion and doesn't feel too good. Mommy solves that with the suctioner - even though it's sad!

Thursday, 3/11 - Happy one week birthday Sweet Baby Girl. I can't believe how much I love you more and more every day. Please be easy on Mommy's heart and grow up slowly!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Brenna's Birth Story

I've been meaning to write this post since last Thursday, but I have been busy - imagine that! I want to record the events that led up to the most amazing moment of my life while it's fresh in my mind. This will probably be a little long, but I want to really try to capture all the details (or at least the ones that I can remember!)

Last Wednesday, March 3, I went into work 2 hours late (snow delay) and worked all day, feeling pretty good. I left at 2:00 to go to my 41 week appointment at 2:40. I met Jonathan at the doctor's office and we saw my nurse practitioner, Debbie, and a medical student. They measured me (40 weeks), weighed me (total of 40 pounds), took my bp (don't remember, but it was good), checked my cervix (couldn't check dilation - very posterior and definitely NOT in labor), and hooked me up to the Non-Stress Test machine to monitor Brenna's activity and heartrate because she was past her due date. We got to chat with Dr. Colby, who was going to be the one to induce us on Monday about what all would go down on that day. After about 30 minutes on the NST machine, the nurse told me that Dr. Colby was concerned that Brenna was having some heart decelerations and wanted us to go to labor & delivery to check it out further.

About this time, we got a little panicky but headed to the hospital trusting everything would be okay. We find out my least favorite doctor of the four is on call, but figure it won't really matter. They hooked me up to a similar monitor as the one at the doctor's office - except this monitored her movement instead of me hitting a button when I felt her move. She was going crazy so they couldn't develop a baseline for her heartrate. Eventually she calmed down and they determined that her baseline was actually a little lower - and what they were seeing were really accelerations rather than decelerations - GREAT NEWS! Then the doctor came in to talk things over. He told me that my cervix was still very posterior and I was only a fingertip dilated (the same that I had been for awhile) and maybe 50% effaced. He also told me that she was at a -3 station and that her head was floating and big! He told me that he didn't think she would engage enough to have a vaginal birth and that he would do a c-section right then. WHAT? This was a lot to process for both of us - and I admit that quite a few tears were shed while trying to decide what to do. I asked him to induce me then since he estimated her to already be 9 pounds, but he wouldn't, becuase he said she needed as much time to progress down on her own as she could. Something just didn't seem right about doing the c-section without giving her a chance to come on her own, so I finally decided to just go home. By this point I was having contractions on the monitor every 4-5 minutes apart and feeling them high in my uterus. But they weren't really hurting, so off we went about 7:30.

We headed home to let Maggie out and then left again to grab some dinner at Ruby Tuesdays - about 3 hours later than we had planned. I ate some yummy crab cake minis and a big salad, feeling pretty good the whole time. Until we got ready to walk out the door. I had the worst pain in my tummy - thinking it was from the food - but it made me almost not be able to walk. We hurried home all the while talking about whether I could go to work the next day or not. I wanted to work as long as possible, but Jonathan was tired of me driving so far to work and being so tired. I decided to listen to him and called Sheri to tell her about what to tell my sub. That is when the contractions started. I was having HORRIBLE pain in my hips, lower belly, back, and butt. They started coming and never really stopped - they were about 1-2 minutes apart and about 1 minute long. Within about 15 minutes I was screaming in pain and Jonathan was literally running around upstairs finishing up packing his bag for the hospital. I was pretty sure we would not be coming home that night - and I was honestly kicking myself for not just letting him do that darn c-section. We called the doctor and he told us to just head back to the hospital, so we did.

We got back there about 10:00 and the same nurse was there and put me right back in the same room. She checked me and I just expected her to say I was still a fingertip and posterior, since that had been what I'd heard for weeks. Much to my surprise, she says, "Well, you're about 7 cm." AHH! She told me we were having a baby that night, and asked if I wanted an epidural. I couldn't imagine saying no with all the back labor I was having, so they got me started on some IV pain meds until they could do my bloodwork and get the anesthesiologist up to me. I just remember begging them to hurry. It took awhile to get the epidural in (something about deep tissue) but they finally did, even though it was awful trying to sit still during contractions. After that, the nurse checked me again and I was at about 9 cm. This was probably sometime around 11:00 PM. The doctor came in at some point to check me and break my water. He said he thought she was face-up and the nurse agreed. So they started turning me on my sides to try to get her to flip. Soon afterwards I was at 10 centimeters and ready to go, but they still wanted to give her time to turn. So we waited...

At about 2:30, I started pushing. It didn't hurt at all. I could tell by pressure when a contraction was starting, but the pushing itself was not bad AT ALL. I was really surprised (and thankful for that epidural!) I pushed through contractions, but they slowed down to about 6-7 minutes apart, so they started me on some pitocin to speed them up. The doctor came back in and said she was still really high and he didn't think she was going to come down with me pushing. Yeah, thanks buddy, I'm working my tail off and you can't even encourage me. I think it was at this point that I decided that NO MATTER WHAT I was getting this baby out of me without him doing a c-section. I was so mad! Did I mention that Jonathan and the nurse had seen her head each time I pushed already? The nurse told me that I needed to push especially hard when the doctor was in there, and I just put my mind to it and went for it.

Once she got down low, I could feel more pressure and a little more pain. I was able to feel her head, which gave me even more motivation to get her out of there. Then, a little before 5:00, things got crazy. They got the baby scale and warmer out, and the doctor came in and, without a word, started getting his scrubs on and tools ready. Then Jonathan tells me it's "game time". Haha! I pushed, the doctor cut (ouch!), and Brenna arrived. 5:05 A.M. It was the most surreal moment of my life. I felt like super woman. We had created her and now she was finally here! I watched them wipe her off, I watched Jonathan cut the cord, and then I held my baby. She was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen - and she still is! We got to spend a little time together, and then they started getting her wiped down, footprinted, clamped, and gave her her Vitamin K shot and eye cream. The nurses didn't want to give her the eye cream because she was so, so alert. Jonathan videoed the whole thing while I got taken care of.

I honestly never imagined I could really birth a baby. Anybody who knows me knows I'm a bit of a wimp, but I did it and I was, and still am, so proud of myself! The hour at home where I was in intense labor was so horrible, but it's already hard to remember how bad it felt because of the thrill of delivery. Brenna made me a mommy. I've never been more thankful. God has blessed our family and I'm in love.

Meet Brenna!

Brenna Jane Halsey

Born on March 4, 2010 at 5:05 A.M.
8 pounds, 3 ounces
20 inches long