Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Whoops

I realize I'm way behind on blogging...my apologies. Taking care of my girls and catching up on sleep gets priority these days. I do have dozens of pictures to post, and lots of great stories. One of these days I'll get to it!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Knitting

Natalie asked for a fork and spoon this morning. I give them to her and finish making her lunch. I hear, "look at me, Monnie!" She is in the middle of our living room, rocking, and pretending to knit. LOL! I have NO idea where she got this concept of rocking and knitting, but it was hilarious!

Lexi pictures

I love her in this outfit...so sweet!


Early morning:


These next 3 were taken late last night. She was bright eyed at bedtime and paying close attention to Daddy:




Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Settling in

Lexi stayed in the hospital room with us both nights. It became apparent that she had swallowed a lot of amniotic fluid, which she was gagging on and vomiting up. When we walked her down to the nursery at midnight the first night, there were 17 babies in the nursery and only 5 nurses. I told Mike, "she stays with us" and he agreed. The second night Mike went home to stay with Natalie, so Lexi and I partied in the hospital. We slept from 10:30-12:30 that night and that was it. She was up on and off throughout the night spitting up and I stayed up to make sure she didn't choke. The rest of the time I had nurses in my room taking her places to get ready to go home the next morning. (Evaluations, PKU screening, jaundice test, hearing test, etc.)


This is when Natalie discovered Lexi could grasp her finger:


Mike and Natalie came the next morning to take us home. They showed up dressed EXACTLY alike. Both in jeans and a red cardinals sweatshirt. Mike said Natalie wouldn't have it any-other-way. LOL




Being wheeled out of the hospital was a very emotional moment for me. I finally had our baby in my arms, I made it through delivery, and we were both healthy and going home with Mike and Natalie. I was thanking God over and over for our blessings.

Waiting on Daddy to finish loading the car:


Home at last! The pink roses on the left were from Randy and Dorie. The flowers on the right were from Mike:


We settled in at home on Friday, but were concerned because Lexi wasn't urinating but once every 16-24 hours...despite the amount of milk she was taking in. I took her to the pediatrician the next morning after she stayed dry all night again. The pediatrician started to examine her, to find (low-and-behold) a wet diaper. Of course! She told me to keep our apt with our regular pedi on Monday because her jaundice was looking questionable. Lexi finally started having regular wet diapers on Sunday. Not sure what the holdup was, but we are grateful all systems are working. :)

First sponge bath at home was Saturday evening. This little girl has LONG toes. A trait neither Mike nor I have. Even factoring grandparents, my dad is the only one with long toes:


Natalie was eager to help:


She has dark hair like Daddy...and we're pretty sure her eyes will be brown before long too:

After the pedi apt on Monday, we were sent for a blood test to check her bili levels. It was high, but he suspected it was going down. Tuesday morning I took her out (it was 19 degrees outside!) and they confirmed it was dropping. Thankfully, no more testing or treatment is necessary!

Breastfeeding is going wonderfully! I am (again) so grateful I am able to nurse and provide that for her. There is nothing like being able to satisfy a hungry tummy. The only struggle I have had is dealing with a cracked nipple. Ow! I suspect this happened right after she was born when we first nursed. I was too in-awe to make sure it was a perfect latch...and one bad latch is all it takes. It is on the mend, no big deal.

Natalie is adjusting so well here at home!! We are so proud of her. She is very loving and maternal with Lexi. She came down with a cold yesterday and it has upset her so much that she can't hold or kiss Lexi. She has cried several times about this.

My recovery has been awesome. Labor was about as miserable as it was with Natalie, just a little more scary because of the health concerns. Delivery though was MUCH better this time around. Lexi was smaller and didn't cause as much..."damage." :) I also have not had any infections like I did last time with my recovery. As of today (1 week postpartum) I have lost 23lbs. Yay!

We have also been spoiled with meals being provided for us. Three different ladies from church have brought meals for us, and Dorie left us a meal on the first night we were home. To have those, plus leftovers, has been extremely helpful. It's so nice not to worry about fixing meals and cleaning up when we're functioning on such little sleep! :)

Sunday morning after Mike and Natalie got home from church, Natalie bounded up the steps, washed her hands, and plopped on the bed, eager to hold her little sister!


Our sweet Lexi:


Today was Mike's last day home from work. He actually took an extra day off because of Natalie being sick. I have enjoyed having him home SO much! It's been a nice transitional time for us and I appreciate him always being so incredibly supportive and loving to me.

Lexi's arrival

This post is going to be more of a personal journal about Lexi's birth that I'm happy to share with you. However, I won't be censoring myself when I write about childbirth and breastfeeding and everything that goes along with it. I'm letting you know now so you can stop reading if that makes you uncomfortable.

Last Monday was my last OB apt and he offered induction. It is something I really didn't want to do again, but he assured me that because I was already so dilated, it probably wouldn't take much. He called the hospital and scheduled us for a midnight induction on December 1st. Her due date. We only told our parents and decided to let everyone else be surprised.

We drove to the hospital Tuesday night and I had three really rough contractions in the car on the way there. Once they got us into a room, they were coming every 3-5 minutes and were not lacking in intensity.

My 40 week picture (in between contractions of course!)


Instead of starting the pitocin, we walked the halls for an hour and I was then checked to see if there was progress. I was more effaced, but not much more dilated. So we started the pitocin on low and my contractions took off.

At 5am, I was checked again and there was still no progress and I was tired, anxious, and frustrated. The anesthesiologist suggested an epidural so I could rest. Before she even got there I was shaking. It was a miserable part of labor for me. I had the epidural and I'll never forget she told me that I had "crunchy scar tissue" in my back from the last epidural. Ughh. Despite that gross bit of news, this epidural was awesome. My entire abdomen down to upper thigh area was completely numb, but I could still feel and move my legs well. I seriously think I could have walked around if that was allowed.

At 5:45am, the in-house OB and nurse were checking me and I told them my left arm was numb. Specifically, my left hand. My nurse looked at me with wide-eyes and asked the OB if she thought my left eyelid was drooping. They agreed it was, and the RN ran out of the room to call the anesthesiologist. Apparently they were quite concerned. The anesthesiologist knew right away that it was Horner's syndrome. A rare side-effect of the epidural, but nothing to be concerned about. It was annoying to not be able to feel my hand. I was just concerned that I wouldn't be able to hold the baby when she was born.

Around 6:45am, my blood pressure dropped (76/40) and I was light headed, and vomiting. They stopped the epidural for a few minutes until they could push fluids and get me more stabilized. At this time, the bed was rattling so hard from my shaking, I had an oxygen mask on, and bucket under my chin. I was then notified that they had stopped the pitocin because the baby was having late heart decels. I was still contracting on my own every 4-5 minutes.

My OB walked in around this time and I remember him reassuring me that I'd be more comfortable before long. I told him, "I don't care. I can take it, just make sure my daughter is okay." I didn't even make eye contact with him, my eyes were glued to the heart monitor and I was focused on taking deep breaths from the oxygen mask. He explained his plan to get myself & baby stabilized and labor back on track. It worked. :)

At 7:15am my epidural was turned back on once I was pumped full of fluids and my blood pressure was back on track. The shakes were mostly gone, and they scheduled to rupture my water at 8AM. I was resting comfortably and baby looked good.

At 11:30am I was 7cm dilated and at 0 station. They turned the pitocin back on and I labored in and out of sleep. I finally convinced Mike that I was OK, and that he should rest too. I think he rested for awhile, but I mostly remember him sitting next to my bed. My OB came in my room and asked how I was feeling, my answer was a smile.

Around 3pm, I was having intense pressure with each contraction that I couldn't help but push with. The nurses weren't responding with the call light so I sent Mike out to find one. When he came back by himself I don't remember my reaction but I'm sure it wasn't very nice. He turned back around and found someone. Thankfully it was an RN, and not a custodian. ;)

They had me practice push and called my OB in right away b/c I was able to move her down quite a bit. OB came in and we got down to business. Then, baby's heart rate dropped and wasn't coming up much. He called in the pediatric team and we went from having just a few people in the room to about a dozen. They suspected she had a cord around her neck. They slapped the oxygen mask on me between contractions and I pushed with everything I had. I cannot tell you the horrible feeling of not being able to push out my baby on my own, especially when she needed help. My OB got my attention, and told me she would be fine. He put the forceps in place and reminded me we did this together and she would be here within the next contraction. Once again I pushed with all the energy I had, so he wouldn't have to pull her. They told me to stop pushing, the head was out. My first thought was, "really? That was NOTHING compared to Natalie's head!" LOL. (I was told later on that I have a very prominent tailbone, which makes it very difficult for me to push past that point...who knew!?)

There was no cord around her neck (she was probably laying on it) and as soon as she was out, my OB dismissed the pediatric team. She was healthy, turning pink, and was put on my chest right away. The range of emotions cannot be described here. It's just not possible. Everything we've gone through in the past THREE years came back to the surface. Hearing my healthy baby cry in my face was the most powerful trigger to my emotions than I have ever experienced. I wept...and wept. I couldn't even see her clearly.




They took her over to the warming table and Mike took these pictures:




She hated her first mini sponge bath. This was torture to hear her cry and not be able to soothe her:


After she was cleaned up, I was able to nurse her for the first time and we were in awe. Just as we were with Natalie.

I was anxious to get to my postpartum room so I could be free to move around and get settled in:


I was looking forward to seeing Natalie ALL day while in labor. I thought about her non-stop and was so excited to get to hug her when she walked in the room. This is the first time she got to hold Lexi:


Our family of four:

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Welcome Lexi!

Lexi Winter Dickinson arrived Weds, December 1st at 3:30PM. She was 7lbs, 6ozs and 20 inches long. She is perfect, and we are over-the-moon in love with her. Natalie is adjusting well and adores her little sister. I will update soon with more details and pictures, but here are just a few for now.

A few hours after she was born:


My sweet hospital roomie:


On our way home:

Friday, November 26, 2010

39 Week Picture

Feast your eyes on this hugeness!! I am thrilled and couldn't be happier carrying around this big, healthy baby. :)

...it helps to know it won't last much longer! LOL!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

39 Week Apt

The scale and I are friends again...I actually lost weight without trying. Apparently it's common at the end of pregnancy. My blood pressure was great, and I still have no edema...which is shocking to me because of how horribly swollen I was with Natalie. My OB asked if I was sick of being pregnant, and I honestly said no! I just don't feel miserable like I expected to at this point. Ask me again next week... ;)

So he did all his "checking" and I am 3 cm's dilated. Which is awesome...that's 3 less that I'll have to labor through. I mentioned that I've dilated a cm/week the last 3 weeks and this comedian says:

OB: Oh, only 7 more weeks to go!
Me: HA! I don't think so.
OB: We'll just schedule you in and deliver you here. I'll book exam room #4 since it's a little bigger.
Me: I'll see you next week, doc.
OB: Yeah, yeah, if not before then...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

38 Weeks

Just wanted to post and update that I'm doing well, and yes, still pregnant! :) Only 10 days until the due date though! It's getting so close! At my apt this past Monday (5 days ago) I was at least 2cm dilated. I've been having lots of contractions and cramping this week, so I'm hoping I'm progressing even more before labor starts.

I have been getting everything as ready as possible around here. Not only for baby, but I have already bought and wrapped about 90% of the Christmas gifts. Thank goodness for online shopping! It's driving Natalie absolutely nuts to see all these presents and not be able to open them anytime soon. Poor thing, it will be quite a long month for her!! The Christmas tree goes up Wednesday night after I finish baking pies for Thanksgiving, and then we will be set! Praying labor holds off until next weekend. :)

Also, many, many prayers for a few friends who are trying to conceive this month. They (and their stories) touch my heart, as we have NOT forgotten what it feels like to not know if we'd ever be able to have more biological children. Friday was the due date of the first baby we lost. He (or she) would have been turning 2-years-old about now. We will never forget that precious life, or the other 4 that were lost. It is quite the bitter-sweet feeling to be remembering what happened over the past 2.5 years, and yet looking forward to our daughter's arrival. We have had a long journey to get here. So we remember, and pray for those that are still trying to grow their families as well.

If you would, please also keep this baby and myself in your prayers as well as the big day approaches. Giving birth is exciting, but also brings anxiety with all the unknowns and unexpected things that can occur. We ask God to keep us in His loving hands, and bring us through this safely and in good health.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Four and a HALF

Our precious daughter just hit the 4.5 year milestone on Monday. She thinks it's pretty neat she can tack that "half" onto her age now. :)
Height: 3'7" (43 inches)
Weight: 40lbs

She has finally been gaining weight the past 6 months! I was excited to see that her weight/age is now over the 50th percentile, but then I calculated her weight/height, and she's still under the 35th percentile. Progress is progress! She's healthy and happy, and we are so grateful!
Our 4.5-year-old posing with her painted pumpkins:


Yes, she really is this happy 98% of the time!

Artistic Work

Every year, we paint pumpkins after Halloween. We started this tradition a couple years ago.


Natalie loves this, and we get a kick out of watching her. I also love the excuse to have pizza, because I use a pizza box for this project (it is easy to transfer everything elsewhere to dry overnight):

Monday, November 8, 2010

37 Week Checkup

To be more specific, I won't be 37 weeks until Wednesday, but it's apparently close enough for them.

Blood pressure is good, baby's heart sounded great, no edema, and my weight gain was ZERO! Which almost sent me into a fit of giggles, but believe me, the scale is my worst nemesis. Especially when pregnant. Most of you ladies out there will understand. I think my total weight gain with this little one is right around 32 or 33lbs. Which is fine and healthy, but just a tad more than I wanted to gain. Darn Oreo cookies! You thwart my good intentions of eating right every time!

I am starting to dilate already, which is wonderful considering I didn't dilate AT ALL with Natalie until I was induced. Hoping this trend continues (before my labor begins) so I won't have much further to go when the real contractions start!

We are looking forward to meeting this little one, but I don't feel that anxiousness like I did with Natalie. We know these are our last few weeks of just being the three of us and that is precious time. We are soaking it in!

Just for fun, I had Mike take a picture of me wearing the same blouse for a picture that was taken while pregnant with Natalie. *click to enlarge*
Left: 35 weeks pregnant with Natalie
Right: 36.5 weeks pregnant with our 2nd girl

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Month Nine

We have officially arrived! I am 36 weeks today (Weds), and my checkup this week went well! My bp is great, her head is down, good heart rate, and I have some strong "braxton hicks" contractions every day. She is still high (feels like she's in my lungs) but I have enjoyed not running for potty breaks every 20 minutes! I opted out of the "exam" this week, but will do those weekly from now on. Not that it actually indicates when labor will start, but it would be nice to know these bh contractions are doing some work! :)

My OB's office was missing Natalie this week during my checkup. She has charmed them all over the last 6 months, chattering non-stop, and asking lots of questions at each visit. Now that we're into the weekly pelvic exams, I leave her home with Daddy. I had several people wondering where she was, and the receptionist even sent a sticker home with me to give to her!!

27 more days!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Happy Halloween!

We took Natalie trick-or-treating in Nani & Pop's neighborhood again this year. She now has more candy than we know what to do with!! I completely forgot to bring my camera along, but Nani took some pictures for me before we left.

Here is a picture of our pumpkin (the leper) I took the night before. Nothing fancy this year, I drew a picture, Mike cut it out. Ta-da!

Surprise!

I was told to bring myself and my daughter to Nani's house on Saturday morning. That's all I knew. This is what I found:


Dorie and Jennifer had put together a shower for me:


...with some close friends:


Jennifer brought Jonathan along, and these two had SO much fun together. I absolutely LOVE that Jonathan is wearing a boa in this picture that he found in Natalie's toys! I highly doubt his daddy has seen this picture...yet! :)


I enjoyed catching up with everyone, and obviously had a great time:


I have no idea what I was talking about here, but I laughed when I saw this picture:


Thank you Dorie and Jennifer (and everyone else that was there) for making that day so special for me!!

Fall Family Night

was last Wednesday night at our church. Natalie has been looking forward to this for WEEKS! She insisted she wanted to be Sleeping Beauty (her favorite princess) this year for Halloween. Thank goodness I could find that costume in a store!


I opted NOT to buy the $20 princess crown that went with it, and instead cut one out of a sheet of construction paper. It lasted all night, and looked perfect with her dress!


Our church had 4 different inflatable bouncy-things set up in the gym, cookie decorating, balloon maker, bingo, hay rides, bonfire and s'mores, and a toy story room to get candy. I love how Natalie really challenged herself with the distance throws here! LOL:


Making a potato head:


MawMaw and PawPaw happened to be in town that night, so they joined us!


She spent the majority of her time bouncing in the bounce houses and obstacle course. We did get to go on a hay-ride, but had to wait a long time because there were so many people there! This horrible picture is thanks to my camera for flashing a zillion times before it actually took the picture! But it's the only one of the three of us:

New Calendar

Because Natalie will be home schooled next year for Kindergarten, she also stays home with me during her preschool year. We have a little routine we do every day (I should post about that later) and now we have added our new calendar for her to learn the days of the week, months, seasons, and the weather.


She has enjoyed getting it all set up, and her favorite part is always the weather. She also knows how to check the weather online, and is obsessed with the local radar!

Natalie draws a picture of Monnie

Notice the big tummy she was sure to include: