Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking Back at 2011

2011 can probably go down in the books as the best year of my life.  I've been happy before, but never as happy as I've been throughout this year.  There have been struggles and bad days here and there, but 2011 has really been a wonderful year!  Just like I did last year in this post, I'm going to look back over our last year month by month.

January
--We had lots of snow. 
--Brandon and Emily got married.
--I marveled at only having 99 days until Aniston's due date.

February
--The highlight of February was the 4D ultrasound!
--We celebrated Valentine's Day by attending our first childbirth class.

March
--On March 13 I wrote this post about having 31 days until Aniston's due date.  Little did we know....
--I went for my appointment on Wednesday, March 23 and was put on bed rest.  Before we went home that day, I went to Hobby Lobby and grabbed a lamp I'd had my eye on for the nursery.  That was the last thing I would buy before I was a mommy to an outside baby!
--On March 25 our precious miracle arrived via emergency c-section at 37 weeks due to preeclampsia.  It was truly the best day of our lives.  I laughed and Bradley and Kesha cried--just like our wedding day!  You can revisit Aniston's birth story here and here.

April
--I celebrated my 27th birthday on the same day we celebrated Aniston's one-week birthday.  I love that our birthdays are exactly one week apart!
--Aniston's first ER visit was on April 20.  So very scary--not a fun day at all.

May
--We celebrated with Brandon and Emily at their second wedding.  This was the first time we'd left Aniston with anyone for any length of time.

June
--My nephew, Colton, was born! 
--I went back to work for a few teacher workdays at the end of school. 
--We took Aniston to the beach for the first time at the end of the month.


July
--After much crying, praying, and thinking, I gave up on pumping.  Turns out, that was the best decision.
--Bradley and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary!

August
--Bradley turned 30!
--A new school year started. 

September
--We celebrated Aniston's half-birthday!

October
--We went to the pumpkin patch.
--We went to a Halloween party.
--We had fun taking Aniston trick-or-treating for the first time!
--All of our October fun is recorded here.

November
--We celebrated our first Thanksgiving as a family of three.  We went to Bradley's parents' for lunch and then hosted Thanksgiving dinner at our house for my family.
--We went to the mountains to get a Christmas tree.  It was a perfect day--beautiful and sunny, not too cold.  We enjoyed spending the time together and had lunch at a little Italian restaurant. 
--Aniston started crawling at the very end of the month!

December
--Aniston started pulling up and crawling really well.
--We celebrated Aniston's first Christmas.  We had so much fun with family and friends!
--I was off work for Christmas break.  Aniston and I had lots of fun getting ready for Christmas.  After Christmas was over, Bradley took a couple of days off and we spent time together as a family.  When Bradley went back to work, Aniston and I spent the rest of the week shopping and going to lunch with friends. 

It had been such an amazing, beautiful year! 

Friday, December 30, 2011

Aniston's First Christmas

Wow, we've been busy!  Our weekend was filled with lots of Christmas fun.  We started on Christmas Eve at 1pm and didn't stop until around 10pm on Christmas Day.  Aniston was just an absolute joy the whole time, of course.  I had worried that she would be tired and fussy, but I think the excitement kept her going! 

On Christmas Eve we gathered with my dad's extended family for lunch.  We've always done this, and it's always so nice to see family we haven't seen in a while.  (Some we haven't seen since last Christmas.) 

After lunch we hurried home, grabbed presents and food, and headed to our next place--Bradley's parents' house to celebrate Christmas with his mom's side of the family.  We had lots of fun there!  Aniston and Colton love to play together.  While we were opening presents, Aniston pulled up on Bradley's shoulder (we were sitting in the floor), let go, and stood all by herself for about twenty seconds! 
Tags are her favorite!


Colton is such a happy baby!

After we left there, we went to Mamaw Louise and Papaw Coy's for more Christmas fun with my dad's immediate side of the family.  Mamaw and Papaw are constantly spoiling Aniston, and she left their house with a ton of stuff.  Her favorie thing was a Red Rider wagon (complete with two seats, seatbelts, and cupholders--wagons have really changed since I was little!). 
This hat reminds me of Cousin Eddie from Christmas Vacation--our favorite Christmas movie.  Ha!


Opening presents!

Wagon fun!

Great-grandparents

After we left Mamaw and Papaw's, it was well past Aniston's bedtime.  We put her to sleep, and then Santa got to work!  We had lots of fun putting together toys--and playing with them.  Santa brought toys, a big coat for when it snows, clothes, books, and a new carseat.  Her stocking was filled with puffs and a new sippy cup.  Once she saw the puffs, it was all over!  She wasn't interested in anything else!  Ha! 





My favorite thing we gave her was a board book, The Night You Were Born.  I cried in the bookstore when I read it, and tear up every time I read it to her.  It is so, so precious! 

After we finished opening presents, we hosted a breakfast for both sides of our family.  We usually go to my parents for breakfast on Christmas morning, but this year we decided to start a new tradition since we have Aniston now.  It was so wonderful to have everyone together!

At lunch we gathered at Mamaw Ruth and Papaw Burl's house with my mom's side.  Aniston was a little fussy, but still did pretty well.  Our family is so big.  The house was packed!

With cousins Angela and Abigail.  Aniston was after the toy Abigail had!

After that we were able to relax for a little while.  Aniston took a nap and Bradley and I watched part of Christmas Vacation.  After Aniston woke up, we played outside wit her new wagon and spent a little time with my parents, Mamaw Louise, and Papaw Coy. 

At 6 we headed to Bradley's cousin's house to visit with Bradley's dad's side.  Colton and Aniston were able to play together again.  Aniston showed off her crawling and pulling up skills. 


After that, we dropped by my parents' house to see Eric before he went back to Charlotte. 

Then--finally!--we were finished!  It was a busy but fun Christmas!  We are blessed to have so many places to go and such a wonderful family!





Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Too cold and dark to go outside?  Then we'll go for a wagon ride inside! 
 (Somebody has their daddy wrapped around their little finger!)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday Morning

Mary's Song

And Mary said:

"My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.  From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me--holy is his name.  His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.  He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.  He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.  He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.  He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever even as he said to our fathers."

-Luke 1:46-55

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

Weekend Recap 12/12

I love the Christmas season, but, boy, it's a busy time of year!  Our weekends have been busy since Thanksgiving, and it's only going to get worse.  I'm not complaining--I love all the time spent with family and friends.  It's just busy, that's all.

On Saturday we went to Emma's sixth birthday party.  (Emma is Bradley's cousin.)  We had a great time!  Aniston loves being around people.  She is already such a ham!  Jessica and Colton were at the party.  The babies passed the time reaching for each other and trying to take the other's toys.  They're so cute together, and I'm sure they'll be great friends as they get older.  I love that they're so close in age!  Christmas is going to be lots of fun this year.

We missed church on Sunday.  We hurried to get everything and everyone ready, but as soon as we put Aniston's dress on she fell asleep.  We were going to be pushed for time anyway so we decided to just let her sleep.  We went to a family reunion (Bradley's mom's side of the family) for lunch.  After that we headed to Hickory to see Santa!    Aniston absolutely loved him!  She touched and talked to him and did lots of beard pulling.  At one point, Santa said, "Honey, I'm real."  Ha!  When it was time for us to go, he had to pry her little fingers off his beard.  It was so precious. 

All in all, it was a busy but fun weekend!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sunday Morning

But as for me, I will always have hope;
I will praise you more and more.
My mouth will tell of your righteousness, of your salvation all day long,
though I know not its measure. 

Psalm 71:14

Friday, December 9, 2011

A New Start for the Blog

At the end of the summer, our laptop died.  I wasn't blogging regularly before then (I'm using the new baby excuse for that), but I have blogged even less since.  We had a desktop computer, but it just wasn't as convenient to use as the laptop.  (Even as I type that I realize how ridiculous it sounds.  It's true though.) 

This week our desktop went the way of the laptop.  It was older (Bradley bought it around the time we started dating), so it wasn't unexpected.  We had talked about getting a new laptop for a long time, and this gave us the excuse to go ahead and spend the money without feeling guilty.  Bradley shopped around and found a fantastic deal on one...so fantastic of a deal that he bought two.  For the first time since college, I have a computer of my very own!  I'm not sure why that's so exciting, but it is. 

I think this means a new start for the blog.  As with everything else, I have to have a plan.  I want to assign topics to a few days of the week so that it's easier to know what to write.  (I have such a hard time deciding what to blog about.  Once I finally decide, I start writing but then run out of time and never come back to it.)

Sunday (two posts): Sunday Morning (morning post) and Weekend Recap (evening post)
Wednesday: Wordless Wednesday
Friday: Weekly Randoms

Hopefully this will mean that I'll post at least three times a week.  We'll see how it goes!  Free time is scarce these days, but blogging is something I really like to do.  I hope I'll find time to do it more often.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

October

Aniston is taking a late nap after a fun day, Bradley just left for a gig (he plays in a band), and I (gasp!) actually have a minute to blog.  I am so excited!  For so long, this blog was a kind of therapy for me.  After that it served as a way for me to mark milestones during my pregnancy and, now, it serves as a way of me documenting Aniston's life....only I haven't been very good at keeping up with it.  Simple as it may be, I love this little blog and am so glad to be able to spend a little time with it today!  So much time has passed since I last blogged--I'm not sure where to start!  Maybe I'll just do a quick recap of last month.  October was a lot of fun around our house!

I love our family time on Saturdays.  It seems like there's always somewhere to go or something to do, but we've managed to save Saturday mornings for the three of us.  Bradley cooks breakfast, we play with Aniston, and just have a slow start to the day.  That time spent together is so precious! 

Aniston during our Saturday morning playtime

One Saturday in October we took Aniston to the pumpkin patch.  Sweet girl was more interested in pulling flowers off the mums and picking up straw than she was in looking at the pumpkins!  We didn't get many good pictures, but it was a sweet day full of memories.

We visited Bradley's sister, Jessica, her husband, Adam, and their baby, Colton.  Aniston is ten weeks older than Colton, but Colton is bigger!  We went to Stone Mountain State Park together and took pictures of the babies.


We went to a costume party the Saturday before Halloween.  Aniston wasn't big enough to participate in any of the games or activities, but she loved watching all the kids!


On Halloween we took our little cat trick-or-treating.

Aniston and her cousin Abigail

We can't wait to see what November holds for us!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Seven Months!

Weight: 

Height: 

Clothing Size:  3-6 months

Diapers:  Size 2

Feeding: At Aniston's six month well check, we were given the go-ahead to increase the amount of baby food in her diet and to move on to Stage Two baby food.  We were also told that it was fine to feed her smushed table food, but we haven't done that yet.  Aniston begins her day with a breakfast of oatmeal cereal, some sort of fruit, and four ounces of formula.  For lunch she has some sort of protein in the form of a jarred dinner, a vegetable, and four ounces of formula.  At dinner she has oatmeal cereal again, either a fruit or baby yogurt, and four ounces of formula.  She has a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack (four ounces of formula each) and also has a bottle before bedtime.  She loves baby yogurt!  The jarred dinners have been kind of hit-and-miss.  She loves the chicken and sweet potato dinner, and tolerates the chicken noodle, chicken and rice, and chicken and vegetable ones.  She's not a fan of the dinners that are just meat and gravy.  (Not that I blame her at all for that--they smell horrible and can't taste any better than they smell.)  We've only tried chicken so far.  She's beginning to like green beans better, but still prefers sweet potatoes over any other vegetable.  She loves all the fruits.  We tried pears for the first time this month.

Hair/Eyes:  Aniston's eyes are still blue.  Her hair is a light brown with a reddish tint. Her hair is really growing!

Sleep:  Aniston usually goes to bed around 8:30 and wakes up between 7:00 and 7:30.  She's still a good sleeper and sleeps through the night most nights.  Lately we've had some trouble with her wanting to take naps really late in the evening (around 5 or 6), and that throws her schedule off.

Likes:  
--Papaw Ricky (my dad).  My dad retired a couple of years ago, and he keeps Aniston while Bradley and I are at work. Aniston absolutely adores him!
--Lucy and Ethel
--Anything that makes noise
--Talking to people on the phone
 --Tags of any sort.  She loves her taggie blanket!
--People watching at restaurants and while shopping

Dislikes:
--Having her diaper or clothes changed.  I tell people it's like wrestling a wild animal to change her, especially in the mornings.  They think I'm kidding, but it's no joke.  I'm almost sweating by the time she's dressed.
--The carseat

Fun Stuff:   
--Aniston licks everything now....including the schnauzers if they get close enough.  :-/

Mommy's Point of View:  
   Our little girl is the light of our lives!  Not a day goes by that I don't marvel at how blessed we are.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dear Aniston

Dear Aniston,
Six months ago today, at 6:43 pm, you came into our lives with a huge yawn and a teeny tiny cry.  In that moment I found more joy than I had ever known before, and I thought my heart would burst with love for you.  We finally had you, the child we had prayed for for so long,  in our arms.  You brought us so much joy on that day, and you have filled our lives with joy every day since then.

The past six months have passed so quickly.  I want time to stop, just for a moment, so I can soak it all in.  You are changing by the day.  Your daddy and I looked at pictures yesterday from when you were first born.  You were so tiny!  You seemed so fragile.  I think back on that time and laugh.  Your daddy and I didn't have a clue what we were doing, and we were so scared of doing something wrong.  You have taught us both so much in the little time we've had together. 

I love you so, so much.  This love is like nothing I've ever experienced before.  My life has always been filled with love--for your daddy, for our family, for my friends--but the love I have for you is a different kind.  This love is fierce and protective.  It's the kind of love you that makes you cry when you think about just how much you love someone.  This love is deep, powerful, and never-ending.  I think you know how much you're loved, but I promise to keep telling you so you won't ever forget. 

You are so special, Aniston Louise.  You are everything that your daddy and I dreamed of and more.  We have been blessed beyond measure.

Happy half birthday, sweet girl.

Love,
Mommy

Six Months!

Aniston's half-birthday was on September 25!

Weight:16lb 8oz--60th percentile (as of appointment on 10/4)

Height: 25.5 inches--50th percentile (as of appointment on 10/4)

Clothing Size:  3-6 months.

Diapers:  Size 2

Feeding:  Aniston is still eating six ounces of formula every three hours during the day.  Sometimes she'll go a little longer, but not often.  We've tried to offer her more formula during feedings, but she won't eat it.  We're still giving her frozen breastmilk here and there.  (I'm guilty of often choosing to mix a bottle of formula even though we still have plenty of breastmilk frozen.  It's just so much easier.)  Aniston absolutely loves food!  This month we've introduced sweet potatoes, green peas, peaches, and carrots.  We're following our pediatrician's guidelines and still only giving her small amounts, but she would like more.  She still loves oatmeal and bananas.  She did really well with carrots (much better than I expected) and has been doing a little better with green beans.  They're still not her favorite, but she tolerates them.  We haven't found anything that she just doesn't like at all--she'll even eat rice cereal now as long as we mix in some kind of fruit (usually peaches).  I'm glad that (so far) she's not a picky eater.
 
Hair/Eyes:  Aniston's eyes are blue.  Her hair is a light brown with a reddish tint. 

Sleep:  Aniston is still a great sleeper.  She has been going to bed around 8:30 and gets up around 7:30.  She usually takes two long naps during the day, and a couple of cat naps as well.

Likes:  
  --Baths
  --Being outside
  --Riding the golf cart with Great Mamaw Louise and Great Papaw Coy
  --Music
  --Watching Lucy and Ethel
  --Her jumper
  --Toys that make noise

Dislikes:  
  --Diaper changes
  --Her swing
  --The carseat


Fun Stuff:   
--Aniston continues to blow raspberries....and thinks it's hilarious to do it with food in her mouth.
--Aniston rolled over for the first time on September 3!  She went from her back to her belly, which is supposedly the hardest way.  She still doesn't like to be on her tummy, though, so once she rolls over it's only a matter of time before she begins to cry.  We'll flip her back over, and then she'll do it all over again.  It's a tiring process, especially at 3:30 in the morning.  I'm sure she'll figure out how to roll from her belly to her back soon....or at least I hope so!
--Aniston started sitting up without help on September 17.  She looks so big when she's sitting up!

Mommy's Point of View:  What I've Learned in the First Six Months
--I'm capable of more love than I ever thought possible.  I only thought I knew love before--for Bradley, my family, my friends--but this kind of love surpasses all of  those.
--I'm usually a quiet, don't-rock-the-boat kind of person, especially around people I don't know.  I've learned that I can be very pushy and demanding when it comes to Aniston and her well-being, even if it means embarrassing myself a little.  (Like when a sick kid came and sat in the well waiting room at the children's clinic.)
--I've learned that being a mommy is a humbling experience.  I've changed a very poopy diaper (and clothes...sigh) in a restroom that didn't have a changing table.  I've left a restaurant with spit-up on my shirt and all the way down my pants. 
--I've learned that I am much stronger and more capable than I ever gave myself credit for.
--I've learned what real, true fear is.  When Aniston stopped breathing that day in April, I learned what it truly meant to be afraid.
--I've learned that long showers are a thing of the past.
--I've learned that it really is the little things in life that mean the most.
--I've learned to never say "I'll never...".
--I've learned that laundry with a baby never ends.
--I've learned that the simple things in life really do matter the most.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Five Months!

(Considering Aniston will be six months old a week from today, I'm incredibly behind.  Better late than never, right?!)

Aniston Louise turned five months old on Thursday, August 25!

Weight:  13 pounds 14.5 ounces (as of 8/9)

Height:  24 inches (as of 8/9)

Clothing Size:  She's wearing 3-6 month clothing, but can still fit into a lot of her 0-3 month outfits. 

Diapers:  Size 2

Feeding:  Aniston usually eats six ounces of formula every three hours.  She also has two tablespoons or so of cereal, fruits, or veggies twice a day.  So far we've tried rice cereal, oatmeal cereal, bananas, green beans, and apples.  She loves oatmeal and fruit.  She tolerates green beans, but makes terrible faces while she eats them.

Hair/Eyes:  Aniston's eyes are still blue.  Her hair is a light brown with a reddish tint. 

Sleep:  Aniston is on a more structured sleep schedule now since I've gone back to work.  She wakes up around 7:30am and her bedtime is between 8 and 8:30. 

Likes/Dislikes:  She loves to watch anything that moves!  She pays attention all the time now to what's going on around her.  She loves bath time now (yay!).  As far as dislikes go, I really can't think of anything right now. 

Fun Stuff:   
--Aniston started blowing raspberries on August 15.  It's really precious....if you don't mind lots of spit. Ha! ;)

Mommy's Point of View:  
    This month has brought some changes for us.  After being home with Aniston for nearly five months, I went back to work on August 18.  I am so thankful that my dad (who retired last year) is able to keep her while Bradley and I work.  I couldn't imagine dropping her off at daycare right now!
  

Monday, August 15, 2011

Catching Up

Remember when I promised to blog daily?  Needless to say, it didn't happen.  Honestly, I just don't have time.  I really wish I did.  I feel like every day with Aniston needs to be recorded, and I would love to share it with all of you, but I just never seem to get around to it.  Life is just so busy and, with school starting back next week, I'm afraid it's going to only get busier.  Sigh.  I'll keep trying to blog more often.

What's been going on around here lately?  Lots!

--Aniston went to the pediatrician on Tuesday afternoon for her four month well-check.  (I would love for her well-checks to be on her actual monthly birthday, but that's another post entirely.)  She weighed 13 pounds 14.5 ounces and was 24 inches long.  She's in the 50th percentile for both weight and height.  We were given the go-ahead to introduce her to cereal, fruits, and veggies!  So exciting!

--We gave her rice cereal for the first time on Tuesday night.  She hated it.  (Really, though, can you blame her?)  She actually shuddered every time we gave it to her.  We kept offering it to her, and she continued to shudder and spit.  Finally, we gave up on the rice cereal and moved on to bananas, which she loves! She's only eating one tablespoon of food once or twice a day. Since they recommend waiting a few days between different foods to make sure there's not an allergic reaction, she has only had bananas at this point.  I'm looking forward to her trying different things!

--Bradley's 30th birthday was Friday!  I had been planning for months to have a big party, but he declined my offer so we celebrated with dinner out instead.

--Aniston started blowing raspberries today!  She thought it was so funny and did it constantly.  (Funny story--My grandparents live behind us.  Bradley was working in the yard this evening and Papaw walked out to talk to him.  Bradley tells him that Aniston is blowing raspberries and he should see her.  A little while later, Mamaw and Papaw are knocking at the door because "Aniston is blowing blueberries" and they want to see it.  Thinking that they've made a mistake in the wording, I tell them it's called blowing raspberries, not blueberries, and invite them in.  They're playing in the floor with Aniston when Mamaw says, "Well, I don't see any raspberries, either".  Then I understood--they thought I was feeding her raspberries (well....blueberries) instead of her nightly bananas!  I had to do some quick explaining!)

I'm trying to soak up the last bit of summer before I go back to work on Thursday.  I can't believe it's nearly over!  Where has the time gone?!

Friday, August 5, 2011

One Year Ago

One year ago today, we found out we were expecting Aniston. 

As Bradley and I snuggled with her this morning, marveling once again about how absolutely perfect she is, we talked about that day.  Everything about that morning is still so fresh in my memory, and I hope it stays that way.  I remember the feeling of utter despair I had when I thought the test was negative.  I remember returning to bed, tearfully telling Bradley it was negative, and desperately trying to think of some way we could afford another month of treatment.  I remember how amazed I was when I glanced at the test later on and saw that it was positive, and the feeling of nervousness as I waited for the results of a second test.  After the second test was positive, I made three phone calls--the first to REACH, the second to my parents, the third to Kesha.  I remember exactly where I was standing when I talked to each person.  I got ready quicker than I ever have in my life, and we made it to REACH for blood work in record time.  Bradley and I went to work on my classroom while we waited on the results, and Kesha was there, too.  After working in my room for a while, Bradley and Kesha were moving furniture in her classroom when the nurse from REACH called with the results.  As I smooshed myself against the window to get a cell signal, the nurse told me the best news of my life--I was pregnant!  After that, things are a bit of a blur.  It's funny to me that everything up until that point is crystal clear, but after...not so much.  The next day I wrote this post for the blog.

What an amazing year it has been! 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Four Months!

As of Monday, Aniston Louise is four months old!

Weight:  13.5 lbs. (home weight--no appointment with the pediatrician this month)

Height:  around 24 inches (home measurement--no appointment with the pediatrician this month)

Clothing Size:  She's still wearing mostly 0-3 month/Carters 3 clothing but is beginning to wear some 3-6 month outfits.  She's outgrown most of her 0-3 month footie pajamas and a couple of dresses.  She seems to be outgrowing things length-wise faster than width-wise. 

Diapers:  Size 1

Feeding:  Aniston has started eating six ounces during feedings this month.  She eats every four hours during the day and doesn't usually wake up during the night.  We're feeding her mostly formula, but she has a bottle or two of frozen breastmilk every day.

Hair/Eyes:  Aniston's eyes are still blue.  Her hair is a light brown with a reddish tint.  It has really grown this month!

Sleep:  Aniston is still sleeping through the night!  We've had two "off" nights this month, but those were solved with a bottle (once) and her pacifier.  Her bedtime is usually between 8-10pm, and she normally wakes up between 6-8am.  She's still taking two long naps every day--in the morning and in the late afternoon--and catnaps in between.  I haven't been a stickler as far as a nap schedule goes.  I've been just taking her cues, and it's worked well for us so far. 

Likes/Dislikes:  She still likes the swing, but not as much now that she's able to control her head well--she wants to be up and looking around!  She has two favorite toys--a puppy and a giraffe.  She likes mirrors.  She still loves to go outside.  She's paying a lot of attention to Lucy and Ethel and likes for them to come close to her.  Aniston still doesn't have much of a tolerance for tummy time (at this rate, she's not going to roll over until she's five. Ha!), but loves to lay on blankets in the floor on her back.  She's most "talkative" then.

Fun Stuff:   
--Aniston holds her head up so well now!
--She's growing and learning every day.  It's amazing to watch how quickly she's changing.
--Aniston coos and squeals constantly!
--In the last two days, she's reached for me once and Bradley once.  Talk about melting your heart!!
--She smiles constantly and laughs out loud.
--She licks everything.
--She's started drooling and continues to blow bubbles.

Mommy's Point of View: 
    I stopped pumping almost two weeks ago, and can't believe how much better I feel!  I know that giving Aniston breastmilk was important, but I (kind of) wish I would have stopped sooner.  I'm able to actually fully enjoy being a mommy now.  I loved it before, but pumping was such a burden.  Our lives revolved around it.  It was just time consuming and, for me, stressful.  I love being able to wake up in the mornings and spend time reading books and playing with Aniston after I feed her.  Before, I had to rush to pump as soon as she finished her bottle.  My day now revolves around her, not pumping, and I love that.  I was also having a lot of anxiety and was on the verge of having to take medication for it.  Since I stopped pumping, most of that has gone away.  I feel like I'm a better mommy to Aniston now....even if she's not getting breastmilk. 
   I'm fairly certain that we have the best baby in the world.  (I may be slightly biased. Ha!)  Really, she's wonderful.  Aniston is the easiest, happiest baby!  She just goes along with whatever we're doing and is usually fine with it.  She doesn't cry much at all and is rarely fussy.  She's sleeping between eight and ten hours a night.  She eats well.  She's healthy.  She's just....perfect!
   Life is so wonderful right now.  This little girl has changed everything, and we are so blessed!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Aniston with her great-grandparents (my mom's parents) last night.  Yesterday was Pop's birthday. :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Schnauzers

During my pregnancy with Aniston, I often wondered how the schnauzers would react when we brought her home.  It had been just the four of us for a long time, and they (Lucy especially) were our babies.  They were used to getting all the attention.  I didn't really worry about it, I just wondered.

After Aniston was born, we sent a hat that she had worn home for them to sniff.  I had read that if a dog got used to the new baby's smell before the baby actually came home then the transition would be easier.  I'm not sure if it helped (how can you really tell anyway?), but we did it and will do it again when/if we have another baby.  Honestly, they didn't pay much attention when we walked in with Aniston.  I think they were just glad to have us home.  After loving on them for a bit, we introduced them to Aniston. 

Lucy was (of course) a bit skeptical at first.  (It reminded me of the way she acted when we brought Ethel home.  Ha!)  For the first week Lucy wouldn't have anything to do with me.  No matter how much I tried, she wouldn't let me pet her or even be near her.  She's always been a lap dog, but for that first week she would sit on the love seat all by herself rather than sit with me.  I'm not sure if that was because of Aniston or if she was just mad that I left on that Friday morning telling her I would only be gone a couple of hours for an appointment and then didn't come home until Monday afternoon.  (Yes, I tell them where I'm going and how long I'll be gone.  Yes, I know that's ridiculous.)  After awhile, though, she warmed up and was back to her usual self.  From the very beginning, Ethel was just....Ethel.  She's always in her own little world and nothing really phases her.  As long as she gets her fair share of petting, she's good to go.

We've had a couple incidents here and there, as was expected.  One day when Aniston was crying and Bradley was holding her, Lucy went up and bumped Aniston on the top of the head with her nose as if to say, "Stop it."  Another time Ethel made a soaring leap from our bed into Aniston's pack and play while Aniston was in the pack and play.  Neither the schnauzer nor the baby were harmed in that ordeal (Aniston actually slept through it). 

Overall, though, it's all gone really well.  What was most surprising to me was that their barking didn't bother Aniston in the least, even on her first day at home.  I guess she'd heard it for nine months and it was just normal for her!  Their barks never once startled her, but when Bradley or I would raise our voice to tell them to be quiet that would cause her to startle.  I'm beginning to think Aniston will be the one who does most of the startling.  She's learned that she can squeal this week, and it is so high-pitched!  For Lucy (who practically falls down every time someone spins the wheel on The Price Is Right), squealing is pretty scary.

Aniston is beginning to pay more attention to them, and they're beginning to get more comfortable being near her.  Lucy and Ethel are careful not to actually touch Aniston very often, but they'll get close.  Aniston has started smiling when she sees them.  They're protective of her and keep a close eye on her especially when we have company.  They're not big fans of her crying--they run to their crate when she starts--but, luckily, that doesn't happen too often and, when it does it doesn't last long. 

I'm really happy with the way things are going.  It looks like the start of a beautiful friendship between the two schnauzers and the baby....at least until the baby learns to pull ears and tails.  ;)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Formula

(This post is insanely long, and probably incredibly boring.  Sorry about that.  It also probably falls in the TMI category.  Sorry about that too.) 

At my first appointment with the regular OB/GYN (after I had been released from REACH), the OB coordinator (who is also the practice's lactation consultant) asked if I was planning to breastfeed.  My answer was pretty quick--yes, that was what I planned to do.  I knew it would benefit both the baby and myself, and that was that.  Decision made, or so I thought.

After Aniston's birth, while we were still in the recovery room, the nurses encouraged me to try to feed Aniston.  I tried, and she just wouldn't.  She wouldn't latch on, she didn't show any interest in it at all, and quickly fell asleep.  They assured me that it was okay.  After all, we'd both been through a fairly traumatic experience, my blood pressure was insanely high, the epidural had affected me in ways I didn't know were possible (as in, my whole body was numb, not just the lower half), and Aniston's heart rate had been very low.  It wasn't a great start to breastfeeding, but I had no doubt that it would improve.

I continued to struggle with breastfeeding while in the hospital.  Of course, there was only colostrum, but Aniston wouldn't latch on long enough to get even that.  I'm pretty sure I met with every lactation consultant they have on staff during our hospital stay.  On Sunday, Aniston's bilirubin level was at 9.9.  If it rose to 10, she would have to be treated for jaundice.  Since eating and going to the bathroom more often would help with that, it was decided that we would supplement with formula.  We used the cup and syringe feeding method to avoid using a bottle to avoid nipple confusion.  It worked, and the bilirubin level decreased.

 The hospital I delivered at is known for its strong support of breastfeeding.  Before we were discharged on Monday, I had to meet with yet another lactation consultant to develop a "breastfeeding plan".  The other ladies had been incredibly supportive and kind.  This lady....not so much.  She frowned about me supplementing with formula, and told me that if I was giving her formula anyway, I might as well be using a bottle.  Boy, did I feel like a failure!  Bradley still swears he doesn't believe the lady was being rude or judgmental, but I definitely felt judged.  Still, though, she developed a plan for us which included pumping for 15-20 minutes after each feeding. 

After we got home on Monday, my milk came in and I thought things would improve.  During the pregnancy, that was my greatest fear--that I wouldn't have enough milk.  In my mind, I truly believed that if I had enough milk, I would have no problem breastfeeding.  The thought of her not being able to latch on never entered my mind.  Aniston still wouldn't latch.  We spent the majority of the week trying to figure out what to do.  Aniston would scream during feedings, I would cry, and Bradley would be helplessly watching.  (That's right.  I wouldn't let him leave the room.  If I had to deal with the screaming, he did too.)  I began dreading feeding her.  It was horrible, not at all the bonding experience I had anticipated.  As soon as the feeding was over, I would be able to breathe for about fifteen minutes...then I would start watching the clock and dreading the next time.  I couldn't even enjoy being with her because of worrying about breastfeeding.

So, a week later, I pretty much gave up on the idea.  I had talked with the lactation consultant at the OB/GYN.  I realized that I had done everything I could do.  She just wouldn't latch, and I couldn't make her.  I could continue trying, hoping that she would get the hang of it, or I could give up.  Since I had been pumping anyway, I chose to begin giving her that milk in a bottle.  Life around here improved quickly!!  There was no more screaming from Aniston, no more crying from me.  I could be happy and enjoy my baby.

Fast forward to week fifteen.  I'm exhausted.  I'm pumping every three to four hours and it's killing me.  I've produced enough to feed her plus freeze a lot.  I'm still producing plenty; that's not the problem.  The problem is I'm tired.  After much thought, I decided to begin the process of switching her to formula this week.  It was a terribly hard decision for me to make, especially since my mind has to make the decision, not my body.  (I've been hoping for weeks that my supply would dwindle and the decision would be made for me.  No such luck.)  Even though I've threatened to quit many times over the last fifteen weeks, I never have.  This time, though, I'm serious.  I'm finished.   

I gave Aniston her first bottle of formula on Wednesday night.  While I fed her, I cried.  I have such jumbled emotions about it. On one hand, I feel hugely guilty about stopping.  On the other, I'm thrilled at the idea of my life not revolving around pumping.  I know that she will be just fine on formula.  Plenty of babies are.  (I recently read somewhere that nine out of every ten babies are fed formula at some point during their first year.  That made me feel better.)  Since Wednesday she's had several more ounces and seems to be doing great.  We're going to feed her mostly formula this weekend just to make sure she tolerates it well before I really try to decrease my supply.  Between what I've frozen over the last couple of months and what I'll continue to pump as I wean, Aniston will be able to have at least one bottle of breastmilk a day for a long time.

I hope I'm doing the right thing.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wordless Wednesday (Well....not really)


This fluffy playmat was made by Bradley’s Mamaw Frances.  She actually gave it to us when we found out we were pregnant with Peanut two years ago, and it’s been waiting in the closet ever since.  Yesterday, sweet Aniston played on it for the first time.  I wish Mamaw Frances could have seen her.  She always had faith that we would be able to have a child of our own and she prayed for us constantly.  When we found out I was pregnant again, she was so happy.  I’ll always cherish the memory of sitting by her bed and showing her ultrasound pictures.  Her smile was so sweet.  Mamaw passed away before we found out the baby’s gender, but she always insisted that it would be a girl.  I’m so grateful for the time I was able to spend with her.  She was such a precious person, and I wish Aniston could have known her.  

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Promises, Promises

I promise to be a better blogger.  Just like I've promised 431 times in the past, oh say, three months or so.  I promise I'll document more of Aniston's precious little life through the blog.  I promise I won't miss blogging about any more holidays or special occasions or trips or anything.  I cringe every time I log on and look at the little "Hi, there!" ticker thing.  People are still visiting my blog, and there's nothing new there to visit.  Bless.  You can expect daily posts from me from now on.  Daily!  I promise.  ;)

Meanwhile, Aniston's little eyes just popped open.  Nap time is apparently over, and so is blogging time for this mommy.  Maybe I'll learn to juggle all this soon?  Maybe???

Three Months!

Aniston's three month birthday was on June 25.  I'm late in posting, but here's a look back at the third month!

Weight:  10 pounds 15 ounces (as of 6/3/11--50th percentile)

Height:  21 3/4 inches (as of 6/3/11--25th percentile)

Clothing Size:  Aniston was still wearing newborns at the beginning of the month, but quickly moved into size 0-3/Carter's 3.  By the 25th, most of her clothes actually fit.

Diapers:  Size 1

Feeding:  Aniston is eating between four and five ounces every three hours during the day.  She usually wants a little more in the morning and in her last bottle at night.  I'm still pumping, so other than the two days of supplementing with formula in the hospital, she's been entirely breastfed. 

Hair/Eyes:  Her eyes seem to get lighter by the day and are blue.  Her hair is beginning to grow back on top.  It's a light brown and still has a reddish tint, especially in the sunlight.

Sleep:  On June 21, Aniston slept through the night for the very first time!  Hallelujah!  She was always precious during those 3am feedings, but I'm glad to see them go, and hope they don't return!  Since the 21st, she's done really well.  We've only had one night when she woke up around 4am.  Aniston is still sleeping in her room in the bassinet on her pack & play.  I think Bradley wants to move her to the crib in her own room, but I don't know that I'm ready for that just yet.  She's still a great napper during the day.  Her longest nap is usually after her first feeding, and then she catnaps during the rest of the day.  She's much more alert now. 

Likes/Dislikes:  Aniston continues to love her swing and the mobiles.  She has lots of great conversations with the animals!  She loves music, and it often helps to calm her.  She's still not a fan of tummy time at all.  She loves to go outside.  Bath time has definitely improved this month! 

Fun Stuff:   
--Since I decided not to return to the classroom for the remainder of the year, I wanted to visit my class before school ended.  Aniston and I went to visit on June 7.  The students absolutely loved her!  The funniest thing, though, was that they repeatedly talked about how different I looked.  I'm glad they thought I looked different, since the last time they saw me I was nine months pregnant! 
--We took our first trip to the beach as a family of three this month.  Aniston did so well!  I had worried about the ride, but she slept most of the way and when she was awake, she was happy.  She wasn't too sure of the ocean! 
--Bradley's sister, Jessica, and her husband, Adam, had a baby boy on June 2!  It's wonderful that Aniston and Colton are so close in age.  Aniston looks huge compared to him!
--Aniston is smiling all the time now, and has started laughing a little every now and then.  She loves to stick out her tongue, and it just thrills her when you stick yours out in return!
--She has recently started licking everything.  Her hands, our hands, blankets, toys....anything that comes near her mouth! 
--At the beginning of the month Aniston was beginning to hold her head up a bit on her own.  Now she's holding it up all the time with very little bobbling.  She loves looking over our shoulders and checking out her surroundings.  Since she's able to hold her head up so well now, she's beginning to enjoy sitting in her Bumbo.

Mommy's Point of View:  Aniston is growing so quickly!  It's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day routine and not pay attention to how fast the time is passing.  She has changed our lives so much already and is such a blessing to our entire family!  I love watching the way everyone interacts with her, especially my grandparents (her great-grandparents).  They just love her to pieces and can be so silly!  It makes me happy to see how happy they are. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Two Months!

Weight: 9 pounds 4 ounces (as of 5/12/11--50th percentile)

Height: 21 3/4 inches (as of 5/12/11--50th percentile)

Clothing Size: Aniston is still wearing newborn clothing.  Anything bigger absolutely swallows her at this point, but I think she'll soon outgrow the newborns length-wise.

Diapers:  She's still wearing newborn diapers.

Feeding: Aniston eats three to four ounces every three hours during the day.  At night she's beginning to go for longer stretches between feedings.  Breastfeeding didn't work out for us, so I'm pumping and giving the milk to her in a bottle.  Precious girl doesn't miss a meal, and she loves to eat!  She fits in well around here. ;)
 
Hair/Eyes:  Aniston has old man hair right now.  It's really thick around the bottom, but pretty much nonexistent on top.  She's lost hair on the top of her head and in one spot where she constantly lays on it.  I still can't decide what color it's going to be.  It seems to be darker at the bottom but is lighter toward the top, and, in some light, it has almost a reddish tint.  Her eyes are still dark, but are beginning to lighten.

Sleep:  Aniston is beginning to sleep for longer periods of time at night.  Thank goodness!  She's consistently sleeping for about five hours, then waking up for a diaper change and bottle.  She usually goes back to sleep without any trouble.  She's still sleeping a lot during the day, with her longest naps being in the morning.

Likes/Dislikes:  Aniston still loves her swing.  She's recently discovered the mobiles on the swing and the pack and play, and she loves watching the animals.  She loves to go outside.  Aniston still doesn't like tummy time, but we're working on it.  Bath time is beginning to improve, slowly but surely.

Fun Stuff:  This month Aniston started social smiling!  Bradley and I were so excited when she really smiled for the first time.  She is a very happy baby.  She's usually not fussy but when she does begin to cry, it's usually a quick fix. 

Mommy's Point of View:  
   I can't believe she's two months old already!  It seems like time is flying.  I'm still on maternity leave.  My eight weeks of actual sick leave ended on May 23, but I opted to take personal days until the end of the school year.  I will be going back on the teacher work days to pack up my classroom on June 10, and will work for five days before being on summer break.  I'm so thankful to have all this time with Aniston.
   Everything has changed now.  Things are wonderful, but nothing is simple anymore!  It takes us forever to get everything ready to go somewhere.  There's not much spontaneity with a baby....Even trips to the grocery store have to be planned carefully and timed according to her schedule.  It's worth it, though.  :)
  I've struggled with breastfeeding.  Aniston wouldn't latch on and breastfeeding was a pretty miserable experience for everyone involved.  Aniston would scream, I would cry, and Bradley didn't know what to do with either one of us.  When she was around two weeks old, we made the decision that I would stop trying to breastfeed and begin exclusively pumping.  I'm not a fan of pumping.  It's time consuming and inconvenient.  I've done it for two months now, but I'm not sure how much longer I'll continue.  I would like to quit, but at the same time I feel that quitting would be a selfish decision.  I have plenty of milk (TMI, I know) so if I choose to quit, it would be only because I want to, not because I have to.  My doctor thinks I'm crazy for going through the trouble of pumping.  The pediatrician thinks I'm a saint for doing it.  I'm still not sure who's right.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The First Month

It's so hard to believe that Aniston is a month old today!  Where has the time gone?!  It does not seem like it's been a month since we left the hospital with her....and looked at each other and said, "That's it?  They're just letting us take her?"  I was so nervous, and she didn't come with any instructions at all--haha!  When we got home that day, we left her in the carrier and sat it on the table.  The "now what do we do?!" feeling was overwhelming!  I was so unsure of myself in the beginning, and I cried all the time.  For the first week or so, I'm pretty sure I cried nearly every time Bradley looked at me.  I wasn't unhappy.  It was just that everything was so new and scary.  She seemed so tiny and breakable.  Also, I wasn't prepared--mentally or organizationally--for her to come early.

Honestly, I wasn't ready for the pregnancy to be over.  I won't say that I loved being pregnant because there were many things (especially toward the end) that weren't so great.  But I did love feeling her move, and I loved feeling special.  Not special in the sense of people paying attention to and making a big deal over me, but special in the sense that I was part of something really wonderful.  I didn't think the doctor would induce labor that day.  My bag wasn't packed, Aniston's room wasn't finished, I hadn't had maternity pictures made...the list goes on and on.  All of this really bothered me the first couple of weeks.  Nothing about her birth had gone according to my plan.  (Big surprise there, right?  When does anything go according to my plan?) 

And yet there she was.  Perfect and healthy, even after all that happened during labor.  Really, does it matter that I don't have maternity pictures?  Does it matter that the nursery wasn't finished and that my bag wasn't packed?

Nope.  In the grand scheme of things, those details don't matter at all.  Once I realized that, everything fell into place.  It has been the hardest but most rewarding month of my life.  I love her so much, and can't imagine life without her.

Highlights of The First Month
--Aniston weighs 6 pounds 7 ounces (as of 4/20).
--She's still wearing newborn diapers and clothes.  The clothes are still a little big on her.
--She's a really great baby!  She sleeps for four-hour stretches at night, eats, and then usually goes back to sleep fairly quickly.  She usually only cries when she's hungry or needs a diaper change, and she's rarely fussy.
--She still sleeps a lot during the day, but she's beginning to be more alert when she's awake.  She's also beginning to wave her arms more.
--She loves to stare at faces, especially during the middle of the night feedings.
--She's not a fan of socks or mittens and gets them off as quickly as possible.
--She loves her swing and riding in the car.
--She doesn't like bath time at all.  It's a fairly miserable experience for all involved.  We're working on this.
--Her first time in a restaurant was at Chick-fil-a after a visit to the pediatrician on April 14.
--Her first ER visit was on April 20.  She stopped breathing and turned blue.  It was horribly scary!  The pediatrician believes it was due to acid reflux.  We're keeping a close eye on her and considering several treatment options.
--Her first trip to church was on April 24, Easter Sunday.  She was awake for just a little while during breakfast, but then fell asleep and slept through the entire service.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Two Years Ago

Two years ago today, Bradley and I learned we had lost our first baby.

It's hard to believe it's been that long.  In some ways, I realize the amount of time that has passed by looking at how far we've come and how our lives have changed.  At the same time, that day is still so fresh in my mind...It seems like it was just yesterday.

That's the thing about the best and worst days of our lives.  Our memory can hold both forever.  Just like our wedding day and the day of Aniston's birth is seared in my memory, so is the loss of our first baby.  Honestly, though, I wouldn't want it any other way.  Remembering her means that she was important, that she mattered, that she touched our lives even though we never met her.

We love you, sweet Peanut. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Aniston's Birth Story, Part Two

When we arrived at the hospital (after we made a ton of phone calls from the parking deck to tell our family and friends that we were having a baby, like, today), the nurses in triage were waiting on us. We were immediately taken to a room.  Those moments in the hospital room alone, before everything started and before our family and friends arrived, were precious.  I think we whispered, "We're having a baby!" to each other a hundred times.  It was one of those times in life when everything seems so real, yet so dreamlike.  The day we had waited for was finally here.  After years of waiting, we were having a baby!

The nurse started the Pitocin drip and I was hooked up to all kinds of monitors.  We listened constantly to Aniston's heartbeat on the monitor.  All throughout the pregnancy, I loved listening to that sweet sound--the affirmation that there was indeed a life inside of me, strong and healthy--and on her birthday was no exception. 

I didn't make fast progress with the Pitocin, and Aniston didn't tolerate it well.  Her heart rate would drop then pick back up again, a series of peaks and valleys that alarmed the nurses and caused them to stop the Pitocin.  Dr. A arrived soon and decided to speed things up by breaking my water.  (At this point, I'll tell you two things: First, I only thought I was dying when Dr. F checked my cervix and stripped my membranes.  Dr. A checking my cervix and breaking my water was a thousand times worse.  Second, the feeling of having my water broken was the worst. feeling. ever.  No details need to be given.  End of story.)  He also placed an internal monitor on the top of Aniston's head to keep a better check on her heart rate.

Dr. A determined that I was at 3 cm and decided to try the Pitocin again.  This time, the contractions were much, much stronger.  The anesthesiologist came in and administered an epidural soon after and the pain immediately lessened.  I was able to rest a little.  Then everything turned upside down.

Several nurses rushed into the room at once.  Aniston's heart rate had dropped dangerously low.  I was immediately given oxygen and told to get on my hands and knees as Dr. A was paged.  Dr. A quickly came into the room and sat at the top of the bed, leaning down to look in my eyes.  He explained that Aniston was in distress and that an emergency C-section was needed.  I was terrified--not of the surgery, but of losing her. Dr. A and all of the nurses were wonderful.  I was amazed at how organized it all was.  Everyone had a job and moved quickly.  The moments before the C-section were a blur.  I just remember thinking the whole time, Hurry, hurry, hurry! and straining to hear the beep-beep-beep of the monitor for Aniston's heart.

The operating room was a surreal experience.  Thankfully, I had the epidural and didn't have to be put under anesthesia for the surgery.  I prayed the entire time as I continued to listen to the beep-beep-beep of her monitor.  After they brought Bradley into the OR, I asked him to pray for us, too.  He sat by my head, and, even though the anesthesiologist continually encouraged him to look over the curtain, he remained seated through the surgery.  :)  (Later we would laugh about that, and he would tell me that there were some things you just can't get out of your mind, and that would probably be one of those images.)  I asked, "Is everything okay?  Is she okay?" over and over--I'm sure I drove everyone in the OR crazy with my questioning, but I was still so afraid of losing Aniston.  The anesthesiologist was wonderful during the surgery.  He kept a running commentary of what was going on, and provided the constant reassurance I so desperately needed.  Dr. A and the nurses laughed as they pulled Aniston out because she immediately yawned. And then she gave a single, loud cry.  It was the sweetest sound I've ever heard.  Her color was slightly off for her first few minutes of life because of the drop in heart rate, but she quickly "pinked up".  The nurses suctioned her mouth and nose, cleaned her up, and gave her to Bradley.  I can't even begin to describe how I felt when he carried her over to me.  We finally had our precious miracle in our arms!


So, that's the end of Aniston's birth story....and it only took three weeks for me to finish writing it!  I'm (finally) beginning to get a grip on things, and hope to blog more regularly in the coming weeks.  There's so much going on, and Aniston is growing and changing every day.  I don't want to forget anything, and the best way for me to record all that's happening is to blog...even if it's only a tiny post.  Stay tuned!

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Few Things

Since I don't have time for full blog posts lately, bullets will have to do.  :)  I've always kept the blog as a kind of journal, and there are so many things going on right now that I just don't want to forget.

  • Life with a newborn is incredibly busy!  Honestly, I feel like we're on one big cycle--We feed Aniston, we change her diaper, I pump while she naps, we wash the bottles and the pump stuff, sit for a few minutes, then it's time to repeat the whole process.  It's wonderful, but exhausting!
  • I'm still working on the second part of her birth story.  It's probably way too detailed and long, but, again, I keep the blog as a journal.
  • Bradley goes back to work tomorrow.  I've enjoyed our family time, and I'm sad to see it end.
  • Aniston went back to the pediatrician for her second visit last Tuesday.  When we left the hospital on the 28th, she weighed 5 pounds 9.5 ounces.  On Tuesday, she was up to 6 pounds 3 ounces!  She had gained back all of her weight, plus one ounce!
  • On Friday we got a call from the hospital saying that they didn't draw enough blood from Aniston and her blood test couldn't be read.  Ugh!  I'm taking her back to the hospital tomorrow to have more blood drawn. :(
  • My two-week post-op appointment was today.  It's crazy to think that we're still two days away from Aniston's due date, and I had a post-op appointment today!  Dr. A said the incision looked pretty good overall, but had pulled apart in one place.  I already suspected that.  He wasn't too concerned about it and said it should heal on its own without any problems.  He also gave me a prescription for birth control pills.  Ha!  Birth control will help to lessen the symptoms of PCOS, and I had planned to go back on it for that reason anyway, but it was still such a funny feeling walking out of the office with a birth control prescription.  As Dr. A flipped through my chart and asked me what kind I was on before, I laughed and told him that it had been nearly four years--four years!--since I had last taken birth control pills.  I couldn't even remember the name of the medicine. 
Life is busy, but wonderful!  That's all for now!

    Sunday, April 3, 2011

    Aniston's Birth Story, Part One

    Walking into the doctor's office on Friday morning, I was expecting to hear one of two things: 1) the tests showed that I did not have preeclampsia and could return to work the following Monday, or 2) the tests showed that I did, in fact, have preeclampsia and would be put on bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy.  Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to hear that we would be having a baby that evening.

    Bradley left for work that morning not planning to even go to my appointment.  He had a meeting at work, and I assured him that it was perfectly fine if he didn't go with me.  After all, I thought I knew what the doctor was going to say.  I had a normal morning here with the schnauzers and took my time getting ready, never once thinking that it could possibly be the last time I was in my home without a baby.  Right before I pulled out of the driveway, Bradley sent me a text telling me to meet him.  He had decided to go to my appointment with me and then go back to work.  On my way to meet him, I stopped by Bojangles to pick up breakfast (food for Bradley, only a drink for me because I always get so nervous before appointments).  Now, we are regular Bojangles customers, especially for breakfast on the weekends.  Because of that, and because the same cashier works the morning shift nearly every morning, when I pulled to the window he recognized me.  He asked about the baby, saying, "Isn't it about time for you to have that baby?"  I smiled and replied that, no, we still had three weeks left.  (Ha! Irony at its finest!)

    I met Bradley and left my car in the parking lot.  We went through the regular appointment routine--blood pressure, weight check, etc.  The nurse found that my blood pressure was high, and insisted that I lie down while we waited for the doctor.  Dr. F came in, checked my measurement and Aniston's heart rate, then leaned against the counter with his arms crossed.  The results from the kidney function and blood tests confirmed that I did have preeclampsia.  He explained that, while he would classify me as mildly preeclamptic at the moment, it could take a severe turn at any time.  I'll never forget the moment when he said, "The only cure for preeclampsia is to have a baby."  Everything stopped.  He went on to say that he would be doing some fetal monitoring that morning to check Aniston's size and ability to thrive as an outside baby.  Before doing the monitoring, Dr. F checked my cervix (2 cm dilated) and stripped my membranes.  I nearly died.  (That may be an exaggeration, but only a slight one.)  After I recovered, we were sent to the ultrasound room for a biophysical profile, and Aniston was checked for eight markers.  She scored 8/8 and was declared not to be in distress.  Dr. F met with Dr. A (the on-call that day) in the hallway and discussed what to do given all the information they now had. 

    Dr. F entered the room again and announced that we would be having a baby and Dr. A stuck his head in the door and told us he would see us soon.  We waited as Dr. F filled out paperwork and called the hospital, both of us in a state of excited shock.

    Aniston's Arrival

    I've been meaning to update the blog for a week now, but just haven't had time!  Our precious Aniston arrived on Friday, March 25 at 6:43 p.m. 


    I'm working on writing her birth story and plan to post soon! 

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011

    Preeclampsia?

    Today was my weekly ob appointment.  Miss Aniston is doing just fine.  Her heart rate was in the normal range and she measured perfectly for thirty-seven weeks.  Meanwhile, my blood pressure was high again and this time there was protein in my urine.  (I asked Bradley if I should include that little piece of information in this post.  He replied that since I haven't held anything back on here yet, why start now?  Ha!)  Dr. F is afraid I may have developed preeclampsia.  He's putting me out of work for the rest of the week with strict instructions to lay on my side most of the time and rest, rest, rest.  I go back tomorrow for blood work and then I have a follow-up appointment with Dr. F on Friday morning.  We'll discuss the lab results and what to do then.  Hopefully the results will be okay and I'll be able to return to work next week. 

    I hate that this is happening, but I'm so thankful that we're at thirty-seven weeks.  Please keep us in your prayers!

    Saturday, March 19, 2011

    Nesting? Not Quite

    I have reached the point where I want everything finished.  Like, it should have been finished yesterday.  I feel like there are 679 things we need to do before Aniston arrives.  Such as: pack a bag for the hospital; figure out what we're doing with the two schnauzers while we're at the hospital; find a coming home outfit for Aniston; finish the nursery; clean our house from top to bottom.

    What is really, really bothering me is that no one can tell me how long I have to accomplish all these things.  I tend to procrastinate.  How can I procrastinate if I'm not sure when the deadline is?! 

    Thursday, March 17, 2011

    36 Weeks

    As of yesterday, I am 36 weeks pregnant.  Only four more weeks to go!  I'm amazed by how far along we are.  So much of this still doesn't seem real, and I'm just so grateful that we've been able to have this experience.  I have such mixed emotions right now.  One minute I'm absolutely crazy with excitement over meeting Aniston and the next minute I'm in tears because I am so terrified of something happening to her.  I know it's a (somewhat) irrational fear, but we're this close to finally having a baby.  I just don't want anything to happen.

    We have been working hard to get our house ready for her.  I can't believe how much stuff she already has!  We have boxes everywhere!  An entire kitchen cabinet has been taken over by her bottles and things, as well as the hall bath.  I've finally been able to begin taking things out of boxes and removing tags from towels, blankets, bibs, burp cloths, and clothes.  It took me such a long time to feel like I wasn't going to jinx the pregnancy by actually preparing for the baby.  Her room is coming along slowly but surely.  The changing table is ready and we've made up her crib.  The bedding set is so pretty!  (I'll post pictures as soon as everything is finished.....hopefully very, very soon seeing as we only have four weeks left!)  We have a pack and play in our bedroom.  After three years, we finally have a pack and play in our bedroom!! 

    Yesterday was my weekly ob appointment.  Everything is still going well.  Aniston's heart rate was 150 and the measurement was perfect.  My blood pressure was lower this time than it had been in the past three weeks.  Although I still have a ridiculous amount of swelling, Dr. H wasn't too terribly concerned since my blood pressure was better.  Another of my fingers have gone numb (my right middle finger) and Dr. H suggested wearing a brace at night to help the carpal tunnel.  Hopefully it will help.  Other than that and the swelling, I can't complain too much.  :)

    Last night as we were watching American Idol, it came to me--We'll have a baby before we know who the next American Idol is.  How fantastic is that?!

    Sunday, March 13, 2011

    Thirty-One Days

    In July, Bradley and I promised to try one more month of fertility treatment.  Thirty-one days.  Thirty-one days of medications, injections, monitoring appointments, and blood work.  Thirty-one days of constant praying (and often begging) for a miracle.  Thirty-one days of knowing the odds were not in our favor.  Thirty-one days of hoping for the best and bracing ourselves for the worst. 

    Today, we are one month away from Aniston's due date.  Thirty-one days.  Thirty-one days of preparing our home for our daughter.  Thirty-one days of laughter, excitement, and wonder.  Thirty-one days of just the two of us.  Thirty-one days of praise and thankfulness.  Thirty-one days of prayers for a safe delivery and a healthy Aniston. 

    After three years of trying to conceive, two years of fertility treatments, and thirty-five weeks and four days of pregnancy, we are thirty-one days away from meeting our miracle. 

    What a beautiful, beautiful thing.

    Thursday, March 10, 2011

    35 Weeks and a Day of Rest

    Today was my weekly ob appointment.  Everything went well.  Aniston's heart rate is still in the 140s.  Dr. L checked my cervix (uh, ouch! didn't realize how much that would hurt!) and announced that I'm not dilated at all, which is fine for 35 weeks.  Aniston is definitely head-down, and Dr. L said everything is "perfect"!  My blood pressure was a little lower than it had been the past two weeks, so she was pleased with that, too.  The swelling is still an issue, and I've developed carpal tunnel because of the fluid.  My arms and hands are constantly tingling (the right is worse than the left, which is aggravating because I'm right-handed) and my right ring finger has gone completely numb, but all that should resolve itself after delivery.

    Since 10:30 was the only appointment they had available today, I had to take the entire day off of work.  I couldn't take a half-day because there was no way I could make it back by 11:30.  After my appointment I met Bradley for lunch.  I had planned to do a tiny bit of shopping since I wouldn't be on my feet much today, but was tired and decided just to come home.  Then I decided that I would work in the nursery for a bit, but all the stuff is just overwhelming and I didn't do that either.  So, basically, I've spent my whole day off playing with blog backgrounds and headers, on facebook, and following rabbit trails from blog to blog while Ethel naps on my feet and Lucy keeps watch from the back of the recliner.  It's been a nice, relaxing day. :)

    Wednesday, March 9, 2011

    An Ethel Story

    After dinner tonight, Bradley and I were watching tv in the living room when we realized that Ethel was missing.  Bradley called her name, then muted the sound so he could hear where she was.  We heard a rustling in  the kitchen.  Bradley had taken the trash can out of the cabinet so he could dump the remains of dinner into it (chicken dumplings, if you're wondering), but failed to put it back in the cabinet.  Ethel saw this as the perfect opportunity to supplement her dry dog food diet.  She was somehow in the trash bag, and the majority of her body was covered in dumplings. That by itself was just hilarious to me.

    Then it got even better.

    Bradley was mad.  Furious.  He was mid-rant, fussing at poor little Ethel, when Ethel looked up at him innocently....and burped.  Burped!  

    Oh, I lost it.  I haven't laughed that hard in a long, long time.  As Bradley carried her (at arms length) to the tub for a much-needed bath, tears were rolling down my cheeks.

    Are we seriously adding a baby to this circus?

    Saturday, March 5, 2011

    Weekly Appointment Update (Among Other Things)

    My now-weekly OB appointment was on Thursday morning.  I saw Dr. A, another doctor in the practice.  At this point I've seen all the doctors at least once, and I like all of them.  Of course, I have my favorites (who doesn't?), but I feel comfortable with all of them and would be fine with any of them delivering Aniston.  Anyway, the nurse took my blood pressure twice, using two different cuffs, and then Dr. A took it again later in the appointment.  Every time it was different.  Dr. A said that it was still high, but not any higher than it was the week before.  That's a good sign!  I'm still supposed to stay off my feet as much as possible, but I'm also still able to work without restrictions.  The whole go to work, go home, and don't do much else routine is getting a bit old, but it's tolerable.  At least I have an excuse not to go to the grocery store or do any cleaning or cooking. :)

    Speaking of that....I really do have a wonderful husband.  Bradley has been fantastic.  He has cooked (or picked up take-out....ha!) every meal since last Friday.  He's always been helpful with cleaning (I've never mopped or cleaned the shower, and everything else we split), but now he's doing everything.  He hasn't complained at all.  (If the roles were reversed, I'm pretty sure I'd be complaining.  Or at least making sure he was taking note of every little thing I was doing.) 

    I can't believe we have six weeks left before our little girl arrives!  It's just....unbelievable.  I try to tell myself that she could be early, that we may really have less than six weeks, but that just seems even more unbelievable.  I can't wait!

    Tuesday, March 1, 2011

    Worry, Worry, Worry

    That's all I seem to be able to do these days.

    Over the last several weeks, the constant worry that plagued me early in pregnancy seemed to lessen.  I wasn't consumed by it like I had been.  Now, though, the worry is back--with a vengance. 

    I have six more weeks to go, and I'm ready for her just to be here.  I'm so afraid of something happening this close to actually having a baby.  I'm worried about my blood pressure.  I'm worried about a cord accident.  I'm worried about odd aches and pains I'm having.  I'm worried about being so stressed.  I'm worried about something going wrong during delivery.

    I'm worrying too much and I know it, but I can't make it stop.  I'm so afraid of so many things.  I'm trying to remember that most of this is out of my control, and that God's plan for us and Aniston is perfect, but I'm definitely struggling right now. 

    Please keep me and our precious Aniston in your prayers!  Please pray that all my worrying is for nothing and that everything will continue to go well!

    Friday, February 25, 2011

    Appointment Update

    I had my regular every-other-week OB appointment this afternoon.  Aniston's heart rate was in the 140s and she measured right on track.  That's the good news.

    Here's the bad news: My hands have been swelling for awhile now, and I haven't worn my rings in weeks.  My ankles and feet don't really look like feet anymore.  Think elephant--and I'm not joking.  The swelling has reached a ridiculous point this week.  My blood pressure today was much higher than it had been at previous appointments and I've gained more weight than usual in the past two weeks.  Given all these things, Dr. H is pretty concerned.  As he was talking to me about his concerns, I was really afraid he was going to put me on bed rest.  He didn't go that far, but did give me strict instructions to go to work and then go straight home to put my feet up--not much else.  Basically, I'm supposed to let everything else go.  If Bradley doesn't do it, then it's not going to get done.  Of course, he also told me to drink a lot of water and watch my salt intake.  I should have one more every-other-week appointment before reaching the weekly appointment mark, but Dr. H went ahead and moved me to weekly appointments starting next Thursday. 

    This is already hard for me.  Not the salt and water thing, but the doing nothing.  I'm not much of a stay-at-home kind of girl.  I like to go and do.  Not only that, but this is coming at a time when I desperately need to work on the nursery.  I'm less than two hours into it, and it's already hard.

    But I'm going to listen to what Dr. H said, of course.  I'll do anything to get Aniston here safely.  Hopefully we'll see some improvement at next week's appointment.

    Thursday, February 24, 2011

    Can You Believe It?!

    I know that time is passing quickly.  I know that February is nearly over.  I know that I am 33 weeks pregnant and have 48 days until Aniston's due date.  I know, I know, I know.  

    Somehow, though, I didn't really process the amount of time I have left before the due date. 

    That all ended today as I was filling out paperwork for my maternity leave.  Now, I talked to our benefits specialist weeks ago about how many days I had, what my options were, etc.  She emailed me the paperwork, and, honestly, I printed it, put it in a folder, and stuck it on my shelf.  Today I pulled it out and actually looked at it.  Up at the top, in bold letters, were instructions to submit the paperwork at least thirty working days before the anticipated absence.  Out of curiosity, I flipped my calendar open to April and started counting back to find out exactly how many working days are between now and the due date. 

    Uh, try thirty-tree.  Thirty-three!  

    I about died.  I couldn't believe it.  I made a (semi) frantic call to the OB coordinator at my doctor's office and faxed her the FMLA paperwork.  She laughed when I said, "I just didn't know it was so soon!"  She's a really sweet lady, and she assured me that it would be filled out and waiting for me to pick up at tomorrow's appointment.

    Thirty-three days of work before Aniston's due date.  Can you believe it?!

    Saturday, February 19, 2011

    Busy, Busy, Busy!

    This week has been an absolute whirlwind!  As I sit and write tonight, I'm absolutely exhausted but so happy and content!  Along with work and our regular day-to-day stuff, we've had a lot going on. 

    Monday was our first of four childbirth classes.  Wow!  What an eye-opening experience!  I had been so consumed with worrying about something happening during the pregnancy that I hadn't even really thought about actually having the baby.  After that class, I'm definitely thinking about it now!  Haha! The instructor (a labor and delivery nurse with 30 years experience) also went over typical third trimester complaints and problems.  Bradley has been much nicer since then!  I think he finally realized that I wasn't just being whiny and making things up! 

    Bradley has continued working on refinishing the nursery furniture this week.  It's definitely been a job, but the end is in sight!  Right now the nursery is piled full of gifts waiting to be organized.  I'm hoping to get everything together in the next couple of weeks.  We're down to less than eight weeks from her due date (!), and I want everything finished just in case she's early.  Also, I want to hurry and get the nursery finished while I still actually feel like doing something.  Which leads me to....

    I think I've reached the "uncomfortable" stage of pregnancy.  Everything is so much harder and takes so much more effort now.  Tying my shoes leaves me breathless, as does bending over to shave my legs.  My toes haven't been painted in weeks.  Aniston's favorite spot lately is right under my ribs, and that makes it so difficult to breathe.  I'm tired all the time and my back hurts constantly.  My hands and feet are constantly swollen and look gross.  The sleep I enjoyed for the last part of the second trimester is long gone.  I constantly tell Bradley that I'm not complaining, I'm just telling him how it is.  I know how lucky I am to finally be able to experience this miracle.  I wouldn't trade a minute of it for all the sleep and deep breaths in the world. One day I'll be able to sleep again.  And be able to tie my shoes without nearly dying.  And have nicely shaved legs and painted toes.  And a little girl to show for all my trouble.  That definitely makes it all worthwhile.  :)

    On Thursday, my grade level at work hosted a baby shower for me!  When you work in a place with mostly women, showers are a constant.  I can't tell you the number I've sat through over the last three years wondering if I would ever be lucky enough to have a baby shower of my own.  It was wonderful.  I'm blessed to work in a school with such caring people! 

    Today Kesha and I went shopping and out to lunch.  It was a beautiful day!  After such a busy week, it was fun to catch up with her.  I am so incredibly thankful for her friendship! 

    Tomorrow we have another baby shower!  I can't wait!