Sunday, December 01, 2013

A month of Link and other general news

I am trying to do better at documenting the life of Link, but we are finding that things are significantly different than our first time around with a newborn. While Penny is generally a very well behaved, lovely little girl, it takes a lot out of us to take care of both of these kids! I do not in any way regret waiting until Penny was nearly four until we continued on growing our family. That was definitely an inspired decision, because I could not manage this with a younger, higher maintenance Penny. But I was able to write a good chunk down in my journal today, but I thought I would share some thoughts here as well since we have reached this one month milestone!

So, Link at one month:

-While we love this baby ever so much, to be honest he has had a pretty rough start. It is a rare moment when our little Link isn't crying/in pain. I feel so helpless watching my poor little baby suffer, with so little I can do for him. We aren't sure if it is something to do with my diet, if he has reflux, really bad gas, or just generally fussy. I took him to the doctor last week, and the woman we saw wasn't very helpful or explanatory. She wasn't our usual doctor, who I like SO much better (and his name is Jeff, and his wife's name is Elyse. WEIRD!).  I think she just wrote me off as a new mom looking for an easy fix for a crying baby. But I'm NOT that at all! I am just so worried my baby is in pain and I want to do whatever I can do ease that! Jeff's brother Ryan sent over some helpful information (I forget we have someone on the inside of the medical world!) which was much more insightful than the person who I paid to go see was.

So, for starters just to be safe I am eliminating dairy from my diet. Probably one of the hardest things I have ever done, but it is worth it for my baby child. I will do just about anything to get stretches of sleep longer than an hour or so at night!

We have also had some nursing issues. It isn't that I am not producing (just like with Penny, I have the opposite problem, and overproduce) but Link has a problem with swallowing so much air, most likely due to the swift intake he has to do to keep up with the flow. Not to mention we think there is something IN the milk irritating him. He nurses for about 10 seconds before breaking off to cry, and continues this for about 5 minutes until he gives up from frustration. It is so hard to have the best thing I can comfort my baby with cause him so much pain. But I discovered that having him eat while both of us lying down has actually made a huge difference and has helped immensely. He gets a good rhythm that way, and I prefer that position best. Hopefully that helps ease some of his pain.

We had our first good day in a long time today. He was happy and content while awake for a good few hours! It was very shocking and a huge relief. It was so exciting to enjoy our happy baby for what feels like the first time. It makes me a little less nervous about our cross-country flight coming up...

Anyway, enough about that, now for all the other fun things about Link!

He has a little swirl-shaped patch of hair on his forehead that I call his hurricane. I predict this little guy is going to be a hair dude, just like his dad.

He's having no trouble gaining weight. His face has really filled out recently. Love those chubby cheeks!

He loves taking showers. It calms him right down when he is upset.

While we try to have him sleep in his crib or the Moses basket, he prefers to sleep right in between mom and dad. At least it makes those middle of the night feedings easier.

Penny and Link get along very well. She loves the little guy SO much, and has been a most excellent helper. She will drop whatever she is doing to get me a diaper or onesie and she constantly exclaims, "He is just SOOO CUUUUUTE!!!!"

 (This next picture isn't really relevant, but I laughed SO hard at her face. What do you think, Emily? Does it come close to our favorite picture of Penny?)

He also enjoys the moby, thank goodness. I was able to make sweet potato biscuits the other day while he slept away snuggled against me.

When people first meet Link, they are quick to point out his nose. I know this is his most prominent feature, it was also the first thing I noticed the second they pulled him out of me. Perhaps the boy has my nose, but I think it suits him well (much better than me for sure). It's not like it is a big deal or anything. All newborns have funny little features, and people just mention the first thing that sticks out. There's only like 3 or 4 options of facial features for people to choose from, right?

Anyway, there's the scoop. Some news about the rest of us:

Penny has been going to preschool! It is just a little co-op rotation between me and 3 other moms in the ward, but it has been working out well and she loves it. I also enjoy making materials for my preschool day too! She has been SO funny lately. We laugh so hard and nearly everything that comes out of her mouth. One of my favorite things she says recently is when she will say something clever or insightful and I ask her where she heard it from and she says, "I didn't hear it from anywhere I just heard it in my heart!"

Jeff has been working hard, and really doing an awesome job with his design work. He is gearing up for a big 10 week night course for web development that he was recently accepted to. This will definitely be a big asset for him, as well as his work.  Jeff also spent the last few months growing a very impressive beard. While everyone was enamored with it, our kissing time definitely decreased, so I was glad to see it go. Jeff developed a 12 phase deconstruction plan and I am pleased to say I have a clean-shaven husband again! But that deserves a post of its own...

As for me, I am just trying to survive taking care of two kids :) :) :) I have lots of great friends around here who have been amazingly helpful with this transition. I am sad that I don't like closer to family, especially on the hard days where I wish I could just crash at mom's house for a few hours, or have a sister or brother hold the baby for a little bit. But I guess this is just how it is, and we have to make the most of it.  I have started easing back into my designing and illustrating. I had quite a few inquiries about Christmas card illustrations, but people run away from sticker shock when I give them a quote (and I also tell them they should have come to me in September, as it is now considered a "rush job" which costs considerably more). Good heavens, people, these are CUSTOM illustrations we're talking about! You can't just buy those at Costco!

I recently bought a voucher for a month of Boot Camp! I can't wait to go back. I felt so great last time I did it, and although I am down to my pre-birth weight, it would be nice to get everything stretched back into place and toned. I concluded that I didn't gain so much weight this pregnancy due to being a lot more active (I walked around a store almost every day, and also did things like bike riding, kayaking and hiking up to 7 months) and then bedrest. I didn't eat much during that time. It is hard to cook, or even snack when you aren't allowed to leave your bed. It was too much work to even roll over in bed, and getting up to use the restroom seemed impossible, so eating seemed more like a unnecessary luxury at times. If we ever have another child, I am praying so hard that I won't have preterm labor again... But doctor says it may be likely. I guess we'll deal with that when/if we get there. Anyway, with a wedding coming up this week, I am just happy I can squeeze back into my old skirts and not have to seek out a new outfit all together!

Pardon the picture, it is the only one I really have of me as of now.

So, that's the scoop. I should probably go to sleep since Link is sleeping soundly. Jeff let me take a long 3 hour nap today so maybe that is why I'm not so tired (and I believe Pen and baby slept that long as well!). Jeff is amazing. He pretty much does everything around here, just to give me some relief. Cooking, cleaning, taking care of Penny, calming the baby down when I am losing it, and never does he complain or lose his cool. How did I get so lucky?

Anyway, next up, Jeff's facial hair journey! Get excited.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Link Week.

It has been seven days since little Link arrived. It feels like we are relearning everything to do with newborns, since it has been so long since we had one. A lot of it is natural, but I find myself trying my hardest to remember what we did when Pen was little. Even still, this baby has been super awesome so far, and we have really enjoyed him being around.

Our main goal this week was trying to get bebe to sleep during the night rather than be fussy and wakeful from about 2am to 4am. The first couple of nights were doozies, and I was wondering if we'd ever get sleep again. Yesterday we worked hard to keep him up during the day, especially right before bedtime, and it worked! He woke up a few times to eat, but went right back down. I woke up this morning thoroughly rested and chipper for the first time in weeks! Hopefully we keep this up.

This transition for Penny has been mostly smooth. There is lots for her to learn about babies. She is anxious for him to sit up and talk and eat regular food. She was very devastated when she learned he doesn't eat from a bottle, as that was what she was looking forward to the most. But mostly, every time she sees him, she says, "OOoooooh he's SooOooOoO cute!"  We're doing our best to include her in most things with him so she doesn't start to feel like she is fighting for attention. If she asks to hold him or help change his diaper, I try to comply. Mostly it has been awesome having a little gopher around to grab things when needed or throw away diapers.

Now, picture time.

 He already loves the deebee. I am kind of scarred from our experience with Penny, so I am hesitant to reintroduce a binky. But it is just so convenient. I guess we'll deal with it when we get there.

 Penny asked if she could babysit Link in her room. I joined her for a game of fairy princess while baby chilled out on her bed. She thought this was awesome.
 She is constantly asking to hold baby. She is getting better every time.

 Jeff's work sent us a lovely little "diaper cake" as well as a little "Baby Deliver" onesie. It is funny, because the company is called GovDelivery, and the onesie says baby deliver in the company's logo. Ha ha!
 I also wasted no time in getting my favorite pictures printed and hung above his changing table in the living room. I love me some Link.

I realized we didn't even have a jacket in his size when we tried to leave the house the other day. We quickly remedied that this adorable little number. Ah, baby hoodies.

Also, for the record, after having extreme buyers remorse over our beautiful couch, I take it all back. I actually love this couch. While perhaps it isn't the sink-into-est couch in the world, it is very wide, low and comfortable. Perfect for spreading out with baby supplies, late nights and early morning sleeps, and it looks stylish to boot. A great baby couch all around, even with its beige color (we're just always careful to put blankets down when baby is around).

I was determined to take some good hospital pictures now that I am starting to grasp the inner workings of our camera. We had some nice ones with Pen, but I wanted to really capture the moment. Between Jeff and I, I feel like we got some satisfactory shots. Here are some of my favorites:

And a few of my favorites from my photoshoots here at home:

And now Grandma Jill just walked in! It will be nice to have an extra set of hands around here, especially as Jeff eases back into work.

Friday, November 01, 2013

A brief recap of the last nine months...

As you can see, I have been pregnant for the last 8 months or so. Perhaps you may have not known of this before, well, you saw a picture of our new baby... When we learned of this joyous news, I had this crazy idea- to keep it completely removed from everything social media. This idea seemed silly or crazy to some. But the more I thought about it, the more I felt right about it.

It isn't that I didn't want anyone to know or that we were trying to deliberately keep it a secret, we were certainly overjoyed for our new addition. I just felt for several reasons that keeping things a little more personal and private would really enhance my pregnancy for me personally. Everyone has different styles, it's true. Some people love making the big announcements, and I too love hearing about all my friends and their pregnancies. But since Emily had moved away, and most everyone who knows me lives across the country, I thought I would be fun to just keep this an intimate experience for our little family. (I did have a pretty evil idea to not even tell my family until I came out there last August- 7 months pregnant... wouldn't THAT have been a huge surprise! I decided against this, obviously.) In the end I was very pleased with my choice, and it turned out to be a lot easier to do than I originally thought. It was nice that I wasn't tempted to impulsively broadcast my pregnancy woes and annoyances and I kept a very thorough journal account as well, since most things weren't recorded on my blog. And besides, whether or not I told people I was pregnant, they were going to find out I had a baby in 9 months anyway. I figured most people who cared to know about the pregnancy already knew, or would know soon enough. We weren't planning on keeping anything quiet after he was born!

Later, when I started dealing with the preterm labor at 32 weeks, bed rest, hospital stays, etc. I was especially glad that I had kept everything quiet. It was such a personal struggle for me, and I did a lot of praying and soul searching during this time. It was one of the most stressful months of my life trying to get that baby to stay in. I had a huge amount of support from my local friends and my family, and I was glad this wasn't something that I was sharing among a facebook wall filled with people talking about what they ate for dinner that night, arguing about politics, or sharing that funny story about that annoying coworker, etc. Not that there is anything wrong with people sharing those things, but I didn't feel like my situation fit there. It just felt a lot more intimate and personal. But, like I said, everyone is different. Some people find a lot of comfort from sharing these things, which is great! (Although, I do have very strong feelings about publicly broadcasting labor. Come on people, we don't need to hear about your ever changing private parts on facebook. Thank goodness for that hide button!)

Anyway, I just want to thank everyone for their discretion. And I hope anyone else out there is not offended. What started as just a little experiment turned out to be very beneficial for me in the end. Who knows what I will do with the next pregnancy. What is most important is that our little baby Lincoln is here safe and sound and only a LITTLE bit early, which is much better than the few months earlier that he was trying to come.

For fun, here's an extremely brief pic recap of the pregnancy, since there is almost literally none of me on the internet from this pregnancy.

We found out I was pregnant mid February. I started feeling morning sick on this trip to NYC, which was unfortunate. I was a pretty grumpy the whole time...

Jeff's parents came to visit us in April, and we spilled the beans to them. It was kind of hard not to, since I was obviously morning sick. Fortunately it didn't last long. Here we are with the Howells, who were also expecting at the time, but a few months ahead of us.

In May we went to Florida was the Howells. I was just barely starting to show, and feeling really great.

In July, I was about 20 weeks along, and we found out we were having a boy!
We also took a trip to VA for some camping. Camping while pregnant is not the MOST comfortable thing to do...

In August, we headed out to Utah and spent about a month there. It was nice way to pass the long, later months of the pregnancy. The contractions were really starting to pick up and become tiresome...

Nicole hosted the most adorable little baby shower with my dearest friends. If there is one thing I miss about Utah, it is surely my family and friends. They are all the best. It was so fun to stay up late, laughing to tears with my BFFs just like old times. Plus, everyone had adorable babies while I was gone!!

The week we got back from Utah, I started to complain about some back pains and lots of contractions while at a routine 32 week appointment. My doctor took a look, and discovered I was already dilating and 50% effaced. I was admitted to the hospital (luckily my clinic is attached to the hospital). I was put on lots of medications and antibiotics and IVs and things to stop the labor from progressing any further. Ultimately I was put on bedrest with some medicine to try and put things on hold.

Let me just say, I was (and still am) completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and help from my ward, from my friends, from my family, and everyone else who helped us through this really hard time. People graciously volunteered to take Penny for me so many times, meals were spontaneously brought over, people were ready to help at the drop of a pin. I felt so undeserving of all the service and love sent our way. It helped out more than anyone will ever know. It is not easy being on bed rest while taking care of a 3 year old.  A very extra special shout out to Jeff, who was pretty much the most amazing person during all of this. He is the most selfless, caring person ever. He never once complained or made a fuss about all the extra house work, meal prep, child care and waiting on his wife he had to endure. He was so willing to do anything and everything. Penny was also (for the most part) a very well behaved little girl, and did her part to help out as well.

Here I am at 35 weeks. It was at this point I was taken off my meds and bed rest!! Our goal was to have a 36 week+ baby, and we felt pretty confident at this point we could make it.
 My friends here in Maryland also threw me an amazing baby shower! We went to a delicious restaurant in DC called Maggiano's Little Italy Retaurant (yummmmmmy) and they all gave me lots of fun and practical gifts. These girls know me so well :) Thanks for all the hard work put into that fun night out. It was surely needed.

Mom and dad were also out here during the end of my bed rest. What a moral booster and big help they were after I was nearly defeated by that bed rest. They were so helpful, and it was so great to have some company and relief in that final stretch. Penny was devastated when they left :( I was also very sad to say goodbye. (Sorry if you were bored to tears mom and dad! At least that is only half my fault, as the government was shut down, so there was nothing to do anyway, right?!?!)

And here's the last picture of me pregnant! This was last Sunday, exactly at 37 weeks. We made it!! No preemie for us! I had my doctor's appointment 2 days later on Tuesday, and later that evening little Link was born. Good timing, little guy!
So, that is a brief recap of my pregnancy. Now you know, internet! I am so overwhelmed with gratitude, especially to the Lord, for the safe arrival of our precious little baby. The challenges we had to overcome getting the baby here only made us love him more, and I am so grateful for all the many moments along the way that I was able to draw closer to my Savior. I gained such comfort and strength from my Heavenly Father.

And here's my best earthly support team. The Lord has provided me with the greatest husband in the world. I would be lost without Jeff and Pen.
Now, time for that sympathy beard to come off, Jeff!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Some pictures! Lots more to come, but here are just a few. None of these are edited, so sorry about that...

The soon-to-be proud father of our new son. If you are wondering about the beard, Jeff calls it his sympathy beard. He hasn't shaved since we came out to Utah, and wasn't going to until the baby was born. Start your razors, Jeff!

 Baby station all ready to go. I was very nervous and surprised when we first walked in here and saw this, because they hadn't even checked to see if I was dilated or anything. I thought we would just be monitored in triage. They assumed correctly, obviously.
 Huge labor and delivery rooms! Our recovery room is about a quarter of this size.
 Jeff and I wrote down all our thoughts and feelings before the baby was born.
 And then he came out! Pretty much looks exactly like my baby pictures.

 The next morning we picked up the VERY proud big sister (when I called to see where they were, I could hear Pen in the background singing, "LINK link link LINK LINK LINK link LINK link" etc.) She is determined to be the best helper possible, even if it means taking over mommy's job, which she firmly believes she can do just as well if not better.
 She brought her favorite panda toy just to share! Aww.
 She said over and over, "He's just SO cute! Dad, you go home and I'll stay here with the baby."

 I wanted a picture with all my children. So strange to say that... Penny and I have been buddies for almost 4 years, and now this little guy is in the picture. I think we will both appreciate the company.

 Thanks for the monster blanket Julie and Drew!

 This is definitely my child.