An 8 month update

 

Holly Hicks Photography.

Holly Hicks Photography.

It has been way to long since I have written. I apologize. Life has gotten in the way. But here I am.

So lets get on with it.

Today, baby girl turns 8 months old. I  marvel to think how this happened. It seems like yesterday Anderson and I were bundling her up to finally take her home from the NICU after her week long stay. Yet here we are.

She continue to be on the smaller side, though she is getting there. At the beginning of July, we were able to finally convince the doctor that she may have a lactose issue, and were giving the go ahead to switch her out to a lactose (and everything else) free formula along with the start of baby food. She grew a whole pound in four weeks, jumping from 9 Ibs 10 oz, to just under 11 Ibs. Considering in her previous every two month appointments she had only gained a pound each time, the pound gained in 4 weeks was great. We now have another weight checkup this  month, four weeks after the first checkup, I am assuming this may be the norm from now on. Though we are also just convinced that little lady will be a little peanut. A beautiful little peanut.

She survived her first trip to Walt Disney World this past week where she pretty much melted everyone’s heart. She had no clue where she was obviously, but every now and then I got to see the little spark of princess love. I know we are in for many more years of it.  The castle she will call her second home may not be recognizable to her at the moment, but give it time.

While she may be tiny, she is gaining personality big time. I adore her smiles and giggles, which she usually reserves for daddy and big brother. Her left thumb is constantly in her mouth, which means I am pretty sure I have a thumb sucker on my hands, and the beginnings of teething. No visible ones have made them selves known as of yet. But it is bound to happen.

She has yet to crawl, but she is a wiggler. And even though she has yet to master sitting up on her own, I know she wants to. The doctors did inform us that because she is smaller, and came a little earlier, some things may take her a little longer to do. While so many people may panic because it is not on schedule, the way I see it, take your time baby girl. Life goes by to fast as it is. The milestones can come at your own pace.

We have time. You have time.

 

Things I do not miss.

Pregnancy is a beautiful thing. There are some moments that we will always cherish and remember. Even miss from time to time. But lets face it, pregnancy isn’t always wonderful, it can be painful towards the end even. And if I am going to be completely honest, there are things I absolutely do not miss.

Like dressing for work.

Sure on the weekends, I could get away with over-sized t-shirts I swiped from my husbands closet, and comfy leggings. But when it came to work clothes while I was pregnant? Yes I could pretty much forget about it. Especially towards the last stages when I couldn’t exactly hide that little belly I had in front of me. In fact I am pretty sure  I went through the last month or two wearing the same five outfits.Granted I could have gone out and bought more but as I knew little lady was coming early, I didn’t see the point in going out and buying new ones once I hit the month to go.

And that fashion? I know people always comment about how much cuter maternity clothes are these days thanks to Jessica Simpson and others who are at least attempting to make it be more stylish. Yet I searched local stores,  pinned outfits on Pinterest and hit up every magazine order looking for something. But I could never seem to find anything “cute” while I was expecting. Especially in the work clothes department. The stores either didn’t have my size, length or had never sold the outfit I was in hopes of. I remember quite vividly being told that they don’t sell them in my size because that would encourage teenage kids to become pregnant and then suggested I hit up the internet for them.  Which may have been fine had they not cost me an arm and leg in order to do so. So if there were cute clothes out there to be had, I had not found them.

Yes there are things I miss about being pregnant, I miss the excitement of knowing she was coming soon. I miss feeling her kick and play. And I miss the moments when I had her all to myself, before the outside world welcomed her.

But clothing? Is not one of them.

All good things must come to an end.

And so begins the week I have been dreading since I left out on Dec. 15th. The return to work week. For the first time in three months I have had to get up, dress in something other than leggings and over-sized t-shirts and make my way in to the city.

I had to return to traffic. And Metro. That thought alone made me want to cry. I didn’t even want to think about returning to work until I absolutely had to.

I truly enjoyed my time off. I did a lot, or rather I didn’t do a lot. I stayed in, read to my daughter. I went and saw my son in his debut acting performance for his class. I stayed home with both of them for various reasons and loved it. Things that are often so hard to do with a 2 hour commute. I even kept the house up for the most part. I felt accomplished while I was home.  I hated to see it go.

Yes I knew it would have to come to an end. I had even been trying to gear myself up for it for awhile. I told myself I was not the only woman to go back to work after a kid. I in fact had done so once before and while I hated it then, everything turned out just fine. Give it a week or two and it will all be OK once more.You will be OK. Having my mom watch her meant I could rest assured knowing she would be in good hands.  She will be OK

Still the thought didn’t make it any easier to get out of bed.

I managed to get through yesterday (my first official day back) with very few break downs. I avoided the clock in attempts to not be thinking what we would be doing about this time. Was there a show on?  I tried not to think about the moments I may be missing, that smile she is throwing around a lot more often now. I even held out as long as I could before breaking down and calling my mom for a check in. I made it to 12:30 in the afternoon.  I did everything I could think of to get me through the day. Knowing that is exactly what I may have to do. Take it day by day. Little by little. We will adjust. I will adjust.

And wouldn’t you know, somehow I made it through the day. Miraculously. Maybe I didn’t get a whole lot done other than cleaning out my email, most of which was old and irrelevant at this point. But I made it through. I did it.

It was a start.

I will be OK. She will be OK.

2 month checkup

IMG_5127Little lady had her two month appointment this morning. I find it hard to believe we have somehow already made it to this point. Everything checked out well, as expected.

She came in at 6 ibs 15 oz. and is 19 3/4 long. Yes small on most scales at 2 months but considering she is a preemie, she has her own scale to go by.

Also as expected she isn’t fond of shots. Then again neither is her big brother. I suppose no kid is truly.  I admit I couldn’t watch them give her shots. I had Andy do it. Which is funny considering I myself would rather get a shot any day over swallowing pills.

We discussed a rose mark on her foot, should be nothing but pics are being sent to the dermatologist just to make sure. We are told it will be monitored but they don’t seem concerned. Then again we have been monitored for just about everything

Other than that all looked well, and she is doing really well.  As for Anderson and I, we are just happy to see she is finally moving in to all those newborn outfits!

Six Week check in.

So far so good. For the most part. Little lady seems to be growing as we are finally getting in to newborn clothes. They are still a bit big but at least we are making progress. She experienced her first big snowstorm, 30 inches of it to be exact. I doubt she will remember it and because of her size and the fact she is so little the better part of the storm was spent in doors. Even Logan wasn’t all that impressed with the snow, in fact it took him a bit to go out and enjoy it. One more sign that he truly is my son.

Back to Harper. She has been a bit of a fussy pants lately. Yes babies do tend to be fussy from time to time but this was exceptionally so.  I began seeing a pattern with her feedings.  She would eat like she was hungry but would soon puke the entire thing back up. While I knew spit up was typical, this was not. I ended up calling the doctor at which point we had to change her feeding times to a lot more often with not as much amount.  Whether it was a stomach issue, or not it helped as she has once again seemed to be one happy little camper and is back on track.

She is also really picking up her head, and looking around, I really wish I would know what she is thinking. I would love to know. Every now and then I catch her cooing and a tiny smile. Though she has yet to allow me to capture it on the camera!

As for me, I am just trying to enjoy every little moment with her during the day while I can. I spend my days not on the computer but talking, singing and really trying to capture the time as best as I can.

And that is enough.

Adjustment

1917085_10208342595581472_257251312139074414_nIt was a relatively quiet holiday season for this family. Unlike most of the winter breaks in the past, this one found us staying home a lot more than normal. No, we did not spend the two weeks locked away in the house entirely. We managed to see family, did a little shopping and celebrated the holidays and got out, even if it was just to drive around. Yes we were advised to take it easy, but at the same time we were told to enjoy the holidays and with a soon to be 7 year old, staying wrapped up in the great indoors for two full straight weeks is not as easy as thought.

Especially when Star Wars came out. There was no way they were going to miss it.

I have been asked how we are adjusting to being a family of four. How Logan is adjusting to being a big brother. So far so good (though ask me after this week when Anderson goes back to work) I will admit, you tend to forget how much stuff you have to lug around when you have a newborn and how much extra time it takes. I think that may be the biggest adjustment on everyone’s part. Logan is so used to just going going going, now that Harper is in the picture we have to plan things out. He has to wait for things a little more, put up with a little more.

Still he is doing really well. He has managed to get the whole pacifier thing down in the car when neither Andy or myself can exactly do it. And he adores her, I am amazed at just how much so. He is also becoming quite the protective one over her.

The one thing he doesn’t like is looking at anything girly. After years of nothing but looking at Star Wars, and trucks, cars and anything boyish, he doesn’t quite get the whole looking at things that aren’t the things he is interested in. But he says maybe they can come to some sort of compromise.

What that compromise is he has yet to say. But knowing my son as I do, perhaps I should be afraid whatever it is.

Why we chose the name we did.

The moment we announced our baby girls full name questions began. Half of those asked if we were Grey’s Anatomy fans, this was fueled even more considering we had her at 8:04 PM on a Thursday night, which just happens to be when the show is on. The other assumed we were huge Washington Nationals fans and named her after Bryce Harper. And there were a couple that were simply curious of the name.

So how did we choose Harper Avery? And are we huge fans of either?

The answer is no.  I admit I loved Grey’s Anatomy. I watched it for several seasons, glued to my TV on Thursday nights. But after several colon surgeries four years ago I couldn’t watch it any longer. I found it hard to as flashbacks would hit. That added to my schoolwork as I was finishing up my Bachelors Degree, left me little time to watch it. So we stopped watching it, only catching it every now and then. I had no idea what the Harper Avery significance meant until I looked it up. Yes it is kind of funny, but nope she is not named after it. Sorry to disappoint.

As for the Nats? Yes I am a fan of baseball, and while the Nats are my hometown team, I tend to favor another team up North as my favorite. Though I will say, I threw  out the name at the baseball game with Anderson, I figured why not.

So then how did we get the name?

For starters we wanted a name to go with Logan. Not in the sense that it had to rhyme. But in the sense that for me, it needed to be just as strong. We needed to love it just as much.

And so we got Harper.  Mainly for two reasons:

The first being that my favorite classic book is To Kill a Mockingbird, written by Harper Lee. The name has always been on my radar, but knowing Anderson isn’t a huge fan of popular trendy name I hadn’t really brought it up. The moment I did, he stopped and said that is it. As long as we find a middle name that goes with it. And then when I brought it up to Logan, he too looked and said yes. An amazing answer considering every other name we had considered Logan nixed right away.

The second connects it to Disney World. We had just come back from Disney World when we found out we were having a girl. If you have ever been to Walt Disney World, (and you know my love for all things Disney,) then you would know of Tom Sawyer’s Island, the giant playground for kids in Frontierland. In the midst of the Island, there is a mill, named Harper’s Mill.  And bingo! With my first born having a name connected to a place we love up North, I wanted a Disney connection but one that wasn’t to obvious and Anderson didn’t want one that was too Princessey.

And so we got Harper. It just seemed to be the perfect name for all of us.

As for Avery, I had kept it on the radar after watching Nashville one night as a possibly middle name.  When we passed a road named Avery  on our way up to my in laws cabin in the woods I threw it out to Andy, who looked and said, that is it. That is the name.

So no, it was not after a TV show, and it wasn’t after a famous baseball player.  Rather it has a literary and Disney World reference.

And that is the rest of the story.

Welcoming Harper Avery

It has been a very emotional week. And yet a wonderful week.

Being that I was going to be induced this time around, I had really no idea what to expect in the sense of how long it would take, what to expect and how well it would go. After all, I had heard nothing but horror stories regarding induction that it frightened me in a lot of ways. I will be honest and say, I had fully prepared myself mentally for a C-section. Though I prayed I wouldn’t have to.

10338553_10153766660300883_2459596490043955756_o

The last pic before checking in.

Wednesday December 16th found me checking in to the hospital at just before 9. Instead of wobbling in, doubled over in pain as many women around me were I felt like I was checking in to a hotel rather than getting ready to have a baby. They settled me in to the labor and delivery room where I would call home for the next several hours (or days??) While I got situated the nurse ran down my history (which is exceptionally long) strapped me in to the fetal monitoring/contraction monitor and before I knew it the doc was coming in to go over the schedule.

Now I will say this, I have had a lot of medical issues. From my slight disability, to a complicated birth of my son to my colon issues. None of which I ever really dwell about, that is until the doctor comes in and goes over everything and then informs you that you are pretty much HIGH RISK for both sets of delivery, and she will do her best but fingers crossed everything goes well because it is not going to be easy. She then smiles as I start crying and says that it will be OK. After which she sets up and gives me the medicine to start softening my cervix, tells me to try and get some sleep and wishes me luck as she will probably not be the doctor in the morning.

Thursday December 17th Induction day, I did not sleep very well at all, I was to nervous, anxious, excited and yes scared to. Not to mention, one does not realize how loud a hospital can be until you are in a labor and delivery section. The new staff came in. What a difference! The doctor was so very different, upbeat positive. Even the nurse was incredible! .We all knew the baby was small, she knew it. And she knew my past but she said her goal was to have me deliver before she left out of there at 8, in the hours that followed I would really grow to like the day staff that was assigned to me, they really kept me going and I hoped they would be the ones to be there when the little lady arrived. We started the Pitocin around 10 hoping it would work its magic. By 2:30 I was getting an epidural as they increased my dosage to the point I decided I had had enough. And somewhere around the same time, the doc came to check in on me and when I hadn’t dilated enough for their liking decided to put in a foley bulb to help. To answer-yes it was uncomfortable, but the epidural helped a lot and I knew it would be worth it. Still it took several hours of which Anderson my mom, my in-laws and I did a lot of sitting around, coloring and talking.

12365890_10153769041540883_3879368457368955872_o

Harper Avery!

Every so often the nurse (Dana) would check me out when I hadn’t progressed as much as they wanted, she would increase the Pitocin. In hopes to speed things up, the doctor broke my water around 6 and said that should help. By 7:30 frustration hit I was still not making as much progress as they thought I would have, so they increased it once again. Added to that I knew that the nurse and the doctor that I really liked were getting ready to call it a night, in fact they came around the introduce the new nurse. As she was going over my chart I was finally beginning to feel like crap, still the nurse said it would probably be awhile. So I focused on Jeopardy, sent my in-laws off and tried to get comfy. And just as the nurses left, I knew it was time. And I knew it wouldn’t be long!

At 7:55 PM, my nurses were running in (Dana decided to stick around just so she could help out!) along with the doctor! I was in active labor for 9 minutes and 3 and a half pushes before our princess arrived at 8:04PM, weighing in at 4 Ibs. 5 oz. and 17 1/2 inches long.

Harper Avery was finally here!

Believe it or not it was quite the easy labor really. And unlike the last, I had no issues what so ever. She was tiny though, and as warned would spend the first five days in the NICU.

Saturday December 19 Being discharged while leaving my daughter behind was exceptionally hard. And yet at the same time, I missed my son and I knew she was in good hands. That being said, I have the utmost respect for the nurses that take care of our babies in the NICU! They are incredible, caring and so amazing. And over the five days, I would come to find out just how much they do. To all the Nurses, NICU nurses I thank you….

12371004_10153779134115883_6407578088940199185_o

Hanging out

When she was first put in there, she was on CPAT for 24 hours to get her breathing under controlled but was soon off of it. By Sunday she was off of it, and a lot of the IVs, our hope was we would get her home in time for the holidays, but knew there was the possibility that we wouldn’t as she needed to maintain her temp. Anderson and I were up at the hospital every day in one way or another getting daily updates. She looked good, surprisingly so considering everything we went through during the pregnancy and she amazed the nurses and doctors at how healthy she was for being born at 37 weeks as she was passing every test.

It wouldn’t be long.

Tuesday December 22 We had hoped today would be the day, so we made our way down to the hospital just in time for rounds were we would find out. But things got a little sidetracked as 23 week twins were suddenly born and rushed in, while they gave Harper the all clear to be discharged, they would need to do paperwork. And since they were taking care of an emergency situation we would have to wait. No matter, we knew we would be taking her home. We had all day. She was worth it.

12374776_10153779523105883_7304543963379440414_oThe hospital gave us  vouchers for free lunch, in part for our trouble and for us having to wait. It wasn’t necessary but it was super sweet and very nice. And since we had no clue on how long exactly it would be, we took advantage of it. We were anxious to get her home, to have Logan who had yet to meet her finally be able to. I think that was one of the hardest things to do, as they do not let anyone under the age of 18 in the NICU. To try and explain that he was a big brother, yet he hadn’t seen her was difficult. We were just looking forward to having them both home.

Finally by 3 they had the discharge ready to go. So with paperwork in hand, videos watched and Harper ready to go, we walked out.

She was coming home.

 

 

 

The age gap.

It is my last day in the office before maternity leave, since I have given all of my tasks to others to do while I am gone, it is safe to say I am not getting a whole lot done other than answering a thousand questions regarding leave, the baby and family.  Most are harmless, and simple questions answered in a couple of seconds, followed often by advice and well wishes. And then you get the ones you know is coming.

“Your son, he is a lot older right?”

I wouldn’t call a six year old a lot older. After all, he still believe in Santa and enjoys snuggling with us and needs help doing things from time to time.  Sure he is a lot older than most kids who have a sibling.”He will be 7 in February.” I state.

“Why did you wait so long? That is to far of an age gap, you will ruin your children.You should have had them closer.”

To which I cringe.

Look I get it, I understand that the trend these days is to have your kids a little closer in age. But what is ideal for one family isn’t ideal for my own. Life gets in the way. With the limited use of my right hand, Andy and I had always talked about having our kids a little farther apart than most. By the time we were ready for number two, health issues came up by the time I was cleared for baby #2, I was a year away from graduating. While having another child was important, so was that degree. And as much as I didn’t want to wait, I realized if we had another child, the likelihood of not finishing was that much greater. Believe me going to school, working full time and having a family is not easy with one child. I wanted to be able to put my time in effort in finishing.

I do not say any of these however. Because I do not feel the need to. How does she know we hadn’t been trying for years? How did she know what our battles were like? She doesn’t. No one knows. And I do not feel like I need to defend my choices. I did not ask them why they choose to have their three kids within 4 years of one another. Nor did I give  them my thought on it.

By no means do I think an age gap will ruin them.

No, maybe my son and daughter won’t exactly be sharing secrets, or giggling at the same thing all the time. No they will not be going to the same school at the same time. But they will each have their own time (even if at different points in their lives). We will be able to enjoy each stage differently. And just because they have an age gap does not mean they will not love each other, rather they can learn from one another. Logan is already looking forward to protecting her when it comes to dating, and being the big role model. As for her,  I am sure she will teach him to always have a childlike quality about him that he will soon forget.

Maybe it doesn’t work for others, but it works for us.

And I am OK with that.

The sleeping issue.

It’s just about 5:30 on a Friday morning and I am wide awake. I realize to many this is not an early hour, many are already getting ready for their day.

Except I have been wide awake since 3:30 this morning. Not to mention the two hours prior where I did nothing but toss and turn. I glance over at Anderson who is snoring away deep in sleep. It is one of the few times I envy him.

Welcome to  insomnia my friends. While I have been dealing with it on and off for the majority of this pregnancy, it hasn’t been until the past couple weeks that it has truly hit me hard. Even after speaking to the doctor and taking the allowed medicine,  trying every trick from listening to calming music to counting to getting up and letting it go, I am still battling it. If it isn’t Andy’s snoring the wakes me, it is the constant need to pee at 2 in the morning. Or the little feet that kick me around 3.  On top of all of that, I have woken up starving for the past couple of nights, an odd thing considering I am not one to be this hungry all the time. And don’t get me started on any attempt to get comfortable. Because these days, that is not happening what so ever.

And here I thought my sleep problems would start when she arrives.

So for all the mothers to be, or those that have dealt with the same issue, what is/was your best suggestion to sleep in the last couple of weeks of pregnancy?