Monday, February 28, 2011

Powerful Words

Did you know that I was urged by several different people, including some in my own family, to abort my son... because of the possibility of chromosomal problems?

This woman was given not only the miraculous gift of life, but also the gift of powerful public speaking. Some of the quotations that jumped out at me are below:

"We are in an interesting battle, whether we realize it or not. It is a battle between life and death. Which side are you on?"

"God has a way of making the most miserable thing beautiful."

"So when I hear the appalling, disgusting argument that we should have abortions because the child just might be disabled, ugh! The horror that fills my heart."

"There are things that you will only be able to learn by the weakest among us, and when you snuff them out, YOU are the one that loses."

"It is the mercy of God that sustains you... even when you hate him."





Just some food for thought.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Squee!

As of yesterday, I have lost 35 pounds. That means only six to go and I'll be back to my pre-pregnancy weight!
I finally felt brave enough to order myself some new clothes today. I've been living in my maternity leggings because I was too scared to try on regular ones, lol. :)
Feeling pretty fantastic!
Elliot and I went to church yesterday for the first time since he was born. I've always been kind of nervous to bring him, because I figured he'd be "that" baby screaming through the whole mass. I'm proud to say, though, that he was an angel! He charmed the people sitting behind us- pretty sure they didn't really pay attention to a word that was said.
Here are some pictures of Elliot and I yesterday :)

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Oh, and I couldn't help but notice that we now have 200 followers! WOW!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Funny faces!

Elliot is such a morning baby. After he wakes up for good, which is usually around 8am, I put music on for him and he lays on his back and "dances". He is always full of smiles, funny faces, and babbles at this time. It's the cutest thing ever!

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I edited this one for my husband and tagged him in it on Facebook :)
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Friday, February 25, 2011

Big News!

Nothing is set in stone yet, but I just had to jump on and inform you all:
My husband is putting in the paperwork to extend his tour... so that Elliot and I can join him in KOREA!
This was our original plan- to do an accompanied tour and spend a few years together in a foreign country. Everything changed when we found out about Elliot's condition, but now that he is healthy- we might still be able to do it! I am so excited!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My nature lover!

Elliot loves nature/the outdoors just like his mama. How do I know? Because, if he had it his way, he would spend all day looking out the window at the snow. :)

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... and also sucking on his hands, hehe.
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I can't wait for it to warm up so I can start taking him outside on walks. Hurry up, Spring!!! I'm ready!

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

We ♥ Cosleeping

This is a post that I've wanted to do for awhile, but I wasn't sure how to start it. So here it goes:
We Cosleep. And we love it.
Truthfully, this wasn't exactly planned. Elliot's daddy and I had talked about cosleeping when we were pregnant, but then we found out about Elliot's condition and Aaron left for Korea. Every time we talked, we talked about gastroschisis and sonograms and doctor's appointments and our upcoming life in the NICU.
Then Elliot was born, and he spent the first six weeks of his life in the NICU, where we didn't get to do the things that most parents get to do with their newborns. And suddenly, six weeks later, he was home- and EXTREMELY constipated and cranky. The only way he would sleep was on my chest or while being held, so I started bringing him into the bed with me.
Almost a month later, he still sleeps with me every night. I have to say that I absolutely love it. At first, I was worried that I might roll over on top of him or something, but that thought never even crosses my mind anymore because {even though I'm asleep} I have this super-sensitive awareness of where he is/what he is doing at all times. It's hard to describe. I usually wake up the minute he starts squirming or rooting, which is wonderful because he doesn't fully wake up or start screaming, meaning we can both go back to sleep the minute he's finished his bottle.
Lately he likes to hold onto my shirt and bury his face into my neck while he's sleeping. It is so precious. There is nothing quite like falling asleep with your son cuddled up to you, breathing in that delicious baby smell, and listening to his rhythmic breathing. It's blissful.
For some reason, I always felt like I should be making up excuses or trying to get him to sleep on his own, like there was something wrong with it. But you know what I realized? Sleeping with your child is the most natural thing in the world. Why should I hide it? Cosleeping just works for us- plain and simple. I wouldn't change it for the world.

And you know what, while I'm at it, let's get it all out there in the open:
1. I believe in attachment parenting.
2. My son has never "cried it out" and he never will.
3. We formula feed. I struggled to breastfeed for eight weeks and {for many reasons} it didn't work out. I'm just now starting to be okay with it.
4. Our son is intact.
5. We cloth diaper and we LOVE it!

Some interesting articles I've found about cosleeping:
7 Benefits of Cosleeping
Ten Reasons to Sleep Next to Your Child at Night
Sleeping Safely with your Baby

Monday, February 21, 2011

Elliot {almost} smiling!

Elliot just started smiling. As it turns out, capturing those illusive smiles on film is much harder than you would think... BUT, after a day like yesterday, I'm just glad he was smiling at all today!
I don't know what the problem was, but Elliot was fussy, fussy, FUSSY yesterday. He just had to be held all day long {and only a certain way}, he refused to drink his bottles, and he threw plenty of hair-pulling fits. Did I mention that he likes to pull hair when he's mad?!
Today, thankfully, he was back to his bubbly, talkative self. He even sat contently in his bouncy seat by the window and talked to the snow for awhile today :)
Picture Proof:

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Things I couldn't live without: month 2

I thought it would be nice to do monthly posts about what things I couldn't live without as a mama. Because, let's face it- there are so many baby products out there- but how do you know which ones really work?
I'd love to see what you guys couldn't live without, too!

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Fisher Price "Hoppy Days" Bouncer: It bounces, it vibrates, and it's one of the only things Elliot would sleep in {other than my arms} for a long time.

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Sleep Gowns: Elliot sleeps in one every night. It keeps him snuggly and warm, and makes middle of the night diaper changes {which he HATES} a whole lot easier.

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Dr. Brown's natural flow bottles: Yes, there are a million pieces. But the special vent system reduces gas and spit up, and they allow your baby to switch back and forth from bottle to breast easier, since they never have to release their latch on this bottle.

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Rumparooz G2 Cloth Diapers: These are my favorite diapers in our stash- and always the first ones I reach for. They fit Elliot better than any of his other one-size diapers, they're super soft, and the bright colors and prints couldn't be cuter. Unfortunately, they are ALSO the most expensive ones we own, but this is one of those cases of "you get what you pay for". They cost more because they work BETTER.

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Baby Bjorn: this is an absolute MUST if you have a fussy, clingy baby like mine. It's the only way I can get any housework done or feed myself. Once it warms up outside, I plan to take him on a lot of outdoor excursions in this, too.

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GumDrops pacifiers: The only pacifiers Elliot will take. We have a few in every room, haha!

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Lou Bugs burp cloths: THE BEST burp cloths. Period. Elliot is a MESSY eater and I can usually use just one of these all day long. They're THAT absorbent. He soaks through other burp cloths before he even finishes a bottle. And... they're gorgeous!

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Medela Pump in Style Advanced: I spent A LOT of time hooked to this thing over the past two months. I'm no longer pumping, but I plan to use it again for the next baby.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Getting to know me {via my diaper bag}

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Since someone is sleeping BY HIMSELF on the couch, I thought it was a good time to jump online and do a fun link up!

Tara at our journey is doing a fun link-up. She wants to know what we keep in our diaper bags {or purses}. You should stop by and join in on the fun!
What do you keep in YOUR diaper bag? Because, let's face it ladies: what new mama really carries a purse anymore?

Here's my diaper bag:

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And here's what's inside:

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Pictured:
- an extra sleeper and onesie
- diaper, wipes, paisley wet bag {for dirty dipes}, and Burt's Bees Baby Bee butt balm
- burp cloth
- "Little Remedies" baby tylenol
- an extra bottle
- Sophie the giraffe, a cool swirly teether, sassy rattle
- 2 pacifiers {because I'm ALWAYS losing them!} and pacifier wipes
- my wallet

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Elliot goes to the doctor

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Elliot went to the doctor today.
He weighs 9 lbs 9 oz and is 21" long!
HOLY COW! He's definitely growing!
Still only the 4th percentile for weight and 3rd percentile for height. Oh well. He'll catch up eventually!
He also had to get three shots today. I think it might've been harder on me than it was on him- my eyes welled up with tears and a few slipped out after Elliot had already stopped crying. I just felt so bad for him having to get more shots after all he's already had done to him in the hospital. Poor little guy.
According to his doctor, Elliot is currently right on track developmentally for his age. He is doing all the things they like to see- following things with his eyes, looking around, clenching and unclenching his fists, reaching for things, kicking his legs, etc. At 6, 12, 18, and 24 months, though, he'll have to see a specialist to make sure he isn't falling behind developmentally. Many NICU babies end up behind their peers.
So far, though, all looks good!
I did ask how much he should be eating. He said "most" two-month-old babies are eating 4-6 ounces every 4-6 hours. Well, since Elliot is eating 2 ounces every 2 hours, he's still getting enough food. I'm still hoping that someday he will be able to take more at a time, though, so we can both get some more sleep!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Elliot: 2 months!

Elliot is two months old today.
Holy moly. Where does time go? I can't believe that it's already been two whole months since little Elliot came into this world. He has changed my life in so many ways- and speaking of change, he's doing a lot of changing lately, too.

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This month:
♥ Elliot weighs around 9 lbs {I'll find out his exact weight at his doctor's appointment tomorrow}
♥ Elliot is still wearing mostly newborn clothes, and a select few 0-3 month sleepers. He has a whole closet full of adorable outfits that I can't wait to put him in... but he's still swimming in them!
♥ He is wearing cloth diapers full time. I LOVE them- no leaks or blowouts so far!
♥ He is eating formula exclusively and eats 2 ounces about every two hours.
♥ His favorite times of day is the morning, when he gets a bath, "dances" on the bed to music, and we read a few books together.
♥ He has been doing a lot of cooing and babbling lately.
♥ He just started to smile! :)

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Saturday, February 12, 2011

whaaaaat?

Elliot was a dream baby yesterday.
He sat contently on the couch and watched us play Wii for TWO HOURS. Two hours without screaming to be held. This is no small miracle, people!
See?

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And THEN he took a NAP by himself.

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And just when I thought it couldn't get any better- as we speak, Elliot is SLEEPING IN HIS CRIB. In his CRIB!!!!

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Is this really MY baby?!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Baby Bjorn.

My Baby Bjorn is a lifesaver.
Seriously. It had been waiting patiently in it's box for the last eight weeks... and today I decided to break it out. BEST. DECISION. EVER!
For the first time since Elliot came home, I was able to do laundry and fold clothes and EAT... all while my little man was sleeping peacefully on my chest.
And the best part? It doesn't hurt my back! I was worried about this... but Elliot took a 3 hour nap in the Bjorn and my back didn't know the difference.
If you don't have one: go buy one. SERIOUSLY.
Pictures to come: tomorrow.
But first, could you do me a favor and vote for me? Votes have been reset and we've disappeared!


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Thursday, February 10, 2011

no more breastmilk?!

Today is a sad day.
I think I have finally come to the realization that things don't always go as planned. Sometimes, you have to do what's best for your child, even if it isn't what you originally wanted. It's no secret how badly I wanted to breastfeed my son. After all, I spent the last eight weeks pumping every two hours, taking a myriad of pills, herbs, and teas to increase my supply, trying to coax Elliot to nurse with breast shields and syringes, and, finally, bottle feeding him my pumped breastmilk.
Up until a few days ago, Elliot wasn't pooping. At all. He was going five day stretches without a single bowel movement before we finally resorted to using suppositories. During that time, he was receiving a combination of breastmilk and formula in his bottles, and spending most of the day screaming because his belly hurt.
A few nights ago, I accidentally spilled a ton of my milk and therefore had to make up a few formula-only bottles. That night, he screamed and refused to take half of his bottles... until I succumbed and offered him a formula-only bottle, which he immediately gulped down. The next morning, after four formula-only bottles, he pooped on his own for the first time in two weeks!
Wondering if it was just a coincidence, I withheld the breastmilk the last two days and gave him only formula... and sure enough, he pooped yesterday morning and again this morning. He's also been noticeably less cranky.
I called his doctor and he recommended not giving him any more breastmilk for now to see if he continues to do well without it. Elliot is on a special formula for sensitive tummies that contains partially broken down proteins, which is probably why he's having an easier time digesting the formula than my milk.
So, to put it simply, I'm sad. I feel like the odds were against us from the start, but I still really wanted to breastfeed. I know I can try again {and will most likely succeed} with the next baby but... still.
So for now, I'm just doing what seems to be best for my son. If that means giving him formula, so be it, but I'm certainly not happy about it!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The beginning of our cloth adventure

I've been planning to cloth diaper since before I was even pregnant. After all, it's better for the environment, the baby, our budget... what's not to love?
Well today is our first day cloth diapering. Elliot decided to POOP in his very first cloth diaper only minutes after I put it on him! I was nervous about how I'd deal with the poopy dipes but I'm proud to say that it was really no big deal.
He seems very comfortable and happy... and his diapers are SO ADORABLE!

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Monday, February 7, 2011

the little things.

I have to say, I'm feeling pretty blessed these days. I have a beautiful little boy, and I have the best {albeit exhausting} job in the world as a stay at home mom. I feel so lucky to have this opportunity, since so many other people don't. I am able to soak in every moment of this little boy's life. He is already changing and growing so much!

Some things I'm learning about my son:
♥ He is a morning person. I love our mornings together.
♥ He loves to lay on his back, with his legs free from his sleepers or gowns, and kick away to music
♥ He's scared of the dark AND quiet. Probably because it was never quiet OR dark in the NICU. So we always have music or the TV on for him, and he sleeps with a dim light on in his room.
♥ He loves to look out windows and at bright lights.
♥ He HATES diaper changes, and makes sure that everyone in the house knows it. I don't blame him- in the NICU, whenever he got his diaper changed, he also got poked with needles, prodded, measured, and weighed
♥ Every night, from approximately 6-8pm, Elliot has a meltdown. I'm not exactly sure why {colic? belly ache? overtired?} but nothing I can do soothes him. I dread that time of day. All we can do is just hold him tight and reassure him that everything will be okay- and then, eventually, he calms down and snuggles up to me, ready for bed.
♥ He likes to trick me into thinking he wants to nurse by rooting like crazy and licking my shirt... but when it comes down to it, he won't latch on. Little stinker!
♥ When it comes to food, he is VERY VERY impatient
♥ He is a snuggler.

Really, no matter how tired I am, it's the little things that make it all worth it. A sweet baby smile while he's falling asleep. Cuddles. Watching him kick away in the bath. Falling asleep together. That delicious baby smell. Little coos and babbles. When he looks at me and you just know he loves his mama.

My silly man:
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Friday, February 4, 2011

We're alive. Sleepy and cranky, but... alive! :)

Let me start off by saying that I couldn't be happier to have my son home. I'll take waking up to him screaming over sleeping peacefully at home while he was stuck in the NICU any day. Since bringing him home, I've finally been able to do all of the things I've missed out on since he was born: walk around the house with him, show him off at the grocery store, bathe him, dress him in real outfits, sleep in the same bed, etc. I feel like a real mother, and it's wonderful.
However, as you read in the title, Elliot and I have both been pretty tired and cranky lately. Why is that? Well, the moment he left the hospital, he simultaneously stopped pooping on his own and stopped sleeping longer than an hour at time. My poor little guy spends about 90% of his time trying to poop, and when his efforts are futile, he screams. And screams. And SCREAMS.

There are a few tricks I've learned that help:
- bathtime and storytime before bed
- dark Karo Syrup in his bottles
- laying him on his tummy {even though I'm well aware that babies SHOULD sleep on their backs. Most of his nurses told us that most babies with belly problems will only tolerate laying on their stomachs. He did this for hours on end in the hospital and turned out just fine- I'm sure he'll be okay at home, too.}
- any movement- walking, bouncing, rocking, swaying...
- CUDDLING. If he had it his way, he would only sleep while being held. Of course, since I also have to take care of myself, this is pretty much impossible. He does, however, sleep in my bed every night. Although he has no problem sleeping in his swing, bouncer, or anywhere else, really, during the day... he does NOT like to sleep alone at night. And he makes this very clear by screaming the moment I try to put him down. So, for now, he sleeps with me. I'm not sure how long we'll keep doing this, but at this point, if it gives me even ten more minutes to sleep, I'm all for it.

My husband also left on Saturday.
It was incredibly hard to say goodbye and it has been much harder to do this on my own than I thought it would be. I miss him every day and hate thinking about how much he will miss over the next five months. Elliot is growing and changing in so many ways already, and he doesn't get to witness any of it. Having him home for fifty-five days after Elliot's birth was perfect. I'm thankful for that. He is an amazing man, husband, father, and soldier. I can't wait for him to come home!

Now for what you were really looking forward to: pictures. :)
Things Elliot Loves:
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Car rides.

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Bathtime.

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Being wrapped up in a fuzzy towel.

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Sleeping {okay, not really, but this one was cute.}

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Staring at lights and/or out the window.

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His pacifier.

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Snuggling with mommy. ♥