Life A.D.–3 months

Can you believe this little peanut is already 3 months old?

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For some reason, 3 months feels like a big milestone to me. Maybe it’s because baby clothes are split out in 3 month increments (0-3, 3 mos., 6 mos., 9 mos., 12 mos., etc), so it means she’s reached the next level. Whatever the reason, my little girl is certainly growing!

She is a very happy and laid back baby. She smiles and talks all the time and it just makes me all happy and gooey inside!

Here are some of the changes we’ve seen since last month:

Grasping – she has a really strong grip and is grabbing more and more things lately. She almost always grabs ahold of one or 2 of our fingers during feeding. She particularly likes the thumbs.

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She also grabs at toys during mat time. In the beginning it was accidental – as if her hand was getting “caught” on the toy. Now it’s a little more purposeful. She’s not totally in control of her movements yet but getting closer everyday.

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Head Control – while not able to fully support her head just yet, her neck is getting stronger all the time. She used to flop over immediately upon sitting her up. Now she can balance pretty good!

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Tummy time is key for building up that strength but she hates it so we don’t do it as often as we probably should. We didn’t with Isabella either though and she turned out just fine. No head flopping issues there!

Hearing and eyesight – both of these are really good. She focuses on objects and can follow them all around. She hears noises and will look in the direction of them too. She’s not super sensitive to loud noises though. The fireworks over the 4th of July didn’t bother her, which I was grateful for.

Eating and sleeping – we’re making slow and steady progress on this front. She has finally started stretching out her nightly feedings from every 2 hours to every 3 or 4. We’re still not getting a full night’s sleep but it’s better. During the day she still wants to nosh every 2, which is fine. The more she eats during the day, the less she’ll need at night.

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Cradle Cap – both of our kids had bad cradle cap. Isabella’s lasted for over a year until we finally talked to a hair stylist that told us baby shampoo was probably the culprit. Who woulda thunk it!? We were buying shampoo specifically  made to be gentle on baby’s skin and it was causing her dandruff! So we switched to using good old Head and Shoulders, after doing an olive oil treatment and voila, it went away in a few weeks.

So with Cora, we started off right away with the treatments and dandruff shampoo and it’s gotten much better in the last month or so.

Here’s a pic of how she looked when it was at its worst –

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See all that scaly stuff at the top of her forehead? Yeah. It was that way all over. Looks gross but isn’t harmful at all.

It’s still there but is gradually getting  better. Admittedly, I’m not as good about doing the treatments as regularly as I should be. Who knew that treating and bathing 2 kids could be so hard?  Heck, if I wasn’t going to work every day, I’m not sure I’d be getting a daily shower!

Baby acne and skin conditions – Cora was born with baby acne, as you can see here, as she’s giving us the stink eye.

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It’s the little white dots all over her face.

But it’s now totally gone. The only skin issues are the cradle cap and just plain dry skin. Not sure why her skin is so dry given that we fully bathe her only about once a week (in the meantime we do little sponge baths on areas where spit up gathers, like the folds of her neck and face) and I put lotion on her everyday. The pediatrician suggested putting a layer of Hydrocortisone cream and then lotion on top of that. That didn’t seem to make much of a difference. The only thing I can think of is that the lotion we’re using, Aveeno for Babies, isn’t strong enough and we need something more petroleum based, like Aquafor.

As for me, I feel fully back to normal on all fronts. No more soreness or pain – thank God!

I’ve finally started to see some progress in the weight loss department too.

I’ve been on Weight Watchers for a month now and have lost almost 5 lbs. Doesn’t seem like a lot but I can tell a difference in my clothes. I traded in my maternity jeans for regular ones, in a size bigger than I used to wear, and bought some new shirts so that I could wear cute fashionable clothes that actually fit. Amazing what that can do for one’s spirits! 

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Don’t let this picture fool you – it looks like I have a flat tummy but I don’t. It’s the magic of wearing clothes in the right size…that are dark!

Here’s the side view:

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I’ve definitely made progress from where I was here.

I’m feeling much better about things than I was 4 weeks ago, that’s for sure. Still have 15 or so pounds to lose to get back in my pre-preggo clothes. I’ll get there eventually. I am really liking Weight Watchers so far. The plan makes a lot of sense to me and has been easy to follow. The meetings have been great too. Hearing other people’s trials and tips is beneficial. I actually look forward to them each week!

My return to work has gone very smoothly. Getting back in to the swing of things for me really wasn’t that hard. It helps that I had a week to work from home. It was also HUGE having CJ home and not having to leave the girls, and Cora in particular, with a daycare. I think that’s the hardest thing for most moms – putting your little tiny baby in to the hands of someone else.

CJ probably had the hardest adjustment. Having 2 at home is no picnic. I saw that during that time that I was still off work. He handles it like a champ though and does an amazing job with them. No the dishes aren’t always done when I get home and I don’t usually walk in to find dinner on the table, but I don’t expect that either. The important thing is for the girls to be happy, healthy, safe, and incredibly loved. There is no one that could do a better job of that for them than their dad.

Isabella, well she’s doing better with Cora every day. I think this quote from her pretty much sums it up. I asked her how she felt about the baby at first and she said, “I was kind of happy but the rest of me was mad.” I inquired as to why she was mad and she replied, “I didn’t want to be the invisible girl.”

How does she feel about her now? “I’m a little more happy and less mad.”

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More fun stuff from the Trader Clan…

The Escape Artist | Light Bright | Month 1

The Escape Artist

When all babies are born, the hospital wraps them up tight in a swaddling blanket because babies like to feel safe and warm.

Not Cora. From the beginning she has hated anything that constrains her arms or legs.

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This was her second day of life. Notice how she has her little arm popped out.

At night, we would put her in a sleep sack that wraps around her arms and she would work and work until her arms were free. So we stopped trying to force it and just kept them out.

She also is not a fan of having her legs or feet covered up. As soon as we put socks on her, they come off.

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I’ve pretty much given up trying there.

I remember when Isabella was a baby my mom would insist on keeping her covered with a blanket all the time, and she loved it.

Not Cora. As soon as any blankets are put on her, she kicks them off. It’s become a little game and we use it as a form of exercise for her now.

Observe:

No blanket in the world can survive the kicking legs of this baby!

See what I mean? As SOON as anything is put over her legs…BAM!…it’s kicked off.

Hey, at least it gets her little legs a-movin’!

Fast forward 16 years in the future and I’m envisioning a gangly teenager sprawled out on the bed sleeping with all covers kicked off. Just you watch…

I’ll end with this other fun little video. I was trying to get footage of Cora talking and smiling. For over a minute she’s just laying there making faces when all of a sudden she lets out a little mini rock n’roll scream! It’s hysterical!

She sounds like an old cassette tape being rewound really fast….

 

Wanna read more?

Life A.D. – Month 1 | A Day in the Life: Baby Edition | Cora’s Birth Story

Time Flies When You’re Up Every 2 Hours

Or “How the last 5 weeks got away from me.”

I can’t believe I haven’t posted anything in 5 weeks. Here I thought that I would be blogging at least once a week during maternity leave since I’d be home and have so much time on the computer.

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Boy was I wrong!

Free time? What’s that? I definitely have less of it now than I did before. It’s so much harder to schedule and plan for things when you have an infant who eats every 2 hours. Just when you think you’ve got a few minutes to get something done, she wants a bottle or to be held or have her diaper changed.

She’s, like, so demanding…

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And of course the moments when Cora is sleeping quietly and I start to think “Here’s my chance!”, her big sister wants attention. Gees kid, make your old meals would ya!

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Seriously though, it has been challenging at times but we’re getting it figured out. Sure, there are 2 of us here but that doesn’t necessarily make it easier. We each have our own agenda of goals to accomplish. Sometimes they align and sometimes they don’t.

As of this week I’m back to work so we’re adjusting to a whole new routine. CJ is figuring out the intricacies of being a Stay At Home Dad to 2 little ones while I get used to sitting at a computer all day and having to think about things besides spit up and play dates.

It’s all good though and establishing this new routine will help us in the long run. Fortunately Isabella is pretty adaptable and old enough to help out.

Both girls are doing great. Cora had her 2 month check up a couple weeks ago and is up to 10 lbs. 8 oz. and 23” long. Other than a bad case of cradle cap and dry skin, doc says she’s doing great. She’s very alert now and likes to “talk” a lot.

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It’s so much fun to sit with her and just “chat”. Those moments are priceless.

And when she smiles at me…fuhgeddaboudit!

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In terms of my recovery back to normalcy, it seems to be taking longer than I had hoped. Sure, I’m all healed up “down there” but there are other things. My tailbone got bruised during labor and delivery and it’s still sore. Sitting all day at work has aggravated it all the more so I’m using one of Cora’s tummy time Boppy’s to sit on and provide relief. I also have to ice it a couple times a day. I tell ya, I have sat on more ice bags in the last 3 months than anyone should ever have to…

My weight is still an issue too. I haven’t lost a single pound or inch in these last 5 weeks since I posted. I’ve been working out 6x a week and watching my calories but it’s not working.

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My “Before” pic – it’s a silly one but you can see my belly pretty good. Ugh. (FYI this was taken at Morrill Hall in Lincoln, NE)

So, last week I joined Weight Watchers. I had hesitated for a while because I was worried about the cost commitment but enough is enough. I know several who have done it and had success, and group support tends to work well for me anyway so I figure, why not. It’s still too early to have results but I’m hopeful this program will be what I need to drop these pesky 20 pounds.

Also, we are officially done having kids. CJ had a vasectomy last week. We’re both getting too old to go through this all over again. We’ve been so blessed to have two beautiful, HEALTHY, girls and I’m very content with that. So instead of going on birth control for years to come or not using anything and risking a pregnancy, we went this route. CJ is feeling pretty good, with occasional soreness.

That’s about it from the Team Trader camp!

Life A.D.–Month 1

It’s hard to believe that a whole month has gone by. Where does the time go?

A lot can happen in 4 weeks.

Babies get bigger and Mommies get smaller.

One of those is true and the other is a big fat lie. Can you guess which is which?

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Yeah.

Funny thing is, I feel smaller but the scale says otherwise. Here’s how I looked just one week after delivery, to refresh your memory.

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I think the belly has shrunk down a little bit, but not enough for my liking. Then again, as everyone says, it took 9 months to put it on, it’ll take 9 months for it to come off.

It doesn’t help my cause that I can’t exercise yet. Things are still sore “down there” (though getting better) and it’s another 2 weeks before I see the doctor and (hopefully) get the all clear.

In the meantime, I do what I can. I do my nightly pushups and ab work. I’ve added in some leg moves that can be done on the floor. I think once I can add in some cardio, I’ll start to see some change.

I’ve also started tracking calories again, just to see about what I’m eating a day. I think I’m doing pretty good with that, making healthy choices most of the time. It’s hard but not as hard as it’s been for me in the past. I think I’m more determined this time around.

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Oy do I look tired.

As I said, I’m healing up slowly but surely. That too is taking longer than I had thought it would. For the most part I feel fine and have stopped taking any kind of pain medicine. But I do start to feel it if I overdo it, by walking too much or being too active.

CJ has actually had friends come over to “baby-sit me” because I’m not very good at asking for help. At first I was embarrassed but it ended up being a good thing and I’m grateful he made me accept the help.

CJ’s sister even came in from Michigan for a week, which was awesome. Isabella has loved all the playtime and attention she’s been getting from all the visitors too!

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Cora is doing great.

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She’s eating more and staying awake longer throughout the day. That first week or 2 she pretty much slept ALL THE TIME – day and night. Now she has more periods of being alert, which is fun. She still wants to eat every 2 hours or so, which kind of sucks during the night. We’re hoping she starts stretching it out here soon so that we can get more sleep.

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Big sister Isabella has come around to loving her little sis but is still trying to figure out how to interact with her. Isabella wants to play with her like she does her dolls, not quite understanding that Cora is a little more fragile than they are. We have to constantly remind her not to jump around her or poke at her. It’s a fine line to encourage her interaction while at the same time teaching and sometimes scolding.

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But we’re all still getting used to everything and the changes that come with a new baby. I think in this next month we’ll really start to settle in and get our groove!

 

Check out these links!

A day in the life: baby edition | Cora’s Birth Story | Body A.D. – Week 1

Cora’s Birth Story

Cora Jane is 11 days old so I figure it’s high time I documented her arrival into this world.

In my last post before giving birth, I mentioned 3 important factors to Cora’s story-

  1. They thought she was a big baby. According to ultrasound measurements, she was clocking in at about 8 lbs. 6oz.
  2. It was discovered that she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck twice.
  3. We had a C-Section scheduled for Wednesday April 10th at 8:15 a.m.

We had a plan and I was comfortable with it.

And then everything changed.

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Early Saturday morning (April 6), around 1:30 a.m., I awoke with a weird feeling in my stomach. I couldn’t tell if I had to throw up, poop or was having a contraction. I figured the bathroom was the best place to be so I went in and sat on the toilet. 20 minutes later I came out, after a bout of diarrhea and throwing up twice. I officially had a stomach bug. I would spend the next 4 hours alternating ends from which fluids exited my body. I tried to drink water in between but could keep nothing down. Finally at 5 a.m. I realized I was probably dehydrated and told CJ to take me in to the ER. I was more worried about the baby than myself. We called my parents to come over and stay with Isabella until we got back.

They checked us in to a triage room in the hospital since it didn’t look like I was going in to labor. I was so dehydrated that it took 2 nurses 3 tries to get the IV into my arm. My veins kept collapsing on them. We were there for 5 hours as they pumped me up with 3 liters of IV fluid and some medicine to help the nausea and diarrhea. They were monitoring the baby the whole time and she was never once in danger, thank God.

I was scared though. I didn’t know what was going to happen. Plus they told me that if I was still sick on Wednesday, they would have to postpone the C-Section! No way! I wanted this baby out!

I finally made it home around 2 p.m. and went straight up to nap. Slept for 3 hours, came down long enough to have some soup and then went back up to bed. I finally started to feel normal the next morning.

But that feeling wouldn’t last long.

After dinner on Sunday, I started to feel a bit queasy again. Great, I thought. This bug is rearing it’s ugly head. The nurses had said if I had any more vomiting or diarrhea, I would have to come back to the hospital. I really didn’t want that so I went to bed praying I would feel better in the morning.

At 12:50 a.m. on Monday, I awoke with a start. I had felt a distinct kick from the baby causing a contraction that was more intense than any I had before. I lay there for a minute waiting for it to go away, assuming it was another Braxton/Hicks. When it continued, I thought I should get up and go to the bathroom. As soon as I stood up, I felt a trickle run down my leg. My first thought was, “Oh great, now I’m peeing my pants!” Then I realized it could be something else – my water breaking. It wasn’t a big gush though so I was still unsure. I sat on the toilet until the contraction ended – which was about 10 minutes. I then texted CJ, who was downstairs watching TV.

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He came running up and said, “You think?”

I told him what happened and we decided to sit and wait to see if any more contractions came. 15 minutes later came another, much shorter one. No fluid leakage. Than 10 minutes later another contraction. This time it came with a gush. I stood up and a pool started to form at my feet. I pointed to it and said, “See! Now do you believe me!” CJ’s eyes were huge and he said, “Ok so what do we do? Call an ambulance? Call your parents?”

He called my parents while I changed clothes (which I would have to do 2 more times as water kept coming out with every contraction. I finally got smart and put on a pad). Once again we headed to the hospital!

When we got there and to a room, things started moving fast. They had to try 4 times to get the IV in my arm as I was still a bit dehydrated from not having any food or drink since dinner on Sunday (due to the nausea). You can see from the bruises on my hands and arms all the different places they poked me over the course of both visits!

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The contractions started coming faster and harder. Because I was trying for a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarian), I was required to have an epidural, just in case they needed to whisk me off to surgery at some point. The nurse told me I could get it at any time but I held off. Not sure why. I guess I was trying to prove to myself that I could manage through the pain better this time than I did with Isabella. I think I did too. I stayed relaxed and just breathed through each one. I am actually quite proud of myself. But there definitely came a point when enough was enough.

They gave me the epidural but it was different than I remembered. With Isabella, they gave me enough to basically put my whole lower body to sleep. I couldn’t feel or move anything. This time, they only gave me enough to take the edge off the pain but I could still feel the pressure. So while it was some relief, it wasn’t what I had been expecting.

The pressure was almost as bad as the contractions had been. I told the nurse I wanted to push but they told me to wait and let the baby come down on its own first. After waiting for half an hour, it was time.

My doctor (Dr. S) came in and we pushed a few times. She could feel the baby’s head and it was turned slightly. She reached inside and straightened it but with every push, it would turn again. We were left with a few choices:

  1. Keep going the way we were and see if we could straighten and get her out on our own. The risk here was that it could take a while and with her size and the umbilical cord around her neck, it could get dicey.
  2. Give up the idea of a VBAC and go right in to surgery. No real risk here other than those that come with any surgery. Plus a much longer recovery time.
  3. Use forceps. My doc admitted that she was not comfortable using the forceps herself but we could get one of the older doctors to do it. This was the option she recommended and I trust her immensely so we found the doc we needed (Dr. R) and had him take a look. He was confident he could get her out, using a combination of his pulling/straightening with the forceps while I pushed, in one shot. So, we went for it.

Once that decision was made, it was a flurry of activity. The nurses pulled out a cart and started setting up instruments and blankets and getting ready for the baby. The 2 doctors washed and gowned up. It was all done so fast and all I could do was lay there, watch and wait.

When everything was ready, Dr. R grabbed the forceps and got them into position.

I’m not gonna lie. When I saw how big they were I got nervous. What if he crushed the baby’s little head? What if he twisted the wrong way and broke her neck? But there was no time for me to panic. I had to trust in the doctors’ experience and knowledge and just do my part. When he was ready, he told me to push as hard as I could. So I did.

The next thing I know, there was a little baby sliding out of me, everyone started cheering and Dr. S said, “It’s a girl!”

I started laughing and crying at the same time. All the emotions of the weekend came out at once. I was relieved, excited, surprised, tired, and just plain overwhelmed.

Dr. S immediately handed her to me to hold, all bloody and covered in goo! She was so beautiful! They asked if we had a name and we laughed and said no! We were so certain it was a boy that we focused on boy  names. It wouldn’t be until later that evening that we would decide on Cora. Isabella came up with the middle name – Jane.

CJ cut the cord and then the nurse whisked Cora away to be cleaned up and measured.

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Meanwhile, Dr. S. had to stitch me up. The use of the forceps had caused tearing in 3 different places. Doc told me it wasn’t that bad but boy was she down there sewing me up for a long time. CJ joked that she must be making a quilt or something!

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Finally she finished and we were allowed to hold the baby again.

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Not the most flattering picture of me but hey, childbirth ain’t pretty. Yes, I was that tired. And hungry. I hadn’t had any food since 5pm Sunday and it was now around 9 a.m. Monday morning – and I had just done something equivalent to lifting a MACK truck! I was starving! I ordered food and they also gave me an IV to make sure I was plenty hydrated before transporting me up to my room.

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We were in the hospital for 3 days and 2 nights. We learned some things from having Isabella and took full advantage of the facilities this time around. I know they recommend having baby stay in the room with you the whole time but come on, mama needed her rest. So we had them take her to the nursery during our nap times and overnight. I had trouble sleeping the first night because of the pain so the second night they gave me a sleeping pill, which helped. All the nurses that we had were amazing and awesome. While the doctors are the “experts”, it’s the nurses that truly run the hospital and take care of the patients. I was actually a bit sad to leave and go back to reality – a new reality.

So, there you have it. That’s how Cora came in to the world. I got the chance to have a vaginal birth and though it was hard, it was worth it. The feeling of having a baby come out from inside of you, by your own power, is one like no other. There were a few scary moments but I completely trusted my doctors and nurses the whole time and knew we would both be ok.

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If you liked this, check out these other posts!

Body A.D. | Team Trader 2.0 | Isabella’s Birth Story