Saturday, July 5, 2014

Four Months

Life is busy and fun, exactly as it should be!

Finally fits the Ergo! Smiley boy!

Visit to Nonna and Grandaddy's House

Cuddles with Cousin M

First plane ride!

Getting so big!

Tummy Time

There's a baby in that mirror!

HE FELL ASLEEP IN THE CRIB!!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

One Year Ago

I was in Florida for our IUI Day anniversary but I wanted to be sure to mark this day.

Our timing was a mess last June. When the time came for me to schedule our travel to FL for Little K to see her Dad for the summer, I had no idea what CD I would be on. I finally decided to just pick a day and be done with it. It turned out that the day I was traveling back would be CD12, the day my clinic usually has you go in for an ultrasound. I could have left FL a day early but decided to just let it go. I arrived at my clinic early on CD13 and was surprised to hear that everything looked good. Even better, that my levels were perfect and we would be triggering that night.

Our IUI went smoothly, although I wasn't prepared for the cramping during the procedure. We had lunch, giggled at me being possibly pregnant, and headed home for a nap. Although I had prepared a great playlist for the drive to our clinic and resting with R after was wonderful, my favorite memory of that day is R praying for us before we went inside. He rarely prays out loud but took the time to give our morning and the result to God, trusting Him with the outcome and our desire to be in line with His plan for our family. That was a moment I will always hold so dear to my heart.

Our TWW dragged on and on and on. Rereading those posts, I remember the roller coaster of emotions I would go through each day. Little did I know that hope was right around the corner.

On this day, one year ago, we saw our positive test. The next day, we confirmed that I was pregnant. Then another beta. And an ultrasound.  It was a crazy time, especially going through all of that with Little K out of town and the boys visiting us. But it was filled with so much joy that I had trouble putting it into words. Even more trouble putting it on the blog, especially when I knew so many in this community were still waiting for their miracle. I didn't feel necessarily feel guilty about our blessings but I definitely recognize them as blessings and grace for our family.

It's hard to find time for the things I want to do now. I bought the third book of a historical fiction trilogy I was really into last summer and haven't read it yet. I have at least three Christian Life books I want to read. I am mostly keeping up with reading blogs but struggling with commenting, since most of my reading is on my phone. I barely have time to work, let alone write, at my computer. I managed to plant my garden but wasn't able to harvest my snowpeas before the squirrels got to them. I missed enjoying the blooms in my Spring flower garden...

But this post isn't to sit here a bemoan my lack of free time or blogging.  Instead, it is to marvel at the changes God has brought to our family one year and 11 days ago, we had our once-off, never going to do it again, trust God with the outcome IUI. Our "Hail Mary" play, not knowing the outcome but knowing we had to try. And God did it!

So much of our time leading up to our IUI was spent zeroed in on God's voice. I felt Him chipping away at all of the parts of me that I was holding on to, fighting for my own way, until He was all that remained. By the time R came to me that night in December, I was ready to not have any more children. Not that I didn't want more children but that I was at peace with our family. I had finally gotten to the place where I was content and could see clearly that life would be full of blessings with our little family of three.

When R told me we could try, I was so surprised that I didn't realize that was what he was saying. We moved forward with research and planning our natural cycle. Then I lost my job on January 25th and I really thought that was it for us; no more TTC. Then we received not one but two amazing answers to prayer when I accepted a work-from-home position just one week later. We started what we believed would be our IUI cycle in March just to find out I wasn't ovulating. Then we were cancelled. And cancelled again.

But then June came. And we were a go for our IUI. And, even though we were doing everything a day late, it worked. We were so surprised, so excited, so shocked, so thankful.

R and I talk a lot about what-if. What if my travel had changed and I went in on CD12 that June instead of CD13? What if we hadn't done monitoring with our first cycle? What if one of our other cycles wasn't cancelled?

With every what-if, we see the risk of the cycle ending in a negative beta. But, more than that, even if one of those cycles would have moved forward and worked, we wouldn't have THIS child. Little Buddy is so perfectly what our family was missing that I can't imagine having any other baby but him in our lives.

I'm remembering all of those emotions from our TWW as I finish writing this on June 23rd. I didn't know that I would receive a positive pregnancy test in less than 24 hours. That our lives were about to change so drastically. That our sweet, happy son was already growing inside me. That the Lord was going to use the upcoming pregnancy to grow my reliance on Him, my trust in His plan and creation, and my heart to enjoy a son with every part of myself.

So today, I am remembering one year ago and the amazing work the Lord had already begun in our lives. Our IF journey taught me how to Biblicaly-submit to my husband, taught R how to Biblicaly-love his wife, taught us both to prayerfully seek God's will, and how to desire His Plan for our family and lives. I matured more in my spiritual walk during those months and years than I ever expected and am so grateful for all the work the Lord did in me. Because of those five years, Little Buddy was born into a strong, faith-based family with parents who are committed to God and each other; who seek and desire God more than ourselves. What a blessing for Little Buddy and Little K!

It's now June 24th and I'm about to click Publish on this post. Little Buddy is on the cusp of sleep in his Rock n' Play next to my desk. I smell R cooking a late breakfast downstairs. My phone is quietly playing worship music to cover any sounds that may startle our little man awake.

Thank you, Lord, for this life. Help me to never take it for granted. Let me always praise You for the work You have done and are still going to do, and Your blessings that are right around the corner.

God is so Good.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Three Months

Wow! That's all I can really say these days, just WOW! Our little man in three months old today! Happy Birthday, Little Buddy!!

Honestly, the time has just flown by. It's that strange paradox of "I can't believe it's been three months already!" and "Can you believe it's been three months already?" It's hard to remember life without our little man around.

Little Buddy has grown and changed so much! He has gone from this tiny little guy who would simply nurse and sleep to a little man who kicks, splashes, laughs, and "talks." He loves to take walks outside with Daddy, looking at the trees and checking on the garden. His favorite time of day is bathtime. He talks the most in the mornings and just learned how to giggle when we tickle him.

He starts each night in the pack n' play and stays in it for three hours max, often less. He nurses at least three times during the night after that first wake up and has at least two diapers changes. He wakes up a little cranky but smiles as soon as he opens his eyes. He finally stopped crying at diaper changes but still doesn't like it when you change his clothes.

Little Buddy is, thankfully, pretty laid back. He will fuss when he is hungry, tired, or has a dirty diaper. His cries all sound the same but the lead-up to each is different, which helps. Unfortunately, I don't remember until after which cry is for which problem. The routine is the same: slip a finger in the diaper to see if it's wet, offer the breast, and, if neither work, try to get him back to sleep.

Routine is thrown about a lot with babies. I guess we have one for Little Buddy. I have two morning alarms set: 6:30 AM and 6:50 AM. The first is to nurse the baby, the second is for me to get up and gather Little K to start our day. Little Buddy tends to wake up between 7:30 AM and 8:00 AM. He's back down between 8:30 AM and 9:00 AM. Awake again by 10:00, down again around 11:30/12:00. Up at 1:00. Down one more time in the afternoon. We have an outing everyday at 5:45, whether for karate or church. Little Buddy gets his bath around 7:00 or 8:00, depending on our outing. He gets nursed after and then it's into the pack n' play within an hour. R and I get in bed at 9:00 and try to be falling asleep by 10:00. Little Buddy *ALWAYS* wakes up within 5 minutes of me plugging in my phone for sleep. ARGH!! We have to get better at that part.

Our little family has really settled in to this new life. I may not be cooking regularly again yet but we are fed, in clean clothes/diapers, and the house is staying straightened up. Little K adores her little brother and he always smiles when she is talking to him. We spend the weekends at the pool, Little K in the water and Little Buddy and I in the shade. She plays in the yard while we sit on the front porch egging her on.

There are things I want to do better. I miss tucking Little K into bed each night and reading her a story. I miss taking her to Target or the playground. But it's okay. She is becoming more self-sufficient and gaining some independence. Little K and I go to karate, just the two of us, three nights per week. We still do sleepovers in the master bedroom every Friday. I'm doing my best to be a good mother to both of my children and, while challenging, we are making it work.

Now for the real reason you're here: PHOTOS!!

Pool Time!

Big Sister Swimming

Drool + Chewing = Possibly Teething?

Playing with Daddy

Just hanging out

Moby Cuddles, Leopard Gecko

Sweet Sleep

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Sleep So Far

When I was pregnant with Little K, I had big dreams about her sleep. I had a cute bassinet in the master bedroom and a sweet white crib with pink sheets in the nursery. She would sleep in the bassinet for the first few weeks and then *whoosh* off to her crib until we were ready for a toddler bed.

Yeah, umm, no.

She never slept in her crib. Not once, not ever. She never slept in the bassinet, either. Instead, we ended up co-sleeping until she was one year old and then slowly began the transition from our bed to a twin in our room with the hope of one day being able to put that bed in her room. She didn't sleep through the night without getting in bed with me until she was almost four. It was... trying. And tiring.

I wanted things to be different this time.

The plan was to have Little Buddy sleep in the bassinet portion of a pack n' play in our room for the first six months, then slowly transition to his crib during the next six months. I bought a playard mattress, protectors, and sheets, setting up everything right next to my nightstand for easy access to the baby. I tried putting him down in the playard a few times those first two weeks and he would have none of it. Then I purchased a wedge to place under the mattress in order to cut down on spitting up. But he still refused to hangout in the playard.

Then I visited Troublesome Tots. It was there that I realized that this could actually work. Sleep-training was going to be a long, two steps forward one step back, process but we could do it. I didn't want to settle for the same sleep journey we had with Little K.

One night, I put Little Buddy in the pack n' play while I washed my face before bed. When I came out, he was happily kicking and cooing on the mattress. Since he was happy, I decided to let him hang out there as long as he wanted. And, eventually, he fell asleep. Cue disbelief! And sweet relief!

It's been touch and go the past two weeks. The first night, he slept almost four hours in the pack n' play. The second night, three hours. Since then, it's been one to two hours in the pack n' play. I've tried putting him back in the pack n' play after his middle of the night nursing and it's a complete no-go. So, once he wakes up, he's back in our bed for the rest of the night.

The good news is: it's a start. Little K never slept consistently outside of our bed. At least Little Buddy begins his nights on a separate surface!

We start our evening routine with a bath around 7:00 PM (anytime from 7-8pm is okay for bath, depending on our evening activities). Then diaper, pj's, and nursing. After nursing, we sit on the yoga ball in the dark master bedroom to bounce and sing three rounds of "Take My Life and Let It Be." By then, Little Buddy is getting sleepy. He gets placed in the pack n' play with the white noise machine set to "rain" and a sing some nonsense syllables to Take My Life while rubbing his belly. He's usually out by 8:30, just in time for me to run out of the master bedroom and put Little K to bed.

Our routine isn't perfect. We don't read him a bedtime story. He sleeps with a pacifier and wakes up when it falls out. He sleeps with a blanket (I know, I know). He breathes loud. I'm still so used to him being in bed with me that I have a hard time falling asleep when he's in the pack n' play. (Stupid irony.)

But it's okay. Because he sleeps, for even a short time, out of my bed.


Thank you, Lord!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Two Months

Yesterday was Little Buddy's two month birthday and two month well-baby check up. Here are his stats:

Birth Weight 8lb1oz, One Month 10lb4oz, Two Months 12lb6.5oz
Birth Length 21", One Month 22.75", Two Months 23"
Birth Head 13.5", One Month 14.5", Two Months 15.75"

The pediatrician was happy to answer our questions and declared Little Buddy perfect, obviously. She did note that, although he is perfectly proportioned and growing well, he is a little slow up the growth curve (rounding the curve rather than shooting up it). We talked about his Asian genetics and how that may cause the European growth chart to show him slightly behind for a boy. But our little man is above the 50th percentile in all measurements, so we aren't sweating it. We know he will most likely be short for a boy (bio father is only 5'9") and that's fine with us.

Although Little Buddy's baby acne has mostly cleared, we are continuing to keep an eye on it. I've started having just a touch of dairy (stopped buying the expensive dairy-free chocolate chips for my lactation bars) and haven't noticed an increase in his acne. The doctor cautioned me not to go crazy with adding dairy back into my diet., though, and that we will reassess at his four month visit.

We had his first round of immunizations and it sucked, as expected. Poor little guy had three shots and one liquid in this batch. He did the horrible crying where they stop breathing and no sound comes out. Broke my heart!! He ended up sleeping most of the day yesterday and I emotion-ate throughout my waking hours. Ugh. I hate doing it to him but truly believe it is in his (and our community's) best interest to vaccinate. My poor buddy. Thankfully he is back to his happy self today.

Sleep has been going surprisingly well! I really expected the eight week sleep regression to kick our butts but it was really just two days of fitful sleep. Since then, Little Buddy has settled into a great sleep cycle with only one big wake-up per night. What a blessing! Naps are continuing to go well, too. I fully expect our sleep to get worse when we hit the four month sleep regression and am staying on top of my reading at Troublesome Tots. Although it is early for true sleep training, we are aiming to start every night with Little Buddy sleeping on a separate surface from us (either the Rock n' Play or Pack n' Play). Last night he fell asleep in the Pack n' Play without his swaddle and without me having to soothe him to sleep! Score!!

As for me, I've started working out again and have lost another five pounds. I gained 40 pounds during my pregnancy (gulp) I have ten more to go before I'm back to my pre-pregnancy weight and then fifteen until I'm where I really want to be. The good news is that my clothes (size 10) are fitting well and I can see my stomach flattening every day. Not too much longer!

Wish I had some pictures to upload but we've been mostly taking videos now that he's chattering and I can't manage to figure out how to upload those. Bah. I'll work on it!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Eight Weeks, One Day

I can't believe my Little Buddy is eight weeks old! It feels like he has been with us for SO much longer!


I'm not sure what to say these days. I mean, everything is going really well! Sure, we are slightly sleep deprived (eight week sleep regression is just wrapping up). Little Buddy cries sometimes (hungry, dirty diaper, or tired). Breastfeeding is going great. We finally found a bottle he will take without complaint (thank you, ComoTomo!). Cloth diapering continues to be a huge success (I still have to recreate my masterpiece post on cloth diapering). I was introduced to an amazing sleep training website that has given me a lot of confidence (Troublesome Tots).

It's all so... normal. And, while exciting to us, I have to imagine rather boring to read.

We have a pediatrician appointment this coming Monday and I'll be able to do a more info-centric post then about growth and his first round of immunizations. For now, I have a little head of brown hair poking out over the top of the Moby carrier, asleep on my chest and working a paci.

I love being this guy's Mommy.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Up In Smoke

I spent a little over two hours composing a beautiful post about cloth diapering, complete with pictures, links, step-by-step instructions... Everything. And it disappeared. ARGH.

So here, instead, is the only picture I managed to get over Easter weekend. Little Buddy is not impressed with Little K's art skills.