Saturday, December 21, 2013

2 already!

In preparation for my baby girl turning 2, I have decided to include a look at her growing up these last 2 years.  I am busy prepping for her party tomorrow, so I figured I would get this done now so I don't run out of time tomorrow.  Kalea is more of a kid now then a toddler, with the "terrible 2's" in effect some of the time.  we are lucky that she hasn't been too grouchy yet.  

She is already a wonderful big sister, and she has only been one for 3 months now.  Her vocabulary continues to expand, now including commands like "do it myself" ( miss independent), and "Step up".  She recently started saying "yeah" in a very soft sweet voice.  She loves to dance, hum/sing, and hide under blankets and in closets.  Reading continues to be her favorite past-time, and her "Sully" ( Monster's Inc) stuffed animal is her constant bed time companion.  

For the most part, she is very well behaved whenever we go out shopping ("shopping!") or to dinner.  She is a great eater most of the time.  She loves other kids and babies, so hopefully that will work out for her as she starts daycare in January.  We have been very blessed to not have to have her out of our care these first two years.  I know that is priceless as she continues to grow at a too-fast rate.  

Pat and I are so proud of our daughter.  We love her and have enjoyed every second since we knew she was a speck on the ultrasound.  

Happy Birthday to the best little girl any parents could ever hope for!

Please enjoy a picture journey of her these last 24 months, one from each month plus her birth.

Landon at 3 months

Landon is now 3 months old, which means I am getting close to the end of my maternity leave.  I am trying to spend as much time as I can relaxing with him and Kalea since I know life will get very busy once I get back to work.  

He is smiling really big smiles now, especially after he finishes eating.  I sometimes get smiles in the middle of a feeding, which I love because those are smiles that I usually only get to see.  He is definitely a momma's boy right now.  Pat's shoulder continues to be his prime spit-up spot of choice.  Without fail he gets him every time, especially if Pat just put on a clean shirt.

He is still a bit wobbly with holding up his head, but he gets better and better at doing it for longer periods of time.  He loves to watch his big sister play which I know is going to encourage him to move sooner then I will like.  Lights fascinate him, so all of our Christmas decorations are keeping him occupied during his play times.

Landon definitely lets us know when he is hungry.  He will cry hysterically almost instantly after waking up from a long nap.  He is our little snuggle bug, preferring a shoulder to sleep on over anything else.  He really loves to sleep in my ring-sling baby carrier, which is good since I will be able to use that with him once I am back at work.  

His weight has lagged a bit this last month.  He is now 10 pounds, 5 ounces.  This has dropped him closer to the 35% on the premie scale.  I have been working hard to get him exclusively breast feeding, and it has been a struggle.  This last month I have not supplemented at all (or just an ounce here or there).  I have been given the ok to keep going forward with it, so hopefully these next couple of weeks will be enough time for us both to figure it all out.  I don't want to share the details since I know most people won't want to read about it, but if you are interested, I would be happy to share what I have gone through.  I know that I feel better knowing how tough it is to breastfeed,  a lot of the times you only see or hear about people having success.

Here are some pictures I wanted to share:

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

2 month stats and pics

We have passed the 2 month mark by a couple of weeks.  He is now 10 weeks old and doing great.  Landon actually rolled over for the first time on November 22nd.  He had done it once before almost a week before that, but I wanted to make sure it wasn't a fluke.  He has also started smiling real smiles about a week ago, but I have not been able to get a good shot of it yet.

At Landon's 2 month check-up he was given an A+!  He weighs 9 pounds 9 ounces and is 21.5" tall.  For the premie comparison, he is right at the 50th % in all categories, including head size.  When compared to a full-term 2 month old, he is right above the 10th%.  He is growing so fast already!

Here are a few shots from his 2 month pictures.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Meet Landon Baby Shower

Pat and I have enjoyed the adjustment of raising two children.  It takes quite a bit to get used to the demands of two children under two.  I think we are starting to get the hang of things.    Before I share some pictures from the Baby Shower for Landon, I wanted to get down a few things about Kalea.

There are many wonderful moments we wish we could record to remember forever, but they will only have to be memories that Pat and I share.   Kalea is such a fun little girl.  She makes every single day a wonderful experience.  She loves her little brother so much.  Luckily, she isn't taking any of her toddler frustrations out on him, especially the times when she wants the attention of whomever is taking care of Landon.  She is always so excited to see her brother, or she asks "Why you crying Landon?"  

Kalea's vocabulary is increasing every day.  She loves to say "Mommy look!"  and then she will say what ever new thing she has learned or seen.  With Christmas fast approaching, she is getting very excited every time she sees anything Christmas-y.  She says "Look, Christmas!".

She has also started to count things up to 13.  She is getting pretty good at associating each item to a number, although she is still counting things more then once.  She even tries to count beyond thirteen and says "ah-teen" for the numbers following 13.

Kalea also loves to dance.  If she hears any kind of music, she usually likes to start dancing in a circle.  She will even sometimes hum along to the song.  Another favorite activity is reading.  If she had her way, we would read books to her all day long.  Sometimes she will take a book and flip through  the pages and "read" it her self.  She is now starting to turn the jabber into words, as every once in awhile she will say a word or two that is associated with what is happening on the page.

One last thing, Kalea is starting to do a lot more imaginative play.  She loves to play with different blocks and depending on the day, each one represents a different item.  For example, her triangle shaped block is usually either a house or sailboat.  She loves to instruct her Daddy on where each blocks need to be stacked and she knows exactly which block she wants out of the bag.  She has started digging to the bottom of a big bag of blocks trying to get out just the right one.  She won't take out the blocks in her way, instead she will spend quite a long time digging with her arm all the way down in the bag.  We also hear her say "I'll be right back" to her toys when she goes to get something and she has made her new "Izzy" doll fly.  (From Jake and the Never Land Pirates)

Here is Daddy reading to Kalea while watching Landon.  I like to call him "Super Dad" when he is handling both kids at the same time.
I love this look, I had to get a shot in while Pat was reading to the kids.
Another Super Dad moment.

Now on to the "Meet the baby shower".  I wanted a more casual get-together.  There were so many people expecting babies this fall, so I thought it would be fun for everyone to get together once Landon was already here.  I know one special person was happy to hold him.  Here is my Great Aunt Sheila (my Grandma Sylvia's sister).  She has always been like another Grandma for me, so she is basically a Great Grandma for my kiddos.  Technically she would be a Great-Great Aunt.  I am so appreciative that she wants to help represent my Grandma since I know how much my Grandma would have loved to experience all of these new babies.  I am glad some one so close to Grandma is able to be here for these wonderful memories.
My mom and sister did an amazing job (as usual) on the party.  The decorations turned out so cute and the food was great.  I am so happy to have such wonderful family.  I can't wait to return the favor for my sister when she has kids =)
I didn't take many pictures, I spent most of the time talking with everyone.  Here are a few shots I did get of people.  My best friend, her mom, and another Girl Scout buddy trying to figure out the guessing game.
Aunt Kristin sharing some coloring time with Kalea.
It was only after the shower was completely over that I realized I never got a shot of myself with my mom and sister.  I wish I had, but it is way too late for that now.  

I just wanted to throw this next picture in.  She is wearing a fabric basket from a play food set and she decided that for that day it would act as her hat.

Friday, October 25, 2013

September 19th

This post will be a bit long, but it is long over due.  If you would like to read just about the actual birth, please scroll down a bit.

I am finally getting around to sharing the wonderful news we had from earlier this year (early March).  Pat and I found out that we were expecting a baby!  The baby was due on October 25th, and we were very excited.  Once we got over the shock of this mostly unplanned pregnancy (we were planning to start trying late summer!), we had to figure out how we were going to share the news with our families.  The timing worked out pretty well since both of our parents would be celebrating their wedding anniversaries in late March.  To break the news, we made a special framed picture for them.  It included a copy of the ultrasound in one frame, and a picture of Kalea:

They all had the same shocked reaction as when we broke the news the first time around.  It was a lot of fun to share the news with our close family and friends.

I was very fortunate in that my pregnancy was pretty easy going, similar to Kalea.  I never had morning sickness, and pregnancy cravings never really took over my diet.  The only visible proof of the pregnancy, aside from the inevitable bump, were my hideous varicose veins.  I had them with Kalea, and this time around they came back immediately with a vengeance.  It was nice to go through an entire pregnancy this time with insurance, so a lot of the stress was gone that we went through the first time.  In fact, it just seemed like the pregnancy flew by since there weren't a lot of problems and we wanted to concentrate our time on spending time with Kalea.  Once I finally started feeling and looking pregnant, we spent a lot more time talking and planning about our son.  I really enjoy pregnancy, especially when all of the kicks and movements can be felt.  I spent every night with my hand on my belly and having Pat feel every time there was a kick.  

Here is a pic of me at 32 weeks

The pregnancy went very well aside from one small-ish detail.  At our 20 week ultrasound, we learned that we had a rare complication that can occur with pregnancy.  I had a complete placenta previa, which basically means the placenta was attached at the bottom of my uterus and completely blocked the cervix.  This turned my pregnancy into a high-risk pregnancy.  If the condition persisted, I would have to deliver the baby via a c-section, as my life and the babies would be in danger in a normal delivery.  This complication also carried with it certain risks as my due date approached.  I had a high-risk of bleeding, early labor, and mis-carriage.  I was basically told that any side of bleeding warranted a trip to the labor and delivery department.  If this occurred without needing to deliver, then I would be put on bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy.  

There were certain limitations put on what I could and could not do.  Luckily Kalea still only weighed about 20 pounds, which was the maximum weight I was allowed to lift.  I had to take it a lot easier and limit certain activities.  I learned that this condition really had no known causes, and none of the risk-factors applied to me.  It was basically a completely random occurrence.  There was a chance that the placenta would move up as my uterus expanded, and they scheduled a follow-up ultrasound for late August to see if this happened.  My rare condition usually corrected itself in most cases by the middle of the 3rd trimester (only a small percentage of those with some type of previa still had it when delivering).  The follow-up ultrasound showed that there was no change in the condition, so a c-section would be the delivery of choice.  

I was pretty disappointed upon learning the news that I would have to have a c-section.  I had a wonderful delivery experience with Kalea, and was really hoping to have a similar experience again.  Knowing that my body was able to handle delivery without an epidural, but not having it as an option was upsetting.  Of course a c-section is not the end of the world, but the initial shock of it took me awhile to get over.  I did eventually come to accept the only option I had for a birth.  I started talking with people that had had one previously, and I took in as much advice as I could. 

My due date was October 25th (today-the day I am writing this!), but with needing a c-section, my delivery date would be at least a week before that.  My doctors office and I were in the process of figuring out a date for the surgery, but it was never settled.

This next part is a bit graphic, so feel free to skip if you don't want to hear the details of the birth story.

September 19th, 4:30 a.m.  I was 34 weeks, 6 days pregnant.  I woke up feeling a strange sensation.  I immediately got out of bed to head to the restroom.  On my way it was almost like a gate was opened and a rush of blood came out of me.  It was definitely not the normal kind of blood associated with early labor signs.  I was not having any contractions or any other signs of labor.  I had been warned basically every office visit what to do in case of bleeding.  The big warning was in cases of extreme blood flow.  This extreme, emergency case is of course what was happening in the wee hours of the morning.  My husband later called it the "bloody wedding in our bathroom" which is pretty much a good description.  I called it a "crime scene" since our bathroom included bloody foot prints in the bath tub.  

I woke my husband up and had him grab the phone.  We called the labor and delivery department and were told to immediately head to the hospital.  Our hospital was about 40 minutes away, so we needed to go as soon as possible.  While on the phone, I continued to have heavy amounts of blood flow every couple of minutes.  This fact changed our plans and forced us to head to the closer hospital in town.  Of course I had been slacking on the prepared front and had no hospital bag packed.  I had also intended to set up an emergency plan for taking care of Kalea, but I hadn't gotten to it yet.  My husband and  I decided to call for an ambulance (they are located only a mile away).  This way he could take care of getting Kalea up and drop her off at my cousins house (thank you again Joe and Chelsea), plus we wouldn't have to worry about getting blood all over our car.  Luckily Pat was able to get a hold of Chelsea who lives on the way to the hospital.  She watched Kalea for us until my parents could drive down from their house.  

Meanwhile, I was riding in the ambulance, heading for the hospital.  One of the questions the paramedic asked me was whether I had felt the baby move recently.  I hadn't, and internally I began to panic.  I was really worried that my little guy was not ok.  I didn't have to wait too long to be relieved of this worry since he hooked up a fetal heart monitor up to my belly.  I have never been so relieved to hear a heart beat in my life.  Once I heard that, I didn't care about anything else, I was just glad to know he was still ok.  

It was an interesting ride, to say the least.  They apparently already had an interesting and busy night, so they were a bit tired.  The driver had a difficult time getting out of our neighborhood, I had to give directions to help him out as the paramedic was attempting to put an iv in my arm.  Then as we were getting closer to the hospital, the driver went the wrong way on the freeway.  We recently had a new hospital open up in town, so they were used to taking people there, instead of the "downtown" women's hospital.  He had to exit the freeway and turn around.  Finally, when we arrived at the hospital he pulled up to the wrong entrance since the last time he was there he had to use that alternate spot.  So they had to wheel me back into the ambulance and drive around to the other side of the hospital.  They were good guys and very helpful.  I later learned from my Dad that there was a full moon this night, which could explain my early labor =)

Once I arrived in the hospital, a lot of things happened at once.  Because of the heavy blood loss, they had to prepare me for an emergency c-section.  I had a few different people coming at me from all angles.  They were filling out paperwork, putting needles in me, asking me medical history questions, and preparing me for surgery.  It was really a whirlwind, and there wasn't a lot of time to panic or even really think about what was about to happen.  All I could think about was how i hoped Pat would be able to make it in time, but I knew they couldn't delay the surgery.  I was wheeled into the operating room, transferred to the operating table, and strapped down.  Not too much later, I had a mask on my face and then I was out.  I remember slowly waking up from a dream, which felt like I had a full nights sleep behind me.  It took me a moment to realize where I was.  I woke up to seeing my husband and mom.  The only thing I could think about was the pain and my son, I kept saying "ow" over and over again.  Pat had gotten to see Landon in the NICU already, and told me he was doing well.  I was relieved to know he was ok.  

Once I got a little pain medication in me, all I could think about was wanting to see our son, Landon.  Eventually they were ready to wheel me down to my room.  I asked to stop by to see Landon on the way, which luckily I was able to do.  The first time I saw my son was overwhelming.  I just kept thinking how tiny he was.  

I so badly wanted to hold him and cuddle with him, but that just wasn't possible.  He had to be under observation since he was so early.  So, I had to head to my room not knowing when I would get to see him again.  My recovery went very well, I was very motivated to get back to see Landon, so I was determined to get my mobility back as quickly as possible.  I ended up getting down to see him about 12 hours after he was born.

 I found out that he was born at 6:32 am.  He was 18 inches and 5 pounds, 11.9 ounces.  Pat and I had picked out the name quite a while ago.  We decided on Landon Dale.  Landon we have liked for a long time and Dale is Pat's middle name and his Dad's name.
Kalea loved eating my food in the hospital, especially my pudding.
We were very lucky with this delivery.  The amount of blood I had lost could have meant a more serious outcome.  Landon was off of oxygen just a few hours after birth and I was off of morphine within 10 hours of delivery.  I didn't need a blood transfusion at all and I was able to go home 2 days later.  I chose to stay the maximum time that my insurance would pay so that I could go to the NICU as often as possible.  I was pumping trying to get my supply started.  It was a great chance to spend some quality time with my new baby and get some extra rest.  This was made possible by my parents who were able to watch Kalea for us.

Landon ended up staying in the NICU for 8 days, which is much better then the original projection of 2 weeks.  He finally got to come home with us on Friday, September 27th.  

Here is our first family picture the day we brought Landon home. Kalea is meeting him for the first time.  

We have had quite a few visitors, both in the hospital and at home, which we have really enjoyed.  

Landon is growing very fast.  in 3 weeks he gained almost 2 pounds.  
He had passed his birthweight at his first checkup, which is wanted for full term babies, but not really expected for premies.  Around 1month, he weighed in at 7 pounds, 6.4 ounces.  He is already over 20 inches tall.  Here is a picture from his 1 month photo shoot.  We are doing the same thing with him that we did with Kalea where he wears a onesie that he can wear when he is 1 year old (we went with an 18 month size just in case).  
He definitely is growing fast, it seems like much faster then Kalea did.  He eats really well, which is nice compared to the difficulties Kalea had.  

Pat and I are so in love with Landon.  Big Sister Kalea gets so excited every time she hears him or sees him.  
She loves to give him kisses on his head and point out his eyes, feet, shirt, hair, etc.  When ever we lay him on the ground, she gets down right next to him for a closer look.  Luckily, she has so far had a smooth transition.  
Sometimes she wants attention when we are busy with the new baby, but she handles it pretty well.  She really is a great big sister, and I can't wait to watch their sibling relationship develop.