Monday, June 30, 2014

Noelle's Birth Story

In honor of it being the week of Noelle's birthday, I thought I would post her birth story! (I originally wrote this a few weeks after she was born.)

On June 28th, I went to my last doctor's appointment before Noelle was born.  I had a growth sonogram and non-stress test (NST) scheduled that day.  While I was doing the NST the nurse practitioner came to tell me that baby girl had measured in the 5th percentile in the growth sono and so she was going to check if I was dilated at all and then let the doctor know what was going on.  Well, I wasn't even a full 1 cm dilated and when the doctor (Dr. Esposito) came in, he said he wanted to go ahead and induce me so that we could get baby girl out.  He figured she would grow faster out than in, and was concerned my placenta wasn't providing the sustenance she needed.  I was in shock and all I could think was "I'm not ready!"  Luke had just started his new job and wasn't with me, but I did have my mom with me.  We decided that I would get induced early the following week and get one more NST over the weekend just to make sure everything still looked good.  It seemed like Dr. Esposito wanted me to go in that night or the next day at the latest, but was willing to let me go until the beginning of the following week as long as we got the NST over the weekend.  The woman who does the scheduling with the hospital was having trouble getting a hold of the right person, so told us to go ahead and head home and she would call us once it was scheduled.  I remember driving towards my mom's house with a feeling of disbelief that I would be meeting our baby girl the following week.  I had been convinced she would come past her due date!  I got the call a little bit later, and was scheduled to be induced at 8:30 a.m. on July 3.

That Friday (June 29), there was a big storm that came through the area and resulted in a lot of people being without power.  Thankfully we only lost it for a few hours that Friday night, but my parents were out for almost a week.  We got up on Saturday and went to the hospital for the NST, and then to the second part of our birthing class, which thankfully covered inductions.  On Sunday, we went to church, ran some last minute errands, went on one last date to Chili's ,and then I went into major nesting mode and was down on my hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor and the bathtub.  My back had been really painful to the point of me limping around for the last two weeks I was pregnant, but I was determined to have clean floors before we went to the hospital.  I had told work that Friday was my last day, and planned to pack our hospital bag on Monday.

Well, on Monday morning, July 2, I woke up at 6:30 a.m. and felt some leaking (and thought I was peeing myself).  After going to the bathroom, it stopped so I went back to bed.  As I was getting into bed, I noticed some light cramping and figured I was having some early labor contractions.  I woke up again around 8:30 and noticed more leaking, and had some blood tinged mucus when I went to the bathroom. I called my mom to let her know what was happening and she said I was probably in early labor.  I read through the 36 week guidelines the doctor had given me and they said to call if there was continual leaking.  So I called, even though my mom had said not to bother since I was just in early labor.

My doctor's office was closed because they were still out of power from the storm, so the person on duty told me to go ahead and go to the hospital and the doctor on duty (who happened to be Dr. Esposito) would check me to determine what we needed to do.  So I drove myself to the hospital after only slightly freaking out and running around to pack a hospital bag.  I got there around noon and went up to the labor and delivery floor and checked in, where they were expecting me.  There was another couple waiting at the desk who went to the same practice as we did and who were there for the same reason.  A nurse took us down the hall to put us into rooms so that we could get checked.  I still hadn't felt any strong contractions, and Luke and I were texting so he could know what was going on.  Since he had just started the job the week before I figured there was no need for him to come to the hospital until we knew if they were going to keep me.

Around 2:00, Dr. Esposito came in to check me and said that I was 3 cm dilated!  I was surprised that I was already that far along without having painful contractions.  He told me I was in labor and it was time to get things moving since I needed to have the baby within 24 hours of my water breaking.  I immediately texted Luke to tell him and he replied that he was leaving right away.

ready to have a baby

Soon after Luke got there, they moved us into a Labor and Delivery room and hooked me up to measure baby's heart rate and the contractions.  We hung out for a few hours watching t.v., talking, and playing Phase 10.  Dr. Esposito had told me that once they got me to a Labor and Delivery room I should get up and walk around to try and get things going.  I asked the nurse if that would be ok, but she wanted to check with the doctor again first.  When she came to check on us an hour later, I asked her again and she said she had forgotten to ask, but would ask and then come back.  By the time she came back again, the nurse shifts were changing over.  Our new nurse, Meredith, came to talk to us and make sure we were set up.  She said I would be getting pitocin to get the contractions moving along.

After the pitocin was administered, I started to feel more painful contractions.  Luke and I tried to use the breathing techniques that we learned in our birthing class, but after about a half hour, I was in so much pain I was tensing up my whole body and shaking.  Meredith had said I could pretty much get the epidural whenever I wanted it.  I tried to hold out for a little while, but I quickly realized that me tensing up the whole time was not going to help move things along. 

Once I said I wanted it, it took about 20 minutes to get extra fluids through an IV.  Then the anesthesiologist came to administer it around 11:00 p.m.  Luke had to leave the room for that part per the hospital, but thankfully Meredith was amazing and held my hands and helped me breath through the pain while I got it. It took about 15-20 minutes to get the epidural in and I probably had about 3 really strong contractions while that was going on.  I was kind of scared that I was shaking too much, but I guess I was ok.

Once the epidural was in, I felt so much better.  My legs were numb, especially my right leg.  After it was done, Meredith told us we should go ahead and get some sleep.

I mostly just rested, but it was so nice to not be in intense pain.  It started to wear off a little bit on my left side, but I pumped some extra medicine and the pain I felt was not unbearable.  Dr. Esposito came to check me at one point in the middle of the night and said I was 7 cm dilated.  He told me that since we knew baby girl was small, he would have me start pushing once I was 9 cm along.

Around 5 a.m. he came to check me again and said he could feel her head and that if we didn't start pushing she would just come out on the bed!  Meredith came in to get everything ready and around 5:20 said we could start pushing.  She held a leg and Luke held a leg, and she told me to push once I felt a contraction.  The plan was to push 3 times during each contraction.  Well after one push, she said to stop because she could already see the head crowning!

getting checked out

She went to go get Dr. Esposito, and when he came, the pushing began in earnest.  Luke had told me he didn't want to look, but would just focus on my face, which I was fine with.  But as Noelle's head was showing more and more, both the nurse and doctor kept telling him to look.  He did look and encouraged me to keep pushing.  Then at 5:47, she came out!  She started crying and the doctor passed her off to the nurses.  Normally when they first come out, they are placed on the mother's stomach.  But since she was measuring so small, he wanted the NICU nurses to check her out right away.

While they were cleaning and examining her on the warming bed, I just watched and cried because I was so happy she was here!  Dr. Esposito was sewing me up and said that he did a small episiotomy because I was starting to tear inside.  Finally after he was done with me and she was cleaned and cleared by the NICU nurses, I got to hold her.  Luke had already been holding her for a little while so he brought her over to see me.

holding my daughter for the first time

It was so amazing to check out our little girl and study her little face.  We decided she has my chin and Luke's lips.  And she is just the cutest baby!  Luke had texted our parents when the doctor said it was time to start pushing.  My parents got there about 5 minutes before they took her down to the nursery, and got to see her.  My dad had tears in his eyes and I could tell he was already in love with her.

It's certainly an incredible experience becoming a mother!

family of three!

And now it's crazy to think we'll have a two year old!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Two Under Two

When Luke and I were dating and talking seriously about the future, our conversations involved talking about how many children we would have some day.  Him being one of five and me being one of four, we figured we would have 4 or 5 kids.  We both love coming from bigger families.  Luke and I both have many fond memories of our childhoods, and enjoy the relationships we now have with our adult siblings.

We were married for about 2 1/2 years before we agreed that it was time to start trying for a baby.  And by agreed, I mean I really wanted to get pregnant and Luke said he felt like he would never be ready so we might as well move forward with that plan.  Nine (what felt like long) months later, we got pregnant with Noelle.

Noelle meeting Jonah for the first time

We always knew that kids were expensive, but once you have one, you really start to understand just how much money you spend on them.  And I'm sure at this point we don't even realize how much more expensive they get!  Luke and I were both able to graduate college debt free, and that was such a great way to start our lives and marriage.  We decided, based on the Lord's provision, that we wanted to pay for our kids' college educations.  So then we started talking about only having two kids.  Now that we've had two, we know we want to have a third, but obviously it all depends on the Lord's plan for our family!

helping Jonah with tummy time

I also knew that I wanted to have my kids close together, so after Noelle was born, I was fine with not waiting long to get pregnant again.  In reality, this was another time in my life when I had to trust God's timing because it wasn't happening as quickly as I wanted it to!  But finally, when Noelle was 13 months old, we got pregnant with Jonah.

And now my littles are 22 months apart, and it has been a blast!  Certainly not easy, but I love it.

In only 5 days my baby girl will be 2! Hard to believe, but I'm loving this age.  And I'm definitely looking forward to watching the relationship grow between Noelle and Jonah as they get older!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Noelle's First Movie

Noelle saw her first movie in the movie theater today!  A local theater does $1 movies on Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout the summer.  They show kid movies that have been our for a little while, and today we saw "Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2".

I wasn't sure how she would do because, even though we've made it through full length movies at home, she always wanders around the house and plays with toys while it's on.  But as soon as we walked into the theater, she just stared at the giant screen.  Grandma Wiedeman came with us, and Noelle just snuggled up on her lap and watched the entire thing.

so enthralled by the screen, she wouldn't even look at the camera

Jonah was also great and spent the entire movie eating and sleeping.  The movie series is hosted by Chick-Fil-A, and a cow was handing out coupons for people to use after the movie, so we got some yummy food afterwards as well.

We're definitely planning on making this a part of our summer!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Jonah: 2 Month Update

Happy 2 Months to my little man!

photo by Heather Boockholdt

Height and Weight: At his appointment today he weighed 10 pounds 13 ounces (29%) and was 22.8 inches (43%). Doctor was happy with his growth!! :)

He didn't love being poked and prodded, and definitely hated his shots, but overall he did great. I scooped him up as soon as the shots were done and cuddled him (I need the cuddles as well!). After about a minute of crying I was able to put him in the carseat and carry him out with no more crying.  The rest of the day he's been crying more than normal, but I'm just enjoying the extra snuggle time.

Sleep:  This past week Jonah has been sleeping so much better at night!  He even went a six hour (8:30-2:30) stretch one of the nights.  I woke up at one point and looked at the time and realized it had been awhile and freaked out a little.  But no, he was still breathing! He's been doing 4 and 5 hour stretches, going down usually between 9 and 10, and then waking up between 2 and 2:30.  Then he'll sleep for a few more hours and usually wake up between 5 and 6.  After he turned a month old, he started to give me just two wake ups, usually around 12:00 and then another around 3:30.  It's definitely been great having more sleep at night!

Sleep during the day has become more of a problem in the last week.  He has been super cranky and fussy, and I don't know if it's just a growth spurt or tummy problems or what, but he is not a happy camper.  I have discovered that he falls asleep in the Ergo when I put that on and walk around, so at least he does that.  And sometimes when he's tired enough, he'll fall asleep in my arms and I can sometimes transfer him to the swing.  I just hope that the crankiness goes away!  I miss the content little guy!

Eating:  He has been eating more often in the last week, which also makes me think he's having a growth spurt.  But also, I tend to just feed him when he's fussing... He's been probably eating every two hours, and in the evenings especially from 4ish to 9ish, he's fussy and I just keep feeding him on and off.  But I figure I'm tanking him up for the night that way!  It just makes it hard if we want to go anywhere because I have to be able to feed him.  Last Friday, he was having a good morning and actually napping in the swing.  I had fed him on the left side, but not the right, so I decided to pump for 10 minutes while he was still sleeping and got 5 ounces!  I have never gotten that much in one sitting, even with doing two sides! And I do have a few bags stored in the freezer for when we'll have someone watching the kids.

look at that belly!

Diapers/Clothing:  Just last week I packed up his newborn sized clothing!  (So sad!)  The sleepers were definitely too short, and the onsies were just getting hard to get over his head.  It seems crazy to me because Noelle wore newborn sized clothing until she was 3 months old!  He even seems to be filling out the 3 month clothing pretty well.  We also ran out of newborn sized diapers and decided to just use the size 1 diapers, and that was a good call- way fewer blowouts!

Social/Milestones:  He had his first smile! It was at the end of May and I was trying so hard to get him to smile.  I kept talking to him and smiling nice and big, and FINALLY, he gave me his adorable gummy smile back.  Now, I can usually get the smile when he's been freshly fed and stays content after a feeding.


Likes:  Loves eating. Does pretty well when he's getting a bath.  If he goes into the bath upset, pouring warm water over him seems to help calm him down.  He also enjoys being held so that he is facing out- just has to see everything going on around him.  And he loves his mommy and daddy smiling at him.

Dislikes: Definitely dislikes tummy time- and wails through pretty much most of it.  When he's on his tummy he'll twist his lower body so much that it seems like he's about to roll over!  Generally he dislikes being undressed and getting his diaper changed.

Fun things we did:  He had his first Memorial Day and we went with our little family up to Westminster to watch the parade, and then when and ate lunch at Grandma and Grandpa's house.  Then in the evening, we went over to Nana and Grandpa's house for a cookout.  He also had his first Father's day, and got spoiled with lots of time from grandparents. :)

We also made it to library time a few times, and Jonah was a good boy and slept the whole time.  We went to Jamie and Jackie's wedding celebration, where Jonah ate, slept, and got held.  And we had some play dates with friends!

Some more pictures from the past month:

Noelle taking care of Jonah

Picture by Jess (thanks!)

mommy and Jonah on Father's day

representing Colorado state

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Six Years!

Yesterday Luke and I celebrated six years of marriage. (WHAT??)  And what a great six years they have been!  Certainly not always easy, but so worth it.  God certainly knew I needed someone who would balance out my craziness.  Luke is always the voice of reason when I start freaking out, and is always quick to point me to God when I start to go down the road of "what if".  I'm so thankful for him!

He had a bachelor party going on in the afternoon and evening for a friend who is getting married in July, so I suggested we get his favorite sushi and just eat in with the littles.

What that actually looked like:

Each of us holding a crying child.

Luke: "This is our life now."

And as crazy as it gets sometimes, we both talked about our kids being one of our favorite things that has come out of our six years of being married.  Love them!

clearly Noelle wanted to be a part of this family picture!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Beginning of The Terrible Twos

From the girl with very few words.

Conversation this morning as I was drying my hair in the bathroom:

Me: Hey Noelle, can you please pick up this book and put it back where it belongs?

Noelle (looking right at me): No.

Me: Noelle, I need you to listen to mommy and please put this book back.

Noelle (shaking her head): No.

Me: Come pick up the book and put it away.

Noelle: No.

Me: Noelle, please come here and pick up the book.

And she did! (And put it away after I showed her exactly where to put it.) :)

Only about two weeks till her second birthday and just this week we've started to say 'no'! The fun is just beginning! :)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Father's Day!

My husband is such a great daddy!  I've known Luke since we were 15 years old, and it's been fun to be a part of such different stages of his life.  And I'm loving seeing him as a daddy!

daddy-son bonding time

Luke is the perfect partner for me to parent with because he is easy-going and incredibly patient.  I tend to get worked up about things, but Luke is always right there reassuring me that everything will be fine and that the Lord is in control.

Luke and Noelle

This year, we hosted Father's Day at our house and Luke grilled for our parents and my siblings.  Noelle played in her pool on the deck with the neighborhood kids, and Jonah slept and ate. :)

We love you!!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Jonah: 1 Month Update

Even though Jonah is now 7 weeks, I want to post his one month update on the bloggy blog.
May 23, 2014

Jonah is 1 month old!  Cannot believe how fast that month went by. And at the same time it seems like he's been with us way longer than that!

At his appointment yesterday he weighed in at 8 pounds even- and I am so glad he did because it feels like he eats 20 out of the 24 hours in a day and I was hoping he would have something to show for it. (Of course he also peed on me as we walked down the hall from the scale to the exam room so he may have lost a few ounces :).) Dr. Frankel was pleased with his weight and height gain (21 inches) and said that we could definitely just let him keep sleeping if he was sleeping longer than 3 or 4 hours at night (which he's not).  She said he has really good neck control for a one month old, and that he also really strong in general and will probably roll over sooner than some babies.

Sleep: Usually he gives a 3, sometimes 4 hour, stretch from the time I finish up a feed, which I try to time to be done around 9 so that I can go to bed.  So usually he has another feeding at 12 or 1, and then it's all over the place from there.  Sometimes he likes to wake up an hour after I finish that feed, sometimes he'll be up for 2 hours, and on occasion he'll give me a 2 hour stretch of sleep.  And then usually he's up between 5:30 and 7 for another feed, after which I usually try to go down to the basement and walk on the treadmill. During the day he seems to have a good awake time in the mornings, where he's pretty alert and is sometimes content to just take in what's going on around him, and sometimes constantly eating.  He'll take a decent nap in the late morning and sometimes in he afternoon.  Around 5, he's usually alert and wanting to eat on and off for the next few hours.

Eating: Still not on any kind of schedule.  He likes to eat a lot and some days, I just turn the tv on for Noelle and sit on the couch to feed him almost constantly!  Sometimes there is only an hour between feeds, sometimes less, and sometimes he'll go 3 hours between eating.  Some days I pump, but I'm not super consistent with it, but at this point we don't really need the pumped milk (though I have given him a few bottles just to give my boobs a break!)  Also, this past week has probably been the turning point where I feel like I'm actually ok with breastfeeding.  His latch is so much better, and even though he doesn't suck as hard on the left side, he is getting something out of it, and obviously enough from both sides based on his weight gain.

Diapers/Clothing: Still in newborn diapers, and wearing his newborn sized clothing. The 0-3 month and 3 month clothing is still big, but I put it on him because that's what we have.

Social/Milestones: He has definitely been more alert in the last two weeks.  He will be alert and looking around for extended periods of time.  For example, this morning when I was on the treadmill for 45 minutes, he was awake the whole time.  He cried for a few minutes, but calmed down once I picked him up.  He still takes hour long naps during the day, but is usually awake during his feedings and afterwards for a little while.  Makes some eye contact, but not a lot, and haven't seen a smile yet!

Likes: Eating, eating, eating!  He does well in a swaddle, but I don't think he loves the act of being swaddled.  Will sometimes take a pacifier as he loves to suck (and sometimes he just sucks on me!)

Dislikes: Getting his diaper changed, getting a bath, getting his clothes changed, being hungry.

Fun things we did: We went to his first restaurant: Oscars (a bar/restaurant in Eldersburg).  My cousin Mark was in town when Jonah was 10 days old, so we went out to eat with my whole family.  Jonah did pretty well and slept most of the time that we were there. We celebrated my second Mother's Day ever, and went over to my parent's house for a cookout where we were joined by my sister's in-laws.  We also went up to Grandma and Grandpa Wiedeman's to celebrate Luke's mom's birthday and Mother's day the weekend after Mother's day.  And we went to the Main Street festival in Laurel, MD (where I grew up) with my dad, and also met up with Joseph Woodring.

my cousin, Mark with Jonah

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Grandma Lovin'!

Thankfully we live close to both my mom and mother-in-law.  When I went back to work for about a year and a half after Noelle was born, both grandmas watched her on the three days that I was at work.  It made me feel 100 times more comfortable knowing that she was with her grandmas and getting to have that special time with them.  I love that Noelle knows them and has no problem going to them whenever we see them! And I hope that Jonah can build close relationships with them as well.

Nana and newborn Noelle

My mom goes by Nana, and as my mom, I go to her for so much!  When Noelle tripped, hit her head, and got a giant goose egg, I immediately called her asking what I should do.  When she had a high fever, I texted her asking if I should call the pediatrician.  Last week when Luke was out of town for two nights and Noelle was sick, she came over to give Noelle a bath and get her ready for bed while I fed Jonah.  It's no joke having a newborn and a toddler!  People from church, college friends, my neighbor, and more have all said that Noelle looks just like my mom- her own little mini-me.  She is amazing and I appreciate her so much!

Grandma and newborn Jonah

My mother-in-law is also amazing and incredibly giving of her time!  She clearly loves her grandkids and spoils them as all grandmas should.  She's always offering to watch them so that Luke and I can go grab dinner or have some time together.  She's pulled out old toys from when her 5 kids were little, and Noelle now has her own little table and chair set, as well as her own homemade play oven all at grandma's house.  Not to mention the fun little corgi to play with and loud bird to watch!

Noelle and Jonah are the first grandkids on both sides of the family, and I love the love that our families have for them!
Noelle and Jonah on the day he was born.
(photo taken by my sister, Heather)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Mommy Blog

I LOVE being a mama, and feel so incredibly blessed to currently be mama to two littles!  I am one of those people who always knew I wanted to be a mom, and am so thankful to be at that place in life now.  I know I can't take for granted being able to have children, and I try to remind myself of that often when we're having a rough day or when I'm up for yet another late night feeding.

A little background: we have an almost two year old named Noelle Amanda and a 7 week old named Jonah Thomas.  My husband, Luke, works for a medical software IT company and we live about 40 minutes outside of Baltimore, MD.  As of the end of March, I became a full time stay at home mama!  Being a mom is certainly one of the hardest things I've ever done, but SO worth it!

Mother's Day 2014.