Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Caylee's First Thanksgiving!


This Thanksgiving brought about a lot of first for our family!  Not only was it Bryan and my first Thanksgiving as parents, not to mention Caylee-bear's first Thanksgiving EVER, it was also our first road trip as a family!  Both Bryan and I were astounded by the amount of STUFF required to cart our little girl to the hill country, but we ended up using every last piece of equipment we packed!  I guess at least that means we didn't over-pack, even though there wasn't room to set the dog kennel up in the car.  Haley and Annabelle didn't seem to mind getting to ride on their pillow though!

Caylee did wonderfully on her first road trip!  We left home on her 3rd Month Birthday and made it to Frederickburg in about 6 hours the Friday before Thanksgiving.  We stopped once for our dinner, and for her bottle and diaper change, and then it was back on the road!  We stayed with Gan Gan Friday night through Monday morning, and sure Caylee sure enjoyed getting to spend good quality time with her great grandmother!  Also, she got to see her second cousin Jenna Kay and her second cousin Eleanor drove in on Sunday especially to meet her!

Monday, Gan Gan, Mom, Dad, Bryan, Caylee and I all headed out to Junction to Aunt Zala and Uncle Charlie's incredible new lodge!  It's still a work in progress, but it is already fantastic!  Bryan and I spend Monday and Tuesday night there, while Caylee went back and forth on day trips from Frederickburg with her Grandma and Grandpa.  She did great on her first overnights away from us, and we did ok too lol.

Wednesday, we headed back to Fredericksburg and Thursday and family Thanksgiving with Gan Gan and the rest of her clan!  Caylee got to meet her second cousin Morgan and his girlfriend Anna, as well as her Great Uncles Bruce and Pat and her Great Aunt Susan.  She also got to see Uncle Austin and Aunt Fanny, and her Great Aunts Candy and Amy!  She didn't get to meet her Great Uncle Larry this trip, or see her second cousin Brooke until the very end of the trip, because poor Brooke was sick for most of Thanksgiving.

Thursday through Saturday saw us return to Junction!  Mom and Dad were very sweet and got Bryan and Caylee and me a hotel room in town, but we were out at the Koym land every day, seeing and spending time with cousins I hadn't seen in almost two years.  Saturday was the big family turkey fry, and almost everyone from my Gan Gan's side of the family was there!  We're talking over 70 people!  Caylee got to meet soooo many family members!  It was wonderful!

Saturday night we headed back to Fredericksburg and got to see Mama and Daddy P as well as Caylee's Uncle Mike and Aunt Jess.  Oh, and we got to watch the Aggies BEAT THE HELL out of MIZZOU!!!  WHOOP!!!  Caylee actually likes watching football more than any other TV program so far, which I think is awesome!  We headed home Sunday morning, making Caylee's first Whataburger stop, and made it in another 6 hour trip.

It was a wonderful week, but it's good to be home!  This week is all about re-establishing routine, and to that end, it's time for little bit's three o'clock bottle!

MILESTONES FROM THE TRIP:
As mentioned, first road trip, first overnight away from mommy and daddy, first Thanksgiving, and first time at the Ranch!
Caylee now sleeps from about 9 pm to 8 am (or later!)
She has started teething, so we bought her first teething rings as soon as we got home.
Caylee can stand, holding her own weight with me holding her hands to help with balance!
She has hit another growth spurt, and as of today I'm making her 8 oz bottles instead of 6 ounce so she can drink as much as she wants without getting a belly full of air!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What a Month!

I've been meaning to post an update for what feels like ages...but looking on here, it's only been a month since my last entry!  I guess that shows how busy we've been lol.  So, just in time for the craziness that the holidays always bring, I'm going to share in brief form what all we've been up to for the past month!

CAYLEE
Our Caylee-bear will be 3 months old in two days!  The time just seems to be flying, but I know that we're doing our best to enjoy every single day and experience with our baby girl.  She's getting so big, and developing so much!  I'll do a picture post on her 3 month bday, of course, but here's an activity update!
  • Eats at 6-6:30am. 9am. noon, 3pm, 5:30pm, and 8pm.  Has 30-60mins of awake time after each feeding, and then naps until her next baba.
  • Rolled over from back to tummy--TWICE--at Park Avenue Yarns!
  • Rolled over from tummy to back once here at home!
  • Has the "social smile" down pat, and GRINS whenever she is really happy, or when she sees me or her Daddy first thing in the morning!
  • Sleeps from 9pm-ish to 6am-ish most nights!
  • Eats between 4 and 5 ounces most feedings!
  • Has gotten really good at grabbing things in the past week...even if she can't control what she does with them beyond that!
  • Has really active playtime on her mat!
  • Holds her binky in about half the time.
  • Pats the bottle during feedings.
  • TALKS!  Well, baby talk lol.  She makes all sorts of coo and goo and mmmm sounds now!  She actually woke us up the night before last at 2:45am talking...for about 30 minutes lol. 
  • Has started self-soothing sometimes when she wakes up at night...see above lol.
  • Has a new best friend--Raffa the Giraffe!         
 
BRYAN
  • Built his work benches in the garage.
  • Getting really close to having the Sportster where he wants it.
  • Bought a new, self-propelled lawn mower when the lawn mower from my childhood stopped working.
  • Fixed the old lawn mower.
  • Has the back yard about where he wants it, as far as flowerbeds and such.
  • Working really hard at work.
  • Is fantastically supportive and all-around wonderful :-).  And such an amazing Daddy! 
ME
  • Enjoying the heck out of all the baby cuddles I can, and loving every minute of taking care of my beautiful, sweet daughter--even on the rare fussy occasions, and the rare-but-not-as-rare-as-fussiness early morning wake ups.
  • Finally got my butt to a Weight Watchers meeting to weigh in last week, and returned this week.  In other words, I've officially gotten started.
  • Had a blast at the Quilt Show with Mama Lynn and Julie--and bought waaay more yarn than I had intended lol.  Also, bought yarn and INTERCHANGEABLE NEEDLES at Park Avenue Yarns' Anniversary Sale!
  • Have started knitting again!  Lucy's hat is done, and her blanket and Nannie's scarf will be done by Christmas--I hope!  And then I can start on my long list of other projects :-).
  • Bought 3 new WW cookbooks, and spent all day yesterday cooking and freezing meals for when we get back from the Ranch.  Mostly, because I don't want to have to menu plan, grocery shop, or cook for a while lol.      
ANNABELLE & HALEY
  • Loving on their baby and coming to get us/howling and baying if we don't address her crying quickly enough.
  • Enjoying sleeping in bed with Bryan and I (Annabelle) and on cushy pillows on the floor (Haley).  Yes, we've gone soft lol.

All of us are very much looking forward to our trip to the Hill Country this holiday season, and seeing all the extended family that we haven't seen for over a year and a half now.  And, of course, looking forward to Caylee meeting all of her cousins that she hasn't met yet!!!  Hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving!
     

Monday, October 8, 2012

Back in the Habit

And no, I'm not talking about the Whoopi Goldberg movie.  Though I did watch it on TV the other day, and had forgotten how much I actually enjoy it!  Yay Cinemax!

Anyway, what I'm talking about is my weekly injection habit.  I took my first methotrexate shot in almost two years on Saturday night.  Bryan and I decided Saturday nights are the best time because we almost always have something going on Saturdays and almost always have nothing going on Sundays.  This means when I'm feeling less than awesome the day after my shot, he can help me with the baby!  I have such a good hubby :-).

While I'm glad to be officially back on my meds, I honestly had forgotten how yucky the methotrexate makes me feel.  Saturday night was pretty bad--mostly nausea and feeling woozy--and I was pretty wiped out on Sunday.  Bryan took over the baby's night feeding on Saturday so I could go to bed extra early, and was a huge help taking care of her all day Sunday.  I'm feeling better today, especially after 2 cups of coffee lol.  Of course, it's been completely out of my system for quite some time--I'm sure that once it's reestablished itself, it won't hit me quite as hard.  I'm just very thankful that Bryan is so understanding and takes such good care of me and of Caylee-bear when I'm feeling so icky.

The other habit I've restarted is Weight Watchers!  I haven't been to a weigh in and meeting yet, but I'm officially tracking my points again, and hoping that I'll see some progress, even if I'm still on 20 mg/day of prednisone.  I'm going to talk to Dr. C on Thursday about the protocol for weaning off that dose--not that I'm going to be able to actually attempt that anytime soon.  Until my big girl drugs get to work, that and my NSAID are all that keep me functioning though, admittedly, they're not really doing an amazing job at that at the moment.  But that's why we're reintroducing the methotrexate and Remcade and hydroxycholoquin--hopefully I'll see more improvement this time than back in 2010! 

Other than that, I'm looking forward to getting back into the exercise habit; however, I'm just not to a point where I can do that yet.  With my first Remicade infusion this Thursday, water aerobics will have to wait at least another week.  It might have to wait even longer, depending on how I'm responding to the meds, and going on walks will have to wait even longer than that.  That said, this beautifully cool fall weather sure makes me itch to put the baby in her stroller and go for a, well, stroll!  Oh well.  Hopefully the meds will make it possible before it gets flat out cold outside.

All in all, I'm feeling fairly optimistic and empowered (weight watcher word lol) at the moment.  It sure feels good to restart my healthy habits!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Family Fun!

Our Caylee-bear turned 6 weeks old last Thursday!
Aside from being excited that she's growing so big and strong, we were excited for another reason: 6 weeks was the age our pediatrician said we had to wait to take her out!

Granted, I cheated and took her to the yarn shop at 5 weeks, but that was just a quick "mommy and me" trip to see a very small group of my knitting family members all of whom were healthy.  Here's a pic of Caylee with her big sis (and birthday twin!) Blair :-D!


At 6 weeks, we took her out to a public place with--*gasp*--strangers we didn't know present!  Lol.  Bryan and I decided to celebrate her (and our) 6 week milestone by having lunch at one of our favorite restaurants--Jason's Deli!  So, I got Miss Caylee all dressed up in a new outfit.  It's hard to believe, but she's already wearing 3 month clothing!

We loaded her into the car and went to lunch at about 1:30pm.  While it was a late lunch, it turned out to be perfect timing since we missed the weekday lunch crowd!  Jason's Deli was pretty empty, so Bryan and I snagged a booth near the back corner.  He had his Club Royale and I FINALLY had my turkey wrap!  After 9 months of abstaining, man did was it delicious!  Of course, we also had the free ice cream :-D.

Caylee did wonderfully!  On the way there, I sat in the back with her, and she seemed to enjoy that.  At least, she didn't fuss at all with me back there, so I'm assuming that was enjoyment lol.  She fell asleep halfway there and slept all the way through our lunch!  She woke up when we left and fussed on the way home, but seeing as she had a very wet diaper when we got back to the house, I couldn't really blame her!
No shoes?  No problem!  Lol.  
It was a wonderful first family outing!

This week has been Bryan's first week back to work.  He's been going in for half days to give us all a chance to transition slowly.  So far, it's been going just fine, though Caylee and I are both glad to see him when he gets home!  Next week will be the final transition of him going back to work full-time and Caylee and I continuing our routine here at the house without him--at least until he gets home in the evening!  It'll be an adjustment for all of us, but I know it'll end up being great!

Other than that, we've got a busy week this week.  Saturday morning is Caylee's Halloween mini-session with amazing photographer Carina with Kat's Photography, and I'm super excited!  Carina also did Caylee's newborn shoot, and she is extremely talented!  

As for me, I have lots of doctor appointments that I'm getting out of the way while Bryan's home in the afternoons--optometrist, dentist, etc.  My 6 week postpartum check-up is tomorrow, so hopefully I'll be back on methotrexate and hydroxycholoquin tomorrow as well!  I'm getting ready for knit night tonight--sans baby this time!  Saturday afternoon, I'm taking a magic loop class at PAY, and am looking forward to it.  Oh, and I rejoined Weight Watchers!  Since I can't run--or even go on walks at the moment--and I'm not yet cleared for water aerobics, it's time to attack this baby weight from the dietary end!  I had a lot of success last time, and am looking to repeat it!  So, wish me luck!  And hey look--another blog post!  Thank goodness for a wonderful baby who sleeps so well--mama still gets to enjoy her hobbies!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Early Morning Baking Buddy

One thing I really missed during the last trimester of my pregnancy was baking.  Quite frankly, I didn't have the energy before I was put on bedrest, and afterwards I sure wasn't going to risk Caylee jumping the gun just to bake!  The fact that she did jump the gun completely aside, of course lol.  So, while Caylee has been sleeping, I've been reintroducing myself to my bakeware, spices, and baking cabinets!

My first post-pregnancy projects were basic banana bread and pumpkin bread loaves.  They turned out quite nicely, but I was wanting something a little sweeter.  So, I found a recipe online for a cream cheese layer to go with pumpkin bread and gave it a go!  So far, it hasn't quite worked with the pumpkin bread--mostly it either rises to the top or mixes with the rest of the batter.  Oh well, it sure tastes good!

My next project was an amazing Blueberries and Cream Coffee Cake Pie recipe by Cleo Coyle!  She is the author of my first and favorite mystery series--The Coffeehouse Mysteries.  I've read all of them on my Kindle and loved each one!  One amazing aspect of her books is all of the scrumptious foods she describes therein--even more amazing, she includes the recipes in the back of each volume!  Out of respect, I'm not going to post the recipe for the Coffee Cake Pie here, but you can find it in her book Roast Mortem.  And yes, all of her titles are plays on aspects of coffee!  While I won't include the recipe, I will include the picture of my pie--and boy was it yummy!  I made it for Caylee's first outing to Uncle Ethan and Aunt Julie's house for a play date with Lucy, and it was quite a hit!

My other baking project was a loaf of Cinnamon Blueberry Cream Cheese Bread.  Last Saturday, I threw the recipe together myself, modifying my basic pumpkin bread recipe and combining and modifying several of the cream cheese filling recipes I had found online.  My first step, of course, was to preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Of course, I had my baking buddy on deck.  

I wasn't sure how long she'd stay asleep, so I measured out all of my dry ingredients for the bread first:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon (next time I'm going to up that to 1 Tbsp--I wanted more cinnamon taste!)
I then measured out the ingredients for the cream cheese layer:

1 8oz package of cream cheese, microwaved for 15 seconds
1 egg
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Next, I mixed all of the cream cheese layer ingredients in my mixer until mostly smooth.  Caylee-bear woke up at that point lol.  We took a break for a diaper change and then got back to work!  I poured the cream cheese mix into a giant measuring cup with a spout and then washed out the mixer.

Once it was dry, I poured the dry bread ingredients in and used the mixer to blend them.  Next, I measured out the non-dry ingredients for the bread:
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup water

I poured all of that into my blender and mixed it together with the dry ingredients until smooth.  While that was blending, I pulled out my 9 ounces (1 1/2 small tubs) of frozen blueberries and tossed them in about 1 Tbsp of flour.  This is a trick I learned from Cleo Coyle's recipes to help absorb excess moisture from the blueberries while they bake!  Next time I might use more blueberries, but this time I carefully folded the flour-coated blueberries into the bread mix.  I definitely didn't want to smoosh them!

After that was done, I carefully poured some of the batter into my already-Pamed and floured bread pan.  I then added a layer of the cream cheese mix.  I could tell right away that the cream cheese mix was not going to layer as I had originally intended.  The blueberries make the bread batter thicker, but the cream cheese mix was especially runny.  Next time I'll refrigerate it for a bit.  This time I went ahead and added more blueberry bread mix, then cream cheese and topped it off with the remaining bread mix.

In my oven, it ended up taking 70-75 minutes to bake at 350 degrees.  The blueberries sunk, resulting in a fruit layer at the bottom, which I rather enjoyed.  The cream cheese marbled instead of layering, but it still looked pretty and tasted pretty darn good!  At least, my little brother Austin and his girlfriend Fanny both enjoyed it!  I was glad to be able to make them something yummy while they were in town, especially since they watched Caylee-bear Saturday night so Bryan and I could go on a dinner date!

All in all, it was a success even with with modifications I'll make next time.  It's so good to be baking again!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

RA and Motherhood

As I've already mentioned, to get Caylee here safely we opted for a C-section.  The upside--at least for me--was a fairly easy recovery.  Of course, never having delivered a baby vaginally, I have nothing to personally compare it to; however, the C-section recovery was about what I expected from a major abdominal procedure.  That is, the recovery was annoying, inconvenient, and somewhat painful--though of course the wonderful pain meds helped with that last bit lol.  The downside was that it has postponed my restart of my RA medications.

Even more of a downside, for the last week and a half I've been dealing with my first post-pregnancy flare, which has been a doozie.  Luckily, the prescription strength Ibuprofen from my C-section combined with my 20mg a day of prednisone seem to be keeping me at least functioning.  Of course, that's when I remember to take my middle-of-the-day Ibuprofen.  For example, I forgot today and am severely regretting it tonight.  Soon though I will be back on my once-a-day Meloxicam with the prednisone, so hopefully that combination will tide me over until I get to start the big boys.

There are a few hoops for my to jump through before I get to start the rest of my drugs back up.  First comes my MRI this week.  This is sort of like a baseline for the post-pregnancy condition of my joints.  Of course, it's also a way to measure how much damage I've managed to do by being off of my meds since November of 2010.  Should be interesting!  I also am probably going to have to get more bloodwork done--as always lol.  Of course, last week, the tests saw some slight elevations in a few areas, so I had to do a repeat on Friday.  Since I haven't heard anything this weekend, I'm assuming no further issues showed up, but I should get a phone call to confirm that either Monday or Tuesday.

After that, the next step is to get my postpartum clearance from Dr. F.  That will be next week.  I don't foresee any issues with that appointment--I seem to be pretty much healed up.  And if I haven't been taking it as easy as I should be, at least I haven't been vacuuming or lifting objects heavier than Caylee.  In other words, I haven't done anything the doc needs to hear about, unless she detects an issue on her own!  Lol.  The day Dr. F clears me, Dr. C will call in my methotrexate prescription and I'll be back to my weekly injection.  I'm not looking forward to that AT ALL, but I am looking forward to a month or so down the road when the drug reestablishes itself in my system.  At that point, hopefully I'll see some improvement!

Finally, there's my insurance company's prior approval process for my Remicade infusions.  We're billing it differently this time, which should help with the financial end of that medication.  It's amazing what you can learn about your insurance when you have the time to call and chat with people about something you read in your policy!  There shouldn't be any issue with getting approval, so we went ahead and scheduled my first infusion appointment for the week after my postpartum clearance appointment.  In around two months, I should start seeing improvement from the Remicade establishing itself in my system.

Until then, I'll keep on keeping on.  Bryan's been a big help during this flare, as always.  I'm so lucky to have him!  That said, I'm looking forward to getting this nonsense back under control.  Believe it or not, it hasn't been anywhere near under control since the Enbrel stopped working during my first year of teaching.  So, here's hoping this drug combo will do the trick!  And of course, hooray for the end of my prednisone usage FINALLY being in sight.  I hate that drug, as much as it does the job.

So anyway, that's where things stand RA-wise.  Wish me luck in regards to the MRI--unrealistic as I know it is, I'm still hoping that Dr. C tells me there hasn't been any progression!  Hey, a girl can dream, right? ;-)  For now, I'm going to go enjoy my last bit of evening with my hubby and baby girl before I head to bed.  Gnite!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Caylee's First Month!



It's crazy to me that our little girl is already one month old!  I know everyone always loves to point out how fast time goes once you're a parent, and how much a little baby changes from day to day, week to week, but it still astounds me to be living the reality of it!  Especially since the possibility was very much in question there for awhile.

The pups adore Caylee--she is THEIR baby and we are allowed to care for her lol.  They both get very vocally upset with us if she's crying and we don't fix it soon enough!  Bryan and I are more than just surviving--we're loving this whole parenthood thing so far!  He is still home on paternity leave, which we have all thoroughly enjoyed!  He's been working on household projects along with spending plenty of cuddle time with Caylee-bear.  I've been (of course) getting lots of cuddle time in too and figuring out my own system for keeping the household running and keeping up with bottle washing and laundry.  So far, it involves fewer naps than people tell me I should be taking, but I'm doing fine!  Especially since I'm now an avid coffee drinker lol.  College didn't do it, being a teacher didn't do it, but man, this motherhood thing sure did make me a coffee convert! 

So, for Caylee's First Month post, here's a rundown of what she's up to, and how our lives are operating at the moment!

Weight (as of 9/13): 10 lbs
Length (as of 9/13):  22 inches

Daily Schedule

6:30 AM:  Wake her up for first daytime bottle, generally followed by anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes of wake time and then back to sleep

10:30 AM: Second daytime bottle, generally followed by 30 to 60 minutes of wake time and then back to sleep

2:30 PM Third daytime bottle, generally followed by 30 to 60 minutes of wake time and then back to sleep

6:30 PM: Fourth daytime bottle, generally followed by bath time every 2nd to 3rd day and anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes of wake time before back to sleep

10:15 PM:  First of what I call the night bottles followed by 15 to 30 minutes of wake time and then down for bedtime

2:30 AM: Second "night" bottle, back to bed

Repeat.  Well, most days lol.  She has her fussy days, mostly due either to an interruption in her routine that makes her overly tired or a bad gas bubble.  Mostly, it's a bad gas bubble.  We now put .3 mL of simethicone gas drops in her bottles, and that seems to help!

Wake Time Activities
Listening to Mama and Dada talk
"Talking"
Listening to Mama sing her the ABCs and the special ABCs
Sitting in her high chair and looking out the window (she really likes windows)
Sitting in my bouncer and watching the fan and lights (she really likes fans and lights)
"Reading" books with Mama and Dada, especially the black and white picture book
Laying on my Activity Gym mat and looking at the dangling animals and the mirror
Listening to music--mostly Texas Country and Classical--while doing any of the above

Sleep Places
Crib
On someone's chest--her favorite lol
High Chair, Bouncer or Swing
Laying on the floor

Outings
The Emergency Care Clinic and ER when Daddy through his kidney stone
Aunt Julie and Uncle Ethan's house for a play date with Lucy
Aunt Alicia and Uncle Bouncer's house
Papa and Mimi's house
The yarn shop!

This weekend, Austin and Fanny are in town to visit her (and us too...kind of lol).  Gan Gan watched her one night during her week here so that Bryan and I could go have dinner at Chuy's, and tonight Austin and Fanny are letting us go to dinner again!  And possibly even breakfast tomorrow by ourselves!  Well, speaking of Caylee-bear, it's about time for her nap.  Hopefully I'll be more prompt with her two month post, and in the meantime have a couple of other posts on what all else is going on around here.  That said, it took me the better part of this week to finish this one up and get it posted, so no promises!  In the meantime, here's another picture!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Caylee Is Here!

Our little girl has arrived!  And on her own schedule, may I add lol.  My last post was all about how we still had 8 days until my scheduled C-section.  Three days later--on Thursday August 16th--we headed to see Dr. F for what was supposed to be our last OB check up before the big day.  I was excited to hear that the doc was going to take me off of bed rest, thinking that now we could go pick out Caylee's curtains and a lamp, and that Bryan could move the pack and play into our bedroom.  Basically, I was looking forward to doing a bit of last minute nesting to make sure all was in order for Caylee.  Dr. F mentioned that we could go see a movie, joking that it was the last chance for such an outing that we'd get for some time.  Then she checked my cervix.  

"Well, so y'all are going to head to the hospital and we'll probably be doing the C-section this evening."

Bryan thought she was making a joke.  I immediately asked if I was dilated--and she replied that I was at 4 cm.  My response: holy crap!  She asked if I had been having contractions, and I replied that I'd been a bit crampy off and on, but nothing consistent, regular, or nearly as painful as the preterm contractions that put me on bed rest in the first place.  Initially, she was going to send me for monitoring with a possible C-section, but then decided to go ahead and send me to Labor and Delivery and scheduled the C-section for 5 pm that day!

Bryan and I immediately started on all the phone calls we had to make on the way to the car.  We did swing in Dr. W's office to share the news, and then we were on our way--back to the house lol.  Since Caylee wasn't arriving imminently, we made the executive decision to go get our bags and take a last minute picture or two before heading to the hospital.  


We finally checked in about 11am, and settled in to wait.  Bryan's mom was the first to arrive, and they ran down to the cafeteria to grab lunch.  Her arrival was followed by my mom and dad--along with Joy the Giraffe, a huge stuffed giraffe my parents just HAD to get Caylee lol.  Family slowly filtered in between then and 5 pm: Bryan's Papa and Mimi, my Nannie and Papa, Bryan's dad, and my brother and his girlfriend all made it!

They wheeled me back and hooked me up to my epidural--best thing ever, by the way!  Dr. F, Renee, Bridgette, and all the other nurses were fantastic.  Dr. F started the procedure--talk about the weirdest sensation ever!  I couldn't feel what she was doing, but I could feel her doing something!  My legs only existed as a vague warm sensation, and all the cutting and gutting felt like pressure.  When she pulled my muscles apart, it was even more pressure combined with jerking.  Then there was a huge tugging sensation and Dr. F pulled Caylee out!

She was born at 6:04 pm, August 16th, 2012, and weighed 8 pounds and 2 ounces and was 20.5 inches long.  It sounded like there was a bookie in the room, the way the doc and nurses were calling out guesses about her weight!  Everyone but one nurse thought she was at least 9 pounds lol.  I did pretty good through all of it, though I did need the nausea medication--there was a moment where I really thought I was going to hurl thanks my rapidly changing fluid levels.  I ended up with 15 staples--I asked Dr. F how many she was putting in and she laughed.  Apparently she's never been asked that before, but she still counted for me.

They put Caylee on my chest for a minute and boy was she mad!  She has good lungs, that's for sure.  I didn't get to hold her nearly as long as I wanted--her O2 levels were a bit low, so she had to go to the nursery and be under her astronaut (oxygen) helmet for a while.  She got a great APGAR (Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, Respiration) score of between an 8 and 9 out of 10.  Bryan went with her when they wheeled her to the nursery and got to show her off for a minute to the family.  Dr. F went ahead and cut my tubes and finished sewing me up, and then I was wheeled back to my prep room.

A bit later, they transferred me to the Postpartum ward and we settled into the room where we stayed until Sunday.  It was a big private room and even had an extra bed!  Everyone but my parents and Austin and Fanny headed out around 9:30 pm.  Mom, Dad, Austin and Fanny waited with us until they brought Caylee back, which wasn't until close to 11 pm.  I have to admit to being pretty lousy company---I just wanted to see and hold my baby!


Once it was just the three of us, Bryan and I decided to room in with Caylee.  We had originally thought we would let her stay in the nursery so we could sleep, but when it came down to it, we couldn't bear to let them take her away again when we had finally gotten her back.

The next few days were filled with holding Caylee, feeding and changing her, and sharing her with all of the family and friends that came up to see her.  Oh, and watching Shark Week on the Discovery Channel!  Bryan stayed with us Friday night, and then Mom stayed Saturday night.  Saturday evening, Bryan and Dad ran errands and got the house set up for our homecoming.  I didn't get feeling back in my right leg until over 24 hours later, when they removed my epidural at 5am Saturday morning and my system had a couple of hours to clear out the medication.  Saturday night, Bryan stayed with us again, and we had a wonderful Sunday morning, just the three of us getting ready to go home.  Mom and Dad came up to help us get out the door, and we ended up being discharged at 1 pm instead of 6 pm!

We've been home with our little Caylee-bear for one week today.  Last week, Vic and Bryanne-Michelle came in to meet their niece and help out around the house.  We had Caylee's newborn photo session last Tuesday, and she got to meet her Aunt Julie and cousin Lucy on Friday.  Bryan has to go back to work this week to wrap things up before his paternity leave, so yesterday Mama Lynn and my parents came over and stayed for dinner.  Then Mama Lynn is staying until Tuesday and Mom and Dad will be here Wednesday through Friday!  I can't find the words to express my gratitude at all the help we've received, as well as all the yummy casseroles that friends and family have made for us!

Caylee is doing wonderfully!  She eats every 4ish hours, and man can she put away her bottle!  Between feedings, she only fusses when she needs to be changed, and the rest of the time either sleeps or stares at the big new world in which she finds herself.  She has Bryan's forehead, ears and chin, and overall head shape.  I think she also has his hair, as it's starting to curl and she has a ton of it!  I hope she has his skin.  She has my nose and cheeks, and we'll see whose eyes she has as they pick a color.  And she smiles a LOT, just like I did as a baby.  Yes, I know some of it is gas, and that she won't exhibit the "social smile" for another month or so, but she smiles even when she's not gassy at all.  She's just one happy, chill little girl!  Bryan and I think she's pretty much perfect, of course, and have fallen completely in love with her.

We are so happy to finally have our little girl safely home in our arms!


Monday, August 13, 2012

Only 8 More Days!!!

In only 8 days, Caylee will make her arrival!  In only 8 days, Bryan and I will become parents!  And then, 3 days after that, we'll bring our little girl home and start our lives as a family of three people and two dogs!

Last week we had our last ultrasound, and everything still looks wonderful...except Caylee is definitely running out of room.  Her face in her ultrasound picture was all squished lol.  She measured in at 7.5 lbs at only 36 weeks and 4 days!  Basically, at that point, she was the same size as an average baby at 38 weeks.  My only thought was, well, at least she's slowed down a bit!  At the last ultrasound she was 3 weeks ahead of average and now she's only ahead by a week and a half!  

That said, by the time she's 38 weeks and a couple of days, there is a good chance that Caylee will weigh in somewhere between 8.5 and 9.5 pounds.  This means there is also a good chance she could get stuck coming out.  Add to that her head size and you get a scenario where we can't use a vacuum or forceps to help her if she does get stuck.  Personally, I'm not at all fond of the idea of going through 10+ hours of labor only to have to have a C-Section anyway!  So, we're cutting out all that middle concern and skipping straight to the end!  After talking all of this over with the maternal/fetal specialist and my OBGyn, we went ahead and scheduled a C-Section for August 21st!

And, double-plus bonus, my doctor is going to go ahead and clip my tubes while she's in there!  For a whole variety of reasons, Bryan and I are completely happy with just one little one, and this means I don't have to go back on birth control after the pregnancy.  One less pill a day to take once I'm back on all of my RA meds!

While I continue to enjoy every moment of my pregnancy, Bryan and I sure can't wait to hold our little girl!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Bed Rest

I was so close to making it through this pregnancy without going on bed rest!
At least it's only modified bed rest, meaning I can be in my recliner instead of only in bed, and I can get up to shower and eat!  So, what happened you ask?

Well, it seems our little Caylee is quite a big girl!  Which isn't really a surprise, seeing as I weighed in at 9 lbs 1 ounce and my brother was 9 lbs 5 ounces.  That said, I also have a slightly higher than normal amount of amniotic fluid, the combination of which makes my uterus think that it has finished it's work.  Wrong!  Lol.  Anyway, two and a half weeks ago, I was running around with my cousin Brooke.  We had gone to Babies R Us and had just gotten to Kohl's.  We were having a great time!  And then I had to pee.  

Not to get into overshare territory, but when I was done, I discovered I had some bright red spotting.  I had been feeling crampy off and on all day, but chalked it up to Braxton Hicks contractions.  That said, the spotting had me calling my OBGyn, who immediately had me go to the Perinatal Assessment Center at the hospital.  Brooke was a trooper and called Bryan for me as I drove us to the hospital.  Bryan met us there, and they put me and the baby on the monitors.  Caylee was perfect--strong heartbeat and lots of kicks.  I, on the other hand, was having preterm contractions.  ACTUAL contractions complete with acceleration, not the practice kind.  I guess at least I know what they feel like!

  Fortunately, it was not preterm labor...my cervix hadn't changed at all, nor did it change between my discharge from the hospital and my already-scheduled OBGyn appointment the next day.  Also, by our appointment, the contractions had pretty much stopped.  However, my doctor doesn't want to take any chances (which I very much appreciate!) and has me on bed rest at least through this coming Thursday.  I've been having some Braxton Hicks off and on, but nothing near as painful, consistent, or all over as the preterm contractions, thank goodness!

Bed rest is definitely not high on my list of favorite things ever.  That said, I've been so thankful for my mom and my hubby!  Mom came down every day the first week I was on bed rest and helped me finish getting everything ready for Caylee, including cleaning my house and cooking for Bryan and me.  Bryan has been keeping up with the housework, running errands, cooking, and basically picking up my slack.  And he's been super supportive the whole time!  And then there's Sherry and Blair who came by for lunch, and Julie and Ethan and Lucy who came over for dinner, and all of our other friends who have called and swung by to check on me!  Y'all are awesome!

I've also been thankful the Olympics happened to coincide with my period of enforced idleness!  The Games, especially beach and indoor volleyball and gymnastics, have given me something to focus on.  I've also been working on a couple of knitting projects.  Basically, at this point, it's a waiting game until Caylee gets here!

Here are the knitting projects helping to maintain my sanity:
Lucy's Blanket!

Caylee's Coming Home Hat!


Saturday, July 7, 2012

7ish Weeks To Go!

I cannot believe that we only have about 7 weeks until Caylee makes her arrival!
I think, however, that she can more than believe it--she seems to be getting frustrated with the rapidly decreasing amount of space available to her.  How can I tell?  Well, she sure is kicking and moving up a storm AND she loves playing "shove the squishy things" with my internal organs.

While she's busy rearranging mommy's insides, Bryan and I are busy rearranging and preparing everything in the house for her arrival.  On June 16th, my mom and Vic threw me a wonderful baby shower for my side of the family and a few of my closest friends.  Mom treated me and Vic to a nail salon visit the day before, and before that Vic went to Target with me to help me pick out a pretty dress!  We easily had 25-30 people come...and it's a good thing we all like each other because it made my house very cozy very quickly!  It was an absolute blast!  Everyone was overwhelming generous in their gifts to Caylee--she is going to be one of the most well-outfitted kiddos ever!  I didn't take many pictures, but I know others did.  For now, I only have one of the picture collages that my mom made!  This collage has my Aunt Candy, cousins Brooke and Jenna Kay, my Nanny and Gan Gan and mama, and Kel, Vic, and Bryanne-Michelle--sister-in-law and best friends, all of whom were bridesmaids at our wedding!   Oh, and I'm in there too!

So, I've been doing lots of baby laundry and folding and sorting lots of tiny little baby clothes.  It's so much fun!!!  I also made a grocery store discovery:  Kroger's Baby Detergent has the same ingredients as Dreft for 1/3 of the cost!  As of right now, all of the clean clothes are living in Caylee's pack n play, waiting for me to put them in their dresser drawers.  

That organizational task is next week's big job, since her furniture arrived last weekend and, thanks to Bryan and Uncle Ethan, has been placed and assembled in her nursery!  Here's a picture of the beautiful crib Caylee's Grandpa and Grandma bought her!

 And while I didn't get to do much hands-on helping, I did take lots of pictures of Caylee's daddy assembling her crib!

The finished product is beautiful...all that's missing is Caylee!  She has a group of friends waiting on her, including her monkeys, giraffe, Aggie sock monkey, and her incredible Totoro, made for her by our amazing friend Ruth! 

The nursery is coming together nicely.  Now, to get the rest of that done, and the rest of the house ready too!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Pergola Project

Well, things here are going pretty good!  My shoulder is on the mend, and I actually am cleared to drive again!  I started therapy this week, so if all continues smoothly, my shoulder should be fully recovered by the time Caylee makes her debut.  I can't believe I'm already 30 weeks!  Or that we only have about another 8 to go before she's here!  I'll have to do a separate post about preparations, and one about my amazing baby shower that my mom and Victoria threw for me!  So many people came, and everyone truly showered Caylee with gifts.  She is going to be one well-loved little girl, that's for sure!

Anyway, on to the topic of this post--our new porch and pergola!  When we moved into our house, back in December 2008, we were very excited to have a covered porch.  However, we both realized that eventually we would want to expand it later...it might have been covered, but it was also a bit small.  So, we started saving our pennies, and this Spring decided to go ahead and find a contractor to tackle the project.

Alan with C&G Construction, along with his amazing work crews, got our project done in about a week!  We are so very pleased and excited about our new porch and pergola!  Here's the progression:
Hooray pergola and porch!  And the dogs, of course, believe we did it all for them lol.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Don't Do Stupid Things OR Why Standing On Chairs Is Bad

Let me start off by saying that Caylee is just fine.  With that *ahem* reassuring comment, I will now share my moment of brilliant stupidity from last week.

Last Monday, Bryan came home from work and then left again to go to the gym for his Monday run.  I planned out when I would start dinner to coincide with his return, and then took the pups outside.  It was a very pleasant evening, compared the the scorchers we had had/are having, and the sea breeze was blowing very nicely.  The only thing missing was the sound of my bamboo wind chimes, which I had taken down the week before.  I decided that I was going to hang them back up.  Bryan had been gone all of about 2 minutes at this point.  Did I think about waiting until he got home?  No.  Why?  I'm a capable and self-sufficient woman, after all.  Did I go back inside and get the step ladder?  No.  It didn't even cross my mind.  After all, I had stood on our outdoor chairs many times before without incident.

You see where this is heading, don't you?  I wish I had lol.

So, I climbed up on one of the chairs on the back porch, wind chime in hand.  Just as I was stretching up to hang the wind chime back on it's hook...well...

Yep.  The damn chair ripped on me.  I was going down.  The only thoughts in my head were "Don't land on the baby" and "Get off the concrete".  Somehow, I managed to accomplish both directives.  Someone was definitely watching out for me.  I managed to kick free of the chair/death trap, get both feet on the concrete long enough to direct my fall towards the grass, avoid the post that holds the porch up AND the pointed picket fence around the flower bed, and managed to twist so that Caylee did not get squished.  So, how did I land, you ask?

I executed an amazing pile drive maneuver to the ground using...my right shoulder.  And man did it hurt!  As I hit, I heard an unpleasant crunching sound.  I laid on the ground for a minute, and then fished my phone (miraculously unbroken) out of my pocket and called Bryan.

He hadn't yet made it to the gym...meaning all of this took place within 5 minutes of his leaving the house.  He probably broke some traffic laws to get back to me, but get back quickly he did.  He scooped me up and got me to the ER, where they took me straight back on account of Caylee.  They found her heartbeat immediately, which was good and strong, and proceeded to diagnose me with a mild fracture of the humerus.  Then, they sent us upstairs to antepartum, where monitors for Caylee and uterine activity were put on my belly.  Bryan and I were so relieved when we heard that her heartbeat was going strong, and that I wasn't having any contractions.  Luckily, my OB was the doctor on call, and after evaluating the data, she had them monitor us for another hour and then send us home.

We followed up with my new orthopedic surgeon, who confirmed the break and put me in a stylish immobilization sling...that is also hot as hell.  Fortunately, I don't need surgery, which, thanks to RA damage, would be necessary if I had landed on any other right-sided joint.

Our follow up with my OB went well, and this Friday we have our third trimester ultrasound with my maternal/fetal specialist.  I have no doubt that Caylee is fine--her heart rate at the OB's was awesome, and she's been kicking around more strongly every day--but I can't wait to see her and hear for sure that she's wonderful.

So anyway, that was my moment of brilliant stupidity.  Bryan has been very helpful, even offering to tie me in my lazy boy until Caylee gets here lol.  The sad thing is, once he sits me down in it and puts my feet up, I can't operate the lever anyway, so no rope would actually be necessary!  I don't blame him for giving me a hard time--I totally have it coming.

In conclusion, here are the lessons I have learned:

When you are pregnant, doing stupid things will get you hurt and made fun of...and you will completely deserve it.

Asking for help is not a bad thing.

Chairs are plotting, devious bastards.

Wind chimes bounce surprisingly well.

I, however, do not bounce well at all these days.

And also, that I have amazing family and friends who were all willing to drop everything to come help if I needed it.  Thanks y'all!


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