My Renovation Blog

Sunday, January 31, 2010

First Day at Church

A brand new Catholic church was recently built right by our house.  I'm so excited to have one close by, and Ella went to church for the first time today!
It really shouldn't have been her first time because she should be baptized by now, but we're working on it!  Ella was an angel in church...she didn't make a peep and loved looking at all the people.  She doesn't mind all the attention she gets either. ;)  The church was packed, and I'm really looking forward to getting involved and meeting some new friends!

After church we went to brunch at Sidestreet Cafe...again!  I want to get into the habit of going to church and then brunch on Sundays.  It's so fun, and hopefully we can have friends join us for brunch sometimes.  Of course, G has already reminded me that next Sunday is his very own holy day of sorts...the no brunch for me.

After brunch, we took Rylee to the dog park.  Ella LOVED it.  I had her on my lap instead of in her carseat (which is the only way she's been to the dog park before), and she was fascinated by all the dogs.  When a bunch of them came and played right in front of us, she was smiling and laughing!  I think it's the first time she has actually really laughed.  Oh, it was so cute.  I'm happy she's a dog lover like her mommy. :)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Bathtime Without the Net!

I forgot to post that Ella had her first bath on Thursday night without the newborn net in the little plastic tub!  Next step...big bathtub!

I'm a Cowgirl!

Today we all went to MainPlace because we HAD to go to Gymboree to get this adorable hat for our vacation!  It's a little big now, but hopefully it will fit by April.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

16 Weeks

Ella is 16 weeks today!  Only a little over a week until she is 4 months old.  Craziness.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Best Friends Shopping

Today Ella and I met Olivia and JB at a shopping center in Cerritos (it's half way between our houses).  We had lunch, shopped and bought the girls way too many things, as usual.  It was so fun getting together!  Olivia was so cute looking and smiling at Ella...Ella isn't as interactive with Olivia yet, but we know she loves her!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sleepy Girl

Ella has slept until 5 a.m. two out of the last three days.  From 7:30 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.!  There is a dream feed in there at around 10:30 p.m., but she doesn't wake up for that.  Whoo hoo!  Please let this continue...and continue getting longer and longer!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Swap Meet

Ella made her first trip to the Orange County Swap Meet today!  That's a picture of her in what we call her 'gansta' outfit...ok, it's a pink Ralph Lauren sweat suit, but still.  We like to go to the swap to buy fruits and vegetables because they have gorgeous produce, and it's SUPER cheap since you buy direct from the growers.  Ella loved it!  Really, she loves anywhere that involves lots of people for her to look at.

After the swap meet, we went to Side Street Cafe for breakfast...yum!  There's usually a wait, but we got right in.  I love mornings like this!

Before we left, I put dinner in the crock pot for tonight.  I make this BBQ Beef, and it's so easy and delicious.  You buy the beef round eye round roast at Costco (it's 2 big roasts) and throw it in the crock pot with a large bottle of bbq sauce and a rough cut large onion.  You can add some cumin or chili powder, but I think bbq sauce is flavorful enough.  Any brand of bbq sauce that you like...we just get whatever brand Costco has at the time.  We put in both roasts, but that's mainly because G eats like a linebacker. :)  You put in on low for 8 hours or high for 4-5 hours.  When you take it out, it shreds right apart like pulled pork.  G likes to make pulled beef sandwiches, but I just eat it plain.  Easy, cheap and delicious!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

15 Weeks

Ella is 15 weeks old today!  She is changing and learning new things everyday.  She "talks" like crazy now.  Yesterday, I put her in the pack n play and ran upstairs to get a bottle, and while I was coming down the stairs, I thought she was crying so I rush downstairs only to find her laying happily in the PNP just talking away to herself.  She was having quite a conversation about something!

She loves all her plush rattle type toys, and she loves her daddy.  She also smiles every time she sees grandma.  She pretty much holds her head up on her own now, but it still gets a little questionable when you hold her more like a "regular" baby since she kind of lurches with her body.  She likes to sit in her Bumbo chair for short periods of time.

She is still wearing 0-3 month or 3 month sizes, but some brands are getting small.  She eats about 7 times a day and about 25 ounces total.  Breastmilk during the day and Enfamil Nutramigen formula for the bedtime and 3 a.m. feeding.

This week we've been stuck in the house due to the horrible rain storms (and tornado warnings on Tuesday!) so that's been a bummer, but Grace's grandma was still able to visit Ella for the first time on Tuesday.  She brought Ella a darling little outfit from Bassinets and Blueberries (which is a super cute boutique if you're ever in Costa Mesa!).

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Nursery

This is just a picture drop off because I forgot to put them at the beginning.  The nursery is our FAVORITE room in the house.  G did all the panel work and stripe painting himself.  :)


Ella has been on a pretty solid sleep schedule...between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m., she gets a bath, bottle and put to bed (in her crib- we later transfer her). She sleeps 6-8 hours until sometime between 2:30 and 4 a.m. She then sleeps another 3-4 hours until about 6:30 a.m. Not bad, right?

Yet, that middle of the night feed is still REALLY hard. We were told, "hey, if you just give her a 'dream feed' at around 10 p.m., she'll sleep through the night!" Well, that sounds GREAT! Problem was she previously wouldn't take a dream feed. So we tried again last night at around 10:30, and she took almost 2 ounces without waking up at all! We thought we had it made. This is it. The first time in 3 months that we will get a full night's sleep. SCORE.

We even had a back-up plan. Since I've read that they will still wake up for that 3 a.m. feed out of habit, we had a clean pacifier ready in the wings to stick in her mouth when the "eh, eh, eh, eh" started to soothe her back to sleep.

This is not how the night would go.

At 3 a.m., she started. We were ready. G jumped out of bed and stuck the pacifier in her mouth faster than she could get out her first "eh". Apparently, we glossed over the fact that our child does not really care for the pacifier, and the other fact that she loves to eat.

She knew. She knew it when she took that "extra" 2 ounces. Stupid parents. They think THIS will satisfy me through the night? I'll take it as a little appetizer, but I'm still going to wake up for my regular 3 1/2 ounces at 3 a.m.

So when we tried to do the pacifier trick, not only did she spit it out no less than 5 times, she got PI$$ED that we would dare try such a thing, and cried and woke herself up (she usually stays half asleep at 3 a.m. and goes back to sleep after eating). She ended up taking her regular 3 a.m. bottle and waking up 3 hours later for more.

At least we know who's the boss.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Things I Said I'd Never Do

I was one of those people that said I would NEVER have my child sleep in the bed with us. Never. And, I swore she'd be in her crib by 1 month old. HA! Maybe this would have been a reality had I given birth to a term baby...I'll never know. Having a child in the NICU is a very traumatic experience. There are multiple leads attached all over her little body tracking oxygen/heart rate/breathing/etc., IVs in the delicate hands or feet, multiple blood draws, she's pricked and prodded and a feeding tube is inserted through her nose directly to the stomach that stays in place at all times so her food could be gavaged every time she failed to finish her bottle. The stupid monitors would go off all.the.time. I still remember so vividly the panic I felt every time I heard the beep, beep, beep, beep, beep. It would get faster and faster the longer it kept beeping. In my head, I was screaming..."where is the nurse?! why isn't anyone here yet?! what is wrong with her?! she's not breathing! HELP!" On the outside, I would try to sit there calmly until a nurse would come over and tell me she was fine, she just had an apnea episode (stopped breathing) that she resolved on her own, or her lead came loose, or her heart rate temporarily plummeted. The frequent apnea episodes terrified us, and we were now convinced that when she was home, with no monitor to tell us when it was happening, she'd forget to breathe again. Only, we wouldn't know because there was no monitor with it's unforgettable beep. We also had the pleasure of experiencing a baby with awful reflux. This is very common in preemies, as their digestive systems are not fully developed, however, Ella spit up and threw up CONSTANTLY. And not necessarily right after eating. It could happen an hour or two hours after eating. Then, she'd choke on the spit up. Every time, panic again. Oh my GOD! I don't remember the CPR video from the NICU. What do I do?! Help! Was all of this overreaction? New parent naivete? A little dramatic? Probably. But after losing one baby at 8 weeks and struggling for so long to finally have a live baby, we weren't taking ANY chances. And that is how my precious baby girl ended up in a Snuggle Nest in our bed, and I broke my first rule of parenting (there are many more to come!). The reason I thought of this today is because we FINALLY moved her into the pram to sleep 2 days ago (still in our room!), and I was regretting this decision last night when she reverted back to being a nasal sounding very loud newborn, and I had to get out of bed every 5 seconds to check on her, rather than just slightly lifting up my head! Oh well. I'm sure I'll sleep again when she's an adult.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

See How Ella Grows...

This blogging thing is fun! So here are the highlights to date...  
10.26.09 First Pediatrician Appointment 2w4d (actual) 4lb. 12oz. 18.5 inches  
11.4.09 Second Ped. Appt. 3w6d (actual) 5lb. 5oz. *diagnosed with thrush- put on Nystatin  
11.19.09 Third Ped. Appt. 6w (actual) 6lb. 4oz. 19.5 inches *put on Zantac for reflux, still on Nystatin for thrush  
12.2.09 Fourth Ped. Appt. 7w5d (actual)/ 1w4d (adjusted) 7lb. 1oz. *still on Zantac and Nystatin 12.17.09 Fifth Ped. Appt. 10w (actual)/ 3w3d (adjusted) 8.5lb. 21 inches *vaccines (2 in each thigh and 1 orally) :( *STILL has thrush- put in Diflucan instead of Nystatin  
1.6.09 Sixth Ped. Appt. 12w6d (actual)/ 6w4d (adjusted) 9lb. 15oz. *thrush is FINALLY gone! .............................................................................................................  
Approx. 5 weeks *makes eye contact and holds gaze  
Approx. 7.5 weeks *follows us and rattles with her eyes  
10w4d *socially smiles at daddy about 10 times in a row! *first outing by ourselves to the Spectrum (grandma met us there)  
Approx. 3 months *making all sorts of sounds *standing up really well while we hold her- strong little legs!


Just got through 3 1/2 months in 1 day! I think we're all caught up now. Here she is at 2 months old and 3 months old. Ella is 14 weeks 3 days today (actual), but her adjusted age is only 8 weeks 1 day. She was a preemie born at only 33w5d so we're told you have to go by her adjusted age, but it's hard to remember to cut her a little slack! She seems to be developing pretty much on track for her adjusted age, maybe a little faster. She can hold her head up fabulously now. It still gets a little bobble-heady at times, but her little neck seems strong. She also stands really well and even seems to take "steps" when we're holding her up...we're sure she'll start walking by 4 months. ;) She absolutely loves her Freddie the Firefly and Polly the Panda rattles, and smiles at them every time she sees them. She's still not super smiley, but she is smiling more and more everyday. She's making all sorts of sounds now, and it's really cute. She's eating 6-7 times a day, about 3 1/2 oz. per bottle. We think she weighs about 10.5 lbs. today. Yes, small for 3 months old (she's only in the 5th percentile), but pretty good considering she was 4 lbs.! In the last few days, we think she's started teething! She's drooling a lot, and her hands are ALWAYS in her mouth. She looks different everyday, and we love to watch her grow and change! I'm going to post her stats after I go through my journal and write everything, I STILL have not started her baby book...bad mommy!

Ella's First Vacay

Since I'm still on maternity leave, Ella and I decided to go with daddy to his national sales meeting in San Diego. We figured it would be the perfect first vacation since the drive is only an hour, and we'd only be in a hotel for two nights. We were a little worried about Ella sleeping at night for the first time away from home, but it went great! It was so fun!! We stayed at the Hilton Bayfront and had beautiful views from our room. We met up with Auntie K and cousin Brett, and we all walked around the Gas Lamp District and had lunch at Horton Plaza. Ella and I walked along the water and went with daddy to Seaport Village. Ella did get quite fussy the second night, so this was the only way to keep her quiet...she loooooves baths so even the anticipation of knowing a bath is coming keeps her happy!

First New Years Eve

NYE is definitely different when you have babies! Ella got to spend it with her friend Paige, but most of the night was spent feeding, changing diapers and trying to get little ones to sleep! I think G and I were in bed by 11:15 p.m. Eh, maybe we'll make it midnight next year. ;)

Ella's First Playdate

Ella had her first playdate on January 10, 2009 with her friends Sophie and Grace. The playdate was at our house, and some of the daddies came to watch football too. The girls went to the park and ate lots of hot dogs! Ok, I ate a lot of hot dogs too. ;) We were sad that Olivia, Paige, Natalie and Audrey weren't able to make it, but we hope to have a playdate with all the girls soon!

First Christmas

Ella's first Christmas was wonderful! We went to G's parents' house in Palm Desert for Christmas Eve and celebrated with both aunties and cousin Brett. Christmas morning, we went to my parents' house for stockings, presents and turkey dinner...yum! Ella's best friend Olivia also came to visit on Christmas night, which was special because it was the first time they met. Was Ella spoiled for her first Christmas? You be the judge...

First Thanksgiving

Ella's first Thanksgiving was VERY low key. We weren't allowed to have her around a lot of people (the rule from the NICU was term plus a month), and my mom was sick. I wasn't up for cooking so I made my famous stuffing (well, it's famous to me!), whipped up some mashed potatoes, tried to make gravy (although it wasn't nearly as good as my mom's) and we bought two chickens from Costco! Hopefully next year we'll have more of a family affair. :)

First Halloween

Almost as soon as Ella came home, it was time for Halloween! I didn't expect to have a baby for another month so I definitely didn't have a costume ready...but you know me...there was no way Ella's first Halloween would pass without at least TWO costume changes! I went shopping and was able to find two Halloween matter that both were HUGE on my little 4lb.13oz. pumpkin! Even though we weren't even allowed to leave the house yet, it was still fun dressing Ella up and greeting all the adorable kids at the door to hand out candy.

Birth Story

I guess I should start things off with Ella's birth story...
Tuesday 10-6-09 G made me call my OB because I had been miserable for days with severe swelling to my legs, feet, face, hands (I could hardly walk- it was like my legs were tree trunks that didn't bend and my fingers would hardly bend), and I was having a horrible time breathing and was very winded. On top of that, I had been having moderate to excruciating back pain in between my shoulder blades, particularly on the right side, enough to make me lay on the couch and bawl in pain. So I called mainly about the inability to breath consistently, and they said I needed to go to the ER, as they may need to do a chest x-ray. I got to triage at Hoag (straight from work- oh how I wish I would have stopped at home first to change, shower and grab stuff and driven thru McDonalds!), and the nurse took my blood pressure, which was 178 over something- ridiculously high (mine is usually around 114 over something)- so she had to call up to maternity to see what to do given the high BP and the severe swelling. They made me come up to maternity and admitted me for observation. I never got the x-ray, but I had an EKG, which was fine. The nurse on the 5th floor did a protein dip and it was +3, which is high. They ordered labs- the first ones were bad- uric acid is supposed to be 6, and it was 8.7. The labs for liver enzymes and platelet count came back fine, which was good. I had to have the fetal monitor and contraction monitor on my belly (I was apparently having contractions that I didn’t feel), and a very painful check of my cervix. I had an IV of fluids, glucose and antibiotics, as well as those compression leg things that are hooked to a machine so they pump up and down like when they take your blood pressure. This was to keep the circulation going in my legs since I was so swollen. I also got a steroid shot in my butt to develop baby's lungs (I would get another one the next day). I had only eaten a granola bar the entire day, but they wouldn't even let me have ice chips! I was STARVING. You don't deprive a pregnant lady food! The whole day the hospital staff had been talking to my OB, who had been talking to my perinatologist to decide what to do. My OB then came in to see me and explained that I would have to stay overnight for a 24 hour urine collection. My OB said her plan at this time was to keep me on strict bedrest for at least a few more weeks (possibly in the hospital), but it was possible a c-section would be necessary immediately if my numbers came back horrible. I didn't feel very positive when, during the urine collection, one of the nurses said she wouldn't be surprised if my kidneys were failing based on the amount and color/smell of my urine...nice. The neonatologist from the NICU also came and talked to us, just in case, to let us know that if we were to deliver this early, baby would likely be in the NICU for 3-4 weeks. :( After all this and being hooked up to IVs, monitors, leg compressors, etc., there was no way I could sleep so the nurse gave me an Ambien at about 12:30am. I think it did help me sleep for maybe 2-3 hours but I was wide awake again by 4:30am. Wednesday 10-7-09 My 6:30 a.m. labs came back better so everyone seemed fairly positive that I'd be able to keep baby inside for a few more weeks. At this point, I was focusing on whether I'd have to do bedrest at the hospital or be able to do it at home...not even thinking of delivering a baby! All of a sudden, at midnight, two nurses come rushing in our room saying that my 24 hour urine sample results were really bad (we later found out it should be 400 and it was over 8,000!!!) so they needed to immediately hook me up to magnesium sulphate (because my numbers were so bad, they thought I might start seizing), and I’d be delivering via c-section at 7:30 a.m. the next morning. Talk about a scary way to be woken up. I felt so out of it and scared, I didn’t even ask questions.
"Mag" as they call it, is the most evil drug. It BURNED going in and my hand and arm hurt the entire night. You basically feel like you’ve been hit by a truck…extremely hot and flushed, loopy, uncomfortable, very weak, shaky, very difficult breathing- almost flu like symptoms. So that is how I felt all night…not that I could have slept anyway knowing I was going to go in for a c/s the next morning. I spent the morning feeling even worse, and I will admit that I was soooo scared to go in for the c/s because I didn’t understand how you could survive major surgery if you felt like that going in.
Thursday 10-8-09
I went in for surgery around 8 a.m., and I had to get a spinal rather than an epidural. It was funny because there was a student nurse in the room, and while the anesthesiologist was prepping the spinal, he said to the student "geez, do you want to see a severe case edema? Come here, you won’t see this much in your career." THAT is how ridiculously swollen I was. I was really nervous because my legs would not stop shaking uncontrollably so I was sure he wasn’t going to hit the right point! It’s not horrible, but it did hurt a bit. Then my legs start to get warm and eventually feel really heavy and uncomfortable. At this point, G was allowed in the room. The funny thing is, I was so scared or shocked or whatever that I really had no emotion- I didn’t say one word the whole time, and I didn’t want anyone talking to me even though G was trying to be so sweet and say such lovely things to me (I later learned that another lovely side effect of the mag is that you are totally emotionless- nice way to give birth to your first child!). They didn’t even tell me they were starting so I thought they were still doing prep work when it begun! It doesn’t hurt at all, but you do feel lots of pressure, tugging and pulling, which is just a really weird feeling. I also thought they had cut in the wrong place because it all felt like it was going on right under my breasts rather than down where it should be (I have the scar to prove that yes, they did cut in the right location!). At 8:41 a.m., we were blessed with a 4lb.6oz., 17 1/4 inch perfect baby girl. They pulled her out and didn’t even show her to me! Immediately they took her over to the side, but she apparently had A LOT of fluid in her lungs so it was understandable. Finally, I got to see her beautiful face for about 3 seconds and she was whisked away to the NICU while they continued to work on me (G went with the baby so I was all alone, but I couldn't have cared less because at this point, I was so tired that I just wanted to close my eyes- aside from the drugs and mag, I literally had not slept since Monday night). They wheeled me to recovery where I had to stay for an hour- I got scared again in there because the nurse said I should be able to move my toes in about an hour, and I definitely could not do that- I felt nothing for at least 3 hours so of course I thought something was terribly wrong! They finally put me back in my antepartum room, where I’d stay all night. My parents and Katie were there, but I honestly wanted no visitors- I had NO idea how I’d feel after the c/s. TERRIBLE. I could not keep my eyes open (which lasted the entire day), I was weak, groggy, extremely loopy- ick. I must have laid in my room with my eyes closed for like 5 hours. The good news is that while I felt like I’d been hit by a truck, I didn’t have pain so that was nice. My nurse (who was so awesome and really got me through the day) eventually came in and said she had to put panties and pads on me and change my "pee pads"…I tried to just move up my head to put a pillow behind it, and I got extremely nauseous and almost threw up. While I was almost throwing up, it hurt my stomach, so then I became terrified to have to lift up my butt. I made her give me anti-nausea medication AND morphine drip because I was so scared! It turned out to not be too bad. She then allowed me to have some ice chips (I hadn’t eaten or drank anything since about 10 p.m. the day before and its now about 5 p.m.?). I have never tasted anything so delicious…I was so thirsty! Unfortunately, those started to make me nauseous so I had to stop eating them. You really have to ease into anything that goes into your stomach, even if it’s just water! My OB wouldn’t let me leave my room so I didn’t get to see Ella the entire day…I had only seen my own kid for about 3 seconds!
Friday 10-9-09
Ella had jaundice, but she was breathing on her own now- she went straight from the c-pap mask to breathing on her own- she skipped the nasal canula (sp?) so that was good. As of 11:10 a.m. I still hadn't seen her. I finally got to hold my beautiful baby girl at about 3 p.m. Even though they had stopped the mag drip by now, I was still pretty out of it so it really hadn't even hit me yet that I'd just given birth!
That night, while I was holding Ella, she was breathing really hard, which the nurse thought was related to gas or GI issues…however…in the middle of the night, the neonatologist came into our room, which we knew couldn’t be good. The neonatologist never comes to your room. He said that Ella had a fever, which they were treating with antibiotics, and they thought she may have an infection, but they didn't know why so they were doing tests. They did a chest x-ray which showed some fluid in the lungs, which he removed. It was SO scary to get woken up like that.
Saturday 10/10/09
The neonatologist came in about 10 a.m. and told us that Ella had pneumo-thorax, which means air came out of her lung that was in the cavity, and they put a needle in and took air out. It’s not super common, but it does happen. It can be continuous or a one time thing. He said hers was a one time thing, but it was possible that it could happen again. She was still breathing heavily, but her skin looked good, her numbers were good, and her jaundice was getting better as well. Her weight went down to 4lbs., and took a long time to creep back us since due to the pneumo thorax, they didn't feed her for a few days. I was discharged from the hospital on Sunday 10/11/09, but we were there every single day for 16 days until Ella was allowed to come home on October 23, 2009! She was 4lbs. 13oz. I have to say, despite the not so great birth experience and frightening pneumo-thorax incident, it was overall a great experience thanks to the wonderful nurses who took care of me and NICU nurses who took care of Ella. Honestly, they were SAINTS. I could not have made it through this whole experience without them, and I gained a whole new respect for nurses and the work they perform. They were AMAZING. There is no way I could ever repay these women who took such impeccable care of my baby girl around the clock, but I hope they know that every NICU parent appreciates them more than can ever be expressed in words. Every tear during TTC and shot during infertility treatments and scare during the hospital stay and pain during recovery was SO worth it because now I get to look at this beautiful face every single day!

Welcome to our Blog!

I did it. I finally decided to start a blog to document the lives of two busy parents, a miracle baby, a jealous but lovable dog and "I couldn't care less" cat. It all started with just the two of us (well, really 3 since Taffy, my cat, was in the picture well before I was married). Then we added our first baby, Rylee, a long haired chihuahua/we don't know mix, and frankly, the best dog in the whole entire world! Naturally, this led to wanting a baby...which wasn't so easy. It took 3 years, 4 IUIs, 4 IVFs, a miscarriage at 8 weeks, tons of tears and lots of prayers until our dreams came true. On October 8, 2009, Ella Rose was born. More of that in the next post. :) Please bear with me, as I'm just learning how to navigate through this blogging world!