Thursday, June 26, 2014

17 days!

Somehow, I have a 17 day old baby already! And, I'm still working on actually getting her birth story written. (Oops!) I was definitely not prepared for these newborn days, especially with the whirlwind of a preemie on top of it! I am totally exhausted, and my days are currently filled with what seems like nothing but baby, breasts, and diaper changes, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. This experience is an absolute gift and I do not take that for granted. I know that this season is so, so short and that it will pass all too quickly. I spend most of the day just staring at our precious miracle baby and wondering how I got so lucky to be her mama.

The past couple of weeks have been a blur, which I chalk up to the newborn "daze." (Originally, I'd told Hubs to save his paternity leave for later, but I'm so glad he took it now!) Baby and I spent 5 days in the hospital, and after getting discharged we have had a bunch of follow up appointments (plus Hubs has been running around doing a million things paperwork-wise). Before leaving, the pediatrician told me that a heart murmur popped up during the latest exam and she has a dimple on her back that, in rare cases, can indicate issues with the spinal cord. We were referred to the big hospital about an hour away (Japanese hospital, mind you!) and were stressing every day until the appointment. (Note: during this time we also had to watch her breathing like hawks due to her preemie lungs.) The pediatrician also told me that she might need to be sedated for the heart check, which nearly made my own heart stop.

Naturally, once we got to the hospital and met up with our translator, she finds out that the base hospital never finished the process to confirm our appointment. So we didn't have one. Luckily, though, the doctor squeezed us in between other patients. While it took about 2 hours longer than it should have, we were just glad not to have to go home having wasted half the day. After being a total rock star for her first echocardiogram (no sedation needed!), the good news was that the hole is tiny, is the most common "defect," and will likely close up on its own. If it doesn't close, she shouldn't have any health problems from it and it will not require any surgery or treatment.

The next major appointment was an ultrasound on her back to check out the sacral dimple. The pediatrician said it can sometimes mean that the spinal cord did not seal off properly in utero. Not at all scary, right? Luckily that appointment was on base, super quick, and the radiologist was there so he could give me the results immediately. Everything on the inside looks great! I was so relieved, because just seeing my tiny girl on the giant grown-up sized table made me emotional.

All in all, our sweet babe is trucking right along. She's in preemie diapers right now and will probably be in newborn ones for some time. Eventually I plan to transition to cloth, but at this moment she is simply too little. As of her two-week check-up she finally (just) surpassed her birth weight and got up to 4lbs and 7oz (she was 4lbs 6.6oz at birth and 4lbs 1oz at discharge). Breastfeeding has been a bit of a challenge for us, but we are continuing to work on it, and may end up supplementing formula for a little while as we wait for my supply to (hopefully) catch up to her appetite. I am thinking having a preemie might have thrown my body for a loop, so I'm keeping fingers crossed everything works out. Our house is a crazy wreck of tiny baby clothes and accessories, but we are loving every second we have with just the three of us at home (Big Sis is stateside for summer, and Hubs is back to work on Monday, then my family arrives on Friday). I still feel sort of in shock that I'm not still pregnant--I should be 38 weeks today--but I am truly soaking up every minute of this baby journey.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

surprise!

On Monday morning, I took my weekly belly picture (ignore that it's pre-editing). This one was 35 weeks and 3 days:

Almost exactly 23 hours later, we welcomed this little nugget into the world:

It was certainly a surprise (turns out I was in labor all day at work on Monday!), and I am working on writing her birth story. In the meantime, I'm officially discharged but still "boarding" at the hospital with her while we get her weight up and the pediatrician can observe her for a little while longer.
My heart is overflowing for this teeny tiny person.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Lately, ever since my Hawaii trip, life seems to be moving in fast forward. Somehow, it's already been a month since I wrote about recharging and on Sunday we welcome June. June! Tomorrow I have completed 34 weeks of pregnancy--somehow--and the reality that a newborn will soon join our family is really starting to sink in. Work has been totally nuts--which is why I think I have been so drained--and while I love the idea of working, I am definitely ready to hit the brakes for a while. Hubs went TDY for a couple weeks in the midst of everything, so that was just another thing to add to the exhaustion. (Seriously, single parents/caregivers? SUPERHEROES.) I have a queue of blog posts all in draft form, incomplete. My social media energy has been focused on updating my fitness challenge group for my folks working toward beach bodies (thank goodness for hootsuite), and then all my writing energy is consumed with letters to the baby, and I'm behind on those too! I promise I am trying to keep up with all the blog reading (even though I am terrible about commenting lately), and will be back to regular writing as soon as I can muster the energy. I am learning, quickly, that I cannot do all the things I could before and I am trying to honor where I am right now. It's definitely not something I'm used to, but I know it will pay off greatly in the end!

Monday, April 28, 2014

recharging

Blogging, and honestly most other things, has been on the back burner for some time as you may have noticed if you've stuck around here. Pregnancy has taken so much more out of me emotionally than I ever anticipated, and I simply have not had much energy to go around. My life for the past few months turned into this hyper-focus of work, trying to not fail at being wife/mom, wrapping my head around the fact that a newborn will be here soon, and stressing about the future (in just about every way). Needless to say, my normal high-strung personality was on overdrive. 

So, I just got back from a week in Hawaii with my mom. It was the first time I'd left Misawa for more than a couple of hours since JULY (and that was only a long weekend) which, let me tell you, was way.too.long. Hubs and I like to travel, but with work and school schedules and trying to save up leave for the baby, it just wasn't happening. Then our delayed winter set in and we had some crazy snow--including an ACTUAL snow day which almost never happens here (the last one was 2 years ago). 

About a week before, I had seen that one of the military hotels in Hawaii had availability for basically all of April and May. I knew that if I wanted to have a baby-moon the window was shrinking rapidly for me to be able to fly anywhere. At that point, I didn't even care where I went as long as it was warm. I texted my mom and she said she'd be willing to meet up there. I booked the hotel immediately and as soon as the crazy blizzard arrived, I bought my plane ticket that same morning. My doctor cleared me for flying the next week and I was good to go! 

I'll have more vacation updates soon, and while the trip wasn't exactly what we had planned, it was still SO nice to have that break from normal life. I needed it even more than I realized. My world will be flipped upside down (again) in only a few short months and I know that without the break I probably would have just had a total freakout before then. It's especially hard, if not impossible, for me to truly unwind here. Now, I finally feel refreshed and more mentally ready to welcome another little person into our family. Better for all of us!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

girl-trapped


This summer we will be welcoming a little girl! (If you follow me on instagram you saw this a while back, but it never made it to the blog.) Little One is quite excited since it means her "trick" to get a sister "worked." She has already begun planning handing down all of her clothes, sharing a bedroom (not happening anytime soon), and brainstorming sister Halloween costume ideas. Because of course.

I'd always thought I would have a boy first, though Hubs said it was just wishful thinking. I'd had a few baby dreams early on and I always felt like I was having a boy. But then, two nights before the gender reveal ultrasound, I saw the baby so clearly--and I woke up knowing that she was a girl. My girl. At first, I wasn't sure how I would feel about having a daughter. I felt a mix of emotions when the ultrasound tech showed us the very clear image, and for a day or two afterward. I explained to Hubs it wasn't that I was disappointed--I wasn't--but more that I know how hard it still is for girls growing up today and I wanted our baby to have an easy path.

Once it began to really sink in, though, I realized how perfect it is. (Of course, this baby would be perfect regardless.) I really feel like I'm meant to be the mom of a daughter--to bring a girl into this world and try my hardest to teach her everything she needs to be successful and kind and tough all at once. My mom is my best friend and I sincerely hope that the baby will say the same of me when she is grown and on her own. 

I am so thrilled to welcome our new addition in a few months. At this point, I am in total disbelief at how rapidly my due date is approaching. It feels like I just found out I was pregnant when really it's been over 5 months already! Time sure is flying and I know that won't ever stop, so I am trying to enjoy every moment. I have truly loved being pregnant, and have not taken a single moment for granted, but I am also so excited to meet our precious girl and see the person she becomes. 
 
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