Reflections from our first week with Sarah Catherine!

While our first week with Sarah Catherine was exhilarating, it was also difficult, as we adjusted to life as a family of three (hello sleep deprivation!). We are definitely still figuring everything out, but making progress each day and becoming more comfortable as parents with each passing hour.  One thing that has maybe complicated things more than usual is that when she was born, we found we found out that she has a cleft palate.  It's definitely manageable, but during her first week we went to a few more doctor appointments.  As new parents (and still recovering from everything) it was pretty exhausting emotionally and physically.  However everyone is really encouraging, and at this point, the most important thing is to make sure that she is getting enough to eat. We now have a routine where I pump every 2-3 hours to keep up my milk supply and then we feed her using a special bottle that they gave us at the hospital.  Fortunately, that system seems to be working well, and I'm thankful that we live near DC, as it seems like she will get good care when she does need surgery (sometime around 8-9 months).  So much happened in our first week with her, and it is hard to put everything into words, but here are a few memories.

When she was first born, she immediately started crying.  After the doctor and nurses were finished with her, I got to hold her, and she was so perfect.  It was amazing to think that I am her mother. Then the husband held her, and she immediately settled down.  They both seemed so natural together and it felt like she knew immediately he was her dad.
Sarah Catherine met my parents, brother and sister-in-law while she was still only a day old.  The love that they have for her is really overwhelming.
On Friday night my sister flew in, and she met her little niece.
We also just enjoyed time together as the three of us.  On Friday night at 4:00am, we were all awake, so we decided to take a few photos.  It seems silly, but we felt like such a family at that moment.
 On Saturday, she watched her first VA Tech football game with her dad. I know that he is looking forward to watching many more games with her!
In the past week and a half, I've been amazed at what our bodies can do and by the type of father my husband has become.  Even though we have no clue what we are doing at times, it is such a blessing to navigate this new world of parenthood with the husband and know that we are in this together.

Introducing Sarah Catherine!

Friends, I am overjoyed to share with you that last Sunday on October 18th at 12:58 am, we welcomed our Sarah Catherine into this world.
We are now such a happy family of three!
I am hoping to share a few details of her birth and reflections from the past week soon, but I just wanted to officially announce the arrival of our little girl!

The Arrival of Sarah Catherine!

I started this post about the day Sarah Catherine was born a few days after we came home from the hospital, but I felt it so clumsily written that I didn't want to post it and just saved it in the drafts.  Sometimes it seems there is so much pressure to document everything when you are in a newborn haze and can barely remember your name.  Now that Sarah Catherine is over four months old,  I find that I'm forgetting little details.  Of course, I will never forget the extreme joy that I felt, but I'm starting to realize how special and beautiful the day was, despite its challenges. So here is the story of how Sarah Catherine came into this world.

They had scheduled our induction date for Saturday, October 17th, and we were both excited and nervous, and I'm not sure how much sleep either of us got the night before. I remember falling asleep wondering if maybe you would come on your own accord, and the first thought I had when my alarm went off is that you had not come on your own.  We sleepily got ready and I even drove us to the hospital, since I'm more awake in the morning than your dad and it would be awhile before I would be driving again. It was so nice to just feel excitement over the anticipation of your arrival instead of labor pains!
The nurses checked us in, got an IV going and we took care of all of the paperwork, which wasn't much.  We were ready to begin the process of you being born!  As you may have noticed, I am not a very brave person, and getting all of the IVs going was scary for me, but I tried to concentrate on the fact that we would meet you today.  The whole process lasted about an hour, and then we just had to wait for the doctor to check me to see what would be best.  Fortunately, I was already dilated 2 cm, so that meant we could start the pitocin around 8:00 am.  I hadn't eaten breakfast because I was afraid of getting sick, but the doctor encouraged me to eat in case the labor was very long.  Your dad went down and got some toast, and I'm so glad he did, because the whole process lasted quite awhile.  They started me on a low dose, and the contractions really didn't feel that bad.  I was also very thankful that I had made some progress on my own, and I credit it to all of the walking I had done the week before in my attempt to motivate you. Well, that and it was a week past your due date! My parents came to the hospital around 10:00am to see how things were going and we visited. They were still increasing my dosage of pitocin, but I was pretty comfortable.  Around 11:30am, your Uncle Will and Aunt Sabrina arrived.  It was a beautiful fall day outside, and I remember looking out the window and being happy about the sunshine. They had gone to Carter's Mountain Orchard earlier that day and brought apple cider doughnuts for your dad and grandparents to enjoy, which everyone was excited about.

At that point, I was getting less comfortable sitting on the bed, so I decided to move to the glider.  The combination of being distracted by family (your Uncle Will always makes me laugh) and the movement really helped the time go by and kept my mind off the pain.  I was really thankful that they could be there. The doctor came to check on me around 5pm, and I was dilated to 6 cm.  At that point, they broke my water and my pain increased considerably.  Since I was already at a 6, I decided to go ahead and get the epidural.  It was a weird sensation, as I could still feel the contractions, but the pain was manageable.

The doctor then checked on me again at 9:00pm, and it was go time!  I was really thankful that I had progressed this far, but now the pressure was on.
The nurse with us was pretty optimistic that it would be fast, but the whole process ended up taking over three hours.  I was so focused on the task at hand that the time went by pretty quickly.  However, my mom and your dad were there to help me, and I think it was harder on both of them.  Having them there was very comforting and motivating, and I can't imagine how you would have come into this world without them.  Your dad and my mom took turns chanting, "Push,  Leslie, Push" and then counting to ten until they were both hoarse.  It was so special to have my mom there with us, even though I know it was hard on her. She had almost been awake for 24 hours! We tried a few different positions for me to push, and at one point, I was worried that it might not work, just because it was taking so long.  I think perhaps a little subconsciously I wanted you to be born on October 18th, because I like even days better.  It's silly, but when our induction date was scheduled for the 17th, I was a bit disappointed because I wasn't a huge fan of the date.  Fortunately, you took care of that on your own and at 12:58am on October 18th, you arrived in this world.  We were all exhausted, but it was so exhilarating to hear your cry and know that you were okay.  Your dad and I were deliriously happy, and I remember I kept saying how beautiful and perfect you were.  And you are, Sarah Catherine, you are absolutely beautiful and perfect, and truly a gift from God.  Your grandma (my mom) was so teary and thankful, and she came to my side and told me what a miracle it is to remember the night I was born and now for me to have a daughter of my own. Your dad could not have been prouder of you; he took as many pictures of you as was humanly possible and came over to my side to let me know how beautiful you were.  At that moment, I was so proud of your dad and I knew what an amazing father he had already become.   They examined you and the nurse came over to let me know that the doctor thought she had a cleft palate in the back of her mouth, but they would be sending a pediatrician down to check her and confirm. In the meantime they put you on my chest and I tried to get you to feed, but you couldn't latch because of your cleft palate.  You were crying because you were hungry and I was discouraged, but your grandma was reassuring.
Then your dad held you and you instantly settled down.
It was early in the morning by this point, almost 3:00 am, and we were exhausted.  They needed our room, so we were moved out in a hurry, which was a bit upsetting because my dad and your uncle and aunt weren't able to hold you.  We went to our new room and you were wailing (we still hadn't figured out how to feed you), and you were letting the world know that you had arrived.  Once we got to the room, the nurse showed me how to feed you and you settled down.  We did have a bit of a scare because you still had some amniotic fluid in your lungs and I didn't know what was happening.  Your dad was able to get the nurses though and they explained it was normal and showed us how to use the syringe to extract it.  By now we hadn't slept in a day, and we were terrified of sleeping and something happening to you (you were so small and fragile), so we asked that you be brought to the nursery.  We got three hours of sleep, and I remember waking up missing you already, just as the nurse brought you back in to eat.  Once visiting hours started at 9:00am, my parents, your aunt and uncle officially got to meet and hold you.

These first few days in the hospital were a haze, as we worried over your every movement and proudly proclaimed to each other that you were the most most beautiful baby we had ever seen.  Looking back, it's easier to wish that we had taken better pictures of your first moments here on earth, but I am just so thankful for these.
We love you so, sweet beautiful girl.

Five for Friday!

Happy Friday!  Today my parents are coming up before I'm induced tomorrow, and I'm excited to have this time with them.  I've been doing some last minute cleaning and cooking and also enjoying this glorious fall weather we've been having.  It's been really nice to have this time before Baby J arrives, although a part of me is disappointed that she wasn't able to come on her own this week. Regardless, I'm just very thankful that she seems to be healthy and okay.
In honor of my dad's birthday last Sunday, I decided to make him a pecan pie to celebrate with today.  I used this recipe again, and I am hoping it turned out okay.

Since I had an extra pie crust, broccoli and mozzarella cheese languishing in the fridge, I made a quiche on Wednesday night.  I was excited to use only ingredients that we had on hand (and might have gotten tossed otherwise) using this recipe and it turned out pretty delicious!  As you know, cooking is a struggle for me, but I do really find that there is something comforting about it when you aren't under duress.

I decided to watch the five episodes of Season 4 of the Mindy Project on Hulu this week and last, and it was such a fun treat.
 Last weekend, I read this quick article about the takeaways from the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  I did manage to fill three grocery bags of things to donate to the Goodwill, which is actually pretty surprising, given that we've already been getting things out of the apartment that we don't need. While it isn't going to be practical with a newborn, her folding technique is awesome.  Our t-shirts have never been so organized, and it does make me feel calmer when I open up a drawer in the morning!  At least it was nice while it lasted (the whole five days!).
Kate Spade is having their family and friends sale this weekend.  I think I'm going to order some more thank you notes to have on hand.  These are my favorite!
Since Baby J will be arriving this weekend, I am going to take a blogging break to enjoy this time with her and to adjust.  If you can send any positive thoughts or prayers our way, that would be much appreciated. I am very thankful that we are entering this next step in our lives, but I'm definitely nervous about the labor and becoming a mom. Thank you again for all of your kind comments and support on my little blog.  I can't tell you how much they mean to me!  I hope you have a lovely weekend.

Weeks 39 and 40!

Size of Baby: The size of a small pumpkin; how seasonally appropriate!  I asked my doctor for her guess on how big the baby is and she thinks that she will be born at about 7.5 to 8 pounds.
Here I am on my due date, but no baby yet!
Nursery: It's as ready as it will ever be!  I've gone through all of her clothes to do a little bit more organizing, and I think that dividing everything by size and then category will be helpful.
Symptoms: I am extremely thankful that everything has gone so smoothly. I just have a sinking feeling that I will have to pay back for all of my luck during the labor and delivery.

Cravings: I wanted chicken noodle soup, which is kind of an unusual thing for me. 

Best Moment: They monitored Baby J's heartbeat for 30 minutes at my last appointment, and it was really comforting to listen to it. I also enjoyed going out to dinner with the husband on Saturday night.

Looking Forward To: Baby J arriving on Saturday or Sunday (depending on how long the labor lasts).  I can't wait to hold her!

Our Last Weekend Before Baby J Arrives!

This was officially our last weekend before Baby J arrives, and the weather certainly cooperated!  On Saturday, I went on a nice four mile long walk while the husband played tennis and then on Sunday I did a shorter one at only two miles.  Despite the walking, Baby J doesn't seem convinced that it is her time to arrive.

On Saturday night we went out to dinner to celebrate her due date and our last weekend as just the two of us.  One of my friends had mentioned eating papaya might help, so I tried the papaya salad (it also was labeled as spicy, so I took care of that old wives tale).  While it was delicious, obviously nothing happened.
On Saturday night the husband watched some football, and I ended up lining all of our kitchen drawers and cabinets with this cheerful print.  I was able to purge a few things from the kitchen and wipe everything down, so everything feels a little cleaner and more organized. 
On Sunday, the husband spent most of the day in the office doing work, so I did a little more organizing around the apartment.  I also couldn't resist ordering a few dresses for Baby J.  While she has a lot of clothes, she doesn't really have any dresses, so that is how I was able to justify the additional purchase.  I had been thinking about buying these two dresses about a month ago, and I decided the time was right now that they were on sale with an additional 40% off.
Now maybe that she has a few more cute outfits lined up she will be more motivated to join us?!  I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Five for Friday!

Surprisingly, this week has gone by pretty quickly!  I've spent a lot of time outdoors walking, trying to motivate Baby J to make her debut.  It hasn't worked yet, but at least I'm getting some exercise and know that I'm doing all that I can. My induction date is set for October 17th, so I'm really hoping that she will come along before that.  In the meantime, this is what I've been distracting myself with!
First, I was super excited to see that Sugar Paper is doing another collaboration with Target this year for planners AND holiday gift wrap.  The line will be released after Baby J is born, so I will probably be too enamoured with her to remember, but I'm hoping that I will be able to check this out!
Second, I have been trying to clean the apartment as best as I can.  I actually enjoy cleaning, but I sometimes find it frustrating because it's definitely an ongoing process.  I'm afraid that all of the dusting I accomplished this week will just be re-done next week, but at least the apartment looks nice for now. I found this article from Apartment Therapy helpful.

Third, I probably still won't be buying any new clothes for a few more months, but this dress from Old Navy looks perfect for fall. 

Fourth, I was running out of foundation so this week I picked up some at Sephora.  I didn't know that they had a way to match your shade so easily with their color IQ, and I was super impressed!  I also finally got around to cleaning out my make-up bag, so now I feel like everything is organized and streamlined.  Umm, it's pretty sad that I'm in my thirties, and I still haven't really figured out a make-up routine.
Fifth, I found this frame at TJ Maxx and I am really enjoying this newest addition to the apartment. It's one of my favorite sayings, and it looks cheerful in our kitchen.
I hope everyone has a great weekend!  This will be our last one before Baby J arrives,which is such an exciting thought to me!

Feeling Fall!

Even though last weekend was filled with rain, this week has been absolutely gorgeous and perfect fall weather.  Here are a few things that have been making our home feel particularly cozy.

This little pumpkin looking so cheerful sitting on our bar.
 Seeing the month of October displayed on our fridge.  Soon our little baby girl will be here!
This candle makes our whole apartment feel warm and inviting.
 Doing a little knitting while watching tv at night with the husband has been especially relaxing.
I always crave comfort food, but these two easy meals seem perfect for the season, and I've welcomed an excuse to make them again this past week.

Are you enjoying the fall season?  I'm so glad it's finally here!

Five for Friday!

Happy Friday, friends!  I hope you had a nice week.  Here are my Five for Friday!
It's looking like it is going to be a rainy weekend, so I think that we probably won't do too much outside.  I'm hoping to get a little cooking done and try out some comforting fall recipes. I might try making this lasagna.
After my doctor's appointment on Thursday, I was able to meet up with one of my friends for an early lunch. We went to Kapnos, which was really delicious, not to mention how great it was to see my friend.
Last weekend, my sister, her fiance and I checked out some of the pumpkin offerings from Trader Joe's.  These mini ginger pumpkin ice cream sandwiches are absolutely amazing, and I will be stocking up. If you like ginger snaps and pumpkin flavors, you will definitely like these!
It seems like fall is officially here with this rainy weather and colder temperatures.  Quite frankly, this pregnant lady finds the falling temperatures a huge relief and I'm hoping to wear a few of my scarves again! This one I bought last year from H & M is a favorite, and I'm happy to put back into circulation.
The most exciting development is I wrapped everything up for work this week!  I'm thankful to have some time to transition before Baby J arrives, but it is different and definitely feels more real.  Two of my co-workers were really sweet and took me out to lunch on my last day.  I really look up to them and it was so nice to have the time together.  One piece of advice they had for me is to be kind to yourself, so I'll sign off this week with that.
I hope everyone has a lovely weekend!

Pregnancy Update: Week 38!

Size of Baby: About 6.8 pounds; the size of a leek.

Nursery: The space is pretty much ready to go, thanks to the husband, my parents, my sister and her fiance.  I am amazed at how much was accomplished in just a few hours on Saturday!
Symptoms: It's definitely getting harder to move around and I'm having some nerve pain sometimes.  Still, I'm very thankful that things are going well.

Cravings: I've been enjoying all of the pumpkin things that Trader Joe's offers, but that's just the season!

Best Moment: Definitely spending time with my family on Saturday.  It was great to have the visit and get everything ready for Baby J.

Looking Forward To: The arrival of Baby J!  I know it's still a few weeks off, but it makes me happy to know that she will be here soon.