Sunday, January 31, 2010

In Transition

Jeff watched Jillian for a few hours today which allowed me to venture out to my ultimate happy place:

I realized that while I was in Target, I am still not able to fully appreciate my non-pregnancy self just yet. I was so sick of wearing my maternity clothes and still find myself not able to shop just yet. I was looking through all of their cute spring clothes and bathing suits (I still can't get over that they have all of their bikini's out, it was only CHRISTMAS the last time I was in Target which wasn't THAT long ago) and can't even consider buying anything. I have lost most of the pregnancy weight, however, I still have 10 pounds to go in addition to the 10 pounds of infertility weight that I put on. With a weight loss goal of 20 pounds, it is really pointless buying something that I will hopefully (knocking on wood) not wear very long.

I am in a bit of a transitional period and trying to get to know myself again as a non-pregnant girl. I have been thinking and acting like a pregnant girl for so long, that I sometimes have to remind myself that I am not pregnant anymore. I CAN have that diet pop again and I CAN wear those high heel boots again! I tried so hard to stay away from those things when I was pregnant that it's hard to jump right back into thinking like a non pregnant girl again.

I had my post partum OBGYN appointment on Thursday and was blessed with a clean bill of health. She even gave me a prescription for birth control pills which honestly makes me laugh. They are for a good reason because they will help keep the endometriosis away for when we do start to try again. When will that be you ask? Probably not for several months but we'll save that explanation for another post.

Anyway, with that clean bill of health, I decided that step one in making the transition back to my old self is to start working out again. Tomorrow I plan on starting this:

I really miss my FIRM videos and "Fanny Lifter" so I am looking forward to dusting them off and getting back to business. I used to workout all of the time and have found that intervals of cardio and weight resistance training are the best way to sculpt your body and to lose weight. I can't wait to get back into shape again. I know it's going to be a challenge trying to workout and take care of a new baby, but I am up for that challenge. Ask me again on Friday to see how easy this really was :)

I really think this is step one in helping me to feel more like me again be able to be able to shop like I used to. Any advice from mom's, especially those who are breast feeding, on how to keep up your workouts and coordinating your breast feeding? I would really love to hear from you!!! I am really glad that I can breast feed Jillian and do not want to sabatoge my milk supply in any way.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Jillian is One Month!

Wow, where did the time go? Jill is officially five weeks, two days old as of today but it took me awhile to order the monthly onesie decals and find a great time to take her picture. Hopefully next month will go a little more smoothly!!!! I ordered the onesie decals from here, the style is Missy Fissy.

So much has happened the first month, I honestly don't know where to begin. We are starting to see first smiles, especially at bath time. Jill loves her bath. The expressions on her face are so precious, I wish I could take a million pictures and videos because she is at her absolute cutest during bath time. She loves when we splash water on her body and wash her hair. Her favorite time is when Jeff or I brush her hair once we dry her off. We witnessed her first true smile during that time and it just melted our hearts.

Jill still wakes up once a night to feed and we finally have her on a bedtime routine. We bring her up to bed no later than 10pm, 9pm if it's a bath night, and she is typically swaddled and asleep by midnight. We try to put her down around 10pm but this is her most alert time of the day so she needs a little help from the pacifier to get her to relax. She no longer is really fussy like she was during the first few weeks, but will cry if the pacifier pops out of her mouth. We have been taking turns getting out of bed and popping the pacifier back into her mouth. She is still sleeping in her pack and play in our room. We are thinking about transitioning her to her crib this weekend since her cold is finally gone. I am a little sad about this so we will see if I actually go through with it!!!

Breastfeeding for the most part has gone well, however, there have been a few bumps in the road. I am probably considered a "milk goddess" to coin a term from my breast feeding class and sometimes have too much milk and too much of a let down. Jill sometimes can't handle the strong flow so lately I have been performing a circus act trying to contort my back so she is laying on me and that the milk is flowing up, not down. That has been interesting!!!! The strong flow gives her more gas and projectile vomiting which I feel terrible about. The situation comes and goes, sometimes the flow resolves itself, and other times, it comes back with a vengeance. She also is having tongue issues on the right side so I am thinking of attending our a lactation support group meeting on Friday to have a specialist analyze her. I have been in a lot of pain so I am hoping it's not thrush or an infection, just a latch problem that can hopefully be resolved. I love how in the beginning of a feeding Jill's eyes get all intense and her two little fists are clenched. My sister calls them "drinking fists" since my niece Nicole did the same thing. She then will slowly relax after a few minutes and will either grab my finger or touch the material of my shirt. It's so cute.

Jill still gets the hiccups several times a day, usually when I switch sides while I am breast feeding her. Usually a good burp gets them going. It amazes me that she used to have hiccups all of the time when I was pregnant. They would typically happen after I would eat, and she is still having them now. Jill is also starting to make little cooing noises, especially at night. She started to make this new noise that sounds almost like a wheeze. It scared the crap out of Jeff and I at first but we think it's her just trying out new sounds.

Jill is still in newborn clothing but is not able to fit into many of her fleece sleepers. She is in the 75th percentile in height so the sleepers cramp her legs. She has been wearing a lot of two piece newborn outfits during the day since they fit her better and give her more leg room. She wears 0-3 month sleepers at night. I went to Babies R Us this weekend to buy a shower gift and to pick her up a few more cotton sleepers. I was so sad that I had to pass by the newborn clothing section, how is she this big already??? At Jill's pediatrician appointment two weeks ago, she weighed 8 pounds, 3 ounces, which was considered the 45th percentile. So far, we have a tall, skinny little girl, just like her Mom. At least I used to be before infertility and pregnancy. I will get back there though in due time hopefully!!! Jill is also still in newborn diapers but you can tell they are becoming a bit snug on her. We have one large box of them left so we are trying to make those last as long as possible!!!!

Jeff has been such an amazing Dad so far and I don't know what I would do without him. He took two weeks off of work to help me out with all of our nigh time feedings and daytime doctors appointments. I would have probably been even more disheveled without him during those crazy first few weeks!!!! Jeff loves coming home at night and hangs out with Jill pretty much until bedtime. It's been so awesome finally seeing Jeff as a Dad, we are so thankful to finally have our little girl.

Becoming a Mom has been such an amazing journey so far. You have so much to learn and you have to do it all on no sleep!!!! It is quite a roller coaster ride of so many emotions. One minute you are on top of the world for a small victory, the next minute, your confidence is shaken by something else. I don't think any words of advice could have compared me for what motherhood was going to be like. One thing is for sure, I love my little girl so much, I could cuddle with her all day long. She is such a beautiful, amazing gift from God, that I thank him for every day. I look forward to all the things that I will learn with her next month and will hopefully be an even better Mommy than I am today.

Here is a picture of Jill on her actualy one month birthday visiting with her Aunt Debbie, my sister. Debbie stopped by on her lunch break to give her niece a little bithday cuddle.

Jill still loves her seahorse!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Manic Monday

I had big plans for today, a lot of phone calls that needed to be made, baby gift thank yous to be written, and cleaning to be done. It's almost 3pm and I feel like I haven't done anything! I did call my OB to make my postpartum appointment, my HR office at work to confirm my return to work day (March 26th), and called our day care to plan ahead for when I did return to work. I am still planning on going back to work only on a part time basis so I have to strategically time my day care days, work days, and Jeff's Mom's day to babysit very carefully. Hopefully the two days my daycare can accommodate me will work with my boss and Jeff's Mom's schedule. I am really hoping to have Friday off when it's all said and done because that is the day that my sister is also off from work. We have so many outings planned with our little girls, I really hope it works out the way we hope. Unfortunately I only was able to leave a message with our daycare so I won't know anything until they call me back. I guess I did get a few things accomplished, however, cleaning my house and writing my thank you continue to get pushed to the back burner. Ahhh!!! My house is so gross. It's embarrassing. I am tired of using the "I just had a baby" excuse because I am already a month in and the excuse isn't going to work much longer!!! My baby girl is a little fussy today and just wants to be held. I think it's gas and we have been dealing with it a lot since last night. I think I have changed my clothes three times today from baby puke! So I remain camped out on my couch with her laying on my chest, trying to calm my little Jill. I guess the house cleaning can wait for another day, or at least until Daddy gets home from work.

A lot of you have been asking how Jill's sleeping is going, thank you!!! I feel like we finally turned a corner last week with her 10pm - 2am fussy time. Jill's cold is also finally gone, it was really sabotaging any advances we were making in modifying her sleep schedule. We also introduced a pacifier which has really helped lessen her evening fussy time. I was hesitant to introduce a pacifier in the first few weeks since it can interfere with breast feeding, but our lactation consultant gave us the green light since it was going so well. Thank God for pacifiers!!! Right now we do have somewhat of a bedtime routine. We will head up to bed around ten o'clock after Jill eats. We then put her in the pack and play in our room to let her know it's bedtime whether she is asleep or not. We try to swaddle her, depending on how fussy she is, she sometimes will kick out of it. We at least try because swaddling does help to put her to sleep. Jeff and I will then get ready for bed and play the pacifier game with her for about an hour or two. The pacifier game consists of Jeff or I getting out of bed to stick the pacifier back in her mouth after she has spit it out and starts to fuss again. She will eventually then drift off to sleep. Midnight is typically the latest that she will drift off, 11pm is considered a good night. We haven't had a 1am or 2am fall asleep time with her in two weeks so that has been wonderful! Jill will sleep for four hour increments before I have to get up and feed her. Basically this new routine gives me 6-7 hours of sleep a night, I no longer nap during the day and I feel great. Life is good!!!! I feel like I can finally relax and enjoy being a Mom. I don't know if it was this way for other Mom's but I think the first month is all about surviving each day to the next and getting to know your baby. I now feel like I know her little quirks and what makes her happy. She seems to change every day and is looking less and less like a brand new baby. It is getting better, just like everyone said it would. Here are a few videos I took of Jill today. I was trying out the video feature on our digital camera, I really want to start capturing her on video, pictures only do so much, they don't capture her adorable noises and facial expressions that I want to always remember.

Thanks to everyone who responded to my Twitter post, I added a button to the side of my blog. I have only made two Tweets so far but I enjoying reading everyone elses Tweets. I am starting to get the hang of it and it's been fun!!! Jill's photography session went so well yesterday too, she was alert for most of the pictures and Tami really took some amazing shots. I can't wait for her to send us her photo sharing link to view them. I also looking forward to another "most dramatic rose ceremony ever" on The Bachelor tonight. It looks like Jake plans on burning a few of his roses?!? Never a dull moment, that is for sure.

Here are a few pictures I took this morning of our neighbor's house that is going up at the end of the cul-de-sac that I blogged about earlier this week. Can you believe how much progress they have made? The crane is here today helping the Amish men install the roof trusses. I have seen this done a million times with our house and all of the others that have been built around the neighborhood but it is still the most impressive part of the building process in my opinion. I can't believe these men walk so casually at such a high elevation. One wrong step and it's a doozy!!!! God bless them, they are hard workers.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Twitters and other random Tweets

Do you use Twitter? I signed up a few months ago but never really used it. Now that I am on maternity leave, I have started to log on a lot more. I honestly do not know what I am doing or how to use it. Can anyone give me some advice on how to get the most out of Twitter and Tweets? I added a few of my favorite bloggers to my follower listing because I noticed Twitter icons on their blogs. If anyone wants to leave me a comment on how I can have more fun with Twitter, I would greatly appreciate it. Do you have a favorite Tweeter? I made my first 'Tweet' the other day, as lame as it was, I am officially a Tweeter!!!

We are having my friend Tami, who does professional photography on the side, come over tomorrow to take some picture of Jill, Jeff, and I. I have been wanting to do this ever since she was born, however, with all of the issues we had with her head, it got put on the back burner. Hopefully she is not too big to take all of the adorable Anne Gedes style newborn pictures, regardless, it's going to be adorable. I ordered this on Etsy for a few of the pictures:

Jill also turned one month old this week, I am working on her official one month post and it should be up some time this week. I ordered her the peel and stick onesie decals and I am just waiting for them to come in. So her first picture, she may be one month and a few days......

Friday, January 22, 2010

Watching Our Neighborhood Grow

One perk about being on maternity leave until March is that I get to watch the house at the end of our cul-de-sac go up. It's nice to see growth and progress in the middle of a cold and snowy winter. My heart goes out to the Amish carpenters who are building this home, just looking at them makes me so cold!!!! It's below freezing out there and they are out there working away.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Bachelor and 90210

Yes, I have been sucked in to another season of "The Bachelor" and what is proving to be "the most dramatic season of the Bachelor ever" to quote Chris Harrison. In the last season of the Bachlorette, Jake was by far my favorite Bachelor. I just loved his one on one date with Jillian, slow dancing to Martina McBride performing live for them. It was such an amazingly romantic date, who didn't want to see these two end up together? And in case you are wondering, no, we did not name our daughter after the Bachlorette! :) We loved her name long before Jillian ever became the Bachlorette.

I just do not see Jake with any of these women. They all seem so immature and caught up in the day to day drama with the other women. I do not see him making connections with anyone. Is it me, or does anyone else feel that way too? If I had to pick, Ella seems to have the best head on her shoulders, but I do not really see him ending up with her in the end just because she is SO different from all of the other women. I have been reading a lot of blogs lately and it seems like there are a lot of you who share my love for the Bachelor. Everyone also seems to be perplexed on which one of these ladies is truly going to be his wife. I am sure this is the producers way of throwing us off the scent and just wanting us to get roped into the drama. I am a sucker for the actual romance and courting aspect of the show, they really need to start showing some of that! I refuse to read Reality Steve's blog because I hear he has revealed the name of the final girl. I guess we will just have to tune into next week's show! They are all taking an RV trip up the California coast where I am sure we will be witnessing attempts from one of the girls to throw Vienna out of the moving RV.

In other TV news, I was so bummed to hear yesterday that Jennie Garth is leaving 90210 to spend more time with her family. I have been pleasantly surprised so far with this new version of 90210 and it has been climbing the charts on my DVR play list. The story lines have been very well written and it can certainly survive on it's own without any of the original cast members. However, how will West Beverly survive without Kelly Taylor? I will certainly miss seeing her on the show. I guess my dream of a Brandon, Dillon, Kelly love triangle again will never happen.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Nesting Projects

Looking back to the end of my pregnancy, I really do not think I nested in the traditional way you would think a pregnant woman would nest. I didn't get on my hands and knees to clean my hardwood floors or completely re-organize every closet in my house. I feel like my main focus was on all the unfinished projects that I knew we were close to finishing. My main focus in the house was to get most of our window treatments up, or at least the easy ones. I had already purchased the guest bedroom curtains. Remember these? I am reusing the West Elm brown and cream panels that I had originally bought for our kitchen. The comforter in the room is blue, brown, and cream so they go perfectly. I was so thrilled that I was able to reuse those curtains because I really did love them, just not in the kitchen. I also wanted to put up the West Elm brown grommet curtains in the dining room that I had purchased. All I really needed was to make a trip to Bed, Bath, and Beyond to buy all the necessary curtain rods. I was literally in labor and walking laps around my kitchen to help relieve the pain as Jeff put up the last curtain rod in our dining room. Nothing like finishing them up right on time. I feel so good now knowing that these projects are taken care of. I am still not completely finished with all of the window treatments in our house but it feels good to have two rooms down!!!

Guest Bedroom: Still a work in progress but one step closer now with window treatments!

Dining Room: This room is also a work in progress, I would like to paint above the chair rail a silvery blue and eventually buy a dining room set. The furniture is right now random pieces from my apartment and our old house.

Monday, January 18, 2010

My Hair Needs Your Help!

I am finally getting my hair cut and colored in a few weeks since finding out I was pregnant back in April of 2009. I was a freak about getting color in my hair during pregnancy so needless to say, my hair needs some SERIOUS help. I have been in the process of growing out the wedge bob since about the same time. My hair is now in that in between phase where I can continue to grow it out or get another bob like cut. This is where I would love your help. Should I grow it out like the second picture below? Or get a bob like cut again in the first picture? I am also thinking of getting side swept bangs like I had in the second picture. Ease of use is not an issue for me here because my hair is so thick, even a shorter cut doesn't really reduce much prep time for me. Longer hair is actually better because I can easily throw it up in a pony tail where I can't with shorter hair.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Weeks 2 and 3: It's All a Big Blur

I apologize in advance for the long post. I love blogging about everything fun and exciting going on in our life but the best thing about a blog is to actually document the specific details about events you do not want to forget. Jill's first three weeks have been the most emotional, sleep deprived, and simply put, the biggest blur that I have been through in a very long time. I want to write about everything that Jeff and I have been dealing with because I know as the weeks of Jill's life turn into months, I will slowly forget all of the details that have happened in between.

We are half way through week 3 with Jillian and I seriously don't know where the time has gone. It's been another crazy week with her, I do not think we have had a week that can be considered uneventful so far in her young life. In a rare moment of sleep Saturday night, I was suddenly awoken to Jillian choking in her pack in play. I jumped out of bed and grabbed her and started to pat her on the back. She continued to make choking noises so Jeff ran over and tried to help me. Jillian was choking on a lot of phlegm and couldn't see to get it up. Jeff eventually was able to pull it out of her mouth with his fingers and she finally settled down. It was horribly scary and we both kept trying to figure out what had caused this to happen. Throughout the night, you could still hear the phelm rattling around in her chest so we called our pediatrician first thing in the morning. We also noticed that Jill started to sneeze a lot more and was sneezing out some mucus. Our little girl had officially caught her first cold. We were scared to death, the poor thing was barely three weeks old and was having trouble breathing. We decided to turn on the shower in her bathroom in hopes that the steam would clear up some of her congestion. Jeff and I have been taking turns every day since giving her these steam treatments. They seem to be providing her some short term relief. The three of us were locked up in our bedroom all day on Sunday with a cool mist humidifier in an effort to comfort and calm a cranky, sick baby. Needless to say, we have had rough day after rough day with her as we try to wait out this cold. The poor thing is so congested and she hasn't slept well at all. Neither have we.
On Monday, we had our dermatologist appointment to hopefully shed some light on Jillian's head sore and hopefully get a definite diagnosis. The last thing we wanted to do was bring a sick baby out in a blizzard but it was an appointment that we had to keep. I have never felt so out of it or disheveled in my life. I have dealt with sleep deprivation before but nothing like this. I always was given the advice when I was pregnant to "sleep when the baby sleeps" but how can I sleep when my sleep opportunities are being spent going to doctor's appointments? I am seriously starting to wonder if I will ever look or feel normal again. I am just so tired and have no energy or motivation to even take the time to do my hair or put make up on. Jill's fussy time so far has been from 10:30pm - 2:30am at night, then she sleeps great from 2:30am - 6:30am, and then again from 7:30am - 10:30am. With all of our doctor's appointments scheduled in the morning, I miss my 7:30am - 10:30am nap with her and it completely wipes me out and sends me into a total sleep deprivation zombie state. I had been so focused lately on Jill's cold, that by the time we arrived at the dermatologist, I then started to worry again about the sore on her head. I remained hopeful as we sat in the waiting room hoping that we would finally get a final diagnosis on whether or not the sore was actually Cutis Aplaysia or trauma from the vacuum delivery. The dermatologist did not put our mind at ease, if anything, we left with even more worries and concerns then when we arrived. First, she looked at Jill's head and first said it was probably the Aplaysia, it wasn't a true Aplaysia, a superficial one she said, but most likely that was what it was. We asked about any underlying damage to her skull, brain tissue, or even the possibility of brain damage and she said that she was 99.9% sure that there was none judging on how alert and active Jill was. She appeared to be a normal baby to her with just an unfortunate sore on her head that would eventually clear up. We mentioned to the her that our pediatrician had taken actual pictures of the sore from the L&D room and that our pediatrician wanted her to take a look at the pictures as well. She reviewed the pictures and all of a sudden started to change her opinion. She noted that Jill's hair pattern near the sore showed a marker for possible underlying brain tissue and skull damage and that we would need an ultra sound as soon as possible to determine if any underlying brain damage had existed. She also wanted us to have an MRI done in 6 months to confirm. The dermatologist then confused us even more after that statement and said that even though it appeared to be the Aplaysia, the sore still showed characteristics that she couldn't rule out the possibility of the sore being strictly from the vacuum. Basically, she was just all over the place in her diagnosis, from one extreme to the next. We left her office not feeling any better about the situation and with a lot more questions then answers. We scheduled Jill's ultra sound for first thing the next morning and were just sick at the possibility that our little girl could possibly have suffered damage to her brain. Jeff and I spent another very sleepless night due to Jill's cold, the worry over Jill's ultra sound the next day, and your basic late night feedings. Jeff's Mom had come over after our doctor's appointment to watch Jill so we could both sleep but I don't think either of us got any kind of quality sleep since we were so worried about our ultra sound appointment the following day.
Jeff and I got up early again the following morning and drove to the hospital for Jill's ultra sound. Thank God our appointment was first thing in the morning, as tired as we were, we were happy to get it out of the way so we could get some answers. The ultra sound tech was wonderful in explaining everything that she was going to do. Jill was able to stay in her car seat since the ultra sound probe was going to be placed directly on her head. The poor thing had tons of blue ultra sound goop all over head. Luckily the probe did not have to be placed directly on her sore, just the front of her head. During the procedure, the tech said even though she wasn't allowed to say much, everything looked good to her. She printed off the pictures that she had taken and took them to a back room for a pediatric radiologist to review. After several minutes, an older looking doctor came into the room and immediately said, every thing looks great, I wouldn't give it a second thought. He didn't even feel a follow up MRI was necessary. Jeff and I both cried and kissed Jill as she slept peacefully in her carseat. We were so relieved, I had never felt so happy!!! All I want for Jill is to have a normal and happy life.

And just because I hate posts without pictures, here is our beautiful girl without a hat! We have so many pictures of her wearing hats to protect her sore that her beautiful head needs to be shown off!

Grey's Anatomy and Amniotic Bands

Before my 20 week ultra sound, I had never heard of an Amniotic Band. It's a very rare pregnancy condition and one that was very close to my heart since it posed such a risk to our unborn baby's developmental health. My doctor's were great about keeping an eye on it and thankfully the band never ruptured or got tangled around any of Jillian's body parts. Thank God our little Jillian is OK although we will never have a clear answer if this Amniotic band actually caused the sore on her head. The sore has finally healed and will remain a little scar on the top of her head. Her little scar just makes her all that more special, it will be a constant reminder of what we went through for her just to get here. What a story we have to share with her one day!

You can imagine my surprise when I was watching the Grey's Anatomy/Private Practice Crossover event this week and the main focus was on a procedure involving an unborn baby suffering from an amniotic band wrapped around his legs. The procedure involved actually operating in utero to seperate the band from the baby's legs. Thankfully we never had to even consider this. I hope you had a chance to check out the episode this week, it was a good one and one that was very close to my heart!!

When an ultrasound reveals that amniotic bands are wrapped around the legs of Sloan's baby, Mark summons Addison to perform the surgery. During surgery, Addison estimates that a complication means there's a 5 percent chance that the procedure can kill Sloan, so Mark orders Addison to stop. Sloan insists that she can't take care of a baby with no legs and Mark tells her he won't let that happen.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


It's easy to focus on the sleep deprivation when you have a new baby. Honestly, dealing with no sleep has been very tough and at times can certainly take away the joys of being a new Mom. Everyone keeps telling me it will get better, it's just something you have to work through the first few weeks of motherhood. No one really tells you how hard it is, and if they do, it's really hard to put yourself in their shoes since it's nothing you have ever experienced before. I remember when I was dealing with the heartbreak of infertility I would bargain with God that I would never complain about the sleepless nights, that I welcomed them if it meant that I would one day be a Mom. I am only human and although I prayed to God to become a Mom, I am not immune to the difficulty of the long, sleepless nights with a crying infant. I pretty much cry right along with her as I long for sleep. As hard as the sleepless nights have been, I am constantly reminded how blessed I am to have such a beautiful baby girl. Being a Mom is certainly the hardest job you will ever love.

Jeff and I have been so lucky to have such supportive friends and family helping us get acclimated to our new life as parents. We are so blessed to have such wonderful friends, family, co-workers and neighbors who are as excited about our baby girl's arrival as we are. Our friend Andrea stopped by tonight with dinner and desert for us which was such a welcoming surprise. We stocked up on food before Jillian was born and that stash is slowly diminishing. Even after three weeks, I have not been out of the house to do any kind of shopping for our family. My parents were nice enough to come over earlier this week in hopes that I would be able to get away for an hour to catch up on our grocery and Target shopping. No such luck, Jillian must have sensed my urge to get out and decided to have the the crankiest day ever since we brought her home. My Mom is coming over tomorrow to try again, let's hope it works out, just don't tell Jill!!!

Here is the recipe for the wonderful dinner that Andrea made for us. It was actually a meal that I have been wanting to make from the Kraft Food magazine:

Bruschetta Chicken Bake:

What You Need!

1 can (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained 1 pkg. (6 oz.) STOVE TOP Stuffing Mix for Chicken 1/2 cup water 2 cloves garlic, minced 1-1/2 lb. COOKED boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces 1 tsp. dried basil leaves 1 cup KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Make It!

HEAT oven to 400ºF.

MIX tomatoes, stuffing mix, water and garlic just until stuffing mix is moistened.

LAYER chicken, basil and cheese in 3-qt. casserole or 13x9-inch baking dish

TOP with stuffing. Bake 30 min.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

What a cold and snowy week we have been having here in Cleveland! As I am sitting here on our couch flipping back and forth between All My Children and HGTV, the snow continues to come down and is supposed to continue throughout the night. We have had a constant mix of Winter Storms and Lake Effect snow which has turned into one snowy week! All of the Cleveland area schools are off today for the second time this week. Even our local schools have off of school which doesn't happen very often since our city does have a pretty extensive snow removal program given that we live in what is considered to be the "Snow Belt" area of Cleveland. All I have to say is that I am highly enjoying the perks of maternity leave by not having to drive to work in this! My poor sister had a 2 1/2 hour commute Monday morning when the start of this snowy nightmare happened. That is one thing I can get used to being at home!!!

The snow all over the trees in our backyard is actually quite pretty!

Our front yard:

You can see all the snow piling high on our mailbox:

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Week one with Jillian

Week one did not go quite as expected for us. It was actually a really hard week for us trying to get adjusted to a newborn amongst everything else that had happened. I mentioned in my labor post that a few thing happened during the delivery of Jill that have been pretty upsetting and have given us a lot to worry about. I had some difficulty pushing out Jill, it may have been because I was given an extra dose of my epidural at the end and I couldn't really feel my contractions. Jill's heartbeat was also higher than normal and my doctor was anxious to get her out. I wasn't able to see what was going on during her delivery and also didn't realize that I even had an episiotomy. I do remember Jeff saying "Oh no!" at some point after they did manage to pull her out. Jill had been delivered with the assistance of a vacuum device and it had left a huge hematoma on the top of her head. It looked like a huge lump right on the top of her head and I noticed when they handed her over to me that several layers of skin were missing. The area of her head with the missing skin was very raw and red looking. There was also a circular indentation that almost looked black. It was just really upsetting to see. As upsetting as it was, I honestly thought that this was something that sometimes happened when a vacuum was used. Our pediatrician came in to examine Jill while I was still in the labor and delivery room. She took a look at the sore on her head was very concerned about what she saw. She mentioned that she had never seen a vacuum delivery look quite like this and suggested that we see a pediatric plastic surgeon the next day to see if anything needed to be done immediately to get it fixed.
The next day, the plastic surgeon looked over Jill and pretty much made the same comments to us that our pediatrician did. That he had never seen a vacuum delivery cause so much damage before. He recommended that we continue to use the anti-bacterial ointment that our pediatrician prescribed and to wait and see if there was any scarring once it had healed. After the plastic surgeon had left, there seemed to be a whirlwind of nurses and doctors in and out of our room. Everyone wanted to see our baby's head and give their opinion. The fact that so many doctors were coming into our room only made Jeff and I worry more. It was obvious that there was some uncertainty on what happened during the delivery that all these doctors wanted to check her out. A Neonatalagist was next to check her out and was the first to mention that her sore may not be the result from of the vacuum delivery. He mentioned that she may have a dermatological condition called Acutis Aplasia that just happened to be in the same location as where the vacuum was placed. Acutis Aplasia is mostly a dermatological condition in newborns where the skin doesn't fully form. He then starts to explain that because of where hers is located, brain damage may have occurred. That was just not something that we expected him to say. I have been worried sick about the possibility of brain damage ever since it was mentioned back at the hospital. The good news is that after all the doctors that have looked at Jill, all have determined that she didn't have brain damage and that the sore is dermatological. She has been such a great baby so far and has not shown any signs that anything would be wrong with her neurologically. It just really shook us up more than you can imagine with thoughts of our little girl having any kind of brain damage. I can happily report now that her sore has closed and there is no longer a large scab. There is a little red mark around the size of a dime that it on the top of her head that we have to watch and continue to put the anti-bacterial ointment on daily. She also wears hats all of the time to keep the area clean and so it's not disturbed. The sore looks so good right now that she will most likely not need any plastic surgery to correct when she is older. Our little girl may have a little bald spot and scarring but hopefully she inherited my thick hair and it won't even make a difference and it will be easily covered up with a lot of hair. It's hard to say what caused Jill to have this condition and the doctor's have not been able to determine a definite cause. Jeff and I have Googled the heck out of 'Cutis Aplaisia' and in a few articles, it does mention that an amniotic band may cause this. We will never know for sure, but we find it to be highly coincidental that I had an amniotic band whichis a rare occurence on top of Cutis Aplasia which is also a rare occurence. We will finally be seeing a pediatric dermatologist on January 11th for her to make a final diagnosis. I am hoping that she concurs everything that we have already know and that all we have to worry about is for it to finish healing.
On top of us having to worry about Jill's precious little head, our baby girl started to show signs of jaundice before they released us on the 23rd. So first thing on the morning of the Christmas Eve, after a very long and sleepless night, was to head back to the pediatrician's office to get Jill's billirubin levels checked. We were absolutely exhausted, the last thing we wanted to do was pack up Jill in the snow and cold and head back to the hospital which is where our pediatrician's office is located. All we wanted to do was SLEEP! After we returned home, our pediatrician called and reported that Jill's billirubin levels had increased since we had been discharged the day before and she wanted us to go to the pediatric ER the next day (Christmas Day!) to get them checked again. So after another long and sleepless night, we ventured out in the cold and snow again to the pediatric ER to get Jill's levels checked. If you have ever had a baby who had their billirubin levels checked, I don't need to tell you how awful the test is. They prick the heal of the baby and have to collect a huge vial of blood by constantly squeezing their foot. While doing this, the baby is screaming their head off in pain. It's just an awful sight and as a new mom, it was horrible to sit through. When it was all said and done I had to sit through the test at least 4-5 times. Our pediatrician called us again with our results, and again, they had increased. Our pediatrician told us to drive back to the hospital to be admitted overnight so Jill could be placed under the billirubin lights. The billirubin lights are basically a mini tanning bed for infants. Sadly, our Christmas Day was spent in the hospital and it was another long and sleepless night as nurses kept coming in every few hours to prick poor Jill's foot. Our sleep level at that point went from very little to non-existent. I had never been so tired in my life, I would just cry for no apparent reason. The nurse would ask me questions, I would cry. Jeff would ask what I wanted for dinner, I would cry. I was just that tired. We were released the next day in the late afternoon after Jill's billirubin numbers were finally showing signs of decreasing.


Getting ready to come home:

Being discharged from the hospital:

Jill is finally home:

We tried fixing Jill's jaundice problem at home by sticking her in the sunniest room of house. However, we do live in Cleveland and that was a very small window of opportunity for us:

Jill's first bath:

Sunday, January 03, 2010

New Mom Must Have's

Throughout my pregnancy I had a bit of an obsession with finding all the new mom must have products. After two weeks of being a new mommy, I am happy to share what has been a huge help to us so far.

The Fisher Price Ocean Wonders Sea Horse

After playing this sea horse for her every night before bed during the last month of my pregnancy, it has actually come in handy since day 1. We even brought this little guy to the hospital to see if she would even have a reaction to it. We now play it for her every night before we put her to bed. Jillian seems to have her days and nights a little mixed up so this adds an extra element of soothing that really helps. We keep the seahorse hidden in pocket of the pack n play so it's not directly in her crib with her but she can still hear it. It only plays for 7 minutes so I do find myself getting up a few times just to keep hitting the play button but it's worth it because it eventually does put her to sleep. Fisher Price really needs to think about adding a remote to this product and it would be perfect!!!

ITZBEEN Baby Care Timer

We use this product constantly. Who has time to write down the last time you fed the baby, especially at 2am? The first few nights I found myself forgetting the times I had started a feeding. By the time the next one rolled around, I was so delirious and sleep deprived, I really couldn't remember the exact time. It was a total guessing game. So we busted out the Itzbeen baby care timer and have used it religiously ever since. It keeps track of the last feeding, diaper change, and when the baby last slept. It also has a bonus button that I have been using to mark the times that I had to pump.

Grobag Egg Color Changing Thermometer

We have this thermometer on in our bedroom all day long. It's been great in helping us to keep our bedroom at a comfortable level without having to play a guessing game on whether it's too hot or too cold in our room. Considering the temperatures outside have been around 19 degrees, we have had to watch what temperature we keep our house thermostat at. We used to keep our house pretty cool at night but we can no longer do that with a baby, however, we still have to watch for the temperature becoming too hot because of the SIDS danger.

JJ Cole Original Bundle Me

I didn't realize after we brought Jillian home just how many doctor's appointments you would have to go to in just the beginning. Even during the first week we had to go to the doctor's several times for jaundice tests and other random check-ups. It's been cold and snowy ever since Jill was born so we have had to use this with the car seat to keep her warm.