Friday, November 18, 2011

My grumpy girl

Matt and I are constantly amazed by the complexity of emotion that Stella shows on a daily basis but lately we have been seeing our grumpy girl much more often than our happy Stella.  It is hard to go somewhere, a restaurant or grocery store, without someone commenting on how serious she is or how she is "mean mugging" them and staring them down.  Alas, it is true...we do have a very serious baby.

Don't get me wrong, she has her smiley, laughing moments often too but she just seems to be very serious by nature.  She is constantly observing and taking everything in around her.  I can tell that little brain of hers is working overtime.

I guess we should have known from the beginning since we took this picture when she was only a few weeks old:

As I noted, lately she has been extra grumpy, especially at night.  I fear that we may see more teeth soon since I can't keep her from putting everything in her mouth and she is a big drool and snot monster.  I'm hoping that her grumpy demeanor is related to something temporary like teething.

I am sure this is all very temporary but it is funny to watch her go through her little phases and how much her behavior and attitude is impacted by whatever it is she is going through.  I have to admit that I won't be sad when this teething stuff is over.  I'm having to switch her sheets almost daily because of the ridiculous amounts of drool and snot that comes out of her while she is sleeping.

On another note, her sleep patterns are still AWESOME!! She sleeps for a minimum of 9 hours straight now and is always in bed by 7pm.  We are so happy to be getting some sleep again.

And on yet another note, Stella had her first snow on Saturday, November 12.  Here is a little video of her trying to figure out what it is (sorry it is sideways - it was taken with my phone):

We are going to be travelling to the Seattle area for Thanksgiving.  I'm sure we will have MUCH to write about after our visits with everyone!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

6 Months...Can you believe it?

Stella had her 6 month birthday yesterday! I desperately tried to get around to writing a post on that day but before I knew it, the day was over.  So here I am 1 day late...but who is counting anyway!

It is really hard for me to believe that 6 months has gone by since I had my beautiful baby on May 2nd.  They tell you time flies when you have kids but I had no clue how right everyone was.  I feel like I have spent the last 6 months anticipating the next milestone and they really have come to quickly.  Stella is now sitting up on her own, eating squash and sweet potatoes (and LOVING them), and she is even starting to imitate mommy when I make a raspberry with my mouth!  She is amazing! Soon she will be crawling and then walking...ugh! I can't get ahead of myself but I guess I should start baby proofing the house because I know that is just around the corner.

As I mentioned in a previous post, we had been working hard to get Stella back to her fantastic sleeping abilities.  I am proud to announce that we made it!  Over the last week, we have been allowing Stella to self soothe and, yes, cry it out.  The funny thing is that she cried a heck of a lot less without us there than when we were in the room trying to comfort her.  The whole thing was much harder on me than it was on her but now we can literally read her a book, lay her in her crib and she goes to sleep effortlessly.  And last night, she slept 11 hours straight! I am so proud of her.  She is such a good baby.  We are noticing that she gets especially cranky in the evening but I hear that is pretty normal for babies to have the nighttime fussies. 

It is amazing to me that 6 months ago, it was just Matt and me.  Now we have this wonderful addition to our lives and we feel so much more whole.  We are a family.  I won't romanticize it...the last 6 months have really had their ups and downs.  It certainly wasn't all bubbles, rainbows and cupcakes but all of the challenges and the sleepless nights and the frustrations.  They are all worth it when I watch Stella learning and growing every day.

Here are some pictures of happy Stella on her 6 month birthday.  Today we are off to the doctor for her 6 month check up but we think they will delay vaccinations because she has a bit of a cold and has quite the stuffy nose.  We shall see :)

I do want to take a moment to thank those of you who have been on this journey with us.  Your support and love means more to us than we could ever express with words.  Stella is a VERY lucky girl to have you all in her lives, as are Matt and I.

Here is to the next 6 months :) Cheers!!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Quack Quack (translated as Happy Halloween!)

Here is little Miss Stella all dressed up like a duck! Quack Quack!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

More Adventures with Stella

It is official...Stella Grace sleeps in her very own room in her very own crib all by her big girl self and mommy and daddy have their room back!  It is weird to think that I haven't slept in a different room than her in 5 months but it is true.  The American Association of Pediatrics suggests that parents room with their babies until 6 months to lessen the risk of SIDS but she was ready and I was afraid that if we missed the window of opportunity, it would be a hard fight to get her comfortable in her own room.  The first night was scary and full of wake ups at every little sound on the monitor but everything was fine and Stella was safe and sound, sleeping away :)

Moving on...I have come to appreciate just how flexible my little girl is.  I have heard horror stories of parents that are unable to leave the house during "nap time" or never able to stay out with friends past their baby's bedtime.  I have always been the type of person that wants to put my baby as my first priority but not stop living because I have a baby.  So, on Saturday night we went to our friends house and we knew it would be a late night so we brought all of her bedtime stuff, thinking we would just put her in the guest room and watch her on the monitor.  Well, little Miss Social Butterfly wouldn't go to bed and just wanted to play with everyone.  She stayed up with us and was pretty content all the way till the end (around 11).  She fell asleep on the way home and had no problem going down when we got home.  I thought we had for sure ruined our efforts to get her bedtime to an earlier time and our progress would definitely halt, if not regress back a few weeks, but sure enough, Stella was very flexible the next night and was down by 9.  Each night we kept moving her bedtime earlier and earlier and she was ready to go whenever we were, totally following our cues.  We finally got her to the 7:30pm bedtime that we were aiming for, last night.  She went down at 7:30pm and woke up at 8:00am (with a few short wake ups in between).

I really am continually amazed at how sweet she is! I won't lie - sometimes I get frustrated in the middle of the night or when things don't go as planned but she really is amazing.  Truly my dreams come true!  Above is a picture of her in a kitty cat sleeper.  It isn't her Halloween costume but it was too adorable to pass up :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

You Won't Believe It...

I'm about to bring up a controversial subject...sleep training.  That's right, I said it!  Just like everything having to do with babies, everyone has their own opinion on sleep training and anything other than their belief is wrong and bad for children.  With that being said, as we are working on developing good sleep habits for Stella, we found a sleep training method that seems to be working well for us.  I'm sure some people will disagree with my methods but, frankly, I don't really care.

As I mentioned in my last post, we have been making a strong effort to get Stella to sleep on her back.  After almost a week of little progress, I decided we needed to take another approach.  I read a book called, "Sleep: Top Tips from the Baby Whisperer."  I chose this book because it offered a middle of the road solution between wearing your baby 24x7 and the Cry It Out method.  The author suggests a pick up, put down method that allows the baby to cry and learn to self-soothe but the adult never leaves the room while they are awake, which eliminates any abandonment issues that are said to occur with the cry it out method.

Essentially, Hogg (the Author/Baby Whisperer - hee hee) says that when you see signs of sleepiness, you go ahead and put your baby in their crib, lay your hand on their tummy and tell them it is nap time (or bed time) and you'll see them when they wake up.  If the baby begins crying, she says to pick them up and hold them for 3-5 minutes or until they stop crying and then put them down.  Repeat this process until the baby is asleep.  Hogg noted that the first few days usually take 20min-1 hour of this before the baby gives in and goes to sleep but as time goes on, the process will become shorter and shorter until you can eventually lay your baby down and say, "see ya when you wake up" and the baby will put themselves to sleep.

We thought we'd give it a try.  On our first try, we found that the pick up, put down method may not be the best method for Stella (or our backs) but that the thought process behind the method might work so we tweaked it.  We did the PU/PD method for about 10 minutes but then left her in her crib, put our hand on her belly, reassured her things were ok with our voices and allowed her to cry and whimper until she fell asleep.  The entire process took about 20 minutes at first.  Unfortunately, she woke up within 20 minutes and it took 50 minutes of the same thing to get her back to sleep, where she slept another 30 minutes.  So the first nap was 2 hours long, 70 minutes of soothing and 50 minutes of napping.  Not a bad start.

The second nap went pretty much the same.  20 minutes of initial soothing, but a lot less frantic crying more mantra crying (repetitive tired cry), as Hogg would describe.  Followed by 20 minutes of sleep...followed by 20 more minutes of soothing...followed by another 30 minute nap.  The second nap was 90 minutes.  40 of fussing and 50 of sleeping.  Already seeing progress.

I wasn't home in the evening but Matt said it only took him 20 minutes of fussing the first time and then only 5 minutes the second time.  YAY! Progress! 

But here came the real test...night time sleeping!  This is the part I was dreading because it had been so awful for the past week.  We have a bed in the nursery right now so I decided that rather than disrupt the pattern of sleeping in her crib, we would just go ahead and take the plunge and transition her out of our room and into her crib for all naps and night time sleeping.  So I nursed her and then put her in her crib and I slept in the bed in her nursery.  I had expected to get woken up within an hour (as she had done in nights before) but when I woke up around 1:30am, she was still sleeping.  I went and checked on her to make sure she was still breathing because I literally couldn't believe it.  She was, so I went back to bed.  I woke up again around 2:30am, still sleeping.  Finally, I was awakened by Stella at around 4:30.  She had gone 6 1/2 hours straight sleeping in her crib on her back!!!

She has a nasty habit of waking up about 4:30 wanting to be fed so I put my hand on her tummy and within 2 minutes she was back asleep again.  This time until 5:45.  I finally got her out, changed her and fed her but then put her back in her crib where she slept again until 8:45!!!!!!  WHO IS THIS BABY!?!?!?  Oh and get this, she was awake when I put her in her crib after feeding her and within 5 minutes of talking to herself (not crying) she put herself to sleep!!! MIRACLE!!!!

So...say what you want about sleep training but my baby slept through the night for the first time in over a month and with little to no crying!  Don't get me wrong, it isn't easy to sit there with my hand on her chest assuring her that everything will be ok while she cried but I've come to realize that she really cried as much in my arms when she was winding down to sleep but I just felt better about my actions when I was rocking her, etc.  Most of the issues I have with her sleep patterns have been created by me and now it is my job to work on not getting in the way of her progress.  Thankfully, I have an amazing support system with our nanny and Matt, who are both extremely patient and flexible.

Now this all happened yesterday and we are trying day 2 of this sleep training today.  So far the fussy periods before sleep have been cut almost in half but she is still only sleeping in about 20-30 minute increments.  Hopefully we can extend those over time and lessen the fussy times.  I realize that it may get worse before it gets better but I feel more solid knowing we have a plan and are already seeing results.

Keep praying for us as we continue this training.  Hopefully soon, Stella will be a pro napper and night time sleeper like she used to be. Yay sleep!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Rolling Rolling Everywhere

Yep - that's right! Stella has mastered her back to front roll, finally!  On Saturday, October 1st (just 1 day before her 5 month birthday), Stella rolled from her back to her front!  She's been close for almost a month but her pesky shoulders have always gotten in the way.  She even gave her daddy a repeat performance when he got home.  Gone are the days of an immobile baby!  She is also making rocking movements when she is on her belly, telling me she is preparing to learn how to crawl...YIKES! Not sure I'm ready for that yet.  I haven't even begun to baby proof our house!

On another note, many of you know that Stella has been sleeping on a slight incline since she was born because she has had pretty bad reflux and would often spit up all over herself while sleeping.  Well, we have gotten to the point where we are ready to transition her to her crib so we are attempting to get her to sleep flat on her back.  This has proven to be a difficult task.  On night 1 - she woke up every 30min-1 hour.  I had a huge paper due for my master's program the next day so Matt was Super Daddy and was up with her the entire night unless she needed to eat.  On night 2 - she woke up every 1-1.5 hours so we were a little better.  My paper was done so we tag teamed that night.  On night 3 - She slept 1.5 hours but I was awakened to the sound of her choking and gagging on her spit up.  I shot out of bed and Matt picked her up, flipped her on her belly and patted her back until she started breathing again.  This was more than her average amount of spit up...she was laying in a pool of liquid and had aspirated quite a bit of it.  That is one of the scariest sounds I've ever heard.  After something like that, you can hardly sleep...listening for every breath to make sure she is ok.  Last night - night 4 - she slept about an hour before waking up and then wouldn't go back to sleep without being rocked.  Rockstar Daddy took night duty, once again, and would get her to sleep but the second her body or head hit her mattress, her eyes would spring open and he'd have to start bouncing her again.  Finally around 2am, he gave up.

She seems to enjoy sleeping on her side, which helps ease my mind a bit because if she spits up, she won't choke.  However, she could easily roll to her belly and then I worry about her airways being blocked.  I know she is strong enough to lift her head if needed but everyone has new parents so paranoid about putting babies on their back to sleep that you become VERY fearful of them ever rolling or sleeping on their belly at night.  Night 5 will be tonight...Let's just say, I'm not looking forward to bedtimes as much as I used to.

On top of that, Stella is teething.  She has 2 little teeth that have made their appearance and I think she has a few more that should cut through soon because she is a drooly, slobbery mess!  On top of that, she has had cold like symptoms (runny nose, watery eyes) which all come with teething and everything has become a teething toy to put in her mouth and gum on, including me.  When I was feeding her last weekend, I got bit for the first time.  YYYYYOOOOOUUUUUUCCCCCCHHHHHHH!!  Not pleasant, especially with those 2 little razor sharp teeth on the bottom!  She's done it several times since then and it is making breastfeeding less and less appealing. I pump 24x7 (which I hate doing) so I can bottle feed her breast milk or do I cave and give her formula (which I didn't want to do)??? I'm still debating...I want her to get to at least 6 months before deciding anything so hopefully she won't be too much of a biter for the next month.

It is really hard to believe that it has been 5 months since Stella made her entrance to our world but even with all of the hard stuff that I've written above, it really does just keep getting better and better! She laughs and smiles more.  She grabs my face to pull me in for a big, slobbery wide open mouth baby kiss.  She loves to look and talk to Coach (our dog).  In fact, she thinks that Coach is around for her enjoyment.  The other day, Matt and Coach were playing with a stuffed soccer ball and Stella turned into a giggle monster.  She just laughed and laughed every time coach got the ball and shook it.  She is just amazing in every sense of the word.  I never thought that I could ever be so consumed, emotionally and physically, by something but I am.  Being Stella's mommy is an amazing gift (albeit overwhelming and tiring at times LOL).

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Squealing Stella

So I think I have mentioned in my past posts that Stella is going through a squealing phase.  Here is a video that proves it...she was thoroughly enjoying an episode of Raising Hope.


Friday, September 9, 2011

4 Month Check Up

Stella and I just returned from her 4 month check up and she could not be more PERFECT!

So, they make you get the baby naked so they can accurately weigh them and sure enough, Stella dropped a little fun surprise in her diaper right as we were walking into the exam room.  And apparently they have to treat diapers as a "bio hazard" and put them in a special trash can.  It was a way bigger deal than it should have been but oh well!

She weighed in at 14lb 11oz, almost double her birth weight, which put her just above the 50th percentile.  She was 24.25" long which put her right at the 50th percentile and her head circumference was just under the 50th percentile, which doesn't surprise me one bit since I am her mother and I have a teeny tiny head.

She then received her 4 month vaccines and gave a delayed cry of pain but I picked her up and cuddled her when it was done and she calmed down right away. By the time we were walking out of the office, she was smiling for all of the ladies at the front desk.  On the way home, she conked out and got a good little nap.

Overall, it was a great visit.  The doctor said she is a completely healthy baby that is growing right on track.  Our next appointment is set for November 3rd...just after she turns 6 months.

Cutting Her First Tooth read that right.  Little Miss Stella is cutting her first tooth at just 4 months old.  The doctor thought that her fussiness, low fever, cold symptoms and drool could all be attributed to the first tooth making an appearance soon but we couldn't feel anything at the time of her appointment so I just brushed it off.  Then after having a fabulous weekend with Grammy and Grampy (aka Grumpy), she had a horribly fussy day on Monday with her nanny.  On Tuesday, she calmed down a bit and by Tuesday night I could feel a little tooth cutting out of her gums.

She has been much less fussy since it has popped through the gum a bit but she is drooling like it is her job.  You always hear how much babies drool when they are cutting teeth but let me tell you, Stella is DROOOOOOOOLING!  We basically have to keep bibs on her at all time to keep from drowning in it.  We are hoping that this also explains the slight "sleep regression" she has been experiencing lately.  Our sweet baby has gone from sleeping 6-9 hours a night to 4-6 if we are lucky.  It is making for one tired mama but I'm hoping she'll go back to sleeping well once this teething business is old news.

We are off to her 4 month well baby check up and she will get her next set of vaccinations.  I will definitely update you all on her growth and progress after the appointment.

Happy drooling to you all :)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Baby's First Cold and a CRAZY Day!

I guess I couldn't keep her in a germ free bubble forever so unfortunately, Stella has come down with her first cold.  We noticed on Tuesday, August 23rd, that she had woken up with a snotty nose and it continued to get worse throughout the day.  Eventually she scared me by choking on some post nasal drip which made her stop breathing for a few seconds.  At that point, I called the doctor and in true first time mommy fashion, I took my baby to the doctor for a cold. heard that right.  I took my baby to the doctor for a cold.

When we got to the doctor, they checked her out and sure enough, she had a red nose and throat with some drainage but unfortunately, there wasn't much they could do because she is so young.  The doctor said to keep an eye on it and to come back in if it got any worse.  It was pretty obvious that she was still battling the cold through the weekend and going into the beginning of this week.  The poor thing sounds so congested and is learning how to breathe through her mouth.

For some reason, this cold has impacted her ability to go to sleep easily and our good little napper and sleeper has become a bit of a challenge.  She has begun to not cry, more like scream, before every nap for about 10-30 minutes.  And she has also lost about 1 hour off of her nightly sleep with periodic wake ups in between.  Let's just say that Matt and I are tired parents.

Well, today my little munchkin seems to have taken a turn for the worse.  First of all, she woke up multiple times last night which is very abnormal and then she cried/screamed the entire day.  The only time that she wasn't crying, she was eating or taking a very short 20 minute nap but the rest of her time was spent cry-screaming.  It was really starting to freak me out because it was so uncharacteristic of her.  So, yet again, I called the doctor and they said they wanted to see her at 3:45. 

After work, I put Stella in her car seat and got ready to go around 3:15.  I only live about 10 minutes away from the doctor so I knew I would be early but I am obsessive about being on time or early so I wasn't bothered by it.  I put Stella in the car and began to back out of the driveway when I noticed something was wrong.  I parked the car and looked down...sure enough, I had a FLAT TIRE!!!! So not only was I exhausted from not sleeping much, frazzled from a day full of screaming, I was also now going to be late to my doctor appointment because I had to change a flat on our Pilot, which I had never done before!  I am no stranger to changing flat tires but every car is different and they each have a little learning curve.  Wouldn't you know that my learning curve had to happen on a day like today!!  I called the doctor to let them know and they said if I could get there before 4pm my appointment wouldn't be canceled.  30 minutes should be plenty of time...right?? WRONG!!!

I went to the back and began unpacking the tools.  I realized I had no idea where the spare was so I went and got the owners manual.  Apparently it is under the car so I had to unwind the cord that was holding it up under the car to get it out.  Finally I finished that and got to the actual flat tire.  I followed the instructions and loosened the lug nuts and began to use the jack to lift the car.  After that, I loosened all of the lug nuts completely.  Although I was discouraged and frustrated, I thought that I might actually do this.  Once I got the last lug nut off, I went to take the tire off and guess what, it wouldn't freaking budge!! 

At this point, I begin to break down a little bit and my eyes fill up with tears.  Oh wait...pause...I forgot to mention that this ENTIRE time, my baby was cry-screaming in the back of the car and there is nothing that I could do because (1) I don't have time to do anything (2) my hands are filthy!! Anyway - back to the story...So I start to sort of cry but gather myself together and jack up the car more thinking that I just didn't have it off of the ground far enough.  Apparently that wasn't the problem because after cranking the heck out of that jack, the tire was still stuck or too heavy.  Either way, I couldn't lift it off. 

It was just then that my neighbor across the street pulls into her driveway and hollers out, "Do you need help?" and I respond, "I would actually LOVE help."  As I get up to see her, I notice that she is severely limping and was just returning from the doctor with her daughter.  She went for a back injury that she had gotten from falling while walking her dog.  She went on to tell me that there wasn't much she could do but that she would be more than happy to lend me her car.  I immediately started crying and saying thank you over and over again. 

She handed me her keys, I strapped Stella into the back of her car and we were off.  I left everything out on my driveway, car manual and all and just took off.  Finally, we were on the road.  Stella was still cry-screaming in the car but at least we were on our way and it was now 3:47.  We arrived at the doctor's office, I parked the car, got Stella out of the back and rushed into the office.  I glanced at the clock and it was 3:58.  The office staff was so sweet and told me it wasn't a problem at all and they were glad the baby and I were safe.

Once in the doctor's office, Stella decides that she is totally fine and her cry-screaming stops and she even starts to smile a little.  The doctor said it was like when you take your car to the shop for a noise it makes but then it won't make it in front of the technician.  He basically found that she did have a little red throat and a lot of congestion, slightly inflamed ears but no temperature.  He said it was most likely viral or could all be associated with the beginning of teething, either way he said there wasn't much he could do but to keep in contact if things got worse.  He reassured me that he would be the doctor on call if I needed anything in the night and to call tomorrow if things worsen through the night.  I was glad it wasn't more serious but sort of frustrated that there wasn't an answer.

So Stella and I headed home and she proceeded to cry-scream the whole way home.  I put my angel neighbor's car in the drive way and continued to thank her profusely for her blind trust and generosity.  I am so thankful for her and I am so thankful that this day is almost over.  I'm hoping and praying that tonight will be better than last night and that today was the worst day and we are now on the road to recovery but we shall see...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Stella found her toys...I mean toes!

It seems like Stella has been making so many strides in the past week and I wanted to share them with you.  First, she has officially found her feet.  She no longer just looks at them but she is actually reaching and grabbing for them, which is awfully cute.  Matt still thinks I'm making it up because she hasn't done it in front of him but I'm not...she really does it all of the time and gets the biggest smile on her face like she just conquered the world.

Also since she is such a grown up little girl, we have ditched the swaddle.  It was sort of our fear that she would roll over soon and not have any arms to push up with, so in an effort to avoid that horrible scenario, we have switched from the swaddle to a sleep sack.  We were pretty nervous for that first night because she is such a great sleeper in her swaddle and we thought we were just asking for sleepless nights by making the switch but the little darling did a 6 hour stretch that first night and woke up as happy as a clam.  Here is a picture of the morning after her first night in her big girl sleep sack:

Her next big achievement for the weekend was being a good girl at her 3 month picture session with Kim Stadler.  We had such an amazing time during the session.  Stella was a good girl but refused to give a big smile and would occasionally start crying when Kim would lay her on her back.  I'm just amazed at what an amazing photographer Kim is! She has graciously allowed me to post a few sneak peek pictures of Stella.  You should definitely friend her on Facebook or visit her website to see more of her work -

Stella's last major accomplishment of the weekend was watching the Seahawks game with her daddy.  She got a chance to sport her new Seahawks jersey and get in some good daddy, daughter cuddle time.

Who knows what surprises the next weeks have in store for us but we will be sure to keep you posted!

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Stella Umbrella

We had another fun weekend in Auburn visiting family and attempting to get another renter for our home in Bonney Lake.  After a few appointments on Friday evening, my mom, dad, Stella and I went out for dinner at a little local bistro.  It was a perfect evening, so we sat outside and enjoyed the view of the mountain.  We noticed that all of the umbrellas over the outdoor tables were sponsored by the Stella Artois beer.  My mom commented on how fun it would be to have one of those for Stella and even joked about how to sneak one out.

Later, the manager came over to see Stella and asked how old she was and what her name was.  I responded by saying 3 months and Stella.  She immediately commented on how she would go look in the back to see if there were any old Stella umbrellas for us to take home.  She asked which car was ours and said if she found one, she would let us know.  My mom and I were so thrilled that she was being so sweet and so generous!

At the end of the meal, we hadn't really heard whether she had found one or not but as we were paying, she made her way over and said that we had a little surprise by the right side of the car.  Sure enough, there was a box with a Stella umbrella inside.  It actually couldn't have been better timing because Matt and I had just set up our patio set and didn't have an umbrella for it yet.  Now it isn't the typical umbrella you see in backyards but it sure is special to us.

I am simply amazed by the generosity that some people exhibit!  I am so thankful that we are so blessed to be surrounded by loving family and strangers that are making Stella's life so special!

Let me know when you are coming over for a glass of sangria under the Stella umbrella!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Fun in the Sun!

Last weekend was one full of fun and adventure for the Cole family!  Our first visitors (other than family) had made it across the mountains to stay with us.  Matt's best friend, Greg, and his family came over to go to Silverwood and they stayed at our house for the weekend.  Matt, Stella and I were so excited to have company. 

They made their way over on Thursday night and left on Friday to spend the day at Silverwood.  On Saturday, we spent the day enjoying the beautiful sunshine and going on adventures.  We began by grabbing some yummy sandwiches at the High Nooner cafe and then we drove up north to visit the CatTales Zoo.  While we were there we saw a ton of Tigers, a beautiful white tiger named Zeus, several lynxes and a HUGE lion. Oh and for those of you who just said, "Lions and tigers and bears...oh my!" - yes...there were bears too :)

There were quite a few fun memories of the zoo.  There was 1 tiger named Charlie who had decided he was done being on show for everyone and he started roaring and making some very intimidating noises.  As he was roaring, several other tigers started pacing and getting agitated.  The Zoo also has a big cat adventure package you can buy where you can hand feed a tiger or lion so we got to watch several people feed the lion through a small hole in a big cage.  The lion jumped off his big throne and leisurely ate the raw meat off of the skewer through the tiny hole and then he proceeded to turn his booty towards the fence and pee on it.  Then he regally hopped back up to his throne, as the king of the jungle is expected to do.  It is hard to put in to words just how magnificent the lion really was.  While standing on all 4 legs, the top of his mane would have probably reached my chin level.  He was a pretty incredible animal.  Stella wasn't too impressed but she enjoyed getting out of the house. 

Perhaps the most interesting thing occurred when a woman walked into the zoo with her service dog.  As you can imagine, other animals are not allowed in the zoo, however they have to allow service animals by law.  Most of the cats ignored the little dog but there was 1 tiger who was extremely curious about that little creature.  He jumped out towards the cage and started pacing/hunting as the little dog passed.  Even when the dog was out of his site, he continued to jump up and down off of the rocks and pace the fence line.  I think he began picturing us all like big steaks (like in the movie Madagascar).

After we enjoyed the cats at the zoo, we went up to Green Bluff and enjoyed some ice cream and then continued on home where the kids played outside in the sprinkler.  Stella still can't really get out in the sun so we kept her in the shade but we used it as an excuse to get her in her swimsuit.  Here is a picture of Matt holding Stella in her adorable swimsuit from our friend Jenny. 

Once the kids were done playing in the sprinkler, we finished out the wonderful day with a barbecue in our backyard.  Sadly, we had to say goodbye the next morning but we thoroughly enjoyed our time with them and can't wait till they come back to visit in the fall!

I hope you all had a great weekend, as well!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Happy Birthday to Stella!

Ok, ok, it hasn't been 1 year but it has been 3 months!! Can you believe it?!  Stella is 3 months old today!  Time really does fly when you are having fun, waking up for midnight feedings, changing nasty poopy diapers and watching your baby grow!

Stella's latest adventures include grabbing on to anything within reach.  She prefers thin fabrics, jewelry and hair but she really doesn't discriminate too much when it comes to grab worthy items.  Today we decided that a colorful bow was a fun toy!  Who knew wrapping bows were so much fun (pictured below)!  She is also great with soft blocks that Grandma made for her (video below - sorry for being sideways!)...

In addition to her grabbing obsession, she has also become very fluent at telling very, VERY serious stories.  Here is an example of one (sorry it is sideways):

She is also a very big fan of her nightly bath, which is a great thing cause this little girl likes to make a lot (and I mean a LOT) of messy it is important that we clean up at night...

I have to say that I am enjoying her more and more each day and it is the most amazing thing to watch her little personality develop.  She is definitely a fun loving gal but she has a very serious side to her, as well, and makes scowling look cute!  I could not feel more blessed as a parent!  God definitely knew my heart's desire and wrapped it up in a sweet Stella bow!

So...Happy 3 month birthday to Stella!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Stella's first laugh!!!

Let me tell you what a dream baby Miss Stella has been lately.  She has become so fun! She has been smiling up a storm and as of this evening, she is laughing!!

We drove from Spokane to Auburn today and she was so happy for the entire drive and as soon as Grandma started talking to her, she let out the cutest little giggles!

I hope you enjoy :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Email Stella!

I stole an idea that I heard about and I created my daughter an email address.  I will be emailing her about things she is doing, how life is going and things I want her to know.  When she is old enough, she can look back at the emails that I've sent and know what it was like for her growing up.  If you are interested in sending her a little note, let me know and I'll send you her email.

Now let me tell you about how fun Stella is getting.  She is quickly growing out of the newborn phase and entering into baby stage.  She is very aware of her surroundings and starting to show a great interest in toys.  She loves watching her little lamb that hangs above her bouncer and when it moves, she starts kicking like crazy.  We bought little wrist rattles but we put them on her feet because she kicks so much.  Here is a little video of Stella having fun:

She is still sleeping like a champ...usually 6-9 hours every night.  We are still amazed by how much she is growing every day!  She is almost outgrowing her 0-3 month clothes!  Time has really flown by since she has blessed our world!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Where oh where has my little dog gone??

Coach had me singing this melody yesterday when she decided to escape from the backyard yesterday!  Here is the picture of the escapee:

Ok - now that can picture my little escape artist, let me paint you a picture of how she began her adventures beyond her fence.  As you know, I'm a new mom and whether it is right or wrong, I have a new focus in my life these days.  Anyway, little Stella was showing signs of sleepiness but really fighting it so I was making a strong effort to get her eyes to close.  While I was rocking her to sleep, Coach decided that she HAD to go outside at that very moment and started whining like crazy so I stood up (which of course sent Stella back into her awake mode) and let Coach into the backyard.

About 10 minutes later, I heard her scratching at the back door asking to come in but I had just gotten Stella to fall asleep and figured Coach could wait to come in, especially since she was so insistent about needing to go out.  I was sitting on the couch with Stella on my chest sleeping and about 10 minutes later, Matt got home.  He did his usual routine and then he asked, "Where's Coach?"  I replied that she was outside so he opened the door and called for her.  No answer, no dog.  So I thought...maybe I let her in and didn't remember so he went and looked upstairs.  No answer, no dog.  At this point, I was thoroughly freaked out.  I stood up, put Stella down and went running dog.  I ran upstairs and looked in every room, under every bed and in every dog.  Matt came in and said, "I think she crawled under the fence" and sure enough, there were little paw scratch marks in the dirt at the front of the fence.

Matt grabbed his keys and quickly got into his car.  He took off down the street on our normal walk route.  I couldn't just stay home so I grabbed Stella and put her in her car seat and popped it in the stroller.  I knew my dad took coach into the fields near our house so I chose to walk the stroller to the end of the cul de sac, hoping I would see her somewhere because I couldn't roll the stroller into the isn't really made for off-roading.  Now keep in mind that right now all of the brush in the fields is a yellow/orange color which is almost identical to Coach's coloring so I knew it would be difficult to see her. 

So there I am at the end of our cul de sac with the stroller and I'm calling out Coach's name.  Sure enough, I see her about 100 yards South of me in the field next to the railroad tracks.  This is where I become a bit spastic and I'm sure it was hysterical to anyone watching...I start getting that excited voice you use when talking to dogs, "Come here Coach...come here," while slapping my legs and clapping at her.  Since Coach is a Shiba and Shibas are a breed known for bolting, I didn't want to run towards her because I knew she would just take off.  I remembered a trainer telling us that they love to chase so if they ever got out or off leash to call their name, clap and run in the direction you want them to come (essentially run away from them) which is so counter intuitive but that is what I did.  I started running away from her and back to our house. 

Sure enough, Coach started to come and chase me.  I almost got to our driveway before I realized, I had left the stroller in the middle of the cul de sac!!! Like I said, I was a bit spastic!  So I ran back for the stroller and Coach zoomed past me and right up to our front door.  I pushed the stroller back to the house, ran up the porch steps and let her into the house.  I closed the door behind me and gave her a huge welcome home pet and then realized that, once again, I had left my baby!!! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!?! I ran outside and brought the carseat and stroller inside.  Now before you go calling CPS on me...keep in mind that this all happened in a matter of seconds and the baby was never in danger but my brain was not functioning correctly at that point!

I finally breathed a sigh of relief knowing that Coach was home and I had my baby inside and she was safe too.  Just as I start to calm down and relax, I was snapped back to reality by the wailing cries of a hungry baby.  So I sat down to feed her and then the rest of the night was life as usual. 

We have figured out why, after a year of living at this house, Coach decided to escape now.  We just recently installed a sprinkler system and hydroseeded the backyard so the sprinklers are going off 4x per day to water the seed.  Well, those of you that know Coach know that she is a pretty skittish dog and scares easily.  We think the sprinklers went off and she didn't know what to do so she crawled under the fence to escape the evil water monsters invading her sanctuary.  We aren't really sure exactly how long she was outside but we don't think it could have been much more than 20 minutes.  I'm just hoping and praying that she will never scare us like this again!

Now on to a Stella update...She is growing wonderfully! She is now 10 weeks and 3 days old.  It is hard to believe that it has already been 10 weeks!  She is now over 12 lbs and 22" long.  At her 2 month appointment, she measured 50% on height and head circumference and 75% on weight, which the doctor said was great!  She is developing a little personality and smiling more every day.  She is also blessing us with a 6-8 hour stretch of sleep every night.  I feel pretty blessed to have such an amazing baby!  Here are a few pics of her from this week:

She's pretty perfect if you ask me...but I'm her mom, so I am a bit biased!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Stella's 4th of July Pics

Matt, Stella and I headed back to the Seattle area this weekend for Stella's baptism.  I have to download the photos but as soon as I do, I will post them up here.  Her baptism went wonderfully.  She was a perfect angel through church and didn't cry at all during her baptism.  Then we had friends and family back to my parents house for a celebration barbeque.  We set off to make the 5 hour drive (should be 4 but the baby adds an extra hour) back home.  She slept almost the entire drive, only waking when she was hungry.  It wouldn't be fun if we didn't dress her up in some red, white and blue so here are Stella's 4th of July pics:

I hope you all had a wonderful 3 day weekend!  God bless America :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 update! has been a whirlwind of a week.  Stella is now 9 days old and today is her actual due date.  I have been just trying to soak in being a new mother and have been avoiding my laptop a bit.  Anyway, I know you are dying to see pics of our new little amazing addition so I'll give a quick recap of our last 9 days and then showcase our sweet Stella!

I know this is going to sound like a glowing mother that is bragging about her baby but Stella really is an extraordinarily calm and content baby.  The longest I have heard her cry is about 30 seconds (if that long).  She has been really easy to comfort and so sweet.  The first 2 nights were tough because my milk hadn't come in so poor Stella was hungry and cluster feeding about 1x per hour.  I think I got a total of about 4-5 hours of sleep over those first 2 nights but on Friday, my milk came in and she turned into a completely different baby at night.  Since Friday, Stella takes her last feeding between 10-11pm and then wakes up between 2-3am and then again between 6-7am.  She is letting us get about 6 hours of solid sleep each night and I am so thankful for that!

We have gone through A LOT of diapers and she loves to release her bodily functions (mostly pee and spit up) on her daddy when she doesn't have a diaper on - haha!  She had her newborn pictures taken with a professional photographer last week and we should get the proofs back within the next 2 weeks.  The photographer's name is Kim Stadler and she posted a cute sneak peek of Stella's pics on her facebook page...take a look when you get a chance!

Overall, the last 9 days have been exhaustingly wonderful and the support and help we have received from everyone has been amazing.  My mom and dad have been with us for the past 2 weeks and I couldn't have done it without them!  God has blessed us with our hearts desires when he gave us Stella!

Here are some pics...I think she looks a lot like her daddy but you judge for yourself :)

Stella on her birthday - 5/2/11:

My mom with Stella:

Matt's mom with Stella:

My dad with Stella:

I think she looks A LOT like her daddy in this pic...she was sitting contently but has a very grumpy face:

Our friend, Megan, with Stella in the hospital:

Stella with her Android stuffed animal and Google gear from Uncle Jonathan:

Stella in her first swing ride - she LOVED it!

Here is a picture that I took today - this is Stella sleeping in her carseat at 9 days old.

That is all for now!  Thanks for being patient with me.  I've been thoroughly enjoying being a new mom and feel so blessed with such an amazing baby!

Thank you again to everyone who has reached out and provided well wishes and support during the last week!  It is truly appreciated!  

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Stella is Born!

The Cole family had quite a day today and in the end we finally have our new addition in our arms!

Let's see...where did I leave off??  Oh doctor had just run off to do a C-section and we were just waiting to get the day started and oh did it start!  My doctor made her way back around 8:30am and checked me again.  Not much had changed, she said I was at a 2-3cm range and still 70% effaced.  She then proceeded to break my water and give the orders to start pitocin in about 15-20 minutes.  After breaking my water, she explained that I would probably start having more aggressive contractions and then the pitocin would increase the intensity even more.  She stated she was off to do her appointments but would be back around lunch to check on me and off she went.

What can I say?? The lady knows what she is talking about.  Sure enough, my contractions did start to get more painful, stronger and closer together.  I was having consistent contractions every 2 minutes or so and boy, they were intense.  I found it was easiest to internalize and breathe through them but it was a challenging experience.  I wasn't quite ready for the epidural but I did get another form of pain med just to take the edge off around 10:30am.  That med gave me a bit of a light headed feeling and reduced the amount of pain somewhat but not really enough for my liking.  About an hour later I finally said that I thought I was ready for the epidural.  My nurse called for the anesthesiologist and while we waited she checked my progress.  I was 4cm and about 80% so we were slowly making progress.

The anesthesiologist and nurse anesthetist came in and inserted the epidural.  This was probably the most frustrating part of the morning.  It was somewhat of a teaching lesson for the nurse anesthetist who was performing the epidural and I was having extremely strong contractions at the time.  I think it was pretty frustrating for all parties involved.  Finally, the epidural was done and they left the room.

My right leg went numb pretty much immediately but I could still feel the left side of my body and my contractions were getting really strong.  I was already a bit emotional from the frustrating epidural experience and then not having it work as I expected it to kind of threw me a curve ball and tears just started streaming down my face...not out of pain but just emotions running wild (ok - maybe it was a little about the pain).  Finally the left side went numb about 30 minutes later when my doctor came back to check on me (around 12:15pm).  She did a quick check, looked at Diane and said, "Diane, you are not going to believe this.  She is completely effaced and 10cm."  What did I do when I heard this?? I cried of course but this time it was tears of joy knowing that we would be done soon!  She told me she was going to go grab a bit to eat and the nurse would have me start pushing and she would be back to deliver the baby when she was ready.

And that is exactly what happened...Diane and Cyndie (my day time nurse) were amazing and started the pushing process.  Here is where I guess I get to brag a bit.  As I began pushing everyone was shocked at how good I was at pushing.  Now, this is my first time so I really have no idea what a good or bad pusher is but I guess I'm good at it :)  After only about 15 minutes of pushing, little Miss Stella was ready to make her first appearance so Cyndie called Dr. Smetana and said that she was sorry to cut her lunch short but it was baby time already. 

The doctor was shocked at how quickly everything was happening and told me I was doing great.  As we pushed, I could feel the immense pressure even with the epidural and unfortunately things progressed so quickly that not everything had time to prepare for her birth.  (Warning: going to address icky womanly birth stuff...don't read ahead if you can't handle it!!)  My doctor and her colleagues all prefer to let a woman tear naturally if they have to but if absolutely necessary, they will do an episiotomy to avoid a horrific tear and I was one of those lucky few.  She did have to cut to allow the baby to arrive but at that point, I really didn't care and I trust my doctor so much that she could have done anything necessary and I would have been fine with it.  After that cut was made, my Stella entered the world with only about 3 more pushes.

I cannot explain in words how amazing that experience was!  I am a mom!!! Matt is a dad!!! We are a family!!! And she is beautiful!  It was really emotional and there were at least 3 or 4 people in tears.  At this point, everything is kind of a blur.  The doctors stitched me back up and did all of the icky afterbirth stuff.  And then I had another amazing nurse that helped clean me up and transfer me down to the postpartum recovery floor.

When we arrived to the floor, we got settled and then Diane, mom and dad headed off to go home.  We were so thankful for their support at the hospital and even more appreciative that they were willing to make sure Coach is all taken care of in our absence.  We should have taken time to nap but we just couldn't take our eyes off of Stella. She is amazing and I just want to sit there and watch her every move. 

Our friend Megan stopped by to visit and we got a picture of them together.  Tomorrow will have many more visitors too so we are going to try to get some sleep so we can be awake for all of the adventures in store.

Let me say thank you for all of the prayers and well wishes.  We feel so blessed and we could not be more in love with our little girl.  She is truly a gift from God!

For some reason, I can't add pictures here but I will make sure to add some as soon as we get home (and settled).


Good morning!

Good morning, everyone! Happy Stella's birthday (let's hope I don't have a 24 hour labor that pushes this into tomorrow)!

Last night was an adventure.  Diane got to be my nurse and now knows way more about me than she ever wanted to but I couldn't have asked for a better experience.  Once everything was done, I was given ambien and allowed to sleep.  Unfortunately, I didn't sleep very well.  I was up 3 times to go the bathroom.  Matt had to help me get there on the first one cause that ambien makes you loopy :) and then when I woke up at 4am, I just couldn't go back to sleep so I've been up since about 4am!  The nurse came in around 6am and hooked me back up to all of the monitors and then about an hour later my doctor came to check on me.

She did a quick cervical check and I've progressed a little bit.  I'm now 2cm and 70% effaced which is good so she said she had to go do a c-section and then she would be back to break my water and begin pitocin soon.  I'm having contractions ever 1-4 minutes.  They aren't very consistent yet and not very painful.  They just feel like my whole tummy is tightening and I have mild period like consistent cramps.  The nurse said this is most likely my cervix thinning out.  When they get more powerful and consistent, then they will most likely be dilating.

My new morning nurse is Cyndie and she seems so nice and great! Poor Diane worked till 1am last night and is going to be making her way back here on her day off to support me...gotta love good friends!  Mom and Dad are also on their way in soon. They were taking some stress off of me by making sure that my furbaby was taken care of last night and they cuddled Coach all night so she wouldn't be totally freaked out by our absence.

I've been getting tons of supportive texts and emails from everyone which has been great! Thank you all so much!  This experience is a bit surreal so far.  It is hard to image that by the end of today, I will be holding my baby in my arms! I think typing that just raised my heart rate a little in a good way :)

More to report later...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

We have arrived (at the hospital)

Well everyone…we are finally here!  Matt and I have arrived and checked in to the hospital.  We were initially scheduled to arrive at 8pm but it appears May 1, 2011 is a great day to have a baby.  The labor and delivery department was slammed with deliveries this evening so they called us and asked if we could call around 9 to see how things were going and get a new arrival ETA. 
Of course the next few hours were agony waiting for 9 o'clock to roll around.  The news of the death of Osama Bin Laden certainly helped pass the time a bit and we decided that Stella will have an amazing newspaper cover for her birthday!
Anyway, I called at 9 and who answered the phone?? DIANE!!! She wasn't originally supposed to work tonight but since so many babies were making their entrance, she was called and asked to work.  She agreed since she knew they would be admitting me and now I have the best nurse in the world to admit me and make me comfortable.  So she told me to come in around 10 and here we are at 10:30 and I'm all hooked up to monitors and ready to go.
Here are some pictures of me (and my teddy bear, Molly) in my pretty pretty princess gown!

I should be getting my "prep" work done soon and then per the doctor's orders, I will be getting an ambien to get a good nights sleep and then the hard work will begin in the morning!

I will be sure to keep the blog posted as soon as I am up for it :) Keep us in your prayers tonight and tomorrow!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Just released from labor & delivery

Today was an interesting day.  I woke up just fine but started to get a very bad headache a few hours into work.  In addition to the headache, I became very emotional.  One minute I was frustrated, then angry, then upset, then anxious, then was a very strange experience.  I had this once previously and it was on the day of my appointment where I had high blood pressure so I decided (with the prodding of a coworker) to run to Safeway and check my blood pressure.  Sure enough it was high.  The first time I took it, it was around 150/88.  I decided to sit down for 5-10 minutes and try and relax and then took it again.  The second time it was 146/92.  Again, I waited for 5-10 minutes and took it again.  The last time it was 148/98 which is alarmingly high.  After calling my mom and Diane, I decided to call my doctor's office and let them know what I was experiencing.  They asked if I could come in around 2pm that afternoon and I, of course, agreed to do so.

Matt was driving for work and I really didn't want to make him leave early because he has been extremely busy so I was intending to take myself.  I let Diane know that they wanted me to go in at 2 and sweet Diane offered to take me so I didn't have to go alone.  So Diane came to pick me up and we headed off to my appointment.

As we arrived, we were waiting in the waiting room and I made Diane feel my stomach and asked, "Is this a contraction?" She said it was.  I was experiencing a tightening of my stomach but didn't have any pain with it so I wasn't quite sure what it was.  Apparently I had been contracting for some time and just didn't know.  Anyway, we finally were called back to the office and they took my blood pressure again and it was still high and I was still experiencing a pretty brutal headache.  After listening to the baby's heart and taking my fundal measurements, they had my doctor come in and talk to me.  She said she would feel most comfortable if I would head over to labor and delivery and let them monitor me for a bit.  She explained that I was showing symptoms of early preeclampsia and she was most concerned with my headache. 

She went on to say that if all of my labs came back ok and they were able to get my headache to go away, they would let me go home but if they weren't able to make my headache go away they would be inducing me that night.  She was still concerned about letting me go too long with these kinds of symptoms so she said if I got sent home tonight that she would want me back in on Sunday to deliver on Monday when she is on call.  I had a slight breakdown and cried a little bit in the office.  I knew this was a possibility and frankly I wanted the baby out but the looming reality of having a baby within 72 hours was a bit overwhelming and scary, especially since it was for "medical reasons".

Anyway...Diane and I headed over to labor and delivery and I was monitored for about 4 hours.  My urine came back without protein, which is great.  My labs came back with elevated liver enzymes but the uric acid was normal so they weren't too concerned with that.  I was having consistent contractions every 2-5 minutes but again, they weren't concerned because they weren't causing me discomfort.  Lastly, they gave me a pain med and asked if my headache had subsided.  It definitely wasn't gone but it was sort of better so they finally released me.  I felt horrible for Diane because it was awfully boring but she was amazing and supportive the whole time!  Matt also wrapped up work, knowing he wouldn't be there next week, and joined us around 6pm.  After all of that, the doctor came in and said she was comfortable releasing me but told me what to watch out for over the weekend and urged me to come right back if I experienced any of those symptoms over the weekend. the end of all of this, we finally know when baby is coming...we are scheduled to go back to the hospital at 8pm on Sunday evening where they will begin the induction process and then pitocin will most likely begin on Monday morning and hopefully little Stella will be joining this crazy world sometime on Monday.  If everything goes as planned, she will be born on 5/2/2011.

I am home now with strict instructions to rest, rest and rest so that is my plan for the weekend!  My parents are planning on driving over tomorrow morning so it will be good to have them here.

Say a little prayer for us this weekend and I will make sure to keep you all updated on how everything progresses.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

38 week appointment update

I know a lot of you have been wondering how my appointment went and I have to be honest...I'm a little disappointed.

First, my blood pressure was better this time which my doctor was very happy with.  As far as my stats, I haven't progressed at all...I am still at 1cm dilated and 50% effaced and here is the kicker...Miss Stella has decided not to drop but climb back up so she is at a -3 now!!! Darn girl!  As the doctor was leaving I mentioned a worry about her size again so she looked up her last ultrasound and proceeded to review it with me.  She said Stella's belly was measuring in the 68% range but that her head was measuring in the 90% range.  UMMMM YIKES!  MY BABY HAS A GIGANTIC HEAD!!! 

Now for those of you who know me, you know that I have a teeny tiny little head and the only hats I own are toddler and child hats so she definitely gets her head size from her big headed father!

The doctor reassured me that heads aren't an issue but they do worry about shoulder size and shoulder size is more similar to belly so she wasn't that worried about her being able to get out.  We did start to plan a date to induce if she doesn't come on her own in the next few weeks.  We planned it around when my doctor was on call and unfortunately for me, that isn't until 1 day before I'm due!  She said that they would most likely admit me for the night of May 9th to prepare everything for labor and then actually induce the morning of the May 10th (a Tuesday - 14 days from today not that I'm counting).  The good news is that we are more likely to have our doctor deliver.  The bad news is that I have to wait 14 more days which seems like an eternity right now!

She gave me a list of things to try to get the baby to drop and for the uterus to contract so we'll see if those work but my goodness...I'm ready to be done!  So for now, we just wait and see and if nothing happens, I will just plan to attend my appointment at the same time next week.

On another note, many of you have been asking how my dad is doing and he is doing great! He was lucky as far as strokes go (especially brain stem strokes) and was released from the hospital on Monday afternoon and able to make his Monday evening flight.  He is still experiencing weakness on his right side and he has a journey of recovery in front of him but his doctors were all very optimistic about his chances for a great recovery.  Thank you for all of your support and prayers!  It really has meant the world to me!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Life is full of the unexpected!

This weekend was perhaps the most stressful of all of the weekends in my pregnancy.  I've had a very smooth path so far with only a hiccup or two but this weekend certainly presented its challenges.

First, due to unforeseen circumstances, our expected nanny has to move back to the western side of the state by the end of this month.  This was something that was obviously unplanned and we are both upset that the job didn't work out but life throws us curve balls and we just have to be as flexible as possible and trust that God has a bigger plan for everyone involved.  So...knowing that our plans for childcare are now changing course, Matt and I have contacted 2 of the other candidates that were in our top 3. 1 gal is in Idaho and it would be about a 30 mile drive for her and with gas prices the way they are, we don't think that the drive would be worth the compensation but we are hopeful that our other candidate will work out.  She is only about 5-10 minutes north of us and is a pastor's daughter with a great family foundation and great morals.  We will be meeting with her on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of employment with us. 

Next, as many of you know, my parents were down in the San Francisco area for my niece and nephew's baptism.  I received a call from my mom on Saturday letting me know that my Dad was in the hospital and they suspected he had suffered a minor stroke.  He was great about letting my brother know the symptoms he was experiencing and Jonathan and Mom were smart enough to get him to the hospital right away.  After some testing in the ER, Dad was admitted to the hospital for additional testing and observation.  Mom said she was very impressed with how great all of the doctors and staff were at the hospital.

After additional testing on Easter, it was confirmed that he had a minor stroke but they were confident that he would make a strong recovery.  They made the decision to have him stay 1 more night and they are hoping he will be released today.  Dad still has some weakness on the right side of his body but they are very optimistic about his recovery.  I'm sure he will start physical therapy once he is home to regain some of the coordination, etc that may have been compromised by the stroke.  Mom and Dad are supposed to fly home tonight but it is all dependent on the what the doctor says and when he is released.

Although the event kind of rattled me (knowing that if anything were to happen, I couldn't just hop on a plane and be with my family), I am so thankful that he was surrounded by loving family when the stroke occurred and had a great healing environment. 

So if you are the praying type, please pray for those 2 events.  Pray that we find the right person to take care of Stella within our somewhat limited time frame and for quick and miraculous healing for my Dad.

I hope you all had wonderful Easter weekends and hopefully they were slightly less eventful than mine.

We have another OB appointment tomorrow afternoon so I will be sure to update you all with how that goes!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Seriously...isn't it spring??

Here we are on April 21st and I am still waiting for the spring weather to arrive.  This is a picture I took of my neighbors house directly across from us and yes, that white stuff is SNOW!!!!! What is going on?!?!

Here I was talking about how lucky I was to have a baby in May because I didn't have to worry about driving in the snow or freezing weather.  HA! Joke is on me!  I guess the silly groundhog was wrong because this does not look like an early spring to me!  YUCK!  I'm so ready for consistent sunshine! Who is with me?!?

Now on to pregnancy progression news...not a whole lot to report.  I never received a call from the doctor so I am assuming all is well but I'm trying to take it as easy as I can and lower the blood pressure if possible.  Matt and I went on a walk last night which is beginning to prove to be a difficult task.  By the end of the walk, I'm huffing and puffing like I'm 100lbs over weight...pretty annoying but I'm going to keep pushing myself to walk so that Miss Stella will drop a bit.

Last night was NOT a restful night.  As exhausted as I felt, I just couldn't fall asleep! I finally drifted off around 11 and was up by 11:45 to use the restroom and then again around 12:45.  I did get a good 2 hour stretch of sleep because I didn't wake up again until 3am.  When I woke up that time, I was experiencing abdominal cramping and thinking oh heck...please don't be contractions.  They lasted about an hour and then faded off so I finally fell back asleep around 4am only to be woken up by my alarm at 5:35 to get ready for work.  My eyes have that stinging pain from pure exhaustion.  I'm thinking about napping at lunch time and then after work...I'm pretty much in zombie mode at this point.  BUT as of tomorrow the daily countdown goes to the teen numbers so not too much longer before little Stella makes her appearance.  I can do this!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

No news is good news! we are at 8:50pm and I haven't gotten a call from the doctor.  According to her, they would only call if there was something wrong so I am taking the absence of news as good news!  It looks like Stella will be cooking for another day!

I'm very thankful for your prayers!  This close call made this all seem much more real and made me realize that she really could come at any moment!

I'm hoping she will stay cookin till at least after Easter.  I will keep you all posted if I get any more news or info on how things are progressing.

Mmmmmmmmmwah! Have a restful night!

Will tonight be the night??

I just returned home from my 37 week OB appointment and unfortunately, I have high blood pressure.  It has been borderline high for some time now but was cause for a preeclampsia scare today.  They did test my urine for protein and it was negative which is great but they sent me for blood work just to be safe.  The paperwork literally said "STAT" on it so they told me that they should get the results by this evening.  If there is something alarming in the blood work, she said they would call me tonight and I would most likely be going in to the hospital tonight to be induced.

I keep saying that I'm so done being pregnant but now that I really might be done, I'm a little bit nervous about it and would like to keep her cooking for 1-2 more weeks at least. 

The doctor said that I should know if anything is wrong by 7-8pm tonight and that if everything is ok, I won't receive a call at all.  I wish I would get a call either way but I guess if I don't hear anything by the time I go to bed, I will consider it all ok.

I will update the blog with info as soon as I have any!  Keep us in your prayers!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pain, Pain...Go Away!!!

I guess I can tell that I'm nearing the end of my pregnancy because I am becoming overwhelmed with different aches and pains, some more severe than others.  As of Sunday, my upper right back has been the worst and most unbearable of all of the pains.  I have been experiencing a sharp, stabbing pain in my upper right back near my shoulder blade that is exacerbated by movement and deep breathing.  Most of you know that I am fairly accustomed to handling pain since I've dealt with so many injuries through gymnastics but I have been lucky enough to not have any serious back issues.  This back pain is almost crippling at times! 

I called my chiropractor to see if there was any way for her to squeeze me in today and thankfully she made a spot for me in her jam packed schedule.  I'll be going to pay her a visit around 1:45pm.  Hopefully she can help alleviate some of the pressure or whatever is causing this horrible pain. 

After that appointment, I get to head over to my OB's office and get my 36 week check up.  As previously stated, this will be a cervical check and they will let me know how dilated and effaced I am, if at all.  I will definitely keep you all posted on the results without getting too detailed :) We will also be talking about labor options at this appointment and if induction is necessary or an option.

After that, I will be meeting Kendra (Stella's future nanny) and Matt at a pediatric CPR class.  No rest for the weary...Let's hope that Dr. Nielson (chiropractor) can help fix me up or I may be completely useless and in tears the rest of the day!

Here's hoping for healing!  Wishing you all a pain free day!!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Preparing for a Stella-bration!!

Ok is a bit cheesy but come's cute!!

My friends are sweet enough to be planning a Stella-bration this Saturday to keep me occupied and busy while Matt is away.  Let me back up and tell you how the Stellabration planning began.

About 4 weeks ago, Matt let me know that he wanted to play softball with his buddies in Seattle this weekend.  Knowing that I would be between 35-36 weeks, I was a bit nervous about him leaving so close to our due date but my OB assured us that it shouldn't be an issue, so he is going.  I was/am still a bit stressed about it so I called Diane to make sure she would be in town this weekend so that if I did go into labor, I would at least have someone here to help.  She assured me she would be here which definitely eased my mind.  Beyond easing my mind, she also got together with Megan and Theresa and began planning the Stellabration!  So this Saturday, I am waking up and getting a massage (yay!) and then meeting up with the ladies to get pedicures and go out to dinner...YUM!

I am so excited to have great friends to keep me company when Matt is away.  If I didn't have plans, I would have been anxious from the moment he left to the moment he returned (not rational but true).  Now, I'm excited to have 1 last girls night out before Stella arrives.

I will update you later to let you know how the Stellabration goes down!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Let the L & D Dreams Begin...

As many of you know, my best friend is a labor and delivery (L & D) nurse at the hospital that I will be delivering at so she has been an amazing resource for me whenever I have a crazy question or need support.  Well, last night, I texted her asking if she was at work and she quickly called me back from her work phone in a panic asking if everything was ok.  I just had a question for her and didn't even think that my text could have warranted worry...whoops! I called her right back and assured her that I was fine and wasn't in labor.  I guess now that I am 34+ weeks, I have to be aware that I could go into labor at any time! I felt so bad to have scared her like that but I am so thankful to have a friend that cares that much!

After recognizing that I am somewhat close to delivery day, I went to bed and, of course, had a labor and delivery dream and who was my nurse?? DIANE!!! It was such a strange dream!  I went into the hospital and Matt was with me of course.  Then my friend Julie showed up with her 2 kids and her husband and then finally my parents showed up.  I hadn't called any of them so I was wondering how they knew I was there.  Diane told me that she had called them the night before because she just knew I was going to go into labor.  Overall, the whole thing was really easy, however Diane kept telling me that I had to dilate to 23cm to push and I kept saying, "WHAT?!? I've always heard 10cm...when did that change?"  She proceeded to tell me that my baby's head was extremely large (which she obviously would have gotten from Matt - hee hee) and with large headed babies, they just let labor continue to 23cm to be sure to avoid C-sections.  The room was a bit chaotic with everyone in it so Diane kicked everyone out and then I reached the 23cm mark and was able to push.  Again, surprisingly easy...however at that point, I woke up so I never actually got to see the baby!  Bummer!

Anyway - this is no April fools joke...this dream really occurred.  I hope you all have a wonderful first day of April and don't get pranked too badly!