Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cousins

Cousin to cousin we'll always be, special friends from the same family tree.
This past weekend Ryan's parents, his sister Amanda, and our newest niece Mallory came over for a visit. We had been wanting to take some newborn pictures of Eva using Amanda's amazing camera. We ended up with some really great shots of Eva that we're using on birth announcements and possibly a family Christmas card :) It's crazy the difference that a high quality camera can make.

Since we had 2 beautiful little babies in the same place we decided to take some cousin pictures also. Mallory is only 4 months older than Eva. When I see how much Mallory has grown during that time it makes me happy because she is so cute, but also a little sad to think that my own baby will grow that fast too. Can't they just stay tiny?
It was fun to try to get the babies to pose together. Mallory was very alert and entertaining. Eva was... ASLEEP. Like the kind of newborn baby asleep where you could take them to a rock concert and they would stay passed out. I tried to wake her up but it wasn't happening. In a way I think that makes the pictures even better though because you can see what a big personality difference there was on that day. One day I'm sure they will both be running around playing and laughing. All of my cousins are boys and either way older or way younger, so I hope that Eva and Mallory grow up to love each other and value the awesomeness of having a girl cousin who is about the same age. We sure love these little girls!

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Bradley's: Coming Soon to a Theater Near You

Photos Taken by Amanda "Bradley" Estes - Thanks Aunt Amanda!

Over the past few days I have begun to feel a bit stir crazy. I love being at home with my baby but basically our only outings have been to doctor's offices for check ups. This germ-fearing mama doesn't want to expose her baby to illnesses which means a lot of staying home. Since today was Ryan's day off we debated taking a little venture out to Southlake. I decided that being around people was more of the germ issue than being out somewhere so I figured it would be okay to take her with us to see an early bird movie this morning. Thus our adventure as new parents taking our baby out in public began.

The first step in taking a family outing is packing a diaper bag. Diapers? Check. Wipes? Check. Video camera, baby swing, portable crib, and 10 changes of clothes? Check. Ha, just kidding with that last line, but sometimes that's how it feels when going anywhere with a newborn. You always want to be prepared.

We decided to go see the movie Contagion. You know, the new movie about a deadly virus that spreads quickly without people knowing it and without any known cure? That seems like the perfect movie to see the first time you take your baby out, right? Seeing a movie about how germs spread makes you over analyze everything you do. Did I sanitize my hands after I scratched my nose? Is her blanket touching the germs left on the seat from the person before? If I wasn't paranoid before, I am now.

We got to the theater and Eva was slightly sleepy so I decided to hold her and try to bounce her to sleep. I was so worried about her being the crying baby at the movie that I continued to bounce and rock her for pretty much the entire movie. She did relatively well and only let out a few baby sounds. Until about 10 minutes before the end of the movie when she clearly needed to be changed and started to scream. I grabbed the diaper bag and the baby and made a bee line to to the bathroom. It was my first time to change her in a public restroom and I'll admit that it's a bit tricky to pull everything out of a diaper bag while trying to safely hold down a tiny baby. After I changed her I realized that I kinda needed to go to the bathroom also, but I couldn't figure out how that would ever happen so I decided to wait. Aside from the diapering incident the only other hiccup in our movie going experience was trying to nurse in public for the first time. It's a bit awkward. We're not doing bottles yet so it's all about being discreet. Thankfully we were in a dark theater that only had 4 other people.

After the movie we were hungry so we called in Corner Bakery to-go thinking that would be the fastest option. Only when we got to Corner Bakery we realized that we hadn't called the right location. Since we had to wait for our food we decided to go ahead and eat outside (less people, less germs). Eva was sleeping in her stroller and things were going peacefully until she suddenly opened her eyes, looked at us, and spit up everywhere. If you don't have a baby and don't want to read this, I apologize. It really wasn't gross, just unexpected. We scrambled to get her cleaned up and laughed our way through one of many new parent experiences.

The best parts of the afternoon were definitely the moments when Ryan and I would look at each other, smile, and say, " I love you." A love that understands that some dates are now family outings. A love that understands that baby cries take priority over movie plots. A love that laughs about awkwardness. A love that helps you quickly clean up messes. It was a good morning.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Catching Some ZZZZ's

Ah sleep. I have always been a lover of sleep. Back in high school and college when people would stay up all night to finish an assignment or watch television, I chose a different path. I chose to sleep. I have never been a party all night type of girl. Nope. I prefer to get a good 8-9 hours of sleep even if it means going to bed before all of the cool people. Nothing is quite as wonderful as the feeling of your head hitting the pillow. Or the times when your body can awake magically on its own without an alarm clock. I love a good night of sleep sooooo much. There is an episode of The Office where Kelly gets to choose between an hour of TV or an hour of sleep for her birthday. She selected the hour of sleep. Right choice.

Ironically as a child, I hated to sleep. When I was a toddler and my parents put me to bed I would stand in my crib and scream, "I'm not very happy in here!!!!" Then I was smart enough to figure out a way to wiggle out of my pajamas and diaper, not good for a kid that wasn't potty trained yet....my mom finally had to sew huge buttons on the back of my pajamas. If I knew then what I know now, I would have smiled sweetly and gone right to bed. Sorry mom and dad.

On our honeymoon I remember that Ryan turned to me after we'd been up late one night and said, "I'm so glad we're married now. We can stay up all night talking and getting to know each other better." My response: "Aww, you're so sweet. I'm going to go to sleep now." I love my husband dearly, but I know that if I don't get sleep I'm just no good. I get grumpier than a baby....

Enter Eva. I am thankful for all those years of stored up sleep because they have prepared me for this new era of sleep deprivation. I would use the typical, "I knew I would be tired but I didn't know I would be this tired" phrase but I would be lying. I knew I would be tired. Honestly, it was one of the things I feared most about being a new mom. I even considered the sleep deprivation aspect of parenthood before deciding that we were really ready to try to have a baby. I knew that sleeping in on Saturdays would become a distant memory. And yet, I decided to be a mama anyway.

To be fair to Eva, I have to say she sleeps very well for being only 17 days old. Her stomach is tiny so she has to eat often which means she must wake up more than I would like. Aside from a few times of terror, she gives us a good 4-5 hour stretch in the night. Sometimes when she wakes up too early (aka before the sun comes up) we are able to convince her to sleep a bit longer. Therefore I am not complaining. I literally thank God every morning after a decent night of sleep, though my definition of decent has shifted over the past 2 weeks. I know it could be a lot worse. I could have twins, or triplets, and then it would be even harder. I also have amazing family that comes over and lets me take a nap sometimes. Today my dad was here for 4 hours, 1 1/2 of which I got to nap for while he took care of her. My mom and mother in-law have also taken a few turns at helping out at night to give me a little break. I will be grateful for the sleep I get. I love my baby so much that it is worth it, even at 4 am. Hopefully one day sleep and I will become good companions again.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy Fall

Happy first day of fall! A new season has arrived. When I got in the car early this morning the temperature read 59 degrees and I had to do a double take. I even had to wear a sweater this morning to stay cozy. In celebration of this wonderful time of year when we put away the sunscreen and indulge in a pumpkin spice latte I decided to do a little home photo shoot. My mom spent the night last night to drive me to my doctor's check up today and we had fun decorating the apartment for fall. My home is now covered in leaves, pumpkins, and pine cones and smells delicious thanks to a few new candles.

Look what we found in a pumpkin patch! Do you know that it is impossible to prop a 2 week old baby up against a pumpkin? We had lots of takes to get a good photo. How does Anne Gedes do it? Maybe we needed more pumpkins.

Dining room table

Kitchen Bar Top

Usually I wait another week or so to take out the Halloween smores people but I decided to go ahead and do it now while I had help and felt like decorating. The characters each look like they are made out of a graham cracker bottom, chocolate, and marshmallows and have on Halloween costumes. The 2nd grade teacher in me loves them. I also have Thanksgiving and Christmas smores people. I wish I was eating a real smore right now.

Coffee Table

Bookshelf

2nd Bookshelf

Outside Decor

Every year we are inevitably left with the decision of how to dispose of old pumpkins. TWICE I have put them outside somewhere only to discover that other people have added to their old pumpkins to my pile. Either that or my pumpkins sprouted new pumpkins over night! This was fine the year I put them in an empty field area. Not as fine the year we casually set them to the side of our old apartment yard and felt obligated to carry everybody else's pumpkins to the dumpster.

Front Door

Look who's back??!?!? Cosby is probably here to stay. I didn't want him to think I loved Eva more than him (though I secretly do....) so I let him in on the fall fun. Woof.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Rub a dub dub, We put our baby in the tub!

The umbilical cord. The God created source of life for a baby for 9 months. And then a cute little baby is born. And part of that little cord stays around for a while. Until today - Eva's little stub finally fell off and we got to celebrate by giving her a bath! We were so excited to give her a bath in her little baby tub. She loved it!
Her Nana gave her the "Whale of a Tub" and it was just right for a newborn. She stayed in place and it was easy to suds her up. Plus it is super cute, which we all know is what matters when shopping for a bath tub. I'm a little jealous of how cute her tub is. My bath tub is just plain old white with a faucet.
After tub time we wrapped her in a ducky towel. She was less happy about this part and screamed a bit. Once she was warm and snuggled she settled down a bit.
Eva was so fresh and clean after her bath so we showered her with lots of kisses! And Ryan put the duck head over her head. What a jokester.
Then we took our clean baby on her first trip to Super Target! I will admit that I am that crazy mom that doesn't want her to get exposed to any germs for the first month or so. However, I am also the mom that realized that we really needed to pick up a few things from Target and while I didn't want her to get germs, I also am not ready to leave her. So I wrapped her in a blanket and hopefully that shielded her. I'm pretty sure that Eva loved Super Target. She chose to express this love by sleeping through the whole experience.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

First Walk at the Park

One day I will blog about something other than my brand new baby, but today is not that day! I am pretty much home bound these days since I can't drive and can't go up and down our stairs much. Yesterday afternoon was so pretty though that we decided to go for a walk at the park as a family. Usually I can walk to the park and around it, but since I'm still sore we decided to drive to the park and then walk. Good choice.

It was the first time we got to use our stroller and Ryan was eager to push it and show off his new dad skills. It was also our first family outing that did not involve a doctor's office check up.

Eva did great in her stroller. She usually does good in her car seat and I think she enjoyed getting pushed around.

I enjoyed the fresh air and the chance to move around a bit. It's so hard when you want to move to get stronger but you know that if you move too much you'll be exhausted and hurt. A gentle stroll was just right for me!


And here are a few random pics that have nothing to do with our family walk. They are mostly for all the grandparents who wish they could see her every day.

Meditating...or recovering from a great feeding time.

Glamour shot! You have to do something in those early morning hours!

12 days old and already knows when I am taking a picture. She'll have such a perfect face and then change it right when I pull the camera out.

Cuddled in her boppy.

Sleeping in her pack and play bassinet! This is a big victory! We want her to sleep there but it doesn't always happen. So far today she's taken 2 1/2 good naps there.
We'll see how tonight goes.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Her Heart Belongs to Daddy

Today Ryan heads back to work. We've been lucky to have him off for 9 whole days when we only expected him to have 8 days. I don't know what I would have done without
all of his help. Eva definitely loves her daddy, and I love him even more!

He loves her so much and always wants to hold her as much as he can.
What a lucky little girl!

It's hard because I know that his job is so important and I want him to work hard. I am thankful that he has a job and that it doesn't require him to travel or be gone for too long at a time. Plus this weekend he is getting to ease back into working a bit before next week starts. But it's still hard to say goodbye. I've only cried a little bit. I want to be encouraging to him because I am so grateful to be the one that gets to stay home with Eva. I am super proud of him for working and I know that he will be home later this evening and that we can give him lots of welcome home kisses and hugs.

My little family. They are the best.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Part 3: Life at Home

When I last left off, we were leaving the hospital. Here we are now - home sweet home! When people say that it's hard, they aren't just kidding with you. I meant to post this blog about 2 hours ago, but life happens and I'm just now getting around to it. (And now it's been 30 more minutes since I typed the past sentence and I'm sitting down again for attempt 3 at this).

Cosby Meeting Eva for the 1st Time

If you've met Cosby, you know that he is the most chill dog ever. He walked up to her when Ryan took her out of her carrier, sniffed her, and then walked away. He seems interested in her, but not at all jealous or weirded out. He is actually staying with my parents for a few weeks since I can't go up and down the stairs at our apartment any more than necessary and we are exhausted enough without worrying about him too. But he will come back.

A newborn baby is one of the most precious things God ever created. We love to snuggle with her and talk to her. It is a pure joy to have her fall asleep against my chest. When she is awake I just want to play with her and cherish the moments we get to see her tiny little eyes gazing around the room....

This is one of the other precious things God created. SLEEP. Aww, she looks so cute taking a nap in her bouncer. But did you know that sometimes babies choose not to embrace this wonderful activity? Sometimes, they choose to stay up and scream. All. night. long. I knew this would happen, but when you are living it, it is incredibly hard. Thankfully we have only had one terrible sleepless night so far. She is mostly a decent sleeper at this point and is even in what resembles a pattern of eat-snuggle-awake-sleep. I know this can change at any moment, so I'm not taking it for granted or expecting it to last. Just praying that it does! We have also had some grandma sleepover nights where our loving moms take care of her at night between feedings.

She has only slept in her crib a few times while the grandma's were sleeping in the guest bed right next to her. I can't believe how tiny she looks in her crib! It's like a baby doll that someone wrapped up to convince us that we have a child.

We bought these pajamas right after we found out I was pregnant. We wrapped them up for our parents to open as our way to tell them we were having a baby. They are a newborn size but so big that she can wiggle her legs out of the individual leg parts.

Besides the whole "this is your baby that you now have ultimate responsibility" thing, the hardest part of being at home is recovering from my c-section. It is still difficult to get up and down and when I walk very much my feet ad legs swell adding to all of the other pain. I know that recovery takes a while and I'm doing everything I can to rest and let my body heal. Ryan is a good helper and encourages me to stay on the couch or in bed as much as possible. And friends and family having been AMAZING at bringing us food. THANK YOU to everyone so far who has brought a meal and everyone is planning to do so over the next few weeks. This is one of the best gifts we could receive right now. I'm pretty sure that if it was just me and Ryan trying to make sure we had food at every meal we would be eating mostly cereal and hot pockets. I will make every effort to bring every new mama I know food in the future. Along with disposable dishes so that cleanup is easy. We are well stocked now and look forward to giving our dishwasher a break. If only our washer and dryer could be as lucky :)

It's hard to be a diva!

Another fun part of having Eva is dressing her up. Most of her clothes are huge on her, but we play around anyway. I love to put bows on her even if it's just for my entertainment. Her feet are almost too tiny for socks to stay on. I think that dressing her in cute clothes balances out changing diapers.


At her first doctor's appointment.

Yesterday we took her on her first trip out of the apartment. She is still healthy and has regained a little bit of weight. She is now 6 lbs, 3 oz and jaundice free. Hooray!

We will keep living out our new life as a family day by day. Every time I have a wonderful moment I remind myself to remember that during the next hard moment. Tomorrow she will be 1 week old!!! And now it is time to snuggle.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Part Two: The Hospital

Grandpa with Eva

Our family had such a wonderful hospital experience at Baylor Grapevine. After my original visit last Sunday with a pre-labor pains and infection I was a little worried because that day wasn't as positive, but my fears about actually staying in the hospital were put to rest when we arrived. Since most of my laboring took place from 7am until 7pm (when I was transferred to the Mother/Baby unit) I was lucky to have Nurse Patti with me the whole time. She was so helping and comforting at a time when I was not so sure about what was happening. She did everything she could to work along side my doctor to help avoid the c-section and answered all of my immediate questions as soon as I woke up from the surgery.

We were also blessed to have 2 other amazing nurses, Nurse Tatum and Nurse Lizzie, who just both happened to work several back to back shifts with each other the days I was in recovery. Since they switched out for each other they would keep each other well informed and I always felt like they knew what was going on. Not only were they professional, they were caring and friendly. Nurse Lizzie even said we were her favorite couple in the unit because we spent a lot of time watching Saved By the Bell on dvd and she would always make jokes about the show when she came in. If you are reading this and you are a wonderful nurse, or studying to be a nurse, know that your love and attitude can make such a huge difference at a difficult time. Based on the things that they had to do it was so obvious to me that nursing is not glamorous and many of the situations can be gross or awkward, but our nurses were so helpful. We nominated both Tatum and Lizzie for "gold star" hospital awards.
Mamy with Eva

When we had Eva we asked that it would only be our parents in the waiting room so that we didn't feel pressured to visit with everybody right away. We knew that they would want to hold and see Eva as soon as possible, plus there were a few times when I really just wanted to see my mom and have her tell me that everything would be okay. Ryan and I are thankful for great parents who are already loving grandparents. We are also thankful for all of the lunches and dinners they made sure to provide for us while we were there :)

Papa and Nana with Eva

On Friday we were ready for just a few more visitors. Our parents came again, along with some more of Ryan's family, and my best friend Erica. Saturday was our big day when we were really ready to see some more familiar faces. I felt like we had the perfect amount of company! If you got to come see us, know that we appreciated the time you took to see our precious baby, and if you didn't that is also very okay with us. We know that everybody has busy lives and by the end of Saturday we were worn out.
Eva meets her best friend and cousin!
Ryan's sister Amanda and her 3 month old baby Mallory.

After our first night in the hospital, we were so exhausted by the whole go through labor, try to recover, and take care of your brand new baby experience that happens within the first 24 hours. For the 2nd night we decided to send Eva back and forth to the nursery a few times, with her only coming in to nurse. That gave us a little bit of sleep so we would be more recovered the next morning. At first we felt so guilty but Nurse Tatum assured us that it was really a wise choice and that she would not be the only baby in the nursery. Don't judge us, and if you ever wanted my opinion, I would recommend the same thing because it was so helpful to rest especially because the pain of my c-section has been worse at night than in the day.

The 3rd night we also sent her to the nursery but this time it was harder. After sending her I started feeling much worse as far as recovery and had to get some extra meds and help from the nurse. A while after that the nurse came back and told us that while in the nursery they were assessing Eva and realized that she had dropped down to 6 lbs. It is normal for babies to loose some birth weight right away but they were getting concerned and recommended that she stay in the nursery and get a few formula feedings that night. This made me so sad! I am not against parents using formula, but its not what I wanted to do for me and Eva. They said that it was my choice, but that if she lost any more weight it would be likely that the pediatrician would require her to stay another day or so after I was released. I did NOT want that. Ryan was so supportive and in the moment reminded me that I already felt really sick so I probably wouldn't nurse well that night and that it would be best for Eva and that a few bottle feedings didn't mean giving up on nursing. It was an emotional decision, but I think it went well and helped us all get to go home together. I'm still nursing now but have to continue to supplement with a tiny bit of formula using a dropper at each feeding.

Eva meets one of mommy's best friends! "Aunt Erica" is always so much fun!

Throughout the hospital stay, my husband was so incredible. I think he knew that he'd need to help out, but I don't think either of us realized how important his role would be. It was really difficult for me to do even simple tasks like getting out of bed or changing Eva's diaper so he pretty much had to take on completely caring for both of us. He was just as tired as I was (minus the surgery part) but was so encouraging and didn't complain about how hard it was to do everything. He is the best diaper changer and blanket swaddler I've ever seen! He loves on Eva and does a great job of soothing her. He was always so kind and didn't make fun of all the awkward parts that go along with taking care of a wife post c-section. When I was hurting or on meds he did the best he could to communicate to the nurses what I needed or to remember what they were telling me when I couldn't keep my eyes open. If someone asked me what to look for in a potential husband, I would say to keep in mind that one day you might completely need that man to take care of you and your child, so pick someone who is humble enough to serve you and strong enough to take on the pressures that go along with that.

Great Grandmother Dede (My grandma)

The rest of this posting is mostly just pictures of people holding a baby. (The same adorable baby...) I know it may not be interesting to everybody, but I want to remember how loved we were while we were in the hospital. Plus maybe you'll get to see yourself on the blog which is always fun, right?

Great Grandfather Papa (My grandfather)

Great Aunt Sherry and Uncle Mark (Ryan's Aunt and Uncle)

Aunt Sarah and Uncle Craig (My mom's best cousin)

Pastor Scott and Koni with their kids

Great Aunt Terri and Uncle Peter (My aunt and uncle)

Uncle Greg and Aunt Melody and our neices Kiersi and Kayden (Ryan's brother and family)
It seems like they were just babies!

Great Grandpa (my Grandpa)

This looks like an ordinary picture of breakfast, but it represents much more than that. On Saturday morning, I woke up a little before Ryan because I knew they were about to bring Eva back to me after her nursery/pediatrician assessment. I also knew that breakfast was soon to be arriving on a tray. As I lay in the stillness of the room I thought to myself, "It's Saturday. I sure would love a special pancake breakfast." Wow. I was all smiles when the hospitality woman arrived with this tray. I told her that it was exactly what I was hoping for and that I was so excited to eat it! Plus it was actually very tasty.

Leaving the hospital! Apparently no matter how much they care for you, eventually they make you go home and learn to do this whole parenting thing on your own.