Grace, Eight Months

Every month just gets better. This weekend we are going to be in St. Louis getting family pictures taken. 
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We celebrated the fourth of July by going to Grandma and Grandpa’s house to take a dip in the pool. Gracie was undecided. Didn’t love it. didn’t hate it. Since she didn’t end up screaming I count it as a win.

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Gracie is really more of a read by the pool type of girl…

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This month we have seen a huge improvement in her mobility. She is getting an army crawl of sorts perfected. So far it involves putting her arms out in front of her and then dragging the rest of her body behind and repeating that until she gets to her destination.

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We introduced Gracie to the big girl car seat. We shall see how she does.

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It sure looks comfy to me. So much cushion.

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Our garden has really taken off. This zucchini seemingly appeared overnight. It seemed fitting to compare their sizes since they are both growing so quickly.

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We have been to St. Louis to see Uncle Jmo and Aunt Catherine last weekend and I am in love with this chair of theirs. Gracie was obviously in love with it too. Gracie had her top left tooth come in on July 11th but still doesn’t have the other one. She seems to have been working on it last weekend given her fever and snotty nose, but there is still no tooth to show. 
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Gracie has the sun in her eyes every morning when I take her to daycare. We got her some new sunglasses that wrap around her head. Well, as you can see she was not  fan. Speaking of daycare, we have switched and so far, we are so much happier. I no longer am constantly thinking of quitting my job.
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This girl just gets sweeter every month. I love her so much I think my heart may burst. Happy eight months, sweet girl.

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Grace, Seven Months

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This was one of my favorite months. There, I’ve said it again.  We started out the month trying to have some family pictures taken, but as soon as we arrived at the park for our outdoor photo shoot there was a torrential downpour. So we went back to our good friends’ home, took a nap (G), ate lunch (mama and daddy), and made lemonade from lemons.

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Gracie is so close to being able to sit up on her own. One of the benefits of our photos being postponed is that Gracie will definitely be able to sit on her own by that time. Gracie has been practicing sitting with the boppy pillow around her just in case she falls. The other morning she had slid down and her torso was propped up by the boppy. She was giving it all she had with her abs trying to sit back up. I didn’t think she would be able to do it, but she did. She sat back up!

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Another exciting update this month was the addition of carpet to the living room and dining room. The installation was quite traumatic for Gracie, but we love the end result. We enjoy rolling around on the floor as much as possible ;)

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There is no update to report on the daycare front, and since I want this to be positive that is all I am saying. I just keep hoping things will get better. (They can’t get much worse.) Gracie still seems to be working on getting her top teeth in, but as of now nonce have burst through. That poor baby is working hard for those teeth. They are no walk in the park like the bottom two were.

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Grace, Six Months

IMG_3893I truly cannot believe Gracie is six months old already. Where has the time gone? This month has been extra exciting and I’m sure I will say (have said) it every month, but I just love each age more and more. I am enjoying seeing her little personality shine through and watching our alert baby become even more alert. When I am out with her people consistently comment on 1) her chin, 2) her eyes, and 3) how alert she is. At her six month well baby visit, she weighed 17 lbs 14 oz and was 27 inches long.

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At the beginning of the month Gracie started with a new sitter. Since I want this to be a positive post, that is ll I’m going to say about that. I feel so fortunate for the two wonderful months of daycare that we did have and I know that Gracie would not be doing as well as she is without a nice, solid foundation to build on.

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I could have sworn Gracie would have her top teeth by now, but they seem to be taking their sweet time. I can tell there are days when they are bugging her, but for at least the last week they seem to be giving her a break. I keep having dreams that she has like six teeth come in at once.

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Gracie is really getting strong. She can consistently roll from her back to her tummy and enjoys practicing that skill while mama is trying to dress her. She is able to roll tummy to back but mostly does this when she is in her crib. The crib seems to be her choice place to work on these new skills. This past week she started raising herself into a crawling position. Just yesterday she actually did this during one of her wake times and I was able to catch it on video. Speaking of wake times, her wake time has increased significantly. She now is awake for anywhere from an hour and a half to two hours at a time. She takes two full naps and one ‘catnap’ each day. It is really crazy how quickly she has added to her wake time.

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All month we have been working to wean Gracie from the paci and swaddle. I had hoped to do paci first, but the swaddle was ticking her off at night so it ended up going first. I was hopeful that her need to suck could be satisfied by her thumb but she hasn’t really figured that out, which is surprising given how interested she was in her thumb a few months ago. However, she is getting better and better at going to sleep without the paci and has gone the majority of the past week without it. I keep telling myself now that she is six months old we should get rid of all of them…but as it turns out I may have a slight addiction to the paci as well…

Grace, Five Months

IMG_3600Grace’s fifth month started out with lots of excitement…at four months and one day old, her first tooth popped through. A couple days later her second tooth popped up just to the right of her first one, on the bottom. That same afternoon Gracie and I went to see Seth at the business expo and she kept making the funniest faces, mostly fish lips, over and over again. Of course, that was a once time special and the fish lips have not been seen since.

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Near the beginning of the month we reintroduced the swaddle at home. She was consistently swaddled at daycare but got to be free at home. Well, after hearing how awesome she was sleeping we decided to go for it at home too and our good little sleeper became an even better sleeper. Until she got a massive snotty nose, that is. Ever since then she wakes really early in the morning and can’t get back to sleep without her pacifier.

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Grace has really started to take an interest in her toys this month. Of course, they all go into her mouth, but she can grab them and get them there. She also likes to roll onto her side a lot while she is playing. Gracie can keep herself entertained for quite awhile when she is able to hang on to her toys.

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I feel like this month had so many amazing firsts. We went on our first stroller ride since mother nature finally decided it was spring. This means we are also spending much more time enjoying the porch swing and just the outdoors in general. Gracie continues to not be a fan of the sun in her eyes and doesn’t really enjoy the wind either.

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Gracie celebrated her first Easter and it was the first holiday that Mama really enjoyed. With Thanksgiving and Christmas she was still so tiny that we were in survival mode and I couldn’t even think about things like cute outfits to wear. She slept extra good on Easter, not waking until nearly 7:30 and taking long, full naps. I think Easter will always be extra special to me now, because it was Easter weekend last year that we found out we were pregnant.

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Gracie continues to grow and amaze me with how incredible she is. Just when I think my heart is going to burst because I love her so much she does something impossibly cute/sweet/funny and I want to cry I am so happy.

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Little Snippets of Gracie’s First 24

Once I had rested a bit after delivering Gracie, it was time to nurse her. My hormones kind of went crazy and I had been so chilled/shaky that both Gracie and I had been covered with blankets. I pulled some of the blankets back only to discover that Gracie had pooped all over me!

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On the way to my postpartum room I asked my nurse if there was any way I could get something to drink and asked if there was gatorade. She said no, but there was juice. She also told me there would be a cheese and cracker tray sent up to me. She got me situated in bed and the cheese and crackers arrived. I was so hungry that I dove right in. There were also grapes and two Reeses peanut butter cups. About halfway through I looked down at my hands only to discover that there were remnants of Gracie’s earlier “christening” under my fingernails. At that point getting up was not an option and I had already eaten half of the food…

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Gracie was kept under the lamps for a little bit after she was born to help bring her body temp up. I had been moved to my room and was resting. Seth stayed with Gracie for awhile and then came to check on me. About 2 am Gracie came down to our room. We decided to see if Gracie would be more interested in nursing and the nurse assisted me with trying to get Gracie latched on but it was proving to be somewhat frustrating for both of us. The nurse left and said for me to call her if we were still having trouble in a few minutes. Seth had gone to get me some water (I was still super thirsty!) so it was just Gracie and I left to our own devices.  Thankfully she got latched on within a couple minutes. It wasn’t a great latch but I didn’t care. I smiled down at my baby, celebrating a small victory.

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From early on I was determined for breastfeeding to be successful. After she fed the first time I set an alarm on my phone so that hopefully I could wake her up before she woke up absolutely starving. Before the nurse had left she had told me that she needed to do some kind of check before Gracie ate next, so I just needed to call her before I fed her again. Easy peasy. Well, Gracie woke up screaming far before that alarm went off. She had pooped again and it was everywhere. I was so tired and could hardly stand, but I did stand and attempted to change her diaper while she wriggled around. Seth was trying to help me but we were both so tired that Gracie clearly had the upper hand.

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Gracie continued to struggle with keeping her body temp up. When our nurse came to do whatever check it was before she ate Gracie’s temp was down again. The nurse insisted that I do skin to skin with Gracie before feeding her. Gracie was so comfy laying on my chest that the both of us fell asleep until the nurse came back almost an hour later. Mama loved having her baby so close and cuddly.

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Babies are supposed to have one wet and one dirty diaper in their first 24 hours. Well, Gracie certainly was pooping a lot but hadn’t a wet diaper when the nurse came to whisk her away for her 24 hour check up. Of course, I was nervous and hoping that everything was ok. When the nurse brought her back to us I asked how she had done and if she had a wet diaper yet. The nurse laughed and said that as soon as the doctor got her diaper off she peed all over and just kept peeing. That’s my girl, waiting until the last minute.

Grace, Three Months

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It sounds cliche, but I think every month gets better and better. We started out this month with a trip to the burbs to visit some friends. I was anxious to see how Gracie would do sleeping at someone else’s house…and she took it like a champ! All of the traveling must have worn her little body down though because just a couple days later she ran a low fever for most of the day. I felt terrible for her because it took me literally all day to finally figure out that she had a fever and that was why she was not her normal self. The next morning she woke up and was back to her typical, smiley self.

 

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This month we had the dreaded “2 month shots” as well. Yes, we are a little off on our schedule. Gracie was a trooper and handled the shots quite well. We think she hated being held down more than the shots. Afterwards we went out to eat and she managed to sleep in the car on the way home. As soon as got home she was flipping out though so we gave her some tylenol which helped tremendously. Before I put her down for the night I gave her just a little bit more and she was able to sleep through the night as usual. At her 2 month appointment Grace weighed 12 pounds 4 ounces and was 25 inches long. She is in the 99th percentile for length! In fact, when her doctor came in and saw her length he measured her again just to be sure she was really that long.

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This month Gracie started the very annoying habit of scooting around her crib while she sleeps. I would find myself getting up in the night to move her away from the edge so she didn’t hit her head and wake herself up. Fortunately a friend of mine suggested using a sleep sack with her and since then she has not been quite so successful, although on particularly squirmy nights she can still move around the crib quite a bit. She has also rolled from her tummy to her back just once while sleeping. It happened about 6 am last friday. I heard a cry from the nursery that was new to me. I looked on the monitor and she was on her back, looking quite proud of herself. After about thirty minutes she was annoyed that she could not get back to sleep.

 

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Gracie continues to be more and more vocal and interacts with us all the time. She definitely loves her mama. When Seth will give her a bottle her eyes still follow me around the room. We went to church for the first time (other than Christmas Eve) right before she turned 11 weeks old. That same weekend we also spent the night with some friends so it was a full weekend for Baby G. Gracie charmed everyone in the nursery (of course) and her parents enjoyed sitting in church without having to worry about their precious baby. I really love our church’s nursery and feel so blessed to have a safe and caring environment for our baby.

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Of course, I can’t talk about leaving my baby without talking about my return to work. On the one hand I am looking forward to having adult time again. Although I am not sure I remember how to carry on conversation with an adult. On the other, I am facing the realization that at least for awhile I won’t be seeing much of my baby simply because by the time we get home she needs to nap, eat, and do down for the night. Seth and I will miss having time in the afternoons with Gracie. However, I know all too soon she will be extending her wake time which makes me happy and sad.

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Grace’s Birth Story, Part 4

Unfortunately, my ability to move freely and untethered by monitors didn’t last long. At my next check my blood pressure had gone back up and my doctor was pushing for internal monitoring. Lorrie fought hard for me and was able to persuade my doctor that internal monitoring wasn’t necessary. I still had to stay in bed, but Lorrie had me try a few different positions that would help the baby move into a better position and move labor along.  I was beginning to near transition and found it most comfortable to sit on the edge of the bed with Seth providing counter pressure on my knees and Dana providing counter pressure on my lower back.

About 4:30pm I took a bathroom break and then sat against the raised back of the bed. My contractions seemed to space out a little and I was able to rest in between contractions. After a little while I began to get very uncomfortable and again needed to support of Seth and Dana. I was checked periodically and with each check I was progressing, however to me it seemed that time was moving so slowly and I just wanted to be able to push. With Dana’s encouragement I decided to squat through some contractions. After doing this through a few of them I was checked and was nearly 9cm. I decided to squat through a few more even though it was incredibly intense and difficult to hold back the urge to push. I really wanted to meet my baby! After squatting a bit more I decided I was ready to be checked again as the urge to push was so, so strong. I was checked and the nurse said I was still at a 9. Dana told her I was having the urge to push and she said that I shouldn’t because I was going to swell my cervix. She then said to me that she had noticed how I was breathing (long, deep breaths) and suggested I try taking shorter breaths. Had I not been in the middle to some very intense labor I would have told her what I was thinking, which was: This is how I have been managing my pain through nearly 36 hours of labor…I’m not changing it up now! As soon as she left the room, Dana told me to continue to breathe however I wanted.

At this point I was feeling discouraged that I was still not to 10cm and therefore not ready to push. I decided to squat some more and try to wait longer before requesting another check. I really couldn’t bear to ask them to check me just to hear that I was still at a 9. I think it was at this point I voiced thinking I would not be able to do this, and Dana reminded me when you’re at that point it usually means you are almost there. Not long after my check a new round of staff came in as it was 7pm. My doctor also stopped by to see how I was doing. Much to my relief  my doctor said that she wanted to check to see how dilated I was. She checked and said that I was almost there and suggested I push through some contractions.

Finally, I thought, now I can do something. What I didn’t prepare for was how exhausted I was and now I had to do the work of pushing. It took me a bit to get the coordination I needed to push, be in a good position, and remember to breathe! I tried using the squat bar through a couple contractions but it was so exhausting. I could hardly hold my body up, let alone push. As I would push I kept thinking about how anxious I was to meet my little girl and desperately wanting to feel the ‘ring of fire’ because then I would know that she was almost here. I also remember wanting to keep pushing even after a contraction had come and gone. I just wanted to be done so badly. The hardest part was making myself rest in between contractions because I just wanted to be pushing. Even while I was pushing I continued to hold onto my comb until Grace was very nearly here. I also remember looking up at my feet at one point and thinking they did not look as swollen as they had earlier in the day.

Apparently (per my doula-I had no sense of time) after an hour and ten minutes of pushing the delivery team was gathered. All I knew is that my doctor was back in the room so that had to be a sign we were getting close. She asked if she could inject some local anesthetic as I was likely going to tear and I agreed. After pushing about 15 more minutes (again, per my doula) my little girl emerged! I remember the nurse telling me to look at her and I leaned up to look but my belly was in the way and it took way too much strength to try to lean up any further. Within seconds Gracie was placed on my chest. My first reaction was that she was so cute in the classic baby way-round head, perfect little nose and chin. I was in love. I also remember being slightly confused because I hadn’t felt the ring of fire. Of course later I realized this was due to the local anesthetic that was administered. Duh. Gracie was very alert as she laid on my chest and I was very thirsty. Dana had a couple gatorades on hand which I downed in a matter of seconds. Seth was by my head and had been feeding me ice chips throughout labor. I know was taking ice chips by the mouthful and couldn’t get enough. Gracie tried holding her head up to look at my face, reached her hands for my face and opened her eyes to look up at me. I was so in love.