Friday, August 31, 2012

Eloise at 8 months

Eloise's eighth month has been a big one! She got her second tooth and started a true crawl!

Before she could crawl in the traditional sense (she was rolling all around before that) she had learned how to get in and out of sitting position. I was very impressed by this! She also sits up VERY straight.

She loves bath time! She splashes in the water and has a curious-excited look on her face. This is a surprise to us, since Rosalie is anti-bath. Rosalie does not like the association it has with bedtime nor does she like water on her face. (I get it- I was the same way.)

Eloise loves to stand. She can pull herself up, too! She wants to be running with her sister, but crawling will have to do for now.

She is a fan of crawling into "coves," such as under kitchen chairs or under our kitchen desk. She gets stuck under the kitchen chairs, so I'm waiting for her to figure out that is not where she wants to be. Come to think of it, she does get my attention and held after she gets stuck, so maybe that is exactly what she wants!

She much prefers sharing our bed than sleeping in her own. If I could only have the same preference! Yes, it is sweet and all, but I do not sleep effectively. I wake up every few minutes to make sure she hasn't been squashed and that she's breathing. By morning, my whole body is kinked up from sleeping in unnatural positions to make room for her.

She still doesn't take long naps during the day, but we're working on that.

We've been very, very slowly introducing solids through a technique called Baby Led Solids (or Baby Led Weaning). So far she has enjoyed mango, peach, avocado, banana, sweet potato, and carrot. And she has sucked on green beans, but didn't actually chew on them. We provide them to her in strips, like fries, and she picks them up, holds them in her fist, and gnaws on the end. With BLS, there is no puréed food, so that makes life simpler. She did have a stomach bug a few weeks ago, just after having banana, so she has not liked banana since. Her diet is still 99% breastmilk.

She puts everything in her mouth. Everything. She'll crawl under the table to get to the strap in Rosalie's booster chair, and then she'll suck on it like an utter.

She startles very easily. If she is concentrating hard on a toy (or strap mentioned in previous paragraph) and you say her name, she'll jump a little bit. Her little gym teacher noticed that she flinches each time we clap. LOL. She also shivers randomly. She did that in utero too. Some theories are that she does it when she pees, but I haven't been able to confirm that hypothesis.

She has a great, chill demeanor and everyone always recognizes her sweet smile.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Life is better at the beach

Here is a dump of (some of the) photos taken on my phone from the cottage this summer.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Eloise is 6 months old today!

Can you believe it has already been 6 months since Eloise made her grand entrance into our world?

We noticed her first tooth this morning! It was very clear when she started teething last week, so we introduced a Baltic amber teething necklace to ease the pain. We forgot about it for 2 days, and voila! Her bottom left tooth has now arrived!

She rolls all directions to get all over!

She thinks her big sister is the bee's knees; and vice versa :). All Rosalie has to do is look at Eloise, and Eloise will start cracking up.

She really isn't on any schedule...which brings me to...

Eloise is NOT a good daytime sleeper. She takes little 10-20 min snoozes when she is soothed by motion or nursing. She wakes up at the drop of a hat.

She does sleep well at night, though. Nurses 1-2 times, then goes back to sleep. Again, no consistent schedule. Simply on demand :)

She has very strong opinions. She shows a strong like for her Montessori toys and Sophie the giraffe. I'll try to capture in video soon. She has demonstrated a strong dislike when held by someone who is unfamiliar, and *especially* when she is unlatched from the boob. Uff-da!

Some may call it a temper, some may say she's just like her mother ;)

We aren't ready to introduce food into her diet yet. We're enjoying the exclusive breastfed diapers for as long as we can! Also, we've kept in mind that she arrived 3 weeks prior to her due date and she doesn't sit up on her own yet. Mama milk is still the best for her, anyway. Yep, we're crunchy like that.

While we won't know her exact weight and length until the end of the month, we have no concerns. She is a very joyful, thriving baby, and we are just so blessed!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Eloise Strawn is Growing!

Eloise turns 4 months old on Saturday, May 5th. So quick! She is a growing girl, and this is what is going on in her life.

-Talking all the time. You should hear her right now. Her coo-ing that started a few months ago has turned into a less-graceful squeaking and grunting.
-Grabbing her sister's attention. It is still always a huge deal when Rosalie notices Eloise. The obsession has not worn off! Rosalie is certainly in love with her sister. Eloise seems to play it cool and give Rosalie an all-knowing smile, as if to say, "You just wait until I can keep up with you, and I will definitely use this to my advantage."
-As soon as someone makes eye contact with Eloise, she almost immediately returns the smile. She has been doing this for a few months. Her cousin Madelyn has nicknamed her "Big Smiley" as a result.
-Sleeping in a swaddle. She used to be a better sleeper. She has become a light sleeper, and unless the conditions are right (access to the breast), she doesn't stay asleep long. What happened to the girl who would just fall asleep on the bed while I changed loads of laundry?
-Rolls from back to tummy and gets stuck 9/10 times. The 10th time she lasts about 5 seconds on her stomach before freaking out. She is NOT a tummy girl like her big sister! Why she still attempts, I'm not sure, but I'm glad she is getting in her exercise. She does roll both to her left and right, too.
-"Wheezing." It is technically not wheezing, but "Elo-wheezy" has been diagnosed with a soft larynx. When she is in certain inclined positions, such as her carseat, her soft larynx slightly obstructs her breathing, so she has to suck extra hard to get enough air. We've been working with a pulmonary pediatric specialist, and he is confident she will grow out of this soon. I've already noticed it happening less.
-NOT drinking from a bottle. We were way too lax about introducing a bottle, probably because we knew I wouldn't be returning to an office setting, and she doesn't even take a sip from one. Never has. Probably never will. What a beautiful thing for my child to be so dependent on me. It is also beautiful when I know she has a full belly and I can have some unattached time.
-Gnawing on fingers/blanket. We noticed that her front left tooth has poked through the front of her gum. We're not sure if this is why she likes to nosh on her fingers or a blanket, but I don't blame her. Having a tooth poke through like that can't be comfortable.
-Being ultra-cute, as evidenced by this photo from today

Her 4-month checkup is on Monday, so we'll have her weight and length then. I'm paying less attention to those stats this time around, but she is certainly growing. At least her torso is anyway :)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Time Flies

Time has flown by over the past two months since Eloise's arrival. So much has gone down, and we certainly have our hands full. We go to bed (at varying times) each night, exhausted, but mostly full of joy celebrating our family of four. Here's what we've been up to...

We all traveled down to Nashville two weeks ago while Rob attended the Country Radio Seminar. He definitely enjoyed his time at the conference, and he learned a lot about how to incorporate social networking into WIXY. We stayed at Kathy's house (Rob's sister), and we are so thankful for the time we got to spend with them. As it turns out, I had strep during this week, and was so fatigued it was very hard to care for Rosalie and Eloise. Kathy was a huge help and basically played with Rosalie every day so I could focus on nursing Eloise and trying to take it easy. SO THANKFUL for her support!! Rosalie loved playing with her cousins, and is especially fond of baby Henry. She would always suck her thumb when she got close to him! So random/sweet! Here is the one picture I took while we were away (taken on my iPhone, with bad lighting):

Right now during a normal week, I wake up around 5:30am when Rosalie wakes up. (I then hope everyday for a nap, but it really never happens!) The early morning is usually full of attempts at various parenting techniques to counter Rosalie's defiance. She is absolutely the sweetest girl, but she is certainly caught up in the excitment of being a big sister and being a two-year-old! I've found that reverse psychology works the best :) Rosalie spends her mornings at school, where she is in a classroom full of 2-3 year olds. She can count to the teens (and some in Spanish!), she knows her ABCs, all of her colors, and knows some shapes. More importantly, though, she is a creative spirit, and she loves music, singing, and dancing. She frequently plays pretend and amazes us everyday with something else she has figured out or discovered a new fun way to use a toy. Her teachers at school have noted how nurturing she is. She has "reached out" to a quiet boy in the class and makes sure to give him special attention. It warms my heart so thoroughly to know that she wants everyone to be included. She also lifts up her shirt to feed the baby dolls!

Eloise and I spend the mornings together and each day is different. Some days she stays asleep in her car seat for awhile, which allows me to get work done. I've been trying to devote this time as much as possible to getting B. Lime, our new business, to launch next weekend. I also am keeping up with University-related emails and continue to serve as Volunteer Coordinator for the Illinois Marathon.

We have been so blessed with Eloise- she is a fabulous baby. She has always recognized when night is, that is, she sleeps longer chunks at night. For the most part, she has only one night-waking to nurse. Knock on wood! I have enjoyed not trying to find a schedule for her though. It is refreshing to simply nurse her on demand and not worry about how long she has gone between feedings (which is very much the opposite of how I was with Rosalie- that is a different post). She is growing rapidly, too! She had her two-month check-up this morning, and she weighed in at 9 lb 13 oz (26%) and is 22.5 in long (53%). Just this past week she started coo-ing and giving us smiles. She can also hold her head steady for longer periods of time.

*Rosalie is obsessed with Eloise.* She wants Eloise to be awake, "eyes open!", and she wants to hold her, hold her hand, poke at her, lean on her, and squeeze her. She always has to know where is Eloise and what she is doing. We have to keep a close eye on Rosalie when Eloise is within Rosalie's reach, but it is reassuring to know they have the foundation to be very close sisters in the future!

With everything that is going on, we have started a househunt. We are primarily looking for a bigger kitchen and more square footage, but we are being very picky! We'll let you all know if we find that perfect place that is worth moving into.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Snow Day

Don't let the picture fool you. Rosalie did not have a lot of fun in the snow today; said she was scared. She does NOT get that from her father.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Home with Eloise

We were discharged a bit earlier than expected from the hospital today- arriving home at 4:30pm. This is a reflection of how well Eloise and I are doing! My lab work shows no signs of preeclampsia and my blood pressure remains within normal ranges. Eloise is eating and pooping as she should be :)

It feels very overwhelming to care for both Eloise and Rosalie right now, especially since Rosalie has a terrible cold and is, quite frankly, a mucous factory. We are very thankful to have the grandparents still here to help us get situated.

Other than Rosalie's cold, we are both in shock as to just how BIG Rosalie has gotten. We are certain she has grown over the past 3 days when we were in the hospital, but we both feel like we are looking at a 5 year old! I don't understand how the same clothes that fit her before, still fit her! Even her teeth seem bigger to me! My sister said she experienced this same phenomena with each of her children as well, so at least we aren't too crazy.

Rosalie has been successfully asleep since 6:30, and now it is our turn to get some sleep before Eloise wakes for the next feeding.

Friday, January 6, 2012

"Baby Eloise"

Hi Grandpa!

Q: What's Strawn?

A: The most awesome middle name in the world!
Strawn is Mary's Father's Mother's maiden name.

Our second choice was Cooper. The name of my Cousin's Wife's Childhood Neighbor's car.

After birth

Here's a photo taken a moment after Mary held Eloise for the very first time.

Our Little Peach

Eloise's skin is as soft as peaches. She is getting her first real sleep after her second nursing (!!), and I just had to share another photo.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

And we have latch!

It took several tries, but Eloise just nursed for the first time for about 5 minutes! I could see the colustrom coming out, so hopefully that bit of super-charged milk will help hydrate her so we can all get a little bit of shut-eye.

A little more info :)

She weighs 5 lb 12 oz and is 18.5 long. She arrived very quickly and we are both doing great!

It's a....

...Girl! Eloise Strawn Anderson arrived at 7:47pm. Mother is eating Jimmy Johns (first meal of the day other than a little jello and saltines) and Eloise is getting her first bath.

Mary will post the complete story soon.

H 2 Uh Oh!

Mary's water has been broken for an hour or so. In a few minutes, they'll check her progress and determine if pitosin is necessary.

Will we have a Jan 5 baby?

Second Cutest Thing...

Second only to the pending picture of our newborn joy, once he or she decides to join our world, is this picture we just received. (Sawyer is the adorable 1 year old of our friends Amanda and Ryan).

24 hours later

We know you're sitting at your browsers hitting the refresh button, so here is the latest.

I was at 4 cm at 5:30 and my doctor then broke my water. There is no going back now! Contractions are regular, and we're thinking I won't need pitocin at this point.

Because Rob's lunch post was possibly the most entertaining update all day, we thought you should know he got a salad from the cafeteria for dinner. It was the most thoughtful thing he could have done- selecting a food I would have no desire to eat (I had jello for breakfast and 8 saltines for lunch).

Also, Rosalie has a fever and cold, so we have made an appointment for her to see the doctor tomorrow. She is under the excellent care of Mimi, Muvey, and Grandpa, but we hope this doesn't derail her plans to meet the baby.

Speaking of excellent care (sarcasm), I just had a nurse NOT know why the IV was beeping. Rob solved the big mystery once he suggested the battery was low. He was right, and his prize is a baby- soon!

Family of Three

This is what the Anderson Family looked like yesterday. Can't wait to post a picture tomorrow!

Mary's contractions have started, are becoming regular, and are a little painful. On the "rate your pain" scale (1-10, 1 being none), she's saying some are 7s. The nurse is prepping an epidural.

What a Difference a WALK Makes

I paced for a few minutes and took a quick shower before the medicine arrived. Best news of the day- when the nurse deposited the cytotec pill, the baby had already surfaced more and she could touch the baby's head! This was a huge contrast to the cervical check just 30 min earlier when I was extremely uncomfortable while the doctor checked my status. Some of you may commiserate that when the cervix is far back, it hurts when practioners try to reach it. I believe the walk made all the difference!

The contractions are getting more intense too...

In other news... (Rob)

... I had lunch at that new burrito place in Urbana by Five Points called Panchero's. It's a franchise and the burritos are like Chipotle with three differences:
1) They make your tortilla in front of you. They use a press to flatten a ball of dough into a circle. Then, they warm it on the grill.
2) When they've placed all the ingredients in your burrito, they stir it up so each bite is equal.
3) No lettuce. I missed the crunch.
I got spicy salsa and added jalepenos. I'm glad I'm not the one has to push soon!

Not much progress

Clearly this baby knows it should have had another ~3 weeks in utero.* I'm just 1-2 cm dilated and will shortly receive a second dose of cytotec. I was approved to do some pacing around so hopefully gravity can help a little bit. The doctor will be returning around 5 and maybe by then I'll be having stronger contractions and he can break my water at that time. So the plan is...
Pace for about 5 more minutes.
Have cytotec administered (it is a pill that is deposited in my cervix).
Lay in prone position while cytotec dissolves and to monitor baby.
Pace more.
Doctor checks again.
It will soon be 24 hours in this room. I am hungry and tired, but it is going to be ok.

*When this baby is older, it's going to think Rosalie has always been our favorite since she got an extra three weeks in the womb. Nothing a trip to Disney can't fix, I'm sure.

Free Diaper Bag

As many of you know, nursing Rosalie has been one of my greatest joys. We enjoyed nursing together until my recent bed rest orders. Preeclampsia can result in premature labor, so the nipple stimulation was not worth the risk. She was only nursing at bedtime and some mornings for just a few minutes in recent months, so she had very limited milk consumption and was virtually weaned anyway. I would not consider her fully-weaned yet, though, because even in recent days she would ask for "mama milk" when she was tired. We would have "mama cuddles" instead and she would snuggle up on my lap. I have been reading a book on tandem nursing, and that may be a reality in our household in a few days.
I never envisioned that I would nurse a toddler who could "ask for it," but that is the path I chose. I am well aware of the stereotype- i.e. Maggie Gyllenhaal's character in the movie Away We Go. Weaning is a process that I decided I wanted to be on Rosalie's terms, and it is where my heart led me.
While I am clearly a proponent of breastfeeding, I have made a point to try to not to push my preference on others. I know that breastfeeding does require a deep support network, and I will provide support to any nursing friends that may need it. I will also openly discuss my experience with expectant mothers, because I had such a pleasant one (don't get me wrong- there were many struggles, especially in the first 8 weeks). This is a fine line amidst a sensitive topic, and I hope I have not offended anyone along the way.
The hospital gives a free diaper bag to mothers: one for formula-fed babies and a different one for breast-fed babies. They are currently out-of-stock for the breastfeeding bag, and we have so many bags already (thanks to Thirty-One), so we respectfully declined the formula-fed bag. The nurse took a defensive stance, saying "I am not trying to push formula on you, but I want to offer you the free bag at least." I am guessing some have taken offense to the offer in the past. To continue the snobbery, we also turned down the Johnson & Johnson sample, as we use other less-toxic brands in our household :)

The doctor should be here soon to determine next steps!


We have more "downtime" now before anything drastically changes, hence the frequency of posts. I am trying to relax through the noise of renovation and Rob typing away on his laptop. He is trying to finalize the website for our cottage.

My current nurse is even using this time to prep the baby warmer/bassinet that is in our room. She said, "Since we know a baby is coming, I can get prepared just in case things happen quickly!" We can hope!

I'm hoping that relaxing will allow my contractions to be more productive and bring on active labor faster. I will try to visualize my cervix relaxing as well, but I can only really visualize cartoon images of a cervix like I've seen in books. Ha ha.

Missing Rosalie

Rosalie is in good hands with her grandma Mimi while we're at the hospital. We are keeping her regular schedule, so she is at her school this morning. About 20 minutes after checking in last night, we already missed her. She brings so much joy to our lives, and here we are about to double it.

Do you think this pebble wall will ease the pain of contractions? I have started having a few manageable ones, and my doctor will be returning at noon to check my progress. He is likely to break my water at that time as well. Starting pitocin will depend on where things are at. I'm encouraged!

Wouldn't it be nice?

The maternity ward at our hospital is newly renovated, including this beautiful tub and a glowing pebble wall. I can enjoy the ambiance of the pebble wall (I'll have to upload that photo separately), but the complications this pregnancy have not afforded me the opportunity for a good soak, let alone a good walk around the ward to get things moving faster. Maybe next time!?!?

Baby Day? Maybe?

Here is a synopsis of what is going on- mostly to log the delivery journey...

After three weeks and three days of bed rest, Rob and I checked into the hospital last night (Wednesday) to start the induction process. Wednesday marked the 37 week milestone of reaching "full-term." After much discussion with my doctor, it was determined it was best to induce now, despite my preeclampsia remaining mild.

At 6pm last night, cervidil was administered in an attempt to ripen my "unfavorable" cervix. I slept considerably well thanks to some ambien, and Rob slept great. Just as if we were at home! :)

My cervix was checked again this morning, and there was noticeable progress, but not enough to start pitocin. Now a drug call cytotec has been administered and I'm feeling hopeful as the cramping has gotten a bit more intense.

In the delivery room next door, we can hear the wail of a newborn. The baby sounds like a seagull, but makes us both excited to hear our own baby's cry.

Maybe today!