Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Family Fanatics!

 My parents were in town over the weekend, and Helena was a star! 
We took her to her first Colorado Rockies game at Coors Field.  I had requested Club Level seats for the air conditioned lobby inside, and we definitely utilized the facility.  Our seats were in the sun for the first few innings, so inside we went.  We found an area with big soft chairs and a TV playing the game.  We played on the floor and got fed!

 Once the sun went down the temperature dropped so Helena got all bundled up!  We had a great time.

Proud grandparents!

Daddy's little girl

Leaving the stadium

August 2013 - @ a Rockies game, and pregnant, but we didn't know it yet!
It was the last weekend of August last year when my parents visited and took us to a Rockies game.  There I am pregnant, and didn't even know it!  It's so amazing to see what can happen in a year!
Chris and I really love going to a ball game, or any live sporting event, and having Helena participate was pure joy!  I hope that one day we can take her to a Denver Bronco game!

Monday, August 18, 2014

No More Swaddle

Happy baby!  8/18/14

No longer sleeping in a swaddle, but rather Pajamas!  She's a big girl!


In addition to all of her firsts, I want to also try and document her lasts. 

Helena wore her swaddle for the last time Saturday night.
It happened very suddenly, and I'm thankful she went down with it.
Almost two weeks ago baby girl rolled from her tummy to back.  It was super exciting, and she's done it about 4 or 5 times now.  If anything it startles her.  But now, she shows no interest in rolling over.  We've increased the amount of tummy time, and she definitely moves, but doesn't roll over.
Then a few nights ago, she somehow managed to roll from her back to her tummy in her swaddle.  Which really freaked me out, and made me think that maybe it was time to retire the swaddle.  I did some research, and I was nervous about the transition, and the fact that there really wasn't any transition.  In my mind the swaddle is her que that it is bedtime.  But I was too nervous to try and transition her out of it with numerous nights of one arm in, then both arms out etc... So last night we put her in some PJ's and down she went.  It was actually pretty simple.  Even better I didn't put her down asleep, but rather sleepy.  And she calmly put herself to sleep after about 10 - 15 minutes of laying in her crib awake.  She still managed to roll onto her side in the crib, which still makes me nervous, but I just don't know what to do?  
She has shown no interest in trying to roll from her back to her tummy when I play with her on the floor, my only guess is that the mattress in the crib is too soft?  Do I go out and get a new mattress?
She slept great last night without the swaddle and woke up as the super happy baby that I love so much!
It's been amazing seeing her do all of her firsts in addition to her lasts.  The "lasts" always seem to come too quick.    

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

3 months

Helena is 3 months!  Unfortunately I don't have any stats, but she is definitely getting bigger.

One of the more noticeable things I think is her head.  Baby girl is getting a big head!
Other changes:
I think her hair is getting a little lighter.  I'm completely indecisive about her eyes.  Chris thinks they'll be brown, and they most likely will be.  I'm holding out hope for something other than brown.
She's so much fun in the mornings.  She'll lay and entertain herself in her crib for a good 30 minutes in the morning, just laughing and cooing at herself.  She's pure joy and all smiles when I walk into her room and say "Good morning Helena".  She gives the most heartwarming smile and is so happy!
However the happiness is short lived, as she has this new habit of screaming bloody murder when she gets put down for a diaper change.  Who knows what it is, but after a minute or so of screaming she calms down and becomes content again.
She loves being read to.  I try and lay down with her in the living room and read a couple of times a day.
She loves the game Peek A Boo.  I'll cover her face with a blanket and ask "Where is Helena?" and jerk the blanket back and say "Peek A Boo!" and she gets the biggest smile on her beautiful face!  It is so much fun.
She's finding her voice.  She definitely "coos" and it is the softest little noise.  She also likes to make raspberries.  However, her new "talking" time is while she is eating.  Who knows how in the world she does it, but she makes loud vociferous noises while she is nursing.  Considering this is something I do to get her quiet (specifically in church), this new habit will interfere with that.
She really loves getting out and about.  If we haven't left the house all day, she knows that around 6pm is when we leave for a afternoon walk.
Her smile is beautiful.  She smiles with her eyes, and I can't get enough of it!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Busy Time and Baby Milestones

Helena and I are enjoying the last month of summer together by keeping busy and doing lots of firsts!
This past week I took her to my work, and she meet some of my co-workers.  It was a fun outing downtown, and for the most part she did pretty good.
She's definitely growing more interactive with toys, and will "play" with her rattle if we put it in her hand for her. 
playing with a rattle
tummy time - prep time to rolling over!
Her major first was last Thursday when she rolled over for the first time!  She has flipped from tummy to back about 4 or 5 times now.  More than anything I think it scares her, but her mom and dad are definitely proud!
a mommy daughter first: drive in movie!
Another big adventure was to the 88 Drive-In movie theater!  This was actually a first for both of us!, as prior to this I had never been to a drive-in!  We saw "Hercules" which wasn't my pick, but we had a good time.  I was hoping to keep our normal bedtime routine in place and that she would eat then fall asleep.  But that didn't happen!  Baby girl knew she was someplace new, and wouldn't fall asleep.  So up she stayed until we got home, and Helena didn't fall asleep until around 11pm!
daddy naps and baby stays quietly awake

Helena and a goat
 To continue with the trend of "firsts" we went to the Boulder County Fair.  And you guessed it, this was another first for the both of us!  ...I had never been to a county fair before.  We walked around, saw lots of animals, and Helena took a little nap!
Helena and a chicken

A beautiful horse

Reading time

Family selfie!
I'm trying my best to soak in these last few weeks and this time with my baby.  Summertime always goes so fast, but this summer and the fact that it was life changing, feels like it has been the fastest of my life. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Motherhood Meltdowns

Just a cute picture from today
During my pregnancy I spent a lot of mental time preparing for motherhood.  Mentally thinking about what everyone says: the public, friends, family, reading materials.  It's a lot to take in.  But at the same time I knew I could only mentally prepare so much.  Their is nothing like motherhood until you actually experience motherhood.  Plus, it's unique for every single one of us mothers.  Just like a baby, no two mother's are alike.
Being mental prepared was a priority for me because of my fear of depression.  I'm prone to depression, and I didn't want to spend my time home with my newborn baby being depressed.  But at the same time, I almost expected it.  I spoke to both my doctor and doula about this fear pre and post-baby so that they were aware, along with conversations with Chris and my Mom.  I knew they would be the ones to see the warning signs, if depression was lingering.  At almost 3 months in, I'm relieved to report that I haven't had a sign of depression.  I've had a couple of meltdowns that  I want to share, because I like to think that's something that all new mom's experience. 
My first one was in the later part of July.  I've been extremely blessed with an "easy" baby.  She has pretty much been sleeping through the night since 8 weeks.  I realize how very rare this is, and that I will most likely not be so lucky if Helena ever becomes a big sister. But after a couple weeks of sleeping through the night Helena decided that 4am was a good middle of the night feeding time.  Then sometime in July she was getting up twice in the middle of the night.  Once around 1am, again around 4am.  I remember rocking her in her room after feeding her, praying she would fall back asleep, but she was just crying.  Usually when she wakes in the middle of the night and eats, she goes right back to sleep.  I had no idea what to do with a middle of the night fussy baby.  So we sat and rocked and cried together.  I didn't know what else to do.  We eventually calmed down, and I was able to put both of us back to sleep, but that was my first big and private meltdown.  I remember thinking "I feel like I have a newborn again."  And really, I still have a newborn, she had just spoiled me with sleeping through the night so early.  Thankfully those twice a night feedings have gone away again.  And thankfully she is again sleeping through the night...for the most part.  She's up at around 4am once or twice a week, but other than that she's an amazing sleeper!  Thank you God!!!
My second meltdown was Sunday.  Baby girl was hungry.  I had a full boob ready to go, but she would not latch.  She just wouldn't.  I think she got herself too worked up.  Thank goodness Chris was home.  I stayed calm the first couple of times, but by the third time of her not taking the boob I flipped out.  I started whaling just as loud as the baby.  I was afraid that our breastfeeding time was over, and that she had decided she wanted nothing more to do with nursing.  Over the past few weeks I've realized how quickly time goes, and how quickly things change, without even realizing.  How milestones are realizing when the last time my baby does something.  And I wasn't ready to stop nursing.  I calmed down, and Chris calmed down Helena, and she eventually did nurse, and everything was ok in the world.
I know more meltdowns are in my future, and I'm ok with that.  I think that's part of the journey.  Overall I'm pleasantly surprised how my mental state has been these first few months.  I was more prepared to be depressed, than to not be depressed.  Sounds weird I know, but now that I know I've gone through these first few months without being depressed I feel so much more blessed and thankful.  I feel strong and capable of taking care of my beautiful little girl and myself

Monday, August 4, 2014

Breast vs Bottle

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about my breastfeeding experience.  Like most things with having a new little human to care for, this "plan" isn't going how I originally pictured.  During my pregnant state I pictured myself nursing my baby all the time, having quiet moments at night with her laying next to me latched on while we are both on the verge of sleep.  I told myself I would nurse for at least 12 months.  And now?  Well neither of those are likely to happen.
My full supply hasn't come in, and I find it difficult to keep up with my growing baby girl.  It's a rare day when she doesn't get any formula.  Just when I think I might be supplying enough and put the formula away in the pantry, it comes right back out the next day.
I'm still pumping three times a day, including once in the middle of the night.  So even though majority of the time Helena sleeps through the night, I am not.
If Helena does wake in the middle of the night she gets a bottle, just because that is easier and quicker.  I've only nursed her once at night, and that's because it was a "bad" night.  Baby girl wouldn't calm down, so on the boob she went.  Definitely not the quiet moment I visualized in my head.
And of course we all know the struggle we had the first 10 weeks with the nipple shield.  
Other than being frustrated that I'm not producing enough milk to provide for my growing baby, I think about the other little pains that come along with this current routine that I have in place.
Pumping is time consuming and boring.  I pump for about 18 minutes, and it's not fun.  Sometimes I'll get an itch, or I'll want to change the channel, or I'll have to use the bathroom.  During this pumping time I have no use of my hands because I'm holding the pumping things to my boobs.  The pump in the middle of the night is the worse, because I just sit in silence, since I don't want to wake Chris.  I'll put the video monitor in front of me, so I can look at her while I pump, and that's my middle of the night entertainment.
The most I have ever gotten in a single pump from one boob for 18 minutes?: 4 ounces.  And that's when I was FULL.  And that has only happened once.  Usually it's only 3 ounces. 
Then there is the price.  I actually decided to write this all down, just to get an idea of cost.
22oz Formula = $26.00 (makes 159 ounces)
20 day supply of MotherLove More Milk Plus = $40.00
Monthly hospital grade pump = $68.00
50 five ounce Medela frozen storage bags (makes 250 ounces) = $20.00

Prior to Helena's arrival I got a storage breast pump kit, that included 20 five ounce storage bags, that I've already filled.  Once I fill the 50 I'm currently working on I'll have 350 ounces saved up.  So when you compare ounce for ounce storing and freezing my breast milk is cheaper.  I haven't decided if I'm going to get 50 more bags when I'm done with the 50 I'm on.
Next month when I go back to work I'll have to bring my regular pump to work, to pump at work, because as of right now my goal is to breastfeed until Helena is 6 months.  And I'm pretty sure the regular pump won't be as efficient and won't get as much out as the hospital grade pump.  Although I have yet to compare.  Unfortunately I just don't see myself going until she is one year.
Formula = $26
As of right now we've used one of the 22 oz containers pictured above, two of the 27 oz containers, and a bunch of the pre-made stuff that we got from the hospital.  Who knows if that is a lot or not, considering baby girl is 12 weeks?   
My growing supply of frozen breast milk!  I'm very proud of this, I might add.
 But when everything is said and done, I love nursing my daughter.  It's a serene moment that I treasure.  To know that majority of the time I can comfort her and provide for her.  It's weird, but I feel most like a mother when I nurse her in public.  It's just the two of us out in a big world, and I'm just a mom taking care of her child.  I'm so thankful and proud that she is no longer using the nipple shield and that I get that experience with her.
Lastly: A sleeping baby girl in my arms after nursing = PRICELESS.
I feel so blessed to have this beautiful baby girl, and although nursing her isn't how I thought it would be.  It is our time and our moment, and I love it for what it is.
And now I'm off to pump.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Out and About

Helena and I have had an extremely busy week.  We've had an adventure every day this week, and for the most part, Helena was a rock star!
My friend/cousin Kari arrived from Albuquerque Monday evening to meet Helena for the first time!  Kari got here just in time to help put Helena down for bed.  I think Kari provided the magic touch, as each night she was here Helena slept through the night!!!
Our fun started Tuesday afternoon with a trip to Ikea.  My hope was for Helena to sleep during the shopping trip, but there was just too much to look at.  She did take a little nap on the drive down, but that was it.  During our trip I found comfort in a makeshift bedroom to feed Helena, while Kari continued shopping.  I then topped her off before we left.  After shopping we were going to head to Chris' work to have dinner with him, but unfortunately with a crying baby, bad traffic, and super rainy weather, we didn't make it very far.  We ended up pulling over into a shopping center to feed Helena and try to calm her down.  Once the rain let up a little we decided to head to Park Meadows to try and put her to sleep, calm me down, and get some food.  She did fall asleep walking around the mall, and at that moment I decided regardless of the situation I needed to get my baby girl home.  So we headed out to the car to find it raining again, and to start what I knew would be an hour plus car ride.  Helena slept until traffic got bad and was to a complete stop on the freeway.  It took us about 30 minutes to go 2.5 miles.  Once we got through the bad traffic and the car was moving again she feel back asleep.  But that 30 minutes of her fussing was horrific for me.  I was on the verge of tears.  I knew she was tired and I knew that she had been out of "element" for too long.  We got home after the start of her bedtime routine, so once we got home she was fed and put immediately to sleep!

Wednesday was much more relaxed.  Our only outing was to get pedicures!  I was nervous about this though.  Going to spa with a unpredictable 2 and half month old...who knows what will happen?!  But she was amazing!  She stayed nice and calm in her car seat during the whole thing!  For the most part I think Helena likes to be out and about.  She bored with our house and knows what to expect.  Going out in public she has new things to look at and experience.  The timing for the pedicure was perfect.  She was entertained just long enough for Kari and I to relax and get our toes did!  Once our toes were done I fed her before heading to a casual lunch then home.

Yesterday was another shopping day!  We left for breakfast, and then headed to Colorado Mills.  Again for the most part she was good, but I definitely think sometimes she's over stimulated.  She truly doesn't want to miss a thing, and when I know she is tired this is tricky.  But thankfully she did sleep some before we headed home.

I value my relationship with Kari so much, and it was such a great visit!  I truly appreciate our time together, and the fact that she traveled to meet Helena and spend time with me, while leaving her loving husband and 2 boys at home means so much to me!
Overall it was a great trip!