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Posts from the ‘Personal’ Category

Photographs: Mornings with Mamma

As I mentioned, I love the mornings.  The house is quiet, the sun is coming up, and my loves are all together — there is nothing better!  I love our mornings even more with our baby girl and our fur girl, Victory!  I always play with baby Alex in the mornings and Victory, of course, joins in on the fun!  A few of my favorite images are from a recent weekend morning together with all of my loves together!  We are so blessed and I want to remember these moments forever.  A few images from our mornings together are shown below.  Also, it hardly seems possible that our little cherub is four months old today!  We are so grateful!  Finally, can you spot Victory’s snout in one of the images below?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VOTE, VOTE, VOTE!

 

Today is a big election day in our country!  So stop reading and go VOTE VOTE VOTE.  Regardless of the results, it is projected that more people are voting this year than two years ago, which is encouraging.

Illustration by Lily Vander Ploeg

Photographs: Mornings with Daddy

I love the mornings.  The house is quiet, the sun is coming up; and my loves are all together — there is nothing better!  I love our mornings even more with our baby girl and our fur girl, Victory!  Doug plays with baby Alex on the weekend mornings and Victory, of course, joins in on the fun!  A few of my favorite images are from a recent weekend morning together with all of my loves together!  We are so blessed and I want to remember these moments forever.  A few images from our mornings together are shown below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Halloween from our Cherubs!

Happy Halloween!  I cannot believe how quickly the time is flying by that it is already time for Halloween, one of our favorite times of the year!  It is Baby Alex’s first Halloween!  Victory is a unicorn this year for Halloween along with her little sister, Baby Alex, shown below!  We think they look pretty adorable!  They even got “Booed” this year!  Victory was Super Woman last year; a fifties girl two years ago; a lioness three years ago; a butterfly four years ago; and a ladybug for her first Halloween, five years ago.  Victory will help us hand out candy tonight in her costume and she will show off her pumpkin masterpiece carved by Doug, shown below.  We may take Baby Alex trick-or-treating to a few nearby houses in our neighborhood — we will just have to see how it goes!  Doug spent a few hours the other night carefully and diligently working on carving his Halloween happy face pumpkin!  Additionally, here are links to other pumpkins carved by Doug: last yeartwo years agothree years agofour years agofive years ago; and six years ago!

We hope that you all have a wonderful and safe Halloween!

 

 

 

Three Month Snapshot: Alexandra

How is our baby Alex already three months old!  The time is going by so very quickly.  We are savoring each day and fleeting moment!  The theme for this month summed up in one word is groove.  Our days typically have a sequence of events that occur, which I think Alex likes!  She is sleeping in her nursery at night, and it is going well.  She usually sleeps through the night; and other times, she is still getting up once during the night to eat.  She is also growing, growing, and growing!  She has outgrown a lot of her clothing, that I continue to pack away to make room for her bigger clothes!  Baby Alex also loves play time and story time in the mornings, one of our favorite times together!  She also loves to play with her toys, especially her rings, with her Daddy!  She is always in a good mood in the mornings and she is always smiling up at me when I greet her in the morning.  It melts my heart.  Now, Victory joins us every day for play time; story time; and for every feeding in the nursery!  (Previously, Victory was a little nervous to enter the nursery, but that no longer holds true!)  It is really wonderful!  Victory is the most active ever since adopting her as she is always attentive to her ‘little sister!’  We now refer to Victory as ‘Mamma Victory,’ since she is so attentive, attuned, nurturing, and loving to our precious baby Alex.  She loves licking Alex each day — it is really quite adorable!  Baby Alex is ‘talking’ and becoming more vocal each day, which has been really fun to witness!  We are excited to see her little personality continue to develop!

Everyone is adjusting pretty well and we have a groove to most of our days together.

A few highlights from Alex’s third month include:

-she is sleeping!  We are tired some days, but we are doing pretty well.

-she is sitting up in her Bumbo seat while holding her head high!

-she rolled over for the first time during this month!

-she loves tummy time and she loves holding her head high while on her tummy — she seems pretty determined, and we think she might be a ‘mobile baby’ soon!

-she sometimes sucks her thumb, but still loves her paci!

-she is very interactive — she smiles at us a lot, which is really lovely!

-she recognizes Victory and has felt her fur and head with her hand a few times.  (We can’t wait for her to fully understand who Victory is!)

-she loves play time and story time — she loves to be read to!

-she loves her new toys that her Daddy picked out recently from the Manhattan Toy Company, which we love!  (She has a super strong grip with both of her hands!)

-she still loves her swing, and she takes at least one nap in it daily, typically!

-she had a few more ‘blow outs’ this month that necessitated an immediate bath!

-she still does not love bath time — she tolerates it at best!

-she loves to go on walks in her Ergo!  We try to get out most days for a walk together, which has been really nice!

-she is even doing FaceTime now with her grandma and grandpa!

 

A few highlights I would like to remember:

-greeting Alex in her nursery in the mornings!

-loving her smell and her velvety smooth skin!  I wish I could bottle that lovely smell up and keep it forever!

-enjoying our morning time consisting of: play time and story tine together, a time when baby Alex is very animated and she is generally in a really good mood, and now Victory joins us, which makes it even better!

-enjoying nursing Alex, especially in the mornings and evenings, as it is one of my favorite times of day with her!

-hearing her little ‘baby talk;’ ‘cooing;’ and ‘chuckles!’  She is becoming more vocal each day!

-admiring her eyes — they are the prettiest blue eyes I have ever seen — I know that I am partial!

-enjoying the beautiful morning light in Alex’s nursery each morning!

-knowing how much our little Victory loves her ‘little sister!’

-watching Alex play with her toys with her Daddy!

-knowing on the days that I feel totally exhausted, that I will someday really miss these early days, and I need to remind myself, at times of this fact.

-enjoying taking our girls to the Eastern Shore for crabs!

-looking forward to taking our girls to the pumpkin patch this weekend, weather permitting!

-enjoying dressing up our girls for Halloween — they are simply adorable together in their costumes — more to come!

-enjoying seeing Alex FaceTime with her Grandma and Grandpa!

-constantly asking myself what will I miss about this time of my life when it’s all gone?  This question keeps everything in perspective.

-most of all, we are cherishing getting to be Alex’s parents!

Doug and I are very grateful for our little girl and our little family!  We feel so fortunate.  We look forward to seeing Alex’s little personality continue to develop and unfold.  Below are a few images: Alex’s monthly portrait; Alex and Victory’s monthly portrait; followed by photos of Alex throughout this month; and some iphone images, of our precious girl along with some images of Alex and Victory during her third month with us!  You can read our birth story along with viewing images from Alex’s birth here; you can read Alex’s first month snapshot here; and her second month snapshot here.

 

 

 

 

See how much Alex has grown as compared to last month!

 

 

See how much Alex has grown as compared to last month!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few images from Victory’s Birthday!

 

 

 

A few iphone images from this month!

Update: Our Fur Girl, Victory!

I thought that I would provide an update on our fur girl, Victory!  Victory is now officially a ‘big sister!’  It is very difficult to believe, at times!  We are so grateful!  We are all doing better overall with more rest, and a little time together under our belts!  We have been giving Victory lots of love and reassurance!  The first month was a major adjustment period for all of us, including our fur girl, Victory!  (We are still adjusting; but our new normal feels more normal!)  I wrote this post to help prepare other similarly situated dogs welcoming a human sibling!  Victory, along with us, is doing pretty well.  In addition to the items/ideas contained in that post, we have been doing the following, below, to help Victory during this big transition.

We have transitioned baby Alex into her nursery in her Dock-A-Tot, which has been helpful for all, especially Victory — baby Alex is a noisy sleeper, often times at night!  Victory now has Doug and I to herself in our bed, the way it had always been, which she loves along with her tuck-ins at night — a favorite time and ritual with her, which Victory loves!  Before bed we have been staying up a little later with just Victory to give her some time by herself after putting baby Alex to bed.  This has really helped Victory.

Our house now has just the four of us, which is the way Victory likes it — she prefers not to have visitors!  This has helped Victory as well!  We are now able to consistently implement her morning routine, which she likes, which consists of the following: potty; back to bed to rest; potty again; breakfast; teeth brushing; and then she goes up to my office and waits for me, just the way she likes it and she rests for the remainder of the day with more potty trots!  She is now giving me my morning ‘feet washing,’ while I sit at my desk, the way she always used to do prior to baby Alex!

We have been taking Victory on outings with us, which she loves, even though the weather has been extremely hot and humid along with a lot of rain recently!  We have been going out for ice cream and a few dinners together, which have all gone well!  This has definitely helped her morale, immensely!  (We are looking forward to the fall, which has officially arrived, filled with cooler temperatures and fun outings planned with our girls!)

When I feed baby Alex, I have started to give Victory some treats to keep her feel included, which she likes!  Victory even licks baby Alex’s little feet and legs — it is quite adorable!

When we read to baby Alex, we include Victory in story time, and she seems to enjoy it!  Victory is even coming into the nursery on her own more often now!

During the day, I make sure I talk to Victory and tell her that we love her and that she is doing a great job, and her little sister is going to absolutely adore her when she gets a little older and discovers our fur girl!

We are making progress on this front and we are doing our best to keep things as normal as possible for Victory; somedays are easier than others!  Overall, Victory is doing quite well and she has been a great ‘big sister!’  We are very grateful for our girls!

Below are a few snapshots of our girls, Alex and Victory!

 

 

Alex and Victory are pictured together, below, recently on the first day of fall!

 

Two Month Snapshot: Alexandra

How is our baby Alex already two months old!  The time is going by so very quickly.  We are savoring each day and fleeting moment!  Overall, things have been a bit easier this month as compared to our first month together!  The theme for this month summed up in one word is rhythm.  We are finding our rhythm and grove with Alex!  We figured out what paci finally worked for Alex, one that would stay in her mouth, thanks to a recommendation by a friend!  Most importantly, Alex is finally sleeping, as compared to the first month, which is monumental.  She gives us about four to five hour stretches at night, six and seven hours on occasion, which has been so nice!  She is the most animated and interactive in the mornings after waking up and in the evenings right before bed time.  She is interacting with us and we love to see her smile, it melts our hearts!  And, she is taking about one to two long naps a day, on average, which has been great!  The Dock-A-Tot, paci, white noise machine, and velcro swaddles have helped immensely with her sleep!  We have learned what her cries mean, for the most part, we are trying to anticipate her needs, and we are getting a rhythm to our days, all the while she is constantly changing and growing.  Speaking of which, recently, to make more room in Alex’s closet and dresser, I packed away her clothes that no longer fit!  It was bittersweet.  Some clothes, she only wore one time, as she is constantly growing!  Overall, our life feels so much simpler since her arrival, all the while our life is more complicated simultaneously.  Most of all, we enjoy and love our baby Alex immensely!

Doug and I have also found our rhythm together.  We tag team to care for Alex and Victory.  We have become very efficient at getting things accomplished!  The element of time has a whole new meaning for us.  We have managed to even work out a schedule whereby we can both go to the gym multiple times a week, which is a feat with a little one!  I have managed to be able to see and visit with some friends, which has been really nice as well!

Victory is even doing better, too.  Last month, she would, sometimes, retreat to our bedroom when the baby cried and when we had visitors.  Now, she is staying with the baby and I even more.  I think it takes some time for everyone to somewhat acclimate.  We tell Victory each day that she is going to have a little sister that absolutely adores her in the coming months when Alex is able to understand and really discover Victory.  Victory is very gentle and kind with Alex, and we are very fortunate for this.  They are even nap buddies!  We have been able to get out for some outings, dinners and ice cream with Alex and Victory!   You can see below, Victory and Alex pictured at each of their gils’ dinners together this month!

A few highlights from Alex’s second month include:

-she is sleeping!  We are so elated!  We are all feeling a little more rested, but we are both tired!

-she is staying swaddled at night, with her velcro swaddles, which has helped immensely with her sleep and our sleep!

-she is a loud sleeper and she grunts, like a wild boar, which is apparently normal!  As a result, we moved her at seven weeks in her Dock-A-Tot to her crib in her nursery, down the hall, where she is now sleeping at night.

-she found her fingers and hands!  She sucks on her fingers and fists sometimes.  She is still looking for that thumb, possibly!

-she gave us some big smiles!  It was wonderful to witness!  She is starting to interact with us, which is neat!

-she loves her play yard!  She is mesmerized by all of the hanging objects and sounds!

-she loves her swing, and she takes at least one nap in it daily, usually!

-she has had several ‘blow outs’ that necessitated an immediate bath!  Thankfully, Doug handled most of the clean up during these instances and I gave Alex her baths following each ‘blow out!’

-she is tolerating bath time and we have moved to a larger bath tub for her, as she is growing like a weed!

-she and Victory like to be read to in the evenings before bed!

-she is still enjoying taking walks in her Bugaboo and Ergo!  Fortunately, she was born at a nice time of year so we can get outside, despite the rain and hot and humid temperatures, recently!

-she loves to eat and nurse!  She always let’s us know when it is time to eat!

 

A few highlights I would like to remember:

-enjoyed designing and creating our baby announcement introducing Alex, which we mailed to friends and family during her second month!

-love greeting Alex in her nursery in the mornings!  I think she is seeing more clearly, these days, as she gets older!  I enjoy our morning time, and play time together, a time when baby Alex is very animated and she is generally in a really good mood!

-enjoying nursing Alex, especially in the mornings and evenings, as it is one of my favorite times of day with her!  (We refer to her affectionately as our ‘little cherub!’)

-loving the little noises she makes!

-knowing on the days that I feel totally exhausted, that I will someday really miss these early days, and I need to remind myself, at times of this fact.

-enjoying taking Alex and Victory out to eat a few times and having things going well!

-knowing now that I can reach 10,000 steps without intentionally exercising from running all over our house, room to room, all day long!

-Doug is sharing all types of music with Alex when he spends time with her in the evenings after work!  Sometimes, she will even fall asleep!

-most of all, we are cherishing getting to be Alex’s parents!

Doug and I are very grateful for our little girl and our little family!  We feel so lucky.  We look forward to seeing Alex’s little personality develop and unfold.  Below are a few images: Alex’s monthly portrait; Alex and Victory’s monthly portrait; followed by photos of Alex throughout this month; and some iphone images, of our precious girl along with some images of Alex and Victory during her second month with us!  You can read our birth story along with viewing images from Alex’s birth here; and you can read Alex’s first month snapshot here.

 

 

 

See how much Alex has grown as compared to last month!

 

 

See how much Alex has grown as compared to last month!

 

 

Alex working away in her play yard!

 

 

Alex in her bouncy seat!

 


 

 

Alex in her nursery!

 

Below are some iphone images of our little cherubs!

 

 

 

 

Here are our girls having a ‘Girls’ Dinner Date’ at multiple restaurants, including the Coal Fire; Mission BBQFive Guys; and Wegmans!

The Importance of Memory Keeping

 

Since becoming a Mamma, I have been thinking even more about memory keeping, especially since our baby Alex is growing like a weed and changing daily; and our beloved fur girl, Victory, will not always be with us physically.  (Victory is well and she is doing well and we hope to have many, many more years with her, as we cannot imagine life without her!)  We are throughly enjoying our time with our girls!  Therefore, I want to preserve as many fleeting moments as I am able.  I am a visual person and it brings us joy to have tangible ways to preserve moments.  Below are a few ways that I preserve and plan to preserve our memories.

1. Baby Hand Print and Foot Prints — I purchased this kit prior to going to the hospital.  Soon after coming home, with the help of my Mom, we made Alex’s newborn hand and foot prints!  They are so tiny!  I am really glad that we did this to capture an impression of her hand print and foot print as a newborn.  We also did this in a similar way with our fur girl, Victory — see here and here.

2. Promptly Journal – I love making photo books; however,  I wanted to find a simple way to capture this time in our lives so I purchased a childhood promptly journal, which helps you capture your child’s complete history from your pregnancy until your child is 18 years old.  There are pages for your to document your pregnancy; pages month for the first year of your baby’s life; and then there are pages for each birthday until age 18.  Each section has places to document your child’s favorite things and then it has questions that help prompt you with what to say.  Additionally, there are places to add photographs, and there are even places to write letters to your child.  So far, it has been manageable to keep up with; and I have had fun completing this book and inserting tangible items to capture memories, and it will hopefully be a nice keepsake for Alex enjoys when she is older.

3. Birth Story – I wrote a more detailed and personal birth story for Alex for when she is older augmented by images of her birth sharing the entire experience with her, while it was fresh in my mind.  (I keep a folder on my computer where I save such documents in one place, which helps keep things organized.)

4. Pregnancy Announcement and Baby Announcement – I designed our pregnancy announcement and our baby announcement that we mailed out to friends and family along with using a custom stamp and seal for both announcements.  It is a nice way to memorialize this type of exciting news in a tangible format!

5. Monthly Portraits (first year) – I am going to do my best to take monthly portraits of Alex and Victory and Alex together to capture what Alex looks like each month during the first year.  Then, I will likely move to yearly portraits!  Of course, I will always do impromptu photo shoots!

6. Monthly Blog Posts (first year) – I plan to do monthly blog posts sharing thoughts and highlights from that month as a way to remember each month with Alex during the first year!

7. Photo Books – I have made a photo book from our wedding, honeymoon, and our annual vacations together since 2011!  I love them!  I have also made a baby book for Alex leading up to and through her birth.  I plan to make another photo book capturing her first year and I plan to subsequently make yearly photo books of Alex, including our fur girl, Victory, of course!

8. Annual Calendar  – I have made an annual calendar for us for at least the past five years and we really love them!  They also make great gifts and they are the perfect size for a desk!  I plan to continue this yearly tradition!

9. Photo Magnets – I like to make photo magnets for our refrigerator of our favorite images!  Our refrigerator is covered in images, photo magnets and quotable magnets which can easily be swapped out, etc.  They also make great gifts, too!

10. Prints – I have always made a point to print our images as I edit them, and then frame them around the house.  Since having Alex, I have even more images from my phone and ‘big camera.’  So, in order to keep up on everything, each week, I download the images from my iphone (I usually edit the images from my iphone on my phone as I take them) and from my CF card on my camera and cull and edit the images and save them on my computer in two places as a back up.  Then, each month, I print these images.  (I have to do this process somewhat consistently, or else it become unmanageable to keep up with.)  Further, there are a variety of places to get prints made online.  I try to document our everyday as it unfolds in images, which typically turn out to be the best images that occur spontaneously.

11. Albums – After I print the images each month, I put them in a photo album.  I know that this may be outdated, but I really like having our images in chronological order and organized in tangible form.  I have been doing this since Doug and I met and it is nice to have some semblance of our images.  Plus, it is always nice, sometimes, to go through images from the past and reminisce.  I also have started a photo album for Alex, which contain images specific to her.

12. Frame Prints – I make fine art prints of the images that I frame to put around our house.  It brings us joy to have our images around the house to actually look at versus having hundreds of images on a phone or computer!  I try to update prints in our frames throughout the year, on multiple occasions, with the images that we especially love and want to see each day!  I use simple frames for the wall and I also use simple frames for around the house for those frames that are not hung on the wall.

I hope that this helps give some ideas for preserving the fleeting moments that go by much too quickly!

 

One Month Snapshot: Alexandra

Our little girl, Alexandra, whom we refer to as “Alex” is six weeks old already!  The time is flying.  I thought I would share some thoughts on our first month as a family of four.  (This post is a little late getting posted as we are still catching up on everything, as best we can, since having our baby.)  The theme of the first month summed up in one word is adjustment.  We waited a long time for our little girl to arrive and, as first time parents, we really did not know what to expect once she was here, with us, even though we took classes and read books to try to prepare.  Her birth is the biggest change of our lives, a very positive change!  However, one cannot really know what it feels like to welcome a child until it really happens.

Our Moms came and helped us during the first month, which was really helpful.  Doug was also home, during this time, which was also extremely helpful.  My recovery was a little longer than typical due to some complications.  Overall, during the first month, we were trying to figure out Alex’s needs such as sleeping and feedings.  We also had to remember that everything was and is still new to Alex and she is figuring out her new world as well.  Each day was different during the first month.  As a result, Doug and I were pretty sleep deprived during this time and we were beginning our adjustment during this monumental transition.  My brain, most days, feels a little scattered, evidenced by this article stating that a woman’s brain changes permanently after having a child.

Victory is very good with Alex she licks her feet, legs, ears, and face!  However, there are times where we can tell that she likely misses the way things were prior to Alex’s arrival, which is only natural.  Doug and I made and continue to make an extra effort to give Victory extra love and hugs along with getting her out for some outings, which was quite challenging to implement the first month, which felt quite chaotic overall.  Everyone is adjusting.  We look forward to outings this fall when it is cooler and Alex is a little older!  However, with time, we are finding our rhythm with Alex, a day at a time, along with helping Victory feel included as she is accustomed to as well.

 

A few highlights from Alex’s first month include:

-fighting going to sleep quite often — she would stay awake for stretches up to eight hours at a time!  She is very alert and it feels like she looks right into your soul with her little almond eyes.

-sleeping, most of the time, only if someone held her!  She would wake up as soon as one put her down for sleep — she would open her little eyes right away!

-enjoying taking walks in her Bugaboo and Ergo!  She fell asleep during most walks.

-escaping her swaddles, routinely, so we moved to the velcro swaddle, which has worked really well and they have prevented her hands and feet from moving all around, disrupting her sleep!

-refusing to sleep in her bassinet so we got the Dock-A-Tot, which she really likes and everyone started to get some sleep, as a result!

-crying during her entire first bath at home — but she smelled so nice once we were done!  Fortunately, she has done a little better during subsequent baths!

-lifting her head up, even though she does not have control of her head — she looks like a little turtle when she does this!

-enjoying nursing and eating!

-falling asleep often on our chests!

-seeing a couple first smiles!

-enjoying sitting out on the deck getting some fresh air!

-dancing with Doug to music to help calm Alex during her ‘fussy periods!’

-enjoying being read to before bedtime!

A few highlights I would like to remember:

-loving her smell — there is nothing like that wonderful smell and soft, velvety skin of a newborn!

-loving her little almond eyes, which are the darkest blue eyes I have ever seen!  I know we are biased, but we think she is just beautiful!

-enjoying being able to nurse our little girl!  I cherish this time, knowing it will not last forever, as the days are passing by too quickly and it seems she is physically changing daily!

-getting to see Doug be a dad (in addition to a fur dad) — he is great with Alex and he helps me a lot!

-celebrating my ‘big birthday’ with our little family on Alex’s one month anniversary!

-most of all, getting to be Alex’s mamma!

Doug and I are very grateful for our little girl and little family!  We feel so lucky.  We look forward to seeing Alex’s little personality develop and unfold.  Below are a few images of our precious girl along with some images of Alex and Victory during her first month with us!  You can read our birth story along with viewing images from Alex’s birth here.  (I aim to take images as life spontaneously unfolds.  However, I plan to take one portrait of Alex each month, during the first year, to see the progressive change throughout the year, also shown immediately below!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Birth Story — Introducing Alexandra Rose

I am happy to share our birth story of our precious, Alexandra Rose!  I am writing this story in the thick of it!  I was finally able to finish writing this thanks to many nursing sessions and a few naps.  We also finally just finished designing and preparing our baby announcements as well!  Everything takes a bit longer to get done these days!  We are still in newborn survival mode.  We understand that the first three months is analogous to the fourth trimester.  Our days have radically changed, for the better; however we are all still adjusting, including our fur girl, Victory!  For any other new mamas out there who feel like they are the only ones who have experienced days where you get nothing else done — even the simplest things — it is ok.  My main job is to keep our baby girl fed, dry, and loved.  And, after all, we will never get these early precious days back with our baby Alex!  We try to be fully present in order to soak everything in.  Doug has been really great with Alex and we work as a team and help each other in order to make everything work as smoothly as possible!

Victory is doing well.  We know it has been a big change for her, but she seems to have adopted Alex into her pack!  Victory is always close by me and she follows me everywhere.  She loves to lick Alex’s legs and feet when I nurse her.  We all take naps together, keeping things as normal as possible for our fur girl, Victory!  We look forward to the fall for more outings together, with the four of us, along with cooler temperatures.  We have managed to take Victory and Alex out for a few dinners near the house and all has gone well, thankfully!  Victory always loves her outings!  I am also working on Victory’s birthday theme and Halloween costumes for our girls!

Overall, we are all adjusting to this new little person who is totally dependent upon us; and Alex is also adjusting to her new world, too.  Thus, we are taking it a day at a time.  But everyday, I wake up, I am so grateful for our miracle baby!  I love her newborn smell and her extra soft skin.  It was an exceptional journey, and we are so grateful to have a healthy, beautiful baby.  Somedays it feels surreal that she is really here!  Baby Alex is very sweet, extremely alert, loves to nurse, is physically strong, likes tummy time, likes to be talked to, and always loves to be held.  The Dock-A-Tot and these swaddles have helped us get some sleep at night!  Each week she is sleeping a little more, which is great!  We are all learning as we go, as it is a huge life transition for everyone, and it will take some more time, but we can never imagine life without our precious little Alex.  We are so blessed; and Alex is truly a gift.  Our little family will never be the same and our hearts have grown immensely since her arrival!

 

 

On to our birth.  On July 13 around 10:00 p.m., the doctor came in and told me that I was 10 cm dilated and 100% effaced and it was finally time to push!  Finally – after a really long labor!  Doug and my Mom stayed with me in the room along with the doctor and nurses for the delivery.  Doug stayed up by my head and cheered me on during the pushing.  After about 25 minutes of pushing, at 10:30 p.m., our baby girl made her way into the world.  It all felt so surreal.  Doug cut the cord and the cord tissue and the cord blood was saved and sent to be cryopreserved with the Cord Blood Registry, CBR.  I will never forget Doug’s face — he looked in so much disbelief that she was actually here, with us!  She weighed 6 pounds, 15.8 ounces and was 20 inches in length.  The doctors quickly dried the baby off and put a hat on her and then immediately put her on my chest, skin to skin.  I heard her first cry as they placed her immediately on my chest – warm and perfect.  I looked at her and looked at Doug and was in compete awe at this little beautiful living being that we created.  We were a family, she was all ours, and I felt so overjoyed.  Then, we shared her name, Alexandra Rose!  Doug picked her name, a name he has always liked for some time, and her middle name is in honor of Doug’s beloved Grandma Rose.

 

 

Fortunately, our baby did not have any latching on problems, and she was willing to nurse, something I really wanted to do for her.  The nurses then took her to do some physical checks and foot prints, etc.  I will never forget meeting her for the first time.  Coincidently, she was even born on my Mom’s birthday as well, and she arrived, full term, five days early from her due date, July 18!  We were then transferred a few hours later to the postpartum unit of the hospital where we all stayed for two nights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following day, our fur girl, Victory, came to the hospital and met the baby and I got to hug and hold our fur girl, who I missed dearly.  (The hospital was kind enough to permit Victory to come after requesting her presence in advance).  It was a treat to have our whole little family together!  Friends also came to visit that evening to meet our baby girl!

 

 

 

On the early evening of July 15, Doug and I went home with our baby.  Truthfully, we were both scared of being on our own with her.  We appreciated all of the nurses’ help along with the lactation consultants’ help as well.  I was fortunate to have an excellent doctor and very kind nurses during my labor and delivery stay at the hospital.  Upon arriving home, it was also very helpful to have our Moms here to help us for several weeks as well.

 

 

 

Doug and I are currently finding our rhythm with Alex.  Each week gets a little easier.  We enjoy our evening walks together with Alex and Victory; and Alex loves her Bugaboo Fox and her Ergo with the infant insert!  Presently, each day is different and we are cherishing our time with her and Victory; the days are moving at lightening speed.  It is hard to believe she is already five weeks old!  She is growing like a weed and we are trying to savor and capture these days with her, which I try to document visually and in her Promptly Journal, which I love, as an alternative to a traditional baby book.  Most of all, we love getting to be Alex’s parents.  Somedays, I cannot believe I get to be Alex’s mama!  We are so very grateful for our little family!  Thank you so much for reading our birth story and I hope to share more soon about our first month as a family of four!