Friday, January 28, 2011

Fill in the Blank Friday!

1.   If my house was on fire and I could only grab 3 things I would grab    If it's assumed that Daphne is not a "thing," I would grab my laptop because it has all our pictures stored, my purse because of obvious identification and checkbook purposes, and a snack. ;) Insurance will cover the rest  .

2.  A smell I really like is   Tahitian Tiare Flower Yankee Candle!!  .

3.  Something you might not know about me is   During a grade school play, my foot came out of my shoe when I stepped up on the platform to say my lines. I was mortified, but no one else probably noticed .

4.  Some of my favorite websites to putter about on are and!

5.  This weekend I will     help put on prom for the kids I work with and try to snuggle with Jon and Daphne as much as possible  .

6. Nothing makes me happier than      laughing belly laughs with friends .

7.  A bad habit I have is       biting my nails. Bad!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Five months!

Darling Daphne is five months old! Well, she's five months and ten days old tomorrow, but who counts days? Oh, yeah, some crazy moms. Anyway. We haven't been to the doctor lately, but I'm pretty sure she weighs about 16 lbs. Either that or she's been putting cans of soup in her car seat with her.

As a five month old nubbin, Daphne tries desperately to sit up while lying on her back and also by propping herself up from a pushup position. So far, these are unsuccessful attempts, but she seems pretty determined. In addition to baby crunches, Daphne has also mastered almostcrawling. Almostcrawling consists of her getting into the crawling position, clearly struggling to figure out what to do next, hearing Jon and me clapping and encouraging, and then rolling over onto her back. She is an expert at rolling now. In order to get from her pink giraffe to her plastic keys, for example, she now does a roll/stretch combo that is pretty adorable and effective.

Daphne absolutely adores her father. She has been saying DADADA and all other similar syllable combinations for weeks. At first, I though maybe it was just easy for her to say, but now she says it when she sees Jon and when he walks away. It's so precious.

Jon is also the one who elicits most of her ridiculously cute giggles. These are typically in response to Paddy Cake and Peek-a-Boo.

Both of her bottom teeth are almost all the way in, which is not as adorable as I thought it would be, since Daphne is exclusively breastfed. She had an itty bitty taste of avocado one night last week when Jon and I were feeling frisky, but we're going to wait until she's six months to start other foods.

She's, of course, very curious, loves other kids, and just seems really smart to me. :) The only thing I wish Daphne would master is sleeping through the night, but she continues to wake up at least twice. Some day I'll sleep again, right?

Oh, well, at least I get to snuggle with this
every night.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"I get a little warm in my heart"


This winter has been long. Truth be told, I think every winter is long, and it makes me feel old, but I think I hate the winter worse and worse each year.

Despite this, perhaps, seasonal depression, many positive things have happened this winter. Daphne has changed so much since her August birth. While the trees sleep and the flowers wait to bloom, Daphne is thriving.

Snow first came down onto her precious dark hair on Thanksgiving this year.

Jon loves taking her out in the snow. In this picture, he had just ran downstairs to snap a quick picture of her enjoying the weather when the man you see in the foreground asked us for some money to buy breakfast with. It was unusual, and we felt really blessed that we had the means to help him. In years past, it would have been harder.

With snow came new fashion accessories as well.

Daphne's first Christmas was lively as it was the first time she met three of her cousins, my darling niece Lily and adorable nephews Parker and Julian.



Christmas weekend was also the first time Daphne had ever reached for something to grab. She kind of held her arms out before and appeared interested in objects, but the first thing she ever really grabbed was a gift from Jon's brother Dusty and his family, her pink giraffe.

Jon named it Pinky. I would have been more clever, but, it stuck.

She was so adorable opening gifts and meeting Santa. Her personality is just really starting to shine through.

As we start this new year
 I yearn for more days like this

but, I know that they will soon be here, and I need to enjoy every second of our journey.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fill in the Blank Friday

My friend Missy at always does these Fill in the Blank Fridays, which seem super fun to me, so I'm going to give it a shot today.
1.   My favorite quote is    My grandma always quotes this one, and I love it. "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."  Eleanor Roosevelt

2.  A bad habit I have is    Overeating. I have been keeping a food diary since the beginning of January and it helps me stay accountable, but I definitely have the habit of eating more than is necessary.

3.  The first time I felt like a "grown up" was    When I got my first "real job" working as a newspaper reporter. I had only waitressed or worked as a student factory worker before that, and it felt very swanky to have such a grown-up job.

4.  Weekends are  my favorite. I only get to hang out with Jon and Daphne for extended periods of time on Saturdays, and I live for that time. I cry on Sunday nights waiting for the next weekend.

5.  When I was a child I wished my name was     Anything but Joan, because only old ladies were named Joan. All the cool girls I knew had the name Kim, so I kinda wanted that. When I was in 7th grade, I tried to get my friends to call me Katie, which is an abbreviation of my middle name, but it never caught on.

6.  I wish    that people would love Jon's book as much as I do and that it would be successful enough for one of us to stay home with Daphne. As much as we love Cheri, we would really prefer to raise her ourselves .

7.  A secret I have is  geeeez. I'm pretty open, actually. It's hard for me to filter myself. I guess one secret I have is that though I really love animals, I'm not really sure I want a pet. I'm afraid of cleaning up after them, I think.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Trusting God

Today I read a blog written by a mother who gave birth at 19 weeks and held her son for minutes before he died.

The day Daphne was born, her cousin was born at 20 weeks and died in his mother's arms.

Every month on the 18th, the day they were born, I pray for Stefanie, knowing that my baby is another month older and her baby is so far away in heaven.

How blessed we are that our daughter thrives. My heart breaks for the mothers and fathers who have lost children. Tears are falling down my cheeks as I write this, because it seems so unfair, so horrifyingly tragic.

In one second, this blog could become a memorial to Daphne rather than a celebration of her progress.

Since she was born, I am one of those crazy moms who checks to make sure she is still breathing in her crib. I envision grisly car wrecks, I picture her choking, I live in fear of SIDs.

But, I have no control over this. Whether God decides that Daphne has fulfilled her purpose here or not is not for me to decide. When Jon and I first started this journey, especially when we miscarried the first baby, we found out how none of this is in our hands. We have to trust God every single day.

Parenting is terrifying because it is so absolutely precious. She is so absolutely valuable, and our lives would be empty without her. I have to trust Him with what is so precious to me, I have to know that she is worth more to Him than I can imagine, so much that He gave His life for her.

I have to let go and simply enjoy the time we have, because I don't know how long it will really be.

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,
which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the Lord surrounds his people,
from this time forth and forevermore. - Psalm 125:1,2

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Back to Work

As the days with Daphne dwindled, I started having anxiety about going back to work. Not once did I long for time away from her. In fact, in the eight weeks I had off with her, I left her once for only an hour. Going back to work was extremely hard.

Two weeks old
One month old

God blessed our family with an amazing woman named Cheri, who is my friend and who also runs a daycare from her home. Cheri is like the baby whisperer. I had the opportunity to volunteer at her daycare a few years ago, and I saw the magic touch she has up close and personal. I had no qualms about leaving Daphne with Cheri, but in reality, I didn't want to leave Daphne with anyone.
Daphne at two months, which is when I went back to work
The first day I left, I felt sick to my stomach. I cried all of my makeup off. Praise the Lord that Jon's schedule is such that he is the one that drops Daphne off at Cheri's. Unfortunately, this transition was just as hard on Jon as it was on me. He called me after he dropped her off the first time and said, "I'm supposed to be a tough guy, but man, I just cried and cried. I need Prozac or something after that."

Leaving in the mornings was hard for weeks. I cried every day. Jon and I did everything we could to figure out how I could stay home with the baby, but really, there is no way. Also, my job is very rewarding, and I believe God has placed me there for a reason, so I accept that I'm a working mom.

The transition was least difficult for Daphne. She absolutely loves Cheri, and admittedly, that is hard on Jon and me also. Daphne smiles and laughs at Cheri every time he drops her off and every time I pick her up. She is obviously well cared for and we feel blessed even if we are jealous.

If I had been blogging about Daphne since day one, I would probably remember every little thing that she has done between two months and five, but I don't. I wish I did, and I plan to write down as much as I can from now on.

Three months

Four months

One thing that I do remember, because it made me think that Daphne is absolutely brilliant, is that she learned to roll from her back to her stomach when she was three months old. Every baby website I've visited talks about how difficult this is, so, of course I assumed this meant my baby was extremely advanced. What it really means is that my baby learned to be mobile before we were completely ready for it.

Now, Daphne rolls to get from her rattle to her pink giraffe. She rolls from her activity gym to my chair. She lifts her hands almost in a "pick me up" gesture. She laughs uproariously at peek-a-boo. She works very hard on sitting up by herself, though right now she is just doing crunches (that kid must have abs of steel). When we place her sitting up, she can stay upright for short stretches of time.

Another milestone for Daphne: teeth! At four months old, she started showing the signs and now two on the bottom are breaking through. Though she was miserable the first few days they cut, she tolerates it pretty well now. She's such a happy kid - once, she even smiled at me through her tears.

I think I'm caught up on her milestones, as much as I can remember right now, so I will now be able to chronicle her from this point forward. Forgive me if I remember something adorable later, though, because I'll be sure to put that here also.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Bliss Before Work

The early weeks, while I healed and before Jon and I had to go back to work, consisted of much relaxing, what I remember as constant breastfeeding, adorable tiny outfits and poop. In fact, the first adorable outfit I put that child in, she ruined ten minutes later with a poop blowout.

Right before the blowout

She was a ladylike pooper, though. Once, Jon and I were marveling at how incredibly beautiful she was, holding her and pointing out her pretty little fingers and toes. She looked at us with what I can only describe as a coy little smile and she coughed in a teeny little voice. Unfortunately, the teeny little cough did nothing to mask the loud rumbling coming from her rear end. Pooping had never been so hilarious before. 

  Adorable, right?

Because Daphne was born in August, the weather was beautiful, so we went on family walks every single day. She absolutely loved it. As soon as we walked outside, she would look up at the sky and seem to revel in the fresh air. She tilted her little face up and let the wind blow in her hair. About a block in, she would promptly fall asleep.

I know that I remember this time as blissful, because I reveled in spending time with her and Jon, but I also remember being very, very tired. Breastfeeding was complicated and draining, no pun intended, and getting used to our new structure was not exactly hard but it was really exhausting. 

Having a C-section turned out to be a blessing because I got two extra weeks off work, which I desperately needed. The night Jon went back to work was the worst, but we soon found our footing with the schedule. Daphne's sleeping wasn't the best; maybe she didn't like her bassinet? I don't know. She always woke after two or three hours, and I would take her to the rocking chair to attempt to nurse her back to sleep. Sometimes she just screamed and screamed. We were afraid she had colic, but knowing her now, at nearly five months old, I think she was just tired and she had too much stimulation in the rocking chair. I soon started bringing her in our bed and nursing her and she always slept peacefully after that. 

At this point in our Life After Daphne, Jon and I realized how obsessed with this kid we really were. We were in awe of everything - when she found her fingers, her first little noise (which sounded a lot like "Hi!"), a developing pigment in her eye color. I think one of our favorite "firsts" was giving her a bath.

Our lives had really (obviously) become centered on one beautiful little girl. 


Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Worst Isn't Over

Having a baby is the coolest thing that my body can do. I was amazed at my pain threshold and my resilience. I was in so much pain afterward but it really didn't matter. I had my baby and, wow, she was beautiful!

Daphne's pediatrician was worried about jaundice so we took her home along with a little bili bed. Jon and I were vigilant about putting her in it while she was sleeping because we were so freaked out. She slept very peacefully in the bed, probably because it was so warm, but I couldn't help but feel like I was preparing her for Toddlers and Tiaras in her mini tanning bed.

It was pure torture when the first nurse came to our home to check her bilirubin count and cut her little heel open and let it drain into a tube. The second nurse let me breastfeed her throughout and it was completely peaceful. She didn't cry once.

We had so many friends and family members come and support us that these early days went so well. My mom stayed with us and prepared meals and went to the store for things that Jon didn't feel comfortable getting. My grandparents came several times and brought dinner and clothes for the baby. Missy, Rebecca, and even Angie, who traveled over 100 miles!, came to meet Daphne.

Although it could have been worse, it could have been better. I never slept. Daphne slept for about two hour intervals and then would want to nurse for another two hours. On and on. Finally, even though I said I wouldn't let this happen, I laid her on my chest to sleep. This was the best move I'd made so far as a mom. Sometimes, no matter what you read, you have to do what's going to work for you and the baby. And, this worked for us.

So, the jaundice fear was over and the bili bed gone, and I'm finally getting some more sleep. The worst is over, right? Wrong.

When Daphne was one week old, I realized that my C-section incision was hot and swollen. I wanted to ignore it, but Jon convinced me that if it got really bad then maybe I wouldn't be able to care for Daphne very well. Already he had learned that the baby was perfect leverage. So, I called the OB and they told me to come in immediately. I had so much anxiety. If you've ever had to travel with a newborn who is breastfeeding, then you may understand why. What was a 30 minute drive became an hour drive with two feeding stops to get her to stop screaming.

Finally we got there. Everyone oohed and ahhed over how gorgeous my kid is. She really is.

 Then, I went into an exam room expecting to hear that I might need to take an antibiotic, that maybe I had a little infection. Dr. S., who wasn't my delivering OB and who was new to the practice, comes in and I already feel more worried. The only experience I'd had with him previously was when he was checking my dilation two weeks prior and put his entire arm inside me.

Up on the table I go, lift up my shirt, pull down my pants, and Dr. S. says, "Yeah, I'm going to have to cut you open right now."

I looked at Jon and then at Dr. S. and I said, "Shut. Up. You are not serious."

I really thought he was joking. He wasn't. Before I could even ask again, he told the nurse to get (and I remember this very specifically) a blade. Then, my loving husband says, "I'm going to take Daphne out in the waiting room, this might freak her out." That made perfect sense to me because I was completely in shock.

I had an infection, apparently one that was introduced in the operating room, and Dr. S. needed to drain it. Jon had to come back in and learn how to pack the gaping hole in my stomach with gauze because he was going to have to do this twice a day until I was healed. At this point, I figured that was just desserts for him sleeping during my labor and leaving the room when the Dr. went all Freddy Krueger on my incision.

So, for two weeks, we went through this lovely process, even had an ER visit when I had another infection scare, and then the worst was over. Really this time.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Welcome Daphne

Every woman probably thinks her labor story is the most fascinating story anyone has ever been blessed to hear. I say this because every time I'm with a group of women and one woman starts to tell hers, every other woman is seemingly compelled to one-up her. Then the listeners in the group get to hear such statements uttered: "Well, my contractions were off the charts, the doctor said he's never seen anything like it!"

The problem with this is that no one really wants to hear anyone else's labor story. Early in the first trimester, pregnant women find out that everyone else knows everything about their pregnancy. How many times do we hear, "Oh, your morning sickness will get better. Mine did." or "When I was pregnant I felt the baby kick at 15 weeks. You should go to the doctor!" Whenever I shared my experiences, the other ladies would at best nod knowingly or at worst say, "Just wait until the kid is here! Blah, blah, blah." It got to the point where I would just not share anything for fear of hearing something stupid in return. And, I certainly didn't want to hear anyone's labor story, because after hearing all their pregnancy stories, I knew mine would be different. I didn't want them to freak me out and I didn't want them to dampen my excitement. 

Now that I've been through labor, I can understand why everyone is itching to tell her story. Maybe it's the most amazing experience many of us will ever have, maybe it's the most traumatizing thing that's ever happened to us, whatever the case may be, once you have a story, you want to share it.

So, even though I know it interests no one but me, I'm going to write my labor story, because I don't want to forget one blessed, traumatic minute of it.

First, Life Before Daphne included a miscarriage, which was early on and yet so heartbreaking. I remember crying in the ER hospital room, asking God just to give me strength, which He did on so many levels. My husband Jon and I were devastated but we wanted to be parents so much that we tried again. I have to admit, I am one of the lucky ones, as I was pregnant again by my next cycle, and so began Life With Daphne.

In the womb, Daphne was a day sleeper and a night partier. She let me know that she was strong enough to kick at about 17 weeks, and she never stopped. She was modest at her first gender ultrasound, but after 45 minutes, the tech was pretty certain our baby was a girl. She loved Mexican food and gave me heartburn so bad that I drooled pink in my sleep from the many Tums I had to take. We were pretty sure she was going to think her dad spoke in falsetto, because Jon put his face on my belly and talked to her in the silliest voice every day.

I had a very easy pregnancy, with just occasional bouts of nausea and pickle cravings. The only concern was my giant feet, but the Dr. assured me I didn't have preeclampsia, so I just wore flip flops and went on my merry way.
I regret this is the only picture taken of my giant feet. You get no real sense of the insane proportions.

When my due date approached, my OB mentioned inducing the baby, which I guess is common practice? I had no intention of picking her birthday, so Jon and I decided to wait. When I was 9 days overdue, my water broke at 8:30 a.m. but Daphne wasn't descended and I wasn't dilated. So, the Dr. said we had to use pitocin. I entered the hospital around 10:30 a.m. and Jon, who works a midnight shift, promptly went to sleep, first in my room and then in the waiting room.

His mother stayed with me for a short time and at about 6:30 p.m., my mother and grandmother came. They were starving, I wasn't progressing, so I told them to go get dinner. At 8 p.m., my contractions became intense.

I don't remember my exact dilation at this point, I just knew that it was starting to hurt and I was alone. I paged the nurse and asked her to find my husband. Thirty minutes later, Jon came in and my mom and grandma were back. I used my breathing exercises to get through the pain because I was determined not to need an epidural.

Time passes, it's starting to be nearly unbearable, and the nurse asks me if I'm ready for an epidural. No! Instead, they give me Stadol and, really, have you had this? I pretty much pass out in between contractions. I remember having anxiety about the next contraction even though I couldn't keep my eyes open or my mind focused.

By 2 a.m., I'm finally dilated to 10! No epidural! If you've experienced this you know that when your body says push, YOU HAVE TO PUSH, even if the nurse continually forgets that you didn't have an epidural. Seriously, a handful of times, the two nurses said, "Just wait this one out and push the next time, we're not ready." Umm... no.

So, I'm pushing. Grandma, Mom, and Jon are all screaming, "PUSH, PUSH, PUSH," and the nurses tell me I'm just not pushing hard enough. So I change angles, I grab my legs, and I PUSH. Grandma later told me that the dials on the pushing chart went way up at this point.

Unfortunately, Daphne's head was stuck. How did they finally determine this? After two hours of pushing, she didn't come out. I'm EXHAUSTED and in SO MUCH PAIN. The Dr. comes in and says, "You have a 5 % chance of pushing her out in the next hour. After that, I'm doing a C-section."

Umm, hello. Do the C-section NOW! But, there is no anesthesiologist, the operating room isn't ready. So, in full labor, pushing contractions, I wait. and wait. for 40 minutes.

Finally, at about 5 a.m., the anesthesiologist yells at me to sit up better so she can get the needle in. Immediately, I'm euphoric because there is no more pain and ten minutes later, Jon and I hear Daphne's first cry. We both looked at each other and laughed in relief and awe! We couldn't fathom that she was here! I heard a nurse say, "Oh, my goodness, look at that hair, look at those eyelashes! She is so pretty!"

And this is the saddest, worst part of my labor: I didn't get to see her for another 20 minutes. For some reason, they took her to the nursery to do all the weighing etc., and though Jon got to go with her, I was laying there being sewn shut and didn't see my daughter until she was wrapped up like a burrito and brought to me later.

Daphne looked at me, and I swear, she recognized me. It was like she said with her eyes, "Oh, there you are! I was wondering where you were! Phew!" Then, she nursed like a champ and we all went back to my room for introductions and some blessed sleep. 
 Grandma Lil

  Gigi Joan

 Grandma Joan and Great-Grandpa Thumbs

 I've never looked worse or felt better

High Fever

Blogging is not something I've really considered doing, but in a fevered state last night, I realized I want to catalog my life since having a daughter. Someone recently asked me how Daphne's first Christmas went, and I told her how that weekend was the first that Daphne had ever reached for something and grabbed it, which made Christmas adorable. She helped open gifts and actually seemed interested in her pink giraffe and light up toys.  The woman said, "Oh, that's one for the baby book!"

Well, I don't have a baby book. Baby books give me anxiety. The thought that I might forget to scribble down something important makes me freeze. Nevermind that I'm not writing anything down which is surely worse. So, at midnight, temperature 102.5 last night, I decided this might be a reasonable outlet for me.

This is really about Daphne and making sure that I take joy in her milestones instead of being afraid of chronicling them.