Monday, February 24, 2014

Thank YOU Gift

So my parents come and are slaves to my children for a week and a half and when they leave they send US a thank you gift for letting them come stay?!!!

I seriously have the nicest parents ever.
I am so grateful for all that they did while they were here. And then they brightened our day after they were gone by sending these in the mail...

A Cars character for each of our kids.
Zak of course thinks they are all his.

But the girls are pretty patient with him.

We are getting quite the little collection of Cars characters (we have more that aren't pictured).
It is a must that Zak goes to bed with at least one car for each hand. He is so funny.

But he is not the only one really enjoying these cars.
Sarah is quite taken with Finn McMissile. 
She even started a book about him. Here is a page I stumbled across one night. It says, 
"Finn is a good spy. Finn looks cool. Finn is Fast. I like Finn. Good job Finn!"

Love how much Sarah loves writing, and how happy and positive she is. What a sweet girl!

2 Hour Delays

Pittsburgh has been having an unusually cold and snowy winter.
Something about a polar vortex blowing through?

Whatever. I don't mind.
If there is ever a time that I wouldn't mind keep my kids home or taking them to school late, now would be the time.

So one morning there was a two hour delay I got the girls already and somehow wasn't paying attention and got off by and hour at what time we should leave. So the girls were in the car, ready to go to school one hour early. So... 

We hit target for a quick errand and then I surprised the girls with a quick stop at Dunkin' Donuts. 
It was so fun!

The girls were really excited.

I feel like such a grouchy mom all the time, it was fun to let loose and be spontaneous.

So... there is an upside to this miserable winter we've been having. 

Love these sisters!


There is not a more powerful sleep aid than snuggling a new baby...

Works like a charm. Every time!

Call me... maybe?

Sarah came home from school with this...

A boy's. number!

It was a boy in her class named Ty. 
She of course was clueless... and I'm sure Ty was just wanting to play, but I thought it was cute that he wrote his number down and gave it to her.

Crocheted with Love!

I have been adoring all the adorable chevron crocheted blankets on Pinterest lately. 
I was so excited about them that I wanted to make one for baby girl to be. 
I talk about this with G'ma Berta and she talked me into letting her make one as a gift. So while we were in MN for Thanksgiving we picked out yarn and I found the pattern to use.
I was crazy for wanting to try something so ambitious, and whatever I did would have looked nothing like this!!

It is beautiful and perfect!
SUCH a wonderful baby gift for such a darling lil' lady!

Thank you Roberta!!
All your hours/days/weeks being snowed in paid off!

G'ma & G'pa Newey's Visit

My poor parents got thoroughly gypped on their visit. A majority of the time they were here I was on the hospital and a good portion Ryan was away on residency interviews. 

But we did get to spend a little bit of time together before they left for home. They were so sweet to get up every morning and take the kids to school so I could sleep in. It was an amazing help just doing that, let alone all the other things they did. 

Mostly they let me do lots of this...

And have lots of time to just sit and enjoy this view...

What could be better?

My mom enjoying some good snuggle time. 

She also brought a cute little craft for us to do together. Who doesn't love a Valentine's bunting?!!

It was so amazing having my Dad there as well. He was so helpful. I don't know how we would have survived with out them both. He was on drop off/pick up duty for the girls. Plus, while they were here our washing machine broke and he found the problem, bought the part AND fixed it for us! I was so, so grateful for that!

We even braved a trip to our favorite Indian Restaurant. Udipi's Cafe. So yummy!

I was so sad after they left and realized how few photos I took. 
Guess all the mental pictures I took will have to suffice. 

He's TWO!!

So it is a good thing this was only Zak's 2nd Birthday, because he was oblivious to the fact that we celebrated it almost a week late. Whoops!

You're TWO!! Crazy!

 I tried to get a picture perfect of him in the Birthday Crown...
 but these are what I got...
 and... I think I like them even better (especially the one with his eyes closed)

There is the amazing little bakery in Pittsburgh called Prantl's. They make these fantastic burnt almond tortes, my mom splurged and got one to celebrate Emily coming home from the hospital... and it also served as Zak's birthday cake (mom of the year, right here!)

Girls loved singing to Zak!
"Cha-cha-cha" parts and all. So fun!

Zak was a big fan of the cake.

Couldn't even get him to stop shoveling it in for a picture with G'ma & G'pa.

Then our usual "heavy, heavy hangover" present tradition.

Zak is in LOVE with Cars. 
So of course he got some more to add to his stash.

Even a drumset!

It is a favorite toy in the household now.

Some fun things I want to remember about Zak the Two Year Old. 

Zak is still quite the little snuggler. He almost smothers me sometimes, especially when he is tired. He will grab his fuzzy monkey blanket and "plug" and come over to me while rubbing his blanket under his nose. Stand on my feet, lean against my legs and lay his head in my lap, or he'll take the extra effort and climb up next to me and lay on my or lay his head on my arm. I love his snuggle time.

He has his own version of Peek-a-Boo. He covers his eyes and says, "Where'd he go?" And will wait there forever until you repeat it, and then uncovers his face with a beaming smile and yells, "There he is!!" Love the smile that comes afterwards.

Zak is becoming quite the little helper. He love to run and grab things for me, throw things in the garbage (or cups, and plates, or pretty much anything I ask him to take to the kitchen). He currently has to be the first one to Emily's side when she starts crying. He quickly finds her pacifier and crams it into her face. He is turning out to be a wonderful big brother. Love watching him give her loves and kisses.

Speaking of running, that is the way Zak gets around the house. Our house isn't that big, but he runs where ever he goes. And when he is not running he is jumping. This kiddo loves to jump! Especially when he is excited or his favorite song comes on during a dance party. 

He still loves Dancing... quite the little dancer. I need to get some good videos on here. 
Love my little dancing man!

I have played a little I love you game with all my kids. Where I slowly say.

As each kid has gotten to about his age they start yelling out "you" before I do.
Zak love this game and he will start saying it with all the family members names. Although, he doesn't enunciate very well yet, so it sounds more like,
.....Warwa (Sarah)
"Uh......Aw.......Ry (yep... doesn't say daddy)"
He is just barely starting to do it with Emily's name too... sounds more like Amalie. So cute!

Zak has mastered the squinty smile. It is the perfect balance of cheese and adorableness. He big half moon eyes become more like crescent moon shaped. It works perfect with his big toothy grin. I really need to get a good picture of it to share... it is sort of like this one.

Happy Birthday my BIG Two Year Old Guy!!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Emily's NICU stay

Another long and rambling post...

All of my children ran on the high side with their jaundice bilirubin levels. So it was no surprise that Emily's was running high and that they stressed the importance of seeing a pediatrician the day after we left the hospital. We saw a pediatrician in the practice, but not our regular doctor. She was very sweet, but concerned at her high bilirubin test they took that day (it was at a 17). So told us we needed to go to Children's Hospital to have her sit under the lights for a day. 

Okay, I was a little emotional about the news, but new it would be okay. My parents were flying in the next night (Saturday, January 11th), so it would just be a little stressful not having the house ready for their arrival. No biggie, it would only be for a day... right?

Off to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh (CHP). They didn't have any beds in the NICU available, so they just sent us to the ER to get her under the lights. It was funny when we were there we had to tell the story of why we were there over and over again... "Um, she's a newborn, and has high bilirubin levels, so we were referred here by our pediatrician's office." But the questions didn't stop there. They had to go through the steps and ask for her medical history... some questions made sense, but others made us laugh.

Dr: So was she full term?
Us: Yep, 40 weeks, 1 Day.
Dr: Any complications during pregnancy or at birth?
Us: No, not related to her. Mom did have her appendix out at 18 weeks, but it didn't affect the baby.
Dr: So have you noticed any changes in Emily? Has she been acting differently?
Us: *chuckles* Well... not that we know of, she's only 3 days old, we're still trying to get to know her in general. 
Dr: Has she been more sleepy lately?
Us: *blink blink* Seriously? Um, well... she is a newborn... sleeping is pretty much all she does.

You get the idea. It didn't annoy us, we knew they had to go through their list to make sure they didn't miss any clues. But it was just for jaundice... we kind of felt like it was ridiculous. 

Here she is working on her tan.

Full-head-gear eye wear.

While she was in the ER sitting under the lights they noticed that her Oxygen levels were dipping when she was in a deep sleep (it also happened when she fed). This raised some red flags. Change in respiration can be an early sign of infection in newborns. Since she was only 3 days old, they decided to do a few extra tests on her. 

They hooked her up for an EKG.
 It was normal.

They also took a chest X-Ray.
It was normal too. 

The doctors were all nervous that her oxygen levels were dipping so low, so they put her on a little bit of oxygen (30%... room air is 21%). Her O2 levels jumped right up when they did that. They decided it would be safest to monitor her for a day or two, so they had us admitted to the NICU. 

Much nicer tanning bed in the NICU.

They even stuck little velcro dots on her cheeks to keep her tanning shades on better.

She didn't look too miserable, but still so sad seeing her all hooked up like this. 

That darn oxygen tubing made breastfeeding a real treat!
She hated it, and it made it hard for her to breath at all while nursing. 

She still was a cute little squirt.

They decided to run the whole panel of test on her. I was fun up until the point that they brought me the consent form to do a spinal tap to test for meningitis. They told me I had to leave the room while they did that, and I lost it. I am not a big crier, in fact I HATE crying in front of others. This probably made it worse. I couldn't talk. I just quietly sobbed as tears poured out of my eyes. I was exhausted, I had postpartum hormones raging through my system... I was simply emotionally unstable. It didn't help that I couldn't reach Ryan by telephone right away.

They did all the tests, and then all we could do was wait until the results came back, some took 48 hours. 

In the meantime my parents got into town. What a blessing that was that they had their trip scheduled for this time. AND that it wasn't just my mom, that my dad had arranged to come this time.

Here he is loving on sweet Emily!
 I really don't know how my mom would have managed taking care of everything by herself. It would have been so exhausting (not to say that it still wasn't tiring, but you know what I mean)

After some of the tests started coming back negative, they decided to move her to the next level down of the NICU. They moved us to the 8A area of the hospital which meant nicer room (and nicer bed) and it wasn't on lock down quite so much. More than two visitors could be in the room, and I didn't have to call in and ask my nurse when I wanted to get back in the NICU (which was weird!). 

Plus, it came with a stellar view.

Much better than staring at this all day long, watching that blue number to make sure it was staying in the 90s. 

I even got to watch a spectacular sunrise. 
It has been a long while since I've been able to do that!

Slowly they started to wean her off of things as more results came back.
Here she is after they took off her oxygen tubing.
 Those sweet little cheeks could be kissed again!

Sleeping in her bed.

Chubby face stretch.

Waking up to eat.

After being off the oxygen for 48 hours they felt comfortable enough to let us head home. Hooray!! 
January 15th. It was a long 4 1/2 days in the hospital. Don't know how people do this long term. 

Because she did have antibiotics (as a safety precaution) they did a more sensitive hearing test on Emily. They checked to see if her brain activity showed signs that she was hearing the stimuli they administered. Kind of looked funny, I had to snap a picture!

Yay!! In our carseat, waiting to head home. :D

It was so hard being in the hospital all day, every day. But it was bearable knowing that my home was being taken care of by my two sweet parents (Ryan had to go out of town for a residency interview during all this). I also was very comforted spiritually during this whole fiasco. I never once felt anxious that there was something seriously wrong. I always felt that everything would be fine, and it really helped me survive the stay. That and the free hospital food. *wink* The cafeteria at CHP was actually quite good! I felt so blessed and watched over by the timing of everything. I am grateful for modern medicine and the reassurance that Baby Emily was fine, and nothing more serious was going on. I did have emotional moments, but what new mother doesn't. ;) Yay for a healthy baby!!

Hospital Pics of Emily

Just a few pictures I took of Emily in the hospital. 
She doesn't look much like a one day old. 

 My cute friend Stacee crocheted this darling little owl beanie for Emily.
She thought for sure it would be way to big, fit like a glove!

 This face just makes me laugh!

Awe, she is just so precious!

 Lil' hand. 

 Pouty lips.

Double chin.
Okay, she may kill me when she's older, but really... just have to show off what a chunk she is... and this is just at ONE DAY OLD!! 10 lb. babies, I tell ya, they are the best!

Love my sweet, sweet lil' Emily!