Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Isla at 17 Months

You’re 17 months old!

Your very first swing ride!

New words: Gaga for Gertie, uh-oh, ow, and you are really trying to say your name. It sounds like eylalalalalala.

Favorite foods: Pizza, smoothies, pineapple, blueberries, mama’s pancakes, and biscuits

 Dislikes: You will not eat cheese! Who is this child? Not mine! Your mama + papa LOVE cheese so I’m not sure what the aversion is, but more for us!

 Weight: 22 pounds

Hair: A wee bit more on the top, but you are still rocking your bullet (baby mullet)

Walking: Nope! You are starting to stand on your own, but you still don’t have the confidence to take that first step. No rush baby girl.

Proud mom moment: I realized I forgot your 15 month well baby visit…oops

Proud dad moment: Daddy was carrying you in the baby bjorn and he turned the corner to the office a little too sharply and banged your head on the door jamb…complete meltdown!

You are a smooching machine! You kiss everything! You have to make your mmmmwaaahhhh with every kiss. We love it! You chase Gertie around saying mmmmmwah, mmmmmwah! I’m laughing just typing this. Your kisses were even irresistible when you were sick. You puckered up and mama couldn’t resist! Lay one on me baby :)

We have started to transition to letting you eat everything by yourself. I pioneered this movement and Daddy was slow to jump on board. He said he liked feeding you and enjoyed the time he spent with you at dinner.  I have been putting more and more of your liquid/soft foods in the infantino squeeze pouches and really appreciate that you can now suck them down on your own and not make a mess. I’ve been putting your oatmeal, yogurt, apples + pears, and semi-homemade alphabet soup in them. Homemade alphabet soup: Alphabet pasta, food processed carrots + zucchini + squash, and organic + low sodium tomato soup.

Ummm, my only guess is that you are imitating Gertie when you eat like this!

And you still love to share your leftovers!

 You attended your first annual SunFest this month! You went 3 out of the 5 days and loved every second of it! Daddy mostly carried you in the Baby Bjorn, but mommy had to step in when you started to get restless. You’re favorite part? Kid Rock had you shakin’ that little bootie, but the fireworks put the biggest smile on your face. You kept pointing at them and saying “ohhhhhhh.” The fireworks were the last night and they started at 9:00. You typically go to bed between 7:30-8:30 so it really wasn’t a stretch to have you out at 9:00. However, a little teenybopper felt otherwise. As we were having a lovely mama + mini moment enjoying the fireworks, she walks by and says, “Who would bring a baby?!” Needless to say, I had some choice words for her. I will not apologize for bringing you somewhere if it means Daddy and I would have to stay home if we didn’t. I have rarely bailed out of something with you as the excuse unless you are sick or asleep. Daddy and I try to live our lives not only for you, but for us too. We feel it is very important to have a baby, life balance.

You look less than enthused, but I promise, you loved it!

You had your first real cold this month too. It was heartbreaking :( The worst of it came on a Tuesday night. I told Daddy we were in for a long one. I was right. We attempted to put you to bed at least 5 times. I even crawled into your crib with you, but you just couldn’t get comfy because you couldn’t breathe. You just cried and held out your little arms and wailed, “maaaaammmmmmmaaaaa!” You wanted nothing to do with Daddy. It warmed my heart that you, like your fur sister, only wanted her mama when sick. We snuggled, used our snot sucker, and took lots of bubble baths together. I am very happy it was a short lived cold. My predictions came true…the nosefrida was a lifesaver in cleaning out your runny nose.

You make the best snuggle bunny when you're sick

You are so smart! I don’t know how other babes compare, but you blow our minds every day! We went to breakfast at Cracker Barrel with Mimi and Gigi and you rocked that peg tee game. Your fine motor skills have always impressed me, but this was something else. Our little genius! You are so very curious and tenacious. You won’t stop at anything until you’ve figured it out. If something opens, you instinctively know it and find a way to get into it. You will figure out how to unscrew a cap, open a sealed container of cookies with a lid on it, and spend 15 minutes do so if that’s what it takes. I know how to keep you busy!

Mother’s Day was this month and you stayed with your first non-family babysitter. Our friend so graciously offered to watch you while we went to dinner. We have the best friends! You were so in love with her that by the time we got home, you cried when I took you from her arms. I just know you’re going to be a social butterfly.

I love you, sweet Islaboo

Monday, May 12, 2014

We Heart Nordstrom

My dear, sweet Isla Mae. This may be the hardest post (I hope) I'll ever have to write. I'm sharing because I want you to know everything we have done for you so far, and everything we will continue to do for you. To me, you are perfect. You will always be perfect <3

The day after you were born, I got a good look at you. Now, I know babies don't come out of mommy's looking like supermodels, but I also know when something is not quite right. I still need to share your birth story, and I will, but know that I suffered a spinal leak with my epidural so I wasn't all there for your first four days. Thank God, Daddy was!

The day after you were born, I put you in your hospital cradle to take a shower. I noticed that your right foot was shaped differently than your left. I immediately thought, babies lay all funky in the belly, so perhaps this is just one of those cone head type of things. Right? I mean, surely the doctor would have said something if it were more than that. Right? The nurse came to check your blood with a prick on the foot and she chose that foot. Wouldn't she have said something if she thought something was wrong? No one said anything. Your pediatrician came to see you twice while we were at the hospital and she didn't say anything either. Must be fine.

At your one week check-up I finally brought up the fact that your right foot didn't look like your left. And the doctor agreed. We took measurements, and your right foot, right calve, and right thigh measured bigger than your left. The doctor threw out lots of words...pediatric orthopedic surgeon, ultrasound, tumor, specialist, geneticist, hemihypertrophy...My head was spinning. You had grown hungry so I also had my boob out at this point to feed you and I just lost it. I'm crying, you're crying, my boob looks like a garden hose gone crazy! Total. shit. show!

We left that appointment with these facts:
1. Babies who present with one limb larger than the other may be diagnosed with a condition called hemihypertrophy; one side of the body is larger than the other.
2. Babies with hemihypertrophy are also at greater risk for cancerous stomach tumors and need belly ultrasounds every 6 months until 8 years old or a tumor is found.
3. We need to see a specialist.

Daddy and I were sick. We didn't and still don't (up until now) tell many people about your "Super Foot." Mostly because I start crying and partly because it just doesn't come up in regular conversation.

We have taken you to three specialists, one being a world renowned pediatric limb surgeon specializing in hemihypertrophy. After three months of waiting for an appointment, we sat in his waiting room and almost felt guilty that we were taking an hour of his time. The waiting room was full of babies from around the world with one leg a foot shorter than the other. It was heartbreaking. Upon seeing us, he told us to just be happy with what we have. That you were the mildest case he'd see all year. We found zero solace in that. To us, you are the most severe case we'll see all year. He gave us a preliminary diagnosis of isolated hemihypertrophy. Isolated, because your first ultrasound came back clear of tumors. (I already knew that, because I threw my crying self at the poor tech who ran your scan and demanded he tell me if there was a tumor, with the promise that I wouldn't sue if he were wrong)

We left there feeling like nothing had changed. No answers. No treatment. Nothing. He told us to come back in a year. We asked for another referral to the Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital. We met with an amazing doctor, who answered all of our questions, and gave us future treatment options.

Here's the deal:
1. You may or may not have hemihypertrophy. The doctor will not diagnose you without an MRI.
2. Your bones measure the same size and length. If this changes, and it is due to bone growth, we can put a stunt in your growth plate until the other foot catches up in size.
3. The extra size may be due to fatty tissue and liposuction will be the treatment.
4. The extra size may be vascular, meaning extra blood vessels, and there is no treatment.
5. The size will remain proportionate as you grow. Meaning, your right foot measures 1.5 shoe sizes bigger than your left and it will remain at that difference as you grow.

I'm scared. I'm scared that once you are old enough for the MRI (we won't do it right now as you will need to be sedated and you're too young for that) we will be told that the size is due to blood vessels and there is nothing we can do. I'm scared because kids are assholes. I don't care, I'll say it. They are. They're assholes! They're mean. How do I know this? I had a big nose, baby. I was teased SO much growing up that I hated myself. I let those asshole kids and their comments shape the opinion that I had of myself. I still remember the first time it happened. I was in the 6th grade and I was walking across the gym and some boy called me big nose. I was all, "WTF?" What is he talking about? I went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror and thought, yeah, I guess it is a little big. The teasing didn't stop until college. I also had plastic surgery my senior year of college. There were mean girls in high school who teased me relentlessly and never once apologized. Were they perfect? Um, no. For whatever reason, they felt it made them bigger to tease me. I'm afraid you're going to go to school with assholes like these. Here is what Daddy and I can promise you: You will be raised to be kind and accepting. You will be raised not to make fun of others. You will be raised to love yourself. You will be raised to ignore those comments and not let them shape the opinion you have of yourself. You will be raised to know that if someone in high school makes fun of you, I will personally throat punch both them and their parents. It's okay baby, we have a lot of lawyer friends, and they love you too <3 Uncle Greg will get mommy probation at worst. Promise.

So, why do we love Nordstrom? Nordstrom will sell us a pair of shoes with mismatching sizes. I know! Amazing! We just simply go in, pick out what we want, and they sell us a size 4 and a size 5.5. All of the employees know us by now and are very comforting when I end up crying in the middle of the floor. I love Nordstrom. We were already loyal customers, but now we're devout customers for life!

I promise to always take care of you. I promise to do anything and everything I can to ensure you have the absolute best medical treatment available. I will fight for you.

I love you, Isla Mae. To me, you are perfect. XOXO

Saturday, May 10, 2014

May Favorites

For Mama
Ingrid Michaelson: My brother first introduced me to Ingrid and I instantly fell in love. If you watch Grey's Anatomy you've heard her voice. I feel like 90% of her songs have been featured on the show. This is her new album :)
Ballet Dress: I ordered this a few weeks ago not knowing if I'd like it, but it has quickly become my go to dress to throw on for the day. It is super soft, very flattering, and the perfect weight for summer. I snagged another one today with the 40% off coupon code. I'm 5'4 and I ordered the petite size.
Rain Cucumber Lime Vodka: Florida is heating up and this is my fave poolside cocktail. The taste is so light and's like you're at the spa...but not.
Alien: There was a sample of this in my InStyle a few months ago and I didn't expect to like it, but I ripped out the spray sample and gave it a spritz. LOVE! It reminds me a lot of Givenchy's Amarige. I hate the name of this fragrance, but it's my new fave scent!
Punker Eyeliner: I received this in a Glossybox and will definitely be repurchasing! The line is very precise, fast drying, highly pigmented, and smudge proof. I am by no means a master at applying eyeliner, and this little puppy makes it appear that I am :)

For Mini
Summer PJ's: The warmer temps call for cooler jammies! I of course have stocked up on these jams for Isla. The fit, price, durability, and style is what keeps me buying them month after month. You just can't go wrong with Baby Gap if you are a cardholder and shop with discount codes.
Marled Dress: My mom bought Isla an outfit for Christmas that was made from the same marled terry and I loved it. Victor hated it and hates this. He thinks it is boyish. I don't care, I like it. I'm not one for lots of color, appliques, or baby farm animals. I like to dress her in mostly neutrals and patterns. I couldn't get this dress in my cart fast enough!
Straw Cups: We have bought almost every sippy and straw cup out there. These truly are spill proof and she seems to like them...this week.
Velcro Chuck Taylor's: A friend of ours had her little boy in these at the zoo last month and I died! I had just bought her a pair with laces as I didn't see the velcro version. There aren't many color options in velcro, so this DIY mama took out the laces of that pair and added some hot glue and velcro, et voila! The silver is sold out right now in many of the sizes, but you can join the wait list and receive an email when they are back in stock. Just another reason why I heart Nordstrom!
Mini Chair: My aunt bought this for Isla at Ikea last year and she is just now big enough to sit in it. Seeing her sit in this chair with her Minnie, blankie, and snack cup just kills me! I plan to prime and paint the wood gold.

My proudest mom moment last week: We were on our way out for an evening at SunFest with beers in hand. My mom and mamaw were in town watching Isla, so I went to kiss her goodbye. She was standing up in this chair and leaning over the back. I saw the chair start to tip and it was very slow motion. So slow that I remember thinking I could throw the beer and dive after her, but would probably only end up hurting her even more. I chose to save the Summer Shandy in my hand and not my baby! What kind of mother am I?! She landed face first on a soft rug on the tile, and was only hurt by my primal scream. I was so grateful that rug was there or I would have sacrificed the limited edition beer and probably landed ourselves in the ER. We still love the chair, but back it up to the ottoman so she can't tip it again.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Decisions, Decsions

How do you decide how many babies to have? Money? Age? Space? Time? 1st birth amnesia? Whatever the reason, it is incredibly personal. I would have enough to start a band...if I could. Victor and I are at that point where we know the time is near to make a decision whether or not to have Isla 2.0. For him it is because of age, and he already thinks he is an old dad. For me it is because I would like them to be close in age. The hesitation? Victor likes to travel and believes one is enough. I'm scared. Most of you reading this won't know what it was like for us to have Isla. To say it was a nightmare would be an understatement...I'm sharing this here, because I never want to forget and I want Isla to know what it took to get her here. I started this blog to keep a record of our life for Isla to read one day. I know this post is a little late, but it is important for me to have it on record for her.

We found out we were pregnant in July of 2011. We decided to only tell close friends and family that we were expecting. It was a very easy pregnancy until October 18th. I woke in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. I got the urge to go again, but couldn't remember how long it had been since the last time I had gone (pregnancy brain). I got back in bed, felt wet. Seriously? I JUST PEED AND NOW I'M PEEING THE BED! I don't remember how long this went on until I started to think that it wasn't normal. I woke Victor up in a panic to call the doctor. My doctor advised I relax, get some sleep, and come in first thing. I knew something was wrong. I got up yet again to go to the bathroom. I won't describe what happened next, but I screamed for Victor and as soon as he saw me he dropped to his knees.

The ER is a mile from our condo, but the drive felt hours long...I was seen right away and the doctor told us I was going to lose the baby. I was just shy of 19 weeks, so the term he used was threatened abortion. He said my cervix was incompetent and that was that. Hello? Asshole! Where is your bedside manner? We just cried and prayed while we waited for the ultrasound tech to arrive. I was admitted after the ultrasound.  My doctor was already there for a delivery so he came by to deliver the news. My water broke. I did not have an incompetent cervix and I was not losing the baby as the ER jackass doctor had said. He pumped me full of antibiotics (your water is what keeps bacteria away from the baby) and told me to relax and pray for the fluid to replenish. I was diagnosed with PROM: Premature Rupture of Membranes.

They did an ultrasound every few hours to measure my fluid and after 24 hours he told us the rupture was too large and the sac couldn't repair itself fast enough to hold any fluid. He predicted labor in a matter of hours. 24 hours later and no labor. He had a long chat with us about our options. 1. Go home and see what happens. This meant that I could go into labor in a day or carry until the baby was 24 weeks and the spend A LOT of time in the NICU. This also meant that the baby would be without fluid and suffer a sever lack of oxygen. The baby stood a good chance of cord problems, limbs not developing properly, etc... 2. He could induce me and the baby would not survive. I wanted so badly to wait. To see what happened. To prove them wrong. I also know what I can handle and what I can't. You never know the decision you'll make in this instance until you have to make it. We decided to induce. I was in labor for 7 hours. I delivered our son on October 21, 2011. I don't know if he even took one breath. They asked if we wanted to name him. They asked if we wanted to hold him. They asked if we wanted to dress him in these morbid little clothes that old ladies make to donate to unlucky parents like us and take photos. For real? I couldn't. I couldn't do any of it. I could only cry. And I still cry.

He was due on March 31, 2012. Victor and I decided to have a fancy date that night to keep me from jumping off the balcony. We also decided not to wear a jacket in the rain...4 weeks later I peed on a stick (20+ sticks actually). Here comes the I-know-I'm-going-to-lose-this-baby-too anxiety!

I was spending so much money on tests that I started getting them in bulk for $1 at Wal-mart. This test was accurate 5 days before the fancy digital version below...

This is why we didn't tell many people we were pregnant with Isla. This is why only those around us knew, because, ahem, duh! This is why we didn't tell his parents until 29 weeks. This is why no bump photos were shared on Facebook. This is why I lived in fear everyday for 39 weeks. This is why I am petrified of trying again. My pregnancy with Isla was hard. In addition to the panic attacks before every appointment (weekly because I was high risk), it hurt. I know women have complaints when pregnant, but let me tell you, oh lawdy it hurt!. I started to develop a condition at 14 weeks. SPD: Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction is thought to affect 1 in 4 pregnancies, with only 7% of those cases as extreme as mine. Let me just say, when I would roll over, my pelvis would pop and it seriously felt like my Queen Victoria was going to split in two. Can you imagine? Your vagina bone popping every time you moved! I rarely wore pants because I was already in tears from putting on panties. I had to take baths because I couldn't stand up in the shower. In spite of all the anxiety, pain, and fear, I loved being pregnant! I loved watching my belly dance. I loved how thick my hair was. I loved talking to her and holding her in my belly. I would and could have endured that forever. Isla, you are more than worth every tear I shed. 

Timeline of my dramatic pregnancy:
14 weeks: First sings of SPD
16 weeks: It's a GIRL!
17 weeks: Abnormal ultrasound showing cysts in baby's brain
18 weeks: Cysts getting smaller
20 weeks: Cervix showed signs of incompetence and I could go to work but spend all other time in bed

20 weeks - One of the only bump photos I allowed Vic to take because I was scared to look back on them if shit went south.

21 weeks: Cervix was dangerously close to opening and I went on full bedrest
22 weeks: Crying hourly
23 weeks: Ran out of movies, mags, books, and tv shows and started full marathons of every Real Housewives franchise
24 weeks: Fell in love with Kim from RHOA
25 weeks: Cervix was growing!
26 weeks: In so much pain from the SPD that I couldn't get out of bed
27 weeks: Yay!!! Made it! My perinatologist told me this is earliest he wanted me to deliver
30 weeks: Quite enjoying snuggling my Gertie all day :)
36 weeks: Received permission to get out of bed for maternity photos
37 weeks: This was supposed to be the week of my induction. The doctors were afraid if she got too big she would break my weak pelvis, but she was too small.
39 weeks: Isla was due on Christmas day, but she was starting to get a wee too big for my dr's comfort level so we induced. Islaboo, I will post you entire birth story...some day :)

Headed to the hospital - Hello, swollen face!

Labor was the easiest part of that entire pregnancy. Seriously, labor pains didn't even compare to the SPD pain I had been in for months. Bring on the contractions! Mama's got this! It felt so surreal to finally hold this beautiful and calm baby girl in my arms. Right from the start, Isla was an angel. She just blinked and put her little fist up to her face. My reward for that hell was a baby that didn't cry and this precious hand to hold through life. I love you Islaboo!