Saturday, November 30, 2013

1 Month Old!

Our handsome little fox is 1 month old today. Is that a smile I see? Minutes before this, he gave his first smile when face-timing with his cousins Corbin and Lucas. I was a big dummy who forgot to take a screenshot of the moment. At least we documented his second smile!

P.S. I love that Jonathan wears my breast-feeding pillow when giving Forest his bedtime bottle. Adorable.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Welcome Baby Andrew!

It is with Thanksgiving that I welcome my 3rd nephew, Andrew Jeremiah, to the world. 
My sister went into labor at about 4:30 PM yesterday and about an hour and a half later, a healthy baby boy was born. My sister is the toughest lady I know, and this was her 3rd natural delivery, and her second home birth. What a rock star! As for me and my house, we serve the epidural, but I have mad respect for anyone who can endure the pain of childbirth. 

Also, you may remember that the name 'Andrew' was on Jonathan and I's short list for Forest. We both loved the name and up until I knew my sister was considering it for her baby boy, we had it reserved for the middle spot for Forest. I am so super glad that they chose a name that I love oh so much to bestow upon my newest nephew. I can't wait to meet baby Andrew!! 
Oh, my heart melts to think of what a good big brother Lucas will be!
What are your Thanksgiving plans? We plan on going to the AWA potluck dinner tonight, but a cranky baby has a way of throwing a wrench in plans. So far today, Forest is doing *better* than yesterday, but still not on optimal behavior. I have gotten him to fall asleep, but he only stays that way for about 30 minutes before I have to start the whole process over again. At least he doesn't seem too unhappy today. The screaming fest yesterday really had me losing my mind. 

I am so thankful that my hubby stepped up to the plate yesterday so that I was able to retreat and get a few cat-naps of my own. And thanks to my friend Tekara, we had a delicious meal of BBQ Pulled Pork sandwiches so the day was somewhat salvaged. 

I hope your day is full of family, friends, food and gratitude. Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

4 Weeks Old!

Forest is 4 weeks old today, and as of Monday he weighed in at 7 lbs, 15 ¾ oz. I think it’s probably safe to say that by today he is over the 8lb mark. That means he’s made up a lot of ground in his 4 weeks of life, going from the 2nd percentile to the 9th. Still a little guy, but making huge strides in terms of growth. Today he even *almost* fit into a 0-3 month onsie, which is great because I’m getting sick of rotating his newborn outfits. 

His napping is going a little better since I talked to y’all last week. Thanks for all your advice, encouragement, and tips. Sometimes it’s just nice to know I’m not the only one without a textbook baby. It’s still a major fight to get him to nap and sometimes it’s 2 steps forward, 3 steps back. After a solid weekend full of good consistent naps, we’re back to meltdowns and refusal to fall asleep. It’s driving me batty. 

Jonathan even came home at lunch today to give me a break because Forest screamed from 7 AM to 11. I’d get him to settle and nod off for 5 minutes, and as soon as I breathed a sigh of relief at the glorious silence, that all-too familiar wailing would begin again. And I’m just dumbfounded. I’m searching all of ‘the books’ for answers and a 4 week old that won’t nap isn’t even listed as an option. It’s all ‘I can’t get my 4 week old to wake up ever.’ Um…bite me!  Some people have real problems. 

So far today I am 0 for 3 on the nap success, yet I can’t find any literature on what to do if your newborn won’t sleep enough. Apparently, it’s supposed to be the easiest thing in the world to get your 1 month old baby to take a nap. Well, if that’s true, we are gonna be in a world of trouble when we hit 3 months old and getting babies to take naps becomes ‘more challenging’. Sigh…

I feel like Forest is getting a bad rap. He really is a lovely baby, and each day he gets closer and closer to giving us a smile. And plus he is cuuuuuuuuute. Check him out: 

Can you tell he is getting better at looking at the camera? Baby boy is super sharp and alert. He doesn't want to miss a thing!  

And some random pictures from his 4th week of life:

Monday, November 25, 2013

Birth Story Chapter 3: The Royal Treatment at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary

The final installation of my birth story isn’t quite as dramatic as the previous two. Usually the recovery ward at the maternity hospital is jam packed, but when I was there, there were only 11 women in a 25 bed ward. That meant that they had 2 private rooms reserved for special cases that were wide open. Since the previously mentioned best midwife ever, Emma, took pity on me and my baby blues, she nominated me for a ‘special nutcase’ and one of those rooms was assigned to yours truly. 

This came at a cost though, and once I got settled she came to give me a stern ‘talking to’ about how I had to accept the fact that I was stuck in the hospital and start sucking it up and pulling myself together. It was harsh, but exactly what I needed to hear to snap back to reality and man up to the situation I was faced with. 

All I could focus on was getting out of that place and getting my baby home and spending precious time with my father and being reunited with my pups. Emma made me realize that I wasn’t getting out of the situation I was in so I needed to put my tears and frustration aside and make the most of it. Having my own private space made it so much easier to do that. 

Not only did I have a room with an actual door and my very own bathroom, but because I wasn’t sharing with the other ladies, my husband was allowed to stay pass the archaic ‘visiting hours’ imposed by the hospital. He couldn’t spend the night, but the midwives turned a blind eye when he stayed an hour after leaving time. 

At night, I plugged my noise canceling headphones into the TV and rented movies while I fed Forest. It helped me to zone out and relax. And since I was in a quieter room without constantly crying babies, Forest slept like a champ and I got to get 3 hours of sleep. Hallelujah! 

In the morning, Forest and I watched Forrest Gump (I figure I might as well get him used to Forrest Gump jokes from the start), a movie which always makes me feel better. I love me some Tom Hanks!! 

Once Jonathan arrived for morning visiting hours, we rented more movies to kill time until I was discharged that afternoon. I definitely didn’t expect to spend 6 days in the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary when I showed up for monitoring the previous Tuesday, but Emma was right, in the scope of a lifetime, it was a short timespan. Just a tiny chapter of our family history, but one that I am glad is behind us, nonetheless. 

As a recap, I spent 6 days, 5 nights at ARI and I slept in a different room each of the 5 nights. Forest slept in 3 different rooms during his 4 nights (his first two in the NICU), which may explain why he gets a bit cranky if his routine is thrown off or if you take him out of his normal environment.

I'm an open book when it comes to my birth experience here in Aberdeen, so if you have any questions or want to know more, just ask!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Thank You Note

Before moving to Aberdeen, I remember praying that God would bring me just one good friend. Just one. That’s all I needed. Never did I expect my prayer to be answered with such abundance. 

Moving to a foreign country is exciting but also terrifying. We worried we’d be the only American couple in our demographic and that the locals wouldn’t embrace us. We were concerned that we’d feel isolated and lonely and homesick. Our worries were wasted. 

Never have we felt so welcomed into a community. Never have I had so many astoundingly thoughtful friends. The outpouring of love and support we have received in the wake of Forest’s birth has been remarkable. Thanks to Jillian, we haven’t had to think about food because she set up a sign up for drop-off meals to get us well into mid-December. 

It’s true what they say, in these early days, preparing a balanced meal seems as daunting as climbing Mt. Everest. It’s been such a blessing to have our friends taking care of us in this way, especially after my 6 day stint in a Scottish hospital. Scottish food in general is pretty terrible. Scottish hospital food is hands down the worst stuff on earth:
So gross..

Jonathan has remarked that the catered meals alone were worth having a baby for (but he hasn’t been the one up at all hours of the night breastfeeding…).   

But it’s more than just the meals. Everyday I receive texts from friends asking me if they can pick up anything for me from the grocery store or take my dogs for a walk. At my core, I’m a self-centered person. I tend to stay in my own little universe and focus on my own little life, so it always amazes me when I realize that other people are thinking of me in such a real way. 

It makes me want to be a better friend. Just not quite right now, because I just don’t have the mental or emotional capacity to serve anyone other than Forest… But I promise, once the dust settles and I start making heads and tails of this new life as a mother, I am going to try much harder to anticipate the needs of others and be there for them. 

Before pregnancy, my love language was ‘quality time’ by a mile. All I wanted from my friends and family was good quality one-on-one time. I’ve always been good at not checking my cell phone while at dinner with friends or not answering call waiting when I’m in a conversation with my sister. I try to focus on whoever is in front of me and tune the rest of the world out. 

Now that we’ve had Forest, my love language has completely flipped to ‘acts of service’. This Sunday, Jonathan took Forest downstairs so I could take a nap. He ran Bailey and washed the dishes and did some home repairs and cleaned the kitchen counters. He even babysat for an hour and a half while I dashed off to the AWA Craft Fair. I swear, I fell in love with him all over again. 

It’s definitely a tough transition in life and when my mom left, I was quite hysterical and terrified about taking my parenting training wheels off. However, we survived our first week as a family of 5, with the help of our amazing village. I cannot fully express my gratitude for everyone who has volunteered to bring food, or let us borrow baby items, or answered my many asinine parenting questions, or have shared encouraging words and reassured me that these are the hardest days and things will get easier soon, or have simply prayed for us and lifted our family up to the Lord. 

I’ve written many thank you notes over the past weeks, but they can’t even scratch the surface of expressing my gratitude. I am just so blessed and humbled by the kindness of this community and don’t know where I’d be without their continued support. Thank you to all my friends, family, and blog readers for your encouragement, generosity and prayers. I hope one day to pay it forward to each and every one of you.

Friday, November 22, 2013

3 Weeks Old!

Hey guys! Sorry I'm a little late on this post. I actually took these pictures on Wednesday, but we had quite a busy (and fussy) 2 days and haven't gotten around to posting them until now. So here are his 3 week old pictures: 

And some from his 3rd week of life: 
Fist Pump

First Bath

Forest is a whiz at breaking out of his swaddles

Retroactive 'First Halloween' pic, since he was in NICU on actual day
And I'm aware that this is quickly becoming a 'mommy' blog, but this newborn phase is quite the consuming endeavor. Our biggest challenge has been napping. All 'the books' say that at 3 weeks old, Forest should be taking 1.5- 2 hour naps after every feed. Hahahahahahaha. Forest laughs in the face of naps (well, actually he cries). 
I'm trying to find some sort of validation that his lack of napping is normal, but I can't seem to find it anywhere. All my friends say that their babies did nothing but sleep until they were 8 weeks old or so. It's quite discouraging. So if any of you have an encouraging words about how my child will not be developmentally damaged because he's sleeping about 6 hours less than the recommended daily amount and sometimes stays awake for 6 hours straight (they aren't supposed to have the capacity stay up more than 2 hours in a row,  apparently), please share your survival stories with me. 

In other news, he slept for 5 hours straight last I'll try to keep my complaining about daytime naps to a minimum...

Friday, November 15, 2013

Forest's Modeling Debut

We had Forest’s newborn portraits done when he was 10 days old by a fellow American girl, Emily Kalmon. Emily is currently living in Aberdeen and just getting her photography business off the ground. We really lucked out in snagging her for this precious photo shoot. She is supremely talented and just about the sweetest thing on earth. 

Unfortunately, all the stimulation surrounding his modeling debut was a bit too exciting for Mr. Forest because he refused to sleep for 90% of the time Emily was here. He gave us 5-10 minutes of cooperation in the traditional sleepy newborn photo poses, but otherwise he was wide eyed and alert. 

Oh well, at least they will accurately portray his personality! 

For the 5-10 minutes of naptime we did achieve, we had to pull out all the stops to get him to sleep. This meant a few minutes in his infant swing while the hair dryer was on. When my mom thought he was safely sleeping, she’d turn the blow dryer off only to see his eyes pop wide open at the absence of sound. To combat this, I held the hair dryer in the sitting room where the shoot was taking place and Emily shot a series of great photos while he snoozed. 

Here is a sample she posted on her facebook page. I cannot wait to see the rest! 

I know I’m biased, but seriously, how handsome is our little man??? I’ll keep you posted once I get the complete set from Emily. I can’t wait to work on birth announcements (which I told my mom is the only reason to have a baby in the first place...kidding, of course!). 

If you're in Aberdeen and interested in hiring Emily for your newborn or family portraits, here is her blog with some beautiful examples of her work.