Sunday, February 28, 2010

Baby Ella Pictures

We did Ella's newborn photo session a couple of weeks ago (she was a little over 2 weeks old). Here is a slideshow of some of the photos. My sister-in-law also came into town to do some pictures for us, so there will be more to come soon :) Enjoy!

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Worries & Fear

So I'm not really sure I should even be posting this, but thought it might do me good to just say it all and maybe then realize how irrational my thinking is when I reread this post later. Worry is something that has consumed me since becoming a mother. It's such a drastic change from the way I was as a pregnant woman. I think while pregnant, I found myself at my most confident stage in life and trusted that my body was taking care of my precious baby girl and she was well protected. Now that she's no longer inside of me safe and sound, I worry all the time. Is Ella too hot or too cold? Is she still breathing (this one consumes me)? Is she eating enough or eating too much? Am I going to produce enough milk for her? Is she happy? Am I boring her? Is she sleeping too much or too little? What about SIDS? Are we shaking her too hard when we rock her to sleep? Am I going to be a good mother? Will I know what to do for her when she's fussy or sick or in need? Is this bed too soft? Is she going to roll over and stop breathing? Are the people holding her doing it the right way? And so many more...The worry just sometimes doesn't stop and I feel like I'm going to go crazy with anxiety over her well being. It's hard for me to not have her in my arms (or super close by) 24/7 because of my worry and the fear I feel.

I know that most of these worries are completely irrational, yet I still find myself worrying about them on a daily, if not hourly basis. I'm hoping that most of this is just new mom jitters and/or hormones and will subside with time, but maybe I'm just crazy or still stuck in the "baby blues" stage. I never thought of myself as an excessive worrier/control freak until I entered into motherhood. I notice small improvements in my worry, anxiety, & fear each day, so hopefully those little gains will continue. I'm sure all the worry will never go away because I am a MOM now, and worry and concern is part of our new job, but hopefully it will not consume me so much in the near future. I want to be able to cherish each moment with Ella, but can't help but look forward to the day when I feel a little more "normal" and when I feel like I know more about what I'm doing as a mom and more of these irrational fears start to subside.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

3 Week Recap

Wow! My baby girl was born three weeks ago! I can't believe it's already been that long since we were blessed with her presence, yet it also feels like she's been a part of our lives for much longer than that. I haven't been very good at staying up to date on this blog, but lack of sleep and round the clock nursing causes me to rate my priorities, which is sleep when she sleeps (or at least try to). So, instead of a play by play of each week, here are the highlights from Ella's first three weeks of life.

We had a bad run-in with jaundice during Ella's first week home. Ella's levels were so high, that we were worried she was going to have to be checked in to the hospital for phototherapy. Poor baby had to have her heel pricked for a blood test everyday for a whole week. She lost close to 10% of her body weight in less than 48 hours, became sleepy all the time, refused to nurse, and wouldn't potty (which is how you lower the bilirubin levels that cause the jaundice). We had to supplement with some formula to help her gain some weight back. After a couple days, her bilirubin started leveling out and she began to nurse more and potty frequently-all great signs that things were getting better. By the end of the week, she had put on a few more ounces and we were just nursing again. Yay!!!
My little yellow baby

On Ella's 2 week birthday, we had a small house fire! After changing her diaper, Mark walked into our bedroom to find a pillow on fire and flames leaping out of a electrical outlet. I heard him making a weird sound from the other room and went down the hall to see my husband trying to put out a fire with our new baby in his hands. I ran to get her out of the house and called the fire department. Luckily the firemen were able to put out the fire quickly and nothing but our wall and a couple pillows were damaged. It was quite the sight to see; me barefoot & only in a robe with my newborn daughter wrapped in blankets standing outside in the cold while my husband tries to put out a fire leaping from the wall without the use of a fire extinguisher. We've now had all the outlets checked for faulty wiring and should be safe from this point on :)

At Ella's 2 week appointment, she weighed in at 6 pounds, 5 ounces. Therefore, she gained over an ounce a day and had passed her birth weight (which was our goal by the 2 week mark).

Ella's first bath
Grandpa holding me for the first time (he was sick the first week)
Smiling as Daddy rocks me to sleep
Swaddled & Swinging in Daddy's arms
I love Daddy!
Mommy & Me
Sweet Kisses

Grandpa loves me! (I'm still a bit yellow, but looking better)

Nothing too exciting has happened during week 3, which is a nice change of pace. We did get to take our first walk outside yesterday because it was a beautiful 70 degree Austin day. Ella loved her carseat & stroller and slept the whole time. We took Macie to the park and just soaked in the beautiful day. I think getting out of the house is something I've needed!
Cozy in my stoller
Ready for our first walk & afternoon outside
At the park snoozing in the beautiful weather
Ella, Macie, & Mommy

We did take her in to get weighed because her feeding pattern had changed and once again, she's been gaining about an ounce and a half a day and weighed in a bit over 7 pounds. Her cheeks are starting to fill out and she doesn't look as much like a newborn. Apparently, she likes to eat!

What a crazy ride so far! I am so in love with my precious little angel and trying so hard to figure out this whole mothering thing. Parts of it come so naturally, and others are hard, overwhelming, and emotional. One minute I am in complete awe, the next filled with anxiety and worry, the next crying, the next in awe again; but it's all amazing and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Ella's Birth Story

At my 37 1/2 week appointment, my OB checked everything out and assumed I wouldn't be going into labor before my appointment the following week. Each time I went in, I had no changes happening, so this wasn't a big surprise. It was amazing that I had made it past 37 weeks with no Braxton Hicks Contractions and no complications. What a blessing! However, I was starting to wonder if I was ever going to start progressing and how far past my due date (Feb. 13th) Ella was going to be :) I was really wanting to have her before Valentine's Day. She did tell me that my cervix was starting to soften slightly, so at least a tiny bit of change was starting to happen.
37 weeks pregnant

With only 2 weeks left until my due date, we thought it would be fun to plan a weekend of hanging out with friends (since we knew those times were not going to be happening as often soon). We hung out with the Guinn's on Friday night and had a great time together. Julee is also pregnant (15 weeks behind me), so we always have fun sharing pregnancy stories and info. We went to "happy hour" at McCormick & Schmicks and the guys enjoyed a couple drinks while us pregger ladies enjoyed the food :) Saturday afternoon, I got to hang out with Melissa & Bethany and watch old movies and do some girl chatting. On Saturday night, we met up with the Schapperts, a couple of their friends, & Julee for dinner at Thistle Cafe. I hadn't been able to hang out with Paul & Melissa in a while, so it was nice to catch up. After dinner, we went over to the Schapperts to play some games. We had such a good time and I laughed all night. At one point while playing Buzzword, I got so tickled at an answer Julee threw out there ("whisp"), that tears were pouring out of my eyes because I was laughing so hard. As we headed home, I told Mark that it wouldn't surprise me if I went into labor soon because I had laughed so hard that I was having to hold my belly :0 I was totally kidding!!!
Julee & me with our baby bumps

We got home around 11:30 and I got ready for bed. Mark wanted to watch a little bit of SportsCenter, but I was tired so I told him only for about 10 or 15 minutes because I hate being woken up when he gets into bed after I'm already there. I got into bed about 11:45 and got comfortable. That's when I felt a small gush...I went into the bathroom thinking it can't possibly be my water breaking; I've had no signs of going into labor at all! So, I stood on the bathroom mat for a while wondering what was really going on and what I was supposed to do at this point because Mark was in the media room and I couldn't leave that spot in the bathroom. Luckily, he took to heart my warning of only watching TV for a few minutes and came into the bathroom. I told him I think my water broke, but I'm not sure. He laughed because it was completely obvious that is what had happened. He called the on-call doctor who told us to come on in to the hospital. At this point, I was still unsure of really being in labor because I hadn't had any contractions yet. Everything I read told me I was supposed to have contractions for a long time at home before going to the hospital and then my water would break. This was not the way I imagined it. We spent the next hour packing and getting ready for our trip to the hospital. We arrived at St. David's at 1:30am on January 31, 2010.

Once we checked in, I was assessed and quickly hooked up to an IV. My water had definitely broke (as if that wasn't obvious by this point), but I still wasn't having contractions. I had an occasional minor cramping sensation, but it was even less intense than a light menstrual cramp. The doctor decided I needed to be given Pitocin to increase the intensity of my contractions. We were told to try to sleep for a few hours. Mark was able to nap, but I couldn't. All the anticipation was too much for me to be able to relax; plus I was starting to feel the cramps get stronger. After about 3 hours, I finally started feeling the contractions as much more than just cramps and they continued to increase in frequency, duration, and intensity. Luckily, I was still able to concentrate and breath through them. At 8am, I was dilated to a 3.5 and started thinking about my epidural. I knew it took some time for it to be administered and take effect, and I didn't want to wait until I was miserable. Within an hour or so, I had received the epidural and was a much happier momma-to-be. That's when the family started to arrive. I still couldn't sleep, so we just hung out and talked about how exciting this adventure was. The little girl I was afraid wouldn't make it here before Valentine's Day wanted to be born in January!
After the epidural :)
The waiting game has begun
Making the most of their long wait for Ella's arrival

The Pitocin continued in my system and eventually had to be increased because I wasn't progressing much. The doctor expected me to have the baby before the sun went down. At about 3pm, he checked me and said I was at a 9 1/2 and it shouldn't be much longer. However, I stayed at a 9 1/2 for the next 3 hours. He finally decided it was time to push at 6pm even though I wasn't fully dilated. So, with Mark & the nurse's help (I couldn't lift my legs-they were completely numb), I started pushing. This was the point where Mark started to feel a little sick and had to take a backseat to all the action. Luckily, my mom was in the room too and was able to take over. After a few rounds of pushing, the doctor came in and said he had a guest with him (not a time you really want a visitor in your room). I looked over to see my OB with him and she was going to take over to deliver little Ella. What a wonderful surprise!!! I had been sad that she wasn't on-call when I came in because she's been such a blessing through my whole pregnancy. Dr. Harris got ready and took her place. At 7:21pm, about an hour and 15 minutes later, little Ella was here!!! My mom cut the umbilical cord and Mark made his way over to us to celebrate this new life.

Fast forward through all the stitches and clean-up. Dr. Harris put Ella on my chest and I was finally able to see this amazing little girl that God blessed us with. She was so alert and content. I couldn't believe she was actually here; outside of my belly for me to hold on to. What an incredible blessing! I'm still in amazement over the whole process of pregnancy and childbirth. What amazing things God can do in us and how perfect his plan is. Mark and I couldn't take our eyes off her. We now joke that we were having too much fun laughing out here and Ella wanted to join in on all the fun. What a wonderful way to start the entrance of her life into this world; surrounded by friends, family, love, and laughter!
All cleaned up

Meeting Dad for the first time
Mommy & Ella (both a bit swollen & puffy after 15 hours of labor)
All wrapped up warm & cozy
Meeting Grandpa for the first time
Our first night together
Ready to go home!
My first car ride
Comfy at home
My sleepy little angel
Wide eyed and alert-the perfect baby!

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Monday, February 15, 2010


Ella Grace Tufts
Born January 31, 2010 @ 7:21pm
6 pounds, 4 ounces
19 1/2 inches long

It's so hard to put into words the immense joy I feel every time I look at my precious daughter. It's still hard to wrap my mind around the fact that she is here and is mine to keep. What a blessing God has given us. It has been an emotional ride so far, but worth every minute because I love this little angel more than words can describe. Her birth story will be headed your way soon, but here's a few pictures of our special day :)

Love at first sight!

My little bundle of joy

Weighing in at 6 pounds, 4 ounces (Ella surprised us by coming 2 weeks early)

Our little burrito baby

Our first family photo

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Last Pictures

These were the last pictures Mark took of me being pregnant. I was 37 weeks and leaving town for a women's retreat with my church. Feeling great at this point, but ready for Ella to arrive :)

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My amazing friends threw me a baby shower on January 16th. It was absolutely perfect and filled with the people I love. God has blessed me with a fabulous group of girlfriends and I can't express how much each of them mean to me. Thanks Melissa, Julee, Rachel, Bethany, Lindsay, & Whitney for all your love, support, & friendship.

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