February 1, 2019

arden rae - twelve months

seriously been writing this update for a couple weeks now and just never finished...

Pass the tissues, she's one!  I'm pretty much still in complete denial.  I'm not sure when I'll believe that she is actually a year old, but it isn't happening yet.


Even though I'm trying to hold on to her baby-ness as long as possible, Arden is turning more in to a little tiny person.  She blows me kisses when I say I love you, she can point to her ears and feet, she signs more, eat and all done.  She is truly starting to understand the world around her, and is working on making a little place for herself.

Arden had her well child visit on January 16th.  She started crying when the nurse measured her head, was still upset during the exam, and completely lost it when she had to have a blood draw and four vaccines.  Man I hate the one year appointment!  The good news?  She's growing!!  She weighed 16lbs8oz landing her in the 7th percentile.  7th!!!  You know you've had a shrimp when 7th percentile sounds absolutely huge.  Her length was somewhere between 26.5 inches and 27.5 inches.  The nurse measured her twice at 26.5 inches, which is what she measured at 9 months as well.  While the pediatrician was in the room he marked her length on the paper on the table and measured with a measuring tape, getting 27.5.  So.... somewhere in there.  27.5 inches is 4th percentile.  Small, but still maintaining a curve.  I've since started the weaning process, so out of curiosity I attempted to weigh her at home this morning.  My method showed 17 pounds, so I'd say we're doing just fine.

I attribute most of Arden's weight gain to mac n cheese.  But also?  She doesn't spit up anymore! I thought the day would never come.  In hindsight I think it was a bigger issue than I made it out to be when she was under seven months or so, however I'm still not sure there is a whole lot that could have been done about it.  She actually spit up a little bit on her birthday and it surprised both her and I, and that is when I realized I hadn't noticed her spitting up in probably a month.  It is so wonderful to not be constantly covered in sour milk, or scouring things to wipe up puddles when were out and about.


For the most part Arden is wearing 6-12 month sized clothes.  The ones marked 9 months fit fine, except leggings are starting to get a touch short.  12 month ones also work, but are a little baggy.  And at the same time she was in a 3-6 month onesie and sweater last weekend and it wasn't excessively small on her.  Ha.  It is things like that, that show me just how small she still is.  And when we encounter other babies her age.  She is wearing a size 3 diaper and who knows what size shoe.  We uh, don't often leave the house in real clothes, and when she does, she has some '6-12 month' fleece booties on.

We have started moving towards weaning a bit.  I'm in no rush to cut her off completely, but up until about a ten days ago, we were still nursing 5+ times a day.  I love keeping some of her tiny baby qualities around but I can part with a couple of middle of the day nursing sessions and not be sad about it.  So far she still isn't real pleased about drinking anything out of a cup.  We've tried a variety of cups and a variety of liquids, and she usually just ends up pissed and pushing it away, or just plays with it.  She is becoming more and more picky about what foods she'll eat as well.  Mac n cheese is still a hands down clear favorite.  I have yet to find an amount of mac and cheese that she'll say all done to.  She also likes spaghetti, a variety of fruits, pancakes, waffles, breads, crackers, and squeeze pouches.  Not a fan of most veggies, meat, anything too healthy.

Arden is generally still maintaining her 'best sleeper in the family' status.  We had a couple weeks of her sleeping 11+ hours through the night, but in the last week or so she has been waking up.  The first couple of nights she was sick and running a fever, so I wasn't all that surprised.  Now I'm not exactly sure what is waking her up.  She is still congested with a cough.  She might be getting more teeth (her 5th and 6th popped through without me even noticing!).  We've cut nursing sessions so maybe she is making up for it.  Who knows.  She has slept better the two nights we've given her motrin before bed, so maybe it is some sort of pain waking her up.  She is also on the verge of dropping the morning nap.  Both yesterday and today she wouldn't fall asleep for it.  Yesterday she only napped about 80 minutes in the afternoon where she was usually napping a total of 3 hours or more between the two naps.  Today she has been asleep for 2.25 hours thus far, so hopefully if we move to the one nap schedule permanently she can stretch that nap toward the longer end.  She goes to bed between 8 and 8:30pm and is usually up for the day between 7:30 and 8am.


Developmentally I'd say Arden is still behind in gross motor skills, and I'm pretty sure the other girls had slightly better communication skills, but she is definitely making progress!  She has gotten fairly good at cruising, and doesn't need a ton of support to walk around with my hands.  And in the last week she has figured out how to walk with a push toy, and also tries to push various pieces of furniture around the house.  She does not stand unassisted, but she also refuses to try.  If I attempt to stand her up she turns into a limp noodle.  I still wouldn't be surprised if she was closer to 15 months when she finally started walking, but I also would love to see her standing on the beach when we go in March.  We'll see!

As far as words go, Arden really only says hi, Elsie and Thea.  She also kind of says tickle, cheers (important skills clearly, being able to cheers), go and Jayhawk.  Maybe some other random things  She waves when you say hello or goodbye, and though not always a good source of communication she does nod yes or no.  And she points for things she wants.  One afternoon I swear she plain as day said Daddy, but hasn't done it again.  I think she calls both Chris and my dad 'dada' at the moment.  Just in a more emphatic whisper voice when she is talking about Papa.  It's cute.

I'm pretty sure Papa is Arden's favorite person to blow kisses to.  I can't remember how it started, or who it started with, but when the kids blow him kisses Papa pretends to get knocked over by them, or at least jumps like they really hit him.  Arden thinks this is the greatest and pretty much starts blowing him kisses as soon as she sees him.  The other day he was at my house, in the kitchen talking to Thea.  Arden and I had been upstairs.  When I opened the door to the room and she heard his voice, she looked at me with a little grin on her face, and said 'muah' in the cutest little voice.  She couldn't wait to hit him with a kiss.


I can't say Arden is a huge fan of toys.  She is a huge fan of crawling around and looking for things that aren't hers and climbing the stairs and opening drawers and in general seeking out mischief.  But most toys in general do not hold her interest.  When the big girls are at school, she LOVES to play with all their tiny things if I'm in their room putting away clothes or picking up or anything of that nature.  One afternoon she spent a solid twenty minutes trying to squish a tiny American Girl apple into an American girl pencil holder.  Whatever floats your boat girl.  She loves to crawl around with tiny things stashed in her hands too.  Usually if I say, "Arden, what did you find?" she'll offer up whatever tiny bit of trash she is carrying.  Occasionally she is attached to her discovery, and clutches it with both hands under her chin like a prized possession and grunts at me.

She has the cutest little scrunch nose cheese face that she gives to strangers when we're out and about.  She'll wave from the cart like she is in a parade and makes all the older women around us melt.  Unfortunately several of them take that as in invitation to get closer and even touch her and she usually bursts into tears.  Whoops.  Baby Shark and Shake it Off are her jams.


Arden my dear, you are such a gift.  I am so incredibly grateful God gave me you.  You've completed our family in the most perfect way, and this year has been a blast.  I don't want you to grow up, but I can't wait to witness the person you become.  Love you love you love you.

January 23, 2019

arden rae | a birth story

Since it has been over a year I decided it was time to get Arden's birth story completed.  It took me a while to get through this post.  Partly because of lack of time, partly because honestly, I needed to process it.  Arden arrived safely without any complications and that is what is important.  But the birth didn't go as I had imagined, and I'm carrying a lot of regret and guilt over it.  Doing my best to let it go, and simply love my sweet girl who is getting so big and growing so fast!

After my blood pressure leveled out I no longer needed an early induction, which was surprising, sad, and great all at the same time.  I was hoping to meet my girl as soon as possible, but we enjoyed our last family days, and I also held on to a shred of hope that I might go into labor on my own and not make it to our scheduled elective induction.  I felt slightly guilty for scheduling the elective induction, but the reality is having the childcare and Chris's days off and such planned out ahead of time was nice.  So on January 12th, and 39 weeks exactly, we set off for the hospital to meet our baby girl.  Here is my not so great recap of her birthday!


January 12th, 2018

I woke up around 3:30am needing to go to the bathroom.  I was bummed, come on body, couldn't you let me sleep soundly the last hour before my alarm went off?  I was worried I wouldn't be able to fall back asleep, but it must not have taken long, because the next thing I knew my 4:30am alarm was going off.  I laid in bed for a few minutes feeling baby girl move.  This was it, the last morning I would ever wake up pregnant.  EVER.  I was trying to take it all in.  Her movements.  My belly.  All of it.  But we were planning to leave by 5:30am so I needed to get moving.  I hopped in the shower to rinse off and attempted to shave my legs.  Meh.  Better than nothing.  Then I put on some make-up and ran the straightner through my hair while putting together the last minute things in my bags.  Of course I wound up running behind.  But my dad came over to be with the big girls, I finished up getting ready, and by 5:40am we were on our way to Kansas City.

The highway was surprisingly busy in the 6am hour.  Thankfully despite some rough weather the day before, the roads were clear and the drive wasn't bad at all.  I was anxious, naturally.  Just wondering how the day would go, what time she would be born, would I make it without an epidural, would my nurses suck or be great... etc. etc. etc.  Just random things bouncing around in my head.  Christopher and I chatted on and off, but I was mostly lost in my own thoughts.

We pulled into the parking garage of the hospital right at 6:40am.  Man was it cold outside.  And when I got out of the car my body was stiff from sitting.  We grabbed the few things we were taking into labor & delivery, and I waddled my way into the lobby.  It's a small trek up to labor & delivery, but we made it, checked in at the nurses station, and were in my room by 6:50.  They brought me a gown to change into.  Everything just felt so surreal.  Seeing the bassinet with the sweet tiny baby items.  I was having a baby.  My last baby.  All those little movements I was feeling in my belly, it was my daughter whom I would soon meet.  Life is crazy.

one last belly picture

Anyway, I got changed and situated in the bed.  My nurse came in, she was great.  She was pregnant with her third girl, so we had a few things we could chat about.  I answered all the intake questions, and it was time to start my IV.  By 7:30am my doctor came in, and before we had even started pitocin she broke my water.  Alrighty then, we weren't wasting any time!  And clearly she needed to get to her office.  Lol.  At 8:00am the pitocin was turned on, and it didn't take long for the contractions to begin.  By 8:30am they were coming every 3 to 4 minutes, and while I could definitely manage them, they were 'legit' contractions.

For the next couple hours I browsed instagram, chatted with my husband and photographer, and labored.  I was handling the contractions alright.  They were uncomfortable, but manageable.  To be perfectly honest during the time the biggest issue was that I was annoyed by the leaking fluid, and I constantly felt like I needed to use the restroom.  Because I did.  I spent the last three+ weeks of pregnancy fighting constipation and the constant contractions were... complicating that.  I spent a short chunk of time just laboring in the bathroom, trying to deal with it.  When I came back into the room I decided to try and walk around to labor.  Contractions picked up but I felt much more comfortable standing than I did lying in the bed.  I continued on like that for a bit, but then I just couldn't get in a groove.  The nurse checked me around 10:45am and I was 4cm. 

And here is where hindsight starts to kick in.  I should have tried laboring on a ball, or asked the nurse for ideas on how to cope.  I never prepared for a natural birth, but secretly I wanted one, so I had no clue what I was doing.  I should have asked for help.  I should have asked everyone to stop talking to me.  I should have turned on some music.  But I didn't.  I started feeling incredibly nauseous, and I wanted to lay down.  But laying down was so uncomfortable.  I was hot and sweaty and just wanted to puke.  Based on some text messages with a friend I'm guessing I threw in the towel and asked for an epidural shortly after 11:30.


When I got in the bed for the epidural the contractions began to intensify even more.  It was so hard to sit still through them.  And when the doctor placed the catheter I could tell something wasn't right.  It was uncomfortable on my right side.  She asked if I was in pain.  But it wasn't pain.  I just knew it wasn't right.  I was trying to explain it but the contractions were so uncomfortable.  I couldn't get out the right words.  She checked to see if she could get some medicine in.  Then I felt even more sick.  Apparently I went rather pale as well, and my blood pressure started dropping.  I can't remember what exactly happened.  I laid on my back for a bit, and I started feeling the epidural take on my right, but NOT FREAKING AT ALL on my left.  I could feel everything.  Again based on text messages, the epidural must have been placed around 12:15ish, by 12:30 I felt like it wasn't working properly.  The nurse checked me and I was 7cm.

They had me lay on my left side to try and get the medicine to 'flow over there' but nothing was helping.  I felt like I was dying, but at this point my right side was completely useless.  I couldn't move or do anything.  The nurse kept telling me that epidurals can't take away all the sensations, that there would still be uncomfortable pressure.  Woman, this was not 'uncomfortable pressure'.  It was if someone had drew a line straight down the middle of my body and the right side was good to go, the left was being beaten to death.  I couldn't open my eyes, I couldn't focus, I couldn't do anything.  It hurt so much and I had zero ability to deal with it.  Again, these time references are vague but I think around 12:45pm I felt like I was ripping open, I'm going to assume this is the ring of fire reference.  I felt completely out of control.  I felt like I had to push right then and there.  They checked me again, 10cm, and baby girl was right there.


We had to wait for my OB to run from her clinic to the hospital (they're connected).  Naturally it felt like an eternity.  They were telling me not to push.  I was crying out "I can't do this," and the nurses kept reassuring me that I could.  But I could feel my body trying to push.  That kid wanted out.  I honestly didn't see my doctor come in, I still wasn't opening my eyes.  The nurses put me on my back and put my legs in the stirrups.  I still couldn't move on my own at all.  I was finally given the go ahead to push.  Two short pushes later, sunny side up with a hand by her head, Arden was officially Earth side at 1:04pm.

I can't even begin to describe the amount of emotion that flooded through me after that.  I was so grateful Arden was born, safely and healthy.  Thrilled to be meeting my daughter.  A small part of me mourned the daughter I never met.  And a huge part of me was trying to soak in every single second.  That was it.  That was the last time I'll ever hold a brand new baby, one that I grew and protected in my body for nine months.  It was too much to hold in, so it all came out in a flood of tears.  I cradled Arden while the placenta was delivered and cried and cried.  I was also uncontrollably shaking which was driving me mad at the time.  I was ready to relax and study my girl, but my body couldn't do it just yet.


The rest of the day is fairly fuzzy in my brain, but while we were having some skin to skin time I realized my right side was still very much numb.  I mentioned it and the nurse realized the epidural was never turned off.  Fantastic.  Insert large eye roll here, but I'll move on.  They looked Arden over while we were snuggling, and shortly after we made our first attempt at nursing.  She latched on like a champ.  It felt like such a relief, she was in my arms and feeding and settling right in to place.  At some point we ordered me some lunch.  More snuggling, more nursing, repeat repeat.

Because of how the epidural situation went down and how everything progressed, I never had a catheter placed, therefore they needed me to use the restroom before I could be moved to the mother baby room.  Except my right leg was still completely numb from the hip down.  Not ideal but the nurse was excited because they had the opportunity to use some contraption they had recently received.  I can't remember the name of it, but basically they were able to slide me over to stand on it supported, then close some sort of seat behind me.  Then I was wheeled into the bathroom and they could push me all the way to the toilet, have me lean forward on the supports of the device, open the seat, and easily lower me on to the toilet.  More information than anyone needed I'm sure, but I can see how beneficial it is to use instead of a wheel chair.  No one else really had to lift me, or carry me or anything, because of how the seat functioned.  Once that was taken care of we got loaded up and headed over to the mother baby room.


My right side remained almost completely numb just over four hours after delivery.  It was frustrating and uncomfortable and I wasn't allowed to get out of bed on my own.  But that was really the worst thing that happened throughout our entire stay in the hospital so I shouldn't complain.  Oh except they told me I had a 'lazy uterus' that didn't shrink as quickly as they would have liked.  The nurse said something to the affect that after four pregnancies it was just a little worn out.  Ha.  Making me feel old and useless.  Whatever.

On Saturday my parents brought the girls up to meet their sister.  That was a circus, but oh so amazing.  Our family was complete and we were all together.  Thea did great and didn't seem the least bit upset about me having the baby.  The girls were incredibly cute... and incredibly wound up.  We lasted about 45 minutes with them there before we'd had a little too much and needed a quiet room again.  Sorry girls!


We had a few more visitors throughout our stay, but mostly spent a lot of time enjoying the quiet, nursing, and snuggling.  It snowed while we were in the hospital, which made the drive home a little daunting, but nothing terrible.

It may not have been the birth I imagined in my head, but Arden, baby girl, I'd do it again in a heart beat to have you in my life.  

December 26, 2018

arden rae - eleven months

started writing this update on the 15th, going to try and not include anything since then!

Less than a month until my little caboose is one.  Fastest year yet!


Arden's personality has changed and developed so much in the last month.  She is still a rather tolerant easy going girl, but this pint size baby can throw quite the tantrum if she isn't getting her way.  She is angry if something gets taken away from her, if we close a door to somewhere she was hoping to go, or if she isn't getting the food she wants.  There are some foods she LOVES to eat.  I think those foods (cheese, mac n cheese, spaghetti, really varieties of noodles and breads) have contributed to a decent weight gain over the last few weeks.  Nothing official but I think she is right about 16 pounds, which I think might land her somewhere between the 5th and 8th percentile.  Quite the jump for our peanut!  I look forward to having an accurate measurement at her one year well check.

When in public people generally guess that Arden is between six and eight months old based on her size.  At this point it has almost become entertaining.  I mean I'm terrible at judging ages of kids, adults, I just stink at it, so I'd be wrong no matter what.  But strangers always look so shocked when I say she is actually ten or eleven months.  Can't blame them at all, she is wearing mostly 6-9 month clothing, though the 6 month onesies still fit just fine.  She is wearing a Carter's 6m in these photos.  An exciting development is that shoes are now staying on her feet.  Unless she throws them off on her on of course.  Still wearing a size three diaper.  Our tooth count is now at four, with the fourth one just barely peeking through the gums.


I'm getting a little nervous about weaning Arden.  For the most part she does well with solids, but thus far has shown little interest in a cup.  We've only put water in a straw cup and a regular sippy, and she will play with them.   But doesn't really drink anything.  Maybe in the next couple of weeks I'll try to put some breastmilk in there and see what happens.  With the weight gain issues we've had I can't imagine weaning her without knowing she'll drink enough milk.  I'm not in a huge rush to fully wean either, I'd be happy to continue nursing a few times a day.  But right now we're still at five to six times a day and I'm sort of over that.

Her growth motor skills are also taking off.  Arden figured out how to get into a seated position on her own about two weeks ago, and has been trouble ever since! :)  She is pulling up on everything, has more or less mastered going up the stairs, tries to climb everything.  She hasn't really figured out how to cruise along furniture but will transfer between places.  But if she were moving along a bench or something of that nature she tries to turn and actually walk while only holding with one hand, which usually doesn't end well.  Her preference is to grab my hands so she can actually 'walk' wherever she'd like to go.


I can't really decide if Arden has said her first word or not.  She has three very distinct sounds that she uses for words, but they don't really sound like words.  She 'says' hi, peek, and "tis tis tis" which is her version of tickle tickle tickle.  If we were to count one of those, I would say her first word was tickle!  So funny.  She still rarely says mama or dada, and it doesn't really seem to be in context.  But if I ask her where Daddy is, she definitely looks for Christopher.  She gets really excited and 'talks' about the Christmas tree, and tries to say 'ho ho ho' for Santa.  She also will try to meow for a cat, say woof for dog, and knows an owl says whoooo.  I think she also makes an 'ah ah' sound for monkey but it is hard to tell.  Arden LOVES to wave at people, she puts her arms up in the air when we say touchdown, and has very recently started blowing kisses.  Sometimes she will also lay her head on the floor and pretend to snore.  So cute.


Arden's favorite toys seem to be... anything that is not one of her toys.  Typical.  She makes a mad dash into her sisters' rooms and scours for all the choking hazards she can find.  Hatchimals, LOL doll accessories, stickers, beads.  She loves them all.  Oy.  She really enjoys putting things in a container and taking them back out over and over again.  But her favorite thing to do right now is see what she can find that fits down the 'hole' in the living room.  The spot where I believe you'd turn on the gas for fireplace?  She'll find something, and start trucking it as fast as her little army crawl can take her to see what happens when she puts it in.  I think we've lost a handful of small toys, and even a fat crayola marker to that hole.  I'm hoping it loses appeal sometime soon!

Bath/shower time is also a huge hit.  If Arden isn't trying to crawl into one of the girl's rooms, she is heading for the bathroom.  She gets very jealous if the big girls are in the shower and she doesn't get to go in.  She has even started to notice the sound of the water coming through the pipes, so if Chris takes the girls up to shower while I'm with her down stairs, she gets excited and tries to make it up to the bathroom.  After a particularly messy spaghetti night we popped her in the kitchen sink to wash her off.  When we got her out she was SO MAD.  So mad.


I wish I could pause time.  Arden, I love you sweet baby girl.