Remember the Resolutions?

It’s funny, really. I was just thinking about this year and the fact that it’s already August. Where the heck did the first 7 months go? Time is a very funny thing.

The night before Elly was born I bought a planner so I could record everything. We had no idea that we would be meeting her the next day so I stayed up late and wrote down important days, color coded everything with highlighters, and drew big elaborate pictures and designs around her due date – November 17.  We all know how that ended. That’s okay, I am just happy she arrived happy and healthy.

Over the next several days I wrote down everything. Every feeding. Every diaper change. Every different expression she made. I even got color coded post-it notes to record milestones, questions, and make lists of things we needed. Basically the organization freak in me came out full force. I look back on it now and I am so thankful that I recorded every detail.  As days and months passed I became less obsessive about writing every detail, some things slipped by, and eventually full days and weeks would pass with nothing written. This is important because my planner ends next month. It’s time to get a new one and I hope I can keep up with the same vigor I started with. We are less than 3 months away from Elly’s first birthday so new milestones will be developing – first steps, first actual words, etc. and I don’t ever want to forget those moments.

So, I’m making it a resolution – buy a new planner and record. No matter how small the detail seems, record it. One day I will be thankful I did.

Speaking of resolutions, I have not kept up with any of mine that I made in January. Everything else just got overwhelming. I have not been exercising regularly. I have not been eating healthy. I have not done a spectacular job of keeping up with the blog. I have not been reading. Overall, I failed. I’m okay with that. Not everyone is perfect, and that just means I have lots of room for improvement.

I’ve started working on improving myself. Brent and I have started exercising together with hopes of one day completing a half marathon together. With this we have been more careful about what we’re eating. With Elly getting older, we are now trying to be more cautious about the food we buy and the food we eat. Our philosophy is that we won’t eat it if we would not let Elly eat it. This has cut back on a lot of our processed food habits. Don’t get me wrong, we still eat most everything. If I want a cookie, then I’m going to eat a cookie.

I have also started reading. One of the things on my Christmas list will be a Kindle. I have wanted one for a long time, so I am really hoping I get one. I love to read and now that Elly is started to entertain herself a little more, I do have some spare time to sit and read. I just finished Water for Elephants and I absolutely loved it.  The writing was fabulous and the story engulfed me. I cannot wait to see the movie!

The fact that I waited 8 months to start working on my New Year’s resolutions is a little disheartening, but that just gives me hope for next year. I am still deciding whether or not I will set resolutions, or just continue with little goals throughout the year. Life is always changing, so it’s hard to predict what you will actually be able to accomplish in 12 months. However, I will remain positive and happy and continue to work on improving myself for the remainder of 2011.

Lots of good things are coming our way and I feel like this is only going to push me in a more positive direction with myself and for the future of our family. Stay tuned for tomorrow. I have a big announcement!

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Body After Baby: The Beginning

I’ll admit that I’m a little late in the game to be starting a “Body After Baby” series since Elly is now 9 months old, however she will always be my baby girl so the title is still relevant. I debated back and forth with myself on whether I should combine my weight loss blog with this blog. Yes, I have more than one blog. I’m addicted to blogging, I can’t help it. So, I asked around and decided that focusing on my body, fitness, and nutrition are all part of being a mom and the adventure that comes with Mommyhood. With this I decided to merge the two blogs into one. I do not plan on doing daily updates on my weight loss. I do not plan to complain about my body. I will not post my weight. Ever.

The purpose of my body after baby series is to document (mostly to myself) my efforts in regaining my fitness level that I had before I got pregnant. I feel like putting it out here will hold me more accountable. There will be random updates on what I’m eating, what exercises I’m doing, what races I’m training for, etc. but I will focus one post a month on giving an update – progress pics included (yikes).  I will focus on being healthy and making lifestyle changes rather than a quick fix to lose the extra weight. This will make it a slow process, but that will help me maintain habits that I can keep for a lifetime and eventually pass on to Elly.

While my body is not the same as it used to be, I do not hate it. How could I? For 9 months it was the only home that my little girl knew. It provided her with nourishment and safety and allowed her to grow. I am proud of my body for being capable of doing something so magnificent. I do not expect to ever get my “pre-baby” body back but I would like to lose some of the extra weight I gained.

I will not focus on my weight. I do give myself weekly weigh-in’s to track my progress, so I will update with how much I have lost but I will never focus on what the numbers actually are. This is because scales do not matter. The number on the scale does not matter. The number on the scale does not define me, it does not tell me how healthy I am. It does not determine my self worth. It also should not do any of that for you either.  I also do not want to be responsible for people comparing themselves to me, not that I am in great shape or have an “ideal” body figure at the moment. I also do not want negative or judgmental comments about my weight, those are just unnecessary.

I have been exercising on and off since March. It was extremely hard to get motivated because I was not physically or emotionally ready. I was not allowed to do any physical activity due to a few complications during pregnancy. I had an emergency c-section, so I had an additional 6 week recovery. After that I could not get my mind focused. My incision would cramp up and cause excruciating pain for awhile, which eventually dulled but was always present. My strength and endurance had gone way down. It was like starting over, and I just could not get on board.

Now I am mentally and physically ready to commit myself to a healthy lifestyle. I need to do this for myself, for Elly, and for Brent. I need to toss my processed food dieting habits and start exercising more. Every little bit helps.

Around the first of every month I will post an update with my thoughts and reflections of how I am doing. I will also include progress pictures.

I am excited to put my whole self in this journey again. I am ready to tackle anything. I know I can do it. 🙂

Last Single Digit Month

It’s crazy to me that Elly is 9 months old. I realize I say this every month, but I seriously cannot believe how fast time really goes. I have people asking me for details about her 1st birthday party!!

She had her 9 month check-up this morning and everything was perfect! This was spectacular news since the past 3 months have been a crazy whirlwind of specialists, blood tests, and scans. Poor girl has been through a lot, but luckily everything came back normal and her pediatrician said that she is perfectly healthy, just small. No more specialists. Great news!

She weighed in at 11 lbs. 12.6 oz. (3.5% for age) and she is 25 1/2 inches long (4.8% for age), so she is definitely small, but she is growing on her own curve and she is growing so her ped has no concerns. More great news!

He checked all of her developmental milestones and was astonished at how well she is doing and said that she is somewhat advanced at reaching some of them. For example, he stood her up to see if she could support her body and then he kind of let go of her and she just stood there on her own! I was crazy proud. He also said he was impressed at how well and how long she was sitting and that she could maneuver herself while sitting without falling over.  Even better news!

Then it was time to leave and the receptionist asked if I wanted to schedule her 1 year appointment. Gulp. I know that her birthday is getting close, but to hear other people say it out loud. To know that the next time she’s at her pediatrician’s office she will be 1 year old. I almost started crying. She’s growing up way too fast.

Food. She’s getting 3-4 5oz. bottles per day, she goes through 2 servings of fruit and 3-4 servings of veggies per day and she is starting to get more and more adventurous when it comes to our food. She took a small bite of my sandwich today and managed to eat all of it, rather than move it around in her mouth and spit it out.  Tonight we are going to try chicken and see how she does! She loves water in her sippy cup but does not really like juice, she usually just spits it out. And she still loves her Graduate Puffs.

Clothes and diapers. We finally had to sort through her clothes again. She is wearing mostly 6 month in everything. She still has a few newborn and 3 month shirts (not body suits) that fit her but otherwise she’s quickly growing through the 3-6 month stuff.  Her feet are finally fitting into size 1 shoes, she seriously has the smallest feet I have ever seen and has not actually fit into a pair of shoes until recently so we’re pretty happy about that.  She is still in a size 2 diaper, so not much has changed in that department.

She has become a moving machine. We have had to get gates to block off the stairway and the living area to keep her contained because she is rolling, scooting, and crawling everywhere! She is also improving on her pulling up and can take a few steps along the couch or while using her dinosaur, so I am guessing before her birthday she will be walking. Scary thought.

Elly’s waking up from her nap, so time to cut this off. 🙂

Back to Life

When I started this blog it was to chronicle my pregnancy and my passions for fitness and nutrition, which included work outs and recipes. After Elly was born I switched gears and it became a blog about Elly, which makes sense because she is the light of mine and Brent’s life. However, now that I rarely ever post I have decided I am ready to bring my blog back to life by going back to my roots.

There will be work outs.

There will be recipes.

There will still be [lots] of Elly pictures, which I know is why most of you come here anyway. 🙂

Health, fitness, and nutrition are very important to me. Now, more than every, because I want to be a great role model for Elly. So, now that she is almost 1 year old (what?! when did that happen?) I have decided to put a more serious effort in taking care of myself. Not necessarily diet, just change my eating habits. Watch my portion sizes. Eat more fruits and veggies. Incorporate new foods. Experiment with cooking. Exercise regularly. Become [re]obsessed with road races and training.

And scattered in with that there will be stories about toys all over the living room, peas being spit in my face, and precious stories as my baby girl reaches her milestones. You know, the fun stuff.

Everything involved in the everyday life of a mom.

Breastfeeding: My Story

It’s National Breastfeeding Week, so I’m celebrating by sharing my breastfeeding journey.

I grew up knowing nothing about breastfeeding.  Honestly, I did not even know it was a thing. I had never heard it mentioned and all I ever saw were babies eating from bottles. I had no idea that boobs produced milk.

Eventually, I did learn about it but I had no idea it was natural. I had no idea how beneficial it was.

Then, I got into my health fitness and nutrition classes. I learned so much information. I learned how many great benefits come with breastfeeding for Mom and baby. I learned how nutritious breast milk is for babies. How the breast milk provides so many essential nutrients and helps to build up a strong immune system. Breastfed babies rarely got sick or had diaper rash. For the mom, breastfeeding helps to prevent breast and cervical cancer. It helps shed the pregnancy weight. It also provides an excellent bonding experience for Mom and baby. After that, I was hooked. I knew that if I ever had a baby that I would breastfeed. and my goal was to breast feed for at least one year.

What the classes did not tell me was how difficult breastfeeding would be. No one ever mentioned that some mom’s cannot breastfeed due to supply issues or milk not coming in. They never said anything about chafing nipples, soreness, or inability to latch. What the heck is a nipple shell? or a shield for that matter? Inverted nipples…. that’s a real thing? I suddenly became overwhelmed. and scared.  Still, my was set and I was going to give it my all. Unfortunately, my mindset was still telling me that formula was the devil and I refused to think about what would happen if breastfeeding did not work out.

Well, the first obstacle I encountered were my inverted nipples. I spoke with my doctor and several lactation consultants about this to see if it would still be possible to breastfeed. Turns out, inverted nipples are much more common than I could have imagined. I was given a set of nipple shells to try and “correct” the problem before giving birth. These are placed in your bra over the nipple in hopes of drawing the nipple out. They did not work for me.

So, throughout my pregnancy we learned that Elly was in the Frank breech position. This lead us to prepare for a c-section rather than having a natural childbirth like I had hoped for. No big deal, having a happy healthy baby was all that mattered. Unfortunately, I had also heard that babies that were born by c-section had a much more difficult time with breastfeeding because they were immediately separated from the mother rather than put directly on her chest. This worried me, but I just looked at it as another obstacle that we would get through.

Then came the surprise birth. We thought we still had 2 weeks to prepare, turns out things never work out as planned. Lucky for us, after the surgery and my recovery time I was given Elly for the first time… nearly 2 hours after she was born. She immediately took to breastfeeding… kind of. She immediately found what she was looking for but could not latch. I was given a nipple shield. A plastic protector that has a protruding nipple. She latched on to that effortlessly. She did not suckle, she did not even try. At this point I agreed to let them try and give her a bottle. She latched to that as well, but still no suckle. After a few hours she still wouldn’t even attempt to suckle at any nipple so I was set up with a breast pump and she was given colostrum through a syringe. This is how she ate her entire first day of life. After all of this I assumed that breast feeding would be completely out of the question.

I was wrong.

My milk came in full force the day after she was born. I was easily pumping 5-6 ounces (which is apparently unheard of, especially in women who have c-sections) so I was relieved. I was even more relieved when Elly spontaneously started suckling during one of our many attempts. After that, I thought we were in the clear.

Again, I was wrong.

Since she had such a low birth weight she was put on a strict feeding schedule of every 2 hours, and I had to pump after every feeding to ensure my supply would stay high. I was getting no sleep and I was becoming very irritated and frustrated. I almost wanted to give up, but I didn’t. I stuck it out and things got better.

We went through everything. We both got thrush at one point. We had to keep using the shield until she suddenly weaned herself from it around 5 months. I had to use nipple cream ALL the time because of the shield rubbing my skin. but I can say the benefits far out weighed all the negatives.

At 6 months, things were gravy. I was comfortable enough to feed her anywhere. She was comfortable enough to make feedings quick and easy. No more shield. Things were good. Until we introduced solids.

She did great for a few weeks, until she figured out our pattern.

Breast feed – rice cereal. Breast feed – food. same pattern, and eventually she realized that getting the food was easier than sucking it out of Mom’s boob. So, she started self weaning herself from breastfeeding. She started by just refusing to latch. Then she started screaming anytime I put her near my boob. It was obvious to us that it just wasn’t going to work out this way because she was straight up refusing the milk. So, I started pumping again and we started giving her a bottle which she took to right away.

Unfortunately, that did not last long.  After speaking to our lactation consultant we learned that I would have to pump at least once an hour for 15 minutes to maintain my supply enough to feed her what she needed. With a now 7 month old baby who was on the move and no longer would cooperate for me to pump every hour I realized that it was the end of our breastfeeding journey. We finished using all of my stored milk and at 8 months we bought our first container of formula. To keep it real, I had a serious meltdown in the store when we bought it. I was so upset that I did not make it to one year. I was so upset that now we had to give her formula. Then I realized that formula is not the devil. So many babies thrive off of formula. Giving our baby formula did not make us bad parents, it meant that we were doing the best possible thing for US and Elly. and you know what? Elly does not hate us for it. In fact, we got very lucky and she took to the first kind of formula we tried and we’ve had no major issues since.

So, in the end I am so proud of myself and of Elly. We made it 8 months on breastfeeding. She had slow weight gain, but at the same time she thrived on my milk. She has been ahead on ALL of her developmental milestones. She is a very happy, healthy baby. I will also say that I was very, very lucky to have been able to breast feed for as long as I did. I know Mommies who were not able to breast feed at all due to various complications. I would not trade our experience for anything.

To date, Elly has had ZERO diaper rashes. She has had ONE fever (the day after she had her first vaccinations). She has NEVER had a cold.  I would say we did pretty good. 🙂

 

Let’s Get Medical

Most of you are completely unaware of the medical issues Elly has faced since birth, and for the few who do know we thank you so much for your love, support, and prayers.

Elly measured small throughout my entire pregnancy, averaging around 2 weeks behind.  My doctor was not concerned with this until the end of my pregnancy, and then scheduled me for an ultrasound every two weeks. At 34 weeks, she was measuring 32 weeks.  At 36 weeks, she was measuring 34 weeks. At 38 weeks, she was still measuring 34 weeks. This caused immediate alarm so he scheduled a more advanced ultrasound. During this ultrasound the technician discovered that I also had very low amniotic fluid and recommended that I have the baby delivered that day. Since she was in the Frank breech position, lodged in my rib cage, and I had low fluid she would be delivered by c-section.

She was born weighing 4 lbs. 7 oz. There was a lot of speculation that the cause was Intrauterine Growth Restraint (IUGR). However, my doctor said the placenta was healthy and that was not the cause. Everyone attributed her birth weight to a family history of small people (which we have on both sides).

Over the first few weeks we noticed that Elly was projectile vomiting after every feeding, multiple times. It became ridiculous and we were concerned that she wasn’t keeping anything down. After a trip to the ER and several visits to her pediatrician later, it was guessed that she had very bad gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), but her pediatrician wanted to get a GI scan to be sure. The GI scan involved Elly drinking a 4 oz. bottle of barium, and then a doctor taking x-ray images of her intestines every 30 minutes for the next 3 hours to make sure it was being digested properly. This test came back negative – meaning there were no issues. After this, her pediatrician referred us to an Endocrinologist to have her thyroid checked. Since she was only 2 months old at the time there was very little that could be done, however these tests also came back negative.

As the months progressed, Elly steadily gained weight and she grew in length. She was never on the actual growth charts, but her pediatrician was never concerned because she was growing on her own curve. This all changed at her 6 month appointment. At 4 months, she weighed 8 lbs. 3 oz., and when she was weighed at her 8 month appointment (exactly 2 months later) she was only 8 lbs. 12 oz.  Her pediatrician was alarmed by her lack of growth and weight gain and said we needed to immediately start her on rice cereal and baby purees. Since we had been planning to use the Baby Led Weaning method for introducing solids, we were kind of crushed but wanted the best for Elly. After this appointment, her pediatrician referred us to a GI (stomach) specialist to make sure Elly is absorbing her nutrients properly.

The GI specialist ordered several blood tests, a stool sample, and a 24 hour urine collection sample. Seriously, 24 hour urine collection. For a 6 month old. This proved to be extremely messy, to say the least, but we did it (thanks to the help of our favorite nurse, who we originally met when she taught our childbirth classes).  All of these tests also came back normal, with nothing unusual or notable. They originally thought she may have iron deficiency anemia, but even that test was negative.

Now Elly is 8 months old, and weighs 10 lbs. 12 oz., which is up 2 whole pounds since her 6 month appointment. We are not sure what caused the sudden weight gain, but everyone seems less concerned now.  Unfortunately we are still not in the clear, our pediatrician wants us to see a genetics specialist to make sure her small size isn’t a genetics disorder such as dwarfism. This appointment is set for July 19, and if these tests come back negative we will be in the clear!

The whole situation has added a lot of stress, because Brent and I have believed that she was fine since the beginning but it’s hard not to worry when everyone else is so worried. We are so happy that everything so far has been normal and proves that we just have a very happy, small baby girl! We are very relieved that this issue will all be over soon, and we can start worrying about other things… like Elly’s first birthday party! 🙂

The Big 8!

Elly turned 8 months old on July 3! It is crazy to believe it’s been 8 months, and even more crazy that it’s almost time for us to start planning her 1st birthday party!

7 months was huge for Elly, she grew a lot – physically and developmentally! We are so proud of everything she is capable of doing and we love her more and more every day

Weight/Length: Elly now weighs 10lbs. 12oz. and is around 25 inches long (ETA: we have not had an official length measurement since her 6 month appointment, so we have no idea how long she currently is)… she is still long and skinny, but she’s starting to get little chubby legs and arms from her muscles building from all of her rolling, scooting, and pulling herself up!

Clothing Size: Currently, she is fitting into 3-6/6 month shirts and onesies, but her waist still fits newborn/0-3/3 month pants.

Changing Table: Elly is up to a size 2 diaper! Since introducing solids, her poops have become more solid and much more stinky! I’ve also noticed that she’s started pooping a lot more than she used to, so we are going through diapers like crazy! She has also gotten into a nasty habit of undoing her diapers and rolling out of them if we do not change them fast enough. This usually only happens after she poops, which can be quite disastrous!  We are hoping that her aversion to being in a poopy diaper will help her to potty train really quickly! 🙂

Food: Elly seriously loves food! She has eaten everything we’ve given her and always has a smile on her face. She gets excited when she sees us making her food or when we go in the kitchen and has never fussed during a meal. Besides her purees, she has tried pickles, lettuce, spinach, avocado, broccoli, ice cream, cookies, hamburger, sweet potato fries, mac & cheese, watermelon, an orange, egg (yolks only), and plain waffle. I think her favorite is the apple cinnamon Gerber Puffs, she loves those things! We are so glad she is a such a great eater. She loves her fruits and her veggies and her treats, so we are hoping she continues these eating habits once she’s a toddler.

Sleep Habits: We got really lucky with this one. Elly has been sleeping through the night since around 6-8 weeks. We usually put her down around 10pm and she wakes up between 7-8am.  She is also on a nap schedule, and is doing great with it. She gets two 2 hour naps every day.  She never fusses when we put her down so we never had to do the “cry it out” method, which is probably good because I don’t think I could just sit here and listen to her cry. She usually babbles to herself for a few minutes and then falls asleep, unless she is really tired and then she just rolls over and passes out. She does sleep with a stuffed tiger, she cuddles him into her arm. It is probably the cutest thing ever!

Milestones: I don’t even know where to start! She has been sitting unassisted for a few months now, so that is nothing new. However, she has shown us that she can crawl… she just chooses not to. I guess she thinks that rolling and scooting are much more efficient. She has learned to pull herself up to standing and can stand alone with no assistance for a very brief time (like 2-3 seconds) before toppling over. She talks all the time and comes up with new sounds everyday!  She has almost perfected feeding herself. She hasn’t quite figured out how to turn the spoon around but she’s a pro at picking up food with her fingers and taking it to her mouth.  She loves playing peek-a-boo or “hide and seek” – we cover her eyes with a blanket and say “where’s Elly?” and she pulls it off and giggles. Today she waved “bye bye” to Daddy for the first time! I also took Elly to the lake for her first time with our friend Megan and she loved it! She just splashed around and laughed the entire time. She must get this from her Daddy, because I hated the water when I was younger. 🙂

Words: She has started calling me Mama, so I couldn’t be happier. Brent is a little jealous though 🙂

Teeth: Elly cut her first tooth on June 17! She now has 2 teeth that have cut through on the bottom, and a 3rd is showing on the top!