Thursday, April 9, 2015

James - 5 Months

James, you are five months old! Time is really flying now and you're growing up before our very eyes!

You weigh about 21.5 lbs. You're a really big boy! Some of your 3-6 month clothes still fit, but you're moving into 9 month size now. You wear size 3 diapers.
Here's what else is going on with you these days: 

- You're really into jumping up and down. You like the exersaucer and "dropping it like it's hot" when we stand you up in our laps! It's so cute!
- You can roll both ways now and you're pretty close to sitting up. You're definitely in a period of rapid development.

- You're still teething but there's no teeth yet. Unfortunately you're in a lot of pain and pretty fussy. You chew on everything you can get your hands on. We're all praying you can get some relief soon!
- You're a charmer and you love being with people and interacting! You have such a sweet disposition and you love to smile. It's the best! The flipside of being so social is that you don't being alone. This makes for some tricky days for me at home with you and your sister. You love being held and don't like being put down. 
- You are a little clone of your daddy...just like I hoped for. When you smile, you have the exact same crinkle half-moon eyes! What a blessing you are to us! For this month's pictures you're wearing one of Daddy's outfits from when he was a baby. You're absolutely precious! I need to get a baby picture of him wearing it so I can do a side-by-side comparison!

- We spent your first Easter in Sugar Land with family! It was a great weekend. It was so fun to dress you up in your sweet little outfit and go through your goodies from the Easter bunny! 
- You startle very easily. You got that from me, poor baby. Prepare for a lifetime of jumping out of your skin when someone comes up behind you, little buddy. Sorry 'bout that!
- We've started you on rice cereal and you seem to like it pretty well. We're just so glad we can finally feed you something! We'll move on to oatmeal, fruit, and veggies next month. Anything to keep those chunky thighs going...they are epic!!! You get those from your mama, too! ;)
Current nicknames: Jamesie, Gigi and Poppy call you Jaybird, Pinky calls you Drum (as in drumstick), Gracie calls you "little handsome baby!"
Favorite toys: You're a fan of the exersaucer! You also love this old giraffe teether my parents's vintage! It came from my grandparents house and all of us grandkids used it...we think it's the original Sophie!
James, you are the perfect little dude and we couldn't love you more! Here's to another fun month!


Monday, March 9, 2015

James - 4 Months

James, you are four months old! Another month has passed and I can't believe it. You're growing so big, so fast! You're becoming less of a newborn and growing more alert and aware of things around you. It's exciting because there's so many fun things on the horizon, but since there's a good chance you're our last little baby, another part of me is selfishly sad to see you growing up so quickly. 

Your stats:

Height: 27 inches - 99th percentile
Weight: 19 lbs, 8 ozs - 98th percentile
Head: 17 inches - 91st percentile
You are huge, no offense. ;) When you're just wearing a diaper, you look like a baby sumo wrestler! You're growing out of your 3-6 month clothes and I'm hoping with the weather warming up we can get you into all your Spring/Summer clothes before you grow out of those too! You wear size 3 diapers.
Here's what else you're up to:

- You rolled over for the first time on March 2nd from tummy to back! You've only done it a couple times since. You seem to really want to sit up, and you love when we stand you up. You're super're basically a baby super hero. Despite being younger, I think you're going to make a very nice bodyguard for your sister when the teenage years roll around!
- You're definitely noticing food now and seem very interested. You always sit on the table in your bumbo seat with us while we eat dinner, and you've gone from watching us to watching our food! Poor baby is hungry! We're looking forward to cereal and other foods soon. You're still nursing often...every 2 hours or so. Sometimes less often if we're out and about and sometimes more often if you don't have a big feeding after waking up or something.
- Teething is definitely going on! You're drooling up a storm and constantly have your fingers/hands in your mouth, or a blanket or our fingers if we let you. Your doctor checked and says there's no teeth coming in the next 2 weeks, but I wonder if something might happen soon after that. Your top front gums seem like they might be the first to sprout a tooth, but we'll see! You're wearing an amber teething necklace and I think it's helping some with the drooling.
- The time around 4 months has been a game changer for both my babies. It's almost like that's when you realize you're not in the womb anymore, and you're not crazy about it. You're just more fussy than you've been previously and you don't want to be put down. I'm sure teething is contributing too. Of course I wish I could hold you all the time, but it's hard with your sister being barely 2 years old. I sure wish I had an extra hand or three!
- You're also not sleeping as well. Up until recently, you've been in a pattern of going to sleep around 9 pm in your crib, maybe needing a paci once or twice in the late evening, then eating around 2 am, and then coming to our room sometimes between 5-7 am to eat and then finish sleeping in the rock n play. You've had a couple really bad nights where you're up a lot more recently, leading me to think you've hit the 4 month sleep regression. Hopefully it will be short lived...your sister never really slept through the night again after that until she turned 1, but I think/hope you might be a better sleeper than she was.
- You are such a sweet little guy! You're absolute favorite thing is to interact with people. You smile a lot and like to talk and make noises. You're a people person, for sure, and everyone just loves you right back!
Current nicknames: Jamesie, Jay-bird, little man, sweet boy, buddy/baby buddy

Favorite toys: Your teething giraffe, your jungle gym, your stuffed elephant (your love to chew on his nose), and anything else you can chew on!
Jamesie-boy, you are the sweetest little boy in the world! We just love you to pieces. 2015 has been a pretty tough year for my family so far, with several family members dealing with very serious health issues. You have been such a bright spot for everyone, reminding us how much hope and joy there is in a new generation. I couldn't love you more!


Monday, February 9, 2015

James - 3 Months

James, you are three months old! We made it through the "fourth trimester." You are just the sweetest, happiest boy and I can't imagine life without you!

I don't know your weight, but you're definitely growing bigger everday! You wear mostly 3-6 month clothes and size 2 diapers. You have some seriously squeezable thigh rolls!
Here's what else you're doing these days:

- You love to interact with people. You almost always smile when someone talks to you, and you love when we sing to you. You're very charming. You just have this big beautiful grin that's totally contagious! I've never seen anything like it, it's absolutely precious.
- You love to eat and have started actually smiling when you realize you're about to dine at the boob buffet! You eat frequently during the day, which I think helps you sleep better at night.

- You're sleeping in your crib at night now. We moved your last weekend and you're doing well with the transition. Before moving, you were basically sleeping through the night, but now you're getting up more to eat or need your pacifier put back in. We've definitely had great success in getting your schedule back on track in the last're awake more during the day and going down for the night around 9 pm instead of 2 am!!
- We've started putting you in the bumbo seat and you seem to like it. You sit on the table in it every night while we eat dinner, and it's really fun having you with us. The seat is pink since it was Claire's first, but you're very confident in your manliness and don't seem to mind. ;)

- We've been working on tummy time. You're really strong and can push off with your legs. Sometimes I think you might just crawl if the boppy pillow wasn't in your way! You're also still enjoying your jungle gym. Recently I've been putting you in the swing more and you love to watch the birds dance around above you on the mobile. You stare at them in absolute wonder until you pass out!
- You chew on your hands and fists a ton! Sometimes it's hunger, but sometimes you're just chewing. I'm hoping this isn't a sign that you're about to start teething. Mama ain't ready for that! You've been spitting up a lot lately. It doesn't seem to really bother you and you're eating and growing well, so I'm not too concerned about it. Like your daddy and sister, you've been dealing with a little bit of congestion over the last couple weeks. I'm pretty sure it's just those dang Austin allergies. 

- Your current nicknames are Jamesie, Baby Jay (sometimes we can get Claire to call you this; otherwise it's just Baby), sweet boy, little man, and sweet man.
Jamesie, we love you so much! You bring so much sweetness to our family. There is nothing better than holding you in my arms while you sleep, and I treasure it so much.

We love you to the moon and back!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Claire - 2 Years

Claire Campbell, you are 2 years old! You are growing so quickly. You're such a hilarious, sweet, intelligent, independent, and beautiful kid. Just when I think I can't possibly love you more than I already do, you do something new and adorable and my love grows a little bit more.

Your stats:

Height: 36 inches - 94th percentile
Weight: 30 lbs - 91st percentile (I think you may actually weigh a bit more, but you were getting over a tummy bug.)
Head: 20 inches - 99th percentile...Your reign as Big Head Todd continues!

You're still wearing some 24 month clothes, but mostly 2T and even some 3T. You wear size 5 diapers.
Here's what else you're up to these days:

- You are talking up a storm! Everyday you say some new word or phrase. It's really amazing to watch you take on new language.

- You know all your colors and quite a few of your letters. Your doctor says the colors are a 4 year skill?!? You're obsessed with colors and love to color...maybe a budding artist like your Daddy? I really don't like when people brag obnoxiously about their kids, but these posts are really for you to look at someday and know what you were doing. You blow us away on a daily basis! You make all sorts of multi-step cognitive connections. It's just really incredible to see what you can do at just 2, and to imagine what you'll be doing in the future. The other day you drew the letter N (not sure if it was intentional) and pointed at it and told me it was an N. I attribute it all to the ABC book we read daily and all those letter apps on the iPad. People can say what they want about kids using technology, but you have certainly benefitted from it.
- You're very busy and love to play! Right now you are really into playing with your babydolls and your new toy kitchen. You also love your toy cars and reading. You're really into watching toy demonstration videos on Youtube...who knew there were so many of those things? Above all, Mickey Mouse (aka "Ninny Now") is your absolute favorite thing in the world!
- You're a bit of a wild child! You are always on the move and constantly getting into stuff. When we're out at places with other kids, you're always the one leaving the spot everyone's at to go explore in another area.You definitely keep us on our toes! A couple weeks ago we went with Pinky, Aunt Dizzie, and Gracie to the movies to see Paddington Bear. At first, you sat in your seat and watched the movie. Before long though, your wild child (and lack of a real nap) kicked in and before long, you were crawling up and down the aisle pretending to be a cat and then I chased after you as you crawled down the steps headfirst. As your Pinky used to say about me, you are "spirited", and I often find myself conflicted over how much to reign you in and not wanting to squelch your spirit.

- You are obsessed with brushing your teeth. Not a day goes by that you don't go pull your toothbrush and paste out of the bathroom drawer and carry them around to play. You have multiple toothbrushes...several dummies that you can drag around with you and gather all manner of germs, and then the real one that's kept just out of your reach on the bathroom counter.
 - Most days you take around a 2 hour afternoon nap. We put you to bed for the night between 8-9 pm and it usually takes you a long time to fall asleep, so your wake time really varies. Right now, it's usually 8ish, sometimes 9. Right before James was born, you jumped out of your crib and we had to convert your crib into a toddler bed way before we planned (nice timing, kid!). That really turned your sleeping habits on their started exploring your room and playing for hours, sometimes falling asleep on the floor. You took a long time to go to sleep before the bed switch, but this definitely increased it. Thankfully, you now stay in your bed for the most part.
- You've handled becoming a big sister beautifully! I really worried about it, because you would get pretty upset everytime I held another baby when I was pregnant. But you've always been really sweet and welcoming to Baby James. I can't wait to see y'all play together soon! 

- Your current nicknames are NerNer (see below), Clairebear, Tootie, and Toot.
- We had a great time celebrating your birthday! Gigi and Poppy came and spent a few days with us, which was super fun! On your birthday, we went to a yummy breakfast at Kerbey Lane and to the Austin Aquarium (we went there on your first birthday too!. That evening we had a small family party, Mickey Mouse-themed, of course. It was a wonderful day celebrating you!
You say so many hilarious things and I have to document them:

- "Daddy, a hot!" means you want a fire in the fireplace.

- "Purple-pink" is what you call your beloved purple nighttime paci and many other things that are either pink or purple.

- "Yaya" means Santa...we still sing "Santa Claus is coming to Town" and Deer aka "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" every day. I kinda hope this lasts all year long!

- "NerNer" - this is how you refer to yourself. I think it's your way of saying Clairebear, which you're called frequently. You started saying this a lot around the holidays and it took us about a month to figure out what you were saying. I can't tell you how much it makes us giggle! NerNer baby = Claire's babydoll, NerNer paci = Claire's paci. So so cute!

- "Yook" is look. All your Ys are Ls right now, hence you say "Heyyo" for hello. You're really into asking people to look at something. "Poppy, yook", etc.

- "Happy?" or more recently "What happy?" is your way of asking what happened.

Claire, you are an absolute joy to us, and we love watching you grow into the amazing little person you are. Not a day goes by that Daddy and I don't talk about how wonderful you are and how much we love you. You will always be my baby, no matter how old you are.

I love you to the moon and back!

Friday, January 9, 2015

James - 2 Months

James, you are two months old! You're getting so big, sweet boy! I can't believe it's been two months since you joined our family.

Height: 24 1/4 in - 96th percentile

Weight: 15 lbs, 4 oz - 97th percentile

Head Circumference: 16 in - 93rd percentile

As your measurements suggest, you are a big boy! You're very proportional. People say you don't look huge, but when they pick you up they are struck by how solid you are. You are a baby beefcake! You've grown out a lot of your   0-3 month clothes and are starting to wear mostly 3-6 month stuff. You're transitioning from size 1 to 2 diapers. Your two month checkup went great and the doctor confirmed my suspicious that you are perfect! :)
Here's what else you're up to these days:

- You're still smiling a lot and making lots of cute noises. Sometimes you just call out to whoever is listening, like "Hey, I'm here!" When you're really worked up and trying to tell us something, you wind your arm up and move it all around...kind of like Popeye! You've done this since very early and it's so cute! You definitely know who your people are, and smile easily with them. We're all just in love with you! You really love to interact and you're such a sweet and happy guy.
- You like to play on your gym playmat! You kick you arms and legs and stare up at the lights and colors and just coo. You like your bouncy seat and sometimes fall asleep in there. You haven't spent a ton of time in the swing, but you seem to like it pretty well. Right now you're sleeping beside our bed in the rock 'n play just like your sister did...that rock 'n play has gotten a lot of mileage over the last two years!

- You're nursing well and often. Sometimes you eat every hour or two. You don't eat for a super long time at these're a snacker just like Claire was. You often fall asleep when you eat and take a lot of "boob naps" (haha). One of my favorite things is when I hold you upright and you fall asleep on my take the most epic naps in positions that seem pretty uncomfortable! I love those moments together.
- Right now you're sleeping a lot during the day, especially in the mornings. Consequently, you're awake a lot in the evenings and often go to sleep very late (sometimes 1 or 2 am). Once you do go down for the night you usually sleep until 6 or 7 (occasionally it's 4 or 5 am), when you eat and fall back asleep. We're going to start working on keeping you awake more during the day so you can go to sleep at a more reasonable hour, although I admit to having a pretty hard time waking a sleeping baby.

- Your gas issues are a bit better, but when you do have gas, it smells awful! Your doctor attributes it to "gut imaturity". When I told her I was worried you're reacting to something I'm eating, she said it's usually dairy. She's not concerned about it. I'm cutting dairy out of my diet for a bit to see if it makes a difference. If that does help, it's not a dairy allergy or even an intolerance...lots of babies react to dairy when they're young because their tummies aren't mature enough to process it until about six months old.
- The last month has been busy and we've experienced a lot of fun firsts with you. We had your first Christmas, first Santa visit, and first trip to Sugar Land to meet Daddy's whole family. You've also gotten to meet all four of your great grandparents! It's been a special month.

-You handled your first shots well. Now we're just praying we can get you through the next couple months of flu season without getting sick. We're enjoying our cozy winter, but also looking forward to springtime when we can be outside more and take you to church!
- You are a growly baby! I'm not sounds like you are growling a lot of the time, kind of like you need to clear you throat. Your doctor checked to see if you had any nasal drip issue going on, but are just a loud baby!

- I can't tell if you're going to be a paci baby yet. Sometimes you take it and it soothes you, but other times you don't seem to want it all. When you do take a paci you spit it out a lot, but I remember Claire doing that too at this age.
- We really think your eyes will be brown! Your doctor think they probably will be too. You're such a handsome boy...I know I'm biased but there's no denying how adorable you are. You look a lot like your Daddy!

Jamesie, we love you so much! You bring so much joy and sweetness to our family. There is nothing like this sweet newborn stage and I treasure it so much, but also look forward to all the fun we're going to have in the future. You're my sweet boy, always! Love you to the moon and back.


Here's Daddy with both his babies at their two month check-ups. Claire on the top, James on the bottom.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

James' Birth Story

I feel so behind in writing this! I better get to writing - some of this is already getting a little fuzzy and I don't want to forget a single moment of this beautiful day. Also, let me just say how wonderful it is to have text messages from that day to go back and look at to help remind me of when certain things happened! Beware, this is long!

Saturday, November 8th was a busy day. We got up, got ready for the day, and then Cam ran out to get donuts. Cam's Aunt Tricia and Uncle Mike were in town and came by our house to visit for a bit on their way out of town. After they left, my mom came and picked me and my sister up so we could go visit my grandma in the hospital. On the way we stopped at our favorite Mexican food restaurant to eat lunch and pick up some food to take to my grandma. I can't remember the last time the three of us had a meal together without was so much fun!!!!! Between this and the Torchy's the night before, I was hoping all the spicy food would get something going!

We had a good visit with my grandma. She was doing better after a scary few days. When she'd gone into the hospital that Tuesday, she was pretty close to death. It was a very odd feeling to have my one remaining grandparent in such dire health circumstances right when I was about to have my baby. It felt very "circle of life" and more than anything, I hated the thought of my mom having to go through those conflicting emotions. While my grandma wasn't completely out of the woods yet when I saw her that day (one never really is at 91 years old), her condition had improved. It gave me peace to know that I had gotten to see her...I'd worried all week that I wouldn't get to before the baby came and then something would happen to her and I'd always regret it. My grandma was at was the hospital where I had been born. As we left, I joked that maybe coming back to the place of my birth would send me into labor! Little did I know...

By the time I got home I was wiped out...way too tired to figure out dinner, so we went to eat at Longhorn Steakhouse. Yes, I completed the trifecta of eating out for every single meal that day. I'd been doing a fairly decent job of cooking and preparing dinner at home at the end of my pregnancy, but the wheels fell off those last few days!

Cam had been putting Claire to bed most nights, but I did it that night. It was pretty tough for me to get up and down off the floor by her bed, and in hindsight my first inkling that something was happening was when I got up from the floor and felt a dull ache in my lower back. I also should have known something was up when I went directly from her room to get into bed. As anyone who knows me well can attest, I'm a huge night owl and basically get a second wind when my kids go to sleep, but not that night! I was miserably full from dinner and having pain in my lower back. I went straight to bed around 10 pm and slept until about 1, when Cam came to bed after falling asleep on the couch. I told him I thought something might be happening, but wasn't sure. We went back to sleep and I slept off and on for the rest of the night. I have a tendency to doubt myself and what I'm feeling in situations like this, but I had a feeling that I was going to be having a baby later that day!

We were up early the next morning, but stayed in bed for awhile trying to figure out what was happening. By then, the pain in my back was coming and going and included pain and cramping in my stomach too. It was contraction-like but not intensely painful. I was trying to time my contractions on an app on my phone, but it was hard to define when they were starting and stopping. Again, I wasn't sure that this was "it" and I didn't want to set a bunch of things in motion if I wasn't sure! Around 8 am we let our family know things might be happening. With Cam's parents being in Houston, I was nervous to call them because I didn't want them to travel all that way for a false alarm. Cam called them and just told them to be aware that I might be in early labor so they could be prepared to leave quickly if this was the real deal. Things continued to get more intense and around 9:30 Cam called his parents and told them to come. I think my contractions were about 3 minutes apart by now.

Now it was time to get ready to go to the hospital! Cam fed Claire breakfast while I showered and got ready. My mom came over around 10:00 to help us and take Claire back to her house. Our bags were packed and laid out on the dining room table, but there were still some last minute things to gather. This whole process seemed to take forever...partly because my nerves were making me very inefficient and partly because I kept having to stop during my increasingly intense contractions.

We got to the hospital around 11:00 or 11:30. I think the triage rooms must have been full because they took me directly to a labor and delivery room. They started the process of getting us checked in and determined that I was 4 cm dilated! I was relieved to know that I was, in fact, in labor but not so far along that Cam's parents might not make it in time. My contractions were coming every couple minutes by this point. My most memorable symptom at that point was feeling like I had to pee every few minutes. I recognized the nurse who checked us in. Her name was Laurie, and she had been one of my sister's nurses when she had Gracie and had helped take care of me when I spent the night in labor and delivery after breaking my ankle. We spent a long time with her answering questions to get all checked in and getting my IV started. She was the charge nurse that day, so after we finished up our initial stuff, she handed us off to another nurse who wouldn't be as busy that day. Her name was Robin and she was lovely...kind, funny, and knowledgeable. She had a strong accent that I think was Canadian and she looked a lot like Trixie, a character from the show Call the Midwife. At some point I also met Dr. Rodriguez, the on call doctor that weekend. I was bummed Dr. Orth wouldn't be there to deliver my baby...we've been through a lot together and there is just no better encourager when it comes to this stuff! That being said, I really really liked Dr. Rodriguez! She was young, capable, and calm. It felt really nice to know I was in good hands.

My memory of the order of some of this is a little fuzzy, but I think around this time my family came in and visited for a bit. They were a big, lively bunch and it was fun to see them! It was my mom, dad, sister Elizabeth, brother-in-law Corey, niece Grace, and my sweet Clairebear. Shortly after, my mother and father-in-law, Jennifer and Jamie, arrived from Houston and came to see us for a bit. It was great to have them there! Everyone was very excited and we felt so much support and love!

Next it was epidural time! The anesthesiologist, Dr. Patel, was young and friendly. Random, but I remember him asking me if I was a football fan because we had the Dallas Cowboys game in London on the TV. Maybe that's unusual for a woman in labor?!? HA! Anyway, getting the epidural was more uncomfortable this time around than I remember it being with Claire. Shortly after, Robin installed a catheter and broke my water. Now, it's hard to compare directly with Claire's birth since I was induced with her, but I had suspected my water would break on its own this time around since it broke before we even started pitocin with Claire. I thought I might be part of that small percentage of women whose water breaks on their own. This turned out not to be the fact, when Robin broke my water, the bag was so thick and tough to break that there was a loud, audible pop on the monitor when it finally did rupture! She'd never had that happen before and was excited to tell the other nurses! By the time this was all wrapped up, it was 2:00 pm and I was 6 cm dilated.

When Dr. Patel left, I was feeling some numbness and heaviness in my legs, but it wasn't full-on. I'd told them that my epidural with Claire hadn't been fully effective, so after he left Robin kept checking in with me to assess how it was working. It never did become fully effective, or even somewhat effective. I vividly remember laying in bed during this time and I was miserable. Feeling painful contractions, still feeling like I had to pee every five minutes despite the catheter, and being able to feel that I was laying in wet sheets soaked with amniotic fluid. It was awful and I was so bummed. I knew it wasn't working like it should, but I wasn't sure how to handle it. Maybe this was just what epidurals were like (in hindsight: NO WAY!)...maybe they just don't work for me...not wanting to be too much trouble to the staff...and so on. I was having major flashbacks to my epidural with Claire and was miserable at the thought of having to labor the rest of the way like this. Robin called Dr. Patel. When he came in and heard the latest update, he said he could either add more medicine to the epidural or he could start completely over. I wasn't sure what to do. On one hand, we'd added more medicine to my epidural with Claire and while it afforded me some temporary relief, it never fully did the trick and I felt every single stitch after she was born. On the other hand, the idea of doing the whole epidural process over again did not sound appealing. Dr. Patel asked me if I was to stand up right then if I felt like I could walk. I told him, "Well, yeah I think I could..." and he immediately said he thought we needed to start over. I was nervous, but also happy to have a second chance at some pain relief.

After removing the first epidural and starting the new one, I could tell pretty quickly that this one was different. Dr. Patel said he did something a little different this time. I'm not sure what he did (probably should have asked!)...but whatever it was, it worked and it was glorious! A working epidural is amazing! I couldn't get over it! After two flaky ones, having one that worked was just incredible! From here on out, things were really chill and blissful. I'm so so so so glad we redid made for a much different experience. Yay Dr. Patel, yay science!!! (Can you name the show that's from?!?)

At this point, I was very relaxed and we finally had some time to rest. We turned off all the lights and dozed off and on for awhile. It was great to rest a bit, since I hadn't gotten a ton of sleep the night before. My mom, Elizabeth, and Jennifer came in and visited for a few minutes. We spent a lot of that time marveling at the wonders of the epidural. I can't really overstate how happy I was! Now it was just a matter of time and we'd get to meet our sweet baby boy!

Around 4:00 I was almost fully dilated. The baby needed to come down a bit, so around this time Robin rotated the bed to where I was more upright with my legs crossed and facing down so that gravity could help things along. I started to feel a little bit of pain at this point and Robin gave me the refresh button for my epidural, and it helped a lot. Right before it was time to push, Robin left for the day. She was so awesome that she stayed about 2 hours past when her shift ended at 3:00 to be there for us. Unfortunately she couldn't stay any longer, so she handed us off to another amazing nurse named Lauren. Lauren had been one of my nurses for a couple short stints during my labor with Claire. She was wonderful - so positive, experienced, and encouraging. I was so blessed with amazing nurses that day!

I was fully dilated shortly after 5:00 and by 5:30 it was time to push. Dr. Rodriguez came in and at first, it was just her and Lauren in the room with me and Cam. Initially Dr. Rodriguez just sat on the side of the bed while I pushed. Cam and Lauren held my legs and were so encouraging! I cannot overstate how peaceful and calm this experience was. Inbetween contractions/pushing we chatted about our kids, the differences between having boys and girls, Dr. Rodriguez's gorgeous Kendra Scott earrings (which I've shamelessly copied and added to my Christmas wish list...hint hint!), etc. Cam said I would look at him during these breaks and just smile. Everything was extremely relaxed and we were so excited to meet our Sweet Baby James! Once we were getting close, they removed the bottom of the bed, Dr. Rodriguez suited up, and a couple of extra people came in. One of them was Laurie, the nurse from when I'd arrived that morning! She was there to take care of James once he was born. It was go time!

At 6:00 pm on the dot, James Strutton Todd was born. It was love at first sight for me and Cam. I cried sweet, happy tears! It felt so good to hold him on my chest, tell him how much I loved him, and study his precious face. It was clear from the beginning that he was a sweet boy. He had a little fluid in his throat/lungs so they suctioned him a couple times before he really cried. Cam and I couldn't get over how much he looked and sounded like Claire! It was so wonderful to finally get to see this perfect little addition to our family.

Little is a relative term, of course. After a bit, they took James off my chest to check him out. I remember peering across the room at the scale as they weighed him. I saw the 9 and the 1...and said "", thinking what a big baby he was. That's when several voices said, "No, 9.14!", what?! Our heavyweight champion weighed in at 9 lbs, 14 oz and was 20.5 in long. We suspected he'd be big, but not that big! He checked out perfectly healthy. We are so thankful.

I'm happy to report that the placenta and it's much-discussed extra lobe came out easily and without issue! My placenta with Claire was very stubborn about coming out, but not so this time. I tore in a couple of places, so Dr. Rodriguez stitched me up while James was getting checked out. I felt a little pain during a small part of this, but overall it was fairly easy. Cam got to hold his boy...we were both just completely smitten...and still are, of course! Once we were all taken care of, I got to hold my sweet baby again and nurse him. He nursed really well for a good 45 minutes! Cam got to go share the happy news with our family, which is one of his most favorite things to do! After we finished nursing, our family came in and met James. It was such an awesome, sweet thing to experience!!! Everyone was overjoyed and immediately taken with him.

It was so good to see Claire! She was very sweet to her baby brother, and even gave him a kiss on the head! It was fun giving her the big sister gift...a Carebear, a mini Magnadoodle, and two Pioneer Woman storybooks with big sibling themes. I was worried she'd be jealous, but she hasn't been at all. She was a little distant with me for a few days after we got home, but she forgave me for having another baby pretty quickly. :) She's been a dream with the baby...she ohhs and ahhs over him and calls him "Doll" and "Baby".

As I've mentioned earlier, James' birth was a wonderful, peaceful experience...exactly what you'd expect on a cozy Sunday evening. We came home from the hospital that Tuesday. James wore the same Feltman Brothers outfit that Cam wore home from the hospital almost 30 years ago. We listened to the song "Sweet Baby James" on the car ride home. Cam was able to take off from work for three weeks, which was great for all of us. I will never forget that special time with my sweet little family.

James is a precious baby and has stolen all of our hearts. He has such a calm demeanor, sweet smile, and happy spirit. We are so blessed that he's ours and look forward to all the fun things to come!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

James - 1 Month

James, you are 1 month old! I can't believe it's been a month since I first laid eyes on you, and yet it also seems like you've been around much longer!

You weigh about 13.5 lbs. I'm not sure of your height, but we'll find out when we see the doctor in a month. You are in size 1 diapers and 0-3 month clothes...newborn clothes were barely ever an option for you, but they're too small now. You are our baby beefcake!!

You're a very smiley baby! You smile a lot! A lot of people say babies this young don't socially smile, but you smile on command a lot of the time. I've never seen a baby this young smile so much. You have a gorgeous grin and it makes us so happy to see it.

Just like your sister, you like to eat often (see: beefcake) and are nursing well. We've had some hiccups along the way, especially at first, but a visit to a lactation consultant helped a lot. You took your first bottle of pumped milk on Thanksgiving and did great!

Like most newborns, you sleep a lot these days! You're even giving us some longer stretches at night (5ish hours), which is soooo sweet of you! You usually take a long nap in the morning and in the afternoon, with lots of catnaps inbetween.

You are a very calm baby with a sweet disposition. You are a happy little thing for the most part. The only consistent exception is a fussy period every evening from roughly 9pm-midnight. We are almost positive this is related to gas. You grunt, squirm, and sometimes cry out in pain...poor baby! We've talked to your doctor about it and she thinks it's something that will approve with age and "gut maturity". Occasionally you'll have an episode in the early morning hours too. Your little toots are not so can practically clear a room! Maybe it's a boy thing...oy!

Baths are very calming for you and you seem to enjoy them a lot! You just stare at whoever's bathing you with the sweetest eyes. 

You look a lot like your Daddy! We think your eyes are going to be brown like his. You seem to have my mouth though. You look so much like Claire! Both of you have the same distinct eye shape...wide almond shaped, just like Daddy. It's really fun thinking about what you will look like as you grow!

Speaking of big sister, Claire is quite taken with you! She has very been sweet and accepting of you since the day you were born. Many mornings when she comes out of her room, she wants to know where you are if you're not in the living room. She also sees to it that you're never without your paci! It's so neat seeing you together and I can't wait to watch you play together soon. 

James, we love you more than words can express! You fit so well into our little family and we are so proud you are ours! Having a baby during the holiday season is a special thing and we will forever treasure this sweet time with you.