Olivia’s First Birthday!

Olivia’s first birthday was a whole weekend affair, as it should be. Family came for the weekend and a couple friends came for cake on Saturday. Her actual birthday (Friday, Nov 8) started out with gorgeous blue skies and crisp fall air. Unfortunately by the time we got to the Ft. Worth Botanical Gardens high level clouds had rolled in dampening the birthday girl’s mood (or could be lack of sleep that did that!) Luckily we were still able to get a few cute pictures (visit the album link below to see more).

Saturday afternoon was the actual birthday party celebrated with family, Olivia’s sitter who’s like family, and her closest friend who’s just 2 weeks older. We made home made whole wheat apple-spice cake with plum tinted cream cheese frosting for a smash cake, optimistic that she would dig in and try it out. From the facial expressions when presenting the cake, we could’ve put poison in there for all that it mattered. At least the guests enjoyed a sampling of the cake!

Hours spent on Pinterest for decoration ideas were well received.

The rest of the weekend was spent enjoying Mormor and GrandPooBah on their visit from MA, and Aunt Ingrid and Cousin Nils who came to celebrate from AL. Olivia loved spending time with Nils, who loved spending time with Ben (who wouldn’t?).

 

Full album of birthday weekend photos available here.

 

Adjusting Expectations

During the later half of pregnancy when it was apparent that this was really happening, I began dreaming about what life would be like with a new child. What kind of parents would we be? Would our baby be a good sleeper? Would she be a good eater? How long until tennis and running resumed? Olivia’s recent 2-month checkup and endless inquiries about how things are going have prompted some reflection on the first couple months of motherhood. The many thoughts floating through my head all share one commonality: the need for adjusted expectations.

Feeding:

Olivia only lost 5% of her weight upon discharge, so we thought breastfeeding must be going great aside from the normal soreness and latching battles of a newborn. Phew, one bullet dodged. However, two days later at her first visit to the pediatrician Olivia’s weight was down 12%. We were immediately pushed into formula supplementation. After a roller coaster of weight checks, visits with lactation consultants, herbal supplements and various feeding regimens, Olivia has now climbed to the 5th percentile for her weight. As such, the pediatrician advised us to continue with her current feeding regimen, which still includes a small amount of formula supplementation.

In today’s high tech world, why hasn’t someone invented a baby fuel gauge to alert parents as to their level of fullness? There are so many other gadgets and gizmos to monitor health and heart rate you’d think someone would have found a way to measure the amount of milk in a baby’s tummy. Envision a gas gauge on their forehead. This would certainly take the guesswork out of whether or not baby has received enough milk or if they need a supplemental bottle-feeding.

Dessert

Dessert

Adjusting my original expectation of being able to nurse 100% has been tough and would be even worse if it weren’t for the wonderful support and encouragement from friends. I will always wonder if our continued battles with low milk supply are a result of quickly being pushed into (and staying with) formula supplementation. We’ll just do what we can for as long as we can to keep our baby happy.

Hair Loss:

Oodles of friends warned me of post-natal hair loss. I thought I had escaped that lovely side effect since hair loss didn’t seem much worse than the normal girl-shedding phenomena. Think again. Almost exactly 8 weeks post-partum gobs of hair greeted my hand after a shower. Joy.

Co-Sleeping:

Pre-baby, the closest we thought we’d get to co-sleeping was having the baby at the foot of our bed in her beautiful bassinet. In reality she’s probably slept on us more than she’s slept in her bassinet :-/ Despite the warnings and admonishment from the pediatrician about baby getting used to her parents’ bed, when push comes to shove silencing a crying baby and getting her (and us) to sleep is all that matters. We’re doing our best to encourage her to sleep more in her bassinet both for naps and at night, but relinquishing a cuddly snuggle-bug to her lonely bassinet is tough.  That said, we certainly don’t want to end up with a toddler in our bed …

Favorite spot to sleep
Favorite spot to sleep

Schedules:

We always joked about those parents who let baby run the show and never knew what their schedule would be like. Shame on us! Someday (soon?) we’ll get back to being our prompt old selves but in the meantime it’s safe to assume we’ll be 15 minutes late and/or won’t know what time is good for a visit until that morning (even then it’s a bit of guesswork).

Returning to Tennis & Running:

By staying healthy and fit during pregnancy, I thought it would be a piece of cake to return to running and tennis in time for spring season. Ha! What was I thinking? Even if I were in shape, the logistics of running a race or playing a 2-hour tennis match some distance away from home is just too much to fathom while breastfeeding (plus there’s the fact that my tennis team is too competitive and politely refused my participation until I’ve spruced up a bit – fine by me!) For now Ben and I will enjoy tennis together (with no judgment at those errant shots) and my new personal trainer will keep me going in the jogging stroller and beyond (sit ups to baby giggles on your legs aren’t nearly so bad).

One more lap please, I finally fell asleep!

One more lap please, I finally fell asleep!

Returning to Work:

Pre-baby, I envisioned wanting to return to work as quickly as possible so as not to miss out on anything. I even went so far as to investigate part-time leave versus full-time maternity leave. How quickly things change. Amid a blurry haze of sleep deprivation, feeding cycles, and the holidays, somehow January 2 snuck upon us in the blink of an eye.  The European family-leave policy sounds quite appealing right now. Priorities certainly do change after a baby, even for us Type A workaholics. Who wouldn’t want to spend all their time with this little munchkin?

 

Accepting Help:

Perhaps the biggest adjustment of all is learning to accept help. We no longer believe that we can do it all on our own and are so very lucky to have the support of friends and family, especially on weeks that this working momma is home alone.

We’ll do our best to keep updated photos posted for your enjoyment.

Welcome Olivia!

Many have been asking how things are going after we welcomed Miss Olivia Harper Jacob into the world on Thursday, November 8th. The short version is that we have survived the so-called “2-week hazing period” more or less in tact. (Hazing is an apt term considering the hazy fog we’ve been living in as a result of sleep deprivation.)

The longer version of the story includes multiple doctor’s visits and a trip to the ER on Thanksgiving. Olivia dropped 12.5% of her birth weight in 4 days, raising red flags to the pediatrician. As a result we’ve been on a roller coaster ride of various feeding rituals and frequent weight checks at the doctor. Though still not back to her birth weight of 7 lbs 1 oz, she’s finally headed in the right direction with a combination of breast milk and formula supplementation. We continue to hold out hope to eliminate the formula supplementation but only time will tell if that’s possible.  In addition to feeding issues, we have also been dealing with early cord removal concerns.  At 11 days old as she was performing her crawling ritual up her daddy’s chest, she snagged her cord. Olivia may be too active for her own good! The pediatrician applied silver nitrate to dry out and disinfect the remaining cord, however, too much was applied and it spread beyond her belly button. As a result, Olivia spent her first Thanksgiving in the ER with a chemical burn. Luckily it is now looking better, but still not 100% healed.

It’s amazing how not until you are struggling with something do you learn how many people have been in the same situation (dealing with early losses, breastfeeding and sleeping difficulties, early cord removal etc). Thank you to all who have shared their stories and experiences to let us know that we aren’t alone. While these roadblocks are frustrating, we know that things could certainly be worse and are grateful that they are not.

Olivia already has a very strong personality and has us both wrapped around her little fingers, worrying about every tiny thing. Those of you who are parents are probably laughing since I’m sure you saw that coming from a mile away. We’ll keep chugging along doing the best we can and hope that is good enough. Maybe we’ll even get to the point where we won’t cater to her every cry, but for now she’s our baby and we can’t spoil her enough.

Click here for pictures of her first few weeks including hospital pictures, first time home, visiting with family, one week birthday pics, her first walk around the block, etc.

Baby Shower – TX

This weekend we celebrated Baby Jacob one more time with friends and family here in Texas. Thanks to all the hard work from the wonderful hostesses and their helpers, the shower couldn’t have been any more perfect. We enjoyed delicious food, wonderful company, and entertaining activities. I love you all! A sampling of photos are provided below, but click here for the full album (with captions for a change.) There were just so many good photos to choose from.

hands on the belly

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Beautiful set up including an amazing diaper wreath made by Megan:

diaper cake by Ashley - so pretty! diaper wreath made by Megan - gorgeous!

Onesie decorating station led to impressive results:

hard at work more onesies drying onesie station in progress

Guess the contents of the paper bag was a big hit, especially for Stefany who got them all right (way to go!)

IMG_7701.jpg IMG_7698.jpg what's in the bag?

Homemade vanilla cupcakes by Lisa to round off the morning – Yummy!

delicious vanilla cupcakes made by Lisa

A special thank you to Genny and Deirdre for making the trip down from Chicago and NYC respectively and adding Texas to your list of states visited. Hope you had a good time! Here are some favorite shots from our stroll in downtown Grapevine.

a natural cowgirl! IMG_7759.jpg stuck in the Grapevine jail

Baby Shower – MA

Despite heat and humidity, last week’s baby shower was a fantastic celebration with friends and family. Thank you to those who were able to join us and all those who helped make it such a wonderful day both in person and in spirit! A sampling of pictures are below, but click here for the full collection from August 4.

Me _amp_ Kate.JPG ice bucket _amp_ smiles.jpg happy guests!.JPG flowers _amp_ favors.JPG outdoor picnic.JPG Marysia_ Ellen_ Sarah.JPG vanilla _amp_ chocolate cake.JPG Tawna _amp_ Mom.JPG

Last day home in MA until after baby’s arrival!

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Time flies!

It dawned on us that on Tuesday I will be 24 weeks pregnant, which when phrased as “6 months” sounds that much farther along. Time certainly seems to move at warp speed when you are in denial, or simply ignoring certain life changing events in favor of trying to keep up with daily life events: work, travel, exercise, yard and other chores, friends & family… this weekend we’re continuing our denial a while longer since thinking about the “to-do” list causes significant stress. Instead our attention will be focused on the Ft Worth Major Zone tennis tournament, with some water aerobics and family pool time in between matches to hide from the 106 degree temps.

Speaking of time flying by, it’s been about 5 weeks since the first post with belly shots. I figured it’s time to provide the next round of activity and photo highlights. Enjoy!

June 22, 2012: Walking the beach on Nantucket after some brisk swimming in the Atlantic. At 19 weeks, 3 days our baby girl got to enjoy the taste of freshly picked strawberries to start out the morning, then feel a drastic temperature change as we floated about the ocean to cool off in the afternoon.

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June 24, 2012: Annual dock photo our last day on the Cape, sporting my new Cowgirl-like hat from Nantucket, 19 weeks, 5 days:

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July 5, 2012: Today’s anatomy sonogram was recorded for us to enjoy over the years and share with our daughter as she gets older. Our little wiggler is already weighing in at exactly 1 pound today and measuring right on track at 21 weeks, 2 days with a strong, steady heartbeat of 155. The top photo has a nice image of her hands above her head in a relaxed pose, while the bottom picture shows her little foot that is already waging a war with my ribs.

sonogram 7-5-2012.jpg IMG_7546.jpg IMG_7547.jpg

July 15, 2012: Baby was quite active after a pint of Phish food frozen yogurt, enough so for her daddy to feel her wiggling around that night for the first time. Perhaps she was saying thank you for finally beginning to make progress on her new bedroom, agreeing on the color after trying out our chosen paint samples and loving them … too bad that’s just the first step of many to actually finish the nursery.

July 16, 2012: Taking advantage of a black stretchy dress for work to hide the growing belly, 22 weeks, 6 days. Each day this week the “baby belly shelf” has become more and more prevalent, especially from my bird’s eye view, and apparently from my co-workers’ view as well as they constantly point to my belly before and after meetings and smirk. Not to mention the comment Thursday night from a new friend in the water aerobics class I have recently discovered: “wow, your belly is really starting to show now!” Gee, thanks?

IMG_7548.jpg 22 wks 6 days

July 21, 2012: Purchased the majority of the paint for the nursery … each little step counts!

 

 

Quick May Visit

The weather could not have been better for our quick trip back to MA the other weekend. It was perfect for a couple walks, a short visit with Kate and Abby at the park, and the chance to share in the celebration of the beautiful union between Jan and Ahmed in Boston all the while catching up with Mom and Dad.

A few photo highlights are below.

Peek-a-boo with Abby:

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Return to childhood tree climbing:

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Abby eating stolen munchkins:

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Walk on Crane’s Beach with Dad (only our toes got in the water):

dad cranes me and ben cranes

Check back next month for a post with pictures from what is sure to be an awesome trip to the Cape and Nantucket in June.