Back to Life....

"....back to reality"

Today I'm heading back to work, tearfully.
It's been 16 weeks at home with my girl and I'm not sure what the day will be like leaving her in someone else's hands for the day (thankfully it's someone who we know, and trust).

In addition to all of that, our little peanut came down with a cold on Saturday night and was up just about every hour that night with sniffles, coughs and some super sad cries.

She teetered on having a fever during the day Sunday but thankfully didn't quite reach what's considered a fever for her age.

Needless to say, yesterday was filled with exhaustion coupled with all of the feels associated with watching your baby feel sick....and then add in the feels about going back to work and leaving her behind. Lots and lots of tears. I basically felt like I was on the post partum rollercoaster all over again!

Ironically enough, it was a year ago today that we had this one tiny perfect embryo transferred....who now is our cuddly, adorable little girl (even when she has a cold). It's crazy how different things are a year later! 

Anyway, send some love this way today...and perhaps a gallon of tissues, because this mama is gonna need them! You can find me staring at this beautiful face and getting 0 work done today...

Hoping you had a nice, cold-free weekend!

{WHW}: I'm back from the dead

Hey friends--do you remember me? I used to blog here semi regularly and then I dropped off the planet because I just couldn't get my act together and wanted to spend my time with my baby before going back to work. But, I'm back for a sec for what's hap-"pinning" Wednesday!
So here's a quick recap of what's been going on with me lately:

~We went to the shore for a week with MG's family like we usually do. We took family photos (still waiting on them from the photographer), had a surprise 70th birthday for my MIL, had family come from out of town for the surprise who we haven't seen since my wedding, and basically just had a nice week away on the bay

~We had our first time away from Ella when we left her at the shore with my two SIL's for 2.5 days so that MG and I could go to my best friend's wedding in VA Beach.

~The wedding was so fun and I was so glad to be there to celebrate my bestie on her day (more on this to come)
~Ella rolled over 7 times on Monday (from tummy to back) during tummy time. Baby girl is growing up!
~We also had a trip to the pediatrician because she's developed reflux in the past week, and the last 3 days especially have been much worse. Thankfully she's still gaining weight like a champ, doesn't seem too bothered by it overall, so the pediatrician isn't recommending medicine. I sure hope it goes way quickly though because it's no fun (and it's messy!)

~The last two weeks after getting back from our week/weekend away have been spent holding my baby Ella close, getting in all of the snuggles, kisses, smiles and laughs that I can because this mama is going back to work on Monday.

I've literally cried at least once a day for the last week and a half and feel the minutes slipping by this week. I know she's going to be in good hands with my good friend during the days, but I still wish it was me. I have the irrational fear that she's going to love her babysitter more than me (I know logically that this isn't true), and I feel like I'm gonna miss so much of her life. She's already starting to roll over--what else am I going to miss?

In addition to all of those feels, adding to my lack of desire to go back to work: I got an email last week that a parent is suing our school system. Can you understand why I feel this way? Ugh.

So, can find me snuggling my Ella bear for the next 5 days straight.
What's hap-"pinning" with you?? Link up with Jessi and I to share!

{WHW}: I'm Slackin'

It's What's Hap-"pinning" Wednesday and I can tell you what's NOT happening around here....
...writing blog posts!

I feel like I'm in a bit of a new mom/summer time blogging rut. 
I'm ok with it because most of my days are filled with Ella (which is so much more fun these days since she's smiling, super alert, and learning new things every day), and I know these days are numbered before the dreaded first day of school comes (insert DUN DUN DUNNNNN sound here).

I'll try and get my act together and post tomorrow, but for now, link up with Jessi and I and share what's hap-"pinning" with you!

{WHW}: Currently...

Currently, I'm....

Reading ...
I finished Landline by Rainbow Rowell and have moved on to The One Man by Andrew Gross (my second book by him). It's centered around WW2 and definitely interesting so far even though I'm only about 20% of the way through (which is a huge accomplishment with a newborn I think! haha)
Watching ...
Real Housewives of OC--I feel like Meghan and I are still living parallel lives (when her IVF journey aired, I was going through the same, and now on the show, her baby is 2 months old like Ella), Shannon is a little bonkers, and I'm still unsure about the new chick. 

We also just watched The Zookeeper's Wife since my mom sent me her copy from Netflix and it was really good. VERY sad, but really good--definitely recommend it.

If you saw my post yesterday you know the two new meals we're trying this week. The tilapia was a success (with some of my own tweaks--will post soon)! Trying the chicken tonight and will report back!

Looking forward to ... 
Getting the rest of my June paycheck at the end of the month. I still have a feeling I'm gonna get dicked over with the pay somehow, but at this point anything is better than the $800 they tried to give me for June...try making it through the summer with a regular paycheck let alone one that is SIGNIFICANTLY less than what you normally make, by like thousands.

Enjoying ...
morning baby smiles. It's the best way to start off the day!

water water water...with breastfeeding it's essential, but also with temps climbing into the 100's (no joke), it's even more important.

that I finally found the time to book myself a hair appointment on Monday. And while I was away, MG got Ella down for a nap. Holla!!
don't mind my make-up-less face

going back to work. Tomorrow marks a month until I go back and I know it's just going to fly by. It already makes me cry thinking about it.

Wanting ... 
to figure out how to make money and stay home with my baby girl. 

Needing ...
to go get more contacts. I've been wearing mine for way longer than the 2 weeks I'm supposed to and am down to one more pair. 
I also need to find a cute navy and/or white dress for Ella for family photos at the beach in a week and a half. Oh, and a navy/white outfit for myself!

Wearing ...
You saw on Monday that I wore real people clothes at a wedding this weekend. Thanks to everyone on here and instagram for the sweet comments about my dress! (New York and Company--I think it was like $15 when I got it!)

Add caption
Grateful For...
a baby who sleeps 6-8 hours every night after her dream feed. SO so so thankful for this good sleeper!

Now it's your turn to link up with Jessi and I and share what's hap-"pinning" with you!

Tasty Tuesday: On the Menu

It's been a bit since I've posted a new recipe and that's because I've been sticking to some of my tried and true meals (aka: quick and easy) since having Ella.

I thought it was time to try a few new recipes so I scoured Pinterest (my go-to) and decided on these two to make this week!

Baked Tilapia with Garlic Breadcrumbs
Creamy Portobella Chicken in the Crock Pot
I mean, I can handle anything that involves 3 ingredients and throwing it all into one pot and letting it cook all day!

Also on the menu this week is my one pot mexican quinoa and the Sun-dried tomato asparagus pesto pasta (now with the addition of chicken!) Two perfectly light and delicious meals for the hot summer months.

Do you have any go-to Summer recipes that are quick and easy? If so, share!!
I'll let you know how these two recipes turn out!

Wedding Weekend Fun

Could it be that I'm actually posting on a Monday??? I'm not entirely sure how that happened because man, I'm exhausted coming off of our 3rd road trip away with baby! 

MG and I had a wedding on Saturday for one of his friends from HS so we made our way up to PA on Thursday evening during Ella's normal bedtime, and our lady love slept the entire 3 hours!! All the praise hands!

We got there around 10 and promptly put Ella and ourselves to bed. In the morning there was lots of time for snuggles and attention :)
Friday morning we drove over to our friend Kev/Michelle's parents' house (our Minnesota friends) so that we could see them, their 3 kiddos and let them all meet Ella. It was awesome to spend time with them, but about an hour later those 2 were off to celebrate their 10 year anniversary sans kids and we stuck around with their kids playing for a bit.

MG and I eventually made our way to a restaurant nearby to meet up with two other of his best friends--the ones from Charleston with their cute 13 month old, and MG's best friend from NY whose wife is pregnant (we found out the gender at lunch!).
It was great having all of us together, with the kids. The service was super slow, but that just allowed us more time to hang out (and for me to nurse in public--covered--for the second time ever).

That night we headed to my SIL's house so they could see Ella. We ordered dinner in and just hung out for the night--I love the laid back nights where you don't have to DO anything other than spend time together.

Saturday morning was pretty low key and then my other SIL came over with my two nieces, one of whom is 13 and incredible with doing hair and makeup, so she curled my hair for the wedding and did my eye makeup.

Around 3:45 MG and I left to go meet up with our friends before the wedding festivities for a drink. We drove around blasting music and dancing around in the car baby! 
After grabbing a drink we made our way to the wedding/reception at a country club. The views were gorgeous and once the sun set, it was super nice outside. Prime photo taking opportunities ensued.

the pink and green alternating ties was not planned 
The night was full of laughter and fun--I seriously love this group of MG's friends who have become my friends, and really, our family.

I had another "mom" experience when I had to go and find a place to pump during the reception. And I realized that my dress didn't unzip so guess who got to sit with my friend Michelle, with my dress around my shoulders? #thisgirl lol (The things we do to keep our babies alive, amIright?)

After dinner, dancing, photoboothing, and a Dirty Dancing reenactment by my husband and Michelle's husband (no seriously), the night was over all too quickly and we were heading back home to our sleeping baby who was well cared for by my MIL and two SILs while we were gone. Our first time away for more than 2 hours was a complete and total success!
We got home and in bed around midnight and Ella continued to sleep until 6:45...praise Jesus for our good sleeper. We were still exhausted but much less so than we would have been otherwise.

We had breakfast, packed up and hit the road at 10 and our awesome girl slept until the last 20 minutes, during which she was pretty easily calmed. 
We unpacked and lounged around the house, and then visited an open house in our neighborhood to see what updates they'd done, ran some errands and then grabbed Chipotle for dinner because neither of us was in the mood to cook.

So here we are! Another awesome weekend that just makes us wish that these friends all lived closer instead of spread throughout the country. I'm so grateful for these friends that I inherited from my husband because they are seriously some of the best.

The only drawback to this weekend was the fact that I missed my best friend's bachelorette party, but I was there in spirit and am definitely excited for when I get to see her and tackle her in 2 weeks! #loveyougenna (how is it almost august already???)

Hoping your weekend was friend-filled and fantastic, too!

Brain Floaties

I find that during the day, while I have a baby sleeping in my arms and I'm stuck in a chair, I've got time to think about things. Random things. Like...

Why is my Kindle all the way across the room right now?

Why are dog toys and baby toys basically the same thing? I have a hell of a time keeping Cooper away from Ella's toys--we have a favorite little elephant that rattles and crinkles that now has telltale signs of Cooper's presence on one arm. And tummy time on her little playmat that squeaks and crinkles like a dog toy is basically Cooper's idea of HIS play time.
How do babies know the EXACT moment when food is ready/delivered to your table? And then choose that moment to cry? Every.Single.Time.

I like going to my OB and seeing couples who obviously just found out they're pregnant, or just had their 20 week ultrasound. Makes me so happy for them, and brings me back to those moments for us.

Why, when Ella gets a hold of my hair, could she not just wrap those little fingers around the gray strands instead of my brown ones? 

Why is it that any time I go on Amazon I can find $50+ worth of things that I want/need, and on Prime day it was like crickets for me? I'm probably the only one who had that problem (and perhaps it was because my attention was divided while scrolling through).

I had a dude literally let a swinging door slam back in my face while I was holding Ella in my arms. I was shocked,  but luckily my reflexes were fast enough to avoid a collision, and then I did not hold back on my "Thanks a lot" comment to him to which he was like "Oh I didn't see you"--oh yeah? you didn't hear the crying baby right behind you?? Jerk. Why don't people hold the doors for people anymore, especially women with babies/strollers?

It's hard for me to believe that a year ago we were in Greece. Man that was the best trip! Now I'm drooling over Christy's pictures of Croatia and dreaming of getting there one day!
I hate the sizing on diapers because they aren't reliable (like the sizing on clothes too). I just got a box of size 1s that had 200 something diapers ($40 something) because it said it went from 8-14 pounds or something and Ella is in the mid 10 lb range. Guess who doesn't fit in them anymore after going through about 40 of the diapers and having a handful of blowouts or close to? I wish someone made a diaper exchange or something for half used boxes because this is such a waste!

Our neighbor's house is for sale and we are really hoping a nice couple with young kids moves in. Hopefully anything will be better than the older couple who had both of their 20/30something kids and spouses living with them.

What random things are floating around your head lately?

WHW: Fevers and Chills and a New Blog Design...Oh My!

Can you tell based on my title that it's been interesting around these parts?
Also, how does this space look? It took me a bit to get this space fixed up after the Photobucket debacle, and I still have some work to do, but I'm happy with the facelift this space has gotten!

Now for the fever and chills part....
We got back from a week away at the lake with family on Saturday, but on Friday morning I was feeling a little "off"...I took some Tylenol and started to feel better and then in the late afternoon/early evening, I started to feel chills and I couldn't get warm despite the temperature in the house not being very cold.

I'd had a pain in my right boob for the previous day or so, and figured once my head started burning up from a fever, that I had mastitis. If you've never breastfed or had a baby, you may not have heard of mastitis but let me tell ain't fun. It's when a duct in your breast gets clogged for whatever reason, and then causes an infection that then makes you feel like you have the flu. Fun times, right?

So my last night of vacation was spent cuddling under blankets, and trying to get in touch with my ob to send in a script for antibiotics to a pharmacy close by. Which ended up not being able to fill my prescription, so my in-laws drove to another town to get the meds (of which, they only had about 3/4 of the pills that I need for the course of the antibiotics) #ofcourse

I think I'm finally done with the fever (Monday night was the first night I haven't woken up in the middle of the night sweating), and I went to my ob yesterday to check me out because the clogged duct seemed to be more than just one duct to me and I wanted it checked out before things got worse. Luckily she said it looked like the infection was gone and I'm on my way to kicking this, with lots of boobie massaging in my future. 

So instead of a fun lakehouse/weekend recap, this is what I've been dealing with. Oh, and the side effects of strong antibiotics (let's say me and the bathroom have been well acquainted lately....and Ella has been experiencing similar side effects thanks to what she's getting through my breast milk too).  

On a fun note, we managed to venture out on Sunday to meet up with my other mama friend, her husband and baby and visit a nearby winery. I still wasn't 100% but the weather was in the mid 80s, no humidity and gorgeous, so I couldn't pass up the opportunity to be outside. We had a nice picnic lunch in the shade, split a bottle of wine (I had a small glass) and it was perfect!

We've got the "mom lean" down lol

So, that's what's been hap-"pinning" over here with me. Share what's been up with you by linking up with Jessi and I below!

Weekly Wins

Three posts in a row?? Who am I? 
I'm back with another edition of my weekly wins!

~I got out for a walk every day this week because the weather has been so nice out! And yesterday it was with my new neighbor friend and her two kids. It was nice to get in the exercise and also have some adult chatting time.

~I started a new book and actually read more than one chapter! So happy Im getting some reading time in now more and more.

~Ella has slept for 7 and 8 hour stretches at night this week! All the praise hands for long, almost normal stretches of sleep!
~I got a much needed massage on Wednesday and it was wonderful! Plus I found a masseuse who was phenomenal--I'll totally be going back to him!

~Ella is FULL of smiles now and SO alert! It makes every day so much more engaging and rewarding. And just downright cute!
~I have a FabFitFun box arriving soon and I can't wait for the goodies!

~Brittany and I got a chance to chat for a while yesterday morning--so glad that we have each other!

~I figured out whats wrong with my blog background and contacted the designer. Apparently they can't fix it bc of an issue with Photobucket but they're willing to give me a new template for free. Just need to find the time to install it and fidget...oh, and actually pick one out. So keep an eye out for a new look here at some point!

~My mom was able to come and spend the day with us on Wednesday again. She got in some good quality time with Ella, including story time!
~We have a week at the lake with family this coming week and I'm excited for a change of scenery and having more helping hands around. The house is supposed to be gorgeous and has its own dock. Oh and did I mention a trip to a winery?? Yes please!

~Lastly, my baby is two months old today! I can't believe it! We also have her two month appt today which means shots. Pray for her (and me) that they go ok! I'm nervous about the after effects!

I'm probably gonna be MIA next week just soaking in the family time so Ill catch you guys around after! Have a great 4th!!

Ella's Birth Story

On the eve of Ella turning 2 months old (how is that possible already?!?), I finally got her birth story written!
On Saturday, May 28th I went to my friend Bree's baby shower in the afternoon. While there, people joked about other showers they'd been to where someone went into labor and I jokingly told Ella not to think about doing that. I was having some minor contractions throughout the shower but nothing crazy. I won one of the baby shower games which ended up being a scratch off ticket which I pocketed to scratch off at home.
It was also one of the hottest days we'd had yet, and on my walk back to my car when the shower was over, I started having more intense contractions. On my 20 minute drive home, where I encountered traffic (of course), I had 4-5 contractions and was really feeling them.

We were supposed to go to a cookout at a friends house but we thought it best to wait for a bit once I got home to see what happened with the contractions. In the meantime, MG scratched my scratch off and we'd won $100! That has never happened before! My contractions started slowing down so I thought it was just a "practice run" and felt ok to go to the cookout.

We hung out, and had dinner at our friends' place with two other couples. It was a really fun night with tons of laughter (to the point of tears), but I was feeling more contractions, and after dinner they became more and more intense. One of the girls must have noticed my face because she asked if I was ok, and I told her yes, but asked her to get my phone so I could start timing my contractions. After about another 30 minutes, I told MG I thought it was time to go home since they were getting more and more uncomfortable.

When we got home, I called my doctor's office and spoke to the midwife at the hospital who told me to shower and try to relax and nap, and that if things got better--great! And if not, to call her back.

They did not get better. I was having a really tough time getting through the contractions. So we packed up our bags (all while Cooper paced around us wondering what the hell was going on at 10pm when we normally are going to bed). Luckily we had a friend who was around and came by to stay with Cooper for the night, and around 11 we made our way to the hospital.

I was having contractions every 2-3 minutes and said to MG in the car there that I hoped this was it, because if this was FALSE labor, I didn't want to know what REAL labor felt like. When I got to the hospital, I went to the main desk and the woman could tell what was up. I had my ID in hand to expedite the process, but they didn't even ask for it--they just got a wheelchair and whisked me up to the in-take room where they took my vitals. MG went to move the car since we'd parked in a wrong area (funny that we didn't remember much from our hospital visit in the heat of the moment haha)

They checked me and told me I was 3-4 centimeters dilated. MG got back to my intake room and we both had the "this is really happening" moment. They asked me if I'd wanted an epidural as part of my birth plan and I told them that was the ONLY part of my birth plan, so they took my blood and got that sent off to the lab so I could get my epidural asap. Meanwhile I was just trying to make it through the contractions. MG was an amazing support and held my hands, rubbed my back, etc. I was shaking so much from the intensity of the contractions and was warned that might get better or worse after the epidural. At that point, I didn't care, I just wanted it to feel better.

They put me in my labor/delivery room and soon after the anesthesiologist was there to give me my epidural. I can't remember being so happy to see someone with a needle before.

After he gave me the epidural, I was a happy camper. It was after midnight at this point, and around 2am they checked my dilation again and told me I was 5 cm and the midwife asked if I wanted her to break my water. I said sure because...why not?

Then they told me to rest, which is easier said than done when they are in and out of your room all the time. They rotate you from side to side every hour or so. And since I had GD they were testing my blood sugar every hour with finger pricks too (so fun). So, needless to say, I only got about 30 minutes of light sleep over the next few hours.

Here's where my one and only complication came into play. Every time they rotated me to my right side, one little spot by the top of my leg/groin area on the left would "drain" of the epidural and I could feel EVERYTHING in that one spot.

So they had someone come in and give me another dose of the epidural which worked....until they rotated me to my right side the next time.
They gave me a second dose of it. Same thing. The guy had warned me that he couldn't give me another dose or I wouldn't be able to feel to push. 

The anesthesiologist came back in to try and pull the epidural needle out a bit in case it went in wonky, and then gave me another dose of the epidural. It worked! Until....

Around 7 when my midwife came back and checked me and told me I was 10 cm dilated but baby girl was still sitting up really high, so they sat me up and let me "labor down" a bit. They said I'd start pushing around 8-8:15. MG had gone out to get some things from the car and came back to the news that things were going to start happening in the next hour or so!
ten centimeters!!! and last photo of just us two
And while I was laboring down, the epidural stopped working in that one little area again, and I was told it was too close to pushing to get another dose. I won't lie, I cried, thinking I was going to feel EVERYTHING in that spot. Luckily it was only a small area, but still.

Around 8:10 I was having a lot of pain in that area and the nurse suggested we start pushing because she said it would be more productive than just dealing with the pain. So we started at 8:15 and actually I will say, being able to feel the contractions helped me to know when to push. And it wasn't that painful when I pushed through it.

Everyone kept telling me after each set of pushes what a good job I was doing, and the progress I was making. Someone had mentioned that they had a mirror around and I started to get curious what all of this "progress" looked like, so I asked for the mirror--something I never thought I'd do. But, it actually really helped me to push because I could see what a good push did and it motivated me.

They gave me oxygen between pushes, and it's crazy that when I wasn't pushing, it was like everything was normal. We were having conversations with the nurses and the midwife. And then when a contraction would come, I'd focus and push, and then go back to talking. MG said he was shocked at how quickly I recovered between pushing.

After less than an hour and a half, at 9:38 on April 30th our perfect peanut was born. Her head came out and the cord was wrapped around her neck, so the midwife just pulled her out with the contraction and the most beautiful baby was placed on my chest.

Surprisingly, I wasn't the one with the tears in my eyes--MG was. I was just so in shock and in love with this little baby I couldn't cry. But boy did I fall in love with MG more in that moment. 

We ooh'ed and aah'ed over Ella for the next hour while I delivered the placenta, and got stitched up. I only had a small 2nd degree tear, thankfully.

All of a sudden they were offering MG the scissors to cut her umbilical cord, and then weighing her.
They gave me some time to recover while my regular room was getting ready, and then loaded me and baby girl up into a wheelchair and whisked us off to our room where we spent the next 2 days getting familiar with our baby girl.

Unfortunately because of my GD, they had to prick our baby girl for blood draws to monitor her blood sugars and make sure they weren't too low. They did this for a 24 hour period (I think they checked 3-4 times during that time...that time is kind of a blur) and she passed every time. They also monitored her jaundice because we had different blood types and that can cause jaundice. She also passed this, which was nice. For some reason, she wasn't allowed to be bathed during the first 24 hours until she passed those tests which no one ever explained to me, but we were happy she passed and was good to go.
It seemed like all of a sudden, we were putting clothes on our baby girl, and loading her into her carseat to go home and start our lives as a family of three (plus Cooper)!
It's still crazy to me to think about that day. The whole experience was totally surreal. And beautiful.