Wednesday, December 24, 2014

5 Months Old - Harper's First Christmas

Merry Christmas Eve!

Harper is 5 months old today! Time is flying by faster than I can comprehend. I'm definitely enjoying my break from school and doing as much with Harper and family as I can.

Here's an update on Harper:

- She loves walks in the stroller, sitting like a big girl (no more car seat adaptor to the stroller).
- Officially found her feet and loves them!
- Trying so hard to crawl! She's mastered getting onto her hands and knees but can't figure out where to go from there.
- She's also trying to sit up.
- She is mastering grasping things in front of her and bringing them straight to her mouth.
- So called "sleep regression" is still in full effect - waking up 2-4 times throughout the night and only talking 1-2 naps throughout the day. Man were we spoiled with a baby who slept 12+ hours through the night...
- Car rides are improving - she still doesn't love it, but now the worst part is buckling her into the carseat. Once we're driving she tends to calm down.

Trying to crawl!

Trying to sit!

Hello feet!

First time riding in the stroller like a big girl!

She doesn't look happy, but really she's just woke up

Christmas Arts and Crafts!

Christmas Arts and Crafts!

Christmas Arts and Crafts!

Finally got around to making Harper's newborn shadow box!

Recently we also experimented with foods. I've always been determined to exclusively breastfeed for 6 months - but she shows such a huge interest in food while we eat, so we thought we'd give it a shot. I mashed up an avocado and tried that first - she gagged from the texture and threw up. Tried the with sweet potato another day, same results. Finally, we mixed breastmilk with rice cereal - and she just wasn't having it. No throwing up, but gagged and wanted it out of her mouth immediately. Guess we're waiting another month to try again. 

As we all know, Christmas is tomorrow, and this is Harper's first Christmas. Last Christmas, we invited our parents over and announced to them we were expecting a baby. I was only a little over 9 weeks pregnant, so we wanted to publicly keep it hush hush until 12 weeks.

This year I will be working on Christmas. It breaks my heart to have to work on my baby's first Christmas. I cried at the thought of it for months after learning I had to work it (and to be honest, I still cry thinking about it). Now I go back and forth - being upset one minute and realistic the next. Realistic in that I gave it some thought, talked with family and realized Harper will not remember this Christmas (or really any for the next few years).  She won't know if we celebrate Christmas a day early, a day late or in a month. What she will know, feel and remember is that she is loved.  Knowing all of this does make it a bit more bearable to be away for the day. 

But then again I think back to how hard I fought to have her. All the medications, surgery, ultrasounds, etc. I think back to how happy I was last Christmas knowing I was pregnant and a year from then I'd be celebrating Christmas with that baby. How all I've ever wanted in this world was a baby of my own and to be a mother. I think about how I grew her in my womb, pushed her out and have spent every single day and night since then with her. I wake up in the middle of the night and nurse her. I hold her when there's nothing else that will calm her. I am her mother. And as dramatic and silly as it may sound, I feel like this Christmas she is being ripped from my arms and taken away, and I will miss out on being with her on her first Christmas. 

Yet, I know she'll be excited to see me when I get home later that night. And I really should just grow up and realize how lucky I truly am. That I have a daughter who is loved by so many and so well taken care of. That I have a healthy daughter. That I have a job that I love. That I have a supportive husband.

Laying in bed last night it hit me why I was so upset - while this is her first Christmas, a Christmas she won't remember, this is also MY first Christmas as a mother, a Christmas I will remember for as long as I live. Plain and simple, a mother should with her baby on their first Christmas together. 

But when all is said and done, she will have four Christmas' this year! We celebrated with my Mom, brother, sister in law, niece and nephews this weekend. We will be visiting my Dad, step Mom and other family members today, Christmas Eve. Then after (hopefully) visiting me at the hospital on Christmas, Phil and Harper will be celebrating with his parents and brother. Finally, the day after Christmas, it will just be Harper, Phil and I. We'll sit around the tree, open presents in our pajamas and take pictures. A stress free, relaxing day with this little baby that I've prayed for and wish for, for so long. She is certainly the best gift ever and I truly do treasure her every single day.

Christmas 2014

Harper and her cousins

Merry Christmas to everyone! May you have a wonderful holiday celebrating it with friends and family. Hug those around you. Tell people you love them. Eat and drink without guilt. Smile and be happy. Take pictures. Enjoy the little moments.

 Wishing you good health, blessings, and happiness in 2015!

Monday, December 15, 2014

One semester down!

It's official - I have survived my first semester of Grad school and I am done for three weeks!!! 

My calendar of assignments

I cannot begin to tell you how fabulous it feels to be done with this semester! To say that the last four months have been difficult would be an understatement. They have been more challenging and trying than I ever thought possible. Three weeks after delivering Harper I started school. 14 credit hours in total, or four classes (Pathophysiology, advanced assessment, role promotion and research). Trying to manage and learn how to be a new student, a new mother (who is full time breastfeeding) all while balancing all the other roles I have; wife, friend, daughter, nurse, aunt, was hard on my mentally, physically and emotionally. I felt as if I was always sacrificing and failing in at least one of these roles on a daily basis.

I could not have gotten through this semester without my partner in crime in this program, Aubrey!  
I also can't say enough about the help from my family. Willing to watch Harper when I had to drive almost two hours to campus EIGHT times this semester. Babysitting so I could study or take exams. Keeping me sane through all of this and motivating me. I wouldn't be able to even go back to school in the first place if not for my family. I must also say to Phil, I love you, and I am so thankful you've put up with me this long! 

While this is only one semester (out of a minimum of five, but up to 8 total depending on how far I go), I feel like finishing this semester has given me the confidence that I can actually do this. Back on August 22, I really didn't think I was going to survive with a new baby on my hands (and tons of postpartum hormones raging through my veins). Now, I know it's possible. It is by no means easy (MAJOR props to all the moms and dads out there busting their buts with school and work!) but it can be done!!

I often think back to the advice I got when I was thinking about going back to school. I was told I shouldn't do it with a new baby and that if I got accepted I should probably wait at least year. While these people meant well, I'm happy I stuck with my gut and did it. (For one thing, UF is changing things up and not accepting any new students next year for the midwifery program!) Ironically, getting work done seemed to be easier with a brand new baby than it has been the last few weeks. Harper doesn't nap as well (if at all) through the day anymore. When she's awake, she demands attention. She is starting to become mobile (lord help me) and needs tons of interaction and supervision.

Next semester is 16 credit hours (yep, two more than this semester) and includes clinicals (working in the hospital and office). I also have returned to work, so throw in one 12 hour shift per week in there too. I have no idea how this will be possible with a growing baby on my hands, but I know I just have to take it one day at a time, one assignment at a time, one weeks at a time and so on. In fact, if I have any friends out there reading this who would like to become my nanny during the week next semester, I would love to have you! I will pay you with snacks, drinks and lots of fun with Harper ;)

First day back to work Harper and Phil came to visit me - 
This is how she and I felt about her having to leave!

But right now I'm not going to worry about next semester - I'm gonna focus on enjoying these next three weeks of freedom with Harper, my family and friends! 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

4 Month Check-up

Harper had her four month check up today!

Her height and weight fall between the 20th - 30th percentile, which is where she's been from the beginning. She is growing perfectly! She was happy, laughing and did so well with the pediatrician. 

I was told she was a very vibrant baby. Very active and alert and that we should baby proof our house sooner rather than later as she will most likely be on the move sooner than most babies. Yikes!

She did well until the shots came. Damn, those bad boys suck. Totally necessary, but still no fun. 
She's a trooper though. 

The rest of the day will be filled with lots of rest, cuddles and love for this little one!
(And even a few smiles from her!)