Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Halloween continued... Boo at the Zoo!

The other Halloween tradition I simply couldn't ignore was Boo at the Zoo! We got Evalee all dolled up in her Jessie costume... after a long while of fighting. She didn't want to wear the costume for some reason or another and absolutely refused to put on her hat, so the pictures below are a true testament to her Halloween spirit this year. Of course once we got home she threw a fit because she didn't want to take it off. Izzy didn't seem to mind her pumpkin onesie much :). Anyway, we were off to the zoo. We had a good time seeing all the animals and the Sunday crowd wasn't nearly as crazy as the Saturday crowd last year. We even elected to drive ourselves rather than taking the shuttle, and we got a great parking spot.  Evalee had a great time, as always, talking to and feeding the animals, riding her pony,  and riding the carousel. We sure will miss visiting those animals during the cold weather season!

Izzy's first Halloween

There were lots of Halloween events we wanted to go to this year, but we knew we could only realistically do so much. So, this year we spent the Saturday of Halloween weekend at my Aunt Carol's Halloween party for her nine grandkids and her two honorary grandkids :). I think Evalee was a little overwhelmed by all the kids at first, but by the end of the afternoon she had a great time. It was nice to catch up with my cousins and talk and laugh like old times for the afternoon while the kids made crafts and played games. The kids were also excited to get to meet and hold Isabel.
Rockin' her adorable onesie and new headband

Oh the chaos

Pin the face on the pumpkin

Eva's solution was simple: take off the blindfold, and it'll be lots easier.

Watching with rapt attention at the apple bobbing process.

She had to give it a try herself.

Izzy snuggling with her godmother

The kids got a little wet in the process.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Getting to know you...

We've spent the last 3 weeks getting to know our newest daughter, and it has been wonderful and hectic. She is such a good baby - she eats well, she sleeps well most nights, and she doesn't cry unless we put her in the car, she needs to burp, or she goes on one of her cluster-feeding binges and just wants to be with mommy. She has a talent for making my heart melt with her chubby-faced little grin after she eats, and she loves to cuddle with her daddy to fall asleep at night.

As much as Travis and I are falling in love with her, our love simply cannot be matched by Evalee's. She never gets tired of giving her sister kisses, asking to hold her, telling her it's okay when she's crying, and bringing her the toy giraffe she gave her in the hospital. She always needs to know where she is and what she is doing. Just this morning she couldn't stop coming over to kiss her on the head and tell her "love you too Izzy." I hope the sisterly love just keeps on continuing!

Challenge #1

I went into the task of breastfeeding a second time with a lot more ease and confidence. I told myself I wouldn't let it become what it was last time -- a constant stress. If we had to supplement with formula, so be it. So perhaps it was because of this acceptance that my time nursing in the hospital went so much smoother. Izzy took to nursing really well -- so well that my milk was starting to show signs of coming in earlier than usual, much to the delight of the nurses.

So it caught me off-guard when our first night at home ended up being a train wreck of horror. I couldn't get Izzy to latch on and when she did she didn't seem to be getting what she needed and started screaming. Finally after about 5 or 6 hours of no success, I said, "Well she has to eat." So we used one of my free ( yay for coupons) ready-to-feed formula bottles and she sucked it down in about 45 seconds. We breathed easy. Baby fed.

The next time she woke up we tried again to get her to latch on to no avail, so I pumped and we gave her another bottle. Done and done.

Little did we know how many problems this would cause. After that we couldn't get her interested in nursing in the least -- who would be when a bottle is a whole lot less work.

I called the nurses' station at the hospital, which was a valuable resource when Eva was a newborn, and they said Rita was a great resource with breastfeeding and to call her. I called and explained the situation, and she told me to keep pumping to get my milk established and to call a lactation consultant she knew before adding, "And don't judge here, but do you have a bottle of wine in your house?"
I laughed, "There's one that's been staring at me since January."
"Good. I know it's before 9 a.m., but crack that bottle open and have a glass. It'll calm you down and make all of this a whole lot easier to deal with. I don't want you to do anything today but eat, sleep, pee, and nurse."

I winced, as I had a house full of people on their way to meet Isabel.

The lactation consultant gave me a lot of suggestions for how to get her interested in nursing again, most of which involved snuggling skin to skin and using my expressed milk as a lure using spoons and syringes.

It was a long, trying 24 hours, and I don't want to do the day an injustice by pretending it wasn't anything short of really stressful. But now almost a month later, this is what I want to remember about the 36 hours or so:
1. I have an amazing husband. I am so thankful that he went with me to the breastfeeding class I took when I was pregnant with Eva so he is well informed about the process, even if he did feel awkward being the only husband there. He helped me adjust her positioning (it's so hard when they're so tiny!), brought me water, got my breast pump ready for me when I needed it, and kept me going with encouraging words without fail. I would have given up if I wouldn't have had him at my side.

2. I have an amazing family. After a night of no sleep at all and two breast feeding experts telling me to spend the day alone in topless isolation with my baby, I must admit I didn't think a day filled with family was really a great idea. Thankfully, everyone was understanding and so helpful. No one complained when I had to whisk Izzy away for long stretches of time, and people even helped out with laundry, bringing meals, and cleaning around the house (another disadvantage to the surprise delivery).

We eventually moved from spoon feeding her expressed milk to syringe feeding her expressed milk to enticing her to nurse using the syringe as bait. By Sunday morning we were back on track. I am so thankful to have had Rita and the lactation consultant as a resource to get us through those first few days because my chunk little 9 pounder is thriving now!

Here are some pics Ashley took during the day, as I did not capture many moments :)