Monday, October 31, 2011

more photos

Putting Justin's All Black's hoodie to good use as a back drop. Who says you need fancy props and settings? The natural sunlight was beautiful today.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Ashlynn at 2 weeks old

Birth: 7 lbs 11 ounces 20 inches long
Day 2: 7 lbs 2 ounces
Day 5: 7 lbs 11 ounces
Day 14: 8 lbs 9 ounces 21.5 inches long

She's definitely growing!

Monday, October 24, 2011

sleeping angel

Ashlynn sleeps like and angel during the day. Not so much at night. She's only 9 days old so I keep telling myself that hopefully I can nudge her schedule in the right direction soon. Right now she likes to sleep on or next to her Mommy at night and if I lay her down to sleep in her bassinet she starts squirming and wakes herself up. We had one night where she slept for three, two hour blocks in her bassinet and I had high hopes it would turn into a trend but so far it's just the exception to the rule (if you can have a rule in just 9 days). Right now I should be researching miracle under-eye concealer for the dark circles that are taking root by my eyes.

It's hard to complain (unless it's 3 AM-then it's easy) when my little angel is this sweet.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

week one

Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5Day 6Day 7

Ashlynn's welcome party

Our little girl is loved by many.

Our baby is born!

Ashlynn Olivia was born on October 15th at 8:10 AM. She weighed 7lbs 11 ounces and was 20 inches long. The labor and delivery was a breeze compared to my other two girls. I'm secretly hoping Ashlynn's smooth and calm entry in the the world is an indicator of her temperament.

As you read in my last post the wait for her arrival was excruciating. Every day I felt more and more uncomfortable. In the middle of the night on Friday something just didn't feel right. I felt the first real contraction at about 12:45 AM on October 15. I came downstairs, ate a bowl of cereal and tracked the contractions on the computer. Immediately, intense contractions hit every two minutes about a minute long. I threw a load of laundry in the washer, made sure I had my camera bag by the door and went upstairs to wake Justin to get ready to go. We called the doctor and she told us to come to the hospital. I took a quick shower, realizing once I got in the water that I probably didn't have time to be taking a shower.

We waited for Brienne to arrive at the house to watch Addie and Bella and then we drove the few miles to Virginia Hospital center. We arrived around 2:30 AM. It was strangely reminiscent of Addie's birth, the nice thing was that we were veterans the third time around not first time parents.My water broke walking to the hospital room and my biting down on a kitchen towel during the contractions must have been an indicator to the nurses how far along this labor already was. The nurse confirmed I was 7 centimeters dilated. We were ushered into our labor and delivery room where they quickly got my IV going for the Group B strep antibiotics and fluids. The epidural was administered around 4AM. Thank the Lord! I tried to sleep some but as I reached 10 centimeters I could feel the pressure of the baby and it was tough to ignore the sensation to push. Even with the epidural I breathed deeply through the contractions. I was fully dilated at 7AM. We had to wait a bit for the antibiotics to have more time in my system and for the doctor to arrive.Dr. Amy Porter walked in the room at 8AM and grabbed the delivery table as the nurse got everything else ready. Justin and I were thrilled that the doctor very straight forwardly reminded me of my pushing techniques and gave me the green light to push at the next contraction. We'd been waiting for this moment for 10 months and it was so great to finally be meeting our daughter. Three pushes and 10 minutes later our beautiful little girl was placed on my chest. She didn't scream like her sisters but squeaked and squealed. After the nurses weighed and measured Ashlynn they brought her back to me. She immediately latched on to nurse. It was wonderful.Everything was a breeze. Ashlynn got a healthy apgar score of 8/9 and passed all her screens and tests. She nursed all day and night frantically trying to fill her belly. We requested an early release from the hospital to get our baby girl home so we only had to stay in the hospital for one night. My breast milk came in fast and once Ashlynn filled her belly she immediately started sleeping better. At her two day check-up with the pediatrician she was 7 lbs 2 ounces. At her five day check-up she was already back to her birth weight of 7 lbs 11 ounces which is wonderful. I have no doubt Ash will be covered in baby rolls in a few weeks.We are thrilled to have little Ashlynn Olivia home with us. It's wonderful to be a family of five. The 10 months of pregnancy was challenging, but the end result is that much sweeter. Ashlynn was definitely worth the wait.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

39 weeks

I'm more than just a little anxious for our third baby to arrive. I got caught up in the hype of everyone thinking she'd come early. The doctors even said the third baby often arrives early. I guess I've been ready for her arrival for a good three weeks now. Every week that I have to go back to the doctors or gymnastic class and hear "You're STILL pregnant?" is kind of rough. To be fair, my due date isn't until October 16 so technically she could still come "early". It's a bit annoying that neighbors or almost strangers act frustrated that I'm still pregnant. I should be the only one allowed to be annoyed that my baby has decided she's comfortable where she is. Am I right?

Three weeks ago I was extremely uncomfortable because I was always short of breath and having dizzy spells mostly because the baby was crowding my lung capacity. Once she dropped I immediately felt like I had more energy and oxygen to fuel my days. The only problem now is that the baby sits on my sciatic nerve and makes it tough to walk. Her movements are painful as well. I'm not sure what's better at this point having her in my lungs or between my legs. Bottom line is that Hokie Bird #3 is getting too big for the space inside.I'm still 4 cm dilated after three weeks at this point. Even after punishing myself with walking and lifting and not taking it easy. If anything I've been pushing myself a little too much at gymnastics class, preparing the house for our new baby's arrival, physically straining activities on the weekends. All with no luck in getting this baby to budge.

After getting over the mental let down of still being pregnant today, when I've literally been packing my toothbrush in my hospital bag every night now for two weeks, I am trying to see the upside to still having this baby in my belly.

The good news is that she's big and strong. Her heart rate is strong and she's moving all the time. Both Addie and Bella were born right at 40 weeks give or take a day or two and weighed over 8 lbs. They came out bright pink, screaming, and ready to nurse right away. Our new baby girl is probably going to follow suit and be a nice big healthy girl right from the start. The other positives I can see is that I get a bit more time with Bella as my baby. I've been savoring our time together alone when Addie is at school. When the baby arrives I won't have nearly the flexibility that I do now and I'm sure that I'll be too tired to play as much right away. My Mommy/Bella time has been priceless.

The last plus for the baby staying put is that we get to stay in America a tad longer. The moment she arrives, our countdown clock starts ticking to move to Ethiopia and right now that's just too much for me to handle.

I do have an end date scheduled. I will be induced on October 21 if the baby doesn't arrive on her own. It's longer to wait than I had hoped. 5 days past my due date sounds like torture right now but at least I know I won't be pregnant after that day. The waiting is excruciating!

*I guess I'm technically closer to 40 weeks now than 39 but the photos were taken on Sunday by Addie when we were apple picking. This one was taken the day before at the pumpkin patch. The girls are always hugging their little sister. Bella won't let Justin leave for work without kissing the baby. He just bends down and plants one on my belly and Bella giggles. It's pretty cute.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

apple picking

Along with every other yuppie family in Northern Virginia, we went apple picking Columbus Day weekend in Purcelville, VA. It was a tad warm to feel truly like fall but the girls were loving it in their summer clothing. Addie really got into the apple picking and climbed a few trees to get the good unreachable apples at the top. She then got a hold of my camera and snapped a few decent photos. One of my favorite is the one of Kiki in the blackberry bushes. Addie yelled "Kiki, stop right there" and then snapped the picture. Arabella was happy picking an apple and then immediately taking a bite out of it. I think she ate about three apples that day. I lugged Ashlynn around the entire time wishing she'd just arrive already. She's becoming much too comfortable on the inside. The trip was fun and in the process Justin and I decided that an old house in Purcelville, VA just might be where we end up after all our overseas jet setting and diplomat living. The country side was gorgeous and the old homes were full of character. Now we can just fantasize about it for the next few years. I was definitely picturing my teenage daughters with boots and buckets working at the apple orchards as their summer jobs during high school. We brought the apples home and I promptly made an apple pie that we ate a la mode. Not too shabby. Every day in America is pretty darn amazing. It's still not getting old.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Pumpkin Patch

Justin and I love the Fall for all the obvious reasons. Football season, pumpkin flavored everything, Halloween, the leaves on the trees changing color. It's been a very long wait to experience Fall again in America with our girls. This weekend marked the first day of real Fall we've experienced as a family. It was a breezy 50 degrees, Justin made pumpkin pancakes for breakfast, we all wore coats and boots and visited a real pumpkin patch; complete with corn maze, hayrides, slides, goat feeding, and apple cider. I road the extra bumpy hayride as a rather unorthodox way to jump start labor. We'll see how that worked. The girls loved the farm and animals. The big slides were a hit! The girls weren't thrilled about the cold wind and rain. They are tropical babies through and through. That red cheeked, freezing hands and nose feel was the most invigorating feeling in my opinion. My daughters disagree!

It's been a long wait to get pictures like these.