6 months = food!

Dear Elliot,

Well, you’re officially 6 months old! When you were first born I remember looking forward to this age SO much, but now that it’s here I wish I could hit the rewind button. It’s not that I don’t want you to keep growing (I do, I do!), but time is flying by. Every time I get used you being a certain age, and you being able to do certain things, you learn something new and it changes the game. If nothing else, it keeps me on my toes!

As evident from the photo above, we’ve started to feed you solid food. How exciting! You haven’t ingested all that much yet, but you’re doing a great job exploring all the different tastes and textures. So far so good. I’m glad we decided to go with baby led weaning instead of mush, and obviously Eegor is as well!

This past month we also transitioned you from a combo 3-3.5 hour schedule to a 4 hour schedule. I am really thankful because it makes life a lot easier. Our next schedule change will be dropping your 3rd nap of the day, but you’re not quite ready for that yet.

And last but certainly not least, you are trying oh so hard to crawl. You are getting so close, and I think by this time next month you’ll have it mastered. For now, you are rocking and scooting as much as you can.

Thanks for being such a sweet, adorable and well behaved little man.

Love,
Mama

5 years

Ben and I were married 5 years ago today, but oftentimes it feels like it’s been much longer, and other times much less. Today I woke up and thought about just how much has happened since we were married. The biggest and most obvious being the fact that we now have a son! It makes my heart SO happy to see Ben and Elliot together, playing, laughing and smiling. I couldn’t imagine having a family with anyone else.

Benjamin, I love you, and I’m so happy I get to spend the rest of my life with you. You’re an amazing, patient, and loving husband and father.

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4 months old

Dear Elliot,

It’s July 7th, and that means you are officially 4 months old! Your 4 month pediatrician appointment is on Monday, and I am so excited to find out how much you weigh and how long you are! You are growing and changing SO much.

June was a very busy month for us. The week after we went to the beach house in Corolla, my friends Michelle and Steve got married. Michelle, Steve and I went to college together. We had to drive 7 hours from our home in Virginia to Babcha and Grandpa’s home in New Jersey. It was our very first long car ride with you and you did great! We left at 7PM (your bedtime), so you slept the entire way there.

The week after the wedding, Daddy was away for work in FL, so Babcha drove back home with us so she could watch you all week while I was at work. Miss Rebecca was also on vacation that week, which is why she couldn’t watch you like she normally does. You and Babcha had such a great time together. The odd thing was, the day after we got back from NJ, Babcha and I noticed some red spots on your hands and feet. Turns out, both you and I came down with Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. It’s a virus that causes red spots / blisters on your hands, feet and mouth. Your case was very mild, but mine was a bit worse. I felt so bad for you, but you didn’t seem to mind at all.

At the end of that week, Grandpa drove down to pick up Babcha, and we all went to visit Aunt Jane and Uncle Artie in Richmond. They recently moved there from NJ. Aunt Jane was SO happy to meet you, finally!

We recently dropped your 10PM dream feed. At first I was really hesitant to drop it because I was worried you’d start waking up in the middle of the night again, but you are doing great! You are now sleeping from 7/7:15-6:30AM, wow! Sometimes you wake up at 5/5:30 and start talking, but you usually fall back asleep.

A few other things of note:

  • We tried dropping your 4th nap of the day, but you became very fussy when we did that. So for now you are still taking 4 naps, but we’ll try dropping it again soon.
  • You can now roll over from your tummy to back, and from your back to tummy! You are getting so so strong.
  • You love holding my fingers. It’s just so cute.

I took the above video of you this morning while you were in your jumperoo. My oh my, aren’t you handsome!

Love,
Mama

3 months old (a few days late)

Dear Elliot,

You are now 3 months old! I wanted to start writing to you when you were first born, but it totally slipped my mind. Sometimes being a mother does that to you… you just forget things because you have a sweet precious baby to take care of (you, of course)!

I started work again 2 weeks ago, and it was tough for me to leave you. You are in such good hands though. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday you go over to Miss Rebecca’s house. She is a very nice lady and takes great care of you. On Thursday and Friday Oma (Daddy’s Mom) watches you. We have gotten nothing but good reports so far, and I hope that continues!

We spent last week at a beach house in OBX called The Mark Twain. The place I work, Grow Interactive, rented it for the week for all the employees and their families to enjoy! Isn’t that awesome? We had a lot of fun together and Daddy was able to join us for a few days too.

3 months old on Thursday... forgot to post this! Love my little man!You are growing so fast I can hardly believe my eyes. You are a pro at tummy time now, and this past week you rolled over for the very first time! I didn’t actually see it happen at first… I turned my back for a second and all of a sudden you were on your back! Luckily, we tried again the next day and you did it 3 times in a row! You also started doing crunches in an effort to sit up on your own. You are very determined, it’s so cute.

You love to smile and babble. I’m convinced you say “I love you” back to me in your own funny garble language. Other people have heard it too so I am not going crazy! Your new thing is this loud, fairly high-pitched, squeal talk (for lack of a better way to describe it). It makes Daddy and I laugh so hard.

One of my favorite things is you smiling at me from your crib after a nap. I’m so happy to be your mom.

Love always,
Mommy

Reflection

I head back to work one week from tomorrow. I honestly cannot believe it. In the beginning, 12 weeks felt like an eternity, but now that it’s almost coming to an end I could use more time.

I’m excited to go back to work, but at the same time I hate thinking about what I’m going to miss. Elliot changes and learns something new everyday and sometimes I just want to cry thinking about not being with him all the time. But I digress, I have to do what I have to do, and I’ll appreciate my time with him exponentially more.

Looking back, it’s hard to believe that I went into labor on my due date. I had one day of maternity leave where I was not yet a mother or in labor. Thinking back about labor and delivery, it was definitely one of the hardest yet most rewarding things I have ever experienced. God-willing, I will do it again one day.

The first month of having Elliot at home with us was an emotional learning experience. I cried the night before Ben went back to work because I was so scared of being alone with Elliot. Being a mother is hard and you question everything you do wondering if you’re doing the right thing. However, what I’ve learned in the almost 11 weeks with Elliot is that you just have to do what you think is right. Motherhood is probably about 75% intuition and 25% common sense. You will eventually get into a routine that makes sense for you, your family and your baby and just go with it from there. That’s not to say the routine won’t change, because it inevitably will as your baby starts getting older, but then you’ll figure out what works yet again.

Now, as I embark on my last week of maternity leave, my plan is to enjoy my time with Elliot as much as I possibly can. He means so so much to me, and I am so proud and happy to be his mother.

5 weeks in!

Elliot turned 5 weeks old yesterday, and besides the lack of consistent sleep, being a mother so far has been very rewarding, especially since Elliot has started to smile! Proof:

Oh my gosh, that face!Look at that devious little smile, muahaha!

Elliot slept for about 6 hours straight on Monday and Tuesday night, which was so so nice, but last night he went back to wanting to eat every 4 hours, so I was a little disappointed. I’m thinking it was because he took 2 long naps yesterday and had 1 less feeding… so if he tries to take long naps today I’m going to wake him up and see if that does the trick. Figuring out a good rhythm to the day has been tough, but I think I’m finally getting the hang of it. Although, I’m expecting him to throw various curve balls as soon as I think things are becoming more consistent… like, you know, growth spurts! I hear one may happen next week (6 weeks) so I’m preparing myself mentally for it.

George Clay Parker + Elliot Clay Parker... Great Grandpa In other news, Elliot is transitioning from NB clothes and diapers into the next size up! Goodness, he’s growing! Size 1 diapers are still a little big on his skinny legs, but he keeps having blowouts wearing his size NB so we’ve had to make the switch. I can’t wait until his next pediatrician appointment (May 7th) to find out how much he’s grown! I tried measuring him with a ruler yesterday (haha) and he seems to be nearing 23-24 inches in length.

On Tuesday, Elliot met his Great Grandma and Grandpa… so precious! Elliot just so happens to be the first Parker baby, and we thought it would be nice to keep the “Clay” tradition going. So Elliot is now the 4th generation to have the middle name Clay.

Until next time…

Boy do they grow quick!

Elliot turned 2 weeks old yesterday, and he had his follow-up pediatrician appointment. At birth he weighed 7lbs 8.5oz and was 20 and 3/4 inches long. Then, as per the norm, he lost some weight after birth and was 7lbs and 7.5oz 3 days after he was born. Yesterday he was 8lbs 9oz and 21 and 3/4 inches long.

Why are you growing so fast, Elliot?!

I seriously can’t believe that he gained over a pound since the 10th and is a whole inch longer! He’s in the 84th percentile for length. I hope he grows up to be a strong and tall young man :]

Motherhood (9 days in)

Motherhood, motherhood, motherhood. So this is what it’s like? I honestly don’t have much to complain about. Elliot is a pretty easy baby so far. He’s on a fairly consistent schedule of nursing, “playing” and sleeping… and a dozen or so diaper changes thrown in.

As far as sleep for me is concerned, Elliot wakes up about every 3-4 hours at night, and usually goes to bed pretty quickly after a feeding. I won’t lie, getting up in the middle of the night is tough, but it could be worse and it won’t last forever.

What I miss most is daily adult human interaction. Luckily friends and family have been coming to visit to help with that, and God bless the phone and Internet. I definitely look forward to Ben coming home from work every day, and it’s the cutest because Elliot is so content to sleep in his arms.

It’s all worth it for this little guy…

Elliot’s Birth Story

On March 5th, I went to bed around 9:30PM thinking that I couldn’t believe that tomorrow was my due date! I didn’t have high hopes that our son would come “on time,” so I didn’t think much of it. During the night, I started feeling what I would describe as “period-like” cramps. They would wake me up once in a while, but for the most part I slept through them. At 5AM I woke up to use the restroom and low and behold there was my bloody-show (this is as graphic as it gets, don’t worry). I honestly didn’t know how much blood was okay, so I called the midwife on call and she said the amount I saw was okay and hopefully it meant that my cervix was preparing for labor. I had an appointment scheduled for 9:45AM so I figured the midwife would check me then and let me know what was going on.

While waiting for appointment time I started having mild contractions and I was timing them at about 4-5 minutes apart and around 40s in length. They were pretty consistent so I started to get excited that today might be the day (my due date no less). Ben decided to stay home from work and come to the appointment with me, and we packed up everything and put it into the car just in case. At the appointment the midwife checked me and said I was 1cm dilated, 80% effaced (thinned out), and baby’s head was in station +1. She said I was in early labor and wouldn’t be surprised if I gave birth within the next 24-48 hours. She said to go to the hospital when my contractions lasted 60s or more. Ben and I were stoked at that point, but didn’t want to get our hopes up.

After the appointment we decided to get Mongolian BBQ for lunch, and all the while the my contractions started to get stronger, but not longer. I think I scared the waitress at the restaurant because when she came over to our table to give us our check I was breathing through one. Haha!

After lunch, Ben and I decided to take a long walk around our neighborhood to get things going. At that point the contractions were still around 40s long and about 3-4 minutes apart. After our walk, we decided to relax on the couch and watch TV until something else changed. Things started to get even more uncomfortable so I told Ben I wanted to go on another walk. After that walk, still no timing changes, but again, my contractions were getting stronger.

Then around 7PM, after enduring contractions for over 12 hours, but still not reaching the magic 60s number, I got to the point where I needed to call the midwife again to discuss going to the hospital. On the call, she listened to me go through a contraction and she said that I should head to the hospital, so that’s what we did.

Once at the hospital, we were immediately checked into a labor and delivery room. Nell, the midwife came in and checked me. I was 3cm dilated and still 80% effaced, in early active labor. Some progress, but I was expecting more. Em Lee, the RN gave me some great tips for getting through the contractions as they continued to get worse, and I thank her SO much. About 3 hours later, Nell came back in and checked me once again. This time I was 4cm dilated. Just a 1cm change in 3 hours? I was so bummed out. She then suggested that she break my water to get things going, and after some contemplation I decided that it was for the best. Once she broke my water, she discovered that there was meconium in it, which meant our son had his first bowel movement in utero. Because of this I needed to stay hooked up to the monitors for the rest of my labor. Though luckily I could still get up out of bed and walk around to some degree and use a birthing ball. This also meant that as soon as I gave birth, the cord needed to be cut immediately so he could be suctioned before taking his first breath. If he did, it could lead to meconium aspiration syndrome, which is a serious condition in which a newborn breathes a mixture of meconium and amniotic fluid into the lungs. A doctor would also be present during the delivery to do the assessment of his breathing / respiratory system after birth.

After my water was broken, my contractions soon became much stronger and I’ll be honest, it was tough. However, I was pretty determined to have an unmediated labor and delivery. At one point neither the RN or the midwife came in to check on me for about 3 hours (turns out they were dealing with a number of other deliveries as well). During that time Ben was a real champ. He helped me focus and breathe through all the painful contractions. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without him. Nearing the end of that 3 hour period, I started to get really tired, which caused me to lose focus, which in turn made the contractions even harder to get through. I told Ben that I needed Nell or Em Lee to check my progress, and if I wasn’t either 7 or 8cm dilated I wanted to talk about getting an epidural since I was just so so tired. Em Lee came in and told me that I was now about 7cm dilated, and while not the 8cm I was really hoping for, it gave me hope. I decided then to keep going without any pain medication.

About an hour later, things took a turn for the worse. I started to lose focus again, and I felt a lot of pressure down below and wanted to push. I was scared because in the birthing class we took, the instructor said not to push until you know you’re 10cm because if you do prior then it could cause your cervix to swell, and if your cervix swells you can’t push until the swelling goes down. I had Ben call Em Lee immediately because at that point I felt like I couldn’t go on. Em Lee said we could discuss pain medication, but before doing so she wanted to check how far I was. Low and behold, I was 10cm dilated, and it was time for me to start pushing! A whole 3cm of progress in an hour. I was seriously shocked and so relieved.

I began pushing. I had been in active labor for nearly 11 hours at that point, and I was so out of it, but somehow I found the strength. I honestly don’t know how long I pushed for, but I think it was about an hour. I kept my eyes closed most of the time and just tried to focus my pushing as much as possible.

At 4:54am on 3/7/12, Elliot Clay Parker was born, weighing in at 7lbs 8.5oz and 20 and ¾ inches long. Perfection. When they put him on my chest to clean him off and have Ben cut the cord real quick, I could hardly believe it. He was my baby boy. He was the little person living in me for 40 weeks. A precious miracle. Though, he decided to be a tough guy and take his first breath before the doctor could suction his mouth. They monitored his breathing, as he was having some trouble (no oxygen required, thank goodness) and decided it would be best to bring him straight to the nursery for observation. Before they took him, they let me hold him for a few minutes, and I was overwhelmed with so many emotions. Any parent will understand when I say that the rush of emotions you get when your child is born is like nothing else in the entire world. At that point, Nell and Em Lee cleaned me up and Ben went to the nursery with Elliot. I took that opportunity to call my Mom and tell her the fantastic news. She was a Babcha now!

After Ben came back we were moved to our room and we decided to try and get some sleep. Though, that proved to be quite difficult since I was on an adrenaline high, and I of course was worrying about Elliot in the nursery. He ended up having to stay in the nursery all day Wednesday and most of Thursday for observation. He was finally given a clean bill of health and he was able to join us in our room. What a relief!

On Friday, we were discharged from the hospital and the fun really began.

It’s definitely been a learning experience so far, but Ben and I are both getting the hang of being parents pretty quickly. And not to mention, Eegor is in love with his little brother. Ben goes back to work tomorrow… wish me luck!

Showered!

Our baby shower was this weekend. It was absolutely lovely thanks to all our wonderful family and friends! Our little man is already so loved and that makes my heart sing!

A very special thank you to the lovely ladies who helped plan everything… especially my sister-in-law, Charity, who was kind enough to host it at her house!

The fact that I’m going to be a mother in a little over a month (35 out of 40 weeks tomorrow!) is really hitting me hard right now. I guess having a ton of baby stuff in the house helps with that. My emotions are running wild (in a good way)!

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See the full set here.