Friday, January 27, 2012

Ella at 1 Week Old

Introducing Ella Hazel DeGaetano
January 19, 2012
7 lb. 4 oz., 18.5 inches

Ella Hazel is officially one week old and we are one week wiser on how to manage two children. I know it feels overwhelming to bring home the first baby, but I must say, it is even more challenging to have two children to deal with. Of course, it might just be especially hard because they are only 16 months apart so I have two in diapers, two that don't speak, and two that cry! We are adjusting though, and with my mom's help we are slowly adjusting into this new phase of life. I am hoping to continue the blog updates about Ella, just like I did with Jack. Of course, my time is less available, since I'm basically breastfeeding all the time. So for the first month, I will update once a week and then it will be once a month. Oh, and don't worry I haven't forgotten about Jack, he will get a post update at 18 months (only two months away).
Nicknames: Hazelnut, Sweet Pea, Ella Bella, Little Cloven Hoof Princess

Weight and Length: She started at 7 lb. 4 oz., but dropped to 6 lb. 12 oz. at her first doctor's appointment. Ella's length started at 18.5 inches at the hospital and was measured at 20 inches at the doctor's office...for some reason I think she was measured wrong at the hospital, or could she really have grown that much in five days?

Temperament: Well, she is still so little it is hard to say. She sleeps a lot. In fact, she was pretty jaundice so she was especially sleepy. Even now I still have to wake her up for feedings. If I didn't, I think she would sleep at least four to five hours at night. I am hoping that is a good sign for our future (maybe we will have one child that likes to sleep through the night). Since she sleeps so much, she hasn't been too much trouble. She usually just cries for food and if we have a hard time with the latching process she can get really upset. However, I have noticed that she will let you know when she is mad. The cry becomes very intense, almost to a point that she gets worn out from crying. It is really cute.

Items/Toys That We Love The Most: She is still too little to care about much. I have noticed that she only likes to be swaddled in a blanket. Whenever I try to use a swaddle that Velcros she will begin to cry and will not stop until I remove it. If I had tried to swaddle Jack in a blanket then he would have squirmed his way out of it. Ella, however, lays pretty still or if she does move her arms out, then it doesn't seem to wake her up. I think I might also become a huge fan of my baby slings/carriers. How else am I going to make dinner with Jack pulling on my pants and Ella crying? So I figure it will be used a lot more than it was with just one child.
First/New Experiences: Everything has been new and different with Ella. She is so different and her needs have been so different. First of all, the delivery was very different that my first, but I will write about that later. Fortunatemly, she was healthy and able to be in my arms right away. That meant we were able to try breastfeeding immediately and she was good at latching. Then it was fun to be able to have her in the hospital room with us. Plus, we left after just 24 hours, so that was new and special for us as a family.

We also noticed that one of her feet was all the way bent backwards. Of course we were concerned, but my doctor suggested that we give it time, because it might have just been bent from being in the womb. After speaking with the hospital pediatrician, we were even more concerned because we thought she had a club foot. An appointment was made for two days later to go to a pediatric orthopedist. We did a lot of research on the Internet and only grew more worried. I thought I would have to drive up to Morgantown, WV (about a two and a half hour drive) to see this specialist each week. We had anticipated her having a new cast every week to help straighten out her foot. The good news is that the specialist said it was not club foot. It was just bent from being squished in the womb. Each day we need to do stretches to help put it into the correct place and we are hoping that it will improve around a month's time. I included the picture below to show what it looks like.

We also had different complications with her and jaundice. I guess I didn't worry so much about the jaundice with Jack, because he was in the hospital so they treated it with the bilirubin lights. She stopped pooping on Sunday (at four days old) and didn't poop again until late Monday night. I was concerned that I was not giving her enough breast milk, so I decided to supplement. I used a system that would allow me to give a little formula while she still breastfed. This would allow her to still stimulate and increase my milk supply. So far that system has been working good and she began to poop. Fortunately there has been a tremendous support system in town with my friends. I feel encouraged to keep it up and I am already decreasing the amount of supplemental formula. Hopefully I will be able to breast feed on my own.

*I took some pictures in hopes to find one that I like enough for a birth announcement. I would like to get those ordered this week and sent in the mail as soon as possible. Here are a few of the pictures below.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Homemade Christmas

The last two years we have been more strapped for money. As a one salary house, it means we are taking less vacations, spending less on eating out, and it also means we needed to cut back on the money we spent for gifts. I had a lot of fun coming up with some homemade gifts last year and I wanted to continue that process as much as possible this year too. However, Joe and I did spend a little on each other (probably because we haven't bought gifts for each other since we have been married) so that was our splurge.

I was really pleased with all the things that we made as a family. I forgot to take pictures of the gifts that were given to my in-laws, but I will tell you about them. First up though, is my favorite gift that we made...a hat rack for my brother. It was a family project. Joe, cut and prepped the wood and painted two gray strips, then Jack finger painted, I mod-podged, and finally Joe screwed in the hat hangers. I love it and look forward to making some art that is similar.I made a quilt for my sister. She asked me to and I knew what I needed to do, plus she provided the supplies with her old jeans and t-shirts. I think it turned out pretty good, but I did break a couple needles on my machine until I bought a jean needle. It was also pretty heavy, but it has got me thinking about a picnic blanket that I want to make with my old maternity jeans! I can't wait.

We went digital for my dad, my mother-in-law, and my grandparents. I went to a website where I could personalize calendars and mugs. I made a mug for my dad with a picture of his grandson and his dog (Roxey is basically his favorite child). Then we made two different calendars for my grandparents and my mother-in-law. I especially loved my grandpa's reaction as he wondered how we were able to make it...he doesn't really understand the whole computer thing!
I made a simple recipe book for my mom with some of my favorite things to cook. I knew she would appreciate it, because it would be tested and worthy dishes for her to make. I also made homemade vanilla extract for her and my mother-in-law. I even made one for myself, which I really need to test out sometime soon.
I made a small make-up bag and some foot scrubs for one of my sister-in-laws. The other family members were given items that were purchased, but that's okay, because they were reasonably priced. And although our Christmas celebrations were spread out over two weekends (one with family and then on the actual day we were at home on our own), I look forward to next year, when I can come up with even more ideas of homemade items and hopefully get Jack and our baby girl involved too!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Inner Harbor, MD

We decided to make a visit home to our families in mid December. That was important, because we were also celebrating my Mother-in-laws 60th birthday party. So a day was dedicated to her and we took a trip to the inner harbor. I have never been there before. I guess it is pretty new development. It was nice to walk through the main hotel and see it decorated for the holidays. Plus, we went into lots of stores...especially since it was so cold and windy. Jack hadn't napped well that day so he was a bit cranky, but it was a fun trip with all of my husband's family!
Perfect pictures, like the one of Kevin above, are hard to come by! As you can see in the three below, it was hard to get everyone to look at the same time!

Update in February

One might think that having several snow days would give me the time to write in my blog, but I have been spending a lot of time working on ...