Hand In Hand

Hand In Hand

Monday, December 27, 2010

Isabella Has More Firsts!

We celebrated Isabella's first Christmas this year! Oh how I've waited for the year that I could hold a baby in my arms on Christmas morning. It was magical. Nothing short of a miracle for me. I am so overwhelmed with love for my little dear. Christmas was exciting! We opened her stocking with her. We didn't buy a lot of gifts for her because I didn't know what everyone else was getting for her. So we'll go shopping and get a bunch of things in a few days. But going through that first stocking is something so special. The week before Christmas, Isabella had her first meeting with Santa. We weren't sure about doing the whole Santa thing, but we decided we would go ahead and do the Santa thing. But we want to make sure we always place the birth of Christ higher than Santa.

We also had our first major snowfall of the winter season. I took Izzy out in it for a few minutes just to get pictures. It is sooooo coooold outside, though, so I couldn't keep her outside for long. It was fun, though, to get pictures of the baby in the snow!! She wasn't sure what she thought about it. But she'll grow to love it. After all the snow we had when she was in the womb, she'll be a snow bunny, that's for sure!

She had her first cereal a few weeks back. But we started oatmeal yesterday. This coming weekend, we move on to yellow and orange baby food vegetables! YAY! My little baby is growing up too quickly. She's also going to be graduating to her "Big Girl" crib in a few days. I don't want to think about Isabella sleeping in her own room, but she needs to do it for herself and for me. It's time. :-( 

There's not too much to post on other than what I already posted. So I'll just leave you with a few pictures from Christmas and the snow. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Alomst 5 Months Already!

It seems like yesterday I wrote that Isabella had arrived. And yet now, we are approaching the 5 month mark. In a mere 10 days, she will be 5 months old. Gosh, it seems so strange to say that! I have a 5 month old. Nope. Just seems too strange! 

So let me catch you up on all that has been going on. At her 4-month check-up, Isabella was up to 13 pounds and she's almost 24 inches long. She's growing leaps and bounds. The pedi was very happy with her growth. She was so happy with Izzy's growth that we started solid foods last week. That's going okay. She doesn't like plain rice cereal very much, so today, we tried rice with apple. I didn't know they made flavored rice cereal. Isabella definitely liked it. We're hoping to start barley tomorrow and then oats in 5 days. After that, it's yellow and orange vegetables for her! I can't believe it.

Work is going well. I can't believe it's been two months since I went back. My parents are the greatest. They watch Isabella every day. I would love to stay home some days, but I do love my job teaching, so it is what it is. I can't afford to stay home anyway, so it's a good thing I like my job! 

Isabella is still breastfed. Nursing is going well. I never thought I would enjoy nursing. I never wanted to nurse until it got closer to time for Isabella's birth. Sure, there are times when it would be much easier to just make a bottle and heat it up, but it's all part of being a Mommy. Isabella does take a bottle of formula, since my parents need to supplement. She is a pig. I pump at work. I generally get anywhere from 6 to 10 ounces pumped out at work and then I pump when I get home. Pumping is just oh such a beautiful thing. At least my ample milk supply has stayed steady. 

Not too much else is going on. I'm going to post a few pictures of my beautiful little one. She just gets more beautiful as time goes on!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Year of Rich Blessings

A year has passed since we found out we were expecting little Isabella. And in that year, we have been so richly blessed. So I thought I would recap last year's Thanksgiving blessing and then make a short list of those blessings we are most thankful for in the past year.

So last year, Isabella was a plus sign on a pregnancy test Thanksgiving morning. So much to already be thankful for. And then she was a hormone surge that warranted a phone call from the fertility specialist where they referred to me as "Mommy." And then, she was a small spot on the ultrasound screen, then a small dot with a heartbeat. From all of that came Isabella Joy, the blessing we had awaited for, prayed for, longed for. And so, in the past year, the blessings have been innumerable. Here are just a few blessings we are thankful for.

♥ We are thankful for Isabella Joy entering our lives as a healthy, beautiful baby girl.
♥ We are thankful for God keeping me healthy in the scary last stages of pregnancy when we were afraid of pre-eclampsia.
♥ We are thankful for parents who, as Grandparents, are loving, patient, eager to help, and just amazing.
♥ We are thankful for family that continuously prayed for Isabella and continues to pray for her as she grows.
♥ We are thankful for friends who support us and encourage us as we learn to be good parents as Isabella continues to grow.
♥ We are thankful for Isabella's calm and relaxed demeanor. She's such a relaxed and peaceful baby, living up to her middle name-Joy-constantly.
♥ We are thankful for a baby who loves us, needs us, relies on us, and snuggles with us.
♥ We are thankful for a spouse who encourages, supports, prays for, loves, and enjoys the other.
♥ We are thankful for Isabella's Godparents, who love her and want her to grow up to love Jesus and follow His ways.

But most importantly, we are just thankful for Isabella. We are thankful for the addition of a child into our family. We desired her for so long. And although I was at a point where I was almost out of hope, my husband is strong and encouraged me. He knew that God had a blessing in store for us and so I held out hope for one more month. and in that month, God blessed us and our lives would never be the same again. It's been a year of rich blessings. God is so good and He so much deserves our praise and gratitude.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I am just amazed to reflect on the last year. So much has happened, changed, emerged, blossomed. A year ago today, I sat in a doctor's office having intrauterine insemination, knowing full well that there were four eggs just waiting to transform into a baby. I was fairly doubtful that anything would happen, since it had been such a quick and strange cycle. But I went in for the IUI anyway. I remember laying there, alone (Hubby couldn't come, it was a work day and he went to work), feeling so defeated. Never had I been more sure that getting pregnant wouldn't happen. So I just laid there, knees in the air, just going through the motions. 

Fast forward a year and all those feelings of defeat have long since faded. Tonight, I sit here with Isabella fast asleep in my arms. I still have those memories of laying there in the doctor's office fresh in my mind. But my heart is overflowing with such joy and love for my precious little child. 

She is truly a miracle. She is my blessing, my promise from God. Because of that, she was dedicated to God last Friday by Hubby's grandpa (Izzy's great grandpa). He is getting older and his memory fails him a lot, but there was something so youthful about holding Isabella. It's as though he was transported to a time long ago. He dedicated my precious child to the Lord and prayed over her. It was such a special experience. Last year at this time, I couldn't have even dreamed of all that has transpired. God is good! His blessings are overwhelming.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Year Ago Yesterday

This is my post from a year ago yesterday:

Dearest Aunt Flow decided to visit today. It's about time she got here. She's been standing at the door for like 3 days now but just wasn't ready for a visit. How annoying! Everything is run on her time. 

Anyway. I made my appointment for baselines. I go in Thursday morning. Hopefully, that lovely cyst has run its course and is out of my body. It's on to injectables, big time. Part of me is worried that I'll have to do another cycle of bcp. I'm worried about my estrogen levels. But I'm really worried about my FSH levels. They were high last time and high estrogen is supposed to suppress estrogen levels. Ugh...I guess only time will tell what lies in waiting. 

I have a fresh look on it all. Today is a new day. Today starts a fresh cycle. If my bloodwork and ultrasound are no good, I'll do another cycle of bcp. It's okay, I have to have peace about whatever my body brings my way. In the meantime, I have a huge box full of medication plus more meds in the fridge just waiting to be used. And I have an egg somewhere in my ovaries just waiting to turn into a darling baby. 

I gave my ovaries a pep talk this morning. I had to make sure they were on the same page as I was. They are the boss of my cycle and they need to know what the proper directions are. Plus, I may as well coach them on how to behave. They've been misbehaving since the beginning of it all. It's time they get themselves under control! We'll see if they can behave on Thursday.

It is just amazing for me to read that and see how far I've come and how richly I've been blessed with Isabella. Last year at this time, I was getting ready to start my injections. I was so scared of it. I was doubtful of this working. I felt as though all my hope was drained out of me. I was growing weary of all the fertility treatments. And when my new cycle started a year ago, I was filled with new hope. That hope only came from God. He gave me a renewed hope. He alone knew that my prayers for a child would be answered that cycle. I am so thankful for everything I went through. I'm thankful for the pain of failed cycles. I'm thankful for the lessons in patience and trust. I'm thankful for the lessons in stepping out in faith. I'm thankful for the bumps in the road, the long journey, the trials along the way. It isn't just the outcome that makes us blessed, it is the journey to get there. Yes, it was hard. Yes, I almost gave up hope. Yes, it made me feel broken, empty, useless. But at the same time, yes, it strengthened my faith. Yes, it taught me more reliance on God. Yes, it strengthened my marriage. A year makes so much difference. And I'm just so thankful for the blessings of the past year. Rereading my post from last year makes me appreciate my precious miracle even more.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Snuggle Time

I have been such a slacker with posting! But Isabella is a little snuggler and doesn't give me much of a moment to wrote a long post. In fact, she's snuggling with me right now, but somehow, I have managed to position her in a way that both of my hands are free. 

So it's been ten weeks (as of yesterday) since Isabella entered this world and forever changed my life. My heart is still overflowing with emotions. The love I have for her is unexplainable. I knew love my whole life. My mother's love for me was and is one of the greatest things. I knew love when I met my husband. But nothing prepares your heart for the amount of love you will feel when you have a child. She has changed my life, changed my future, changed my marriage (in the best way possible, of course!). I just love Isabella beyond words, beyond expressions, and beyond anything I could even try to explain. 

We've enjoyed our time at home bonding. She loves to cuddle and snuggle and I love to cuddle and snuggle with her. Sadly, I have to return to work soon. I am excited to return to my classroom. I do miss my students and my passion for teaching. But a part of my heart will be breaking when I can't spend my days with my precious little one. These past two months have been one of the most amazing times of my life. We've bonded so much and I am so thrilled that I had that time with her. My parents will start watching her Tuesday while I make the hard transition from being a temporary stay at home Mom back to being a teacher. Everything will be all new now, though. Teacher by day, Mom 24 hours a day. It will be an adventure, to say the very least! Bring on the adventure, I need to get used to life continuing, even if I want to freeze time.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Two Months Already!

I can hardly believe that it has already been two months since Isabella entered my world. I could not be more in love with her. She is just the most amazing addition to my life. Being a mom is not always easy. I get frustrated sometimes with not being able to get everything done around the apartment that should get done. But at the end of the day, spending time with little Izzy is more important than laundry, dishes, and straightening things up around here. She is doing great. She loves being attached to mommy's bosom. We tried to introduce formula tonight, but she wants nothing to do with it. We need to start supplementing because I go back to work in three weeks and there is no way I can pump enough to keep up with her eating habits. Once she starts to eat even more, I'd need to pump more than I have time to do as a teacher. So we tried and tonight, it failed. She wants nothing to do with it. Tomorrow, I'll just use 2 ounces of breast milk with a half scoop of the formula and see if that makes a difference.
Over the weekend, we went down to Maryland to see Hubby's side of the family. Grandma Pat was so excited to see her granddaughter again. Isabella even had a little outfit that said "Off to Grandma's." Since my mom and stepdad will be watching her when I go back to work, I want to make her visits with Hubby's mom special. We had a great time. We went to a farm that had a crazy corn maze. So we went through the maze. I don't think I would have made it through without Hubby. He is a human GPS. He looked at the map/aerial view once and knew his way around. I am certainly not that good with directions and Isabella won't be, either. She couldn't even figure out how to get out of the womb without being chopped out!

We also had the privilege of having more pictures taken of our little family. Our good friend, Doreen, is a professional photographer and she did our wedding pictures seven long years ago. She wanted to do maternity pictures for me but we could never coordinate our schedules. So she was so excited to get her camera on Isabella. Here is a small sampling of Isabella's two month pictures.
Aunt Olivia
Grandma Pat

Friday, September 17, 2010

Time Really Flies!

I realize I've been absent from the blogging world a lot more lately. But it's not without good reason. Isabella definitely keeps me busy. She wants to be held, cuddled, bounced, and played with all the time. Since I go back to work in a month, I've been enjoying every ounce of my time with her. She is changing and growing so quickly and I don't want to miss a thing!

I sent a birth announcement to my fertility specialist for their dreaded baby wall. My opinion about the baby wall has changed since having Isabella. I used to despise that wall. There was nothing more evil and hated than that baby wall. Yet now, I have come to terms with its purpose somewhere like a fertility clinic. When I was going through all the fertility treatments, the last thing I had wanted to see was everyone's babies staring down at me knowing I didn't have anything to add to the wall. I went through all the same emotions at the OBGYN office. Yet now, especially at the fertility specialist, I have come to see the hope it can offer to those in the middle of the battle. I didn't want to see it as hope when I was going through all that I went through to conceive Isabella. I wanted to see it as something I would never experience, a painful reminder of all my body's issues. I'm so blessed to have added a picture to the baby wall and I am so thankful for that wall being there. I was so negative towards that wall but it really is the wall of hope. It is the evidence that the fertility treatments work at some point, that it's not all in vain. 

There's not a whole lot of interesting things going on. Isabella is growing and growing. She probably weighs 9 or 10 pounds now. Her next Well Baby check up is October 6th. So we'll find out how much she weighs then. She is wearing 0-3 month clothes. She's got short little legs and a pudgy belly. Too cute. I'll attach a few pictures to this post. 

I went shopping for her the other day at Carters. Between my mom and me, we spent $130 on $400 worth of fall clothes. I haven't even thought about getting 3-6 month clothes. She does need those, but 0-3 month clothes was the first need. We'll get the 3-6 month clothes in a month. We're headed out to the Pittsburgh area for a wedding Columbus Day weekend and there's a Carters outlet out there. So we'll make a nice shopping visit then. A baby girl needs to be dressed well for the season, you know!

So, I have to say that I still find it so unbelievable that I'm blogging about a baby. A baby that is here. A baby that knows me as "Mom." A baby that is my very own. I still know the emotions of thinking this would never happen for me, that I would never be able to conceive. It still feels like yesterday when I, following doctor's orders, took a pregnancy test on Thanksgiving 2009 and watched it show up positive. It still feels like yesterday when we first saw Isabella on an ultrasound at the fertility specialist. I don't think I have ever experienced the joy of seeing a small dot on the monitor. And then to hear her heartbeat a week later, such a sweet sound. Feels like yesterday that I felt all those emotions. And yet, seven weeks and two days ago, I had a c-section and met my precious daughter face to face. Even that feels like just yesterday. Time flies!

That's about it from this end. I'm just enjoying a quiet Friday morning at home with Isabella. She's asleep on my chest right now. It's one of her most favorite places to be. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

One Month Pictures

Saturday August 28th was Isabella's one month celebration. We had one month pictures done and they turned out fantastic! I still cannot believe that I have held Isabella in my arms for 5 weeks now. 5 weeks ago exactly (to the exact time of 1:27pm), I was in the c-section operating room waiting to meet my little princess. At 1:35 on that day, my world was forever changed by the little child that has defined my life for the past 5 weeks. I still feel like that day was yesterday. I feel like I just walked in to the hospital carrying my bags up to the 3rd floor, Labor and Delivery. 

I've recovered well from my c-section. I can go on nice long evening walks with Hubby and the dog. Isabella likes to go on those walks. Most of the time, she stays awake and looks at everything around her that she can see. If I strap her into the Baby Bjorn, she sleeps. It feels good to be able to get up, go on a walk, enjoy life again. All that bed rest before Isabella's arrival had me stuck on the couch trying to enjoy life from inside my apartment. I'm so glad my recovery has been going well. As of my 4-week postpartum checkup, I had lost 20 of my 30 pregnancy pounds. Hopefully, carrying around a growing baby and going on nice walks (and breast feeding, of course) will help speed up the weight loss of the rest of the baby weight. 

Okay, so back to the purpose of this post: the one month pictures. I wanted to share some of those pictures with all of you. They came out fantastic. Isabella is going to break a lot of boys' hearts when she is older!