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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Nella's Easter Basket

With each new day we have our "firsts".  It is so exciting.  We are about to celebrate our first Easter with baby Nella.  I know she is too little to understand any of it, but she'll have photo's to look back on.  She won't really know at the time about God's love for us as we sit in church on Sunday morning and she won't understand all the hulabaloo behind an egg hunt.  She won't know why there is a man dressed like a giant bunny (let's hope there are no tears) and she won't taste any of the delicious food that we'll eat.  But gosh darnit, she'll have an ADORABLE EASTER BASKET! 

I was browsing online trying to find an Easter photo I wanted to replicate for her 3 month photos.  I still cannot find it, but I did find this.  It was actually a picture of the basket that I found.  I had to hunt down the original page, but what a treat it was.  I will show you my rendition now.

I started with a Jelly Roll purchased from Joann's.  I tried to buy one from the original site, but there were none for sale.  Luckily, I still had my 25% off coupon and Joann's is just down the road.  There were only a few Jelly Roll's left and only ONE cute one. 

Enter exhibit A.
A Pocket full of Posies Jelly Roll.

Unroll the Jelly Roll.  Seperate all strips by color.  This particular one had 10 different fabrics, 2 of each.  I cut the strips in half lengthwise, so I was left with 40 strips.  They were approximately 2.5" x 20" after cutting.  I then stacked them into one pile in alternating colors/fabrics. 

Now I had to get all intimate with the glue gun.  The original tutorial calls for sewing, but it's midnight.  I have a 3 month old.  I don't want to sew.  You'll need two packages of filler cord piping.  I used Wrights brand 12/32" for the basket and 6/32" for the handle. Wrap and glue, wrap and glue.  Make sure to alternate the fabrics! You'll wrap the entire length of the thicker cord (6 yards) and about 39" of the smaller one, for the handle.

Begin coiling the bottom.  You'll coil until you have 7 rows from inner to end. You can be an overachiever and sew if you want, but really, just glue it as you go.  Don't be sloppy though.   Let the dog check it out.  He knows his crafts!

Now let the baby check it out.  She doesn't know her crafts (yet) but the photos tell you otherwise. Once the dog and the baby give you the thumbs up, you'll need to begin your coiling for the basket.  I used to own a pottery shop.  I'm no stranger to the coil pot.  This was very similar.  Just keep going, and gluing, until you reach the top.  I tucked the end inside the basket and glued it down.  It was later covered by the handle.

To do the handle, you'll leave it in one 39" piece.  Fold it into thirds and glue...or sew.  Then anchor that bad boy into your basket with glue...or sewing.  Although I did glue it for now, I will reinforce it with a needle and thread because I do want this basket to last for a long time.  It's too cute not to.  And hey, the baby is pretty darn cute too!

A close up for your viewing pleasures.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Love Overload

Today is February 13th, 2012.  This date is stamped forever in my memory, in my timeline of life, in my heart.  Today marks 7 years since Jerry asked me to be his girlfriend.  Today marks 2 years since Jerry asked me to be his wife.  Today marks 8 weeks since our beautiful baby girl was born.  Holy wow.  My heart is full.  My life is blessed.  I want to shout out a big praise to God for it all right now.
Life has it's ups and downs, the good and the bad, the lemons and the lemonade.  Thankfully, when it's good, it is OH.SO.GOOD and when it's been bad, it's been just ehh.  Nothing that we couldn't handle.  When I choose to focus on the good, things seem storybook.  We dated for five wonderful years.  He took me back to the same place he asked me to be his girlfriend and he proposed to me.  On a horse and carriage ride, y'all.  (That is kind of storybook!)  We were married on the beach 7.5 months later.  About five months later we were expecting a miracle - a precious little baby.  Here we sit now, full of sweet flippin' joy!  Some days I am exhausted to the core and some days I laugh and think that the only thing missing is a white picket fence. 

I loved our engagement.  It was perfect.  In every sense of the word perfect - it was just that.  This man may not always show affection,  and romance may not play a big part in our relationship, but this man, he did it right.  He swept me off my feet.  He surprised me.  He gave me the perfect engagement.

Our wedding?  Perfect too.  No, really.  It was.  I don't have a single thing to complain about it.  The weather was perfect. We were surrounded by friends and family.  People we love and people who love us.  One of my favorite bands was playing as we set out on our catamaran cruise.  We danced. We laughed.  We made some memories.

I was diagnosed with a tumor a few years back.  See, the lemons do exist.  I was told that it would be difficult to get pregnant.  Well, God had other plans because 5 months later, I felt pukey.  I was tired.  I couldn't fight off a cold.  I fell asleep in the car on the ride home.  I was moody and sensitive (surprise!)  I.was.pregnant!  It was an amazing 9 months.  I loved every bit of being pregnant.  Being pukey was a blessing.  I thanked God as I puked in my bathroom sink. (Sorry, Jer!)  I knew that I had a tiny little baby growing inside of me and that, my friends, was amazing! 

After 42 weeks of what I considered a "perfect pregnancy", we met her.  This tiny little piece of perfection that immediately stared into my eyes and stole my heart.  She is daddy's baby girl and mommy's greatest treasure.

I can't wait to see what the future holds.  I'm not planning on hitting the fast forward button anytime soon though.  I have some sweet, sweet lovin' to savor and enjoy!


Friday, December 30, 2011

Nella's First Christmas

She is only 5 days old and it is Christmas Eve.  *Must start tradition now*  I planned ahead.  I phoned the North Pole and asked Santa to gather up some Christmas Jammies for the four of us - Daddy, Mommy, Hope and Nella.  This Christmas, and every Christmas after that.  I asked him to deliver them on Christmas Eve.  Because I've spent the past 31 years behaving so well, he happily obliged.  I love that Santa.

We left out cookies and milk for the big guy and we snuggled up for bed.  Christmas morning was met with sleepy eyes, as to be expected when your best Christmas present ever is already in your arms...and she doesn't sleep through the night.  We rolled out of bed around 10am and proceeded with more Christmas traditions.  Grandma Jenny's stockings were filled and laid out (to heavy to hang at this point) and presents were under the tree.  We took turns opening our gifts.  Jer got these crazy shoes he had been wanting. Nella (and Daddy) bought me a beautiful flower pendant necklace with Nella's birthstone.  We surprised Hope with Red Wings tickets.  Nella got her first pair of TOMS, her Love You Forever book, and a beautiful silver cross necklace that Daddy picked out.  Diesel was spoiled with toys and treats.

Around 2pm our house was filled with love and laughter.  Story book, huh?!  Nana, Papa, Beckey, Mike, Olivia, Grant, Tamara, Lil' Mike and Grandma Jenny came over to spend the day.  We opened more presents, took turns loving on Nella, ate delicious food and played Catch Phrase.  So fun!  Grandma Jenny played too!


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Nella Celina {Birth Story}

Sunday, December 18th
Today is induction day. I'm tired. No more red raspberry leaf tea. No more squatting, pineapple, acupressure, or evening primrose oil. Nothing. I've done it all and it hasn't worked. Today I will let go and let God. It's all up to Him anyway.

I spent my morning curled up on my parent's couch, breaking out in random cries. I tried so hard to contain it, but my emotions are just too high. I got in the shower while my mom was on her way home from church. When I came downstairs Jer handed me a $100 bill and told me to go get a pedicure and a nice lunch with my mom. He wanted me to be able to relax and take my mind off things. For the most part, it worked. We went to Don Pablo's for lunch, then to LUV for a pink pedicure, then we picked up Beckey (my sister) and went to the casino. Dad chipped in $40 and said it was for Nella. It was a nice afternoon and I'm so thankful for my amazing husband who puts my needs first. Thank you Jesus for my Jerry. As the night came to an end, my emotions soared. Beckey asked mom to say a prayer for Nella and I on the way home. It was beautiful and it brought me some peace.

By 7:45pm it was time for Jerry and I to get going. He loaded the car and I fought back tears as I sent prayers up above. We hugged and kissed my parents goodbye. Arriving at the hospital was uncomfortable and uneasy. Our midwife, Joanne, wasn't there yet and I didn't really click with the nurse. Rochelle was nice, but just not the nice I needed. She gave me conflicting details and again, I was uneasy. I felt slightly better once Joanne arrived, but that was short-lived. She checked me and I was still closed. Therefore, it was not an option to strip my membranes and send me home and we couldn't attempt the foley bulb. It was on to the cervidil, which means a pic line inserted in my left hand and being tethered to the monitors for constant fetal monitoring. I keep reminding myself that it is not my plan, but His. This was around 10pm. Joanne checked on me another time or two and then went home for the night. She encouraged us to get some sleep and said she'd be back first thing in the morning. Jer and I got settled in for the night, holding hands and watching TV. We finally started to relax and drift by about 12:30am but that too was short-lived. At 1am the house doctor came in to tell me that they had called Joanne because Nella's heart rate had decelerated three times since the cervidil was put in. Our baby girl was in some distress so they had to remove the cervidil. She checked my cervix and I was dilated to one. I was also having regular contractions every 4 minutes. So, although things weren't super smooth, they were progressing in the right direction. With regular contractions, plus staff interruptions, sleep was non-existent at this point. I tossed and turned, breathed through contractions and prayed for morning.

Monday, December 19th
By sun up my contractions were stronger, but still manageable. I was dilated to three and things seemed to be going well. Dr. Levin even stopped in to say that I was doing good. He said it looked like my body just needed a little jumpstart and that we should have a baby by evening! I was so positive and excited at this point. I welcomed each uncomfortable contraction with joy in my heart. I knew they were bringing me closer to our baby. I talked to my mom who was leaving work early and Jer talked to Beckey to tell her to be ready. My contractions picked up. They were quite strong and about 2 1/2 minutes apart. Whenever I would stand up to go to the bathroom there was concern because Nella would decel quite low. I didn't realize that this was a serious concern. I just thought it happened because I stood up. Sometime this early afternoon I realized I was leaking. My water broke! Yay for my body doing it's thing! Unfortunately there was meconium in it. A slight heartache. I knew that we'd now have extra docs in the room at birth and Nella wouldn't be put immediately on my chest after birth. That was the moment I had been waiting a lifetime for. Instead, they would cut the cord immediately and she would have to go to the ped incubator by my bed to get cleaned up and suctioned. I cried it out for a moment, mourning again another piece taken away from my perfect birth.

I continued to labor on the birthing ball and in bed. My contractions were strong and I definitely had to breathe through them. With Jer's help, doing the Bradley techniques we had practiced many times over, I was able to get through each one just fine. He'd rub my back, remind me to relax my entire body, and breathe through my abdomen. He was a champ. At this point in the day, I was dilated to 4cm. I was feeling rough and working through some contractions in bed. I tried to get some rest and so did Jerry. We just laid next to each other and he would hold my hand or rub my back. Our peaceful afternoon soon shifted. After a few interruptions from the nurse and our midwife, I was given the news. I remember standing, leaning forward on the bed, doing some pelvic rocking. Both Joanne and nurse Julie came in showing their concern. Even doing nothing, while just laying in bed, Nella's heart rate was decelerating too low, too many times. Joanne asked me to stay in my standing/rocking position (because Nella's heart rate was stabilized and strong in this position) while she went to call Dr. Levin. I knew where this was going. Oh dear God. Jer and I stood in silence while Joanne was gone. Jer brought the birthing ball up on the bed for me to rest on and he rubbed my back. When Joanne finally came back in the room, we knew. She tried to be as gentle as possible. She explained that a few decels during contractions were okay, but there were just too many of them. Our little Nella was in distress and something wasn't right. Joanne was concerned for our baby and so were we. I said something along the lines of "Just say it! I have to have a c-section?" "Yes. I'm sorry." was all she could say. I asked her when and she told me within the half hour. There is no describing the way I felt at this very moment. There was fear - for the surgery, for the unknown, for the health of our precious baby. My fears went so far to the extremes that I can't even put them into words. There was heartache - for not having the birth we had planned for, hoped for and prayed for. There was disappointment - in myself and with my body, that I just couldn't do it. Disappointment for my husband - he wouldn't get to witness this beautiful miracle of our natural childbirth. Also for my sister and mom, that they would not get to witness it either. And for myself, for what I felt like were dreams lost.

Jerry called my mom to tell her to come now. My sister was already with her and my dad. I could see the sadness and concern in Jer's eyes and it hurt me. The next few minutes were a blur. I changed into the hospital gown, had an IV put in that pumped saline through me so fast that my hand and arm felt frozen and my parents and sister arrived. My heart hurt. I know that a c-section isn't the end of the world, but it was surely not a part of my plan. I felt bombarded by doctors and nurses all doing their thing while trying to keep me informed. We took pictures as a family and hugged each other (Jer lightened the mood by being his usual silly self...putting his hospital scrub shoe covers on his hands instead and doing other silly things.) In an instant they were wheeling me away, down a hallway on display for all to see. That departure was so fast. I was ripped away from my parents, my sister, my love and my dream of how it was supposed to be. There is no explanation other than the power of prayer and our great God that carried me through all that happened next.

I couldn't keep my eyes open. The sterility of the operating room, the bright lights and shiny metal instruments and the sea of blue scrubs were just too much for me. There were people on all sides of me telling me that I was doing great. I didn't feel like it. The spinal wasn't as bad as I had imagined, but it was also not "just a little mosquito bite" like the anesthetist said it would be. I felt some grinding discomfort and at times had to say if it was on the right side, the left side, or the center. It fluctuated until I no longer felt it. Head down, shoulders relaxed, chin to chest and arch your lower back like a shrimp. That's what I remember them telling me. Finally, I felt like a 200lb paper weight, hot, heavy and unable to move. I guess that was successful. Then, there he was. My love, my rock, my husband. He sat my by side, holding my hand. There were times when I really thought I would puke, but I never did. I prayed and I breathed. I looked up at Jer for comfort. Again, things were blurry. I remember hearing a razor... or was it a saw? I wasn't sure at the time. It was just a razor. I felt tugs and pulls and pressure. Never pain though, unless you want to count my heartache. I heard joking and laughing, Jerry was included in this. I'm glad he was able to relax a bit. Then I hear the doctor say "Here comes the baby!" followed by my precious little baby's cries. I cried out "Is that my baby? MY BABY!" There was a lot of crying coming from her and I took that as a good sign. I caught a tiny glimpse of her goopy little body as she went from my tummy to the table. Oh dear God how I wanted her in my arms, on my chest. That was the moment I had longed for for 42 weeks.  They had to clean her up and clear the fluids out. That seemed to take forever, but that is only because I wanted my girl so badly. They told us that she would get cleaned up and go to daddy first, while I was cleaned up and put back together. They took her stats - 14 1/2 inch head, 21 inches long, 9lbs 2oz, born at 4:01pm. Our beautiful Nella Celina was finally here! No one held her yet but at this point Jerry and Dr. Levin went to let our family know the good news. I remember jokingly saying to them as they walked out to tell the family that "it's a boy!" I asked the nurse to see my placenta. It was in a bucket. She's lucky I didn't ask to take it home.

Next thing I know, I'm being given my baby. She was wrapped in a blanket and all I could see was her precious, beautiful face. They laid her close, right up near my face. Immediately, our eyes met. I was looking down at my daughter and her little eyes were staring right up into mine. "My precious Nella, it's me. It's mommy!" She wouldn't look away. That was OUR moment. I knew everything would be okay. I had my girl in my arms and we were off to be reunited with daddy and introduced to Nana, Papa and Auntie Beckey. As we were wheeled through the halls we heard the chimes that play when a baby is born. Someone walking beside us said "Hear that? Those are for you!"

I felt pretty delirious for the rest of the night. Our girl was sticking her tongue out searching for food from the moment she was born. She was hungry! I had to lay flat on my back for awhile so I had no idea how to feed her. Nurse Julie helped. With the aide of my mom and sister we fed Nella her first meal. One held my breast, one held my baby. It makes me laugh a little now. I felt helpless. Just like little Nella, I had to be fed too. My dad fed me ice chips and my mom fed me applesauce. Jer sent out texts, photos and phone calls, all the while beaming with pride. We visited for a couple more hours and during that time we talked to Dr. Levin and Joanne. We were told that the cord was wrapped around Nella's head in an up and down way. I remember hearing the doctor say that he'd never seen anything like it while we were in the OR, but I didn't know what he was talking about then. Her cord was acting as bungee, preventing her from dropping, which explains why she never did. That is why her heart rate kept decelerating. Every time she tried to drop, the cord would put pressure on her head. Dr. Levin said that there is no way she would have ever been able to be born vaginally. Our God had other plans for our girl. I don't want to imagine what the outcome might had been if I had given into their pressures to take the cytotec. There was no turning back (and no monitoring) with that like there was with the cervidil.

After mom, dad and Beckey left, we settled in for our first night as a family. Sleeping was again non-existent but the love was overflowing!