Sunday, August 28, 2011

Mermaid Pool Party!

Yesterday, we went to my friend Kristin's daughter's Mermaid Pool Party!  Ella is turning 5 and wanted a mermaid party; Kristin was just the mom to pull that off.  Kristin was my college roommate and is one of the most creative people I know.  Her mom helped decorate for my wedding and did an amazing job.  When the two of them get together, things always turn out perfectly fabulous!

This is Kristin putting on Ella's "mermaid tail".  I wish my picture showed the whole tail, but Ella was moving fast once it was in place!  Kristin and her mom made the tail using 2 towels, and it was so cute!  The party was at 9:00 a.m., which Kristin says she will never do again, but the weather was perfect at that time of day.  It was warm, but a nice breeze was blowing thanks to Hurricane Irene, so under the umbrellas, it was actually really nice outside.
I didn't get pictures of everything, but check out this pinata that Kristin made!  Ella wanted everyone to "win" so she requested a pull-string pinata instead of one you hit, so Kristin obliged the birthday girl.  That's Kristin's husband, Josh, helping the kids out.  I was curious to see if the pull strings worked, and just FYI, they did.  Dum-Dum suckers came out for all the kids!
Fitz drank a bottle as soon as we got there, and only stayed awake a short time after that.  I think he only closed his eyes because it was sunny and then just fell asleep.  Our friends Kristy and Skylar brought Fitz this visor from the beach right after he was born, and it sure came in handy at the pool party, even though we stayed under the umbrella most of the time.  How cute is he with that visor on?

Remember I said I had the perfect outfit for him to wear and hoped it would not be too big?  Well, it was WAY too big, but here's a picture of it so you can see why it would have been perfect for a Mermaid Pool Party:

I'm afraid he'll be too big for it next summer and really wanted him to wear it, but it was absurdly big.  So, instead, he wore a cute fish outfit:


He may have slept a lot at the party, but the rest of the day, he was in a great mood and played with me and Daddy a lot.  See?


Friday, August 26, 2011

VCUG



That's the name of the test Fitz had to have today.  We left the house early this morning for a day full of doctor's appointments.  I had an appointment with my Dermatologist at 9:00 a.m.  We stopped to pick up Tootsie and headed that way, arriving about 20 minutes early.  Tootsie fed Fitz while I saw the doctor, and since we were early, we actually left there a little after 9.  Since we did so well on time, we stopped at a cute little shop and looked around before we headed to our next appointment.

Fitz had an appointment at Children's South at 11:00 for the VCUG test, and we arrived there early, too.  Do not ask me what that stands for, all I know is, they had to do a dye test where they inserted dye into his bladder so they could see how his kidneys filter it out since his left kidney is in his pelvis.  They were looking for reflux back into his kidneys, which can cause Urinary Tract Infections, and can happen sometimes when kidneys are not located where they should be located.  I was NOT looking forward to this test, but it actually was not too bad.  I got to stay in the room with him the whole time, but I had to hold his arms above his head and he hates to have someone hold his arms or legs in one position.  They inserted a catheter first, which was the most uncomfortable part for Fitz, then inserted the dye.  It did not take long at all, and they told us they would have the results when we came back later in the afternoon.  As soon as it was over, he stopped crying and was just fine.

We went to a local restaurant for lunch, and then headed back for our 1:00 appointment with the Pediatric Urologist.  Again, we were early (I love being early!), and we had already signed in when we got there for the VCUG.  We had to schedule this appointment so Fitz can be circumcised.  Children's Hospital would not do that while we were there for two weeks...they said that's a cosmetic procedure.  That means that was one more thing for us to have to set up once we were released.  I thought it was a little silly that they couldn't just take care of that while we were there for so long, but whatever.  So, the doctor came in and checked Fitz out.  He also gave us the results of the VCUG.  His kidneys are working perfectly!  He said the kidneys start out in the pelvis and move to where they are supposed to be, but Fitz's left one just never moved.  He said as long as it works like it should, it doesn't matter at all, and his works great!  Praise the Lord! 

He also told us it would be no problem to coordinate with the plastic surgeon doing Fitz's lip surgery in September, so that he can have that procedure at the same time.  We were so relieved to hear that!  That means that on September 28, Fitz will have his lip surgery and partial nose repair, tubes put in his ears, and his circumcision...all at the same time.  I know he's going to wake up and wonder what the heck has happened, but it's much better for him not to be put under anesthesia more than he has to be.  We are so thankful for God's timing and blessings in coordinating three different surgeons all at the same time!  We are also thankful that Tootsie came with us today for our whirlwind of doctor's appointments!  As you can see from the picture above, Fitz is feeling just fine after his busy day.

*Fitz slept most of the day because we were in and out of the car, so I'm thinking he definitely won't sleep all night tonight, but we can always hope!

FYI

I TOTALLY JINXED IT.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Random

1.  Fitz has slept through the night for the past 3 nights and it has been wonderful!  Let's hope I'm not jinxing it by posting it on here.

2.  We had dinner with Uncle Zac and Pappy this week and Fitz stayed awake the whole time, but he refused to smile for them.

3.  We have 2 birthday parties to attend this weekend.  The one on Saturday is a Mermaid pool party and I have the perfect outfit for Fitz to wear, and I hope hope hope it's not too big.  I'll post pics.

4.  I looked on Etsy this week at boy clothes, shoes and Halloween costumes...I may need to get a second job.

5.  Fitz is the cutest baby I've ever seen.  By far.

6.  We have to take Fitz to have a test on his kidneys tomorrow and they said the test is "pretty uncomfortable" on babies.  I'm not looking forward to that at all.

7.  We planned our first road trip with Fitz for next weekend to see some of my family members that have not met him yet.  I am excited for him to meet the rest of his great-aunts and 2nd (?) cousins, and I hope it goes really well!

8.  Sometimes, all you can do is pray.  However, that should be our go-to response in every situation, not just when we do not know what to do.  WE never have the answer, but HE always does.  1 Thessalonians 5:16:  "pray continually".

9.  There are only 121 days until Christmas.  It's my FAVORITE HOLIDAY EVER!

10.  I'm ready for fall:  cool weather, mums, pumpkin patch, Christmas Village, sweaters and boots.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Doctor's Appointment and Dinner Out

Yesterday we had Fitz's 2 month check-up at the pediatrician's office.  Even though he's already eleven weeks old, that's just how his appointment got scheduled.  He weighed in at 12 lbs, 4 oz and is 22 3/4 inches long!  The doctor was pleased with his weight gain and length, and said he's gained so much that we can take him off the high calorie formula and just mix the formula as directed!  She said everything looks really good, except his head is a little flat on the right side.  She said it's normal for babies to prefer one side to the other, and gave us suggestions on how to get him on that left side a little more.  I think he probably likes the right side because when he was in the NICU on the ventilator, they had him always laying with his head to the right.  We'll get to work on that right away!  Fitz got 2 shots, which contained 5 vaccinations, and did so well!  He cried for about 30 seconds and then he was over it!

After the doctor's appointment, we went to eat at Sweet Bones Alabama for my brother's birthday (Uncle Zac).  It's a relatively new barbeque place and it was really good.  Fitz was a little sleepy because of his vaccinations, but we all had a good time with Tootsie and Uncle Zac.  Our waitress was checking Fitz out, and you know I always brace myself for whatever people might say, or what their face might say when they see him.  I had nothing to worry about with this waitress.  She said how cute he was, then asked if he had a cleft lip and palate.  I told her yes, and she said her son was born with a cleft lip and palate as well!  How crazy that 2 waiters in the past couple of weeks have had an experience with a cleft child?!?  She said, "You just wait, cleft children are special.  Wait and see what happens with this sweet boy."  We already know he's destined for something special, but it was really sweet to hear her say that!  He's already our perfect little blessing.

As for my weight loss, this week I had no time for the gym.  I had court on the days I usually go to classes, so I was not able to make it.  And of course, we had dessert last night because it was Zac's birthday.  John and I shared fried banana pudding!  It was delish!  However, I gained 1/2 pound this week.  Not terrible for no working out, but I'm going to do better this week.  Since it's not so hot out, Fitz and I are going to start walking the neighborhood at night.  I'm hoping that makes a difference with the weight next week!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What a difference a year makes!



So much can change in one year's time.  On this day last year, I got up, got ready and went to work, as usual.  I had plans to go meet a friend for lunch after my doctor's appointment.  I was exactly nine weeks pregnant and feeling great.  I was still being seen by the fertility specialist since that's how we got pregnant, and was going to the doctor every week.  Every single week we got to go to the doctor, get an ultrasound and see our precious little baby growing inside me.  John went with me for every appointment, but he had to work on this day.  I told him it was fine, everything was great, he should not take off work, just go to work and I would be fine!  I had lunch plans after the doctor's appointment anyway.

I left the office and as usual, asked Kristy to say a prayer that my appointment would go well.  I went merrily on my way to the doctor, looking forward to seeing that amazingly tiny heart beating deep inside me.  Once I got to the doctor's office, I had a different nurse practitioner than usual.  I had never seen this girl before.  She took me to an examination room that I had never before seen, on the other side of the office.  I had a little bit of weird feeling about it, but the office is pretty large, so it was ok.  She turned the lights down and started the ultrasound.  I waited with bated breath.  She then said, "Um, I'll be right back.  I'm not seeing what I need to see."  That made me nervous.  She left the room and I started praying.  She came back in with the nurse practitioner I normally saw, the same girl who had done my IUI procedure.  I immediately felt better because she was the head nurse practitioner.  She started the ultrasound again and then said these dreaded words:  "Ali, I'm so sorry.  The baby no longer has a heartbeat."  Then she hugged me.  I was thinking, "Well, get in there and get it going again!"  My mind would not even comprehend at first, what she was saying.  I didn't even realize right away that it was over...that this baby was already in Heaven.

They took me to another room to call John.  That was the hardest phone call I've ever made.  He asked what the next step was.  I had not even thought to ask.  They said they would schedule a D&C for two days later, on a Friday.  Then I sent Kristy a text and asked her to pray, e-mailed my friend and told her I would not be able to make lunch.  I cried and cried, and prayed and prayed.  They took about 12 vials of blood to run tests to see what happened, and then wanted me to stay in the office and not drive home until I calmed down.  I snuck out while they weren't looking and headed home to John.  

It was a rough few days, but we immediately realized that this was not the end of our story.  We knew that God had a plan for us and that it was a plan to prosper us and give us hope, not to destroy us.  We knew that this was just one little part of God's big plan, and we were thankful for the plan.  That was when God started teaching me about being thankful in all circumstances.  I didn't understand why I had to lose our baby, but I was thankful that God's plan was being accomplished and that our child was in Heaven.

And now, a year later, we have a precious, amazing, beautiful 11 week old son.  He is the light of our lives, and we love him more and more everyday.  A year ago today, I would not have imagined that at this time this year we would have our baby.  I'm still no happy that we lost our baby, but I am glad in a way, because if that baby had been born, we would not have Fitz.  And, I can not imagine our world now without Fitz in it.  I can not imagine having a different child.  Does that make sense?  God knew what He was doing all along and I'm so thankful for that.  I'm thankful that He is able to do more than we can imagine (Ephesians 3:20-21), that He does no wrong (Deuteronomy 32:4), and that He works for the good of those who love Him, even in the midst of tragedy (Romans 8:28).  

  "Because your love is better than life, my lips will praise you."
Psalm 63:3

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Family Date Night



Last night, we got together with our friends the McFaddens and the Scoggins.  I've talked about the Scoggins before on the blog, their daughter Mary Eloise was born three weeks after Fitz.  They are growing right along, but it's so funny to me, because they still have the same differences they had at birth.  Fitz is on the short side and chunky and Mary Eloise is long and thin.  Aren't they cute together?  They sat just like that while the adults ate dinner, and the McFadden girls, Haley and Heidi were great babysitters!  Haley is 6, and was my flower girl when we got married.  Heidi was at the wedding, but she was in the womb!  Amy was so pregnant she was about to pop at our wedding, ha!  The girls were so sweet with both babies and wanted to hold them and rub on them.



Haley held Fitz first, and as you can see, Heidi was NOT happy about it!  She is so cute with all of her facial expressions and is not shy about making her feelings known.  Once she got to hold him, she was much happier!  While we ate dinner, Haley and Heidi stood in front of the carseats where the babies were and shook rattles at them, and showed them all of their stuffed animals.  The babies must have enjoyed it because they stayed awake and quiet the whole time, entranced by what they were seeing.
We had to get some side-by-side pics of the babies.  We have no idea what they were looking at.

Mary Eloise was flailing those long arms so fast we couldn't even get a picture without her waving them around!  It was so funny!  I don't think Fitz knew what to think about her!
I wish I got a better pic of Mary Eloise's sweet face, but look at these two together!  Best buddies already! 
Fitz and Mary Eloise were clearly friends from the womb!  Look at them touching while still in our bellies!  I love the comparison of these two pictures.  The one on the left was at my baby shower on April 30 of this year.  A little over three months later, we took the one on the right.  I think we look a lot more comfortable on the right.  Look at my poor feet and ankles on the left, ha!

We had a great night with good friends and can't wait for our next family date night!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Weight Loss Update and Dinner with Friends

Last night, Fitz, Tootsie and I had dinner at Bellini's Restaurant with our friends Melanie and Maria.  I used to babysit Maria and now she's a senior in high school!  She has not been able to see Fitz since he was in the hospital, so we were excited to get together with her and her mom for dinner and laughter.  We always have so much fun together!  Fitz was happy to join in on girls' night!

As for the weight loss update...


this was the dessert that Tootsie and I shared after dinner.  It is a Ghirardelli brownie with cheesecake on top, with vanilla gelato and caramel.  Delicious? Yes.  Good for my weight loss plan?  Not so much! 

We clearly enjoyed it, and ate every bite!  See that spoon on the right side?  It was more like a shovel and we shoveled it right on in!

I decided to weigh on Friday mornings, so I weighed today and I am down 2 lbs from what I weighed Sunday morning, so that's great news!  I went to Intervals class at the gym Tuesday morning, and went to Cardiomix and Tone on Thursday morning.  They were both great classes, which I needed!  If this terrible heat would ever let up, I plan on walking in the evenings with Fitz, but right now it's just too hot.  I'll update again next Friday!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Baby/Marriage Weight


See the girl in that picture?  That was me when John and I met in June 2007.  John took this picture of me, and I LOVE the way I look in it.  I had just lost 100 lbs (YES, I said 100!), met a wonderful man, clearly had been to the beach soaking up some sun, and was loving life!

I'm still loving life, but I'm not so much loving how I look currently.  I had already gained back some of the weight I lost when I got pregnant.  Chalk it up to being happily married, having a sweet tooth, fertility drugs, whatever.  I kept working out after we got married, but I quit watching what I ate so much.  After we had our miscarriage in August of 2010, I decided to hit the gym hard and really lose some weight before I got pregnant again.  I started Boot Camp class at our gym and loved it!  Then I got pregnant again right away, ha!  I did not watch what I ate while I was pregnant, and because of my incompetent cervix, my doctor did not want me exercising, so the weight piled on.

My goal is to look like the girl in that picture again.  I thought if I posted my goals on the blog, that may make me even more motivated since I have to update y'all.  I got this idea from one of my friends, who is doing the same sort of thing on her blog.  However, she is actually brave enough to post her weight on her blog.  I'm not sure I'll ever be that brave!

Since I gained so much water weight with the pregnancy, I have already lost around 30 lbs without doing much work, but I have to find a time when I can go to the gym on a regular basis.  I have found that I do better with classes than just going on my own, so I'm trying to work those into my schedule.  The past two weeks, I've only managed to make it to the gym one time each week.  This has got to improve!  I have been eating better, and plan to continue doing so.  I have lost weight before, I can do it again.  I plan to weigh once a week, and I will post my results on the blog.  I realized that one reason I gained some weight back is because I quit weighing myself, so that won't happen again. 

I'll also be praying for scheduling issues and for God to remind me if I'm starting to eat something I shouldn't eat.  I could not have done it the first time without God, and won't be able to do it this time either.  Feel free to pray for me if I come to your mind sometime.  Thanks for keeping me on track!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Dear Fitz (Two Months)



  
1 month                                               2 months

Dear Fitz:

Wow!  What a difference a month makes!  Look how much you've grown!  I think you are more and more fun every single day, and am still kind of shocked that you are now two months old!  Our big growing boy!

You are now drinking about 4 oz at each feeding, and sometimes 5 or 5.5 if you're really hungry!  The first time you drank 5.5 oz was from Daddy and we were both so surprised that you could hold that much formula at one time.  You still eat about every 3 hours during the day.  You are still a great sleeper!  In the past two weeks or so, you have started staying awake from about 3 pm until your 9 pm feeding, or only sleeping a short time in between there.  Then, you sleep until between 2 and 3 am, when you wake up to eat.  After that you go back to sleep for another 3 hours or so!  Only one during the night feeding and Mommy is loving that!

We went to the doctor a week ago and you weighed 10.6 oz and were 22 inches long, so you probably weigh around 11 lbs now!  We can tell you are growing more everyday.  You can no longer fit into any newborn clothes, and wear 0-3 months or 3 month sizes in most brands.  You still wear a size one diaper, and don't seem to mind when we change them.  You can hold your head up really well for your age and try to turn over when we lay you on your back!

Lately, you have started really smiling at us when we talk to you!  We have discovered that you like "Patty Cake" and "This Little Piggy" and really smile when we do any kind of sing-song talk to you.  It warms my heart when you really grin at me and makes me do all kinds of silly things to see if you'll smile again!  Daddy laughs at the silly songs I make up to sing to you, but it's worth it to see that sweet smile!  You have learned lots of facial expressions and it's funny to us to see you furrow your eyebrows and raise them, like you're really thinking about what's going on around you.  You also like to play in your little play gyms and watch the animals swinging there and on your mobile in your crib.  After I feed you at night, and put you in your crib, you stay awake and kick your legs and move your arms all over the place until you fall asleep!  We watch you on the monitor and say you're doing your exercises; it always makes us laugh.  You will grab anything in reach and love to pull Mommy's hair.

As I said, you are more and more fun every single day, and show more and more of your personality, too.  We can not wait to see what you will learn next, and what you will do to amaze us.  We continue to thank God daily for choosing us to be your parents, and for giving you to us.  You are a miracle, and we fall more in love with you all the time. 

Love,
Mommy




Monday, August 1, 2011

I don't believe in coincidence...

I believe in God, and that he knows the plans he has for me, and that his plans are better than anything I could have ever imagined for myself.  As I shared last week, I have gone back to work, pretty much full-time now.  Our childcare plan has always been that my mom would keep Fitz a day or two a week, John's mom would keep him a day or two a week, and that my secretary/right hand/friend Kristy's mom would keep him the other days we needed a sitter.  Kristy's mom is keeping another little girl, and is not able to keep Fitz, too, so we've been looking for someone to fill in those extra days.

Last week, I started really looking and putting out feelers since I am now back at work and now is when we need someone.  I also started praying for God to lead us to the right person for Fitz.  Kristy talked to the lady who used to keep her little boy before he started pre-school, and she was not available anymore.  She told Kristy she had a friend who also kept children, so she would talk to her.  She contacted Britney, and that's where God showed out.

Turns out, Britney's 2 year old son was also born with a cleft lip and palate!  How amazing is that?!?  The lady said when she called Britney, Britney just started crying and said how this was totally a "God thing".  I could not agree more.  I got Britney's number and called her last week to set up a time to meet.  I kept praying that God would let me know if this is the person for us.  I met Britney this morning and we hit it off right away!  It was very comforting to talk to someone who experienced the same things I did as a first time mom with a child with a cleft lip and palate.  She started talking about her feelings and thoughts when she found out about the cleft, and it was like hearing my own thoughts.  Praise the Lord! 

I would never have sought out a babysitter who had my same experience because I would not have thought it was possible to find one, but again, God can do so much more than we ever imagine.  He found me someone who is not scared of cleft, or fascinated by it, someone who understands that the cleft lip does not define Fitz, it's just a very small part of him.  It made me think of one of my favorite verses:  Ephesians 3:20-21:  "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.  Amen."  Amen!  Exceedingly and abundantly more than I would have ever thought, that's my God.

And isn't it amazing to know that He already had this all planned out?  We just had to seek His will and ask for it and there it was, He answered in a BIG way.  Thank you Lord, for knowing what we need before we even ask for it.