Thursday, October 31, 2013

Fireman and Fireball.

I had a cute monster costume for Eli but it got put in storage. Whoops. Thankfully Grandma has a costume box and had this hat and coat to go with Eli's boots (and I added some yellow duck tape to pants for more flair). Additional bonus is the fact Eli is a big fan of fire trucks so he easily got on board with being a fireman. 

And of course I wanted the siblings to be themed... and a little flame red headed fireball seemed quite fitting! I have a better pic on my camera but these are from my phone:

However I had another costume for our girl since I couldn't just let her be a little flame...and I found this for $5 this week at old navy. Sweet little owl!



This is how close big bro likes to get, guess he doesn't know to stay back from fire! Ha!

Actually Annalee did really well today, much less screaming. It could be because she's getting held a lot or she just really likes MN. We shall see!

-Heather

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

DQ.

As we drove by Target the other day, Eli saw the logo in the distance and said happily "DQ!". Now, I shopped at Target a lot while I was pregnant with him (right H1?) plus he did accompany me on Target runs often so he should know it, but perhaps those few ice cream DQ runs with Grandpa made him hope for Dairy Queens all over the place.

In any case, DQ is a new term at our house these days. Sadly, it does not refer to the delicious, creamy goodness found at Dairy Queen. Nope, it's referring to our very own Drama Queen!

That would be Annalee.

Our adorable girl is still having a rough go of it. Here's some update for those that care for details:

Latching: We had a home visit from a nurse last Friday (a free program the local health department does, visiting all newborns after they come home). She was also a lactation consultant. I explained our woes (my pain, her reluctance to latch at times) and after she saw her try nurse, she affirmed that Annalee just is not opening her mouth wide enough and is not latching well enough... thus causing my pain. I was pretty convinced I had some weird medical condition (I actually do have blanching but that's not necessarily pain-causing) so it was good news to hear that it's just a latching issue. The nurse told me to keep trying when Annalee is in a good mood, still sleepy. She also told us to put the bottle right below her nose and that will cause her to open up wider (it does) in hopes to get her trained to open up WIDE. If she doesn't latch correctly, then don't nurse her. So we've tried each day and have had no success. The nurse also said she may get it when she grows bigger. I'm REALLY hoping that is the case.

Pumping: I am so not a fan. I will keep doing it, of course, but it's hard to pump for 30 minutes (every three hours) then feed Annalee and watch Eli. Praise God for grandparents right here and for a very helpful Dad when he's not at work. One side is producing way less and I'm a bit worried about my supply, so I hope to do some power pumping in the next days. If you don't know what that is, don't ask. It does sound like some crazy exercise which I would not enjoy! I also worry my pump is getting old and I worry about running out of bottles and I worry about how I can keep this up...

Reflux: We tried Annalee on baby Zantac for three days and couldn't quite tell if it was helping. Then we took her off and we could tell she was better on it. So back on we are for now. We bought the rock-n-play sleeper for her (we were hoping for a perfect night that first night but it didn't have that great of an effect). She still spits up often and we keep her upright especially after feedings. You can tell she's in some sort of pain or at least discomfort after she eats...it's hard to watch... this leads me to the next point:

Fussiness: Miss Annalee is fussy. She has certain times she is just screaming out and is hard to console...  but if she's being held, she can usually settle eventually. She also goes from fine to MAD quickly... the nurse was so amazed at her temper! My biggest question is: is she fussy because that's her personality OR is there something legitimately wrong with her? Is she just a colic baby or does her digestive system have issues? 

Of course I'd love a magical solution to her fussiness. I want her to be a happy baby! I want her to sleep more too! I am going to try cutting dairy out and see if that helps. We also plan to keep massaging her tummy. And if she's still cranky, we may end up taking her to a chiropractor (friends swear by this though neither of us ever get chiropractic care so we are wary). But really, it may just take time for her to get settled. And it's okay that she is getting spoiled being held as we make sure she doesn't puke up each feeding, someday I'll dream of when she was so tiny and we held her. It would just be nice to get some more sleep. Last night Greg went to bed at 7:30pm and slept until 1:00am. We try take shifts (I still have to wake up to pump though). It's not easy.

Gaining/Feeding: Thankfully, through the spitting up and crankiness, Annalee is still gaining weight (which means she's keeping plenty enough in to keep growing). She grunts like a mad woman too (the nurse said babies born early grunt more)... just part of her many noises. I'll take grunts over cries though! When she wants to eat, she wants to eat five minutes ago... she takes a bottle like she's never ate before. And we make sure she's not famished between feedings! She hates burping. Hates it. We tried not giving her a pacifier (didn't want to add to the nipple confusion) but it looks like that's just going to happen. Eli never did pacifiers so having a child who loves one will be a change.

Even with all this going on with our girl, I'm still so very glad she's here alive. I could have chosen to keep her inside the womb longer. Maybe she wouldn't be having these issues if born closer to full-term instead of two weeks early... but I still would choose the same - her alive is worth it. She's still a delight!

Mommy did a photo shoot... hat made by my friend Cindy!

The kids and I are heading to MN tomorrow to spend time with my family (and give Grandma and Greg a break!). Greg has lots to catch up on and I'm looking forward to resting at my parents new house, hoping to work though some of Annalee's issues, while Eli gets non-stop attention from Grammy and Grandpa Lloyd.

-Heather

Sunday, October 27, 2013

2 1/2.

Our little man is TWO AND A HALF today! How did that happen?

He's a gem, a true delight and a complete gift wrapped up in a remarkably cute package.

I put this date on the calender months ago knowing he could probably use a day of celebrating him with his sister coming soon before and rocking his world. I bought him a little gift on Amazon but it didn't arrive in time. I wanted to make him a half of a awesome decorated cake. Or two and half cupcakes. Or give him two and a half cookies. Or two and a half scoops of ice cream...

but then life happened and I had no desire to bake. Then Eli had the worst poop today and he really, really didn't need any massive amount of sugar. So Grandpa to the rescue - he made popcorn, in a Cars bowl. And we put on his hand-me-down Cars pajamas from his friend Luke. And then Eli got to watch half of Cars the movie (which he just got from the Lipperts) for the very first time. Up until now Eli had no idea Cars was watchable... he's just seen books and merch with these cool cars on it with cool names. He sat next to Grandma totally mesmerized, popcorn untouched (which you know means something). After awhile he ate the popcorn, of course, and asked Grandma a hundred questions about what he was seeing.

Awesome.
 That's our boy. I wish you could all hear him and see him and snuggle him like we get to:)

I try not post naked pics... but it's too cute not to share.

-Heather

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Missing Sleep.

My amount of blogging is directly correlated to if I'm getting sleep. I'm not getting much and therefore I'm not blogging much!

Our sweet girl is a mess at night. We can't seem to get into a groove moving forward. We actually went backwards! Eating every two hours, much screaming and fussiness or constant grunting, oi, friends, it's been hard. Plus having to wake up to pump, seems so wrong if she's actually sleeping! 

I have much to share but I'm going to bed. Wise choice I'd say!

Our high maintenance cutie!

 -Heather

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Self Absorbed.

One aspect of my life the last few months that has been hard to overcome is the self-focus. I have been so self-absorbed these last months. Mostly because we have had so much going on (getting baby here alive tops the list). July it was just getting through the move and all the goodbyes and details to tie up. Then August was settling in at the in-laws and then breaking my foot. And September was still the foot on top of all the baby appointments. October brought us Annalee (worth every stresser) and now her nursing woes. Add the insurance issues, house issues and a host of other issues and I have basically been in survival mode since July 4. I don't want to just survive life but man, it really has felt that way.

I hope our issues slow down, way down soon. I hope I have the time and energy to give myself to other people (besides my family) and have the capacity to care for others. Because living a life so focused on yourself and your issues is lonely and difficult and not very rewarding.

For the next week or more, however, I'm still going to be just trying to survive. Again. Because we went to see the lactation consultant today (after her doctor at her two-week check-up said we should), and she has told me I need to try nursing Annalee at every feeding during the day and not offer a bottle. Tonight she cried (screamed) for forty minutes as we tried. I tell you, it is HARD to see your newborn screaming in frustration for that long. But eventually she did latch well like she's supposed to. Our little drama queen can latch (she's choosing not to) so we are having to be as determined as her in order to get her to nurse. It's worth it, it will be worth it to me, because all this pumping and bottle feeding is loads of work. Plus I don't think I can last a year pumping (nor will my milk supply continue) whereas I know I can nurse for that long (I nursed Eli for 13 months and that kid never took a bottle).

Uffda!

I hope to start getting more sleep as Annalee begins to go longer stretches at night (and when I don't have to wake up to pump). And we all know sleep makes everything better!

Her stats from today: she's eight pounds and 20 1/4 inches long. She's growing! Besides the nursing problems and possible reflux issues (we'll be trying baby zantac for three days to see if that changes her spitting up/hiccup/choking issues), she passed everything with flying colors. That's a gift to know she's doing well even with these issues.

Content after I nursed her with the consultant today. She spit up right after this because she was laying too flat.

Give me milk.
-Heather

Happy then Sad.

Last week was a pretty memorable week for Annalee. She was blessed to meet a whole slew of relatives. Besides also seeing Grandma and Grandpa, Grammy and Grandpa Lloyd, Chris and Lilli, Amy, Andrew and Alexia again, she met:

The Greats! Great Grandma and Great Grandpa Kasowski
Great Aunt Nancy, Great Uncle Al, Cousin Cousin Ben
The Lipperts! Uncle Jeff, Auntie Amber, Cousins Ali and Ava
Great Aunt Ruth, Great Aunt Bonnie and Great Uncle Don

That's a lot of fam-damily! What a gift to get to introduce her to these family members. 
So thankful they came to meet our sweetness.
marian anna kasowski and annalee linn kasowski
Melts my heart
Great Nancy!

Great Ruth!
Cute Cousins
Ava loves babies!
Stealing Auntie Amber and Uncle Jeff's hearts

On the flip side, it has been so very tough not to get to introduce Annalee to so many friends in South Carolina. It is painful, really, to not be sharing her with our dear friends. People that have loved us so well these many years, they should get to meet her while she's all tiny and new, they should get to rejoice in seeing her alive and well in person. 

I found out another dear friend is pregnant due next spring, making it now three babies I so very much would like to be there to meet (not to mention wanting to be there during the pregnancies). This doesn't include the few friends we know adopting. All these miracles! I am bummed to not be a tangible part of their little lives from the start and I know that's how they feel about Annalee (and Eli for that matter). 

So as joyful as we are that Annalee is getting to see family so very often, there is still a deep sadness for the many of you far away that are not getting to love on her in person. I would like a moment to pout. 

Umphf. 

Because our friends became our family when we had none close by. I have felt the separation so strongly these last weeks. One friend brought me to tears in an email when she said "I also thought about you being in the hospital on your own and how that would have been so different if you were here because I and many others would have been there with you." Yes! How true! I miss you friends. 

So for those of you that should be holding and loving and taking cute pictures meeting our girl, just pretend you are in this photo of Annalee last week, trying to calm her down:


Maybe I'll photoshop you in. I wish you were here!

-Heather

Carmel Rolls and Cold.

I am still in shock that we live in North Dakota again. Since I really haven't ventured out much these last two months (thanks broken foot), the reality hasn't quite set in that we live here. Like live, live here. Slowly, I am getting it. And lately I have had quite a few "ah, yes, I remember this" moments.

One has been that I have consumed more caramel rolls in the last few weeks than I did in all my years living in South Carolina. Caramel rolls, the way I know them, are not something normal for the South. The local grocery store here makes a most excellent caramel roll which I've had a few times. And I had a caramel roll every day in the hospital, thankyouverymuch. So, so good. If I could, especially for those not in good-caramel-roll-territory, I'd give you all one right now. 

Another snippet of remembering has been every morning the last week or so. Since I'm not pregnant anymore and therefore not full of my own little mini-heater, I've actually used blankets. And every morning it's cold now and the blankets are so warm and cozy and I really, really don't want to get up. It's just hard to get out of that cozy-as-a-burrito warm bed and venture into the cold air. I remember growing up hating getting up in the dark cold to go to school and all those feelings are just coming back. Also, being sleep deprived may have something a lot to do with my reluctance to get up.

I remember loving fall as a kid, but it is depressingly short. The leaves (not that there are too many) have turned and mostly fallen already. Yesterday it snowed nice big flakes. And Eli, out of the blue, said "bye bye grass" and we all laughed, a sort of sad laugh, because he's right. The green grass will end this week. I don't know how it'll feel to see brown and white after living in green SC for six years.

And as I'm typing this I hear this conversation going on next to me:

Eli (whining putting PJ's on): "Want to be naked!"
Greg: "You want to be naked? You can't. It's cold here."

Our boy has no idea. Get out the winter bin.

-Heather

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Due.

This weekend was Annalee's due date. I'm so glad she's here on the outside with us!

Lots of family fun this past week... recap to follow. For now, here's three peoples I love:

Eli likes to give his sister fist bumps.
 Good night!

-Heather

Friday, October 18, 2013

Break.

Ever since my phone took a dip in the sink on Tuesday, I've been having a little phone-fast. The first few hours I felt quite uncomfortable. And unattached. And out of sorts, not having this thing I checked so very often each day. I emailed someone about a new phone within an hour of the incident. I mean, how was I going to take photos of Annalee?!

I was pretty certain the thing was dead. I saw it go from on to slowing dying out and putter into nothingness. And then I plugged it in (why, I don't know, I panicked). I then had to feed Annalee and do a ton of other things so I just had to let it be. But then my mother-in-law took my phone and put it in rice, like you are supposed to.

Later on that night she said it worked. I was too scared to hope that it was. But then the next day Greg said it wasn't working. And I looked and it saw it half-working. I kept it in rice. Finally yesterday we charged it and took it out and it seems to be somewhat working. The volume button is kaput. Sometimes the whole phone will just freeze. But most of the time it seems to work. Enough to get me to December when I have an upgrade? Let's hope so. 

But the last few days of not using it has been a good forced-fast from it. I have lost that feeling of needing to check something. The flip side is that I'm not able to share photos and info about Annalee or what's going on with us... and with so many of you far away, I miss that ability to connect!

So in that vein, here's what's going on:

1. On Tuesday Annalee was 7lb, 7oz. Surpassed her birth weight and well on her way out of newborn size diapers. She still has possible reflux issues which we'll discuss with the doctor next Tuesday. She still won't latch, but I'll keep trying. She obviously is gaining weight so bottle feeding her my milk is at least going well for her! I am still hoping for her to latch as I think pumping is loads more work and I miss the connection like I had with Eli. 

2. Eli seems to be adjusting alright. He has random bursts of affection for Annalee; he'll hug, smoosh her, kiss her and say sweet things. Other times he doesn't care much as long as he knows he's still got our attention. Her stealing his thunder is his greatest fear. 

3. My foot is still sore but I can walk short distances without a limp. Last weekend I went shopping three days in a row (oh how I missed shopping!) and overdid it each day. I've tried to be better but with so much going on, it's hard to actually take time to rest my foot. Nighttime is when I feel the stress of the day on my foot (and back, etc). So I hope all my muscles hurry up and come back. Ideally I'd be doing stretches and cardio and other such healthy things to make this happen... but I am not that disciplined and way too tired yet!

4. Greg has taken one day off of work, Friday of Annalee's birth. That's it. So obviously he's tired. He goes great guns when at home to help then has to be on top of his game at work. I have no idea how single parents do it. 

5. Our house in SC has not sold, has had no interest. The market has slowed way down, apparently. Sigh. 

6. My family is here for the weekend! Right now my mom is making my bed (Annalee peed) and my MIL is making a huge meal. Happy sigh. 

And since you need to see this cutie:




Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Dear Maelee,


Oh sweet firstborn, how I ache for you yet.

I am sitting here with a precious quiet moment, ready to light your candle soon and witnessing this completely gorgeous sunset with Grandma and Grandpa's great view. And my mother heart remembers you. Somewhere too far away is a hospital room where I got to hold your six pounds, eight ounces of babyness, watch your daddy play you guitar and say goodbye when every ounce of me screamed NO.

Having your sister has brought up many thoughts of you. I wonder so much these days. I wonder what you would think of your sister. What you would think of her name. I hope you'd like that it ends in lee too. I still like yours a bit better because I've had three and a half years of saying it and longing for it. I have shockingly even called your sister Maelee a few times (though I have called her Eli even more). The first time I did this I smiled because even though you aren't here, you are still so much a part of my heart and mind. Please know, oh sweet daughter, please know you are not replaced in my heart because we have Annalee. Her presence, just like Eli's, lessens the blow of your absence but it in no way replaces you.

I ache for the fact we never got to see you pink and full of life. We never got to experience you the way you should have been, we never got to really see what you looked like because you had been gone from this world for too long. I always thought your tongue stuck out because you were dead and it was just what happened. But after seeing Annalee, I know she's got your tongue because it looks just like yours did and it sticks out all the time. So now I'm happy to have made this connection between you and her, how sweet that she has the same mouth as you. I think you probably have many similarities and someday in heaven I hope to know that fully. 

You know your sister is using most all of your stuff. I wonder if you would be happy about that. It's been hard to see these birdie sheets with a baby on them and knowing it's not you. Oh how I dreamed about putting you in that crib with these little clothes and blankets. Most of the time I'm glad for it all, for all these redemptive moments. But sometimes it just hurts that these aren't true hand-me-downs.

I am completely thankful for you, my sweet daughter. I'm glad for your existence and even though I won't ever be glad to have lost you, I'm grateful for all the good from your loss. I am such a better mama because of you. I can't even imagine how I would parent Eli and Annalee without having gone through losing you. Today when life was just crazy, sleep-deprived from your sister's feeding issues, un-showered and surrounded by dirty clothes full of bodily fluids, and feeling bummed after your brother accidentally put my iPhone in the sink full of water and instead of posting about you on facebook I'm posting about my phone... even while all this life happens, every moment is better because of you. God has granted me perspective I would never have otherwise. Oh Maelee, please know how grateful I am for all that you continue to teach me.

I love you, as much as I love your siblings. You'll always be special. You'll always be my firstborn. You'll always be remembered.

-Your Mom

Monday, October 14, 2013

Her Spot.

Annalee does not like to lay flat. At all. She is definitely not a fan of her crib. She will not fall into a deep sleep in there. She'll whimper and moan and spit up and hiccup and eventually wail in there. Maybe she's upset it's a hand-me-down complete with Eli's teeth marks? Whatever the case, we have found one place she absolutely loves: a corner of Grandma and Grandpa's new couch.

She'll hang out there for hours without making a peep. And yes, the thought has crossed my mind to bring her up there in the middle of the night when she's fussy!

Thanks for the sweet outfit and blankies, Ewings! Well loved already!

-Heather 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Bottle This and That.

Considering Eli only took an occasional bottle for his first two months, then refused one, I'm in a new territory here. This pumping is a lot of work! Worth it, for sure. But it definitely takes getting used to the extra time, effort and equipment!

We are needing to buy a few things so I thought I'd ask for opinions from you all.  I made the mistake of reading reviews on Amazon for a few products and now I'm all undecided about which to buy, etc. And since we have no BabysRus or Buy Buy Baby here, I need to find it at Target or online. If only I would have known I'd need this stuff when at Tot Trade (kids consignment sale I loved in Cola)! Oh well. 

Bottle Warmer - brand? Since we are in the basement not near the kitchen, it'll be easiest for middle of the night feedings to have a bottle warmer near by. The reviews on these are all across the board. I just want one that works, won't burn Annalee's milk and won't cost a ton.

Bottles - brand? And sizes? We have lots of smaller Medela bottles now (but only three nipples, go figure). I'm thinking we'll need some bigger ones and I'm not sure which route to go. Dr. Browns? How many do you need for one baby?

Bottle Drying Rack - style? Seems silly to buy one but we are going to try keep the bottles contained to the basement and not take up the kitchen. And we need to wash them obviously.

Annalee seems to be gaining weight with the bottle feeding (it's working!) and she's doing better at it (she sometimes remembers to take a breath when feeding). She spits up quite a bit. I'll be buying more burp cloths soon I'm sure. She definitely needs some time to digest after eating. But so do I, so no criticism from me! Usually we just hold her upright for awhile after and that seems to help.

So let me know if you have any product recommendations for me!

-Heather

Friday, October 11, 2013

One Week.

Here's some shots from earlier this evening of our Annalee. A week in and I'm still amazed that we have this little being in our arms. She's a miracle!



Happy one week, little darling! 

-Heather

Sibling Love.

I dare you not to ooh and aah:

Big bro asked Grandma if he could hold new sister.
Proud!
Kisses.
Always with the tongue, this girl!
Oh be still my heart!

-Heather

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Smile.

Just a little update to say we are doing well. I'm tired, very sore but content and happy! Annalee is doing well too, getting what she needs via bottle. She still can't do a bottle very well but she's learning. I'll try breastfeeding again this weekend and see how that goes, perhaps she can get it if she's more mature and less famished. Hopefully she'll do better at night as well... last night she didn't fall into a deep sleep until way late into the night (or maybe really early morning) because she just wanted to be held upright. I finally put her in the bouncer seat and she fell asleep fast and hard. That piece of equipment may end up being my favorite!

I hope to spend time writing her birth story and sharing some photos from my camera. Having two kiddos to care for is definitely, definitely more challenging. Especially when it takes me twenty minutes or so to feed her, then another twenty minutes or so to pump where I have no free hands (oh let's hope that gets quicker or she learns to breastfeed!) and we do this every three to four hours (sometimes she feeds more but I don't pump more). Eli has done well, mostly thanks to a doting Grandma that can often fill in when I'm unable.

So many great stories, so many moments of God's grace in all this that I hope to share... later! Now to bed I go.

But first, the first smiling photo of Annalee! Perfect since today she was wearing a shirt (from her big sis) that said: SMILE!

-Heather

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Home. Again.

Someone is hanging out in her crib right now!


-Heather

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Waiting For The OK.

Yesterday I was thinking why can't we go home if we are just going to do the pumping/bottle thing? So I talked with the nurse and she was open to that after we saw how Annalee did with her next feeding via bottle. Well she didn't do very well so we have stayed. She does not take a breath when taking a bottle. Every five sucks, I have to pull the bottle out to force her to breathe. She coughs a lot. Hopefully she'll figure this out so that the feedings run smoother.

She's being evaluated by the doctor right now and I expect we will get the okay to head home later today. We also have to wait for her bilirubin labs to come back. I'll keep you updated...hopefully from home later!

Wouldn't that be grand! I miss my boys! And dear grandma and grandpa are downright amazing taking care of Eli again and again. They are remarkable in their love and service and a gift to us. They are going to need a nice break soon!

I wish all our friends could come visit! I realized last night that's one major missing piece of being here and not in SC during this latest ordeal. Friends! We miss you all. If only I was at Lexington Medical Center, some of you could stop by and entertain me and make me laugh! And you could see the girl you have prayed and loved all these months!

For now, some photos of her from last night. Such a treat to see her full and satisfied, she was alert and staring all around after she ate and I gloriously got to hold her like this two different times, probably over two hours total of awake cuddle time. A gift! 

Bonding!

Look at how full (not dehydrated) she has gotten!

After a bath with her hair still wet (which could turn curly or at least wavy from what I could see when wet):

Oh and Big bro and daddy came for supper last night. I loved loved being around this boy for a bit!


-Heather


Hot Mess.

Best news is Annalee is gaining weight and is good! No jaundice issues. She is finally getting the milk she needs. Also, she's the cutest little thing.

Bad news is getting that milk to her is a struggle. So she will stay in the NICU for a day and I will keep staying in the curtousy room. 

The plan up until last feeding was for me to nurse her on my left "good" side for as long as she can. She then would get my pumped milk from my right side (too painful to nurse side) through the tube in her nose. This instead of introducing a bottle so that she would keep trying at the breast. 

However last time she just would not latch despite all conditions being perfect for her. The times before it has taken almost 40 minutes for her to latch well. So it looks like the plan from here will be for me to pump both sides and feed her with a bottle. Not ideal, I'd like to get to nurse her. But her getting my milk however we can so she stays hydrated and healthy is the priority. Perhaps eventually she will take the breast? We shall see. This all comes after the NICU nurse last night (who also is a lactation consultant) spent most of her shift next to me making sure all was right, plus two lactation consultants who watched and poked and prodded and determined I'm doing everything I can and it really is just up to Annalee. 

The nurse said there is no happy medium with her. She's either screaming "pissed off" or completely zonked and refuses to wake up. I guess we do have a drama queen on our hands!

This morning it was like someone turned the emotional faucet on this post-pardum momma. I know everything will be fine but I'm exhausted and I just want to hold my babies! I miss Eli and want to be his mom again! And I can't just snuggle Annalee whenever I want. And I'm by myself (Greg needs to work plus there is no room for him). But after this bottle scenario seeming to be our route, I feel better, a light at the end of this particular hurdle. Someday we will have a type of normalcy again. 

I'll update again soon! Thanks for caring about our little crazy train!

-Heather

Monday, October 7, 2013

Copycat Sister.

Annalee wants to be just like big bro apparently. She decided she wanted to go back in the hospital for dehydration and jaundice issues. Just like Eli did after he was born. I tell ya, we are just full of drama!

She'll be fine, just like Eli. They stuck a tube in her nose to her stomach to pump her with basically pedialyte to get some fluids in her so that she'll be interested in nursing again and get back to more normal. Her jaundice levels actually came back decent which is awesome and makes me glad we came in before they got bad. 

We took her to the family practice doc today which lead us here. I'm glad because last night was ROUGH. Annalee was frustrated, I think, in not getting what she needed. This led to her being more and more lethargic today. My milk needs to get in and into her tummy! We are on the right track now though, I'll be in the NICU nursing every three hours tonight. 

It'll be tiring but ideally we can avoid anymore 'didn't sleep more than an hour total' nights like last. Daddy and Mommy are exhausted! I did start to realize why the pediatrician said having two kids is four times the work. Eli was also up last night. Poor kid has had such a roller coaster few days. 

Annalee was dubbed "super tongue" in the nursery because she has quite the strong, active tongue and sucking reflex. She latched hours after birth but I made the mistake of letting her on there too long and I've been paying the price since. I am raw, to put it bluntly. It's been loads more painful than with Eli but we keep at it since we want my milk to come in, obviously. I got some drugs for pain that I hope to take before nursing that should help that, my soreness from delivery, and my increasingly sore foot. Whadda mess! I'm so glad we have done this before, so glad for the good outcome, so glad for getting good care for our girl. 

Thanks for the continued prayers that our girl will get what she needs to get better! I'll keep you updated.

-Heather

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Coming "Home".

We got to use Maelee's car seat to bring another baby home today. It's hard to describe how wonderful that is, how joyous of a day this is. Three and a half years later, bringing home (well, to the grandparent's home!) a daughter. Leaves me awe struck. 

My mom added Annalee Linn's name to our going home outfit. It now has our three kiddos proudly listed. 

The weather is back to beautiful today. In the 50's and the sun is shining, such a great going-home day and a welcome change of pace! (Plus we can take photos with much better lighting!) You can still see the remnants of the snow storm crazy however:

We love you sweetheart!
Our little lovie... more stories about her coming!

Hungry! Using Maelee's boppy for the first time. 
She is starting to look a tad yellow. She went down to 6lb, 13oz today which is still normal. Hopefully we don't have to go down the jaundice road with her. My milk needs to come in! 

Big brother and all the rest of the family are in Buffalo this afternoon celebrating Great Grandma Marian Anna's 80th Birthday. We wish we could be there but love our excuse!

Hospital photo:
http://bismarck.sanfordhealth.org/babies/baby.asp?CID=4928 (two Anna's born, glad ours is an Annalee!). 

More info when I get to the computer. Now it's snuggle time!

-Heather

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Hair!

Check out Annalee's hair!

Sorry not more photos. There is absolutely no natural light around here, the weather is so dark. And she's not a fan of flash. Someday we'll have so many photos we won't know what to do. 

Big brother basically tackled me when he arrived this morning. Thankfully my mom was holding baby sister. That helped him get some moments with just me first. He was curious and he knew who she was. But when I held her, then he wasn't happy. He was better with it once he got to help hold her (and poke her). Photos are on my actual camera... 

Must go nurse, more on that later!

-Heather

Dress Up Day One.

This is going to be fun!

More info and photos soon. After I shower and family comes to meet this adorable gift. 

Here she is about five minutes ago... 

Friday, October 4, 2013

A Girl Named ...

Annalee Linn Kasowski. 

Our second daughter. Her name was quite a conundrum for many months. We had lots of ideas but no front runner. Annalee came out towards the end as our fitting choice. And we are so excited to have her here to speak her name for years to come. 

From our teasers, some explanation:

Her name honors Maelee. 
The lee was added to Anna to honor Maelee, Annalee's big sister. 

Her name honors a family member. 
Similar to how we came up with Maelee using my grandma's middle name, Greg's dad's mom's middle name is Anna. We love Grandma Kasowski and love this connection to her. We thought her middle name was actually Ann until we were there last month and saw the birth certificate (and that got us rolling down this track): 

Marian Anna
Plus, her middle name honors lots of family! My mom, my sister, my nieces, myself and Maelee. We are the Linn ladies. 

Her name has a pretty good meaning. 
Anna is derived from Hannah which is from the Hannah in the Bible. Means "favored by grace" or "graceful". 

Lee means "pasture" and so together I guess Annalee means "graceful pasture". And I can say with firsthand knowledge that North Dakota has a zillion of beautiful, graceful pastures!

Her name is unique but not overly complicated in spelling or pronunciation. 
We tossed around going with just Anna or Annie or Anne or other variations but we like this more unique/complicated name. But it shouldn't be too hard to pronounce. We say it quickly so it almost sounds like Emily or Annie. 

Her name sounds good with Kasowski.
I just love the -ee sound with our last name. Annalee Kasowski. That's a great name.

Her name has a shout out to the South. 
Nothing says sweet southern belle like a good double name! So there's a little tribute to our years in the south.

-Heather

She's here!

Time: 10:25 pm
7 pounds 4 oz
19.5 inches

She has blisters on her hands from sucking them. She's been very alert the first 40 minutes of her life. (Eli pretty much slept for the first 40 days of his life.) She has a full head of red hair. 

Heather is doing great and has been cracking jokes left and right. 

-Greg 

Epi Awesome.

I went through two hours of increasingly rough and very frequent contractions. Those inductions drugs are powerful guys! And now I'm resting comfortably with my epidural. Those are even more powerful! Wow! So grateful to not have to feel such intense pain as we meet our girl. However I'm glad to have experienced some real rough contractions since I didn't really in either of my previous deliveries. Makes this more unique. I am certain Greg is thankful for epidurals (I believe his quote was "epidurals are God's gift to women") because his poor hands had to hold mine through them and I squeezed hard!

Our first nurse was awesome. Very stellar. Plus we'll see her tomorrow. Just had shift change so hopefully our second will be a good delivery nurse. 

I'm dialated at 4/5 so we still have a good bit to go. We plan to post on here soon after she arrives. Will it be in the next four hours?! Or will she be born October 5th?

-Heather


Weather Advisory.

Oh my how a few days in North Dakota can change. We are under a wind advisory until 7pm and a winter weather advisory until tomorrow. It was 34 degrees at 3:36pm. We may get 1-3 inches of snow. It is a wet mess outside. I suppose it's good we are "stuck" inside! We've been here since 10am and it has looked like nighttime since! So dreary. Not lovely "welcome to the world" weather but it's definitely a story for our girl!

Greg is doing well. He got a short nap in and approves of the furniture. 

Baby is fine, steady heartbeat. Hopefully she's getting ready to evacuate. 

I am doing fairly well. Doctor will be in soon to check and see how we are progressing. I still haven't gotten an epidural because I haven't been in major pain. I will get one eventually. Contractions are getting closer and more intense but still not "ready to see baby" bad. At this point  I'm just hoping she'll be born on the 4th!

Also I ate two cookies. 

-Heather

Whew.

Making it to the hospital today was a great thing! I'm so glad they squeezed us in! I am currently hooked up to the IV and the induction drug has started...hoping to deliver her by the end of the day. Nurse just said she was "pleasantly surprised" how the contractions were coming along so we are grateful for that. 

No news on my platelets but it sounds like an epidural is still an option. We will keep things updated as we know them! Like: my lunch just arrived and I forgot to order dessert. Shucks. 

Got rid of the boot in time for delivery...and I still look silly having to wear compression socks! Oh well. 


-Heather

Bump.

Slight bump in road for now. Labor & Delivery floor is packed and we are on hold until the nurse calls my doctor at 7:30 or so this morning. I must take my daily lovenox shot around 8am if I don't go in...and that would mean another full 24 hours before I could be induced. Which is not cool. 

Plus I've been so excited, not much sleep is happening! Baby has moved so I think she's fine. 

So if you are checking this, pray we could get in yet this morning so that baby could be born today!

-Heather

UPDATE: we are still waiting to hear if they can get us in...the charge nurse said they are trying! She also said for me not to take my shot until I hear from her around 10am. They may bring me in for monitoring. Who knows. Just a little more drama and waiting...

UPDATE: We are on our way to the hospital! They got us in! And we are pretty sure we just saw a snowflake in all the rain! Oh my! 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

On The Eve.

Tonight my bags are packed (with pink girl things) and I am excited to have a baby tomorrow! What a gift.

I am not really nervous... yet. I already have expectations that labor will be tough. My OBGYN was joking about how funny my legs look - the left one is significantly smaller than the right. I have lost SO MUCH muscle (and I didn't have much to begin with) these last 7-8 weeks of not moving. And I'm thinking when it's time to push and tell my body what to do, it may just whine and revolt from lack of use. I'm sore all over. Goodness, I can barely walk up steps without getting tired.

Add that on top of the fact I may not be allowed to have an epidural, well it could be a real rough go of it. But if baby is alive, we'll get through it. She's going to come out eventually. I may be a complete mess but there have been woman since the beginning of man that have done labor in worse conditions than this. Hopefully I'll remember that as I struggle through tomorrow. And let's hope it's just tomorrow and not the next day and the next! Ha, kidding. I think.

I may not be allowed to have an epidural because my platelets have continued to drop. If you go below 100 they won't give you one. The plan for tomorrow is to check my blood when we arrive and see what's going on there. We'll see. Again, not THE issue. We'll go with however things are leading and what my doctor says. And if I do this naturally and survive, that'd be wonderful! And if I get an epidural, great. And if I end up with a c-section, okay. Goal = baby and me doing fine. Her birth story will be perfect to me if she and I are alive in the end.

I thank God for this gift of peace and lack of nervousness on the "holy moly I'm going to be in labor tomorrow" part. My focus has just been on how baby is doing, making sure she's alive in there. She was kicking just a bit ago so join me in thanks for these last-10-hours-before-we-are-there movements.

Our girl's day of birth is most likely going to be a cold, not-lovely day here in North Dakota. High of 38. We might even see a dusting of snow. It's been quite lovely up until, however, so I'm going to try not complain. The weather on your birth date is not a deal breaker.

Greg is in bed (perhaps a bit more nervous than I) and I'm about to join him for a (hopeful) decent night's rest with no newborn screams. Hopefully we'll get some rest before we are up at 6am and to the hospital by 7am. Not sure how things are going to go down initially but we'll try keep the blog updated as the day, and labor, progresses. We are grateful for your support and your prayers.

-Heather

Bootless.

I am bootless! Goodbye bulky left-foot companion! You are not welcome anymore, just in time for labor!

My foot is healed up but very sore and stiff and confused as to why it hasn't moved much in the last seven-plus weeks. My hips and back and bum are all quite mumbled and sore as well. But I will take walking with two shoes and a gimpy limp over walking like a one-booted Frankenstein any day.

Every time I was out, someone would comment to me "oh you poor thing!", "oh that is a bad combination", "oh no!" or another "oh" statement of pity. The most memorable was the first day I could walk with the boot and I was at the doctor for my special growth ultrasound, which was in the basement of the building I normally go to. They didn't tell me the basement was really just a super long hallway that goes under the road to the actual hospital (read: a long walk). You know those railings hospitals have for old people to hold onto in the hallway? I was basically hugging that. A surgeon was walking with his lunch and saw me and said sympathetically "I feel like I should pick you up and carry you!". And he probably would have if some kind hospital employee I had talked to wouldn't have come saved the day with a wheelchair. 

I am glad to not be quite the specimen walking around. And hopefully my foot, leg, body will recover from this as well as from having a baby. Today I saw a lady with a boot and crutches and I went up and talked to her about her injury. I wouldn't have talked to her otherwise so I suppose you can say my experience has bonded me with all other boot-walkers. And if I ever meet a pregnant boot-walker? I will give them a big hug and chocolate.

-Heather

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Name Teasers.

Our second daughter has a name. Officially decided and quite anticipated!

Some teasers about her first name...

Her name honors Maelee. 
Her name honors a family member. 
Her name has a pretty good meaning. 
Her name is unique but not overly complicated in spelling or pronunciation. 
Her name sounds good with Kasowski.
Her name has a shout out to the South. 

By nature of it, she may end up with a nickname/shortened version of her name and I'm surprisingly okay with that. 

Soon we will meet the baby to go with this name! 

-Heather

All About Big Bro.

Before baby sister comes and life doubles with kid stories, here's one last all-about-Eli post for those most doting on our darling blue-eyed boy.

  • Our boy's verbal is off the charts. The kid absorbs so much and spits it all back out. I call him "the little repeater." He says complete sentences at times, uses pronouns, and has started to pluralize words (even if they aren't meant to like "two parks-es"). For a kid that we were worried about developmentally, he's proving his smarts quite well. Plus all this verbal is great comic relief for life.
  • He has lots of books memorized so he can finish the page for you. We had a book about diggers from the library and it took but a few days before he was finishing the pages. One day I was so tired and the room was dark and I said the word "truck" instead of "trash" from his garbage truck book and he corrected me.
  • He has a little northern accent already (he had this before, it just seems more pronounced). Oven sounds like "of-ven" and so forth. 
  • He understands what "follow" and "pass" mean. He asks to "follow the motorcycle" or whatever machine he sees while driving. Or he'll say "pass mama" as we go down the steps (I'm slow).
  • He's been blessed with awesome eyesight. The kid can pick out a machine from miles away. If he says a random thing from the backseat, chances are he DID see a truck with a trailer and I shouldn't second guess.
  • Living in a booming area is a great gift to our machine-loving boy. There is so much construction going on that we daily see one of his beloved diggers, cranes, backhoe loaders, skid steers, cement trucks, dump trucks, etc, etc. It's a gift to this boy for sure.
  • His favorite time is still when Daddy comes home (though time with a grandparent is becoming a fast favorite, too). Daddy and Eli play "fly to the moon" where Greg throws Eli insanely high up in the air over and over ('til Daddy tires). Eli came up with the name. They also still play "Rogers" where they wrestle and jump and scream on the bed. 
  • Eli is nowhere near potty training. He occasionally has a moment of realization about the whole thing, but usually could care less. With all we have going on, this will not be happening for awhile. Two kids in diapers will be our reality.
  • You can hear him saying "I want to help" quite often. Whatever someone is doing, he wants to be there, too. Sometimes he really IS a help. Other times not so much. But he does like being in the know or being in the middle of the action. 
  • He will randomly mention friends from South Carolina. He'll say a name and then say "miss them" and it about breaks my heart. I made a photo book just from photos taken in July so he also has that to help remember... photos of himself with friends are his favorite. 
  • Eli knows how to get to his game on my iPhone. My dad couldn't even do that. He loves Endless Alphabet where you move the letters on top of letters while they say the pronunciation.
  • He loves Super Why (toddler show on PBS) and would probably sit in front of a TV for hours to watch it. He likes to point out the super letters and I think this is part of the reason he knows his alphabet so well. 
  • He loves Disney Cars characters even though he's never seen them on TV. Pretty sure the day he sees them animated, he will explode with wonder. 
  • He loves puzzles. Ones that make noise are his favorites.
  • He still loves books but he is more selective now. We hear "different book" if we pick out one he is not into. We get bored easily so Greg goes to the library often.
  • Not surprisingly, he loves playing with any type of vehicle and often lines them up. And then crashes them.
  • He loves music and knows quite a few instruments. He will pretend play a guitar or xylophone or trombone and he will dance to any music, especially with an audience. When he wears his guitar shirt, he plays the guitar on his shirt. 
  • If the shape of his food reminds him of something, he'll tell us. Moon is a frequent one. Sometimes it'll be a car and he vrooms it around on his tray. He can definitely pretend play.
  • Mealtimes have been challenging the last few weeks. He gets quite ornery if its not to his liking. He loves to eat but he sometimes goes a little ballistic at the dinner table. Not fun. He also used to pray for the meal with us with no issue... now he usually screams or bangs his tray.
  • We call him the "carb king" because he really loves carbs in most forms. He eats many bowls of cereal in the morning (he still calls it brea - fust) and loves rice, toast with jelly, chips and hummus, crackers, etc. He also loves most fruit. And smoothies and sweeter things. And spaghetti and tacos. But veggies are an issue (he likes raw carrots but now hates cooked, etc) and most meat is a no-go. A lot of this is his opinions on texture. Some is just him being two.
  • He gets angry and you can see his little eyes contemplate his behavior.  His sinful, gut response is to hit once or throw something. This is a step from before where his first response was to bite. 
  • We say: "How do you ask kindly?" which he will respond with an exaggerated "Pleeease." This happens often in a day. 
  • I also say "Eli, listen to mama" often. He seems to have selective hearing...
  • And we say "stop whining" a ton each day. He can definitely whimper and whine with the best of them.
  • We hear this often in amazement: "Look at all these ___!!" He is so joyful.
  • For the record, he goes to bed around 8/8:30pm and sleeps great until 7:30 more or less. He still naps from 2-4pm, give or take. This has been a nice stretch.
  • When he wakes up after nap, he's usually pretty cranky and it takes him awhile to get rolling. He hates the light and usually complains "too sunny". He also wants to be held for a long time "hold you!", and carried upstairs for a snack. It's been very hard for him that I can't hold him and walk at the same time. He gets very upset at this. 
  • He does much better waking up in the mornings, thankfully. He will usually greet whoever is getting him up with a very exuberant "Hi _____!". It's so sweet. 
  • He is very concerned with what his grandparents are up to. He'll comment on them usually right away in the morning and is ready with a "Hi Grandpa!" when he gets upstairs for breakfast. Or he'll randomly ask what Grandpa Lloyd is up to. He thinks anyone that calls on the phone is one of our family members.
  • He is very affectionate towards new baby cousin Alexia. He likes to tickle her toes and smile at her and say her name all cutesy-like real close to her.
  • He loves to play basketball if he has an audience. And he wants you to sing the basketball song as he plays. Oh help us. 
  • You can ask Eli what he did earlier and often he will actually remember and tell you. "I saw an airplane" or "I picked tomato and pepper." 
  • The last two nights he's thanked God for: basketball, rogers and fly to the moon, sitting on the deck, seeing a backhoe loader, new instrument puzzle, mowing the lawn and grandpa's grass. 
  • I think he's gained five pounds living in ND. He keeps getting taller and thicker!
  • Eli knows his baby sister's name (we have one!) and it is SO CUTE when he says it!
-Heather

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

10.4.13

Just had my appointment and we are now scheduled for induction this Friday! Baby was fine today so there is no major concern. We just get to meet her two days earlier! And WE ARE EXCITED!

-Heather