The Fear of the Unknown

Monday, January 31, 2011

Before I get into the thick of things, I have to say a big THANK YOU to all of our friends and family. Although we are still very new to the idea of having a premature baby (maybe), we have received such an out pour of love and support that it has been absolutely amazing. Wes and I can't tell you enough how much it means to us and helps us to know that we have such a strong support system behind us, willing to help in any way that we need. There are so many unknowns when it comes to what is going to happen over the next couple of weeks, but the one thing that we do know is that we will get through it all, mostly because of the amazing people standing behind us willing to help. If you talk to anyone in my family, you will know that I am a planner by design. I need to have a plan. I need to have a list. I need to have data. Not having one or all of those things is what sends me into a total panic (despite my resolution of choosing not to be stressed out haha). So although I went a little crazy "e-introducing" people like my mom and Emma's daycare teacher just to be sure, I know that Emma will be 100% taken care of, the dog and cat will be taken care of and Wes and I will be taken care of no matter what happens. This is allowing us to focus our attention on getting Jackson as ready as can be for the outside world...even if we aren't quite as ready. :)

So truly, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you so much to all of our friends and family who have written and called and emailed over the past few days just to offer your support. It means an incredible amount to us, and probably more than you will ever know.

Although there are a lot of things that we do know, like how no matter what happens, Emma will be taken care of for as long as needed, and that the doctors are doing everything that they can to make sure Jackson is as ready as can be and he is in amazing hands, there are a lot of things that we don't know. Just to name a few....
  • We don't know when it's going to happen....tomorrow or maybe sometime in March? There is a big difference between 33 weeks...and 37 weeks.
  • We don't know how it's going to happen....c-section or vaginal?
  • We don't know if Jackson is headed to the NICU....and for how long?
  • We don't know when he will come home with us....right away or days or weeks?
  • We don't know what we are going to do about work if he has an extended stay in the NICU.
  • We don't know how I am going to stretch out my 8 weeks of leave if he spends 3 or 4 weeks in the hospital.
  • We don't know how much it's going to cost if Jackson ends up in the NICU.
  • We don't know what, if anything, this is going to mean for Jackson later in life.
  • We don't know how to be a parent from the NICU.
  • We don't know how to bond with Jackson in the NICU.
  • We don't know what our first glimpse of Jackson is going to be like.
  • We don't know what to expect if he is headed for the NICU and that's where we see him for the first time.
One HUGE unknown to me, and probably one of my biggest fears, is how I am ever going to find the strength to be here for Wes through all this. Wes is my rock in so many ways, but this is his son too, and sometimes I think it's easy for me to lose sight of that simply because I'm carrying Jackson. But I feel like I am on such an emotional roller coaster already, that I just don't know where I am going to pull the strength from to be Wes's rock too.

I had my first of two steroid shots this morning as well as my first of two non-stress tests (NST) this week and both went well. We also found out that once a week we will be having my amniotic fluid checked too (which we also had done today as well) which is also looking good. After my second steroid shot tomorrow, it will take about 48 hours for them to take full effect and after that he should be covered. I learned a little more too about the NST...what they are specifically looking for is for Jackson to move at least 2 times within a 20 minute times span where his heart rate rises by 15 beats per minute and stays at that level for 15 seconds. Jackson hit his marks today but it took him until round two (they will give you two tries before heading to the biophysical sonogram) but we got an overall "pass"!

We also found out that if Jackson is born anytime soon, most likely he will be able to stay at the hospital where we are delivering. The hospital NICU is plenty capable of treating infants born as early as 28 weeks unless surgery is needed, in which case they would be flown to the local university hospital. It also looks like if the doctor decide during that during one of the tests that "today is the day", they will be transferring me right upstairs and that will be it! So needless to say, my bag is coming with me to every appointment!

We have gone from counting down time and holding our big celebrations on a monthly basis, to a daily and weekly basis now. We made it through January, so our next goal is to make it through my next steroid shot tomorrow, and my regular doctors appointment before we then start to concentrate and prepare for Thursday, which is my next round of NST and the next possible "today is the day" moment.

We are starting to be a little more prepared though, at least as prepared as we can be. Although the house is a mess, we have all our bags packed, although Jackson's room isn't finished, he has a crib with clean sheets ready for him, although we don't know if it will be next week or 6 weeks from now, our bills are paid for the next month, Emma's bag is packed and ready to go, family and friends have house keys just in case, I have my list of important and contact information updated and ready to go just in case, Jackson's all signed up with our insurance, my maternity leave paperwork is filled out and ready to hand over to my doctor for his part, I stocked up on a few more newborn size outfits for Jackson and wrapped Emma a few small gifts from her baby brother that she will get when she comes to the hospital. So we are getting there! Stay tuned for some more updates this week!

A Scary Twist...x2

Friday, January 28, 2011

So, although we have had a couple scary twists, one with Emma and one with Jackson while I was pregnant with them, they have both turned out perfectly fine, which is one of the many things I have been telling myself over and over again this morning. Because wouldn't you know, enter...Scary Twist #2 with Jackson.

Of course I am behind on my updating the blog, so I was just going to hop on during lunch to post about how great things were going and how I turned 32 weeks (8 months) pregnant on Wednesday, and how we only had 8 weeks left. In that post, I was also going to talk about how I was really getting tired of being pregnant and how that seemed to come so much faster with Jackson then with Emma. I have had a lot more body aches and pains, a sore back, more contractions, the swelling has started, you name it. But as of this morning, all of that went flying right out the window, and I am praying that I am pregnant up until my due date, and really, I hope to even just make it another month.

I had my follow up growth sonogram this morning, which was a simple follow up to our last sonogram 6  weeks ago. At that point, Jackson was measuring a week behind his "age", but had been pretty consistent with that from very early on. Since Emma was born at a whopping 5 lbs 12 ounces at 38.5 weeks, no one was thinking that much about it, just assuming Jackson was on the small side as well. Today we got some new details though. Jackson is now measuring about 2 weeks behind. Although he should have measured 32 Weeks and 2 Days, he measured 30 Weeks and 3 Days. Because one of his two main jobs right now is to gain weight (his other one is to develop his lungs), its more concerning then before, especially since he is no longer consistent and moving in the opposite direction. The other concern is exactly where and how he is measuring small.

There are basically two different ways a baby can measure small (from what I understand from the doctor today). A baby can measure small all over, meaning head circumference, length of bones, weight, etc. From head to toe. That basically indicates an overall small baby. The other way a baby can measure small, which is how Jackson was measuring, was only around certain parts, like around his waist. So although his head circumference, length of bones, etc were "average", his waist was in about the 20th percentile which means he isn't gaining any weight (which is one of his two big jobs at this age). So that leads doctors to believe that the placenta is not functioning properly and not providing the nutrients that he needs, which means there will most likely come a point in which Jackson is better off in the outside world, then where he is now. The unknown part, is when that point will be.

So where do we go from here? Well, to the doctor's office and to the hospital 45 times a week apparently. In addition to my regular bi-weekly doctor visits (which will shortly become weekly depending on how long I make it), I will now be heading into the hospital twice a week for non-stress tests (more information on that below). In addition to the non-stress tests, I'm heading back in two weeks for another growth sonogram and here is the scary part (at least the part that tends to freak me out the most). In addition to all that and because the goal is to get me to at least 37 weeks, but since that is 5 weeks away and they aren't sure I will make it that long, I am going in on Monday and Tuesday of next week to get two steroid injections to help develop Jackson's lungs quicker. Apparently, giving the mother steroids helps the baby's lung development in several ways:
  • Increased surfactant production: Steroids increase the amount of surfactant that a premature baby's lungs produce. Surfactant helps the lungs to stay open, but premature babies often do not produce enough.
  • Less fluid in the lungs: When the lungs are filled with fluid, they don't work as well. Steroids can help babies to clear fluid out of their lungs more effectively.
  • Larger lung volumes: Babies exposed to steroids around the time of delivery have more lung tissue. Babies with larger lung volumes are able to oxygenate their blood more easily.
  • Better response to surfactant therapy: Premature babies are often given one or more doses of artificial surfactant to help their lungs stay open. Babies whose moms got steroids respond better to surfactant therapy.
As for the non-stress test, its basically a test that can be ordered once or twice a week, but may even be needed more often for some people. The tests  helps to study the placenta and the baby's overall health. The test shows how well the placenta is working by looking at how the baby's heart rate responds to contractions of the uterus or the baby's own movements. It's a pretty easy test in which you get two belts put across your belly, one belt monitors the baby's heart rate and one baby monitors contractions. Just as an adults heart rate gets faster when we exercise, the same should happen with the baby. Usually, a baby's heart rate gets faster by 15 beats per minute during activity. This higher heart rate lasts for about 15 seconds. The goal is to get this to happen at least two times in a span of twenty minutes. They will give you basically two tries each time for this test, so if the baby isn't moving much for the first 20 minutes, you get another shot at an additional 20 minutes. If for some reason the little one is still quiet, I will then go for a ultrasound right then and there for a biophysical profile. This tests the baby in five different areas:
  1. Variation of fetal heart rate
  2. Breathing movements
  3. Body movements
  4. Muscle tone
  5. Amount of amniotic fluid
As part of my growth sonogram today, I had that test done as well and all looks good so far! I am still waiting to talk to my regular doctor to get his thoughts (the doctor I spoke with was the doctor located at the Fetal Assessment Center in the hospital) and I have several questions for him waiting, but we will certainly keep everyone posted.

I have certainly been through a wide range of emotions today which has been exhausting, and I can't quite bring myself to talk about those yet but I am sure there is more to come on the subject. Luckily, I have an amazing and beautiful baby waiting to be picked up who I have no doubt will brighten my day. And today, of all days, is certainly one that I need a big hug and a slobbery, wet, toddler kiss, hopefully followed by lots of play time and night-time snuggles.

Emma's First Aquarium Visit!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Well, we had a pretty darn successful trip to the National Aquarium today!! I think Emma had a great time despite cutting teeth left and right over the past few days and she was really good! I think she was a little overwhelmed when we first arrived, probably because it was a whopping 15 degrees outside and we had to walk a few blowls from the parking lot but once we were in and all warmed up, Emma was ready to run!! Although we only live about 15 minutes from one amazing aquarium, I had forgotten how long it had been since I had actually been there.

Our first stop after getting in and checking our stroller and coats was this awesome little maze of green tubes with water in then that would shoot up bubble every few seconds. Emma LOVED these and we ended up stopping by this area a few times for her to run through.

We arrived just about 45 minutes before the Dolphin Show so we ended up going through a few exhibits first. Mimi is probably going to hate me for posting this picture but I think it's adorable. We were heading through the Australian Wild Extreme Exhibit and Emma was LOVING getting to see all the fish and snakes and turtles just to name a few! I love the expression on her face (not to mention Mimi's face too haha). :)

I love this picture too (although the aquarium was pretty tricky photography-wise) but while Mimi was saving us some good seats in the Dolphin Show Emma and I walked down a level and came to find a HUGE viewing window where we could see the dolphin's swimming. This was probably one of Emma's favorites because they came so close to the window. As you can somewhat see from the picture, her hands are covering her mouth in excitement!

Next on to the Dolphin Show!! Mimi and I were somewhat disappointed in the show and Emma certainly got bored during the middle because they would point to these two big screens on the side of the tank and we were watch a video, that not many folks would pay attention too. I did catch a couple of pictures of the beginning and end when the dolphins were out in force though!

By the end of the show, which was right around lunch time, Emma was getting pretty restless so out came the strawberries and Cheerios which she ended up chewing on the container more often then not. She has recently had two of her I-teeth (I think that's what they are called) pop through with the other two on the way. So you can imagine that pretty much anything and everything is going right in the mouth!  

After the dolphin show we hit up the shark exhibit and by that time, Emma was ready to run so both Mimi and Mommy were on high alert! She sure had a good time and even held out through lunch! We had a great day and I truly enjoyed spending time with both my baby and my mom! Thanks again for joining us on our special day Mimi!

I was just about hit "Publish Post" when I realized that not only did we have a great day, but how important days like this are to me. Even though tomorrow morning at work will be a nightmare going through the 200 emails that I got today, and I burned a day of vacation because day-care was closed, but how often do I get to spend an entire day with my little girl, showing her something that she has never seen before and watching her just soaking in every second. At first I was planning on taking the Blackberry with me to avoid the mass quantities of emails the next day but I didn't, and I am glad that I didn't. I also couldn't decide originally if I wanted to take my camera or not because sometimes you want to be IN the moment, rather then hiding behind the lens but I am glad that I did. I think I did pretty good balancing taking pictures and having fun with my baby, which is why you don't see pictures of a lot of the exhibits and things that we saw. It's easy to lose sight at how amazing these kinds of days are if you get caught up in the crowds and cost of parking and things like that. But it truly was an amazing day that I am going to always remember!

Guess Where We Are Off To...

Guess where Emma, Mommy and Mimi are headed to today!! Here's a hint...

A few weeks ago when I realized that daycare was going to be closed two Mondays in a row (one for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day which Wes also had off for, and one for a Teacher In-Service day) and that it was only a few short weeks until Emma would have to share Mommy and Daddy for forever, I decided that my baby needed a few special days to make sure that she wasn't going to get lost in all of the craziness that preparing for a new baby brings. So, we are off to have a great day and to check out some of the awesome exhibits at the National Aquarium.

Having free tickets for admission and the dolphin show through work doesn't hurt either. Ha! :)

Brain Dump Update & Weekend Goals!

Friday, January 21, 2011

I never really expected the Brain Dump to be as popular as it was (I got several emails and comments about it) but I was really excited to see that other people found it helpful as well!! Although I can't say that since I have done the Brain Dump I have never had a bad night of sleep, and I am sure there will always be nights when you can't turn your brain off, but I have noticed a difference in my stress level and have certainly had fewer nights where I can't sleep (at least because of my brain not turning off).

I have been knocking things off the list slowly, but knocking them off none-the-less. Below is a picture of what the Brain Dump looks like as of today. The items that have the arrows next to them are all things that I am planning on knocking off the list this weekend.

Note: The picture isn't of my list in its entirety, just about the top half, but it at least shows everything in light gray that I have completed so far.

Also, stay tuned for an update (hopefully next week) on how the budget planning/monitoring is going! So far, it's going really well! I was just going to wait until we have a full month of budget tracking done so I could comment on what went well, what didn't go so well and what I am going to do different in the future!

And The Winning Design Is.....

A combination of the two ideas that we had before!!

You will have to use your imagination here a little bit and disregard my lack of picture editing abilities but we decided to go with the light blue with all white strips for Jackson's room, but keep the little punch of color with some dark blue navy curtains. Jackson's furniture is also black, not espresso like in the picture.

Hopefully we will have some progress pictures to upload after this weekend. So far all of our guest room furniture and "stuff" is broken down and cleared out, the bottom portion of the chair rail is painted white (although the chair rail isn't up yet), curtains are purchased, dresser is up and put together, crib is in hand and ready to be assembled, mattress and sheets are purchased and in hand, and the closet is starting to fill up with some adorable little manly outfits. I also started picking up some of the smaller things here and there like some more bibs, another diaper genie (for ease of changing diapers in two different rooms), changing pad cover, etc.  I would also like to get a little modular organization/storage system like Emma has in her room because we use that on a daily basis and it is perfect for keeping track of those little tiny bath towels, wash cloths, burp cloths, shoes, diapers, wipes, blankets and more! It's also the perfect spot and adds some more room to hold things like humidifiers and CD players (Emma still listens to her music when falling asleep at night and during naps, so this is a must)!

One of the great things about having two little ones under two is that we get to reuse a lot of Emma's stuff!! So her changing pad will now be Jackson's, as well as her rocker in her room since we don't really use that anymore (except to throw clean clothes on when Mommy is putting laundry away and Emma is trying to throw it all on the floor). :)

Skinny Minnie & Wake Ups

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What a post title huh? Ha! Let's just say that it's pretty much a miracle that I am even awake past 9:00PM let alone semi-functioning so my creativity juices aren't exactly flowing.

As we are getting ready for Jackson's arrival we have started pulling out some of our old baby items and one of those things was Emma's Bumbo seat! Well, she sure has been having a great time with it and wouldn't you know, she fits in it better now than then she did when she was 6 months old. My baby peanut sure is a skinny minnie!!

Emma started doing this little wake up routine a couple of weeks ago and although it makes it a bit tough to get up and out of the house in the morning, it's so darn cute that I couldn't resist trying to snap a picture of it. Mostly on the weekends though when Emma wakes up from her nap, she immediately wants to read books. Books are certainly one of her favorite things and she will easily stay in her crib for a good 30 minutes after waking up from a nap as long as she has her books. Here she is "reading" all about Beauty and The Beast. :)

2010: A Year in Review (July - December)

Monday, January 17, 2011

It's been a busy couple of days so I am just not trying to finish up my recap of 2010. More to come on what happened last week and Emma's fun "sleep week" as we like to call it. ACK.

It's kind of funny because when I was look back through the blog to do the recap of the last half of 2010, I realized how much my blog fell off and how there were only a couple of posts each month because Emma was sure keeping us busy! So needless to say the July - December recap will probably be a lot shorter! Ha!

We start off in July, with a new one year old who was keeping us on our toes for sure. This is when we also started Emma's daily antibiotics/study medicine and we introduced the poop tracker of 2010 haha! Emma took her first steps on Tuesday, July 13th, was working on cutting her 8th tooth, was on whole milk and completely off her pacifier.

July also brought on the warmer weather and Emma's first trip out on her Pop's boat! She has always loved being outside and despite her not being such a fan of her life jacket, she very much enjoyed her first boat trip and actually like swimming in the Magothy River more so than in any pools! Emma was already working on her animal sounds (which is one of her favorite things to this day) and would respond with "ooooh ooooh" for a dog, "aaaahahhh" for a lion and "Mmmm" for a cow.

August brought on Emma's 2nd vacation to Ocean City but her first time visiting the beach! Surprisingly, she LOVED to play in the sand but wasn't too much of a fan of the waves and water. Emma also had her one year appointment at the doctors in August and was in the 50th percentile for height, in between the 10 - 25th percentile for weight, and in the 25th percentile for head circumference. So she is average height, skinny and small head. Just like Daddy! Ha!

We actually found out in July that we were expecting Baby #2, we didn't spread the news until September when I was about 13 weeks pregnant. At the same time, Emma was just starting her first classes at Junior Tumblebees which she completely loved! It was a rough start for Mommy since I was completely exhausted after work and had to go chase Emma around the gym, but she loved it and that's what matters!!

Although I was getting a little better with my photography, I started to realize that most of my pictures were of the back of Emma's head because she was always on the go! Once she started walking, she didn't stop!!

October brought us to 16 weeks pregnant with a 15 month old which was pretty tricky! This month was filled with exciting news when we found out we were expecting a boy, but it also brought some surprises, like finding out baby Jackson had two Choroid Plexus Cysts (CPC) which is one of the markers for Down Syndrome and Trisomy 13 and 18 chromosome abnormalities. Luckily, the CPCs disappeared on their own (much later on) but it certainly was a bump in the road!

In October, we once again participated in the Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk in my grandmother's name and Emma had a great time, and pregnant Mommy survived! :) It was a bright and sunny day and Emma got to see lots of other little ones and puppies which she loved.

At the end of October we celebrated Emma's 2nd Halloween where she was a fairy princess one day (during her daycare Halloween parade) and Minnie Mouse on the actual holiday. I was never a huge fan of Halloween growing up but ever since we had Emma, it's one of my absolute favorite days of the year. Emma walked around the house sporting those Minnie Mouse ears for weeks!

Although Emma was still a very happy go lucky baby, she certainly was developing her own personality and becoming more and more outspoken as she learned she could communicate. This resulted in the purchase of a Time Out Spot where luckily, her Pluto sticker has spent most of the time on instead of her. Ha!

December brought a lot of changes for sure! Mommy turned 6 months pregnant, we picked out a name for our baby boy (Jackson Douglas) and Emma turned into a full on 18 month old toddler! She was in a new room at daycare, down to one nap a day and more active than ever. We once again went out into the cold and cut down our Christmas tree, celebrated Emma's 2nd Christmas and overall had a fantastic month!!

2010 was an absolutely amazing year! It certainly came with it's surprises and its up and downs but I wouldn't have had it any other way. Emma has continued to be the love of our lives and we can't wait to get to meet our new little man which will only add to our joy! I can't wait to share what 2011 will bring and hopefully I will have enough time to actually keep you updated in between dirty diapers, runny noses, belly laughs, birthday parties, giggles, kisses and lots and lots of love.

Emma & Her Pop

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Emma has so far, been a pretty shy baby when it comes to any older men that aren't her daddy, including both of her grandfathers and uncles. Once and a while she will be drawn to a certain man (sorry honey, it's starting early) but for the most part, she is pretty consistent with her fear of older men.

In most cases, Mommy and Daddy are perfectly fine with this and hope that it continues until she is at least 30 years old (haha) but when it comes to people like her Pop who has been trying so hard since the day she was born to have a good relationship and have her get to know him, it's been heartbreaking to watch Pop try so hard, only to have Emma run for cover.

Granted, I think for the past few months it has become a game more than anything, but would rarely let Pop hold her or play with her and basically get within a 3 foot bubble around her.

But all that changed overnight.

Mimi and Pop offered to babysit Emma one day over the holiday break so Mommy could work and Daddy could get some painting done in Jackson's room. Pretty much from the minute they arrived, Emma was GLUED to her Pop's side. From what I hear, Pop didn't get a break all day and even when I got to the house that night, she barely wanted anything to do with me, she just wanted her Pop. She wanted to play with him, she wanted to snuggle with him, she followed him around the entire house and even "helped" build a fire with Pop (and by "helped" I mean made a giant mess with the Newspaper while standing about 5 feet away from the fireplace haha).

Poor Pop though had a long night the night before as Mimi and Pop hosted a little holiday party for some friends and clearly had a great time haha. So needless to say, Pop was a little pooped the next day but that just led to pictures as cute as this one...

30 Weeks & Jackson's a Cabbage!

We are officially 3/4 of the way there!! Which is excited and really scary all at the same time! ACK! Yesterday, Jackson turned 30 Weeks and Mommy pretty much turned miserable haha! I sure wasn't expecting an overnight change in how I felt but I sure got one! I had been having some back pain lately which I was lucky enough to almost completely avoid with Emma, but yesterday started the hip and joint pain as well. 

Jackson is about 15.7 inches long now, and weighs almost 3 pounds (like a head of cabbage). A pint and a half of amniotic fluid surrounds him, but that volume will decrease as he gets bigger and takes up more room. His eyesight continues to develop, though it's not very keen; even after he's born, he'll keep her eyes closed for a good part of the day. When he does open them, he'll respond to changes in light but will have 20/400 vision — which means he can only make out objects a few inches from his face.

I know I have been slacking with the belly pictures with Jackson but here is the latest and greatest. I am definitely MUCH bigger this time around am carrying Jackson much lower than I did with Emma. Maybe that's why I have been lucky enough to almost completely avoid heartburn this time around but my hips sure are paying the price. I have taken a couple other pictures but didn't have the courage to post them! Ha!

Here I am, at exactly 30 weeks!

To compare with Emma...this is me with Jackson at 30 weeks, and me with Emma at 34 weeks!! Its a little hard to tell because the scale on the pictures is a bit different but to me, I look bigger with Jackson and I am 4 weeks behind!! WOWZA!!

Jackson's First Hiccups!

Monday, January 10, 2011

I am pretty sure that I could be pregnant 1,000 times and never get tired of feeling the baby have hiccups for the first time. Now, the having to go to the bathroom every 3.5 seconds is a different story. Ha!

I distinctly remember when Emma got her first hiccups and this time around with Jackson was no different. It still took me a minute or two to realize what was going on and why he was moving around so much!! I first felt Emma have hiccups at 32 weeks and 6 days. Jackson is already trying to show-up his big sister because I felt them for the first time today at 29 weeks and 5 days. Let the sibling rivalry begin!

2010: A Year in Review (January - June)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

I don't know how many times I have uttered this phrase over the past year but holy cow, what a difference a year makes.

I think it's pretty natural to think back about the past year at the same time you are thinking about the upcoming year around the holidays. Although I still find myself wondering what in the world happened to 2008, I have also found myself reflecting back on 2010 a lot lately.

At the start of 2010, Emma had just turned 6 months old and was just coming off of a few tough months filled with RSV and the H1N1 flu. She was just finding her new love of standing up (although she wasn't pulling herself up yet), applesauce, chewing on her toes and Tigger and Pooh. She was in the 50th percentile for all of her stats and was about 5 pounds lighter than she is today.


She was pretty much still as bald as a Q-ball but was as cute as ever. I was still just getting into my photography as a hobby and Emma was proving to be the perfect subject because she couldn't quite get away yet. :) She certainly already had those piercing blue eyes that could melt your heart in a second. Watch out boys!!

From the start, Emma was a happy and easy going baby who loved to play with her big cousins and continued to soak life in as much as she could. She also did really well whenever she was pulled somewhat out of her routine for parties or family get-togethers.

2010 was certainly a year of firsts for Emma, especially when it came to trying new foods. We started out slowly with some Puffs in January and although the first attempt was a little "iffy" (as you can see by this picture haha), overall each new food was a big success!

Emma certainly continued her happy-go-lucky personality and was one of the happiest babies (for the most part) that I have ever seen. To this day I still get lots of comments on her happy personality and boy once she learned to stick that little baby tongue out, I don't think it ever stopped!  

Once she got over some of her crazy illnesses that we kicked off 2010 with, we started to have some more fun and was able to head to a fun little photography get together where Emma once again demonstrated not only her flexibility, but her love for the taste of toes. Ha!

2010 also brought us A.L.O.T. of snow, and this was another one of Emma's firsts. She didn't so much want to touch the snow, but loved being outside and especially loved being thrown up in the air. She also continued her love for her Shamie and as she got older, she learned just exactly how much she could put him through and how amazing of a companion he would become.

Another first for Emma this year was swimming! We started our Kids First Swim School classes and Emma loved them from the beginning. We are still awaiting Micheal Phelps's phone call begging to be Emma's swim coach in preparation for the 2024 and 2028 Summer Olympics based on her performance at Mommy and Me Swim Class, but it should be at any day now!


Emma also got her first real boo-boo in 2010 when one of her daycare teachers was holding her and fell. Emma hit her face on the corner of a cabinet on the way down but darn it if she still didn't look totally adorable even with her first ouchie. :)

As the weather started to warm up in the spring, we started to enjoy some more outside fun and headed to the park every so often (weather permitting).

Although the Puffs were a success in early 2010, veggies were certainly a different story. They were never a hit after the infant veggies that she loved so much and to this day, pretty much as the exact same reaction to any kind of veggie there is. Ha!

Mommy continued to play with photography as a hobby and Emma was happy as a clam to pose in her favorite outfits and flower headbands. Ha! I still think this is probably my all time favorite picture that I have of her so far. Then she learned to crawl and Mommy's photography got harder and harder. :)

Before we knew it, spring was turning into summer which meant more trips to the park, Emma's first experience swinging (which she was not exactly a fan of), more swimming and certainly where Emma started to develop her love of the outdoors (or "out-siiii" as she likes to call it).

Unfortunately, the sicknesses of 2009 continued and Emma also experienced her first ever stomach virus right before celebrating her first Easter. Ick! We had a hard time getting rid of this one as it seemed to creep back every so often. But after taking it extremely slow for just about a week, we finally kicked the virus and Emma was back to normal.

But along with the non-so-fun firsts (like the stomach virus), we continued to get to experience other firsts like Easter, and her first chance to Pickey-Egg!

Just after Emma turned 9 months she headed back to the doctors for her regular check up where she weighed in at 17 pounds and 7 ounces and was in the 25th percentile for weight. She was 27 and 3/4 inches long and in the 50th percentile for height so this is just about the time where she started to thin and stretch out. Although you wouldn't be able to tell from this picture haha! She always was a fan of naked time after her bath! :)

Since Emma was becoming more and more mobile, we started to find her in some pretty funny places around the house. To this day, she still loves to try to hide from Mommy and Daddy in this exact same spot! At just about 10 months old she was pulling herself up to standing! Also by this point, she was working on cutting her fourth tooth!

We also got to take Emma to the zoo for the first time in May which she loved. She is definitely an animal lover and all of her favorite books and shows and things to say all have to do with animals.

The more Emma learned to move around in the daytime, the more she learned to move around at night! We would find her (and still do) in some of the funniest positions for sleeping! I wish I could take more pictures of her but learned my lesson after a few days when the flash woke her up and it took about 2 hours for her to go back to sleep. Oops!

Emma finally also got over her fear of touching grass which was holding her back from her love of the outdoors since she couldn't walk yet! :)

We also got to experience our first hair bow once we had enough hair to have it stay in!! Ha!! Around the same time she had her 5th and 6th teeth pop through (at just under 11 months old).

Emma certainly took her time as a baby with things like rolling over and crawling, but one thing she didn't take her time with was cutting those baby teeth! In 2010, she ended up cutting 13 teeth total! Ouch!

May 2010 also brought on some challenges and tough days when we discovered Emma's VUR which ultimately led her to a lot of catheters, VCUG testing and even having to be sedated for her DMSA scan (that we will have to repeat in the spring of 2011).

At 11 months old (beginning on June) Emma was walking up and down furniture and constantly on the go! She was saying several words already like mama, dada, nana, baba (for bottle), duck, bye bye and could almost say ball. She also started her love of Tigger and Pooh Bear, dancing and started her fear of strangers (which was okay with Mommy)!

Emma also continued her love affair with her Mr. Bear. Now, why we call him "Mr." Bear even though he is pink, I have no idea. Ha! To this day Mr. Bear is a critical member of the household. Although we have tried to somewhat limit Mr. Bear's traveling, so the rule is that he stays in Emma's crib (unless she is sick) but boy is she happy to see him before nite-nite and nap time!

The end of June concluded with a big milestone: Emma's First Birthday! Although she couldn't quite walk just yet (she was only about 2 weeks away from her first steps) she was completely off her pacifier, saying more and more words like fan, caracker, cupcake, crab, car, cup, pop, papa, dog, ball, Emma and more. She was also starting to learn her animal sounds which once again, to this day, are one of her favorite things to do!

To be continued....check back soon for the July through December recap!
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