Alexa is such a wonderful blessing in our lives and we are so grateful we got to have this first Christmas with her and spend it with our family's as well. Here are some more pictures we thought we would share:
First family Christmas photo
Alexa with Grandma & Grandpa Ladd
Alexa with Aunt Taryne & cousin Loghen
Alexa and Uncle John (looking good with his new haircut)
Callie did an excellent job helping John open his gifts. It was so funny!
Sara and her girls (Callie has been Sara's dog for 16 years. She lives with Grandma and Grandpa Dorn now though).
Alexa with Grandma & Grandpa Dorn
Alexa received many wonderful gifts for Christmas but some of the most special ones were the gifts that were homemade:
This past Sunday, we had family Christmas get together's on both sides of our families. This was the first time many people in our family's had seen Alexa. We were supposed to wait 8 weeks before Alexa was around a big group of people but since it is Christmas we decided to break the rules. It just wouldn't seem like Christmas if we didn't get to spend it with our family and that's why we moved back to Nebraska after all. I must say Alexa handled the busy day quite well.
The Chamberlain clan (Sara's Mom's side). Just pretend Paul's face isn't cut off in this picture...
4 Generations - Grandma Celia, Great-Grandpa Gene, Sara, and Alexa.
Paul's niece, Loghen, was so very cute with Alexa. She had been waiting to meet her and is looking forward to when uncle Paul will let her hold her. I don't think Loghen expected Alexa to cry quite so much so I bet when Alexa calms down a bit the two of them will be good buds. I can remember having some older cousins when I was young that I really looked up to and looked forward to seeing whenever I could. I hope it will be that same way with these two!
This week Paul and I learned a trick - if we make fools of ourselves, Alexa will stop crying and get happy really fast. It kind of reminds me of the movie "Big Daddy" where the little boy, Julian, thinks it's funny when Adam Sandler gets hurt.
Alexa's favorite thing is when we vibrate our lips and hum. This gets her to stop crying, start eating, wake up, get instantly happy, etc. It pretty much works every time. The problem is this isn't something we can do 24/7. Our lips start hurting pretty fast and after so many minutes of doing this my lips just stop working. Sometimes singing works too and I've learned that I really do need to learn more children's songs.
So in each of these pictures, I guarantee we're making funny noises...
This past Sunday, the 14th, two of my Dad's sisters (Barb & Linda) threw me a baby shower. Over 20 of my relatives from both sides of my family came and it was great to see everyone. Alexa didn't get to go because it is still recommended that she stay at home and limit her exposure to the cold and germs. She will soon be able to get out into the world though and we are very excited for this!!
This is the cake made by my Aunt Linda - yum yum!
Aunt Linda cutting the cake
Grandma Amy with one her many great-grandchildren, Jacob Alexander.
My cousin, Lisa, is in the blue and Aunt Barbie is in the white turtleneck. My cousin Amy is in the red in the background and her husband, Tony, is there too (he and my uncle Ralph hid in the family room during the shower).
Alexa's due date was supposed to be today! She decided to come a bit early as we all know and she continues to keep us on our toes. I have a feeling we're never going to have her completely figured out - she'll just keep the surprises coming.
I've learned that being a parent of an infant turns you into a detective of sorts. When Alexa cries, I don't really know why - is she cold/hot, hungry, need changed, need to be burped, uncomfortable, wants to cuddle, or ? We have been able to figure out her cries to some extent but it's still difficult to know if a cry means something more serious or not. For the most part Alexa is easily comforted and I think she just likes to be held. However, Alexa has been having what appears to be abdominal discomfort for the past few weeks. Some days are better than others but at times she makes it seem like it really is bothering her quite a lot. Sometimes she can be comforted and sometimes not. We did talk to the pediatrician about it last week and she suspected that Alexa has a sensitivity to the milk/dairy that I consume in my diet and recommended that I cut it out to see if that helps. Well I did do this (which is not as easy as it may sound - read the labels on your food and you'd be surprised what has milk in it) and we haven't seen as big of a difference as we would've liked. I also cut out all citris (which is hard for a juice lover like me) and all carbonated beverages. We're still in the process of figuring out what the source of her discomfort is and if anyone has any suggestions on what we may try we'd be glad to hear them.
The good news is Alexa is gaining weight like crazy and is definitely catching up considering she was so early. At her last appointment, she had gained 18 ounces in 2 weeks. She is still very short (only at 5% on the growth chart for full-term babies her age) but I figure she'll just fit in with both sides of our family that way.
So...we don't have a lot of pictures from this week since a lot of her awake time is spent being held or being upset. However, here are a few that I thought were pretty precious...
So I know this post should've been up a long time ago. I was waiting on the 2nd window valance to arrive because the one that came with the bed set was 6" too short (which I'm sure was very much planned by the manufacturer to sell more product - smart!) Anyway, here is Alexa's room and as you can see there is very little pink or purple because Paul had a very strong aversion to such colors (he has since lessened up on his dislike of these colors which is very helpful). Paul tried to explain to me that it was silly to buy a 6 piece baby bed set because it is recommended that you do not use the bumper pad or the baby quilt. I of course in my pregnant state did not listen to him but he was probably right. We don't use the baby quilt or bumper pad but I included them in this picture to pretend it was worth the money we spent. Paul was right again - though we'll just keep this a little secret.
The most comfy rocking chair in the world given to us by Grandpa Donn and Grandma Cheryl. This chair has been a lifesaver for those late night feedings!!
Last night was oh so exciting for me - I got to go out to eat! This didn't used to be so exciting but I haven't had the luxury of doing this since September due to bedrest and the busyness of the last few weeks. Since Alexa isn't allowed outside of the house for 8 weeks she stayed at home with Grandma and Grandpa Dorn and luckily was a perfect angel for them (she saved the screaming and being up for hours on end to the middle of the night when Dad was on duty). So for our date night we went to Valentino's buffet & Target to buy diapers. I know this sounds oh so exciting doesn't it. But hey, I'll take it!!
Trying to give our best smiles with very little sleep and just finishing up giving a last minute bath after quite the potty incident. We did make it out the door though and only a half hour after we planned. Not bad.
These next pictures have really nothing to do with date night but I thought they were cute...
So they say you can't spoil kiddos as young as Alexa so you can respond to their every whimper (which I must admit I probably would've done even if they didn't say this). But I think they are wrong - she is so incredibly spoiled already. I didn't get to hold her as much as I would've liked when she was in the hospital so perhaps I over did it when she got home. But whatever the reason she sure doesn't like to be left alone & she lets you know it too. So...I am writing this one handed as I hold her in the other arm. I thought maybe it was just me that she had outsmarted but she is doing the same thing to Daddy and Grandma Dorn too. So...getting pictures is very difficult because while she is awake she wants to be held - not posing for pictures. But anyway, here are a couple of keepers I captured today of my little cuddle bug.
So during bath time last night I realized that my daughter was blessed (or cursed) with her Mommy's curly hair. It looks pretty cute right now and hopefully she'll appreciate the curls unlike her mother.
Alexa is 2 weeks old already and I can hardly believe it. The time has gone by so fast (probably due in part to the fact that we hardly get any sleep and the days run together). But like all parents say it is all worth it. I just can't get over how fun it is to watch Alexa's many facial expressions and her little sneezes are to die for. She's quite fiesty and her scream is deafening - I can't help but wonder what we are in for.
Today it is beautiful outside which is very unusual for this time of the year in Nebraska. Alexa isn't supposed to go outside but we did have fun looking out the window at the bright sunny sky. We also had some "tummy time" today which Alexa is now getting used to. They said to try having Alexa lay on my belly while I am lying on the floor. Alexa seemed to enjoy this until it was time for "tummy time" to end and mommy remembered she doesn't have any ab muscles left due to the C-Section. It was quite interesting to get up off the floor in this position while holding a baby. Oh well...lesson learned. The other big part of today was that Alexa's umbilical cord fell off. I have to admit I was rather nervous about this but it was really no big deal in the end.
Well we have a lot to fill in since the last post. I think we'll start with the night our little one decided to be born. Nothing was unusual about that night...I had been having contractions since week 25 and the contractions I was getting were nothing different. I was sitting in bed watching Obama give his acceptance speech while Paul was in the kitchen doing dishes. At 10:55p my waters broke. Now mind you it took me a minute to process what was happening but there was absolutely no denying this is what happened. I yelled for Paul and when he came into the room he looked like he was in shock. He couldn't find the Dr's number in my phone and we went back and forth asking each other "What do we do now?" We did get the Dr and the hospital called and then we packed the bag. Yes..I know - you'd think that knowing we could deliver early we would've had this done already but for some reason or another we just kept putting it off. I'm sure this was quite the scene and we forgot a lot of things we were planning to bring along. On our way out the door we called my Dad and asked him to stop by our house and pick up our dog, Zoey, since it was cold outside and we didn't know how long we'd be gone. My dad did get the dog but he got picked up on his way home for a headlight being out and then when he left for the hospital, Zoey decided to eat a loaf of bread, 7-8 chocolate chip cookies, and some mac and cheese from my parents kitchen (and this wouldn't be the last of the food stealing...).
When we got to the hospital we let the staff know the baby had been breach at all of the previous appointments. After running a series of tests, confirming she was still breach, and discovering I was 8 cm dilated they decided to do an emergency C-Section. While I was laying on the operating table, Paul leaned over and asked what we were going to name the baby. Now of course we had talked about this but we hadn't decided 100% on a first name at this point. We had picked the middle name since this is a family name for both of our families. We decided to name her Alexa May Ladd and she was born at 1:21am on November 5 at 6 lbs 5.3 oz and 18 3/4 inches long. She had some troubles breathing at first and considering she was early at 34 1/2 weeks they took her to the NICU right away without me having a chance to see her first which was very difficult for me. Alexa was monitored for a lot her first few days of life. In addition to her O2, they were concerned about infection since my membranes had ruptured so she had to be on antibiotics through an IV in her head. She wasn't able to eat enough to maintain her temperature or maintain her weight and she did become jaundice as well. They wouldn't let us take her home until her temps went up, she ate enough, and she started to gain weight. She was a little trooper and on Thursday the 13th we got to bring her home.
The whole process was quite a whirlwind and I'm grateful everything turned out so well. It's good Alexa didn't wait one more day to be born because Paul was scheduled to go out of state on November 6. Both of our mothers were out of state as well when she was born but got to see her within a couple of days. Since my labor was so quick it went very well and my recovery was fairly easy also. Paul has been absolutely wonderful and I couldn't ask for a better husband. I feel so incredibly blessed by this whole experience and even though nothing really went as planned we have the most perfect baby in the world and the love we have for her is unexplainable. Here are some pictures from our journey so far...
Alexa and Daddy
Alexa & Mommy
Dad giving a bath in hospital
View from our NICU window. We were given the best room available the 2nd day Alexa was in the NICU. It was a corner room with a great view. We think it's because Alexa is such a loud screamer and this way the whole wing didn't have to hear her. The nurse's of course said this wasn't the case...(but they didn't have a different reason).