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January 31, 2010

To a First Time Mother

I received a matted print of the following poem from Rachel's Great Aunt Margot and Great Uncle Dave... 

To a First Time Mother

Relax, my dear, your little elf,
is just an amateur herself.
So if your hands, so newly filled with tasks,
seem somewhat less than skilled-
Relax, I say...this little pinkling
doesn't have the slightest inkling
that you are new to baby lore -
She's never had a mom before!

January 29, 2010

First Bath

After waiting what seemed like F O R E V E R for her cord to fall off (and after going to the doctor to have it looked at) Rachel's cord fell off on Sunday and I was able to give her a real bath! At first she was a little freaked out but she seemed to like it, she didn't fuss too much. I quickly washed her because I was worried she would slip in the tub. I'm new at this and wanted to be sure I had a good grip on her before getting too daring. She does love to have her hair washed. She loves it when we pour water over her head to rinse off the shampoo.  


January 27, 2010

Rachel turns 1/12 of a year old

Rachel turned one month old on Tuesday, January 19th!


January 23, 2010

Kari's Holday Letter 2009

Just as I sit down to begin my 2009 holiday letter (in January 2010) my new baby girl begins to cry. I guess you can say we ended our 2009 year with a big bang – the birth of our daughter, Rachel Suzanne on Saturday, December 19, 2009. I hadn’t planned on sending out Christmas cards this year, I planned on sending a New Year’s card and double it as a birth announcement.  I didn’t think our baby would be born in 2009 or 9 days early, so Rachel happened to really put the kabash on the New Year’s Card and as for this letter, viewing it online, you can say we’re “going green” this year. I’m sure by next year, the paper version will be back in action.  

Around this time last year, Dan and I were spending time in Puerto Vallarta Mexico, celebrating my friend’s 20-20 birthday. And shortly after our return from the warm weather, I threw my own 29.5 birthday party at the roller skating rink. That same month, Dan’s job was put on hold as he spent 3 weeks unemployed, a far cry from the original length of 3 months. Dan said goodbye to his truck he called “The Pig” – his 1995 Dodge Ram 3500 (Dually) 4x4 Cummins.

February we celebrated the super bowl at a friend’s party. We took care of our dentist appointments, got the dogs to the vet for their check-ups, and tried to stay warm. March came and went and before we knew it, it was opening day at Comerica Park in April. Dan spent the day in Detroit celebrating and watching the game with the ticket I bought for him and the following day we moved a shed that we purchased at an auction the week before.

Dan’s second annual bachelor party was spent at a Tigers game in Detroit in May, I attended a bachelorette party for my friend Heather in Windsor, and we organized and hosted a benefit golf outing for Jax Johnson (and we raised over $4,000!) We celebrated our first wedding anniversary and found out I was pregnant.

Halfway thru the year and we said goodbye to Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and our beloved K9 Cletus. My surprise 30th birthday party was in June, and after finding out about the event, I surprised my guests by telling them I was expecting.  We went strawberry picking at a local farm and for the first time I made strawberry jam!

We had two camping trips planned this year – one was in July and it rained the entire weekend. We did see sunshine during a four hour stretch that allowed us to float down a river in a tube. I felt our baby move for the first time this month and I got poison ivy while trimming trees in our yard.

In August for our second camping weekend we broke out our brand new tent we received as a wedding gift. And it leaked. All weekend it rained and all weekend our tent was leaking water. We found out this month we were having a baby girl on or around December 28th. My VW Bug debuted in it’s first bug show not far from our home.

We began to put our nursery together – slowly but surely in September. We bought some hangers, emptied out our office, had our carpets cleaned, I refinished a dresser and began to sort thru the baby clothes my sister gave to me. We took a class on how to prepare our pooch, Rockwell, for a baby. Most of our thoughts revolve around having a child at this point in our life – we have to hurry up and do things before this baby arrives.

In October I flew to Georgia to visit my sister and niece and we had our first baby shower in the thumb. And how can I forget Halloween? Dan and I took advantage of my “baby bump” and went as a shotgun wedding. Sadly we didn’t win any prizes. Braxton Hicks contractions began this month and continued through my pregnancy.

We continued to take more classes to prepare for our baby in November, as well as celebrate two Thanksgivings, and have our Nut Cracking baby shower. I had most of my Christmas shopping done hoping and anticipating we would have a baby before Christmas and the New Year.

December started out as a normal December…Christmas Parties, Tree Trimming, Hair Cuts, Gift Shopping, Pot Luck Recipes but a few new items were added: Car Seat Inspection, Doctor Appointments, Meet the Pediatrician, Belly Photos and Santa Photos with Rockwell. Then, on Friday, December 18th we made a trip to the hospital and the next day had our baby girl!

Whew, what a busy 2009, and thankfully we received our tax deduction - Baby Rachel! I’m wishing all of you a fun, happy and healthy 2010!

In my annual fashion…
In the spirit of supporting our friends, family and community, we are very proud to announce we have made contributions totaling over $1,200 to the organizations listed below. We invite you to share in this sense of accomplishment, for it is your continued patronage that is the cornerstone of this financial assistance.

Alzheimer’s Association – Greater Michigan Chapter
The Salvation Army
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure – Greater Lansing
Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation – In Memory of Ehren Peyerk
The American Cancer Society
The Travis Chellis Foundation
Peace Corps
Habitat for Humanity – Canada
Thumb Industries Walk-a-Thon
Last Chance Rescue
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Honduras Mission Project
Special Olympics of Michigan
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Livingston County
American Diabetes Association
Eric Carpenter Family Assistance Fund
Brides Against Breast Cancer

January 22, 2010

Dad Dresses Baby

My husband is too funny with our daughter. Often he dresses her on the weekend in the morning when he changes her diaper. During Christmastime, he came out of her room after a diaper change with her babies first Christmas outfit on. A cute surprise that everyone enjoyed.

This Monday morning he was off for MLK day and when I came into the room to put something away, he was finishing up dressing her and turned to me and said "look at me" showing off Rachel's new slippers that Faux Aunt Amy P. and Faux Aunt Cathy K. gave to her. It was too cute. (And we won't talk about the outfit she's wearing and the fact that he put it on backwards....he insisted on turning it around the right way, and I told him not to worry about but wait until her next diaper change! He gets an A++ just for being the big help he is!)

January 21, 2010

Moving Along

Things seem to be going well with our new baby. She's almost a month old and I cannot complain when she goes six to seven hours during the night before wanting to be fed. She eats well and seems to be a well behaved baby - but we really have nothing to compare her to!

She has already noticed things in front of her face, and will move her eyes from side to side to watch them move. She likes her play mat and will grab at the toys that hang down near her. She will hold onto them for dear life or else bat at them like she's swinging for a baseball.

She doesn't mind tummy time and several people have commented on her "good head control" so I guess it's working!


January 20, 2010

Bambina Photos

Here are some photos of our little Bambina!

January 19, 2010

New Clothes

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I think it started with my shower....and the fact that I shaved my legs. This was the first time I shaved my legs since the day before my daughter was born. I really didn't see the point in shaving them, no sex for at least six weeks after giving birth and it's winter, so I won't be showing off my legs any time soon. On a side note, I have been keeping up with shaving my armpit hair!

This smooth skin prompted me to try on my "normal" jeans, a.k.a. my pre-pregnancy jeans. They fit and so did a belt and a tank top and a sweater, all things I wore before having my baby belly. These new clothes feel good - my incision is looking good, it's just a thin light purple line and is completely numb. Just above the incision the skin is "crazy sensitive" and I'm not sure why but it does take a bit of getting used to having my normal pants rub on the sensitive area. But so far, so good.

I've since removed all of the maternity clothes from my closet....now to fold them up, and figure out what to do with them!

January 18, 2010

Kids Today

I bought my husband a pair of steel toe boots for Christmas and he was wearing them around the house to break them in. The other day he went out and was debuting his new boots, complete with the tags on. I asked him before he left if he wanted me to cut the tag off his right foot and he said, "No, that's how the kids are wearing them today." Thankfully when he returned home, the tag was gone!

January 17, 2010

Squirmie Squirmie Squirmie

My friend has four children and at some point or another, I've babysat for them all. I have nick named three of them. Usually the child "earns" their nick name and recently, the mother of these four children asked what my daughter's nick name was. I assured her she didn't have one yet, and someone else had to give her one. Well, that someone is my husband. He doesn't know it yet, but I've started to refer to her as "Squirmie."

This name came from me hearing my husband on the baby monitor. When he changes her, I can hear him say, "Hey, Squirmie, Squirmie, Squirmie" because she squirms on the changing table. It's cute and comical and I love the voice he uses when he says it.

January 15, 2010

When Will I see You Again?!?

Whenever friends and family see Rachel and I, they often ask when they will see me again. I'm pretty smart and know they really want to see baby Rachel, so I have to keep them happy with photos. Here are a few.


January 13, 2010

Packing for the Hospital

After having a baby via c-section, I would do the following things differently:

1-Pack for a c-section.
I wish I would have packed more lounge clothes and pants for post baby when I was at the hospital. I stayed longer than anticipated because of my surgery and wished I had a few more change of clothes. For an entire day, I was in bed and I didn't want to wear the same clothes again when I was able to get out of bed and walk.

I did bring a bath robe to the hosptial. I can see how it would not be necessary if your delivery was a vaginal one, but for a c-section, I hung out in a hospital gown for an entire day and it was nice to wear a bath robe over my gown when visitors arrived.

2-Bring your own sanitary napkins/pads.
The hospital will have some for you, but my hospital put two pads in at one time. Not all that comfortable, since one pad always seems to fold over and ride up your butt crack. Once I put in my own pads, I was much more comfortable. Yes, you bleed after a c-section.

3-Mesh Underwear
I loved the mesh underwear the hosptial gave me. They are somewhat like boy shorts, and I actually took a few pairs home and am still wearing them today. They are very helpful right now since none of my undies are high enough to cover my c-section scar (the waistline hits just on the incision).

4-Notebook and Folder
Bring a notebook and folder. Write down information such as the name of doctors, or things staff asks you to do. We met with a few specialists and asked for their business cards, and put them in our folder. This way we could easily recall which doctor we saw and have their phone number on hand to schedule appointments.

5-Borrow from the hospital.
When your baby comes to you in their "crib" from the hospital, they will arrive with a stockpile of diapers and wipes. I suggest taking a few diapers here and there and stock piling them. When you go to leave the hosptial, empty out your supply because the hospital cannot re-use them. They will just become trash.

6-Boxes and Bags
Pack a few boxes or bags in your car to carry things home - flowers, the diapers I referenced above, paperwork, etc.

7-Gifts for Nurses
Be sure to bring gifts for the nurses. I had two nurses during labor and deliery (due to a shift change) and then a day and night nurse for my recovery time in the mother/baby unit. There were also technicians who helped me to the bathroom, changed my linens, and got me more towels and a fresh gown. I was lucky to have almost the same nurses each day and got to know and love them all! I gave them scratch pads as gifts and next time would bring them a snack basket/box and probably homemade treats.

I was unable to take a tour of the hospital due to the H1N1 Swine Flu but if I had taken a tour, I would have realized the showers are not in your room, but down the hall. I would have brought shower flip flops. Thankfuly the hospital showers were very clean and they had a spray bottle of disinfectant in the stalls, so I was able to re-treat the floor before I took a shower. I also brought some slippers, which I recommend, since I was in and out of bed a lot.

January 10, 2010

The Brown Truck

Tuesday the "Brown Truck" a.k.a. The UPS truck, delivered a large box that said "Perishable" on the side. Inside was an awesome gift basket from my husband's office. I love packages and surprises and the contents inside were fabulous - 2 bottles of wine,a teddy bear, coffee, chocolates, nuts, meat, cheese and crackers, mints and cookies!

January 07, 2010

Nemo Ear

My brand new daughter was born with something I like to call a "Nemo Ear." I named her ear the Nemo Ear because of the movie Finding Nemo. If you have seen the movie, you may recall, Nemo is a clown fish with a smaller fin on one side of his body. My daughter has the exact thing but it's not a fin, it's her ear.

When I met my daughter in the operating room for the first time, the doctor not only showed me the faux hawk she made with her hair, but she showed me her normal left ear and her smaller right ear. I recall the doctor saying something about her ear being smaller and there was a lot of "tissue" on the small ear. Her right ear is smaller than her left ear, and somewhat deformed. There is no opening to the ear canal, therefore she cannot hear.

It took me a while to get upset about this situation/her ear condition. I think it was a few days after I delivered her and we were at home when the "baby blues" set in and a few times I cried about my daughter not having a normal ear. But for the most part, I wasn't upset. It is what it is and I haven't talked about it with many peopole because we are working with ear, nose and throat doctors and plastic surgeons to figure out a plan.

I think the hardest part for me was Christmas day when my husband presented me and our six day old daughter with a pair of diamond earrings! I've been teasing my sister for three years that I was going to pierce her daughter's ears, so my husband knows how badly I want my baby to have her ears pierced. Receiving the diamond earrings made me realize she may not be able to have her ears pierced for a while.

We met with a plastic surgeon and ENT doctor while in the hosptial and have since had a hearing test at U of M. The ENT doctor informed us the outside of the ear is the last to form, so he is 90% sure the inner structures of the ear are there and working. The plastic surgeon said she has Microtia which means "small ear." The plastic surgeon said they will not rebuild an ear until she is seven, because at that age, the ear is usually the size of an adult ear. He said her lobe is great and usable and this is a very good thing because the ear lobe is one of the hardest things to re-create. The plastic surgeon also put a piece of tape on her ear. We have to keep it on her ear for four weeks, then visit the doctor again. The purpose is simply to keep the ear flat against her head, so as she ages, it doesn't stick out. Honestly, that's the least of my worries. I just want to be sure she can hear!

She had a hearing test at U of M and we were told her inner ear can hear bone vibrations, which means that if sound could get in, she could probably hear. We met with a doctor at U of M and found out our short term options are to have hearing tests every six months for a few years and a genetics test to rule out any kidney disorder which is commonly associated with this condition.

Long term, she will have a CAT scan around age 3 or 4. This will determine what is actually inside the ear. She most likely will not have any sort of surgery until she is 7 and they would open the ear canal and reconstruct an ear at that time.

As for hearing, she will probably be fine because her left ear can hear fine. She probably won't have any balance issues or speech issues and she won't get an ear infection in her right ear. Overall she will be fine. And I'll continue to update everyone if we find out any additional information.

To lighten things up a little bit...At least while she has the tape on her ear, it's hat season!

January 05, 2010

My Favorite Things

A few of my favorite things now that I am a mother:

1-My Breast Friend Nursing Pillow. I was introduced to this pillow by a friend and I love it. It works better than any other pillow, or combination of pillows for nursing.

2-Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter. This is also the best nursing accessory. It's pricey, a small pot is $15, but works awesome. So awesome, I want another pot, so I can have one in the diaper bag and one in the Breast Friend pillow pocket! I have yet to experience and side effects from nursing - no cracked nipples, no soreness - and I attribute it all to this butter!

3-Halo SleepSacks. These sleep sacks were recommended to me by a few veteran moms as well as the NICU doctor at the hosptial, and I am so glad we put them on our registry. My husband has even commented they are "awesome." We dress our daughter in a long sleeve cotton gown, the ones that are open at the bottom, and then put her in the sleep sack and often swaddler her with the sleep sack swaddler. It keeps her nice and warm and she loves it.


January 04, 2010

Blue Jeans

I have to brag because I am so proud of myself. If any of my loyal blog stalkers recall, my cousin told me at my shower in October I would be in my normal jeans two weeks after having a baby. Well, the 2 week mark was yesterday and last night before going to bed, I tried on my normal, pre-baby jeans and they fit awesome. I still feel like I have a belly, but they zipped and buttoned with minimal effort. And my husband said they looked good. Unfortunately I can't wear them because they are uncomfortable on my incision.

All the hard work at the gym and the eating habits paid off! I gained a total of 15 pounds during my pregnancy and can't officially work out for another 2 to 4 weeks! Hopefully I'll be back in shape in no time!

January 02, 2010

What I Learned from Being Pregnant

No two pregnant women look alike. We didn't look alike before getting pregnant, so why would we look alike now?

I have a love hate relationship with all maternity pants. I think I owned all waistlines available in maternity pants: real waist, complete with belt loops, a waist with a button and a zipper, elastic waist, and high/over the belly waist.

In the beginning I preferred the low/natural waist pants. This waist seemed to give me some extra room that i needed to breathe.

In the end I preferred the full belly pant. But I didn't like the light or nude color elastic belly band, because I always tried to wear non-maternity shirts with my pants and the shirts were always too short and showed the sexy nude elastic. Now, had it been summer and I wanted to wear light colored clothing, I can see how the nude color would come in handy. Also, the high waist may fit well, but all of the shirts worn over the belly stick to the elastic waist. I was constantly pulling down my shirt which would stick to the waist!

Mom Has Needs, too.
Sure, a baby needs a lot of things, but a mother may need more. I used to rush out and buy my friends a baby outfit or book when I found out they were pregnant. This will happen no more! Mom's need lots of stuff: new clothes, bras, undies, sometimes wider shoes, massages and chocolate shakes. So a gift card is in order for all of my future friends who get knocked up.

What to Expect When You're Expecting is the most useless book
Maybe I'm just "too smart" but I found the book What to Expect When You're Expecting pretty boring. Most of the issues/questions are very common sense questions. I found this book very boring and hardly used it. Good thing I picked it up at a second-hand sale for $1.

Take Care of Yourself Before, During and After Pregnancy
I was 30 when I got pregnant and had my first child. I was so fearful of gaining a lot of weight and then struggling to lose it post baby. I learned quickly if I take care of myself all through my pregnancy with good eating habits and continuing to exercise, the weight won't pack on as quickly as you think. I didn't feel like being pregnant was an excuse for me to "eat for two" or pile in fast food and sweets. This allowed me to gain 15 pounds, and I was encouraged to gain 15-25.

After pregnancy it is still important to eat right, exercise, try to get enough sleep and ask for help when needed.