Thursday, July 7, 2016

Just Checkin In :)

Hi friends! We recently connected with a childhood friend of ours, who happens to be a photographer. Isn't it wonderful and convenient that I know so many photographers?? ;) lol Anyway, Laura K. Moore captured some beautiful photos of our little family and I just had to share a few of my favorites. We're so happy with how they came out!! 

 ^they're showing each other the rocks they found ;)
My handsome 2 year old!
Can't believe that Nol will be 1 next week!
Crazy about my boys!

If I had to sum up this stage of life in one word it would be "Constant." :) Elias is curious, rambunctious, and just BUSY. Nolan is starting to follow suit as he gets older. He has a more determined spirit than Elias, and does not have the concept of fear. They keep me on my toes all day. The boys are the best of friends and my heart just swells as I watch their relationship continue to grow. The four of us are so blessed and so thankful to have each other. <3

Friday, May 6, 2016

Happy/Not-so-Happy Mother's Day

My last post was in OCTOBER. What the...??! Remember when I would write like once a week? That was fun. lol. I'm in a constant state of crazy at this stage in our young family and unfortunately writing hasn't been at the top of my priority list. But I do like reflecting around Mother's Day. So, if you don't mind, I'm going to randomly pop in and pretend like it hasn't been forever since my last post. lol

Motherhood is challenging and stressful at times, but after the years of longing and fighting for it over and over again, it truly is a gift that I don't take for granted. I drink in Elias' kisses, his crazy nap hair, his constant gibberish, how he seriously says "Mommy" multiple times every minute. I love Nolan's sweet smile, hearing his man size burps, and seeing his face light up whenever Elias is around. My house is chaos, there are dirty hand prints on my walls, I'm up to my ears in laundry, and I'm tired pretty much all the time. And I wouldn't trade it for the world. 

I have two beautiful, happy, healthy sons. I could not be more thankful that they are the ones that God entrusted to Ryan and I to raise.  But there are 10 other babies in my heart that never made it to my arms. I get sad when I remember our embryos from IVF who didn't stick, the miscarriages, and the failed adoption. Overall, I still have many mixed emotions on Mother's Day and I wonder if that will ever change. I kinda hope not. I think it's healthy to remember some level of pain so that I can empathize with other women who are hurting around me. That's real life, you know? Not everyone is 100% happy on Mother's Day. 

So I said this last year, and I'm going to say it againIf you are in the trenches of infertility, remembering past miscarriage(s), mourning for children that you've lost, struggling over broken family relationships, grieving the loss of your own mother, if you find yourself hurting in any way on Sunday, just know that you're in my heart. Whether it is a seasonal trial or years of heartache that doesn't have an end in sight, you don't need to feel guilty for being sad. I guarantee that there are other women out there who feel the way you do, and it's ok to cry if you need to. <3

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Nolan - 3 Months

Month three has been a turning point for Nolan. He is a much happier boy since switching to soy formula. He's sleeping through the night and has gotten into a great daytime schedule. With those original frustrations behind us, we've been able to just focus on relationship building. :) He is all about one on one time and loves making eye contact, cooing, and smiling. He's starting to pay more attention to Elias, although big brother's loud voice, rough toy playing, and clumsy hugs sometimes makes him uneasy. ;) 

Our big boy is about 16 pounds and already wearing 9 month clothes and size 3 diapers. He's doing really well with head control. He loves standing up and carries his weight surprisingly well. Sitting in the Bumbo has become a regular activity, especially at mealtime.

Looks like we've started the process of teething. ::moan:: He's drooling like crazy and always going to town on his fist. Elias has always been a terrible teether. I'm really hoping that Nolan's teeth pop through faster than the long drawn out process we're used to around here.

Anyway, that's about it. Here are some pictures from month 3! :)

First time in a kangaroo carry, now that he's got good head control. :)
Cutest sad face ever! Brother and cousin Derek got a little too loud for him. lol
Mommy's little shopping buddy
Bumbo time
Grab all the lovies! :) He loves nuzzling his face against his soft animal friends.
Enjoying the beach with Daddy
Kissy kissy. Love my little cutie boy. <3

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Nolan - 2 Months

Nolan, Nolan, Nolan. lol. Month 2 was easier than Month 1 in some ways, and more challenging in others. His acid reflux medication definitely helped alleviate much of the discomfort that was pretty constant before. He is actually able to lay down without crying now. But he still struggles with gas, despite our efforts with gas drops and trying to get burps out of him. We just switched him over to soy formula this weekend and that has made a world of difference! He's not grunting and wriggling around anymore. So I'm hoping that helps his sleep, which is also a big challenge. He's been a very light day sleeper up to this point, only napping 45 minutes or so before jolting himself awake. Swaddling, laying him in his bed, laying him on our bed, running a fan, dark room, sound machine, positioning him differently - nothing seems to make a lasting difference. Anyway, hopefully the formula change allows me to get him into a better routine and we can start seeing some improvements in his sleep. Reflux, gas, light sleep, lol, he is a bit high maintenance! But I feel like we're finally starting to get the right combination of players in place for him. Praying that month 3 is the turning point for us!

Challenges aside, we are starting to see smiles and personality come out of him which has been so nice! His sweet coos and big grins are so encouraging during the rough days. Like he just wants to assure me that he loves me and knows I'm doing what I can to help him. :)

I love seeing the growing affection that Elias has for him. He gets excited to see him in the morning, loves giving kisses, and tries to be a good helper. It's so sweet. I can't wait until Nolan starts responding to him. :)

Visiting the doctor with big brother. 
Looking up at me while I wear him around the house. :)
Getting fresh and clean!
Sleepy grins
Daddy smooches
My little swaddle-buster. Always so happy in the morning. 
Cuddle bug. :)
First day that we started seeing results from switching formula. Transitioned from being worn to the car to his bed without waking. Success! 
Our little handsome. :)

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Nolan - 1 month

Well I touched on the first couple weeks of Nolan's life last post on recovery. But I did want to make sure to do an official one month post before we hit the two month mark. :) Nolan is so different than Elias was at the newborn stage. We love him to pieces, but I gotta say, he's been kind of a fussy kid. lol. He is very clingy and insecure/spastic if not being held or swaddled. He is obviously uncomfortable after eating. We tried gas drops and gripe water but neither seemed to make a significant difference in his comfort. We've since learned that he has acid reflux and he became a much happier baby once he started taking medication for it. But it was definitely frustrating that he was so upset and we couldn't do anything to make him feel better. 

He is such a big boy! I mean seriously, it's no wonder my belly got so huge. ;) He went straight into 3 month clothes and size 1 diapers. He eats a ton, which is awesome because that full belly has allowed him to sleep for longer stretches at night. So I'm getting decent sleep, usually only waking up once to feed him. ::high fives all around::

I tried to include pictures with his eyes open, but let's be honest, he's sleeping most of the time these days. lol. Here's our little guy at one month. :)

Our first outing without Daddy - Chick Fil A! 
Afternoon snuggles with Grandma
Caught a little smirk. :)
Enjoying some sleepy cuddles with Mom
Hanging out with his BFF Ezra (born just two weeks later)
Handsome boy. Such kissable little lips. :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Recovery & Home Life

One of the biggest perks about adopting a newborn was that I was functioning at 110% when Elias was born. No recovery phase to work through, just pure excitement at every aspect of being a new mom. I felt great! So postpartum recovery after Nolan was born completely sideswiped Ryan and I. I knew that I'd be sore and tired, but I did not expect to lack most of my normal functionality. I was pretty much incapable of doing ANYTHING. It was long, hard labor and I had a second degree tear. My whole torso hurt from pushing. My back was killing me. I could barely walk. Stitches. Constipation. Hemorrhoids. I'll stop there. lol. 
As hard as it was on me physically, I think the emotional ramifications were even worse. The first couple days, just holding Nolan hurt me. I'll never forget the first or second night that we were home. Ryan had stepped out for a few minutes and Nolan started to cry in his bassinet across the room. It took me several minutes to stand up out of my chair, walk across the room and pick him up. I lost it. I couldn't take care of him by myself and I felt so helpless. And I suppose the hormones didn't help matters. 
Things got a lot better after the first week, and incrementally better the second week. I still have a some healing to do, but I'm almost there. I'm able to hold and take care of both of my boys and that feels good. :)

Nolan is doing great. Sometimes I feel like he wants to crawl back inside of me. lol. He just wants to be held all the time. He's a big boy - went straight into 3 month clothes, is eating a ton, and therefore sleeping a ton. We're already down to one nighttime feeding which I am very happy about. :)

We weren't really sure how Elias would respond to having a little brother. He's just so young, it's hard to know how much he understands. He was initially pretty nonchalant about having Nolan in the house, but he is definitely becoming more interested in him. We make a big deal about gentle touches and any signs of affection and I think it's catching on. :) Their interaction is so minimal right now, but every bit of it still makes my heart burst. I'm loving life as a mommy of two. <3 

Here are a few pictures of our first couple weeks together!
I mean, guys, I can't even handle the love in my heart for these cutie pies!
This boy. <3
My view in our living room. It's the best. 
Dinnertime. :) Momma's gotta eat!
Nolan's first bath.
Lunch date with my boys. 
Giving little brother his paci. ::melt::
Goodnight kisses. <3

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Birth Story - Nolan Daniel

If you read my pregnancy update post last month, you know that Ryan and I had planned on having a natural/unmedicated birth for Nolan. We wanted to labor at home with our doula as much as possible before heading to the hospital to deliver. Well, Nolan's birth did not go according to plan. I shouldn't be surprised right? Nothing in this whole journey of growing our family has EVER gone according to plan. lol. :) 

It started at about 5pm on Saturday evening July 11th, six days past my due date. I started having contractions at my in laws' house. We started timing them and though pretty mild, I was encouraged to see them coming at about 5 minutes apart. However, shortly after they started I began bleeding fairly heavily. I called my doctor and received instructions to go to labor and delivery. Upon checking in, we discovered that my blood pressure was high - 161 when it had been in the 120s through my pregnancy. After more monitoring, I was officially admitted at 10:30pm. 
The hospital staff was so respectful and low key about our desire to have a natural birth experience. So even though I was pretty much chained to a bed with monitoring devices, I was thankful that the nurses let us be. I got what little sleep I could in the uncomfortable bed while laboring through the night. Contractions were consistent and getting stronger at first, but unfortunately started to putter out by early morning. 

At 5am Sunday, my OB walked into our room and told us that I had preeclampsia. My blood pressure was still high and the protein level in my urine had tripled. My body was no longer responding well to the pregnancy and we needed to work toward getting Nolan out. She said that she would check on me in a few hours to see if my contractions picked up again on their own. If not she offered to break my water and see if that started to speed things up. While we appreciated her willingness to try more natural options before starting medication, I had only dilated to a 2 at that point. We believed it to be too early for breaking my water to actually do anything other than add to my pain. I would probably end up needing pitocin anyway. So we decided to just move forward with pitocin. My IV was hooked up with it at about 8am. 
By 11am, my contractions had really intensified and I was ready for my epidural. Now, I've been with friends and family when their babies are born. There is a substantial difference on mom's face before and after she gets her epidural. It's clear that she has gotten relief. I didn't quite get that experience. After the initial dose, I was still able to move my feet and feel my legs. It took the edge off the contractions but it did not take them away completely like I thought it would. Throughout the day, I was able to get naps in when the dosage was increased, but the effectiveness would fade within a couple hours. The awesome anesthesiologist just said that every body responds differently to epidurals, so...pretty much "oh well, sucks to be you."
Sometime around 11pm I woke up from a nap in a full blown sweat. I was so hot! I was getting claustrophobic from being stuck on the hospital bed with all the cords and tubes attached to me. AND I was feeling even stronger contractions because the stupid epidural wasn't working. I started to panic. It took a few minutes of this till Ryan reminded me about the various signs of the different stages of labor that we learned about in our classes. I was in transition - almost time to push! Light at the end of the tunnel!
Well, that tunnel took a few hours to get through. At some point in the middle of it, my wonderful nurse Jackie took pity on me and called for the anesthesiologist to see if he could do anything to help the pain. I don't know what he gave me, but it helped enough for me to get some relief and rest in before all hell broke loose I started pushing.

The pushing stage was total bananas. Seriously, the most intense hour and a half of my life. I felt every one of those pitocin contractions. I guess I kind of got to feel natural childbirth, only mine was amped up with meds and I didn't have any of the perks of a relaxing environment and ability to move around freely. yay me!! ;) Anyway, after lots of pain filled moaning and groaning, my body successfully pushed out a little human. :) Nolan Daniel Miller was born at 4:30am on July 13, 2015 weighing 8 pounds 5 ounces. My tall boy measured 22 inches long, and the nurses noted that his head was bigger than average at 14".
Nolan swallowed a ton of meconium in the womb. So after he came out, they put him on me just long enough for Ryan to cut the cord and then whisked him away to the warming table to get all that grossness sucked out of his gut and lungs. It was about a half hour before I could get a good look at our boy's handsome face. :)
Both grandmas and Auntie Meghan were troopers through the night, waiting for Nolan's arrival. This is their first glimpse of him. :)
36 hours of labor, but we made it through! We were exhausted and so happy to have son #2 in our arms. 
Family of four. Can hardly believe how much the Lord has blessed us. My cup runneth over. <3