It's been a year since I sat watching this tornado rip my hometown apart, not knowing if it was coming for me. There were several minutes that we sat in our hallway, covered in couch cushions, watching this on our laptop with absolutely no clue if this was it for us. I can't describe the helpless feeling, not only for us, but not knowing if it was going to hit our family and friends.
We were lucky. We live several miles away from the path. But we had many friends, students, customers, and acquaintances that weren't so lucky.
I've written my story of that day before. I experienced emotions and saw things that day that I will absolutely never forget. There were things that gave me nightmares for weeks, and absolutely shaped everything about the next month of my life. Of everybody that lives in this city's life.
And here we are, one year later, and the recovery is still happening. Some business have reopened...most have not. Honestly, if you drove through Tuscaloosa right now and didn't know what it looked like before, most of it just looks like open fields now. But those open fields used to contain businesses, homes, and memories that can never be replaced.
It's going to take a long, long time for the damage of that day to go away...and even then you can't bring back those lives or heal some hearts. But I think I speak on behalf of everyone in this city when I say thank you for the support and the outpouring of love we've seen from all over the world in the past year.
Emma Ramey - you are one month old today! How is that even possible? I see what they mean by it flying by - it seems like you were born last week. I'm going to need you to stop growing now!
-You are about 12.4 pounds, a little over 22 inches long (getting a wiggly newborn to stretch out is not easy, by the way), and your head is about 16 inches around. You're a big girl, and show no signs of slowing down in the growing department anytime soon!
-You are wearing a size 1 diaper...those newborn diapers never did fit. You wore newborn clothes for about a week, and you're solidly in 3 month clothes now. You can get away with some 6 month clothes too!
-You're eating about 5 ounces at every meal, from our best guess. Daddy gives you a bottle at your 9pm feeding, and we just started a bottle at your 6pm feeding last night to make sure you're getting full!
-You sleep most of the day right now - out of every three hours during the day, you're sleeping two of them (most of the time). You have a good stretch of awake time about 6-8 where you're pretty fussy and just don't want to nap. When you go to sleep for the night at around 9:30, you are usually asleep until around 6 or 7 in the morning, with the exception of one feeding in the middle of the night.
-You've just started really smiling in the past few days. You have such a pretty little toothless grin! :)
-Your favorite thing in the world is a ceiling fan. If there's one in the room, you'll stare at it over anything else. That's how we calm you down sometimes - hold you under the fan and let you look at it! You also love the bows hanging behind the chair in your room...I think it's the color. You'll stare at those while you're eating sometimes. And you love the tray ceilings in the living room too!
-You HATE burping. You've really started fighting it when I try to burp you in the past few days. Every time you burp, your eyes start watering and you start whining...it breaks my heart!
-You're starting to warm up to the swaddle. You didn't like it at first, but as long as it's tight, you'll tolerate it. If you don't wear it, you wake yourself up with your hands moving. You'll still try to wrestle out of it though, usually without much luck (actually, as I'm writing this, I'm watching you on the monitor try to wrestle out of it!).
-The baby acne has hit you in the past week or so. Hopefully it will go away in a couple of weeks. You're still pretty even with it though. :)
-Still not a fan of the swing or the bouncy seat...hopefully that will change soon.
-Your eyes are turning blue, we think! They're still dark, but getting lighter every day.
-You love riding in the car and looking out the window.
-Your daddy and I love you more than you know! You've made this the best month of our lives!
Question: how do you two spend your days? I know you're working on a routine- do you have a regular routine?
We're very slowly getting into one! Here's what our day looks like right now:
- Emma Ramey wakes up. I feed her and put her back down. Then, I eat
breakfast, do a few chores around the house, read emails.
- Feed ER. She's normally up for about an hour, including the feeding,
so she's back down for another nap around 10:30. Then, I give myself a
few minutes of computer time, do blog posts, read emails, clean up, do
laundry, etc....no real "plan" as to what I do, just whatever needs to
12:30pm - Feed ER, same routine as 9:30.
3:30pm - Feed ER, same routine as before.
- She usually wakes up a little early to eat this time. I feed her,
and then she has awake time for a little while. She's normally pretty
fussy about this time, so I might try to get her to take a little nap
after she eats, depending on her mood.
8:30 - Start bedtime routine. We've been either doing a full-on
bath or a sponge bath at this point, then feeding her, then put her to
bed around 9:30. And I go to sleep very shortly after...I'm having to
wake up at around 2:30 to feed her, and I'd be a zombie if I tried to
stay up any later. :)
This is constantly changing though. She'll be having more awake
time soon, and will eventually merge some of these feedings together.
Question: Do you have any favorite items that new parents should definitely get?
I should probably do a whole blog post about this too! I'll give you the condensed version though. :)
Bottles - you might say you'll be just breastfeeding, but there are
always times when you won't be there, you're exhausted and need dad to
take a feeding, etc. Get them, even if only a few, just for that...but
I'd wait a couple of weeks if you can help it to avoid confusing the
2. Microwave sterilizer - we LOVE this! It's so
much easier than boiling bottles, pacis. You just pop it in the
microwave! I use this at least once a day.
pillow - My arms would have fallen off by now if I had to hold up a 12
pound baby for every feeding. :) GOOD investment!
n Play - She slept in this for the first two weeks she was home. Now
we have it in our living room, and it's a great place to store things,
change her, and lay her down for a quick nap if we need to! We got a
nicer version, and I'm glad we did - it has a vibration that calms her
down if she's fussy, has storage underneath (where the playpen area will
eventually be), and a diaper changing area...we use all of this!
Video/Angelcare monitor - ER started sleeping in her crib at 2 weeks,
and I would have been a basket case without these! The Angelcare just
makes sure she is breathing - it's nice just to have reassurance. And
the video monitor is great to see if she's asleep and just making noise,
or if she's actually awake. Would recommend both of these! You can
buy a video Angelcare monitor, but it was cheaper to buy them separately
when we got them.
Question: Do you know how we're supposed to handle growth spurts, etc. if we're keeping the strict schedule (on Moms on Call)?
don't know a ton about MOC, but I did read that sickness is an
exception to the schedule - I would assume growth spurts are too! I'm
not too big on making her stay on a schedule if she's absolutely not
having it. We've been lucky that she's taken really well to the
schedule we tried. But the thing I keep on reading in all of these
routine books - if a baby is hungry, feed it! Don't make the baby sit
there hungry and crying if it is fixable. Every baby is different, and
not every baby is going to fit into the perfect three hour schedule.
Find out what works for your baby and do it! (And I did read yesterday
that you should let the baby eat for as long as they will eat, just to
help your supply. It's when they start using you as a pacifier that you
have to watch out for!)
Question: I was wondering if you are going to go back to teaching next year? If
so, what are your plans for childcare?
I was actually trying to decide when to put this on the blog. :)
I am SO blessed that I'll be able to stay home net year! I am going to
go back for the last week of this year (towards the end of next month),
and that will be it. This is something we've been trying to work out
for a while now, and everything just kind of fell into place. I
couldn't be happier! :)
I will still be doing blog designs, so I guess technically I will
still work some from home. That will be a nap-time kind of thing
though, and I'm just going to kind of play it by ear how much I can
still handle. I should be starting that up again in a few weeks!
Here are the answers to a ton of questions I've gotten in the past few weeks, and just haven't had time to answer! I had to make this a two part blog post because I had so many questions...so if your's isn't here today, check back tomorrow! And if you have any more questions, comment on this post and I'll include it tomorrow too.
Let me just preface these by saying that I am DEFINITELY not an expert on this...some days I don't think I have a clue what I'm doing! but I'll share what I've learned so far!
Question: Did you buy the book (for Moms on Call), or are you doing their online class for infants??
I actually bought the online class first, when I was pregnant. We watched it a couple of times then just to get an idea, and watched it a few more times right when we were starting to use it (when she was about 2 weeks old). I'll also pull it up some if I have a question about part of it and just watch that part, so it's been nice having it still! It gives you a set amount of time to watch it (6 months maybe?).
Once I was so impressed with the online class, I went and bought the book too. I'll be honest - if you're just buying the book to see what the sleep routine is about, the online class covers it pretty well already. You'll find out a couple more things in the book, but they're basically the same. But, the book has a lot of information about just random things you need to know to take care of a baby - how to bathe, how to swaddle, what to do if they're sick - it's a lot of info that I really didn't know! So I would recommend it, especially to a first-time mom.
Question: How do you store her headbands/bows?
I've got the bows organized, but I'm still working on the headbands. :) Her bows hang on this...I made it when I was pregnant. I found the idea on Pinterest!
It's just a canvas with ribbon attached to the back...you can decorate it however you'd like.
But headbands are currently just in a drawer with the rest of her little accessory things (like bibs, hats, etc.). I need a way to organize those, I just haven't had a chance. I've seen this thing in Pinterest that uses an old oatmeal can, and you wrap them around that...it was really cute!
Question: Can you talk about your C section and recovery? Any tips, what you wish you knew, etc?
Well obviously my c-section wasn't planned, so I didn't even think to research it beforehand. I wish I had now - that's one recommendation I have - if you're pregnant, go on and find out the basics of it, because there's always a chance you'll have to have one!
The actual c-section was not bad at all...seriously. Just a lot of pressure and tugging. They make sure you don't feel a thing! Going through contractions was a WHOLE lot worse than the c-section. Now I don't know what the recovery is like for a regular birth, but that's probably the hard part of a c-section - the recovery. It takes a long time. You feel like you've been hit by a truck for a week or two, then there's just a whole lot of soreness after (I'm four weeks out and still sore, off and on). So another recommendation I have - take it easy! I thought I'd be back up and going a week or two after, and that wasn't a good idea. I would try to clean house or do my regular things, and be SO sore the day after. So just listen to your body, and don't push it, because it won't help you recover faster.
A couple of other random things I didn't know: you will be numb around your incision site. I had no clue, and thought there was something wrong, but it's completely normal! Once again, a month out, and I'm still numb some - I read of some women still being numb for months and months. Another random thing: I was much more sore on one side, and almost felt like I had dislocated my pelvic bone. My doctor said that's normal too, because that was the side she was standing on when she delivered Emma Ramey. Makes sense now, I just didn't think of that!
Question: Can you also talk about what it's been like post-partum physically in terms of continuing to wear maternity clothes, etc?
Ok - I'll warn you - you WILL look pregnant for a week or two after, unless you're one of those freak women that I don't like. :) Kidding...sort of.
Just be prepared for it. You're definitely not as big afterwards, but I'd say I looked 5-6 months pregnant for at least a week. It goes down gradually for probably about 3 weeks. Then you get to see what you're really working with. :)
I was very lucky not to gain a ton of weight when I was pregnant. I craved fruit and veggies mostly, which I'm very thankful for! But there's still some "leftovers" to get rid of. Breastfeeding is supposed to help with that, and here in a few weeks, I'm hoping I feel well enough to start exercising again. But, as of right now, I'm still wearing maternity pants...I could probably wear regular ones, but I'm having to be very careful with my incision - it's still really sensitive, and the band on the maternity pants helps. And I'm at home so much right now, so I'm pretty much staying in t-shirts. The non-maternity shirts are still a little snug, so definitely plan on wearing maternity for at least a few weeks after!
Question: I want to breastfeed and went to a breastfeeding class, and the
lactation consultant said that my milk will dry up if I don't at least
pump every 3 hours during the night - which sort of defeats the purpose
of having baby sleep through the night, right? I feel like I'm missing
something - how does everyone manage to have their baby sleep through
the night (and mom sleep through the night) without losing their milk
I'll speak from my experience (which is all of a month's worth, so once again, don't take this as gospel). For the first couple of weeks, we were feeding on demand, and waking her up to eat at least every 3 hours during the night if she didn't wake up on her own. That first couple of weeks, from what I've learned, is really important to establishing your supply. So not only is it good for the baby to eat every 3 hours during that time, but it's good for you too!
Emma Ramey has basically been sleeping through the night since two weeks, with the exception of one feeding in the middle of the night. So I pretty much go from 9pm to 2:30am, then from 2:30 to about 6:30 or 7 during the night. So, give or take an hour, I'm going about 5 hours during the night without feeding her, and I've had very little problem with my supply. I make sure she eats at least every 3 hours during the day (sometimes more often, depending on her), which helps make sure she eats enough and that I have enough for her. But by following that schedule, I've had no problems! I have noticed that if she doesn't eat a lot at one feeding, and I don't pump to make up for it, it will affect my supply.
Your body just kind of learns how much you need to take care of the baby. Don't skip feedings, but don't stress too much about staying perfectly by a clock either! The baby, for the most part, knows what it needs, and your body will respond to that.
Question: I LOVE double names, and knew it was Emma Ramey, but just assumed you'd
call her Emma. Will she - and was she always going to be - Emma Ramey?
We hope it will be a double name! Emma Ramey has been my girl name for years. I don't think I originally intended on it being a double name, but the name Emma has gotten SO popular, and we wanted something a little different. So it just kind of became a double name. We hope it sticks - we don't want to be those annoying parents that shove the double name down your throat either though! We're just going to let it kind of happen...but if y'all wanted to keep calling her Emma Ramey, we'd appreciate it. :)
Question: Is there anything you wished you knew? Either about recovery or the transition to motherhood?
HA - yes! I could write a book on what I wish I had known this time two months ago. Motherhood is a VERY educating experience. I honestly think most of it you have to learn by trial and error - you can read all of the baby books in the world, but actually living it and figuring it out is much more educating. That being said, I wish I had read more of the baby books! :) I think I just figured it would kind of come to me, and it did for the most part, but there are things I just didn't know...like how much a baby should sleep, how much they should eat, etc. I feel like this is a terrible answer to this question, but I could seriously spend all day telling you what I wished I had known. :)
Emma Ramey and I have had a laid back weekend! Noah had a bachelor party for a friend that's getting married soon in Birmingham last night, so it was just the two of us yesterday afternoon, last night, and this morning. She did great! I haven't gone that long on my own yet, so I was a little nervous, but everything was wonderful!
We're trying to get out of the house a little more. She's too young still to really take into public a lot, but we ride with Noah if he has errands and go to my parents' house some. If I could go back - I would not buy NEARLY as many 3 month clothes. She's going to be out of them soon, and I doubt we'll get to wear many of them even once since she's in onesies and sleepers around the house right now. I'm just creating reasons we can use the "real" outfits - today was one of them!
This was a 6 month outfit she wore today to my parents' house - still a little big, but not by much! I put it on because it was a little chilly outside, and I didn't have any more long sleeved 3 month outfits to use up.
Ok - I've had several questions on blog posts over the past couple of weeks and I've answered like NONE of them. So I thought I'd do a Q & A post either tomorrow or Tuesday and answer them, since a lot were really good questions that more than one person probably wants to know! So if you have any other questions, just comment on this post and I'll get those too!
-I just realized I would have been (if I had an evil doctor, and this little girl never came on her own) 45 weeks pregnant today. That's a little weird to think about! Just out of curiousity, I looked it up, and there was a woman pregnant for 53 weeks. Bless her soul.
-We are right in the middle of Moms on Call boot camp around here. To be fair, I'm doing most of their recommendations, but not exactly by the book...I know, I know, please don't lecture. I'm not giving her a bath every night, and I've cheated and held her for naps some. I'm also not letting her cry quite as much as they recommend. I just got through reading Baby Wise too, and I really like their take on reading the baby's cries and responding to what they need, instead of crying it out every time....so I'm leaning more that way. But, for the most part, we're on Moms on Call routine, and it's working! She is almost perfectly on the MOC schedule...eating every three hours during the day, and sleeping 9:30-6 with one feeding during the night. Not too bad for a 3 week old!
-On that note, we're still working on swaddling. She HATES it. Like, fights out of the swaddle for the first 20 minutes of her naptime instead of sleeping. But, when I take her out of it, she wakes herself just as soon as she goes to sleep. I've got it about as tight as it will go, I think any tighter and it would hurt her or hurt her breathing. I'm thinking about trying a Miracle Blanket, I've heard good things about those...we'll see!
-And speaking of baths, we tried our first full-on bath a couple of nights ago! She wasn't a fan, but I think it was just the newness of it that she didn't like.
-We had another grandparents visit yesterday. :)
-She's taking a pumped bottle every night now for her last feeding, and doing great! I was a little worried it would confuse her, but she's done a good job so far. And it gives Dad some good bonding time with her (and Mom a chance to nap if I want to! :))
This week has absolutely flown! I don't know why...we've done a lot of this all week.
We're attempting to put Emma Ramey on some kind of routine. For the first couple of weeks, she completely decided her schedule...feeding and napping were on demand. After we got the ok from the pediatrician Monday, we're now trying to get her on a schedule. We're doing Moms on Call - I've heard great things about it, and so far, so good! She's eating every three hours during the day, and about every 4-5 during the night.
She's doing a really good job so far! It's helping a lot with her being so fussy in the evening...I really think now she just needed more sleep during the day. Days are better than nights. During the day, she completely follows what we're supposed to do and really doesn't get upset at all. We're working on nights still. She likes to fuss a little at bedtime, but that's going away a little bit every night. It's not the easiest thing in the world, but we really think it's what is best for her and for us in the long run! (And, once again, this isn't to stir up any kind of debate over schedules/sleep/eating/etc...you really just have to decide what is best for your family, and Noah and I, after putting a lot of thought and research into this, feel that this is what's best for us!)
One part of Moms on Call is having the baby sleep in her crib as much as possible...this has been one of the hardest parts for me to adjust to (notice I said me...she's doing great with it!) This is a picture of her in her crib for the first time yesterday.
These two things have helped more than anything with this! I am officially obsessed with the Angelcare monitor. I would be in her room checking to make sure she's ok every 5 minutes without that thing! These go everywhere in the house I go when she's sleeping.
We're doing more tummy time during her awake parts of the day...and she still hates it. She's SO strong and can lift her head and even tries to scoot, but she gets mad when we put her on her tummy. I tried to get a picture of her doing it last night, but she was so upset! These were right after we picked her up.
I had my 2 week postpartum visit today, so I decided she needed to get some use out of those 3 month clothes while we still can. :) She literally looked like a little doll!
We never got a picture of Emma Ramey and my doctor after the delivery, since things were kind of crazy...so we got one today! We love my OBGYN!
We have just a little bit of activity going on around here. :)
Emma Ramey had her first pediatrician appointment this morning! She is looking just perfect. Since last Saturday, she has gained a whole pound...from 9lbs, 13oz then, to 10lbs, 13oz now! I was expecting some weight gain, but not that much. :) So we have to go-ahead to let her sleep through the night as much as she will...we're going to try that starting tonight!
Everything else is looking great too. She only grew about a fourth of an inch, but her head circumference went up too. I can't believe how fast she's growing! We were ordering diapers earlier, and decided we needed to go on and order size 2's - we're looking at needing to use those in a month or so. Crazy!
We went and got a quick lunch, and headed home for her newborn pictures. She was a little fussy since we're so off our schedule, but we got some great shots. I wish I had a few to show - they are going to be great! I'll definitely put a few up in a few weeks when we get them back.
And, as if we needed anything else to do around here, Noah had a little bit of a change today...he started a new job! We haven't really said too much about it yet, but we've known for a couple of weeks there was going to be a change. He got a GREAT offer from Metlife Home and Auto that he couldn't refuse. It really is a good opportunity to be a forever kind of job for him - he's so good at what he does, and this is going to let him live up to his full potential. I'm excited for him!
My favorite part - he's been able to be home with us since Emma Ramey was born, and he's going to be working from home for the next couple of months! We are both so excited that, even though he's going to be working, he will be here for all of those big moments in the first few months.
And Noah told me to add that, if you would like to finance our diaper usage, give him a call for your home or auto insurance. :) Seriously, it's a good product...let me know if you're looking for insurance, and I'll get y'all in touch!
It's a busy day, but it's a good day! That being said, this mommy needs a nap. :)
We had a really relaxed Easter...since Emma Ramey is still so little, we decided it probably wasn't the best idea to go to church. I'm sad we missed it, but we don't want this girl getting sick this early, and her schedule is still so unpredictable and I didn't want a newborn screaming in the middle of the service. Hopefully we can try church in a few weeks!
We put out her Easter baskets this morning. Honestly, we didn't get too much for her...she's less than two weeks old, so she pretty much has anything she might need and then some! But I did get her a few fun little things.
This is her basket from us...
...this is her basket from Noah's parents...
...and this is her basket from my parents. I think she's set in the Easter basket department. :)
Headed to check out my baskets!
Excuse how hot I'm looking. :) She was actually a little fussy at this point.
We headed to my parent's house for Easter lunch. Even though we didn't go to church, I couldn't resist putting her in a pretty Easter dress!
This was my Granny's (Emma Ramey's great grandmother's) first time to meet her! Part of Emma Ramey's name is from Granny - her maiden name was Ramey.