Monday, July 29, 2013


Emma had her first surgery at three months old. I don't think I have ever dreaded anything more in my life, and it was a relatively minor procedure!  God bless all of you who have watched your kids go through much more serious things! It was a great, but hard reminder to me that God sustains her life every single day; not just on the day when she has a medical procedure.  Dan was good about reminding me that Emma is "on loan" to us from God.  She is not ours to keep, and we need to trust Him with her life every day.

The reason for her surgery was that she was born with a ureterocele in her right ureter, which had grown large enough that it also took up a lot of space in her bladder. It was causing infected fluid to back up in her system, which was the cause of her urinary tract infection earlier this month.  Her urologist took a look at her latest kidney/bladder ultrasound and scheduled her surgery the following week, since he thought that leaving it untreated would result in more infections.  He used a scope through her urethra to find the ureterocele and puncture it with small holes to allow the infected fluid to drain out.  He said the procedure was successful, and she hasn't shown any signs of infection post-surgery. Although he thinks this is just a short-term fix, we pray it will last a good long time so she won't have to deal with any more infections or surgeries until she's much older.

For five days prior to surgery, we had to give her a very strong antibiotic twice a day. It had a nasty, gritty consistency that was messy to feed her with a syringe, but it was impossible to get the stuff to go through a bottle. Also, it couldn't be mixed with milk, so we couldn't feed her for a couple of hours before or after we gave her the medicine. Through it all, Emma was such a little trooper! She fortunately takes after her Nana and Uncle Paul and will eat anything. :) She never complained about the taste or texture of the medicine - she just wanted more to eat after we had given it to her. So we gave her small amounts of water to drink afterwards sometimes when she couldn't be distracted in another way.  The medicine made her very sleepy the first three days she took it.  She'd get a spaced out look on her face shortly after drinking it, then fall deeply asleep for about three hours.  This was unusual behavior for her in the middle of the day, but it was the only side effect we saw the whole time, and it wore off after a few days.

Since she's so young, they scheduled her surgery first thing in the morning and we checked into the hospital at 5:30 a.m. She couldn't have milk after midnight the night before, so we were preparing ourselves for a very unhappy baby! But she ended up being just fine until about 7:15, when nothing else could distract her from the fact that she was HUNGRY! The pediatric anesthesiologist was running late that morning, so she probably would've been okay if she hadn't had to wait an extra 30 minutes.  One thing we were very thankful for is that they didn't insert her catheter or IV until after she was under anesthesia.  She had a prior procedure where they did both without any pain medications, and all three of us were a wreck by the end of it!

We're very thankful that it's over and God protected her and allowed the procedure to go well!  We'd appreciate your prayers that it will be effective for the long-term to prevent future infections.

Checking into the hospital at 5:30 a.m.

Dan trying on her hospital gown for size :)

Emma is modeling the lovely open-back style that is so universally loved by hospitals

This was her reaction when we explained where the doctor was going to insert the scope. ha ha!

I got to hold her right after surgery until she woke up. I was so, so happy to have her in my arms!

She was transferred to a hospital room to stay the night for observation.  There was another little girl in the bed next to her who was released during the day, so we had the room to ourselves that night. We could hold her as much as we wanted, but it was tricky and pretty uncomfortable for her with all those tubes and wires hanging from her body!

She did get a bright red monitor light on her big toe, though, which was an endless source of fascination

Dan saying goodnight before he left to go home for the night.  I got to sleep on the horribly uncomfortable chair/cot thing that Dan and my mom dealt with when Emma and I stayed in the hospital after delivery.

Through everything, she had plenty of smiles for us, the doctors, and nurses.  She has such a sweet personality, and she gained a lot of fans by the time we left.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Three Months!

This month has brought a lot of new experiences for little Miss Emma.  After traveling to Texas and Virginia to meet our families, I went back to work three days a week. Emma is staying with our good friend, Sue, on the days I'm at work. Sue has a very large, fun family including two teenage girls who adore babies, so Emma is not suffering from lack of attention. Sue's oldest daughter, Stacy, had a baby, Ellie, one month before Emma was born.  Stacy stays at home with Ellie, but they live 5 minutes away and come over to Sue's house almost every day. So Emma and Ellie are already BFFs, which is the cutest thing!

On my first day back at work, Emma got her first infection and fever (because I obviously needed more mommy-guilt for leaving her that day!!).  She was doing fine at Sue's all day long, but by the time Dan picked her up that afternoon, she wasn't acting well and refused to eat, which is unheard of.  So he made an evening appt. with the pediatrician, and when I got home from work, we headed to the hospital.  They thought she had a mild ear infection at first, but they also tested her for a urinary tract infection, and did a culture that showed that the UTI was the real cause of the fever. She had a fever for 5 days, and was pretty miserable. Two doctors visits, two catheters, one shot of major antibiotics, and 10 days of regular antibiotics, and she's back to her sweet, smiling, laid-back self.  We are praying she doesn't have to go through that again anytime soon! Everyone told us it would be "hard" when our baby got sick.  They forgot to say that it would rip our hearts out and leave us emotional wrecks!

We spent a few more fun days at Disneyland this month, since our annual passes expired on 4th of July.  We took her there that day and wondered how she would deal with the fireworks.  Turns out, they were no big deal.  Loud noises don't usually faze her, so the big bangs didn't scare her.  She is more bothered by the dark, but I think there were enough people there to entertain her and distract her from the darkness during the fireworks show.  Girl loves to people-watch! 

Also, I have started to *slowly* run again after a year off. It is painful for me, and I'm sure for the other people who have to watch me shuffle my way down the path.  I'm taking Emma out in the jogging stroller a couple of days a week now.  She will often sleep through the beginning of the ride, and wake up on the way home. She is not used to seeing me all red-faced and sweaty and just stares at me from the stroller with concern, wondering if she should call 9-1-1. But hopefully I'll be able to keep up with her by the time she's running around.

Some facts about Emma at three months old:
  • The most frequent comment we get from strangers is "she looks like a baby doll!" And from a distance, she totally does look like one of those bald-headed, blinky-eye dolls. A flight attendant didn't know she was "real" until midway through our flight when she saw Emma move.
  • Her hair is s-l-o-w-l-y growing, and so far it looks like we have a strawberry blonde in the family. We'll see if that's her true hair color, and if her eyes stay blue-gray or change colors later.
  • I know it's not intentional yet, but she says "mom" already! Unfortunately it's only when she's crying and fussy and she says it in a super whiny voice, along with other random baby sounds. But I still answer to it. :)
  • When she's crying and wants you to know she's serious about it, she throws some snorts in there. It's hysterical, but we try not to laugh in her face since it just makes her more mad (and snort harder! ha!)
  • Sleep is getting better and better. She goes down for the night between 10:30 and 11:30 and sleeps between 4-5 hours, then wakes up to eat and goes back down for another 2 hours or so. Dan and I have worked out a shift schedule: Dan goes to bed early and I'll stay up with her and put her to bed.  I get up with her if she wakes up in the early morning hours. After 4:30-5:00 a.m., Dan will get up with her. The worst is when she wakes up at 4 a.m., because it was *that* close to being Dan's turn! :)
  • She's discovered her hands! She loves putting her entire fist into her mouth, along with anything she can grab onto. It's funny when when she opens her mouth wide and then bops herself in the eye instead of getting it in her mouth. So close!
  • She also loves holding her bottle now when we're feeding her, but she's not very good at it yet. She usually shoves it out of her mouth, so we'll move her hands away, but it doesn't take long before they're right back! When she's relaxed, she'll put her left hand on top of the bottle and exercise her fingers. It looks like she's practicing her fingering to play the trumpet. 
  • She can entertain herself for a pretty long time by holding and chewing her burp cloth or blanket, which is convenient since we always have both handy. She isn't able to grab anything thicker than a blanket, so we don't have to worry about bringing toys along for her yet.
  • She still hates tummy time with a passion. I don't know if this child will ever crawl. 
  • If you catch her just as she's waking up and before she starts crying, she gives you the most beautiful smiles.
  • Not that I'm keeping score, but I think Dan gets more smiles than me at this point.
  • When we sit her in her Boppy pillow, she works and works at sitting up, only to start crying when her head takes her too far forward and she ends up in an awkwardly cramped position
  • She has the most fair skin ever, so it's a constant challenge to keep it protected/covered since we live in perpetually beautiful weather.

Stacy (Ellie's mom) made these adorable picture collages of the girls playing together at Sue's house

All dressed up for Independence Day!

Emma still loves sleeping in her car seat, usually with her hands up like she's being robbed. We keep the car seat in the snap and go stroller we borrowed from friends in her bedroom. That way, we can rock her or wheel her around the house if she's drowsy but not quite asleep. We have made many, many figure 8s around our tiny living room in the wee hours of the morning.

She still loves her bath time! It's a great way to relax her at the end of the day.

This is what inevitably happens when she tries to sit up. She's a little top-heavy right now - ha! On the plus side, it gives her a great view of her sweet toes.

At Disneyland, we took turns waiting with Emma so we could ride the more extreme rides that I wasn't allowed on during pregnancy. Here I am, all alone, having the time of my life on Space Mountain! Woo hoo!

On 4th of July as we were driving up to Disneyland again, she had her own personal firework explosion in her diaper. So we converted the back of the trusty CR-V into a changing station.

We *may* have scarred her forever by taking her on the Haunted Mansion ride. At the end of the ride, a hitchhiking ghost hops into your car, who you can see hovering over Emma's head.
Her first fireworks show! I think she was trying to see what was going on behind us.

We spent some time on the bay during 4th of July weekend. We were trying so hard to get her to smile for the camera, and I finally got this smirk out of her. :)  She'll smile right to your face, but I think it throws her off when she sees a camera or phone suddenly appear.

Our precious 3-month old! She's just getting more and more fun!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Summertime with Family

At the end of June, we took advantage of the opportunity to visit our families and introduce Emma to her relatives while I was on maternity leave and Dan had summer break.  We flew to Texas for the Campbell family reunion first, and had a wonderful time with all the aunts, uncles, and cousins who were able to come to the Ranch House. My parents hosted a reception for Steve and Sheila so our family could congratulate them on their marriage.  Sheila's family flew out for the occasion and got to meet our extended family, just as we met theirs at the wedding in Michigan. 

After a fun week in Texas, we flew to Virginia to spend a week with Dan's family.  The Jesters have a great yard for summertime, complete with an in-ground pool and hot tub.  The weather was warm, but not hot yet, so there was a lot of running back and forth between the cold water of the pool to the warm water of the hot tub!  Emma did great on the flights and enjoyed the constant attention and play time she had with family.  Things probably seemed pretty boring when we got back home!

Dan and Emma ready to fly! We've somehow been able to cram all our stuff into carry-ons to avoid the extra fees for checking luggage on our flights. It's a good thing all Emma's clothes are tiny. :)

On this trip, Emma got to meet Uncle Paul for the first time!!
The extended family went out for Mexican food during the Campbell Family reunion

One of the prettiest sights I've seen in Texas - fields of beautiful sunflowers
We woke Emma up to take a family picture. She was apparently not quite awake yet. Ha!

Our traditional family game of men vs. women "Trivial Pursuit"

Emma got to meet some of her younger cousins who she'll grow up playing with - like my cousin Emily's son, Beckett

And my cousin Tricia's daughter, Laura

She hardly got any attention during the reunion, poor thing. :)

Steve, Sheila, and Sheila's parents and brother traveled to the Ranch House from Washington DC and Michigan for Steve and Sheila's wedding reception.  I didn't get a picture of them that weekend, but here's a picture of our families the night before their wedding in May.

The day we left Texas was Father's Day. Here is Dan celebrating with Emma at about 1:30 a.m. :)

We both got him Father's Day cards.

Our next stop was Williamsburg, VA, where we spent some fun days with the Jester Family

The weather was nice enough to swim in the pool, and we had a birthday/pool party for our good family friend, Christina King

Cousin Jon, Dan and Emma, and Dan's brother Tim

Cousin Carrie and Chloe, who is almost a year old. I cannot believe Emma will be that big soon!

Christina (the birthday girl) and her sister Kimberly

Dan and his sister, Robin, who is expecting a little one in September! So exciting!

Our nephew, Benjamin, is showing off one of the tree frogs that were everywhere during our visit. They made a really loud noise that sounded kind of like a duck quacking. 

Left to right: Our nephew Nathan, cousin Dylan, nephew Benjamin, and cousin Tucker. They were like peas in a pod.

Emma got a picture with all her Jester cousins. Left to right: Aaron, Benjamin holding Emma, Nathan, and Josiah.  I'm *kind of* hoping that Robin has a little girl so Emma will have a girl cousin her age! But I'm sure she'll keep up with all the boys, no matter what!