Monday, October 10, 2016

One Month!

Hallie's first month has been exhausting, but so sweet. We are still living in my parents' townhouse while we finish the kitchen remodel at our new house.  Since all their bedrooms are upstairs and I'm not supposed to climb up stairs much while I recover from my c-section, Hallie and I slept downstairs in the living room for the first three weeks after coming home.  Although we ran a noisemaker in Emma's bedroom, she would hear Hallie cry several times during the night and either wake Dan up or come downstairs to join Hallie's and my slumber party.  So all four of us were exhausted most mornings!

Hallie was born with a little bit of hair! It looked red under the delivery room lights at the hospital, but since then, it's become a mystery color. We'll have to wait a few months to find out what color her hair and eyes turn out to be.  She lost 10% of her birth weight during our three days at the hospital (from her 6 lbs 6 oz birth weight down to 5 lbs 12 oz) because she was too sleepy to eat.  They recommended that I bottle feed her and supplement with formula to make sure she was getting enough food to grow.  By her two week doctor's appointment, she weighed 7 pounds and by the end of her first month, she was over 8 pounds, so needless to say, she is thriving!  She sleeps between 1.5 and 3 hours at a time during the day and night.  She's been a very easy baby to soothe, and she doesn't cry very much for a newborn, even when we're doing something she hates like changing her diaper or outfit.

She is starting to really focus her eyes on our faces, lights, and other interesting objects around the house when she's awake.  If she's really fussy, we can take her outside for a few minutes and let her look around and it instantly calms her down.  She loves to be held, of course, but she sleeps better in her bed or on the couch than Emma did at her age.

After Hallie came home from the hospital, the gifts just rolled in! We got a personalized cookie bouquet from my company, Epsilon Systems.

Emma's cookie had "Big Sister Emma" written on it.

Hallie considered whether she should eat her cookie, which was bigger than her head.

 She decided to go for it!

We received a delicious fruit arrangement from Dan's school, StoneBridge.

And gorgeous flowers from one of Dan's coworkers

Hallie sleeping in the bassinet that Dan's dad made for his kids over 50 years ago!

Emma loves checking on her baby sister and holding her hand when she's crying.

Emma likes to give Hallie a toy to hold onto. We've been talking a lot about which toys are safe and unsafe for babies.  She also sometimes helps put Hallie's pacifier back in her mouth, so we are trying to teach her how to do it gently and only when Hallie opens her mouth to receive it.

Getting my snuggles in with this sweet girl.

Dan has to share his lap with both girls. Emma has been very attached to her daddy since mommy has been recovering from major surgery and can't lift or play much.

Nana has been absolutely wonderful to Hallie and I during my maternity leave. She has helped me take care of Hallie every day, watched her when I needed to get out of the house, and let me take naps to make up for the lack of sleep I'm getting at night. She is the best mom and Nana in the world!

Hallie has gotten some sweet bonding time with her Grandma, too, since she and Grandpa have come down almost every weekend to help us with the kitchen renovation.

 We had a fun visit from Aunt Robin and cousins Naomi and Miriam one afternoon!

Hallie has decided that the car seat isn't so bad and has taken a few good naps in it.

Baths still aren't her favorite thing, though.

 She and I have gotten a lot of quality time with my parents on the days that Emma is in preschool. We have loved our time off together!

This one-month old has been a blessing!

Heh! The hat just wasn't working for her. 

Our pretty girls!

Friday, October 7, 2016

My Birth Story (by Hallie Rae Jester)

Mom and I were getting pretty tired of pregnancy, and my dad was asking everyone and their neighbor to pray that I would arrive early. So I got this fun idea in my head - why not surprise them three weeks early? They'd be thrilled to meet me, of course, and I'd get a little more space to stretch my legs. So the evening of September 3rd, I let mom know I was on my way.  After trying some at-home tricks (taking a warm bath and drinking lots of water) to stop the contractions, she woke my dad up to drive her to the hospital.

Here are mom and dad smiling in the emergency room, even though it was 2:00 a.m. the morning of September 4th.  The details are hazy since I wasn't actually born yet, but I understand that mom got lots of IV fluids to see if her contractions would stop since she wasn't quite 37 weeks pregnant.  I was determined to have my party that day, though, so labor progressed and the doctor scheduled a C-Section at 7:00 a.m.

That's where everything started going downhill.  The doctor literally ripped me out of my cozy cocoon and into an awful cold, bright place where I was poked and prodded. I immediately knew that my big surprise was a terrible mistake and demanded to be put back immediately. Apparently that wasn't an option. So September 4th at 7:59 a.m. was my birth date and time. I weighed 6 lbs. 6 oz. and was 19.7 inches long. I was a big, strong girl, considering how early I came!

I got my first photo with mom and dad. The hospital made us all wear silly hats so we looked like Dr. Seuss characters. Embarrassing.

I had my first checkup and they said I was perfectly healthy, except my blood sugar was a little low. That meant that I got to eat a lot, which I liked, but also that they would prick my heel to draw blood and test my blood sugar level every day until I left the hospital, which I did NOT like.

Then I got to cuddle with everyone in my family. Me and mom, who was definitely on drugs.

At least my dad was sober that day.

My big sister, Emma.





Uncle Rob, Aunt Robin, and cousins Miriam and Naomi (and my big sis, too!)

Entertaining everyone was exhausting, but I still spent some time perfecting new skills.

Comparing the soothing effects of my fingers vs. a pacifier

Blowing kisses at my handsome daddy

Getting lots of kisses from mommy

Charming everyone with my smile

Practicing my modeling poses

Before we knew it, it was time for us to leave the hospital. 
"It's your very first car ride," they said. "You'll love it," they said.

But we were all happy to be on our way home to start our new life together.

Our first photo as a family of four!