Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Our Little Fishy

In this video, Grace's instructor lets go of her and she swims a couple of feet all by herself to the pool's ladder!

We are nearing the end of Grace's third session of swimming lessons at the Green YMCA. She has so much fun learning how to swim. Our first class was a "Pre-Pike" class and I had to go in the water with her. She learned how to go under water and hold her breath, how to 'scoop' the water, and how to get safely in and out of the pool.

The class she is in now, called "Pike", has about 5 kids in it and they go into the water by themselves. The instructor takes turns showing each child basic skills like kicking, scooping, and how to float. Grace will be in this class until she can swim 5 feet by herself.

Grace is the youngest child in her swimming c
lass. It is for children 3-5 years old. She does very well, but sometimes she gets bored and starts swimming around when she should be holding onto the wall waiting for her turn.

Grace's favorite part of swimming class is at the end when the kids are allowed to go down the slide in the deep end of the kiddie pool. (Most of the kids can touch in the deep end, as it is only 3 feet deep, but since Grace is just under 3 f
eet tall, she still can't touch!)

She has the biggest smile on her face when she comes down the slide.

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Look Back...Ella Rose

What a lucky little early birdie my Ella Rose is! Ella's birth wasn't as nice and planned out as Grace's was. Ella was born about 6 weeks premature, on June 18th, 2007 at 5:32 pm. She weighed in at a whopping 4 lbs. 14 oz. and was 17 in. long. She, too, was born at Barberton Citizens Hospital where I work.

My pregnancy with Ella was nothing short of eventful. I was a gestational diabetic, which means I had to inject myself with insulin several times a day. Also, I had a lot of contractions and preterm labor, so I had to take medicine every day to try and stop those contractions. Well, around 34 weeks gestation (a normal pregnancy is 40 weeks), Ella decided it was time to make her appearance. I went to Dr. Kovacevich's office that Monday morning for a routine test and, again, I was having contractions. Jesse took me from the office right over to the hospital and I was monitored for a few hours. I knew something felt different with my contractions that day, but we really didn't expect to be having our baby! Well, as it turns out, I was in true labor. So, to the OR we went...again!

Ella Rose was born by c-section at 5:32 pm. She screamed and cried right after delivery just as much as her full-term, much larger older sister did. But, shortly after her birth, Ella started having respiratory difficulties. Her lungs weren't fully developed and she wasn't able to breathe effectively. The Akron Childrens' Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit's transfer team came to Barberton Hospital to evaluate her and take her to the NICU across town.

Ella strapped into the isolette for her ambulance ride to Akron Childrens Hospital.

It was very sad knowing that I would be in the hospital after my surgery for 3 days while my new baby girl was at a hospital across town. I didn't even get to hold her before she left in the ambulance.

The next day I was able to leave Barberton Hospital for a short time and visit Ella at Akron Childrens. It was difficult to see her with IVs, a feeding tube, and machines hooked to her. She actually did very well, though. Ella was in the NICU for 6 days after her birth and came home on June 23rd. We went to see her every day that she was there. Grace even went to visit her a few times. The day we brought her home from the hospital she only weighed 4 lbs. 2 oz. She was the tiniest little baby!

The day after Ella was born.

Nena and me with Ella in the NICU.

Grace meeting Ella for the first time in the NICU.

All ready to go home!

Ella is still tiny for her age, at almost 2 years old she weighs 20 lbs. Grace weighed 20 lbs. at her 1 year check-up. She still wears 12 month clothes, too. However, her development has been spot-on target ever since she started walking at 12 months. You would never know she was a preemie if she wasn't still so tiny! Ella talks more clearly than Grace did at her age and she runs, jumps, plays, and fights back with the best of 'em!

Ella at one month old.

Ella at 6 months.

Ella at 12 months.

Ella at 18 months.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A Look Back...Grace Josephine

Our first daughter, Grace Josephine, was born December 14, 2005 at 4:37pm. She was born at Barberton Citizens Hospital, on the maternity unit where I work! This is a look back at the day she came into the world.

After a seemingly endless pregnancy of 39 weeks filled with a weight gain of nearly 60 pounds, overwhelming bilateral lower extremity edema, and long nights of Butterfinger bars and Mountain Dew, I was schedule for a labor induction at 0600 on the morning of December 14th, 2005.
Shortly after my admission, Pitocin was started
to bring on the contractions. Then, around 1100, Dr. Sutter broke my water and my labor was officially under way.

I was so swollen that my face didn't even look like it was mine anymore. My nose was huge! This was a wonderful photo of me after laboring for about 5 hours already. I was epiduralized and getting pretty tired already.

After my water was broken, Grace's heart rate kept dropping significantly after every contraction, called " persistent late decelerations". Unfortunately, she wasn't moving down into birth position and I just wasn't progressing very quickly. After interventions to help bring her heart rate up didn't work, it was pretty evident that an urgent C-section was the best option for everyone.

Before I knew it, I was in the operating room around 4pm. Poor Jesse was so worried and nervous!

This is me as I was lying on the operating table waiting for Grace to be born. Jesse was right next to me the whole time taking pictures.

Here she is! Grace Josephine arrived at 4:37 pm, weighing in at 7lbs. 3oz., 19 inches. The first thing Jesse said when he saw her was, "She looks just like me!"

Grace was wide awake after she was born. She was pink and chubby with a cute little birth mark shaped like a butterfly right between her eyes. The one thing that everyone commented on when she was born was how long her fingers were! People still tell us that, too. Maybe she'll play piano or guitar some day...

The whole family was there when Grace was born. Everyone was waiting for her when Jesse carried her out of the OR to the nursery.

Our first family photo.

Aunt Renee, Chaela, Steve, and Nena (my mom), watching Grace through the nursery windows.

Grace's first bath while I was in the OR. My friend at work, Denise, cleaned her up while Jesse took pictures and our family watched through the nursery windows.

Back in my room after the C-section, I got to hold Gracie for the first time. It was the best feeling in the world!

My Dad's first photo as a Pap Pap with his new granddaughter.

Jesse's sister, Roberta, now more commonly known as "Aunt Sis", holding Grace for the first time. Grace is named after Roberta; they have the same middle name, Josephine.

One day old.

One month old.

Six months old.

12 months old.

18 months old, with a newborn little sister.

24 months old.

2 1/2 years old.

3 years old.

Grace is an amazing, smart little girl. She is an awesome big sister and we just love her with all of our hearts. I love watching her grow and learn every day!