Life Lately

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

After that intense blog last week, this one is going to look ridiculous. Because, guess what? It's a photo dump!

Family trivia night at Ceviche! It's always fun having my cousin, Christopher, in town. Even if most of his face is cut off. Plus, we came in third!

That face!!

Happy New Year from the Baker girls!

Love this family of mine.

The final UGA game of the year! (Might I add that I won the family Bowl Picks this year? Yep, 1st place out of 26 people. It's science, people.)

The cutest little fan I ever did see.

Nap time! (Visualize me taking this picture, please. It's pretty ridiculous what I do just to try to capture an everyday moment.)

Rolling on her tummy and so proud of herself.

Reaching for Papabear's wine glass! She whined every time we took it away - hilarious.

Such a big girl in her Bumbo.

I was getting ready one morning, turned around and saw this.

All dressed up for Hazel's Baptism.

Mattress shopping with Daddy.

"It's ok, mom. I can handle my medicine on my own."

Sunny Saturdays

Oh, my heart. JUDE!

Little lamb butt.

Fun at Grandma's!

These two. Obsessed.

And another random sleep spot. Her play mat.

Her first snow! Here's a quick video of her and Daddy:

Naturally, after taking off her snow gear, we put on her mermaid outfit. (Thanks, Whittney!)

Wahoo! I love my activity set! (I don't know the name of this contraption, so that's going to have to work.)

Making brownies with mom is HILARIOUS.

And we'll end it with a picture of this sweet cherub asleep in our bed. Why is she asleep there, you ask? Because she's back to waking up every hour or so all night. Around 5 or 6a, I finally just bring her in bed with us and she snoozes while we work. Tough life being a baby, I tell ya.

Aiden: Five Months

Hello, I'd like you meet my grown up child. At five months, she's basically ready to get a job and her own apartment. Seriously, how is she already five months?!

(this little smirk!)

She's the cutest thing in the world. Here's what's been going on this month….
  • When we got back from the hospital she went through a really cool sleep regression where she literally didn't sleep at night. Adam and I would take turns just being up with her the whole night. We let this go on for a week before we decided to let her "cry it out" to put herself to sleep. The first couple nights were brutal, but now she's totally fine. We don't let her cry it out when she wakes up in the middle of the night because we know she's either A. hungry or B. in need of a cuddle… and she's still so little! 
  • She still eats every 3-4 hours (nights included).
  • She discovered a fun, new high-pitched scream. She does it when she's really excited or really mad. 
  • After a hiatus while she was sick, she's back to chatting up a storm. She recently started making this "geeeee" noise and it's adorable.
  • She's also working on her smile repertoire - she now does a fun lower lip bite and a scrunchy, closed mouth smile. When she's flashing you a big smile, she does this crunch movement where she kicks her legs as far as they can go and basically tries to do a sit up in your arms. She's the cutest, what can I say?
  • She loves the cold. We took her for a walk when it was frigid and she just giggled the whole time. I think this also has something to do with her loving the outside.
  • She's becoming very interested in our food and drinks - I have a feeling she's going to be more than ready when it's time to start food next month!
  • Her hair is growing into this amazing mohawk. 
  • She's really reaching for things now - like Papabear's glass of wine at dinner. 
  • She finally rolled over! From her back to her belly (Jan 15) and belly to back (Jan 16). Such exciting times for an infant.
Here are some cute videos from this month….
Trying real hard to roll over - about two weeks before she finally did
Being all around cute
Mattress Shopping cuteness
Getting scared by Daddy

Each month gets better and better. Oh, how we love this child.

A Purpose for 2016

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

I initially created this blog with the intent for it to have a "purpose". It ended up being an online scrapbook of my life, which I love to look back and reflect on. But I'll be the first to admit, I've done a great job at making it look like my life is pretty much all happiness and stress free. If I happened to stumble on my blog, I would immediately call my own bluff. There's no way this person has been honestly chronicling her life for the past 4+ years and it's all been positive.

My goal this year is to be more transparent here. I would like to look back on posts from here on out and actually get a sense of what my life was like. Not just smiling pictures with quick captions (although those certainly won't go away). Real feelings. Real thoughts. Here we go.

I've always been a people pleaser. I don't like to make people uncomfortable, I don't like saying things that will stir the pot. I want everyone I meet to like me, and I take it personally if they don't. That's probably why this blog has been all sunshine and rainbows until now. Nothing controversial. Nothing meaningful. There are many times I'll drive home after being with friends or family and beat myself up over something trivial I said. "Did I sound dumb?" "I shouldn't have said that." "Do they think less of me because of it?" I would be willing to bet that the conversations I stress over were forgotten the moment I left. I over analyze everything I say, and I'm constantly embarrassed of myself. Being like this has always bothered me. I'm always asking myself "Why do I care so much?"

For example, I remember posting when Adam got baptized and seriously thinking "I can't be too Jesus-y because people will think I'm weird. Or the 'Super Christians' will see right through me." Goodness - can't I just be proud of my husband?

Before becoming pregnant I would say I was a Sunday Christian, at best. Adam and I really enjoyed our church, and attended here and there. If we weren't hungover. Once I got pregnant, the hangovers stopped and church attendance picked up. I wish I had a better way of describing how I really came to know Jesus, but that's really the reasoning behind it. (Maybe I should leave that part out of my testimony...) Now that I've gone through pregnancy and childbirth, and now that I'm a mom I honestly don't understand how people don't believe in God. The entire process is an absolute miracle, and I am blown away by His love and grace every time I look at our sweet girl. Aiden wasn't planned, but we were over the moon when we found out I was pregnant. We have always said that God has a special plan for Aiden, because He apparently really wanted her here. I sometimes wonder if it's because He needed me to know Him right now. He needed me to realize put all my trust in Him all day, every day. He needed me to realize you can't have a successful marriage without Him in the center of it.  He needed me to realize that I am not a slave to money. He needed me to realize He has huge plans for me. Regardless of His reasoning, I am so excited that Aiden and our future children will only know Adam and me as people who are in love with Jesus.

I always thought of Christianity as a lot of rules and no fun. I credit a good friend of mine (Hey, Barbara!) for making me realize that God is simply love. She is fun, hilarious and likes wine. She also works at a church, loves Jesus and is probably my favorite Christian. She once told me, "It's so cool because God doesn't love you because of who you are, He loves you because of who He is." If I had to pick the one moment I decided to be a Christian, that would be it. I finally realized you don't have to be boring to be a Christian. You can still drink wine, laugh, make so many mistakes, be yourself. But now you have the opportunity to become the best version of yourself and you have the Creator of everything rooting you on every step of the way.

Here's where that "people pleaser" in me comes in. I used to think "Well, I can be a real Christian in my heart and in my home, but I don't need to go making people uncomfortable by talking about it." Except isn't that the complete opposite of being a Christian? Why would I be so selfish to keep this amazing love to myself? This year, I'm letting Jesus push me outside of my comfort zone. I'm going to make a conscious effort to listen and respond. I'm going to say things that might make people uncomfortable. I'm going to turn people on to Jesus by being myself - the same "me" I've always been. I don't think these conversations need to be forced and formal, these conversations may come up after a couple glasses of wine. (Great, now my friends are going to be scared to get a glass of wine with me. Look, I'm still funny!)

Here's to looking back at 2016 and finally reading some real, raw truth.

(Also, I keep re-reading this and it's so scatter-brained and all over the place. I apologize to my future self for not being able to put my thoughts together in a cohesive way. NO, I DON'T. I don't apologize. I'm not going to try to "people please" my future self. Ok. Bye!)

Babe's First Christmas

Monday, January 11, 2016

Last Christmas was so special to us, because it's when we announced to our family that we were pregnant! I vividly remember thinking that in just one short year we'd have a four month old to celebrate Christmas with. (Although, I don't recall the whole hospital visit in my dreams.) I can't even believe that was only a year ago. 2015 was by far the best year of my life. I loved being pregnant and now I just love this little bug more than I could have ever imagined.

We got home from the hospital on Christmas Eve, and the rest of the day was pretty low key... just soaking in our healthy babe.

I told myself I wouldn't get all crazy about traditions this year since we just got back from the hospital, but I still made cookies for Santa! (While Aiden slept, of course.)

Christmas morning she slept until about 10:30! Talk about an anti-climactic Christmas morning! And then she had to eat, so we didn't get around to opening presents or anything until around 11am. I guess we should enjoy that while it lasts. 

She was in such a good mood! (And looked so adorable in her jammies from Kalyn.)

Her first Tacky Hat Christmas!

She's officially a Baker!

Opening presents with Daddy! (Full disclosure: I just rewrapped toys she already has that haven't been opened. But Santa did bring her the Jesus Storybook Bible!)

Her stocking is bigger than her!

Nonna and Papa got the same swing that Grandma and Grandpa have…she LOVES it.

Chillin with Uncle Mitch

Annnd those are all the pictures I took. We tried to stay low key since we hadn't even been out of the hospital for a full day, and we were able to soak in some great family time.

Happy Birthday, Jesus! We love celebrating You!

Aiden: Four Months

Friday, January 1, 2016

Little bug is four months! I really can't believe how fast time is flying by. I had to go to my doctor's office to pick something up - which is located at the hospital where she was born - and I may or may not have cried in the parking lot. So many memories!

Ok, updates from this month...
  • Honestly, she was sick for the most part this month! That dang Kawasaki Disease.
  • Because she was sick, she's regressed with her tummy time domination and hasn't tried to roll over at all. I'm not worried, because she literally did nothing for three weeks while she was sick, I'm sure it's going to take her some time to build back up. 
  • While at the doctor on Dec 14, the doctor found TWO TEETH starting to come through! She officially has her first teeth - the front bottom ones. She kept sticking her tongue out, and we thought it might be swollen... turns out she could probably just feel her little teethies! Kind of hilarious that she gets her first teeth at 3 months, and Jude still has none at 15 months.
  • Since getting back from the hospital, she's smiley and giggly as ever! Her smiles are huge, open-mouth smiles and I LOVE THEM.
  • She was pretty quiet the first couples days after we got back from the hospital, but she seems to have found her voice again and loves to chat.
  • She can sit up in her Bumbo seat. She gets this big ole smile and you can just tell she's so proud of herself.
  • She's figured out that both of her hands belong to her! She'll intertwine her fingers and it's pretty adorable. 
  • She's also discovered that she can use her hands to do things - like grab our faces (which melts my heart).
  • She loves to snuggle her lovey and stuffed animals. 
  • I accidentally "killed" Fred (her Wubbanub) while trying to sanitize him, but quickly ordered a new one. She wouldn't take a paci while she was sick, anyway - so that worked in our favor.
  • She loves her carseat, and is getting better about car rides. Having a noise machine back there is a real game changer.
  • She's in between sizes. Still fits in most 0-3 months, and starting to fit in 3-6 months.
  • She eats every 3-4 hours, but can sometimes goes longer.
  • We successfully moved her from our bed to her crib! Motherhood is a total mind game. I wanted to move her out of our bed because I knew she wasn't getting good sleep and I could tell she was ready. Of course, the first few nights I was near tears because I wanted her back in bed with us.
  • In the mornings, she'll make noises when she wakes up in her crib and I can hear Ruthie walk down the hallway and nudge open her door. It's adorable.

As of her four month checkup on January 7… 25" long (79%) and 12lbs 11.8 oz (21% - she actually lost weight from when she left the hospital, but they're not too concerned).

My heart increases in size daily. Every day I say I don't think it's possible for me to love her more, but then she wakes up the next morning and I do! 

Kawasaki Disease

As I lay on this hospital bed with my sweet love sleeping in her "nest" next to me, I figured I'd go ahead and start getting all of this down. (I just realized I started her Birth Story almost the exact same way... Ironic.)

The morning of Monday, December 7, Aiden woke up with her first fever. Conveniently, my first day back from Maternity Leave was supposed to be the next day. I thought it was just a cruel twist of the knife for my last day of maternity leave, but the fever persisted. We took her to the doctor that Tuesday, and were told it was just a virus. At that point, she was only on day two of her fever and didn't really have any other symptoms. Maybe a runny nose, but mild at its worst. We went about our week, and she was still fighting the fever and developed a rash all over her body. On Friday, she seemed to be coming out of it - she was in a great mood and her fever never went above 99. Saturday morning she was back to her pitiful self (and we also took family pictures - poor bug!), and we decided if she still felt like that on Sunday then we'd take her to the doctor Monday.

Monday, December 14 we were back at the doctor with a temperature of 101.1. Still no other real symptoms other than having a fever and being cranky (the rash was gone by then), so Dr. Stokes decided to do a bunch of tests. Flu, strep, RSV, UTI (they used a catheter to get the urine - ouchies), and even a chest x-ray to check for pneumonia. Everything came back negative, but they decided to give her two shots of a broad spectrum antibiotic, Rocephin, to bring the fever down while we waited on further tests to come back.  They did the catheter and shots at the same time, and this mama could barely handle it (little did I know what was ahead!). Of course, she started breaking out in a rash from the Rocephin, so they had to give her Benadryl. We made a follow up appointment for Wednesday...

Wednesday, December 16 we learned all of the tests had come back negative. Her white blood cell count was high, which means they knew her body was trying to fight something - they just couldn't figure out what. Dr. Strauss sent us to Urgent Care to get more blood work done, and then he called us that evening and wanted us to come in for another round of Rocephin shots. Her CRP level came back elevated (it was at 11... normal is about 1). We headed up to the doctor, but because she wasn't showing any signs of a bacterial infection we decided against the shots. They decided to swab her for another respiratory panel (first one came back negative) and took one of her dirty diapers for a GI test. We made a follow up appointment for Friday...

Friday, December 18 we headed back to the doctor. Still running a fever, still no answers. Dr. Strauss recommended we head to the hospital since there's nothing else they could do for us at the doctor's office. We headed home to consolidate to one car and then straight to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta - Scottish Rite. I let myself cry on the drive from the pediatrician to our house, but asked God to give me no more tears during this process. He has answered! I've shed a couple single tears here and there, but have overall been able to hold it together this whole time.

We arrived at the ER at 10:41am (I don't know why I remember the time, but I do). I was impressed with how quickly we got checked in and into a Triage room. After the initial consultation, we were put in a room - although still in the ER. Even though Dr. Strauss called ahead and sent over all of our info, the hospital wanted to run the same tests over again. Dr. Zeigler in the ER was fabulous, and a great indication of the care we would receive during our stay. In addition to more blood work, our sweet girl had to have an IV put in - which was the worst scream I've ever heard in my life and so painful to watch. She also got another chest x-ray and an ultrasound of her abdomen. The doctor said he could feel her spleen when he was feeling around (comforting), but the ultrasound came back clear! Apparently infections can cause your organs to swell... crazy. 

And as if that wasn't enough, Dr. Zeigler recommended she have a spinal tap. We were very hesitant (you hear all those horror stories), but he was so wonderful about sitting down and really talking us through it. It's very, very rare that anything negative comes from a spinal tap - and he personally hasn't had anything bad happen during one he or any of his colleagues have done. He also wanted to rule out Meningitis. He didn't think she had it, but said it's one of those scary diseases you want to check for rather than look back and regret it. We agreed, and he even let us go back in the room while they did it. I stayed in Aiden's face to keep her paci in, while a nurse held her down and Adam watched. I could hear Adam losing it behind me, but God kept answering my prayer and I held it together. I was also so close to Aiden that I couldn't see the procedure, which also helped. In one of the more comforting moments of my life, I was humming "Jesus Loves Me" to Aiden and Dr. Zeigler started humming along with me. The people at this hospital are truly amazing. Right away he said her fluid looked very clear and was encouraged that it would come back negative - which it did! Soon after we were officially admitted to the hospital and sent to a room for the night.

Our room was pretty depressing and very small, and it turns out we were on the Observation Floor for pre- and post-op. Needless to say, the floor was pretty empty Friday afternoon and when we got up on Saturday we were the only ones there! It was kind of creepy. Luckily, we were moved to a real room around noon on Saturday, after Aiden received an echocardiogram. As soon as we got into our room (Club 419, represent!), we were introduced to the best nurse - Kelsey. We love her!

Shortly after, Dr. Andreson came down and said she consulted with the cardiologist and they believed Aiden had Kawasaki Disease. Of course, hearing a diagnosis was scary at first, but she explained that it was treatable which was a huge relief. The treatment is a 12 hour IV of Immuno Globulin and aspirin. We got started on the IV around 5:30 on Saturday evening - the first two hours, they had to come in and check her vitals every 15 minutes, followed by another two hours of 30 minute checks and then hourly checks for the remainder of the time. Needless to say, we didn't get much sleep that night.

She woke up Sunday smiley as can be! Then she spiked a fever around 6pm, which was a bummer, but we were told not uncommon. We just had to make it to 6am on Tuesday with no fever to be released that day. She had an awesome day on Monday - very smiley again - and once we made it past 6pm Adam and I celebrated that we made it past the "hump" and only had 12 hours to go! (Turns out the Infectious Disease team did the same thing.) At 7:30pm I could tell she started feeling warm and was trying not to freak out. I decided to check her temperature myself (since I'd seen the nurses do it so many times), and Adam and I stared at the reader praying for less than 38 Celsius (100.4 Fahrenheit... that's what they consider a fever). Our hearts sank when it read 38.4. I called a nurse in and said she felt warm (but didn't admit I had taken it upon myself to take her temp). They came in about 5 minutes later and we hoped that I had just done it wrong.... then we saw 38.8 pop up on the screen. 101.8. We were going to have to start all over again with a 12 hour IV followed by a 48 hour observation period.

Since we knew we were going to be in the hospital for another few days, I headed home to start some laundry and grab more clothes shortly after they confirmed she had a fever on Monday night. Of course, I raced there and back - and I can't say I'm sad I missed them putting in another IV. This time, they put it in her left hand, so they had to tape her arm to a board to keep it straight. She kept hitting herself in the face, so we put a diaper over it - making her look like a boxer. Kind of hilarious, except that she was so frustrated she couldn't play with her hands. 

I had a hunch that she was going to need two treatments of the IVIG, and I was right! During the second treatment Monday night/Tuesday morning, she only ran a slight fever (38.1) around 3am and that was the last fever we've seen. (It's now been a whole week without a fever!)

We just had to make it to 10:30am on Christmas Eve without a fever and we were heading home! Our doctors came in around 9:00am (too excited to wait), and we were officially discharged right around 10:30! It felt SO good to finally be going home!!! And on Christmas Eve!

Through all of this, we could not have been more thrilled with our pediatrician and everyone at CHOA. I cannot say enough good things about our nurses, doctors, cardiologists, infectious disease doctors, techs... everyone was so amazing. I especially loved how we never felt rushed during their check-ins. They were very thorough about everything, answered all of our questions in great detail and we could tell they were genuinely concerned about Aiden. They also didn't just stop by every once in awhile. We saw every doctor at least once a day, usually more. 

We also would not have been able to keep our sanity without our family always coming up to keep us company (we also had a few friends stop by!). Truly, we are so very blessed with the amazing, supportive people in our lives. It makes my heart melt to see how much they love Aiden. 

And of course, all thanks go to God for ensuring our baby girl came out of all this unscathed and for keeping us strong during the process. We are so excited to see the big plans He has for her.

The first morning of her fever… silly me thought it would be gone by the next day.

She was so pitiful, but extra snuggly. Me loving all those snuggles quickly wore off when I realized she was still miserable after all that time.

Waiting at the ER

That little hospital gown about ripped my heart into a million pieces, but it didn't seem to bother her a bit! When I saw smiles like this I'd tell myself "Maybe she's faking this whole thing and she's fine!" Then I'd remember she's an infant who can't really fake that.

She looks so little. :(

Rocking this fashionable backless option.

Hooked up to the IVIG, Round 1.

Such was such a trooper! She went through a lot for such a little babe, and truly blew us away.

Hallelujuah! Round 1 (and what we hoped would be the only round) is done!

Such a smiley babe after the treatment!

Night and day difference!

Getting an EKG. "Hey lady, what do you think you're doing?"

Her Cindy Lou Who door.... Children's goes above and beyond to make the details meaningful.

Loves her daddy.

She could not be more beautiful.

When she spiked a fever and had to get another round of IVIG, her original IV had clotted up so they had to do another one. We were so nervous about this, because she screamed in so much pain the first time. She was a champ with the second one! 

Getting ready for Round 2 with her great nurses!

Snooooozing! Note how we had to put a diaper over her IV. She was about to give herself a black eye, so we had to turn her into Rocky. It was kind of hilarious, until it wasn't. She couldn't sleep the last couple nights in the hospital and we could tell it's because she was in pain from that dang IV. The second they took it out she was much better.

On Tuesday, we got the green light to put on real clothes! And it's a good thing, I had lots of Christmas outfits to get through. :)

Exploring the hospital. This is The Zone - an awesome area for kids to play. They had a Microsoft Room with computers, XBoxes, etc.; a movie theatre; a kitchen where they were decorating cookies; a play area where they were passing out Christmas gifts; and more.

Clowns walked the halls all the time - CHOA is truly the best!

They have a library with so many movies and books to check out. We kept Christmas spirits high by reading lots of books!

Each floor was a different Christmas theme - ours was "A Merry Fishmas".

The Bakers brought Maggiano's for a nice family dinner on Wednesday night, and Aiden was in a great mood! Smiling and giggling all night.

Thursday morning we got the green light to take out the IV - yay!

Shortly after we were officially DISCHARGED! 

Our tech that morning suggested we go downstairs and get a farewell picture in front of the beautiful Christmas tree. I tell ya, everyone at CHOA is just amazing.

As I said before, we could not have made it through this without the love and support of our family and friends. Shortly after we got home, we received two surprises at our front door!

For being in a hospital for a week, we had an amazing experience. (Of course, we hope to never be back!) We know our outcome would not have been as positive without all of the prayers we received. Our God is good, ALL THE TIME!