Wednesday, June 30, 2010


these flowers just outside our house inspired the colors for Saraya's newest addition to her fun little wardrobe. the tutu was surprisingly easy to make. there are so many free directions online. the hardest part may very well be deciding what colors to use!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

pooh chair

Saraya got a fancy little chair from her auntie... i think she likes it!

thanks Aunt Lynn!

Saturday, June 26, 2010


here are some choice shots from Saraya's newborn photo session with Kate Williams of Chasing Daylight Photography.  she slept for practically the entire shoot and was pretty cooperative with the posing and prodding.  isn't she too cute?!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Thursday, June 24, 2010

rock chick

i know it sounds cliche but time is really flying.  my beautiful little girl is nearly one month old.  every day she makes me smile and laugh.  whether it's her funny little baby panda grunts and squeaks or her precious smirks and smiles, i just can't get enough.  i know i've been a little negligent with posting to the blog.  a big part of that is trying to set up the new laptop since the untimely death of my last computer.  i'm hoping to have that resolved by this weekend.  in the meantime, here is another little pic of the panda princess rockin the jimi hendrix onesie and the super cute tutu my mom and i made...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

happy father's day

“Certain is it that there is no kind of affection so purely angelic as of a father to a daughter. In love to our wives there is desire; to our sons, ambition; but to our daughters there is something which there are no words to express.”

-Joseph Addison

Saturday, June 19, 2010

thanks mom!

i've been very blessed to have my mom here to help me adjust to life with the new baby.  she has been so supportive and has helped make my life a little easier.  grandma time means i get to take a long shower and i can eat something besides cereal.  i never realized what a difference a long hot shower could make in my day!  Saraya is a lucky little girl to have Grandma V here for awhile.  i'm pretty lucky too.  thank you mom!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

my new best friend

i envy anyone who has been blessed enough to have pain-free nursing experiences.  for the rest of us, there is the appropriately named company Motherlove.  Saraya says "hooray!" for nursing...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

happy birthday to me

i had a lovely birthday with my mom and Saraya yesterday.  we had a delicious sushi lunch, went shopping at the outlets, and ended the day with these incredible mini cupcakes from Cupcake Love.  Cupcake Love is a fantastic little shop in Solana Beach that makes from scratch treats.  we enjoyed the lemon, bunny love, red velvet, and coconut. a really great day!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

ta da!

check out my littlest who in whoville all bundled up in the baby bjorn!  she loves morning walks and perks up at the birds.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

they grow up so fast...

only 1 week old before she sticks her own pacifier back in her mouth and gives me a look that says "i got this ma!"

Friday, June 4, 2010

haiku friday - homecoming

noisy little fig
startles and concerns the dogs
then she falls asleep

Saraya's birth story part 3

the hormone high lasted a few hours before i succumbed to exhaustion.  since we weren't prepared to be away from home as long as we had been, Justin had to run back home to walk the dogs and grab another change of clothes.  he left early in the morning and i was hoping we'd be able to get most of the discharge paperwork out of the way before he returned. 

Saraya's first night wasn't too bad.  she woke up and attempted to nurse before the corpsman came in for her vitals.  first he checked her temperature and noted that it was a little low.  so the next thing they check is the blood sugar.  that too was lower than they preferred so they were going to feed her when they noticed her belly was slightly distended.  unfortunately, this raised all kinds of red flags for them.

now, i appreciate the concern but sometimes the overly conservative approach to their care is out of control.  they admitted her to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), shoved a tube down her nose and throat to drain her intestines, administered an IV and started her on antibiotics.  all of this was precautionary.  they didn't know if it was just backed up poop or an infection so they forced us to stay for an additional 48 hours until they could get the results from the blood draw to see whether or not it was an infection. 

there were other babies in the NICU.  the majority of them are premature or otherwise very ill.  it is an awful thing to see your newborn baby pricked and prodded and tied to machines in general but it is that much worse when it is all because of MAYBE.  we felt like prisoners.  sure we had access to her 24 hours a day but she was on another ward and the stress was not helping me produce milk.  how was i supposed to nurse with all that crap on her anyhow?!  and though no one was deliberately keeping us in the dark, it seemed like there was no certainty when we tried to get a better idea of how much more and how much longer.  it seemed as though, after every milestone we passed, another thing would pop up to delay our departure.  even after they determined there was no infection and they stopped administering antiobiotics, it didn't stop.

suddenly, every doctor needed to check her, just in case.  anesthesiologists, orthopedic surgeons, pediatrics... more and more paperwork.  honestly, the only people i could stand were the lactation consultant and the NICU nurse.  i felt helpless and like i was losing my mind.  poor Justin was as distraught as me if not more.  it wasn't about things not going like we planned.  it was this overly traumatic experience that was robbing us of a precious introduction.  i was tired of doctors asking me how i was and what i needed.  i got snappy; i said i was over it.  there was no reason for us to be there any longer and i was angry, stressed and frustrated.  i didn't need follow up appointments made, or someone to check my carseat, or a nice little flyer showing me the best way to position my baby for sleeping.  all i needed was to take my baby and go home.

and finally, 4 days later, it happened.  they let us go and as we ran out into the sunshine without looking back, Saraya lifted her little hands in the air as if to say "hallelujah!"

so forgive us if we haven't really made/returned calls or been up to visitors.  we are really excited to share her with everyone soon but for now, we will be selfish.  it's nice to be home.

if you missed part 1
if you missed part 2

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Saraya's birth story part 2

*warning - graphic labor details (but no pictures, promise)!

i've never had a real issue with military hospitals.  growing up as an army brat and then joining the air force meant i was pretty accustomed to military hospitals and doctors.  and while i appreciate all of the care they have provided me and my family over these years, it was not the environment i was hoping to introduce my child into upon her arrival. 

hospitals can be cold, sterile and stressful places.  as we made our way to balboa naval hospital, we tried to focus on the positives.  we were now closer than not to seeing our daughter.  although our midwife did not have hospital privileges there, there were midwives available (some that had even previously worked at the birthing center we had just come from).  i would only need a little bit of pitocin to kick start the contractions again. 

so, focusing on the positives, we progressed.  we really liked our midwife and nurse.  they were extremely senstitive to our wishes, helped me really focus and made me feel like i was doing an amazing job.  Justin was the ultimate supporter saying all the right things at the right time.  encouragement and excitement poured out of him.  he never wanted to leave my side, even when i told him he should grab something to eat.  and he helped convince me to accept the offer of a mirror to see her progress.   yes, a mirror.  initially i balked at the idea of watching what was happening.  why watch when i could feel EVERYTHING?!  then i saw the expression on Justin's face; there was such joy and amazement that i became really curious to see what he was seeing.  at first i think it made matters worse.  i would see her head peek with a push and then it seemed to suck back in between pushes.  how discouraging!  but after some more tips from the midwife, it ended up being a great decision. 

there are experiences that people can describe in such detail that you can imagine yourself there, tasting and smelling exactly what they're talking about.  labor and delivery is NOT one of those experiences (and that is probably a good thing).  i will attempt to describe some aspects anyhow.  first, there is an incredible amount of pressure.  apparently, her head was pushing against my rectum and i truly felt that if i was going to pass out, it would be from that pressure more than anything.  that was until i experienced the ring of fire.  while i never heard anyone discuss rectum pressure before, the ring of fire is definitely a common topic.  the burning sensation took my breath away which is not helpful when breathing is already so difficult.  but the relief once she slid out was incomparable.  they placed her on my stomach and there she was warm and staring up at me with unbelievably aware eyes.

i was instantly and totally in love.  every single ache and pain and sacrifice washed away in that moment we made eye contact.  after 37+ hours of labor, my little princess was finally in my arms.  she was 8 pounds, 7 ounces and 21 inches of complete perfection. 

unfortunately, there was still a little adventure in the hospital left...

if you missed part 1
part 3

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Saraya's birth story part 1

my baby is 1 week old today and she is utterly perfect.  in some ways this past week has flown by in a complete blur.  in other ways, they have been some of the longest, most grueling days i've ever experienced.  this birth story is going to be on the longer side so here's part one...

Saraya was due May 21st but everyone knows babies are on their own schedule when it comes to the whole being born thing.  Justin and i were as prepared as we could be and just very anxious to meet her, but otherwise just patiently hanging out.  on the 25th i had an appointment and the midwife offered to sweep my membranes.  without going into gory detail, it basically involved her checking to see how dilated/effaced i was and "clearing some cobwebs" if you will to hopefully stimulate some hormone production and speed things up.  there's no guarantee with that sort of thing but it was just comforting to feel like i was doing something i guess.  anyhow, while she was checking things out, she noticed that my water bag was "bulging" and said that things really could happen anytime now. 

the next morning, around 7am i woke up and went to the bathroom only to discover that my water broke.  or at least i thought it had.  after double checking differences between water and urine, i called the midwife to let her know.  around 830 am, i started having contractions.  the majority of the morning was spent periodically checking my temperature, timing contractions, and ensuring we had everything we needed in the car.  i was trying to relax and even had a little lunch but we were getting sooo excited.  after the contractions were around 5 minutes apart and at least a minute in length we decided to start heading towards the birth center.  (it's just 35 miles away so without rushing and with traffic it took nearly 45 min to an hour to get there) but when we arrived, i was only 4cm dilated.  never had a number seemed so far from 10.  we were told to go for a long walk. 

it was a nice day in balboa park and it's right next door so we decided to walk around there.  all that really happened was that i hobbled around at a snail's pace vomiting every couple of minutes.  so there went lunch.  and then there went the jamba juice.  and after that it was just water in, water out.  i will say that labor vomiting is unlike any other nausea.  it wasn't like being sick or drunk.  it was purely reflexive and relieving.  finally, it was time to go back to the birth center.  surely i was fully dilated by now.

*sigh* 7 cm was definitely progress but i really thought i was farther along.  at least i wasn't vomiting anymore.  fast forward to 430 in the morning.  i have been in labor for 20 hours.  i am tired and can't bring myself to eat anything.  i just don't have an appetite.  i'm barely drinking juice and water.  i'm only 8cm.  and we're quickly approaching 24 hours since my water broke.  the pressure of a deadline looms over me now because if i'm not fully dilated and seriously in the process of pushing, i will be forced to move the whole operation to the hospital.  and then the contractions start doing the opposite of what they're supposed to.  they started slowing down and become noticeably less intense.  we are coming to the greatly disappointing realization that we will have to go to the hospital.  it's not the end of the world and the most important thing is that we get her safely delivered but it's disappointing nonetheless and getting scarier by the minute.

part 2
part 3