Emma is now 7 and a half months old. She has two bottom teeth - finally! She is starting to babble more and make connections between words and objects. She is sitting up and learning to crawl as well. Her personality is coming through more and more and I'm seeing not only Josh's traits but mine in her as well. She is very determined to learn and do things on her own. She gets very frustrated when she cannot do something but gets over it quickly with a little encouragement.
She is squealing and making the ba, da, tha, ma and ga sounds. She enjoys stringing the various sounds together like any other typical 7 month old. She is working on perfecting "daddy" and she says "Ga" when she sees Gracie (our dog). Josh and I are also working on some sign language with her - food, milk, more please.
She can blow bubbles and raspberries which is cute until she does it during dinner with food in her mouth. So we have been learning what "NO" means. The ladies at daycare also gave me a great tip - leave the spoon in her mouth for a second when feeding her - love those women who take care of my girl! Every time I question our decision about me going back to work (even just part-time - I only work 1,200 hours per year now compared to my typical 2,400 hour year), God uses these ladies to reassure me of our decision. (He is also teaching me not to doubt when He answers my prayers - can you tell??)
I love that Emma is able to sit up and play now. Pots and a wooden spoon are a good 30-45 minutes of entertainment while I fix dinner. She is scooting, rolling around, climbing on mommy, pulling up, standing with support, but not crawling. She will even take steps if you hold both of her hands!! I think she will be crawling in the next couple of weeks though. She can get to the crawl position on her own, but she falls on her tummy when she tries to move forward. Even though Emma cannot crawl just yet, she is getting into more stuff. For example, I was packing last week for our trip to Huntsville. I placed her in the floor with a few stuffed animals. I left the room for a moment to grab a Ziploc bag to organize her supplies and when I got back she had rolled over to her pile of clothes and unfolded everything! I couldn't help but laugh at the mess; she was so proud of it.
She also loves bathtime and floating in the pool. I LOVED the water when I was little, so I'm excited about this. Water does not scare me and I hope to teach her to swim next summer.
She is down to 4 feedings from mommy, 1 formula feeding (because mommy's supply is NOT holding up with pumping and introduction of solids), and 2-3 solids. As far as food, she has had avocado, bananas, rice cereal, squash, zucchini, sweet peas, sweet potatoes, apples, pears, oatmeal, peaches, green beans and carrots. Her favorite food is sweet potatoes and she loves bananas but does not care for peaches or apples. We are still battling reflux. It is getting better but we do a lot of laundry in this house still. If I ever hand you Emma, you better take the burp cloth too! She has not had one of those epic across the room milk vomits in the last month (spoke too soon, b/c she had one friday morning before I was able to publish this post). If you have not experienced this as a mom, count your blessings! Bibs are Emma's hottest accessory these days and she can soak one with spit and drool in 1 hour flat!
|Those blue eyes get me every time!|
|Girl loves splashing in the water.|
|My smiley baby|
|"Vroom, vroom - go faster mommy!"|
|First time in a big pool.|
ReflectionAt seven and half months I keep thinking "Where has my tiny baby gone?" I know everyone warned me that she would grow up fast but I had NO idea just how fast! It feels like yesterday that I was rushing to pack my bags for the hospital. I had just cleaned up our Christmas decorations, picked up the house, stocked the fridge for two weeks (like usual), listed out my last minute before baby comes "to-do" items, and completed my big December 31 deadline project at work (over 240 property tax filings with counties all over the state of Alabama). I had Emma's bags packed but not mommy and daddy's - I'm a planner but Emma made her debut a little early. Like 3.5 weeks early!! Having a baby was NOT on MY agenda that week - I mean, I was still trying to get over the chaos of Christmas. I should have known better; her daddy is ALWAYS early, and God likes to remind me who is really in control sometimes!
I remember riding to the hospital and asking Josh "Is this really happening?" I think it sunk in when they put us in a delivery room around 11:30 pm on New Years Day. Josh called our parents and I immediately started knocking things off my "to do" list. I finished my thank you notes from my December shower and starting emailing coworkers to handle projects that were not completed. The nurses kept asking me if I was okay and if I needed pain meds - nope, I was good, just had things to do. When I look back now, this could have ALL waited. But I think I worked on my "to do" list because it helped distract me from my fears - my fears of our insurance switching over that very same day, my fears of delivery, my fears of possible surgery, my fears of induction, my fears of a premature baby.... the list could go on. I cannot even imagine what was going on in Josh's mind. Being a supportive husband during all of this had to be hard b/c there is just not much a husband can do (other than hold her hand and coach her through the contractions and take care of all the family logistics - which he took care of like a pro). Emma came fast. I pushed for 15-20 minutes and she arrived at 11:24 am on January 2nd! I was up walking around that afternoon. I have to thank our amazing nurses and doctor at St. Vincent's. I had such kind women taking care of and coaching me (and directing Josh) all the way through the process. We were in great hands and our parents agreed. (One of our nurses is on the new St. Vincent's commercial. She's awesome! For ladies in the B'ham area, St. Vincent's is the way to go for excellent, budget friendly care. We are lucky!)
The next 48 hours in the hospital are still a blur to me. Emma stayed under the warmer a lot since she was early (no NICU visits - yet another answered prayer). I had to keep her double and triple bundled so I did not get to inspect my sweet baby and "kangaroo" her like most mommas. I was also trying to process the fact that my main focus those first few weeks of January was Emma instead of setting up our tax software at work or finishing up my client planning for tax season. When we came home with Emma, I was upset. I struggled with the baby blues. It was not the "I want to hurt my baby type of blues" (thankfully) - It was the "I can't do this, I'm not a competent mother, I'm a better CPA, why did I think I could handle this, just give me the keys to my car so I can leave town" blues. It was awful and it was ALL Satan. I mean who would rather work on corporate tax returns for 60 hours per week instead of snuggle with a newborn?? - Now you know how bad it was! Oh, and my poor younger sister got a front row seat to all this. Stephanie helped us out a ton by running errands around Birmingham the first weekend we had Emma at home. She even made us a wonderful homecooked, healthy meal with leftovers. Thankfully my caring Mom came the following Monday and a sweet friend was able to talk to me when Josh couldn't reason with me. Mom showed me how to comfort Emma with a lullaby and worked with me on nursing her to keep her jaundice down. My sweet friend kept a check on me via Josh. I cannot tell you how thankful I am for these ladies. It kept the baby blues from turning into full blown postpartum (although I don't think I really felt like myself until the last month or so). One piece of advice for all mommies to be - don't disregard the "4th trimester." It's a hard time and not sleeping makes everything worse. Talk to your husband openly about what is going on and talk to your mom or a close friend who has gone through this. Don't go through this alone!! And if you are a mom and notice a friend going through this, pray for them, pray Satan away!!
Emma has always been a chill, smiley baby and I'm so thankful for her temperament. It is definitely an answer to one of my many prayers for her. We get stopped in the store all the time by people eyeing her beautiful red hair and she always returns their compliments with a big, bright smile! She has been a joy and I'm so proud of her resilience. God has used motherhood to teach me so much. I'm forever changed because of this little red headed beauty that God has allowed me to call my daughter. I still have a lot to learn but God has placed a supportive husband, encouraging parents, a flexible employer, and some wise Christian women in my life to help encourage me along the way. One day Josh will tell Emma just how much she has changed her mommy and how thankful I am for that. I encourage you tired, overworked, under-appreciated mommy's and daddy's - Keep seeking after God's will for you and your family. Keep striving to know exactly what He wants for your life. And take comfort in the fact that there are other families out there doing the same thing!