So, uh yeah, it's been awhile hasn't it? I think it goes without explaining that I've been very busy with an important little someone who likes to be held every waking hour (I'm currently typing this one-handed!), but on those rare occasions that she does nap I've been trying to keep up with housework and entertaining company and decorating for the holidays and, oh yeah, hosting Thanksgiving for our immediate families. (I really wanted to host the first big holiday in our new home and I'm glad I did, but boy, did it wear me out!)
As of yesterday, it's been seven whole weeks since Isla's joined our family and I can honestly say I've enjoyed almost every different little moment. Those moments I haven't enjoyed? Well, there was the trifecta of infant skin conditions that Isla had (still has?) that cropped up around week five. I'm not kidding folks; my poor girl had a triple whammy of infant acne, eczema and cradle cap otherwise known as seborrhea. We've been following a regimen of Cetaphil (yes, that same gentle cleanser you use on your face) and hydrocortisone and to my surprise, that's actually seemed to have worked. Her face and scalp look a thousand times better and don't seem to be causing her any distress. As our pediatrician told us, it's usually more upsetting for the parent to see their baby's perfect soft skin seemingly turn into a 13 year old's pimply, scaly skin overnight!
Isla's also been fighting her very first cold since last Friday. It's been so hard to watch my baby girl with a runny nose and cough. Snot has always grossed me out (even more so than poop and other nasty things that come out of your body!), but I've now become a pro with the snot suction bulb. Snot, schmot; I can handle it! I just hate to see her sniffle and not even be able to blow her nose! Some of our family members were on the tail ends of colds, so I think that's where she managed to pick it up. Jon came down with it the very same day, so I had two sickos to take care of!
Another thing that's been difficult for me is giving up breastfeeding between weeks five and six. I had planned to wean her at week six anyway in preparation for me returning to work at week eight (sadly, next week!) but my milk pretty much ran dry. We've been supplementing from the beginning anyway because I've just never produced enough to satisfy our big girl, but it was still hard to give it up completely. I'd really grown to enjoy our special feeding time together and she had such the perfect latch, and it was really just sad for it to end. Of course I have the mommy guilt of "could I have worked harder to produce more?", but I'm happy to at least know that I gave her a good, solid foundation of breast milk.
And then there's been the dreaded C word, ah yes, the colic. That's been harder than anything else, because there's nothing we can do to soothe her sometimes. Clean diaper, full belly, comfy clothes, none of it matters. Her little body will go stiff and she'll be completely inconsolable. It could also be the gas and reflux issues that she's had since early on working against us, who knows? It just makes you feel helpless. There's not much else I can say about that though; it is what it is.
All of those difficult to deal with things though? They are a drop in the bucket compared to how happy she makes me. She is so purely awesome and watching her grow and learn new things (like smiling!), while bittersweet, is so incredible. People say that she's starting to look more like me and I just love that! A little mini-me! She seems to be taking after Jon in size though...she was 10 pounds, 2 ounces at her six week check up and in the 97th percentile for length! Such a big girl! She has truly made this Thanksgiving and Christmas all the more special.
On Isla's one month birthday (one of the only pictures of us together since the hospital!)
Isla This Morning
For the Before photos, click here.
Isla's nursery was so much fun to put together. We picked out her bedding first and built the nursery color scheme around it. I absolutely fell in love with the Coco Dot Nursery Bedding from Pottery Barn Kids. The colors are gorgeous and nothing screams baby about it. I didn't want anything cartoon-ey or overtly girly so the browns, aquas and subtle pinks combined with the stripes and polka dots were just perfect. The bedding nearly gave me a heart attack though because it was constantly back ordered and it kind of pushed my schedule for completing the nursery back about a month or two.
Isla's crib is also from Pottery Barn Kids and is the Catalina Convertible Crib. I knew I wanted a white crib if we were having a girl and I loved the beadboard detailing on this one. The crib is actually the only brand new piece of furniture in the room (with all the recalls, we wanted to be safe). The glider next to the crib we picked up from a yard sale in the spring for only $40! The cushions are light pink and we bought it before we even knew we were having a girl so thankfully the colors worked out for us!
The cupcake name banner above Isla's bed was made by me. I originally ordered a similar name banner from a seller on Etsy but when I received it, it was much smaller than I anticipated (think only 6 inches long!). So I hung the one from Etsy on her door and decided to tackle the project of making my own banner. It wasn't too difficult; all you need is elementary sewing skills, a lot of felt and some patience!
We were torn between yellow and aqua for the paint color but we ultimately chose aqua because it worked better with Isla's bedding. The actual shade is Aqua Glow from Valspar at Lowe's. We used Valspar paint in every room in our house because often you only need one coat!
I think Isla's dresser was the true source of my heartburn in the last trimester. We had a dresser picked out from Value City Furniture that was the perfect size and style for her room. It even had the same beadboard detailing on the sides! However, every week when it was supposed to come in, we would get a phone call saying it was backordered. This happened about three times and the last estimated date of arrival was October 7th. That was too close to comfort for me. I had laundry baskets full of clean baby clothes just waiting to be put away and I certainly didn't want to deal with that after she arrived.
On a whim, my mom and I stopped into a new boutique in our town that sells shabby chic style furniture and accessories and came across The Dresser. It's an antique dresser that was handpainted by a local Annapolis artist with gorgeous glass knobs and whimsical seahorses painted on each side. For us, the beach and sea loving family that we are, it is perfect! Even the colors of the seahorse match the color scheme. It's like the dresser was made just for us!
The changing table is the final piece of furniture in the nursery. My mom picked it up for us from Craigslist for the ridiculously inexpensive price of $30! It's the perfect compliment to every other piece in the nursery, sharing the same pretty white finish and even similar glass knobs. It has plenty of storage, which is key for us since her room is definitely on the small side.
The lamp on the dresser was a thrift store find several years ago and the mirror above it was one that used to hang in the bathroom of our old condo. Every girl needs a preppy little argyle piggy bank, which holds words of mommy wisdom from my Pennsylvania baby shower hosted by her Bam and Aunt Janelle. And since Mama loves to bake, I bought her a sweet cupcake print from the clearance aisle at Home Goods.
Jonathan installed beautiful new closet doors for the nursery (it pays to marry a handy man!) and we had ceiling fans installed in every bedroom, including the nursery. I found a pretty over-the-door hanger to again, maximize storage, and it even has pink glass knobs! Also, if you can make it out, that's the Nittany Lion costume I bought for Jonathan Isla hanging up, just waiting for her to grow into it. (Not too quickly though!)
And finally, the pièce de résistance of the nursery, her "You Are My Sunshine" painting. From bump to nursery, oh how I love it!
In case you've forgotten (since I haven't complained about it all that much since getting pregnant), we completely renovated the house we bought in the final days of last December. The renovation started January 1st and we didn't move into the house until May 8th, which will give you an idea of how extensive of a renovation it was. Therefore, our before and after nursery photos truly are major before and afters.
Before the reno, the nursery was a 11x11 room with two windows and after, it's approximately 8x11 with one window. This was one of our biggest room transformations as we cut into this room to expand the formerly teeny-tiny master bathroom. We figured this room would make the perfect sized nursery, and later, office, and it's conveniently located just across the hall from the master bedroom.
Before we touched it, the room had lovely orange shag carpeting and baseboard heat, as seen below.
This room kind of turned out to be my pet project as I was the one who tore out the carpet and padding and also tore out the hardwood floors in the footprint of the expanded master bath. It's actually a good thing that we decided to expand the bathroom because there was slight water damage from a prior leak and the hardwoods were unsalvagable in just the area where we would be tearing them out. It's like it was meant to be!
In the photo below, you can see the structure of the new wall and the window that once belonged to the nursery.
Once the new wall and electrical was installed, it was time to have the hardwoods refinished. They were in remarkably good shape after years of being covered by shag carpeting! The before refinishing is below and unfortunately, I don't have an after picture of just the floors. For my sake, please notice the layer of dust on the floor. I thought the renovation dust and dirt would drive me crazy! It was awful and took forever to really get everything clean.
Coming up next, the beautiful after pictures!
I first came across the name Isla when the actress Isla Fisher became popular with the release of Wedding Crashers several years ago. I'll be the first to admit that I mispronounced it and said "Ee-slah" (Spanish pronunciation) rather than the correct "Eye-lah" (Scottish pronunciation). "Huh," I thought. "That's a pretty cool name." I loved the meaning behind it (it's the name of a Scottish island) and it wasn't long before I decided that if I ever had a daughter, that would be her name.
Jonathan and I have always discussed baby names and I mentioned the name Isla to him shortly before we got pregnant the first time. Something you should know about Jon is that he has strong name associations. Pretty much every name I had suggested to him in the past he had some sort of negative connotation with it. I knew I had him with Isla! I mean really, how many Isla's do you know?
Happily, Jonathan loved the name Isla as much as I did. He, too, thought it was gorgeous and he couldn't find any negative association with it. Additionally, the name Isla wasn't overused. Popularity was one of our major considerations for a name. We wanted something unique but not totally off the wall and Isla fits that bill perfectly. Sure, she'll probably have to deal with mispronunciations, but as Jonathan and I concluded, any name can be mispronounced. You have no idea how many times I get called Kathy instead of Katie!
The biggest reason we knew Isla was the name for our baby? It pays homage to our love of the islands and it was important for us to give her a name that really means something to us. I've already taken her to the beach in our community and we can't wait to take her on a real island adventure! We hope she grows up loving the water and sand between her toes as much as we do. We capped it off with the middle name Sloan (my maiden name) in honor of my family roots since both she and I (and Jonathan, of course) share his last name. She's such a little Isla Sloan and we can't imagine her with any other name.
It's been three whole weeks since our baby girl came into this world and as cliché as it sounds, I really can't imagine my life without her in it. She's a dreamy baby, she really is, and that's why I haven't gotten around to her birth story yet. If she's not asleep, she's usually in my arms and getting my undivided attention. These eight short (so very, very short) weeks of leave that I have with her are fleeting so I'm trying to take full advantage of our time together before I go back to work full-time.
I love her wholly and unquestionably and I'm already sad at the thought of her one day not wanting to be held and snuggled close by her mama. We've stuck with the breastfeeding, though we are still supplementing with formula because I'm just not making enough to satisfy her voracious appetite (I think she gets that from Jonathan!). This method is working perfectly for us and we are all happier for it.
As of last week, I've lost all of the pregnancy weight (28 pounds) and am now under my pre-pregnancy weight. My stitches (yes, there were stitches!) in my lady bits have healed just fine and I'm feeling pretty wonderful, especially considering the lack of sleep I'm running on! That first week home was a tough one, I'm not going to lie, but we're starting to get into somewhat of a routine and I think that has helped immensely. We're still working on getting her to sleep for longer stretches at night (she goes for about two hours before needing to feed), but all in all she's just a really good baby. She must know that Jonathan and I are total novices!
I'll leave you with a few photos of Isla from her one-week photoshoot (by Kate Lall Photography, the same photographer from our maternity shoot). She was an absolute doll and slept through the whole thing! I'll have to start sharing a few each day because there are so many adorable shots!
And now, for a new Isla photo!
No baby girl yet, so I thought I would share some photos from our amazing baby bump photo shoot with the incredibly talented Kate Lall. She came to our home and did the photo shoot in both our living room and at our community beach without missing a beat. She was the best and I highly recommend her for anyone in the Baltimore/Annapolis/DC area. I adore all of our photos, but here are some of my favorites.
How Far Along: 39 weeks and 5 days. Sorry if my lack of post yesterday led you to believe I was having a baby...my neighborhood mom's group threw me and two other expectant moms a necessities shower last night so I didn't get a chance to write!
Weekly Fruit Comparison: A watermelon
The Good: So much has happened since last week! My original due date (based on LMP) was October 2nd. However, once I had my "pregnancy confirmation" sonogram around 8 weeks, they dated her a week later, hence the October 10th due date. Apparently though, if the difference in dates is only a matter of a week, my docs tend to stick with the LMP due date for all intents and purposes. Well, throughout the entire pregnancy, no one ever told me that! So imagine my surprise at my appointment last Friday when my doctor said, "So, you're due tomorrow!" and started talking about induction dates.
Once we clarified things, she gave me the option of sticking with either the LMP date or the sonogram date, but reminded me that I couldn't be induced any sooner than one week past my due date. She also mentioned that the rate of stillbirth goes up the longer you go past your due date so that was enough to convince me to just go with the October 2nd due date. If Baby D doesn't come by this weekend, I'll be induced next week, either the 12th, the 11th or the 13th (in that order).
The Bad: About that induction...I REALLY don't want to be induced. Of course, though, I want what's best for baby girl so I'll do whatever it takes to bring her into this world. Just know that I'm going to be trying every natural remedy that I can find on Google!
The Weird: Honestly, you know what's weird? The fact that I'm going to have a baby by this time next week! So crazy!
Best Pregnancy Moment: I have made it to the end. That's something to be very proud of! Now I just can't wait to meet this baby girl!
The Weekly Belly Bump: I guess this will be the very last photo of the belly bump!