Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Little Guy. Rough Start.

When Caleb came into this world five weeks early, he did remarkably well. His Apgar scores were 8 and 10, which was quite amazing for such a little guy. He didn't ever need any oxygen or extra suctioning when he was born. But in the few days following, he gave us a little run for our money. Granted, it could have been much worse, and we are incredibly blessed that he is so healthy. But here's a recap of his first couple weeks of life.

Often times, premature babies have difficulties that term babies don't have. Caleb had three of those difficulties:  trouble keeping his blood sugar up, trouble keeping his temperature up, and jaundice. 

For the first 24 hours,  they checked his blood sugar each time before he ate. That meant a heel poke every 2 hours, but thankfully he was able to keep his sugar high enough that it only lasted 24 hours.

His temperature was monitored every 4 hours, plus occasionally after being unwrapped to eat. It dropped low a couple times, so we had to be sure to keep him bundled with extra layers and keep a hat on at all times. He doesn't have the brown fat that term newborns have to keep them warm, so he just needs a little extra layering.

The jaundice was his biggest problem. He had a double whammy of risk factors-- his prematurity and a positive direct coombs test. That basically means that my blood and his blood are incompatible, and at some point they mixed, and therefore his red blood cells were being broken down in his body. Because he was so early, his liver wasn't able to process the bilirubin quickly enough, and he became jaundice. [Ella had the same problem of the + direct coombs, but because she was term, she didn't need to be treated.] They began to measure his bilirubin levels at 7 hours old, even though they don't usually start until at least 12 hours of age. His was high enough that he needed to be treated with phototherapy-- he was put under special lights to help his body breakdown the bilirubin. He was under the lights for 24 hours, then came out when his bili level was lower. But after a while, his level rose again and he needed another 12 hours of phototherapy. During those days, they drew blood every 2-8 hours, and while under the lights we only got to hold him for 30 minutes every 2-3 hours so he could eat. It was a rough few days, and there was brief talk of him needing to be transferred to a NICU for more intense treatment. But thankfully, and by the grace of God, he improved and was able to come home with us on Day 5.

When we left the hospital, he had to be in a car bed rather than a regular car seat. He was too little to tolerate the incline of a car seat, so his oxygen level dropped after sitting in it for a while. It is a interesting [weird] seat, but whatever it takes to keep him safe!

By discharge, he was down to 5lb 2oz. For a full two weeks we were feeding him with a syringe in addition to me nursing him. He was quite yellow and fairly lethargic due to the high bilirubin level. We've taken him for follow-up appointments every few days, and he has now surpassed his birth weight and is 5lb 13oz! We'll follow up again at the 1 month mark, and hopefully we'll be in the clear for both weight and jaundice -- and done with the car bed!

Big sister Ella checking him out on his birth day!

She's such a great big sister.

First round of phototherapy.

So in love with my little guy!

Finally going home!!

I have to give a huge shout-out of thanks to Mike for stepping up to the plate to take care of Ella, groceries, laundry, dishes, and so much more. And to my mother in law Marie, who hopped on the first flight out here to give us two extra hands of backup. You two saved my sanity!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

{Surprise Arrival} Caleb Michael

As you know by now, we had an early surprise arrival of Caleb a couple weeks ago. I've had a few people ask me why he came so early and unexpectedly. And although I don't really know why, here's how it all went down.

On Saturday December 5th, Ella and I went to the PSU hockey game, as we often do on Saturdays in the fall/winter/spring/allyearlong. It was the annual Teddy Bear Toss game, so Ella was super excited to go, as it's her favorite game of the year.

In the weeks prior, I had been having occasional contractions, especially when I was at work or doing something active. The doctors were aware, and they said it was no big deal. That Saturday, I had been having contractions more frequently and at rest, so I looked at the doctors' instructions they give to all pregnant patients. It said that if you have contractions at rest, and they resolve with hydration and activity then they're false contractions. So to the game we went, and the contractions stopped. So I didn't think anything more of it. We had a great time at the game, and had a relaxing and routine evening at home. 

I went to up to bed at 11pm, and Mike was still watching the Big Ten championship game {go iowa!}. Just as I tucked into bed at 11:30... GUSH! I was totally shocked, and I knew immediately that my water had broken. So I waddled my way into the bathroom. Since Ella was asleep just down the hall, I didn't want to yell for Mike. So I texted him. And his phone was charging about 10 feet from me. Rats. I made my way down the hall and quietly asked Mike to come upstairs. Twice. Nothing. So I waddled halfway downstairs, hoping not to make a trail on the carpet behind me. I asked him again to come upstairs. He stood up and started to slowly make his way upstairs, while intently watching the football game. Patiently, I rolled my eyes and headed back upstairs to avoid making a puddle on the stairs. A few minutes later, he came up. [priorities ;) ]

After calling the doctor and quickly throwing some things into a bag, Mike and I were on our way to the hospital. We had called a friend to sleep in our guest room so that we didn't have to wake Ella. Thank goodness for friends! 

Because it was five weeks early, my OB and pediatrician were discussing sending me to Hershey to deliver, since there isn't a NICU here-- just a nursery. But my labor was progressing quickly and they hadn't made a decision yet, so there was no time to transfer me to a hospital an hour and a half away. 

When I arrived at the hospital, my water had indeed broken, I was 3cm dilated, and my contractions were 3 to 5 minutes apart and getting stronger. They got me admitted by 1:30am, I got an epidural at 3:30am, and I was fully dilated by 4:30am. They had me "labor down" and wait it out [if you're wondering why, they didn't know by GBS status since I wasn't yet 36 weeks, so they were hoping to get one more dose of antibiotics in at 6:30am], which I was totally ok with... lying there with an epidural sounded much more pleasant than pushing :) 

Around 5:30am they decided I should start pushing. And after a whopping three pushes, Caleb was born! 

Caleb Michael
Sunday  |   12/6/15  |  5:50am
5 lb 8.5 oz  |  18.5" long

Labor was a completely different experience this time around. I was in labor for six hours, and I pushed three times [Mike said I didn't even break a sweat!]. With Ella, I was in labor for 20 hours and I pushed for two hours. Needless to say, I recovered much more quickly this time around! 

Big sister Ella was so proud to hold her baby brother!

Mike and his two little munchkins!

Sweet Little Caleb!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Our Recent Visitors

As you may have seen, we've had a handful of visits lately from family and friends. It's been great to have extra people around and to see people we don't get to see too often!

In September Mike's mom, aunt, and grandma were here.
In mid-October my dad, Deb, and my brother were here.
In late October, some friends from college were here.
And last week, Mike's mom, dad, and brothers were here. 
And we have more visitors coming soon in anticipation of the arrival of the Little Guy!

Here are some pictures from when my family visited in October
learning how to drive a tractor at the fall festival

and grandpa dave teaching her how to milk a cow, too

helping uncle mike put on the handles of her baby doll crib

all done at the park, walking home with deb

so much fun!

jumping with uncle mike

hockey game

she perfected this face over the course of the week

loving all the attention

And some of when Mike's family was here last week
giving the duck some acorns

park with gumba dave

helping grandma marie make thanksgiving dinner

new favorite snack: bear made of toast, bananas, and blueberries

wagon ride with grandma marie and grandpa dennis

Newborn: Round 2

I've had a handful of people ask what we need for Round 2 of the newborn stage or ask if we've registered anywhere. Initially, we hadn't really considered answers to either of those questions. But now I have. I made a Target registry (just because it's what we have here. and they have free shipping. and they have a 10% completion discount!) for a general idea of what we're planning to get this time around. SO-- If you were one that asked, there's your answer. If you didn't, please (please, please) don't take this as a 'hey, buy us something' post. That's the reason I almost am not posting this anyway.

Ok, now for some more exciting posting:  our recent visitors!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Pregnancy #2: 32 Weeks

Last week we had a much-anticipated 32 week ultrasound. At the 20 week ultrasound, there were a couple little concerns that they wanted to check into again at 32 weeks, mostly just to make sure that the little guy is growing appropriately. (Based on weight-gain and this growing belly, I had to assume yes!) Thankfully, it went very well. He's growing perfectly, weighs four pounds, and measuring two days ahead of schedule. The things they were concerned about are much less concerning than they initially thought, and we're in the clear to proceed with the remaining eight-ish weeks. Thanks to those of you who were sending prayers of health for the little guy -- they were answered! Now we just can't wait to meet him!!

While doing the ultrasound, they "snuck in" a 3D image for us to really see the little guy's face. We didn't get to do that with Ella, so it was really fun to see! Here's a side-by-side of Ella at just a few days old, and her Baby Brudder at 32 weeks. Could they look any more similar at this point?!

After seeing his little face, I realized how soon he'll be joining us! I've been asked a few times if we're all ready for him to come. Uhhh.... NO! I have done next to nothing in preparation of his arrival. We've had visitors staying in "his room" just about every two weeks for the past couple months, so we haven't organized furniture or anything. We literally have only moved Ella's crib into the room-- pink siderail covers and all. Maybe I should get on that??? 

We have a few things to buy this time around, but of course much less than the first time. Just some live and learn things to make life a little easier.

We still haven't settled on any names. There are two that I really like, and I told them to Mike a few days ago.. and of course he vetoed one. He wasn't crazy about the other, but he still has yet to suggest anything. Maybe we'll have a name or two picked out by the time we walk through the hospital doors. Good thing we still have a while!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Pregnancy: Round 2

I feel like I have all sorts of things to update you on... life events, opinions, random thoughts. You just might be getting a little bit of everything in the coming weeks. 

But first up:  a little recap of this pregnancy so far.

Here's the most recent picture I have. High-quality, I know.

When I was pregnant with Ella, I posted weekly how things were going. I obviously haven't done that this time around, but I also feel like there isn't a whole lot changing each week. So that would probably bore you. And me. 

Overall, the pregnancy has been going really well. I can definitely tell some differences from the first time around, but let's be real-- growing a baby is growing a baby. So it's just about the same.  Same sort of weight gain. Same right hip pain (which by the way, I now have a friend who specializes in prenatal chiropractor-ing, so I'll be seeing her soon). Same nausea and acne at the beginning. The main difference that I notice is round ligament pain. I get it much more frequently than I did the first time around.. perhaps because boys carry lower? Maybe that's a myth, I don't know. Perhaps I'm having more pain this time because I'm more active and things are getting stretched more. Who knows.

I'm still kind of craving ice cream, but not quite as much as Round 1. More just my normal-life ice cream wants. I've been saying that I'm not really craving anything, but I have noticed that I'm drawn to cereal more than anything else, and more than usual. A bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats can really make my day!

One thing I'm trying to make different this time around is the weight gain. The day I went into the hospital to deliver Ella, I had gained 51 pounds. That's a little ridiculous, and I didn't want to repeat that. I started this pregnancy in pretty good shape physically, and 10 pounds less than when I got pregnant the first time. Because of that, I didn't think I would stay under the generally recommended 25 to 35 pound mark. But certainly not 51 pounds! As of right now, I'm 29 weeks and I've gained 28 pounds. If I can keep it under control for the next several weeks, I'll be happy. I'm shooting to keep it under 40 pounds-- 35 would be great! But I'll really have to keep my food and exercise in check. Time will tell!

Oh, and in case I didn't mention.. we're having a boy this time around. And no, we don't have any names picked out yet. Literally, none. If you have any suggestions, send them our way!

Updates. Grand Updates.

Well, you guys proved me wrong. I'm surprised how many people have viewed my last post and sent messages. So I guess I'll give this whole regular-updating another try! 

I'll try to get you up to speed on what's been happening since Easter. I'm sure I'll leave some things out, but I'll do my best.

Baby on the Way!
We found out a few months ago that we'll be adding another Wierzbicki to the world. We're having a boy, and Ella is excited to have a Baby Brudder! I'm due January 7th; currently 28 weeks along. Other than monitoring a few odd things, the pregnancy has been going really well. I'm trying to stay active and avoid the donuts and ice cream - I don't want to hit the 50+ pound weight gain mark that I did with Ella. (So if you hear me talking about cookies, tell me to lock it up!)

Still Working
Mike is still working at Penn State doing marketing in the athletic department. He's still in charge of marketing for hockey and the ice arena, and they've added lacrosse, golf, and football. It's safe to say he's a busy guy! Ella and I try not to be too needy when he's so busy, but we're not always successful :)
I'm still working at the rehab hospital part-time. There are some weeks I work only one day, and some weeks I work nearly 40 hours. It all depends what Mike's work schedule allows and what the hospital census is.
Ella is still going to the same in-home daycare, and she's still loving it. She gets along really well with the other two kids and the caregiver. Some days when she hasn't gone for a while, she'll even ask if she gets to go play there! 

Iowa/Nebraska Trip
The summer began with a Memorial Day Weekend trip to Iowa. My family's annual fish fry was scheduled for that weekend, so we decided to make a trip of it. Even though the fish fry was cancelled last minute, we had a great trip anyway. We got to see a lot of family and friends, including a trip to Omaha!

Minnesota/Wisconsin Trip
We also took an early summer trip to Wisconsin for the wedding of two friends who live here in Pennsylvania but are from Wisconsin and Minnesota. It was a beautiful wedding, and we were able to make a quick trip to St. Cloud (where we lived in MN before moving here to PA) while we were there!

Michigan Visitors
In early September, we had some road tripping visitors from Michigan. Mike's mom, grandma, aunt, and cousin came to visit for a few days. We had a great time hanging out, visiting the arboretum, and refereeing toddler play.

Iowa Visit
In late September, Ella and I took a fairly impromptu trip to Iowa. Our annual family fish fry had been rescheduled for a weekend in September, and I wanted to spend some time with my childhood bestie.

Play Time!
I promise we did more than travel this summer! We spent a LOT of time at the local parks and pools and playing outside. 

Ella Turned Two!
In early October, our teeny tiny little baby girl turned two! I have no idea how two years have passed, but they've definitely been a fun two years. 
Because we didn't have any family visiting, we didn't have too exciting of a celebration. And Mike has been very busy working, so we thought a low-key family night was the way to go. Per Ella's request, we had pizza and 'yellow' cake. Seriously - those were her requests. What a goof! 
A few days after her birthday, she saw a leftover cupcake and requested a candle to blow out. So we had a mini celebration in the middle of the kitchen floor -- candle, Happy Birthday song and all.

Pumpkin Patches
There are a lot of fall festivals around central Pennsylvania, so we took advantage of a couple different ones. Ella and I went to a fruit farm with some friends, and we came home with orchard-fresh apples and a big pumpkin, as well as great memories. The next day, we went to another fall festival with my family that came to visit. We came home with a couple pumpkins to carve (which hasn't yet happened) and some more great memories. 

Family Visit from Iowa
Just last week, I had some family road trip the 17+ hour trek from Iowa to visit for a week. We visited a fall festival, went to a hockey game, and did some sight-seeing. We had a great week, and of course ate entirely too much food.

That just about brings us to the present. As you can see, it was a fun, eventful few months since we've last chatted. I'll try to keep you posted with our goings-on in the future! (Unless, of course, no one reads it....)

**LOTS of pictures to be added soon.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

To Continue or Not to Continue...

That is the question.

I realize I haven't posted since Easter. That's kind of pathetic. But to be honest, I wasn't sure if anyone was even reading this. I was getting very few page views, and I wasn't sure it was worth my time to post photos and updates.

But since then, I have had a few friends and family members ask if I was ever going to update again. And ask how they're supposed to know what's going on. And request pictures, since they weren't getting them on here. So may it IS worth my time to update??  We've also had a lot of things happen in the past few months, and some more exciting things to come in the coming months.

So my question to you is... Should I continue to post updates? Or not?

I'll check out my page views in a week or so, and I'll decide from there. If you're reading this and you want continued updates, shoot me a message! I'm more than happy to share photos and updates, but not if it's just going to the crickets in the corner of internet-land.

Ok, thanks.
Maybe see you soon.
Maybe not.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Easter 2015

Like last year, Easter was pretty low-key this year. I guess with no family or really close friends around, holidays are just that way. But we had our own fun nontheless!

We dyed Easter eggs, which Ella loved. Supervision and papertowels were definitely key, but it was great messy fun. 

And they turned out so pretty!

We enjoyed some Easter candy, compliments of the Easter basket that Grandpa Dave and Deb sent. I think it's safe to say that Ella loves Peeps!

Grandpa Dave also sent her a cute little bunny cup, and we got out the bunny ears from last year from Grandma Marie. She was all decked out for Easter!

Unfortunately we missed the two Easter Egg Hunts we were thinking of going to (mostly  because of a boycotted nap). She wasn't going to hunt because she's too young for the hunts here, but we were going to watch the madness and meet the Easter bunny. But we made our own egg hunt in the house! Mike hid the eggs and Ella hunted and collected them.

She didn't know what to do at first...

But then she was so proud of her full basket!

It was a great Easter. Church, brunch, a basket, and an egg hunt. I'd call that a win for a 1-year-old. Hope you had a great Easter too!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Ella {18 Months}

How is our little baby Gabriella Marie a year and a half already?! It has been a whirlwind. I feel like just a few weeks ago she was a tiny little baby. Wrong! She's growing so fast, and she continues to learn funny new things nearly every day.

We just had her 18 month checkup, and she's still got Mike's height! The doctor is happy with all her measurements, and says that everything is healthy & consistent.
She weighs 25 lbs 4 oz, which is the 80th percentile
She is 2 ft 10.5 inches, which is the 99th percentile for height
Her head is 46.4 cm around, which is the 52nd percentile

I may have said this before, but Ella is saying SO many words. It seems like every day or two, she learns a new word. She connects the word to the object, too, which is funny. When she sees that object, she gets really excited and shouts the word. A recent one was Clock. When she sees a clock on the wall she gets really excited, points to it, and shouts "Clock!" Some other new ones are Swing (although it sounds like Weee) and Slide (which sounds like Fries). Even though she doesn't pronounce all the words correctly, Mike and I can tell what she's saying most of the time.

One of her new favorite things is singing the alphabet. She can get to E correctly, then she stumbles through.. but she does get some of them right! She obviously has no idea what she's singing, but she loves the song. She also likes counting songs. She has one that's 1 to 5 and one that's 1 to 10, and she likes to sing them randomly... but I try to correlate it with counting objects. When we go down the stairs, we count them--things like that.

Early in the month was March Madness. If you know Mike, you know that means nothing exists on our television except college basketball for a full month. (oh joy.) In order to keep Ella entertained and involved, we had her fill out a bracket. We wrote each team on a slip of paper (using crayon, of course), then we laid down the matchup, and she picked one slip of paper for each matchup. For the first couple of rounds, she actually did really well! She had a few upsets, and her Final Four was quite impressive. She even had a major favorite (Kentucky) winning it all. In addition to filling out her bracket, she requested basketball for weeks on end. Seriously, she would say "Ba-ball" anytime she either saw a basketball clip, game, or commercial, or if there was something else on tv she would say "ba-ball" and once we'd change it to a game, she would get excited. Mike has officially created a monster.

At the very beginning of the month, Grandma Marie and Grandpa Dennis (Mike's mom and dad) came to visit. They were both here for a weekend, and Marie stayed for a week. It actually worked out really well, because she came when Mike was out of town for several days. It was great to have an extra pair of hands to help (and entertain!). I'm not sure who enjoyed it more-- Ella or Marie!

Ella and Grandma Marie at the last home hockey game of the year

ice cream at the hockey game!

playing with a shaker at the game. she had enough hockey for one season.. she just wanted to play!

Ella and I at the game

She has officially figured out how to get to Mike during the games!

Ella's first donut, compliments of Grandma Marie & Grandpa Dennis

a lunch date to Chick-Fil-A while Marie was here. Ella loved the play area!

first-ever kids meal. yum!

Since the weather has finally been nice, we've been playing outside a lot! Sidewalk chalk, bubbles, walks and parks. Even a sandbox at daycare! Ella really never wants to go inside; if it was up to her, she would play outside all day. Last week she even took off toward the park on her own twice. It's not far from our house, but far enough that she's too little to go alone. I have a feeling it won't be the last time she wanders over there alone!

As far as food, she's eating more "regular" foods. She is tolerating more spices and more meat, so she's eating dinner with us a little more often. She still has things like tortellini or ravioli if we're having something that really isn't too kid-friendly, but that's happening less often (which is nice). She still LOVES fruit and enjoys some veggies. She's using a fork and spoon a little better each week, and she definitely likes her independence.

starting to eat things like a big girl!

As you can tell, it's been a really fun month around here. We're really looking forward to summer-- a couple trips planned, and lots of fun outings around town. Ella is a blast, and she entertains us each and every day. Here are a few pictures of our fun over the last month.

snack time in her little nook in the kitchen

library storytime, and emily just had to come along 

washing hands in the library bathroom is the best!

she loves webster the bear at the library. visits him every time we're there.

a new favorite activity:  rearranging the entire silverware drawer

she always has to be helping in the kitchen

washing and drying a lime. cutest helper every! 
(no child was harmed in the taking of this photo. but now you know why we need the kitchen helper kid stand!)

she brought the chair over from the table and got up all on her own. 
oh, independence.

playing her own version of lacrosse at the womens lacrosse game, while wearing the necklace that she and Mike made there

first baseball game of the year, and psu beat michigan! 
(sorry, not sorry Grandpa Dennis!)

We hope you're enjoying some sunshine wherever you are!