Monday, October 30, 2017

Welcome to the club

Dear New Member,

You may not want to be here,  but we are ecstatic to have you! 
What position would you like?? VP of publicity?? VP of activities? General member?  
Whatever the position is, it's yours!
Now maybe you're not completely convinced that you belong here, or want to be, and some times there will even be days after you've joined that you may still not think you want to be here or can be here, but let me tell you why we hope you change your mind- and trust me, you're gonna love it!

First and foremost, you were given the precious gift a child. And above anything else in this world, you just became a parent. And parenting is hard. Period. We know this, we've all done it. In one way or another, we've been there. We are here to help. We love giving advice, getting advice, figuring out which advice works, which doesn't- we live for advice! As you go through this journey you will find that each parent does their own thing, and we think you're great for it! See, one of the very best things about this club is that we put aside all of our differences; religion, political, sexual preference, ethnicity, language- none of those things matter to us! Because to us, you are fantastic and wonderful just the way you are. And we want you to stay that way. We want you, to be you. We want to support you, your thoughts, and your actions as a parent. So let us know how we can help. Because trust us- being a parent is hard! And we want you to feel the best about the job you are doing. 

Second, this club isn't a competitive club. It's here to encourage you however you need it- but let me tell ya right now, even if you feel like you came in last place, you better believe we will celebrate you like you just won the gold medal. We want you to succeed, however that is, and whenever that is, and we're gonna be loud and proud about it. There will be hard days... Days when you feel like you just don't belong here. Days when you just don't want to belong. Days when you feel like you just can't do it anymore and you want to give up. But we aren't that easy to get rid of. We don't want you to feel that way. We want you to feel welcome, loved, important, we want you to feel good about yourself and about the others who come into the club with you. When I say we will be your personal cheerleaders, I mean it. I will personally put on a cheer outfit and come up with a chant. However you need the love and support, we will make sure you get it. 

Third- this club has so much love to give. Maybe you're feeling right now that you don't belong with anyone, like you're alone and lost. But trust me, you aren't. At all. A lot of us have been there, too. We want to welcome you, love you, encourage you, make you feel like you've got "family" with us because that's what we are; one big happy family of #theluckyfew. And the few of us- we get it. 

Let me tell you a personal experience...

When we found out that we were going to be part of this club, we were going through some hard family times already. It was (and still can be) a total and complete disaster. Family was turning on family, fighting was everywhere, leaving people feeling hurt and abandoned. At one point in time it was told to me by multiple people that a close family member said about Emmie,  "What did I do to deserve a {family member} like this?" and not in a loving way. 
I was crushed. As if I wasn't dealing with enough already, I now had to deal with my family turning their backs on me and kicking me when I was down. I felt as though this baby wasn't wanted by others. My feelings were so hurt (and to be honest most days still are...). As if I wasn't going through enough already I now was dealing with the rejection fears as they stared me straight in the face. I simply shut down and shut everyone else out. I was in survival mode. So I reached out to fellow club members who instantly picked me up. They reassured me that this baby was going to be the greatest blessing of my life and that they would step in as family whenever and however they could. 
While it doesn't take away the pain of the words that were said, I knew that this club was going to be amazing. Since that day they have done just that.
The day that my daughter was born I received so many lovely messages from people in our club about Emmie. Everyone was so excited for me and offered to help how they could. Luckily, most of my family members were right there by my side to welcome her home, but I knew that when I needed them, my new club friends would be there in a second. And trust me- they have been. Every single time I've needed them, they come running. 

There are going to be hard days. No matter what you do, there are going to be days where you just need someone to talk to. Someone who knows what you're feeling and has survived it. Someone who won't judge you for feeling the way you need to feel, and someone who can help you feel the way you want to feel. And there are plenty of supporting club members. 

See, that's another great thing about this club- it's everywhere. No matter where in the world you are at, there is always someone close by who is thrilled to have a meeting for whatever reason! We love to travel and meet all the members. There no distance that's too far, and you can never be close enough. 

So maybe you're not wanting to join in right now, but when you feel like it's the right time for you- trust me, we're going to be just as happy to have you. We'll share secrets, successes, losses, play dates, even diet tips if you want them! You just let us know. And even if you decide you're partially with us, I promise that we've still got your back, forever and always. 

Love always, 

The parents of the #Homieswithchromies #T21 #Theluckyfew #lifeisbetterwithyou #nothingdownaboutit crew 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The difference a year can make

One year ago I was learning about Down syndrome. Coincidentally it was also during Down syndrome awareness month- October. 


For those of you who don't know- Emmie has Trisomy 21, more commonly known Down syndrome. But that doesn't change a thing to me. She is still my baby, she still needs love and she still needs me- just like any other baby. Emmie is my greatest joy. Sure, she can be frustrating to a #typeApersonality and #controlfreak mother, but that doesn't mean she isn't the best thing ever.
During the month of October I hope to share some insight into our little world, and give hope to others, along with educating those who visit my blog, Instagram, Facebook, or twitter account. And today, I want to talk about what a difference a year can make.

I remember the moments all too well. The moment when I sat there alone hearing that a blood test was recommended to see what was going on...the moment that I sat there crying telling the girl drawing my blood that I didn't know if I could do this, but that I knew I had to take care of myself before I could take care of anyone else (meaning, my husband)... the moment that I was told Emmie had a 99.1% chance of having Down syndrome. I remember them so vividly that it feels like it was yesterday.
But it was a year ago. It was a year ago that I started the most wonderful journey of my life.
And in the last year I have learned so much. About myself. About my job, my husband, my family (immediate and extended), social media, companies, laws, my child's diagnosis...the list goes on. But today, I want to take a minute to talk about what I have learned from the medical staff who has taken care of me, and Emmie for the last year.
I remember the phone call and Dr. Walker saying

"Hi Kortney, we got the results back from your blood tests. It shows that you're having a baby girl, congratulations, and that she's got a 99.1% change of being born with Down syndrome." 
"...wait... what? Down syndrome?"  I asked
"Yes. That's what the results came back as. Down syndrome." She responded
"Not Turner's syndrome? I thought we were concerned about Turner's syndrome?" I asked back. 
"I'm not seeing results for Turner's but this test is pretty accurate and it shows a good chance of Down syndrome. Let's have you come in in a few days and we'll talk about what this means going forward. Have a great night!" 

And then she hung up the phone.

I was so confused. I was prepared for the worst. I was prepared for a baby that was never going to make it to full term or die at child birth. The scans had shown so many indicators (soft markers) for it. So I now had to re-collect my thoughts and figure out a new plan. I stood there in the bathroom, staring at myself in the vanity thinking "Now she's got Down syndrome, too? This isn't what I was expecting. I'm not prepared for this."
I would be lying if I said I didn't cry when I found out that Emmie would most likely be born with Down syndrome. In fact, I honestly thought "How did this happen to me?" After I got the diagnosis and I had actually started to think about what could possibly go wrong (Down syndrome babies have a greater chance of something going wrong- but we won't get into that today) and for a moment I thought it would just be easier if she was never born. I think back on those days now and wish I could wrap my arms around my devastated self, crying alone in my walk-in closet, and say "It's all going to be okay." I tried and I tried to tell myself that over and over but my uneducated (I say that because I was informed about Down syndrome, but not properly educated) got the better of me and I was easily sucked into a self-pity party and the tears would come back.
A few days later we found ourselves sitting in the Dr's office again, waiting for Dr. Chalmers to come in. I remember being so nervous. Like I was going to the Principal's office for something.
I remember him coming in so happy. He slid the rolling chair over and plopped down saying "How are ya today? How's business going?" just as he always did. I think he could read the emotion and the nervousness on my face.
"We're fine. Business is good" I said trying to be the happy person I used to know...
"So, I hear Dr Walker called you with the exciting news" he told us
I sat there and thought "Exciting?? Are you kidding me?!"
I didn't even had a chance to respond when he started saying:

"I'm sorry this pregnancy isn't going the way you planned or thought it would, but Down syndrome is the greatest thing. I have a {family member} with Down syndrome and man, what a blessing! {This person} has a job, goes on vacation, is so funny. We love {this person} - like, probably the favorite family member. No, definitely is the favorite person in the family. Like, we all love going to family reunions because of {this person}" 

I remember the mood instantly changed in the room, and so did my attitude. I went from thinking "I can't do this" to "This is going to be okay. We are going to be okay"

I don't remember much else about that appointment or what else was said but I remember him saying "Okay, well take a few days, do some good research, call us with any questions and then we can talk about what you decide. This is going to be fun!"

And just like that- my world was put back together. It may have been glued with Gorilla Glue, and it didn't magically fix the issues that we were looking at, but it changed my life. There is a part of me that truly believes that I never would have carried Emmie to term had I experienced something else. We still knew that Emmie had an uphill battle, but instead of it looking so dark and grim, it was looking a little lighter and happier. All thanks to a Doctor who was willing to cut me off and tell me how it really was; someone who had actual real life experience with this and wanted others to experience it with him.
The reason I share this story is because I want people to know that this diagnosis isn't a death sentence. It doesn't have to be a horrible, dreaded, feared pregnancy. Anyone carrying a baby should have the chance to enjoy their pregnancy. You should have the same joyous feelings and the same bright outcome as others. You should get the chance to joke and laugh and envision the things you still want for your child. You shouldn't have to be sad, or fear that your child will be unloved.
I've blogged about my experience for a little while now and I have hope that somewhere, someone, is reading this and that they have chosen to continue their pregnancy of a child who was diagnosed with Down syndrome because now they know- this is not a bad thing. This could quite possibly be the most wonderful, fun, beautiful experience you will ever get the opportunity to have.
And if you give it the chance, you'll see the difference a year can make
#EmmietheunicornPrincess 1 year ago, at 14 weeks

#EmmietheunicornPrincess with Dr. Chalmers, at 6 months

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

So ya wanna birth story eh?

Welp, I guess since she's two months old it's time I tell ya allllllllll about how Emmie made her grand entrance into this world and what to take to the hospital (who knew people wanted advice from me?!! I feel so special!) So- here it is!

Emmie was scheduled for a c-section on 3-21-17- World Down Syndrom Day. We thought it'd be kinda cool. We had a plan. My mom would be there from Thursday the 16th until Wednesday the 22nd (granted that everything was going good)- my dad would be there right before she was born then needed to go home Sunday for work, and would be back Wednesday to take over for my mom. Sean would be down Sunday night and stay until Wednesday, and various others were scheduled to come once she was born to help as well.
I was put on best rest a month before that and we made the decision that she was going to be better outside of the womb, than inside of the womb at the 38 week point- if she didn't come before. She was sitting breech and sideways in there, so we figured we'd have to take her out of that nice little warming unit I was providing for her. Twice a week (Mondays and Thursdays) I was going in for fetal non-stress tests and ultra sounds to make sure she was moving and still doing great. She always passed with flying colors. She was throwing parties in there. I may have had to bribe her once with Chick-fil-a and a mint truffle- but that was easy. Every visit we talked about how if she decided to turn on her own, I'd feel some pain and then feel that uncomfortable leaking sensation that comes with active labor.
But on Friday, March 17th, we were called back in to see the Drs just before the weekend. Dr. Walker had a hunch that something might be up and she wanted some peace of mind. So me and my mom left the baseball games (she was down in St. George for a baseball tournament) and wondered on in. Dr. Walker came in scanned me quickly just to see what was happening. This was just a few short days before we were scheduled for her c-section and she wanted to make sure we weren't missing anything.
Emmie looked great- kicking and sucking her fingers, strong steady heart rate- all the good stuff. She was still breech and we figured she'd just stay that way since she was nice and snug in there. Dr. Walker went through her little speech about "if you feel any sharp pains, gushing of water, any signs of bleeding you call Labor and Delivery and head straight over to us. I'll be here all weekend"
"You know I will" I said. And we headed out the door- still planning on a 7 am c-section that coming Tuesday.
So my mom and I headed back to the baseball games for the weekend. I was getting my vitamin d, socializing fix, seeing my favorite people, doing my favorite things (okay, maybe not, but I was definitely loving being out of the house with my constant baby sitter/mother).  We made plans to go golfing Sunday after noon before my dad headed back (my drs told me I could that... swear on my life!) and just kept on living normal life.
Saturday night we were sitting at the championship game of the 2017 Dixie Flyer Sunshine tournament and just enjoying the a) win from Springville, b) the nice weather, and c) the last minute socializing and gathering of compliments that kept pouring in from people;  I mentioned to my parents that I was having some lower back pains- muscular type pains- and made a joke that I was probably feeling contractions in my back. We decided it probably had to do with sitting in the hard chairs all day long and thought nothing of it. It really wasn't that painful for me. I had been warned that one day- I would go into labor and probably not know it unless my water broke because for some reason, I've got an insanely high pain tolerance...
So after the Red Devils won the tournament, my mom and I were doing what we usually do- taking care of the players (I was once upon a time going to be an Athletic Trainer and/or a Physician's Assistant so I love this type of stuff!) and saying my "final" goodbyes as a non-parent. It was a great time. Then, we went to Olive Garden for dinner.
After we got home and ready for bed I sent my sister a facebook message and climbed into bed. It was 11:58 pm on Saturday, March 18th, 2017. At 11:59- I felt an uncomfortable gush of water and thought- Did I just pee myself?! Oh my gosh, I think my water just broke and my hair hasn't been washed in 4 days- is this seriously happening to me?! I need to wash my hair for pictures if shes really coming!
So I literally rolled out of bed, looked at Jordan and said "GO GET MY MOTHER! I'm pretty sure my water just broke" then I waddled into the bathroom and stood over the toilet. It just wouldn't stop. My mom actually asked me if I was peeing myself and told me it happens all the time so it was really okay if I was. Yeah, that was NOT pee... It was amniotic fluid just coming right on out.
I told her I wasn't going anywhere until it was taken care of and I could comfortably leave my bathroom. She said "you don't have time for that!" so she gave me a towel and told me to put some clothes on because we were going to have a baby tonight!
Luckily, all of my stuff and Emmie's stuff was packed and loaded into the car- and almost all of Jordan's was too! So Jordan grabbed his bag and my pillow (I'm a down pillow snob...) and off we went. My parents followed closely behind after staying to make sure the house got locked and the dogs were okay.
I called Labor and Delivery on the way and informed them I was coming and to get Dr. Walker there NOW- because my baby was on the way and had Down syndrome, was a breech sitting baby and we weren't taking any chances of coming up short with her. They laughed and said "you got it!"
As soon as we got there they asked me if I needed pain medication because I was slightly hunched over and waddling in. I informed them that no pain management was needed- but they needed to do something about this leaking fluid because soon it'd be all over their floor. I then also informed them AGAIN of Emmie's situation and said "sooooo, let's get this show on the road!" They laughed, again, and said "Well, we need to do some checking first."  I'm pretty sure they thought I was crazy when I responded "Listen, she's breech, she's higher risk, I'm NOT peeing myself- and no, I'm not having contractions. So, like, seriously, let's go!"
So they checked me into a room, had me get changed into one of those wonderful hospital gowns, called the ultrasound guy down, put me on a contraction and fetal monitor, and started the paper work.

The nurse kept saying "Let me know when you're ready for pain medication" and I was like, dude, I'm good. Just wake Dr. Walker up. Like NOW! (I really wasn't feeling any pain!)
So an hour and a half later they confirmed that I was indeed in active labor, Emmie was still breech, and she was out of amniotic fluid. (Uhhhh, DUUHHH!!! I told you all that?!)
And then, I started to feel contractions. Small short cramps. Then big... longer cramps.... Then HOLY SHIIIZZZZ I CAN'T BREATHE GIVE ME SOME SORT OF MEDICATIONNNNN!!!!!!!!! (It was always my plan to get an epidural so we knew it was coming, but ya know, we had to wait for that too- because not just anyone can do that for me!)
By that time my contractions were less than 2 minutes apart they said screw it- let's just take her back! So we started walking. And I started to complain- about what you ask? That I couldn't do a freaking cartwheel down the hallway. Because that was also in my plan. This was supposed to be a party. With food, cake, cartwheels and pictures- true story! They laughed at me, again.
So we got all sorts of situated, got that lovely spinal in and working, laid back on that table and they started to cut. I thought Jordan would pass out but he watched every.single.second and did awesome. In the words of Jordan- then they popped her out like she was a giant zit.
and then... 
BAM!!!!!! At 2:21 am on Sunday, March 19, 2017
#Emmietheunicornprincess was here. 
And guess what my very first words to her were:

"OH! You DO have hair!!!" 

Followed by I love you of course... hahahaha! But, it's true... those were my first words to her. 

I was totally expecting to see a little bald headed baby. She showed me- in all aspects of her life.
Emmie was taken away and I yelled at Jordan to stay with her during every thing they did and not leave her side because I was figured that she would be taken to the NICU for some reason or another and I needed to know she was with someone. My mom could take over with me. But Emmie needed someone. So, he walked out the door following her. Surgical suit and all. 

They finished up with me and took me back into my room. I sat there for a second then asked "So where is Emmie and what have then figured out with her?"
I kid you not- 2 seconds later a nurse came in and said "She's perfect, she'll be here in a minute because she's hungry. Are you wanting to try to breast feed?"
I'm pretty sure my jaw dropped because I said "Whhaaattttt??? Bring her to me!"
And in walked my husband with my perfect little child who was not yet crying but trying to suck on something.

And he gave her to me and SHE attached! And she multitasked! And she didn't need anything other than food! 

But here is what was the greatest feeling ever:
Emmie had been born with no real complications and was not needing any sort of tube or monitor.
All of my fears were for nothing. I was so positive that she had to have something. Breathing, eating, skin, brain, heart, eye, lung...some sort of an issue... but there was nothing! And I was in heaven. 

So we wen't up to the mom and baby floor and were flooded with lots of attention. She was gawked at and goo'ed over.... we were even questioned if we were sure she had Down syndrome because everything about her seemed to be SO perfect. 

She had an echo of her head and the hydrophcephalus had cleared up. She had blood tests to check her thyroid levels, her bilirubin levels, her white blood cell counts, etc. and the only thing that was slightly off- her bilirubin was on the boarder for jaundice. So we put her under the bright lights for a day and knocked those off the charts. 

Then she had her heart echo. And he found nothing except a teeny tiny, itty bitty, heart murmur. The kind that about half of all babies have, and grow out of. The kind that you probably had and didn't even know it because YOU grew out of it. But you didn't know you had it, because you probably weren't given an echocardiogram in the first 3 days of your life. It's THAT common. 
Emmie was a great sleeper, a great eater, and great little patient. She was pretty still during her tests and hardly cried, even when she needed something. She was a favorite on the floor and I was happy to share my little miracle baby with them. 
Emmie lost some weight while we where there, but that's normal. She came home at under 5 lbs, which meant she had to have a car seat test but she did so good! She passed with flying colors the first time she took this test. Hard job for her... sitting (more like sleeping) in the car seat for like, 90 minutes. Ha- okay, it can actually be a hard job- but she did it well and we are proud of that! 

Even though Emmie had her own birth plan, the important thing is she got here safe! I was so worried that she would have some sort of birth complications and that we'd be sent into a frenzy because we wouldn't know what to do. People kept asking me if I was nervous and of course I was! I'm a first time mom! But the thing that worried me the most was the actual birth. I had a plan for what if she's got this, or that, or something else- but I wasn't prepared for what if something goes wrong during the birth. I don't know that there is a way to plan for that! Heck, I'm that crazy person who was super duper excited when they said "We may need to look at other birth options instead of a natural delivery." I literally said "Let's just plan a c-section! I want a planned surgery to take her out!" They all looked at me like I was a little crazy but were also very relieved when I had excitement in my voice as that became my option. See, this way, we were in more control.  Control of when she'd get here, how'd she'd get here... I could plan. I'm a planner. 

And since I'm a planner I've put together a list of things for the hospital. Because that was a worry for me. And you can Pinterest this stuff- but let's be honest.... those lists are maybe a little over done because people are paid to write those posts and say crazy good things about certain items. Me, I'm not one of those. I'm an organized freak who plans and wants to take as little as possible so that there is less stuff to worry about. So- here's what I'd put back into my bag(s) if I had to do it all over again! 

Here's what mom needs: (I was at an IHC hospital where there was a lot provided for me)
  • Victoria's Secret pajamas- I literally lived in these. I have a few sets, and I took them. They are that soft t-shirt knit material. I had a c-section so the draw string worked great for me! These were also cooler material and that helped a lot to prevent a heat rash from all the laying around I did. Just make sure you take clothes that are not irritating for you and you can easily sleep in, but can also clean easy or get replaced if they get ruined. If you're planning for visitors, you may also want to look a little put together. This, is that set! 
  • Seamless nursing bras- These are a life saver while you're trying to figure out if you will pump or not, if you're just breast feeding, formula feeding, etc. The only down side is for people like me with a large cup size and super small band size. But! They are comfortable to sleep in and give you enough support for being a wireless. I still use these at night or on days when I know I'm not going out, even though they aren't the best fit for me. The comfort level is just too great to ignore. 
    • Hands free pumping bra- if you are going to pump, bring one of these lovely things with you. It makes your life easier when pumping. I promise. This bra is a one-size-fits-all and can velcro adjust in the back (it's completely covered so you don't feel it, I swear!) and has a front zip- top to bottom- and it's the most comfortable pumping bra I've found. Do yourself a favor and buy one. You can also get it from Target- same bra- made by Simple Wishes, just a little more expensive. You'll thank me later
  • Shape ware under ware- I have these seamless shorts and let me tell you- these suckers were a life saver for me! My incision is definitely low, but that's an issue for the lovely panty line. Soooo, since these are higher in the waist, it helped to keep me from becoming even more sore. I prefer the short style, but motherhood also has a regular "bikini" cut. They also put some compression on the tummy area and that honestly made me feel better right after birth. Ask for a belly band if you can- pain in the butt with the velcro but all the support is amazing and will help with recovery.  I also love Nike Pro shorts in 5" because they come up a little higher and have that little bit of compression. They come in a 3" length as well. 
  • Slippers or easy to slip on shoes for walking around the hospital. I had slip on Ugg slippers and they worked out wonderful. Remember, the hospital is pretty clean so don't worry about germs (because I legitimately had a small freak out about bringing germs home on my slippers.)
  • Overnight kit- I took my own shampoo and condition, body soap and lotion, a brush, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, lip balm  and remember any medicines you take!  My hospital provided me with nursing pads, feminine pads, lanolin ointment, and pain management medicines. Make sure you have some of those things stocked up at home, and take those extras with ya when you go.
  • Chargers for phone/ipad- you'll be taking lots of pictures and answering a lot of texts and phone calls. But don't be afraid to turn the thing off and just enjoy your time with the baby. People will understand. I took time to reply while Emmie napped. 
  • Clothes for going home in- You'll want to make sure it's something comfy, but also cute since you typically take a lot of pictures that day. I never thought I would, but we sure did! Just remember that when you get home you need to be comfortable there as well since getting home can be a little overwhelming. I took a Juicy Couture velour track suite- go ahead and judge me, but that shiz is comfy and cute. Win-win
Some optional things that I found useful: 
  • Entertainment or work for when the baby is napping. Or for when dad needs his baby fix. Or grandma, or grandpa... aunts... uncles... friends... I felt like I always had someone else taking care of Emmie so I needed a little bit of entertainment in my life. I had my ipad to watch shows. And at night when I was not able to sleep I was so glad I had something to do. 
  • Camera- if you're like me you might want one since your baby will most likely get dressed up and you'll want to document in a thousand and seven ways. But, my phone also worked really well for this. 
  • Snacks- if there are certain things you looooooveeee to eat- make sure you take it or have someone bring it in. I love sweet tart ropes and salt & vinegar chips... gatorade... mmm...... So I had my family bring me some snacks. I was given all meals there at the hospital as part of my stay but don't be afraid to have people bring you chick-fil-a or taco bell! Or possibly a chocolate cake from Maglebys... just a suggestion
  • Pillow/blanket/towels- I took my own down pillow because I have a slight sleeping issue without it. The hospital pillows, blankets, and towels are slightly flimsy but the blanket and towels didn't bother me since I got so hot anyway. But I definitely loved having my pillow! 

Things for baby:

  • Car seat with new born inserts. We have a Doona. It's the most amazing thing in the world. It's a car seat and stroller in one. Literally, a car seat with wheels. Best thing ever! If also supports babies from 4lbs up to almost 40 lbs. If you're baby is in the NICU or has some issues like being tiny (Emmie was sent home at under 5 lbs) they will have your baby take a car seat test. Don't freak out! They just sit there for an like 90 minutes and make sure they are getting enough oxygen. Emmie passed with flying colors. 
  • Clothes: Remember that baby can't go home naked so you for sure need the going home stuff. I wanted to play dress up with Emmie (which is totally allowed!) so I took bows and hats and outfits. But then, she was tiny and the clothes didn't fit. So, I sent my mom shopping. But she did get to wear the bows!! I looooovveeee these Coonies PJS and want the whole world to know about them- they are amazing. They have foot fold overs, hand fold overs, a bink clip, a double zipper (top to bottom, with 2 zippers!- great for feeing tubes, IVs, cords, etc!)  and they are soooo super soft. And adorable. They just need to make them in preemie sizes now ;) 
  • Blankets- The hospital provides those thin cheap kind which are just fine, but I took a few fluffy and really warm blankets. You'll also want at least 1 for going home. I also stole a blanket and sent it home for the dogs to have. The one she was brought to me in to be specific. Sentimental value- mmmmk?? This way the dogs could smell her and already know her when we got there. I know, it sounds crazy but it REALLY works. We sent home dirty clothes and blankets for them as well so they knew all her scents. Even poop scents. This kept them from licking at her when she got home.
  • Bottles and binkies if you're wanting them to use a certain kind. We used comotomo bottles since we new Emmie may have a sucking issue. These are totally silicone, soft, flexible and have a longer nipple to help with the sucking reflux. 
  • Diaper bag for taking all the extras! We have the Doona bags that snap on to our stroller, but whatever kinda of a bag will work, so figure out what works best for you! 
  • I would also recommend something for diaper rash. We use Vasaline and Aquaphore with baby powder. But if you ask, they may have some for you

Now here are some thing you shouldn't need at the hospital, but will need at home:
  • Pads for all the areas...
  • Pump and pumping storage. 
  • Lanolin (if you pump or breast feed)
  • Formula (they have premade formal bottles and generic nipples at the hospital)
  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Baby bath stuff (wash and lotion, towels) 
So now that you know what you do and don't need... I'll leave some more pictures of #Emmietheunicornprincess and some of her visitors. And myself... But none of the dogs because they don't like pictures anymore. Teens these days... 😏
Emmie and Grandpa (my dad)
Emmie with Dad, and Papa (Jordan's dad) 

Aunt Lolo and Nixxon

The start of being spoiled... 

Emmie and Grandma (my mom)
Emmie and Uncle Sean

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Here's what you really need for a baby

I have had a lot of people ask me to do this- so of course I had to! And I'm happy to do it.
We got spoiled! There were 3 different baby showers thrown for little miss Emmie and we got some great stuff (see, spoiled!!) She's got pretty much everything she needs. For the next 3 years of her life. Hahaha. With the exception of diapers and wipes because those will dry out (naturally)  Buuuuutttt, I've had a lot of people ask me what the best items are since I'm the queen of research and comparing (ha! thanks, but not really...)

Almost all of these are from amazon and include prime shipping, and most of them when you register with will come with a "completion" discount for whatever you still need. You only get the coupon code once, so order it all at the same time. Along with the completion coupon you also get a few other bonus things. Discounts on clothes, a completion gift when you register for at least 1 item in each category (you'll understand when you register), a free book, and if you can use prime now, you get a discount on that as well.
I also registered at Target because I LOVE TARGET and they offer a completion discount in 2 phases... 1 in store and 1 online!! Niiiiiceeee.... Double the shopping, my friends!
But again, these links are mostly to but you can find almost all of them at Target as well. I suggest registering at multiple places for a few reasons: 1- convenience, 2- discounts 3- some places have a better price than others. Always price check! Get the better deal, always! I basically had the same registry at both places, but sometimes its' much cheaper to get something one place when you are going through the completion stage.
So here are the larger things and the most helpful things I registered for, and why!

Fisher price pack and play- This one is lightweight, has the newborn insert and a diaper changing attachment. It's easy to set up, and quick to come down. It also fits into the back of a smaller car quite nicely. The incline on the newborn insert is also great for Down syndrome babies that have a harder time breathing or any baby with acid reflux (but make sure you check with your doctor first about this!) The Graco play yards are also great. If you have a larger house, I would definitely recommend one though. Especially with the new born insert, mini changing table set up, and bouncer or rocker in it! Love those features for a larger house.

Summer Infant Laid Back Lounger- We love this thing. I used to promote the Boppy Newborn Lounger but we've jumped ship! This 3-in-1 is super great! I call it the 4 in 1 really... It's very similar to the dock-a-tot. This could be used a co-sleeper, a tummy time toy, a reach and grab toy and my personal favorite- a chair!!! It's been great as we try to teach Emmie how to sit on her own now that she's getting bigger. We got ours at Buy Buy Baby and we able to use a coupon on it so it was about the same price as the Boppy. It's become out new favorite lounger. We didn't try the dock-a-tot but others swear by it. We also don't allow her to sleep in our bed on a regular basis so I didn't feel the need to spend that much on one, but if that's what you're planning to do it may be a better investment for you!

Doona car seat- it's literally an infant carrier and stroller in one. The wheels fold up into the seat. It's amazing. It has multiple diaper bags that attach to it- I have them both. One for our quick daily stuff and a larger one for longer trips. It fits a baby from 4 lbs to about 35 lbs.  Only down side is not much storage space on it, and it's a little bigger. Even if you don't need an infant seat- click on the link and check this baby out! I got mine from Nordstrom, I'm not sure if they'll continue to sell them or not... But I used my triple points day, it was awesome in points land that day! It comes with a new born insert, but Emmie was so small we had to put in an extra one just to make sure she was nice and snugg.
I know, I have the cutest baby EVER!!! 😍😍😍
Stroller hooks- Since the Doona car seat doesn't have much storage I got these little babies to hold bags. These are sooooo nice. They velcro to the stroller so they fit ANY stroller/car seat. I use mine all the time. I have the diaper bags that attach to the Doona seat (which is sooo nice to not have to carry it all.the.time) and then I use the stroller hooks for purchases I've made. It works out great. Now if only I was daring enough to get a drink holder... We'll work on that!

Carseat/nursing cover and swaddle- I bought this Mootsie brand one- and I LOVE IT! So does Emmie.  It's nice because of the buttons- so it allows you to see more or less of baby. Plus it fits over larger seats (like the doona) and it's a cool stretchy fabric. A lot like the Cover Me Pancho brand. But cheaper. I have both and like them both. So take your pick!

Baby wrap- I have this one and I love it! It's a thicker terry cloth material, but it's not hot at all. I think Emmie feels more secure in it as well. The Boba brand is basically the same thing (we looked at it from Target, and I may or may not have it as well... ha!) We've tried the Solly type wraps, but I didn't feel like it held Emmie any better. But I will tell you this- Solly wraps are nice because of the little pocket on them- so they easily stuff into themselves. And they are a lighter fabric, so if you get hot easily, that might be the way to go! They also have some cute patterns.

Boon bottle warmer- it's small and portable- makes mid night feedings way easier. It fits larger bottles and smaller bottles. It also has a few different inserts to warm up baby food later down the road. It heats up bottles pretty quickly as well. We love this thing! If you have a two story house or want something that will also keep your bottles cool then warm them, I suggest this one: Born Free Tru-Temp Bottle Warmer  It's also great!

Bottle maker/formula dispenser- If you're going to be bottle feeding. We haven't yet needed this because I produce SO much milk- but this little contraption is awesome.

Comotomo bottles- the longer nipple encourages babies to suck instead of push out. Originally these all silicone bottles made for a cleft lip or pallet- but it's the softest nipple out there, longest, and one of the skinniest so it works great for preemie sized kids and Down syndrome babies. It also allows you to help them by gently squeezing the bottle. I took this to the hospital and had Emmie feeing on it 6 hours after she was born.  These come in two different sizes- we use both. And they do fit into the Boon bottle warmer! It's a perfectly "tight" fit but it fits and it works!

Micro cube "manual" pump- amazing for breast feeding! I would order a few of these little babies- they are great for travel or when you're in a hurry to just release a little bit of pressure and don't have time for a full pump. You can manually start the pumping process by attaching them and using gentle message. I'm telling you though- these things are awesome.

Hands free pumping bra- its adjustable so it fits all sizes, and has removable straps. Get a few- you'll want them! There are other brands out there, but since I'm a tiny band size and huge cup size- this one works SO great for me. Plus, I dry mine and it shrinks back up. Trust me- I've got like 5 of these because I love them. And that front zip- aaaaahhhhmazzzingggg.

Nuk Pump N Store conversion kit- this hooks to almost any pump and pumps directly into bags for easy storage. You can use any bag with it. Just make sure you tighten it all the way so you feel and hear the click so the bags don't come off. I have a NUK and Ameda pump, it works with both. You'll need to order 2- as it's not a set.

Nuk milk bag storage- This keeps your milk bags organized easily. Especially in the fridge. It allows for the oldest to easily drop to the bottom so that you use the older first.

Nuk nipple shield- longer nipple to helps babies to attach better but it can also help keep you from getting mastitis too since there's not as much bacteria from the mouth of your baby getting to you.  (did you know that is how you get mastitis?! because I didn't!)

Vaseline petroleum jelly- super soft and smells good for their dry skin and diaper rash. This stuff is great for right out of the tub before bed. You don't need much, and it might be a little "slimy" but I tell ya, it works wonders! Especially if you have dry skin too- double duty!

Aquaphore baby healing ointment- takes care of diaper rash in less than a day! This is amazing stuff I tell ya!!! I got a little tube from a sample of whatever years ago, and I filled it with this and threw it in my diaper bag- love it that much! You can get it in multiple sizes, I tagged the diaper bag size, but it comes in tubs if you need it. It's also perfect for sensitive skin- and Emmie definitely has that.

Corn starch baby powder-  Go ahead and judge me- but I use the Johnson and Johnson brand with aloe. It works with the aquaphore to keep their little bum's from getting bad diaper rash.

Munchkin wipe warmer- Okay this is a pure luxury, but we love it. So does Emmie. Especially at night when it's a little colder.

Baby bum diaper rash cream spreader- Just trust me on this one.... you will want a few of them. With this you use WAY less product and it's not messy for you. You're welcome. (I found it cheaper at babies'r'us, but it was in store only)

Baby nail files- these are made of glass but if you're like me and you don't want to cut your cute baby's skin, you'll want one. I'm sure I'm one of the only crazy people to give my newborn a manicure in the hospital, but I did it. I filed her nails right on down and she didn't have any more scratches. I should maybe go do that right now....

Boon first aid kit- I liked this one because it was smaller, and it has a handy little pouch. I just suggest a baby first aid kit period. This one has the nail clippers, a nose sucker for those buggers, medicine dispenser, thermometer, toothbrush... it's a good one if you ask me!

Little remedies medicine kit- You'd be surprised at how quickly you may need some of these! Always ask your pediatrician first, but this is what was recommended to us!

Coonies baby/toddler pajamas- Okay- let's talk about the most amazing clothes in the world. I love these. They need to make these in preemie sizes. These pajamas have a double zipper- from top to bottom- plus they have little foot fold overs and the mittens, plus a binky attachment loop. AND THEY ARE SO SOFT!!!! If you're baby has a feeding tube, and iv, etc... these pajamas are so nice and easy to use. This is one of my most favorite gifts! Emmie loves them because they are stretchy and breathable, and not too hot at night. And I love them because they are functional, easy to use, and so dang cute! They do come in girls, boys and gender neutral prints, so anyone and everyone can get them! (You can also buy these at Go buy them. Now.

Edwin the duck- IF you have an iPhone and you want an all in one toy- this is a good one. We bought one, but since we are Samsung people it was download this app, and this one, and that one, oh! and that one too. So we ended up taking it back. BUT!!! It does help tell the temperature of the tub, it plays music, white noise, and has a soft glow. It can also connect to educational apps as your baby gets older. I was just too frustrated to keep it (I'm a simple person, really. Just work properly and I'll keep ya!)

4-moms momma roo- Okay- honest talk- at first I thought this was totally overrated. But not anymore! It is an all in one swing, doesn't bother her ears (some Down syndrome, or any baby with sensitive ears for that matter, don't like a traditional swing because it bothers their ears), it has changeable speeds and patterns to mimic different movements, it makes noise and mimics the womb sounds, you can even hook your phone up to it. Totally worth the money. I didn't have to get a bouncer and a swing and a white noise machine. This did it. Plus, with the price I paid less for it! Just make sure you also get the infant insert if your getting this for a new born.

4-moms bathtub- I got this for from my school at my baby shower... I literally said "Now my baby won't get E-Coli or Salmonella from the sink!!"   This thing fits in your sink, it has a cut out for a 2 compartment sink- and it tells you the temperature and drains dirty water out! The only bad thing is it's a little big for my preemie sized baby (see next link to fix that...)
First bath and hating life... But you can see how big it is for her at this point. Which is why I like the bath sponge. Now she fits! 😃
Bath sponge-  We have one of these as well, it fits into the 4 moms tub, but we also use it for the regular tub as well. This is great for the newborn stage- especially for before the cord falls off. Since it soaks up the water, it helps to get them clean and it keeps them a little out of the water, and it keeps them from wiggling too much. I suggest you get one.

4-moms bath spout cover- If you don't get the bath tub, this is good temperature gage! It fits over most spouts which is nice.  Or if you get Edwin, pass on this.

Any baby towels and wash cloths, they are actually softer! I got these motherhood bamboo washcloths and they are soooo soft! You're baby's skin will thank me later! We use Aveeno baby wash and baby lotion on Emmie as well since she's got ultra sensitive skin. It contains less cetyl alcohol than regular Johnson and Johnson's- which dried her out like crazy. Thats the ingredient that helps the lotion to actually dry up so you need some, but we got the Aveeno because it has less. We also use Vasaline as lotion on her, on a recommendation from our Pediatrician.

Swaddles- you need all kinds and types! Get big, small, gauze, bamboo, cotton, flannel, square, swaddle sacks...  trust me. You'll want different types for different settings. I like the gauze and jersey knit kind personally, but Emmie likes flannel because it's soft and warm. She's tiny and needs the extra heat. I simply like that the gauze and jersey knit can wrap and wrap tight. So we settled on a fleece swaddle sack instead. She sleeps very nice and cozy in it! They come in different sizes so make sure you get the correct size and style for your baby.
Ahhhh, so sweet... swaddled and passed out! 
Bassinet or Fisher Price rock n play for the first little while- if your child has sleep apnea, acid reflux or is a silent aspirator the rock n' play may work better because of the incline. I like the auto version because you don't have to sit there and rock it, it can do that for you. They can also vibrate which can be a nice feature as well. It folds us nice and small to slide into a closet or easily travel with you if you don't want/need to take a pack'n'play as well. There is also a sleep wedge you can use for the acid reflux and silent aspiration- but it's made for a bigger laying area such as a crib.  The Tiny Love 3-in-1 rocker is also great because you can use it for multiple things. A bassinet, a bouncer type thing, and a high chair. I also like that it has a mobile on it for play time... or time you need to yourself and your baby likes to watch things above their head... yesss.... keep the tiny humans happy and amused!
This was actually my bassinet and she just fits so nicely in it. awwww, so cute
Waterproof changing pad liners: You'll also need a diaper changing pad, and I would suggest a few water proof pads for that, and couple of different changing pad covers layered: cover, water proof mat, cover, etc... . You'll thank me later. At 2 am when your baby pees all over and you can simply strip it off and there's a new cover sitting there. I did the same thing on her crib for when she's in there as well. You can get a larger size for the crib- I got this version from babies'r'us by Koala Baby
There is a water proof pad, then a changing table cover, and it keeps on layering underneath it. Makes those 2 am oopsies much more manageable. I did the same thing on her crib as well!  

Now of course you can register for clothes, diapers, wipes, and bedding, etc.... but I'll let you have you're own opinions on colors and themes. But just this once 😉
Knowing me I'll probably make adjustments and add to this list, so check back. And if there is something you see that you're wondering about let me know- I can do allllll the research for you!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Welcome to the world!

Well incase you're wondering WHY it's been a little bit... you should try having a baby. Because she's here!!! And we're kinda obsessed with her.  (I mean, when you look at my kid you'll get it- she's just totally obsessive worthy!)
So obsessed that I actually struggle writing this because that means I have to sit down and not be obsessed with her cute self and clothes and room and actually focus on something else. Say whhaaatttt????
So here's the dealie-o.... I'mma blog about how awesome she is now, then you can hear alllllll about her traumatic birth later. Okay, it wasn't traumatic at all. It was actually kinda funny. And I've got pictures to prove it. So stay tuned for that one!

BUT FIRST!!!!  I PRESENT TO YOU.... (sound the trumpets- dun da-da-duuuuunnnnn!!!!!) 

March 19, 2017
2:21 AM- via C-Section
5 lbs, 4 oz
18 inches long

And absolutely perfect in every way 😍😍 
She is doing absolutely wonderful! We spent not very much time in the hospital, and she's just amazing. Super tiny and still in preemie diapers and clothes that are just a tad too big, but hey- she's getting bigger! But for now, we love her tiny little self. So here are some quick updates for you followers and people curious about how she's doing with "the basics"
  • She sleeps pretty dang good (except for when Grandma and Grandpa are here and give us a date night and slightly mess her schedule up- good things she's pretty awesome and goes right back to where we want her!) 
  • She eats great! One of the most concerning things with her was "Will she eat?" (You'll get that full run-down later) But she eats! And does it oh so well in many different forms! (insert tiny fist bump and high 5 here!) 
  • She poops a lot! But that's okay- that just means she's working right 😜😂

  • She is pretty interactive with us already. She looks around a lot, makes eye contact, fakes crying and sleeping to be held (especially by Jordan and her grandpa's- typical woman!) 
  • She is happy and content to just be here (I'm pretty happy she's here, too!)
    Hahaha- her tiny self and tiny clothes... still too big! 
    I mean really, she's drowning in that gown!

  • She is great in the car and car seat, once we get going. But it's a little rough being soooo tiny and having to get into that giant thing. We'll blog about that later, too (stay tuned- ultimate baby registry coming up!) 
    Yeah... no words! 
  • The dogs absolutely love her, and Tugg wants her all to himself.  Comet has designated himself the guard dog and constantly looks to make sure she's still there. 

So there is my quick update on #Emmietheunicornprincess. We are so happy she's here!! And for reals, thank you to everyone who has sent messages, gifts, prayers, love, thoughts- we truly do appreciate all of it even though we tend to be horrible at returning calls, texts and social media comments #gratefulpeoplefail   We are just too busy loving on this tiny doll like baby! #sorrynotsorry

Friday, March 10, 2017

The I'm Sorry post- because I am...

So let me just start by saying sorry it's been SOOOOO long since I've posted!!! I got super sick with a nasty cold that just keeps on lingering... and then got caught up in staying on top of work stuff, plus ya know, life.  But there's another reason I'm writing about "sorry" today. Something that I didn't really ever think about until all this happened. And it seems kinda... odd. But I think you'll understand here in a second.
People say "Oh I'm so sorry" when they hear about the diagnosis, and A LOT of people get offended by that "I'm sorry" thing because it's like they think when someone says it, they are sorry you are having a baby. But, I don't see it as that, I don't think they are meaning any harm by it. I get where they are coming from. I think that a lot of people are saying "I'm sorry that you have to go through worry, through being scared, through the unknown and the waiting game."
Pregnancy is supposed to be a happy time, and when you have a baby it's supposed to be even more happy. BUT- when something is not quite as perfect as you envision- there is a little bit of a loss, and confusion, worry, doubt, etc. And it's okay for people to be "sorry" for what you're going through. People say sorry when you're sick, when you break a bone, when you are in a car wreck, when you have surgery, when you lose someone, when you have to do something you don't want... but they also say sorry when they know there is the unknown coming up and they know they can't do anything to help. It's a not always an insult.
Now if someone says "I'm sorry your having a baby with down syndrome because that sucks" - trust me- Imma go crazy on them and give them a little lesson in being ignorant and rude- but that hasn't happened yet. So in the mean time- thanks for the worry, and the care! Because I get it- and I appreciate you caring enough to be "sorry"
Now- on a completely different note.... 
Someone said to me recently "I love that you're so proud of the fact that she's got Down syndrome and tell everyone about it!" And I am- I'm proud that this little unicorn- this magical and mystical creature growing inside of me- has beaten her odds. She went from "not looking good at all" to "throwing parties like she's a rock star" and I want to tell the world about it! Because that part is something to celebrate. Yes, we still have a lot of unknowns, even unknown of when she'll get here, unknowns of functionality- but everyone who is carrying a baby and even breathing still has that. You never know when something is going to happen. So why not celebrate what we do know- and what we know is that she's looking great, with a sassy little attitude.
So here's the update(s) on EMMIE  because that's why you really came here- right??
(We finally decided on a her name- for now. Hoping it lasts!!!) 
Her heart is STILL looking great. If there are any issues they are so small we can't see them. We get to see her once a week because we're like, ya know, having a baby any time now... and we always check her heart!
And her brain- we check her brain lots too! AND THIS IS WHERE IS GETS GOOD!!!!! Because ya know what?? Her little issue there- it's going away too. So take that enlarged ventricles! Slowly, but surely those ventricles are getting smaller and we looooooovvvvvvve that. She is getting lots of brain matter and that's what we want. It's amazing and again- proves she's a mystical magical creature growing. #unicorn
In other news.... She's breech, she's tiny, and she loves to drive me nuts with her violent movements at night. She's a diva- that's for sure.
I have been put on "bed rest" (what does that even mean??!! haha!) until she gets here because with Down syndrome the placenta starts to age and die off quicker. I have been feeling awesome and like I said, she is just partying it up in there like she's at an after party, but- we have to take precautions to make sure that she grows as good and as big as she can. She only weighs about 4 lbs right now (that's a BIG achievement for her!) but we'd love to see her get up to 5. SO... the less I do, the better chance she has of getting fatter. Because ya know, not burning calories and stuff. Uggggghhhhhh... it's killer. I get bored out of my mind. And I now know why some stay at home moms are the way that they are. Because most daytime TV is ridiculous. Kathy Lee Gifford tries to get drunk all.the.time. and right now poor Jenna Bush is talking like a mad woman trying to make sure they don't get into something sticky. Then! Add in all the soap operas... Like, no wonder there are women who think they need all this drama and crazy in their life- that's all they know! Okay, so that's a total and complete generalization and completely unfair- but I mean, I've seen it! It happens to some of these moms! I'll stick to my Bravo and MTV crazy- because that's just funny to watch them argue about nothing. Hahaha- such a hypocrite over here, I'm aware. Also- I love the show Killing Fields on Discovery Chanel, it's amazing. I'm a total oxymoron in the fact that I HATE scary movies, but the first thing I want to watch is Killing Fields, Scandal, and How To Get Away With Murder. Don't try to figure me out- it's never going to happen... haha! But anyway- back to the point- I'm on bed rest-ish and doing less trying my best to follow Dr's orders because, doesn't everyone love a chubby baby?? Although, he DID tell me I could A) Go Golfing with my dad- riding in a cart and take a few swings (you better believe I'm doing that...) and B) do cartwheels down the hall of the hospital before they bring this baby into the world just so I can prove that I can do it.
Speaking of which- March 21st!!! That's the date!! That's when she'll be here!!!!!!!! It's also World Down Syndrome Day (3-21, 3 of the 21st chromosome... get it??) and I couldn't be more excited!!! As long as she doesn't turn or make any sudden medical decisions for herself, I'll be having a scheduled C-Section on World Down Syndrome Day to bring this precious little (tiny) thing into the world. How perfect is that?! And I, being the weirdo that I am...  prefer to know that I'm going to be cut open instead of just waiting and waiting for her to decide when to come. It's like a dream come true, honestly. Judge away.