Thursday, 18 December 2014

Five months!

How Old:   Five Months!
Weight:   14 pounds, 1 ounce
Likes:   Bouncing in the door bouncer, singing and dancing with mummy and daddy (daddy sings the Time Warp...mommy likes to attempt to rap), walks in the evenings to look at Christmas lights, splashing in the bath and playing with/sucking her toes!
Dislikes:  Being held too close, having her arms pulled in and out of clothes (don't touch them!!!) ((having a baby doll did not prepare me for having a real baby)) , and being stuck in the same position for too long.
Eating:   We have settled nicely into the Nutramigen (prescription formula) and although it smells horrible, Emma doesn't seem to mind the taste.  We have also taken a break from weaning onto solids as we had a spell of vomiting and couldn't work out the cause.  She seems OK now, so I'll slowly introduce them in the next few weeks again.  She loved pretty much everything she tried except for Carrot and Baby Rice!
Sleeping:  What a rock star this child is.  She has started this new trick of getting fussy as she is tried, I put her down in the crib on top of her V Pillow (she has always done better when sleeping with her head propped up)- she turns her head and she is out.  We have worked out that she sleeps best when swaddled (although she is growing out of the largest Summer Infant swaddles - much to our dismay) and in the dark (hooray for blackout blinds).  This makes it difficult to get her to sleep when out and about, but I think in the long run this is a good thing!  She has gone through the night a few times, but mostly she is waking once for a feed and then goes straight back down until 6 am.
Routine:  Oh, who knows.  I've had to write her routine out for Nursery and I have no idea what schedule she is on anymore!  Thanks to formula, she is now going four hours between feeds and her naps are sometimes two hours, twenty minutes or missed all together.  I don't get it.  Her bedtime routine is the only consistent thing:  Nightly walk, bath, feed, bed.
Sizes:  She fits quite comfortably in 0-3 month UK sized clothes at the moment.  Her length is still the issue though - as she's about to grow out of 6 month Carters sleepers!  Hello, 9 month sizes!
Milestones:  She has rolled over ONCE!  Emma hates being on her tummy so decided she wasn't interested in that.  She loves the bouncer so I wouldn't be surprised if she's going to bypass crawling and go straight for walking.  She LAUGHS and it is the most adorable thing ever.  Plenty of cooing going on, plus responding to being spoken to!
Mum's favourite moment:  The first time we put her in the bouncer she didn't quite know what to do.  Her feet flailed about a bit - so I did the only appropriate thing -- I played an Irish jig.  Hilarious. 
Dad's favourite moment:  Emma's face when she was first bouncing in the bouncer!

In other news, we are SO EXCITED for Emma's first Christmas.  She got to meet Father Christmas (so cute), she enjoys the lights and the Christmas tree.

I can't wait to share our Christmas with you!  I'm not going to discuss my first week back to work....give me time.  I'll accept it eventually. 

Look at that face...

Yea...maybe not.


Saturday, 13 December 2014

Maternity Leave is ending....

It is with a very heavy heart that I write this post. Before you read on, please understand that I know how fortunate I am to live in a country which values maternity leave. We are so very lucky to be offered a year of leave - three of those months receiving some pay from work. Due to both finances and our potential move abroad, I had to return to work. While I find the return heartbreaking, I know that every other mother feels the same way upon their return to work.  What's more - I had far more time with Emma than most mothers get with their little ones. I am by no means unaware of how fortunate I have been.

I had chosen to return to work the week before the Christmas holidays as I believed it would be easier to get back into the swing of things right before the two week holiday. I would have to spend the Christmas holiday preparing, so I may as well get paid for it, right?  The return five days before the break also meant that I could ease myself in - leaving my precious baby for only five days before I would be with her again for two weeks.  

Let's get one thing straight. I never thought I would be maternal...I didn't think I had it in me. I have always been a relatively selfish individual - and before you say "no, you are being too hard on yourself" - yes - I have always been selfish. I wasn't convinced I wanted to change my physical appearance. I didn't want to lose sleep. I didn't want to give up things which I did or bought or ate or used.  I was happy with my life and the way we lived. 

And then along came Emma. 

I didn't realise my life was half empty. I didn't know my heart was missing something. I couldn't initially comprehend the love that I feel for her or the way she makes me feel.  She was part of me for nine months and then virtually attached to me for four. We've been inseparable. I've not even spent more than a few hours away from her (and I can count those occurrences on one hand) and she's nearly five months old. 

Now, I have to leave her for most of the day, five days a week - and it's honestly breaking my heart. She will love being with other kids and she will love the different activities they do at nursery.
I know it'll be fine.
That doesn't mean I am ready.

What makes things even harder is that I know my job. I know the time commitment it takes. I've always prided myself on my work ethic and I've always met deadlines and ensured the quality of my work is high. In the years I have worked there, I've spent hours every night commiting myself to my career, trying to be Perfect. For years I have allowed myself to become buried in work - wading my way through endless piles of paperwork and never quite being good enough. 

And now I've realised that that is not ok anymore. 

I don't know how to be both a successful teacher and a mom. I'm not sure I can do both. I'm not saying it can't be done, I'm just saying that I'm not sure that I can do both.  

Emma is the piece of my heart that I didn't even know was missing.  I know I have to return to work, but that only means for eight hours a day I will be missing a very important piece of myself. I will be half present.  My commitment is at the bottom of the school field - playing her day away in a brightly coloured nursery where someone else will change her and feed her and hold her. 

Half may not be good enough - half committed to my work or half committed to my daughter. 

She wins - every time. 

The only consolation to returning is that I know it won't be forever. I know that something is coming. Never the less - the next few weeks are going to be difficult. 

I've watched her sleep over the past few days, loving her gentle breathing and relaxed, comfortable form. I am going to savour every second spent with my beautiful little girl - she is, after all, the piece I never knew I was missing. 


Thursday, 27 November 2014

Dear Baby -- Happy Thanksgiving!

Dear Emma,

Happy FIRST Thanksgiving!  This holiday is all about family and food and sharing what you are grateful for with those you love. I am so incredibly in love with my beautiful, little family and thankful every day for our blessing, you.  Our time so far has been nothing short of amazing and I cannot wait to spend even more time with you as you grow up.

I find it hard sometimes to comprehend the phenomena of time.  Our time - It's quite arbitrary.  Some days I feel as though time moves at a glacial pace, whilst other days I am shocked when I look at the clock and the day is nearly done.  

Your life - albeit short - has been punctuated with a flurry of highs and lows - celebrations and firsts and sorrows.  Every day there is something new which you discover: your toes, your reflection in the mirror, carrot or the fact that you can screech a sound only dogs can hear.

You are learning - and so am I.  Time is a wonderful teacher.

I have already written about the end of our breastfeeding journey, and although I'm sure you don't want to hear about it, the day came when I had nothing to give you but a bottle. As sad as I was, I was looking forward to all of our new adventures together - but I will forever cherish those feeds when it was just me and you (just like we always said - remember?).  

When I think about time I look at where I was a year ago.  You were here too - although not technically HERE.  You were alive and you were making your presence known.

One year ago I was hospitalised for hyperemesis gravidarum.  My morning sickness was an absolute dilapidating experience.  I remember the nausea first setting in and being relieved - yes - relieved that I felt something and I knew I really and truly was pregnant.  But then it didn't go away.  Not by that afternoon.  Not by that evening.  Not by the middle of the night.

I was in a musical - The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas - and it was the week of the show. I was performing and then running off stage to vomit every few minutes.  How I made it through it, I have no idea.  

I remember being too unwell to go to work.  I remember being unable to use the loo.  I remember driving to the doctor and being told I had to go to the hospital.  I don't think anyone can really appreciate how ill I really was.  Unless you have suffered with morning sickness as severe as I had - you don't get it. 

When we were in hospital we met you for the first time.  

You were real. You were you. You were and are still perfect. 

That being said - hyperemesis is real and it is one of those reasons why I genuinely disliked my pregnancy.  Everyone always told me it would be worth it - YOU would be worth it - and I agree. You are worth it. I would do it all again for you.

The weeks of suffering are not a distant memory - I remember nearly every agonising minute of lying on the floor in our house on a bed made from cushions from our sofa.  Daddy would run out to buy me anything I fancied to eat - anything to get me to eat.  Some days I was obsessed with orange juice, others it was ice pops.  Iced tea slushies really helped. 

That was a time in my life I will not too soon forget.  But if I had known then just how wonderful you would be, I would have treasured those minutes, hours, days and weeks just a little bit more.  As horrible as the sickness was, it was the start of our journey.  Nothing has been easy since that day one year ago, but Im starting to think I am cut out for it all - the challenges, the struggles, the good times and bad.  At some point down the road you're going to say I'm too mean or too harsh.  Yep - you're right.  I'm your mom....and after this year I've learnt that if I'm going to be a mom - I need to be tough.

Thanksgiving will always be special to me, as it was over Thanksgiving where I first met you.  I am thankful for you, Emma Berry.  Today, tomorrow and forever.

I love you,

Monday, 17 November 2014

Happy four month birthday, Emma!

How Old:   Four Months!
Weight:  11 pounds, 5 ounces
Likes:   Super Baby!, stuffed Bunny, Kicking on the Floor, Walks outside in the Moby Wrap, baby massage and BATHS!!!!
Dislikes:  Being changed (anything pulled over her head or over her arms....geeze!!), being held too close or not the right way, extended periods in the car, rolling over (PANIC!) and not being put to sleep right when she wants it!
Eating:  Well, my last post sums it all up. Since our formula transition, Emma seems quite happy - she is so used to short feeds it is taking some adjusting to our schedule.  She has tried Baby Rice and Carrot so far - I think she finds the whole process strange, but she seems quite intrigued by the flavours!  We are using the Gina Ford Weaning method - I like it because it takes the thinking out of it!  Wish us luck!
Sleeping:  Emma looooves her sleep...when she gets it her way.  Unfortunately, she needs to be in her crib, swaddled and in the pitch black in order to sleep.  She is fabulous at night - only wakes up once between 1 and 3 AM - she slept all the way through once!!!  She needs 3 naps during the day and they are really inconsistent. Some days she will sleep for 30 minutes - other days it's two hours!
Routine:  Our routine is all over the place with the introduction of formula and longer feeds.  We usually still wake up at 6 (isn) and then an hour and a half after a feed, we have a nap.  That routine continues until 6 pm when we give Emma a bath and she has her final feed at 7.  From there - she's usually out until 2am!  
Sizes:  WELL.  She's an American girl at heart.  In US clothes she is wearing 3 month tops and 6 month bottoms (those arms and legs!!!).  In the UK she is wearing 0-3 month and has only just grown out of new baby - mind you - it's just her arms that have grown out!
Milestones:  Smiles, smiles, smiles!  She is also trying to roll over. She tends to get one leg over the other and then gets stuck and cries.  That - or she rolls over which such force she bounces back and cries. Bless her.  Teeth are making some movements as she is drooling everywhere and chewing on everything.  Solids are our massive milestone this month!
Mum's favourite moment:  Emma's face when we gave her carrot for the first time.  I just melted.  She isn't sure but then she has an adorable smile when she realises she likes it!
Dad's favourite moment:  When out for our nightly stroll around Bonfire night, some early fireworks were set off. Her face was an absolute picture - she was mesmerised!  

We had a few great moments this month - quite a few teary ones (from both of us) - but mostly adorable, lovely, gorgeous moments with Baby Emma!

Emma's first Halloween!  We opted for a Day of the Dead inspired skeleton.  

Lunch at Middleton Steakhouse. She's loving hats at the minute!  Dribble bibs are also a KEY element of her wardrobe at the minute - teeth are on their way!  I LOVE these Ted Baker bibs!

Sophie the Giraffe is our new favourite toy.

Tummy time is NOT Emma's favourite.

But she loves walks with mummy and daddy in the evening.
How cool is her hat?

Every day there is something new and exciting!  Sparklers for Bonfire night were particularly new and exciting!

Another month older - where on earth does the time go?


Saturday, 15 November 2014

Our feeding journey...the good, the bad and the ugly

I had never been one of those women who was "gung ho" breastfeeding. I wasn't actually sure I wanted to (in spite of health benefits) because I couldn't imagine whipping my breasts out in public. I couldn't imagine a little person gumming me to death.  I don't really know what changed my mind in the end, but I found myself repeatedly telling midwives that "Yes, I am breastfeeding" during my 36 hour labour. 

From day one it was ridiculously hard. Emma couldn't latch, I had no milk due to the C section, she was screaming, I was stressing- it just wasn't a pretty picture. By the time I was released from hospital four days later, we STILL hadn't cracked breastfeeding. That first night was nothing short of a nightmare as Emma just screamed and screamed. Of course she was screaming - she was hungry!  The combination of the two of us just wasn't going to make feeding work. 

Enter: Nipple Shields. I had heard of them from a midwife in the hospital and decided to try them as a Hail Mary attempt. Of course they worked - but they didn't work in time. Emma had lost far too much weight and we were readmitted into hospital. 

I persevered with those shields, carrying my little jam jar of sterile water with me everywhere. After two hospital admissions where midwives, doctors and nurses just shook their heads, unable to offer any better ideas or suggestions - I was doing everything right - Emma's weight started to creep back up. Slowly. But it was creeping. 

We attempted topping her up with formula a number of times. Projectile vomit doesn't even cover it. Her entire stomach would empty and I would be covered. It was a vicious cycle which made me declare that I would make breastfeeding work - formula clearly wouldn't cut it. 

It wasn't always easy - but we made it work with the shields. Every time our health visitor came we would try and take the shields away. Emma would get frustrated and scream, I would panic, nothing would flow - I eventually gave up trying.  If she was feeding, she was feeding.  End of discussion. 

We were referred to a specialit who cut tongue tie, making feeding easier. Emma had a slight posterior tie so in a snap decision I agreed to the cut. I fed her immediately after and would she latch? Of course not. Did she after?  Nope. Was it worth it?  Probably not. 

We carried on for three months - and that's when I started to notice problems. Emma's hunger increased; my supply stayed the same. She even rejected the shields as she could get more milk without them. But it still wasn't enough to satisfy her. 

In spite of EVERYTHING - and I mean EVERYTHING - I felt Emma wasn't getting enough and I couldn't express more than 30 ml a time to create a stock pile. I drank nearly 8 pints of water a day (nearly wetting myself daily), I pumped 3-4 times a day, I loaded up on carbs, I even rented a hospital grade dual pump from the NCT. It just wasn't happening.  We started topping her up after nearly every feed with Nutramigen - a broken down prescription formula from our GP. She was taking 90 ml - that was like half a feed, not a top up!

We had her weighed on Wednesday and at 17 weeks she weighs 11 lbs 5 oz. 10th percentile. Which, to be fair, is consistent - just low. B said "Somebody has to be 10th..."  (She's probably 85th percentile for height).   Our Health Visitor suggests we try normal formula as B tends to give Emma tastes of whatever he is eating - yogurt, ice cream, rice pudding, olives, melon.... (don't even get me started on this....) - she never had a reaction so we may as well give the formula a go. 

So we did.

And that's where the nightmare started.  

After having a top up of Cow and Gate at 4pm, Emma was fine and dandy until 7. I laid her down to undress her for her bath and the projectile vomiting started.  She was soaked - our duvet was soaked - she was horrified - I was horrified.  We managed to calm her down and I got into the bath with her.  She projectile vomited again.  

We held her in our arms and she just lay - floppy and staring blankly - almost unresponsive. B tried to give her water to rehydrate her, but she refused.  When she started crying an hour or so later, I offered her a breast milk feed - she vomited on me.  This time - she stopped breathing.

Apparently it's part of the design of a baby to stop breathing when they vomit to prevent choking.  I didn't know this.  B acted quickly and picked her up and tilted her sideways to help clear her airway.  I just sat and sobbed.

B ended up getting some Dioralyte - a rehydration fluid suggested by a friend in Paediatrics - but Emma still refused.  She just lay in my arms falling asleep.  We let her sleep and then kept offering her the fluids when she woke at 3 am.  She had the fluid, plus some breast milk.  She was the same at 7am.  

The only reason we didn't end up in A and E last night was because B knows what he is doing.  He consulted his colleagues immediately and people were all too keen to help and offer advice.  Sure, parents worry and babies spit up.  This was not spit up, nor was it vomit.  

After a trip to the GP, many conversations with the Health Visitor and an appointment with the dietician, we now have a permanent prescription for special formula, we have to wean Emma onto solids and we are keeping her dairy free until she is one.  

There is absolutely NOTHING more horrifying than looking at your baby's terrified face when they can't breathe.  I'm exhausted.  I'm emotional.  I'm thankful for B's knowledge.  I read an article the other day about things your mom never told you about being a mom and it really hit home.  

The weaning process has made me really look at our breastfeeding journey and it actually breaks my heart that I have to end it.  I know I'm going back to work and I physically won't be able to feed her myself or pump enough to give her feeds - but I will miss it terribly.  We worked so hard and I feel as though I have failed her.  I know not many people get this far with it and I should be proud of what I have managed - and I am - but I'm also pretty sad.  I wish I could do more, but I can't. 


Monday, 3 November 2014

Remembering Grandpa

It's been a very sad week for our family as my wonderful Grandpa passed away a few days after his 88th birthday.  For the past few years he has been living in a Nursing Home and suffering from Dementia.  It's been a struggle, mostly as we all knew and loved him for his fun, spirited personality.

I was unable to travel home to say goodbye, so I did what I could by writing a Eulogy as I did for my grandma.

My heart aches. Not only because I couldn't be there with my loved ones, but because I didn't have the past few years to spend with him - I know he wouldn't have known me if I had been there - but I still wish I could have been there.

I am presenting this eulogy that was written by my sister Jennifer in England who is taking care of Carmelo’s great-granddaughter, Emma Rose.

This is one eulogy I never thought I would have to write. Carmelo Garofalo - my grandpa - was the strongest man I’d ever met. Even into older age, he was made of tougher stuff than the rest of us. I know no one is invincible, but that's how he always appeared to us grand kids. Strong.  While his strength was noticeable, his heart - his love - for his wife, children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren is what I - and I’m sure all of us - remember the most. 

Over the past few years, we have spent a great deal of time clinging onto these moments, but more importantly remembering Carmelo for who he was.  It has been five years since we started to watch my grandpa slip away - we were heartbroken, dementia left very little of the strong Italian we all loved so much.  

We aren't saying goodbye to Carmelo today, as his spirit and spark faded a long time ago - and while his body put up an incredible fight, he is able to rest, whole once again. I know for me, it’s the memories - those fantastic stories about Carmelo from years ago - which remind us what a headstrong, funny man he really was. That is the way I want to remember my grandpa.  

Carmelo was the second oldest of nine children born and raised in Novara, Sicily and that’s where he became the man we all knew and loved - Husband, Brother, Dad, Grandpa, Chief, Papa and friend.  When he was 18 he joined the Italian navy and from there he met and fell in love with Emma.  He was the only one of his family to leave Italy but still kept those Italian beliefs even though he was miles from the place where he grew up.  He believed that you respected your elders, you always cleared your dinner plate and you never put a bare foot on the ground.  He had a strong will and knew what was best.  Cut off jeans?  Inappropriate (even though my mom dared to challenge that rule).  Scruffy hair (or in our case, curly)?  Forget it - it should be brushed.  Loose tooth?  Don’t go anywhere near grandpa…he’ll knock it straight out.  Men clearing their plates at the table?  That’s women’s work.

Most of us remember him as a walker - he used to walk five miles every day around the North end of Painesville.  He was once bitten by a dog while walking, and when he hid behind a tree he found $10.    It may have been the event which fostered his fear of dogs, but at least he made some money out of it.  He was also once caught in the rain - so he did the only logical thing one could do - waited the rain out on a stranger’s porch.    In spite of inclement weather and dangerous canines, it wasn’t his commitment to his walks which impressed us, it was the treasures he collected while he was out and about.  Items ranged from small toys to rap CDs (there were over 900 random keys in his garage).  One day he came home with a dry wall measurer.  You never did know what to expect following one of Carmelo’s walks.

One of his other passions was food.  When he emigrated and came to America the whole ship suffered from terrible seasickness.  Not grandpa.  He was in the dining hall.  Eating. All by himself. Maybe because of his navy experience.  Sundays were made for spaghetti, meatballs and pasta sauce. The whole family piled into the kitchen for the feast - the same feast every Sunday after church. The family meal became an extension of our religion in itself.  If you wanted to learn how to cook the infamous sauce, you needed to be at the house early - and grandpa meant early.  By the time anyone got there to learn, the meatballs and sauce were already done.  Another lesson we learnt was that the wine was the first thing to go onto the table and the last thing to come off - it’s called “The Light” so named as it was the guiding light to the table, conversation and family. 

I think Christmas will always hold the most treasured memories of Grandpa.  Christmas Eve we would gather together and feast upon the traditional Seven Fish.  After, he would always play Santa Claus and lead us in rounds of carols before a single gift could be opened.  He would say “TO Brian , from Santa Claus” “TO Hallie, from Santa Claus.”  Then, he would watch each present be opened, followed by an exclamation of “Ohh lala!”   

In true Carmelo fashion, he celebrated his 88th birthday last weekend surrounded by loving family and excellent food.  Grandpa always used to say “It took my mother nine months to make me.  I take my time.”  He always had something to say - if we ever asked where he was going he would tell us “I go Dancing!”  

Last September, we lost my grandma - Emma - and in spite of this wretched disease, I truly believe Carmelo felt her absence.  We know that he enjoyed himself - he wanted one last meal with those who meant the most to him before he joined Emma.  They are meant to be together, and we can now rest in the knowledge that they are where they should be.

Goodbyes are never easy.  Especially when you feel as though you didn’t and couldn’t have a proper goodbye.  With heavy hearts, we don’t say goodbye, but rather “See you soon.”

Go on, Grandpa. Grandma is waiting for you.   I hope you are both dancing.


Sunday, 19 October 2014

Three months!

How Old:   Three months!
Weight:  10 pounds
Likes:   Bright lights, baby swings, grandparents and being held so she can see everything!
Dislikes:  The car (she HATES getting in her car seat and melts down if she even sees it!), being held close (sweaty baby) and mum and dad "not doing it (being anything) right!"
Eating:  We are still going strong with breast feeding although formula is just not happening. She vomits everything - even the special hydrolyzed stuff from the doctor. I wish I could just give her breast milk forever, but I can't pump enough to sustain her - especially when I go back to work.  I think I detect a problem! 
Sleeping: I always feel like I'm getting somewhere with sleep and then we take a few steps backwards. Emma is getting much easier to put down for naps and can go anywhere from 20 minutes to two and a half hours. At night she is AMAZING!  She's gone stretches of five hours and usually only feeds once now. Of course we have massively screwed her up by giving her jet lag but she still managed to sleep for nearly eight hours the other night!  Victory!! 
Routine:  I've totally got this. Up by 7- feed for 35 min, play until 8:30, mini melt down, nap. Repeat!!   I read the book Secrets of the Baby Whisperer (and let me say - it's the best baby advice book I've read to date) and it described the different types of babies - Emma is a "spirited" baby to a T!   I really listened to the advice in the book and suddenly I started to understand her -- I would recommend that book over and over again!
Sizes:  WELL. Emma wears a three month Carters onesie but SIX month leggings as she is just all legs! She's still in one month Mothercare onesies. I keep saying her shape is more American.  That's my girl.
Milestones:  Oh, the smiles...they just melt my heart. She's even started to cough while smiling - we know it's the start of her laugh!  She's cooing away and will have a nice little conversation with you if you're lucky!
Mum's favourite moment:  Flying from Newark to London and sleeping.....the WHOLE TIME.  When people compliment you over and over for how awesome your baby was - you just can't help but beam with pride!
Dad's favourite moment:  My mom and sister bought Emma the little pink skeleton outfit (sold out, but similar here). We dressed her in it one morning at about 5am and then propped her up in bed with my sister (who had drawn the short end of the stick and was sleeping in the corridor on a blow up mattress. The glowing skeleton in bed with Erin was truly hilarious.

We had an AMAZING time in America and we are so grateful for having the opportunity to go.  B's parents are so generous and I cannot thank them enough for taking us to see my family!

Emma's first plane journey was a success!  

She enjoyed loads of cuddles and did really well on the first leg - it was on the way home that she really REALLY slept though!

We wanted to Baptise Emma, but thought it was really important to do so in Ohio.  My brother and sister are her Godparents and the dress was the same dress all three of us wore and originally was worn by my Aunt Rose.  We had so many family and friends come to celebrate with us!

She changed so much over the two weeks we were in Ohio - I thought she became far happier and much more settled.  It's probably due to all of the brilliant people she met!

Mom and Dad were obviously smitten, but so was the rest of the family!  Obviously!!


Cutest Owl ever?  I think so.

My brother, Brian, and his girlfriend, Deepika, joined us all the way from Texas.  Emma was only a little peanut compared to Uncle Brian.

Auntie Erin was particularly in love - fortunately she didn't cry too much in the night and wake her up (seeing as she was the only person who had to leave us and go to work during the week - poor Ron needed her sleep!)

Aunt Rosie also had Emma cuddles - I love this photo of them, although I wish Em would grow some hair already!

We took Emma to the nursing home to see my Grandpa and she started kicking off and crying - Grandpa immediately reached out to comfort her and she calmed down.  She whimpered and he started to stroke her feet.  I know he has dementia and doesn't recognise me, but he recognised a baby and knew what needed to be done to help her.  

B and I did manage to sneak away for an evening and had our first DATE since Emma was born.  We left the grandparents with a bottle of breastmilk (which took me FOUR DAYS to express) and headed to Tremont for drinks and dinner.  We started out at Press Wine Bar for a much needed glass of wine and then had an amazing meal at the ever so trendy Parallax.  They specialise in sushi and fish dishes and they did not disappoint.  

Finally, we headed to Patterson's fruit farm for some apple cider and pumpkin fun with B's mum and dad.   I LOVE autumn in Ohio as the leaves are just beautiful and apple cider is probably the best drink EVER.

Emma was loving her stroll in the moby wrap - and then we decided to take a photo of her in the pile of pumpkins...

Nope.  Not having it.  (Seriously though - how cute are those PJs?)

All in all, it was an amazing trip to see some amazing people. Emma is so lucky to have so many wonderful people in her lives.  B and I are so grateful for the love and support everyone has shown and we can't wait to see everyone again soon.


Monday, 29 September 2014

Dear baby,

Dear Baby,

Friday was a really sad day. You wouldn't have known it because it seemed like every other day. 

And then we sent those balloons up to the sky. Do you know why we did that?  

A year ago we lost my Grandma - your Great Grandma. It's sad because she never got to see you - she never even got to know you were on your way. 

She had cancer but in the end it wasn't the cancer that won. She won. She was just tired of fighting and ready to rest. She had a kick ass life, and she was ready to join her little boy (my Uncle Jim and your second cousin James' granddad) in heaven. 

The other day you were looking at me and I was crying.  I saw this advert and it made me wonder if she would still be here had a cure been found and cancer had been made to pay. I hope to God that in your lifetime we finally win the war rather than these small victories we currently fight for. 

It makes me remember all of the wonderful people we have lost too soon. Grandma, your Great Auntie Jill,  Great Uncle Jim and Great Uncle Bill.  There are so many more, but they are the family I remember and miss.  You never got to meet Auntie Jill - but she so badly wanted to meet you. 

I'm sad because I wish Grandma could see me as a mom. I'm not sure she  would have ever imagined this for me. I'd like her to see it - she'd laugh at my panic and anxiety - but she'd admit that you're pretty darn fantastic. 

The thing I always loved about her was her blatant honesty. She told the truth and not many people tell the truth so readily nowadays. 

She was strong and stubborn and told it like it was. She was the first to give you her opinion and it was the only right opinion. She knew everyone and everything (how did she know everything?!) She loved her family unconditionally. She left such an imprint upon all of us. 

I wish you could have known her. Her name was Emma too - just like you. I know you're only little, but I already see her fierce personality in you.  Coincidence?  Probably not.

I miss her. 
I hope she gets our balloons.