4 weeks

Yesterday, Miss Layla turned 4 weeks old. My, how fast time flies! This first month home with our little lady has been full of ups and downs, smiles and tears (hers and mine both!). For the most part, she is a very laid back baby and cries very little. We are trying to get her on a daily routine and so far, things have gone pretty good. She sleeps for 3-4 hours at a time at night and when she wakes to feed, she usually goes right back to sleep. For those good nights, I am extremely grateful. We've had a couple of rough nights where she wanted to be up for a couple of hours in the middle of the night and I will admit I have struggled with the irregular sleeping patterns. I know this is completely normal for a newborn and Darren just keeps telling me what a good job I'm doing. I also try to keep reminding myself that this phase won't last forever and things DO get better. I've had a little trouble myself with some postpartum hormonal issues (that only intensify with sleep deprivation), but they're getting better. I had the same trouble with Isaac so I kind of knew it was coming. I go back to the doctor next week though so maybe we can get a grip on things and start to get better. I took Layla to the Health Department yesterday when she turned 4 weeks old for a weight check and my little chunky monkey was 9 lbs. and 7 1/2 oz. She continues to nurse very well so we'll just keep trucking along as long as we can! Big brother Isaac is still doing great too and always wants to love on his baby sister. Part of my postpartum issues involve Isaac and the fact that I don't have the time to spend with him like I did before Layla arrived and I feel extremely guilty about that. I just keep telling myself that he is fine and I'm not the first mother in the world to have these feelings. Please keep me and my little family in your prayers that I can overcome these postpartum issues and focus on the many positive things that I have in my life, most importantly, my family.


Life with Two

On Thursday, September 9, the 2 kiddos had appointments in Jackson for their check-ups. Luckily, Darren's mom was able to go with me. Not quite sure I could have handled them both by myself just yet! Anyway, they were both good as gold and their check-ups went great. Isaac was 37 lbs. and 38" tall. He did fantastic until they had to check his hemoglobin right at the end. Of course he cried (I would have too-I hate having my finger poked!) and needed lots of loving from Mommy, which I happily obliged. Layla got a good report too. I am continuing to totally breastfeed, which is so much easier the second time around, and she is gaining weight very well. She now weighs 8 lbs. and is 19 3/4" long. Isaac doesn't have to go back until he turns 4 and Layla will go back at 2 months for another check-up and her first round of shots.
Life with 2 kids is much different than with just one, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. Isaac is still going to school each day to keep him in his routine and allow me not only to heal and rest, but to spend time with Layla like I did when Isaac was a newborn. Of course, the first few weeks with any newborn has its ups and downs and right now, we are just trying to begin to get some sort of routine in place. She has her good nights and bad, but overall, she has been a really good baby so far. She can sleep through just about any kind of noise and with the exception of a couple of belly aches, doesn't really ever get upset. I hope she stays this way! All in all, I am so very blessed to have 2 healthy and happy kids and a loving husband. I pray each night that I have the wisdom and knowledge to be the best Mommy I can be and raise my children to be honest, respectable, and God-fearing individuals. I know life has its ups and downs, but right now, life is good!!



Ok, I know I said I was going to do better at this whole blogging thing. August was a wild and hectic month so this will be a VERY lengthy post. We've also been having internet issues at home so I'm doing the best that I can!! Anyway, August got here in a hurry and there is a lot of catching up to do. On August 5th, I went for my non-stress test and another ultrasound. All went well with those and the ultrasound tech figured Baby Layla already weighed around 6 1/2 pounds. That sounded like a lot to me, especially since I still had 4 weeks left!! Anyway, I was down to my weekly visits now and on the 5th, I wasn't really dilated or effaced any to speak of so I was a little disappointed, but figured things would start happening when the time was right. On August 12, the ladies at my office threw me a baby shower. I got a ton of stuff!! There were so many nice things that I got along with a lot of practical stuff too like diapers, wipes, and lotions. I work with a great group and am so thankful for the close relationships I've formed with several of them. I took my camera to work that day, but forgot to get it out during the shower so I don't have any pics from the event. I did however get Darren to take this photo when I got home to show how large and plump my belly was at this point!

36 1/2 weeks pregnant

I went back to the doctor the following week and still had made no progress. I was dilated between 1 and 2 and only about 50% effaced. Apparently this little lady was going to take her sweet time getting here!!

On August 20, the ladies that I used to work with at the Health Department threw me a shower too. This was totally unexpected, but I can't tell you how much it meant to me that they wanted to do that for me. Again, I got lots of super nice things and can't wait for Miss Layla to get here! Here is a shot of me and my dear friend Dale. I love you girl and don't know what I'd do without you!!

Here are some shots of Layla's room

On August 23rd, I went back to Dr. Mic for another weekly visit. At this point, I still hadn't made a lot of progress. I was dilated to a 2 and between 50% and 60% effaced. He joked with me that it would be fine for me to get started any time now and that I didn't have to wait for my due date to roll around. I told him it wasn't due to a lack of wishful thinking and that as soon as this little lady decided to get things started, I would be ready too!!

The next day was pretty routine and we all went to bed just like normal. Sometime after midnight, I started having contractions. At first, I didn't think much of them, but once I noticed they were coming pretty regular, I thought I better start timing them just to see. Between 4:00am and 6:00am I timed them and they were all between 4 and 7 minutes apart. I then got up and packed Isaac's bag and then decided I better call the doctor and see what to do. They said to come on in so I woke Darren and told him to get his things packed that we needed to head to the hospital. I then called my Mom and told her to pack up and hit the road. Darren called my Dad, who just happened to be at the airport getting ready to board a plane. His uncle in Detroit had just passed away and he was flying up to be there for that. Luckily, we caught him in time and he headed back to his house to pack up and hit the road to west TN. We finally got everything loaded up and packed and headed to Darren's parents house to drop off Isaac. He was finally awake at this point, but didn't seem to upset to be getting dropped off. Anyway, off to Jackson we headed!! We got to the hospital and got checked in and put in a room in Labor and Delivery. The nurse came in and checked me and at this point, I was still only dilated to 2 and 50%-60% effaced. She said I needed to make some sort of progress before things really got started and she recommended walking. So, off we started walking. She told us to walk through the hospital for an hour and then come back to be rechecked. So that's just what we did!! When our hour was up, we headed back to the room and called for the nurse. She checked me again and I still had not made any progress, even though my contractions had not slowed down at all. Then she dropped the bomb on us. She told us we would probably be discharged since I wasn't making any progress. At this point, I lost it! I couldn't imagine being discharged and having contractions like I was having. What was I going to do?? So we just waited........and in about 30 minutes, another nurse came in with papers and told us we were being released. To say I was devastated was a HUGE understatement. When she left the room, I stood up to get changed back into my clothes. When I did, a couple of drops of some kind of fluid ran down both my legs. I wasn't sure what it was, but thought I better have a nurse check it out before we got gone. I called her back in there again and she tested it with some sort of strip, but couldn't officially determine what it was. She told me to get back in the bed and they would leave me on the monitors a while longer to see how things went. Well, it was a good 2-3 hours before I saw another nurse at all and during that time, my contractions were between 2 and 3 minutes apart and were getting stronger and stronger. When she finally came back, she could tell from the monitors that I had been progressing and when she checked me, I was about 4 cm dilated and 80%-90% effaced. We were definitely going to have a baby today! They then sent in more nurses to get an iv started and to get my lab work done. Once this was completed, I could get my epidural. Woo-hoo!!! They finally got all this done and by this time, Dr. Mic was there too. He was in the room just chit-chatting with Darren and asking us if we were ready to have a baby. We both said of course! He hung around a bit longer and it was no time before I was ready to start pushing. I went from being 5 centimeters dilated to 10 in about 30 minutes and with 5 or 6 good pushes, she was here! Layla Claire Howard was born on August 25, 2010 at 4:45 pm. She weighed 6 pounds and 15 ounces and was 19 inches long. Darren went to the waiting area to get Isaac first and let us have some family time, just the 4 of us. He was pretty skittish and didn't want to touch her, but his eyes were huge and he just kept staring at her. When Darren took him back to the waiting area to get the rest of the family, they all asked him about her. He told them she was "little bitty" and was just "this big" and held his hands about 6 inches apart!!

Our first family photo

Me, my Mom and Layla

Layla Claire

We got released the next evening and this photo was taken when we got home

Big Brother Isaac. He has done SO good with Layla and just loves on her all the time. Another Isaac funny.....Darren's Uncle Jimmy was asking Isaac how Layla was and his response was "She's out now!"

Layla's first big smile caught on camera

So far, Layla has been a wonderful baby. She's nursing well and rarely cries. At the moment, she seems to have her days and nights a little mixed up. She likes to be awake in the middle of the night, but at least she's just awake and not crying and for that, I am grateful. I just feel so blessed to finally have our little family complete. I am looking forward to spending the next several weeks at home with her, learning her personality, and just soaking her in!

July 4th

July 4th weekend was spent with the Howard family. Darren's brother Derek and his family came in for the weekend and all the little ones had a big time together. Saturday was spent out on the lake, but it was rough. There were so many boats out and the water was so choppy that it was hard to do much of anything. We did still manage to have some fun time in the sun though. After we got off the water, we all came back to our house to grill out and do fireworks. All in all, it was a really great weekend.
Isaac and Jakob