Ritchie Crew

Ritchie Crew

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Week Three in Alabama

This past week we decorated pumkins that Caroline's Mimi brought when she came to Alabama. She brought Caroline three mini pumpkins and four pumpkins to decorate. As you can see, Caroline was worn out when all the decorating was finished! The festivities marked Caroline's one month old birthday!

Caroline's first Halloween costume was a zebra. Daddy thought the Halloween costume was a white tiger due to the ears! We did not get a picture, but her zebra tail made the costume complete. Caroline used her Mommy's first pumpkin that she had when she was a little girl. We did not have a trick-or-treater all night!

Sunday night we went out to eat at Outback to celebrate our friends finishing SERE school. We had a great time with Justin, Michelle, Katie, and Dustin. Caroline was all bundled up, due to the cold weather moving into the state.

Since Caroline is such a big Razorback fan, and we could not make it to the game, she insisted on wearing her Razorback cheerleading outfit. Her outfit was a gift from her Aunt E and Big G. She already knows how to call those Hogs! She watched the homecoming game with her Daddy in the recliner, while eating Daddy's favorite...chinese food!

This will be our last full week in Alabama. We have enjoyed every minute with each other, and it has been a blessing to have all day to spend together the past three weeks. We will be making our road trip home Friday, so keep us in your prayers.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

First 2 Weeks in Alabama

Immediately upon arriving at "home" in Alabama, we realized that this was not the home that we had gotten used to during Caroline's first two weeks. The two bedroom (one bedroom, one large closet) one bath apartment that the three of us will call home for the next month is obviously much more confined. It is also more limited, as I don't need much to get by while I am here by myself...it has a bachelor-pad feel to it. Finally, it's a little constricted, with a lot of baby stuff and Sirron's things to get her through the month. However, we got settled quickly, and have made it just fine.

Our time here has been such a blessing. Since my next phase of school does not start until November 16, I am only gone for about an hour and half a day...the rest of the time, the 3 of us are together. Sirron and I usually alternate napping during the day, or nap together while Caroline does, and either of us can get away if need-be (Wal-Mart trips are a frequent thing).

Caroline has come out of her shell quite a bit:
  • She is very vocal, and makes all sorts of noises
  • She is awake for extended periods of time
  • Still going through every bit of 10-12 diapers a day
  • Now takes 2.75-3 ounces per feeding, and will get the hiccups after eating; never fails
  • Likes to stay awake at mommy and daddy's bedtime
  • She wakes up every 3 hours, like clock-work, but sleeps most of the night
  • She will cut her eyes at us, and definitely notices us, but doesn't follow us with her eyes yet
  • She can pick her head up and hold it up for several seconds
  • She has turned her head from one side to the other while laying down
  • She makes several different faces now, and smiles when she is caught in the phase between sleeping and being awake
  • She LOVES the pacifier...so do we
  • She likes to swing...sometimes. Mommy and daddy love the swing.
  • She doesn't have to be swaddled at night, but sometimes it helps...sometimes not
  • She likes to lay on her changing pad
  • Baths are not bad at all anymore...they're actually quite pleasant. Our friend Nancy told us this would happen...thank heavens she was right
  • She lost her embilical cord at 3 weeks

Below are various pictures, and a video, taken throughout our time in Alabama:

Caroline's first name-brand outfit (gift from Aunt Julie, Uncle Roger, Lana and Will)
Caroline after a bath. Wrapped in her towl (top), and her displaying her new bathrobe (bottom)

We have resorted to putting her in her car seat, in an attempt to get her to go to sleep. It worked this time.

Caroline got a new play-mat while down here and spends a good bit of time on it.
Caroline got to be outside for the first time on Oct. 22. The weather was perfect, so we went on post, used our stroller for the first time and walked 2 miles.
Caroline sporting her first 3-piece suite. Mommy loves bows.
Second 3-piece suite, first pair of shoes. Mommy LOVES bows.
Loaded up and ready for Enterprise, Alabama's Fall Festival (top). Daddy pushing her stroller at Fall Festival while Mommy shopped...for bows.

Caroline's Mimi and Great-Grandparents Moren came to visit her Oct. 22 and 23. The 6 of us went out and ate pizza, which was Caroline's first time out in public and she behaved so well by sleeping the entire time. Her grandparents also kept her one afternoon while Mommy and Daddy went out to eat and shopping for Mommy's birthday.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Proud Grandparents

Caroline is Sirron's parents' first grandchild, and only my parents' second. To say that they are all crazy about her would only begin to touch the surface...to say that she will be absolutely ROTTEN would be the understatement of the century.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Caroline's First Two Weeks

After spending a couple nights in the hospital, we went home on Thursday, October 1st. Sirron and I were anxious, about going home, but Caroline was so well behaved that we did not foresee any problems...

Our first night home was quite the experience. Mind you, Caroline had been sleeping in the nursery at night in the hospital, so Sirron and I hadn't gotten the complete experience until we were all alone. Nobody slept much at our home that night.

After that first night, the three of us developed a routine, and things went, and have gone, much smoother. Friends and family came throughout the day for the first week to see Miss Caroline, and we are so thankful for everyone who was able to come out. For the vast majority of our guests, Caroline slept. We are so thankful that we were able to get on an eating schedule of every 2-3 hours, and this schedule has typified our first two weeks. Originally, we had to wake her, but after a week or so, the majority of the time, she wakes on her own when it is time to eat.

She began eating one ounce per feeding, and quickly moved past that. At one week we were at 2 ounces, and have since moved to 2.5 at two weeks. We never had any problems taking a bottle. Caroline's hospital checkout weight was 5 pounds 13 ounces, a loss of 3 ounces since birth. At our 1 week checkup, she weighed in at 6 pounds 6 ounces.

Her favorite activity to date has been sleeping. We had to wake her up, during the day and night, to feed for the first week. This made the nights very pleasant. We kept her swaddled nearly at all times, as it seemed to comfort her. When she is not swaddled (diaper changing and feeding), she uses her hands a lot and keeps them around her face. We went through about 8-10 diapers a day the first week, and picked it up a bit to 10-12 a day for the second week.

Caroline has proved to be quite the Razorback fan. She watched her first two games with me (both wins), and when I get excited and jump around and yell, she also jumps and flails her arms and legs, strikingly similar to her reaction when startled.

Her least favorite activity has been bathing, and it was an adventure for Sirron and me. We got through the first one, but it was the first time that we heard Caroline flex her pipes and really scream. The next couple weren't quite as bad, but we still have a long way to go before baths are pleasant.

With a 10 hour car trip to Alabama coming up at the end of the week, our only indication as to how she would ride was the trip to the doctor's office on Tuesday, and she slept, literally the entire time she was in her car seat. We knew that we wouldn't be so lucky as we headed out Friday morning. The weather was awful...torrential rains fell for the first four hours of our trip, during which we only traveled 150 miles. Caroline slept almost the entire trip. We stopped several times along the way to change her and feed her, and she either had started to wake up at the time we were about to stop or we had to wake her. She traveled so well, and it was the toughest trip (elements-wise) that either Sirron or I have made yet, and took a total of 13 hours.

Sirron and Caroline will be with me in Alabama for the remainder of Sirron's maternity leave, and I will be bringing them home the first weekend of November. It was so great being home. Getting to see all of our family and friends made it that much better. Again, we are thankful to everyone who came to see us, who cooked for us, and did so much more.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Birth Story

I received a message from Sirron on September 17 that she would be inducing on September 28, the day after I got done with SERE, and she wanted to make sure that I would be able to be there. It had been 11 days since I had talked to her, and I wouldn't be able to for another 10. The doctor had put Sirron on bed-rest on the 4th, because her blood pressure had gotten too high.

I was released from my course at 2:00, went to my apartment to pack up, and hit the road at 3:00. I drove through the night and got home at midnight. While I had thought that we would induce early Monday morning, it turned out that we didn't have to be at the hospital until Monday night. This was great, because Sirron and I got to spend all of Monday together, by ourselves. We went out to eat in Little Rock, our last date as non-parents, prior to going to the hospital.

We were to show up at St. Vincents at 8:00 Monday night, so we got there about 7:45. We were told to have a seat and they would come get us. Three hours later, we were taken back to our birthing room. The nurses performed a procedure known as Cytotec to start the dilation process on Sirron at 1:00 am. This did little more than make her uncomfortable throughout the night, and she got very little sleep of about an hour. Nurses started the Pitocin drip at 5:00 am, and the contractions ensued...quickly. The doctor showed up at 8:30 and broke Sirron's water...we were going to have a baby that day!

Sirron was contracting every two minutes, and the intensity was quickly increasing. Nurses checked Sirron's dilation progress throughout the morning, and little to nothing was happening. At 1:00 that afternoon, 8 hours after starting Pitocin, we got to a 2. Our nurse told us at this time that we were looking at a very long day and night, and would probably have our baby around 5:00 the next morning! Sirron's labor pains were in full swing, and had been for several hours, so an epidural was administered...it was smooth sailing from this point on.

Sirron slept, on and off, for the remainder of the afternoon and into the evening, never feeling any pain from another contraction. It took a couple of hours to get from a 2 to a 3, then another hour or so to a 4...we skipped 5, straight to 6, and in what seemed like no time (an hour and half), we were at an 8/9 and ready to deliver.

Before the doctor ever arrived, the baby's head was visible. Once he did get there, the pushing started. On the second push, Caroline's head was out. The third push revealed our baby GIRL, to much relief.

3 pushes, that was it...no screaming, no cussing, nothing that I had planned for. Sirron proved to be the strongest woman I have ever seen. I was so proud of her, and we were both proud new parents of a beautiful baby girl.