Monday, August 31, 2009


Saturday we had Ellie baptized into the Catholic church. It was a great day and we got some family in town for the weekend. Ellie is so lucky to have so many people willing to drive long distances to come help her celebrate. Enjoy the pics!
Proud parents.

Getting baptized is hard work, apparently. Isn't her baptism dress beautiful?!
Above, us with Father Buckles. Below, the main event. She didn't cry once!
Mason holds his cousin Ellie. He loves her!

Ellie may have had enough of cameras in her face :)

But later she decided to be a ham again.

Cousins Izzy (above) and Ila (below) helped entertain at the post-baptism BBQ.

Friday, August 28, 2009

So small

It still amazes me how small and precious Ellie is. But she's getting bigger every day! Sometimes when I'm swaddling her in a blanket at bedtime I hope that if I wrap her tight enough she'll stay tiny :)

I can't believe her foot is the size of my thumb. It's also kind of blurry because she likes to kick her legs a lot these days.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The power of sleep

Got some good sleep last night and am feeling like a new woman today. Thanks Brian (and Ellie, for being somewhat cooperative!)
Since Brian is telling most people we meet anyway, I thought I'd share a recent story about the dangers of not getting enough sleep these days. The three of us stopped to do some shopping at Wal-mart the other day and I decided to make a bathroom stop on the way in. I told Brian I'd meet up with him and Ellie in the grocery section.
So I went into the bathroom and chose a stall. I was annoyed to see that the toilet seat was left up for some reason. Using a lot of toilet paper as a "glove," I lowered the seat. Then I turned to hang my purse up, only to find that there were no hooks anywhere in the stall. Can anyone guess where this is going?
Well, I used the facilities... walked out of the stall... and locked eyes with a man using the urinal. That's right. I was in the men's bathroom. Somehow I missed the sign outside AND the urinals on the way in. I blame sleep deprivation. But I've been extra careful since then when going into public restrooms.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hard work

Last night was one of the worst nights of sleeplessness I've had since we brought Ellie home from the hospital. She was up almost every hour and would not go back to sleep in her crib for more than 15-30 minutes at a time. I finally gave up on getting her back down on her own and we slept for awhile together on the futon in the nursery.
I got up all but one of the times with Ellie last night because Brian was totally worn out from helping some friends move last night and was due at the gym early today. So now I'm feeling like a total zombie today.
A friend pointed out to me yesterday that most of my post-baby blogging has been very happy, gooey and upbeat. And to be honest, it's hard for me to be down when I sit and write about beautiful, wonderful Ellie.
At the same time, I'll admit this parenting thing is about the hardest thing I've ever done. Sometimes I feel like a bad mother if I complain about being tired or frustrated from all of my time with Ellie. I know I'm lucky to be home with her and need to cherish this early time together. But having someone rely on you 24/7 for absolutely every need is exhausting! The toughest parts for me so far are the times when I just can't figure out what Ellie is fussing about. In the past few days there have been many times when she will cry for seemingly no reason. She's fed, changed, burped and snuggled... but still being fussy. She is a mystery sometimes.
Now I'm going to try to nap with her for a little bit. I'll dream of getting a nice, long three or four hour stretch of uninterrupted sleep tonight. We'll see if she is dreaming of letting me.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Visitors and general cuteness

Last week was a busy one for Ellie. She got visits from her grandma, Aunt Maggie and "Aunts" Meghan, Haley and Sarah. She also got some new-used clothes from awesome Aunt Genny. She looks so great in the new dresses and other cute girl stuff! Below she's showing off one of her new dresses and getting some grandma love.

Ellie also got her first bath in the infant tub we have. She upgraded from getting sponge baths after she lost her umbilical cord stump. She likes dad putting on the hooded towel more than she likes getting shampoo-ed!
Sometimes she sleeps so peacefully... but not for long (at least on recent nights).
I promise this is the only item from Ellie's wardrobe that Muzzy has worn! She needs help looking girlie sometimes.

Ellie is already an Illini fan, even though we live in Purdue country.

Aunt Maggie classed-up her Illinois outfit with a new pair of Mary Jane shoe-socks :)

Ellie seems bored by us. Or perhaps tired from trying to figure out who is the real mom and who's the one who looks an awful lot like mom...
Ellie got lots of cuddle time with the Hoff girls
And Sarah visited over the weekend and loved on Ellie. Doesn't she look tall in this picture?

Eating issues... part 2

I forgot to include some of the stuff I've learned along the way while trying to get this whole breastfeeding thing down. I worked with a lactation nurse through the hospital for the first couple weeks after Ellie was born. And in addition to giving me tips to improve her latch and to make the feedings more comfortable, the nurse helped me grow my milk supply. The first thing I tried was simply eating oatmeal for breakfast. It's supposed to help improve milk supply, but I'm not sure if it's worked for me.
But this next suggestion definitely helped. I started taking two herbal supplements (three times each day) called Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle. Hadn't heard of either one of them before this month, but they seem to really help! Before I started taking them, I was able to pump less than an ounce of milk at each feeding. (I was pumping periodically at that point to figure out how much Ellie was getting from me.) After taking the herbal stuff for about three days, I was able to get around 2 ounces! It's still not a ton of milk, since Ellie is supposed to be getting up to three ounces to eat every three hours or so. I'm only making about 2 ounces every four hours... or roughly 12 ounces in a day... so the supplementing is necessary. But having a little more to give Ellie feels great and makes all the hard work more worthwhile.
I hope this helps anyone else who may have feeding trouble down the line. And I would definitely recommend the help from lactation nurses for anyone who has feeding issues. They were such an awesome resource!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Eating issues

So Ellie and I have had a bumpy road so far in trying to figure out the whole nursing thing. I think we're finally making progress and may even be getting into a groove.
But it hasn't been easy. It's weird that while breastfeeding is such a natural thing it's also so hard for both mom and baby to get going after birth. Neither Ellie or I knew what we were doing when we started... and that caused some tears (from both of us).
My milk didn't come in until the weekend after she was born, but we discovered early on that I had a low supply. We've been supplementing her with some formula, which is a good solution to the problem but also tricky. Since I don't know (unless I pump) how much milk she's getting from me, it's difficult to know how much formula she needs additionally. Plus, it's a lot of work going through all the steps of nursing and then having to warm a bottle, feed her again and then go through the burping steps. Some days I feel like we do feedings back-to-back... because we do!
For these first few weeks, the breastfeeding has also been very painful for me. Without getting into too much detail I'll just say that Ellie is not the best at latching on. That equals discomfort for mom. But I think in the past couple days we've turned the corner. She and I are both feeling more confident about the whole process. And a check-up she had on Friday showed she's definitely getting enough food. She weighed in at 9 lbs, 5 ounces! (Though she had a wet diaper by the time she came off the scale... but, still, she seems to be getting all the nourishment she needs!)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Daddy's girl

This is Brian breaking into the blog.
Ever since Ellie was born, I can't get enough of curling up with her on the couch. She pulls her legs up tight so that she's in a little ball and buries her face in my chest. It might be the single coolest thing I've ever experienced.
One thing's for sure, though. Ellie is a daddy's girl. Grandmas, neighbors, friends and even Dorothy sometimes have difficulty quieting Ellie when she's fussy. And while I'm not always successful, I seem to have a touch that calms has when little else will.
That's not to disparage anyone else's ability with Ellie. But I think there's something about a dad that feels safe and secure. It's good to know that she feels that way with me.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Always something

My grand return to the world of exercise this morning (i.e. a one-mile walk around the park pushing Ellie in the stroller) didn't go quite as planned.
It took about 45 minutes to get both of us ready. Ellie waited until she was fully strapped into the car seat before she wet her diaper, which I had just changed 10 minutes earlier. Then we had to get the stroller out and I had to figure out how the car seat fit into it. Finally we were on our way. About a two blocks from home, Ellie started screaming. Upon further investigation, I discovered she had a poopy diaper that was so full it was coming out the sides of her clothes and into the car seat!
We turned around and headed toward home. Ellie screamed the entire way and there wasn't anything I could do to calm her down. As we pulled back into our driveway, she fell asleep. Glad the "workout" tired one of us out.
Oh well, maybe tomorrow will be a better day for the park. In the meantime, the car seat cover is being washed. Eww.

On a positive note, we went to the pediatrician for Ellie's 2 week checkup this morning and got a glowing report. Ellie is up to 8 lbs, 11 ounces and she's grown to 21.5 inches. Such a big girl!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Ellie's arrival

Ellie is two weeks old already and I still haven't shared the story of how she came into this world! So, here goes.
It was 6:50 p.m. on Aug. 2, and Brian and I were picking up our bags to load in the car (for the four block drive to the hospital). My phone rang and I answered it. A woman from the hospital was on the other end and asked if we knew we were scheduled for induction that evening. I told her "yes, we're on our way now." She said we were on the schedule for 6 p.m. ... but our doctor definitely told us 7 p.m. The hospital staff said it was no big deal, but we were a little embarrassed and frustrated since we'd basically been killing time all day waiting until we could go in!
Fast forward a couple hours and we're at the hospital settled into the labor and delivery room. Dr. George came in and gave me cervidil. The monitor they had hooked up to my abdomen showed I was already having some small contractions, but I was waiting for the medicine to kick things into gear. Brian and I watched "Big Fish" -- one of our favorite movies -- on the lap top and then tried to get some sleep (Me in the hospital bed and Brian on the recliner). By midnight I was having some serious pains. The sleeping pill I'd taken wasn't helping much. I didn't get much rest through the night, which I was bummed about because I knew Monday was likely to be a long day.
Around 9 a.m. Monday, Dr. George came in and broke my water. It looked clear at first but then was murky, which told the doctor that the baby had passed a stool and would need to get extra suction upon delivery to avoid inhaling it into her lungs. So we started to prepare for that factor. I knew that I wouldn't be able to hold the baby directly after the birth and Brian wouldn't be able to cut the umbilical cord because they would rush her across the room for extra attention.
I was given pitocin through an IV and the contractions really started going. In the early morning I was only 3 cm dilated, but had progressed to 5 cm by around 11 a.m. I was more than ready to get an epidural by then. I came into the hospital thinking I might not need the epidural, but changed my tune when the pain started getting really bad. As my brother (and many other people told me): "You don't get a medal for not getting pain medication..."
My mom got into town a little before noon. She and Brian went to get lunch while I tried to rest for awhile. Brian's mom arrived around 2 p.m. and we all visited for a short time. But at 2:30 p.m. the nurse announced I was fully dilated (to 10 cm) and ready to push. I was dumb enough to be excited about this news! Yes, I was happy to be progressing... but after nearly an hour of pushing with no visible progress I asked "why did I want to get to this stage again?"
The nurse said most first-time moms have to push for one to three hours. I pushed for three. It was definitely the hardest thing I've ever done. By the last hour, I was actually falling asleep during the 45 second pauses between contractions. I couldn't talk. I couldn't yell. I just wanted to meet my baby.
Brian was a great partner to have in the room. He was very supportive and tried to keep the mood light. Somewhere in the second or third hour of pushing, I did ban him from making any more jokes. I'd lost my sense of humor at that point. The epidural helped immensely, but I still felt a lot of pain because I kept the amount of medication going in low enough so that I could still feel when I was having a contraction and would know when to push.
Dr. George came back somewhere around 5:15 or 5:30 p.m. She found that Ellie was turned face up in the birth canal (when she was supposed to be face down). She tried to turn her... which did not feel good... but only was able to get her sideways. Ellie was still stuck and Dr. George finally told me she would use some vacuum suction to help get her out. On my next big round of pushes, the head came out. Brian said it was very scary to see the vacuum pulling and Ellie's head not moving right away, but she finally un-stuck. I had to push a few more times as Dr. George freed her shoulders and the rest of her came out.
We didn't know that she was a "she" yet and in the excitement of the moment, Brian forgot to look! The nurses and doctor whisked her across the room and Dr. George yelled "It's a girl!"
I could see the blue little baby in the warming table about 10 feet away, but couldn't hear her cry. I was so overwhelmed by the intensity of the moment and the relief from the pain that I immediately started sobbing. Brian was still standing by my side until Dr. George asked why he wasn't over with his new daughter. He crossed the room and reached down to her and said Ellie immediately grabbed his finger. The nurses finished suctioning Ellie's mouth and lungs and we heard her cry. Her color started to improve and they cleaned her up.
It seemed like an eternity, but was probably only 5 minutes or so, until Brian finally brought her over to me. I put her on my chest and covered us both with a blanket... and continued to cry. It was one of the happiest moments of my entire life. It felt surreal to hold her in my arms and know that I had been carrying this perfect little person around inside of me. Her beautiful eyes were open and she was so alert. I hope she could tell my tears were happy ones.
Her arrival was the most intense roller coaster of emotions I've ever experienced. I'm sure it was exciting and/or terrifying for her, too!
And that's the story of how Ellie Wallheimer came into this world.

Friday, August 14, 2009

A big girl

Ellie is already 12 days old! She's racked up a few accomplishments so far... including getting rid of her jaundice, losing the rest of her umbilical cord, rolling onto her side while sleeping in the pack-n-play and getting a stronger (i.e. louder) cry.
Here's some new pics of our sweet pea pod: Radar has been very protective of Ellie. He sleeps in the nursery every night. And I think here he's saying "You'll have to get through me first..."
Ellie is such a pretty girl in her very first dress. Thanks for the gift, Ben and Janet!

Ellie rolled on her side! (It's really the little things right now :)
A family self-portrait. And Ellie looks so pretty in pink.

Sometimes we have to put bows in her head so the people we meet out and about don't tell us what a cute little boy we have. Don't want her to get a complex... but she looks so cute in green and blue (and, well, every other color). She's smiling a little below cuz she knows it's true.

Monday, August 10, 2009


Sorry about the delays in posting. Brian, Ellie and I are settling in at home. It's definitely harder being out of the hospital and away from the nurses! But it's been fun figuring out our new family.

Ellie is a great baby. She only fusses when she's hungry, needs a diaper change or wants some loving. And we can usually figure out what she wants pretty quick and make her happy again.
She went to her first pediatrician's appointment on Friday and got a clean bill of health. They tested her jaundice level and it came back in the lowest category. Unfortunately the blood test took six pokes in her poor, little heels! But she was a trooper.
As much fun as we're having with her, Ellie is a lot of work. We're feeding her every two hours right now in an effort to balance the milk I have coming in and formula supplements. There's not much time in between the feedings... especially in the middle of the night. But Ellie has given us a couple nights where she slept for four hours in a row!
Some have asked me to share the birth story and I will do that as soon as I have another chance to sit down with the computer. Thanks again for the great support we've gotten from so many. Here's a few more pics from Ellie's first week of life. She has some very interesting facial expressions... not all of them make her look like an old man, but those are the ones the camera most often captures :)
Oh, and Brian was very proud of the huge tomatos we've pulled out of our garden. They're bigger than Ellie's head!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


I'm here in the hospital room listening to Brian softly snoring as he dozes with Ellie on his chest. The happiest dad and baby I've ever seen.

I can't believe the whirlwind of the past couple days. In mere moments, our family added a member. At times we're still worried the nurses will make us leave her here in the hospital when we go to leave. How did we get so lucky to be able to take home this precious bundle?
Yes, there are challenges ahead of us. And we're already running low on sleep and energy. But I would happily stay awake for the rest of my life, walk through fire, push for another three hours... whatever it took to be able to hold this little angel and kiss her head. She's already amazing us.
I'll write more later -- and maybe make it less sappy, but no guarantees. I've got to join in nap time while we still have a sleeping baby.
Here are some pics, as promised!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Recovering and in love

Just a quick update because things are hectic here in the hospital.
Eleanor Anne is perfect. I may be biased.
She was born at 5:48 pm on Monday. Weighed in at 8 lbs, 1 ounce and 20.5 inches.
Brian and I are so in love with her and already can't imagine our lives without her in them. We're in the hospital until tomorrow afternoon and then heading home.
I'll update more later, but wanted to say thank you to everyone who has sent us congratulations and other messages of encouragement.

More pics to come!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Baby's on the way

This is Brian.
Well, Dorothy's drugged up and parents are starting to flow in. We're getting there. After a long night with little sleep, Dorothy got her epidural and a ice dose of pitocin. She's resting well now.
The hospital might have the worst coffee I've ever tasted. Admittedly, I've been drinking expensive coffee lately, but this stuff isn't fit for human consumption. One drink and down the drain. I'll get my caffeine from the soda machine I guess.
It feels like everything is taking forever. But I know we're getting closer.

Honest update

It's 3:40 a.m. and I should be sleeping. We're at the hospital and induction plans are underway. They even gave me a sleeping pill to help me get through the night. But so far cramps and contractions have kept me from all but an hour or two of shut eye. I'm frustrated and in pain. Can't find a way to sit or lay comfortably... but I need my rest for tomorrow/today!!!
Gonna go try sleeping again, but thought I'd share part of this journey. Brian is sleeping next to me on a recliner and I'm glad at least one of us is getting rest. Seems like there's still a lot ahead of us. Keep us in your prayers, along with all of the family members who are driving to see us and meet the newest one in the next day or two.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

We made it to the Wingate Sweet Corn Festival yesterday. I held the baby in (much to Brian's delight) but now he or she is welcome to come out any time! Here are some pics. Above is us with our friend Angie, who lives closest to the festival town but never went until Brian twisted her arm :)
(above) Brian getting butter on his first three ears of corn. He at 12 during the afternoon... I only at 6. (below) We got yellow all-you-can-eat wrist bands so we could go get more corn whenever we wanted.

We were still smiling below because our stomachs weren't upset (yet) from all the corn...