Thursday, May 18, 2017

3 Months!

 Shelby is three months old. We love her to pieces. She is pretty opinionated, but I kind of love that about her and in my mind she is just about the sweetest baby ever.

Some things we want to remember about her at three months:

- 13.8 lbs (64%)

- She is sticking to her schedule and doesn't love to have it messed up.

- Her roots are blonde.

- She still isn't a big fan of the car seat, but she is getting a little better at handling it.

- She rolled over for the first time last Friday when we were at Neil and Becky's, five days before she was three months. She has not repeated that since though.

- She likes to talk on and on in our baby babble conversations.

- Sadly, she has decided it is not ok for the other kids to hold her. They keep trying, but as soon as they pick her up she immediately starts screaming and crying. She certainly has an opinion and lets us know about it.

- She loves baths.

- I have been trying desperately to get her to sleep through the night, but once again she's not really having it. She had two pretty good nights, but has gone backwards since then. I am struggling with the sleep deprivation.

- She is a very smiley girl and we love it. The kids love to talk to her and make her smile, and so do I.

- She seems to love to be help by Drew. She pretty much never falls asleep while I'm holding her, but does quite often when Drew is holding her.

- She likes to be outside and if she is upset I can just take her out there to help calm her down.

 I had been trying to get her to smile for pictures all day and she was not going for it. But then Drew got home and came over to talk to her while I was trying again and she was flashing them left and right. Oh we love that sweet smile!

Check out those shoulder muscles!

Monday, April 24, 2017

2 Months!

 Shelby is two months old. I love getting to know these new babies more and more as time passes. The more I have the more it is really obvious that they all come with their own little personality. I have also gotten a little better at soaking in the sweet moments and the amazing miracle each new life is, and I can't get enough of this girl.

- 12 lbs. 9 oz. (70th %) 22.6 inches (50%). Head circumference - 15.75 inches (jumped to 80th percentile which I was expecting)

- She is strictly a formula baby now. When I tried pumping one time and only got a couple drops, I determined it wasn't worth the hastle or stress anymore. I decided to be done and cried. She didn't really seem to care though. :)

- She has a pretty strict routine that she does not like to deviate from. When she wakes up she eats. Then I lay her on a blanket and change her diaper. Then I sit and talk to her and she smiles and babbles and looks around. I let her be alone there a little here and there, but sometimes I like to just stay and talk to her because I love the smiles. She lays there for 5-15 minutes and then starts to fuss. I pick her up and walk around with her until she starts to fuss again. Then I swaddle her, pop her binky in and bounce her until her eyes start to droop. Then I lay her down and she sleeps.

- She is very happy and smiley during her happy floor time, but when something is off she lets us know very adamantly. When she wakes up she is immediately screaming her head off until we get her and then she is still fussy until we get the bottle in her mouth.

- She is easily startled.

- She loves bath time and seems to know what's happening as soon as I lay her down on the floor in the bathroom. I have to move quickly once I get her out of the bathtub though because she only lasts a couple minutes before she is mad and wants to be held. I love holding her then because she smells delicious.

- She is getting better at handling the kids in her face, but she almost never accepts any of them holding her.

- She is still waking up once in the night. We are trying to adjust her eating and naps so that we can get rid of that night feeding. Sleeping through the night is my favorite.

- Thankfully, she is getting a little better in her car seat. Not quite so much screaming there anymore. It was freaking me out to have to go anywhere for a while there, because I knew she would scream the whole time. The other day we were in the car for about 20 minutes when she was awake and she never even cried which seemed miraculous.

- In the past couple weeks she has had a couple funny sounds make her really sad. One day Darcy was playing the piano and when she moved to the high notes Shelby's bottom lip went out and then she started crying. We tested it a couple times and every time she did the same thing for the high notes. Then the other day Ezra was doing an animal puzzle that made noise and when he did the cow she did the same lip/cry thing. We tested that one three times, and it took forever to console her the third time. No cows or high notes for that girl!

I loved these smiley pictures.

 Full body shot, and also one of the first times she ever wore an outfit that wasn't jammies on a non-church day. I loved those little leggings on her!

 Is it terrible that I think crying pictures are cute?

These three babies were born within six days of each other. Hayden, Henry, and Shelby. Hayden and Henry are Drew's cousins' babies. They are the 14th, 15th, and 16th great-grandchildren of Bill and Donna Rexius (Drew's grandparents).

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

1 Month!

Shelby is almost two months old now so I had to get this one month post in before we got there. We did take these pictures on her one month day though. Those first few weeks of her life were quite the adjustment period for all of us, and it was around her one month mark that we started to get things figured out a little better. We love this precious baby.

Things we want to remember about Shelby at one month.

- 10 lbs. 5 oz. 50th percentile. After struggling to gain weight the first couple weeks, the doctor was pleasantly surprised by that number.

- We could not get nursing to work once again. I believe it's because she has a pretty serious upper lip tie, but I took her to two different ENT doctors and they would not clip that lip. I am frustrated and sad about it. I am pumping for now and supplementing with formula because my body is not making enough. Bummer.

- I am pretty sure she purposefully smiled at me a couple times around four weeks.

- The first few nights home were pretty brutal since she had her days and nights confused, but honestly she got it straightened out pretty fast. I think around the time she was a week old. After those first couple weeks she has only woken up once at night for the most part.

- She is a noisy pooper. Ha!

- She screams pretty much every time we put her in her car seat which makes going anywhere a little stressful.

- She seems to be pretty particular and opinionated. She really is sweet and smiley a lot, but if things aren't just so she sure lets us know! She cries a lot when other people hold her because it's not just exactly what she's used to or what she wants (I'm assuming that's what's up anyway.)

- She has a very adamant cry that kind of makes her lose her voice if it goes on for too long. This helps her get what she wants quickly. :)

- She is so loved by her sister and brothers. They all want to hold her and feed her her bottle and talk to her and put their hands on her face, and hold her hands, and shake a rattle for her, etc., etc., etc. Sometimes she is so happy to see and talk to them, but she lets us know if it's not working out for her.

- After she lost her umbilical cord she was very happy to have a real bath. 

I'm realized a lot of that info. was more about her now than it was in her first month, but I'm having a hard time sorting out what happened when so I'm just going with it.

Over the shoulder pictures are my favorite at this age.

Ezra begged me to take this picture, but he just can not handle bright light so he could barely open his eyes. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Shelby Drew Christensen

On February 17th our little Shelby was born. I wanted to write down the story of her birth before I forget.

My due date was February 19th. The doctor had scheduled me to be induced on the 15th, but told me most likely I wouldn't get in until the next day. Around noon on Thursday the 16th I called the hospital to see if/when I would be able to go in. They told me they were really backed up and that it might not be until Monday that they could get me in! That was four days away at that point and I was not feeling patient enough for that kind of news.

My friend Melissa had passed her castor oil on to me that had successfully sent her into labor with her last baby. Because the doctor had told me they were going to induce me anyway I was thinking I probably wouldn't use it. I would just wait and be induced in the hospital. When they told me I was going to have to wait for days I quickly decided I would give the castor oil a try. Around 4:00 pm on the 16th (Thursday) I chugged two tablespoons of castor oil mixed into a small cup of apple juice. I had expected it to taste way worse than it did. I really didn't think it was that bad. Totally doable.

I also didn't expect it to work as quickly as it did. By about 6 o'clock I was starting to have consistent contractions. I had never gone into labor without being induced in the hospital so this was all new for me and I just wasn't sure if it was real labor or not. The contractions really weren't very painful, but they were five minutes apart and that is what I had heard they were supposed to be to go to the hospital. Drew was convinced we should go in, so I called my sweet neighbor who had offered to hang out with our kids for the hour it took my mom to drive to our house. She came right over and we headed out. We got to the hospital just after 7 pm. They took us into a temporary room to be monitored. After about 30 minutes of being monitored and being checked the nurse broke the bad news to us that I was only dilated to a 3 and wasn't in real labor and that we should just go home for a while. My heart sunk. I was so ready to get the show on the road!

The nurse must have seen my disappointment because after telling me she thought for a minute and offered an alternative. She said we could stay and walk the halls of the hospital for a couple hours and they could recheck me then. I wasn't thrilled about that, but it sounded better than going home. She said she needed to check with the doctor to make sure that was ok so we sat and waited to hear. After just a couple minutes of her being gone she came hustling back in the room and quickly told me I needed to roll to my side. I was confused and looking back I think it's odd that she didn't offer an explanation until I asked for one. Then she explained that the baby's heart rate had dropped for some reason and they wanted to see if moving to my side would change anything. It did go back up for a little while until the next contraction when it dropped again and they had me roll to my other side. The nurse talked to the doctor and that was enough to keep me there and get me into a labor room. Even just in the next half an hour or so while they got things ready for me to move rooms my contractions started to get a lot harder. I had initially said I would wait a little bit for my epidural but by the time I got to my room I was in some serious pain and they called for the epidural guy (my best friend). In the time it took him to get to my room I was having one long really intense contraction, that was confusing to the doctor and the nurse. It was at that point that I told them I had taken castor oil. The nurse was really nice about it, but the doctor seemed annoyed at me. She said, "Oh no, don't tell me castor oil is going to make it so you have to have a c-section." In the middle of having really painful contractions it was quite upsetting to me that she was annoyed and that I had possibly done this to myself and to my baby. I cried while they sat me up and the anesthesiologist did his thing. I also had the crazy shivers which is normal for me during labor. So the doctor came in just after I had gotten my epidural and I was shaking like crazy and had tears running down my face and I must have looked pathetic enough at that point that she seemed to soften a lot. She rubbed my arm and asked me if I was ok and I said I felt stupid about the castor oil. Then she kind of changed her tune saying that castor oil is really a natural thing and really quite effective usually and that her grandma had made her drink it all the time as a kid. (interesting)

The epidural started to kick in quickly and it was such a relief. They also gave me a shot in the back of my arm to slow down my contractions. It did it's job and I felt so much better, but the baby's heart rate continued to drop with almost every contraction and they had me moving like a rotisserie chicken. Around 10:30 pm they moved me to my last position. I had my legs bend up tight to my sides and they sat me straight up in bed. It seemed to do the trick for her heart rate but it also meant I couldn't sleep. They told me they were giving me until midnight to make some significant progress or we were going in for a c-section. The doctor told me that if I was a first time mom they would have done the c-section long before, but since it was my fourth baby they were going to give me a chance to make some progress fast. They did not seem confident at all that that would happen though.

I know people have c-sections all the time and I told myself to be brave, but I was really quite terrified of going that route. I spent that next hour and a half alternating between dozing off and my head snapping back up, and praying my heart out that I would make some serious progress. As it got closer to midnight I was pretty sure I was feeling something happening. Part of me wondered if I needed to call the nurses in sooner because I wondered if she was just coming out without them. They didn't come in until a little past midnight and when the nurse checked me she was shocked to find I was at a 9 and pretty much ready to go. I was certain my prayers had been heard and I had received a miracle. The nurse called the doctor in. She got there a minute later and checked me again and I was at a 10 and I said I thought I needed to push. They said go ahead. After one push her head was out and that's when they discovered the cord was wrapped around her neck twice, which was why her heart rate had been dropping. They cut it off and then had me push again and she was born. They rushed her over to the warmer and a herd of medical people swarmed her. I could see them shaking her all around and after a second she let out a good solid cry. I was so happy and relieved. She was born at 12:23 am on February 17th. She weighed 7 lbs. 9 oz. and was 20 inches long. She was beautiful and had lots of dark hair just like our other babies. They took a little longer than ever before to hand her to me and I was so ready for it.

The nurse told me later that she was completely unprepared for her to be born naturally. She had been in the other room prepping for a c-section for those couple hours before she was born. I was really happy to have surprised her in that way. :)

After the swarm of people surrounding her knew everything was ok one of the nurses turned to Drew and asked what her name was. Up until that point I was set on naming her Shelby but Drew was still unconvinced. He paused for a second and made his decision in that moment I guess. He told the nurse her name was Shelby. We have never been so undecided about a baby's name. With the other three we knew exactly what their name would be long before they were born, but this was more of a struggle. We liked the idea of using Drew for her middle name, but wondered if that was a little crazy of us. After she was born we decided to just make a decision, and Shelby Drew is was.

We love our precious girl.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Great Wolf Lodge

 For Christmas, instead of getting us all presents, my parents got us a trip to Great Wolf Lodge. It was such a great gift! We went at the end of January and had a blast.
 One of the big hits for our kids was getting their faces painted and getting a balloon sword.

 At night there was a little show for kids in the main lobby area and Darcy went up at the end to meet the wolf. Parks was so fascinated by him and was determined to get his attention to wave at him (which I don't think ever worked), but when it was actually time to go up and get a picture with him he wouldn't do it.

 The main attraction at Great Wolf Lodge is the awesome indoor water park. We spent lots of hours there. My kids are serious about wearing goggles, and I thought Parks looked especially cool in his. :)

 Unfortunately this blurry picture is the only one I got of Darcy in her favorite spot. She spent the majority of her time in the wave pool.

Parks, Jase, Matthew, and Ezra warming up with Grandpa

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Drew's 33rd Birthday

For Drew's birthday this year there just happened to be a snow day for both him and Darcy. It was such a sweet treat to get to have everyone home together to celebrate.

The first thing we did was call our friends to go sledding at a school nearby. It was a beautiful sun-shiny day and we had lots of fun. Then we came home and watched a movie together. I made manicotti (Drew's favorite) for dinner and a German chocolate cake that he requested. I have never been a fan of the German chocolate frosting from a can, so I found a recipe to make it on my own and we were happy with how it turned out.

Drew is my favorite guy, and I am so happy he was born.

Glued to the movie

 This picture makes me laugh every time I see it. Drew was honestly not prepared for the competition he would face when he went to blow out his candles. Apparently the boys thought when the happy birthday song was over it was a free-for-all for those candles. We ended up giving Drew another turn (and each of the kids there own turn also).

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Christmas 2016

 I am finally getting around to posting about Christmas. I didn't take many pictures this year. It seems like it was all a little fast and furious and I kept forgetting to get out my camera in time. Opening gifts at the Christensen's was just a free for all and I didn't get one single picture of it, but I promise it was great. :)

Drew got to take two straight weeks off from work because of all the time off he had built up and it was so so wonderful to have him around that much. Because of my current, painfully pregnant status it felt like exactly what I needed.

We stayed home on Christmas Eve for the first time and woke up at our house on Christmas morning. It was on Sunday this year and I had been a little nervous about getting everything done in the morning in time for church, but the kids woke up nice and early and we had time to spare. I actually loved having church on a Sunday. It made it a little easier to remember the real reason for the holiday and to focus on the Savior. Drew sang in the ward choir and Darcy sang a song with the primary kids. (We just can't convince Ezra to go up there.)

 I realized there were fingerprints on my camera after this photo shoot which made all these pictures hazy, but here we are all dressed up for church on Christmas morning. Drew was really excited to get to wear his red pants.

 After church we headed to my parents' house. With his normal flare my dad had come up with some pretty awesome gifts for people this year. Ashley has said that she wants to be a dental hygienist, so my dad decided she should start practicing now, and naturally she needs her very own dental chair to start doing that. That's going to be a fun one to find a place for.

Brian is pretty serious about his hot sauce. He puts it on pretty much everything he eats. My dad saw an idea for a hot sauce holster for him, so he got to work and made one out of some leather and branded it with a B for Brian. Brian had also gotten a holster for a gun, so he was pretty much prepared for anything at that point.

 Our sweet 94 year old grandma is fading quickly these days and around Christmas time we were really starting to notice that she was declining. We were all wanting pictures of and with her. Here she is with Haley and Carrie.

My grandma has always been an avid reader, but her vision has gone pretty much completely now and was mostly gone at Christmas. My dad got her this book for Christmas and sat and read it to her. I couldn't get over the sweetness of a son reading to his mother, who had most certainly done the same for him many times over as a child.