Tuesday, November 24, 2009

First Date

Sorry... I just had to post these last couple of pics tonight... Is this not just the sweetest thing ever?! Grace Louise on her first date with Carson Joyner- precious! (She is 8 days older, but from what I hear, Carson is into older women).

Brook, Amber, and Carson met us for lunch on Monday in Winter Haven. It was such a relaxing visit and so fun to get the sleeping beauties together ...

A few firsts...

I'm so excited to have a couple of hours tonight to catch up on my blogging, take a bath, and just have some time for myself. Jimmy hit the sack early, Grace Louise was a darling about bed time tonight, and I was lucky enough to sneak a nap in earlier in the day. I mustn't be too long, though, my little snapping turtle will be up for a midnight snack here in a couple of hours.

The past few weeks have been amazing! Jimmy commented last night, "I just can't believe she's ours". It does seem surreal at times... then I hold her close to me and smell her sweet skin and milky breath and there is no denying these moments are as real as ever! And so much fun- everything is a first! It's so exciting to witness and create first-time memories (which, if you know me, I've documented in picture form below ;)

Still receiving visitors. Pics above are Grace Louise with Aunt G and Uncle Wes, Aunt Cindy and Jade, Aunt Missy, Lala #2, and Taylor, Lala and Triston, Nikki, and our wonderful baby-catcher Midwife Melissa.
Grace Louise loves spending time with Daddy. His favorite place to hold her is in his chair. They watch ESPN and huntin' shows... you know.

Okay, now for some firsts... Grace Louise's first time meeting her Grandaddy! She will undoubtedly grow to love this man as one of her #1 playmates. A child at heart.

First real bath!
I was so eager for her umbilical cord stump to fall off so that we could enjoy our first bath together. This is her "help me, hold me" sign... she was a little scared, but eventually relaxed in the warm water.

First time meeting Granny and Papa Dubose. Granny's in love...

First ride in the BOB stroller. We only went around the block the first time because mommy was still a bit sore. Looking forward to our first 5K together!

First time wearing an outfit (vs a sleeper/onesie or a gown).

First day out with mommy! We went to visit some friends and then to Publix for some grocery shopping. She was all wrapped up in the moby and no one tried to touch! I was a bit nervous, but Daddy helped us get ready in the morning and we did good!

First time at the YMCA! Meeting my yoga and water aerobics instructors, as well as a couple of ladies from class. Grace Louise has so many grandmas!

Sweet dreams in the bouncer!

"Hey mom! Can you hear me?!"

She LOVES to hang out on her changing table and look around.

Here we are actually making eye contact with the fish. If she's anything like her dad she's thinking, "hmmm, how can I catch one of those little guys?"

I didn't get any pics of Grace Louise at our first social engagement, but we did attend a surprise birthday party for our friend, Heather, on Saturday, as well as a wedding that evening! It was a good, but busy day for us!
We went for a check-up at the pediatrician's office today and got two thumbs up from the doctor! She is a whopping 10lbs 6 oz and 22 inches long! She's certainly not wasting any time (or breast milk, apparently)! She is a healthy girl :-)
I'll post more pics of our first holiday together at the end of the week. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Our first photo session!

Angel Bowen did an amazing job taking these shots for us last week! We were so pleased to be able to get such wonderful pictures in the comfort of our own home. I have a much greater respect for those photographers who take newborn baby pics on a daily basis. Itty bitty babies are just so unpredictable- you never know what you're going to get! Grace Louise was not thrilled at first, but after some ninny and a short nap, she was much easier to work with! These are just a few of the many pictures Angel took... Enjoy!

Looking up to Daddy already!

Precious piggies

See what I mean... she didn't want to model at first!

" Hmmm..."

"This is serious"


I'm so glad we got some great shots in this pose. I love when she reaches up to me; I grab her little hands, bend down, kiss her all over, and remind her that I'm her mommy. I do this about a hundred times a day...

"Dad, what's that scratchy stuff on your face?"

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cherishing every moment...

Here are some pics from the first week and a half or so of Grace Louise's precious little life! We are enjoying her so much (especially since I am getting around much better now). I am soaking up every moment, committing these times to memory, and not taking a second for granted! We have been truly blessed!

Lala had this birthday cake waiting for us when we arrived home from the birthing center. Happy Birthday Grace Louise!

Grace Louise in her bouncer. Still a little swollen and roughed up from the delivery!

First ride in the car seat. Doesn't look very comfy, does it? Thanks to Lala, now we have a much prettier, smaller (and more comfortable) car seat.

Her blanket made with love by Kare Bear! Matches her bedding perfectly!

Two of my favorite times- morning and just before bed. This was Day 2 and Grace Louise was being so sweet with mom as we were getting ready for nite nite.

Hard to see, but this is Grace Louise laying beside my baby picture. She looks like her dad, too!

Morning nap time. She sleeps in a bassinet beside our bed, but I can't resist a little snuggle time in the morning. She wakes up between 7 and 8 and I feed her and put her back in the bed with me. I've always heard that babies are especially sweet in the mornings and this is soooo true! I guess daddy was up early in order to take this picture (probably fixing me breakfast- he has been so AWESOME!)

She'll snooze about anywhere.

Can you see that little head poking out of there? First ride in the Moby wrap and she loved it! She fell asleep by the time I walked to the mailbox and back.

Hanging out in her crib, enjoying the mobile. She is quite alert between 11am and 4pm, sometimes trying to skip her nap times altogether! She loves listening to music in her crib, watching the mobile, laying on her changing table, swinging, or laying in her bouncer.

Lots of friends have been by to visit. We've tried to get pictures of Grace Louise with every visitor. She is so loved!

Our families are smitten!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Introducing Grace Louise Hurst

This blog has been a long time coming! Jimmy and I are proud to announce the arrival of our precious, "Baby Girl", Grace Louise.

Born: Sunday, November 1, 2009 @ 2:27am, Labor of Love Birthing Center (Lakeland)
Weight: 8 lbs
Length: 21 inches

And so the story goes...

Grace Louise started letting mom know that she was on her way during the Florida/Georgia football game on Halloween night. Actually, I started having contractions just before lunch. They were certainly a different kind of contraction than what I had been experiencing (for the past month!), but it was going to take more than that to convince me after all that waiting! Jimmy and I went to WalMart early that afternoon and did some shopping for Operation Christmas Child. I had a few contractions that made me sit down or stop walking... but I still wasn't entirely convinced! We went to BeBe and Pop's (Jimmy's parents) to watch the game and I was finally able to time consistent contractions around 6:00pm. They were 6-7 minutes apart for the rest of the evening. When I had Jimmy to myself for a minute, I told him, "I think this is it!" But just in case it wasn't "it", there was no need in getting anyone else's hopes up... so we kept the suspicion to ourselves. I was so excited inside, downright giddy...obviously still in early labor.

We fueled up the car on the way home, certain at this point that we would be having a baby soon, and I was tickled plum pink that my patience paid off and that I was experiencing naturally induced labor...finally! My friend, Amber, an OB nurse, came over around 8:00 to check my progress and by the time she left an hour later I had progressed and my contractions were about 2 minutes apart. I labored for another hour in the bathtub and then we left for the birthing center at 10pm. The car ride was exciting (yeah, maybe for Jimmy), but pretty intense, as I was certainly in active labor at this point. About 5 miles from the birthing center, I called my midwife to let her know that my contractions were coming every minute. Must have been the bumpy railroad tracks! (Daddy drove us quickly, but safely).

When we arrived at the birthing center I headed straight for the bathtub in need of some quick relief from the fast contractions. The water felt great! I got a much needed break as my contractions slowed down a bit and everyone settled in for the labor ahead. Jimmy and my doula, Megan, were amazing coaches, affirming me and providing encouragement and Gatorade...lots of Gatorade and water. Though, in retrospect, eating would have certainly been helpful in keeping my energy up, I was pretty nauseous and food was the last thing on my mind. I focused on relaxing through the contractions, feeling my cervix opening. My midwife didn't "check me" like you usually see in the typical hospital setting, but I knew that my body was progressing and that my cervix was opening up with each contraction. I was amazed at how internal my focus was and that I was keenly aware of everything that was happening in my body. This part of the experience was completely empowering.

Time was not something I kept track of during labor. I had no idea how much time had passed, but I do remember Jimmy coming in the bathroom and telling me that we were certainly not going to have a Halloween baby. Must have been after midnight. After being in the bathtub for a couple of hours (I think), I got out and labored for a bit on the birthing ball in the bedroom. Jimmy and Megan took turns squeezing my hips to provide relief to my aching back. That was a huge help! I only lasted about 4 or 5 contractions outside of the water before I was ready to get back in. This time I got in the large birthing tub, where Grace Louise would be delivered. The water wasn't quite as warm (I like my bathwater HOT!), but the tub was spacious and allowed me to really stretch out and get "comfortable". I don't think it was more than 15 minutes until I hit transition. And believe you me, nobody had to tell me I was in transition! Talk about some intense contractions that make you want to crawl out of your own skin! Thank God that part doesn't last long! I distinctly remember the first contraction after transition that told my little body, "Push!". It really was involuntary- this baby was coming out soon (but not soon enough if you would have asked me in the moment)! I pushed for about an hour and a half until Grace Louise made quite a triumphant entry into the world. And the first thing I said to her was "Baby Girl!" as I pulled her up out the water. She was beautiful! Our lives were instantly changed.

Because of the way that little Gracie Lou "exited" I have had a rough time of recovery (going on two weeks), but would absolutely do it all again for her in a heartbeat! She is such a perfect little person and so incredibly sweet without even trying. As I was rocking her today, I read the scriptures that are framed in her room (Psalm 139 "For You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb... I am fearfully and wonderfully made") and was just overwhelmed with emotion knowing, now more than ever, that these words are so true. This little girl is special and God has great things in store for her!

First pics are posted below... I'll post more of her first two weeks soon! (It won't take so long this time... I promise!).

Thursday, November 12, 2009

First Pics

One last belly shot... in-between contractions... moments before leaving for the birthing center... 5 hours before Grace Louise arrives... Trick or Treat

And here she is! First pic with mommy...getting ready to breastfeed for the first time.

First family photo!

First family photo at home- Day 1, less than 24 hours old

Back at the birthing center for a check-up on Tuesday.
Mom and Grace Louise in the waterbirth room.

Here we are in front of Grace Louise's first swimming pool!
She was born in that tub just two days before!

The three of us in our room at the birthing center.

Leaving the birthing center.