While this pregnancy was very unexpected, we are so thrilled (now) to have our children so close in age. I'm not going to lie, I took it hard. I was overwhelmed at the thought of even being pregnant before I tested and in denial for the first couple of months after finding out. Some nights, I would wake up in the middle of the night to tend to Ella and feel like I just found out all over again. It wasn't until we told our family that it really sunk in and I started to get excited about it. We took the first couple of months to cope with it ourselves and to figure out our situation before we included anyone else because we didn't want anyone to sway our decision of staying in or getting out of the military - we wanted to make that decision ourselves. At this point, we had just given up buying our first home and to leave the military but we threw around the thought of staying in just for security. Ultimately, we felt lead by the Lord to continue our move back to North Carolina.
The first trimester of this pregnancy was COMPLETELY different than my pregnancy with Ella. With minimal morning sickness, actual cravings and a lot more motivation, I felt pretty dang good. However, when the exhaustion hit, it hit HARD and I would be going to bed as soon as I put Ella down at 8pm.
Moving back to NC was bittersweet. We loved the military lifestyle but we're so happy to be around family again, especially for our kids. It's stressful, the housing market. Being so close to buying the perfect home in Arkansas to not having any idea what we can afford yet caused some anxiety. Now that we have an idea since, thankfully, he found a job pretty quickly, it's the process of waiting out the market but dealing with inflation (which i'm still learning about myself) that's just icing on the cake. We are hoping and praying that God will lead us to the perfect home for our family soon.
I'm super thankful that we are able to stay with family and that the military will hold our household goods for a decent amount of time before we have to find storage for it ourselves.
In the meantime, we are enjoying this time we have with just Ella before our newest bundle gets here in December and soaking up all the family time we've missed over the last five years of us being halfway across the world and country!
As a first time mom, I was reading all the blogs, talking to all the experienced moms out there and doing my own research on baby products that I felt like we needed but weren't as 'talked up'. While there are SOOO many products, I have found several that we absolutely cannot live without and wanted to share them with you. I will also share some of the most talked-about products at the end that we love, too!
For starters, the Calmer Oil from doTERRA is one of my favorites to use on Ella at night before I put her to sleep. The kids blend is heavily diluted so you don't have to worry about applying the oils topically and your baby having a reaction. I apply it to her feet and chest before bed to keep her calm and it seems to help her get to sleep fairly quickly. We hardly ever have to go back in her room after we put her in the crib.
Double zipper onesies are an item we have come to absolutely OBSESS over. These are great for those night time and out-and-about changes so that you don't have to completely unzip the onesie.
We have tested out SO many bottles from Comotomo to EvenFlo to Dr. Brown's and while those are all great, we prefer the Phillips Avent bottles since we have started Ella on oatmeal. We use the 11oz bottles and they are so easy to clean and use without leaking.
When we first brought Ella home, she wasn't quite used to the day/night schedule (as most babies aren't) so we spent a lot of nights awake with her and when we were too tired to stand up and rock her or play with her, we used contrast cards to keep her occupied. These also help with developing a strong attention span by focusing on each card. To this day, we still use these during her play time throughout the day.
Floor time is SO important for your infant and I am so happy that I found a play mat for her to roll around on. This leaf play mat is machine washable, comes in several other colors and is made with GTOS certified organic cotton so you can rest in knowing your mini is rolling around on something safe for their skin.
Babies nails grow so quickly! I was using clippers for a while but then remembered we had received this electric nail filer and y'all it is a LIFE SAVER!! I couldn't ever find time to clip Ella's nails because it would have to be during her naps and I would always put it on the bottom of my to-do list. With this nail filer, I can shave her nails down in SECONDS while she's fully awake. It doesn't phase her and she actually seems to enjoy it. It comes with different stages of pads (filers) and there are even two for adults so mama can get some use out of it too! I think my favorite thing about it is that it only needs batteries to operate so we can use it while we are traveling.
Next on the list are Ella's own rags for bathing. I love the fact that she has her own set of washcloths and the ones we have are so soft for her skin. They are the hypoallergenic bamboo baby washcloths from HIPHOP PANDA.
Lastly, paci clips I feel are somewhat talked about but not very praised. We didn't have a real need for them until recently when we started taking Ella to the church nursery. I wanted to make sure she would come back with her pacifier and that it wouldn't get lost. They are also great for doctor visits and going out to eat as well.
That just about rounds up my list of baby must-haves that aren't so talked up. Now let's go over a few of those 'most-wanted' items, yeah? These are for my fellow moms out there to just make motherhood a little easier.
First, I have to brag about our stroller/carseat travel system. BabyTrend is amazing and I love going for our daily walk. It is SO easy to attach Ella's carseat to the stroller for quick runs to the store and it rides so smoothly.
Next, baby books are like a tradition, right? But this baby book from Promptly is the sweetest thing. It covers pregnancy and birth all the way to 18 years of age. They have several different designs. It is almost like you're writing a story for your little. I get so excited when I get to record something new that Ella learns.
While I spend a lot of time wanting those expensive leather diaper bags, this amazon bag we got from our registry is IT! It fits everything we need and more! With over 13k ratings and 5 stars, you can't go wrong. It's way more affordable and is perfect for mom AND dad.
There you have it - my most recommended products for babies (at the moment). I'm sure I'll be back with more as Ella grows so don't forget to subscribe to get my posts directly to your email. I'd love to know what YOU find most beneficial to you and your family so comment below your favorite baby products that way I can try them out!
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At 34 weeks, my doctor found a small dark area inside of Ella near her ovaries. He thought it could possibly be a cyst that would go away in time but wanted to get a more in depth ultrasound done. He sent me to the prenatal department at a different hospital. While we visited with that department twice, they couldn't identify exactly what it was and since I was so close to being full term, they had me wait until Ella arrived to have her get a direct ultrasound.
After our second consult on March 23rd, we scheduled her surgery for that following week (March 31st). On March 29th, we went to get Ella a covid screening and with no real symptoms (yet), she tested positive. After we found out it was positive, she started having mild symptoms (cough and stuffy nose). The hospital obviously wanted us to push back the surgery and they have a protocol of waiting six weeks before we are able to schedule another appointment.
May 12th is when we scheduled her for her surgery, two days after turning six months old. Since her covid screening was done within three months of the appointment, she never needed another test.
They performed a laparoscopy on her with three small incisions across her belly. We waited in the waiting room for probably 45-ish minutes before the doctor came to tell us how everything went and what it really was. He provided us with images from the surgery to show that it was her left ovary that had died and broke off. He removed the dead ovary and used absorbable sutures to close the incisions up and also applied medical adhesives (or skin glue) to keep them protected. She did extremely well. We were able to go back to recovery about 10 minutes after the doctor had talked with us. She was definitely ready for her bottle and snuggles.
They took us to post-op where we sat in a room for about an hour while she was still hooked up to her IV.
Ella was still pretty tired from the anesthesia but by the end of the night, she was back to her smiley and giggly self. We were so impressed with how well she handled everything. She acted like nothing even happened.
**I would've shown pictures of her dead ovary but it was a bit gruesome so I decided to leave them out.
"How?" I can't count how many times I have heard that question. Throughout this blog post, I will walk you through everything that I do regarding Ella's sleep. There is no one singular thing that I did/do to make Ella sleep through the night.