Monday, December 6, 2010

Bella is 8-months-old TODAY!!!

There’s an 8-month-old in our house! Today, Bella is officially 8-months-old and growing up before our very eyes. This whole growing up process is so bittersweet. I’m so happy she is maturing and thriving like she should, but I’m so sad that my itty, bitty, little baby is no longer itty or bitty. This almost makes me want another baby… almost being the key word. Our family of 3 (or 5 if you count the dogs) is perfectly content and while we will add more members in the future, we are nowhere near close to adding baby #2 at this point in time.

Bella was not scheduled for an 8-month wellness appointment, so the trusty old scale and tape measure were used for the 8-month growth stats:

Height: still about 28 inches, although certain pants appear short on her.

Weight: about 23 pounds (and counting…)

Sleeping Pattern: Bella has had some REALLY GOOD nights and some REALLY BAD nights in the last month. She takes 2 really good naps, one in the morning and one in the afternoon and goes to bed around 8:30pm. She wakes up around 2:00-3:00am and wants to be fed. The child will gulp down a 5-6 ounce bottle in a matter of minutes. She will go back to sleep and is usually up for the day between 6:00-7:00am.

Eating Pattern: Bella continues to eat about 5-6 ounces every 3-4 hours and is eating solids and snacks 3 times a day. A current favorite food of hers is Plum Baby Chicken with Vegetables and Pasta. She has yet to meet a food she does not like and has a healthy appetite.

Milestones: She’s got teeth (4 of them) and she knows how to use them! Bella has 2 top teeth and 2 bottom teeth and uses them to chew (whether it’s my fingers or food). She has an adorable little smile and I don’t really miss those gummy grins (ok, I do miss those gummy grins). Bella is on the verge of crawling and can be found doing push-ups on her hands and knees. Her first word appears to have been “Ma-ma” and she uses it on a frequent basis. When she is pouting or sad, she often says, “Ma-ma, Ma-ma” in a sad little voice. She also says “Da-da” but we’re uncertain if she knows what it means at this point.

Friends: Connor, Taylan, Layla, Tyler, Logan, Luke, Camden, Gia, Carter and Lily. We have a weekly play group with these kiddos and it has been so much fun! Bella will be hosting a play date / cookie exchange later this week. The mommies from the play group are a fabulous bunch of ladies and I’m very thankful to have such a great group of friends!

Current Events: Election season is finally over! Rick Scott is the governor elect for the State of Florida and Marco Rubio is the Senator elect for the US Senate!!! Yay for the Republicans! We are looking forward to the things this men have to offer and we hope they get the job done! Unfortunately, Maryland (where Pop and Didi live) didn't fair as well. O'Malley was re-elected... boo!

Bella hosted her first Thanksgiving dinner at our house. She was such a ham that day and enjoyed eating turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin cheesecake. My dad (a.k.a. Pop) came into town for Thanksgiving and we also invited Ian’s family and the Peluso family (of course!) We had a very nice dinner and the food was fabulous (if I do say so myself).

A health update on little Miss Bella… she was fitted for a corrective helmet in late November and she will begin wearing the helmet on the 8th. I’m sad for her, but I know she will do great. I wish I was the one who had to wear the helmet, but sadly I cannot take her place in this instance. I regret not addressing this issue sooner, but I’m thankful we still have time to take action. Bella is still going to physical therapy two days a week and will see the specialist every two weeks. We’re hoping she will only have to wear the helmet for 4-6 months, with 4 months being the average time for most babies. Keep your fingers crossed and say a few prayers for a couple big growth spurts! =)

We’re getting ready for the holidays and we’re currently celebrating Hanukkah. Bella will celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas, so everyone will surely spoil her. We’ll be going to Baltimore for Christmas and will have an extended stay. Bella and I will be driving and Ian and the boys will be driving… wish us luck!

Happy 8-Month Birthday, Isabella Eve!

Love always,
Ian, Kim & Bella

Friday, November 5, 2010

Bella is 7-months-old TODAY!!!

So, Bella is only 5 months away from her 1st Birthday! 

Today is Bella's 7-month "birthday"! It's hard to believe that in only 5 months we will be celebrating her 1st Birthday. I've already started "planning" her birthday party because a lot of her friends also have April birthdays. I think we're going to have to pull straws to divvy up the weekends. Bella did not have a 7-month wellness appointment, but she does go to the pediatrician on Monday for her 2nd flu shot. I busted out the scale and tape measure this morning, so I can share some unofficial stats:

Height: about 28 inches (She's grown about an inch over the last month)

Weight: about 22.5 pounds (She's still our little chunky monkey!)

Sleeping Pattern: So... I thought 7-month-olds were supposed to sleep through the night, however Bella is not your typical 7-month-old and wakes up once a night to be fed. She is still taking pretty good morning and afternoon naps for about 1-2 hours each time. 

Eating Pattern: Bella eats about 5-6 ounces every 3-4 hours and is eating solids 3 times a day. She really likes chicken with sweet potatoes and her rice puffs. We have decided (at the nagging, uh, suggestion of Bella's grandma) that Bella will eat primarily organic foods. We have switched her to organic formula because we really enjoy the convenience of the Similac pre-made nursers for her middle of the night feeding. We may or may not switch her to organic formula... the jury is still out.

Milestones: Bella has TWO teeth and has two more on the way. She has her two bottom teeth and it appears that her two top teeth are about to cut in. Ahh, the joys of teething! Bella sits up quite well, unassisted. She also rolls and scoots herself around on the floor. We can no longer leave her alone in one place and expect her to be there when we return. 

Friends: The usual suspects... Connor and Taylan. She has been spending a lot of time recently with a new friend, Layla. 

Current Events: Election season is finally over! Rick Scott is the governor elect for the State of Florida and Marco Rubio is the Senator elect for the US Senate!!! Yay for the Republicans! We are looking forward to the things this men have to offer and we hope they get the job done! Unfortunately, Maryland (where Pop and Didi live) didn't fair as well. O'Malley was re-elected... boo!

I'm sad to report that Bella has had some health issues that we've had to deal with. Bella was diagnosed with torticollis. Congenital torticollis is most often due to tightness in the muscle that connects the breastbone and the collarbone to the skull (it's called the sternocleidomastoid muscle). This is called congenital muscular torticollis. The tightness might have developed because of the way Bella was positioned in my uterus (i.e. head tilted to one side) or because the muscles were damaged during delivery. The physical therapist seems to think the torticollis was caused due to Bella being cramped in my belly. Small mommy + big baby = torticollis. Bella has been referred for physical therapy and has been attending twice a week. She is doing well with the physical therapy and her torticollis is slowly improving. Unfortunately torticollis often goes hand-in-hand with plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome). Bella will meet with a specialist next week to address the severity of her plagiocephaly. We're very thankful that Bella is healthy and this is just a little bump in the road. We're bracing ourselves for the possibility of Bella needing to wear a helmet to even out the shape of her skull. We think she'll look cute in a helmet, don't you? =)

Happy 7-Month Birthday, Isabella Eve!

Love always,
Ian, Kim & Bella

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Bella is 6-months-old TODAY!!!

I'm not one for celebrating "false birthdays" but I have been using these "month birthdays" to keep up with Bella's milestones. In keeping with tradition and without further ado...

Today is Bella's 6-month "birthday"! She is already half way to her 1st birthday and it's hard to imagine, but in 6 months we will be celebrating her official birthday. With each passing day, Bella is growing, meeting new milestones and it's been bittersweet. I'm so happy and proud that Bella is growing up before my eyes, but at the same time I miss the days of having an itty bitty baby. Anyway... here are Bella's 6-month stats:

Height: 27 inches / 90th percentile (She is a looooooong baby)

Weight: about 21 pounds 4 ounces / 100th percentile (Technically she's off the charts...)

Sleeping Pattern: Bella has discovered that sleeping on her tummy is the next best thing since sliced bread. She sleeps about 6-7 hours at night, which is not ideal, but it could be a lot worse. We have the blessing of the pediatrician to drop any night feedings and to allow her to cry-it-out. Hopefully within the next few weeks we will have made progress in sleep hygiene and Bella will be sleeping 9-10 hours a night. Recently Bella's nap schedule has been A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! She takes a 2-hour nap in the morning and a 2-hour nap in the afternoon. These 4 hours have allowed me to catch up on my DVR and house work.

Eating Pattern: Bella eats about 5 ounces every 3-4 hours and eats about 30 ounces of formula a day. She is eating solids twice a day and was recently introduced to meat. Bella hasn't met a food she doesn't like, however she does not like my homemade baby food. My ego was crushed, but feeding her jared baby food does make my life a bit easier. We will introducing a sippy cup within the next few weeks

Milestones: Where to start?!? Bella has one tooth and has another one on the way... Bella sits up unassisted and does quite well at sitting up... Bella pushes up and scoots across the floor... and she is a TALKER! Omg, she is always babbling and her new favorite sound is "Mmmm." A few times it has sounded like she's actually said "Mmmm-ma" but we can't be certain. She is doing something new every day and it's really exciting. 

Friends: The usual crew from MWI... especially Taylan and Connor. She seems to have more "boy friends" than "girl friends." We have been spending more time with our neighbors, the McGills. 

Current Events: The Gators suffered their first loss of the year to Alabama, the Abbott Company recalled nearly ALL powdered Similac due to processing  issues, the Rays are in the ALDS and are trying to make it to the World Series and election season is well under way. 

Happy 6-Month Birthday, Isabella Eve!

Love always,
Ian, Kim & Bella

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Macaroni Kid - Brandon

Have you ever had one of those days when you felt like there wasn't anything to do in your area? I know I have and I scour the internet for something new for Bella and I to do. After a bit of searching, I usually find something for us to do, but wouldn't it be nice if there was a website that published local events in your area? Well, the search is over! 

Check out Macaroni Kid - National to find your local edition. A friend of mine (Sara M.) runs the Brandon edition of Macaroni Kid. She publishes articles about family friendly events in the Tampa Bay area, living green, arts & crafts and yummy recipes. It's a great source to find local events and other fun information.

Love always,
Ian, Kim & Bella

Check it out and it you like it, subscribe to the email list!
Macaroni Kid - Brandon

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Is there a dentist in the house?

We're all smiles around the Lasher house!

At her 4-month wellness appointment, our pediatrician confirmed that Bella is teething. She told us a tooth could poke through at any time now. So for about a month, we wiped up drool, slipped teething tablets under Bella's tongue and had a few restless nights of sleep. Today our "fears" have been confirmed... and Bella... does in fact... have her first tooth! She cut her first tooth, a bottom incisor and so begins active teething. 1 tooth down... 19 more to go!

I have attempted (and failed) to take a picture of this monumental occasion, however it is quite difficult to capture a tiny tooth in the tiny mouth of a 5-month-old. I'm going to miss her gummy grin... and more importantly, I'm going to miss being Bella's personal teething toy, a risk I'm not willing to take any longer.

Well, that's all for now... more to come after our trip to Baltimore next week!

Love always,
Ian, Kim & Bella

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Bella is 5-months-old TODAY!

Today is Bella's 5-month "birthday"! Has it really been 5 months since we welcomed our little bundle of joy into the world? Time flies when you're having fun (or sleep deprived). She did not have a 5-month check up, so our stats are unofficial, but here are Bella's 5-month stats:

Height: about 27 inches (she seems to have grown in length over the past month)

Weight: about 20 pounds (she is a BIG baby)

Sleeping Pattern: Bella has regressed in her sleeping habits... sigh. Bella is sleeping through the night and averages 6-7 hour stretches of sleep, although with her teething and reaching new milestones, she wakes up around 2-3am for a feeding. We can't wait for her to return to her "old" habits.

Eating Pattern: Bella eats 5-6 ounces of formula every 3-4 hours, she has also started stage 1 baby foods. She has tried green beans, squash, peas, applesauce and pears. Her favorites so far appear to be green beans and peas!

Milestones: Bella keeps rollin', rollin', rollin'! She rolls from back to tummy quite easily. She enjoys tummy time much more than she did before. She's still teething, but we're anxiously awaiting the arrival of her first tooth.

Friends: The usual crew from MWI. She also met her "cousin" Sarah Grace from Nashville, as she and her parents are in town this weekend.

Current Events: College football season has begun (the Gators won), some whack job minister in Gainesville wants to burn the Quran on 9/11 and our neighbor had her garage door dented by a drowsy driver.

Happy 5-Month Birthday, Isabella Eve!

Love always,
Ian, Kim & Bella

Monday, August 16, 2010

Happy 2nd Wedding Anniversary!

This time two years ago, we were dancing the night away at our wedding with friends and family. Wow, where has the time gone?!? So much has changed between now and then. Let's take a trip down memory lane...

Ian and I meet for the first time at a 4th of July Party in Jacksonville and I move to Tampa in December 2005.

We went on our first vacation together to Captiva Island and while there my grandmother passed away.

We move in together, get two dogs and eventually become engaged in December 2007.

We buy a house in Riverview and get married in August 2008 and Ian's grandmother passed away.

We celebrate our 1st anniversary & find out that we are expecting our first child in April 2010.

We welcome our daughter, Isabella Eve, into the world and became parents on April 5, 2010.

As the saying goes, "Time flies when you're having fun!"

Happy 2nd Wedding Anniversary to us!

Love always,
Ian, Kim & Bella

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'

Bella has discovered that rolling over can be fun! As of today, almost every time she is placed on the floor on her back, we return to find her either on her side or on her tummy. She struggles with the arm that is underneath of her, but she practices daily to master this. She often becomes quite frustrated when she can't get that darn arm out from underneath of her body. She still isn't a huge fan of tummy time, but she's doing much better with being on her tummy throughout the day.

Great job, Bella!

Love always,
Ian, Kim & Bella

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bella is 4-months-old TODAY!

Today is Bella's 4-month "birthday"! We are in utter disbelief that our little girl is growing up so darn fast! She had her 4-month check up with the pediatrician today and did remarkably well. Here are some 4-month stats:

Height: 26 inches (97th percentile)

Weight: 17 pounds 10 ounces (99th percentile)

Sleeping Pattern: Bella is sleeping through the night and averages 8-10 hour stretches of sleep, although with the 4-month growth spurt, teething and shots, she has regressed a bit in her sleeping.

Eating Pattern: Bella eats 5-6 ounces of formula every 3-4 hours, she has also started stage 1 baby foods!

Milestones: Bella rolled for the first time, while I wasn't watching, right off the couch (poor baby). She is making attempts to roll from her back to belly, but usually only rolls over to her side. She is now teething and teething tablets are our new best friend.

Friends: Bella has been spending a lot of time with Dylan and Gabriel from MWI and Jack, too! Bella is doing a lot of "talking" these days and has been seen holding hands with Gabriel (his middle name is Adam, it's a match made in Heaven!)

Current Events: No more oil spewing into the gulf (yay!), Muslims are a step closer to building a mosque near ground zero in NYC, the ban on same-sex marriage in California has been lifted and it's been one H-O-T summer!!!

Happy 4-Month Birthday, Isabella Eve!

Love always,
Ian, Kim & Bella

Monday, July 5, 2010

Bella is 3-months-old TODAY!

Today is Bella's 3-month "birthday"! There is no 3-month check up with the pediatrician so the stats are rough estimates conducted by myself and Ian.

Height: 25 inches (approximate)

Weight: 15 pounds (approximate)

Sleeping Pattern: Bella is sleeping through the night and averages 6-7 hour stretches of sleep

Eating Pattern: Bella eats 5-6 ounces of formula every 3-4 hours.

Friends: Bella hosted her first "play date" on the 4th of July and had about 15 of her friends from MWI over for a 4th of July celebration.

Current Events: In Tampa, 2 Tampa Police Department officers were shot and killed recently. The suspect was one the run for a few days, but turned himself in on 7/3/10. One officer left behind a wife and four sons and the other officer left behind a wife, who is 9-months pregnant. Our hearts go out to the families and hopefully justice will be served.

Happy 3-Month Birthday, Isabella Eve!

Love always,
Ian, Kim & Bella

Monday, June 7, 2010

It's too long... way too long!

Wow, I'm a terrible blogger, and besides my 2-month update post, I haven't really posted in over a month! I'll take a brief moment, while Bella is napping, to update the happenings at Casa de Lasher.

On May 5th, Bella turned one-month-old and on the 8th she had her one-month wellness appointment. Bella was 10 lbs 9 oz and 22.25 inches, meaning she gained 2 lbs 6 oz and grew 2.25 inches! She was in the 85th percentile for weight and the 87th percentile for height and the pediatrician described her as "perfectly proportioned." She is now 13 lbs 3 oz and 24 inches and so she has gained 5 lbs and grew 4 inches since birth! She is now in the 95th percentile for both height and weight! Bella is growing like a weed, despite the NICU setback, and we think that's great.

On May 8th, we hosted a little gathering at our house to celebrate my father's visit to Tampa. Friends from work attended and we had a lot of fun. The food was good, the wine was good and the company was amazing! Bella was such a good sport and enjoyed being the center of attention. She was in such a good mood the entire afternoon, up until the end, when she had a mini-meltdown. All in all, it was a really good day and I forgot how much I love hosting events at our house.

On May 9th, I celebrated my very first Mother's Day! We hosted a small gathering at our house with family. My father, Ian's mother, her boyfriend and Ian's uncle celebrated the day with us and we had a really nice time. Bella gave me the BEST Mother's Day present imaginable... she slept for 5 hours straight! She is such a good girl and I could not have asked for a better present from my almost 5-week-old baby.

On May 14th, Bella and I trekked to St. Pete to meet the folks at VR for lunch. Bella was an absolute angel and slept the entire time. Of course, everyone loved her and thought she was so cute! I have such amazing colleagues and I'm quite thankful for that.

On May 26th, Bella woke up with a cough. Personally, I wasn't overly concerned, as she was acting normal and wasn't running a fever. My mother-in-law was watching her on this day, so after several phone calls, Ian called the pediatrician and scheduled an appointment. It turns out that Bella had a cold and we were simply to monitor her for the next few days. That child must have one hell of an immune system because she was back to normal the very next day! She had a little congestion for several days following, but she was sleeping, eating and acting completely normal. She did manage to infect her mommy, daddy and grandma... who weren't able to fight the cold as easy as Bella did. I'm very glad to report that everyone is feeling much better and I'm glad Bella was able to fight off the cold as easy as she did.

One of my very dearest friends, Jamie, came to visit us over Memorial Day weekend. We were a bit under the weather, so we had a low key weekend, but enjoyed our time with Jamie. She arrived on Saturday and we bummed around the house that day. Paul and Lisa came to visit on Sunday afternoon and the girls ended up going out to The Rack for some drinks. We bummed around the house on Monday and enjoyed some more time with Paul and Lisa. On Tuesday Jamie, Bella and I went to the outlets and shopped 'til we dropped. Jamie's flight left on Wednesday afternoon and so Bella and I dropped her off at the airport after having lunch at International Mall. We enjoyed our time with Jamie and can't wait until her next visit!

Well, that brings us to now... we're getting ready for Ian's father to visit, followed by a visit from my mother. June is going to be a busy month for us, but I like being busy. Plus, we're spending time with family... what could be better? I'm really looking forward to this summer and spending time with friends and family.

Wow, it's taken me almost all day to complete this post. Life sure is busy when you have a 2-month-old! We take her tomorrow for her 2-month wellness visit and I am curious to see how much she's grown over the past month. I promise I won't let this blog fall by the wayside... I will post again soon.

Love always,
Ian, Kim & Bella

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Bella is 2-months-old TODAY!

Today is Bella's 2-month "birthday"! We can't believe she's already 2-months-old and growing up before our eyes! Here are some 2-month stats:

Height: 24 inches (95 percentile)

Weight: 13 pounds 2 ounces (95 percentile)

Sleeping Pattern: Technically Bella is sleeping through the night and averages 4-5 hour stretches of sleep.

Eating Pattern: Bella eats 4-5 ounces of formula every 3-4 hours.

Friends: Bella and I have been going to a play group and meeting lots of other moms and babies.

Current Events: Oil is STILL spewing into the Gulf of Mexico, the beginning of hurricane season.

Happy 2-Month Birthday, Isabella Eve!

Love always,
Ian, Kim & Bella

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Bella is 1-month-old TODAY!

Today marks Bella's 1-month "birthday"! We can't believe she's already a month old and growing up before our eyes! Here are some 1-month stats:

Height: 22.25 inches (87 percentile)

Weight: 10 pounds 9 ounces (85 percentile)

Sleeping Pattern: Bella still isn't sleeping through the night, but averages about 3-4 hours.

Eating Pattern: Bella eats 4 ounces of formula every 3-4 hours.

Friends: She has mostly adult friends, but has two friends in Utah (Claire) and Tennessee (Sarah Grace).

Current Events: Oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Cinco de Mayo!

Happy 1-Month Birthday, Isabella Eve!

Love always,
Ian, Kim & Bella

Monday, May 3, 2010

4 Weeks Old

Today marks four weeks since Isabella was born... Wow! The past four weeks have flown by and she is growing like a weed! Her birth weight was 8 pounds 3 ounces and 20.5 inches and at her two week wellness check, she was up to 8 pounds 7 ounces and is 21.5 inches. During her stay in the NICU, Bella dropped down to 7 pounds 11 ounces, which is normal, but it certainly is reassuring to know that she is growing. Her four week wellness appointment is this Friday and I'm curious to see how much she's grown in the past two weeks.

Sleep... what's that?!? We are adjusting to life with a newborn and are coping well with our new sleep schedule. Bella averages 3-4 hours of sleep during the night and naps for about 2-3 hours during each nap. I'm by no means complaining, because things could be a lot worse, but I can't wait for her to start sleeping through the night. Sleeping through the night to me means 6-8 hours of sleep, but this could be wishful thinking. I've consulted several baby books, including "On Becoming Baby Wise", "The Happiest Baby on the Block" and "Healthy Sleep, Happy Child" and I'm still stumped on how to approach sleep training. Some books suggest rigid sleep, wake and feeding schedules, while others suggest a more flexible schedule. At this point, we're not ready to begin sleep training, so I still have some time to figure things out. Any suggestions?

A friend stopped by today and visited with us for a few hours. She's a new friend, whom we met through child birth classes, and she is expecting any day now. It's nice to have a friend who is at a similar point in life. She and her husband live close by, so hopefully once their little guy arrives, we'll have baby play dates and fun family events. I love my single friends and my friends without kids, but it really is nice to make new friends who have babies close to Bella's age. I also joined a group for moms with young babies. I met up with a few of the ladies on Sunday and we walked along Bayshore Boulevard for about an hour. The ladies were very friendly, the conversation was great and the exercise felt good. It's nice to get out of the house for a few hours and once Bella is a little older I know she'll enjoy playing with the other babies. I look forward to attending more events with this group and hopefully I'll meet some life-long friends.

My dad is coming to Tampa tomorrow for a week-long visit! We're really looking forward to his visit and I know my dad is looking forward to meeting Bella. It will be nice to have some company at home and to have a little extra help around the house. I haven't seen my dad since February, so it's been a little over two months since we've seen each other. Bella and I will be picking him up from the airport around noon and then we're going to stop by Ian's office to meet his co-workers. Ian is taking Friday and Monday off and so we'll have a lot of family time. Did I mention that I'm really looking forward to this week?!?

Our little family is doing quite well and we're enjoying life... just the three of us (or five of us, if you include Kaiser & Riley)! Life is hectic, a little chaotic, but most of all, fun.

Love always,
Ian, Kim & Bella

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Welcome Isabella Eve Lasher!

We are happy to announce that Isabella Eve
Lasher graced us with her presence on April 5, 2010 at 11:30am at Brandon Regional Hospital! She weighed 8 pounds 3 ounces and measured 20 inches long... a very healthy little bundle of joy!

My last day of work was April 2nd and my first (and only day off) was April 3rd. We spent the entire weekend "nesting" and finished every project we set out to complete by Sunday afternoon. The morning of Easter Sunday was uneventful and we finished installing the car seats in both our cars and went to Easter brunch in Safety Harbor at the Safety Harbor Spa & Resort with Ian's family. The brunch was amazing and I indulged in everything from fruits & vegetables to desserts... and let me just tell you, the desserts were delicious! Ian's family decided to take a walk around the resort, but I was feeling tired and swollen, so we decided to return home. We worked around the house and finished the nursery by early afternoon (thank goodness) and relaxed during the early evening. Little did we know that I was in early labor the whole time!

My back was killing me and despite my efforts to combat my back ache with Tylenol, a warm bath and massage, the back ache wouldn't go away. I started having cramps around 6:00pm and thought I had simply overdone it. I even took two baths that evening because I was feeling so uncomfortable. My frequent trips to the bathrooms increased and seemed different than before. At about 10:00pm my trip to the bathroom yielded blood in the toilet (sorry, TMI) and it was at that moment I decided we needed to call the OBGYN. I called Dr. Champion, told her my symptoms and she instructed us to go to the hospital. I wasn't certain that I was truly in labor, but I knew that something wasn't right.

We checked into to Labor & Delivery around 11:00pm and I was promptly checked by a nurse. I was hooked up to monitors and my cervix was checked and sure enough... I was in labor! I was approximately 3-4 cm dialated and having contractions approximately every 10 minutes. Not too long after I was checked, I was offered an epidural, which I gladly took. The epidural insertion wasn't painful at all and despite an unsuccessful first attempt to insert the epidural, within minutes of the successful second attempt, I was feeling relief from the contractions. I attempted to sleep that night, but I was obviously very excited and found it difficult to stay asleep. I watched TV, used Facebook to pass the time and maybe even slept for an hour or two.

By morning, my contractions had slowed down due to the epidural and the Pitocin was started. I was nervous about receiving Pitocin because I was afraid it wouldn't work OR that it would work too well. My body reacted well to the Pitocin and my contractions became stronger and more frequent. It was at this point that I began feeling the contractions again and so I asked for more pain medication. I was given additional pain medication and continued to progress as expected. By 9:30am, Dr. Vanegas came to check my cervix and promptly told me that it was time to start pushing.

With the assistance of the nurse, I began pushing around 10:00am but honestly wasn't giving it my all. My mom was en route to Tampa from Baltimore and I had expectations that she would be in the delivery room. I was really numb from the epidural and had a difficult time controlling my legs. The nurse decided that I should take a break and allow the epidural to wear off a little. She returned around 10:45am and I began pushing again. Dr. Vanegas returned and began getting ready for delivery. It was at this point that I became very nervous... I was afraid that I was too out of shape or incapable of pushing the baby out. My fears were quickly calmed as I was told that I was making progress with my pushing. My mom arrived at 11:15am, straight from the airport! I pushed for another 15 minutes and was beginning to feel tired. I wanted her out so very much, that I gave 4 good pushes and at 11:30am, Isabella Eve Lasher was born!

I heard her cry, which was a huge relief and I held her on my chest for about 15 seconds before she was whisked away by nurses. It was at this point that all hell started to break loose... luckily it was regarding me and not Isabella. After I passed the placenta, Dr. Vanegas began stitching me up and that seemed normal to me. She began massaging my uterus from the outside because I couldn't stop bleeding. The "massage" hurt worse than the contractions and giving birth and I wanted it to stop. Apparently this was the least of my problems, as I continued to bleed. The mood in the room quickly turned from warm and fuzzy to hectic and concerned. I remember looking down and seeing nothing but red. Red gloves, red gauze... red, red, red. Dr. Vanegas stated that she needed to locate the source of the bleeding and if she could not, she would need to perform a D&C. I remember hearing the words "D&C", "OR" and transfusion. It was at this point that I became very upset and Dr. Vanegas increased my pain medications and injected Staydol into my IV. The Staydol made me feel very loopy, but I was aware of everything that was going on. The pain subsided for the most part but the bleeding wouldn't stop. The room was filled with people and I had no idea who these people were or what purpose they served. I held onto the nurse's hand the entire time because I was beginning to get scared. I looked over several times at Ian, who was holding Isabella and I longed to hold her again. After all, newborns are supposed to be curled up on their mothers' chests after they're born, aren't they? I never considered the fact that something would prevent me from holding my baby and I was faced with this ugly truth. After about an hour and a half of poking, prodding and two injections of clotting medications, the source of the blood was located. Within minutes, Dr. Vanegas was finished and the mood in the room returned to calm.

Ian handed me Isabella, who was swaddled in her blankets and looking absolutely beautiful. She was perfect and she was mine. I wish I could relive this exact feeling I felt that morning each and every day. We were a family; I was a mom, Ian was a dad and Isabella was our daughter. The feeling was surreal and almost dream-like. Sometimes I relive this feeling when I look at her, when I hold her and when I see Ian hold her.

So... welcome to the world, Isabella Eve! We're so glad to have you here, we love you so very much and we can't imagine life without you! We can't wait for everyone to meet her because she is absolutely wonderful!

Well, that's what we've been up to...

Love always,
Ian, Kim & Isabella