Giovanni: 4 Months

This past month with Giovanni has been my favorite so far! Each month he grows, I love him more and more. Weighing in at 16 lbs, 14.7 oz; his days as a newborn seem long behind us! He’s already in 6 and 9 month clothing, and size 4 diapers!

He started sleeping in his crib this past month, retired the Rock-n-Play, and graduated to the jumperoo…which he LOVES! He likes to bear weight on his feet when we hold him, so I knew he would be thrilled to exercise a little independence and jump on his own..I’ve already taken so many videos of him in it! He’s so darn cute 😉

He has his own little personality now and this may sound weird but I forget sometimes that he can’t talk (haha)…he expresses his love for me in so many other ways that just melt my heart. Like when I wake him up in the morning, and as soon as I pop my head over his crib his face lights up. Or when he’s sleepy and I scoop him up in my arms and he nuzzles on my chest.

He took his first vacation this past month, and this weekend we’ll be heading down to Southern California for spring break.

Yesterday marked one year since finding out I was pregnant (read how we found out here), and looking back now I smile because though we were SO happy in that moment, we had yet to find out how much more joy Gio would bring to our lives. And as each month passes, I know that there is something even better that lies ahead.

Here’s what happened this month:

  • Gio discovered his hands…and now they are in his mouth ALL.THE.TIME.
  • He has become much more expressive and talkative…I know he’s happy as a clam when he just sits and babbles to himself.
  • Sleeps 8-10 hours at night
  • Likes to look at himself in the mirror- when I hold him in front of it and smile, he’ll smile back 🙂
  • Has such strong neck and leg muscles …he always wants to stand on our laps.
  • He is now able to grip things..and just started holding onto his rattles and toys.
  • Hasn’t rolled over yet, but he’ll roll on his side so I think he’s almost there!
  • Is stretching out- he’s now 2 feet, 3 inches long (99% percentile), definitely gets his height from dad!
  • Is becoming more of a Momma’s boy which I secretly love… 😉 if he meets someone new now, he’ll look away toward me.
  • Loves listening to his Portuguese children’s songs…since I’m home with him during the day and I speak English to him, I try to play more Brazilian music so he’s exposed to that.
  • Is looking more like mommy now..his eyes aren’t as almond shaped as they were at birth (which made him look a lot like Kendrick).

 

My how this little one has grown!

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Happy 4 Months Giovanni!

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Outtakes…

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Giovanni: One Month

We’ve made it to the one month mark! I think with all the holiday celebrations, it made time go by even faster.

The past month has been nothing short of amazing. Gio’s been such a great baby, and even when I moan about getting up in the middle of the night, I take one look at that face and can’t help but smile.

He is eating like a champ (takes after his father) and now weighs 10 lb. 12 oz, and is 22 1/2 inches long. His hair is lighter than what I thought it would be, and I’m curious what the coloring will be as he gets older. So far here’s what we’ve learned about our little guy.

  1. He sleeps with his mouth open (like me)
  2. He purses his lips when he poops (and also will turn red)
  3. He has started grabbing onto things (especially shiny things like my necklace)
  4. He has started to track with his eyes (if Kendrick puts him down and walks away, he’ll follow him)
  5. He doesn’t like baths
  6. He likes being carried in the Ergobaby
  7. He loves his Rock-n-Play (and has slept mostly in this)
  8. He smiles right after he’s had his milk (aka when he’s in a milk coma!)
  9. His lips and nose resemble mine and Kendrick’s
  10. His eyes are like Kendrick’s
  11. He loves the camera! 😉

 

Here’s some pictures from his newborn shoot when he was nine days old. Thank you to the talented Jessie Salas Photography. I absolutely loved doing an in-home shoot!

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model status…he was totally posing for the camera!

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These next few are my absolute favorite!! It makes my heart melt seeing my handsome husband hold our beautiful boy ❤

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Sneak peek of the little man’s room…we spend lots of time changing diapers in here 😉

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Happy 1 Month Giovanni!

Love,

Mommy and Daddy

 

 

 

 

My Baby Must-Haves + 3 Week Recap

So, I must preface this post by saying I had started writing a 2 week update last week, but never got around to finishing it; SO…this will now be a 3 week update. The beginning is what I meant to post last week, and even though Christmas is over, I want to share my reflections on my first Christmas as a mother 🙂

 

It’s been 2 (now 3) weeks since Giovanni came into the World and as we get ready to celebrate Christmas, it’s been so special to have him here with us. Christmas is my favorite holiday, and you may remember me saying that before we got pregnant, I was secretly hoping his birthday would fall around this time of year. My own birthday is just three days after Christmas, and it’s been beautiful to reflect on my own mother carrying me almost 27 years ago, and also Mary carrying the baby Jesus.

After giving birth, I am amazed at what Mary had to go through over 2,000 years ago. Even with modern medicine, giving birth is dangerous, and it is a complete miracle to give birth to a healthy baby and also have a healthy mommy.  I can’t imagine not having the team of nurses and midwives by my side, and having to labor and give birth in a cold, damp, smelly and unsanitary stable like Mary. Not to mention what her recovery process was like; giving birth is messy!  Remember…she was only 12 or 13 years old!! What a scary thing to go through at such a young age. It makes me appreciate the cost of my salvation so much more.

A beautiful song that reflects the humble birth of Christ is Michael W. Smith’s “Welcome to our World”. I look at my own son, and can’t believe that our Savior came into the world in the same way…a helpless little baby. He had tiny fingers and toes, and was dependent on his mother, just like Giovanni is dependent on me.

Kendrick and I have learned a lot these past 3 weeks, and have settled into a schedule (somewhat), and have gotten a lot more comfortable changing diapers (Kendrick has done most of the brunt work in this department). For some reason Gio has the messiest diapers in the early morning hours when Kendrick changes him. (He’s already gotten peed on numerous times.)

Our love for him grows each day, as we find ourselves laughing at his funny faces or admiring his beautiful features. As he slept in our bed yesterday, I found myself telling my sister, “I just can’t believe he’s my child.”

Up until you have children your whole life is centered around yourself. Then, you have a child and this new human becomes the center of your world…it still amazes me that my body was able to grow and give birth to such a perfect being. Kendrick has been saying it is a true miracle when a baby comes out healthy. So much has to go right to have a healthy baby, and the fact that Gio came into this world with 10 fingers and 10 toes, a heart that beats and eyes that can see is a complete miracle. 

Here’s a little update on what’s been happening these past few weeks:

  1. My milk coming in. This happened 2 days after coming home and let me tell you…no one warned me how painful it would be!! I took a nap that afternoon, and when I woke up, my boobs had turned to two rocks on my chest!! I’ve had small boobs my entire life, so this new change has been very uncomfortable for me. I qualified for a free breast pump through my insurance, and thank the LORD it arrived the very same day! I don’t know what I would’ve done otherwise. I am very thankful that I’ve been able to breastfeed successfully, and know there are many other mothers who struggle with this. In those late night hours, when I struggle with whether to sleep or pump, I’m reminded that it’s a blessing to be able to feed this boy on my own.
  2. Night sweats. They started the night after I gave birth, but I didn’t realize it was normal. When we got home, Kendrick was concerned I was running a fever, but after a friend came over to visit, she told me these were normal and it’s your body trying to get rid of the excess water you stored up during pregnancy. Whew! I was glad to hear that.

5 Baby Must-Haves:

  1. Fisher Price Rock-n-Play. This thing has been a life saver! We ended up registering for this instead of a bulky swing, and I’m so glad we did!! Gio has actually been sleeping in this instead of his bassinet. It’s small, cozy, and foldable which makes it easy to move and transport. It also plays music, rocks, and vibrates. The rocking and vibrating is really soothing for him especially if he’s a little fussy. I HIGHLY recommend this to any mom.
  2. Kiinde Twist Bags. When my milk came in and I had to start pumping, I was SO glad that I had bought a box of these. I love the twist top for easy pouring, and the measurements on the bag.
  3. Dr. Brown’s Preemie Nipples. My sister-in-law recommended I buy the smallest size nipple so that when I started bottle feeding, Gio wouldn’t get lazy and stop taking the breast. Since my milk came in quickly and I had to start feeding some milk from the bottle, I’m glad I had these on hand.
  4. Pampers diapers with the color changing line! I didn’t know the diapers had this until I read a blog post late in my pregnancy and the blogger mentioned that Pampers (and also Huggies) have a yellow line down the middle that changes to blue when the baby wets himself. What a genius invention! Although The Honest Co. diapers are cute, I’d rather have practical!
  5. Nursing tank. This is technically for momma but I count it as something for baby too because it helps you nurse so much easier! I’ve lived in these Pea in the Pod tank tops for the past 3 weeks..I even wear them to bed! I have a couple nursing bras, but these are much more practical because you don’t have to worry about wearing another shirt.  These are another item my sister-in-law recommended and I stocked up and bought four before Gio was born.

 

Mommas out there- what are your must-haves?? Feel free to comment and link your favorites down below!

To my readers– thank you for your loyalty this year and for sharing my posts with your family and friends. My hope for the new year is to get back to posting regularly…and also to share my postpartum fitness journey!

 

Family photo by: Jessie Salas

Welcoming Giovanni!

As I write this, my little babe is fast asleep and I can’t believe he is here! A week ago today I was laboring at the hospital, a few hours away from meeting my little boy.

This past week has flown by, and I’ve quickly learned that life with a newborn is very busy! Between the feedings, changings, and pumping…the hours in the day seem to disappear. I’ve been lucky to have my mom in town from the east coast, and thanks to her I actually get a chance to eat. I’ve also been able to shower and nap, which are huge accomplishments in and of themselves.

It’s funny how quickly you adapt to ‘mom life’ when your newborn arrives. My focus has shifted completely and I’m 100% devoted to my child and his needs. Breastfeeding has been going well for me, and Gio certainly takes after his dad in the eating department. He has no problem latching on, although he does prefer the right breast. (To compensate, I’ve been pumping my left often.) He is healthy and happy, and even tempered. He slept straight through his circumcision without crying (what baby does that??) and slept through getting his blood taken a few days later. Kendrick joked with the nurse that he is better at getting his blood taken than his momma.

Well, before the little one wakes up I want to try and share what I can from his birth story.

So, here goes!

I was laying in bed on Monday morning, December 5 when my water broke. At first, I wasn’t totally sure that’s what it was. When they portray your water breaking in the movies they make it seem like it’s this big event when everything comes gushing out of you. Well, that wasn’t the case. It was more like a slow trickle that I couldn’t control. Kendrick had just left for work, and so I called him to tell him the news. “Call the hospital!” he said. “I’m coming straight home.”

I called and they told me it sounded like all the signs were there, but they wanted to come in and check me to make sure. They said if my water did break, I would be admitted, so to come prepared. My heart started racing hearing this, and I quickly got changed and cleaned myself up. All our bags had already been packed, so we were ready to go! I wasn’t sure if I would experience this big rush of waters on the way to the hospital so I put a towel down on the front seat just in case.

The drive to the hospital was surreal; I kept looking over at Kendrick and he would turn and smile back at me. We couldn’t believe it was happening! Kendrick called his parents to let them know the news; they had flown in over the weekend from South Carolina and were staying close by. We arrived at Kaiser Hospital in Redwood City at 10:19 am. My midwife confirmed that my water had indeed broken, and so I was admitted. Because my blood type is 0-, I had to have a RhoGam shot during my pregnancy and after getting admitted, they had to give me antibiotics (penicillin through my IV) so that I wouldn’t infect the baby when our blood mixed. I’ve never been good with needles, and after getting my IV put in my blood pressure started to drop. I could feel myself getting faint and losing consciousness. Kendrick said the baby’s heartbeat dropped significantly and all of a sudden 5 other nurses were in the room. They put an oxygen mask over me and told me to lay on my side to help increase blood flow. I kept taking deep breaths and tried to stay calm so that his heart rate would come back up. It started to come back up, and after a couple minutes the nurses said that he was doing better. They left the oxygen mask on me though and continued to monitor for a little longer.

After that extravaganza, I continued a slow labor process into the afternoon. By 2:30 pm the nurses wanted to give me citotec to help move the contractions along. Citotec is a more mild form of pitocin, that I was able to take orally.  It only took half a pill to get the contractions started. However, they were still not close enough together so four hours later they gave me a full dose.  That made the contractions really strong, so much so that by 10 pm I decided to get an epidural. This time I did not pass out…thank goodness!

My contractions slowed and I was able to sleep for a few hours. Then, I woke up and started feeling them again. The anesthesiologist came in the morning to give me a stronger dose  and I ended up throwing up all over myself. From then on, it was hard to keep fluids down- I was nauseous and dehydrated. I was also taking a bag of penicillin every few hours through my IV.

My mom arrived around 11 am. (She flew in straight from Pennsylvania!) She wasn’t supposed to arrive until the 10th, but I had called her late Sunday night (the day before my water broke) and told her I wanted her to come out earlier. Who knew I would start laboring the next day!? It all worked out perfectly.

I continued laboring through the morning and still felt strong contractions; my epidural wasn’t giving me any relief. Finally, by the afternoon, they decided to give me pitocin to speed up contractions so I would have the “urge to push”. By this point, I was in lots of pain, dehydrated and exhausted. I had been throwing up liquids and juices I was trying to keep down.

Kendrick was so worried I wasn’t going to make it through the pushing phase, and even called my midwife aside asking if I should have a C-section…I could barely open my mouth to suck on ice chips.

But then..something strange happened. After they gave me pitocin and decreased my epidural (they decided to do this because an epidural often slows down the labor and dilation progress and I wasn’t progressing as quickly as they wanted me too) so… after they did this, instead of being in more pain I just fell asleep! I passed out but they were monitoring my contractions on the screen and saw that I was having really strong contractions but not waking up. It was very strange!

However, the nurses said not to wake me, because I would need my strength for the last and final phase.  I slept for an hour or so and after waking up I felt much better. When my midwife Terri came in she said they weren’t going to give me more epidural; instead they just wanted me to push! It was time to get this baby out. I started pushing at 5:10 pm and had Kendrick, his mom, my sister, and my mom with me in the room. Kendrick was holding my left leg, a nurse was holding my right leg, and I was instructed to grab behind my knees and pull both legs back. While pushing, there were always two people holding my head up (my sister, Kendrick’s mom and my mom rotated).

At 7:45 pm, on Tuesday, December 6th Giovanni Natiello Ribeiro made his entrance into the world!

My midwife Terri immediately handed him to me and I watched while Kendrick cut the cord. They let me hold him until Terri finished stitching me up and cleaning me and then after that the nurses took Gio to clean him up. (I’m glad they let me hold him during that time it was a nice distraction from what she was doing!) They weighed and measured him (8 lbs, 12.9 oz. and 21 inches long) and then gave him back to me to nurse. He latched on at 8:45 pm- an hour after coming out, and nursed until 9:30 pm- 45 minutes!!

 
After that my sister and mom left and Kendrick’s parents helped move our bags over to the other room we’d be staying in post delivery. My legs were still numb from the epidural so the nurse helped transfer me onto the other bed. They wheeled me and baby over to the other room. That night there were a bunch of nurses in and out checking on me and baby. By that point I was so exhausted and just wanted to sleep through the night, but I knew I had this little thing to take care of and that it would be a long time before I was able to get an 8 hour stretch of sleep again. It’s such a strange feeling after giving birth; you wait 9+ months to meet your babe, and then they come and it’s like meeting a stranger. I did not recognize his face, his features, his expressions, or his sounds yet. Now, a week later, when I look back at his birth photos I see HIM- Gio. But at the time, it was all so foreign to me.

***This post has been interrupted by a projectile pooping incident…OH the joys of parenthood!!

Well, before something else interrupts me I will end this post here. This past week has been a wonderful, crazy ride that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Each day brings a new adventure and a new laugh.

Happy 1 Week birthday little man!!

Here are some photos for you to enjoy 😉

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Last belly shot before leaving for the hospital!

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After getting admitted at the hospital

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Carbo-loading! 😉

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Putting on a brave face before I started pushing

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Gio is born!

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Our precious little nugget 🙂

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Heading home 🙂

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No longer two…but three ❤

Lessons for Parenthood

This Thursday will be our last holiday without a child. It’s kind of a big deal.

The sentiment among most first-time parents is this: “Our lives are going to change and they’ll never be the same!” Kendrick and I have accepted this and do not feel a sense of regret, but rather a sense of present awareness. And so, we’ve been soaking up this time together as much as we can. We even took a spontaneous trip down the coast last weekend to Big Sur. At first it seemed a bit crazy to drive 2 1/2 hours to Big Sur and back in one day; but why not? We didn’t have anything holding us back.

We actually met a couple sitting next to us at dinner who had a 10-month old daughter and had driven all the way from San Diego for the weekend. We asked if they had been traveling much and the wife said, “Oh yes! She’s been on 5 planes this year, and we’ve even taken her camping. Having a child shouldn’t prohibit you from doing the things you love.”

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Our dinner view at Nepenthe in Big Sur– so worth the 2 1/2 hours we drove to get there!

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Made it just in time for sunset

I was so grateful for her refreshing outlook on parenthood. For the most part we’ve been lucky and have received encouraging comments from parents, but occasionally you have a parent who doesn’t hesitate to share their less than ideal experiences.

I understand that parenthood isn’t all roses, and that’s okay. We’ve all heard the phrase, “Don’t make promises you can’t keep.”

Well, there is one promise I can make to my son that I know I can keep; which is this:

“I will not be perfect.”

This reflection came after reading Karl Pillemer’s book, “30 Lessons for Living“.  I recently found it on my bookshelf and realized I had never read it. Karl is a Professor at Cornell University and ran a study in which he interviewed several elderly around the country, who ranged in age from mid-sixties to 102! He compiled all the information from their interviews into a book of 30 overarching lessons that they wanted to pass on to the younger generations. The chapter that most intrigued me, especially at this phase in my life, was the one titled, “Nobody’s Perfect: Lessons for a Lifetime of Parenting“.

I have to admit, I actually read this chapter first instead of starting at the beginning of the book.  My two favorite lessons were these:

  1. It’s all about time
  2. Take a lifelong view of relationships with your children

Here’s what I wrote in my personal journal on this topic.

Dear son,

Your dad and I talk about the first lesson frequently because we feel it is the most important gift we can give you…our TIME. You will grow up so fast and we want to be there for you through it all. Our number one value is family, and so you can expect that we will make that a priority in our home. Some children have dads or moms who work too much and travel all the time and miss out on special life events. We don’t want to be those parents. We want you to remember us being present in your life and being part of the things that are important to you.

2. We realize that once we become parents, we will always be parents. Even when you leave the home, we will never stop being your mom and dad. However, our relationship will change when you’re older. You will no longer have to report to us, you will be in charge of your own life. And so we hope that the values we teach you in the home will follow you into adulthood. The decisions we make in the next 18 years will lead to either a positive or negative relationship in the future; and so I pray that God will guide us with the wisdom to be the best parents we can be for you and that we foster a healthy, positive relationship with you.

We also realize that we are not perfect; so there may be times when we make a wrong decision or say something we don’t mean. Please know that no matter what happens, we will always love you- because you are part of us. You were created by God, but you share me and your father’s DNA. There is no one else in the world like you,  and there never will be- even your siblings will be different.

If you ever doubt my love for you- I hope you will read this and find comfort. You are SO loved and as we get ready to become parents, we can’t promise perfection, although we commit to do our best to:

  1. Listen
  2. Maintain openness
  3. Have good intentions

Te amo meu filho, (I love you my son)

 

To my parent readers: If you were being interviewed, what lesson(s) would you give to the younger generations on parenthood?

Please leave your comments below! 🙂 

PS- thought I’d include an updated bump picture! 37 weeks, 4 days along…we’re in the final stretch!

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