We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers. - I Thessalonians 1:2

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Happy 3 Weeks Cate!

Hard to believe it's been 3 weeks! She's getting bigger every day!

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Change in Perspective

(not the most flattering picture of me, I realize, but the kiddo on the right sure is cute)

"And when she wraps her hand
around my finger
Oh it puts a smile in my heart
Everything becomes a little clearer
I realize what life is all about"
~Martina McBride, "In My Daughter's Eyes"

Everyone told me that having a baby would change everything. And while I did believe everyone, I didn't realize just how much Cate would really change things (and she's only been here 3 weeks- well, as of tomorrow).

My perspective and way of thinking have changed quite a bit since Cate's arrival. What can I say? I love being a mom. It's not that I didn't think I wouldn't love motherhood. Or that I didn't think life would change. It's just that I feel like I have a new perspective or outlook on certain things as a result of becoming a mother.

When Eric and I first started seriously thinking about getting married, I wasn't sure exactly what my time frame for children would be...or if we'd even decide we'd want any. I was in college and focused on where my career was headed. Even in my first couple years of being a new wife and new teacher, I still wasn't sure where motherhood would fit in and how exactly my life would look. I was enjoying grad school, running, biking, devouring books, sleeping in, etc. But now that Cate is here, there's nowhere else I'd rather be in life right now than where I am. I feel like I was born to do this, to raise her. It's not about me anymore (not that anything ever was really about me, but it's just that I love her so much and care about her so much that it doesn't matter if I can't run right now, or sleep in, or stay out late going to the movies and doing other things with Eric). We're a family now and I love and welcome the change, both as a wife and a mom.

In the early weeks of being pregnant, Eric and I were obviously ecstatic (and a little scared) about starting our family. And on a couple of occasions mentioned that we'd be okay with it if Cate ended up being our only one. At that point I was still scared of the remaining months of pregnancy and terrified of delivery. Now that it's all over and I know there's nothing to be scared of, we hope that God will bless us with more children in the coming years (though we're not in any hurry to give Cate a brother or sister just yet). I don't mind the semi-sleep deprivation (though to be fair to Cate, she really is a good little sleeper...it's just the getting her up in the middle of the night to feed her part that's rough), the countless dirty diapers I've already changed, the spit up, and the being semi-house bound until Cate's a little sturdier, flu season winds down, and it's warmer outside.

I know there will be days that are more difficult than others and days when I'm sure I'll cry out of frustration. But those days will be far outweighed by the blessing that is our little girl. Cate's worth all of it and I'm so happy to be her mommy. I'd do it all again in a heartbeat.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Taking back the weekend

So, in my career quest of the past 4 years, I've had some huge ups and downs. And after 3+ years in full time retail, I've finally attained a wonderful job and I'm taking back the weekend. It was wonderful in the last part of 2007, it was nice to chill with Mel and prepare for the new addition. We also took advantage of the free time by playing the Wii. Now we are happy to be entertaining our wonderful daughter on the weekend. In either situation, it is great to have that feeling of a set weekend that I can look forward to, that I can get rest from. Even if I have something with TNT on the weekend, it doesn't feel like work. So, it doesn't change the wonderfulness that is Saturday and Sunday.

It is also wonderful to have all of the same time off with Mel. So many times in the retail world, I would have the opposite schedule of her workdays, and I might have a week where I only saw her in the morning for 30 minutes, 5 days of the week. Having dinner together every night was such a foreign thing for me that it was hard to get used to the first month. But now that I've been on this schedule for a while, I relish every night I'm with my girls.

And let's be honest, who wouldn't want to come home to this on the weekends?

- Papa E

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Family Time

We've been working really hard to keep Cate on a little schedule and to help her know when it's daytime (and awake-time) and when it's night time (and sleep-time). Considering that she's only 16 days old, she's doing pretty well. During the day we feed her, change her, and play with her/read to her/talk to her/swing her/bouncy seat her/etc. to keep her up for a little while (which works most of the time). At night we feed her, change her, swaddle her, and into bed she goes. And like I said, considering that she's not even 3 weeks yet, we can't really complain. For the most part she's quiet at night and will sleep 3-4 hours at a stretch. 4 is the most we can let her go right now though before we have to wake her up and feed her...and we only let her do one 4 hours stretch a night (we gotta keep that weight up). We don't know how long all of this will last (is it a phase or is she just naturally a baby that can adapt to a cyclical schedule and understands what daytime and nighttime are), but we're thankful for every hour she sleeps (and allows us to sleep).

Her last feeding with awake-time is quickly becoming family time. It's fun to feed her and then Eric and I both read to her or play with her toys with her or let her have some tummy time. She's usually in a pretty pleasant mood around this time too, which is wonderful for us. So I thought I'd post some recent family time pictures. Enjoy. :-)


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Happy Two Weeks Cate!

It's hard to believe our little girl is two weeks old already! If this doesn't at least make you smile, then we think you have issues.

~Eric and Melody

Monday, February 18, 2008

Because the demand from Northeast Ohio for pictures is so high....

...I thought I'd post a few more (my Aunt B says that pictures of Cate are keeping them all warm up there). It also doesn't hurt that Cate slept pretty well again last night and that Eric is off work today and can help out a lot.

It's still so hard to believe that two weeks ago today, I was still teaching (and freaking my students out because they thought I was going to have Cate right in the middle of the classroom). In hindsight I have to say that after experiencing the whole birthing process with Cate, anyone who works in a profession that helps bring babies into the world is a hero of mine. After nearly 30 hours in the Labor and Delivery unit from when the induction prep started to Cate's delivery and our move up to the Mother/Baby unit, I know I couldn't have done it without the nurses (there were 3 shift changes while I was there), the doctors (one of the doctors from my group is always at the hospital and I started with one but ended up delivering with another as their shift changed as well), and the epidural man (who I seriously thought about taking home with me afterwards). They were all amazing...especially the nurses who put up with my complaining about being hungry and just kept the popsicles coming.

We're settling into life with Cate just fine now and I love being a mom. I've passed the "baby blues" stage (no, I wasn't depressed, it was just all the hormones and excitement making me weep with joy whenever I looked at my baby girl). And now my focus is all on Cate and integrating her into life in the Riggs house.

With English teacher for a mom, you know she's getting read to a ton. Here we are reading Where the Wild Things Are. Other kids' books I'm a fan of include: Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, The Napping House, Click Clack Moo: Cows that Type, Guess How Much I Love You, and anything Curious George, Eric Carle, and Dr. Suess.

Cate's bath this morning wasn't nearly as traumatic as her first one. She looks grumpy, but I promise she didn't cry. It probably helped that she can actually sit in the water a little bit since her umbilical cord is now off. And you can see how she's gained some weight too. Keep it up Cate :-)

We brought Cate home from the hospital in this outfit and she fills it out much better now. In fact, she probably won't be able to wear it for much longer. I love the way she curls right up into Eric's chest.

So there are a few more pictures and things for all of you who requested them. :-) We'll try to post as often as we can, but I can't promise daily updates as sometimes Cate is a little more demanding than at other times. We're absolutely crazy about her though (as if you couldn't tell).


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Cate's Debut

After a great night of sleep last night (well earned after two nearly sleepless nights before that), and since Cate has managed to gain quite a bit of weight since birth, we decided it was time to take her out. She really hasn't left the house except for a couple of late night drives (more to help housebound Mom keep her sanity than to put Cate to sleep), two pediatrician appointments, and a quick trip into Kroger (we were already out and she was asleep). So today we took her to church to meet everyone. We got there a little late since she took her time eating before we left and then proceeded to sleep through the entire sermon (no offense Kirk). And she was definitely warmly welcomed by all.

Eric is singing tonight, but we thought it might be a little too much stimulation to try to take her out again. Besides, it was so warm out today, we couldn't resist taking a little walk and trying out the stroller. Zoey has definitely been given less attention since bringing Cate home, but she's done really well. We think she needed the walk as much as we did. She always wants to know where Cate is and wants to be near her to make sure she's okay. Sierra, being the independent feline that she is, could care less about Cate.

We still can't believe how big Cate gets seemingly every day. Every day it seems like the newborn sized diapers get a little snugger (we're not quite out of them yet), her clothes fit her a little better, she seems a little longer when she stretches out and other things (like losing her umbilical cord) are happening. Below are a few more recent pictures of Cate.

We only recently realized that nearly 10 days after Cate's birth, we still didn't have a family picture. So after Eric and I went on a short date to Panera on Friday while his parents watched Cate, we took a family photo.

We also learned on Friday that Cate loves being in her sling so she can be close to Mom, but Mom can have her hands free to get some things done.

And here's Cate with Daddy before going to church this morning. You can't really tell in the picture, but yes, she is wearing pants again! :-) Daddy also learned a very important parenting lesson after church as well. Nursing + putting Cate in her swing right away = a spectacular show of projectile spit up. Cate just smiled...she must have known that as gross as it was, it was pretty funny to her.

~Eric and Melody

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Another growth milestone

On Friday, Eric and I tried to put Cate in a little pants outfit (newborn size) and found that she was absolutely swimming in the pants...they wouldn't even stay up (much the same way she was swimming in her sleepers and gowns). It made a little more sense when we went to the pediatrician on Saturday morning and learned Cate had lost a pound since her birth.

On Monday we went back into the pediatrician and learned that Cate had gained back 5 ounces! She's definitely eating better and eating more. So today I thought I'd try the pants again...and they fit!

I also discovered today that Cate is a big fan of her baby papasan seat. It vibrates and plays music...but most importantly, it allowed mommy to get a few things done.

~Melody :-)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Happy 1 Week Cate!

Most of you already know...and I've said it before...that I'm an impatient person at times. Once Cate was considered full term, I wanted her here. I was jealous and upset when my due date passed and still no Cate while it seemed like every other pregnant woman around me was giving birth.

This time last week I was in my impatient mode. I had been at the hospital for almost 24 hours, had had my water broken 8 hours earlier, had been on pitocin (the labor inducing drug for 6 and a half hours), and had had an epidural 3 hours earlier...and was still only 3 cm dilated. The doctor upped my dosage of pitocin to the maximum amount and had said we'd be discussing a c-section if I didn't begin making progress. I was so frustrated and tired, I took a nap. When I woke up 2 hours later, I was at 9 centimeters and time just seemed to speed up from there. The nurse began preparing the room for delivery and before I knew it, it was time to push. And then Cate was here. The picture above is one of the first pictures we took of Cate. Eric took it on his cell phone to send to anxious family members in the waiting room and anxious friends across the country.

Now that she's here, I just want time to slow down (except for the recovery part...I'd be happy to get it over with quickly but am willing to be patient and do the things I need to do in order to recover...I know it will be a weeks-long process). I can't believe my baby girl is already a week old! Where did the last week go? I know time is going to fly and the words of Kenny Chesney's song, "Don't Blink" couldn't be truer right now. Eric and I are soaking in every little moment with her.

While Cate can't really control smiles yet, every once in a while, her facial muscles cooperate and she does smile. I tried to capture one of these smiles today (though it was kind of hard to hold her and the camera).
And in the spirit of soaking up every minute, Eric took a little video of Cate with the hiccups. The TV only seems loud...I promise it really wasn't. Her little hiccups are adorable though. :-)

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Picture of Perfection

Of all the dads in all the world, I am one of the most content. I have been blessed by God in a way I never new imaginable. I can't stop looking at and reaching for my daughter. I love that God has given Melody and me a daughter for so many reasons. I love that I can pamper her and show her how men should treat women. I love that I can be her first example of a father and family man in the love I show Melody. I love that she is so beautiful. I love that God loved her first.

I know that there is a lot of hard work ahead. I know that finances will never be the same. I know that a good night's sleep is a myth. I know that there will be times of tribulation and struggles in her older years, and I know that one day she will have to make decisions for herself, based on her own character, and how we raised her. But I also know that the moment the nurse placed her on Mel's chest and I saw her face for the first time, and saw how she and Mel looked so natural together, that I would love her and do anything for her for the rest of my life.

This picture is the closest thing to perfection this side of heaven.

- A Very Happy Papa E

Friday, February 8, 2008

First Bath

Our first 24 hours at home haven't been too bad. The first 12 or so were the worst. Cate was a little shocked by the transition to home and was fussy all night, leaving Eric and I to trade off holding her/soothing her every hour (although I also had to try to work in a few feedings in there as well). She's worth it though. Early this morning she finally started to calm down and since then has been in a very good 3 hour or so cycle where she eats, "plays" around a little while we change her diaper or just cuddle, and then sleeps again (which left us time to actually take showers and nap a little). While she was in a good mood, we decided to go ahead and attempt a bath with her.

She wasn't all that crazy about the bath itself. The water was warm...I promise. But we have to keep her belly button/cord dry so we couldn't really soak her in water. It's more of a sponge bath than a regular bath.

She did like being wrapped up in her towel when it was all over though. And once we had her dressed again, she fell right asleep.

Labor of Love

We'll admit that we weren't all that optimistic as we headed to the doctor AGAIN on Monday afternoon. We knew that there was a chance they would schedule an induction, but who knew when that would really be. After an ultrasound though, the doctor determined that Melody's fluid level was too low and they told us to go get our bags and head to the hospital for an induction.

The first 12 hours were spent "getting ready" for the induction since Mel was still only at 1 centimeter. At 7:30 am Tuesday morning, the doctor broke her water. The progress was slow going at first, but after the epidural and an afternoon nap, Melody was at 9 centimeters by 5 pm and ready to push around 7:30. She pushed for a little over an hour and with a little extra help from the doctor (since Cate was looking up when she should have been looking down), our beautiful baby girl was born. She weighed 8 pounds, 5 ounces and was 20.5 inches long. Below is a picture of her getting checked out by the nurses right after she was born.

And here is a picture of her safe in Daddy's arms. Of course the doctor and the nurses let Mel hold her first, but it was a rough delivery, so while they stitched mom up, Daddy and daughter got to bond for a little bit.
We moved up to the recovery room around 11:30 that night (after Cate's grandparents, great-grandmothers, and aunt Kristin and great Uncle Ed got to meet her). We were all exhausted, Cate included.

We've taken a lot of pictures of Cate already and can't seem to get enough of her. This is one of our favorite pictures, captured by Eric in a moment when Cate was surprised.

After being in the hospital since Monday evening, we were discharged yesterday around 3:00. Here is a picture of Cate in her hat and sweater, all ready to go home.

We love our little girl and God has truly blessed us with a miracle. She was worth the wait, even the extra 9 days. We are excited to be at home with her (although our first night was a little rough...but we're getting there). We appreciate all of your prayers and support throughout this entire pregnancy and hope that you'll continue to pray for us as we take on the awesome responsibility of raising Cate. We'll put up more pictures soon.

~Eric and Melody

Saturday, February 2, 2008

False Alarm

Every new mom has at least one false alarm. You know, where they think it's time, they go to the hospital, and then they get sent home. Today was my false alarm. While Eric was out on an early morning run, I was sitting in bed dozing and watching the news when all of a sudden....let's just say that I felt like I had an accident. I called the doctor and explained what happened. Obviously over the phone she can't tell me whether or not what I experienced was my water breaking. So once Eric got home it was off to the hospital. The whole way there I was trying really hard not to get my hopes up that this might be "it." And good thing too, because after getting there and getting checked out, we learned that Cate had just kicked me really REALLY hard in the bladder.

I'm not gonna lie...it was rough to get back in the car and know that today was not our day. But back into the car we went and decided to distract ourselves with the Pancake Breakfast at church. I've felt fine all day and have a feeling that I'll be back at work again on Monday- unfortunately. It's looking more and more like we're heading towards an induction next week. But things could change in an instant, so who knows? On the bright side, by this time next week we should have our little girl.

~Melody :-)