Jul 2, 2015

Letters to Clover - Month Two

Dear Clover,

Today you turned two months old and this month was definitely your most eventful month so far! I can say that right, even though you have just two months to your name? ;)

We started this month off with a bang and when you were just five weeks old I came down with mastitis. A really bad case of mastitis that left me a hot sweaty mess that could hardly get up off the couch except to feed you and then fall back down again. Seriously it was so bad and the constant sweat, I don't think I have ever sweated THAT much in my life! I had constant wet patches on my clothes and left the bedsheets wet each night (poor Daddy decided to sleep on the couch after awhile!) It must have had something to do with those 39.5 degree temperatures! It was so bad that I ended up having to take two different antibiotics as the first prescription wasn't doing anything! I was also thankful that cousin Larissa had given me her breast pump as that thing got quite a work out that week and I started to fill up our freezer with lots of stored milk! I even took it with us to your weekly Westmead appointment and sat in the HALLWAY pumping away under my nursing cover as it was the only power point I could find! Daddy had to stay home from work a couple of days to look after me and Mar Mar and Aunty Paige came to help as well (Grandma and Grandpa were traveling in the UK). One night Aunty Katty and Uncle Luke came and bought us food and Aunty Katty changed your nappy and rocked you to sleep just so I could sleep and poor Daddy could have a rest. Then,  just as I was recovering, Daddy came down with a middle ear infection and his ear was so blocked and swollen you couldn't see down his ear canal at all! He also couldn't hear anything on that side and sometimes I thought he was just ignoring me until I realized I was talking on his 'bad' side. It got so bad that one night at 1am we packed you up and went to the Hospital where we were told he just needed panadol and neurofen for pain relief till the infection passed! This was just as my wisdom tooth was causing me so much pain. So Daddy had more days off work and then he ended up with an infected wisdom tooth too! And then to finish off the week we had the worst storm that had hit the coast in years. There were trees down everywhere and flooding and many suburbs were without power for a whole week! We had two trees fall down and block off both entrances to the main rd so everyone in our neighbourhood was trapped in! Daddy and Aunty Paige went out one night to see the fallen trees and by the time they turned around and headed home a giant tree had fallen and blocked the road! They had to leave the Forrester in someone else's driveway and run home in the rain. Daddy spent the next morning helping the neighbors chainsaw a path through Leetes Lane and also went out with the fire brigade helping in the flooded areas. Mar Mar and Pa came over shortly after with their generator so we could run our fridges and keep our food from going off (luckily we only lost power for just over 24 hours) It was an exhausting week and a bit to say the least!

And then we closed this month with your very first operation. At only 8 weeks old you had your tenotomy (Achilles heel surgery) at Westmead Children's Hospital and you were amazing! Seriously we were so very proud! It was a long day and a very emotional one for this Mumma (especially the lead up to it) and even though it was a small procedure, I was nervous about how you would go. Would you cry and be upset the whole time, would it hurt you after and "DRAMA!!" would this create some deep emotional scar in you? I was nervous as you would be awake through the procedure in a room with people you didn't know and they wanted you to have a bottle, which you had never tried before. It seems silly in hindsight but the bottle and milk thing stressed me out quite a bit as you had only been exclusively breastfed before then. Luckily I had all that milk that I pumped when I had mastitis stored in the freezer (Tender mercies from Jesus?!) So Aunty Katty came over with two brand new bottles and showed me how to sterilize them and heat the milk up and we tried you with one. At first you just played with it, rolling it around your mouth and smiling up at me like it was some kind of new game. But as soon as I squirted a little bit into your mouth and you realized what it was you went to town on that bottle and polished it off in seconds. It kinda showed me how much you must get when you're nursing and I'm proud of us both. Me that I can make that much (!) and you for being such a good little eater. You love mumma's milk!

The morning of your operation was a little stressful. We left in the dark with you all wide eyed and bundled up in your car seat (probably wondering what in the world your crazy parents were up to!) You were first up for surgery, which meant they wanted us there at 6:45am for an 8:30am surgery. They also wanted me to feed you at 5:00am and we live over an hr away from the hospital and had to travel through early morning Sydney peak hour to get there. Which if you do the math didn't really work time wise. Needless to say we were quite late and after a phone call to the hospital they were possibly going to bump us to second on the list, which Mumma was worried about as it would mean even longer between your feeds.

Luckily, when we got there we were quickly admitted and you were soon ready for surgery with no casts and numbing cream on your tiny heels. I had asked the day before if there were facilities to bath you after your casts come off as we love doing that each week and was told there were but when we got there found out there wasn't. So our lovely nurse (who's name was also Katie) found a tiny little round dish for us to bath you in. So we bathed you on the hospital bed and even tiny you were a little too big for the dish and not at all impressed by our efforts to give you a nice relaxing warm bath before you went into surgery!

Then Dr Tony came to us all dressed in his hospital scrubs and Daddy passed you to him. You were so beautifully calm and content like this kinda thing just happened every day and we watched as he carried you down the hall and off to theatre. You in one hand, your bottle in the other and your dummy hooked around his pinkie. It was such a weird experience and I must admit I teared up right there and then watching you being taken from me and you bravely taking it all in your stride. Luckily it was such a short surgery and Daddy and I barely had time to grab a hot drink and something to eat before it was over. Then when you came out you were wrapped up in one of those warmed hospital blankets and asleep. Like really REALLY asleep. That deep sleep I adore, where your little body just melts into mine because you are so relaxed! And I kiss you a thousand times over and hold you super close to me cause you don't try and squirm away and need to look at everything that is going on around you - my little inquisitive baby! Apparently sleep was all you wanted to do in theater and you didn't even touch the bottle of milk - after all that agonizing and pumping mummy did ;)!

You did so well that we didn't have to stay at the hospital for long and we went home and had a big family nap for hours. We gave you a couple of doses of baby panadol after but you seemed just fine and the procedure hasn't seemed to bother you at all. You even kick your legs on the ground and into your change table and don't even flinch or look like it hurts you!

We started Mother's Group this month and this was also the month you also started fighting day sleeps. You like to wake up every half an hour to forty minutes and it's so hard to settle you back down. So poor Mumma is not getting much house work done at all! We are working hard on teaching you to self soothe but I must admit sometimes I get a little frustrated. But then you wake up and are your happy smiley little self that all is soon forgiven. But please, this Mumma would love if you would sleep during the day soon!

As well as drama this month also had some truly lovely and wonderful moments. You are smiling more and more each day at anyone who will look your way and sometimes even to yourself as you lay on the ground kicking and 'talking' away (you crazy girl!) You are also 'talking' more and we love to have family chats where we all sit and you coo at us and we coo back. You think it's so funny to hear mummy and daddy talking like you and you give us a big cheesy grin and then coo back again. I'm pretty sure one day the three of us spent at least half an hour just cooing at each other! You're such a little character already and having you in our lives is just so much fun!

This month Daddy and I celebrated being together for ten whole years! I just think that is so crazy! So much has happened since we first got together back in high school and you, my dear, are the icing on our cake of things we have experienced together! To celebrate Daddy took 'his girls' out on a date and we both dressed up all cute (you put on a sweet headband and I wore heels) and we went to GPK for pizza and then we took you to your first movie. We saw Pitch Perfect 2 and you slept in my arms the whole time (after I paced the tunnel with you during the ads to get you to sleep!) It was so lovely snuggling in the theater with you in my arms, a cup of tea, popcorn and your handsome Daddy next to me and the movie was so funny. I hope when you grow up you think we are cool and not lame for taking you to see that movie, because we think it is acca-mazing!

You are such a beautiful little girl Clover and we are not the only ones who think so. Whenever we take you out anywhere people seriously stop us to tell us how pretty and beautiful you are. You have lovely little features and are so petite and sweet that you draw people in. You must enjoy the compliments too as you often thank the compliment-er with one of your big cheesy gummy grins. You are the sweetest little baby.

Gosh I love you!

Love Mummy

May 23, 2015

Letters to Clover - Month One

Dear Clover,

This month you turned ONE whole month old and it's been such a roller coaster of a month for us all! Roller coaster in the very sense of the word - all at once exciting, thrilling, breathtaking, slightly terrifying and somehow over so incredibly fast! But truly the most wonderful ride of my life and, as he says, the ONLY roller coaster your daddy will ever be happy and willing to be on!

We watched in awe as you came into the world - letting out your first sound before you were even completely born! (You are such a clever and animated little thing!) And although I feel bad that the first thing I ever did to you was nearly drop you (seriously being passed a slimy, floppy little baby between your legs after you have just spent many hours labouring and have just given birth is not for the faint of heart!) I fell hard for you from that very moment the midwife passed you to me and I laid you on my chest. We spent our first few moments of your little life just gazing at one another (you have been such an alert baby from day one!) and counting tiny fingers and toes. Then you nuzzled in, latched on all by yourself and had your very first feed. Our midwife commented then that you would be a good eater and she was right, you are a no-nonscence- about-it baby and you feed ferociously and quickly, mostly so you can get back to seeing whatever is happening around you ASAP!

Your Daddy is pretty besotted by you too and it's so sweet. One night shortly after you were born I came out into the lounge room to find him sitting on the couch, with tears in his eyes, looking at pictures of you on the laptop. As I snuggled down next to him, he looked up and said "I just love her so much, she's so beautiful!" and so we snuggled on down and got all teary together staring at pictures of your sweet face.

One of my other favourite 'Daddy quotes' from this season has to be when he told me "I knew we'd make cute kids, I just didn't realize I wouldn't be able to handle how cute she is!" Which just makes me smile. He loves you so much sweet girl and I can't wait to see the bond between you to grow as you get bigger! I also love the way that every time he passes you in your bassinet sleeping he lets out a "naaaaggghhh" sound and then makes motions as if he was eating you all up! It's so adorable and if I must admit, I think you are pretty damn delicious too!

And let's just talk about your newborn scent for awhile ok? Man that stuff is intoxicating! I am under the belief that they should bottle that scent! (although, I would probably send your Daddy broke buying every bottle of your perfect little scent!) To me, it was the most perfect and intoxicating little smell that has ever graced my nose and both Daddy and I spent many hours simply sitting and smelling your darling little head! So much so that I didn't want to wash you for days, as I was afraid of loosing that precious smell (even though you had a few clumps of birth remnants glued to your hair and stuck to your forehead!) The day your coming home outfit lost your newborn scent was a sad day for this Mumma and I remember walking out to your Daddy holding it up to my nose, almost crying and exclaiming "It doesn't smell like her anymore!" And why we are on the subject of your sweet little smells, is it weird to admit that I love your sweet little milky breath and often just sit and put my nose near your mouth just to smell it!? (Maybe it's not too weird a thing though, as Daddy admits he does the same too!)

This month you had your very first photo shoot and in true I-must-know-whats-going-on-at-all-times Clover fashion, you stayed awake for the whole (nearly) four hours the photographer was here! Even when you were beyond tired and not happy about it! You were just thirteen days old.You are definitely not a sleepy newborn, that's for sure! You are incredibly alert and inquisitive, focusing on our faces in your very first week and at just eight days old (on the way to church) Daddy noticed you staring and focusing out the car window! You are very advanced for your age and we think you are just so clever!

At the end of the month, you also went to your first dress up party and you looked so cute! The theme was 'Hippes vs Hipsters' and you and I went as hippies and Daddy went as a Hipster. I went all Sound of Music and made you a tiny little dress out of some vintage fabric I bought years ago at an op shop (I think it was originally a tablecloth or curtains or something!) It was mustard green and yellow and very retro. We also wore daisy flower crowns around our heads and oh man you looked so cute in your tiny version of mine that I'm only slightly sorry for the little indents it made it your head - woops!

Along with all it's 'firsts' and breath taking moments, this month also had it's fair share of tears and high emotions (Don't even get me started on 'Weepy Tuesday!') and at ten days old, we finally got our diagnosis about your feet. We were told you had structural talipes and you received your first ever full leg casts at our appointment, which we weren't at all prepared for. You of course handled it like a pro and didn't cry at all during the whole casting process (we were so proud!) Mummy, on the other hand, was an emotional mess and has spent many hours crying over your little legs and the treatment you will have to have! I miss your 'squishyness' and kissing your little thighs so! You are so brave and handle your little casts so well and although it is hard and emotional right now, I know this season will all to soon be behind us and you will be running around before we know it! Although if you want to hold off on the running around and growing up too fast thing I'd be all for that too!

Oh my Clovey girl, there are so many things I love and am learning about you! At one month old here are some of  things I love and don't want to forget about you at this age:

- That one long hair you have on top of your head that sticks up straight and will not lay down flat!
- The fact that your little hairs are so soft and whispy that when we hold you close and breath in they fly up into and tickle our nose (Daddy admits he loves this too!)
- Your crazy hungry cry that doesn't stop when you are latched on my breast and feeding, but instead slowly winds down in a frantic 'warbly' fashion and makes me laugh every time.
- Your wide open mouthed cry when your tiny bottom lip trembles and you throw your head back like a tiny baby bird (is it bad that's twice I'm admitting I love seeing you cry!?)
- Your little aniseed breath (and the white remnants around your mouth) when you've had some Infants Friend
- Your gummy little smiles (which you so cleverly started doing at just two weeks old!)
- The way you love to be walked and rocked to sleep and somehow even at this tiny age know when a tired Mummy or Daddy tries to sit down! (Even if we think we have got you and you are asleep, your little eyes and mouth can pop back demanding that we start walking again!)
- The many times I have held you and sung Peter Paul and Mary's 'For Baby' Lullaby and choked up at the line "And I'll love you more than anybody else" leaving your little head wet with my tears ...

Because it's true baby girl besides Jesus and Daddy, I don't think anyone could love you more than I do! For I love you breathlessly and endlessly my little Clove. All the days of my life!


Apr 19, 2015

Clover Grace - a story behind the name.

Clover Grace
A Story behind the name.

Because her uncommon name, a lot of people have asked us where we got Clover's name from. So here is the story for those interested...

When I was about 5 or 6 years old, my Aunt and Uncle gave me my first set of chapter books. They were a series called 'What Katy Did' given to me as the main character was my namesake. They are such lovely classic children's literature written by Susan M Coolidge in the late 1800's. I remember being so excited to read these books, but not yet up to reading such big chapter books on my own. So I remember my Dad reading them to me at night and they quickly became a childhood favorite. It follows the story of tomboy Katy Carr and her adventures and scrapes, as well as her brothers and sisters. Her closest sister is Clover Carr and she is such a little sweetheart, that I fell in love with the name from an early age and often imagined myself with a little Clover of my own one day (So I was very thankful that Morgan loved the name as much as me!!) I can't wait to bring out these books when she is older and snuggle up to read them to her as I did with my Dad, loving that both our names will be there in the story as we read along. Although what I'll do if we have another daughter I'm not sure hehe! There is also a Clover series which I can't wait to buy her when she is older too :)

Clover is an Old English name and as we looked into the name further, we loved it even more. Of course it has connotations of luck (lucky four leaf clovers, which I loved to search for as a little girl) and also of prosperity. In the olden days the saying 'to be in clover'  meant you were in a season of prosperity and wealth. As when the clover was out it meant the fields were green, the farm animals were happily eating and everything was plentiful. We pray she is always prosperous in everything she does.

Morgan also liked how her name has the word 'love' in it and did you know that each leaf on a four leaf clover represents something special? The first is for faith, which we pray she will have in Jesus at an early age. The second is for Hope, which we pray that her hope will always be in Him. The third is for love, which we pray she would be a lover Jesus and people all her life. To always love and be loved. And the fourth is for luck, which is always nice to have a little of :)

The funny thing is, I have Irish heritage and she was just a few days shy of being born on St Patricks day too, so perhaps it was meant to be!

For her middle name, we decided to go with something more traditional to balance out her first name and we both always loved the elegance and meaning of Grace (God's Favour, goodness and generosity) so that was how she became our Clover Grace!

We just love our little Clovey girl!

Apr 4, 2015

A new addition ...

She's here!
Meet our sweet ...
Clover Grace Ayling
 14th March 2015
3100g (6.8 pounds)
 47cm long
(image above taken at 3 days old)

We are absolutely smitten and have spent the last three weeks of this little ladies life with slow mornings and days. Lots of cuddles and kisses ALL over baby. Beautiful (and emotional) moments that have take our breath away. A few tears and sleepless nights (luckily, just a few as she really has been so good!) and moments of "I just don't know what you want!" but overall we are so beyond in love with our little lady and this new season of life! Jesus truly has blessed us beyond measure!!!

Mar 4, 2015

letters to baby ... (#4) the one in which I try to catch up

Hello my sweet darling baby GIRL!

I can't believe it has been so long since I have written a letter to you (insert mum guilt here) and it's definitely not for lack of thinking about you. For you are ALWAYS on my mind - every second of every minute I am dreaming about what you will look like (will have your daddies eyes?!) what your little personality will be like and every conversation no matter who I am with always ends up about baby stuff. It is excitement station here right now and Daddy and I can't wait to feel that crazy parental love that everyone talks about, as soon as we lay our eyes on your perfect little face!

Today you and I are 39 weeks and 3 days. And I can't believe in 5 days we will be officially 40 weeks!  It seems crazy to me as I always thought that I would go into labour early and yet here we are, almost full term! But in one way that has been so nice and I am so thankful you have given me this time to rest and prepare for your arrival for I was starting to get stressed that nothing was ready! I finished up work only 2 and a bit weeks ago and have been in major nesting mode ever since. The house and everything is now feeling much more ready and organized for you. I have been through every drawer and cupboard reorganising and arranging things and Mar Mar came and helped me organise your cupboards, which are just the cutest! I love to open them up and just look at all the teeny beautiful things we have been blessed with and imagine you wearing them. Our hospital bags are finally packed and are sitting waiting, we have been driving around with your car seats installed and our house is suddenly filled with all these baby things and a sweet explosion of pink! (Your mumma's a pink girl at heart so I'm not complaining). Oh and we finally finished doing up your bassinet which is now set up in our room, so we now have somewhere for you to sleep! (for a while there we thought if you came early that you would be sleeping in your pram!) As Pa was making your bassinet stand and also getting your cot re painted and we had nothing here at home for you to sleep in - phew!)

I am also savoring up these last days/weeks feeling your kicks and rolls and stretches (oh my the stretches - this last week you've been getting that little foot of yours right up into my ribs and you like to give me a good 'push' if I bend over too much and get in your space!) Daddy on the other hand is so anxious for you to get here and keeps telling me how much he just wants to hold you! So he tries to 'hold' my belly as much as he can. It is the dearest thing. He has always always just wanted to be a daddy and I am so glad that you and I together can make his dream come true!

So much has happened since I last wrote to you back in September (!!) ...

You have the dearest little womb nickname which your daddy thought up one day. You are now known to almost everyone as 'Tiny Dancer' (or in Grandma's case 'The Dancer') This is because my belly is really quite small (we are all wondering how you are fitting in there) and you love to flutter and move and 'dance' around in there. I didn't even realize how much the nickname has stuck until your baby shower when nearly every card was written to Katie and 'Tiny Dancer' (or TD). I love it and hope we always remember that this was how everyone knew you before you were born.

One crazy thing that has happened since I last wrote you a letter was after our 18-20 week ultrasound when we went back to our midwife appointment and were told that you had possible 'talipes' or clubfoot. This was a crazy and emotional few weeks and we had to go back for an additional scan for them to have a better look at your feet. All the Dr's and ultrasound technicians have confirmed that they believe you have talipes of both feet but they will not know how bad it is until you are born and once you are born they can work out the best steps of action (massage manipulation or little casts). Although this is not the worst thing that could happen it hit daddy and I quite hard after everything was going so well and we both cried over your dear little feet so. We are believing however that our Jesus is bigger and more amazing than any Doctor's report and that you will be born whole and healthy with two perfectly straight feet in Jesus' name!

Also, around 34 weeks (?!) I was getting quite uncomfortable and at my midwife appointment was told you were presenting traverse breech (which means you were sitting sideways across my body and not turning downwards in preparation for birth like you should of being doing around that time) It was not a very pleasant sensation over the next couple of weeks, as your would stretch long ways and I felt like my body was being stretched in two! So you and I spent a good 3-4 weeks hanging out upside down on the couch after work each night, or I would hang out on all fours in 'cat position', we also did cartwheels in the pool and acupressure points on my little toe and saw our chiropractor who worked on straightening my hips so you could turn. And my wonderful Tiny Dancer you did it - a tad late, but you finally danced your way into perfect position and at my last midwife appointment (38 weeks) I was told you were sitting in the most perfect position for birth - incredibly low down, head first, facing the right way, engaged and ready to go. And I have felt that change too - the pressure of you sitting lower which after a long busy day makes me wadddle ever so slightly - something daddy joked he would never let me do (so I might play it up a bit for him ;)

Apart from that you have been on your very best behaviour and God has blessed me with the most easy and wonderful pregnancy. Apart from a teeny bit of acid reflux and slight siaticia (of which I already used to get from work) I have felt amazing and we have enjoyed walks, swimming and yoga and hanging out together. I have also been sleeping very well and am so thankful for Jesus that I have been blessed with such an amazing pregnancy.

We were also thrown the most amazing baby shower by Aunty Pegs, Aunty Katty and Aunty Kate. Every little detail was just divine and I have never seen so many beautiful gifts in one space. Seriously little Miss you were super spoilt and we suddenly felt much more prepared for your arrival after the shower. I hope to blog about it soon. It was just the best day and all a wonderful 'top secret' surprise to me - which was so fun! While the girls set up daddy took me out on a breakfast date where we kissed and talked and held hands a lot. Then he dropped me off to get my makeup done and I felt so fancy and special. But probably one of the best and sweetest moments of the whole day was when I arrived back home and daddy told me he had had 'a moment' where he was thinking about me and you and how much he loves us both and how excited he was of this season and becoming a little family and that he just teared up and had a good cry. I think that was the moment that your arrival really became real to your daddy and he was overcome with how amazing this season is! And this is one of the many reasons I love your daddy, because he doesn't feel the need to be manly all the time and as his wife this tender moment speaks volumes to me about how much he loves and cherishes us and how beautiful that is! My baby girl, you are seriously so blessed to get to call this wonderful man daddy and I can't wait to see your relationship develop over the coming years!

Since I last wrote to you, you have been busy growing and your flitters and flutters have turned to stronger punches and kicks to big rolls and stretches. We love sitting and watching your little acrobatics! We also giggle over your hiccups and your heart is now so strong that daddy can place his head on my tummy and hear it pumping away! This whole pregnancy thing is just so amazing, and  I feel like we both walk around with this silly little smile on our face so happy with our growing little family and we know it is only going to get better once you arrive!

I love you so much my baby girl.
I can't believe I will be holding you in my arms so soon!

Love Mumma