Way to go Wyatt!

I just wanted to give a quick update on our friends Tyler and Jenna and their new baby boy Wyatt.

When I posted on Monday, I asked that everyone pray that Wyatt would have his surgery.  Praise the Lord, he did a few hours later!  The procedure went well and Wyatt went through recovery like a champ.  After a very long 48 hours, Jenna got to see her little boy again.  She and Tyler have a great schedule set up allowing them time to rest and Jenna to recover, but also letting them finally spend time with Wyatt.

Wyatt's eating very well.  This is great news!  Babies with Wyatt's condition sometimes develop a food aversion.  However Wyatt's food intake is being increased and he's taking it well!

For the rest of the update, I'll just post Jenna and Tyler's update from Thursday night (written by Tyler).  I'm not really sure how to re-word it so it's just easier that way :)

"Second and equally important, later this evening Wyatt will be downgrading his residence, this is a really good thing, let me explain. The Wolfson's NICU is separated into two sides. Side A, has all new transfers and holds the babies that need intensive care around the clock. Side B, is called the "feeders and growers" side where newborns are just being monitored while they tie up all the loose ends in preparation for going home. So, Wyatt is downgrading from Side A to Side B TONIGHT!!!!
(Just to fend off the question that you're thinking, no we don't have a discharge date, but we are moving in the right direction.)

Other random updates are...
This morning he had his last dose of antibiotics. 
He put on his first T-shirt and is now allowed to wear clothes for warmth instead of a warming lamp. 
He is also getting a new bed, out of the high tech warming bed to a generic crib on wheels (i'll be putting a lift kit and off road tires on it for a Christmas present, lol). 
Jenna's milk is in!"

There is no doubt that we serve an awesome and gracious God.  Praise the Lord, for His mercies are new every morning!!

Baby Wyatt

Welcome to the world Wyatt Stephen!

Wyatt was born on December 19 at 2:25 PM.  He weighed 8lbs and was 21 inches long.  As Mary Poppins would say, "Practically perfect in every way!"

Unfortunately, a tiny bit of his intestines herniated through his belly button.  The doctors have ensured that this is a very minor problem but Wyatt was transferred to the Children's Hospital where he is awaiting his surgery.  He was whisked away shortly after he was born so Mommy and Daddy (Jenna and Tyler) are really missing their baby boy.

Please pray...
1) That even though Wyatt's condition is not considered crucial, that he will be able to have his surgery today.  The sooner he does, the sooner he can re-unite with Jenna and Tyler and the sooner this new family of three can go home.

2) For Jenna and Tyler.  Jenna is currently recovering from bringing Wyatt into the world, and Tyler is running back and forth between hospitals.  They are doing well, just praying for their son and getting rested up.  They'll need all the energy they can get to make up for lost time with all the kisses, snuggles, and hugs they'll be making up for.

3) For the doctors and nurses working with Tyler, Jenna, and Wyatt.  Pray they'll have steady hands in surgery, tender hearts for this beautiful new family, and patient minds as they answer questions from a new mommy and daddy.

Karlie - 10 Months

It's beginning to look alot like Christmas but I still have so much to be thankful for.  This year was our first Thanksgiving as a family of 3.  Karlie turned 10 months old the day before Thanksgiving.

Here she was at 2 months:

Again 5 months:

And now at 10 months:

I feel like Karlie is learning something new or doing something new every day.  She's trying to say words now. Although she sometimes doesn't say the first or last letter, she's definitely learning what certain things are and can now identify some things.

Her word list right now is:

~ book - She pronounces it "buh" but she always consistently says it whenever we hand her one of her board books or as she is crawling to get them.
~ dog - She pronounces this as "gog" but whenever one of our dogs come to her, she says it over and over again and pats their head or pulls on their ears (this mainly happens with Tex, our hound dog)
~ bye-bye - This one is a family favorite.  I can think of fewer things better than seeing her wave and shriek bye-bye.  Every now and then her timing is off.  Several times we've walked JP out to the car when he leaves for school and she won't start waving and saying "bye-bye" until the car has turned the corner.  Other times she just randomly waves and says bye-bye, usually in the buggy at the grocery store.
~ more - She's been a little more random with this one but she's said it several times while I'm making her lunch or dinner.  Always when food is close by!  We've been signing "more" with her for a while now so we think she's really catching on.

She's also doing this hilarious laugh/chuckle, especially when she's excited about something (usually food) that is guaranteed to make everyone in the room laugh.  I wish I could type something that would resemble the sound but I have no clue how.  So I guess I'll just have to try to get it on video.

Karlie - 9 Months

As of October 4, Karlie has been outside of me longer than she was inside of me.  It's weird to think that this time last year, I had only been feeling her little kicks for a couple of weeks.  Now I'm feeling her, but in different ways.  She loves to tug my hair, grab onto my arms with her tight little grip (which feels more like she's pinching me), and every now and then she uses me as a teether.  But the hugs, kisses, and little pats I get from her even everything out.

Here's the run-down since she's turned 9 months.
October 24 - 9 month birthday!
October 26 - She pulled up to standing by herself
November 1 - We began the weaning process.  Rough first few days but we made it through.
November 2 - Karlie began walking along furniture. ("cruising")
November 7 - She said "mama"
November 11 - We discovered her third tooth (which explained a short spell of food refusal and middle of the night wakings that we were confused about).  She also learned how to wave and say "bye-bye" (hopefully a video will follow soon)

Karlie is a wonderful little girl.  She naps twice a day for 2-3 hours and sleeps 10 hours at night.  I still nurse her first thing in the morning and right before bedtime.  We dropped her 2 middle-of-the-day nursings and substituted 1 bottle of formula right before her afternoon nap.  We went through 3 different types of formula before we found one that didn't make Karlie miserable.  The first two gave Karlie horrible tummy aches resulting in horrific diapers (with diaper rash) and severe vomiting.  After a very disappointing call to the lactation center, I finally spoke with a nurse at our pediatrician's office who gave me her personal advice (I think having 4 children definitely counts you as qualified) and the formula she recommended worked like a charm.  

Now that she know how to wave and say bye-bye, she knows no strangers.  While we're grocery shopping, people will slow down to smile at her and she will just grin and wave.  She's such a charmer.

She gets that from her daddy...along with those blue eyes.

Crispy Cheese-Stuffed Bellas

**Courtesy of Rachael Ray
**This recipe can also be used as an appetizer by substituting the large portobello mushrooms with 16 baby portobello mushrooms.

~ 4-6 large portobello mushrooms
~ 1 pound ground chicken or turkey breast
~ 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
~ 1 small onion, finely chopped
~ 3 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
~ Zest of 1 lemon
~ 1 cup shredded Asiago cheese
~ 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
~ 1 box (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and wrung of excess liquid
~ salt and pepper
~ 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
~ 1/4 cup pine nuts or chopped almonds

1.  Wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp cloth. Remove the stems and finely chop.
2.  Pre-heat the oven to 400ºF.

3.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground meat, fennel seed, onion, garlic, lemon zest, half of the cheese, the chopped mushroom stems, breadcrumbs and spinach and season with salt and pepper. Season the mushroom caps as well with salt and pepper, then brush them lightly with EVOO and stuff the mixture into them.
4.  Arrange the stuffed mushrooms on a baking sheet or in a baking dish. Leave some room around each mushroom to prevent the caps from getting steamy. Sprinkle the remaining cheese and nuts on the caps and transfer to the oven.
5.  Bake until the mushrooms are tender and the filling is cooked through, about 25 minutes. 
6.  Serve warm.
*Personal touch - We used ground turkey...it's cheaper than chicken and usually easier to find.  We used chopped almonds for the same reason.  The only pine nuts I could find were somewhere around $14.00 for 1 bag.

** We rate this recipe a 5 star!  We ate it by itself and it was so filling. 

Grilled Smoky Cheddar Potatoes

**Courtesy of Ms. Betty Crocker
**We used this recipe as a side to Grilled Portabella Mushroom Sandwiches

~ 4 medium potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
~ 1/2 teaspoon salt
~ 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
~ 1 cup shredded smoked or regular cheddar cheese
~ 2 tablespoons bacon bits
~ 2 medium green onions, sliced

1.  Heat coals or gas grill for direct heat.
2.  Place potato chunks on 30x18-inch piece of heavy-duty foil.  Sprinkle with salt.  Cut butter into small pieces; sprinkle over potatoes.  Sprinkle with cheese and bacon bits.
3.  Wrap foil securely around potatoes; pierce top of foil once or twice with fork to vent steam.  Cover and grill foil packet, seam side up, over medium heat 45 to 60 minutes or until potatoes are tender.  Sprinkle with onions.
*Personal touch - JP and I did not add the green onions.

** JP and I rate this recipe 4 out of 5 stars.  It was difficult to tell when the potatoes were tender and it took longer to cook than we liked.

Grilled Portabella Mushroom Sandwiches

**Courtesy of Ms. Betty Crocker

Lemon-Herb Basting Sauce
~ 1/2 cup olive or vegetable oil
~ 1 tablespoon chopped fresh (or 1 teaspoon dried) thyme
~ 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
~ 2 tablespoons lemon juice
~ 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

~ 4 fresh large portabella mushroom caps
~ 1 medium red onion, cut into 1/4 inch slices
~ whole wheat hamburger buns
~ lettuce leaves
~ tomato slices

1.  Heat coals or gas grill for direct heat.  In a tightly covered container, shake all basting sauce ingredients.
2.  Brush mushrooms and onion slices with basting sauce.  Cover and grill mushrooms over medium heat 5 minutes.  Add onions.  Cover and grill about 5 minutes, turning and brushing mushrooms and onions with sauce occasionally, until vegetables are tender.
3.  Brush sides of buns with remaining sauce.  Fill each bun with lettuce, mushroom, tomato and onion.
*Personal touch -  We added a slice of pepperjack cheese to each mushroom while on the grill.

** JP and I rate this recipe 5 stars.  (out of 5)

Karlie - 8 months old!

 Our little Karlie-bean is 8 months old today!  Happy birthday sweet pea!

1 day old

4 months old

8 months old

My oh my, how time flies.  It seems like last week we were spending all our time on the floor, trying to teach her how to roll over.  These days, we're still on the floor, but this time we're encouraging the crawling process. 

Her 8-month birthday has proved to be a very exciting day.  Today we noticed her first tooth breaking through her poor little gums!  Once it's really coming through, I'll get a picture of it. 

She's still loving her big-girl food.  Since this list, we've added:
~ kiwi
~ cucumber
~ pluots

In an attempt to spice things up here on the blog, I'm going to start posting some DIY projects, maybe some housework progress/tips, and our new recipes that JP and I are adding to the ol' cooking notebook. 

First up, recipes for the grill, to go along with the hopefully upcoming cooler weather!

Karlie's Room

Well it only took us two and a half months after she was born to complete it, but the nursery is finished! 

Here are a couple of befores:

Here are some pictures from while we were working on it:

And here are the afters:
(I also have to brag on my mom.  She sewed the curtains, the crib skirt,
and is working on the bumber pads for the crib)

Karlie Elisabeth - Part 2

Warning: The following post is not for the faint at heart.  Words and phrases such as epidural, fore-bag, amniotic fluid, cervix, etc. will be used.  Again, things can and will get quite personal.

OK, when I left off, it was around 5 AM and we were on our way to the hospital.  At this point, the best part about going into labor in the wee hours of the morning was rock-star parking at the hospital.  We got a parking spot right next to the door that leads to the walk-way that takes you to the women's center.

JP and I walked to labor and delivery, signed in and got settled into a room.  The first nurse came in, asked a bunch of questions and then used a "magic Q-tip" to make sure it was amniotic fluid coming out of me (it would change color if it was...mine turned black).  After that, Dr. Campbell came in to see if it would really be the day for Karlie to come.  She checked my cervix (now 1.5cm) and I was 80% effaced.  We started making phone calls to family and then the long wait began.

Around 10:00, Dr. Campbell came back in to check on me.  I hadn't progressed and I still wasn't feeling any of my contractions, at all.  She told us she wanted to start me on pitocin.  We had heard a couple of "horror stories" of pitocin and how it causes excruciating contractions, so we talked to her about our concerns.  After talking, we decided she'd give me a very low dose to get me moving along.  I started feeling the contractions very slightly but was still guessing when I was having one.  They felt like a very light menstrual cramp...still completely bearable. 

At 2:00, the contractions were mild and Dr. Campbell wanted to check my cervix again.  I was still only 2 cm, however Dr. Campbell said I had a fore-bag...basically she had to finish breaking my water.  That did it.  Going into this, I wanted to do a natural childbirth.  I wanted to be able to get up and walk around afterwards, basically, not be confined to the bed.  But as I got to 4 cm, it got tough.  I gave it my most valiant effort and got the epidural at 3:00.  A few minutes later, I was enjoying the whole experience again. 

An hour later, Dr. C. came to ask how it was going and I told her I felt much better but was feeling a dull ache on my right side.  She recommended a boost in my epidural and I said yes.  I wish I had asked what it was.  Before the boost, yes, my legs were numb but I still had a little bit of feeling.  After the boost, they were dead.  I couldn't have wiggled my toes if my life depended on it.  My legs got so heavy, it took the nurse and JP to roll me on my other side.  I do not regret the epidural.  I do regret the boost.  However, I was able to talk again, enjoy my family, and my birth experience.  (Next baby, I want to shoot for natural, now that I know what to expect.)

After that, everything seemed to fly by, probably because I was finally able to get some sleep and took advantage of that.  Dr. Campbell came in at 6:30 to check me again and I was finally dilated 10cm and 100% effaced.  Show time. 

I first started pushing at 7:05pm.... 

1 hour and 12 minutes later....

Karlie Elisabeth Policastro
January 24, 2010   8:17 PM
6lbs, 4oz       21 inches long

The Lord truly blessed us with an easy (but long) labor and delivery, a wonderful hospital with an incredible staff (and yummy cafeteria food...seriously), a loving family who dropped everything instantly and drove to Birmingham, and a BEAUTIFUL baby girl who we can no longer live without.

First family photo

Jeremiah 1:5

First family prayer

Karlie Elisabeth - Part 1

Well after considering that the blog said Karlie still had 6 days until her arrival, and after the polite, not-so-subtle hinting (ahem, nagging) from my sisters, I figure it is time for a blog update.
Warning: The following post is not for the faint at heart. Words and phrases, such as urine, water breaking, amniotic fluid, cervix, etc. are included.
Things can and will get quite personal. Feel free to scroll past everything and just look at the pictures.
Our biggest news is that Karlie Elisabeth decided to come 3 weeks and 6 days early. She either couldn't wait to meet her mommy and daddy or she got sick and tired of hearing me complain about how unbelievably uncomfortable she was making me. Maybe I guilted her into coming. I absolutely adored months 1-7 of my pregnancy. I wasn't too crazy about month 8 and apparently month 9 was not for me because I never made it that far.

On Saturday, January 23, JP and I were down in Montgomery celebrating my dad's birthday with the fam and I truly believed I was at my pregnancy limit. My skin literally hurt from being stretched, my ankles were so swollen that when I'd push on them there would be a dent in my skin. Sleep was just a fond memory and I was tired of spending most of my "sleeping" hours in the bathroom instead of in bed. And not to be over-dramatic but I was starting to think NO woman had ever experienced the kind of back pain I had. I had looked up "How to Induce Labor" but hadn't tried any 1. because of lazines, 2. fear of it actually working and being 4 weeks early, and 3. all the sites said not to and I try to be respectfully obedient. The only thing I had done was eaten my fair share of pineapple, in an attempt to "soften my cervix".

Anyway, we left my parent's house that Saturday night to come back to Birmingham, got home at about 11 and were in bed at 11:30. 5 hours later (which was the longest stretch of sleep I had gotten in a LOOONG time...God really knows what He's doing cause He knew I'd need it) I woke up and my legs felt really wet. My first thought: "Great. It's 4:30 in the morning and I lose bladder control..." So I begin the semi-long process of heaving myself out of the bed and into the bathroom. Well, the SECOND I sat up in bed, I went from a little wet to soaked. I ran to the toilet and then it hit me. Waking up JP has never been an easy task, and actually getting him to "come to" proves to be pretty difficult too, but all it took this time was calling his name 4 or 5 times and saying "I think my water broke" and I have NEVER seen him out of bed and by my side so fast.

Trying to remember what we've learned about how to tell whether or not your water breaking, the first thing I remembered was to smell it. If it's urine, it'll smell like urine. If it's odorless, get ready to have a baby. Mine was odorless. JP came back to the bathroom with my phone and said to call the doctor. I called the after-hours line, told the nurse I thought my water just broke, and asked which doctor was on call (Dr. Campbell - when we found that out, we took it as one sign that I was going to have Karlie that night because after meeting Dr. Campbell, we prayed several times that if I did go into labor on my own, that she would be on call, and she was!) After I hung up with the nurse, we waited for Dr. C to call us back with instructions of what to do. She called right away and said to come on in, they would test to see if it was amniotic fluid and if it was, we'd go from there. I asked her if she thought we should pack a bag and she said yes, so there was something else that made me think "Today's the day!"

While we were getting ready to leave (JP was packing our bags and I was doing my hair) doubts really started to pour in. I hadn't had one single contraction yet, not even Braxton Hicks. At my appointment that week, I was dilated 1cm and my cervix was 50% effaced and I didn't think that was enough to really be going into labor yet. All I remember hearing was that women walk around for WEEKS being dilated 1cm, sometimes even more than that. I was sure that I was about to become one of those pregnant women who go to the hospital 10 times before they actually have their baby.

About 30 minutes later (5:00 AM), we were packed, the dogs were outside, I had my towel to sit on in the car, and we were on the way to the hospital!

to be continued... (until then, a picture of Karlie)