Four Months

Dear Riley,

You are four months old, and my goodness how you have grown and changed in the last month! You weigh 14.5 pounds, and you are 25.5 inches long.

4 months

Others may still see you as a little baby, but I already see you as a little person – you have such a personality! You started to laugh out loud this month, and it is such a wonderful sound, I wish I could make you laugh every day. I try, but I’m not always successful. Then other times, I can be doing something completely routine, and you will just crack up. One day I was pulling out a piece of tin foil to heat up leftovers, and that foil had you in stitches as though it was the funniest thing you had ever seen. Tin foil…? Really…? Whatever floats your boat, kiddo!

photo shoot

Model baby!

You also started rolling over from your tummy to your back. I always clap and tell you “good job” when you roll over. At first, you would look at me like ‘what did I do… why are you clapping?’ – but now you’ve started to look at me right when you roll over like ‘ok, go ahead, you can cheer for me now’ – so cute!

Mommy and daddy took you to a few festivals this month. We met up with your Aunt Debbie and Uncle Hal at the Renaissance festival, and then another day we took you to your first seafood festival. You did great, although you weren’t too enthused about the crowds. Anytime the crowds cheered, you would cry – you just didn’t understand why so many people were all yelling at the same time.

With your Aunt Debbie

You also started teething. You love chewing on mommy or daddy’s fingers, and pretty much just about anything else you can put in your mouth – including your feet. Chewing on a foot is seriously one of your favorite pastimes.

chewing feet

feet, feet, yummy yummy feet!

You do this thing that is SO ADORABLE – when I’m changing your diaper, you will grab my hand and try to bring it to your mouth with this little impish grin on your face as if you are doing something sneaky. You crack me up!

Mommy and Riley

My sweet little baby, you are growing up so fast! I wish I could slow you down, but you are just so independent and eager to learn. Next month is sure to bring even more changes – you are almost sleeping through the night, from about 9pm to 5 or 6 in the morning. And you are going to start sitting up soon too!

This has been such an exciting month, mommy decided to put together a little video…

It’s such a thrill to watch you grow, but slow down just a little… please?

Three Months

Dear Riley,

It seems like you were just born a minute ago, and now you’re three months old. Every day I spend with you is so wonderful, I can’t wait to do it all over again the next day. I’m equally torn between wanting to see you grow and change, and wanting you to stay my sweet little baby.

3 months

One of my favorite moments of the day is when I first go into your room in the morning. You stop crying the moment I turn on your light, and when I lean over the side of your crib and our eyes meet, your face bursts into a mega-watt toothless grin that turns me to mush every time.

You love being outdoors, and we go to the park at least once a week so you can enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, and mommy can get some exercise. But you really don’t like being confined to your car seat with the sun in your eyes. Sorry sweet pea, not much I can do about that while I’m driving.

Enjoying the park

Enjoying the park

You are starting to like taking baths, just as long as the air conditioning is off and the water is warm enough – you hate being cold. There’s nothing more adorable than when you’re wrapped up like a burrito in your towel after a bath – and then you try to eat the towel! You want to put everything in your mouth these days – you even try to eat your clothes while I’m trying to dress you, which is pretty hilarious.

Play time

Play time!

nap time

Your favorite way to nap

grabbing feet

Grabbing your feet – a new trick you just learned this week

You’re such a happy baby, you really only fuss when you’re tired. Every once in a while a loud noise will startle you (like one of daddy’s sneezes) and you will cry. To soothe you, I rock you in my arms and pat your back, saying “it’s okay, mommy’s here” and you cuddle with me for a few moments until you calm down. I love being able to make you feel better – it’s one of my favorite things about being a mommy.

mommy time

I love being a mommy to you so much that I decided not to go back to work. That’s right, I’m a stay at home mommy just for you, and I absolutely love my new job! The hours are really tough, but the perks are just priceless…

Music I Need to Share – Morning Parade

Morning Parade is a favorite little group of mine from England. I’ve featured them before here.

They just released another EP and I’m already in love with a couple of the songs. They are coming to the Big Guava Music Festival in Tampa in May – I’m hoping we can take Riley on a road trip for her first concert!

Riley’s Birth Story

Miss Riley’s birth story – it was the most wonderful day of my life, so of course I want to share the story with everyone.   However, this story has some very personal details, and I’ve struggled with whether I should divulge them to the entire Internet.   If you would rather not know all the gory details, you can skip this post.  Otherwise, read on because I’ve decided to share it all.

It all started on December 11th at 5pm.  I had been wrapping Christmas gifts for a few hours and decided to take a break.  As I walked down the hall toward my bedroom, I started to feel like my water had broken.  I calmly went to the bathroom to check, and discovered my water had not broken – I was bleeding.  A lot.  I called Kenny right away to tell him we had to get to the hospital, FAST.  During my pregnancy, I had been diagnosed with Placenta Previa, which means the placenta is lying over the cervix.  In my case, the placenta had eventually pulled away from the cervix just enough for my doctors to believe that I could avoid having a c-section and deliver naturally.  However, the placenta was still close enough to the cervix that there was a risk I might start bleeding during delivery, and depending on how much bleeding there was, this could be very dangerous for me and the baby.

So, off to the hospital we went.  I had started having contractions immediately after the bleeding started, and I was convinced I would be admitted right away.  I was wrong – the hospital staff did not seem all that concerned about my bleeding.  Apparently, what seemed like a shitload of blood to me, was no big deal to the labor and delivery nurses.  Even with my diagnosis of marginal placenta previa, they felt the amount of bleeding I had was pretty normal and not cause for too much concern (unless it got worse, of course).  I was only 2 centimeters dilated, and after being told to walk around the hospital for an hour and not dilating any further, I was told to go home and come back when the contractions worsened.

Back home we went – contractions, bleeding and all.  My contractions were getting worse, but the bleeding had actually pretty much stopped, so I labored at home for as long as possible so that I wouldn’t be sent home again from the hospital.  By 4am I had had enough.  My pain had been about a 4 on a scale of 10 when we had left the hospital, and now my contractions were a big giant TEN.  I woke Kenny up and we began the arduous trip back to the hospital – the drive back was a special kind of torture – every bump, stop and turn was horrendous!

Back at the hospital, I was told I was 3.5 centimeters dilated.  REALLY?  I couldn’t believe that after about 12 hours of contractions, I had only progressed by a centimeter and a half.  I was scared to death they were going to send me back home again when I heard the most wonderful words I could ever dream of…  “you can have an epidural any time you want.”   YES – Now Please!

Feeling good after the epidural

It still took a couple of hours to get admitted and get the epidural – all in all, I labored naturally for 14 hours.  Eeep.  Finally, with my epidural flowing, birds chirping, and angels singing, I was able to sleep.  For about an hour.  I was just too excited and nervous to really sleep.  I kept looking at the monitor watching my contractions come and go.  They never did get all that close together, but before I knew it, I was starting to feel my contractions again.  The epidural was wearing off.  The anesthesiologist came back in and said she was “topping me off.”  Sure, whatever, as long as I don’t feel anything.

About two hours later, I started feeling pressure, like I needed to push, so I called for the nurse.  Sure enough, I was finally 10 centimeters dilated.  With every contraction I was feeling more and more.  A few contractions later, I realized my worst fear – the epidural had now completely worn off and it was too late to do anything about it.  It was time to push.

The next 45 minutes were the most surreal of my life.  I had dreamed about the birth of my baby all through my pregnancy – I would have only Kenny and my doctor or midwife in the room and no one else – everyone else could wait outside – I didn’t want a giant audience.  And I would not scream or moo like a cow, I would get an epidural, and would give birth quietly without losing my dignity.  That was my birth plan.  Simple.

Right.  So the room was full of people – the doctor, a midwife I had never met before, my husband, my mother in law, and a slew of other hospital staff.  Kenny told me later that at least two of the nurses in the room had just decided to come in to observe because they had never seen a natural delivery before.  I had an audience.  A big one.  But I didn’t care – all I could think about was the pain.  Oh, the pain!  It was so extreme, I couldn’t do anything but scream – I had lost the ability to speak.  All I could do was scream and moan and scream some more.  Dignity was out the window.

In the end, I was glad to have all those people in the room – they were cheering me on, encouraging me to push harder, push harder…  I could hear the nurses marveling that I was doing all of this without pitocin, without an epidural, and that I was doing this well without ever having done it before.  I was miserable and wanted to give up – I wanted to scream at the doctor to stop and give me a c-section – but the crowd in the room kept me going, letting me know I was getting closer and closer to my goal, that it was almost over.

And then suddenly, it was…  My baby girl was born at 3:56 p.m. on December 12th.  I had labored for 23 hours, and had delivered my baby completely naturally without any drugs.  It was not my plan, but I wouldn’t change a thing.  I was flooded with endorphins, and just started weeping uncontrollably.  My baby was so beautiful, and oh my god, the pain was gone….  I felt high with love and accomplishment.  All I could do was stare at my baby and bask in the flood of emotions I was feeling.

So in love

I had absolutely no idea that I was actually in danger.  The doctor was saying something about the placenta, and I didn’t care.  I just wanted him to finish what he was doing so I could have my baby in my arms. All the while I was hemorrhaging. My condition had evolved into Placenta Accreta. My placenta was stuck to the wall of my uterus, and instead of detaching the way it should have, it was still attached and pumping my blood to a baby that was no longer there. The doctor had attempted to pull the placenta out himself (which was even more painful to me than the entire labor experience) but he was unsuccessful.

Next thing I knew, I was being whisked to the operating room. My doctor was saying “I’m going to remove your uterus if I have to, do you understand” and “do you agree to have a blood transfusion…” Finally, I was beginning to realize the reality of my situation. I could hear my heart rate on the monitors and it was way too fast. I looked over at my hand as they were strapping me to the operating table and saw that it was sheet white. I had a few moments then of absolute fear… my heart was beating so fast I thought I might have a heart attack and die…

They were moments from opening me up to remove my uterus and giving me a blood transfusion. But luckily, my doctor tried one more time to remove the placenta by hand, and this time he was successful. Let me just say – my doctor rocks!

I spent the night in the recovery room, and Riley spent the night in the nursery. It was a rough start for us – we didn’t get to bond right away the way I had hoped. And my recovery from her birth was long and hard. But we are both healthy today and that’s all that matters. I had a rough pregnancy and a rough delivery, but it was all worth it – every single bit – to have my baby Riley. I’d do it all over again for her if I had to, no question. That day is still the best day of my life – it was the day I met my daughter…

Two Months

Dear Riley, you are two months old already!  You weigh 11 pounds, 10 ounces, and you are 24.5 inches long. You are so big – you’ve already been wearing your 3 months clothes for several weeks.  I feel like you grew overnight, and suddenly one day I realized you were no longer a newborn.

You’ve had another amazing month.  You smile a lot now – and my oh my, your smiles LIGHT THE WORLD!  I want to spend the rest of my life just trying to make you smile because of how wonderful it makes me feel.   You coo and babble almost all the time – you have so much to say!


All Smiles!

The many faces of Riley

You are learning so much every day, especially how to grab things.  I love to watch the sheer delight on your face when you manage to grab your little pink bear toy and work it up to your mouth.  You play on your gym mat every day, and you are learning how to kick at the toys that hang above you when you lay on the mat.

Another big thing happened this month – you started sleeping in your crib!  You are such a good sleeper – you sleep for about 7 hours before waking up to eat, and then you go back to sleep for a few more hours.

Doing some heavy thinking while napping in your cradle

In love with your new Pooh-Bear mobile

One day mommy discovered you had a fever.  You had an infection in your bladder, and the doctor decided you should stay in the hospital for two days to get antibiotics through and IV.  That was tough – mommy and daddy hated to see you feel bad.  But you really lived up to your name – “Riley” means “courageous” – and you were so calm and definitely brave.  You were back to your smiley chatty self in a snap.

my poor baby!

My little Riley bug, every morning I wake up I’m so excited to spend the day with you.  It’s amazing how every tiny little part of you is just so awesome to me.  You probably don’t know yet just how MUCH I love you, but you will – I promise!

My little angel – I love you!

One Month

Dear Riley,

You are already one month old – I can’t believe it!

one month

I know it’s pointless, but I keep begging you not to grow up too fast. I adore your little fingers and feet, your growing little belly, your long slim arms and legs, and your perfect little face. I stare often into your blue eyes and wonder what color they will be. I try to soak you in as much as possible because you are changing every single day.

You have had a big first month – you met your Aunt Sarah, Uncle Mike, and cousins Natalie, Megan and Vivian; you met your Uncle Chuck and Aunt Anna from San Francisco; and you spent four days with your Aunt Debbie. You also met your Uncle Jay who came to stay with us for a whole week. You even celebrated your first Christmas and New Years.


You and your Aunt Sarah

Aunt Debbie

You and your Aunt Debbie

Uncle Jay

You and your Uncle Jay

You already sleep through the night, waking up once to eat. And when you wake up in the morning, you are always in such a good mood. You love having your diaper changed – you like to babble and gurgle the whole time. You also really enjoy your morning swing time. You kick your legs, swing your arms, and talk to the little sheep that spin above your head. You’ve even given us a few adorable little smiles!

Your mommy and daddy love you so much – you are the best thing to ever happen to us. We can’t wait to see what changes the next month brings – just as long as it doesn’t happen too fast!


We love you Riley bug!

Riley Jordan Manheimer

Miss Riley arrived on December 12th, five days past her due date. She weighed 8 pounds 13 ounces at birth and was 21 and a half inches long. Today she is already one week old!


My sweet pea – finally!

Riley and I have spent the week settling in at home, and getting used to breastfeeding. Riley is enjoying lots of daddy time and daily visits with her Pops and her Glory (Grandma Lori).

Daddy time

Napping with daddy


Riley with her Pops


And Hillary…


Riley with her Glory

She even got to meet her Grandpa Freeman.

Grandpa Freeman

She was pretty excited about it!

She has already had her first trip to the pediatrician, as well as her first walk in her stroller.


Out for our first stroll

Time is just flying… I will try to write her birth story soon!

1 week

My little Riley Bug

40 Weeks!

40 weeks pregnant and still cooking! Sweet pea is giving everyone a lesson on patience…

40 weeks

I look really tired in this picture – wow! I feel good, but yes – I do feel tired. I’m ready to have this baby already. I’m anxiously awaiting contractions to begin, and feeling like I’m just going to be pregnant forever. Of course I know I won’t really be pregnant forever, but every day feels like a frickin eternity at this point.

Friday is the day though – if my little one can’t decide on her own to make an entrance, my doctors will serve her with her official eviction notice and induce me. So, my next post should include an actual baby – woohoooo!

Finally… an end to this pregnancy and my baby girl in my arms – I seriously can’t wait!!

38 Weeks

38 weeks pregnant and counting the days! Sweet pea is the size of a pumpkin real baby – and she’s all curled up in my belly… that is just so WILD.

38 weeks pregnant

Ready to get this show on the road!

Weight gain - I actually lost one pound this week, which is considered normal at this point in a pregnancy. When your stomach is literally being squished as flat as a pancake, I guess it gets a little harder to gorge yourself. Lucky me!

Symptoms - I started my maternity leave this week, and let me tell you – not having to drag myself into work anymore is making a big difference in how I feel – yay! My feet look better, and I feel more refreshed. I could really get used to this!

Cravings – Just ice cream right now – fits better into my pancake flat stomach. =]

Stretch marks – I hate these stretch marks. I’m trying to ignore them as much as possible. Maybe they will just go away…? *sigh*

Movement - Sweet pea is doing her baby yoga – lots of stretching going on in there.

What I miss – Not feeling like a blimp. I had a dream last night that just one week after giving birth I already had a super flat tummy. I looked so awesome, I didn’t want to wake up!

What I’m looking forward to – A great Thanksgiving meal tomorrow! We are getting our first cool front tonight, so we should have some nice cool weather tomorrow – I’m super excited about that! And after dinner, Kenny and I will start walking the neighborhood – I’m hoping that walking a bit every night will encourage our little sweet pea to join us sooner than later!

Almost done now… just waiting patiently to meet our little baby girl!

36 Weeks and Nursery Reveal

I’m 36 weeks pregnant – sweet pea is about 7 pounds according to the doctor (HOLY SHIT), and apparently the size of a small butterball turkey – just in time for Thanksgiving!!


36 weeks pregnant

That’s my mini-butterball!

Weight gain - 44 pounds.  Eeeep.  Kenny went with me to the doctor the other day and I wouldn’t let him look at the scale when I got on it.  Some things just need to stay sacred.

Symptoms - Swollen feet:  my feet swell just about every day (although, curiously they did not swell much over the three day weekend I just had – so…  seems like working 5 days a week is somewhat of a factor).  Sleep:  I decided to start sleeping in an upright position, propped up by a bunch of pillows, and hell to the yay – it works!  I get about 4- 5 hours of solid sleep before waking up to go to the bathroom.  I feel so much better!  New symptom – carpal tunnel:  my fingers on my right hand  started to tingle and feel numb at times, and I was told I should wear a brace while I sleep to help with this.  At first I was reluctant since I don’t want to mess with my new-found GLORIOUS sleep pattern.  But the tingling and numbness got worse, and I have a friend that actually needed to have surgery (twice) on her wrist due to pregnancy induced carpal tunnel syndrome, so with that in mind, I bought the brace.  It’s not so bad – I’m still able to sleep with it on, and it does seem to be helping.

Cravings – Oh my raspberry danish, how I love you…  but alas, our love affair must soon come to an end.  Sniff…

Stretch marks – Ugh.  Guess what I found hiding underneath my enormous belly…  BOOOO….  Thankfully, they are small, and they are very low, so I’m hopeful they won’t really show once I’m ready to don a bikini again.

Movement - Sweet pea is still head down and squirmy as ever.  She gets really active right after I’ve eaten dinner and really starts kicking the crap out of me.  I guess it just feels so intense because she’s so big already.  Does her size mean she might arrive early?  Maybe?

What I miss – A nice glass of wine!

What I’m looking forward to – holding and adoring my sweet pea.  In the beginning I felt like the pregnancy was taking forever – 9 months felt like SO LONG…  and now here we are!  In a funny way, it feels like it went by so fast!

The Nursery:

Nursery 1

nursery 2

These pictures aren’t the greatest, but you get the idea. I LOVE how her nursery came out, and I’m looking forward to all the time I’ll be spending in there with her.