Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Getting so big!

Rylee has kept me quite busy between her colic and reflux. We have had doctor's appointments seemingly at least twice a week AND work has already convinced me to start working at least 2 hours a day to get things organized there because they miss me so much. I'm a little sad about this because I want to spend as much time with Rylee as I can before going back to work full time! I know it's only two hours, and it IS better than getting NO money at all...but still.

At our doctor's visit last week, Rylee weighed in at 5lbs 8oz (down 4oz since the previous appointment). She lost a little weight which was a bit concerning to me, so hopefully she pics it back up by the time we go to the doctor next week!

I took her to the Pulmonologist to get her monitor checked a couple of weeks ago, and he confirmed that any apnea alarms she had were false! We did have a few low heart rate alarms in the beginning, mostly during feedings, but she is completely past all of that now! She eats like a champ and is much more alert. She still can't hold her head up or do much of anything else besides destroy EVERY.SINGLE.DIAPER and keep me awake at the most inconvenient times, but she is amazing. I love just staring at her and watching her facial expressions. She unknowingly smiles A LOT now (especially in her sleep). It's so cute! :D

Did I mention before that we decided to cloth diaper Rylee? Poo on disposables and all the money they cost! We have been using mostly prefolds and covers with a few extra small FuzziBunz pocket diapers in the mix. I have an entire stash for when she gets bigger, but she probably wont be in any of the other diapers for a couple more weeks. It has been super easy so far! I do a load of laundry every day just because I didn't buy a TON of prefolds, and I don't mind at all. I have to do laundry anyway, so what's one more load!?

(excuse all of the cell phone pics!)
Rylee wearing her Rumparooz newborn cover with a prefold

Taken yesterday morning before her diaper change. She was giving me stink eyes for taking too long!
Showing off one of her new cloth diapers Grandma bought. Dad approves.
Chillin on the couch with mom and a jealous Loki

Monday, December 19, 2011

Much needed update!

Age: 71 days, 10 weeks
Gestational Age: 38 weeks

It's been awhile since I've updated!

We got to bring our precious baby home on Tuesday November 22nd. We didn't expect her to come home until at least December, so it was quite a shock to me when I walked into the NICU on the 21st for my normal 11am visit, when the doctor asked if I was ready to take her home. Since she was still having a few apnea and low heart rate issues, they wanted us to room-in with her that night just to see how she would do without a bunch of nurses stepping in all night long.

That afternoon, we met with a man from a company who provides apnea monitors to give us a run-down of what we would have to bring home with us. Rylee needed to be on a monitor because she was still having a few episodes here and there. We got our lesson and went home to take care of the dogs. 

Monday night, we grabbed a few things, and went back to the hospital and were escorted to a hospital room with a bed and a couch. Rylee's nurse brought her into the room in her crib, hooked her up to the hospital monitors and the monitor we were given to take home, and left us to our own devices. We were to feed her on our own, change her and basically pretend like we were home.

The hospital monitor was being a piece of junk, and the nurse was having a hard time getting it to pick up her O2 stats, so she was coming in and out of the room rather frequently to make sure everything was ok. Around 10pm, she came in to do a check, and took Rylee's temperature. It was very low. She said if her temp didn't go back up after wrapping her in a couple more blankets, that she would have to go back to the NICU and wouldn't be going home.

Around 1am, she came back in to take Rylee's temperature again and it still wasn't up to snuff. She apologized and wheeled Rylee back into the NICU to get her warmed up. We packed up our stuff and went home.

I went back to the hospital on Tuesday at 11am thinking she wouldn't be coming home for awhile.... The doctor came in to do her normal update, and told me she thought Rylee would be fine to come home! We would just need to keep her extra warm and monitor her temperature for a couple of days. I excitedly called Zac and told him to come home early. Our baby was coming home!!!! I visited with her for awhile, then went home to prepare.

We went back to the hospital again in the early afternoon to do the car seat test and talk to the nurses about her discharge instructions. The test went great! She looked SOOOO tiny in the huge carseat.It swallowed her up!

After the car seat test, we got her discharge summary, and were able to go! It was amazing to be taking her home so soon!!! I was so worried! She was so tiny and fragile. 

Bringing her home was great. She was super quiet, slept a lot and just wanted to cuddle. Oh how I want that night back! I need more cuddles.

And sleep. ;)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Little piggy

Age: 23 days
Gestational Age: 31 weeks 2 days

Rylee has been doing SOOO well! She is up to 3 pounds and an ounce or two now!!!

Today they started testing her without the nasal cannula to see how she does without it. She still needs it during holding time, but for long spurts during the day today she didn't have one at all!

I love seeing her little face without tubes all over it!

Shortly after this picture, she had to have the cannula put back in. She also graduated from the larger cannula to a smaller one hooked up to less equipment! In the beginning, she was getting about 3 liters of oxygen a minute and was breathing upwards of 40% oxygen. It slowly went down... and now she is at 21% oxygen (which is basically room air, and what we breathe) and at 1/2 a liter a minute! She is no longer getting air that is being warmed. It pumped into her nose from a little machine that warmed it and basically acted like a humidifier, but it sometimes pushed little water bubbles into her nose and she hated it! Now it's just room temp water being used to filter the air so no more bubbles!

Original oxygen machine. The humidifier is the little grey and blue thing
at the bottom with the bubble on top.
And here's the machine she's on now! WAY less clutter and less wires
and tubes going every where!
She also took her first bottle today, and yesterday I was able to start trying to breastfeed!! For now, they are going to try one bottle and one breast feeding attempt per day. The boob time yesterday wasn't with much success, but she did swallow little drops of milk. She was just too tired and kept falling asleep. Today she did much better on the boob, trying to suck a little more but never latched on. Still progress!

The bottle feeding however, was a completely different story! She did amazingly! She explored the bottle at first, tasting the milk and licking it, then dove right in and sucked it all down like a little pig! I'm so happy she is progressing in some areas so quickly! Hopefully tomorrow will be better with boobie time and she will continue to do well on the bottle so we can get the stupid feeding tube out!!! Breast feeding with the feeding tube in is hard because it gets in the way of her tongue and prevents her from sucking properly.

Here's a quick little video of her taking the bottle like a little champ! :D

Thursday, October 27, 2011

No more IV!

Age: 18 days
Gestational Age: 30 weeks 4 days

Rylee's IV was taken out on Tuesday the 25th. Her little arm looks so much better without all that tape and tubes coming out of it! It's so much easier for me to hold her to because I don't have to worry about hurting her little arm.

She is up to 22cc's of breast milk today, and tonight will be getting 22 calories added into her milk so she can fatten up!! Since she is no longer receiving fluids and nutrients through the IV, they have to add protein supplements to the milk so she gets enough calories.

I got to give her a bath for the first time (my first time, not her first bath) on Tuesday as well. She HATED it. But it was so cute! She squirmed her little body ALL over the place and cried almost the entire time. I felt bad for making her mad, but it was so cute!

In the next week or two, we should be able to start dressing Rylee in tiny little baby clothes and her nasal cannula might come out! The clothes have to be one piece button front with holes for the feet, or those layette dress things so there is room for the leads to come out. I'm not sure how everything is going to fit her, but I'm bringing some clean ones tonight to compare. :) I'm also bringing some of her small blankets so she has some cute stuff in her Isolette!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fattening up!

Age: 15 days
Gestational Age: 30 weeks 1 day

Rylee continues to do amazingly! She is up to 16cc's of breast milk already! The doctor said she should (hopefully) be off of the IV fluids completely by tomorrow. YAAAAAAAY! Once she is off of the IV, she will be solely on breast milk. They will be fortifying the breast milk with extra protein and nutrients which will help her gain weight even faster. Hopefully she will start drinking tons of milk when she gets home because we're running low on freezer space.

As of a day ago, she was just shy of 2lbs 10oz. Almost to her birth weight!!!!

Over a week ago, they did a sonogram on her head to see if there was any bleeding or issues with development. Some bleeding is apparently very common in preemies because their brains and blood vessels aren't developed enough. The bleeds, or hemorrhages, are graded from 1 to 4 according to the severity of the bleeding. Small amounts of bleeding (grades 1 to 2) don't typically cause any long-term damage but larger amounts of bleeding (grades 3 to 4) DO cause long-term problems. Grades 3 and 4 cause blood clots that can block the circulation system for the cerebrospinal fluid. These blockages are called hydrocephalus. Fortunately for Rylee, she was only a grade 2 over a week ago. As of this past Friday, her bleed was already resolving itself and getting smaller! They are going to repeat the sonogram in 2 weeks to check it again. Let's hope it's completely gone by then!!

She seems to be filling out a bit, and looks less alien-like and more like a mini baby. :) Her blonde hair is also getting lighter. I really hope it doesn't fall out. It's so pretty!

Doing the Kangaroo Care has been going well. She is still having apnea issues, (she stops breathing and often times her heart rate drops drastically too) so we have to quickly stimulate her and get her heart rate and breathing back up. Usually all it takes is a couple firm taps on the back, or a pinch or two to the feet (which I HATE doing), and she wakes up and remembers to breathe. She has had a few episodes while in the Isolette too. As her muscles grow, and it gets easier for her to take deep breaths, the apnea should go away.

During our morning visit today, I was able to Kangaroo with her for over an hour and a half! And she had no real apnea issues, although her oxygen did drop a little low a few times...a couple rubs on the back and she was back up and running!

Hopefully our visit tonight goes well!

Here is a picture from this morning! Sleeping like her mama. :D

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

OK Day

Age: 10 days
Gestational Age: 29 weeks 4 days

Zac and I went to the hospital this morning to see Rylee. When we got there, her nurse never came up to us like they normally do which was a little annoying. She wasn't very attentive (and so far, my least favorite nurse she has had). We changed her little diaper and took her temperature, then waited while the nurse fed her through her feeding tube. She was up to 7cc's of breast milk this morning!

After almost an hour of waiting around, we finally were able to get her out of the Isolette. I did Kangaroo Care with her for about 20 minutes before having to put her back. She kept alarming on her oxygen levels, and was falling short of what she should be between (85-99). She kept falling into the low 70's and even with additional oxygen being pumped into her nasal cannula, she was taking too long to recover so we put her back into the Isolette and said our good-byes. :(

The wound care specialist also came by today to check my incision. She said it is healing nicely so far. I have about an inch on the left side that is already closed and scabbing over, but there is a tiny bit of fluid behind it, so hopefully that pushes its way out and nothing bad happens. The rest of the incision is still open quite a bit and it's disgusting. I'd post a pic, but I don't think anyone wants to see.. If you do, let me know and I'll send it!

We decided to skip the night visit tonight because I am extremely exhausted. I feel so bad and guilty for not visiting her at least twice a day... I know she doesn't know what's going on yet, but my conscience still weighs heavy on me. I know I need to rest though! Mom is useless to baby if she doesn't heal!! And it's good for Rylee to rest too. Especially after her little episodes with the morning visit.

She should be getting 2 more cc's of food between 11pm tonight and our morning visit tomorrow so she will be up to 9cc's! Halfway there to the 18-22 cc's they want her to be at before removing her central line IV and take her off of the fluid and supplements they are giving her right now.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Rylee Quinn- October 9th, 2011- 2lbs 11oz, 15.2 inches long

In lieu of wedding stuff, I wanted to share a different story so family and friends could better understand what happened.(This is very long, just to warn you!!)

Zac and I found out we were expecting  right after we returned from our honeymoon. Oops! :) Our first little baby, Rylee Quinn was due January 1st, 2012.

We knew from the beginning that this pregnancy could and probably would have complications, but hoped we would be lucky and not experience any of them. Unfortunately, I have a Bicornuate Uterus so it complicates things. This means that instead of having a whole uterus with 2 fallopian tubes going to it, I have a wall in the middle that separates the uterus into two parts, each part having it's own fallopian tube and ovary. There are different degrees of a BU, and mine isn't as severely separated as some, but it's still not ideal. With a BU, there is an extremely high risk for pre-term labor and babies being born with low birth weight.In addition to the funky uterus, I ALSO have a cervical membrane (so basically two cervices) AND a vaginal septum. Which means, no matter what, I would never be able to deliver a baby naturally.

Everything was going fabulous throughout the beginning of the pregnancy. No complications, no morning sickness (just didn't want to eat!) and  Rylee was growing properly, stomping on my bladder and being happy. I made it to 26 weeks before I started having problems.

On September 29th at 26 weeks and a couple of days, I had a sonogram scheduled to  measure my cervical length because I was having some pains in my legs and vaginal area. The doctor suspected it could just be round ligament pain, but wanted me to get the cervical length measurement just in case. I went in, laid down on the table and they began the sonogram. As soon as the Tech inserted the probe, she jumped back and said "WHOA!" Baby's foot was IN my cervix. A couple of seconds later, I felt a huge kick in my lower pelvic area, and the technician screamed "She just kicked me!!!" Rylee showed the Tech who was boss.

Unfortunately as cute and funny as this was, it was also very bad. My cervix had begun to funnel and thin out. A normal cervix is 3-5cm thick, and mine was 4mm thick. Not much left at all. At any time, Rylee could kick again and cause my cervix to rupture and open, and I would be in full on labor. The tech called in my doctor, who called in another doctor and a nurse, and they all decided it would be best to admit me to the hospital so they could monitor myself and Rylee and make sure I didn't go into labor.

Being in the hospital was pretty miserable. No sleep, people in the room constantly, shots, IVs more shots... They gave me two steroid shots to make Rylee's lungs mature faster in case she decided to just come out already, and started giving me Magnesium to slow down/stop contractions. The weird thing was, I NEVER felt any contractions UNTIL they gave me the Magnesium! They weren't bad, but I could definitely feel them, and it felt very weird. They started from my belly button, and radiated out across my stomach. It felt like my stomach kept falling asleep and tightening then it would loosen and go away.

I stayed in the hospital until Saturday, October 1st. The doctor's let me leave, with STRICT orders to be on bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy. No work, no cleaning (ack), no cooking (oh no!), NOTHING! I could get up to go to the bathroom, shower every 2 days, and go to the doctor. I was ready to poke my eyeballs out before even going home, but it was the right thing to do! I was prescribed Procardia to keep any contractions at bay, and sent on my merry way!

From October 1st to October 7th, I sat in my bed like a good pregnant woman and worked from home, watched tv and relaxed. Saturday October 8th, we had some friends bring us lunch, so I went downstairs and parked my butt on the porch to relax and hang out a bit. I had been feeling some little cramps since Friday night, but I thought it was the round ligament pain again being a pain. By Saturday, they started to get worse, and I had a horrible mucous discharge... and when I say HORRIBLE, I mean realllllly horrible. I called Zac's brother's wife who has a sister who is a NICU nurse to ask if she had any suggestions... the consensus was to call the doctor, so I did.

When I finally got to talk to my doctor, she mentioned that I had a bacterial infection that they found in my last visit, and told me someone should have called in a prescription for me that past Friday... No one ever did, and booooy was she pissed! She told me to go ahead and come in so we packed up a bag quickly and ran out the door. The cramps were slowly getting more and more painful, but they never felt like the contractions I had the first time I was hospitalized.

We were at the hospital for about 45 minutes before my doctor finally came in. The cramps were still pretty painful, and when she checked my cervix she said I was 1cm dilated and they would have to admit me again. About an hour later, I was put into a room where I'd be staying for an undetermined amount of time. The whiny part of me was so mad that I had to share a room with someone this time around. How was I going to have visitors and people to keep me sane without disrupting my roommate?!

Luckily I have an amazing husband, and he sat with me in the hospital until midnight on Saturday, then went home to sleep and was back in the A.M to keep me company. Unfortunately, throughout the night, my cramps got more and more painful... and to top it off, I was starting to get feverish. By Sunday, October 9th around 10am, I was having uncontrollable shakes, chills and profusely sweating all at the same time. IT.WAS.AWFUL! I had a pretty crappy nurse through the night, and kept telling her I didn't feel well, and she just brushed it off. After the shift change, I had a much better nurse who was very sympathetic about m y pain and checked my temperature often. after a couple of hours, my fevers started getting worse, and by around 430pm, I had a fever of 102.4. The nurse called the doctor, and by 5pm she was in the room checking my cervix.

I was 8cm dilated, and very sick at this point. They had been pumping me full of antibiotics, but they didn't seem to be helping. The doctor told me that it was time to have our baby for fear of further infection, and also let me know that I had a very severe infection in my uterus. The next 44 minutes went by VERY quickly. I was prepped for surgery, Zac was dressed in those throwaway scrubs and we were escorted to the operating room.

Because of my back issues (bulging disc and pinched nerves), they did a spinal instead of an epidural. This was by far the worst part so far. The Anesthesiologist who was on call was late, so they had to have a 4th year resident do it. She must not have done it a lot, or my back was being a pain because I swear she stuck me a bagillion times! By the time she was done, they laid me down on the table and the doctor stated that my water had broken. They needed to get the baby out ASAP!

At 5:44pm on October 9th, 2011, Rylee was plucked from my womb and handed off to the NICU doctor. She had the cord wrapped around her neck two and a half times, but the doctor's and nurses didn't seem alarmed, and had it off of her in seconds. She was perfectly pink, so I don't think it was tight. I remember hearing the NICU doctor yell with excitement "She's breathing on her own!!" which made me sooo happy! Zac got to go over and see her as she was being cleaned off and weighed. She was SO TINY!!! She weighed in at 2lbs 11oz and was 15.2 inches long. Apparently on the larger side for a 28 week old baby!

Even though Rylee could breathe on her own, they put in a nasal cannula to help has get a little extra oxygen in. I was so relieved she didn't have to be intubated. I think that would have made it so much harder to have her taken out of the room. Zac got to go with the doctor and nurses to the NICU while my doctor began sewing me up.

They hooked Rylee up to a CPAP machine to give her a little extra oxygen boost, and inserted an IV and arterial line into her umbilical cord. She was put in her new Isolette home for safe keeping.

After being sewed up, I spent about 2 hours in recovery until I could feel my legs again. Once I was able to move my legs a little more and a room opened up, I was wheeled into the NICU on my hospital bed to see Rylee for a brief second. I could only see her feet though, and was able to touch them for a minute. They then wheeled me into my room where I spent the next week having fluids and drugs pumped into my system.

I found out Monday that I had had something called Chorioamnionitis. The only treatment is to deliver the baby and administer antibiotics. As a result of me being infected, baby Rylee unfortunately contracted an infection too. I'm guessing the infection stemmed from the bacterial infection I had, and it just got progressively worse over the week I was on bed rest, until I was admitted the second time.

I didn't get to really see Rylee until the 11th because of my fevers. But when I was finally able to see her, it was amazing. She was so tiny and fragile and there were wires coming off of her everywhere. It was a little overwhelming at first, but I was so excited to finally see my baby.  Up until this point, I had only seen the pictures my sister and Zac had taken of her.
Tiny little baby hand!
Wearing Zac's ring on her arm
Finally getting to really see her for the first time!! (below)
Before being able to touch her, a grumpy nurse lectured me...
One of my favorite pictures!
Blowin bubbles!!
I was so happy to finally see her. I was told we could hold her the next day, which really got my spirits up!I was supposed to be able to hold her on the 11th, but because of my fevers, I had to wait a bit. At 2am on Wednesday, I got to go hold my baby. It was even more amazing than seeing her! We did Kangaroo Care, where you hold the baby skin-to-skin. You can keep them outside of the Isolette much longer this way because your body temperature is helping to keep theirs up. She was so soft!

Over the first week, both of us received a slew of antibiotics. I fought off fever after fever, and my discharge date was pushed back from Wednesday to Thursday, then to Friday. I slept in a hospital bed for 6 days waking up drenched in sweat from sweating out fevers, only to have my temperature spike again a couple of hours later.

Thursday morning, the doctor who performed my c-section came to remove my staples. When she got there, she said there was a lot of fluid built up behind my incision, and she would need to open it up. YUCK. This was around 8am, and Zac was still asleep on the couch next to my hospital bed... he slept through her removing 9 of the 10 staples with ease, and fighting with the 10th one to come out. I screamed and cried out in pain, and he slept. She got a long q-tip out to open up my incision, and opened it like it was an ffing letter and she was using a letter opener. It.hurt.so.bad!!! And still Zac slept. When the last 1/2 an inch was left, he finally woke up from hearing my cries. I still can't believe he was able to sleep through all of it. She opened the rest of the incision, and I could feel fluid spilling out. It was disgusting. She then packed it with gauze, taped it up and went on her merry way. About an hour later, my normal OB came in for rounds, and was appalled that the staples had been removed so early... (sigh) Later on that day, a wound care specialist came in to assess my incision and give us instructions on how to take care of it. They removed the gauze and tape used to cover it up, then got down to the gauze that was stuffed inside my incision. It was VERY dry, yet saturated with fluid and blood...and it was stuck inside my incision. This next part was probably the most painful part of being in the hospital so far...they pulled out the gauze slowly. It felt like ripping off a band aid while your skin is on fire. The nurse and wound care lady couldn't believe it was done that way, and frankly, neither could I. It hurt so much! They showed us how to pack the wound properly. Zac was excited to learn how to do it as well. I'm so glad he isn't squeamish!

FINALLY by Thursday evening after all the torture, I hadn't had a fever in 24 hours, so it was looking like I would be able to go home on Friday, October 14th.

The on-call doctor came in Friday morning and told me I could go home if I felt up to it. I wanted to go home SO badly, but didn't want to be far away from my baby. We went down to the NICU and visited her for a few minutes, then Zac packed all of our stuff, and we were ready to go home! We decided we would spend an hour or so in the NICU first though before leaving. It was bittersweet! I held her before going home and cuddled her soft, tiny little body.

As of today, October 18th, Rylee is doing amazing! She is now taking 5cc's of breast milk through her feeding tube, and she is still breathing on her own with a little extra air being pumped in through the nasal cannula. Mommy and daddy take turns doing Kangaroo Care, and we try to make it to the NICU at least twice a day! I love my teeny little baby and I can't wait until she comes home!

Thursday, June 23, 2011


I know I have been a very, very, very bad blogger in the last month... but holy crapoly maaaaan! I have been SO busy and SO exhausted it's not even funny. I started two online classes that I think get's their homework assignments from the Devil, am in the process of switching jobs (start the new one MONDAY!), and have had some other life changing things happen that I will discuss at a later date.

On another note...how the hell do you combine multiple videos taken from an iPhone, rotate them so you don't have to stare at your screen sideways, and make them viewable? I have a "full" video (in 4 parts right now) of the bridal party entrances that my cousin taped with his phone, but can't get them together.. hrmm.

Also, our pictures came. *smashes head on desk* NOT happy. Not happy in the slightest, teeniest, minute-est bit. The majority of them are extremely washed out by the way overpowering remote flashes he set up. They look rushed and thoughtless. The composition is crap too. All the beautiful pictures we saw in his albums are not the pictures we got from our wedding. Now I will admit, there are a handful of good pictures that he took, but there is something in all of them composition wise that makes me cringe and think "if he had just asked so-and-so to move their foot or hand, or stand a little differently, the picture would be SO much better!"

He missed so many important things all together... like the reaction on our faces when we saw each other for the first time. All we got was a picture of me walking up, then us hugging afterwards. WHAT THE FLYING FUUUCK YO?! Ugh. I specifically told him how important that was to me...and he seemed to understand. How hard is it to stand there, facing two people from the side and take pictures? I don't get it. He didn't take any artsy fartsy pictures of all of the small details... Only one hand picture for the rings.. not pics of the rings themselves. No bouquet pictures from close up, only from afar in other pictures. Zac's mom worked so hard on those! He should have taken better pictures.

I am SOOO glad that one of my bridesmaids, A, took some pictures in the hotel room while we were waiting on the photographer to show up. If she hadn't, I wouldn't have any pictures (good ones anyway) of my shoes or the rings. OR of any of us getting ready AT ALL! She definitely got some great photos that I am SOOO very grateful for! She even took one of my most favorite pictures from the wedding while I was tossing the bouquet!

(All of the following pictures are taken by her and NOT our photographer unless otherwise noted!)
My sister is the front runner there, and my mom is standing in the corner to the left, with her hair up in the red dress.. She looks like she's about to run out onto the floor too! haha. But my little Bean missed the bouquet by INCHES, and the lady in black right behind her ended up catching it, and taking an elbow to the face. (Still undetermined if Bean's elbow ACTUALLY made contact...but it was funny nonetheless.)
Checking to make sure she's ok! :) And UGH. Look at my  hair! CRAP I tell you! C-R-A-P. This is how my hair looks when I don't blow dry it... slightly wavy, and messy. I coulda done that for FREE!!

Remember when I mentioned that the venue ruined my cake top? Well, this picture is after I already fished out the skeleton topper that was laying down INSIDE of the top of the cake, completely engulfed in gross black frosting...


And Zac and I with the cake (ack! my arms are HUGE):


After the wedding, everyone hung out in our hotel room drinking and having a good time. Some of them also slipped away to do VERY BAD THINGS to Zac's car. I surrendered the keys, and pleaded with them so they wouldn't do anything to mine I was totally against it!

My little Bean acting special...

Some of the devilish things that went into Zac's car...(I think Bean took this pic with A's camera)

Another pic of Zac's car taken by a guest.

Sooo anyway. If you want to look at our pictures.. feel free! They are posted on shutterfly and password protected... http://ericaandzacswedding.shutterfly.com/ and the password is: ericaandzac (so creative!).

Monday, May 23, 2011

Our Vows

Le sigh...Still waiting on pictures from the photographer..... contract says "2-3 weeks following the wedding." It's been over a month now. He was supposed to mail the CD to us Wednesday of last week so unless it got "lost" in the mail, he didn't send it. UGHHH.

Our vows were something we both agreed didn't need to be traditional. We didn't want something religious or really spiritual at all since neither of us are really either. I put Zac in charge of writing the ceremony up though, and he did a great job!

In order to save money, we asked Zac's oldest brother (we will call him "J") to marry us, and then set out to figure out how exactly to make this possible. I'm not sure if it's the same in any other states, but in Virginia you can go to the courthouse and request a temporary license to perform a marriage ceremony. It's valid for 30 days, and you have to prove you performed the marriage within 5-7 days of the ceremony. (Which REALLY isn't enough time, IMO) The cost is virtually free in the end, but you must put up a $500 bond, which will be returned to you once you submit proof that you performed the ceremony.

So! J was officially legally allowed to marry us, which was very nice and he did a FANTASTIC job. He's a great speaker, and put his own touches on the vows that Zac wrote for us. These aren't exactly what was said, as J changed a few things to make it sound a bit better...but you get the idea! (sorry this is really long)


Welcome, family, friends and loved ones. We are gathered here today in friendship and happiness to celebrate the wedding of Erica and Zac. You have come here to share in this eternal commitment they make to one another, to offer your love and support to this union, and to allow Erica and Zac to start their married life together surrounded by the people dearest and most important to them.

So welcome to one and all, who have traveled from near and far. Erica and Zac thank you for your presence here today, and now ask for your blessing, encouragement, and lifelong support, for their decision to be married.

Definition of Marriage
Marriage is perhaps the greatest and most challenging adventure of human relationships. No ceremony can create your marriage; only you can do that – through love and patience; through dedication and perseverance; through talking and listening, helping and supporting and believing in each other; through tenderness and laughter; through learning to forgive, learning to appreciate your differences, and by learning to make the important things matter, and to let go of the rest. What this ceremony can do is to witness and affirm the choice you make to stand together as lifemates and partners.

The reality is that everyone's life is limited to only a certain amount of time. As Robert G. Ingersoll said, "The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here." Take the time to make your partner feel special. Never take each other for granted.

Take the time to listen and to share. Give each other the benefit of the doubt because communication will be difficult at times and misunderstandings are inevitable. It takes time, effort, courage, and commitment to make a successful marriage.

Take the time to negotiate, to talk about your fears, failures, and disappointments. Talk about each other's expectations, hopes, and dreams. Be flexible and willing to adapt well to changes and new circumstances. Above all, take the time to tell each other what you want. Take the risk of being vulnerable with each other.

Declaration of Intent
Do you, Erica, take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?
Do you, Zac, take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?

Exchanging of Vows
Erica/Zac, please repeat after me:

From this day forward I promise you these things.
I will laugh with you in times of joy and comfort you in times of sorrow.
I will share in your dreams, and support you as you strive to achieve your goals.
I will listen to you with compassion and understanding, and speak to you with encouragement.
I will help you when you need it, and step aside when you don't.
I will remain faithful to you for better or worse, in times of sickness and health.
You are my best friend and I will love and respect you always.

Pronouncement of Marriage
May I have the rings, please?

Please repeat after me: I give you this ring, as a daily reminder of my love for you.

By the power of your love and commitment, and the power vested in me, I now pronounce you husband and wife! You may kiss the bride.


So that's it! What do you think??
When we were rehearsing our vows, we couldn't stop laughing...Zac was making jokes and changing vows around, so I did the same. We both said "I will laugh AT you in times of joy..." instead of "with" you, and messed up a couple other words.
I did not know, however, what he had in store for me during the actual wedding. Hopefully someone took pictures of it.. but if not, we should have video in ohhhhh 3 years or so. ha.
Up Next:
Why are the Best Man and Maid of Honor wearing  torn wife beaters?!

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Rehearsal

April 15th, the day of our rehearsal was a beautiful day...a bit chilly, but sunny and rain free! Unfortunately, the day OF our wedding was a completely different story.

If it hadn't rained, we would have gotten married on the patio outside at The Clubs at Quantico. The Wisteria would have been beautifully draped over the pergolas lining both sides of the patio, with the chairs set up in the middle... but instead, we got married on the dance floor inside. I had gotten bio-degradable confetti to line the aisle with, but we didn't get to use it. My mom, on a whim, also purchased an aisle runner from Michael's but the way the ballroom was configured it wouldn't have laid down properly.

Oh.. and WHY are aisle runners SO expensive for something decent looking??? It seems if you attach the word "wedding" to anything, it automatically comes with a 50% markup in price.

Our rehearsal went well... we set up the photo booth in the breezeway, between the patio and the ballroom; quickly decided where things should go should it rain and we needed to get married inside, and of course- rehearsed.

Setting up the photo booth

Zac's brother (who married us) telling Zac's sister (our DOC) what to do. Typical brother and sister interaction. :)

Practicing walking down the aisle.
Can you see the black and white book Zac's brother his holding? I cut down a manila folder to a rectangular size, covered it in scrapbook paper and wrapped a red ribbon around it. I thought it would be nicer to hold the vows in instead of holding a piece of paper...and I didn't want to buy anything. I just printed off our vows, and taped them inside.

Zac and I walking back, to practice one more time.
Waiting with my dad, and our ring bearer to walk again.
And now I will show you a picture I am not proud of... but after watching THIS video.. should at LEAST make you smile or laugh a little... Or watch it below if it works..

It's a little joke between us to make the face randomly... you should see the looks we get..

So without further ado:

Our "face"

After the rehearsal we went to a local Mexican restaurant in Stafford called Pancho Villa. I picked a handful of items from the menu, and they made a special menu for us so we could control how much money was spent.

Half of our rehearsal dinner guests.

The other half :)
After we ate, we handed out the gifts to our bridal party and our parents. I don't have a picture of the groomsmen gifts yet, but hopefully the photographer snapped some photos. We bought all of the groomsmen, our ring bearer, ushers and Zac's brother cufflinks off of Etsy. They were silver with a black cabochon with a white skull and crossbones on it. I really liked them! I don't remember which Etsy seller we bought them from otherwise I would link to their store. Zac also ordered his groomsmen  a shot glass for  called a Quaffer.   They took Jager Bombs before the wedding with them. (Gross)

We got Zac's mom a variety of teas because she likes tea, and I put them all in a big flower pot (which broke in the car on the way to the rehearsal *sad face*), gourmet pasta and pasta sauce and some candies, and we got both of our dads fishing stuff. I got my mom a basket full of gourmet stuff. Bertucci's grocery store is AWESOME for gifts (a little pricey but nice). We got both mom's the same sauce and pasta, and a couple other little things from there. They seemed to like their gifts!

After the gift exchange we ate the grooms cake. I was NOT and am still not happy with this cake.

Let me count the ways...
1) Black frosting which made everyone's mouths black (and tasted bad)
2) Sprinkles (what do they have to do with this image??!)
3) The image looks stupid turned this way
4) The cake lady should have turned the image the other way and done it on a chocolate frosting with chocolate piping or white piping.

That would have been a much better idea.. and NO sprinkles. I am not pleased with the woman who did our cakes. She was careless and thoughtless... and this cake tasted like it came from a box!!! I could have made this myself...


So that is the rehearsal!!

After dinner we went back to the hotel and hung out in one of their conference rooms and played games all night. It was fun and relaxing!

Monday, May 9, 2011

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaack!

I didn't even tell you I was leaving. But I did.

And I'm glad to be back. We left for our honeymoon to Australia on the 27th, arrived on the 29th (their time) and just got back late Saturday  night.

Our trip there was hell. Coming back was great.

We stayed here- the Nepean Country Club. It  looks MUCH nicer in the photos.

Which is where I circled and pointed to with the arrow. It's about 1 hour and 45 minutes outside of Melbourne. We also stayed a night in Melbourne, and went to Phillp Island (both are circled).


I will update more as I get back on a better schedule. My sleep schedule is sooo outta whack! It's only 2:30pm and I am already dying fast.

We are still waiting on photos from our photographer (he said 2-3 weeks)...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Oh My...

As far as our guests are concerned, the wedding was FABULOUS.

My opinion on the matter however, is slightly less chipper. SO many things went wrong it's ridiculous.

Here are just a few things that went wrong  (I will elaborate more on the day later).
  1. Most of the flowers died, and my bouquet froze in the hotel fridge. My MIL was in charge of doing all of the flowers, and had to scatter around town looking for replacements the Friday before, and the day of the wedding.
  2. It was pouring cats and dogs off and on ALL day, with periodic breaks of sunshine. None of which occurred DURING the ceremony (the sunshine that is), but 30 minutes afterwards. Our ceremony ended up being inside.
  3. The curl in my hair didn't even last until the hair/makeup girls left, so it looked like crap for the wedding.
  4. They had to re-do my mom's hair THREE times because they could not do what she was asking for, even though they claimed they could.
  5. Lots of things were missing at the reception-including 90% of my guestbook pages, so only 20ish people filled out pages out of 75.
  6. The photographer was 4+ hours late. Wasn't really sure when he was going to show up, one day he said 10:45am, then Friday he said 1:00pm. He showed up at 4:30. Wedding started at 5:30pm and we still had to do bridal party photos.
  7. All of the photos were VERY rushed.
  8. We didn't get ANY detail photos taken, which were very important to me because there were so many little details I wanted captured. Luckily one of my bridesmaids does photography as a hobby and took a few pictures for me of our rings and stuff before our actual photographer showed up! THANKS ASHLEY!
  9. The wedding cake had black frosting, and most of our guests mouths and teeth were nasty after eating it.
  10. The cake was gross, looked nice, but gross (at least I was not impressed).
  11. It was also melting, and the cake topper was SINKING into the top of the cake. They lady added NO supports whatsoever. Our cake topper weighs a pound!! And she knew this beforehand.
  12. Cake Massacre! The venue ruined the top of our cake. It looked like they put it in the box, and threw it on the floor. When we got back to the hotel, I opened it to find my cake topper smashed down inside the middle of the cake, and the cake itself spread all over the inside of the box. No anniversary cake for us!
  13. The venue forgot a lot of small details that they said they would provide... like table numbers! Luckily Zac's brother's wife took care of it!
Here are a few guest photos until I get some better quality ones! (The quality of these is too terrible to make any bigger! SORRY!)

And sorry for the wonky picture arrangement....blogger is not my friend today....

Taking pictures before the ceremony. Notice lack of curl in hair?!

Seriously...my hair looks like crap.

After our bridal  party entrance...

Taking more pictures, while hiding from the rain.

You can see behind us where we were SUPPOSED to get married! BOO!

The surprise part of our first dance!

The cake!!!! ^^
 That's all for now! Stay tuned for more!