S: Elliana Aug 2009-2010
BC: God has answered our prayers
FC: August 2009- August 2010 From Pregnancy to Birth to Blessing | Elliana
1: We're Pregnant!!! Due on May 23rd. We just started week 12. Our names: if a girl - Gertrude Hilga, if a boy - Hanz Fredrick. We're paying tribute to Heather's land of birth and my ancestral heritage. Just kidding! : ) | “Here are some pics of my sweetheart and our little growing one. Most people don't show this early on in a pregnancy, but Heather has already had three coworkers at her school ask if she's pregnant. She's even been trying to hide it really well. Oh well, no need to hide it anymore!” Todd " I saw our baby today. I was so anxious before the appointment, but our baby is doing so great. He or She is so little, like a little seed and I saw the heart beat pulsing. You can't see the heart in the picture but it was so perfect, I started to cry. I am so sorry you couldn't be there. Here is the next best thing though. I am so excited for us to have a little one. I love you so much." Heather to Todd while in Japan 10/2/09
2: November 10, 2009 Bad News: Tuesday morning around 2am, Heather woke up with a major migraine, the first in almost a year and a half. What's worse, her blood pressure was soaring. After calling a 24-hour nurse line, we decided to go to the ER. We were pretty anxious about it all. Good News: After about an hour in the ER, Heather's blood pressure came down to more acceptable levels. Her migraine also abated somewhat and we were able to check out after two hours. After some gentle urging, Heather took the day off from teaching and rested all day. She's feeling much better right now. | Fantastic News: At an OB/GYN appointment that day, I got to hear our baby's heart beat for the first time. How cool is that!!! For all of those out there who haven't heard what that sounds like, it sounds like this: "WHOOSH whoosh WHOOSH whoosh WHOOSH whoosh ..." Obviously, our big concern Tuesday in the wee hours of the morning when Heather's blood pressure was spiking was the effect that that would have on our little sweet pea. The doctor said that our little jumping bean was in good shape, though, so we were very relieved to hear that. --Todd | The Good and the Bad, the Ups and the Downs!
3: a | a | NOVEMBER 18, 2009 Last Friday, we had an ultrasound. It was the first time that I had been there for it (it was Heather's fourth time). Something that these pics do not do justice to is how amazing it was to see our baby wiggle around. The most incredible thing was to see his/her heart beating. One other thing, we're rethinking the name Hanz. Instead, we really like names with L' in front of it. Like L'Shawn, L'Michael, L'Robert. If we went with L'Robert, we could can him L'Bob for short. You can see her/his little fingers at the top of this one. I can't wait to hold those little guys. --Todd
4: SUNDAY, JANUARY 10, 2010 We're having a ... GIRL!!!!!! We found out this last Wednesday. Thanks to everyone for thinking about us this week. We are absolutely THRILLED to have be having a baby girl. And that includes me, too. Just because some people have asked: No, I am not in the least disappointed that we are having a girl. I can't wait to have little daddy-daughter moments. Another fun, quick update. Heather started feeling our little girl (we like being able to say that) kicking about a week and a half ago. A few days later, I was able to feel her too. Unexpectedly, I had mixed feelings about the whole experience. On the one hand, it was incredible to feel a little life inside of Heather moving around and knowing that I had a part in creating that. Truly, it was an amazing experience. On the other hand, it was a little freaky, too. She kept tapping on Heather's stomach, almost as if to say, "Let me out of here.! I kept thinking of that scene in Aliens, the movie, where the baby alien comes tearing out of a person's stomach. I know, I'm such a guy. : ) --Todd
5: JANUARY 24, 2010 | “Isn't my wife adorable! I love that belly of hers, especially what's growing inside of it.” -- Todd | Our baby is 23 weeks today!
6: Play time! | My little sister had her baby not too long ago. My parents flew in to help her with the kids and the house while she recovered. Since she lives closer by, I asked my parents if they could come up for a weekend afterwards to help us with some baby room projects. So last weekend, up they came! --Todd | My Favorite Toys | January 24, 2010
7: Not wanting to sit around loafing, Mom offered to paint the room, which was extremely nice of her. So we had her and Dad show us the tricks of the trade and away we went. We picked a cheery yellow because we liked the idea of our daughter having a happy, sunny room. We finished the whole thing in one day, minus removing the tape. I was happily surprised! Besides painting our own closet white (which didn't require the use of any tape), Heather and I hadn't really painted a room together before. Once Mom and Dad showed us how, it was surprisingly not as intimidating as we had supposed. Not that we're going to go hog-wild and paint the whole house, but at least we'd feel confident in taking on some more rooms and what not. --Todd | Growing up, in every house we lived in (and that was quite a few), Dad always built wooden shelves in our closets. They were always so nice to have, and knowing that we could use the extra space the shelves would provide, I asked Dad to show me his ways and help me build some in the baby room closet. So we laid out our plans, bought the materials and the tools, and went to work.
8: Finshed Product and baby room bedroom set! | Here are our custom built shelves by Todd and Dad!
9: APRIL 2, 2010 I had a little photo session with Heather the other weekend (at week 31 of our little fetus). She was sitting on the couch looking absolutely radiant as a pregnant mom, and I felt I just had to capture the moment. So here is a sampling of the pics I took that night. -- Todd
10: Amazing Friends & Family | Baby Showers! | May 2, 2010 | A few weeks ago, Heather got to have two baby showers for our little peapod: one for her friends and colleagues at the elementary school where she works, and the other for all of our friends from our church. | These showers were really wonderful and really made us feel so grateful for all the wonderful people that God has put in our lives. We have made some incredible friends living in Virginia for the past two and half years, and we truly feel blessed to be part of such an incredible community. | My sister Alyson came up from Richmond for the baby shower. And it was definitely a sacrifice for her, since she came up with her 4-month old infant Griffey who cried the entire 3 plus hour drive! Thanks so much for coming, Pookie! We loved having you here, even if it was for only a short visit.
11: So we kept it secret from Heather, and I'm so glad that Rochelle wanted to. When Rochelle and her husband Jeremy walked in the door on Friday night, Heather started screaming she was so excited. We love those two and were so glad they came down and visited. Nine hours is definitely too far apart. | A few months before the showers, Rochelle -- one of Heather's bestee from college, who lives in Boston now -- emailed me saying that she wanted to surprise Heather and come down for the shower.
12: So our friends from church put on an awesome shower for Heather. Lots of people came and there was tons of food and games. We've really felt very close to this ward, so it was really wonderful for Heather to have so many people come that she feels so close to and respects so much. | Nichole planned, organized, and hosted the whole event, with help from others. They did an amazing job! Thanks Nichole! THANK YOU EVERYONE for making it such a special event!!
14: Oh So Cute! | Even Heather's closest friend growing up, Priscilla, was there vicariously through a humongous package sent from Nebraska, which was full of all sorts of great things. My favorite was the bouncing pink donkey in a tutu. Thanks, Pris!
15: Progress | One of Heather's great friends from school, Kimmee, co-hosted a shower for Heather as well. Unfortunately, her baby son got sick and so she wasn't even able to be there for the shower, but she did a fantastic job! Kimmee is incredible! Heather’s kindergarten team was also very involved in putting on this shower, even complete with party favors and chocolate covered strawberries (one of Heather's absolute favorites!) She is really going to miss teaching those adorable kids with her friends. One of her coworkers is also due around the same time as Heather, and so the shower was a joint shower.
16: "Babies Are Life's Most Precious Gift"
17: MAY 10, 2010 | Here we are right before going to the hospital. We found out Monday at 2pm that we needed to go to the hospital that night at 8pm because of high protein levels (beginning signs of preeclampsia). I just had my last day of teaching the Friday before so things have been pretty stressful. We were expecting to go on Tuesday morning at the earliest, and maybe even on Friday. Needless to say, Monday afternoon was very rushed but luckily my mom was already here and we still got to eat a great dinner out! -- Heather | Big
18: My thoughts on Pregnancy It is amazing to me that less than a year ago I was so worried that we wouldn’t be able to have kids. It is such a difficult fear to start to encounter when your whole life of being a mother is one of the most important things you thought you would do. I feel so blessed that everything has worked out so well and that we have been] able to be a part of bringing a spirit to earth. Todd and I have gotten to see so many ultrasounds now and its amazing how much you can see: her little toes and fingers, her face and legs, and even her little nose and belly. She often has her arm over her face, just like I always do when I sleep. She is beautiful. So often I can feel our little jumping beanette moving all around and I just smile all over realizing how truly miraculous it is that anyone can have babies at all. We are thrilled and excited to get to know our little girl. | Here I am on Monday night at the hospital, getting ready for the big day.
19: Heather started a pitocin IV Tues morning at 8am. Right around 2pm, when she was feeling some of her strongest contractions, our nurse surprised Heather and gave her an orange icicle pop. She was in heaven! She waited until around 3pm or so to get an epidural, which was good because any longer and she wouldn't have been able to hold still long enough. By the way, we went to Reston Hospital, and every one of the nurses we had in labor and delivery were fantastic! | The Big Day! May 11 | A little bit before 9pm, in the middle of a movie, Heather was feeling lots of discomfort, so much so that the nurse decided to check her earlier than she planned. Which was a good thing because our little girl was ready to come out! So our nurse got everything ready, she taught Heather and me how to push (I had to assist the nurse), and then my incredible wife went to work. As a quick aside, for those who have never seen a woman in the last stages of pregnancy, let me say that the movies and TV shows don't even come close to getting it right. It is amazingly hard, exhausting work and I have a much deeper appreciation for all mothers after this experience. -- Todd
20: May | Last Day of Teaching School | Elli is born! | Tues. May 11, 2010 9;58 pm | 20 inches 6 lb 8 oz | Heather and Todd are thrilled to introduce to you all their daughter, Elliana Lorraine Woodruff. | Heather did great! Within 30 mins of pushing, out popped our little Elliana. And even though her face was initially a little swollen (with good reason), she was still adorable!
21: Our sweet pea with her Gramma Carr. It was such a blessing to have Christine there. She was a huge comforting presence to Heather in particular, but to me as well. And a fountain of knowledge, too. | It was incredible to see how much Elliana changed in the first two hours after birth. We were lucky to be able to keep her in our room for just over two hours before they took her up to the nursery to get all cleaned up and run all their tests, and she looked very different from when she was delivered to when she left.
22: Peek | a | Boo
23: baby of | mine | When I held our Elliana for the first time, my eyes filled with tears. She was so beautiful and I couldn't believe she was here and in my arms. I felt more love for her than I ever could imagine. --Heather
24: After we got her dressed in something that fit (relatively speaking, she is such a teeny thing), she suddenly stopped looking all around her and just stared at Heather. It was very sweet!!
25: The last day in the hospital we were able to have some visitors. Heather took a bit longer to go to the recovery floor because of some almost seizing from the loss of blood. Considering those very, very rough 14 hours after delivery, she actually was recovering remarkably well. Some friends stopped by to say hi and they were a much welcome visit. | Elliana praying that her parents will have a clue on how to take care of her (which we are trying our best to figure out).
26: "Twinkle twinkle little star; do you know how loved you are?" | Bringing Home Elli | Baby | Elliana looks a little nervous!!!
27: Here's me with my little princess. I like this fatherhood thing. And even though I'm getting as little sleep as people warned I would get, the nights aren't as horrible as I thought they would be. I like being able to hold and snuggle with my baby girl in the calm and quiet of the night. -- Todd
28: "What A Life Eating Sleeping Playing... And Being Cute"
29: Heather's mom, Christine, left to head back to Texas today. It has been such an amazing blessing to have her here during Elliana's birth and afterwards as Heather and I adjusted to being parents. Heather had quite a difficult recovery and Christine was just essential. and so amazing during her stay. As some of the highlights, she made us Cafe Rio-like pulled pork salad, she took several midnight shifts rocking Elliana during gassy episodes, she doubled Elliana's newborn wardrobe, made great breakfasts, and she taught us how to efficiently change Elliana's diapers and give her sponge baths. Also, Christine took Elliana to her first movie: Robin Hood. She loved it Thanks, Christine! You're amazing! -- Todd
30: A | P | N | P | I | N | G | I love this stage of Elli's life: she's so small and cuddly and warm. We love to nap with her. Thinking about her getting bigger is kind of bittersweet: I can't wait until she's bigger and more socially aware so that I can interact more with her and see her personality. At the same time, I know I'll miss her tiny, little body.and all of our snuggle time.
31: The day that Heather's mom went home, my Mom and Dad came to stay with us for about five days. We were so grateful to have them here and thrilled to introduce them to Elliana. And even though we mostly just hung around the house, I think we all really enjoyed just being together. Besides, on one of the nights, I finally beat Dad at a card game! It doesn't matter that he had never played the game before, the point is that I won. : )
32: Also, the weekend that Todd's parents were here, Alyson came to visit with her three kids. And while the house was pretty full, we all had a blast! We loved seeing Trey and Jayci oogle over our tiny little girl.
33: ELLI IS ONE MONTH OLD!!! Elliana has been so excited that she's one month old that she hasn't slept at all today. Instead, she's been fussy, crying, or very squeamish all day and would only tolerate NOT being held and walked around for a total of about 40 minutes. Heather's really been enjoying it. : ) Since both sets of grandparents left last week, Heather and I have noticed a sizable drop in the amount of things we can get done in one day. In fact, the other day, Heather was excited just to get the bed made and dress herself before I got home from work. She has been great at making this adjustment, though. For me, on the other hand, it's been a bit more difficult to change my mindset. I'm used to coming home and efficiently ploughing through a list of things that need to get done. Slowly, ever so slowly, however, I'm scaling back my expectations. Now, I plan on getting one thing done in the time from when I get home from work and when I go to bed. And even then, I only meet that expectation about 50% of the time. Other parents keep telling Heather and me that it will get better. We're just trying to hang in there in the meantime. Here are a few fun things about our precious daughter. -- She constantly practices her jazz hands. I'd like to say she gets it from Heather, but we all know that I'd be lying. Sleeping, eating, crying, and even in those rare moments of quiet wakefulness, her hands and fingers are often open and fully stretched out in perfect jazz hand formations. It's pretty cute. We occasionally are able to successfully coax her into holding our fingers. We love that, too; her hands are so small and adorable! We feel the same way about her feet. -- Elli's been struggling with gassiness more often than not after she feeds. The silver lining in this is that she'll make a lot of hilarious and random faces while she's doing it. She's like a Jim Carrey! She's very expressive. --It is so fun to see how fast she is growing. I feel like like she changes a little each day and is learning so fast. We can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!
34: In early June, we gave Elli her first real, all-out bath (versus a sponge bath). For the most part, she loved it. For the first half, she was totally lounging, like an adult in a pool laying on a floating bed on a sunny day.
35: BATH TIME | Toward the end, she let us know that she had had enough, but even then she didn't cry too loudly. Now she bathes like a pro.
36: Heather knew that one aspect of parenthood that she would love is dressing up Elliana. It's been a little bit of a surprise to me to discover that I enjoy it, too. She's just too cute! Besides, Elliana has amazing fashion sense; she's at the forefront of newborn fashion trends. So here are the many looks of Elli... | The Fashion Show | Calm and perfect.
37: Pretty dresses Little Curls, Oh thank heaven for little girls! | 1 | 2 | 3 | 1 Elli pondering deeply such topics as the relationship between ladybugs and flowers. | 2 The Plaid Princess | 3 Elli au natural . Life is so demanding as a 2 week old
38: The first man a little girl falls in love with is her dad. | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 4 Elliana's coy look. Watch out; she can reel you in with one look. | 6 "Who's adorable? Oh, little old me?!" | 5 Dreaming daisily. | 7 Theatrical Elli. "To be, or not to be...?" She's already catching Heather's flair for drama.
39: 9 Chilling in her flower dress. | 8 Intensely practicing paper, rock, scissors. | 8 | 9
40: "A wee bit of heaven drifted down from above, a handful of happiness, a heart full of love."
41: Ten little fingers & ten tiny toes... | June 2010 - Jill, a professional photographer came to our house and took some pics of Elli and us a few weeks after Elli was born. She was here about 75 minutes, and during that time, Elli wet herself, her changing pad, and multiple sheets, cried or was fussy for about 60 minutes, and was only peaceful for about 10 minutes or so. But through all of that, Jill captured some great pictures.
42: To the world you may be one person, but to me you are the world.
43: Children are a handful sometimes, A heartfull all the time.
47: Elliana is Hebrew for "God has answered" Heavenly Father definitely answered our prayers.
48: One day, I came home from running errands and realized that I had not buckled Elli into her car seat. The blanket was over the buckle so I didn't see! Oops, right!? I felt really bad. Elli was indignant at the lack of concern for her safety, and she let us know it in these pics as soon as we got her out. -- Heather | What was she thinking!?! | If we had stopped quick, I could have been completely thrown out! | Why I oughta!
49: Here are just some cute pics of Elli over the past month and a half. In the middle one, Elliana is sitting in her favorite swing with the blanket that her Great Grandmother Betty made for her, which we love.! I especially love the one of her smiling at the end. Isn't she adorable?!
50: August 1, 2010 | Elliana's Blessing Day
51: Last Sunday, we were blessed to have so much family be able to join us for Elli's baby blessing. For those who don't know, in the LDS Church, after a child is born, a father who holds the priesthood has the opportunity to give the baby a blessing in a prayer asking God to protect and bless the child with strength and faith and other attributes as the Lord sees fit. It is a truly wonderful ]and spiritual event, and one that we have really anticipated. Heather's parents and sister Jenny along with my parents, Alyson and Nate, and Tys and Diana and kids were all able to make it. I know it wasn't easy arranging schedules to make happen, but thank you to everyone who could come; it made the event even more special. As a first-time dad, it was a pretty special feeling to take my daughter in my arms and give her a blessing. She is such a sweet little girl, and I feel blessed that I had the chance to use my faith and priesthood to offer her a little extra strength and protection as she grows up.
52: THANK YOU! | We want to say to all of our family and friends how grateful we are for your well-wishes, congratulations, and support. We feel more certain than ever that we definitely would not be able to be the parents that we want to be without the examples and support that you all have given us.
53: Elli is starting to smile a lot more, although sadly she was not quite as smily right after church. Heather and I are loving this! We love to hold her and smile at her, and she is definitely responding with some big smiles for us.
54: Sleeping, Elliana looked like a little porcelain doll- so perfect and pure.
55: Elli definitely inherited her momma's pouty look. She looks so adorable even crying!
56: Being parents has already been more wonderful than either of us ever realized. It seems like every day we find something else we just love about our little girl. Now- that doesn’t mean that we don’t have hard days—days where I can’t wait for Todd to get home so he can help me not go crazy, but I don’t remember those days later. I remember the smiles, giggles, kisses, and cuddles the most. Those moments are the definition of joy. –Heather
57: Pretty dresses Little Curls, Oh thank heaven for little girls!
58: An eventful start to a wonderful life!