Wednesday, September 21, 2016

He's Here! {Brooks Edmund Ritchie}

Just after midnight on September 10th, our newest little love decided that it was time to make his appearance in this great big world of ours. Leave it to a Ritchie babe to show us who's boss right from the start!

Brooks Edmund Ritchie
6 pounds 3 ounces, 17 1/2 inches
Because he was born at only 35 weeks, Brooks earned himself a mandatory trip to the NICU. We've spent the last 10 days here working on taking a bottle and growing stronger. While it breaks my heart to leave him at the hospital each night, I know that 1) he has some pretty amazing nurses taking care of him and 2) there are 2 little boys at home who need some sense of "normal" in their lives as well. We pray that Brooks will be strong enough to come home soon and are so excited for the chaos that lies ahead. 

Welcome to our crazy, Mr. Brooks. We love you with all our hearts.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Oh, Baby! {Sweet Baby Ritchie #4}

I, Kristen Ritchie, am the youngest of 5 children. And while being the "baby" of the family came with its fair share of perks, I can also say that there were situations where I've always felt like I drew the proverbial short straw. One such instance is fairly obvious when flipping through the pages of my baby book. The book starts out strong containing everything from a list of my first visitors and photos of my baptism to a little envelope containing locks of wispy baby hair from my first haircut. Continue through the book, however, and you'll start to see more and more blank spaces. 

Fast forward 34 years and 3 kiddos later, and I kind-of-sort-of feel like I owe my mom a bit of an apology (sorry, mom) for giving her a hard time about my swiss cheese baby book. While my own kiddos don't have traditional baby books, I've always used this space to document the happenings in our lives. With previous pregnancies I've been really good about sharing monthly updates - either with words or simple photos of my growing baby bump. This time around, however, I seem to have dropped the ball. Eighteen weeks ago I posted a photo of myself with my hand gently resting on my 16 week pregnant belly.  Since then....well...its been all crickets on the baby front.

Sweet #4 - I promise that your absence does not mean that I love you any less than your big sister or brothers. I promise that I will do my best to be better at documenting YOU. I promise that some day you'll be able to look back at the pages of Little Miss Ritchie and see just as much of your story as those of Charlotte, Harrison, and Maxo. And it all begins right now!

At 8 weeks I got to see you for the very first time. You would think after experiencing this moment 3 other times, it might become less "exciting," but that simply wasn't the case. Seeing your little gummy bear body and the rapid flutter of your heart was enough to bring this mama to tears.
At 16 weeks we officially shared you with the world. At about that same time, your dad and I got a super early sneak peek at that little heart of yours thanks to a fetal echo study being conducted through Children's Hospital. After months of wondering "what if," we sat in a darkened room and watched (through tear-filled eyes) as the study coordinator checked all of the major heart structures off of her list. Four perfect chambers. Outflow track. Arteries. Arches. Valves. They are all there and they are all perfect. 
"Mama, will you take a picture of me with the baby?"
 17 weeks
At 20 weeks we got another look at your during our routine anatomy scan. Once again they were able to check all of the "healthy baby" items off of their list, and we left with an even stronger sense of relief. 
 22 weeks
 24 weeks
 28 weeks
They've been keeping super close eye on your mama this time around due to some complications that we've run into from 3 previous c-sections. We started monthly ultrasounds at 20 weeks, then transitioned to every 2 week and then weekly scans.  While I wish that there were no "issues" to begin with, I'll never complain about an opportunity to see your sweet face. The minute I saw this picture I blurted out "holy cow, it looks just like Max!" I can't wait to kiss those squishy little cheeks! 
  32 weeks and feeling good.
And now here we are - marking just over 34 weeks together and starting the official countdown to your arrival. The big day is going to be sooner than expected and to say that your mama is a little....well....frantic, is a pretty accurate statement. For now I'm doing my best to slow down (something that's not always easy with your 2 yahoo brothers running around) and hoping you stay put until your planned arrival.

 Its just a matter of time, sweet love. Just a matter of time.