Monday, February 28, 2011

Due Date, Schmue Date!

Today was my due date.  And, unless I go into labor and deliver in the next 2.5 hours, then this date is going to come and go like the other 280 days since we conceived this little bunny. Oh do I have LOTS to say about due dates, what they mean, what they don't mean and what I'd like to tell the world about the whole thing but I'm actually going to censor myself. (And doing so mostly because I'm focusing on the positive right now and launching into my case about why it's a bunch of hooey to mess with nature when there's no real reason to will just raise my blood pressure which is the opposite of what Roly Poly needs right now.)

So.... let's just go with this... I didn't battle infertility, lose three babies, spend several months on some form of bedrest and six weeks on my back (which resulted in having to basically quit my job btw) and go through the emotional and physical trauma that has been the last two years all to throw in the towel this close to the end.  Sure, sure, sure there are good reasons for medical induction. But I've got ZERO of them at the moment. So, we're just going to sit back and wait for the little lady to make her grand entrance. If there's anything we've learned through this experience, it's 1) there's no need to worry until it's actually time to worry and 2) everything happens for a reason.

Obviously the baby's health is our TOP priority and if does become medically necessary to intervene then we will do so (duh) but after lots of soul-searching over the past couple of days, Lou and I just aren't willing to compromise what matters most to us in the name of some arbitrary date. The bottom line - we think this little girl deserves a chance to have a peaceful, joyous, natural birth and it's just not right for us to mess with that. (We both have no doubt that intervening is the reason Josie got stuck during labor and had such a hard time. She wasn't ready.)

Thanks to all of you who have reached out with emails and messages of support in sharing our opinions. It helps cover up all the "noise" of the rest of the world who seems to think a due date is an expiration date. After all, she's an amazing gift - not a gallon of milk. :)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Quick Quote

Oh this child absolutely cracks us up!

Josie to Lou and I at bedtime last night: "We need to go to Target tomorrow. I'm gonna need some new toys. Venus (the cat) scratched mine all up. You should see all the holes in everything. She put holes and scratches in all my toys with her claws. Don't worry, Target has new ones." (Sidebar -Venus has never laid a single paw on one of her toys.) "We really need to go Old Navy too! I need all new clothes. All of my clothes shrank. You can check! They shrank all the way down to size Zero-T!! That's too small for me. But Old Navy has 5T so we can get all my new stuff there."

(With convincing arguments like these, she just might follow in her dad's legal career footsteps.)
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Friday, February 25, 2011

Tears, Fears & Focusing on Four

This is the look we've been seeing the most on sweet little Posie's face lately: total worry. The poor thing. Seriously, she's been a deep thinker since the day she was born. She always has big questions (just this week asking where all the dinosaurs went, how long she's going to be alive, where she was before she was in my tummy, etc) and she worries. A lot.  Sometimes it's about little things (like last night when she asked me if she really could turn into an apple from eating too many apples at snacktime at school) and sometimes it's about big things (like if she is still going to be able to cuddle me when Roly Poly is here).  All told, I really hate to label her but she's an emotional kid and that's just who she is.  It's the reason she's never been a good sleeper, but it's also the reason she's a beautiful, empathetic three-year-old who genuinely just wants everyone around her to be happy. Someday I have no doubt that it will be these exact traits that make her the amazing human being we are watching her continue to grow into.  But for now, always chewing on something, always with that worried little look in her eyes...we know she's processing big thoughts in that little mind.  And we know that she's afraid of the changes to come. And we know she can sense we're a little afraid to.  And so we let her into our bed a little sooner than we would've a few weeks ago. And so we take turns pulling her close to us at night. And so we sneak in every smooch we can get. And we love as much as it is possible to love anyone - just waiting for the moment soon to come when the three of us get to experience loving someone new just as much - together.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mystery Diagnosis

It took exactly four rounds of me getting the "stomach bug" over the last month for us to finally figure out what the heck has been going on. We doubted that it was just the typical stomach virus for a few reasons - it hit me at the exact same time (about 2 am) each time, it was almost exactly a week apart each time, no one in the house ever got it, the first time I had it I was still on bedrest and not really exposed to many germs, the symptoms were the same each time - vomiting & diarrhea, whole body aches & pains, exhaustion & lethargy and what I even described as "feeling like I had been poisoned."  And it would come, hit me like a ton of bricks, render me useless for 24 hours and then be gone.  Very strange indeed. Four times in four weeks.

We finally figured it out!! It was an allergic reaction to the prescription omeprazole (prilosec over the counter) that my doctor prescribed me for my massive heartburn. I was taking it about once a week - right before bed. The night before last, I took it again and woke up four hours later with the exact same "stomach bug" symptoms I had the other three times. The bad news - I spent all day yesterday feeling like I wanted to die again and will spend all day again today trying to feel human again. The good news - it has to be the omeprazole (the most common side effects, said to be experienced by 1% of all users, are the exact symptoms I had) AND since I definitely won't be taking that stuff anymore I likely won't have to go through this mess ever again!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

39 weeks & everything that comes with that

39 weeks pregnant
The emotions of being 39 weeks pregnant are no laughing matter.  I remember feeling very overwhelmed, confused, scared to death and lots more when I was a week away from my due date with Josephine. Multiply all of that by about a billion and that's how we're feeling right now.  It's a crazy enough time already, but add to that the reality of being convinced we would deliver prematurely, still trying to get my body functioning properly again after bedrest and the complex emotions surrounding the losses we've had and the miracle that is this pregnancy in the first place and well, things are just a bit of a mess around here.  (Not to mention the guilt I feel every time I even come close to complaining or feeling frustrated. Getting here to "Four Schneiders" has been such a long road and I feel awful when I start to take this pregnancy for granted - especially with some many people close to us struggling with infertility themselves.)

I am trying very hard to stay focused on this enormous blessing instead of getting overwhelmed by the emotions of it all, but it's tough. (The dreaded 39 week dr's appt today didn't help matters. I really, really didn't want to go and promised myself the whole way there that I wouldn't get upset or let the results of "the 39 week check" bother me, but I failed miserably and had an epic meltdown on the way home.  Long story change since last of an induction next week which we want to avoid at all costs...sarcasm about our plan for a natural delivery...UGH!)
With that, I promise I'll stop complaining but I did want to give you all a quick update. In other news - I have definitely moved out of the "nesting" phase and feel myself moving into what we've been referring to as the "mama cat" phase.  As I told Lou today, I'm ready to go find a quiet isolated place under the porch and have my kittens. In other words, don't be surprised (and please don't take it personally) if I don't answer your calls, return your emails, etc. I'm trusting my instincts and starting to turn inward.

I'll leave you with one of the out-takes from the shots I was trying to get of my belly. As I was scanning back through the pics, this one cracked me up! Notice how my belly, the mirror, and the vase are all oddly similar.
Notice any similarities?
Coming update on how Josie is handling all of this.  She's a little trooper but her tiny reserve of patience is definitely running low. Keep sending those good vibes everyone.  :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Girls' Bedroom

I know, I know... it took me MUCH longer to get these posted than I said it would. So, thanks for your patience.  :)
As I think I've mentioned, Josie & Roly are going to share a bedroom. This came about for a few different reasons: 1) We wanted to keep the playroom. 2) Josie really doesn't do anything besides sleep in her room anyway (when she actually sleeps in there & not in our bed but that's another story altogether). 3) Josie begged & begged for us to let them share a room. 4) It was much cheaper and easier than creating another nursery. 5) As soon as I found out that Land of Nod started selling crib-sized versions of Josie's garden bedding, the universe had practically made the decision for me.  

VOILA!  Here it is - the girls' bedroom!

This was the first arrangement (adding the crib to where the dresser used to be because Josie refused to move her bed):
Matching bedding! :)
 Finally...after some creative parenting (that involved using Josie's fear of the closet to our advantage and suggesting that she'd love sleeping under the windows so she could hear the birds better in the morning and could look out and see the sun shining from her bed)...we got the arrangement we wanted.  And we are all SOOO happy with it! 
The Crib, where the head of Josie's bed used to be
Josie's Bed in the window corner
The Baby's View from her crib
The Closet Solution (no more doors, lots more shelves)

And here are a few pics that I captured while trying to get the room pics over the course of a couple of days:

Josie - actually wanting to be in a crib - for the first time ever...
Posing in the crib...
The next day, Posing like Venus...
Trying out the new bedside lamp while simultaneously making a huge fashion statement...

And here is the playroom that necessitated the shared bedroom in the first place...

And last but not least, what would a blogpost be without a random shot from the week? This is Josie the morning of her school Valentine's Day party about ready to explode with excitement (after asking me to take her picture for Valentine's Day).
One final thought: I really do promise to make my best effort not to always lump our two little darlings into "the girls" category forever - knowing full well the importance of fostering the individual development of each of them (I'm a little obsessed with reading and learning more on this topic at the moment) - BUT - I sure am having fun with it at the moment. :)

Stranded (oops)

Rescued (Thanks Daddy!)

It has been beautiful in Cincinnati and we still have a whole lotta neighborhood to explore. It has been a good combination - no school for Josie, no more bedrest for me and lots of unexpected February sunshine.
Yesterday we decided to try a new route for a bike ride and walk. It sounded good - in theory - until we realized a little too late that the street I thought we'd take back didn't have sidewalks - which left me holding Josie's hand on one side and carrying a tricycle with the other - and both of us heading another block away from home than we originally planned. And that's when Josie declared she was done. Uh-oh! It was too far to go back the way we came without a break. We kept going one more block to a little park where the plan was to have a snack and some water then head home. Yea - not happening. Josie looked at me and said: "We are never going to get home because I am not riding my book anymore. I am too tired." She wouldn't go another inch and I certainly couldn't carry her and a trike home in my 'big as a house' condition.
And that's when I sucked it up and made the "MAY DAY MAY DAY" call to Lou. I know he was ready to kill me but he came to rescue us anyway. (Thank goodness we only live a few miles from his office.) The funniest thing - Lou pulls up and Josie yells out "I am crying tears of joy!" I think she was a little freaked out that we were actually stuck. It was pretty hilarious but lesson learned. I won't be that ambitious again.
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Friday, February 18, 2011

Quick Quotes

Josie, directly to my tummy this morning: "Okay Roly Poly! You can come out now. Poke, poke, poke. Come out today. You can come and meet ME squeeze."

Lou to me last night as he was cuddling Josie on the couch and looked over to see me empty-handed: "Soon we'll each have one!"
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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

38+ week update

I gotta say folks...I never thought I would see 38 weeks. We were so convinced she would be premature that getting this close to our actual due date never really occurred to us. So...there are some issues that come along with this but obviously we will take a healthy full-term baby without too much complaint over the money spent on the newborn-sized wardrobe that will likely get sold as "never worn" on craigslist, etc.
Since Josie has been crazy-sick, I had to reschedule my 38 week appt and see another obgyn than Scott. Truth is I really liked the guy, even though the first words out of his mouth included his pitch for an induction by the end of this week. (You can read about our thoughts on medical interventions in childbirth in the birth story & resources tabs above.) Anyhoo- he was more than respectful of our decision to let Roly Poly declare her own showtime and then issued a big "well...nevermind" as soon as he checked me. The stats: 2 cm, 70% effaced & +1 station. The prediction: "I give you about a 20% chance of making it through the weekend without a baby!"
Here's the deal - I was told for two weeks with Josie that labor imminent & that it was going to be a quick one. After over two weeks of off & on contractions and one false alarm that sent me & the whole family to the hospital, I finally let them strip my membranes on my due date and endured 18 hours of active labor at the hospital (sans epidural because that is really important to us). Suffice it to say, I have been chirping happily for 38 weeks and 3 days that Roly will come when she's ready and that I will sit back and patiently wait for her. Yea, not the case anymore. Hear this my friends: I am done. It has been a looooong tough road and I am ready to greet our light at the end of the tunnel.
That said, I am not ready to compromise our beliefs and beg for the pitocin but I certainly ain't sittin' with my legs crossed either! ;)
Those of you who've been around awhile know that I feel this baby belongs to all of us. She is here because so many of you didn't give up when we did. So - if I could have one more teeny tiny favor from all of you...let's put that collective will to work again and make some wishes come true.
Here's my "if things could be perfect wishlist": friday labor and delivery. (Bonus: full moon & she makes the aquarius cutoff. Just sayin...) Saturday would work too. My family all has Monday off of work so everyone wins. While you're all at it, I will take a smooth-sailing delivery without any of the complications that turned Miss Josie's birth into a marathon. And if you've got a little more time set aside for making wishes, it would be great if everyone who wants to be at the birth is miraculously able to pull that off. And one last thing - pray for my sanity. The curse of the "any day now" from the obgyn has a long history of making women crazy (just ask Tia).
Thanks to all of you for your continued well-wishes and support!
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68! what?

Great afternoon for a long trike ride and stroll up and down our street. (And so trying to get this labor going, but more on that later...)
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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

*this* time of year...ugh!

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poor little thing

So two weeks of the "double ender" stomach bug for me and now poor Josie is sick.
We got an email from her school yesterday that 8 of 20 kids were out Monday with various symptoms - including vomiting, fever & respiratory symptoms. Lou and I decided to keep her home from school today to try to prevent her bringing anything else home.
And then, about 11 last night she woke up vomiting with a fever. (And I let out a pretty long strand of four-letter words.) She was up until 2:30am, slept til 7, then woke up with the funky welts pictured above all over her face, arms, and chest. Luckily we were able to get her in to the pedi and found out that it is actually some strange strand of strep!
We were shocked to find out it was strep but doc said the hives, fever and vomiting were a dead giveaway. Who knew? Seriously, everyday there's another parenting lesson. I am glad we got her in and started her on antibiotics. And now if Lou & I get it we can attack it as well.
So...add all this winter illness business to the loooong list of reasons why being pregnant and due in the summer is infinitely better than the winter. There is just nothing fun about *this* time of year.
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Monday, February 14, 2011

Miami Merger Memories

Every year we get a "Miami Merger" valentine from Miami University. Here is this year's card. It all started 14 years ago in Oxford...Happy Valentine's Day Sweet Lou!
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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Take That, To Do List!

Out of nowhere yesterday the weather gods decided to hint at spring with nearly 60 degree temps! Josie hit the driveway with her trike and scooter, and we enjoyed some sunshine while Lou installed the infant carseat in the car.
Josie and I got to spend the entire day together (just like we used to) while Lou put a **huge** dent in our baby prep to-do list. (Pictures of all the progress are coming soon!) Little Roly Poly officially has her own corner of Casa De Schneider and we can't wait to welcome her into it!
In the meantime, I am unbelievably grateful that our 'bunny' decided to wait long enough that I could get off of bedrest with enough time leftover to help with final preparations and spend some much-needed individual time with sweet Josephine before her life as an only child gets completly flipped upside down (in the best way imaginable).
All told, it was a perfectly productive weekend and if the babe is waiting until we feel 'ready' to make her appearance, then we are waaaay closer to meeting her than we were on Friday.
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Friday, February 11, 2011

Happy Half Birthday Posie!

Today is Josie's half birthday. She is three & a half (which is crazy). We don't typically highlight the half way point, but it took on new significance this year since it was celebrated at school. They make a big deal out of birthdays in Montessori and since she has a summer birthday, her half birthday got to be shared today with her friends and "school family."  Lou & I were invited into the classroom to share this special event.

Our special morning started with an enthusiastic round of "Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes" -
 Then it was time to get out the special birthday mat, light the candle to represent the sun, and then choose a globe to make the journey -
 Josie took her first trip 'round the sun -
 And her second -
 And her third (and obviously *loved* every second of it) -
 Then she got to sit in front of the mat and hear special wishes from her classmates (several of which centered around wishes that she would get lots of candy which was too funny) -
Then Josie got to make her own special birthday wish. Here she is really, really putting a lot of thought into it. Finally, she said sweetly "OH, I definitely have my wish now" (a secret wish by the way).
 Then she snuffed out her candle -
 And it was time to pass out birthday treats and share a book with the class.  (Oh & I should've probably mentioned sooner that it was also Pajama Day today at school - hence everyone's wardrobe.)
 Next I got to read a book to the class which brought back lots of memories of reading to second graders.
We were all smiling and laughing through the book together -
 And 3-6 year old kids are just nothing short of hysterical...obviously -
Finally everyone got to enjoy the special heart, puppy & people cookies that we made for the class. It was the perfect morning and we are so grateful that she goes to such an incredible school!
The Backstory: Last week Josie wasn't able to enjoy a birthday cookie with her classmates because her teachers weren't sure it was safe and peanut-free. She had a rice cake while her friends had cookies.  We definitely appreciated that the teachers kept Josie's safety as the top priority. But Josie was so sad about it Friday night that she couldn't sleep until we talked through a solution.  Part of that solution was getting to take similar cookies - with sprinkles and frosting - to school the next week for her half birthday.  Tia saved the day by sharing her fantastic sugar cookie recipe & Louie saved the day by coming home for his lunch break on Thursday to help make the dough so it would have chill in order to be ready for Josie to bake and decorate last night.  All in all - everyone was happy & most importantly - Josephine felt so special today! In her words, "today was so awesome!"   (And I am so grateful I was able to come. I was worried I would either still be on bedrest or have the baby already and have to miss it.)

One more thing: This morning I said to Lou, "I can't believe she is half-way to being 4."  His response, "She's 3 1/2...that's half-way to 7."

Ooops - two more things actually: I originally forgot to post about the fact that on each trip around the sun, Lou & I got to share an event that marked that year for Josie. It was definitely an emotional moment to see the passage of time zoom by so quickly.  The other thing is that when Josie's teacher asked what she hoped to learn about this year now that she's one year older (and wiser), Josie said she wants to learn about space.  She's been very interested lately in trying to figure out how we can live on the earth when the earth is actually in outer space. There have been some big questions lately - time to hit amazon for some space-themed books to satisfy this new curiosity. I love her little mind!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

One Month of Four Schneiders

Well friends, I have to say I am really, really flattered by the great response to our new Four Schneiders blog. We launched this blog exactly one month ago, and have had over 3200 visits already!  I am so grateful that so many of you are sharing this journey with us.
We would love to hear more about who is visiting - please leave us a comment to say Hi. (You can leave "anonymous" comments and just sign your name if you don't want to create an account.) We are so glad you're here! Thanks for visiting. :)

Homemade Pizza in 15 Easy Steps

1. Roll out the dough.
2. Really get into rolling out the dough.
3. Toss the dough with Daddy.
4. Share a little tushie with the audience.
5. Learn from a pro.
6. Sprinkle the cheese.
7. Seal it with a kiss - MWAH - and stick it in the oven.
8. Dive into the leftover cheese, assuming that no one is watching.
9. Realize you are so busted!
9. Go in for some more.
10. Shoot mom that sly little grin that you know she can't say no to.
11. Really go for it.
12. Remember that smile will buy you some more time with the cheese.
13. Really, really go for it - every last speck of cheese - straight from the counter.
15. Remove any excess cheese from your fingers to conceal all the evidence (having no idea it is literally everywhere - head to toe - even in your hair).

(Isn't it great how the smallest, seemingly most insignificant moments turn into the best family memories? Oh how I love little moments like these!)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

37 week update

Despite the fact that I either still have the stomach flu or got the stomach flu again, things are looking better in week 37.  My body is getting used to moving again (although this darn stomach bug laid me up for a few more days).  I am also starting to feel the tell-tale signs of impending labor - the achy hips, the notorious "waddle", and the "ah heck this is really gonna happen, isn't it" panic attacks. 

At my doctor's appointment today, we discovered that my body is starting to progress toward labor again now that I am off of bedrest. Contractions have picked back up, I am a 2 cm dilated, 50% effaced and the baby is now head down and low at -2 station.  As anyone who has had a baby knows, that really doesn't mean diddly. I could go into labor tonight or in another month. One thing is for sure - we trust that she will come when she's ready.  Um...maybe we should try to get ready ourselves.

I am a little nervous about our plans for another unmedicated childbirth in the physical condition I am in and really hope that we're not in store for another 18-hour active labor marathon like Miss Josephine's (check out her birth story here).  That said, we have a doula we really trust, I know Lou will be the "rock" that he was last time, and I know what my body is capable of doing.  Our wish is for a couple more weeks of healing and recovery from the bedrest and stomach virus before we enter into the craziness of having a newborn.  We'll see...  :)

My Ambitious Valentine

You would think I learned my lesson last year after spending a solid week on the Flamingo Valentines that Josephine saw in a magazine and "had to" make. This year, we thought we were going for something more simple - until we got to Michael's. That's when Josie proudly announced that the valentines for her class were going to have "paint and glitter and stickers." We are now on day three of creating 24 hand-made, heart-shaped, painty, glittery, gluey valentines. I gotta say - I love her creativity! (And again her generous little spirit shines, as she is so excited to be making and giving something to all of her friends that she can hardly stand it!)

Monday, February 7, 2011


Talk about timing...last week the LA Times published this article questioning the value of bedrest. Thankfully I was at the end of my strict bedrest mandate when I read it, otherwise I might have had a complete freaking meltdown.  It is a really interesting article and actually didn't come as a total surprise (since our doctor indicated bedrest wasn't a sure-fire way to prevent preterm labor). I could definitely relate to the feelings the moms shared about the pain and exhaustion that bedrest yields, as well as how difficult it is emotionally and how little people really understand about what it is like to go through.  (I am convinced btw that there isn't a single person alive who doesn't think - at least just a little - "Come on, how bad could it be? I wish someone would tell me I had an excuse to do nothing for weeks at a time!").

One thing the article also reveals is that there is a big post-bedrest adjustment.  (Chalk this up as another thing some people don't understand - myself included.)  I wasn't prepared for the major adjustment to moving again! It's only been a week, but it's been a steep learning curve.  As my doctor put it, the body has to "recalibrate" itself to being a vertical again.  I was on some form of bedrest for four months - with the final six weeks horizontal for about 23 hours a day.  Once you reallly think about it, it does make sense that this would cause some pretty serious impact to the body - weakness, muscle cramps and aches, lack of strength and stamina, and oh the dizziness, etc.  And it is those physical things that makes it so hard mentally.  I mean, how can a woman feel okay about herself when she needs to lay down and take a break from the exhaustion produced by a ten minute shower? Or when your arm muscles have gotten so weak that you need a break from sprinkling glitter?

Now, all this said - the big thing missing from the article (and from this post so far) is this: NONE OF THIS MATTERS.  As a woman who lost three babies and wanted more than anything in the world to have another child, the pain and inconvenience of bedrest and recovering from bedrest doesn't mean squat! It just doesn't matter. And it doesn't matter that no medical journal has yet to publish a study revealing a strong positive correlation between bedrest and saving babies! What bedrest did for me was to give me a glimmer of hope and a sense of control over a situation that I really had no control over whatsoever.  Sure I knew the whole time that there were no guarantees, but I was willing to do whatever it took even if it wasn't a sure thing! And now, at 37 weeks with the whole bedrest thing behind me - I wouldn't have changed a thing.

We still worry every single day that something will go wrong and we won't get our happy ending. As illogical as that might sound at this point, it is just the natural defense of people who have been hurt the way that we have. I guess we have to kind of "recalibrate" our thoughts as well. Many of you are helping us to do that. Thanks for sharing this journey with us. I guess what I'm saying is, thanks to those of you who continue to reach out and try to understand.  We're almost there...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

nice way to start the day

Why not rollerskate around the house in your jammies at 7am on a sunday morning?
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Friday, February 4, 2011

Blast from the Past

All this talk of the new baby coming has Lou and I reflecting on how quickly our sweet little baby Josephine has grown up. We are so proud of the amazing little girl she has become.  Here are a few photos of Josie from exactly three years ago this week - it was during our trip to LA for a legal conference. She was just six months old.