Thursday, December 31, 2009

Week 7 (and a half): All hail baby whisperer!

This has been a big week! We had Scarlett's first Xmas eve at Tracy's, her first Xmas at Dan & Michelle's, and her first Turducken dinner (yes, a chicken stuffed in a duck, stuffed in a turkey) all in one fell swoop. She stayed awake the entire time at Tracy's and seemed fascinated by all of the people and things going on. The next day, probably as a result, she slept almost the entire time with Paul's family. She was 50/50 at the Turducken dinner. Scarlett made out like a bandit with Christmas gifts. She got some fun new toys (including an inch worm and an American doll from Nonni, which we can give her again in five or six years!), some great clothes, and some cute stuffed animals. Thank you to everyone!

Scarlett's schedule has been increasingly erratic and Paul and I have been increasingly tired as a result. By chance, we happened to run into someone at the Turducken party who has two kids, both of whom they had sleeping through the night by 3 or 5 weeks of age! You can imagine how feverishly I began hitting him with questions as to how they accomplished that feat! It turns out that they swear by a book by Tracy Hogg, the Baby Whisperer. I'll try anything once, so we went out that night and picked it up. She advocates a routine that she calls the E.A.S.Y. method (eat, activity, sleep, time for You). At Scarlett's age, it means putting her on a 3-hour cycle during the day (e.g., 7 am, 10 am, 1 pm, 4 pm feeds, plus cluster feed at 6 and 8 pm) and at night, moving toward them sleeping through. You put the baby down to bed at 730 or 830 then do a sleep feed (feed while they are sleeping) at 11 PM then cross your fingers. If they wake up, only pick them up if they are CRYING. If they are just fussing, let them try to soothe themselves back to sleep.

We started trying this on Tuesday night (after a horrible day of her not sleeping for 7 hours straight!). The first night, she went to bed at 8 pm, we sleep fed her at 11 PM, and she slept until 1 AM. Back asleep at 2 AM and woke up at 5 AM. The book says that if they wake up, they probably aren't getting enough food during the day, so we have been trying to increase her intake. Last night she went to bed at 830 or so and didn't get up until 3 AM! Then she was back to sleep at 430 and slept until 7. It's getting better already! She doesn't like napping before 4 PM, so we have some trouble getting her down, but otherwise it is going really well and we like the predictability of it all. The other thing is that she is now sleeping in her CRIB! We miss having her snuggled up with us for naps, but we are definitely sleeping better and she probably is too. We'll keep at it... wish us luck!

Scarlett has officially outgrown her newborn clothes! She was 9 lbs 5.5 ounces as of today -- still a little small for 3 month pants but too long for newborn clothes. I'm excited about getting her into some of the cute outfits we have in the next size but sad that a phase is over. We love her being so little! She was having some problems spitting up every 5 minutes, but that has been much better today. Hopefully it was a fluke.

Today is New Year's Eve -- the last day of the decade! It has been a wild ride... especially the last 2 or 3 years. We're spending the evening working on the EASY routine, sipping champagne, and enjoying our new little family. Sounds like a great start to the next decade!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Week 6: Trying to get it together

This week was basically spent trying to start reclaiming some sort of normalcy. Scarlett's schedule has shifted further and further away from the ideal. We used to be able to more or less count on a four hour nap from 2-6 AM; her bewitching hour(s) have now reliably become 3-5:30 AM. We've started trying to transition her to an earlier schedule. I finally felt healed enough to get back on the treadmill in an effort to help with my sore back and weight. I found that strapping Scarlett into her carrier and walking forced her to sleep and me to add a little resistance. It definitely feels like it has been a while, but it also feels great to get some exercise again. We gave up on waiting for warm days for walking outside like we had been since we might have been waiting until April.

Scarlett's weight gan is still on track. She was up to 8 lbs 9 oz by the 6 week point and was 8 lbs 13 oz today (December 23rd). She is getting big and eating A LOT! I'm still having milk supply problems, but we've talked to the lactation consultant again and were armed with two or three more things to try. Scarlett starts daycare on January 4th (hold for break down...) so that will probably be the point at which we reevaluate the feeding situation. I definitely won't be able to keep up what I'm doing now once she goes to daycare and I go to work. It's a full-time job on its own!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Week 5: Nonni and other adventures

Scarlett hit the one month old mark this week and surpassed her birth weight! She is doing great and gaining weight every day. She is really filling out and is becoming very interactive. She cries more now just because she wants to be held and smiles a lot. Overall, she still cries very little and virtually never without a reason. She sleeps up to 6 1/2 hours at a time too! We think she may have a milk allergy so we switched to soy formula for her supplements. It seems to help. She doesn't spit it up as much and her congestion seems to have improved. I'm not positive that it is related, but I've seen message boards where other babies with congestion had it clear up after making the switch. The three pictures here are all of our newborn photos. Scarlett is on the left, I'm on the top right and Paul is on the bottom right. We think she looks like a combination of the two of us. Any differing opinions?

The biggest event this week was that my mom (Nonni) was here. She spent a few days with my uncle Ray, but otherwise she was with us for about 9 days. It was great! It was again very helpful to have an extra set of hands to help with laundry, dishes, and the supplemental feedings. Scarlett seemed to love her! She was very cuddly and hardly ever spit up. Paul went back to work while she was here so it was also comforting to have an extra pair of hands while I got used to being without Paul all day on a consistent basis. Now we just hope that they move back or at least come to visit again soon!

In other news, as of today (12/14/09) Scarlett is 8 lbs 3 ounces and finally starting to outgrow some newborn/preemie clothes. She has been gaining 1-2 ounces per day. She had her 1 month photos taken on Saturday. Julie Monticello (one of Paul's friends) is a photographer and came to the house to take some portraits in our own environment. We also got some family photos done. We'll share them once they are in! Scarlett stayed with a babysitter for the first time (Donna and Abigail) for a few hours while we went to Nicole's wedding reception. She did great -- basically slept the entire time! She also stayed alone with Nonni for a few hours while Paul and I slipped out for dinner. It is definitely hard to leave her at all, but I guess I need to start building up my tolerance for it a little bit! I have a feeling that maternity leave is going to be over before I know it.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Week 4: Scarlett's BFF has arrived!!

Liam Alexander Moriarty (aka Scarlett's BFF/boyfriend) is finally here! He arrived today, December 6, 2009 (Jacy's 28th bday!) at 9:27 AM -- 7 lbs 5 ounces and 19.5 inches long. I may be biased, but I think he is absolutely adorable and looks a lot like his mommy! He is exactly 4 weeks and 19 minutes younger than Scarlett. His mommy went into labor around 2 AM on Saturday and gave her a little hell until he arrived this morning. All three of them are doing well though and hopefully soon they will get some sleep!

Scarlett had another busy week this week. She did a lot of eating and sleeping, but also got to meet her Nonni (my mom). Nonni arrived late Thursday night and the two immediately fell in love. Since then, Tracy and Alana, Paul's coworker Troy, Uncle Ray, Aunt Glenda, Dan, Ruth, Eve, John, and Rebekah have all come to visit. We also had Scarlett's first snow yesterday! On the weight front, Scarlett is just about back to her birth weight. Nonni bought an infant scale for us, so we're keeping pretty close tabs on it.

Scarlett is still sleeping well at night (anywhere from 4 to 6 1/2 hours straight), is hungry all of the time, and hardly ever fussy. We feel very lucky to have such a good baby!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

November 29th, 2009: Week 3 and the Weight Battle

We didn't quite get the big weight gain on Monday that we were hoping for... Actually, she dropped to 6 pounds, 8 ounces. Needless to say, the doctor (and us!) were concerned. We were put on a militant feeding schedule -- feed her for 40 minutes, then pump for 20 minutes per side, then feed her what I pumped followed by formula. We had to follow that routine every 2 hours (between the start of one feeding to the start of the next). If you're doing the math, that basically meant I had 40 minutes AT MOST between feedings. That's 40 minutes for recovery, sleeping, eating, cleaning, and anything else (the cherished shower, going to the bathroom, brushing my teeth). We were to follow that routine for 24 hours and then go back in for another appointment the next day. We weighed her in again on Tuesday and she was up to 6 pounds 11 ounces. The 3 ounce gain was definitely an improvement, but still 10% under her birth weight. Although infants can lose up to that much after they are born, they are supposed to start gaining by day 4 and be back up to birth weight by day 10. Scarlett is quite behind!

The doctor suggested that I contact a lactation consultant again because my milk supply appeared to be very low and to continue supplementing with formula at least 2-3 times per day and pumping 2-3 times per day. We saw the consultant on Friday. Scarlett is doing everything she should be doing, so the problem is my supply. I got more herbal supplements, rented a medical grade pump, and was instructed to pump 8 times per day for 15-20 minutes and feed her 8-12 times for at least 5-7 minutes per side. Still a very time consuming schedule, but not nearly as rigid as our original schedule. Things are still really hard and my supply isn't much better but at least Scarlett is getting enough to eat with the formula. All three of us hate the formula, so we're keeping our fingers crossed that things turn around soon. We will continue to monitor her weight since we won't have another doctor's appointment until early January for her 2 month check up.

Paul's mom and step-dad were here this week and made thanksgiving dinner for us. They also helped out a lot around the house with laundry, the baby, and electronics. The trip was cut short due to all of the weight gain/feeding issues but hopefully we can arrange another trip very soon. Paul is at the Ravens-Steelers game tonight. Scarlett finally fell asleep right before I started this, but otherwise she has been feeding every hour and wanting to be held in between. She is adorable but definitely taking up a lot of time. This feeding schedule is much easier as a two person job! Well, I'm off to start the cycle again!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

November 22nd, 2009: 2 weeks down!!

Scarlett is 2 weeks old today! She had a busy week. Simon was in town Monday - Friday and Paul's sister, Trish, got here on Thursday night and left this morning. Yesterday we made the trip to Baltimore and Scarlett met her great grandmother, Aunts Cathy and Bonnie, and her cousins Ashley, Dan, and Michelle. Before Saturday, Scarlett's longest drive was about 10 miles, and the longest she had been out of the house was about an hour when we went to her first checkup. Saturday, we embarked on a 150 mile round trip lasting more than 8 hours. Scarlett spent most of her time in a deep sleep. I guess she figured her job was to simply be quite and look cute. She fussed a couple of times, but on both occasions she fed for 10 minutes and passed out. Scarlett has now been to two restaurants -- Zaytinya and Crush. We've gone during off hours so they were pretty empty and she stayed in her Ergo Baby carrier to keep her a bit more protected. My friend Cindy was in town from Orlando this week and also came by to see her on Thursday.

Scarlett's schedule is definitely unpredictable at this point. A few nights this week she stayed up most of the night until, for example, 7 AM, and then slept until 10 or 1130. A few other nights she slept most of the night except for a feeding break or two in between 4 hour naps. Yesterday she slept most of the day despite our best efforts to keep her up. We were sure that she would be up all night as a result. So sure that Paul stayed upstairs so that he would be able to get some sleep and get up in time to leave at 6:45 AM to take Trish to the airport. I stayed in the living room with Scarlett but she ended up sleeping almost all night! She woke up at 1245 (until 1:45), 245 (until 3:30), and finally around 5:30 AM to feed. Paul came down around 6:30 and took her with him to the airport and took the next shift while I went upstairs to sleep. I didn't get up until 11:30 AM but apparently Scarlett was up the whole time! She basically hasn't been to sleep for more than a half an hour since.

As you can see, we are definitely at the mercy of Scarlett's schedule for the day and it is very difficult to plan around it. Yesterday I was begging her to eat and today I've been begging her to finally be full. It has been very helpful for Paul and I to be able to tag team. I can take the night shift when he has meetings or appointments the next day and he gives me a break to get some sleep when I start getting frazzled.

Other than visitors and sleeping schedules, the big thing this week was beef jerky watch 2009... We were waiting for her umbilical cord to fall off! They say 7-10 days and at day 10 it was still hanging on. We were very anxious for it to fall off. In addition to not being very pleasant to look at, they are just a pain to work around. You have to be careful not to hit them during dressing and diaper changes. During one of Scarlett's fits on Friday night, she decided to pull on it. That resulted in it swelling and bleeding and me being unable to look at it. Finally, on Saturday Paul and Trish were changing her diaper and there was no beef jerky! Trish finally found it in the foot of her outfit (yuck). It appears that she will have an innie! I'm still a little grossed out by her belly because there is some rawness and a little blood but it is definitely getting better. I know it doesn't hurt her but since it looks like it does, I can't look at it!

Scarlett has reached a few milestones and has passed many tests over the two weeks- latching and eating, hearing, 2 oz weight gain 2 days after weighing in at 6lb 13oz, ability to follow movement with her eyes, quickly passing her meconium, umbilical cord falling off... so now we are anxiously awaiting the results of her next test- consistent weight gain. She has her 2 week checkup tomorrow (Monday), and our original goal was for her to weigh 7lb 8 oz (1oz/day wt gain and she was 6-15 on Saturday Nov 14th). Now we are just hoping for half of that gain! She seems to have a high metabolism, and can eat half the day away without appearing to put on weight. We are a little nervous about tomorrow's weigh-in because we want her to be healthy, and REALLY do not want to supplement, or be forced to wake up every 2 hrs to feed! We enjoy our stretch of sleep at night (or early morning :). We will spend Sunday plumping her up as much as possible and hope for a great result. Cross your fingers for her to weigh 7lb 8 oz or at least 7-4!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

November 15th, 2009: We've kept her alive for a whole week!

We'd planned to do a lot of blogging to keep up with all of the events since the days are running together and we're likely to forget everything but somehow the days have slipped away and we haven't had much time. We'll fill in as we get the chance. It's strange that the birth was only a week ago. It seems like a lot longer than that and almost like the actual birth never happened -- the details are already a little foggy (thank you, hormones!). Scarlett is definitely the boss and it is hard to imagine how we filled our days before she was here to run the roost.

To fill in on some of the key events of the last week, we were released from the hospital on the 10th. We had her newborn pictures taken and then checked out of the hospital. We stopped at Cassatt's (our neighborhood New Zealand Restaurant) on our way home to pick up lunch. When we pulled up to the house, our next door neighbors on both sides were out front (it was a beautiful day -- sunny and in the upper 60s!) and got to come meet their new neighbor. Everyone commented on all of her hair. Shortly after we got home, we got our first visitor - Dave. He brought a lovely handmade frame with her name on it that had one of her first pictures in it already. Very sweet. In the next few days, we basically just continued trying to get to know our little girl. We're figuring out what she likes and what she doesn't like and working on developing a routine. She also got some other visitors -- Shannon, Juli, Tracy, the Bottners, and Victor.

She slept a lot the first few days. So much that it was hard to get her up enough to feed. She has been sleeping 4-6 hours straight each night, but she chooses when the sleeping happens (sometimes 1-5 am, sometimes 4-10 am). We went to her first pediatric appointment at Sleepy Hollow with Dr. Jasani on Thursday morning. Overall, Scarlett was doing really well but had lost more weight (down to 6 lbs 13 oz). She wanted us to come in again on Saturday morning to have her weighed to make sure she started gaining weight again. She needed to gain an ounce per day to ensure that we didn't need to start waking her up at night to feed. PLEASE GAIN WEIGHT! Luckily, when we weighed her on Saturday, she was up to 6 lbs 15 oz! Yay for sleep (and a healthy baby!)!

Sunday was a gorgeous day -- 71 degrees! To take advantage of it, we took Scarlett on her first walk in the stroller. She loves the bumpy ride and passes out within minutes. Good to know in case of cranky emergencies! We've been trying to get a good walk in every day. Other firsts include her first sponge bath, first time in the swing and bouncer, and first introduction to the dogs and cats. All of the above went well.

Thus far, parenthood is a lot of fun! It's hard to explain why since we basically live in Groundhog's day. We can't figure out what happened on which day and never get a fraction of what we plan to do done, but we are somehow pretty content! Her facial expressions seem to be enough to keep us happy. After the first few days we learned that napping when she naps (at least once or twice per day) is critical to survival. Paul is still having a hard time with that (and sleeping through the night as a result) but we are figuring it out.

The visits will really start gearing up this week. I have a few friends in town over the next few days, plus Simon is in town until Thursday. Trish, Paul's sister gets here on Thursday night and his mom will arrive on Monday or Tuesday. My mom then gets here on December 3rd and will be here until the 13th.

We've started a photo website for Scarlett: Anyone can add pictures, so we encourage anyone who has come to see her to add pictures to the site! We also have a video clip up there.

In other news, Jacy is still pregger but nearing the end of the road! She is due on December 13th but I think we should start a pool... I think my guess is around thanksgiving! Maybe it is wishful thinking... Scarlett is anxious to meet Liam!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Room 357

We got to our new room around 1 PM on Sunday. I was thrilled because the bed in this room felt like heaven compared to the labor and delivery bed. Paul was not as lucky... he had a firm upholstered pull out chair calling his name. Too bad we didn't time this to better align with the large rooms with the pull out couches being cleaned!

After settling in, Scarlett was still fast asleep. Her initial run in with the needles and eye cream really wore her out, so she ended up sleeping much of the rest of the day. Paul and I on the other hand were wide awake despite being sleep deprived. We were tired but the adrenaline was not going to let up long enough for a nap. We spent most of the day posting pictures and corresponding with loved ones. The reception in the labor and delivery room was virtually nonexistent but we were up to 2-3 bars of service in 357. Still touch and go, but definitely an improvement.

We had a lot of people coming in and out to check me and/or the baby. Mostly it was checking my bleeding and vitals and Scarlett's vitals. We let them take her to give her a bath. When she came back about an hour later, she was all clean and we could see the blonde highlights around her hairline. She smelled good and the swelling in her face was slowly starting to go down. We received instructions on logging all of her activities (e.g., breastfeeding attempts, which side and for how long, diaper changes) and they gave us the menu for our special "celebration meal."

We decided to have our celebration meal for dinner Sunday night. After a few breastfeeding attempts and more diaper changes than expected (our little over achiever :) ), they delivered a steak, baked potatoes, broccoli, vegetable lasagna, chocolate cake, and a bottle of sparkling cider. It far exceeded our expectations for hospital food and it was nice to be able to toast to our new little miracle.

As we settled in for the night, we prepared ourselves for being awake all night with her. From about midnight to 2 AM, it looked like that was going to come true. She was very upset. She was crying and crying with a variety of pathetic wails. Nothing we tried seemed to help. Finally, around 2 AM we tried feeding her again and she fell asleep on me. We let her stay against me until about 4 AM when we swaddled her up again and put her in the bassinet. She slept until 7 AM! All told we ended up with about 5 hours of sleep straight. Not bad for her first night out of the womb!

On Monday morning we got another string of guests -- the pediatrician, Dr. Crowther (my OB), nurses, patient care aides, patient rights advocates... Lots of people checking on us to make sure we had everything we needed. All reports were good. Scarlett is healthy and happy and I seem to be healing as expected. We continued feedings and a long stream of diaper changes interrupted by calls, emails, and text messages. We also managed to get in a couple of really nice family naps. The one in the afternoon involved the three of us squeezed into my hospital bed for a little over an hour Monday afternoon. It was such a good nap! Paul and I both felt like we had been drugged. The staff were doing their best to come in about every 15 minutes to check vitals or something but we could barely wake ourselves up. We were so tired and relaxed laying as a family and very, very happy. It was nice to have down time just to soak into the idea of our new family unit... this little person that Paul and I had been dreaming about for years. We figure since we've been together almost 7 years, Scarlett has been about 7 years in the making.

As the days have gone on, we have been fascinated by how quickly she changes. Although I completely understand that I am coming from a biased perspective, we think she gets cuter and prettier by the second. Not only that, but once the shock of the whole thing wore off, the intense feeling of love for this little creature has just gotten stronger and stronger and is overwhelming now. When they take her out of the room to be checked or give her a shot, we genuinely miss her. It's a strange phenomenon since she doesn't do too much other than sleep, eat, and poop, but somehow each of those activities is incredibly endearing when it is your own baby. We've started to get to know her likes and dislikes (swaddling is her favorite, she has ticklish feet and sides and isn't a fan of people messing with them!) and she is getting comfortable with us. She LOVES her daddy. She tends to calm quickly with him (he is good at shhh-ing) and loves sleeping on his chest. He lays her on her back on his chest bone and taps on her chest and she falls asleep or looks around the room calmly. She is constantly rooting -- trying to suck anything and everything within range, including daddy's nose, cheek, shirt... He may encourage it a bit because it is pretty funny.

The lactation consultant came in Monday afternoon and was INCREDIBLY helpful. She gave us a nipple shield and some cream and some tips for how to get Scarlett to stay awake long enough to feed. They encouraged us to "play with her" for 5-10 minutes before trying to feed and to put her skin to skin with me. Success! She is now over-achieving in the feeding department too and I'm seeing the effects (some blood, lots of stinging, and my milk is coming in). We took a walk around the floor and drove the staff crazy by setting off the alarm (causing the floor to go into lock down -- apparently they take baby stealing attempts very seriously here) and met a nice family who was waiting for the birth of their grand baby.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Day one of "The Next Chapter"

Where did I leave off... Oh yea, 9:09am.

After Scarlett was born, we were still in a bit of shock at how lightning quick things progressed. As Scarlett's last toe was brought into this world, the OB immediately suctioned out her nose and mouth, Scarlett began to breath. What an amazing site to see a baby take her first breath!! She went from the color blue to bright (and shall I say) scarlet red in a matter of seconds as her cries sent oxygen rushing throughout her arteries. Soon after, it was time to detach her from her umbilical cord. Much to the OB's surprise, the cord was quite a bit shorter than the average cord, which made it more difficult cord blood later on. Maybe there is a correlation between length of cord and length of labor? Shonna? You are the research expert. Check the available data sets when you have a second. Anyway, I was given the opportunity to cut the cord. I'd give myself a B- on the cut, because it took me a second swipe of the scissors (albeit just an additional 2mm). I'll try to do better next time.

Soon after the cut, Scarlett was wiped down and handed to Shonna for a brief period of time (I can't recall if it was 30 seconds or 5 minutes because my mind was racing so fast). It must have been the latter because the placenta was passed during this time. What an interesting looking organ. Its like a cross between a human liver, and a heart and egg sac of another species. Apparently Shonna's placenta was reaching the end of its life because there was noticeable calcifying taking place on one side. As only Scarlett knew, it was time for her to leave the comfy confines of the uterus.

We were then ready for the next milestone. Scarlett was carried off so that her measurements could be taken. We hadn't heard much from Scarlett to this point. Scarlett cried initially as she was suctioned immediately after birth, but we didn't hear a peep after that moment (a trend that has continued to date- 9:15pm Monday. Quick cry followed by long moments of silence). As she was whisked away from Shonna, Scarlett's silence soon turned to anger as she was placed on the scale (but then again... don't most women react that way when approaching a scale, although usually unjustified? :) Scarlett weighed in at 7 pounds 9.3 ounces and 20.5 inches. Considering the natural birth and speed of delivery, I was expecting her weight to be under 7lbs. Wow Shonna, you are amazing! All other vitals turned out to be normal and Scarlett was back in Shonna's arms.

Shonna was in need of some post delivery attention, but the OB had more important things to take care of next door. Another sign that made us look at each other and say "we have been REALLY lucky!" We were in the delivery room more or less by ourselves for the next 60-90 minutes minus the usual round. The OB came back, did her thing, and we spend an additional 30-45 minutes in the room before moving on to our post delivery room. If Shonna so desires, I'll let her describe the remaining details and the painfuls aspect of post delivery.

On our way to our post delivery room, I was praying for an even numbered room. If you recall, Shonna and I took a tour of the ward, and the even numbered rooms were twice the size of the odds. We found out that the odd #s were always single rooms, and the evens were converted doubles to singles. Please please please please please please. The nurse made a call and I overheard "we are heading to room 357". My shoulders shrunk like a kid opening up a Christmas present only to find crappy clothes instead of a cool toy. Before I got too upset, I thought about the fact that I was walking to the room with my beautiful baby girl and amazing wife and all was well. I couldn't be luckier.

To be continued as "room 357"...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

This can't be MY daughter... She's on time!!

Well, well. Daddy did a great job of recounting the events of the day, but I figure I'll add the mother's perspective. Paul and I fully expected Scarlett to follow in our footsteps and arrive late. Paul made appointments for Monday and I fully planned to be working on a tech report. Further evidence of our cockiness in this regard were our weekend plans. We had a full day of running errands on Saturday, followed by my dinner plans with Tina, and our scheduled date to meet my new baby cousin Eve and have lunch with her parents (Dan & Ruth) on Sunday at noon.

We got through all of our Saturday plans. I had a lovely (and rich) dinner at Brasserie Beck with Tina Saturday night. Once I got home, I joined Paul in assembling the spinach lasagna and then I set off in what can only be described as an instinctual nesting ritual. Now, I've been known to fixate on some odd details (e.g., huge pet peeve is leaving cabinet doors open) but lately I've had what can only be described as an obsession with the cleanliness of the walls and baseboards in our house. I finally set to task on them, along with the hall closet and the bathrooms. We're talking hands and knees, full out scrubbing.

At about 12:45 AM I was suddenly stricken with exhaustion and decided I better lay down. I was feeling pressure in my pelvis and thought I might have overdone it a bit. I bid goodnight to my husband who was still diligently slaving in the kitchen and tried to head to bed. Around 2 AM I woke up feeling what seemed like it could be a contraction, but I wasn't convinced because theyd been described to me as coming from your back and wrapping around your stomach. These were completely localized to my pelvis. I tried to go back to sleepto see how things played out. As Paul said, by the time he crawled into bed 45 miutes later, I was still unsure, but my suspicion that we might be meeting Scarlett soon was definitely growing.

Throughout the night the contractions got more intense (practicing my breathing, squeezing the snoogle or nearby cat and trying to stay relaxed) and were definitey occuring at regular intervals. At 3:30 AM I decided I better try to get a rough estimate of how far apart they were, so I started timing them on the alarm clock and they were about 10 minutes apart. In the birthing class they said to wait until they were 5 minutes apart to go to the hospital and I didn't have the heart to wake Paul after 45 minutes of sleep. This was also self-serving of course, because I wanted him to stay awake through what I expected to be a long birthing process. I continued to breath through the contractions as quietly as possible and tried to rest between, realizing that it might be a long day ahead.

By 7 AM, I knew we were in trouble. There were additional signs that I was in full blown labor and what had been 10 minutes intevals had become 6 minute intervals by my rough alarm clock estimation. I figured 4 hours of sleep was as good as daddy was going to do under the circumstances so I finally woke him up. He was up and moving quickly, but lacked the same sense of urgency I was getting more of with every contraction. Harder, closer together. Still not terrible by any means though... I could breath through them farily easily and walked around to ease the pain. By the time we left the house, I was close to panic because I was getting the sense this wasn't the 18 hour early labor that had been described to us.

I won't recount all the details of the labor again, but I would like to add how great Paul was as a coach! Other than saying that he knew I was in pain but this was exciting (wait until the contraction is over to say anything positive), he managed to not annoy me at all and was perfect. Very supportive and avoided barking instructions at me. He kept saying how amazing I was and how great I was doing and actually made me feel like it was sincere. He didn't complain about me squeezing him to death as the intensity of the contractions increased either. Once she was with us he handed me a little white jewlery box -- a beautiful silver necklace with a mother and child and three diamonds to represent the three members of our newly expended family. I don't know if it is possible to feel any more lucky/blessed than I did that moment. A healthy, beautiful daughter and a doting and loving husband. It was as perfect as it could have been without the aid of an epidural. :)

On the note of the drugs... I'd planned to try to go au naturale, leaving the door open to change my mind once reality set in. As Paul described, I was really only in unbearable pain for 30-45 minutes. I'd like to commend myself on the bravery of refusing the epidural, but most of it can be attributed to my stubborn streak and Scarlett being unstoppable. All in all, I think it worked out for the best because my happy hormones must have quickly made the pain seem like a distant and inconsequential memory.

All I can say is that I am grateful for the short labor (I won't say quick and easy because I think the easy part would be an overstatement -- I did want to kill the nurse when there was an empty tape roll in my bed during transition contractions) and I hope that my Jacy has a similar fate in store.

One other thing -- the staff at VHC have been awesome. It feels more like a hotel than a hospital most of the time because they are so service oriented. Can we get you anything? Fill your ice water? Take the baby away so you can nap? We had a special celebratory meal with sparkling cider and they are very careful not to disturb us when it is inconvenient. A great experience so far all around!

Sunday November 8th 2009

Soooo... Saturday we decided to go grocery shopping and figured we should make a bunch of food to freeze. Seemed like a good idea at the time. I started on lasagna, a baked ziti dish, rice/mushrooms, veggies... a bit overkill for one night because I was up until 2:45am. I finally made it to bed, and Shonna mentions that she "may" have had a contraction at 2am but not 100% sure. I figured, "all of the things I've read and stories I've heard, if she DID have a contraction I have plenty of time to get some sleep and head off to the hospital in the morning.

7am- Shonna wakes me up confirms that she has been having contractions, and is concerned that her contractions are getting closer and closer QUICKLY. She asks me to time them. At the beginning of her contraction and I hit the stopwatch and waited for her next contraction. Fully expecting to see an 8 or 9 next to the "minute" hand, I did a double take when I clicked the stopwatch and noticed it stopped at 4 minutes 50 seconds. WHAT??? How did that happen so fast??? I checked again. 4 minutes? I thought it had to be a mistake. The next one hit 5:15, so I thought "ok, QUICK shower and off to the hospital (I last showered Friday morning, so I felt it was necessary to at least attempt to rinse off.) I called the OB, left a message with their answering service, then I jumped in the shower. Done in a flash, we packed the car and I noticed Shonna had one of those looks like "holy crap, we need to leave NOW". We prepared quite a bit for this situation, but none of the books, baby classes, or life stories prepared us for how quickly this was happening.

8am- after the 15 minute drive and walk to the nurses station, we went into our room, I dropped the luggage off, and went back to the car to get the rest of the stuff and to park. I called Shonna's sister Tracy on the way back to the room (I only had about 3 minutes of good cell coverage so I had to move quickly.) I set a call tree in motion so that our immediate family and others would know what was happening. My plan was to text or email numbers for Tracy to call because I would not have good cell coverage, AND Shonna was progressing faster than expected. I attempted to call my mom, but cell coverage got the best of me. I was able to leave a message with David on my 2nd/3rd attempt, and actually talked to her shortly after.

8:15- By the time I returned to the room, Shonna was worried that I was going to miss the delivery, but she was diagnosed to be 6 cm dilated. Shonna and I (and help from the staff) figured we had at least a couple of hours before she would have to start pushing. The staff was very impressed that we waited that long to check into the hospital, especially considering its our first. We looked at each other and thought to ourselves, "It was part of our research" :)

8:30- Shonna's next contraction was powerful. So powerful that the nurse asks Shonna, "are you SURE you don't want an epidural?" No, lets wait and see. Plus we haven't talked to an OB yet (no one from our clinic is on call, but the Dr who was originally at the top of Shonna's OB list was on call. Side note- The OB's staff member told us we wouldn't be able to see this Dr until July for our initial apt, which is why we chose another practice. Boy was she annoyed and embarrassed that this happened.

8:40am- Shonna's contractions are so strong that she is certain her body wants her to start pushing. She mentions this and the nurse immediately checks her cervix. FULL DILATION!!!! WHAT IS GOING ON HERE!!! We haven't even seen an OB yet. 5 minutes later the OB appears and the show begins. Shonna's feet went into the stirrups, plastic was scattered around the room like we were getting ready to paint it (brought back painful memories of stripes). Shonna had a contraction, and OOOOPS, her right leg went crashing down because the stirrup IS BROKEN!?!? As it turns out, there have been A HANDFUL of similar occurrences this week on separate beds. Did this hospital renovate everything but the foot straps? Seems strange. Anyway, back to the labor. Shonna's water hasn't broken yet, so the OB takes care of that first with a special (and in Shonna's eyes EVIL) tool, that appears to be pretty painful. Shonna was in more pain than any contraction so far. Of course that changed quickly- the contractions would get more painful... The next contraction occurred, and the OB started coaching Shonna on breathing. "Its almost here so take a deep breath, let it out, take another one and hold and push for a count of 10". I'M CERTAIN this is much easier said than done. Shonna did inhale, release, inhale and begin to hold and push, but the "hold" quickly turned to "grunt" similar to a weightlifter, which releases air and decreases the power of the push. It didn't take Shonna long to make the adjustment. 2 or 3 more contractions/pushes, and "there's the head!" Shoulders followed, and with one more push there she was.

9:08am- Scarlett Aurora Waters Waltrup (we are giving her 2 middle names, not a hyphenated past name), born 7 pounds 9 ounces, 20.5 inches long, beautiful baby girl with already more hair than I have! I'm pretty sure we will bombard you with more pictures than you know what to do with, so I'm only adding a couple teasers here. Every staff member involved was simply amazed. "I've never seen anything like this especially for a first child. THIS IS REALLY YOUR FIRST??? If you have a 2nd, make sure you are in the hospital at the first sign of pain. The next one may happen even faster. " I can't imagine a quicker turnaround. It took 7 total hours from first sign to birth, and according to the OB, 60-90 minutes from the first REAL contractions to delivery. We (er Shonna) went from 6cm to birth in about 50 minutes, and 6cm to full dilation in 30 min. CRAZY! As we joked during our 9 months, Shonna is built for this :)

We will follow up with another report to detail minutes 9:09 through Monday pm. Until then, hope you enjoyed it!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

39 Week Checkup - Down to the wire!

I'm doing a mid-week post because we had our doctor's appointment today. We met with Dr. Crowther. We originally thought I'd have a cervical exam done today, but she said that since I hadn't had any contractions, I didn't need it since it wouldn't really tell us anything about when I'd go into labor. My blood pressure and weight were good (no change). Her heart rate was 146 and the doctor said that she's in position. Her head is pretty far down into my pelvis and the doctor said that she is a good size - not too big! She thinks I have a 90% chance of having a normal vaginal birth. Good news all around!

The big thing was that she wanted us to go ahead and schedule our induction just in case. They try not to go much past 10 days over the due date and wanted to schedule now so that we could try to get an appointment when someone from our practice is on call. So... we're scheduled to be induced on November 17th at 8 PM. I'm hoping that we don't have to wait that long (I'm aiming for the 10th!). If we do get induced on the 17th at 8, Dr. Masel will be on call and the baby would likely be born on Nicole's birthday.

One other thing was that we'd been told during our second sonogram that our new due date was November 11th. Today we learned that the due date based on the first sonogram is actually a better estimate -- November 8th. We're already 3 days farther along than we thought we were!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Anniversary through November 2nd

So its been quite a while since my last post (I say that a lot.) First I should explain the pictures. I bought the flowers for our anniversary- 2 for the # of years, and the short one for our daughter (I know its a little sappy, but what can I do.) We had a lobster dinner, Georgetown Cupcakes supplied by Jacy and Joel, then we all passed out from too much food. As you can see, the pets enjoyed the food and nap as well! Another reason I added the picture of the dogs is to show how mean and tough our pit bull really is. Shonna's mom was nervous when we adopted a pit bull and worried that Axel would kill us. As you can see, he just might suffocate us to death.

Ok, back to talking about mom and baby. Shonna is doing better than any mother-to-be I've seen in person or on TV, read in a book or magazine, or heard about during our God awful baby class instructor. As a matter of fact, I would bet that only those shown on "I didn't know I was pregnant" have had a better pregnancy. Sure she has grown a belly, but you wouldn't know otherwise- Especially after our baby decided to move off of Shonna's nerve.

Recent cravings- Shonna has gone from pickles and pizza in her first trimester, to all well done baked potatoes all of the time. The problem is... a full potato is too big, and the potato is no good 10 min after leaving the oven (the outside has to be crispy to create a mashed potato/potato skin combo). What does this mean for me? I too eat bake potatoes on a daily basis... :) Shonna has had two constant cravings throughout her pregnancy- grilled cheese and ice cream, but I don't think she hast be pregnant to crave those two things.

Concerning the house- no its not ready yet. Its getting there, but we now have a pile of shstuff that takes up 1/3 of the living room. Much if not all of it will go on Ebay. Feel free to bid! Baby room looks great, and our bedroom is basically ready to go. 1 floor out of 3 ain't bad :) I should have floor #2 complete minus the Ebay section by the end of the week, and the basement is getting roomier by the day (at least that's what I keep telling Shonna).

Well I'm off to make more room in the house. How much room does a sub 10 lb baby need anyway??? I know, I know...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

November 1st, 2009: Happy Halloween & 39 Weeks

Happy Halloween! The picture is of Dave and I in our halloween costumes. He came over to help with some stuff around the house and we somehow talked him into painting his belly with me and passing out candy. We also headed into town and went to a party and a bar in Adams Morgan. We won 2nd place in the costume contest at Toldeo Lounge ($75 gift certificate which Dave has decided not to use until I'm not pregger anymore)!

I'm 39 weeks today but still feeling really good. I actually feel a lot better this week than I have in the past few because she seems to have moved off of my nerve! I can now walk almost normally (except for the slight waddle) and without pain. It's amazing how good normal feels when it has been gone for a while! We had our checkup on Monday with Dr. Born. All was well -- heart rate was good, my blood pressure was good, no weight gain, etc. She said I was carrying a little bit small but that was okay and it could just be because she was moving into my pelvis. We have another appointment on Tuesday this week with Dr. Crowther and supposedly they will do an exam to see if I've started dilating at all yet.

This week we met with 3 pediatricians. One, Dr. Gallagher, is the only doctor in a small practice right by our house. She was the first we met with and is all personality. Fairly young, very tall, and quite funny/blunt. The location couldn't be better - it's about 1/2 way between our house and our daycare. The second one we met was part of Pediatrics of Arlington (Dr. Lischwe), a 6 pediatrician practice located at Virginia Hospital Center. That one was out of network, so it would have had to have been pretty great anyway, but it really didn't win us over. It was a very one-way conversation and we just didn't get a great feel. The last one we saw was Dr. Jasani of Sleepy Hollow Pediatrics (part of Capital Area Pediatric Group). There are 9 pediatricians and 1 nurse practitioner at Sleepy Hollow and they've been in business for 40 years (in the same building, but they're moving in March). We were skeptical going in, but we ended up really liking the doctor we met with and had a very good feeling about the practice. The biggest drawback is location -- it is in the heart of Seven Corners in Falls Church. If you know the area, Seven Corners is like driving hell. Traffic is always terrible, the roads are confusing, and the average IQ seems to drop by 30 points or so. Now we're still trying to decide between Dr. Gallagher and Sleepy Hollow. Both have pluses and minuses and we're confident we'd get great care with either. Decisions, decisions! It may come down to the first name we think of when we check in at labor and delivery!

Baby watch is in full effect. We'll continue to update as anything noteworthy happens!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

October 25, 2009: Week 38

We have 2 weeks to go (ack!). Hard to imagine... I'm still feeling okay and we still have a lot to do to get ready for her. The nursery is getting close to finished -- at least as finished as it is going to be before she arrives. We have another doctor's appointment tomorrow and then 3 appointments this week to meet pediatricians. We also need to tie up some loose ends like trying to get the car serviced before she gets here and possibly hunting down a flu shot. We are getting excited about finally meeting her and seeing whose features she ended up with (e.g., attached or unattached earlobes?).

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

October 18, 2009: Week 37

Only 3 weeks to go! We had our sonogram on Friday and they said that she is estimated at 6 lbs 12 oz (plus or minus a pound). That puts her in the 59th percentile, which isn't nearly as bad as I'd feared! The top picture is of her feet (in my ribs) and the bottom picture is her face, although it is pretty smushed.

Today (October 20th) was our 2 year anniversary! Paul made lobster and had roses waiting for me when I got home. Jacy, Joel, & Liam sent georgetown cupcakes (oh so good - thanks guys!) and I had already picked up gelato from Boccato, so we had a feast! Paul also scheduled another massage for me for tomorrow. It is much appreciated because my back is starting to bother me a lot these days. He tries to rub my back for me, but there is nothing like going into a professional with a massage table! All-in-all, it was a lovely anniversary and I'm very happy that we made that decision two years ago! The other thing was that I had 1/4 glass of wine! It was enough to feel like an anniversary but I couldn't do a whole glass with her still getting some of it. Besides, after not drinking for that long I probably would have been drunk!

We had our 37 week check up this week, but there really wasn't much to report. Her heart beat sounds good, my weight didn't change since last week (we'll see what happens next week after all of the gelato and cupcakes!), and my strep culture came back negative. I dropped off my FMLA paperwork and short-term disability forms, but it was a very short appointment in general. We meet with Dr. Born on Monday for our 38 week check up. Next week we also interview pediatricians on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. I only have a few more weeks of work (last day in the office on Nov 6th) so it definitely feels like the end is near!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

October 11, 2009: 36 Weeks

Only 4 weeks to go! We had a lot going on this week! As you can see from the pictures, Jacy and Joel spent about 5 days with us and we had the baby party to celebrate the upcoming births. We had a great turnout (about 70 people) and it was a lot of fun to see everyone! We had the party at Paul's cousin's restaurant, Crush in Belvedere Square. The food was wonderful and the atmosphere was great. Our friends and family came up from all over the east coast -- North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Boston... The babies will definitely be surrounded by love and support!

The rest of the time Jacy was here we basically did a lot of eating and napping! We did finally check out the National Harbor and see some friends from high school. Crazy to think that the next time the four of us see each other, it will actually be six of us!

On Tuesday night we had our birthing class and had to practice diapering and bathing the "baby." Paul tried to hog the baby, but other than that, it went pretty well :) This week we have our last birthing class (woo hoo!), a doctor's appointment tomorrow morning, and the sonogram is on Friday morning. We'll also be trying to get the house ready and writing lots of thank you notes!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

35 Weeks: Still Limpin' Along!

Today marks the beginning of our 35th week. Overall, things are still going well but I am starting to feel very, very pregnant. I started having a lot of pain in my left lower back, especially when I walk, which causes me to limp a bit. I went to the doctor on Friday for my normal check up (with Dr. Rossi) who said that it appears she is head down with her head pushing on the nerves in my back. Basically, he said I'd feel much better once I deliver! He did suggest moist heat, a prenatal cradle, and some stretches. He also said I could try massage (but wasn't optimistic about it) and tylenol (which I'm not optimistic about). I did have a massage on Friday at the massage clinic at the hospital, but although it felt nice, it definitely didn't have a long term impact on my limping. The pain is constant but the severity ebbs and flows. The worst is if I try to stand on my left leg by itself (think putting pants on or getting in/out of the shower). I'm going to try the stretching portion of my prenatal exercise video today to see if that helps; hopefully my prenatal cradle will arrive early this week.

Other than the advice on the back problem, Dr. Rossi checked her position and heart beat on Friday. She is head down and seems to be descending (that would explain all of the kicking in my ribs!). Her heart rate was great and Dr. Rossi said it sounded like "she was having fun in there." We seem to get that a lot, so I think she may take after Paul and be pretty high energy! My weight and blood pressure are also well within normal. I've gained 30 pounds to date (about .5 since my last appointment -- luckily it seems to be slowing down a bit), which sounds like A LOT but I guess I'm safely within the recommendations. We really like Dr. Rossi. He is very funny - definitely a charmer. We made two more appointments - one for our next checkup on the 12th with the midwife, Karen, and one for our sonogram on the 16th. We are very excited about the sonogram. We will be close to 37 weeks at that point so it will likely be the last time we see her while she's still on the inside!

We also had another childbirth class this week. This one was about postpartum care and we had our hospital tour. Postpartum sounds like almost as much fun as the birth itself. Basically, the video talked about asking for help and using ice packs and other substances to help with the pain afterwards. They say it takes 6-8 weeks for your uterus to return to normal size and so on. I think it may take me longer to recover than I was hoping. The tour was pretty good. It was good to see where we will need to go and get a feel for the layout. The labor and delivery wing of the hospital is under construction (unfortunately). The parts that are finished are really nice. The delivery rooms are really large and have a pull out couch for Paul. The postpartum recovery rooms are pretty small though. They are first come, first serve and some are a good size (with pull out couches and gliders) while the others are pretty tiny with only a pull out chair that doesn't even recline all of the way. We're hoping there aren't too many other women when I'm there so that we can get one of the larger rooms for Paul's sake!

We also found out during class that the massage clinic in the hospital will go up to your room during labor and delivery to massage the laboring mom! I don't know if I will really want someone touching me while I have contractions, but it sounds like a good option right now!

Next week is a big week! Jacy & Joel (and Liam) get here on Tuesday and the baby party is on Saturday. Jacy and I are going to get prenatal massages on Wednesday and we were planning to do a lot of walking, but between her sciatica and my limp, I'm not sure how much we'll do. Hopefully Joel and Paul won't get too bored watching us nap!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The house is getting there!

Well you wouldn't know it by looking at the house (or by the length of my honey-do list), but things are coming together. I'd show you pictures, but if you reread sentence #1... its not quite picture worthy just yet.
-Wood stairs are in, but I had to sand off the stain before I apply the poly (stairs didn't need stain- oops.)
-Both closets are in, but I have one final piece to install (molding), and reattach my closet door. Guess what happens when you take all of the crap previously piled in 2 closets and let it loose throughout the house... :)
-Upstairs is now hardwood, but still needs finishing touches. Looks great though! In the words of Shonna, "its shiny"

Soooooo we now have a bunch of extra stuff lying around (the closet "stuff" mentioned earlier, lots of baby items, and... oh yea, did I mention that I emptied our storage facility and dumped the contents in the basement?) In order to get rid of or store this stuff, I will need to clean out the sh... stuff under the stairs, in the laundry room, in the guest room, and in the shed. Anyone want some extra stuff?

On another subject, I've had "baby dreams" on consecutive nights. Odd because these are basically the first 2 I've had. Friday night I dreampt we were in the hospital room while Shonna was in labor. The challenge was that we had to make the hospital bed, assemble the monitors and contraptions, and basicall get the room "delivery ready" as seen through my eyes at the time. I'm sure you can only imagie. It was eerily similar to my assembly of the baby swing earlier that night...
In addition, it was a Sunday, and not one of Shonna's Drs was available. Instead, the lady who runs the baby class we attend on Tuesdays was going to deliver the baby. Shonna loves her :)

My 2nd dream wasn't as weird, but definitely not normal. Our baby girl was crawling around, and it was just the two of us. Shonna was at work or something and I was playing mr. mom (or some role that loosely resembled mr mom). I can't remember all of the details, but I do recall her crawling down the hallway of our apartment (yes I know we don't live in an apt:)

Anyway, thats my blog for now. I'll be in touch.

September 27, 2009: 34 Weeks

Today was the last day of my last weekend workshop! I've found that it is much harder to work long days (especially 7 days/week) these days. My feet are pretty swollen by the end of the day and I'm usually really tired by about lunch time. I was able to catch up on sleep a little bit on Friday night, which helped, but I'm definitely looking forward to having a couple of days off this weekend!

We have 6 weeks to go (42 days)! We have our regular check up on Friday and then it's only a few more days until Jacy and Joel (and Liam!) get here. We also have 3 more childbirth classes. This week we have our tour of the hospital.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

September 20: Week 33

It was a fairly productive week in the world of baby preparations! We got the car seat installed in my car (it's pretty trippy to look back and have a car seat in the car though!) and are set up for cord blood banking. Paul has been hard at work on the house -- the closets came in and he and Dave worked this weekend on getting them installed. They also replaced some light fixtures and fixed the wiring upstairs. Paul is still working on sanding the finish off of the stairs and a lot of little odd jobs. Next on the list is more dejunking and organizing. Seems like we never run out of things to do! Our diaper bags are packed though and we're getting closer to being ready for her!

We had our checkup on Thursday with Dr. Crowther. Everything looks good. She had just woken up when Dr. Crowther came in to check her heart rate. She was around 160 bpm and Dr. Crowther was laughing at how active she was. I'm still doing really well. I don't really have any new syptoms. I've been working a lot so I'm usually pretty tired and I find that I have a harder time getting up and down and my feet hurt if I'm standing for a long time, but I won't complain! If you keep up with Jacy's blog (, you know that the third trimester has been harder on her than on me! I've gained 30 pounds, which is a little ahead of where I'd like to be, but I should still be pretty close to the recommended range by the end (maybe over by 2 pounds).

In other news, I got the official word this week that I was promoted! I'm thankful that my company promoted me even though it will be just in time for me to go on maternity leave for 2 or 3 months. The extra money will definitely help with daycare expenses!

Paul hasn't been writing on the blog much because he has been really busy with work (end of the fiscal year) and house stuff. As we speak, he is upstairs working on one of the closets. I've got another workshop this week (Thursday-Sunday), so Paul will have another weekend with me out of the way to slave away on the house. The goal for next weekend is to get rid of the storage shed (one fewer monthly expense!). Hopefully he will get a chance to write again soon. Maybe after this week's childbirth class where we get to see the glory of the video!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Week 32

Okay, okay! We'll post a belly shot soon... maybe this weekend. We're down to 8 weeks to go until the due date! That sounds very, very soon. We've had 2 childbirth classes so far at Virginia Hospital Center. Paul and I have pretty bad ADD, so I can't say that we're thrilled by the classes, but I guess it is a necessary evil. Next week we talk about pain medications and watch the video. I'm already thinking of illnesses that may pop up on Tuesday.

We have another doctor's appointment on Thursday (with Dr. Crowther again this time) and Paul is going to take my car in to get a car seat inspection this weekend. He's also going to work on installing closets in the two bedrooms upstairs. While Paul is slaving away with baby preparations, I'll be working all weekend with the physical therapists in Old Town. Luckily, Dave has been gracious enough to offer to come lend Paul a hand while I'm working!

Monday, September 7, 2009

September 6th, 2009: 31 Weeks and a Nursery

As you can see, our nursery furniture was delivered on Friday! We ended up with a lot of furniture and not so much room, but so it goes. Hopefully the glider will fit in there once it is delivered! If not, I guess we have a new chair for the living room! You can also see Paul's paint job and the new floors in these pictures. We still have some work to do - the windows and decorating, but all of the baby stuff is unpacked and it's getting eerily real. Dave was kind enough to come over today to help Paul with some stuff around the house and will probably come back later this week.

We had our biweekly appointment on Thursday and found out that we'll be able to get another ultrasound during our 36th week to check the position of the baby. We're looking forward to it! Otherwise, her growth is right on track and her heartbeat sounded great. We start childbirth classes on the 8th and we're really not looking forward to those videos! We've started putting things together for our hospital overnight bag and collecting stuff for the diaper bags. Time is flying! We're going to Caroline's (Bonnie's baby) first birthday party on Saturday. It seems like just yesterday that she told me she was pregnant, so I'm sure our baby's first birthday will sneak up on us just as quickly!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sorry for the delay...

So apparently its been 28 days since my last post. The crazy thing is I haven't heard one reminder from Shonna, just going on my own intuition... :)

I'm sure everyone has been on pins and needles waiting to find out how all of the renovations have been going, so I'll give you an update. Stripes are painted AND approved! Once I received approval, We (I) removed all of the closet items into the living room, and the hardwood floor was installed. We (I) then moved all of the master bedroom furniture into the finished baby room, and moved the closet shelving into the living room. We (I) then painted our bedroom, ripped the carpet out, and had the hardwood floor installed. We (I) then moved our bedroom furniture back into the master bedroom so that we could at least live comfortably :)

Soooo at this time, the bulk of the rooms renovations were now complete. The only additional changes we (we:) finished were "light switch and plug modernization" from the horribly bad-tooth-yellow fixtures to white. Looks great!

Does this seem like a lot of work? Well... we still have to finish both closets and at least one bathroom. It might take me another 28 days to complete this project and write again...


August 30th, 2009: 30 weeks down, 10 to go!

Check out the countdown below... only 70 days until our due date! Hard to imagine that 30 weeks has gone by and September is right around the corner. We haven't made too much progress on the house this week because Paul was in Alabama for work during most of it and we've spent most of the weekend running around for BBQs. We're looking forward to spending some concentrated time on it over labor day weekend.

Otherwise there isn't much to report this week. Our party invitations came in, so hopefully we'll get those out soon. I've been pretty tired and back to requiring naps, but no new symptoms to report.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

August 23rd, 2009: 29 Weeks

We had our first biweekly doctor's appointment on Thursday with Dr. Masel, which was just one of three medical encounters this week. I had to get my glucose screening, Rhogam shot, and medical exam for life insurance. The glucose screening involved drinking a cup of syrup (nasty), waiting an hour, and then having my blood drawn. I got the results on Thursday and I'm in the clear. Normal is 135 or below and I was at 88. They did discover, however, that I am slightly anemic. They think it will go back to normal after I give birth but for now I'm taking extra iron supplements. As for the Rhogam, I had to have my blood drawn (again) on Thursday morning before my doctor's appointment. When they drew my blood I heard a hiss and looked down and I had gushed blood! The doctor had to wipe blood off of my arm and the chair -- kind of gross. I then had to go back after my doctor's appointment (after an hour and a half) to get the Rhogam shot. If she's rh positive when she's born, I'll have to get another shot. The doctor's appointment went well. They gave me the results of the glusoce screen and we heard the heartbeat. Nothing else really to report. The measurements are good and the heartbeat is strong. On Friday we had our medical exams for our life insurance and had the pleasure of having my blood drawn for the thrid time in three days! My blood pressure is still really low -- 110/60 in one arm and 110/65 in the other.

On the house front, the hardwood floors are pretty much done upstairs (except for a little bit of trim where we ran out) and both rooms are painted. Now we're going to order some materials to redo the closets and we've been pricing out bathroom renovations. At that point we'll be pretty much done for a while. We went to look at rings today because my fingers are starting to swell enough where it's no longer very comfortable to wear my wedding rings. I have to trade 'em in or prepare to have them cut off!

Hopefully Paul will have a chance to write soon!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

August 16th, 2009: 28 Weeks

Progress is being made! Paul officially finished all of the stripes and the wood we ordered to replace the carpet upstairs finally came in! Sergio (our fabulous handyman) started the installation this weekend. With the exception of the trim, the floor in the baby's room and the hallway is done and we've cleared out 95% of the stuff from our bedroom to start painting in there. Sergio will then do the floor in there and the stairs. Next on the list is the closet and bathroom attached to the baby's room.

This week hasn't been too bad in terms of pregger symptoms. I worked really long days this week and found that my feet and legs were really swollen by the end of the day on Monday and Tuesday. They gave me a foot rest though to help elevate my feet, which has helped a lot. I was pretty tired this weekend, but it may have just been residual from during the work week. All of the other symptoms have been pretty good - no more heart burn or anything. My hips and back hurt some, but I'm still able to be pretty active as long as I watch my balance. The woman next to me in yoga on Saturday was 39 weeks, so that gives me something to strive for!

Looks like we're pretty well set on having the baby party (in lieu of a traditional shower) at Crush in Baltimore on October 10th. It will be a joint party for Jacy and Joel and us and we're looking forward to the excuse to get everyone together! Look for your invitation in the next 2 or 3 weeks!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

August 9th, 2009: Welcome to the 3rd (last!) Trimester!

Today we hit the 27 week mark and got back from our trip to Seattle to see my parents (aka Nonni and Grumps). We had a lovely trip and they have already gotten hard to work on spoiling their newest grand daughter! We spent most of the time eating ( 3 nights in a row!) and shopping. We went to Gig Harbor, McChord AFB, and Olympia. We left with a duffle bag (literally!) full of goodies, including clothes, stuffed animals, bottles, a breast pump, and so on.

I'm still feeling good and getting around pretty well. I had a doctor's appointment right before we left at VHC on August 6th with Karen King (the midwife). She was okay, but not in our top three (we love Drs. Crowther, Rossi, and Masel). It was a pretty quick appointment -- just long enough for them to weigh me in (!!!) and hear the heart beat. The doctor suggested that I cut back on sweets to make sure my weight gain doesn't maintain the same rate for the next 13 weeks, so I guess the party is over! No more georgetown cupcakes for me! The doctor also said that my measurements are good though and I'm "hiding her" well. I seem to be carrying her sideways most of the time, so I guess for 6 months I'm not sticking out too badly. I have to get my glucose screen next week and go back to see Dr. Masel in two weeks for a checkup and have to get my shot for being rh negative.

My feet are swelling just a little bit when I travel and the baby is definitely moving around a lot. Otherwise, not too much has changed now that we're officially in the last trimester. Hopefully we will spend most of next weekend (and the days in between) getting things done around the house to get ready for her. Paul still has one more stripe and some touch ups to do! Jacy and Joel already have the painting done and the crib assembled so we are definitely behind!

Monday, August 3, 2009

August 2nd, 2009: 26 Weeks

I guess this is technically the last week of the second trimester. Hard to imagine! Time is going by really quickly and people at work are starting to come up to me and shout that I'm showing. Our accumulation of baby stuff is growing (thanks, Mom!) and reality is setting in.

Reflections on the second trimester: What they say is true - it was definitely the best so far! I had a LOT more energy than the first trimester (although that has been changing in the last couple of weeks). I had some other symptoms start up like problems with my sciatic nerve and more lower back pain, but overall I've been really lucky. I'm starting to notice more problems with circulation (feet swelling at the data collection and numbness on the plane) but I think I still have ankles and I'm getting around pretty well! One of the new developments has been the pregger-squat (having to spread your legs to be able to bend down and pick something up). I'm generally just feeling happy and excited about the baby coming, but I do have periodic moments on panic. Paul has still been great - very involved and getting stuff done to get ready for her. Continue the countdown!

Yes I have been great! And yes there have been periodic moments of panic...
My coworker who just had a baby girl 2 weeks ago and today mentioned that his wife started "nesting" about 2 months before the baby was born. As he described it, "all of the sudden the baby room had to be completed OR ELSE. She must have known that the baby was arriving 3 weeks early."
Um, well, if that's the case with us, Shonna will have the baby sometime in the next couple of days! Just kidding honey :) I'll get the room finished...

Speaking of the room, I wrote a description at the bottom of Shonna's week 25 post, but as I mentioned in a comment, probably too late for anyone to go back and read. The room is full of stripes. Now I just need to fix the stripes. Ok, its not THAT bad. Just a touch-up here and there. Next up: wood floor, bathroom, and closet. Not necessarily in that order, but (glasses up) here's to hoping the wood comes in soon so we can have the furniture delivered.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

No Waddling Yet

Shonna thought she'd be waddling when she returned from her trip....

Well I was hoping I could relive our Disney vacation , but dammit, she is not waddling yet :(.
If you didn't know, we believe there are more waddlers per capita @ Disney World than any other place on earth... with the possible exeption being the Minnesota State Fair.

Shonna is showing, but not like most other 6 month preggers. As you can see by her 25 week picture, she still has a ways to go before people can walk up to her with 100% certainty and say "oh, you're pregnant? When are you due?". As I guy, I hold out until at least the 8th month or 7th if the mother is carrying twins before making any preggo comments...

Do we really have just 14 weeks to go? I've said this before, but... I better go and do stuff.

Monday, July 27, 2009

July 27th, 2009: 25 weeks

I'm a little late posting this week, but it is because big things have been going on! I was at an assessment center in Baltimore last week, followed by a trip to Savannah for Jacy's ultrasound, a trip to Apex, NC for a baby shower, and I'm now at Ft. Bragg for a data collection (plus I got to see Nicole). We also met up with Danny and Beth (cousins) for dinner, which was great. Beth has 2 girls already and Danny is having his first in September. It's funny to catch up now that we're all parents (or almost, anyway).

The biggest event of all... Jacy is having a BOY!!! I guess he will have lots of options for a prom date! Jacy is the first of our group to have a boy. We spent some of the weekend reading through baby name books and buying him his first outfits. Pee pee teepees here we come!

It was great to see Jacy and her adorable pregger belly. We'll post some pictures soon. It was also nice to waddle around with a fellow pregger all weekend and share symptoms. Plus, we are both peeing really frequently but it feels more normal if someone else is on the same schedule! Jacy gave me an early (non)shower gift... a pregger spa day! It was fabulous. We went to a really nice spa in Savannah and had pedicures, facials, and massages. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday. We also went walking around a lake and along the beach and through their neighborhood. All-in-all, a very relaxing weekend!

This is my last week of the second trimester! It has gone by really quickly. I'm starting to get a lot more tired again, but I managed to make it through today without a nap, so who knows. Hopefully by the time baby and I get back to Arlington, Paul will have finished painting her room and the wood for the floors will be in. We're heading to Seattle to see Nonni and Grumps (aka my parents) on Thursday, so we're running out of weekends before the little one arrives!

Paul here- Did Jacy grow 6 inches taller during pregnancy, or did Shonna shrink? Just kidding. I heard that Jacy was "lifting" for that picture :)

Well, the room is basically painted. Stripes are in, but due to some stray paint and torn tape, some touch-up is in order. Oh yes, apparently I have to reduce the size of one of the darker stripes. All stripes are 8 inches wide except for a 9.5 inch gap between the wall and a large window. I figured painting the whole thing dark as opposed to 8" dark and 1.5" white would be easier (even Shonna agreed and gave the idea her blessing:). Well that lasted about as long it took the paint to dry... if that! So its back to the ol measure-level-laser-tape-paint technique. As you know, no matter what, women are usually right... but pregnant women are ALWAYS right :)

Concerning the baby room, I better pick up the pace. Still need to take carpet out, and install hardwood (not to mention fix up the closet and bathroom). In the meantime, our first floor office is being overrun by baby gifts. It is an issue with space, but not a bad problem to have when you are receiving gifts (sorry no smiley face added here. I have a limit of 3 max per post.)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

July 19th, 2009: 24 weeks

First... Happy Birthday, Mom (Nonni)!!

Today is 24 weeks and I'm feeling pretty pregnant. Last week I had my first episode of stranger danger (a sweet woman in the bathroom offered to let me go in front of her in line and then rubbed my belly) and this week I think I had my first encounter with heart burn. Good times all around!

Ginny kindly sent us baby photos of Paul and Trish, which we looked through today. I wanted to see pictures of Paul as a newborn so that we'd have something to judge who she looks like more once she is born. The picture above seemed to be the youngest picture she had of Paul.

Paul finally got his blood tested and found out he is O+. It's good to know, but unfrtunately I will still have to get the shots since I'm rh negative. Boo! I hate needles...

I'll be traveling for the rest of the month (Baltimore, Georgia, and North Carolina). Only 5 days until we find out the sex of Jacy's baby!

I will probably be waddling the next time Paul sees me!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

July 9th, 2009: 6 month (a little early) check up

We went back to VHC today for our monthly check up. This time, we saw Dr. Masel ( for the first time and I REALLY liked her. She looks very young, but she was probably the most patient-centered of the group. She was very knowledgable and took a lot of time to answer our questions. So far, we'd be comfortable with any of the doctors in the group deliverng the baby, but partcularly like Drs. Crowther, Rossi, and Masel, each for a different reason.

Everything looks very good with the baby. All of the numbers are great. Paul and I started feeling her move and kick on the outside of my stomach for the first time this week. Dr. Masel felt her as well when she was listening to her heart beat and warned us that we're probably going to be very busy parents since we're able to feel her this early and she is so active. No surprise there!

We got a list of recommended pediatricians and doulas and some stretches to help with my sciatica. I've gained more weight more quickly than I'd like, but the doctors are definitely not concerned and say I'm on track (how can 7 lbs in one month be on track?! at that rate, with 4 more months to go... sigh).

When the doctor asked about my interest in a doula, I mentioned my fear of the epidural. She reassured us that the anesthesia team at VHC is excellent, but also said that I can meet with them in advance to talk through any of my concerns and be examined to make sure there isn't anything that would impede their ability to give me anesthesia. We'll see... at this point I may see how far I can make it without, but the doctor seemed to be a fan of having it as an option.

We're also starting to do some research on the great vaccine debate. I got the book by Sears in the mail this week and am joining the UMN alumni association so that I have access to the medical journals. Too much to learn and not enough time to do it! Hard to imagine that the third trimester is just around the corner.

6 Months "a little early"? Funny girl... As most of you know, Shonna always likes to stay ahead of the curve. We've had 3 sonograms in the first 20 weeks when most people only have 2, so naturally our 6 month checkup happened at 5 months. Shonna will probably have her first contraction in a few weeks. Her weight??? Shonna didn't gain a pound for the first 3 months!

Sooooo as far as the baby room is concerned, 2 layers of primer down but no color yet. The room should be painted by this weekend and the wood floor will be ordered by Thursday 7/16 or Friday. I can only hold off Great Beginnings for so long. They have had the baby furniture ready to ship for 3 weeks and counting. Have I offered beer to anyone who would like to help??? Beer anyone?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

July 5th, 2009: 22 Weeks

Happy belated independence day! We spent the day driving back from Newport, New York where we went to see Simon, Toby, and their two children. Their youngest, Luke, is 6 months old. It was good to be around a baby for a few days and pick up some tips! We have a lot to learn...

Today Paul is starting on the paint in the nursery. First step: primer. We're going to try to start on the stripes before our friends Jamie and Adam get into town next week. The weekends just never seem long enough to get it all done!

This week we have our (early) 6 month appointment on Thursday morning. We'll be meeting with the midwife in our practice. We have a list of questions to ask this time!

One more piece of news... Jacy is finding out the sex of their baby on July 24th. The stars have aligned with work travel and some other things, so the baby and I will be flying down to Savannah on the 23rd to go to the sonogram with Jacy and Joel! I can't wait to find out whether our daughter's best friend will be a boy or a girl!

On behalf of the PC police, I would like to modify Shonna's last statement to read "one of our daughter's best friends...:)

Monday, June 29, 2009

June 28, 2009: 21 Weeks

Thanks to everyone who provided input on her name! We've pretty much settled on one (although there are still plenty of weeks left to change our minds) but we're keeping the final selection a secret. Have to have something to surprise everyone with, right?

On Friday we registered at Great Beginnings in Gaithersburg, MD. It's the greatest (and biggest) baby store. Unfortunately, they do not have a very good website (maybe Jacy will fix it?). They're also pretty low-tech. We had to walk around with a guy with a pen and paper and a clipboard. No fancy scanning gun!

We also registered at Pottery Barn Kids -- primarily because you get 10% off after 30 days!

We may register at 1 more place (Buy Buy Baby or a big online site like Baby Earth or so that people who are shopping on line have it a little easier.

We also made some progress on the nursery front. After painting 8 stripes of various shades of green and blue on the wall, we decided we didn't like any of them. We're now planning to paint the room with stripes of two different shades of cream. Kind of like this picture, but probably not quite as much contrast...

We're keeping the walls pretty basic and will carry a subtle jungle theme out in the decorations. We're trying not to go too over the top "baby." Paul is going to have a lot of fun painting the stripes! :)

She seems to be growing very quickly because every day my belly seems a little bigger and I'm getting strange and new aches. She has also decided to hang out on my bladder whenever I try to get on the treadmill.

Woooo hoooo stripes! I can't wait to start. Painting a monochromatic room with simply a brush and roller is for rookies. Try adding masking tape, a straight edge, a ruler, and an extra color of paint to create perfectly straight parallel stripes along 4 walls... AND BECOME A REAL PAINTER!!! (and if anyone wants to help CALL ME). After I'm (we are;) finished, a few cocktails will be in order.

I am starting to feel a sense of urgency to get the house babe-ified because as Shonna stated, her belly is growing daily. Only 4 months to have everything ready. At least the baby room should be finished by August, then its time for the rest of the house. It may sound simple enough to complete one room, but when you talk about switching from carpet to hardwood, paint, closet renovation, and potentially bathroom renovation and raising the ceiling, there is much to be done.

Well I've got to go and do stuff.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

1/2 way point on Fathers Day

What gives? 5 more weeks and no noticeable difference? Is Shonna really pregnant or does she simply keep a whoopie cushion taped to her belly? (See picture @ week 15)

Well, as you can see by the additional pictures, Shonna really out did herself on the Fathers Day celebration... Does she realize that by rule, she has to top the previous year's celebration until the end of time? Father's Day is going to be FANTASTIC!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

June 19, 2009: Help us pick a name!

Well, we're close to square one on the name front having been trown a bit by our baby girl! We're going to keep our final selection a secret until she's born, but we'd still love to have the input of our friends and family.

Here's a tentative list of names under consideration. Please let us know what you like and don't like and if you have any suggestions you think we should add to the list (possible nicknames are in parentheses)!

First Names: Scarlett, Alexandra (Alex, Lexi, Sasha), Jacinda, Kiera, Mariella, Neve, Olive, Simone, Tarryn, Emeline (Emme), Marcheline (Charlie), Salome, Kaelyn

Middle Names: Aurora, Nicole (Nico), Arabelle, Brynn

By the way, we've gotten a couple of inquiries about our plans for the last name... We're going old school. The baby's last name will be Waltrup. No hyphenation or last name merger. I'll just be the outsider in the family with a different last name. :) I'm okay with being a rebel...