Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Packing for the Beach

JJ and I took a break from packing for the beach to snuggle! Here are a few pictures...

Jim and I took this while I was pregnant. I practically lived in this nightgown for months!!!

Our House

It occurs to me that I haven't ever posted pictures of our house! In an effort to be not just a mom, but a wife and a person too, I will post some. These were taken a while ago, but not a lot has changed since then. I will try to post more later of the basement and nursery, which aren't featured at all here. Enjoy!

Our front door with last year's wreath on it. We now have a cooler, tinsel-y-er version that I LOVE!

The back of our house. We have balconies off of our basement, kitchen, and master bedroom. We love them all!

This is the fence and walk that run along the stream in our back yard. It separates the manicured from the wild sections of the yard.
Our pergola and patio area in the back yard. A site for spring, summer, and fall meals. We now have a chiminea back there, so possibly winter meals as well!
Our front porch! Lots of time spent out here for sure, except now we have a wonderful table and chairs set, as well as lots of potted plants!

Our guest bathroom. When you come and visit us, this will be all yours!

Our sweet pea Riley cat (this was back when his left eye was still good. sadly, no longer the case) Photo courtesy of Tasha McKelvey

Kitchen window sill objects (photo and bird bowl courtesy of Tasha McKelvey)

Our bedroom, which features an orange, brown, black and white color scheme. It's really cozy, though I wish there were more wall space and less doors (total door count: 8!)

Front room. The side table has since been changed out.

Our den off of the kitchen. Lots of rocking happening in that chair (which was used to rock me as a baby as well!)

Dining room!

Kitchen with yummy meal option!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Moving pictures

JJ is really cute in pictures, but I think he's even cuter in real life. Obviously I can't take him to everyone's house to show him off, so I think that videos do him more justice. Enjoy the few posted below! (apparently, I am too dumb to upload a video through the Blogger link, so you'll have to visit YouTube to see them). I apologize for my stupid commentary--if I were you, I'd mute the videos as you watch them!


(PS--If anyone wants to tell me how to better upload videos to my blog, please let me know!!! I have the mommy brain and won't ever figure it out on my own!!!)

In terms of updates, JJ is still doing well. We're nursing even more, and I am pumping even more. Now it is with the goal of supplementing his usual feedings, rather than storing for later. I don't know when I will be able to pump for storage sake...it seems like every drop needs to go to my skinny baby! Hopefully at his weigh-in on Wednesday, he will have packed on some pounds.

Per our midwife Leigh's advice (well, when I asked her if there was something we could do), we are now treating JJ's acne with antifungal cream (like Monistat). Today was the first day of application, so I will keep you posted on how that turns out. His acne just seems to be getting worse, and it makes him look so sad, even though it actually seems to bother me WAY more than it bothers him (which is not at all).

I also think he may have an ear infection, so we have a doctor's appointment tomorrow morning. The more I look at it, the more I think it is just ear wax that has leaked out of his ear. But, since I am a new mother, we are going to the doctor's office.

He has been smiling a lot more lately, which you will see in the videos. He has also been a lot more vocal lately. He doesn't do a whole lot of what I would call "coo"ing, but definitely some "uhs" and some nasal "ah"s. It's all still very cute!

I hope everyone enjoyed their Memorial Day weekend, and thought of the men and women currently serving, or those who have served our country. Even if you don't believe in the cause they are fighting for, it is necessary to support the soldiers themselves. A beautiful poem was read at church on Sunday (I wasn't there, but Jim went to usher), and he shared it with me. Here it is--very moving.

The young dead soldiers do not speak.
Nevertheless, they are heard in the still houses:
who has not heard them?
They have a silence that speaks for them at night
and when the clock counts.
They say: We were young. We have died.
Remember us.
They say: We have done what we could
but until it is finished it is not done.
They say: We have given our lives but until it is finished
no one can know what our lives gave.
They say: Our deaths are not ours: they are yours,
they will mean what you make them.
They say: Whether our lives and our deaths were for
peace and a new hope or for nothing we cannot say,
it is you who must say this.
We leave you our deaths. Give them their meaning.
We were young, they say. We have died; remember us.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Happy One Month Birthday, JJ!!

Mommy can't believe her little buddy is already a month old. Here's a glimpse into JJ's world. By JJ.

Stats: 8 lbs 11.5 oz. (25%) 22 in tall. (60%) totally cute. (100%)

Nicknames: Little buddy. Little man. Monkey man.

Favorite activities: nursing. sleeping. pooping and tooting. going on car rides.

Favorite places: Mommy and Daddy's bed, specifically laying down on their tummies while in their bed. My swing.

Favorite people: Mommy, especially her boobies. Daddy. Sophie Cat.

Favorite toy: I don't like toys yet, but I like it when Mommy makes up songs about my tummy time whale. my hands (to play with and to chew on).

Favorite book: Thomas Jefferson trivia that Mommy reads me while nursing.

Favorite outfit: anything with a monkey on it. And I like when my diaper matches my outfit--Mommy is really good at that.

Things I'm good at: holding my head up for, like, a million minutes at a time! sleeping! Being a good baby. flailing my arms. tooting. holding my soothie in my mouth all by myself.

Things I am going to work on: Gaining weight. Related: being a more efficient nurser. Not crying every time we go to Target or Salvation Army. Growing back the hair that I've lost.

The Labor

My last day of work was Monday, April 11th, the day after my mom and Bob got into town. They were going to help around the house and get everything in order (the garden, a few home projects that I had mentioned, the vacuuming, dusting, cooking, etc) for JJ's arrival. Wednesday, April 13th, our due date (and coincidentally Thomas Jefferson's birthday) came and went and still no baby. I felt great, besides some swelling in my lower extremities, and it didn't seem like he was going to come anytime soon. So Bob decided to head back to Fredericksburg on Friday to get the Corgis out of the doggie hotel, since they weren't super happy and it didn't seem necessary to keep them there that long (please note that Gypsy the mean-face cat stayed at the kennel since 1) no one likes him and 2) no one cares how long he stays away).

Sunday even I started having back pain (in Costco of all places...my favorite!) which was probably some sort of back labor, but I didn't want to jump to conclusions about it. We came home and I laid down, which mitigated it for the most part. At 2:30 AM on Monday, I woke up to pretty intense contractions that were lasting about 2 1/2 minutes each. I was relaxing through them, and was able to handle them, but I wasn't able to do anything but lay down and concentrate on relaxing--so there went my putsy-putsy time! I had all of these activities planned for this "easy time" that we were promised--making lemonade, baking brownies, vacuuming, painting my nails. But my body decided that none of these things was important enough to make time for in the labor process. Finally I got in our tub around 4 am and labored for another 3 hours there. but the contractions were about 3 minutes long and I only had about 3 minutes between them. We called Leigh and she said we could head in, because the length of the contractions was concerning her (and I think she could tell that I was overwhelmed by the difference between "typical" and what I was feeling). I was also having the shakes, and had convinced myself I was close to transition (for you labor noobs, that means that the first stage was over, which was SO FAR from the truth!)

When we got to the birth center, I was only 4 cm dilated. This was really disappointing to me, since I thought I was further along to the 10 cm goal than that. We were that couple that arrived too early because they misread their labor signs. Leigh suggested that the contractions seemed so long because there were multiples piggybacking on each other with little to no distinction between them. She recommended that we keep timing them, but at the first sign of weakening, mentally let go of it, and convince my body to stop. This helped for a bit which was good. We walked around the parking lot and the room, and every few hours Leigh would check me, but each time I was only be another 1 or 1.5 centimeters further along. That was frustrating because it felt like my body was working so hard and not moving forward much. As I look back, I should have been thankful that I was moving forward at all, but at the time I was frustrated. I never actually said that I wanted to go to the hospital, but I heavily hinted at it. The pain was pretty bad, and I couldn't sit or lie down without experiencing intense pain. Luckily Jim (who was a fantastic coach--he earned that laminated card for sure!!) and Leigh didn't even acknowledge the possibility, and we moved past that frustration. I got into a bit of a rhythm again in the tub and found a different position that made things a bit easier (and my body finally gave me some break time once i found this). Then I guess transition kicked in, I vomited a bit (even though I didn't have much to get rid of). Finally around 9PM, after building my reputation as a mom with the "mouth of a sailor" who listens to gangsta rap while birthing, I was fully dilated and started to work on getting the urge to push. My water still hadn't broken, and the pressure building around my hips was getting to be really unbearable and preventing me from wanting to push. So around 10, Leigh broke my water. She said that the bag was very strong, so it turned out to be the right move, since there was some debate over it.

2nd stage was nothing compared to 1st for my labor! I felt like I was getting a few more breaks between contractions (though again, not as long as those described as "typical"). It was much easier than I anticipated, but I think only because it was a more active thing that I could control, rather than just dealing with like 1st stage contractions. I pushed from about 10:30 until 3:37 when the little guy came out!! I pushed on the toilet, one-legged kneeling on the bed, standing up, lunging, and most helpful was on the bed, Jim behind me holding my legs back, and Leigh in front of me telling me to "push to here" where she was putting pressure on my perineum. The last bit went by so quickly. I thought we had another 40 min of labor and then the next thing I knew, we were looking at our baby. We birthed on the bed, even though i did most of my laboring in the tub and shower. I will never forget the feeling of having the baby slide out of me and onto the bed in front of our very eyes. After so much work, you almost forget that there is a goal in mind--having a baby--so when you see him in front of you, having just come out of your body, it is pretty shocking!

He was completely healthy and perfect! 8 lbs 7 oz. 22 in long. 14 1/2 in head. 10 fingers, 10 toes. Completely perfect! Leigh cleaned him up while I caught my breath and processed what just happened, and Jim and I stared at him and each other in awe. I remember saying, "He's so CUTE! He's actually cute!" (In general I think newborns are pretty gross looking). Leigh wiped some vernix on my hand (the white "cheese" that babies are covered in in utero to protect their skin from getting pruny in the amniotic fluid) and told me that it's the greatest lotion ever, and that I should rub it into my skin when I felt capable of it. She was right--it is the greatest lotion ever! Leigh finally handed me our beautiful baby and Jim and I cried and stared and cooed and stared and kissed and cuddled and breathed. We had done it! After I birthed the placenta--and examined it very closely, it is fascinating!--we cut the cord. I was very sore and tired, but Leigh helped me into the shower to get cleaned up. Then I climbed back into bed. The next thing I remember is waking up with the baby in my arms and Jim next to me. We were able to leave the birth center after Jim went to get us some Bojangles' biscuits.

Leigh, Damaris (another midwife who joined us for the last few hours of labor), and Jim were the greatest team I could have had, and I felt like our Bradley training really did help us stay on track. Not only because of the laboring skills we learned, but also because of the knowledge that we were doing what was best for Baby and Mom.

G.G. greeted us at the house and we all breathed a sigh of relief that our sweet little man was here. I went up to bed and stayed there for the next day and a half. I couldn't have survived without my mom! I will spare the details, but your body is pretty much a mess after giving birth! I was glad to have some help taking care of myself since I had to take care of the baby. I will be forever grateful to my mom for the week and a half she spent with us after his birth taking care of all of us--cooking, cleaning, everything!

Momo and Grandaddy came by later that afternoon (for those that don't know, they now live in Charlotte!) to meet their grandson. It was such a special time for all of us.

This was definitely an experience that I will never forget. I think it was the perfect birth for us (although it could have been a little shorter, in my opinion!). I was proud that we had chosen to bring our baby into the world in such a positive, supportive environment. And I was glad to have my wonderful husband by my side the whole time, as we met our beautiful son for the first time.

JJ in the car on his way home from the birth center!

JJ and GG gliding and getting to know each other!


A visit from the Van Fleets to meet their grandson!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Pregnancy in a post

July: Mommy knew right away that I was pregnant! I waited to take a test at the end of the month, and it came back negative. But I would not be swayed! I took another test...

August: On August 5th, your G.G.'s birthday! I took it first thing in the morning, and it was positive! I came down stairs and put it in your daddy's lap, who was working in his blue chair. We hugged and kissed and were so excited!! We had wanted a baby, and soon we would be your parents!! On August 18th, our 3 year anniversary, we went to work, then came home and called family to tell them the news!! Everyone was so happy about you! Mommy went to visit G.G. and Pop Pop at the end of the month, and they had prepared a bunch of things for me to take home—some toys from my childhood and a list of names to name a few—and it was the first time that I felt like I was going to be a mommy for real!

September: We had our first doctor's appointment on September 9th with Dr Belle. We liked her a lot, but ultimately decided we wouldn't be having you at the hospital. We went to visit Daddy's family in DC for Aunt Ib's birthday. We had a lot of fun as usual! We got our first glimpse of you on September 28th when we had our first ultrasound! We were smitten! You were so little and cute, and had a strong heartbeat! I loved every minute of this visit! Mommy was feeling fine, but very tired! Daddy was very amused by how easily I could fall asleep!

October: A pretty slow month for us, but our anticipation continued to grow! We eased into the second trimester with very little problem! All reports were healthy and happy baby! We were slowly telling more friends and making some preparations for you. Mommy went as a “Devil in a Blue Dress” for Halloween and went bowling with some coworkers, where we spilled the beans about our little secret—you!

November: Mommy had tons more energy starting around now. At the beginning of the month, we found out we were having a little boy! I was convinced you were a little girl, so it took some getting used to at first, but I was so excited!!! A little boy!! Daddy and I were both over the moon with excitement! Mommy started interviewing for her replacement at work. Then Daddy took Mommy to a conference in New Orleans. As we boarded the plane and sat down, I felt you kick for the first time!! And boy, could you kick!!! We had a great trip! Later on you would kick a lot more! At the same ultrasound they told us you may have some issues, so we scheduled another one for later on. Mommy and Daddy both knew you were perfect, but wanted to make sure we were on top of things.

December: We decided that we were going to have you at the birthing center in Fort Mill, and were so excited to have Leigh Fransen as our midwife. She was awesome and made us feel totally at ease with our decision. We couldn't wait to meet you, but wanted to make sure it was the perfect experience for our family. We could tell that Leigh was a childbirth geek, and that was totally awesome to us, since we are both pretty geeky ourselves! It was a great fit, and we were building the dream team to bring you into this world. We went to Fredericksburg to visit G.G. and Pop Pop and Uncle Ryan and Aunt Melysa. What a great holiday we had! Then we flew to Iowa to visit MoMo, Grandaddy and Aunt Ib, where the fun continued. You got a ton of great stuff for Christmas, and it was starting to feel like you were going to be here any minute. Of course, we still had 4 more months to go!

January: Mommy started training my replacement at work, and I felt the clock ticking down to your arrival! Daddy and I decided that he would accept a position with Other Screen and put his business on pause. This was largely due to your impending arrival. We knew that big decisions were being made, and that you were a big part of all of them! We started birthing classes at the Birth Center, and were preparing mentally for your arrival. We felt that educating ourselves was the best way to create a happy, warm environment for you to arrive in.

February: We had our third ultrasound and they confirmed our suspicions that you were perfect. Your heartbeat continued to be music to our ears! Mommy had 2 baby showers this month! One was put on by Sarah, Mimi, and Hattie on Daddy's birthday, and was tons of fun! We played a lot of games and had lots of fun time with family and friends. G.G., MoMo, and Aunt Ib all made it down for the shower! The second shower was a SURPRISE put on by my friends at work: Misty, Wendy, and Jackie! It was so fantastic, and once again, Mommy was overwhelmed by my friend's generosity! Your supplies were nearly all gathered, and we were getting closer and closer to your arrival.

March: Mommy was getting increasingly miserable with very swollen ankles, calves and feet. I hadn't worn real shoes in a month or so—only loose-fitting bedroom slippers. This made Mommy very sad, and I was growing very nervous that my shoes would never fit again. Mommy's birthday came and she celebrated quietly with Daddy at home.

April: The month of your arrival! The most exciting thing ever happened this month (besides your birth of course), which was the Prince concert in Uptown. Mommy had wanted to see Prince perform since she was in high school, and I finally got to see it happen in all its glitter fabulous glory! Remind me to describe every detail of how hot this concert was to you when you're older. You will not be disappointed! Mommy and Daddy decided that April 11th would be Mommy's last day at work. Wendy was more than prepared, and Mommy no longer felt that I was needed there. And I was very uncomfortable there, so it was in our best interest to stay home and relax. G.G. and Pop Pop arrived on the 10th, and we had a good time hanging around the house making final tweaks to your future home. When your due date, April 13th, came and went, Pop Pop decided to head home to the Corgis and wait for you in Fredericksburg. G.G. stayed with us and took care of Mommy and Daddy until you came. We went to Costco on Sunday, April 17th, and that's when Mommy thought I was in labor, since my back hurt so badly! But I wouldn't go into REAL labor until Monday morning at 2:30 AM! Stay tuned for the birth story! It really isn't too exciting—just a lot of complaining!

JJ, April 19th was the greatest day of your Mommy and Daddy's life! We fell instantly in love with you as soon as we saw you, and that love has only grown and grown and grown with each passing minute! We feel so complete with you in our lives!

The pictures are in reverse order, but I don't feel like reordering them.

What a Chunkster! Sleeping for the first few days of life!

Finally awake and alert about a week old!
Sleeping in Mommy and Daddy's bed!

Daddy and Baby JJ sleeping after coming home from the birthing center! They left Mommy upstairs to recover from labor--what gentlemen!!

Off to the birthing center to have JJ! This was at 8AM on Monday--we would be home in a day and a few hours with our bundle of joy!