11.25.2013

Liam the 5 month old!


Growth and Looks
Our big guy was 16lb, 3 oz and was 26 inches long at his last doctors appointment (at about 4.5 months...we're a couple of weeks behind for his bimonthly appointments, thanks to some holidays).  That's 75th percentile for both.  When he was born, he was in the 25th percentile, at his 2 month he was 50th percentile and now we're in the 75th!  You know what that means...150th percentile by his first birthday ;)  I kid.  Out of curiosity, I just weighed him using the very accurate "hold him while standing on the scale" method, and he came in at 18.2 pounds.  I'm going to hope that was a little off. 

Liam's still in 3-6 month clothing, though I'm pretty sure I'm going to need to get out the next size sleepers fairly soon.   I just washed his "size two" diaper covers today, since I'm sick of squeezing his diapers into the size one covers.  He wears size 3 disposable diapers at night.


Our baby is still rocking the baby blue eyes.  I love it.  He looks nothing like either of his parents, though I'm excited to do some baby picture comparing while we are at our parents' houses over Thanksgiving.  

Unfortunately, Liam has acquired the lovely eczema that has plagued my husband's nieces and nephews.  It really flared up while we were in dry dry Colorado (more on that later) and we've been fighting it ever since.  It's the worst on his cheeks and in his behind-the-knee rolls (luckily not too bad in his arm rolls...his thigh rolls...his belly rolls...his neck rolls...ha!  He's rollie pollie).


Sleeping
We should just skip this.  It's unreal how terrible of a sleeper he is.  But as my husband and I say, if he was a good sleeper, he'd be the perfect baby, and we just can't ask for perfect.  He is still eating twice a night and waking up at least one other time.  Napping has improved mildly - we normally get at least one decent "crib nap" (as I call any nap he sleeps the whole time in his crib) in the morning, and his afternoon nap he still normally ends up in his car seat.  I tell him every day that 45 minutes does not count as a nap.   He'll sometimes also take a short cat nap in the late afternoon, around 5pm, which is convenient for dinnering.    

Eating
We did move Liam onto a four hour schedule, which seemed crazy after being on a three hour one for so long.  But he is doing much better with it, eating more and not fighting as much.  He's still on a liquid diet...we haven't decided when we'll start solids yet.  He obviously getting the nutrition that he needs, if we use the scale as a judge.  Though I did make my first batch of baby food the other day when we had leftover butternut squash!  I'm thinking I'm going to bypass the whole rice cereal thing and just go straight to vegetables when we take the plunge.


(this is a really random place to put this video, but it's pretty much my husband's proudest moment of fatherhood as of yet.  Please note, we do not actually let our son watch all that much Sports Center).

Hobbies
The Jumperoo...oh the Jumperoo.  We have friends who were kind enough to let us borrow theirs.  It's huge, it's mildly obnoxious, and the songs are constantly stuck in my head, but oh my lanta - our baby loves this thing.  He's eternally intrigued by the lights and all of the things to do (though he's easily startled by some of the animal noises, ha!).  He loves "standing" so this is perfect for him. 

I'm continually impressed by how his dexterity increases every day it seems.  He is just so intentional with his hands, grabbing things, trying to gnaw on everything (though we still don't feel any teeth in there), and, my favorite, putting one of his hands on each of my cheeks and giggling. 


Liam has discovered his toes!  It is adorable, even though it complicates diaper changes...he alternates between grabbing his feet and "running" or pedaling his feet as fast as his chubby little legs can go as soon as his diaper is off.  We might have a nudist on our hands.  I've seen a toe in his mouth once or twice too. 


Another new hobby of Liam's is refusing to be on his stomach - that's right, we officially have a roller (though this should technically not be in this post, as it's only started in the last couple of days, and I'm six days late in getting this post on the blog).  His Snailey toy used to keep him entertained on his belly, but now that he's discovered the joys of rolling, there's no keeping him face down anymore.  That being said, he still loves his Snailey the best out of any of his toys.  

This kiddo has also discovered his voice, and that he can use it to YELL.  He will holler until we respond.  This is probably not a good indicator of things to come, right?  

Firsts
Liam had his first trip out of state!  His first airplane ride was to Denver, where my husband was interviewing.  We tagged along to go see my good friend Emily who lives just south of Denver.  He was a champ on the plane ride out - the flight was only about a third full so we got to take our car seat on with us in spite of the fact that we didn't pay for a seat, and Liam fell asleep before take off and woke up somewhere in the Denver airport.  

 

The return flight, however, was completely booked.  My husband was flying on to Seattle for another interview while we were flying home, and Liam was WIDE awake. Unbelievably, there was a woman on our flight from my husband's hometown, whose son he'd played hockey with since the age of 8.  God will provide!  She had a great time playing grandma on our return flight. 

We had our first overnight away from the babe, technically on his five month "birthday."  My husband had an interview that was just a few hours away at a great program, and he wanted me to come along so I could see the city and go to the interview dinner.  We had some very brave grandparents volunteer to watch Liam overnight, and I'm sure it was exceptionally harder on me than it was on him.  Thankfully, the little man didn't forget us and still managed to love us when we returned ;)

Like I mentioned above, Liam's officially rolling from belly to back.  He did it that one day over a month ago, but now he is really on a roll with rolling (oh man. I must be a mom.  My puns are getting worse).



First Halloween happened this past month!  (He might have worn that bib today - it's the only one that doesn't soak in seconds!)


Naturally, for his first Halloween costume, Liam was a doctor.  I feel like it was highly appropriate (and we'd already been given the outfit!).


That's our smiley, happy, easy going boy at five months old!  You make this mama's heart so full.

 

11.21.2013

In other exciting news...

(That's our last medical school tuition bill being paid!)

10.19.2013

Liam at 4 months!

Liam G is four months old!  So much for monthly updates for our family...apparently we're more the quarterly update type of family.  Like last time, this is way more than most of you will want to read, but I know I'll be glad that I wrote it when I get around to filling out Liam's baby book...a couple years from now.   



Growth & Looks
Last week, we weighed "little" Liam at my parents house using my dad's meat scale, and Liam came in at 15lbs 5oz.  I finally gave up trying to squeeze him into 0-3 month clothing and got out the 3-6 month clothing the other day, as my husband said that the smaller clothing had to be getting uncomfortable!  As for length, he's roughly 24 inches, but he's so squirmy that it's hard for us to know for sure.


Somehow, he still has blue eyes, and his hair is getting lighter...coming from two dark featured parents, we're increasingly mystified by this.  One of his grandmas does have green eyes, and his other grandpa has blue eyes, so it's not totally impossible that he'll keep his blue eyes.  If his eyes do turn brown, I don't even think I'll recognize him - it seems so strange to imagine!  


We are slowly working on his third chin ;)  His little legs are getting rolls, his rat tail is getting longer and he lost some hair on the sides of his head (oh the things that are only cute on a baby!).  Luckily his hair is growing back in on the sides to even things out with that party in the back!

Sleeping 
Can we skip this one?  Ugh...Liam had his first cold this month and it totally ruined his and our nights.  There have been nights in recent weeks where he has woken up 6-7 times and had three night feedings (primarily because it was the only thing that would put him to sleep!).  We're working hard to help him establish better sleep patterns, because he is such a happier baby when he's well rested, and he has just been overtired for weeks now.  We're back down to two night feedings and he's getting a little better at self-soothing.  Also, we've stopped swaddling, which the kid LOVED but he's really close to rolling over so it had to end.  His little face looks like he's a hockey player with all his scratches from those flailing free arms...Napping is another struggle (I don't know how he came from a mother who LOVES to sleep).  Ever heard of the 45 minute intruder?   Our son is a victim of it 90% of his naps.  I try vigilantly to help him back to sleep but I only succeed maybe a quarter of the time, and that's always in his car seat (that swaddled feeling, I think).

Liam's thoughts on sleep training.
Eating
Liam loves to eat and he is unbelievably impatient.  When he is hungry, he is hungry NOW and you'd better not delay his tummy!  He still doesn't get very many bottles, but when he does, he's started putting his hands on it like he's holding it - precious.  A strange new phenomenon is that he sometimes refuses to eat unless I stand to feed him.  Awesome.  

Hobbies
Liam has discovered his ability to blow spit bubbles.  He does it all day long and is normally a slimy mess because of it (again, only cute on a baby).  If he's not blowing spit bubbles, he's trying to fit his entire fist in his mouth.  On more than one occasion, he's been nearly successful, but then he gags himself ;) 




Thankfully, open-air pooping has slowed down some.  That being said, Liam still loves to poop.  I have friends whose babies have one dirty diaper every seven days....Liam still has about seven a day!  We've decided this is because he LOVES having his diaper changed.  Seriously, it's his happy place.  Watch this video for evidence:


He's discovered his hands a lot more (though not his feet, except for excessive kicking).  He's always been a hand man, but now his movements are so intentional.  While being held and cuddled (which he still lets me do in the mornings and after naps) he will mash my face with his hands.  Liam will hold onto toys if he's in the mood, but he's kind of too cool for them.  He does enjoy Jacques the Peacock and the sunshine taggy toy that I sewed for him.  Liam also really likes to hold hands.  If he's upset, it's one of the best ways to soothe him.  So stinking sweet. 



Liam would MUCH prefer to play with mom and dad rather than toys, and normally protests to being left alone for too long.  He loves to "stand" and be "super baby", and his neck is getting so strong.  It's so cute to watch him look around and observe the world.  Liam is very interested in what is happening, and my husband can stand him on the counter while I'm washing dishes and he's eternally intrigued (maybe he'll love washing dishes someday??).  


If Liam could decide what he got to do all day, there would be three main activities.  First, he'd watch the ceiling fan.  When he tired of that, he'd want his diaper changed so he could laugh at his purple flowers (see video above!).  He'd end his day watching football.  Or baseball.  Or infomercials.  Really, he doesn't care what that box is showing, as long as it is flashing lights and making sounds.  Seriously - if the TV is on (which it really hardly ever is when he's awake), we have to turn him from it or he will stare at it unceasingly; then he'll crane his head around to try to see it, and if he's unsuccessful, he'll start crying.  Oh yes.  

Finally, Liam loves to hear singing.  We have songs we sing every day: "Rise & Shine" in the morning when he wakes up, "The Peace of God" off of this CD that everyone should have before sleeping, and "The Hokey Pokey" when we're getting dressed...because he still doesn't love having his clothes put on, but this makes him grin.  Liam doesn't care two licks how terribly I sing, either ;)

Firsts 
As mentioned above, Liam had his first cold.  Talk about sad and no fun!  So hard to see our little guy so miserable with nothing we can do to remedy the situation other than turn on the humidifier, rub on the Baby Vicks, suck out his nose and cuddle him. 

He also rolled over for the first time!  Tummy to back, just did it all of the sudden last week when I was at my parents' house.  He rolled, my sister and I cheered, and he repeated the process twice...and hasn't done it again since ;)  It was after that when we stopped swaddling him, so maybe his little brain thinks that if he doesn't roll again, we'll bring back the swaddle!  He's trying to roll back to front too, but he hasn't been successful in that yet.  



That's Liam at four months old...a third of a year already!

10.09.2013

'tis the season...interview season.

Since submitting his application last month, my husband has been invited to interview at quite a few programs....the first of which will take place on Thursday!  Currently, he's been offered interviews in the states of:
  • Illinois x3
  • Michigan x3
  • New York
  • Colorado
  • Georgia
  • Wisconsin
  • Minnesota x2
  • Indiana
  • Ohio x3
  • Kentucky x2
  • Tennessee
  • Missouri
  • South Carolina
  • North Carolina
...and probably some that I've forgotten.  Yeesh.  That's a lot of miles.  These are going to be road miles too, not air miles.  We're trying to do these as inexpenisvely as possible, so my husband will be driving to the bulk of his interviews (not Colorado...that one will be a family trip, so long as it stays on the calendar!).  Don't worry, I'm letting him stay in hotels instead of sleeping in his backseat ;)  The past few nights have been spent looking at a map and trying to arrange and rearrange the order of interviews so that he isn't driving in circles around the country.  We're trying to group things together as logically as possible, but there will likely be some overlap somewhere, just based on availability.  He's thinking he'll end up interviewing at a total of 15 places.  I'd love to be able to pack up Liam and road trip with him to see some of these programs and cities, but a) Traveling with a nursing infant sounds like way too many stops to ever make good time... b) What the heck would Liam do in the backseat for 10 hours?  Nap, and then be awake all night, that's what... c) I hate road trips.  ;)

Current thoughts and feelings about the interview process?  Well, I think my husband is a ridiculously great canidate and any program would be lucky to have him (and I'm not biased just because he's mine).  I'm not worried about the match process (as of yet), since I know that there is a perfect place picked out for us already.  We are just hoping that doors will be clearly opened and closed to help guide my husband in his decision making.  Right now, my main concern lies in the four weeks that I'll be rocking it as a single parent.  I'm already concerned for my sanity.  Who wants a play date?

Any tips out there from those of you who have conquered residency interviews?  Things to do/not do, say/not say, things to pack, etc?

9.21.2013

Residency application

After carefully choosing several (okay, thirty one) programs to apply to, updating the CV, getting the necessary letters of recommendation, filling out the mundane application, writing, proofing and rewriting a personal statement, having your entire family (and your former 8th grade English teacher!) proofread over everything to try to catch any potential errors and $450 later, my husband's residency application was submitted on September 15th.

Believe it or not, this was the second-to-last version of his personal statement.  Revisions, revisions!

From Oregon to New York to Georgia to the good ol' Mitten and everywhere in between, my husband applied to internal medicine programs across the country.  It's so exciting to watch as the various programs download his scores and then his application...and even more exciting to receive the emails inviting my husband for an interview!  We very well may be coming to your city to interview soon!  

I literally cannot believe that we are to this point in his medical journey already, or that my husband finally knows what he wants to be when he grows up ;)  More than likely, his (3 year) internal medicine residency will be followed by a (3 year) cardiology fellowship, with a little encore of (1 year) interventional cardiology.  Long story short, Liam will be eight years old by the time my sweet husband has completed his training.  

Eight.
Years.
Old.
:)

But honestly, as long as my husband is doing what he has been called to do and enjoys doing, we will be one happy family.  

9.14.2013

How terrible of me...

...to actually write a post and fail to include a single picture of our beautiful babe.  I'm sure all three of you are very upset with me ;)  Please enjoy: 





 Somebody get this child a baby-sized CPAP machine! ;)

9.13.2013

Necessities for the first three months

I'll be honest, this post will only matter to a handful of people (like Anne!)...but here are our baby necessities for the first three months!

For cleanliness:
 
stain spray/hand sanitizer/laundry soap


You will be shocked at the amount of poo a tiny little person can make.  With our cloth diapers, we have VERY few times that these is any sort of leakage in the diaper area.  However, with Liam's favorite past time of open air pooping, there has been a big need for Shout stain spray, which comes in a "free" variety.  Mama can't catch it all, especially at 2am.  

In line with diaper changing, it's great to have hand sanitizer right where diapers are changed...double use: set it out on the counter so when visitors come they can "scrub in" before holding a tiny new bambino.  

Don't buy Dreft.  It's a waste of money.  We love Baby Purex (not just because it's about a quarter of the price!).  Also shocking is how many pieces of tiny little clothing you'll fold out of a half full washing machine. 

For nursing: 
water bottle/nursing tank /nursing pillow
Water is apparently important when you're nursing.  I love this Contigo water bottle because you can drink from it with one hand - no opening or caps to mess with.  

Not that I love nursing in public, but these Undercover Mama nursing tanks are great for making sure your torso and back stay covered.

Boppy lovers, you have no idea what you're missing.  The My Brest Friend Pillow (cringe at the name) rocks.  It straps around you and has back support, sits tight to your torso so the babe can't slip down and has a pocket.  My favorite feature is the strap -  that way if someone (apartment maintenance) comes to your door, you can skedaddle into the bedroom and shut the door without your baby missing a beat.

For sleeping:
miracle blanket/swaddleme wraps/white noise machine
While it isn't a total miracle for us, in that Liam is still up normally twice a night (hello, I'm a zombie MJ), the Miracle Blanket is the only swaddle that can currently contain our strong son.  Kid's gotta be swaddled to sleep, as his hands startle him awake every two minutes otherwise.  Oh, for a fully developed cerebellum.  We're to the point that we can't use the pocket because he just kicks his feet out, so we just leave them out to begin with.

Prior to using the Miracle Blanket, the SwaddleMe wraps worked great.  But he got too strong for that velcro!  These were great for the first six-ish weeks.  

White noise.  Oh my lanta.  Both for the baby's sake, and for ours (when he was in the bassinet in our room).  Liam is noisy at everything he does.  Noisy eater, noisy breather, noisy sleeper.  I wouldn't have slept a wink without white noise on!  

For surviving:
pacifier/swing/play gym
While I never have said that I am anti-pacifier, I was kind of hoping Liam wouldn't want one.  Negative.  This kid LOVES his pacifier.  Whatevs.  It pacifies him.  It's cool.

Liam loved his swing when he was a bit younger, he's not quite as keen on it now.  He used to fall sleep in it quite a bit but doesn't as much now.  We primarily use it as his "dinner swing" so that there is a chance that both my husband and I can sit and eat without holding Liam.  It works about 50% of the time ;)

I don't know what we'd do without our play gym.  We spend a lot of time under this thing!  Liam loves to bat at the toys (we've named them all) and we attached a mirror to the top so he spends a lot of time smiling and cooing (breaks my heart!) at the cute baby he sees above him ;)  

Added bonus:
scripture lullabies
We absolutely adore this CD.  If you get it and listen to it while snuggling your babe, you will have tears streaming down your face, guaranteed.  We did and do.


Finally:
  • Grandmas.
  • Coffee.

8.06.2013

A post about medical school (say what?)

Past due, I'm sure, but hey, shaking countless toys in front of our (almost) 7 week old's face takes priority these days ;)  I figure Medical Monday is the perfect time for this catch up post. 

My husband is now a fourth year medical student!  He completed his final third year rotation through family medicine when Liam was a week and a half old.  I had been (rightly) quite concerned about how flexible the school would be with "paternity leave."  It turns out they are not flexible at all ;)  We had Liam on a Wednesday around 10pm, left the hospital at noon on Friday, and my husband was back at his doc's office by 1pm on Friday.  Oh, and he worked the next day on Saturday too.  Rumor has it that he nodded off during a particularly boring patient history, but there's no evidence to confirm that ;)  

With third year completed and behind us, fourth year is in full swing.  Like many of his classmates, my husband took his first rotation to study for and take his Step 2 boards.  I could write another rant about the cost of boards, but I'll spare you.  Just know that it's ridiculously expensive (>$1k) for no foreseeable reason.  

Step 2 is a two part exam - half clinical skills (CS), half clinical knowledge (CK).  CS came first for my husband, where he traveled to Chicago (CS is only available to take in Chicago, Atlanta, LA, Houston and Philadelphia - hopefully you don't have to buy a plane ticket in addition to paying for your test!) to face 12 simulated patients, having 15 minutes to interview and examine each patient, followed by 10 minutes to write up their differential diagnosis.  His test ran from 3p-11p, and hey, that's Chicago time, not Michigan time!  Someone should have mentioned that to exhausted new parents.  At least they are an hour behind us...CK was here in town.  It's a glorious nine hour exam of 352 questions that slowly wreck your brain.  Don't worry though, they do give you thirty minutes worth of breaks.  

The exciting thing about having Step 2 behind us?  There are exactly ZERO more tests for my husband to take in medical school.  How crazy is that?!   Until Step 3 rolls around (likely after his first year of residency), he is done with tests!

Now my husband has officially started his first rotation of fourth year - emergency medicine, which he would currently tell you is his second choice for residency options...subject to change at any given moment.  The bummer about this rotation?  It's technically an away rotation, being at a hospital about an hour away from home.  Totally commutable, but obnoxious.  Luckily for us, my parents live about half an hour from said hospital, so we'll be utilizing the bed, breakfast and baby holding services at Grandma & Grandpa's this month.  

There are definite obvious benefits to EM.  My husband is only scheduled for 14 working shifts for the month (though he still has five other days that he has to commute to the hospital for 3-4 hours of lecture without a working shift afterwards...obnoxious).  Also, it's shift work.  There are always doctors scheduled in emergency, so unless there is some catastrophe, being called in is less likely.  However.  The negative to that is the same as the positive - it's shift work.  Out of my husband's 14 shifts, nine of them are second shift, either 3-11p or 4p-12a.  One of them is an overnight 11p-7a (really shouldn't complain about only one!).  Four of them are weekend days.  He only has two day time 9-5 shifts that fall between Monday-Friday.  There will be a little man and a mama who really miss seeing their favorite fourth year med student for dinner.   

A tease of Liam's newborn photo shoot...eventually a post will come!
Go join in the Medical Monday fun!  


7.19.2013

Liam at 1 month (!)

Liam is somehow already one month old today!  These past four weeks have both flown and felt like an eternity - It's hard to remember life pre-baby, but at the same time, we sometimes look at Liam and say, "That is our SON."  It is still crazy and slightly surreal to us.  

The following is an update, probably too detailed for most of you, but something that will (hopefully) thrill our far away family and friends.  Feel free to skim ;)  


Growth
Liam is pretty much officially in 0-3 month size clothing, thanks in part to his cloth diapers.  I think we could still squeeze him into newborn sized clothes if he was in a disposable diaper, but with his bubble butt, we're pretty much into 0-3 month size.  Which, while sad that he's outgrown his teeny tiny newborn clothing, is exciting, because he's got a pretty kick-butt wardrobe to show off!  

At the chiropractor the other day, Liam was 9 pounds, 10 ounces and 21 inches long.  That's a gain of 2 pounds, 7 ounces and 2 inches over birth!  


Sleeping
Our buddy boy sleeps in our room in his bassinet (previously used by two of his cousins!), and he gives us 2-3 hour stretches of sleep at night...who ever knew three hours straight could feel so good?!  We still swaddle him up tight at night and make him our little burrito.  For this mama to sleep and not wake up to every little grunt and sigh, we have both white noise and a fan running.  Liam still sleeps a lot during the day, obviously, and I don't believe that you can spoil a newborn, so he mainly sleeps in loving arms or snug in my Baby K'tan wrap.  It seems that every day he is more awake and alert, with added open eye time every day.   


Eating
This kiddo can eat.  And when it's time to eat, he goes from perfectly content to MAJOR CRISIS MELTDOWN in about 10 seconds.  You'd think we deprived him ;)  As of late, Mr. Liam is eating roughly seven times a day.  He's a gassy little guy, and his dad is the best burper thanks to that hard chest!  This mama's favorite thing about feeding times is that Liam always manages to find one of my fingers to hold onto while he dines.  



Hobbies
Liam's current hobbies include batting at his friends hanging down from his activity gym (we claim it's intentional and not the result of random flailing of arms, but he does it about the same amount with his eyes open and eyes closed...), and a little game we call Open Air Pooping.  That's right.  Our son prefers to poop whenever his diaper is off.  You hear of little boys spraying during diaper changes, which Liam has done on occasion, but four times out of five, Liam goes poo when his diaper is removed.  The first time, I screamed.  Now, I fully expect and prepare for it.  His third favorite hobby is napping on his dad while he studies for Step 2.



Firsts
Obviously, everything was a first this month.  But some noteworthy things:   
  • First holiday - the Fourth of July!
  • First bottle: 7/4 - given by Dad while this Mama took a nap!
  • First pacifier: 7/6 - as he attended his first wedding and was hysterical as we were walking in.  That thing is a lifesaver!
  • First professional photo shoot: 7/11 - our photographer deemed him an old soul; we completely agree
  • First diaper rash: 7/12 - Bourdeaux's Butt Paste took care of that!
  • First tear: 7/13 - broke his mama's heart
  • First coo:  7/15 - we thought it was a fluke, but he's given us a couple of coos each day since!
  • First play dates: with Charlie (born 6/13) and with Elijah (born 7/16)



Other fun facts
Liam is a total hand man.  His hands are any and everywhere - flailing and grabbing and hitting things constantly, including himself...hence the nightly swaddle.  His eyes are still blue, though we think they are beginning to change, and that they probably have a 0.05% chance of actually staying blue.  Tummy time is a daily activity here.  Liam enjoys it for 5-10 minutes before vocalizing that he is d.o.n.e.  The one thing that our child abhors (more than pooping inside of his diaper) is bath time.  His umbilical cord fell off at 7 days, and while he tolerates real baths slightly better than sponge baths, he still bleats like a dying goat when we take him out of his little whale tub, even though I always warm his towel in the dryer (I know). Our dear son has a mullet; a rat tail.  We don't know if we should cut it off or leave it be.  We'll take opinions ;)  




This kid is amazing.

7.17.2013

We had a baby!

...almost a month ago.  Blogger fail.  For not doing much of anything, our kiddo sure takes up ALL of my time.  Some days it's all I can do to get a load of laundry moved from the washer to the dryer and not let the dishes pile up to the ceiling.  Sitting down and writing a post has been on my to-do list since coming home from the hospital, but it unfortunately kept getting pushed lower and lower on the priority list, coming after things like, you know, showering and sleeping.  Even right now, I am typing this opening paragraph one-handed, holding a sleeping babe in the other.  So forgive my typos in advance ;)

Suspense killing you yet?  Please allow me to introduce to you our firstborn, our son, Liam Gabriel.


Born June 19, 2013 at 9:48pm - 7 pounds 3 ounces, 19 inches long

Liam’s birth story
I'll insert pictures randomly so that it's not quite as boring ;) 

Tuesday, June 18, five days after our official due date: That morning, I had an OB appointment, where I was dilated to 1-2cm and was 50% effaced.  My doctor stripped my membranes (for the second time), and told me she would let me go until the 24th before inducing…something I really wanted to avoid!  That evening, around 11pm, I started having what I suspected might be contractions.  Since I had no idea what they were supposed to feel like (I’d had zero Braxton Hicks contractions), I wasn’t really sure if they were “real”.  Putting my Lamaze class knowledge to the test, I decided to take a shower to see if the contractions would stop and prove to be false labor.  The shower, while soothing (and the last one I would have for a while), did nothing to curb the contractions.  I realized this might actually be happening, and that I should try to get some sleep.  I was able to doze between the contractions, which were irregular and about 15 minutes apart, but I wasn’t able to sleep through them.  
 
In lieu of a weekly post about my cravings and whether or not my wedding ring fits 
(it did the whole time, thank you very much), I give you a bi-weekly bump growth collage

Around one in the morning, I decided to get up because sleep was not happening.  Kindly, I let my husband continue to sleep, as I figured at least one of us should be well-rested.  I headed into the office/guest room/nursery, sat in our rocker recliner, and read, trying to relax.  By about four in the morning, contractions were getting regular enough to spur my downloading of a contraction timer app and start timing contractions, which were coming roughly every eight minutes.   

My sweet husband woke up at 5am and began getting ready for work.  I told him that I didn’t think he’d be making it in that day.  (Don't worry, he didn’t leave our apartment!).  Between 9am-10am, the contractions were coming roughly every 4-6 minutes and lasting about a minute in length, which was technically when we could have headed to the hospital (the good ole "5-1-1 rule": contractions coming every five minutes, lasting one minute, for at least one hour), but I wanted to labor as long as possible at home.  I tried to keep busy during my four minute intervals, doing things like tidying the house and doing my hair (I know).

He sleeps like a little frog unless we swaddle him :)

We left for the hospital at 12:30pm, but as soon as we got in the car, my super regular contractions stopped, and I didn’t have a contraction for 10 minutes.  Awesome.  Worried that I’d stalled, we drove past the hospital and went a nearby park.  After walking a little bit, the contractions returned regularly, and we decided to head to the hospital - for real this time!

I was in triage at 1:30pm.  The nurse checked me and I was at a whopping 2cm.  I wanted to cry – I’d been having contractions for over 13 hours and had barely progressed.  My confidence in my ability to have a natural birth immediately began to wane; I was already exhausted from not sleeping the previous night, and I still had so far to go!  The nurse gave us the option of going home – no way! – or getting into the whirlpool tub to see if that helped things along.  My husband says that the reason they weren’t taking my contractions seriously was that I was handling them so well…sweet of him, but I definitely didn’t feel like that was the case! 

Sleeping on his mama's chest
 
After 40 minutes in the whirlpool tub, and realizing that I was having back labor (something I would wish on nobody in the world), the nurse checked again, and we had progressed to 3cm and were 100% effaced.  They placed monitors and saw that I was indeed having strong contractions and sent us upstairs to our delivery room around 3pm.

Our first nurse was a rockstar.  She was totally on board with our plan to have a natural birth, even though I was beginning to question that plan mightily.  We tried tons of different positions to try to get our baby to turn so that the back labor would subside, and my dear sweet coach of a husband was rubbing my back and applying so much counterpressure during contractions that I was shocked my back wasn’t bruised by the time everything was said and done. 

By 4:30, I was at 4-5 cm, which was a pretty quick progression, but it definitely did not feel quick.  Contractions were becoming unbearable as everything was still in my back, and all I could think about was how a quick dose of Stadol would be great to take the edge off, but my husband talked me through every contraction and wouldn’t let me give in.  This was something that we'd prepared for - I was pretty sure that I would be asking for something to help the pain in the moment, but it wasn't what I really wanted.  He said he felt terrible denying me pain meds when I was asking for them after every contraction, but it really was what I wanted him to do.  Though in the moment, I REALLY wanted Stadol ;) 

Dad's favorite study buddy yawning big...handsome like daddy!

Throughout the entire process, I grew more and more quiet – or as my husband says, stoic.  It was all I could do to keep breathing through every contraction.  Around 7:30, my water broke.  My quote when it happened, because my husband thinks it’s hilarious: “Something HUGE just came out of me!” It was one of my least favorite parts of birth, and if that would have happened in public somewhere, I literally would have died.  But after my water broke, the baby finally turned and got into proper position. 

Contractions were coming even more quickly, to the point that there was no break to even ask for pain meds…I was in transition, and it was rough.  I got back in the tub while contractions were coming less than a minute apart and lasting a minute and a half or longer – no rest for the weary!  Unbelievably, I was dozing off for a few seconds in between contractions.  My husband wisely asked if I was feeling the urge to push while in the tub, and after considering it, I realized I was.  Our new nurse checked me at 8:30pm and said those magic words – You are COMPLETE! 

One week old and getting ready for our first walk!

Only one problem – the nurses had updated the OB on call when I was at 4-5cm, and being as this was our first baby, she assumed that it would be about midnight before I delivered.  When they called to tell her I was complete, she was 25 minutes away from the hospital!  The nurses asked if they could have a resident come in, which we’d declined before since my husband had worked with all of them (awkward!), and I'm friends with some of their wives (extra awkward!), but this time we said yes, so one of my husband’s favorite interns came into the room.  The second the intern was there, I was ready to push – there is an MD behind his name after all!  They still wanted me to wait for the doctor though, so I had to resist the urge to push and blow through 25 minutes of contractions.  Ladies and gentlemen, that was hell. 

Finally, the OB arrived, suited up quickly (which seemed like an eternity) and let me start pushing.  After the first push, the doctors declared the hair delivered :)  Baby’s heart rate did great throughout all of the contractions, accelerating just like it should. After almost 50 minutes of pushing, the baby was crowned and ready to go, just waiting for one last contraction…and waiting…and waiting…Then monitor on the baby’s heart rate dropped from 160 beats per minute to 60bpm (I was oblivious of this).  I vaguely realized my husband was taking my pulse on my wrist but didn’t think much of it – he’s a medical student, after all.  Then the nurse put a fingertip heart rate monitor on me and saw my pulse was in the 100’s, confirming that it was the baby’s that was so low.  The doctor immediately had me push, without waiting for a contraction. One good push later and the baby was out!

Quilt made by my aunt!

After he was born, it was quiet.  My husband said, “Come on, baby,” and it was then that I realized for the first time that something might not be right.  But after about three quiet seconds, our bambino started crying nice and loud!  Because of the deceleration at the end of delivery, no one made the “it’s a boy!” announcement, and I actually had to ask if it was a boy or a girl!  My husband flipped the baby over, proclaimed him a boy, and they put him on my belly…where he promptly pooped copious amounts all over me :)

The medical staff were all impressed with our labor and delivery - it is apparently quite the rarity these days to have a natural birth.  We were so glad that we did though, without even having an IV placed.  The ability to be able to be up and around the room, changing positions, getting into the tub, being able to drink clear liquids (and not just have ice chips), only having monitors on for a total of 20 minutes before pushing started, and having both me and baby be completely alert after delivery was totally worth it.  While it was, of course, the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and while I realize that natural childbirth is not for everyone (most people we tell think we’re crazy), and that it isn't even a possibility for some people, we are so grateful and happy that we were able to do it, and that we now have Liam Gabriel in our lives. 

Fearfully and wonderfully made.

So if you don't hear from me on the blog that often, I apologize.  I'll try to update you on things such as my husband finishing his third year and officially being in his last year of med school, as well as Step 2 boards.  I have ideas of posts in my head about random things, including what I now deem as baby necessities for the first month of life.   Will these posts be written?  Your guess is as good as mine.  Because for right now, this is my motto (which I cannot read without getting teary):


Cleaning and scrubbing can wait til tomorrow, 
for babies grow up, we've learned to our sorrow. 
So, quiet down, cobwebs. Dust, go to sleep. 
I am rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

6.15.2013

We're putting Baby in the corner

...and we think our little one will like their corner!  

We are apartment dwellers.  Thankfully, we have a two bedroom apartment, which gives us a little bit of breathing room.  Even more thankfully, our second bedroom is massive.  Up until this point, bedroom #2 has served as our guest room/my husband's office/my craft room.  But now, we have added "nursery" into the mix.  

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Yes, I do realize there is a lot going on in this room.  But it works.  Or at least we claim it does.  Want to see baby's corner a little closer?

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There are lots of handmade details in this little corner of a nursery.  For starters, that crib was lovingly made by my aunt.  Beautiful, no?  


I sewed a little adjustable length crib skirt for the crib.  We have storage tubs hiding under there.



My husband built & painted the wooden sign teal, and I used my Silhouette Cameo to make a stencil for the wording, which I then painted on.  The burlap banner will have our kiddo's name on it, once we know what that name is ;) 

Baby's "chandelier" mobile.  I had to enlist the husband's help to tie the strings of circles onto the dowels - I lacked both the patience and dexterity, and he used the opportunity to practice his surgical knots ;) 


These cutie pie hand-cut animal silhouettes were a shower gift from dear friends.  So adorable!


Finally, this quilt was made by another one of my aunts (I have rather talented aunts!).  I want you to see a close up of the quilting:


See the stars?  So neat :) 

All in all, it might not be much compared to some of the ornate nurseries we've all seen.  But despite that fact, we are sure that a) our baby won't care, b) our budget is happy and c) we like it!

Also, in case you're keeping track, I am now two days overdue.  I was hoping that my cleaning marathon, twice daily walks or copious amounts of hot sauce I've been consuming would get the ball rolling, but no such luck yet.  Though I suppose if I got to hang out in a hot tub all day long, I might not be too keen on leaving either :)  

I'll be sharing our little corner nursery with these fun parties this week...unless we actually go into labor at some point ;)

6.11.2013

Looking forward to: Post Baby

(Sorry for the overload of baby & pregnancy related posts.  It's kind of the only thing on my mind right now!)

I really haven't minded being pregnant.  Honestly.  Aside from the nearly constant first trimester nausea, it's really not been bad.  I would almost daresay that I've been enjoying it.  I'm still quite comfortable, am sleeping decently well (most nights - some are torture though), and have the energy to do pretty much whatever I want.  

That being said, as our due date rapidly approaches, I've started to consider the things that I'm looking forward to post-delivery.  Of course, meeting our firstborn child, finding out if we have a son or a daughter, introducing the kiddo to our friends and family, and figuring out what the heck we are doing as parents all make the list.  But there are also some rather selfish things that I'm looking forward to post-babe:

With regards to clothing:
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  • wearing pants with a zipper.  Zipping said zipper. 
  • I've been told you don't leave the hospital wearing your normal clothes ;)  So I'll start small: wearing my own tee-shirts...not that my husbands aren't lovely to sleep in, but I really do miss mine.
With regards to sleeping:
sleeping image source
  • having something cuter than my bladder wake me up 3-5 times in the middle of the night.
  • rolling over in bed without feeling like I need to lift and support my stomach to do so. 
  • sleeping on my stomach, or my back.  Basically any way but on my left side!
With regards to eating
sushi image source  / wine image source / sub image source
  • sushi.
  • wine (that bottle in particular).
  • as much cold deli meat as I want without being paranoid that I'm poisoning our baby.
With regards to living:
grocery image source  / silhouette image source / spray paint image source
  • it not being socially acceptable for anyone to make any comments about my size or weight.
  • lifting things without people asking if/telling me it's too heavy.  Related - going back to carrying all of our groceries for the week up to our third floor apartment in one trip.  The day when I was carrying 10lbs of grapefruit, 4lbs of oranges and 5lbs of potatoes, along with everything else for the week was when I realized that perhaps I was in excess of that silly 20 pound limit.
  • bending over without feeling like I could potentially topple over.
  • spray painting.  Odd, I know, but I like the smell of spray paint to spray paint often, and my husband has pretty limited time and patience to paint all of my projects for me!

We're down to two days until our due date (Thursday).  Just throwing it out there, I'm pretty certain this little one is quite content right where they are, and I'm absolutely expecting to go well past our due date.   I asked my OB how long she'd let me go over prior to inducing...she informed me that she just delivered a woman at 42 weeks!  So at most, we've got 16 days left before we become a family of three. 

Is there anything that you experienced moms out there can advise me to be doing in these last few days(weeks) pre-baby?  Aside from sleeping as much as possible, that is ;)  I've got as many meals in our tiny freezer as I can fit, my mom-in-law got me a pedicure yesterday (yes!), and my hospital bag (fine, bags) are as packed as they're going to get before heading to the hospital.  Any other last minute preparations that you'd recommend?