So Coxsackie Virus Sucks…

Max with Coxsackie Virus :(

I pulled in our garage at about 5:30pm on Monday, rushed into the house, kicked off my shoes, and ran to find Max and Alex. Alex was getting dinner ready in the kitchen while Max played in his Exersaucer. I scooped up the little guy and snuzzled him.

“How was his day?” I asked Alex.

“Good!” he replied, “He got outside today and did well with his food and bottles. They said he had a really good day.”

“Of course he did,” I said, looking at Max with pride while he smiled broadly back at me.

“Oh,” Alex said, “There was a sign up on his room at Daycare. There’s a confirmed case of the Coxsackie Virus in his room.”

And so began our slow march to inevitble doom.
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Six Months!

My baby turned six months old yesterday! I can’t believe how quickly these months have flown by. I also can’t believe how much he’s changed! He’s no longer a squishy, sleepy little lumpkin – he’s a bright, shiny little baby! We’ve been having so much fun watching him conquer new abilities. He’s still not a fan of Tummy Time, but he’s got excellent head control and can push himself up on his hands (and was working on getting up on his knees last night!) and look around. He hasn’t yet rolled over, but he seems so close! He’s been sitting up on his own for a few weeks now – at first he could only stay up on his own for a few minutes but now I feel pretty confident putting him down on the floor without feeling like I need to stay behind him to bounce him back up if he starts to fall. His best times are in the mornings. He’s such a happy smiley guy – makes it hard to get ready for work and leave him at daycare! He’s out of his swaddle at night now and in the mornings he doesn’t cry when he wakes up, instead he just lays in his crib playing with his feet and cooing to himself. He’s such a sweetheart!

He’s changed so much in how he looks too. Ok, well, that’s obvious! But I mean, when he was first born, he looked so much like Alex. Like his little twin! But now that he’s a little older, I can see more of myself in him. I put this comparison photo together when the ladies in the online moms’ group that I participate in all started posting pictures of their kids and themselves to show that their kids did/did not look like them. I think you can really see how Max has grown into some of my features:

Daddy, Max / Mommy, Max

Max started solids recently. We started him off with “Baby Oatmeal” a couple weeks ago – and I, of course, made sure we thoroghly documented the occasion:

He tried butternut squash this week for the first time. I got a Beaba Babycook baby food maker from one of the girls in the moms’ group (along with pretty much everything we’ll ever need to feed Max solids lol!) and butternut squash was the first thing I made in it. It’s super easy to use and for the price of one butternut squash I made 14 oz of baby food. So, ok, I did calculate it out and the squash cost $2.90 while buying the equivilent in squash Gerber 1st Foods would be $3.27, so there’s a savings of $0.37, but it all adds up, right? Here’s Max enjoying some squash:

Max enjoying (no really!) some butternut squash

He actually really did like the squash. I liked it too (before we mixed in some formula for the right consistency) – steamed and pureed squash tastes really sweet. This was also the first time that Daddy tried feeding him… We’ll all get better with practice. ;) Max and I had a shower after dinner last night!

Max goes for his 6 month check up on Friday and I’ve got the day off work to take him. Hopefully he does well with his shots and isn’t too fussy on Friday – but even if he is I’ve got the entire day to snuggle him! I’m pretty excited to find out how much he’s grown and how much he weighs. I’m estimating about 16.8 lbs now – we’ll see what they say on Friday!

So I had a baby.

It’s been about a month since I posted and that’s because I’ve been a little busy… Because I had a baby!

This past month has been a whirlwind. I’ve been incredibly busy getting to know my little man. Oh yeah – it’s a boy! Maxwell Keene was born on the 10th of January at 9:30pm. I went in to the hospital as planned on the 9th for my induction. When we pulled into the parking lot that night, we realized that there seems to be some truth to the idea that women go into labor when there’s a full moon! The parking lot was packed and the labor and delivery unit was hopping. We were settled into our L&D suite and I was hooked up by an IV by 7pm after registering and answering a million intake questions. I expected to be started on the Cervidil right away, but they were so busy that it didn’t get done until around midnight! Unfortunately, that meant that by 8am the next morning when they expected to be starting the Pitocin, my cervix hadn’t made much progress.

My doctor came in around 9am to do an exam and decided that since I had dilated a centimeter and my cervix had softened a bit, he’d go ahead and break my water. Let me tell you, that internal exam was painful. The Pitocin was started, my water was broke, and we were on our way to having a baby!

Or so we thought. Unfortunately, my little guy was pretty comfy cozy where he was. He wasn’t descending into position and my cervix was making very little progress. As a result, they kept increasing the Pitocin, which was making my contractions incredibly strong. Getting through a contraction was doable, but not when they were coming right on top of each other. They were coming at a pace that you’d have at the end of labor when it’s almost time to push, but the baby and my cervix were nowhere near ready. So I gave in and asked for an epidural. I was so thankful when the epidural kicked in. I did get itchy from it, but the pain relief was so worth it. Unfortunately, they kept increasing my Pitocin and I eventually started to feel the contractions through the epidural – so they increased my epidural. Then the baby’s heart rate started to drop during contractions. It was like the scenarios in “The Business of Being Born” coming to life. After the nurse put me on oxygen and left the room to talk to my doctor, I said, “They’re going to tell me I should get a C-Section.” Sure enough, when the doc came in the room he advised us that he’d suggest a cesarean at that point.

Alex and I talked about it and decided to go for the c-section. We felt that it was better to just go ahead with the section while the doctor was there and ready to do the surgery, rather than try and wait it out and then end up needing it in an emergent way. Once we gave the go ahead for the surgery, things moved incredibly quickly. The anesthesiologist came in to increase my epidural to the level needed for surgery. I asked him if the itchiness would go away. “Ohh… You’re itchy?” he said. “Unfortunately, that will probably only get worse.” That was not what I wanted to hear. By the time they wheeled me into the overly bright and white operating room, I was feeling pretty low. I felt like everything was out of my control and I felt really removed from the whole experience.

Alex came in and was sat by my head. He held my hand and told me that I was beautiful and he was proud of me and assured me that everything would be fine. He told me that I was going to be a great mommy and it really helped to have him give me that pep talk. It helped to bring me back to the moment – as much as I could through the haze of drugs they’d given me. The itchiness hadn’t gone away, but now it was trumped by uncontrollable shaking. They’d told me to expect that, but I didn’t expect to feel so out of it. Every c-section I’d seen on TV seemed like the moms were still pretty alert, so I wasn’t prepared for feeling like I was seeing things through a heavy fog.

Not long after we got into the room, we heard the first cries of our little baby! The doctors and nurses knew that we didn’t know the gender, so the anesthesiologist asked my doctor, “Well, doctor, what is it?” “Hold on a minute…” he replied. They told me where to look, “Look up here – in a few seconds you’re going to see your baby!” And then we heard my doctor say, “Oops he peed on me! Well, I guess I gave the sex away…” and then I saw my little boy for the first time – screaming, legs and arms splayed and generally looking pretty pissed off to be evicted from his warm little home.

I turned my head to Alex, “It’s a boy! We had a boy! We have a son!” He kissed me while I laid there smiling and staring at him. They brought our son over to us and gave him to Alex. I stared at them. The anesthesiologist grabbed my hand and moved it to my baby’s head, “You can touch him…” he said. It didn’t occur to me that I could move. I was elated but just so out of it. After a few minutes, they wheeled Alex and our son to the recovery room while they finished putting me back together. I stared at the ceiling. It didn’t seem to take all that long, but Alex said he thought it was about 45 minutes before I was wheeled into the recovery room to join them. That’s when Alex handed me our baby and I really got to meet him for the first time.

I stared at our little man – it was an incredible and overwhelming moment. He was exactly what I imagined. A familiar little stranger.

And now it’s almost a month later. I can’t believe how quickly time has passed! Max has grown and changed so much already. He’s gone from a teeny tiny squishy little newborn to an adorable and alert little one month old baby. He’s the center of our universe and we’re loving every minute of getting to know our boy!

So I’m Having a Baby Tomorrow.

I went to my doctor appointment last Tuesday and they had me do another Non-Stress Test.  The NP told me that things were looking good and then said, “So, do you have a date scheduled for an induction yet?”  I was like, “ummmmnooo….” She went on to explain that since they were monitoring me so closely for my blood pressure, that they would schedule me to be induced because they never let ladies with high blood pressure go to their due dates.  Then she said, “I’ll go check with the doctor who’s here today – I’ll be right back.”  I sat there waiting for her thinking about how whenever they’d talked induction previously, I’d always thought that they meant that if my blood pressure went super high again then they’d pull the trigger on it.  I didn’t realize that it was something that they’d do as a matter of course.

The NP came back in the room a few minutes later and said, “OK, you’re going to come back on Friday for your scheduled ultrasound.  Then on Monday, you’ll check in to Bellevue at 6:30pm.  We’ll give you a cervix softener and then the next morning you’ll get pitocin.  Then the doctor will be by to deliver your baby – probably sometime in the afternoon.”  I was so taken off guard that all I could do was say, “OK!”

So now it’s almost 5pm on Monday and my bags are packed and I’m ready to go.  This all seems so very surreal.  It was nice to have a bit of warning last week so that I could finish things up at work and make sure that everything would be covered while I’m out.  I also got to spend some time with Alex last week and this weekend just enjoying being together.  We went out Saturday nigh for dinner a Aperetivo, which is probably my favorite restaurant.  We also got a lot of things done that had been lingering.  Alex put together some baby gear and hung a big shelf in the nursery while I put the finishing touches in there.  I am so happy with the way it turned out!

The Nursery

To view a flickr slideshow of photos of the entire room, click here: http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=109615

I’ve been alternately excited and nervous today.  I’m sure that everything will go well tonight/tomorrow – and if things don’t go according to plan and I end up with a c-section, it will all be fine in the end.  I can’t believe that by this time tomorrow I will likely have a baby in my arms!!  Wish me luck!

37 Weeks – Baby’s Full Term Now!

I woke up at 4:15 this morning so excited that you’d think it was Christmas morning.  OK, well, really I woke up at 4:15am because I had to pee (of course) but after climbing back into bed I realized that I was not getting back to sleep today.  All I could think about was, “Wow, I’m 37 weeks along today – Baby is full term!”  As everyone keeps telling me, and all the my pregnancy iPhone apps, books, and websites keep telling me, baby could come at any time now!

In fact, I got a little preview of the Labor and Delivery unit at Bellevue yesterday.  I went to my regularly scheduled doctor appointment yesterday morning and had another ultrasound.  Baby is looking good – all measurements are where they should be and they estimate that baby is about 7 lbs now, which is a little bigger than average at the 63rd percentile.  While I was having the ultrasound done, I realized that I just wasn’t feeling right.  “Great,” I thought, “my blood pressure is going to be high…”  I’ve been having lots of extra monitoring since mid-November since my blood pressure has been on the elevated end of the scale at almost every appointment.  Since 31 weeks I’ve been going in for weekly and sometimes bi-weekly appointments where I’ve had to have Non Stress Tests (where they hook you up to a monitor and measure baby’s heart rate while you click a button to count movements) and ultrasounds.  At my last two appointments before yesterday’s, though, my blood pressure had been great!  I knew that was a streak that was not going to last.

And it didn’t.  When the nurse sat me down for my post-ultrasound regular appointment and took my blood pressure, she gave me the “uh oh” look and said, “your blood pressure is high…” “I knew it was going to be,” I responded, “how high is it?”  “150/94,” she said, as she walked out of the room to find the doctor.  That was my highest reading yet.  The doc came in and told me that she wanted to start me on blood pressure medication and had me come with her to her office where she reviewed my chart.  I let her know that my husband could check my blood pressure for me at home and that usually when he did it’s always normal.  She requested that he take it every morning for me and gave me guidelines for when to call them related to the results.  She then asked the nurse to take my blood pressure again and it was 147/100.  She looked at me sternly and said, “Well, you’re 37 weeks tomorrow so if your blood pressure doesn’t improve, we’ll induce you.”  Then she picked up the phone and called Bellevue and said, “I need to admit a patient…”

I was instructed to go to Bellevue where I’d get a Non Stress Test and blood work done.  I knew that my condition wasn’t emergent, otherwise I wouldn’t be driving myself there, but it was definitely pretty surreal driving myself to go get checked in at the hospital.  I called Alex and the Wham to give them both a heads up – I figured that I’d be monitored and let go, but since there was a slim possibility that they might make me go on bedrest or keep me and make me have a baby (lol), I figured they should have some warning.  When I got to the hospital, the admission process went super quick and smoothly and the woman who helped me out was incredibly nice.  We joked around about a coworker who popped in to give a Christmas gift that she was giving to “all of the old timers”.  “She just called you an old timer!” I exclaimed as her coworker walked away and we both cracked up.  After my paperwork was complete and I was ID braceleted, I was sent down to the Labor & Delivery unit.

For some reason, I wasn’t expecting to be going to that unit.  So that was pretty surreal walking alone into the unit where pretty shortly I’ll be returning to deliver a baby.  I passed excited grandmothers in the waiting area and a scared-shitless-looking scrub clad dad waiting to be let into the OR for his wife’s C-Section.  I was led into one of the birthing suites by a nurse and and aide who were both super nice.  I got hooked up to the monitor and cozied into bed and given juice and the TV remote.  Now, having had about half a dozen Non Stress Tests at this point at my doctor’s office, I have to say, getting monitored at L&D is definitely the way to go.  At my doctor’s office, they don’t have a recliner or anything comfy to sit/lie in for the test, so you’re crammed onto a hard exam table, fighting with the stupid paper cover and the flat pillow and the too short table.  Not comfortable.  Oh, and the monitor at the doctor’s office is strapped on and sometimes I would have to hold the monitor against me to get a good reading of the baby’s heart rate.  At L&D, I had a big comfy bed, a table to place my juice and my iPhone, a TV to watch, and the monitor was slipped underneath a “belly tube sock” that kept it secure against me handsfree.  I got to lounge there and sip juice and talk to Baby to try and get him/her to move – it felt like heaven!

I had labs drawn and serial blood pressure monitoring and after I was there for an hour and a half was told that everything looked perfectly normal – yay!  They couldn’t get the doc on the line right away, though, so I’d have to hang out there until they could get a hold of her for discharge instructions – yay!  Actually, I was pretty OK with that part.  I got to hang out there for almost another hour just lounging in the bed and watching TV.  I told Alex later that it was pretty sad, but the highlight of my day was laying in that bed in L&D, LOL!  Since I have to save all of my vacation time for maternity leave, my only time off is weekends and since it’s December, my time off has been quickly eaten up by Christmas and Baby prep.  So unfortunately, that has not left me much time for lounging in solitude – something that I will not be able to do for a very long time once Baby arrives.  Ah well.

Speaking of Christmas and Baby prep – there’s still stuff to do in both areas.  I still have some Christmas sewing and then wrapping to get done – I guess that will get finished up tonight and tomorrow morning.  Then, after Christmas has come and gone, it’s time to focus on wrapping up Baby prep.  There are still some things that need to be bought, but I’ve been holding off on any more Baby related purchases until after Christmas since the Grandmothers have indicated that Baby K might be getting some things from Santa already!  I’ve been hoarding my gift cards and coupons and intend on doing some heavy duty shopping next week.  I also need to pick up some basic non-fun-labor-and-delivery-related supplies and pack my hospital bag.  Since “the baby can come at any time now!”, I better get moving on that.  Decorating in the nursery is almost done – and ohmygosh I’m in love with it!  I’m hoping to finalize some things in there over the next week and post pictures by next weekend.  I’m so happy with the way it’s turned out!

So now that I’ve been sitting here typing for about an hour (and written a book of a post), I guess it’s about time I get moving and start getting ready for work.  Should be a fun/easy day today (knock on wood!).  I can’t believe tomorrow is Christmas Eve already!  Oh, and here’s a message for my little baby-who-could-come-at-any-time-now: go ahead and hang out in there for a bit.  You don’t want your birthday to be so close to Christmas.  But consider coming around the end of this next week – Mommy and Daddy could use the 2011 tax deduction!

December Already?!

OMG it’s December.  OMG I’m going to have a baby next month.  OMG I could actually have a baby *this* month.  OMG.

So this is pretty exciting!  On top of it being, you know, “the most wonderful time of the year”, we’ve also entered The Final Countdown to Baby’s arrival!  (You know you have that epic 80’s song stuck in your head now… and if you don’t yet, click here.)  There has been a lot of preparation going on in our house.  Alex has taken care of the cleaning portion of nesting lol!  He wanted to have Thanksgiving at our house this year, and said that he’d do all the cleaning in preparation for it.  Now, he usually does a lot of the cleaning, but not *all* of it and I think that’s because he just wasn’t aware of what *all* the cleaning really meant.  So I printed out Martha Stewart’s Weekly Cleaning Checklist (along with her Monthly and Daily checklists) and he ran with it.  In fact, he asked me if I could print it out weekly so that he can reference it while he cleans during the week.  Have I mentioned that he rocks?  Oh, and he also took it upon himself to completely organize our linen closet – which was a *mess* and was on my list of things to try and get done for forever.  So now our deal is I’m going to set up an Automater task on my iMac to print the weekly checklist at the beginning of every week and I’ll put it on the fridge.  As we get stuff done, we’ll each check the things off that we got to during that week.  Since he’s home more than me (and will be home alone more than me after Baby comes since Baby will have Full Time Daycare available), he’ll be doing the bulk of the chores and he’s cool with that.  Also, again, I just need to say that he rocks.

I’ve been focusing on getting what we need to be ready for Baby and on preparing the Nursery.  There are only a few things that we still need to get: a crib mattress, a diaper pail and liner (we’re doing cloth diapers), a garbage can, some basic baby/first aid supplies, a breast pump and related supplies (which I’ll buy in January with next year’s Flex Spending), a breastfeeding pillow (the My Brest Friend is my choice over a Boppy) a pack and play (not an absolute necessity, but I’m told they’re useful), a Rock and Play Sleeper (for Baby to sleep in next to my bed at first), and some onesies, no-scratch mittens, and socks that Baby can use right away.  I’m waiting for my registry completer coupons to make any purchases, so hopefully they should come pretty soon!

Things are coming together really well in the Nursery!  I’ve gotten a lot of projects done over the last month or so.  I made a changing pad cover from a Prudent Baby Tutorial:

My DIY Changing Pad Cover, from a Prudent Baby Tutorial

I also made curtains from another Prudent Baby Tutorial:

My DIY Curtains, from another Prudent Baby Tutorial

This past weekend, I made slipcovers for my glider cushions, using a tutorial from Our Happy Family:

Glider Before

Glider After!

I also made a blanket that we can use when Baby is old enough for a blanket in bed – it will work as a coverlet for the toddler bed when we convert the crib to one.  I used a tutorial from Gus and Lulu, but I changed it up a bit, inspired by an image that I found online and pinned to Pinterest:

Pennant Bunting Blanket!

A few projects in one picture: curtains, glider slipcovers, crib skirt, pennant bunting blanket.

I’ve got a flickr set created with pictures of all of the progress in the Nursery and will continue to add to it as I finish things off in there.  I only have a one more sewing project that I definitely plan on doing – a pennant bunting to be hung above the crib.  I’l be following a tutorial from Your Home Based Mom and I’ve already got the pennants all cut and ready to go:

Pennants all cut and ready to be made into a bunting for above the crib!

The only thing stopping me from getting that done right now is, I’m not sure how big/how many buntings I’ll need.  I bought a Wall Quote to go above the crib, and it hasn’t shipped yet.  I’m not sure how big it will be and how I’ll position it above the crib, so I’m kind of waiting for that to be here before I sew the bunting.  Luckily, the bunting should come together *very* quickly, so it’s definitely a project I’m OK with pushing off till the very end.  Here’s the wall quote:

Wall Quote for Above the Crib

I’m really happy with the way that my projects have all turned out so far!  Things are really coming together in the Nursery and it should be pretty much ready for Baby really soon!

Speaking of soon… I realized the other day that my doctor had changed my due date.  It had been January 17th, and apparently sometime when they were doing a ton of Ultrasounds between 16 and 26 weeks, they moved the date up to January 13th.  That’s really not a huge difference, but since it’s a change in the “right” direction, I’ll take it!  That means that I’ll be 35 weeks at the end of this week.  35 weeks is a pretty big milestone because it means that you’re 35 weeks along and have 35 days until your due date – OMG!  Also, since they moved my due date up, I’ll be considered full term a couple days before Christmas instead of a couple days after Christmas.  This means a couple of things for me…  It means that if Baby decided to come that early, they wouldn’t try and stop labor since I’d be technically full term.  It also means that, since they’re concerned about my Blood Pressure (which has been on the high side), they might consider inducing me if my BP gets worse near the end.  Any time after that full term date would be considered fair game in their eyes for inducing me if they needed to, so it could possibly end up being that I have a baby before the end of this year – how crazy is that?!  I’m not counting on that, though.  I’m hoping that my BP doesn’t get worse and that I can carry Baby until Baby is ready to come out – whether that be before or after his or her due date!

So with all of this Baby prep going on, you may wonder if we’ve gotten anything done for Christmas.  I’m happy to report that we have!  We’re approximately 30% done with our Christmas shopping, and have a good idea of what needs to be done to complete that.  Since it’s only December 6th, I think we’re pretty well on target to finishing shopping without a good deal of stress.  We’re also 100% done with our Christmas decorating – so that rocks!  Unfortunately, we’re 0% done with Christmas cards… but that’s not a huge project, so I should be able to get that done this weekend.

So yay for December!  It may be a really busy month of preparation for Holidays and Baby, but it’s going to be a lot of fun!!

31 weeks and counting…

Sometimes when I’m sitting at work and I can feel Baby kicking me or rolling around in there, I look over at the little ultrasound picture that I have on my desk and get so overwhelmed with excitement and happiness that I can just feel myself glowing.  When I think back to where I was last year and how depressed I was after the miscarriage and hopeless I felt when my doctor suggested fertility treatments, I can’t believe how different my life is now and how lucky and happy I am.  Then, when I think about where we’ll be a year from now, getting ready for our first Holiday Season as parents and getting to experience that through the eyes of our baby, I can’t imagine how much more our lives will have changed by then.  I can’t help but think of that Colin Hay song, “Waiting for my Real Life to Begin.”  When we were trying (and not succeeding) at conceiving after the miscarriage, I used to cry when I’d hear that song.  Now, it makes me smile.  We’ve gotten past the hard part of the waiting and now we’re coming to the end when the next phase, our “real life”, really is just around the corner.  It’s so exciting to be on the precipice of this turning point!

It’s exciting and exhilarating… and terrifying.  And I think that anyone that doesn’t admit that last piece is lying to themselves.  I think that Alex recognized that last piece right away at the beginning and it took him a little while to get past that and focus on being excited for the new things to come.  I haven’t realized the fear until recently.  Now, at the end, when this immense, life changing event is barreling towards us, I finally am realizing the magnitude of it and how scary that is.  I’ve always obviously known that things will be very different for us once Baby arrives, but I’ve been so focused on the overarching goal that I never worried about the details.  Now that I’m 78.2% of the way through my pregnancy (according to my iPregnancy iPhone app, lol) I’m beginning to focus on the details and they can definitely feel overwhelming.  On Sunday, Alex and I had the chance to just relax with each other, basking in the glory of a lazy afternoon with nowhere to go and nothing to do.  It was glorious… and suddenly I was crying.  I realized that afternoons like that would probably not exist for us for a good long time.

Those moments of mourning our simple life and fearing what’s to come are few and far between and quickly drowned out by the excitement for what’s to come.  I have many more sweet moments that occur every day: feeling Baby kick me when I’m in a boring meeting, talking to Baby on our commute home from work, having Alex rub my belly and talk to Baby while we sit together on the sofa at night.  I stare at other people’s children and analyze where they got their features from – their mom’s smile, their dad’s eyes – and wonder what we’ll be passing along to our baby.  I work on projects for the nursery and see it slowly coming together into a whimsical room ready for Baby and I can barely contain my excitement.  In forty days, Baby will be full term!  My due date is just two months from today!  So, so soon we’ll actually meet our little one!

What a wonderful rollercoaster ride this time in our lives is – and I am *so* thankful to be on it!