Snippets of My Current Existence

Thursday, November 29, 2007

...So, I am, literally, a stay-at-home-mom now. With C-section recovery, I am pretty homebound for at least 2-4 weeks, and with a very vulnerable little one, I am not likely to just hang out in the germ-ridden public very much for a while. So here I am, HOME.
It's been a week, now, and here are a few things that have entertained me or given me something to do while being here:

1. Websites
I have taken to breastfeeding and surfing the net at the same time (mostly at the 3 a.m. hour in order to stay awake!). Here are some of the big sites I visit:

Babycenter-- for all my new-mom complaints and questions
Babywhisperer Homepage-- for specific advice on the routine Noah and I are working on
Two Peas in a Bucket-- A scrapbooking community I go to, mainly for the photography side of it. just to browse all the amazing homemade/handcrafted things that everyday artists put up for sale in personalized "shops". It's like going to an art festival!
Go Fug Yourself-- A catty, witty site that tears celebrity fashion mistakes apart. I have laughed aloud more at this site than I have at ANYTHING else online.

YOUR Blog!-- any of the blogs listed on the left, plus any other new blog I discover through new comments on here, links on friends' pages, etc. It is a never-ending bloggy world of discovery!!

2. Activities
A few random activities...
Logic Puzzles-- I blame my coworker Amanda fro reintroducing these little gems to me one day this fall.. she was giving one to her students and I remembered how much I LOVED them as a kid. So I went a bought a big book of them, and found this website, where you can do them online.
TextTwist-- First introduced to me years ago by Sarah R., I pop over to Yahoo Games now and again to play. (Again, usually to stay awake during breastfeeding sessions!)
Craft Ideas-- this garland is something I have been wanting to make since Danielle T., a blogger I admire, linked to it in HER blog. Now her blog shows the progress she has made with it, reminding me that I still haven't started it. So once I get supplies, this will pass some time!

3. Photography
If you hadn't noticed, I am using this time to really get some baby photo practice in... plus Noah is so dang cute that I can't resist the urge to take every moment and preserve it in a photo. Obnoxious, I know... but fun for me! This week's goal has been to get the "professional" shots done, before he gets too big and stubborn to cooperate. The first two weeks are the best time for newborns because they sleep so much and are very moldable. So they say. I find he is ALREADY a bit tricky, kicking out his legs right when I have them perfectly placed, like here:...but it's been fun to try, nonetheless. (Look for more of these shots to come. Unless you guys are bored of the Noah pics... in which case, let me know via comment, as my bro already has. J/K Steven.)

4. Online Shopping
Yikes! Most of the time, I don't buy anything. Sometimes, I slip. Like these things:

A. This is a Victorian style paper "Merry Christmas" banner I bought on Etsy.... Getting ready for the holidays!B. Or this cute Cupcake cap, which I bought as an upcoming baby shower gift for a friend of mine. Seriously, how cute???C. ... haven't bought these, but MAN they are sweet!! Little bootie hightops?? If I was a bit more spendy, these'd be on my baby's feet already. Still, I'm trying to be a BIT responsible. *sigh*
....And lest you think I am ONLY on the computer or behind a camera, I will reassure you that 85% of my stay-at-home-time is actually spent with my beautiful new son, feeding, cuddling, looking upon adoringly (as I am taking a break to do this very minute as he swings in his swing and gazes at the mobile above him.... *PAUSE* ...seriously, how PERFECT is he???), etc.

The main thing I am doing these days is learning how to be a mom.

That is the best snippet of my life these days.

This is What I Do These Days...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

And it is a whole new life, and I love it.

(He fell asleep while nursing, so I let him stay in the boppy for a while. It was too cute to resist, so I had to take a few. Get used to it.)

Noah's Dad

Monday, November 26, 2007

{hangin' in the hospital room...}

{what a face!!}

One of the coolest things about my "new life" is seeing new sides to my amazing husband Joe. He has always been the most loving, low-key, patient, unconditionally accepting, non-critical best friend I could hope for. Now, though, he adds to this list so many other things to love:

~ yesterday, he read "Horton Hears a Who" to Noah.
~he is quick to grab "my" camera and take a turn, instead of deferring to me. It is making him an excellent photographer in his own right.
~he has become the video-meister.
~he talks Noah through his diaper changes, to keep him comforted.
~he pops out of bed when the late late night has taken its toll on me and I can't do any more...willingly taking his turn.
~he remembers to wrap his arms around ME and tell ME how much he loves me... It's not only about Noah here.
~he lets me make mistakes.
~he is so conscientious of my post-op needs.
~he is quietly patient and strong, even when Noah is having a freak-out session.
~he is, honestly, more attractive to me than ever.

I am so grateful for the way we have begun this journey. It gives me confidence in the weeks, months and years to come. I see how we are as a team and I know we can only get better and better. And Noah is DANG lucky to have this fun-loving, intelligent, spiritual, amazing man as a dad.

{For my video-blogging debut, two clips of Joe being a dad... just to finish this tribute up!}

There is So Much to Say. Where Do I Begin?

Friday, November 23, 2007

How about at the beginning? My water broke at about 5 p.m. on Saturday night, the 17th. It was funny, because I really wasn't SURE that's what had happened. It felt mostly like I had peed a little, but without any control over it. Kinda awkward. So I let it go for a moment, deciding to wait to see if it happened again. Well did it ever!! For the next twenty minutes or so I kept feeling these little trickles (never a gush), and finally (after consulting my nurse hotline AND Katie) woke Joe from a pre-work nap to tell him we should probably go to the hospital. Thrilled to call in to work, he got up and we calmly tied up a few loose ends around the apartment, adding a few things to our pile already packed and ready to go. We called our families to tell them we were headed in to check if it was REAL labor, and then headed out.

We got to the hospital around 6:15, checked in, and got to our delivery room. The nurses determined pretty quick that this was indeed "real labor" and got me hooked up to monitors and IV. The room was comfy (for a hospital delivery room), and we settled in for a long night. I had begun feeling mild contractions in the car, and they stayed pretty mind for a few hours. I had also already been dilated to a 3 at 80% effaced all week, so the early labor work had been done. We decided to hold off on Pitocin and the epidural for the time being, just to see what my body had in mind for the evening. The pain wasn't really unbearable. Joe's sister Mary arrived to lend some support and she hung out with us through the early waiting phase.

After nearly three hours of waiting, however, I was still a three. We reluctantly agreed to the Pitocin and she started it REALLY lightly at about 9:00 p.m. At about 9:30 p.m., some REAL contractions began, and I managed them by sitting on the birthing ball and clutching my belly while Joe rubbed my back. We hung out that way for 30-45 minutes, and when the nurse checked again, I was at a 4. She said we needed the contractions to be closer than 4-5 minutes apart, so she upped the Pitocin a bit more. Within minutes, the contractions got harder and more frequent.

At this point, my coping mechanism involved a weird focus activity-- I found that if I said the 50 states alphabetically, rhythmically, sometimes picturing them on a map, sometimes picturing unique features of each one, I was able to NOT go crazy with the pain. I mean, even at a 4-5 dilation, these babies were HARD! Yikes!! When the nurse popped in at about 10:30, she checked me, said I had made it to 5, and asked if this was the time for the epidural. YES YES YES YES, please. I was done. I'm a bit embarrassed to cave at only a 5, and am AMAZED at all you non-epidural women, but WOW. It was time. She said he was just down the hall and it shouldn't be more than 15 minutes or so, and you better believe I watched that clock between "Alabama...Wyoming!!!" and the next chant. And it was more than 15 minutes, let me tell you.
Joe was AMAZING. He was calm, responsive, not annoying, soooo sympathetic, and very willing to push that massager into the small of my back-- HARDER, JOE!-- when I barked at him to do so. He was right there for me until the epi guy showed up a bit after 11:00 p.m. After one failed attempt (blood in the catheter means he nicked a vein), he smoothly got the epidural in while I sat on the edge of the bed, hugging a pillow, humming, and rolling my feet in circles to keep from crying out from the contraction pain. The epi pain was NADA. No biggie. By 11:30, the epidural was working, a Foley catheter was in place, and the blessed numbness was letting me take a much needed rest.

My parents and sister Beckie showed up at 12:30 a.m. from Columbia, MO and they and Mary took turns coming in to chat while we watched the baby heartbeat tape and contraction tape record their findings. We were fascinated by the contractions especially, since they would rise and fall steadily without me feeling an ounce of pain. My family would sometimes tell me when a big one came along, 'cause I didn't know. The nurse came in around this time and took my blood pressure. It was REALLY low, due to the epidural medication, and she immediately upped my fluid IV and put me in an oxygen mask. I never felt any different, but this low blood pressure became the issue of the night. At one point, it got down to an 86/46 and she had the epidural guy come in and give me a shot of something to help my pressure go up. This happened twice between 12:30 and 3:00 a.m. My two other sisters, Sarah and Kirsti, arrived during this time and I still felt fine so we all chatted for a while. Throughout, the nurse would keep coming in when my pressure dropped and check the machines and my fluid. I stayed on oxygen for most of the time. She said it was because she didn't like how my baby's heart was responding to each contraction. She told me it wasn't cause for alarm, but we needed to perk him up. Reassured, I was able to stay so relaxed and peaceful throughout all of this late-night stuff. I even got a good little nap between 3:30 and 5:00, when I was woken by a new doctor, a heart specialist, telling the nurse that she wanted the fetal heart monitor inserted for a more accurate read.

At this point, nearly 12 hours after arriving, I was dilated to an 8. The heart doc told me that they had been monitoring my baby's heartbeat all night and were concerned by the distress it was showing. She told me that the little monitor that was being inserted into my baby's scalp was to determine more accurately if we needed to do something more immediate to relieve the baby's distress. She said it was very possible we were heading into C-section territory. Still a bit groggy from my nap, my heart froze. I had never considered this to be a possibility. While the room was clear of personnel, I asked Joe to get my dad so I could have a blessing. I still felt that Noah could come on his own. The blessing was sweet, and brought me peace, but immediately afterward, my on-call OB came in to say that they had decided the surgery was best and explained the procedure and got the preparations started. There was no sense of EMERGENCY, just an efficient process that would help my baby have a smoother entry into the world.

I cried a little with Joe. This wasn't how I had pictured things. I was sad that after all that time and work, we would have to "give up" and let them do it their way. I was sad that the whole "movie scene" wouldn't play out the way it should. Still, we wanted what was best for our baby, and so we took a deep breath and readjusted our ideals.

The epidural was cranked up to high, the bed was wheeled to an operating room, Joe was put into disposable scrubs and a blue sterile curtain was hung in front of me to block the surgery from germs and my horrified eyes. Everything moved so fast at this point, and before I knew it, the cutting had begun and Joe was holding my hand, helping me through it. He got the camera ready and within minutes Joe was saying "there's his head!" and the surgeons were saying "Oh he's a BIG one!" and the sound of suctioning and crying filled the room. Joe took photos (including the REMARKABLE one at the top of this post) and then watched in awe as they carried our screaming son to the warming table to my right. I looked and all I saw, honestly, was this FAT, PURPLE, CONE-HEADED UGLY thing. I thought, "Darn it... I guess I'll have to get used to him." (Isn't that AWFUL??) But within minutes he had pinked up, a hat was hiding the cone, and his angry cries were too irresistible. I loved him. Joe just stood and watched, took some photos and video, and I finally asked him if he had even touched him yet. Joe looked surprised, said no, and I told him to get over there! It was comforting to know that even if I couldn't hold him just yet, Joe could be there instead.

Finally, FINALLY, after what seemed like hours, but what was really probably only ten minutes, they let Joe bring him over to me. For the first time, Noah stopped crying and I reached out to touch his face. I couldn't speak and the emotions flooded in powerfully. (one of the most meaningful photos Joe took was this one:)

I spent more time with my new son in the recovery room, where we got a little skin-to skin time as I practiced nursing. He then got taken away for his bath and other things, and I got settled in my room for a nice. long, post-C-section four-day stay.

So. Wow, that was lengthy. But it's a story I want to remember, and it is a relief to have it down now so I know I won't forget the little things.

Yes, it was unexpected and sad for me to have the surgery... but ultimately, I don't regret a single moment of my time in the hospital. It was the most peaceful, affirming experience i could have had, and we left, nearly a week later, rested, informed, practiced and ready to try real life.

Now, what y'all were REALLY looking for, this whole time... More photos!!!!

{right after delivery}


{getting weighed}

{Dad's moment}

{Family moment}

{bonding in the recovery room}

{a quiet evening moment with Dad}

{they're so irresistible when they sleep!}

{look at that face!!}

{a favorite one... taken by Joe!}

P.S. That cone head thing went away within hours, and I honestly think he might be the best looking baby ever. Am I biased? Never.

(and aren't you impressed to learn that Joe took most of these?? I love it!)

What a Day!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

November 18... 7:22 a.m.

8 lbs. 5 oz.

20.5 inches

Joseph Noah emerged, crying like a banshee.

Welcome, kid!

(more to come. I am WIPED out!!)

Thank You, Melodie!!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

For the charming, personalized, classic, colorful name painting for our baby Noah! We LOVE it. It matches the baby's room perfectly, and what a treat it was to get in the mail! So unexpected. Love ya-- How's your baby? Mine is BIG. But holding steady inside.

Everyone else, go HERE to see more of Melody's art. Request a custom painting for your child. She's the best.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

So... We're going to wait. Noah should be in charge, not us. At least until I am officially 40 weeks along. Today, I am 38 weeks +6 days. Sure, I'm huge. But I'm pretty comfy still. Sure, I'd like to stop teaching RIGHT NOW. But I can make it two more days this week before officially taking time off on Monday. Sure, I'd like to see this kid out in the open... but I'm still loving his random bumps and body parts nudging me when I least expect it. Sure, I'd LOVE LOVE LOVE no more heartburn and swollen ankles... But I can manage with my Zantac and my slippers I've been wearing to work.

There is a bit of guilt at cancelling the induction-- people could have planned around us, we might have even had Joe's awesome bro out to visit EARLY!!, we would KNOW when to expect baby, we would definitely be home by Thanksgiving... And I feel, silly me, like cancelling is letting my doctor and cute nurses down. Weird, I know.

But the bottom line is, I WANT this to be the, "Oh, honey, I think this might be it!!" moment. I want the surprise. I want Noah to decide. (Check me in a week and see if I still feel this way!!)

So for now, I'll wait.


Autumn on Westminster Street

Monday, November 12, 2007

Can you believe this is the view I see every day driving to and from my home? The colors are unbelievable!!
I took a walk yesterday, hoping to catch some of the best color. It was a perfect afternoon, and the pictures make me smile.

Happy Autumn!

(And this photo technique is called the Orton Technique... Adds an arty, diffused glow to pictures. It works best on nature shots. If you Photoshop, play with the technique here. Another example below:)

And my preggy update? I am dilated to a 3, 80% effaced, at a station +1, and debating an inducement on Friday. Advice??

Feed the World...

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Test your vocabulary skills and earn free rice for hungry countries. While I am definitely smarter than you, see if you can come close! It might even become addictive.

And I was kidding about the smarter than you. I hovered between a 38 and a 43 the whole time, nowhere NEAR the 50 you can get. And the program is really cool-- it adjusts to your learning curve so you're always learning new words AND reviewing previous ones here and there.

The Dimming of the Day

Thursday, November 8, 2007

This is the time of year when the subdued hues of November really come into play... When you have to begin LOOKING for the beauty in things instead of passing by the OBVIOUS color displays of October. This is the time of year when the sun fades faster, the browns blend together, and the sky begins to smell of woodsmoke. This is the time of year when we go inside, literally and metaphorically...
And I can't think of a better time to be reflective and get prepared for this new baby to arrive. I drive home in the twilight and listen to soft, mellow music-- music that tugs at my heart, calms me, brings me joy, peace... And I feel like life is good, will be good, and all is well with the world.

My sis-in-law Mary met us in the park the other night to practice photos on us. The light was almost gone, creating a really pensive, "moody" (as she put it) light that really captures the November aura. I love these.

...And my beloved friend Katie has also taken some breathtaking photos of Joe and I during her visit here... Honestly, not to minimize one or the other...
She has them posted on her blog HERE, until I get them in the mail. She is unparalelled at capturing REALness in her art. She makes me feel beautiful and loved. While you're on her site, look around at the other BEAUTIFUL work she does. I am so blessed to have her as my friend. (For more reasons than just the photo artistry).

And while Joe and I ARE pretty cute, it is the photographer that makes the pictures magnificent, not the subjects. Thank you Katie and Mary. We're blessed.

All of you are blessed, readers. This is the time to remember it.

Sneak a Peek Into Our Nursery...

Saturday, November 3, 2007

...We have a few more finishing touches to make, including finishing the quilt, the rocking chair seat covers, and hanging some fun accents above the crib, but it is NEARLY done! So take a peek at the amazing crib bedding my mom-in-law Vicki made for us... and peek at the cute crib and changing table we got... and check out this AMAZINGLY PERFECT vintage school desk we found today at the most perfect little shop:
We wandered into The White Rabbit, a shop that specializes in charming, typically feminine, Victorian/vintage-esque knick-knacks, doo-dads and accessories, and found a great room specializing in flea-market finds. This desk was priced at only $30, if you can believe it... and when we went to purchase it, it turned out it was marked HALF OFF!!! We were meant to have this desk.
(visit their website to see more cute stuff: The White Rabbit in St. Louis.)

We love peeking into the next room and seeing all this amazing baby stuff... realizing that this is almost REAL...

Hope you enjoyed your sneak peek. I'll show ya more when we get it done!


Thursday, November 1, 2007

This is the month my baby will arrive. Sounds so strange to say it.
We had a doctor's appointment today, and I am dilated to a 2 at 70% effacement. Now, of course that could stay that way for weeks, but still-- it's cool to have some NUMBERS to report!!

I am finally feeling like I could leave my classroom and maybe be okay. I have had SO many papers piling up and it has been overwhelming. Now I am down to a few big things. I have also made copies for my incoming temporary replacement, so she can feel confident in continuing without me. Because once I leave that classroom, I am NOT going to stress about it until I get back in February.

Our home is nearly ready. Of course, there are some little things I'd like to finish, but were a baby to suddenly come, we could take him home and trust that the necessities are in place.

So. Here we go, November!! Let's see how you play out.
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