Thursday, May 26, 2011

Brotherly Love

We really had no idea what to expect as far as Jake's reaction to Liam; he had been excited while I was pregnant and was always talking about what he was going to do with the baby when he was born, and asking when he could come out. But---we didn't know if it would be a different story once he realized that this little thing was here to stay & needed a lot of attention. But, overall, he's been really great about everything. Yeah, we've had some rough moments and tantrums that I'm sure are at least due in part to all of the changes, but really, he's been adjusting well. We just have to watch him carefully around the baby because he really wants to show him affection with hugs & kisses...sometimes a little TOO much!!

Jake came to the hospital on Tuesday evening for his first meeting, here's a shot of his reaction when he first saw Liam.....look at that grin!

He wanted to hold him right away, but after about 30 seconds, he said "I don't want baby Liam in my space anymore". Classic Jake!

Jake's favorite part of Liam's birth might have been the hospital visits....he loved the hospital bed, the TV and of course, the food :) Both nights when he came to visit, I ordered him some special food...he thought it was so cool to get to see his baby brother AND eat ice cream and drink chocolate milk. After we were home from the hospital, he said he wanted a snack, so I told him we could go to the kitchen & find something...he said "No, let's go to the hospital, watch TV & eat some snacks there!"

Jake also got a present from Liam, a hot wheels race track that goes in the bathtub---that definitely scored some points with Jake, he's obsessed.

For the first 2 days or so we were at home, we had Liam swaddled most of the time because it was a little chilly in the house & he had an extreme startle reflex (maybe due to being early? not sure...but it was much more than what Jake had, if his arms were out at all they were flailing) After seeing him be nothing more than a floating head wrapped up like a burrito, Jake asked with genuine concern, "Does baby Liam have any arms??"

I leave you with a shot of my 3 handsome men:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Liam's Birth Story

Disclaimer: this is going to be a very long post, consider yourself warned! 

Last Monday (May 16th) was one of my work from home days, but once again, my blood pressure had been acting up over the past 2 days & was higher than it had been the whole pregnancy. I went to the doctor on Monday morning, where it was high in the office but the baby was fine on the NST. The doctor decided to increase my medication dose and gave me 2 choices: go home, take the medicine, don't do anything at all the rest of the day & take my blood pressure a bunch to see if it goes down OR go to the hospital to start the new dose & be monitored there. I chose the home option. I got home around noon and at 1pm, the doctor called to make sure I made it home ok (he knew I was coming home to an empty house), to see what my blood pressure was & to make sure I had taken the extra dose already.

I spent the rest of the afternoon on my left side, doing close to nothing and even took a nap at one point. My phone rang at 4pm & it was the doctor again, wanting to know what my pressures had been doing; I read them all back to him (they hadn't come down at all) & he said he just didn't feel comfortable letting me go unmonitored until the next day with them being so, I had to head to the hospital after all. I called Brian, gathered up my hospital bag & headed out the door.

Fortunately, they were able to rule out pre-e pretty quickly, so that was a huge relief. My dr. was delivering a baby, so a resident came in and told me that she still had to talk to my doctor, but her best guess was that they would keep me for the next 24 hours, increase my meds again and do a 24 hour urine catch just to be absolutely certain that I didn't have pre-e or that it wasn't developing. She left the room & Brian and I were able to discuss this, all seemed well. Fast forward about 10 minutes and the same resident returns & says, "Well....I talked to your doctor and it turns out he has a different plan for you. He wants you to have a baby tonight!" I'm pretty sure my jaw dropped open and my mind started racing as I was crying. It seemed way too early (I was 36 weeks, 5 days) and I was really concerned about what that would mean for the baby. NICU? Underdeveloped lungs? Problems with eating?

The resident did her best to reassure me that he was so close to being full term that we really didn't have anything to worry about, and let us know that even though my doctor was recommending induction, it was ultimately our decision...if we really weren't comfortable with it, we could still try the 24 hour monitoring. His concern though, was that the best we would be able to do was maybe get a few more days from the increased dose, then we'd be right back where we started & possibly dealing with pre-e at that point if we let this go on any longer. He said we had been chasing this problem so long & fighting an uphill battle, and he really felt that it was best for me and the baby to go ahead & deliver.

We talked about it for a little bit, but decided that we trusted the doctor and it was probably the best decision. So reality sunk was baby time!!! I was really excited and super nervous. Another thing I should note here is that they examined me and I was 3 cm dilated, 60% effaced....I was having contractions the whole time while I was there, and by the time I got to my labor & delivery room, they were consistently 3 minutes apart & getting stronger. The doctor commented that even if I had decided on the 24 hour monitoring, I probably would have gone into labor on my own at some point while there.

They started me on a low dose of pitocin since I was already contracting on my own, stripped my membranes & broke my water to get things started around 9:30pm. They started me on an IV of labetalol to bring down my blood pressure and got my epidural in place once the contractions got a bit stronger. It was SO nice to not have to be on that magnesium drip this was seriously like a completely different experience!!!

Things progressed nicely on their own throughout the night, and we were able to get a bit of rest. My mom & Brian had been with me all night, and Brian's parents arrived around 4am after getting the surprise phone call & driving all night to make it there in time. My epidural worked nicely and I was numb on both sides, but extremely numb on my right side for some reason; that leg was just complete dead weight. It was a weird sensation, but I'm glad that it took!

I started feeling some pressure through the epidural around maybe 5am and I was 9 cm. Around 6:30am, the doctor checked me again...TEN! :) I said my goodbyes to everyone while the room was prepped, and then the doctor commented on my right side being so dead & seemed concerned that I wasn't going to be able to push with it being that numb. Not what I wanted to hear!! This was around 6:45am and he said he wanted to do one practice push before we started the real thing to see if I could remember how to push, and if I was physically capable at that point. A contraction came on shortly after that, I pushed and the doctor said "whoa, can definitely push, there's the head! Don't push anymore, I need to get dressed and prepped!" HA! Take that, epidural! :) I held off on the next contraction, pushed through one more contraction & our beautiful baby boy came screaming into the world!!! (total elapsed time: 8 minutes)

Because my blood pressure had been so high, I still wasn't allowed to hold him right away, but Brian did get to cut the cord this time (he didn't get to do that with Jake) before the swat team of doctors came to take him away & make sure everything was ok. It was, he was perfect, scored 9's on his Apgar and weighed in at 6 lbs, 13 oz, 20.5 inches long-not too shabby for being more than 3 weeks early!!

I couldn't get over how perfect his features looked, and how much he resembled Jake at birth. He's since taken on some characteristics of his own, though I still see a lot of Jake, especially around the mouth and chin. His hair seems to be my color for right now, and his legs are so skinny; he loves to curl them up around himself at all times.

So it turns out that I had nothing to worry about in terms of him being not quite full term...aside from having a drop in his body temperature on the first day (which was solved with 2.5 hours of skin-to-skin contact on me & Brian) he had absolutely no problems in the hospital. He had to pass a "carseat test" before we were able to be discharged (basically, he had to sit in a carseat for 1.5 hours without having any change in his oxygen levels) which he passed with flying colors.

Though he was super sleepy the first 2 days & showed little interest in breastfeeding, he has since perked up & is eating like a champ. We did have a little scare on Friday; he had been spitting up quite frequently, but then it started coming out of his nose and it was yellow (like bright, mustard yellow) We had to go to the pediatrician's office for a weight check Friday morning anyway, so we mentioned it then (and he did it in the office, so the doc was able to see) He had gone from 6 lbs, 13 oz at birth to 6 lbs, 6 oz when discharged, down to 6 lbs even the next day. The doctor was a bit concerned about the bright yellow fluid, so he sent us to get an xray just to make sure there wasn't any type of partial abdominal blockage. Of course, I was kind of a wreck...who wants to have to take their 3 day old to get an xray?? Thankfully, it was clear and after getting his weight checked again the next day, he had gone up to 6 lbs, 3 oz. The yellow spit up has since disappeared (though it still comes out of his nose sometimes) so the doctor thinks it was just his system getting used to everything (my milk had just come in when all of this started).

PHEW! So, that's our story....I have lots more to tell and I'll be sure to post some funny one-liners Jake has had since his baby brother arrived, but I think I've typed enough for one day! I leave you with some pictures:

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Welcome to the world, Liam Joseph!

I promise to follow up with a full birth story & many more pictures, but for now, I'm too busy enjoying the newest member of our family :)

Liam was born at 6:56am on Tuesday, May 17th. He was 6 lbs, 13 oz, 20.5 inches long and perfect in every way. His entrance that day was a bit of a surprise to us, but all is well.

We have been at home for a few days adjusting to our new life as a family of 4 (plus one furbaby) and getting lots of help & support from our families. Jake is doing a great job at being a big brother, and it's so sweet to see them together. More to come later!!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

36 week ultrasound, updates

First things first, the fun stuff!!

Doesn't he look pouty in that second picture? I guess having his picture taken at 7:30am this morning wasn't on his agenda....

Everything looked great according to the tech, in terms of fluid levels, placenta, all that fun stuff. He was measuring 6 lbs, 3 oz (give or a take a pound in either direction) which put him in the 46th percentile. You may remember from my 32 week ultrasound that at that time, he was measuring in the 81st percentile. First, I panicked because that's a huge drop....but, the dr did seem to think that the last ultrasound was a gross overestimation of his size. So, I guess I'll wait to see what they have to say at my appointment tomorrow in terms of his growth.

I had a scare this week with my blood sum up, it was elevated most of the weekend & was still up by the time I got to my scheduled appointment on Tuesday morning. I had swelling in my legs and face, hyperreflexia, and my fundal height belly measurement hadn't grown in over 2 weeks. The good thing about the appointment was that the baby looked great on the NST, so that was a huge relief. I left with the instructions to get some more bloodwork done at Magee and a spot urine check to determine the protein level. I was supposed to stay home from work the next day & not do much of anything until we got the results of the tests back.

Fortunately, the bloodwork (which is to test organ function) came back fine, and my protein level hadn't yet hit pre-e stage. It was 220 yesterday; 3 weeks ago it was it's rising, but still under 300 (which is when they diagnose it as pre-e).

I had discussed options with the doctor yesterday, as far as what we would do if this wasn't pre-e yet, what steps we would take to try and keep my blood pressure under control for as long as possible. I dread hearing the word "bedrest" though I know that it could come to that. Obviously, if it were absolutely necessary, I would do anything to keep the baby safe....but if I don't have to, I would rather look into other options. Mainly because going on bedrest puts you onto short term disability for work; going on short term disability means you start eating away at your maternity leave. doing that, obviously means less time with the baby :(

After discussing all of that with my doctor yesterday, we determined that for now, we'd try a combo of two things to keep it under control: increasing my meds just a tiny bit (I'll be going from 500 mg, 3 times/day to 625 mg, 3 times/day) and working from home 2 days a week to cut down on the time I have to commute in & out and be in the office. She's hoping that by being able to rest on my left side a lot of the time that I'm working from home and just resting more in general on those days, in combination with the increased meds, will make a difference & get me a little bit further along....3 more weeks is the goal!

Ready for the sunshine!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Operation Swingset

First, here is the timeline and breakdown of total assembly time for this play set:

Friday night: Brian worked on it for roughly 3 hours by himself. This step in the process was dedicated solely to taking inventory, labeling and sorting all of the pieces. According to my dad & Brian, this was a key step in the process.
Total time: 3 hours

Saturday: Brian spent about an hour by himself finishing up the sorting and trying to map out the best plan of attack. My dad arrived around 9 and they both starting working on the actual assembly around 9:30am. They worked until around 8:30pm that night, taking a few short breaks and 2 longer ones for lunch and dinner.
Approximate total time for that day: 10 hours
*Apparently, the directions were not very easy to follow and there were many steps to it that were mislabeled or showed pictures backwards; but they didn't realize this until a few steps later, causing them to have to figure out the problem, then disassemble pieces they already had put together.

Sunday: Brian went outside around 10am; took an hour break for lunch & to get Jake put down for his nap, play set was FINALLY done at 3pm!!!
Total time: 4 hours

Grand total time (drumroll, please!): 17 HOURS. SEVENTEEN.

But, I'm pleased to report that all of their hard work was worth it....check out this happy kid, who kept saying in disbelief, "This is my playground? this is mine??" :)

As always, Gracie took a supervisory role:

A big thank you to my dad for helping out all day on Saturday!! We had to drag Jake in last night for bed time (he asked to sleep in his "new house", meaning the clubhouse area of the set, and upon waking this morning, immediately asked to go outside and play)

I leave you with a video of Mr. Giggles:

Mother's Day festivities

I couldn't have asked for a better Mother's Day weekend. The celebration actually kicked off on Friday afternoon, with a tea party at Jake's school...adorable!

He was so excited to invite me to the party and had been talking about it all week. They had a few activities to choose from, but of course, being my kid, he wanted to do the cookies & tea first :) He tried his tea right away & I was surprised to see him start chugging it (I assumed he would have spit it out); I tasted it & realized that it was actually Turners-like tea (you know, the kind that's laced with sugar, high-fructose corn syrup & lemon?) I love that stuff, no wonder he declared it delicious!

After that, we planted a flower outside, then got our picture together & read some stories about mommies. It was so much fun, I'm so glad that our daycare does stuff like that.

And of course, they had been working on all kinds of fun projects at school that week:

While I didn't get to see my mom ON mother's day, we did get to spend the day together on Saturday while my dad & Brian enjoyed some bonding time building Jake's new swing set (that's a whole other post!). We went to a bridal store where my mom ordered her dress for my brother's looks great on her & that's one more item off of her wedding check list, score! We spent the rest of the day hanging out with Jake and enjoying burgers on the grill that evening.

On Sunday, I managed to sleep in (until 7:15am, go me!) When I woke up, Brian & Jake had made me a lovely card and had my cup of coffee waiting for me :)

Brian still had to finish the play set, so Jake and I had a movie morning & watched "How To Train Your Dragon" (very cute!). While he was napping, I caught up on some of my trashy reality TV shows...a nice, relaxing day, I couldn't have asked for a better weekend!!

Happy Mother's Day to all of the mamas, furmamas, mamas-to-be and hopeful mamas out there, I hope everyone had a great weekend. And of course, Happy Mother's Day to my mom and mother-in-law....we love you both and are so thankful for all of your help, support and love!

Friday, May 6, 2011

"I want to be a tooth doctor!"

"I want to be a tooth doctor" is what Jake said when we left the dentist office yesterday, so I'd say that overall, the first visit there was a success! I had been talking it up this week and while he was a little nervous while we were driving there, he was like an old pro once we got to the office (the promise of ice cream afterward helped, I'm sure-and yes, I'm aware of the irony of using something sweet as a bribe to have his teeth cleaned!)

The hygienist was wonderful & gave him a "tour" of the office and all of the tools before she started. Then she showed him the big "sun" that was going to shine on his teeth and gave him some superstar glasses to wear to keep the light out of his eyes.

Of course, the ice cream was the highlight of the day!! (for Jake AND Mommy!)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mother's Day questionaire

This was in Jake's mailbox at school yesterday; the teacher asked them questions about their moms and then wrote the answers down for them.

I wasn't sure what he meant by star marshmallows (I do consider Lucky Charms to be my favorite cereal of all time, but I don't buy it know, the whole setting a good example thing on So, I asked him to tell me about his answers & when I got to the star marshmallow part, here was the conversation:

Jake: You know mommy...the crackers with the chocolate and marshmallows that you catch on fire?

Me: S'mores?

Jake: Yeah, s'mores. I like s'mores. they're your favorite. We should eat them now.

Smart kid...I could go for some s'mores, now that he's mentioned it....

Monday, May 2, 2011

Take that, daunting checklist!

Remember my post from a few weeks ago, where I was flying into a slight panic mode over the fact that we had so much left to do before baby #2 arrives?? After this weekend, I can say "HA! Take that stressful list, I'm almost done with you!"

A big thank you to my IL's, they came out to visit for the weekend & helped us out with a lot of what was left to do. As my previous post showed off, we got everything put up on the nursery walls & the bedding put together for the crib. BIG check off the list! Yeah, yeah...I know that the baby doesn't actually have any idea whether or not the room is ready, but mama knows :) Brian & his dad got everything out of the attic that we needed; it's amazing how quickly you forget how much "stuff" such a little thing requires. But, it's all cleaned off/washed and has a home now! Jake was happy to be the product tester and was a big fan of the rainforest play mat (which was one of his favorite places to hang out as a baby-some things never change):

Saturday brought some warmer temps and sunshine, so they were able to get some outside stuff done, too. I enjoyed my early mothers day present of a manicure/pedicure, which was fabulous!! :)

I think the only other thing we have to do soon is install the carseats (kind of a key step to being able to bring the baby home). Other than that, we are pretty much ready! Brian & I both packed our hospital bags last weekend, so we're all set there should something suddenly come up. Next weekend, my parents are coming up to help put Jake's new play set together...I can't wait to see the look on his face once it's done!

So for now, I can put my (gigantically swollen) feet up, relax and enjoy the next few weeks :)

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