Saturday, July 30, 2011

Introducing Baby Clara

Our little Sweet Pea made her way into the world on Monday, July 25th. We've been soaking up our first few days with Clara and getting to know her. She's a wonderful baby ~ sweet, calm, content. We're constantly admiring and stroking her lush head of dark hair, inhaling her sweet baby scent, staring at her every move. She is truly intoxicating!!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Not My Typical Sunday

On the surface looking in, this would seem like any ordinary Sunday in our home. Sleeping in. A nice breakfast. Some cleaning and laundry. Running a few errands. Enjoying each other's company. Spending time with our animals.

If you dig a teeny tiny bit, just below the surface, you will see that this is one of the most non-typical Sundays we've ever had. Why? Well, it's our last day at home as a three-person family. Our baby girl still hasn't made an appearance and I will have to be induced tomorrow morning. This is not the outcome I'd hoped for but it's a decision we thought long and hard over and have made our peace with. My doctor's office will not allow anyone to pass the 42-week mark, not even by one day. You also can't be induced on a Saturday. So my choice was to be induced on Monday with my very own doctor or wait until Thursday/Friday and have a complete stranger deliver my daughter. I have to be honest and tell you that the whole induction thing scares me a little. I've often heard it's more painful (as if!) and that you're three times as likely to end up having a C-Section. Criky. At the same time, my doctors have assured me that I've already progressed so much that it should be a quick and "easy" induction. I can only hope that they're right. My body already shows every imaginable sign that labor is going to happen at ANY MOMENT. And, at the end of the day, if I have to be induced, I'll feel so much more comfortable with my doctor's friendly face there helping me out. SO.....

Here we are. Relaxing at home but KNOWING that it's the last day of reality as we currently know it. It's such a bizarre state of being. Cleaning took on a different meaning today. It wasn't just the normal obligatory was thinking that this baby girl deserves to come home to a nice, tidy, clean home. The laundry even felt different. It was a matter of saving myself from having to do it when we get home from the hospital. Instead I can spend that time cuddling and getting to know daughter #2. The errands took on a more important sense of urgency. It's peace of mind knowing that there's plenty of food for us and our beloved animals. As a bonus, thanks to Mom, Alain and I even got to enjoy a lunch alone today. A true luxury at any time but even more so knowing that our family grows by one tomorrow.

You could also say that I'm more emotional today. I can't help it. I now know for sure that today is my last day alone with Sophie. Starting tomorrow she will have to share my attention with her little sister. Her little world will be turned upside down. Even though I know what it's like to bring a new baby home, she has no idea. At the same time, my excitement for her is overwhelming. Tomorrow she will gain a sibling, a baby sister. My hopes for them, for their relationship, are so high. It all starts tomorrow. I can hardly believe it.

And this baby. This baby. We've been through a lot to get to this point. Several miscarriages. A lot of disappointment and worry. A moment of giving up. A big, happy surprise. Some concerns about the baby's well-being early in the pregnancy. A more difficult pregnancy than my pregnancy with Sophie. Our second overdue baby (our girls really do like to make us wait!). Now, only 16 hours left to wait...

More than anything, I look forward to having this baby come out and finding out that she's healthy. That is my biggest hope for tomorrow and I look forward to flushing that concern away. Secondly, I just can't wait to see her little face, her body, her lovely little hands and feet. Will she look like her sister? How will the experience be different? Will she have hair (oh how I love babies with loads of hair!)? What will happen when Sophie lays eyes on her for the first time? There are so, so, so many thoughts, feelings, questions floating through my mind.

So, as you can now see, this is not a typical Sunday. Not typical but oh so beautiful in so many ways. And I will enjoy every single solitary moment of it.....knowing that my life will only grow and become more full and enriched and overflowing with love tomorrow. Tonight, when I lie down for my last peaceful sleep for a while, as my head hits the pillow, I will whisper Sweet Dreams to my life as I know it.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

It's the Season of the Lion..

....Leo roars to life!!! This was a headline on MSN this morning. It reminded me that my baby girl, who is due at any moment, is now a LEO!!!! I can't even believe it. All this time, I've been reading up on the Cancer zodiac sign. You see, I am a very grounded Earth sign. I'm not only a Taurus but my ascendent is also Taurus. Yet I live with some FIRY, FIRY, FIRY folks. You might know them as Alain & Sophie. So, as soon as I learned I was expecting, you best believe I started researching. I was hoping to have a baby with a strong earth or water sign to balance things out in this house. But I guess that wasn't meant to be. Leo is a fire sign. And I am now strongly outnumbered!!!! :-)

Image: Lion roaring (© Janek Skarzynski/AFP/Getty Images)

{image via MSN}

(*No, I don't hedge all of my bets on the zodiac's more like a fun little read up on, research, better understand other folks.)

The truth is I don't care what my baby girl is.....I just can't wait to meet her. My little lioness cub! Come on out, baby's TIME TO ROAR!!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My Mad Men Obsession Continues....

I was thrilled when I read the news that Mad Men has been nominated for 19 Emmy awards. Let's set one thing straight though ~ I am not your stereotypical celebrity-obsessed American, I don't typically watch awards shows and I don't watch much TV at all. Still, somehow I got caught up in this show and I LOVE IT!!! I often wish I could be a member of the show staff that researches all things 1960's to make the show as accurate as possible! How fun would that job be?

Anyway, I can't say that I will watch the Emmy's (unless it's to catch a glimpse of Jon Hamm) but I will definitely follow to see which awards they do receive. See this link for the list of nominations. I will be rooting hard for Jon Hamm as Best Actor, John Slattery for Best Supporting, Elizabeth Moss for Best Actor and (surprise!!!) Randee Heller as Miss Blankenship for Outstanding Guest Actress. Also, Matthew Weiner is up for a writing award for my favorite episode from Season 4, "The Suitcase".

Also, some miscellaneous Mad Men items:

I love this interview with Jon Hamm.

Did you know there's a Don Draper Barbie?

Mattel Mad Men Don Draper Barbie Doll - Gold Label

I didn't realize that John Slattery had directed an episode this past season. Here's his take.

Banana Republic will be offering a line of clothing based on Mad Men characters/1960's looks. quickly can I lose this baby weight???

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Original Birth Announcement Ideas

What a pleasure to head to the mailbox today and find this little cutie awaiting....

I immediately fell in love with the foil envelope and the petite size.

And could that be.......could it.....yes, it is.....coordinating stamps. Aaaahhhhh...
(wish we had some little stork stamps like these ~ so, so cute!)

Our friends, who live in Holland, gave birth to their third child at the beginning of June. As soon as I saw the envelope, I knew this was the birth announcement. You see, their birth announcements are so original. With their first child, it was a puzzle. You had to put it together to read the details. With their second child, it was a beach ball. You had to inflate it as the details were printed on the actual ball. Here is the third.....

It's a handheld fan. As you can see, all of the baby details are printed on the front.

This sweet little homemade card with the crown embellishment is a Thank You card they sent for our baby gift. It's too adorable!

So this very original birth announcement got me thinking about how traditional Americans are with regard to their birth announcements. Don't get me wrong.....I LOVE a nice birth announcement, especially one with photos. However, I am quite intrigued now by other birth announcement ideas. After doing some Googling, I found some new, refreshing ideas (too bad I ordered ours weeks ago!). These few were my favorites:

Love Bug Bookmark Birth Announcements- Set of 50

The bookworm in me is IN LOVE with the idea of birth announcement bookmarks.

Personalized seed packets? Oh my, how I do love this idea. These in the photo are baby shower favors but you can personalize them to say whatever you want. I'd love to receive something like this!!!

Vroom, Vroom
Birth Announcement Magnets. There are so many to choose from. I liked this one because I'm always drawn to very colorful transportation themes.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Perfect Sunday

Beautiful & mild weather.....

Good quality bike time....

Scooter time....

....and time for climbing trees.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


......has come and gone. My official due date was yesterday, July 16th. And guess what.....

Still no baby.

{photo taken at 39 weeks}

As with her Big Sister, it appears this baby girl is making me wait as well. Sophie was born exactly one week past her due date. We'll have to see how long this little one will make us wait. In the meantime, we are hanging out and taking it easy. Honestly, with so little sleep, I don't have the energy to do much more than that. I'm trying to save the little energy I do have for this labor experience. I am very sure I'll need it.

The excitement and anticipation......I have to say.....there's really nothing else quite like it.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Capturing Motherhood in a Photo

In my personal Capturing Motherhood series, I am adding this new photo.

Sophie's favorite toy(s), without so much as a distant second, is her cars. She plays with them daily. I love to watch and listen to her play cars. She lines them all up or parks them all in a very straight line. Over the years I've bought two different little "towns" for her to play cars on. The car rug from IKEA is the newest one (which she loves) and the older one is interlocking soft play squares with an imprinted town that I bought at a consignment shop. This new photo is one I took after a "car wash session" in the bathroom, after Sophie arranged all of her cars on the bathroom rug to allow them some drying time.....

One day I know I will miss rounding the corner to find Sophie's car collection spread all over the floor.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Shot of my Kenzie Snooter

Just me, she is the loveliest little furry creature ever.

(Thanks, Dad)

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Beautiful Holiday Weekend

Last weekend was a 4-day weekend for us. Alain took Friday off and, of course, had Monday off for July 4th. We mostly hung out at home and it was super relaxing.......such a fun time. I took pictures here and there and wanted to share some....

People always tell me that Sophie looks just like me and I couldn't deny her if I wanted to. Of course I love to hear that but I also know that people get deceived because Sophie shares my coloring (skin, hair, eyes). The truth is that she is a small little version of her father. People who know both Alain and I well agree with me. This is just another photo of the many I have of the two of them. These photos always make me smile and laugh. Alain & Sophie often have their heads tilted at the same angle. Their eyes are similarly shaped. As are their noses and their mouths. I think it's so, so, so adorable.

Hubbell, looking as handsome as ever. He's definitely aged a lot and gets whiter by the day, it seems. But look at this puppy face. He still has it. (Notice his little "bracelet" in the photo on the bottom? It's left over from his dental cleaning a couple of weeks ago. The fur is finally starting to grow back in and it's baby soft. I love to rub it.)

Alain & Sophie surprised me with this homemade banana split. Um, yum. I can't even recall the last time I had a banana split. The night before they'd read a book about Curious George visiting an ice cream shop where George had enjoyed a banana split. It's not uncommon in our house for us to replicate foods we read about in Sophie's books!

A shot of the melon plants. The A-frame trellises seem to be working out really well so far.

A red-headed woodpecker has been visiting our suet feeder quite frequently. On Sunday I planted myself in a lounge chair with camera in hand to try and capture a shot of this magnificent bird. Of course he was nowhere to be seen. But I did catch this woodpecker several times. The above shot is the best I could capture. I just LOVE those speckled wing feathers!!! (I did some research online to try and identify the type of woodpecker but they all seem to have speckled feathers so I have no idea what species this one is.....)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Little Something for the Big Sister!

I headed to Michael's over the weekend and bought the below items. I think I spent about $5 on these few things....

Today I completed my little project ~ a "BIG SISTER" pin for Sophie. I have very clear memories of the day my brother was born. I was ecstatically happy. The hospital gave me a silly little sticker that was a Big Sister Pin and I remember being so proud to wear that around. I felt like everyone was looking at me. I felt so very proud and so important. Based on those beautiful memories I wanted to make a really nice Big Sister Pin for Sophie. One that she can wear when she visits the hospital and meets her baby sister for the first time. One that she can keep for a long time, maybe hang it in her room, if she wants. Here is the finished product. And now I'm going to pack it away in my hospital bag. I can't wait to give it to her and I hope she loves it as much as I loved making it for her!!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Little Things

It's been a while since I've done a "Little Things" post and I constantly find myself thinking of the little things in life that I'm thankful for. Time to jot some down.....

~ I love that Sophie often cries when she reads Puff the Magic Dragon or hears the song. Her empathetic nature is so heartwarming to me....

~ I use the Common Sense Media website quite often as I'm pretty conservative when it comes to what movies I'll let Sophie watch. Recently, we watched Ponyo for the first time. I think it's safe to say that all three of us adore the movie. Especially Sophie. The movie has such positive favorite being that we should treat seniors with respect and kindness. I also love that Sophie is exposed to a totally different visual aesthetic. Absolutely beautiful movie. Right up there on my list of favorite kids movies!

~ Tonight some friends and I went to the movies. We saw Larry Crowne and I thought it was adorable. Light and feel-good. I found myself giggling quite often. And it more than made up for seeing The Tree of Life last week. Sorry for any fans that might be reading but it's one of the worst movies I have ever seen.

~ Enjoying the fruits of my labor. Eating during this season is such a pleasure. We've recently started enjoying our tomatoes. We're still inundated with cucumbers but we somehow manage to eat them all in time. We are no doubt some cucumber-eating fools in this house. We're enjoying all of the potatoes and onions that I grew. As often as we can, we use the variety of herbs we have outside. The melons are getting BIG and should start turning any day now. Oh my, I can't even wait for that!!! From time to time, we'll enjoy something made from our zucchinis. Everything tastes so fresh and FULL OF FLAVOR. I love gardening. Every single time I read a quote about food miles (the average is around 2,000 miles from farm to table), I have to smile. Most of my produce these days travels about 20-30 steps.....

~ Even though I don't grow it myself, I love this time of year because we eat corn on the cob two to three nights a week. I could never grow tired of corn on the cob. Even better? Watching Sophie devour her cobs and LOVING THEM. She can butter up and salt & pepper a cob along with the best of 'em. Definitely my girl.

~ The plethora of calls/emails/texts/etc that I receive every day from friends checking up to see how I'm doing and wanting to know if the baby has arrived.

~ Party planning. No shocker here. This is a passion of mine. I recently sent a friend a list of ideas for her son's upcoming party and I ADORE seeing the party come together. We just received the invite today and it's so adorable!!!

~ The crazy anticipation we're all feeling as we await the arrival of our baby girl. I go to bed every single night wondering if this is the night my labor will start. I wake up every morning wondering if this will be my second daughter's birthday. But she is in control. And it really is nice to relinquish my own control and let life take over......

~ My two-hour afternoon naps. Since I barely sleep at night these days (too uncomfortable), the only way I'm surviving is to take a lengthy nap in the afternoons. I enjoy these naps in my throne chair in the den sitting straight up. It's the most restful part of my day and I relish it.

~ My husband recently introduced me to a new game on my laptop. Mahjong Titans. I've been a little bit of an addict over the past week. But I enjoy it so much and it's been a great way to pass the time as I've been taking it easy....

~ Being so proud of my lovely friend, Seana. She was my very first friend in Charlotte. We worked together at the bank for a number of years and we both left at different times. Although we had different reasons for leaving, we've often had conversations about how that line of work wasn't fulfilling enough. She's been searching for her new career since she left many years ago. Just last month she completed nursing school. And can I just say that I am so very proud of her? I admire and adore people who search so hard for the right thing....something rewarding in every way....I know it can be hard and requires a great deal of soul-searching and, in many cases, sacrifices. As I go through my own journey of this nature, Seana is someone I look up to and respect and admire. Love you, LS!!!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Birth tell or not to tell?

I've been furiously working away at completing Sophie's Baby Book to cross that item off of my Nesting List. It's been quite fun actually.... Her baby book is really beautiful ~ it's a Molly West Handbound Book for Baby's First Year. The paper snob in me had to have one at the time. I thought it was worth the expense. When I look at it now, I think how lucky Soph is to have such an exquisitely beautiful book to call her own.

I've been taking my time to really research and remember dates, stories, find photos, etc to make her book something special. I remember how much I LOVED looking at my own baby book (and my brother's) when I was growing up. I think it's so special that your parents can provide memories before you were able to have your own. For this reason, I've enjoyed sharing little anecdotes with Sophie via her book. One example is telling her how much I craved 70's music and snow when I was pregnant with her. I even included a photo from a trip to Vermont that Alain and I took several months into my pregnancy just so I could be around snow.

I also really love the pages I created for her first birthday. Complete with some photos.

So, as it now stands, her book is almost complete. But, then I get to the page below and I become stumped. I'm not sure what to do with it.....

As I've mentioned before, I had a very traumatic labor with Sophie. For over half the time I labored, I honestly thought I was going to die. The pain was so intense and excruciating and had been going on for so many hours without reprieve that, at one point, I welcomed death. You see, from my very first contraction, they were painful beyond imagination. There was no slow build-up. There was no laboring at home for hours. From the first one, I was doubled over, moaning and desperately trying to get away from the pain in any way I could.

When we arrived at the hospital, the attending said that I hadn't progressed enough to have an epidural. I think I may have been at 2 cm. He asked if I would like to try some other type of pain medication. Well, of course I said yes. He could have offered me cocaine or morphine....I'd have said yes to just about anything. I was already half out of my mind. I don't remember any conversation but I ended up having Stadol added to my IV. Stadol. I wouldn't have known what it was at the time. I do now. It's an opiate, an analgesic often given in early labor to help relieve pain. It's not meant to numb the pain (say, like an epidural) but just "takes the edge off".

In my case, it didn't take the edge off. They may have just given me a mint as far as the pain was concerned. What the Stadol did do was completely knock me out. I mean UNCONSCIOUS. As each contraction neared and the pain started to sneak in, I'd wake up....already in so much pain that I wasn't capable of speaking. I'd be awake for the course of the contraction, moaning, screaming, reaching for the ceiling, pulling myself up the bed by the railings. Then, as the pain began to subside, I'd pass right back out. It's like I was trapped in my own body. I couldn't tell Alain what was going on. I had no way of communicating with the outside world. It honestly felt like I was being tortured. I felt like an animal. This went on for at least FOUR HOURS. Every couple minutes. Near the end, I honestly felt that I would die in that situation because I had no way to remove myself. Somehow, I don't know how, I worked up the strength during the next contraction to tell Alain that I was dying. God Bless Him, he saved me. He immediately called the nurse and requested help. I think he insisted on an epidural because he now knew that I was really truly suffering.

The anesthesiologist finally arrived, fresh from sleep. And then I experienced the hardest couple minutes of my life. I had to sit completely still while she inserted the epidural into my spine. At this point,, I was at least awake because the Stadol had been "turned off". There were a few nurses helping to hold me down. I think I had two contractions in the time it took to insert the epidural. Ahhh, but the epidural (man's greatest invention) worked IMMEDIATELY. The relief was unlike anything I'd ever known before or since.

As soon as I laid back in the bed, I fell into a deep sleep. I was completely exhausted from fighting the pain. Keep in mind that my labor had started at Midnight. By this point, it was around 5 AM. So I slept for a few hours with the nurses coming in to check on me here and there. They woke me at around 8:00 AM, checked to see how far I'd progressed and told me I was ready to push. During those 4 to 5 hours of torture, I hadn't progressed......not even one millimeter. I was most likely holding myself back from progressing because I was so terrified of the pain. The epidural relaxed me so much that my body could just proceed naturally. And it did, quickly.....

From there, the doctor came in, I pushed for an hour and a half, and out came my baby girl. Sophie was a baby "born in the caul" (what is thought to be a special blessing) see, my water never broke....not throughout the entire ordeal.

To this day, I don't know that I've made peace with that whole experience. I do know that the trauma of that childbirth was one cause of my post-partum depression. I never had time to go through the motions of understanding what had happened.....I never had time to mentally accept that it had happened to me....I never could close the book on it because I had a newborn to take care of. When we took Sophie on the Sibling Tour at the hospital last week, we walked into the Labor & Delivery Room. I almost got sick. I wanted to bust out in tears. It's the first time I'd stepped foot back into that room since the date of Sophie's birth. Even I was shocked by my reaction.

So my dilemma is what to write with regard to Sophie's birth story. Aside from the facts that she was born healthy and I somehow survived the whole experience, there really was nothing else good about it. Do I want for her to one day know that I thought giving birth to her was going to kill me, that I even welcomed death at one point? I'm not one to paint a rosy picture when there isn't one. But this is different. At the same time, I can't lie about it. And leaving the page blank makes the book seem incomplete. I guess I have some more soul searching to do before I decide what to tell Sophie about her birth experience. Then again, another part of me thinks I should just cover up the top of the page ("Your Birth Story") and use the page for something else, fill it with other beautiful and poignant memories....of which there are many.
Related Posts with Thumbnails