Monday, January 31, 2011

One Month Old!

So I'm a little late on this. Oops!

Before we knew what hit us, Miss Up All Night turned one month old.

It's too early for this.

Are we done yet?

Okay...what about now?

Are you for serious?

Hey Mr. Dog. Come here often?

Zzzzzz....

So. Who you voting for?
Overall, Hannah's first month was relatively uneventful. She was still a "newborn" in these photos and was still rocking the itty bitty baby clothes. Then, at 5 weeks she started to morph into a person! She smiles at us now, on purpose! She's getting bigger and bigger all the time, even though her weight gain has been on the slow side. The first month of her life was rough for us when it came to sleep. This child would. not. sleep. For anything! We discovered that she was happiest when upright, and she would spit up all the time. There were times that I couldn't get her from nursing to my shoulder before everything she ate came right back up. Ew.

Enter: Zantac. This is a miracle, I swear to you. Suddenly we could change Hannah's diaper without her screaming. We could lay her on her back! Burping after eating didn't make her scream and cry. After a few days on the Zantac, it was like someone swooped in during the night and gave us a different baby, one that is equally cute but much happier.

As you can see from the photos, she's still on the small side. Her Baby Legs were falling off! Thankfully, she's starting to pork up, so even if they don't fit now, they'll fit her soon(ish).

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hannah's Nursery

If you remember, I had a pretty rough time trying to decide how to decorate the nursery. I'd have a good idea, and then I'd decide I didn't like it or it was too girly or too masculine, or I'd start looking at bedding ideas and get disgusted. The nursery didn't get done until the 11th hour, but overall I am really pleased with how it turned out! It's still not technically "done" but since Hannah won't be sleeping up there for a while, we have a small window in which to complete it.

First, some "before" photos.





I can't believe how gross that room was. The dusty 1970s blue needed to go, but between the "before" and "after" photos, I really can't believe how ugly that color was.

Now, some "during" photos!

After painting the walls and ceiling, Graham worked hard at getting the crib put together.


Jane decided to help us put the furniture together.


Ta da!


"Hey, guys! This is an awesome place to hide."


Decals on the ceiling, finnials, and valance are set up courtesy of my fabulous friend Ali.


Ali was a lifesaver, man.



And now, some close up details.



This is one of Jane's favorite hiding spots.


I had high hopes for this corner. I'm really excited about the way it turned out. Would you like to see it?


Voila! I found the butterflies from Target, and the chair is a Christmas gift from her Nona (my mom).


I really love how these add some texture to the wall. They were super easy to install, too. They pop onto little pegs and the pegs were tacked into the wall. They'll be easy to reattach when Hannah starts crawling around and inspecting her bedroom.



This picture hung on my bedroom wall when I was a kid. My mom found it and gave it to Hannah for her room. My Nina (nona) gave this to me when I was around 5 years old. 



And that's that! We still need a rug and some curtains or a shade for her bedroom, but like I said--she's not sleeping in there or playing up there for a while, so it's nice that we can go up to her room, read some books and rock in the glider, then go downstairs and sleep.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Our 10th Anniversary

 
December 15th, 2000
I know I post this photo all the time at least once a year but it's a favorite of mine. It's one of the first photos of Graham and I together, and it's from the very beginning of our relationship together. I still can't believe we've been a couple for over 10 years. It feels like just a few years ago I was in high school, worrying about my English essays and play tryouts. I knew I was crazy about this skinny kid, and I'd let myself get silly and dream about marrying him someday, but I always thought I'd be like, so freakin' old when I got married. You know, like, 25 or something equally ancient. I wanted to go to college and learn Japanese and move to New York for a few years and be sophisticated. I wanted a shoe collection that would make the likes of Carrie Bradshaw jealous. I thought that this kid would wait for me, for sure. Instead, I realized that I don't have much of an ear for languages, and New York is crazy expensive. And, even though Graham probably would have waited, I didn't want to be so far away anymore. So instead, I lived vicariously through my friends Abi & Jess, who got to move from place to place and travel, and then call me with hilarious stories of dive bars and dates who faint when they're nervous.

Maybe it's a sign that I'm rapidly approaching 30--ACK!!! THIRTY!!!--but when I used to look at this photo, all I saw were two people who were happy together. Now, I focus on our faces and I think about how young we look. I mean, look at us! Look how skinny he is! Look how skinny I am! Cripes. I think I weighed about 110 lbs. in that photo. That was at least 40 lbs. a lot of donuts 10 years ago.

December 15th, 2007
Now, this photo was taken a little more than 3 years ago. Our wedding day was one of the happiest days for me, right up there with my college graduation. I had been nuts about this guy for so long, and all the silliness and dreaming and growing up had all led to this day. I never thought that I could be happier. After all, what more does a fairly self-sufficient young 20-something woman need? (Aside from a really amazing shoe collection, that is.) I remember parts of that day so vividly, but I really treasured being able to marry one of my best friends while in the company of my closest family and friends. I loved having my best friends, some of whom flew or drove halfway across the country to be with us, stand next to me on the day I got married. And I  loved being able to spend the day with my kid sister and the two amazing women who would become my sisters. In one day, the number of people I could count as family doubled in size. I remember being so happy about all of it, and when I was dancing with my brand-spankin' new husband I remember thinking, "This is what it's all about."

Fast-forward three years. Adulthood has reared it's ugly, awkward head yet again! Dontcha hate that? You're living life, loving life, and then BAM! You're an adult! Ewwwww!

I forget, from time to time, that I'm a legitimate, card-carrying grownup. Sometimes I still feel like the awkward teenager in the photo up there. And then, I realize that I have a daughter. I "own" a home (Kinda. We've only got 29 more years left on our mortgage! WOO!). I have a job. I pay taxes. Life is generally pretty good, despite my pessimism. I got to spend our 3rd wedding annivesary, but our 10th anniversary overall, with my husband and my daughter in our home. I'm ridiculously grown up these days, eh? Ten years ago, I probably would have run in fear from all the adultyness that was waiting for me in my future. Some days, I still want to run. I want to take a really long walk on a beach and not worry about what bills are waiting for me or what home renovation is next on the list. Sometimes, I want to go back to college for a few days. I want to be able to sleep in, skip a class or two, and pay for my dinner by swiping my ID. Then I want to come back to a message written on my dry erase board and spend the evening watching TV with friends. 
December 15th, 2010

But then, I get to take pictures like this one. We spent our anniversary eating pizza off our china and driving around our neighborhood, taking in the Christmas decorations. I got to spend time with two people who have made me better, just by waking up every day. I get to look at my husband and my daughter, and instead of watching American Idol and playing drinking games ("One sip everytime Randy says 'dawg'!") I get to spend an evening curled up on the couch with my baby in my arms and my husband next to me. I see a small stack of bills on the coffee table and I know we'll stress about them tomorrow, but as for this moment, this is what it's all about.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Mind Blowing

After pregnancy, birth, and everything that's followed, I still find it an absolute miracle that this...


Turned into this.....


Friday, January 14, 2011

The Story of Hannah's Birth Day

Now that I've got my laptop back, and we've got a rough schedule down, I can finally update about the day Hannah was born. It was a fun few days, without question!

By the time my due date weekend rolled around, I was feeling ready to have my baby. I was done being pregnant in October, so by December I was a real peach to be around. I tried every trick in the book to get this baby from the inside to the outside, and some of them were more complicated than others, if you catch my drift. I went out with my sister for spicy Mexican burritos--nada. I walked everywhere--nothing. Drastic measures needed to be taken.

So, the Saturday before she was born, we went to the zoo. We looked at the lights and animals, and took one last "just us" picture.


 We spent the weekend getting ready and preparing for Tuesday, my scheduled induction date. On Monday, we went to the Museum of Science and Industry to check out the Trees Around the World and the kickass Jim Henson exhibit.


Graham with the Polish tree.
 On Monday night, right after "Mike & Molly" ended, I was tooling around, trying to straighten up and mentally prepare myself for my induction. I had just put some things away in the office and was coming down the stairs. I had my hand on the railings and was walking super slow, and I ended up slipping on the stairs and falling down the last 3--all on my butt. I felt so stupid because I'd managed to be so careful throughout my pregnancy, and with less than 24 hours left to go before the induction, I slipped and fell. A quick call to the doctor confirmed it: "Get yourselves to Labor & Delivery, stat!"

Okay, so she didn't say stat. But in my head, she does and we race to the hospital just like they do on television.

When we got to L&D, they didn't bring me into a triage room like they usually did. Instead, they whisked me into one of the large labor/delivery/recovery rooms. Whoa! Looks like we're staying! So, in case we were actually staying until one of us had a baby, we took some "before" photos.





Around 12:30 a.m., I got a dose of Cervidil. What's that, you ask? Cervidil is a 12-hour medication that ripens your cervix. It's basically a tampon that gets inserted into your you-know-where and stays put for 12 hours. Okay, so it's tampon-esque. I can handle this. Then the hospitalist came in and HEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! Mr. Hospitalist and I got real familiar real fast. I'm pretty sure even Hannah said "WTF??" after that little encounter.

Right after that, they gave me an IV. This was probably the one element of our birth plan that didn't go as I'd hoped. I knew I'd need an IV when I got the epidural, but I wanted to stay hydrated by drinking fluids instead of the IV as long as possible. I can't even look at the stupid things without getting queasy. Unfortunately for me, Doc Holiday won't do inductions without an IV. Bummer.

Personally, the IV was about as traumatic as actually pushing a human out of my pelvis. I really, really hate IVs. When I think  of the worst part about being in labor, pushing comes first, then being IV'd. Seriously. On the other hand, it was the weirdest sensation whenever they added something to the IV--the cooling sensation that went down one side of my body was insane!

Anyway, we didn't sleep much after this. My night nurse, Eva, was fabulous. She tried so damn hard to get me comfortable, but I was in labor at this point--it just wasn't happening. I was having sporadic contractions and some were suuuper strong and some were barely there. Graham couldn't sleep because he was sleeping in an old recliner. I was hooked up to external fetal monitors, and poor Nurse Eva kept coming in because I'd either shift in my sleep or Hannah would move and they'd lose her on the monitors. Eventually they put a few pillows behind my back to keep me in place.

By 4:30 a.m. I was having stronger contractions and I asked for something for the pain. They gave me a dose of Fentinol and warned me that it would probably only last about 2 hours. What they didn't know was that I usually take medications like a champ. Drugs work really well on me. That stuff took the edge off in about 3 minutes and I was out for FIVE HOURS. Wooooooo! I asked for an extra few cc's to take home with me, because that stuff was OSSUM. When I woke up, I had a new nurse and she said she'd never seen anyone take it like that.

In labor and out like a light thanks to the makers of Fentinol.

Around 10:30 a.m., they gave me another dose of Fentinol and I was able to sleep another 2 hours. It didn't work as well this time around; I could still feel contractions, but they were managable with the Fentinol. I only woke up when they came in to remove the Cervidil and check my dilation. I went from 1 cm at 12:30 a.m. to almost 4.5 at 12:30 p.m., so they decided to put me on pitocin to regulate my contractions. If I hadn't gotten to at least 3 cm, they would have done another shot of Cervidil and we would have to wait another 12 hours. Like I said, my body takes medications really well!

They started me on pitocin, and they also inserted an "EZ Catheter" to help me dilate a little more. Lemme tell ya, there was nothing "easy" about that catheter! That hurt like a motherf*cker. They gave me one more dose of fentinol, and this time I barely felt it, so I decided I was ready for the epidural.

At 3:30, the resident assigned to me came back (she was the one in charge of my care and the one who saw me the entire time I was in L&D) and removed the catheter, and I was at 5 cm, and I asked for the epidural. It was my goal to make it to at least 5 cm before asking for it. If there's ever a Baby G, Part II, I'll probably ask for it a little sooner because I was in some serious pain by then. (I'm a huge weeny.) If the transition phase of labor is the most difficult, I don't ever want to feel it because my contractions at 5 cm were painful enough!

The epidural was the best. thing. ever. When the anesthesiologist came in I couldn't sign my name on the waiver fast enough. I was in pain, and I was feeling sick to my stomach, and then.....aaaaaaaahhhh!!!

While I was getting the epidural, I had to round my back and my nurse was holding me tight, and I almost puked all over her. All of a sudden I felt a quick thud from the baby, then a gush of fluid.

Me: Um, I think my water broke. Or I just peed all over.

Nurse: Either way, it's alright.

Me: Sorry if I peed.

Nurse: You really want to know how many times I've been peed on?

Then I felt a tingle down my leg, and that was the last thing I felt for two whole hours. GLORIOUS! I was numb from my bottom rib down and I could not have been happier about it. Once I was moved back on the bed by the nurses (I couldn't move anything on my own), they verified that it was my bag o' waters. They put some more tubes and crap in me and put an internal monitor on the baby's head, and then I had the best two hours of my life. I was able to watch SVU and relax and not feel a damn thing. I was seriously giddy watching the monitors and seeing my contractions get more frequent and intense--I felt none of it!

So around 5:15, a CNA brings me my "dinner" of clear fluids. I had just started feeling contractions on my left side. I pressed the little button to administer more of the epi and nada. So I press it again. Nada. I'm feeling these contractions about 1-2 minutes apart, and they were getting more intense with each one. As I felt each contraction, I felt the urge to push. "Hmmm...this isn't right. I'm supposed to be feeling nothing right now..." I asked the CNA and she checked with the nurse, and the nurse said to keep pressing the button for the epi. Okaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay....

Me: I feel like I need to push.

Graham: Well, don't push.

Me: I'm trying, but it's hard. My body is telling me to push.

Graham: DON'T PUSH! Remember, they told us in class that your body is just faking you out right now.

Me: I knoooow, but my body is trying to get the baby out.

Graham: Don't push!

Me: Oy.

Right about this time, the nurse came in and she seemed a little grumpy. I probably interrupted her dinner, and everytime I tried to administer a dose of the epidural, they got a little notification at the nurses station so she probably came in to make sure I wasn't trying to off myself or something.

She barely checks me before she gasps and goes, "Oh my gosh, you're ready!" ACK! I have no clue what happened next because I just said, "What, now? Already?" and the room was filled with a bunch of people: a med student, some nurses just appeared out of nowhere, more nurses and nurses aids were coming and going...it was like a clown car! Meanwhile Graham and I looked at each other like stunned monkeys. We both thought it would be a few more hours before it was baby time, and then when all the nurses and everyone came in he rushed to the cd player in the room and popped on some Christmas music to try and take our minds off the fact that we were moments away from become parents. After this, he just tried to stay out of the way until a nurse pushed him toward me and threw my leg up in his hands and told him to help.

I think I apologized to everyone who came close to me. "Sorry if I poop on the table!" All the nurses looked at me like I was the weird one for apologizing. (Seriously, I was about to poop in front of all these people. No one thinks that's weird? Anyway, it turns out I didn't poop.)

The entire time, I just kept asking, "Now? Right now? I'm going to have a baby right now?" I was so excited and thrilled and terrified. On one hand, I was ready to have this baby. On the other hand, I was about to become a parent. HOLY CRAP.

Suddenly the nurse just grabbed my leg and says, "Okay, start pushing!" I got all freaked out because my doctor wasn't there yet, and I kept saying, "She's not here! Doc Holiday isn't here yet!" It wasn't a big deal, but I couldn't quite wrap my mind around the fact that game time had finally arrived, and I didn't want my doctor to miss the big event.

Anyway, she didn't miss it. She came in and was practically wearing waders. Uuuh, doc? Exactly how much fluid am I supposed to lose here?" The nurses were really great and encouraging, and my doctor and the med student were standing at the ready, waiting until Hannah came a little further down the shute.

Pushing? OH man, pushing really hurt. I could barely feel my legs by now, but DAMN. I'm definitely in no hurry to do this again. At one point, I thought I'd be pushing forever, but after just 40 minutes, look what happened!



At 6:09 p.m., Hannah Grace entered the world. I was tired as hell, but so elated to finally have my baby girl in my arms.

We got down to post-partum a few hours later, and the next day, Hannah got to meet her proud grandparents!
The reason they had kids? Grandkids!

Grandpa G hasn't seen a baby this small in a while!
Overall, I think Miss Hannah was quite pleased with her visitors.


She was born with a slight heart murmur, but after a few days it cleared up on its own. Because she was jaundiced, too, they kept us a little later than usual so they could check her billirubin levels. (Her hospital pedi was also running late. We didn't leave until after 6 p.m. on Thursday!)
Ready to go home!

All in all, it's been great. Hannah's beautiful and perfect, and even though I was absolutely terrified about becoming a parent, my girl makes it easy. We were insanely tired the first few days, but we're figuring out our schedule and I'm becoming accustomed to 4 hour stretches of sleep.

I still have no clue how to be a parent, but my baby girl is fed and warm, so we're taking it from there.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Western Moms vs. Chinese Moms

I saw Amy Chua on Today earlier this week and was both intrigued and shocked by her tactics. On one hand, she has clearly raised talented, intelligent young women. On the other hand, calling your children "garbage" strikes me as unnecessarily harsh. Thoughts?

http://www.cnn.com/2011/LIVING/01/13/chinese.mom.superior/index.html?hpt=Sbin

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704111504576059713528698754.html

Updates, ahoy!

A quick update:

1. I finally have my laptop back, so I can start updating with photos! Yahoo!

2. Life with a newborn has been crazy busy, but Hannah is awesome and amazing, and a much better sleeper now that her reflux is under control. Hooray for Zantac!

3. Jane says hello.

4. My house is a mess.

And now, some photos to tide you over!