Holy Luke!

Tomorrow morning, 5:30 am starts off drill week at our house. We will be practicing getting ready and out of the house with two kids. I go back to work in one week. Until then, I will procrastinate the inevitable by reliving our whirlwind weekend full of family, friends, and fun in lovely Annapolis, Maryland!

If you remember, we helped my sister and her husband celebrate their wedding at the Naval Academy Chapel back in March 2012. Well, we were back earlier today to witness the baptism of their 10-month-old son, Luke. All of Luke’s cousins from both sides, plus his god-family, joined in the festivities. With all those kiddos, it was bound to be a fun and wild time. As always, these priceless weekends with family and friends go too quickly. We hated to say goodbye. Without further ado, here are some photos.

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Luke really likes hair, here he is patting his godmother’s head…charmer.

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Not my best photography work! Here’s hoping I got a better shot with the other camera?

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All of the kids. Naturally, Estelle is doing something weird for the camera.

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All of Luke’s cousins (and Luke)!

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Let’s get outta here!

Stephanie

Mini Birthday Two

20130715-093933.jpgMorning! Someone is two-months-old today, and getting bigger by the minute. William is smiling and discovering his hands right now. In the off-chance he finds his thumb, it goes in his mouth!

These are our final weeks of maternity leave, so we are soaking in the togetherness as much as we can. William’s next milestone photo shoot will be a rush job as all four of us get out the door on time.

Stephanie

My Birth Story: A Planned Caesarean

You’re probably wondering why I bothered to recap a planned C-section. You schedule it, show up, bada bing, bada boom. Mostly, I need to remember this experience, and not the glossed-over montage version that my brain is already creating. Also, if my experience helps just one other woman have an easier planned C-section, then my goal has been accomplished.

Every planned C-section has a back story. Unless you are super rich, you cannot just schedule a c-section because you THINK it’s easier. My story starts in September 2006, a few months before our yet-to-be-planned May 2007 wedding. I woke up one morning with what I thought was a migraine. A bad, throw-up, cannot function migraine. I managed to get to the doctor because I don’t get migraines, and I needed relief. My doctor prescribed a MRI about a week later. During that week, I took Excedrin, and went about my business, going to work, etc. I did visit the ER for answers and pain relief, but they sent me home. The day after my MRI, my doctor calls me at work and tells me to get to the ER, I have a brain hemorrhage, and she will let them know to expect me. The rest of that 5-day hospital visit is a blur because I was given some serious meds and I don’t remember anything. I was sent home and told to take it easy for 2 months. From what they could tell, the hemorrhage was caused by a cavernous malformation. Basically, a birth mark on my brain that was always there and randomly bled. They still don’t know why it bled, but it could happen again. I am medicine free, but need annual brian MRIs for the foreseeable future. As soon as I found out I was pregnant with Estelle, I was considered high risk. It was never mandatory that I have a planned C-section, but highly suggested, and I’m not one to take on additional risk!

My pregnancies were relatively problem-free, and for that I am thankful. Actually, I think carrying Estelle was easier. Sorry, William…I was never more deaf and swollen than when pregnant with you! My pre-existing hearing problem (otosclerosis) worsened to the point of needing hearing aids with this past pregnancy. Words cannot describe the swelling, so see below for a photo of my legs hours before delivering William. It hurt to bend bend my lower joints. My shin muscles would cramp up from walking a block. It also caused carpal tunnel that nearly rendered my hands useless. It took 2 nurses 3 attempts to find a vein on my arm when prepping me for surgery. Then the swelling got worse, thanks to the IV fluids!

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I guess the nice thing about a planned C-section is that you can have decent hair if you choose to get up that early. Nice hair and painted toes look downright luxurious at this point in the humid summer with two kids at home.

The following details of William’s birth are from notes I titled “Before I Forget.” I scribbled these notes over the course of a few midnight feedings a couple weeks ago. I never did this with Estelle. William is my last baby, and I really want to remember all aspects of late pregnancy and delivery…just in case I feel wistful in the future. Although, the photo of my swollen legs should nip those feelings in bud quite quickly.

On Wednesday May 15, 2013, we arrived at Jefferson University Labor and Delivery at 7 am for my scheduled procedure at 10 am. As usual, I had no food or liquids after midnight before the procedure.

A week earlier I had weighed in at 170, which is my personal max and rather hefty for my short self (5′ 1″). I was certain this baby would be huge, HA!

As I mention above, swelling was an issue. It took 2 nurses 3 tries to insert the IV. Those nasty bruises lasted a while!

Due to some late incoming blood work results, I wasn’t taken back to the operating room until noon. David and I spent the time laughing about the name possibilities on all of the hospital equipment brands (Parker, Elgin, Jefferson, Phillip, Burton, Kimberly-Clark). We also made final guesses on the gender. I guessed boy, I think David guessed girl just to be different…I think we both had boy inklings.

I walked back to the operating room with a nurse. Brrr, it’s cold! Everyone was busy prepping, and I saw the anesthesiologists right away. First, they needed to give me the spinal block. The realness hit, and I cried. This part hurt, but I knew I can handle the needle pain…I was scared about the pain and recovery ahead of me. I’ve been there before, and it’s anything but easy.

Unlike with Estelle, the spinal went to work quickly. They poked me with something sharp/pointy several times to make sure I was properly numbed. It took a long time for me to feel the effects of the spinal with Estelle, so they ended up sedating me to avoid being put totally under. I don’t remember much of the actual procedure to deliver her!

They put the blue sheet up to block my view. They prepped for surgery while my arms were moved to the side and immobilized. I think David came in around this time. I have no idea what his view was upon entry!

The doctors and nurses were hard at work, and a little chatty. That seemed reassuring to me, since it showed that this is just routine for them. The anesthesiologists were very attentive. After not very long, they told us it’s almost time. It’s 12:20 pm, and it’s a boy! David and I both cry…it’s our William.

William was taken to the side room and examined by the nurses and pediatricians (there really is a huge team involved in these procedures, it’s amazing)! Final weight, 7 lbs. 2 oz. A whole pound less than Estelle. How can that be?! I was huge! I never knew how long he was until much later that day…20 1/4″.

David got to be with baby, but sat with me for a bit too. They offered the baby to me, but I’m in such an awkward position and uncomfortable that I declined. I had a hard time focusing. Even though I wasn’t sedated this time around, my body wanted to block out what was happening. I fell asleep a few times as a coping mechanism while they stitched me up. This was a much longer process than taking out baby…

My eyes and nose started to itch, David helped a bit, but I just wanted my arms freed. I watched the clock, it took nearly an hour after baby is out. Finally, my arms were free to scratch my nose and rub my eyes!

Now, I have to move from operating table to stretcher, and I don’t get a free pass – I have to help my using my arms to help push myself over. I am moved to a recovery room for a few hours to wait for my room on the maternity floor. David and I get settled, and I try to nurse William. He knows exactly what to do, which still amazes me!

Estelle and both sets of grandparents joined us in the recovery room. Thanks to the medicine, I don’t remember much about Estelle meeting William. According to the photos, she was a happy. I know she was very excited to be with all four grandparents in the hospital. She seemed a little hesitant towards me. She knew that I would be “sick” for a bit, but I think seeing me in a gown connected to tubes made me look very sick!

It had been over 12 hours since having a drink, so I was thirsty. The nurse let me have a bit of apple juice and water. I threw it up en route to the maternity ward, partially due to the motion. One word, OUCH! Some of the muscles required to vomit have just been cut, so it’s felt absolutely wrong and painful.

I was thankful to make it to my room on the maternity ward (12th floor). I noticed the great view right away! Time to move to another bed, and again I had to help. Pre-delivery arm workouts would have helped right about now.

I’m pretty sure they don’t feed me until the next morning, but I didn’t really feel like eating that night.

I am bed-bound until the next day, so I ask David to bring over my supplies to freshen up. I had packed facial/make up wipes this time, smart move. I also brushed my teeth at this time. Phew, I felt better already.

The room is hot the first night. We figured out the room AC in the morning. I have those darn circulation massaging boots on all night, they are plastic and sweaty. I asked the nurse to take them off a few hours early if I promise to keep moving my toes and feet. She agreed! Immediately after the surgery and into the next morning, I was on a self-controlled pain med drip. The nurses told me not to be shy, I cannot give myself too much. You really don’t want to be a hero here, take the meds. If I learned anything from the first time, this is it.

My IV and catheter were removed the next day, so I can get up and shower. The toilet in the room was ridiculously low and painful to use. The shower was awkward and not the nicest set up, but feels good.

My pain meds were switched to motrin and dilaudid (I had a percocet sensitivity last time). One night I slept too long and my pain meds started to wear off. I woke up in withdrawal sweats and crying for no reason. I made sure that didn’t happen again! Once I got home, I quickly weaned off the hard stuff (dilaudid).

David stayed with me two nights, and my mom for one night. They helped change diapers and hand me the baby for nursing. The baby stays in the mom’s room at Jefferson, you don’t get a choice.

Nursing was fine, painful, but that’s normal. My milk came in much faster this time.

I had packed a nursing nightgown and bathrobe to change into at some point. Given Estelle’s hesitation towards me, I thought changing into that might make her feel better. I think it worked, and it made me feel better too!

She stayed with us for a bit one day to take advantage of the hospital’s movie offerings. We watched Brave, it was a sweet memory to make!

We were discharged on Saturday after much delay due to missing paperwork and occupied residents. I declined a wheel chair, and walked all the way to the parking garage. That’s a hike, but I was glad to be up and free. We borrowed my mom’s car for the ride home. I made sure to take pain meds for the ride home. It worked! Last time I was in tears, and we had to pull over at least once. This time, I was just fine.

Although he was nursing well, William had dropped down to 6 lb. 9 oz upon discharge. He had no jaundice issues.

We had a home nurse visit on the Tuesday after discharge. By this time, I could shave my own legs and William was back up to birth weight. All good things!

I was recovering quickly, which is good because we had a family wedding and vacation two weeks after coming home.

However, about 4 weeks after surgery I discovered a stitch had come through my incision. Per the doctor’s instruction, I kept it clean and dry until my post-partum visit. It was a step backwards on the road to feeling normal, but they fixed me up, and all is healed now. My sister’s mother-in-law says 6 weeks post-partum is the turning point to feeling good, and I believe it. I’m now 8 weeks post-partum, and feeling almost like myself. I just need to fit into my wedding rings (and non-maternity pants). I might need to go clothes shopping before going back to work…

So that’s my birth story (and much more). It was so nice finally meeting this mystery person that was hanging out with me for 9 months. William Ellsworth is here!

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Stephanie

Romper Room

Don’t be misled, this is not a room post. No, it’s a strange, sleep-deprived ode to the romper. Just to be clear, a romper is a one-piece loosely fitted garment having short bloomers. I love them. The cotton knit rompers are perfect for babies in the summer. William has several cute ones with collars, but he’s too small for a collar right now. He just wants to chew them.

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Our friends sent us the above Circo Dino romper from Target. William wears it twice a week, at least. We have since expanded our collection to this bright one and a couple more in the next size. They are $7 a pop, a bargain at twice the price.

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Those same generous friends just had a baby girl last week. We MIGHT have sent her a cute girlie romper in return!

Collarless rompers are smart choices for the littlest men and ladies in these hot days of summer.

Estelle has a cool romper too (not pictured). It took her the better part of a day to realize the skirt was actually shorts…

Stephanie