Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My Guys

This weekend Mat was laying on the floor playing with Gage. Braeden wanted in on the fun and I took these great photos! Here are my three guys. Aren't they cute?

I LOVE the look Braeden is giving me in this first picture. It might look like Braeden's feet are on Gage but they're actually sitting a few inches above him. As good as Braeden is around Gage, we do sometimes have to remind him to be careful and gentle. He was very good, though, while I was taking these pictures.

Braeden still likes holding Gage but he also likes to sit next to Gage. I prop Gage up against the couch cushions and Braeden sits beside him. Braeden gets bored easily, so this doesn't last long but it's sweet while it lasts.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Lazy Sundays

We get the Greensboro paper on Sundays only, for the coupons and store flyers, but Mat always flips through the paper itself too. Braeden likes to look at the paper too, really he likes the flyers and calls it the paper. So, here's a couple pictures of my two guys reading the paper together. :)

Look at those eyes, that serious stare. Beautiful.

Oh, and sometimes Braeden doesn't like to wear pants!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Matthew's b-day party

If you read Gage's blog, you know we went to Matthew's birthday last week at Kidsport (the same group that runs the Tumblebus). We had a great time! So many of Braeden's friends were there--Alex (one of his best friends who moved up to the next room a few months ago), Makena, CJ (whose party we went to at CiCi's last month), Zander and his older sister, Isabella, the other Brayden, and a few other kids we didn't know. Inside Kidsport is a giant facility with areas where kids can do different activities. There was a pit filled with foam blocks that the kids could jump into and then "swim" through, a couple areas with mats for flooring that were set up with different activities (trampolines, slides, etc.), and areas that were more gymnastics-oriented.

The kids started out with a sitting around a parachute. The instructors led them in some stretches then they all stood up to flutter the parachute. Braeden had ZERO interest in this. I remember doing the parachute thing at an annual gym show in elementary school. Fun. So I was a little sad that Braeden wasn't interested in playing along. We actually had a hard time with him at the beginning of the party because he wanted to stay in the foam block pit and the instructors wanted to keep all the kids together.

After the parachute, they moved the kids over to a different area where they had a ... set up. They swung from a rope, went over an obstacle, jumped on a trampoline, and walked across a balance beam. They were supposed to do each activity in a certain order, one at a time, but they're three so they skipped around to their favorite activities and jumped onto the trampoline with their friends. It was wild!

Bray was a champ on the balance beam...he must get that from Mat! I know they walk the balance beam at Tumblebus sometimes, so he's gotten lots of practice.

Here's a cute picture of Braeden with Makena. I should have run around to the other side so I could get Braeden's face, but things were pretty chaotic so I took what I could get.

When they were done with this, they had another circuit set up with a bar the kids could hang from, a couple tunnels to crawl through, a slide, and a ladder to climb up. This circuit ended with the kids jumping into the foam block pit. Braeden did the circuit four or five times! And each time he jumped into the pit, he would count to 10 first. He loves counting and he loves being absolutely sure everyone is watching him!

The party ended with lots of snacks (chips, cheese and crackers, grapes, cheetos) and cake. Matthew's mom ran over to me as we were getting ready to leave with a present for Braeden. She's a very sweet woman (remember her worrying we would double-book their parties??) All the kids got to leave with a helium balloon, so Braeden was thrilled. This was also the day we had the snow, so it was fun for me to watch the snow come down the whole time we were at the party. And Gage slept through the whole thing in the Moby. He woke up as we were getting ready to leave. Perfect timing.

One month ago today

My baby is one month old today! At about 7:10 tonight Mat was changing Gage's diaper and I was changing into my pjs so I could nurse Gage. I looked at the clock and realized that exactly one month ago, Gage had been born 20 minutes ago. My heart and mind went back to that time immediately and I remembered Tanya putting Gage on my chest and Kim, the nurse, drying him off and wrapping him up. What a day!

What a month! It's really flown by.

Gage's umbilical cord stump FINALLY fell off Friday evening. We were so excited. He has the cutest little innie belly button! Gage was finally ready for a real bath, something we did Saturday morning before Mat and Braeden went to the grocery store. We put his pink tub (from the hospital) in our kitchen sink and went to work. Braeden stood on the stool to watch. Mat did most of the work while I held Gage's head and later sprayed the soap off him. I took a few pictures of the bath and a few of Mat drying Gage off on the floor. To be honest, I missed doing the sponge bath in front of the fire. But I finally feel like we got Gage really clean.

If you look closely, you can see Gage's thigh is getting that fat baby look!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Four weeks

Gage is four weeks old today! He's more precious than I can say. Everyone who sees him remarks on how much he looks like Mat. I'm very bad at looking at babies and seeing a resemblance, but Gage definitely has some of Mat's features that are even obvious to me.

Gage has the longest eyelashes and so does Mat. Gage also has the fullest lips just like Mat. I see a resemblance between Gage and Braeden, otherwise Gage just looks like the sweetest baby boy!

Two weeks ago we took Gage to the doctor for a check-up and I promised I would take him back at four weeks for a weight check. AS promised, we went this morning. Two weeks ago Gage weighed 7 pounds 13 ounces and today he weighed in at 8 pounds 3 ounces. I asked the doctor if it was okay that Gage had only gained 6 ounces in the last two weeks and she assured me he was doing great. I was only concerned because he had gained so much between his first week's check-up and his second.

I also asked the doctor about his umbilical cord stump which STILL hasn't fallen off. She swabbed it with silver nitrate to seal off the vessels still supplying blood to the cord stump to encourage it to fall off. It's really hanging by a thread but it should have fallen off already. You all know how much we're dying to give this kid a real bath! The doctor said the stump should fall off in a day or two. Once it does, I'll post a sweet picture of Gage's round tummy and perfect belly button!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A day in the life

The other night sometime around 2 AM while I was nursing Gage, I was trying to keep myself awake so I did a little calendar math to figure out how long I had been on maternity leave. Really, if it had been 2 PM I wouldn't have had to spend as long figuring out the answer to that question. I would have simply realized that if Gage was turning 4 weeks old this Thursday (TOMORROW!), I must be in the fourth week of my leave. But at 2 AM, my mind isn't as clear or logical. Truth be told, my mind barely functions at 2 AM. Getting an answer that night took even longer because I had absolutely NO idea what the day's date was. The best part of this calendar math was that it did keep me awake and focused on nursing for at least five minutes. :)

So, by now you're wondering why I would lay this all out for you, my readers. Why would I willingly admit my very early morning mental ineptitude? Well, it's because I decided after four weeks on maternity leave, it was time to share some of the details of Gage and my time together.

We usually nurse between 5:30 and 6:30 AM. Mat gets up at 6:00 and usually has to wake Braeden up between 6:30 and 7:00. Gage and I fall back asleep after nursing. I usually wake up again briefly when Braeden comes downstairs. He's fallen into a routine of bringing a stuffed animal for Gage to sleep with. After Mat and Braeden leave for school and work, Gage and I sleep until it's time to nurse again around 8:30-9:00. We get up, get dressed, and I eat breakfast. Since Gage is spending more time awake, he was awake this morning while I ate.

We tried tummy time on his play gym but he was having none of it. He would not lift his head and after a few minutes, he started whining. I flipped him over to his back and he was much happier. When he got tired of the play gym, I propped him up against a couple pillows on the couch and he fell right asleep. After nursing again around 11:00, we got ready to go out to Moe's for lunch with Lisa. After a quick trip to Target and Harris Teeter for pork chops, we were back home again.

In the evenings, Mat's been taking Gage into the bathroom with him. Gage likes the warmth and white noise and usually falls fast asleep in there. It didn't work last night, though. I nursed him and he fell asleep on my lap. I asked Mat to take him so I could post on Braeden's blog. The two of them curled up in the chair and soon they were both sleeping soundly.

I can't resist snapping pictures because they looked so sweet together. Plus, Mat HATES having his picture taken, to the point he often makes faces in an attempt to discourage the picture-taker. But asleep Mat never complains or makes a cranky face.

And if you're wondering about those pork chops, I found a great recipe at Smitten Kitchen. These pork chops were FANTASTIC! So moist, thanks to the brining, and so flavorful from the mustard and bread crumb mixture. I love the flavor the shallots bring to the bread crumbs. And even if you don't like shallots, or don't think you do, try these!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

NFC Champs!

At the start of football season there are 32 undefeated teams. As the 17 weeks of the season go on, there are ups and downs, wins and losses, injuries and bad calls until the 32 teams are whittled down to 12 for the playoffs.

The Giants went 10-6 in the regular season. It wasn't enough to win their division, but they did clinch a wild card spot in the first round of the playoffs. Everyone bet against them, but they beat Tampa Bay in Tampa. The next week they went to Dallas where they were the definite underdog. They took on Tony Romo and Terrell Owens at Cowboys Stadium and beat Dallas soundly. And they were on their way to Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers for the NFC Championship game. Huge. Brett Favre, Lambeau Field, sub-zero temperatures. Again, everyone assumed the outcome of the game was a given...Favre would run away with the game and kill the Giants. Well, the funny thing is, the Giants beat the Pack in overtime to win the NFC Championship game. The Giants are going to the Super Bowl in two weeks!!

Who would have guessed?! Not me. Not my dad. Certainly not the oddsmakers or the sportscasters or the ridiculous sports bloggers and fantasy footballers. But Braeden, their biggest fan, he knew.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


Here's Gage bundled up and ready to go to Matthew's birthday party at Kidsport. I'll blog about the party and post photos on Braeden's blog tomorrow.

For now, I wanted to post this picture of cutie-pie Gage's fat cheeks. He's wearing the blue hat that Me Ma knit for him. It's made of very soft yarn and is the prettiest shade of blue. She also knit a blanket for him that's white and trimmed with the same blue yarn.

I wore Gage in my Moby wrap while we were at Kidsport. He slept the full time we were there, almost 2 hours. It started snowing as we were driving into Burlington and kept on snowing all day. And what do we have to show for it?

A light cover of snow on the ground and wet streets. The snow was beautiful as it was falling though, and I almost felt like it was a normal winter day in NY.

Gettin' bigger

Gage is on a pretty standard schedule at night for nursing waking up every three hours or so. But during the day he wants to nurse more frequently, more like every two to three hours. And starting this afternoon, he's nursing even more frequently. Three weeks old is a pretty common age for a growth spurt. La Leche calls these spurts "frequency days." Fun. I'm planning to take Gage to the doctor Thursday to check his weight. I'm sure we'll see the results of this nursing increase then.

He's also getting into a pattern of increased fussiness in the late afternoon and early evening which is also normal. It's frustrating but normal. Combine the two and life is a barrel of laughs. :) Ah, the joys of parenting.

Like I keep telling him, he's damn lucky he's so cute!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Bath and tummy time

We gave Gage another sponge bath tonight in front of the fireplace. We've been waiting, not very patiently, for Gage's umbilical cord stump to fall off but it's still there. We can't wait to give him a real bath because he's getting those cute fat rolls that trap yuckiness like milk spit-up.

After the bath we left him on the towel in front of the fire for some tummy time. He lifted his head like these four times before he got really tired. His neck muscles are getting really strong. He holds his head up all the time when he's laying on our chests.

He's still wearing newborn diapers, but I think we'll switch over to 1's when we finish up this package. His newborn clothes fit him better but there's still a lot of room in them. His arms and legs often get lost inside the one-piece outfits. Gage is on a really good schedule at night waking up to nurse every three hours. During the days he's a lot less predictable. He usually wants to nurse a lot more often, like every hour and a half or two hours. Gage also prefers to sleep in my lap or on my chest rather than the swing, chair, or co-sleeper but I can't complain about it. He's just so sweet!

Bye bye ponytail!

This post has absolutely nothing to do with Braeden, but I wanted to post the pictures and this is one of the only places I have to do it. So, here's the story...

For a very long time my assistant Michelle did not cut her hair. It was crazy long, all the way down her back and very thick and curly. Michelle told me she was going to cut it. She made and canceled several appointments. When I asked her about it, she said her mother wanted to take pictures of them together and wanted Michelle's hair long in them. One day Lisa asked her about it too and learned that Michelle was actually going in the next day to get it cut. And she was donating her hair to Locks of Love.

While I was pregnant, I let my hair grow. And I liked having it long because I could pull it back in a ponytail really easily. So, here's a picture of my hair that I took this morning.

One of the days when I was pregnant and bored, I wondered how long my ponytail was. I had Mat measure it and found it was only 7 inches. But as the months went on, and my hair grew longer and longer, I knew I could keep growing it until it was long enough for Locks of Love which requires a 10-inch minimum. After I had Gage, I was really ready to cut my hair off. I measured the length and I was finally ready. I made an appointment for this afternoon.

Here's my hair now:

It will never look this good again! She dried my hair with a round brush and used a flat iron to be sure it was really smooth. I've got a hair dryer, round brush, and a flat iron but I will not be able to do this. The back of my hair is incredibly short and stacked. But fortunately I had a little more length in the front so it looks longer.

All that's left to do now is wait for my ponytail to dry then ship it off to Locks of Love. It's funny because this short cut in going to be A LOT MORE work than my long hair, but I really love the cut.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Smiling Face

Last night I was taking a couple pictures of Gage and I didn't want to make Braeden feel bad, so I took this cute one of him playing Brown Bear-Panda Bear What do you See, a game he got for Christmas.

Braeden is really good at the game. It's like a memory game. There are a bunch of animals on tiles. You flip one over and if it matches the tiles in front of you, you keep it. If not, you put it back and the next person chooses a tile. Instead of putting back tiles that don't match his pictures, he gives the tile to you so you make a match. He doesn't understand winning and losing, so it's very sweet to play with him.

Tidbits (not very exciting ones, sorry!)

Just a quick post since Gage and I are on our way out to the door. I decided it's time (probably past time) for Gage's first trip to one of my most favorite places. Yes, that's right, Gage and I are going to Target! And, if I'm feeling really wild, we'll stop at Starbucks for coffee. Living on the edge!

Last week when we went to Barnes & Noble I bought Gage's baby book. They had several options, but I thought this one by Eric Carle was the cutest. Mat and I love the Very Hungry Caterpillar so this book was perfect for our family. One of the things I need to get at Target is a glue stick so I can begin sticking photos and other mementos inside the book. I loved working on Braeden's, especially during the first year or so since so much was changing so fast that first year. Braeden has this one based on Guess How Much I Love You. It is so sweet!

Something else I did last week was to take my charm bracelet to my favorite local jewelry store. I needed to get the new charm Mat gave me for Christmas soldered on to my bracelet. (Who knew I knew how to spell the word 'soldered'?? I don't actually know how to solder, but I sure can spell it!) I told Mat a while ago that I wanted to get a palmetto charm to remember our trip to Charleston this past summer. I never got around to going to the jewelry store to look for one. Christmas morning Mat handed me a small package that looked VERY familiar to me. I laughed and tried to give it to my mom because I figured it was the earrings dad and I bought for her at the same jewelry store since it was wrapped in an identical way. Mom and dad both laughed and assured me that this gift was for me. When I opened it, I found my silver palmetto charm! Good job, Mat. While I was at the jewelry store, I bought a charm for Gage too. It matches the one my mom bought me for Braeden. Now I have both my boys on my bracelet plus the palmetto for Charleston, a dolphin for our first vacation with Braeden (to Virginia Beach October 2005), and "WS" for William Smith, my alma mater.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Doctor's Visit

This morning we took Braeden to the doctor for his 3-year-old well visit. We thought the appointment was just for him, but it turned out we had to bring Gage too for his two-week appointment. We thought he was going in next Thursday for his next appointment, so we were very confused.

We had to fill out a four-page questionnaire on Braeden before we could go back to meet the doctor. We answered questions about his small-motor skills, his language abilities, his ability to follow instructions, etc. I actually think it's fun to fill out these questionnaires at the milestone appointments. It's nice to check the yes box and know that Braeden's development is on target for his age range. There was a question about scissors on this questionnaire (one of the items he failed on the state test given at school), so it might be time to buy some safety scissors for home. Maybe do some arts and crafts projects with him. Like Mat and I are crafty???

When they called us back, we dropped our stuff in an exam room and undressed Gage down to his diaper. We took Braeden out to stand on the scale and measure his height. Here are the vitals:

Height: 38 inches/3 feet 2 inches (50th percentile)
Weight: 32 lbs (50th percentile)
BP: 86/52

It was hysterical when the nurse took Braeden's blood pressure. There was a cuff in the toy doctor's set we gave him for Christmas, but I'm not sure he really understood that hers was like his from the kit. He was very good during the BP check. I thought the constricting cuff would freak him out, but he sat very still. His BP was in the normal range for a three-year-old. Too cute!

We took Gage in to check his weight and length then.

Length: 21 1/4 inches (50th percentile)
Weight: 7 lbs 13 oz (25th percentile)
Head: 14 3/4 inches (average range)

Now, does everyone remember how much Gage weighed at last Thursday's appointment? He was 7 pounds even. Typical weight gain expected in a 2-week-old infant in one week is an ounce each day. Gage gained twice that much. All that nursing obviously paid off!

I pulled out Braeden's baby book to compare his results at his two-week check-up and found very similar numbers!

Length: 20 3/4 inches
Weight: 7 lbs 10 oz
Head: 14 3/4 inches

Braeden also took an eye test. He and I stood together and the nurse pointed to objects on an eye chart which he had to identify. It was so cute to hear him say heart, star, circle, or hand as she pointed to smaller and smaller pictures. By the end of the appointment, both Braeden and Gage had checked out perfectly!

Braeden goes back for his next well visit when he turns four. And Gage goes back when he's two months old (end of February). But if I want, I can bring Gage in any time to check his weight. I'll do that periodically between now and his next appointment just to be sure we're staying on track.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Quality time

Here's a post that I could have put on either blog or that would work perfectly if I combined my two blogs into one. Jury's still out on that one, by the way. Turns out google doesn't have a feature that allows you to automatically merge two blogs together. If I want to do it, I'll have to copy and paste each entry from Gage's blog into Braeden's. Anyway, maybe one day...

We decided to start tummy time with Gage. Actually the smart start nurse told us we should start tummy time now, so we have. Mat put together the activity gym the Merritts gave us at the shower yesterday. After dinner tonight I put Gage on the mat on his tummy and put one of the little toys next to his face so he had something to look at. He was fine for about five minutes or so, but then he started to complain loudly about his position. I flipped him over on his back and he was much happier looking up at the toys hanging from the bars.

And that's when Braeden decided he was a baby too and he ought to lay down on the mat next to Gage. Aren't they the cutest? I love that they're both looking up in the first shot, like maybe Braeden is showing something to his baby brother.

And in this one, they're looking at each other and Braeden is smiling. It's easy to imagine they're laughing at a joke or something.

Monday, January 7, 2008

A year in photos

A few days ago mom let me know that Martha Stewart would be doing a special baby episode. Martha showcased a group of women who personalize onesies by stamping them with potatoes. Another guest demonstrated must-have baby products for new moms. I barely remember what the products were, so I guess they weren't that crucial!

There was one thing I saw that I really, really liked. One of Martha's producers had bought a 12-month onesie and took pictures of her baby in the onesie each month. She framed the 12 pictures together to make a timeline of her baby's growth over the first year. The pictures were so sweet; I just thought it was a perfect idea.

So, Gage and I went to the outlet mall today to buy the onesie at Carter's. When we got home, I dressed him in it and put him on our bed (we have a tan down comforter so it made a nice neutral background).

We had a great time at the outlet mall. The weather was beautiful, almost 70 degrees and sunny! I dressed way too warmly for the day and wished I had worn capri pants and flip flops. But it was still so nice to walk around outside in the sun. I parked by Carter's and we walked to a few different stores. We didn't buy anything but we enjoyed the sunshine and warm air a lot. I wish our outlet mall was nicer though. I really miss the outlets in Waterloo (NY) where Mat and I went to college. It was brand new when we were in school and had so many great stores. Maybe we'll walk around Alamance Crossing later this week. Since I was pregnant and couldn't shop in most of the stores, I really haven't spent much time there. I think Gage and I will like chilling at Barnes & Noble, especially since there's a Starbucks inside!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Such a good big brother

Braeden loves to hold his baby brother and he's actually very good about it. Most of the time, I sit Braeden on the couch and put Gage between his legs. I help out by supporting Gage's head. Braeden can kiss Gage's head or hold his hand. He's usually done after a couple minutes, so I really think it's sweet when Braeden asks if he can hold his baby brother.

We've had a pretty low-key weekend. I did take Gage out on his first trip (other than to the doctor) Saturday. We went to JC Penney so I could buy a couple nursing bras. While we were in the fitting room, Gage woke up so I took the opportunity to nurse him. He was perfect the whole time we were out. We were only gone an hour but it was really nice to get out of the house and go out around people. This was our first time using the snap-n-go stroller base. It worked like a dream! It was so easy to remove from the trunk and unfold. And I could operate it with one hand and open doors with the other. It was also easy to manuever through the tight racks in Penney's. I'm so glad I put it on my registry and so glad Pete and Carol bought it for us.

We're watching the Giants now in their Wild Card game (they're winning!) and are planning to go to Monterrey's for dinner. I wonder if some of the reason Braeden LOVES Monterrey's is that I ate it so often while I was nursing him. Whatever I eat ends up in my breast milk, and some people are concerned about foods with really strong flavors or really spicy food. But I think that's ridiculous. Lots of cultures are known for their highly-seasoned or spicy food; women don't stop eating just because they're nursing, so why would it be an issue if I eat spicy salsa once a week?! I could eat at Monterrey's every day and not get tired of it!

Spider Spud

This post is for Abi. She and Jeremy gave Braeden a Mr. Potatohead for Christmas. It's a special spiderman edition, so it came dressed in a spiderman costume with special eyes and hands that have a web attached.

When he first opened it, Braeden was scared of the spiderman version. Once I took the mask off and showed him how he looked with regular eyes, nose, and ears Braeden felt better. It took about a week for Braeden to get over his fear of spider spud. Now he loves him!

And one day Braeden decided he wanted to wear Mr. Potatohead's glasses. Here's the picture!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Happy birthday, Braeden!

My little boy is three today. And if he heard me call him a little boy, he would correct me very indignantly. I not a little boy, he would say, I a big boy! And now he's three.

I made chocolate cupcakes last night with white frosting for him to take to school today. They also gave him a birthday crown to wear during his little party. Unfortunately, Braeden got a bad report card today from his teachers. He got in trouble for not listening and for talking back. Yesterday his report card was fair because he was disruptive during naptime. We're working on teaching him about consequences (a word he's heard at school). Hopefully we'll see some positive effects from this.

After dinner tonight, we brought out the birthday cake Me Ma had made for Braeden while she was here at Christmas. I lit his candle (a 3) and brought it to the table. He was very excited to blow out his candle. And instead of eating his cake with a fork, he just picked it up with his hands. He ate most of the piece I gave him starting with the frosted top. When he was out of frosting, he announced he was done leaving the bottom of the cake on his plate. Smart kid!

After cake, Braeden opened birthday presents. Magnet letters and a sorting shape game from Me Ma and P Pa; a Melissa and Doug wood block puzzle from Debbie and Don Thorpe; and a Diego doodle pro from Abi and Jeremy. Braeden also got cards from Mark and Jenn, Joe, and Mat's Uncle Stephen and Aunt Helen. He loved his gifts and was very excited to put the magnet letters on the fridge. We're going to start working with him to spell out words like CAT and his name. Since knows all his letters and knows what letters to use to start to spell certain words, this seems like the next step for him. Fun!

A little teddy bear

We washed Gage's bear suit yesterday so I put it back on him this morning. He's so sweet in it! And now you can do more than take my word for it...I bought this outfit back in August right around the time of my 18-week ultrasound. Having a baby to put in those adorable outfits felt so far away. And now I'm dressing Gage in those clothes and taking pictures of him. Amazing.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Another Christmas

Mat's parents came up on New Year's day to meet Gage and celebrate Christmas with us. They gave Braeden a black and decker tool bench. He loves it. Me, not so much. Or at least I'll love it when the batteries die and the thing doesn't make any more noise. Even with no batteries there are a ton of tools Braeden can play with. He tells us he's building our house and then plays with the screwdrivers and hammers. Sometimes the tool bench does double duty as some kind of kitchen appliance. Cute.

Braeden has been asking to hold Gage, so I set him up on the couch and positioned Gage between his legs. Carol snapped this nice picture of my two boys together. Aren't they sweet?

Gage's birth story

In honor of Gage turning one week old, here's the story of his birth...

Mat and I went to my Wednesday afternoon (12/26) doctor's appointment together. Since I was now five days overdue, Tanya had scheduled an ultrasound to check the health of the baby and the level of amniotic fluid and the status of my placenta. The baby looked great on the ultrasound and so did my fluid levels and placenta. Based on measurements the tech made, she estimated Gage would weigh 8 lbs 3 oz. Mat asked her how reliable the measurement was and she said it could be off by plus or minus a pound a half. We had to laugh at how unreliable the measurement was! Turns out we were right to laugh!

Tanya checked me and found I was dilated to 3 cm, up from 2 cm the week before. Since I wasn't making any real progress on my own, it was a good thing she had scheduled me for an induction the next day. My appointment at Women's Hospital was at 7:30 AM.

Thursday morning Mat and I got up around 5:30 and began to get ready to leave the house around 7:00. At 6:20 the phone rang. When I checked the caller ID, it was the hospital. The woman calling asked me if I had had my baby. When I said no, she said they wondered when I didn't show up for my 5:30 appointment. 5:30? No, I said, my appointment was set for 7:30. The woman explained they had just one bed left, so I needed to get to the hospital quickly or I would lose my spot. Mat and I flew out of the house and over to Women's. I practically ran into the admissions waiting room and the woman at the admit desk knew immediately who I was. They still had a room for me! Phew. I was not going to go back home without a baby in my arms!

I had to sign a few forms and verify my information with the woman at the admit desk, the same woman who had called me. When she saw I worked at Elon she let me know she was a student there. And when Mat came in a few minutes later from parking the car, they greeted each other like old friends. Or at least like professor and student. Small world.

A nurse came and got me a few minutes later and we were on our way! In my labor and delivery room, I changed into a gown and climbed into one of the world's most uncomfortable beds. I met my nurse Kim who put in my IV and started my pitocin drip around 7:00 AM. The pitocin kicked off contractions, mild ones that were about 7 or 8 minutes apart. Since my cervix had already thinned out, I was able to skip the cervix-ripening step that took 12 hours during Braeden's induction.

After a couple hours of pretty steady but still pretty mild contractions, Tanya broke my water. Turns out there's an inner bag of water and an outer bag that I guess is there to protect the inner bag. Tanya broke the outer bag pretty easily, but couldn't break the inner bag with the crochet hook tool because Gage's head was right there. So, she worked at with her finger for a couple minutes and suddenly it broke with a big gush. Even knowing what would happen, it was still a huge surprise! Another interesting thing about the bag of water is that even though it's broken, it's constantly being replenished. So no matter how much you lose, there's always more where that came from.

One of my least favorite parts of an induction is the constant monitoring. They put two belts with monitors around my belly. One registered my contractions and the other tracked the baby's heartrate. Then there's the blood pressure cuff they left on me all the time. Periodically it would inflate and record a reading. Last time around, my blood pressure was sky high and set off alarms each time there was a reading. This time, my pressure stayed low. Each time I had to go to the bathroom, Mat had to come over and unhook the two monitor cords and help me to the bathroom by pushing my IV and carrying my cords. We joked he was like the young kids who used to follow NFL coaches while they paced up and down on the sidelines carrying their headset cords. At least the IV site didn't bother me as much this time around as it did when I was induced for Braeden.

Every half hour or so, Kim would come in to check my progress and ask how my contractions were doing. She was steadily increasing the pitocin level which was increasing the frequency and intensity of the contractions. Unfortunately when Tanya checked me again, the contractions weren't causing me to dilate any further. Kim had thought I would be ready to have the baby around 2:00 or 3:00 that afternoon but that time came and went with no baby and no further dilation. Kim and Tanya talked and decided to drop the pitocin down low in the hopes of jumpstarting my contractions, like a reset on a computer. So, the contractions spaced out to 6 or 7 minutes apart and steadily increased over the next few hours until they were back where they had been.

Because Gage's head had dropped so low in my pelvis, there was a lot more pain with these contractions. I finally had to ask for some pain relief. Since I'm deadset against an epidural, all that left was a shot of stadol in my IV. I used stadol during Braeden's induction too. Kim gave me half a dose in my IV. I asked her how long before it would take effect but almost before the words were out of my mouth I realized I already felt it. The stadol went right to my head! It's been a long, long time since I've been drunk but that lightheaded, dizzy feeling isn't something I've forgotten. And that's how stadol made me feel. I was glad I was laying down with my head on a pillow! The stadol doesn't really take the pain away, but it does make you care a whole lot less about it. I think over the course of the rest of my labor, I had two more half doses of stadol. My memories of the last couple hours of labor are a little fuzzy thanks to the stadol.

In addition to dilating to 10 cm, the other thing that needs to happen is that the baby needs to turn so that his head is lined up with my pelvis. Well, stubborn baby that he was, Gage wasn't turning enough. Tanya had me lie on my left side to let gravity help out. And finally it worked. Gage had turned. And now we were off to the races, even though it still felt incredibly slow to me. Tanya was sure that, like last time, there would come a point when my labor would progress like gangbusters and she was right.

I dilated to almost 10 cm and felt an incredible need to push at this point. But unfortunately there was still a tiny bit of cervix stuck on Gage's head. And that tiny bit of cervix was the only thing standing between me and the joyous relief of pushing. I was pissed! Tanya wanted me to get on my hands and knees again hoping gravity would finish the dilation process. I just didn't think I could do it, but it turns out it wasn't necessary. The next contraction came and I couldn't not push. We were having a baby.

I started pushing with each contraction and in just a few minutes, Tanya was telling me she could see Gage's head and it would just be a few more pushes. My legs were shaking so much I was sure I wouldn't be able to push, but not pushing wasn't even an option. So, I kept pushing and all of a sudden Gage was here! It was amazing, so fast. He started crying right away and peed, not on Tanya the way Braeden peed on Dr. Harper, but it was another reminder of Braeden's delivery. Mat cut the cord and Kim put Gage on my chest as she wiped him down. He was perfect.

Gage was born at 6:50 PM. He weighed 6 lbs 11 oz and was 20 1/4 inches long. I thought it was amazing that Gage and Braeden were born at the same weight. It didn't matter that I carried Gage two weeks longer than I carried Braeden. I guess I just have 6 lb 11 oz babies. It's what I do.

And that's the story of Gage's birth. :) Happy birthday, Gage.

Doctor's appointment

This morning was another cold one so we bundled Gage up in this adorable brown fleece one-piece with the hood with bear ears. So soft, so cuddly and Gage looked so adorable in it. I made a mental note as we were putting him in the car seat to take pictures of him when we got home.

At the doctor's office they showed us back to a small room to complete the necessary paperwork. After a few minutes, we heard Gage poop. Mat unzipped the too-cute-for-words outfit and found the diaper hadn't contained his poop, so we had to change him into the spare outfit we'd thrown in the diaper bag. So, no pictures today!

After we changed him, I nursed him then they were ready to show us to an exam room. The first thing we did was strip him down to his diaper for a weight check. Gage was 6 lbs 11 oz at birth and 6 lbs 8 oz when we left the hospital. Today my boy weighed 7 pounds! Such a good boy.

The rest of the appointment was uneventful. His circumcision is healing well and so his umbilical cord. We go back in two weeks for another well visit and weight check. No shots at this appointment or the next.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Making new friends

My friend Lisa called this morning and asked if Gage and I were up for company. She, Melisha, and Lindsay came over around 1:00 with sandwiches. It was great to see them and I was so happy to show Gage off to my friends. Aside from being a demanding nurser, Gage was a perfect gentleman during their visit. I nursed him at 11:00 and again at 12:30 just before they arrived. Then he wanted to nurse again at 1:30 and AGAIN at 2:30 when they were getting ready to leave. Crazy.

I definitely see an effect from all the nursing. Gage's fingers have plumped up and his arms and legs are starting to fill out a little. We'll know for sure tomorrow morning after we take Gage for his first doctor's appointment.

We gave Gage a sponge bath tonight in front of the fire. It was SOOOO cold here today. And windy. Now it's 22 degrees! I knew I wanted to clean Gage up, but I was worried he'd get too cold. Mat gathered our supplies and we sat in front of the fire on the floor to do the bath. We laid Gage out on a towel and stripped him down to his diaper. He was so patient and barely made a peep during the whole bath. Gage doesn't spit up the way Braeden did but he has had a few wet burps or instances where milk trickled down his face and into the folds of his neck. I feel good knowing he's all cleaned up and ready to see Dr. Nogo tomorrow. A fireside bath was the perfect idea too. Gage stayed so toasty warm!

I took this picture of Gage last night while he was wrapped up in the fleece blanket Emily made us as a shower gift. I loved looking at him in such a cuddly state!

Tomorrow Gage will be one week old! I think in honor of his birthday and my labor, I'll post his birth story tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy new year!

The first post of 2008! Seriously. Where did 2007 go?

Mat and I took a walk around our neighborhood yesterday afternoon with Gage. It gave me a perfect chance to try out my new Moby wrap. It took a little doing to get it on right, or close to right anyway. Emily has one and I remember her saying it was a little awkward at first to get it on just right, but with practice I'm sure I'll be just as good at it as she is.

Once I got the cloth in place, Mat helped me slide Gage in and we were off for the walk. Even though I was pretty sure he was safe, I couldn't help but keep one hand on his bottom the whole walk just to be sure he wouldn't slip out the bottom. During our walk, I had the other piece of fabric over his head but I slid it off when we came inside. There was so much sun yesterday when we first went outside Gage squinted and dug in deeper to the wrap to shield himself from the brightness.

I'm going to like using the wrap when I start taking Gage out places.

Christmas morning

Here are some pictures of Braeden from Christmas morning.

In this first one, Braeden is making sure he got everything out of his stocking. Nanny got him that stocking with his name on it last year for Christmas. I still remember sitting on the floor of my parents house with him and that stocking was packed full of presents. Braeden didn't understand at all, so we pulled everything out and opened most of it ourselves. This year, we hung our stockings on the mantle and Braeden has been looking at them and talking about them for more than a month. He loved pulling presents out of his stocking and opening them. He didn't love that we wouldn't let him eat all the candy that morning, but he did get to open a package of little cookies and eat a few of those before breakfast. Such good parenting, right?

Here's a shot of Braeden opening one of his presents. I think this was a Diego book from Aunt Abi and Uncle Jeremy. (I say I think because Christmas morning I had a really good handle on who had given us what gift. But then I went and had a baby and now I'm afraid all the presents are a little jumbled in my head!) Aunt Abi uses WAAAAAAY too much tape when she wraps. We joked about it a couple times and Braeden picked it up, so all morning when we would tell him we were opening an Abi present, he would tilt his head to the side all-serious and say Abi uses too much tape. :)

In this picture Braeden is wearing a hat Me Ma knit for him. After he opened it, he put it on and didn't take it off for a very long time. What's so funny about this is that Braeden is awful about hats. We've bought him several baseball caps over the years but he has refused to wear them. He likes to wear P Pa's hats sometimes and thinks it's funny for a minute to wear one of daddy's. So this was amazing. It's a beautiful blue and knit from very soft yarn. Doesn't he look adorable?!

One big happy family in the blogosphere?

Mat suggested tonight that I combine my two blogs into one. He's right, I know that. I'm just not sure how to do it. And to be honest, I feel a little bad for Braeden. I know that's crazy since he doesn't even know what a blog is, but I started with his blog and have been at it for 2 and 1/2 years now.

If I combine blogs, Little Boy Braeden goes away and I have to come up with a clever new name for the combo blog.

I know I've been neglecting this blog and posting more on Gage's blog, so maybe by combining blogs I'll actually spend more time talking about the big brother than I do now.

I really do think it's for the best. I just need to figure out how to combine the two. So maybe I'll hold off for a little bit to see if inspiration strikes.