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Cullen’s first letter

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

I didn’t start Maddie’s letters until she was 4 months old. We were quite overwhelmed in those first few months. It would be interesting to see some of what I might have said in those letters. I thought I might as well start Cullen’s monthly letters from his first month. (more…)

Cullen’s Birth Story

Monday, February 15th, 2010

The labor with Cullen was very different from the labor with Maddie. I can’t get over how different that the two experiences were!

With Maddie, I was induced a few days before my due date due to high blood pressure issues. We showed up at 6am at the hospital, and they started the induction pretty soon after arrival. It wasn’t long before I determined that I did indeed want an epidural. The epidural didn’t take fully for a while, but I had plenty of time for it to kick in. I was in some pain before that, especially since I had back labor with her. By early afternoon, I was pretty comfortable. Progress was steady, though it seemed to take forever having never gone through it before. I was officially in labor for 10 hours, and Maddie was born after pushing for over two hours. I was exhausted and unsure why I had to wait forever in order to hold my daughter. It was a confusing and emotional experience, but I finally was able to hold my little girl in my arms.

Since I didn’t spontaneously go into labor with Maddie, I still had no real idea of what it is like to go into labor. I wondered when it would happen and how. I experienced many more contractions this time in the last few months of the pregnancy. Several times, I timed the contractions to see if they were regular. Sometimes the contractions were a little painful or uncomfortable.

Until the morning of Friday, January 22nd, every time I had timed the contractions, they were not at all regular or getting closer together. That morning, I went to work as usual and noticed that I was having somewhat frequent contractions. I took out my practice iPhone (my iPod Touch that was intended to placate me until we are out of our cell phone contract), and I started timing the contractions with one of the pregnancy apps that I had downloaded a while back. I started to think that maybe I might be heading towards labor when I discovered that the contractions were very regular and around 9 minutes apart when I started timing them. This was around 10:30am. I emailed Gabe just to let him know that maybe he should gather the hospital bag, but I wasn’t too concerned just yet. The doctors’ office didn’t want me to call until the contractions were less than 5 minutes apart for an hour.

By the time I went to lunch on campus with a friend, The contractions were around 6 minutes apart. We had to stand in a long line since they were giving out free lunch (I didn’t want to miss that!). I kept updating my friend with my status and carried the iPod so that I could continue to time them. They were definitely getting more frequent and a little bit more painful…but they really weren’t painful. By the end of lunch, I decided it was time to call the doctor. After a consult with them, they sent me to the hospital. My friend went to get her car, and we had to decide what to do. I felt like I could drive, but friends don’t let friends in labor drive – go figure! We decided that she would drive our van, and we would go by and pick up Gabe and our hospital bags. I didn’t feel like we were in a hurry at this time, though the contractions were definitely frequent. They still weren’t painful, and everyone says that you shouldn’t be able to talk through the contractions. I could still talk through them.

By the time we got to the hospital, checked in, and had my labor signs checked, it was about 2:30pm. I was disappointed to find that no progress had been made since my appointment two days ago (still at 4cm, 50%). I was thinking that things were going to progress quickly, but now I thought it might take forever. Since I had not made progress since my appointment on Wednesday, I was now considered a “watch patient.” The nurse suggested that I walk around to see if that helps progress. She wouldn’t say one way or another, but it seemed like it was even possible that they might send me home. At this point, I really didn’t want to be sent home!

So, we walked around the maternity ward. My contractions were getting more painful at this point. We made some phone calls, and I was no longer able to talk through the contractions. I really, really wanted my epidural already, but they wouldn’t even start an IV with fluids until I was officially “in labor.” I ran into the doctor at some point and let her know that my contractions were painful, and I was looking forward to my epidural. I told her it was starting to get uncomfortable to walk. She said that I didn’t have to walk around if I wasn’t comfortable and that if I was going to be in labor, it would happen whether I walked or not. At this point, I was thinking, um, *if* I go into labor? I’m pretty sure I’m in labor, woman! But officially, I wasn’t in labor yet.

Finally, the nurse comes back to check me. I had made progress! Now I was at 5-6cm and 80% effaced. Woohoo! She got the IV set up a little bit afterward, and now it was around 3:30pm. The doctor came by and assured me that we were going to run the fluids (that part takes 45 minutes to an hour), they would start the epidural, I could take a nap, and then I would wake up and push and voila! Baby! That plan sounded good to me.

The pain had gotten pretty bad by the time they started the fluids. I had to breath through the contractions and started to feel like I wasn’t getting much of a break in between them. We had called my parents to let them know they should go ahead and start the journey to our house, but we decided to wait until after I got the epidural to make other phone calls. I was quite uncomfortable! About 30 minutes into the fluids, my water broke during one of the very painful contractions. Wow. That was crazy. I told Gabe, “um, my water just broke.” His response was, “are you sure?” Ha! Um, yeah. I’m quite sure.

The nurse came by not too long after my water broke. She started to get the epidural ready but said that she needed to check my signs. I think she had a good idea that I had progressed too far and warned me that I might not be able to get the epidural. I really, really did not want to hear that! When she let me know that I was at 9.5cm, definitely past the time that they could give me the epidural (especially considering the fluids weren’t even done yet), I was scared! I hadn’t prepared to do this naturally, and now they were saying I couldn’t have any drugs. Yikes! I didn’t know how long I would have to push. After pushing for 2 hours with Maddie, I didn’t know how I was going to be able to handle anything near that long.

The nurse wanted me to let her know if I needed to push, and at that point I didn’t know if I needed to push or not. A few contractions later, I knew that it was time. Unfortunately, the doctor that was supposed to deliver Cullen was in an emergency c-section. So, they were trying to get me to wait until another doctor could arrive. The contractions were quite painful and frequent and I really wanted to push at this point. The nurse was great, but I was wondering, “don’t you deliver the babies sometimes? Get over there and catch, woman!” I didn’t say that out loud, of course. I did ask if she could snag ANY doctor out of the hallway, though. I hadn’t even met the doctor who was on the way to deliver Cullen.

Finally, after holding me off for over 20 minutes, the doctor showed up and I told him I was going to push now. They were pretty quick to get things ready at that point, and after 3 pushes, Cullen was born at 4:54pm. Officially, I had been in labor for less than an hour and a half (unofficially, it was at least 2-3 hours).

The recovery without the drugs was so much better than the recovery for Maddie. Of course, the pain was worse, but it was for a shorter period of time, thankfully. It helped that I didn’t miss a meal, and that I didn’t have to push for over two hours!! I just felt so much better overall. I was relieved that I could hold my son right away – with Maddie, it felt like forever before I was able to hold her. I was even able to walk myself from the delivery room to the postpartum room!

Maternity session with Catherine Keene Photography

Monday, February 8th, 2010

Less than two weeks before Cullen’s arrival, Catherine was able to come and take photos of my belly. With various weather events and the holidays, we weren’t sure that we were going to be able to manage a session this time. I posted some sneak peeks a few weeks ago. The entire session has now been posted. Click on the photo to see the whole album.

Cullen’s Baby Shower

Saturday, February 6th, 2010

Cullen’s shower had been rescheduled from December to early January after been postponed due to weather issues. I’m glad that we were able to have it and I could actually attend. I missed Maddie’s shower since I was in the hospital with a kidney stone. This shower was non-traditional with friends signing up to bring us meals as their gifts. It was wonderful! Click on the photo to see the rest of the album.

The Sunday Somethings, 24jan10

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

Something that made me happy this week: Finally meeting our sweet boy.

Something I’m thinking: It’s good to be home from the hospital.

Something I’m hoping: I’m hoping to survive this inevitable period of sleep deprivation.

Something happening around the house: My parents have been staying with big sister Maddie while we’ve been at the hospital.

Something I’m reading: I think I read a little of Flyte before the doctor’s appointment this week.

Something tasty I ate this week: My dad’s meatloaf is always tasty and apparently the official “home from the hospital” meal (my request this time).

Something Maddie did this week: She officially became a big sister!

Something Cullen did this week: He made his debut!

Something happening with the pregnancy: Our appointment on Wednesday was somewhat eventful. Progress was to 4cm, and the doctor stated that she would be shocked if we made it to the due date. She was right!

Something I struggled with this week: Giving birth to my son without the epidural I wanted!

Something I’m doing towards my goals: Obviously, I had another child!

Something I learned this week: I learned my son’s birthday.

Something I’m looking forward to next week: I’m not looking too far ahead at this point. One day at a time.

Something random: Nothing I could write here would be terribly random – everything is revolving around the birth of our son.

Something captured: Holding my sweet baby boy moments after giving birth.

Others writing The Sunday Somethings: Audrey

The Sunday Somethings, 17jan10

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

Something that made me happy this week: Finishing Maddie’s big girl room mural!!!

Something I’m thinking: The due date is NEXT WEEK. Yikes!

Something I’m hoping: I’m hoping that Gabe and I have a great day tomorrow. Gabe has a holiday, and I’m taking vacation so that we can go to a fancy lunch and a movie while Maddie is at daycare.

Something happening around the house: We had a slumber party with Maddie’s best friend Keira and Keira’s mommy.

Something I’m reading: I read a little more of the second book in the Septimus Heap series, Flyte.

Something tasty I ate this week: Tonight, I had some peanut butter toast. YUM!

Something Maddie did this week: Gabe installed the infant car seat bases into both cars, which means that we moved the seat around in the van and installed Maddie’s car seat forward facing. So far, she hasn’t seemed to think it’s a big deal. She does talk about being able to see out the window and points out that the other car seat is “baby brother’s car seat.”

Something happening with the pregnancy: We had another appointment this week, of course. For those of you wanting stats, the answers are 2/50/-2. Of course, none of that really means anything, but I guess there’s progress. The next appointment is Wednesday afternoon.

Something I struggled with this week: Finding clothes in my wardrobe that fit.

Something I’m doing towards my goals: I ordered our 2009 photobooks (2 volumes, in addition to the books that we already had for each cruise).

Something I learned this week: We learned how to install Maddie’s car seat forward facing.

Something I’m looking forward to next week: Our fun day tomorrow!

Something random: Our new humidifier is awesome!!! We have had a humidifier in our room for a while, but it just isn’t big enough to handle the size of our bedroom. Our new one is designed to cover a larger space, and what a difference that makes!

Something captured: Maddie’s new big girl room (more photos to come soon). I’m so happy to finish the mural, finally!

Others writing The Sunday Somethings: Audrey

Maternity Session Sneak Peek from Catherine Keene Photography

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Catherine came to visit last weekend and took photos of my ginormous belly. She has posted a few sneak peeks of the session. I hope to be able to post more photos from the session soon!

The Sunday Somethings, 10jan10

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

Something that made me happy this week: I actually managed to attend my baby shower! My friend Shannon (Paolo’s mommy) had a great idea to throw us a meals shower. She and Shannon (Keira’s mommy) co-hosted the event. It was wonderful. We have many friends signed up to bring us meals after the baby arrives. I remember how helpful that was when Maddie was born, and I look forward to trying out so many new dishes.

Something I’m thinking: We’re getting closer to being “ready” for baby boy. I’ll feel more prepared once we reconfigure the seats in the van, move Maddie’s car seat (turning it forward facing), and install baby boy’s car seat bases (in both cars). Gabe hopes to do that early this week.

Something I’m hoping: I’m hoping to get a few more days to “get things done” before the baby gets here, though I feel confident that we can care for his basic needs upon arrival.

Something happening around the house: We had guests this weekend. My mom was in town for the shower, and my friend Catherine and her son were here for the shower and photoshoot. Catherine took photos of my belly today. I can’t wait to see how they turned out!

Something I’m reading: I finished and recommend Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s. I started reading the second book in the Septimus Heap series, Flyte.

Something tasty I ate this week: This week, I’ll mention something tasty I drank this week…the punch at the shower was very good! I don’t usually go for the creamy punches, but this one was fabulous. I hope to get the recipe from Shannon (Keira’s mommy) and post it here.

Something Maddie did this week: We had a fairly major event (as far as Mommy is concerned) this week. Due to various circumstances, I found myself at work with the car without the car seat. Gabe was planning to get Maddie since I had plans after work. Plans changed slightly, and Shannon (Keira’s mommy) was going to meet me at my house right after work and drive me around. Since she had a car seat in her car, and it would save Gabe and extra trip, Maddie rode in Shannon’s car. Without her Mommy or Daddy. This is a big deal for me! Apparently, it was a really big deal for Maddie, too. She has been talking about it for days, “I rode in Shannon’s car and played with toys.” She has repeated this over and over. I’m glad that the drive went so well as we may need to call on Shannon to pick up or take Maddie to daycare, depending on when baby boy decides to make his appearance.

Something happening with the pregnancy: We are going to the doctor weekly. I haven’t met all the doctors in the new practice yet, so they are trying to get me in with different ones each week. This week, I met the newest doctor to the practice. She just started this week. She was very nice and thorough. She’s already one of my favorites. While she was measuring and feeling around my belly, she took a step back and asked, “How big was your first baby??” When I answered that Maddie was 8 lbs, 2 oz at birth, she said, “This baby isn’t going to be any smaller!” I figured this, but it’s another thing for the doctor to inform me of that! We’re expecting a big baby, especially as we get closer and closer to the due date. Oh, and the baby is officially “full term” (37 weeks). Two weeks, 5 days until the due date.

Something I struggled with this week: Putting on my socks and tying my shoes.

Something I’m doing towards my goals: I managed to work on Volume 2 of the 2009 photobooks this week. I took a vacation day on Friday primarily to do this. I hope to take another one this week to get some more done. I also would love to finish Maddie’s mural…but I don’t know if that’s going to happen!

Something I learned this week: Maddie is cutting another tooth. So far, she has her two bottom molars and she’s cutting at least one of the top molars. The new tooth on the top makes her 11th. She may be getting both of the top ones, but she won’t let me poke around her mouth too much (and it’s too hard to see the top ones!).

Something I’m looking forward to next week: We have some dinners with friends, a slumber party, and a birthday party.

Something random: Gabe thinks I put too many marshmellows in my hot chocolate, but I think there’s no such thing as “too many marshmellows.” And hot chocolate, YUM!

Something captured: My lovely co-hosts and me at the shower yesterday.

Others writing The Sunday Somethings: Audrey

The Sunday Somethings, 03jan10

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

Something that made me happy this week: Spending time with my sweet little girl. It’s been a good week! She has been a lot of fun to be around.

Something I’m thinking: Is today really the last day of the vacation? I’m so sad!

Something I’m hoping: I’m hoping to get a few things done today. I’ve been working on photos…maybe I can get those all up-to-date on the website this week.

Something happening around the house: We had our New Year’s Eve games night. We had a lot of fun, though I’m not sure we’ll have another games night for a while…

Something I’m reading: I finished Magyk, the first book in the Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage. I started reading Look Me in the Eye which is January’s book club pick.

Something tasty I ate this week: I’ve posted two recipes that I tried out over the holiday break: Broccoli Rice Cheese Casserole and Hannah’s Cheese Ball. YUM!

Something Maddie did this week: Maddie told her first joke this week. I spilled my Dr. Pepper during lunch the other day, and I was talking to Maddie as I cleaned up the mess. I said, “I spilled my Dr. Pepper everywhere! It’s on my pants, my shoes, and the floor!” Maddie said, “on your head??” and giggled about it. Too funny. Since then, she has mentioned the incident a few times. “Dr. Pepper on your head?” Yesterday, she also added with a laugh, “Goldfish on my knee!” In a side note, I love how she says “Dr. Pepper” – it sounds like “doc-tuh pep-puh.”

Something happening with the pregnancy: We had another boring appointment last week (boring is good!). The next appointment is Tuesday, and we’re now going every week. Baby boy will be full term on Friday. I can’t believe how close we’re getting now. Just a little longer baby boy…please stay in the belly just a little longer.

Something I struggled with this week: Maddie was an angel for most of the week, but she had a few rough moments with her teething. Those molars are huge! They look quite painful.

Something I’m doing towards my goals: I worked on our family’s 2009 photobooks. I’ve finished Volume 1 (yes, I have to do two volumes – have you seen the number of photos that we have?). It’s my goal to finish Volume 2 before the baby arrives…otherwise, I don’t know when it will get done!

Something I learned this week: I learned that our plates have decreased in price at Replacements Ltd. Last time I checked on them, they were really expensive. Now they are just slightly expensive. Since Gabe broke a plate yesterday, I think we’ll order a few replacements. Maddie let everyone know, “Daddy broke a plate.” Over and over and over. She must have repeated it 50 times. We’ve been meaning to order replacement dishes since moving into the house since the movers broke a few.

Something I’m looking forward to next week: Dare I say that I’m looking forward to the rescheduled shower???

Something random: Ooh, the premiere of Chuck is this coming weekend! Woohoo!

Something captured: Maddie on her new bike that she got for Christmas from her grandparents.

Others writing The Sunday Somethings: Audrey

The Sunday Somethings, 27dec09

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Something that made me happy this week: Christmas! I loved seeing Maddie react to every little thing. She’ll probably be asking to open more presents for weeks.

Something I’m thinking: It appears to be Monday, but I just didn’t have the time to do this yesterday.

Something I’m hoping: I’m hoping that the baby waits until close to the due date to make his arrival.

Something happening around the house: Chaos! Toys are everywhere, and we have had guests since Christmas Day. I’m trying to decide whether to put away the Christmas decorations before the New Year’s Eve party or leave them up. I want to leave them up, but that means less gaming space…so I don’t know. I usually like to take the decorations down in the first few days of the new year.

Something I’m reading: I finished The Help. I had some time to read when I was sick earlier in the week. I started reading the first book of the Septimus Heap series, Magyk, by Angie Sage. The Help is March’s book club pick. Magyk is not, but I thought it would be a pretty easy series to read. I might read the next book club book after I finish Magyk, though I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to attend the next few book club meetings.

Something tasty I ate this week: We had LOTS of tasty things this week!!!

Something Maddie did this week: I always see quite a bit of progress in Maddie when we are with her for multiple days. She seems to be talking more than ever! She frequently speaks in complete (and correct) sentences. One day this week, she took the remote control and said, “I want to watch the game” and then “Daddy, I need to watch the basketball.” Daddy was quite proud. Considering that she watches very little (almost no) TV, we were surprised to hear her say this!

Something happening with the pregnancy: I’m noticing more Braxton Hicks contractions and wondering if I’m going to make it to the due date. Things seem a bit different this time than they were with Maddie at this stage. Time will tell. I have my 36 week appointment this week and will now be going to weekly appointments.

Something I struggled with this week: I had an ear infection on top of congestion, headache and sore throat. Ugh! It was not a fun several days, but I was thankful that I was well before Christmas Eve.

Something I’m doing towards my goals: Not a whole lot aside from the usual ongoing things.

Something I learned this week: Maddie has been all about Daddy for about the past 6 months. She seems to be balancing out now and is excited about Mommy as well. It’s nice that she’s turning her attention to me again, though I wonder how it’s going to be when a lot of my attention will be going towards the new baby.

Something I’m looking forward to next week: Our usual New Year’s Eve games night!

Something random: We’re enjoying the new video monitor that we gave ourselves for Christmas. We knew we would need a 2nd monitor for the new baby, and I found this video monitor on sale not too long ago.

Something captured: Maddie opening her stocking stuffed with goodies (and new buddies) from Santa. She had so much fun.

Others writing The Sunday Somethings: Audrey