Friday, November 26, 2010

First Week

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We're loving every moment. I want to bottle up every snuggle, every funny face, and every whiff of her sweet-smelling head so that I can revisit these moments for years to come. Since I don't have that ability, I'll do my best to describe some favorite moments on this here blog. No order. No rhyme or reason. Just a download of things I hope never to forget.

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[And feel free to pass this post by if basic baby-related info is boring to you. I understand.]


Josh as a new dad.

Coming into parenthood, I have had the lion's share of baby-related experience. I've been relatively comfortable and confident around infants for years. Josh? Not so much. But he's jumped right into dad-hood and is eager to learn how to take care of his precious girl. I love watching the two of them together. Especially when she starts to root around and attempts to eat his arm.

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Feeding her.
I'm incredibly blessed to be able to say that nursing this baby has gone really well. I didn't know what to expect going in, and have heard that this can be really difficult for some moms and babies. But with us, by the time she was a day old she was eating every 2-4 hours, and she hasn't slowed down since. It's such a special time for the two of us to snuggle up, skin to skin, every couple of hours. It gives me another excuse to just drink her in.

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Sleep.
She's a pretty good little sleeper, praise the Lord! Hopefully she continues this way. While she does wake up every 3 hours or so in the middle of the night, she's usually happy to nurse and then go back to sleep. Every night she gets wrapped up in a velcro swaddle blanket (bless the person who designed those!) and it seems to keep her nice and content for a few hours in her crib.

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Outings.

I'm not one for staying inside the house, and Caroline has been quite a few places in her first few days. Her first outing was to North Market, a old warehouse-turned foodie paradise downtown Columbus. It's her Daddy's favorite spot to grab a Belgian waffle. She's also been to Easton mall, Buy Buy Baby, Whole Foods, the doctor's office, and Old Navy. Those first couple of days the weather was unseasonably warm (some days at 65!) so we could take her outside without worrying she'll be too cold.

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First Checkup.

We were pleased to find that she'd gained 2 oz since leaving the hospital. Way to go Caroline! Pack it on. As of Monday, she was at 7lb, 14oz. Nice and pink and bright eyed, too. Our very nice doctor answered all of our new parent questions and assured us that we have an extremely healthy girl on our hands. The only small bummer is that Caroline has a decent sized cephalohematoma on the back left part of her head. They're pretty common in infants; they sometimes develop as a consequence of birth. We're thankful that it's not at all dangerous or problematic for her, and will fade away on its own over the next couple of months. If that's the worst problem we have, we're doing well.

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Diapers.
Rolling through them like a champ. Josh has been grossed out to find how baby poo can seep up her back AND all the way up her front to her belly button. At the same time. We're holding off on cloth diapers until after Christmas, since A) we're new at this, B) they'd be a little big on her, and C) we were given lots of disposables as gifts.


Visitors.

Oma and Opa were first to visit in the hospital, just a half hour after she was born. They stayed for a couple of days, went home, and then returned for a day to celebrate Thanksgiving. The second visit they brought Uncle Ben, Montoya, Aiyannah, and Aiydan as well. We all had much to be thankful for this year! Caroline has also enjoyed visits from friends and neighbors here in Columbus. We hope to introduce her to her other grandparents (who are unfortunately dealing with illness right now, and can't travel to see us) around Christmas.

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Snuggles.
Our favorite moments with her are simple. They involve a sleeping baby and an adoring parent who gets to hold her. We love it when she sleeps all curled up in the crook of an arm, or else stretched out on one of our chests. We've watched a lot of football together this way in the last week - and it even makes us feel better about Michigan's awful season.

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I get all sappy/teary-eyed just thinking about this past week with our treasure. I'll try and hold it together for future blog posts. But for now just chalk it up to post-pregnancy hormones coupled with a incredible sense of awe and thankfulness.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

Caroline's Birth

As you know, I was overdue. And large. And a bit impatient. My induction was scheduled for Wednesday night, and I was so looking forward to it.

And then Wednesday morning rolled around. I was surprised to wake up to contractions. Contractions? Me? Could it be true? It was around 4am, so it actually took me the better part of an hour to realize what was actually going on. By that point I was wide awake and watched a few episodes of 30 Rock to pass the time. Eventually I crawled back into bed and told Josh I'd been having contractions for the last two hours, and that they were coming every ten minutes.

And then?

I fell back asleep and stayed that way until 8. Weird.

But they kept right on coming - regularly, but not super strong or long or painful. I told Josh I wanted to get out of the house and stay on my feet to keep things moving. No use walking in circles around the living room - too boring and not nearly distracting enough. So we took Riley out around the neighborhood. And then I convinced Josh that a shopping trip would be a nice way to pass the time. He thought I was crazy. But we went anyway.

Target was the first store to provide some much-needed distraction. We bought cleaning supplies, hospital snacks, and Christmas presents. And the contractions kept coming... and started to get closer and closer.

Josh: How long now?
Me: That one lasted 30 seconds.
Josh: Time between them?
Me: Um... 3 minutes.
Josh: 3 minutes? I don't mean to be dramatic here, but shouldn't we do something about that?
Me: They're not lasting for a full minute yet. We're still good.
Josh: [worried/annoyed/unbelieving look]

Then I told him I wanted to go out to lunch. You know, to pass more time. So we headed to Panera.

Worker: What would you like today?
Me (mid-contraction): Cheese broccoli soup [breathe breathe breathe] in a [breathe breathe] regular bowl with a baguette. And a [breathe breathe breathe] oatmeal chocolate chip cookie.
Josh: [scowl]

It wasn't until we spent 20 minutes at Barnes & Noble that he finally convinced me to go home and pack up for our hospital trip. I just didn't want to go in too early and get sent home. That would have been depressing. But eventually I gave in, and by 3:30 we were getting checked in.

I was 4cm, 90% effaced.

YIPEE!!

By 6, my epidural was in place and I was blissfully unaware of any more contractions. I read. I watched TV, chatted with the nurse, and ate ice chips. I even took a couple of naps. It was wonderful. I know there are lots of opinions on this subject, but let me just say this:

EPIDURALS ARE AWESOME.

My parents showed up around 10 and kept us company during the labor progression. Every once in awhile I'd glance at the monitor and see contraction after contraction in the shape of regular bell curves. And I didn't feel a thing.

I woke up from nap #2 around 1 am, and was given the go-ahead to start pushing at 1:15. While not painful, they were still a lot of work! But well worth every moment. She was "sunny side up" so the doctor worked to flip her around, little bit by little bit. As she was emerging, we discovered that her umbilical cord was wrapped around her little neck twice. Thankfully they got her untangled quickly and the rest of her little body came right out. It was 2:30 am.

She was beautiful and healthy and pink and blessed with a great set of lungs. They put her right on my chest, and then quickly tucked her right into my hospital gown.

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Love.

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Her daddy go to hold her soon after that.

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Love.

She's so beautiful, we whispered to each other. We marveled at her perfectly formed hands and soft, sweet cheeks. A line from a hymn soon came to mind:

Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me
bless His holy name.

We know we've been blessed beyond measure. We're praising God for this little miracle.

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Introducing...

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Caroline Hannah
Born on Thursday, November 18 at 2:30 am
8 pounds even, 20 inches long

We're head over heels in love and on cloud nine.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Light at the end of the tunnel

I went in for my post-40 week check-up today.

And it appears, as it has for weeks, that Nugget is perfectly comfortable and happy staying put.

She still moves around. Her heart beats normally every time they check it. We're so thankful for those things. Praise Jesus she's made it to full term and that she continues to thrive in her warm little cocoon.

And yet she is not making any effort to join her loving parents in the outside world. As my mom would say, "little stinker."

However, we have a date. An induction date. Next Wednesday evening, if she hasn't already arrived, she'll be given a little kick in the pants in the form of Pitocin.

I'm not thrilled at the prospect of 6 more days of waaaaiiitting. I'm a big, fat (pun intended) impatient wimp. I also don't love the idea of circumventing my body's natural process. And yet, I know there are risks associated with waiting too long. So, a Wednesday induction it is. Barring any action prior to that point.

For me there's peace knowing that the end is in sight. The end of the waiting game. The knowledge that we'll get to greet our little Miss mid-next week at the latest. We're so excited to meet her that we can hardly stand it.

Thank you for your excitement, your support, your prayers, your good wishes. We can't wait to introduce her to the world.

Taggie Blanket

Continuing on with my sewing streak...

We've got a "taggie blanket." Blanket seems like a stretch to me since it is somewhere around 1 foot long. What else do you call these things?



Easy, easy, easy to make. Try one. Directions here.



All you need is 2 small pieces of fabric + some ribbon. I had these fabrics on hand, and ribbon was 1/2 off at Hobby Lobby this week.

I think I'll wrap this one up and give it to her for Christmas. Just for fun.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Baby Bump Progression

We've seen - and passed - the 40 week mark 'round here. And we're so, so thankful for a healthy and safe and uneventful pregnancy! Lately I've had my share of grouchy "will my baby EVER come?!?" moments, but over the last few days I've absolutely felt a heaping dose of God's goodness to me in the form of trust, patience, and an overall joyous attitude.

Praise Him for that. I know it doesn't come from inside me.

As I was working through our Europe pics I came across a number of belly bump shots, some of which I've already shared. But to celebrate a full 40 weeks, I thought it'd be fun to see them all together.

Clearly, I put zero thought into taking these in any regular intervals or in any consistent location.

10 weeks. My first belly shot. I could tell there was a little more... something... 'round the middle. But clearly no one else could. I was proudly wearing brand new maternity pants here. I made that switch early on! I couldn't make my normal pants button after about 7-8 weeks.
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14 weeks. A leeettle more to show off here. We went to visit Josh's parents in Phoenix, and he snapped this shot while we were out there. I was in all maternity, all the time by this point.

And yet, looking back, I'm oh so small!
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17 weeks. Next to the harbor in Oslo, Norway.
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18 weeks. Just a week later. It was somewhere between these two weeks that a stranger first asked me about my pregnancy. Meaning that it was obvious to more folks than just me.
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25 weeks. Me in my messy bathroom with my iPhone. Really out there by this point.
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29 weeks. In a hotel in the Chicago area. Bowling ball time. This black shirt from Gap Maternity remains my single favorite item of clothing.
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34 weeks. In a hotel in Tennessee. My last business trip. And clearly, my rain coat wasn't working so well.
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35 weeks. On my own doorstep. Looking and feeling absolutely enormous. Hardly anything fit anymore (even my maternity clothes) by this point.
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This was the effort it took to look at my own feet.
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Yesterday. 40 Weeks. What you can't tell is:
A) I have a sty in one eye. Yuck.
B) My sweater is technically too short, and I have to bridge the gap with a tank top. See comments on the 35 week shots. But at this point, I'm not purchasing any more maternity clothes.
C) I'm wearing black work out pants. I rarely wear anything else.
D) I'm not wearing make-up AND having a bad hair day. Thus the reason I blurred out my own face :).

Monday, November 8, 2010

Favorite Moments: Scandinavia, Part 3

Our second Europe post happened a month after our trip. This is our third (and last) post about our European adventures this past summer. FIVE months after our trip. I was 18 weeks pregnant then. Now I'm fully 40. Oh my, how little my belly was back then!

In case you're curious... here's post #1 and #2.

And here's Josh's recap:

These two places were our favorite stops on the trip. Copenhagen was our favorite city, and the “Norway-in-a-Nutshell” tour was the most beautiful experience of the trip. As they are so different, it’s hard to determine which one we liked better, so we’re not going to try. We’re just going to put them both here at the end.

Norway in a Nutshell

When we were planning our trip, we thought that it would be a crime to travel all the way to Norway and miss the fjords. We ended up adding a couple days onto the front of our trip before the cruise so that we could make it up to the west coast of Norway. We chose to do the fast-paced and popular “Norway-in-a-Nutshell” trip to make the most of our time. This train-boat-bus-train journey from Oslo to Bergen (both cities were featured earlier in this series if you can remember back that far) goes through the countryside and gives the traveler a glimpse at Norway’s diverse landscape. I’ve heard that this route can get packed with tourists in the late summer, but it honestly wasn’t too bad when we went in early June.

Leaving Oslo by train, we first went through a beautiful lakes district and climbed steadily in elevation as we traversed the mountain range that runs through the center of the country.

The next leg had us descending into the Flåm valley via the Flåmsbana train, one of the steepest train routes in the world. The valley itself was beautiful with numerous waterfalls trickling down the cliffs on their way to the Sognefjord. On the way down, we stopped to enjoy the Kjosfossen, a robust waterfall of over 700 feet that falls right next to the track.

After we reached the town of Flåm at the base of the train, we caught a boat that took us through two spectacular fingers of the fjord. At this point, there’s really not a lot that I can say that would add to the pictures, but suffice it to say that it was a highlight. The boat delivered us to Gudvangen, our next terminus.

From this point on, it was a somewhat more mundane bus and train ride, but maybe we were just too tired to take it all in. After a little sleep on the train, we were ready for the rest of the night in Bergen before hopping the night train back to Oslo.

We left from Oslo first thing Friday morning, and then the train dropped us off at 6:00 AM on Saturday. It’s crazy what you can see and do in a 24 hour period. While this trip cost us almost as much as the 7-day cruise we took later that week (in case you forgot, Norway is crazy expensive), it was completely worth it.

Norway Nutshell

Copenhagen

We loved Copenhagen.

Unlike some of the cities that we’ve visited over the past few years, we didn’t come to Copenhagen with much of an itinerary. Let’s face it, there’s no Hagia Sophia, no Notre Dame, no Pantheon, no Hermitage, and no Tower of London in Copenhagen. As we effectively had less than 12 hours in Copenhagen (one of the major drawbacks of the cruise), it’s probably a good thing that there weren’t tons of sights to see. We were able to spend our time just walking around and experiencing the city.

From the pedestrian mall of the Strøget to the canals of Christianshavn, Copenhagen was one of the best walking cities that we’ve ever visited. Over the course of the day, we did see some “sights” such as Rosenborg Castle, Christiania, and the view from the top of the Church of our Savior, but we spent the vast majority of our time walking fairly aimlessly.

I must make a specific mention of the Nyhavn district. This “New Harbor” was actually built about 100 years before the United States came into existence and consists of a main canal surrounded by rows of multi-colored buildings. This bustling pedestrian area is lined with cafes and the wide sidewalks and numerous bridges allowed for easy navigation. It was a great place to relax and spend the last couple hours of our long day in Copenhagen.

We really didn’t have enough time here to take everything in, but we loved the time that we had. I hope that we can make it back someday.

Copenhagen

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Baby Shoes

Yes, I'm still sewing. No, our baby hasn't yet arrived.

There's a significant connection there, not surprisingly.

My latest focus: baby shoes. From this pattern. Oh, Internet, how I love your free sewing ideas.

Here's the first pair I tried, for our Nugget. The trial run. I made them to go with a shirt I made for her... but since the shirt displays the first initial of her first name, I'll refrain from posting it here.

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And, once I realized I could successfully construct baby shoes, I tried making some for friends, as a gift. I sent them along with a sushi-roll changing pad to match, for a certain baby boy named Drew.

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Since I haven't actually tried them out before on a real, live, child, I cannot speak to their durability, fit, or any other practical piece of this equation. I'm just hoping for the best. Hopefully baby Drew likes them okay.

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After sending those off, I figured that Nugget needed another pair. I love the orange and yellow, but let's face it, her wardrobe tends to include quite a few pinks. So of course she needs another pair to match. Right? Because nothing says "practical" like shoes for a child that can't walk, even if they do match the rest of her wardrobe.

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For this pair I thought it'd be fun to try out some applique. It turned out to be a fun addition to the project. However, as I turned to Josh to show off my latest completed shoe yesterday over football, he asked me, "Now how many shoes have you made today?"

"Um, just the one."
"Wow, those take a long time."
"Yes, yes they do."

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But really, I don't mind.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween with the Browns

So our trick-or-treaters came Thursday night. I know -- weird.

I wrangled Riley into his pumpkin get-up, a hand-me-down from neighbors a few years back. He totally rocks the look.


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And then I put on my own costume. We matched!


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Oh, pregnant face, I'm looking forward to seeing the end of you.

Riley was a cul-de-sac hit. Every time the doorbell rang, he bounded up and wagged his way to the door to greet the kids. Wag, wag, wag. Pet me, pet me, pet me.



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I had originally planned to wear my pumpkin shirt on Friday night, too, to Josh's work Halloween party (at his boss' boss' boss' house). Simple, classy-ish, normal. I didn't really want to go overboard, especially since I haven't met a bunch of these people before.

No one needs to see a very pregnant woman going overboard on Halloween. I had no interest in belly painting.

But Josh took one look at my costume, and informed me that it was lame. I told him I disagreed.

By the time trick-or-treaters stopped coming by, it was 8pm. Josh told me the pumpkin shirt was still lame. I informed him that if he could come up with a better idea - the day before the party - I'd wear it.

So we headed to Goodwill. 30 minutes before it closed Thursday night.

And we found this little beauty. An Ohio State trucker hat.



Josh was already going as a trucker, and thought that a pregnant red neck would be the perfect companion. As a big Michigan fan, I fell in love with the idea of wearing a junky OSU hat as a part of my redneck costume.

We purchased a flannel shirt to go along with the hat, and then on our way home decided that I also needed fish net stockings (to be worn under cut-off jeans), and headed to a Halloween store (5 minutes before it closed) for that particular item.

And here's the final result:

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Sadly...
-this was one of those "oh shoot we forgot to take a picture" moment at the end of the night, and all I had was my phone
-we'd blacked out some of our front teeth with paint, but it had worn off by this point
-you can't tell that I drew a Confederate Flag tattoo on one of Josh's arms, and a barbed wire tattoo on the other
-we're missing our props: a oversized can of cheap beer and a pack of cigarettes each

But you get the gist.

And we were a hit. And came in at #2 in the costume contest.

And now hopefully I'll have another chance to make a positive impression on Josh's coworkers.