Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wow, I didn't think it was possible!

The past few weeks have been rough regarding sleep. Oh, this ever precious and ever important topic, especially among new parents. We knew that he would start sleeping longer EVENTUALLY, even if it would be when he's 3. I have friends whose 2 year olds still wake up throughout the night so I really was just going along hoping that someday, it would happen.

Well this past saturday we had our first 6.5 hour block! Thad and I were so concerned that we both went in to check on him to make sure he was okay. Finally he woke up to eat and boy were we surprised! We had a fantastic night of sleep but had to remind ourselves that it's always 2-steps-forward, 1-step-back with regards to sleep progress.

Well last night we had another great night! He slept for just over 7 hours straight!!! Holy cow, we feel like new people today. He got up, ate, and went straight back to sleep. Oh man, I hope we're on to something here.....

Friday, December 19, 2008

Julian versus the biscuit

So there are these teething biscuits that Julian loves to eat/play with/destroy and last night at dinner he really gave that biscuit the 'what for.' For anyone interested, we give him the Healthy Timez Teething Biscuits in both Vanilla and Maple. It really is the perfect treat! It keeps him happily entertained long enough for us to eat dinner together and then some. He can pick it up easily, he can pass it between both hands, and he chews his way around it like a harmonica. Last night he made the biggest mess yet with the biscuit and I just had to include this pic to show his enjoyment with it.

No teeth yet. We hope that at least one will make an appearance soon because the little guy has been miserable the past week. Sleeping is off, cranky, irritable...oh, it's just yucky. I fear that this could go on for months before any teeth actually come out for all we know. I hope not!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

We hope you had a great Thanksgiving. Julian had a great first Turkey Day! We watched the parade and some of the dog show before heading to Grammy's house. There we had dinner with Grammy, Lolo (Jack), daddy, Grandma, Uncle Brian, Shannon (my friend from college), and Leah & Ed (Jack's niece and her husband).

At the head of the table with Grammy.

Julian enjoyed his sweet potatoes fo' sho'.

Half a year!!!

When he was born, 6 months sounded SO far away and here we are now! Everyone talks about this magical 6 month mark....they smile, the sleep isn't as bad (I think you just learn to deal with it better by now and your body is adjusted to the different sleep patterns), they play on their own really is magical. I understand why people want another baby when they have a 6 month old because life really is great! (No, don't even ask about #2 yet!!).

Today was his 6 month appointment. Here are his stats:
  • Height- 27 2/1 inches. He is in the 70% percentile for height and has grown 6 inches total since his birth.
  • Weight- 20 lbs 10 oz. He is in the 90% percentile for height and has gained just over 12 lbs or so since his birth. He's a big 'un. We were laughing today at his big big thighs.
  • Head Circumference- 17 1/4 inches. He is in the 50% percentile for his noggin.
I realize that not everyone is as interested in numbers as I am, so onto the fun stuff.....
  • Sleep- We're getting a pretty consistent night now. We start the bedtime routine sometime around 6:30 or whenever he starts showing his sleepy signs. If it's bath night we do a bath, if not, we just change his clothes and his diaper, turn the lights low, and read a couple of books. Then we nurse, then we rock or sway and then it's down to the crib usually within 40 minutes of starting the process. While I miss sleeping with him in the bed, we really needed to get better sleep in our own spaces so I started pulling him into bed with us around the 2 AM waking. This week I've been trying to stick it out to the 4 or 5 AM waking. Hopefully as his sleeping hours extend between feedings, he'll be able to sleep the whole night on his own....but for now, we're doing pretty well.
  • Gross Motor- He is sitting up now very well despite some wobbly moments when he gets really excited and falls backwards or something. He loved tummy time since birth and thanksfully that hasn't changed as he loves being on his belly to play. He will pull his arms and legs up like an airplane and wobble on his belly. He also is pulling his butt up in the air and pushing up with his arms and tries to crawl but it's not very effective as his push with the arms/push with the legs combination to move forward isn't really nailed yet. Instead, he ends up going in a backwards circle...cute, but ineffective in getting to that remote control! He's standing very well with assistance, too. He's not big on bouncing but just standing very, very straight.
  • Fine Motor- He can pick up just about anything now that in front of him. Whether or not he can get it into his mouth is a different story...but the full hand "mitten" grab is in full effect! When he eats his potato puffs he can pick it up in his fist and then he shifts his fist around until he finds the puff to put it in his mouth. He's working hard on this one. :)
  • Verbal- I think he takes after his mother in that he really doesn't stop talking. He plays a lot with his consonants and on sunday he looked at Thad and said, "ada." I thought it was just coincidence but he did it twice more that day and I am now convinced he is trying to talk to us.
  • Solid Foods- When he was 4.5 months old he was showing MAJOR interest in our food. I figured it was just interest in what we were doing not as much the food, but I started giving him some pureed veggies periodically just to see his interest. By 5 months old we were up to 1 meal a day of solid food which sometimes he couldn't get enough of or showed very little interest. I figured just offering it as something to do and learn how to eat rather than offer any major nutritional amount would suffice. By 5 1/2 months we were up to two meals a day plus oat teething biscuits and potato puffs. He is LOVING solid food! We give him apple slices to suck/chew on and he really, really wants everything we eat. As of there was any doubt our half Filipino son would love solid food....
  • Raspberries!!! This beloved sound is how we wake up almost every morning. We just love it.
  • Show me the toes! As with many babies, he would love to just suck on his toes all day, especially when we change his diaper.
Here are some recent shots of 'baby the boy' as we have affectionately been calling him.

Friday, November 28, 2008

My missing link

Ahh, the holidays. A time of light strings, scented candles, and lots of rich, yummy food (I think stuffing would be my last meal). It's also a the time of the year of family. People travel across miles (or drive down the street in our case) to spend time with those people where love is unconditional and you can unbuckle that top button comfortably when you eat too much. You can reminisce about old times or make plans for the future together. The key word here is "together." I just love the holidays. At least, I used to until it unfortunately became a time of great difficulty for me.

On December 18, 2001, my father passed away after a fast and furious battle with myelodysplastic syndrome
. After our last Thanksgiving together, he entered the hospital with a lung infection. While I was taking my final exams at school he went to the ICU for breathing assistance and the night I came home from fall semester was the last time I spoke to him awake. Suffice it to say, his passing gave the holiday season a completely different feeling to me.

I knew that having a child would be hard when I thought about the gaping hole that my father would not fill in Julian's life but I didn't realize how hard it would be for me to have a son that would never know my father. It's hard enough that my husband never had a chance to meet him, but now my own son? Granted, Julian doesn't realize there is a hole but to me there is a huge one. A great, big cavernous hole that we can only attempt to fill through stories and photographs but know it will never be enough. It is a pain beyond one I've ever felt before to think that our family will never truly be together again (leaving any discussion of life-after-death for another time).

Last night when I got home from Thanksgiving dinner at my mom's (pictures to follow, I left my camera there) I was the saddest I think I've been since my father's passing. As an eternal optimist it is uncharacteristic of me to think of the things that I am missing from my life....but really, how can it be the holidays without the number one man in my life to share it with us?

Thad is such a trooper. He sits with me while I talk about my fond memories of my father and he hugs me when I cry (which, since I became pregnant last year, has been quite often!) and does his best to understand me when I say that my life will never be the same.

My father loved the holidays as well. He loved hosting family and sharing memories with me and my brother. I spent every new year's eve with my parents in high school, eating miniature hot dogs and singing karaoke until the ball dropped. It may sounds geeky that I preferred to spend time with my parents than my friends (most of the time) but now that he's not here, I am so grateful I did as those memories are what carry me through my rough patches.

Oh, he would have loved Julian. He would have loved teaching him about music (I still know too much about music from the 50's-70's for not having been alive during those decades), how to play tennis, how to dribble a basketball, and how to grill when it's snowing. Boy did he love grilling during winter. What is it about men, an open flame, and meat that makes them so happy? I'll never understand it but I will have the image of my dad grilling in the rain holding a beer emblazoned in my memory forever.

Ultimately, he was my hero. I'm sure I'm not the first to talk about a daughter's love of her father and I reach out to my fellow females who understand the absolute love a girl can have for her dad.
My father was a great that's the understatement of the year. He was the benchmark by which I have compared every man I have ever met and will continue to be my guiding light. I will continue to live my life in a way that I know he would be proud and now with a son, I will do my best to raise him with the same love, humor, and wisdom my father raised me.

So to all of you who have your families near and dear this holiday season, give your parents a great big hug for me. If they are not near, well, I pray that you will have the chance to give them that hug the next time you have the opportunity. I love my father and while this holiday season will be tough without him here, I look forward to showing Julian a season my father would have been proud of.

I love you, dad.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Yes, I wear my child.

I proudly admit that I wear Julian almost everywhere I go and we love it. In celebration of the inaugural International Babywearing Week (yes, this is real: Babywearing International) there have been emails flying around the various list serves to which I belong (among them DCCDs- DC Cloth Diapers-, Nursing Moms of NOVA, and Babywearers of DC/VA/MD) about baby wearing celebrations. Also this week, Motrin intentionally launched an anti-babywearing ad campaign. I was absolutely shocked when I saw this ad because how could anyone see babywearing as something negative? Oh, Motrin is barking up the wrong tree on this one....most people (many men wear their children, too) who wear their children are absolute believers in the benefits of babywearing, so much to the point that they are almost militant in their beliefs of it. Motrin just pissed off a lot of people.

I knew before I ever got pregnant that I would wear my baby. I love the photos I've seen of women in other countries wearing their children while they did their daily chores. The kids always looked so snug and happy and I am a big proponent of touch so it just made sense to me that wearing my baby is the most natural thing I could do. If you have not heard about it before, check out the wiki page on it: What is babywearing?

Julian loves it. He can check everything out in the safety and comfort of our "arms" and then explore on his own terms. He can nap when he wants, play when he wants, and it's incredibly convenient for grocery shopping and dog walking.

We own 4 different kinds of "slings." I borrowed one from a friend in the beginning and we loved it until Julian rapidly outgrew it and we needed something with more support for both of us. Here are some reviews:

1. Moby Wrap- While it seems difficult at first I found this to be the best thing to wear until he reached about 17 lbs (when it would stretch after prolonged wear). He LOVED being snuggled up when he was a newborn and when he was strong enough to hold his head up he loved facing out and looking around. This can be worn in a variety of different ways and Julian loved almost all of the holds.

2. Cabin Baby- This is the one I borrowed from Jessica. It is VERY easy to put on and very comfortable for a sleeping newborn. It was great for bringing around to errands and the quick in and outs to stores.

3. Maya Wrap- This is probably the most 'stylish' of the bunch. It is more light weight so with the hot summer it was the most comfortable to wear, and it is very easy to wear, although once it is fitted I wouldn't mess with the settings anymore. I unfortunately had to unwrap mine to let it dry after I spilled a bottle of water on it and it hasn't fit the same since. I also like how I can wear Julian on my hip comfortably on this one the most out of the other slings.

4. ErgoBaby- Oooo, this is my FAVORITE. It is very easy to put on and off and to transfer a sleeping baby out of it into a bed or into the pack 'n play. He is cuddled up nicely against me for winter but by summer he'll be able to ride comfortably on my back to check things out. This distributes the weight GREAT on my small frame and I just couldn't live without it.

5. BabyBjorn- Thad wears this more than I do as I feel like I'm pregnant all over again with how his weight is held up. It's more comfortable on men, I've found, once the babies get a bit heavier, but to each their own. It's still the most well-known baby carrier and we are happy to support the brand if it means spreading the good word of the benefits of babywearing.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Father's Rambling Perspective

Hi everyone,

I know I don't post very often (or ever, I guess), but when Pamela (and I) started this blog, it was always our intention that I would also contribute. Work has been extremely busy and blah blah blah so I haven't been adding anything, but I have a couple moments now and something just happened that I think is worth sharing.

I failed.

It's hard to swallow that, being an achiever and generally successful at most of what I undertake.

It's also probably just a gloomy way of looking at the situation, as there really wasn't anything else I could have done to make things better. I guess I'll explain and all Pamela's loyal readers will be the judge...

Thursday nights there is an exercise class at 7:30 that Pamela likes to attend, and this particular evening she was also scheduled to speak at a Team in Training event beforehand. It would fall to me to get Julian ready for bed, feed him his nighttime bottle (which he generally takes without issue) and rock him to sleep. I've done this plenty of times in the past and wasn't concerned.

Pamela left as I was turning down the lights, etc. in his nursery - that's when things went downhill. He started fussing, which I assumed was due to his being hungry. The fussing turned to outright howling as soon as I presented him with the bottle, which he refused. Not good. I tried again, and still no dice. I squeezed a little of the breastmilk out so there could be no doubt of the bottle's contents, but he was completely unwilling to even consider it, howling ever louder. I gave up and stood up to walk around the room, which usually calms him, but that also did nothing.

Long story short, we did this for 30 minutes, and nothing I did had any effect whatsoever. Walking. Sitting. Different rooms. Light. Dark. Tried the bottle again at least ten times. Music. No music. Teething rings, toys, the animals, put him in the Bjorn... he would not stop crying.

Finally, I gave up and called Pamela, telling her that he would not take the bottle and she would need to feed him.

When she arrived home and I saw his reaction, I immediately realized two things: one, that there was nothing I could have done to make things better, and two, that I had failed nonetheless. As soon as I handed him to Pamela, teary eyed and red faced, he quieted and started smiling at me. When she came to give him back so I could say goodnight, he immediately started crying again until he was back with her. Not the best feeling in the world, let me tell you. I know he loves me, and 90% of the time he's so very excited to see me, but tonight was just not one of those times.

Anyway. Pamela is coming downstairs and Julian is off in dreamland, so I'll leave it here. Hope other new fathers (my friends Josh and soon to be dad Graham) can see this and know they're not alone when things like this happen.

Night all.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A lot changes in a year....

Thought it'd be fun to post these two pictures....taken approximately 12 months apart.....

Taken at a wedding in October 2007 in Des Moines, IA....we were pregnant already but were not telling anyone yet.

Taken this past weekend at a wedding in Norfolk, VA.

My how our little family has grown....

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Happy Halloween!!!

Yes, we dressed him up. No, we didn't go trick or treating. Yes, he's sitting up on his own but not perfectly yet. We assume by Thanksgiving he'll be a sitting machine.

Julian in his skeleton outfit I got for $6. Go go BRU.

He "chose" this pumpkin at our outing to the pumpkin patch. And when I say "chose" I mean it's the one I grabbed as he was having a fit when we were leaving the patch. Done and done.

October in Fairfax

Ahh, October. It's my favorite month of the year for the cooler weather, my favorite colors everywhere, and the fun opportunities to dress up unsuspecting babies.

First off, October is my brother's birthday so here's a pic of Julian with Uncle Brian on Brian's 30th birthday! Happy birthday, Brian!

Of course October wouldn't be complete without a trip to a pumpkin patch. Kathleen, Jessica, and I went to the Burke Pumpkin Playground in an unseasonably hot fall day. Although the kids were too young to enjoy the hayride, slides, petting zoo, and other fun kid rides, they were tolerant enough for us to prop them up with some pumpkins and make silly faces at them in an attempt to catch 'the perfect shot.' Here's a sample of what we got. Poor Julian looks wedged between 2 pumpkins and the flash made the kids look blue but I only had so much to work with....

In the end of the month, as a family we ran the Goblin Gallop 5K. This was Thad and Julian's first race ever!! They did great; Thad pushed the jogging stroller and Julian slept the entire race. My friends, Lauren and Maggie, also ran. It was a perfect running weather and hopefully this was the first of many family races.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Leaf peeping and eating our way through Vermont

We have just returned from our first family vacation. We flew up to Burlington, VT last wednesday and stayed for 4 days. It was the perfect time to go up for the foliage and check out what this "San Francisco of the east coast" is all about. Suffice it to say that we were trying to figure out every way possible to stay up there forever.

The flight was great; Julian just nursed and played with us and he barely fussed at all. It was a cheaper flight up to VT by way of BWI so we drove up luckily during Julian's long nap of the day. By the time we got to the hotel (Hampton Inn Colchester) it was already late afternoon so we stopped at Shaw's to get supplies (read: popcorn and beer for the hotel room) and went on search for dinner.

I think it's honest to say that we truly did eat our way through Vermont. Our first night there we ate at Junior's. The pizza was EXCELLENT and because of the delayed dinner we got back to our hotel room with our large pizza and proceeded to demolish it within about 10 minutes. While we were waiting for our pizza we sat in the dining room and ended up talking with the couple next to us. They were a very nice couple; she was about 4 months pregnant (unexpectedly, they had to add) and we talked with them about life in Vermont, raising a baby there, and all the fun things there is to do in Vermont. We left the restaurant with excited for our was a great start.

In the morning we drove out to Essex to check out houses and neighborhoods and ate a fantastic lunch at Joyce's Noodle House. Our first observation about Vermont was that it is extremely baby-friendly. When we walked in with Julian we didn't get any bad looks. In fact, the waitress and the fellow diners all cooed and played with Julian. It was great. We wanted to see what the culture is like with children there and from the get-go all we got were positive vibes.

Later that day we drove out to the Ben & Jerry's factory as well as the Cold Hollow Cider Mill, both in Waterbury. We ate our fill of apple cider donuts, fresh apple cider, and ice cream. We rolled out of Waterbury pleasantly stuffed and on a sugar high. :)

For dinner we joined my friend, Liz, with whom I worked at the Little Beginnings Child Development Center. She and her husband, Deane, are from Vermont and they were living in DC while Deane was working on his Masters. She was very excited to show us her city and we were very excited to see the city with a local. We met up at the Church Street Marketplace and had dinner at Sweetwaters. They served this beer there- Switchback- that is made by a local brewer who only sells it in kegs out of his basement. It is an unfiltered beer that is DELICIOUS but unfortunately not sold commercially....too bad, as it would be a hit outside of Burlington!

On friday we first went to Essex to check out the new baby store. We thought if the baby store would be a good place to see what the culture is like for raising babies around Burlington. We were VERY excited to see this shop! The first thing we saw when we walked in were ponchos to wear while wearing your baby (very good sign). All the things they sold were in line with how we are raising Julian (organics, natural, attachment parenting) and they even had a whole room dedicated to cloth diapering!! They had a play/comfortable room for kids to play and moms to nurse and they even had a cute changing room complete with a table. The women were so helpful and nice and we got to meet a couple local doulas. Needless to say, I felt right at home. We got such a cozy feeling about the family culture in Vermont from this one store that we were seriously ready to just find a house and stay there! If you're ever in need of a baby shop in Burlington, check out Bebop Baby.

Then we went downtown to check out the Harbor area and had lunch at Cobblestone Deli right by the water. Despite the chilly weather we took a (brief) walk down by the Harbor, just long enough to see a naked 5-year old run by. Welcome to Vermont, right? Then we grabbed a coffee and crepe at the Skinny Pancake. We noticed that almost every business we visited had social and environmental missions. Everything they did lent to sustainable development, supporting local farmers/businesses, and growing long-term community wealth. Seriously, why can't more businesses be more socially conscious?! The market in town is a coop which supports all the local farms and if it isn't local, you can definitely bet on it being organic and from another small farm elsewhere. City Market (or "Shitty Market" as locals call it...not because it's bad but because they wanted it to have a fun name) was just perfect and everyone came in with their own bags (yay reusable bags!) and everything they carried was stuff you'd find at Whole Foods/Trader Joes/Wild Oats. Thad and I were so excited since we love to cook and a big question mark for us moving up there would be the availability of the foods we like to eat/prepare.

On friday afternoon we drove down to Rutland (not before Thad could take a stop at the Magic Hat Brewery for a taste test and a free growler....he talked death metal with the bartender and he gave him a free growler for talking music with him....sweet) to visit with a dear high school friend that I haven't seen in years. Katherine and I were super close in high school and after she moved to Albany after college it's been difficult to see each other so Rutland was midway for both of us for a quick visit.

On saturday before our flight home we met Liz and Deane for breakfast at Magnolia's in downtown Burlington. It was started by University of Vermont students and it is a totally green restaurant. It was a fantastic way to wrap up our vacation in Vermont. As we left there was a saturday morning farmer's market and they were playing live music....seriously, as if they needed to sell Burlington anymore to me, the acoustic live music on a sunny morning was the kicker. I was seriously ready to just set up shop forever in Burlington and send for the animals later.

All in all it was a definitely worthwhile trip and we can't wait to go back. Our next goal is to visit during the dead of winter to see if I could really handle how cold it gets. Everything else about Vermont was perfect so I won't let a little thing like below-zero weather and tons of snow slow me down! Enjoy our doesn't give our trip justice but it's just the beginning....I know there will be more pictures up of Vermont someday again soon!


Monday, October 13, 2008

Quick update

Sorry for the lack of entries lately but it's been CRAZY here in Lurieland the past couple of weeks. Thad ended up in the ER with what we thought was a hernia and ended up being Epididymitis and was on bed rest for a few days. He's all good now but it was a very stressful week with a patient who had to be horizontal (we left the ER with instructions to "take his antibiotics, take the painkillers, and to elevate his scrotum"....tricky that last one), 2 doggies, 2 kitties, and Julian. My mom and Terri stepped up wonderfully to help out. Shortly thereafter we had to take Paige to the vet because she scratched a hot spot on her shoulder that ended up becoming infected. She is now on about 6 medicines and slowly getting better. Scout had issues for a few days as well. Things are slowly going back to normal here at a good time as we are headed up to Vermont on wednesday for a much-needed vacation. We'll only be gone for a few days but hopefully it'll be just enough time to relax, see some foliage, have some Ben & Jerry's, and sleep in a couple times. Hope all is well on your end and I'll be posting some photos, I'm sure, of our trip to Vermont shortly after we return!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Four Month Update

Today we had Julian's four month doctor's appointment. We have been looking forward to this appointment to see if he is "on track" with his development. Before I get into some specifics about his development/growth, I'd like to say a bit about growth charts. I realize that people want to know where their kid stands with regards to other kids...that's fine. All moms want to know if their kid is 'normal.' The problem I have with this as it applies to physical growth is that the growth charts- while there are ones that distinguish breast-fed babies and formula-fed babies- do not account for the variety of ethnicities out there. How can an Asian baby possibly be measured on the same growth chart against an African baby? I wonder how the growth charts used today will change over the next 100 years with all the new mixes of babies out there. *steps down from rostrum here* Moving on, here are some updates:
  • Length/Height- I'm not sure when we start using the word "height" instead of "length" but for now he is measured at 26 inches. He has grown 4 1/2 inches since he was born!
  • Head Circumference- I can't remember what his head was when he was born but as of today his head measured around at 16 1/2 inches.
  • Weight- He weighs 17 lbs 15 oz. He has gained 9 lbs 2 oz. since his birth! We are very excited about this doubling in weight, we are wondering about when he's going to start sleeping for longer than 5 hours at a time at night (and that's on a good night). I'll get to sleep in a little bit.....
About vaccinations....We decided to go with an augmented schedule so that he does not receive more than 2 at a time. While there are no definitive links between vaccinations and their alleged (negative) impacts on development, there is enough research that told me not to take any chances. Since our pediatricians were okay with spreading out his schedule, we decided to do just that. Here is a detailed schedule of what we are doing for anyone who is interested in this kind of stuff:

  • Birth- Hep B before he left the hospital
  • 2 month- DTap & Polio
  • 3 month- Hib & PCV
  • 4 month- DTap & Polio
  • 5 month- Hib & PCV
Other than this we will follow the recommended vaccinations by the American Academy of Pediatrics, but we are turning down Rotovirus, Influenza, and Chicken Pox.

Sleep....oh, that blessed, blessed gift. We were talking last night and since I was pregnant enough that I was getting up at night to pee (pretty early for me, about 4 weeks) I haven't slept more than 5 hours in one block. Good grief, I would give anything to be able to just sleep for a few days. Anyways, he is doing great. Our current night time schedule goes something like this:
  • 7:15 PM- Julian starts showing sleepy signs
  • 7:45 PM- Thad and I look at each other and wonder if it's time to start "the process." If it's bath night he'll have a bath now.
  • 8:00 PM- We go upstairs and we proceed to manhandle our child by changing his diaper (been using disposables at night as they wick away the moisture better and we don't need to change him until morning unless he has a poopy), putting on a night time onesie, suctioning his nose if he's stuffy, and putting lotion on him.
  • 8:15 PM- Set the lights low in the room, turn on the fan for white noise, and play some Enya while I nurse him in the rocking chair.
  • 9:00 PM- This is on the later end, but by now he's passed out in the pack 'n play and I am headed downstairs for emails/cleaning up/glass of wine/Tivo'd shows.
  • 10:00 PM- I am about to fall asleep standing up.
  • 12:45 AM-1:30 AM- About now Julian wakes up for his midnight snack. He is promptly pulled into bed with us and we snack/sleep until about 6:30 AM, or whenever he wakes up and makes his big morning poop.
I am hoping that second block until we wake up will start to stretch out but who knows....sometimes he sleeps the whole time, sometimes he wakes up 2-3 times to eat during that time. The nurse today said that's totally normal for breastfed babies to wake up more often during the night than formula fed babies, so hopefully now that we've started solids and will hopefully increase the amount he takes over the next couple of months that'll help him be fuller for longer. Only time will tell.

Speaking of sleep, I can't hold my head up anymore so I think it's time to go. Since he had a couple of shots hopefully he'll sleep a bit longer tonight while his body deals with the vaccines. Good night, folks, and thanks for reading!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Yes, yes, it's true......

Julian rolled over today in front of my very eyes! Woo!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

"Please, sir, can I have some more?"

We noticed that over the past 10 days or so Julian's interest in our food has gone from passive to almost desperate. He looks longingly at my yogurt, hopefully at my scrambled eggs, and hungrily at my soup, so we figured it may be time to at least try some solid foods. I know I am supposed to wait until he's 4 months old and can sit up by himself to introduce solid foods but he was already 16 weeks and he does enjoy the tasting things so, heck, why not?

This saturday we mixed some rice cereal with some breast milk and used our fingers as spoons to introduce this new substance to our liquid-diet son. At first he looked at us like we were crazy. "What is this mess you want me to do? You want to put that in my mouth? Well then...I guess I'll try it." At first he made a funny face but after a couple more tastes he was ALL about the rice cereal! He was even opening his mouth for us when we'd put our finger up to his mouth wit some gruel on it. After a few bites (enough to amount up to 1/2 a tablespoon) we stopped there and cleaned him up. Since then he has shown a lot of enthusiasm for our food and hopefully we can give him a bit each day until he is showing a strong ability to swallow the food safely, and then we'll up the amount. I am thinking of trying some sweet potatoes tonight....

What did I miss?!

Last night, when Julian woke up for his middle of the night meal, I went over to get him out of his pack 'n play (no, he is not in a crib yet and yes, he outgrew the bassinet) and he was *gulp* on his back! We have been putting him on his belly to sleep at night since he was about 2 weeks old (yes, I know this goes against all the 'advice' out there today but he's obviously fine and since he picked his head up the day he was born I figured he would be fine) and I was quite shocked to find him on his back last night. I even woke up Thad to see if he had put him down on his back when he put him to bed but nope, he was on his belly.

So I guess this is a sign of things to come? Oh boy....

Monday, September 15, 2008

First Road Trip: Virginia Beach

Last saturday ago my mom, Terri, and I took Julian down to VA Beach for the weekend. Daddy stayed home with the animals and took care of a massive "honey do" list for mommy (thanks, daddy!!). It was a good trip. We strapped the seat into my mom's SUV which is so much more luxurious than my Subaru. The way down wasn't as catastrophic as I was expecting it to be as we only had to stop a couple times extra for Julian-related issues, and I only had to hang my boob over his car seat once. We drove straight to the Marriott on Atlantic Ave. and Terri stayed with Julian while my mom and I went to my cousin's bridal shower. Here's a Gap baby shot of little JD on the bed. I may be biased but he just may be the cutest baby ever. :)

I thought briefly about taking Julian with us to the shower but then I realized that a bunch of Filipino women in a house would be incredibly loud for him and I just didn't want to make him deaf so young in life so Terri was kind enough to come down with us and hang out with him while we stepped into the Virginia-based outpost of the Philippines for a couple of hours. We stayed long enough to see my cousin bask in her bridal bliss and open a few presents before my boobs reminded me that I had a baby who was ready for a meal.

For dinner on saturday night my aunt (mom's sister), my uncle, 2 cousins + 1 partner, another aunt (mom's best friend) and her two daughters all joined us for a fantastic seafood dinner.

Julian was such a trooper without daddy, through the long car rides, unfamiliar places, and new people. We even stopped in at the beach sunday morning before we left for home so Julian could at least see the ocean. (Side note: A few weeks back I bought an 'ocean sounds' cd for bed time thinking that the rhythm of the waves crashing would be a bit nicer for white noise rather than just the room fan. I was wrong. Every time the waves would crash he would startle. Maybe I can revive the cd when he's a bit older and has had a chance to associate it with the ocean, because I could fall asleep to that sound in about 2 minutes flat).

Here are some pics of his reaction to the ocean. He LOVED it!

Julian's First Picnic

Last thursday we went to Founders Park in Old Town Alexandria for Julian's first picnic. We went with Kathleen and Chloe, Jessica and Hartley, Mary Beth and Claire, Blanca and Alejandro, and Trigie and Vaughan. It was a gorgeous, sunny day and we had a great time! Julian really enjoyed hanging out outside. I hope this is a sign of things to come for an outdoor baby!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

3 Month Update!

Wowzer how time flies!! Our little guy is 3 months by date (13 weeks by week count) and is doing great! He is a non-stop talker and is trying oh-so-hard to crawl. The other morning he pushed his way across daddy while we were laying in bed! He was weighed last monday and he rang in at a not-so-small 16 lbs. He's about 24.5 inches long now, and is rapidly outgrowing all his clothes. This week I bought him some 6-9 month onesies and I am hoping he'll at least get 1 wear out of them before they have to be retired.

Some firsts this week:

  • First Laugh- See the post one before this one. There's even a video of it!
  • Sticking out his tongue- Not sure if he just likes the feel of his tongue around his lips, or he's exploring his mouth, or if he's concentrating really hard, but it's absolutely adorable.
  • Sleeping for longer periods- 3 nights in a row he slept for 6 hours straight before his first feeding of the night! He did it again last night and it was awesome. Downside, I am totally soaked from breast milk by the time 5 AM rolls around.....ah, the adventure of breastfeeding continues.
  • Grabbing his toes- He discovered his toes a few weeks ago but now he's finally making an attempt to touch them now. He gets really frustrated if he can't touch them right away, but he's working on that muscle control very well.
  • Facing forward during walks in his slings- He LOVES this!!! I wear him facing forward in the Moby Wrap and daddy wears him facing forward in the Bjorn. Oh he just loves being able to see everything. During our morning walks, if I stop to talk to a neighbor, now he is able to contribute much better in the conversation!
  • Move to cloth diapers- This is something I really wanted to do since the beginning but we just never got around to putting together an order. There are SO many options for cloth diapers. Our adventure in cloth diapering will have to be for a completely different post...there is just too much. He really is adorable in them, though.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Some mother's time....

The boys are asleep upstairs and I just wasn't ready to turn in for the night yet (which is crazy since we've been running around crazy the past few days, I could use the rest) so I decided to come downstairs for some "me time." "Me time" certainly is elusive since Julian was born. Lately it's consisted of stolen seconds to respond to emails or personal hygiene matters. From what I am hearing, it is a mother's constant battle to balance her time to get some time for herself and this imbalance I am going through is quite normal. I don't know if "imbalance" is the right word- maybe "absence" would be more fitting, but "imbalance" feels right at about 10:27 PM so I'm going with it.

A few weeks ago, during a hormonal roller coaster ride and an intense need to go to sleep on the kitchen floor, I was explaining to Thad my time pie chart. If the entirety of my time is 100%, Julian takes up about 90% of that (if not more). I need to split the remaining 10% between the dogs, the cats, Thad, house chores, and myself. Before I had Julian, between reading a ridiculous amount of "when baby arrives" literature, and seeing what has happened to countless women before me, I vowed to take care of myself. Especially after the labor we went through, I couldn't afford not to take care of myself if it would have a negative impact on my ability to care for Julian.
During my first couple weeks postpartum I was quickly realizing that I couldn't afford to always put others first if I was going to recover smoothly and safely.

I have always been the type of person to put others first and I realize that has left me with the short-end of the stick many, many times. Thad says that becoming a mother has enabled me to speak up for myself more and be more of a self-advocate. I don't know if this is a good thing, especially when I need to be dedicating myself to Julian and helping him thrive. It is incredibly hard not to throw everything I have- and then some- into this little baby, but if I don't learn to figure out how to keep something for myself I just don't know what will be left. I found this quote during some bopping around on the Interweb...I found it to be quite accurate to how I'm feeling right now:

"The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new." ~Rajneesh

I envy the woman who jumps into motherhood as easily as a monkey jumps from a branch. It's not easy and yet it's the most incredible adventure I've ever begun.

By Louay Kayali

Monday, August 25, 2008

We have laughs!

After repeated sounds of "eh eh eh eh" when daddy says, "stinky foot" to him, Julian laughed for the first time today!!! Yesterday we thought we heard a giggle when he was looking at his bears but today, it is confirmed.

We have laughs!!! Oh man, it just gets better and's a video:

Friday, August 15, 2008

My Social Butterfly

We are lucky to be surrounded by a lot of babies.....

Bradley Babies
We've been very fortunate to see our Bradley group usually about once a week. We started with our weekly get togethers shortly after our class ended in April and have continued up to now. Our Bradley instructor was due with her second child around the same time as all of us with our firsts so total there are 6 of us with new babies from that class.

Taken when Julian was 2 weeks old at a La Leche League meeting. From the left: us, Jessica and Jack, Kathleen and Chloe, Malia and Brynton, and Melissa and Caiden.

Taken when Julian was about 7 weeks old at our Bradley Pool Party reunion. From the left: Jessica and Hartley, us, Melissa and Caiden, Kathleen and Chloe, and Jessica and Jack.

Little Beginnings babies

On sunday we went to our friend, Theresa's, house for a Little Beginnings baby reunion. I taught at Little Beginnings Child Development Center from August 2006 to July 2007. Apparently there was something in the water there because when I left the school, Emily just had her son, Oliver, and Theresa was pregnant (due end of March), Cherylen was pregnant (due end of April), and shortly after I left the school we got pregnant (due end of May). Soon after that, Mandy got pregnant (due beginning of July). *phew* That's a lot of babies out of a staff of about 19 people! This was the first time since all our babies were born for us to get together. It was really lovely to see everyone! We look forward to more playdates as they kids get bigger.

Taken when Julian was about 10 weeks old. From the left: Mandy and Hannah, us, Cherlyen and Grant, Emily and Oliver, and Theresa and Eliza.

Prenatal Yoga
For one of my Christmas presents Thad got me a prenatal yoga session at a local place, SunMoon Yoga. I started in January and went up until a week before I was due. It was a great class and I met some great ladies in it. Meggan and I did water aerobics twice a week, too, until our due dates. Between yoga and water aerobics they were fantastic ways to help remain active during the pregnancy and to meet other expectant mothers. This week a few ladies brought their new babies over for a meet and greet and it was real nice to see them. We are hoping to get together once a week but you never know with babies involved....

Taken when Julian was 10 1/2 weeks old. From the left: Jen and Abby, Nikki and Camden, and us. Blanca was taking the picture, so we'll have to get her and Alejandro in there next time!

Between the Bradley class, La Leche League, yoga, and everywhere in between that we've been meeting other mommies and babies, we're so fortunate to have this support network. Hopefully this means lots of playdates as the kids get older!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

"Here are a few of my favorite things..."

Before I get into Julian's favorite things these days I'd like to announce that our little boy was able to put himself to sleep TWICE in a row folks. Last night after I nursed him he was nice and calm and we decided to try and see if he'd put himself to sleep (instead of the rocking/swaying/singing/bouncing/swaddling song and dance that tends to happen some nights). Granted, we tried when he was nice and calm, yet tired, and he was just bathed/clean diaper/fed so it truly was the perfect storm. Anyways, he was laid in his bassinet and within 5 minutes he was asleep! For his nap this morning he did the same thing. Oh boy, I hope this is a sign of things to come....

Without further ado, here is a list of Julian's favorite things (minus "the boob" of course...):

1. Sleeping- Well, duh, babies love to sleep. Julian is on the upper end of that "newborns sleep for 14-18 hours a day" thing. I'm fine with that. :)

2. His Bears- The play yard with the bears on top of his changing table is Julian's NUMBER ONE place to be! If he is upset, tired, cranky, or just plain inconsolable, those bears do the trick! They aren't colorful, flashy, nor do they move on their own but they bring him such happiness. He can lay under those bears and gaze at them adoringly long enough for mommy and daddy to get some things done in the kitchen.

3. Being on his tummy- We found out within his first couple weeks that if he is cranky and relatively inconsolable we can put him on his tummy and he is happy! Thank God. We can no longer put him on his Boppy on his tummy because he pushed himself forward and his forehead ends up pushed against the ground. Oh well. He also sleeps MUCH better on his tummy, too.

4. Standing on his feet- The bigger he gets, the stronger he gets, and the stronger he gets the more he wants to stand on our laps or whatever surface is around. Boy he kicks hard...

5. His fist- Since he has discovered his fist, it has becomes his best friend. He watches it, he plays with it, and he works on controlling it. He can get it into his mouth now, especially when he's tired, and this helps him get to sleep! Thank GOD. :)

6. The TV- Now, this is a tricky one because I don't put him in front of the TV and leave him BUT he LOVES watching it! Oh the colors! Movement! Sounds! It's the ultimate baby soother apparently. Here's a picture of him watching the TV from the floor. The baby in the background is Abby, Julian's friend from mommy's prenatal yoga class.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Pump up the bass, mom

Julian is still hot and cold about the car. Sometimes (rarely) it's Paradise, but most of the time it's obviously the worst place in the world. He cries as if he's listening to Kathy Griffin's stand up show. I've even tried offering him the boob oh-so-illegally while Thad is driving but to no avail. Music seems to be the only thing that seems to help calm him down. Thank God for XM radio because I have over 100 channels to scroll through to see if he will like something. Most of the time classical music does the trick. He loves Schumann, Dvorak, Bach, Mozart, Haydn, and Wagner to name a few. He does not like Beethoven. I've found he likes songs that have a great rhythm like dances or marches. He doesn't like hard rock music (which is so funny because in utero he would noticeably move more when I would play hard rock and roll music- or even heavy metal) nor does he like country or bluegrass. He is tolerant of reggae (thank God) and French singers, and he doesn't mind jazz.

So the other night on our way back from dinner, I'm driving and Thad is in the back seat with the little guy trying so hard to make his stuffed Tigger's dancing seem like the coolest thing since his discovery of the bears at home. Still, he will not stop crying. So we try some music...classical, nope. Reggae, nope. Thad suggested something "bumpin'" and I tried for the House channel. It was off the air so I tried the Trance channel and wouldn't you know, Julian almost instantly falls asleep from the thumping bass. So my first thought was, "woah, my child may follow in my footsteps and be a little raver someday..." but that thought was soon pushed aside as we rounded on home and we rushed inside to give him the boob. Well, duh, he was hungry!

We've learned he is most tolerant of the car after he has slept, been changed, and has a full belly and no gas. I'll be sure to remember all that before I put him in his car seat next time....

I leave you with a picture of Julian being hard core in his nemesis: the car seat.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Houston, we have toes!

This past week Julian has discovered his hands and toes. I noticed this when he was sitting in his chair in the kitchen and he was staring at something. A speck on the floor? No, he can't see quite that far yet. The chair? No, that's not very interesting. Wait. His eyes are following something. Can it be? Yes, he is! He's staring at his hand!! His little fist was moving slowly up and down and he watching it do it (he hasn't figured out that it is attached to his body yet). A couple days later I noticed he was staring at his feet! He hasn't made any attempt to touch them yet (still gotta make sure they aren't a threat, I guess) but he can stare at them forever. He even got his "wiggle-proof socks" off to look at them, at which I relied, "wow, look, Julian knocked off his socks!" Clever, I know. Here's a picture of his studying his fist.

Julian had a very busy week! We went to his first concert (Mr. Knick Knack...he slept through most of it, and when he woke up he was most interested in the fountain than the music, but that's okay), we visited a friend's house and went to a Filipino party.

He turned 2 months this week and each day is a never ending adventure. At his appointment he measured in at 23 1/2 inches long and 13 lbs 13 oz. This means he has grown 2 inches in 2 months exactly and gained 5 lbs! If you are at all interested in where he falls against other babies, he is in the 75% for his height/length and in the 50% for his weight. He's already into the bigger onesies, I find it so hard to believe there are babies much bigger than him at this age! Crazy.

Yes, our baby is already a devoted Red Sox fan and was watching ESPN all day yesterday following the updates on Ramirez's trade to the Dodgers. Julian is not happy about this. Here's a picture of him watching the news with daddy.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

2 months already?!

We are sitting here this saturday morning while Julian naps and reflecting on the past 2 months of our lives. Julian has been an adventure. Getting to know him, seeing him learn about the world around him, and growing (growing growing...) has been wonderful. He certainly has a little personality on him; he loves people- especially staring at their faces, loves to be on his belly, and loves cuddles with mommy and daddy. He's a genuinely happy boy- he only fusses when he needs something and even then once his need is addressed he stops- and very active and playful. He took to breastfeeding like a champ and has grown to an amazing 13+ lbs and over 23 inches long now. He's just about to outgrow his 0-3 month onesies at 8 weeks!

Everyone seems to ask how the animals do with him, and luckily they are wonderful. Scout took to him right away and protects him. When Julian was about 3 weeks old and napping on the couch and Scout jumped up and tried to cover him with the blanket. It was adorable. Paige could care less, she is basically ambivalent. Fitz is curious but afraid because of Julian's erratic movements...everytime Fitz gets close enough to sniff, Julian flails around and Fitz runs. Trillian was very curious in the beginning (especially when I'd feed him) but now she's pretty uninterested.

Both grandmas are in love with him....Thad and I think they might love him more than they love us. Terri has come down almost every weekend to visit with him and watch him while Thad and I get some time for ourselves (usually to watch a movie). Freshnie has provided much needed food and small breaks during the week (otherwise I'd never get a shower in) and watched him last night for the first time while we went to see Batman (side note: Go see it right now if you haven't seen it yet). Grandpa Lurie is coming next weekend to meet the little man and he is oh-so-excited. Uncle Brian stops by when he can and thinks Julian is adorable and Aunt Heather finally got to see Julian when he was awake during a Skype conversation. She loves the pictures and we can't wait to get him to New Zealand to meet her!

All in all, I think the past 2 months were what we were expecting with a new baby as far as the weird schedules (there's nothing wrong with going to sleep when it's still light outside), many diapers, and increased laundry. We are grateful that he's healthy and happy and that we've been blessed with such good luck so far. Ultimately, we are most grateful that we are able to provide him with a safe and comfortable home. Despite being such a new addition to our lives (outside of the womb), it feels like he's been here forever.

Your parents tell you all the time when you're growing up, "Just wait until you have a child..." and I understand that saying now. Obviously I cannot apply that saying to life with a teenager (eek, someday!) but more to the amount of love I feel for this child and the desperate desire to make him happy. I watch him while I'm feeding him or while he's sleeping and am still in awe that we made him. How can 2 cells know to make a human being?! It's just incredible. He really is a miracle. I see women out and about now who are pregnant and I want to run up them and tell them how wonderful it is to have a new baby. Obviously they are excited but wow.....I could have read and read about what it's like to be a new parent but nothing could have prepared me for just how amazing it is.

Here is his latest album. Included in these pictures are Julian's first time in a pool. Last saturday our birthing class (who have swiftly become my closest friends and I am so grateful to have them in my life) had our reunion pool party. He was apprehensive at first at the pool but eventually warmed up to the whole thing. Hopefully he'll be that water baby I've been hoping for! Enjoy!

Julian Week 8

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Our Birth Story

Setting the Stage:

This pregnancy was, by all intensive purposes, pretty easy. We never had any major complications, and sure, while some of the side effects that go along with pregnancy aren’t very comfortable or particularly pleasant, I enjoyed being pregnant very much.

When we got along in our pregnancy enough to discuss birthing methods, we decided that natural was the way to go for us. We hired a doula to help us in the hospital (the best decision we ever could have made) and took Bradley classes to help arm ourselves with the knowledge for a natural birth. We prepared a natural birth plan and specifically requested nurses and doctors who support natural childbirth.

Of course, things don’t always go as you planned…

About a month before my due date I started experiencing swelling. Everyone swells during pregnancy so I wasn’t too concerned about it. Unfortunately, I gained about 10 pounds in 2 weeks from water retention and developed carpal tunnel in my right hand due to the swelling. We monitored these symptoms but they never really caused us to raise any flags. About a week before my due date my blood pressure started to increase, enough that my doctors were concerned, and I also started having intense headaches. Still, I really didn’t think much about it until the Sunday before my due date the headaches were so bad that we went to the hospital to make sure everything was okay. The baby’s movement also decreased for a few hours so I got really paranoid that something was wrong (he was sleeping). On the Tuesday night before my due date I started having some cramps. We didn’t think much of them, however they were recurring and intense enough to make me slow down so Thad started keeping track of them just in case. They lasted for about 3.5 hours and then stopped totally. My doctors told me to keep my regularly scheduled Wednesday morning appointment. Little did I know that that appointment would move things along considerably.

At my appointment not only was my blood pressure high but there was protein in my urine. Between the protein, swelling, headaches, and blood pressure, my doctor advised a scheduled induction on Thursday morning because he didn’t want my pre-eclamptic symptoms to go any further. I was already 2 cm dilated at this point and about 50% effaced so my doctor felt that inducing labor by artificially rupturing my bag of waters would jump start my delivery. After a lot of discussion, Thad and I decided to go with the induction. I had carried the baby for 39 weeks and 6 days at this point. Sure, it’s not a spontaneous start of labor but when the concern is over symptoms that can get worse in an unpredictable manner we decided not to tempt fate and risk harm to me or the baby.

Birth Story:

We arrived at Fair Oaks Hospital on Thursday morning, May 29, at 0545 for a 0600 induction. Unfortunately our doctor had just had a delivery so we didn’t end up having my water broken until 0815 and there was meconium in the fluid. Of course this raised a flag for the doctor but since I was already 2 cm. dilated and 50% effaced the hope was that my body would take over the labor naturally. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Luckily my doctors were okay with me moving me around and Thad and I spent the next few hours walking to see if we could get things moving. I only had a handful of contractions but nothing too uncomfortable. By about 1115 they checked me for dilation and there was no progress. At 1145 we decided to try some pitocin at a very low dose to see if that would jump start my contractions. At 1600 my doctor came to check my progress and I was only 3 cm dilated. My doula, Mary Beth, said that at this point the contractions should be “knocking me down” and they weren’t that bad so we went with the doctor’s advice and upped the pitocin yet again. The contractions became steadily stronger and longer, and what had begun as contraction-talk-contraction soon quieted into focused, active labor. The pain of the contractions also steadily grew, with the breathing and positioning techniques becoming less effective as the contraction times grew to two minutes and the breaks between decreased, with contractions sometimes stacking three or four in a row. Around 2200 the contractions were so long and close together, the nurse began lowering the Pitocin dose, which did very little. By 2330, the Pitocin drip had been turned off completely, but the contractions were still extremely strong and abnormally long. The doctor was doing an exam every two hours or so at this point, and at midnight, I reached the 5cm mark. Thad and our doula were both hopeful that things would accelerate at this point, with the contractions being as heavy as they were. Unfortunately, after another two grueling hours, I was only 6cm dilated, and all of our energy reserves were running low. We pushed through another two hours which included vomiting and bouts of the shakes, and we had high hopes as the doctor entered at 0400. Unfortunately, it was not to be, as I was still right around 6cm dilated. With so little energy remaining, we decided an epidural would be the best path for rest and another session after a brief rest. The epidural was administered at 0515, and we all took a quick sleep until 0730, at which point the nurses started up the Pitocin again (contractions had slowed to a point where we would not be able to make progress). The contractions were not as painful with the epidural in place, and over the next five hours, dilation slowly progressed. By about 1300 I was nearing the 10cm mark, but the anterior lip of the cervix refused to retract properly. We waited through another hour of contractions (and a stronger epidural), but the lip stayed in place. The nurse and doctor felt it was soft enough that it would not present a danger to the baby, and at 1500, we repositioned and started actual pushing!

After about 10 minutes of pushing (learning curve!), the epidural wore off, and while the pain was more intense, I also had a much better sense of where and how I should push, and the nurse was more excited about the movement of the baby, or at least what we thought was progress. As we continued pushing, a number of things became apparent: the baby was not moving as much as he should, my temperature (approaching 102 degrees), pulse (150 sustained) and blood pressure (180/110) were all worrisome, and the baby’s heart rate was sustained around 190-200 during contractions, signaling distress. After 75 minutes of pushing, the baby had still not moved past the unretracted lip, and the doctor and nurse both recommended we move to an emergency c-section in light of both my and the baby’s deteriorating condition. At this point, the water had been broken for 30 hours, I was already on IV antibiotics to protect against infection, and it was clear that a vaginal delivery was not in the cards.

After being prepped with a chest-down epidural, I was moved to the OR. I fell asleep almost immediately (I have never been so tired in my life), and actually was next awakened by Thad to see our wonderful son as he was moved to the triage station. It was 1714, and we had an 8lb. 13 oz. baby boy. We also received a couple pieces of information that would have been helpful the day before – he was sunny side up, his head position was asynclitic, and the cord was wrapped around his neck twice, preventing his proper descent!

Julian's Birth

After the doctors sewed me up, I was moved to transition, where the nurses were wonderful – as soon as his breathing was steady enough, they gave us 30 minutes for skin to skin contact, and he snuggled right into me – it was amazing! Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to keep his oxygen numbers high enough on his own and was showing other symptoms of respiratory distress, so he was moved to the NICU for additional oxygen and monitoring. He ended up staying there for five days, working through the TTN ( and then jaundice (caused by the difficult labor and delivery). We finally were able to bring him home almost a week after his birth, on Wednesday June 4th.

Thad’s input:

Obviously things didn’t go as we had planned. It was the most difficult and challenging 24 hours of my life, without a doubt. I’ve never been through anything like it, and doubt I will ever see its like.

As Pamela covered all the details, I won’t go into that, suffice it to say that the doula and I were both physically and mentally exhausted, so I can’t even imagine what place Pamela went to that allowed her to continue when we were both so close to collapse.

I will mention a couple of things, though, and they’re both Bradley related. Even though we weren’t able to deliver Julian vaginally, we still feel that we did the best we could have under the circumstances. There were so many times when we had a decision in front of us, and after discussion, we first tried things the natural way, and when that failed, we were forced to turn to the medicinal path to make progress. I can’t even count the natural things we tried – walking, squatting, raspberry tea, primrose oil, nipple stimulation, both blue and black cohosh, special positions with the doula’s riboso… the list went on and on. Unfortunately, they just weren’t enough. I believe that the baby wasn’t quite ready to come out, but due to the worsening pre-eclampsia and the meconium in the water, it is also clear that we didn’t have the luxury of time to wait, so we made the best of it.

Our doula was an absolute wonder. We are forever in her debt for the effort and comfort she provided during such a trying experience. She was a pillar of strength and also provided calm, sound advice during each of our decisions. I don’t know how we would have done it without her.

Pamela's Input:

I don't know if I'll ever be able to look back at the labor and delivery and not get emotional. It was the hardest single thing I've ever had to do in my life and I suspect that it will never be topped. The whole experience pushed me into a new place as well as pushed my relationship with Thad to a new place as well. Looking back, though, despite the difficult recovery and series of unexpected events, I would not change a thing. Bringing Julian into this world required a lot of determination, patience, and ultimately a lot of love between me, Thad, and our doula and I will never be the same because of it. Now we have a beautiful, healthy baby boy and I am slowly on the mend. How can I be disappointed about anything that happened when the outcome was so wonderful?

I'll never be able to thank Thad and Mary Beth for everything they did for me. The doctors and nurses were wonderfully supportive and I am in their debt as well. Sure, it wasn't the delivery we were hoping but we are so lucky to be where we are today. Julian is the most wonderful thing to ever happen to me and I am so grateful for him each and every day. 'Nuff said.