Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Settling In

We have been settling in pretty well at home over the last few days. I am tired, but recovering from delivery about as expected. Ben has slept well the last two nights and zonked out for most of this morning as well, allowing Dave & I to make a quick Target run while my parents kept an eye on him. Ben's great-grandma Anne came over to meet him this afternoon and she, Dave's parents, and Jeff will be here tomorrow for a New Year's lunch.

Ben had his first pediatrician's appointment yesterday and got rave reviews. His birth weight was 8 lbs, 7 oz. and he was 7 lbs, 14 oz. at discharge on Sunday. In the 2 subsequent days, he has already gained 5 oz., about double what they normally see! This certainly allayed our concerns about whether he was eating enough! Everything else looks good, and the doctor said Ben already has fairly strong head control, which we noticed when we put him down for tummy time the other day and he got so mad he tried to flip himself over. As our friend described it, it was like watching an upended turtle trying to right himself. Ben's next planned pediatrician appointment won't be until 2 months since everything is going well. This office was recommended by 2 of my co-workers, and we really liked the doctor. Plus, Ben got to be in the "Star Wars"-themed exam room, complete with Darth Tater and Spud Trooper, so Dave & I liked that!

We didn't mention this in the earlier posts, but Ben's middle name is a recurring name in Dave's family. Richard was Dave's grandfather's name, and after skipping a generation, Ben is the 5th generation in the family to have Richard as a first or middle name. We didn't know until he was born & we told Dave's family the name that the first person to use Richard was also a Benjamin Richard.

We have a lot more pictures that will be put into a Picasa web album at some point soon, but until those get uploaded, there are a few that the hospital's web photographer took on Saturday on this website. The password is Richard.

Thank you all so much for the e-mails, calls, and notes of congratulations and support. We really appreciate them, even though we haven't had time to respond to most yet! Hope you all have a safe and enjoyable New Year's Eve and that the new year brings you all sorts of wonderful blessings!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Few More Benjamin Photos

We'll be taking Benjamin home today, but here are a few pictures from his first forty hours:

His first photo, notable more for its timing than anything else

A few minutes later, a bit cleaner and a bit happier.

Em and Ben the next day.

Napping with Mommy this morning.

The three of us.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Benjamin Richard

Born 4:51 P.M., December 26, 2008. 8 pounds, 7.8 ounces, 20 inches long.

Liveblogging a Birth

Well, okay, probably not. But this is as good a place as any for a few updates:

8:04 A.M., 12/26/08: So, we're at the hospital. After a nice Christmas spent with the family (both mine and Emily's, as her parents arrived in KC on Christmas Eve), we checked Emily into the hospital at 8 P.M. We've got a comfortable room, and the staff has been very nice and helpful -- due in part, I'm sure, to the fact that Emily brought a plate of cookies for them as a bribe. Em has experienced a few light contractions, and at 7:30 this morning, the nurses started her on a pitocin drip. Currently, she's reading a book and resting comfortably. More updates to come.

8:36 A.M., 12/26/08: Emily's doctor stopped by to check on her progress and break her water. According to Dr. Nguyen, all is well, and she's really pleased with how things are going. She added, however, that this might be an all-day thing, and advised Emily to take naps whenever possible.

10:29 A.M., 12/26/09: Contractions are coming more frequently now, with little pause in between them. They also seem to be sharper than before. Or, as Emily puts it more succinctly, "Labor hurts!" The nurse just checked her progress, and things are still going well. They had discussed giving Em some I.V. pain meds, but instead are going to go ahead and order her epidural.

11:04 A.M., 12/26/08: The epidural gets a BIG thumbs up! Em's verdict -- "Good stuff!"

12:01 P.M., 12/26/08: No news, other than that the baby is making good progress; we've got the sound of heartbeat booming from the monitor, nice and regular. Emily is resting at the moment, and before drifting off, whispered, "I love my epidural." So, that's going well.

I am also doing well. I got a decent amount of sleep on the hide-a-bed, and have been much happier since one of the nurses showed me where the Dad's Smorgasbord is -- I was getting a bit cranky without food or drink. Wi-Fi in the hospital is a nice feature, and some well-timed episodes of "Mythbusters" helped me and Em pass a couple hours.

With that, I believe I'll go scrounge up some lunch.

12:56 P.M., 12/26/08: Well. We've gone from, "This will probably be an all-day thing." to, "You can leave the hospital for lunch if you want, but you might miss the delivery if you do." Either the baby has decided he really wants out, or Emily has put her foot down and is enforcing the eviction notice. Dr. Nguyen expects the baby to be delivered this afternoon.

And for those who asked, lunch was chicken fingers and onion rings from the cafeteria (and no, there was no KC Masterpiece for dipping, Chris!).

2:02 P.M., 12/26/08: It's looking like it might be just about game time. The nurse is calling the doctor to see whether she wants to have Emily start pushing or not, and another nurse is "setting up the room." Everyone is just marveling at how quickly this is progressing, while Em continues to marvel at the quality of her anesthesiologist.

2:05 P.M., 12/26/08: The doctor says first pitch will probably be in half an hour.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

No baby news yet

Baby O has still not made his appearance, and aside from some Braxton-Hicks (fake) contractions, which have been going on for the last few weeks, has shown no signs of changing his mind any time soon. He is still kicking away in what feels like the same position he's been in. We keep trying to tell him that there's no room left, and that he can stretch out his legs much better as an outside baby, but he doesn't seem to be listening. He missed being born on Dave's mom Jerry's birthday (the 11th), and it looks like he's not going to be born today, which is my grandma's it is still looking like the induction on the 26th is the most likely thing.

Dave has been cleaning out some of his boxes in the basement and came across a scrapbook that Jerry had put together. Included in it is the instruction book they gave her when she had Dave at Munson Army Hospital in Leavenworth. The 70s-era tips are hilarious, and they are very emphatic about things like not letting anyone sit on your bed and making everyone scrub their arms with soap and what I'm guessing was a surgical scrub brush for 3 minutes before touching the baby. They were provided with a cardboard bassinet for the baby, which Jerry still has and assures me it's not just a cardboard box...

They also recommend starting solid food at 4-6 weeks! They suggest cereal first, fruit & veggies at 6-8 weeks, and meat (strained beef, liver, lamb, chicken & veal, yum!) by 5.5-6 months! But above all, I think our favorite part of the manual, and the thing that makes it most evident that this was written for a military audience, was this:

"Help your child to fit gradually into your pattern of living. Do not allow everything to revolve around him. Remember that as he grows older he will have to learn to like and conform to society."

Friday, December 19, 2008

Still no progress

We had another doctor's appointment this morning. The baby is still doing fine, but has made himself very comfortable and is making very little progress toward being born. The doctor started talking to us about induction dates. We were having trouble deciding between the two dates she proposed- the 26th & 29th- so she sent us for an ultrasound to see how big the baby is. At this point in the pregnancy, I have heard that the weight estimates are of variable accuracy, but the baby, who they think is about 8 pounds, looked pretty cramped. Once the doctor heard the estimated weight, she immediately suggested the earlier induction date. So if the baby doesn't decide to arrive on his own, I will check into the hospital the evening of December 25th and they will start the induction early on the morning of the 26th.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Photo catch up, part 2: Nursery pics

We are hanging in there, just waiting for the baby's arrival. We have another dr's appointment tomorrow morning and are hoping there will have been some progress. The baby is due in 4 days but still seems pretty high up and feels like he's using my right kidney as a footstool at times. He gets the hiccups a lot - at least 6x yesterday! My doctor says she won't let me go more than 4-5 days past my due date, which seems like an eternity at this point. We are so excited to meet our little boy, and it is getting very difficult to be patient!

We both had work showers last week and our co-workers were incredibly generous, finding all sorts of cute & useful things for the baby. We have now finished setting up & stocking the nursery. One side of the room has his crib (crib skirt to be added later) and bookshelf:

and the other has the twin bed and dresser/changing table. Several friends highly recommended keeping the bed in the nursery, so we'll see how that works out. After he is born & named, we will probably hang the letters of his name above the changing table for decoration, sort of like a simpler version of this (and no, this is not a hint; his name is not Dane!).

His stuffed animals and the beautiful quilt (with great tactile squares!) made by Dena are waiting for him.

We still have to get a few more basics (I accidentally bought short-sleeved onesies the other day, so I have to go back and exchange them for long-sleeved ones), but most of his 0-6 mo. clothes are washed and in the closet or the dresser. It is hard to believe that he will be able to fit into such tiny outfits!

Dave's Uncle Kenny & Aunt Lynn got the baby this fantastic rocking panda. It was tested out tonight by the 17-month-old daughter of our friends, and she gave it her seal of approval.

We got a surprise package in the mail last week from the man who's taken care of insurance for Dave's parents and Dave for years. He works for Northwestern Mutual, "The Quiet Company," so the baby now has a great shirt proclaiming (hopefully truthfully!) "I'm a Quiet Baby!" Dave also got a geeky kick out of the other onesie, which has the equation calculating future value of an annuity.

One of the other things we got was the Diaper Champ, which had been recommended to us by Dave's cousin. I'm sure it will work great and be very useful, but when we got it out of the box, our geeky brains were amused to note its resemblance some familiar robots from science fiction. Surprisingly, an internet search turned up no other fellow nerds who have made/ marketed a skin for the Diaper Champ yet that makes it look either like R2D2 or the Daleks from Doctor Who!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Photo catch up, part 1

We are behind on posting photos, so I'm taking the quick way out and doing a couple of photo update posts.

During my parents' visit in mid-November, we took them down to one of their favorite KC restaurants, the Jack Stack BBQ in the Freighthouse District. Before dinner, we visited the beautifully restored Union Station, which was in the process of being decorated for the holidays.

Dave & I met for our first date 4 years ago under the clock in the background of this picture.

These are a few from the fun shower that Katie threw for me. Katie and Stacey setting up the delicious food:

and the fabulous Red Wings jersey cake that Katie made. Eric was apparently providing suggestions on the appropriate number of spokes and feathers as she decorated it!

Several friends have strongly suggested keeping the twin bed in the nursery as a sanity-saving device. We weren't sure it would fit, but it seems to be okay. The baby has stuffed animals waiting for his arrival - a soft blue elephant I bought, Warren the Bear that Dave brought back from the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders' meeting, and Georgie, the stuffed dog that belonged to Jerry and Dave as children.

The nursery is pretty much set up now, so more photos will be coming!

Friday, December 5, 2008

17 days to go (or somewhere around there)

We had our weekly appointment with our regular obstetrician today. Everything is looking fine, but she said she couldn't be sure whether the baby was in a head down position or still breech, so she wanted to do an ultrasound. Dave & I didn't volunteer that last week the nurse practitioner had said that the baby was definitely head down- we wanted to see the baby again! The ultrasound tech confirmed that he is in a great head down position, and is definitely a boy! In the profile picture above, I think the tech said his head is on the right side, his nose & mouth are those bumpy things (it looks like he's puckering his mouth), and one of his punchy little fists is the circle at the top left.

He was being a little shy at first but she wanted to confirm that it's a boy, so she shook a pill bottle close to my stomach to get him to move, and he could definitely hear it! We could watch him move in response, which was very cool. Dave reads him stories and talks to him and this was just visual confirmation that the baby can hear him. I have also noticed that several times when I'm playing guitar over the last few weeks, the baby has decided it's great fun to kick the back of my guitar! He has been very active this afternoon, moving and kicking, and has another case of the hiccups, which he gets a few times a day.

This weekend we are doing some last-minute preparation for the baby's arrival. We have decided to move our small bookcase into the nursery so we can have a place to put the baby monitor and store his growing collection of children's books. I have found some wonderful ones during my work with kids, so I'm excited to read them to the baby when he is born.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Getting close!

We have been getting ready for the baby's arrival. He is due in about 2 1/2 weeks!! I am feeling pretty good, just continuing to deal with some acid reflux and tiredness. We have our weekly dr's appointment tomorrow morning. At our last appointment we were able to record the baby's heartbeat on my cell phone and play it for the grandparents, which was neat. We have a pediatrician and daycare lined up and have started packing our hospital bag. I made one casserole to freeze, and am planning on making yummy stuffed shells this weekend and freezing most of those so we can have some easy meals after the baby's arrival.

We have had two lovely showers in the last few weeks, one hosted by Katie (while Eric entertained the guys at his place) and a family shower last Sunday over at Dave's Uncle Kenny & Aunt Lynn's house. I only have a few pictures from the first shower, and none from the family one, but I know that Stacey, Cara, and Jerry were taking some, so I'll post some of those when I get them.

The baby's nursery is almost ready, thanks to help from Rob & Angela last weekend. Rob & Dave rearranged the furniture & put together the crib, and Angela advised on furniture arrangement and showed Dave how to install the car seat. I have been washing baby clothes & blankets and getting those organized in the closet & dresser. It is feeling a little more real now that the nursery's mostly complete, and we are getting very excited!