Posts in August 2018

Getting to Know You

She’s been a surprise all along, and she continues to astonish us. Maisie Gale was born four days early on August 12, 2018. She weighs 8 lbs, 1.3 oz and is 21″ long. She just barely beat her brother’s stats – by an ounce and an inch.

I woke from a dream at 2 a.m. Sunday morning, feeling a trickle fall down my legs. I knew it wasn’t an accident, but I went to the bathroom anyway, and lost more fluid on the bathroom floor. Honestly I was slightly annoyed because I had planned to work in the office most of this week, but I was equally amused that it actually happened like all the text books say. (My water didn’t break with the first pregnancy.) I woke Steven up and told him I would finish packing and call the hospital.

As I went downstairs to call my parents, I noticed that our dog Jake had an accident in the family room. I grabbed some tissue to clean it up, squatted to do so, and the flood gates opened. I nearly clogged the half bath after flushing down so much toilet paper from both accidents. And then I went back upstairs to change clothes for the third time.

Mom and Dad hurried over to house/Wes-sit for the early morning hours while we went to the hospital, registered and checked into triage. Within an hour, we were in our room, where we waited for my contractions to gain in intensity. I was about 4cm dilated when we arrived, and hardly felt the every-2-minute contractions. No one tells you that the amniotic fluid keeps escaping after your water breaks. It was quite annoying and uncomfortable to sit in a constant puddle, but there you have it.

Because of the fast progression of Wesley’s birth, the nurses encouraged me to go ahead and get an epidural after we had waited a few hours. I wasn’t in much pain to begin with, and the anesthesiologist complimented me after receiving it: “In 20 years of doing this, I’ve never had a patient ask me questions while getting their epidural. You just made my morning!” When I’m nervous or anxious, I tend to be chatty, so it was the only thing I could do to take my mind away from the stick and pressure of the needle. Steven beamed with pride (and then teased me later).

We got a little rest before my parents and Wes came over to hang out. Wesley’s expression when he entered our hospital room was priceless. He ran up to the side of my bed and put both of his hands over his wide smile: “Mama, I’m SO EXCITED!” The room was perfect and spacious for them to join us. About every 2 hours I had gained another centimeter, so we played the waiting game. It was nice to have company to distract me from the obvious.

To pass the time, Steven made updates to the white board in the room, which has also entertained the nurses on rotation. The board originally said “Have a baby!” under Today’s Plan, and it has periodically changed to “Had a baby!” and “Keep a baby!” Today it said, “Take a baby!” in anticipation of our discharge for home. He later added under Questions for Care Team: “Why is baby?” / “What is baby?” which prompted nervous giggles from staffers.

Around 11:15 I had called the nurse about increased pressure and fluid. She at first didn’t believe me – “maybe in about 50 minutes we’ll be ready to have this baby!” – but after a quick check she changed her mind. She alerted the OB on call (we heard her run down the hallway), Mom and Wes were whisked out the room (Dad went to church earlier that morning while they stayed with us), and all the troops and supplies were wheeled in. By the time they had everything ready, Dad had returned, so he and Mom traded places watching Wes. Mom came in the room just in time to witness the birth.

There’s debate about how many pushes (10?) over how much time in total (20 minutes?), but I was told by a nurse that it was a “perfect birth.” Maisie Gale was born at 11:52 a.m. on a beautiful, sunny day. Steven and I spent the next hour alone with Maisie – our daughter who cried minimally and was extremely alert during those precious first moments.

The extended Shattucks and my sister came that afternoon, and a couple close friends visited yesterday. Everyone agrees: she’s fantastic. We have spent the last couple days getting introduced to each other. A song from the musical King and I has been floating around in my head:

Getting to know you
Getting to know all about you
Getting to like you 
Getting to hope you like me

And she certainly is well-liked! Wesley, who she resembles (it’s unreal by how much!), is becoming a pro at holding her, “teaches” others how to keep her warm and safe, and has told everyone who will listen about his new baby sister.

It’s sweet to see Steven with his little girl. He snuggles her close and teases her in his endearing way. Our quiet evenings are my favorite time to watch them.

We’re smitten. It’s so nice to finally meet you, Ms. Maisie. Welcome to the family.

Haven’t you noticed
Suddenly we’re bright and breezy? 
Because of all the beautiful and new 
Things we’re learning about you 
Day by day

More photos of Maisie’s first days!

Posted: August 14th, 2018
Categories: Leah
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The Final Countdown

Summer may be over according to the school district, but we’ve squeezed in a few additional things before life gets up-ended with a newborn.

On Thursday, Wesley started first grade. I didn’t get shopping for clothes or shoes done until the SECOND day of school, but close enough. (I think the best thing about this photo is my bathrobe-clad photobomb.)

He claimed to be nervous, but Wes couldn’t stop talking about his day while at the dinner table that night. He’s in a class with a bunch of buddies, and he’s already served as Class Helper a handful of times.

Friends of ours invited us to dinner on Saturday night, and even though I forgot to bring my swimsuit, another pregnant friend (who’s just a week or so behind us) kindly let me borrow the one she was wearing so I could get a few minutes in the cool water. Yes, it seems strange, but you may not understand how good water feels when you’re this far along! It was also a rather funny experience, confusing the kids in the pool – as we look similarly pregnant.

We had planned to attend family day at GenCon over the weekend. After we were dressed (Mario, Mega Man and pregnant Fiona), Steven discovered the horrible news that tickets were sold out. Wes was super bummed to miss it, but he bounced back with, “it’s okay. Maybe we can go swimming instead.” So we did. Again. This time at Mom’s condo pool.

And afterwards, my parents – who now own a truck and truck camper and I have no idea who they are – came over to test a cast iron dutch oven recipe on us before their approaching camping trip. I also helped Dad figure out how to set up a tent canopy. The pretend camping experience was almost as fun as REAL CAMPING!

Mom and Dad were convinced that I would go into labor the day they left, but here I am. Yesterday’s 38w6d OB appointment was good and uneventful:

  • Heartbeat, Measurements, Blood Pressure: 37 cm, 114/72
  • Weight Gain: No change from last week. Still! By this point I had gained nearly 40-45 lbs with Wesley. This pregnancy is so much different.
  • Movement: Though she didn’t move much during the non stress test (per usual), she has been active ever since. Practice/Braxton Hicks contractions have been constant for the last few days (lots of peaks on the NST!), and I hardly notice them except for slight discomfort. Last night they bothered Maisie so much that she moved all night long.
  • Dilation: 3 cm. I have to credit the practice contractions for the slow and steady progression.
  • Cravings: I got an Egg McMuffin earlier this week, and you know what? It wasn’t nearly as good as I was expecting! I’m hungry for salads and deli meat this week.
  • Moods: Mostly calm, but starting to get antsy. Intermittent sleep is affecting my ability to stay focused.
  • Biggest Gripe: It’s not really a “gripe” but I find it amusing that my coworkers are determined to see my water break in the office and have no doubt that I’ll be in active labor, like, in 10 minutes. Every morning there’s a comment or two: “I can’t believe she’s back today!”
    The thing that has bothered me most this week are loose ligaments in my hips and pelvis. It feels like my leg is popping out of socket. And occasionally I’ll shift positions and a bolt of nerve tingling hits for a moment; super uncomfortable. I decided it’s probably okay to take a break from the gym for several weeks. Saturday is my last planned class, and I’m half expecting to modify the heck out of the workout and then endure an afternoon of contractions.
  • Biggest Like: Checking things off the list! We met with our financial advisor tonight to make adjustments in anticipation of our family of four. Wes is helping pack his own bag for staying with my parents when we’re in the hospital. The newest addition to the bag is a gift from my aunt and cousin – a big brother button!
    Wes asked what Steven and I will be doing for our wedding anniversary next week, and I told him we may be spending it in the hospital. “Oh! Could we order pizza and watch a movie?!” Sure, why not make it a family date if it comes to that?

If Maisie doesn’t arrive on her own next week, we have a scheduled induction for August 22 at 7 a.m. A few more appointments to check on her progress are scheduled between now and then – Oohhhh, it’s the final countdown!

Posted: August 9th, 2018
Categories: Leah
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(Always) Something to Celebrate

Steven pokes fun of my excuses to do something fun – mainly get an ice cream cone somewhere. I grew up accustomed to celebrating small victories (the end of a recital or play, last/first days of ___, Dad on a business trip(!), etc.) and what Steven calls “made-up holidays,” and I guess it stuck with me.

At dinner tonight, I suggested that we celebrate the last day of summer by, you guessed it, getting ice cream! (Tomorrow is Wesley’s first day of first grade – yes, already!) Steven then, for the next hour or so, and during our evening walk with the dogs, came up with the following situations to celebrate:

Hey, let’s celebrate that colonoscopy you just got!
Your third cousin’s nephew graduated from high school!
It’s the 60th anniversary of that couple that you met in Kroger once!
Great job getting a new pair of shorts for school!

I told him that you have to keep life fun and interesting, and why NOT celebrate the last day of summer?! We ended up going to Chick-fil-a because Wes found an unopened kids’ meal toy (which you can turn in for free ice cream), I was hungry for a milkshake, and Steven decided to get fries. “So we ALL get a treat!” said Wes. Yes, see? He gets it.

We celebrated(!) Wesley’s birthday with the Shattucks over the weekend, and as usual, it was an adventure. Every single one of my in-laws is an amazing bowler – including my nieces! On a good game, I can bowl maaaaaybe 140. That’s like chump change for them. They have their own balls (some smell like fruit, no joke!) and shoes and either play on leagues, coach teams or have done so at some point in their lives. We thought it would be fun to bring them to Fountain Square to try their hand at duckpin bowling – and guess what?! I WAS THE HIGHEST SCORE.

Steven, Wes and I stopped at Heidelberg Haus for a cake on the way to the alley, thinking we could share it there. But the building has a strict NO OUTSIDE FOOD policy that we now know about, so everyone took their turn holding the cake box and walking around Fountain Square. When we returned to our house for cake and presents, the combination of the day’s heat and shuffling between people made the cake layers slide all over the place. Debra is still convinced it’s Bill’s fault. Seriously the best moment of the day!

A few other things to celebrate: BABY STATS WEEK 37

  • Heartbeat, Measurements, Blood Pressure: 130 bpm, 114/60
  • Weight Gain: No change from last week.
  • Movement: Today’s non-stress test (NST) was long for a couple reasons: my OB was on vacation, so the doc I visited with wanted to get ample data. The last couple NSTs have been 10-15 minutes, and this one was likely the standard 30 minutes, but it felt ages longer. Also, Maisie had to be zapped again because she just gets too comfortable and doesn’t move as much as they’d like to see on a graph. (Maybe they should schedule these tests for 10 p.m.) At any rate, she passed the test and everything looks great.
  • Dilation: 2.5 cm. I didn’t have too many Braxton-Hicks contractions this week that I know of, but apparently they’re happening because they showed up on the NST graphs.
  • Cravings: Orange juice, salt, ice cream. I still haven’t gotten that Egg McMuffin.
  • Moods: It’s been a good mental week. I’m beginning to see real progress and closure on my projects at work, and it makes me feel less and less stressed that I’ll leave without a big, gaping hole for coworkers to fill.
  • Biggest Gripe(s): Finally had to throw in the towel and start sleeping in the guest room with a plethora of pillows. I don’t like not being with Steven, but he hates my excessive snoring and frequent bathroom breaks and constant tossing and turning.
  • Biggest Like: It sounds mushy, but I’m so blessed by Steven and Wesley. They go out of their way to make me laugh, feel special and beautiful. Both of them complimented me on separate occasions this morning. Wes begged me to take video of Maisie’s heartbeat so he could hear it. Here you go, Buddy.

August has a lot of firsts (and therefore ice cream celebrations!) ahead. Here we go into Week 38!

Posted: August 1st, 2018
Categories: Leah
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