Monday, December 31, 2012

week of the sleeping baby

There was a definite theme to most of the pictures from week 45: sleeping baby. Since that's how Evan still spent the majority of his time at 2-3 weeks old, my choices for baby pictures were somewhat limited. Also, I wasn't feeling terribly inspired to do anything more creative.

First, we have Evan napping along with his grandparents on a Sunday afternoon. This might have been following an early morning of Bruce and Bonnie babysitting Elsa, in which case they had good reason to be tired.

309/366 group nap

And more napping on his grandpa on Monday afternoon... This was getting to be a habit. There was a warm spell around this time, so Evan got to wear onesies that day rather than his usual wardrobe of sleepers and rompers.

310/366 sleepy monkey

The warm weather continued through Tuesday, so I put Evan in the short sleeved Tea Collection romper. It was the other of the two outfits that I had bought at Fiddlesticks right after finding out we were having a boy. Unfortunately, it hasn't turned out to be terribly practical, since it's 0-3 month size. When I put it on him the day of this picture, it was a little big; now it probably fits perfectly, but the weather is colder.

311/366 warm day

Yet another sleeping baby picture for Wednesday afternoon, but this time Evan was napping in his crib. Afternoon naps in the crib were actually less common those first few weeks. He slept in there most mornings while I showered, but he usually spent afternoons either in the bouncy seat, being held by one of his grandparents or occasionally being worn by me in the Sleepy Wrap.

312/366 afternoon nap

Thursday's picture was of some of the laundry that I often did while Evan was sleeping. Almost every day there was a small load of burp cloths, bibs, outfits, and swaddling blankets. A couple months later, the story is pretty much the same, but I often fold everything while he's awake. It gives him something to watch while he sits in his bouncy seat, and it lets me do other things when he's asleep. Like edit pictures or write blog entries from two months ago.

313/366 the (near) daily laundry

I'm not a big fan of the picture for Friday, but I had surprisingly few choices for the day. I wanted to get a couple things at Day One across town, so Bonnie and I took Evan for his first stroller-to-car outing. Of the things I was looking for, we were only able to get the bibs that I wanted, but it was otherwise successful. I took the picture when we got back home. Evan was still sleeping, so we left him in his car seat for a while. I think I used the weird angle for the shot in an effort to make his hat look less like it was too big for him... It had looked okay when I put it on him, but it started looking a little strange when the car seat got involved.

314/366 bundled

At last, on Saturday, I took a picture of an awake Evan. We're calling this his first real tummy time, although I tried a couple minutes of it with him a day or two before. He lasted much longer and actually held his head up for a while that Saturday. The lighting was pretty terrible, since it was in the evening, but I didn't have many other choices for pictures that day.

315/366 tummy time

Saturday, December 22, 2012

the end of october

Time for another week's pictures. We begin with a Sunday project: hand- and footprinting the baby. They either don't do this at our hospital or they snuck it in when we weren't paying attention, so we didn't get the opportunity to get Evan's prints for the baby book while we were there. Instead, I had to order a DIY kit from Amazon. I wouldn't have bothered, but there's a page for it in the baby book. Also, my footprints are in my old baby book, so I thought I should do it for Evan. Mine are labeled as being from when I was 11 days old. We did Evan's at 10 days old, and they look pretty similar.

I was rather apprehensive about the whole thing, not knowing whether the baby would cooperate or if we would end up with a huge mess and no usable prints. So I was really glad that Bonnie was there to help me. We stripped Evan down to his diaper, waited for him to fall asleep, and then Bonnie held him while I did the printing. It was good that I used the card stock that came with the kit rather than trying to do the prints directly on the baby book page, because there were some failed attempts before we got good ones that weren't smeared. The feet were actually relatively easy; it was the hands that were more tricky. We had to pry open his fists to press them to the ink pad, hold them that way without rubbing the ink off, and then press them to the paper before he could make fists again.

On the last hand, Bonnie got a little too excited at our success and let go for a second. When we looked back at Evan, he had an inky handprint in the middle of his face. Naturally, rather than cleaning him off right away, I ran and got the camera. I guess now we have an accurate idea of how big his hands were relative to his face!

After all that excitement, I was finishing the ink removal process and heard a dribbling sound. Evan's diaper was leaking... He got both Bonnie and the wood floor. Good thing baby pee is sterile.

302/366 the great handprinting caper

The ink experiments weren't the only events on Sunday. After that, we walked to Mitchell's again for ice cream with Bruce, Bonnie, Carmen, Dan, and Elsa. And then there was the final game of the World Series that night, when the Giants won over the Tigers. Evan was wearing his new Giants onesie for the occasion, but I didn't really get many pictures of him in it. I had to fix that on Monday. It was just as well; I probably wouldn't have picked a Giants onesie shot over the ink photo for my picture of the day on Sunday anyway.

303/366 hopping on the bandwagon

Tuesday's picture wasn't terribly day-specific. It was Steve's first full day back to work. (He had stayed home the previous morning and then gone to the office after Evan's appointment with the pediatrician.) Other than that, it was a pretty typical day. Evan ate and slept in the morning, Bruce and Bonnie came in the afternoon, and then they ended up holding Evan while he slept some more. The only pictures I took were of Evan napping in his bouncy seat. It's the bouncy seat that we gave Dan and Carmen when they had Elsa, and it's been quite handy for us too.

304/366 naps in the bouncy seat

Wednesday was Halloween! When I was pregnant, I made the decision that I was not going to buy a Halloween costume for Evan. After all, his due date was October 27, so I had no guarantee that he'd be home from the hospital or even born by Halloween. I had decided that we would just use the Baby Gap bear suit/outerwear that Evan had inherited from Elsa. It would be nice and warm, and it was close enough to being a costume. He ended up swimming in it—it's 0-3 month and he was still wearing newborn sizes—but he was pretty cute and cuddly. We had a photo shoot in his room, on the bean bag, and then we went to Dan and Carmen's Halloween pizza party that evening. Evan slept through the whole thing. Several of Elsa's little friends and their families came—all dressed as various animals, so Evan fit in well—and then they went trick-or-treating in the neighborhood. We, on the other hand, took our sleepy bear back upstairs, saving the trick-or-treating for next year.

305/366 scary bear

Because Thursday was November 1, I took a break from the baby picture of the day so that I could do the calendar picture of the month. I was still firmly in baby mode, though, so the backdrop was one of Evan's swaddling blankets in his crib. That was when he was still small enough to be swaddled with blankets rather than the special swaddles...

306/366 november

I decided that it was time to get out for another walk on Friday, so I proposed a trip to Ritual for some coffee with Bruce and Bonnie. I broke out the Baby Bjorn for the first time and wore Evan all the way to the coffee shop before deciding to let Bonnie wear him for the walk back. He wasn't much more than 8 lbs at that point, but that was plenty of exertion for me for the time being. 

307/366 out and about

Saturday's picture was taken in the morning, while Evan and I were hanging out on the floor in his room. I propped him up with the Boppy pillow and took a few pictures while his eyes were open. I also got his umbilical cord stump in the shot. By the next morning, it had fallen off.

308/366 last day of the umbilical cord

That wraps up another week and another month. Here's the October mosaic. I like how the picture from Evan's birth ended up exactly in the middle.

Monday, December 17, 2012

settling in

Week 43: first full week with a baby! But we'll start with a picture of the other little "honey badger." That Sunday, we had a nurse home visit in the morning to make sure we were on the right track, since we wouldn't be going to the pediatrician until Tuesday. Then in the afternoon, we spent more time hanging out in the nursery with the grandparents and Dan and Carmen, playing Pass the Evan. Luckily, we had several balloons leftover from our homecoming the day before, and they were great for keeping Elsa entertained. Their helium had lost its effectiveness, but Elsa didn't care. She especially enjoyed having all the balloons dropped at once from above her.

295/366 party animal

On Monday, I made sure to take a picture of the flowers that Carmen had put in the nursery, since I hadn't done that the day we got home. I also included the card they gave us and the stuffed squirrel that Elsa brought to Evan when they visited us in the hospital his first night. Evan had his first sponge bath that afternoon too, but I was too busy doing the bathing to take pictures myself. Steve did that job for me while Evan demonstrated the power of his lungs.

296/366 baby!

I dressed Evan in his whale romper on Tuesday, and it happened to match the Detroit Tigers bib that his Aunt Carmen gave him. This was mid-World Series, so I had to take a picture of him in it. Of course, Evan's probably more of a Giants fan, since that's his home team, but Aunt Carmen is from the Detroit area. Growing up in Lansing and not being much of a sports fan, I've never really been attached to the Tigers myself.

297/366 tigers bib

Prior to Tuesday's Tigers bib shot, I had Steve help me with my last weekly portrait. I wanted to get one final shot of myself with the baby and without to finish off the pregnancy series. So I set up the tripod and camera and had Steve press the button on the remote for the pictures of me holding Evan. Somewhat unfortunately, I realized later that one of the joints on the tripod hadn't been tightened down, and the horizon—the picture rail—gradually traveled upward as the camera drooped. By the time I noticed that the composition didn't match those of my previous weeks' photos, I had already put everything away and changed out of my photo outfit. I would have to re-shoot the next day.

I say "somewhat unfortunately" because Wednesday's pictures actually turned out better than Tuesday's—and not just because the composition was right this time. I somehow looked much less pale at 6 days postpartum than I had at 5 days. I thought it might have been nice to take the picture during the previous weekend, closer to the actual 39-week mark, but this was also when I was able to finally find the time for it. We were too busy coming home from the hospital that Saturday and getting adjusted that Sunday to worry about taking the weekly photos then.

Also, I'm aware that I'm probably making many enemies right now, but I have to say how surprised I was by how quickly I lost the baby weight. I was fully expecting "9 months up, 9 months down" or at least about 4 months down and then hanging on to the last 5 lbs or so until I stopped breastfeeding. But I was wearing my pre-pregnancy jeans about 3-4 weeks after giving birth. I actually tried a couple pairs on at the 1-week mark and found that the slightly bigger pair (purchased around 9 weeks pregnant) fit great, while my skinniest ones were a little too skin-tight. Of course, I ended up wearing the yoga pants exclusively for another couple weeks anyway... They were much more comfortable as I was still recovering. Now, the skinny jeans fit fine again. I think I'm only about 2 lbs heavier than I started! My stomach isn't quite as flat as it used to be, although it's even better now than when I took these pictures. And for the first time in my life, I have quite the rack.

298/366 39.5 weeks

Moving on, there was Evan's 1-week birthday on Thursday. I delayed eating lunch for a few minutes just so I could take pictures of him at 1:09pm, when he would be exactly a week old. He was napping in his crib, so I just put his owl in with him.

299/366 one week

We had our first outing with the stroller on Friday afternoon, when we walked to Mitchell's for ice cream with Bruce and Bonnie. Upon returning home, we met up with Carmen and a skunk who looked a lot like Elsa. After the skunk decided that she couldn't fit in the basket of our stroller, she settled for pushing it through the park with a little steering help from Steve. (This was prior to Halloween, and Carmen was trying Elsa's costume on her.)

300/366 a walk in the park

Last, Evan's due date was that Saturday, and I finally managed to get the shot I was looking for for his birth announcement. I had tried a couple days before, but I hadn't quite been able to get him into the right pose. This time, I was a lot more successful, and I had Bonnie to help me hold up the ends of the blanket for the background. Evan was 9 days old and not getting any younger, so I was afraid I was going to be pushing the limits of his newborn sleepiness and pose-ability if I didn't get these shots done soon enough.

301/366 birth announcement

Saturday, December 8, 2012

the big week

Week 42 of the 366 project was a big one; it ended with us bringing a baby home from the hospital! It started less eventfully, however. It was week 38 of pregnancy, and I had just about completed my pre-baby to-do list. That Sunday's task was to bake some banana bread for the freezer. Since that kept me busy, the picture of the day turned out to be rather similar to the one I took when I made pumpkin chocolate chip loaves the week before.

I used my family's old banana bread recipe this time, just because I remembered it being really easy. It was indeed easy, but I've decided that I prefer the recipe from Molly Wizenberg's A Homemade Life. The texture is a bit better—less spongy and less greasy. And I could just leave out the crystallized ginger (I have before) and chocolate if I want plain banana bread. In any case, it's been nice to have these loaves in the freezer to pull out for snacks or breakfasts. I only just finished the last one yesterday.

288/366 banana bread

Steve's parents flew to SF on Monday. Steve worked from home that morning so that we could pick them up from the airport, and then he headed to the office for a meeting when we got back. The rest of us—Bruce, Bonnie, Carmen, Elsa, and I—got lunch from Papalote and ate it downstairs. I took a few pictures of Bruce and Bonnie playing with Elsa, but Elsa's a bit more active now than when they were here last time in March. None of the shots of them turned out that well, so I opted for a more stationary subject: Elsa's rabbit with the little table and chairs that Carmen found at the Alameda Flea Market.

289/366 lonely rabbit

On Tuesday afternoon, the nursery was the place to be. Carmen and Elsa came upstairs for a while, joining Bruce, Bonnie, and me. Carmen got out Elsa's old Bumbo seat and encouraged her to try sitting in it again, partly to see if she'd get stuck when she tried to stand up. Elsa actually managed to get herself out of it a few times; it took Carmen "helping" her up to get it to stick.

290/366 bumbo butt

Then there was Wednesday. It began like any other day, and then I went into labor. In the early afternoon, I had my weekly OB appointment. I was now 2cm dilated, rather than the 1cm I had been for the previous two weeks, but my doctor told me there was still a good possibility that I would be making it to my 39-week appointment the next Wednesday.

Later, I met Carmen and the in-laws for a photo shoot with Elsa in the park after her nap. (Carmen gave me the bird when I told her I was at 2cm.) Elsa had gotten a Detroit Tigers shirt and hat when it looked like the Tigers had a good chance of getting into the World Series, so we had to take some pictures of her in it. Plus, it was really nice out that day—in the upper 70s or low 80s. I got some cute shots of Elsa alone and some with the grandparents, and then we ended at the swings, where we stayed quite a while. That's probably where I was when contractions started, but since they didn't really feel much different from the Braxton Hicks contractions I had been experiencing for the last couple months, I didn't take note of when they began. I didn't even think to start timing them until I was back in the house, around 7:30pm. 

291/366 swinging with grandpa

So this is where the whole birth story comes in. (Read it all here if you missed it.) The short version is that we checked into the hospital around 11pm Wednesday night, I got the epidural at about 4am, and Evan was born at 1:09pm. I was actually glad that he waited until the next day to come, since the light in the labor/delivery room was drastically better during the day than it had been at night. I set up my camera when it was almost time to start pushing, and I let Steve take over from there. Not every shot turned out very well, but I really liked the one below.

292/366 the arrival of evan

The rest of the afternoon on Thursday was spent making phone calls to family, moving to our postpartum room on the other side of the floor, and getting the hang of breastfeeding. Luckily, Evan was pretty good at latching right away, so that was one less thing to worry about. In the evening, the whole gang came to visit: Bruce, Bonnie, Dan, Carmen, and Elsa. The adults took turns holding the baby and corralling Elsa, who "brought" Evan a stuffed squirrel as a gift.

That night, we decided to let Evan go to the nursery, rather than having him room in with us. After the long night and day we had just had, we needed a little sleep. The nurse still brought him in every couple of hours so I could feed him, but at least I didn't need to worry about him at all in between. (We kept him in our room the next night and got to hear all his squeaks and stirrings.)

Friday was a little less eventful for us. There was lots of eating on Evan's part, as well as some standard newborn tests and his circumcision, but we didn't have any visitors besides my doctor and one of the pediatricians. Steve and I decided that our room was small and crowded enough as it was, and we would be seeing the family again when we came home the next day anyway. We also had our "fancy" celebratory dinner that evening, since it was our last night in the hospital. I say "fancy," but it was definitely still hospital food, steak or not. It's nice that they try to make it special, though.

I actually didn't take too many pictures that day, because I was recovering. But I did make it out of bed long enough to take some photos of Evan on Steve's cot by the window.

293/366 one day old

Finally, we came home from the hospital on Saturday afternoon. It was a little stressful trying to get Evan dressed and into his car seat for the first time, but we managed. The one thing that didn't get put on him was his hat; it was too late once he was strapped in. Luckily, it was in the low 60s that day, so he didn't really need it for the short trips to and from the car.

The grandparents, Dan, Carmen, and Elsa met us at the house when we pulled up. Elsa got to see Evan in her old car seat, and after a quick photo op, we took Evan upstairs. Carmen and Bonnie had decorated a little with flowers, balloons, and a Tigers bib in the nursery. And on the kitchen table, there were more flowers, some fruit, and a card addressed to "Stevily." Apparently, our "Stemily" nickname had been updated.

294/366 welcoming party

We all hung out for a while in the nursery, and then we went downstairs for Evan's first pizza night. He pretty much slept through the whole thing.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

birth story

Five weeks later and just in time for Thanksgiving, here is Evan's birth story:

Contractions started on Wednesday, October 17, sometime around 6 or 7pm, but I thought that they were more of the same Braxton Hicks contractions that I had been experiencing for the last few months. Having just been to the doctor earlier that afternoon for my 38 (and a half) week appointment, I assumed that the increased frequency of the contractions was due to the exam. So I didn't think much of it when they started. It was a nice warm evening, and I was busy in the park with Bonnie, Bruce, and Elsa. We had done a little photo shoot with Elsa in her Detroit Tigers outfit, which was followed by some swinging and then chatting with a father and his three little girls. Carmen had gone inside to work on dinner, and Steve and Dan joined us for a while when they got home from work.

I had always pictured walking around the neighborhood while in early labor, trying to get contractions going, like my mother did when she was in labor with me. I guess I did end up spending some of that time outside, standing around by the swings; I just didn't know it was the beginning of labor. I was 2cm dilated at my appointment that day, and I had been 1cm for at least two weeks before that, so I probably didn't have as far to go in that stage anyway.

When we went inside that evening, Steve started dinner—zucchini carbonara—and I started going through the pictures I had taken. About halfway through, I noticed that the contractions were getting just a little more uncomfortable. They also seemed to be pretty frequent, so I decided to try out the contraction timer app that I had gotten for my phone. If nothing else, it seemed like a good time to figure out how to use it before the real thing. That was at 7:34pm, and the contractions ended up being about 5 minutes apart, although they weren't necessarily each a minute long.

I timed contractions through dinner, but I took a break for an hour while Steve and I loaded the dishwasher. Afterward, we watched a little more of Life After Top Chef, and I sat on the yoga ball for a while. Meanwhile, contractions continued. I started timing them again at about 9:20pm, and they were coming about every 3 minutes or so. They were also lasting closer to a minute each now.

Around 10pm, I decided that maybe I should finish up my hospital packing, just in case we needed to head to CPMC that night. I had packed what I could already, but I had a list of things that couldn't be packed until the last minute. I was glad I had the list too, because it was hard to concentrate on what I might be forgetting when I was also timing contractions and trying to decide if I was actually in labor or not. Everything I had read about real contractions vs. Braxton Hicks seemed to say, "If you're really in labor, you'll know." Well, I didn't. The contractions were getting a little more uncomfortable, but I could still walk, talk, and pack through them.

Steve heard me rustling around in the bedroom and bathroom and came to see what I was up to. I told him I was packing... just in case...? and filled him in. He got a little nervous when I told him that the contractions were about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes apart and 45-60 seconds long. After all, the general rule for heading to the hospital is 5 minutes apart, 1 minute long, for 1 hour.

Once we were all packed, I called the 24-hour line and gave the nurse my details. She said to come on into the hospital, so Steve brought the car up to the house. It was a little before 11pm at this point, and Dan was out walking Enzo. So Dan and Carmen found out we were going to the hospital, and I spent part of the drive there texting Carmen while continuing to time contractions. She asked what they felt like, and I told her they felt like bad cramps. I still wasn't convinced that we weren't going to be sent home right away, but maybe I was just in denial.

We arrived at the hospital after 11pm, and lucked into one of the parking spots across the street from the entrance—one of the few streets not requiring a neighborhood permit for more than 2 hours of parking. After checking in at the OB Triage desk, we were shown to a small exam room, where I changed out of my clothes so they could look at my progress. I was now 3cm dilated and 100% effaced, so they admitted me around 11:30pm. Steve called his parents, I texted Carmen, and I also made a quick post to Facebook to indicate that I might have a baby soon. Our first labor/delivery nurse, Leah, came down to get us not long after, and we took the elevator up to our room on the second floor. That's where the rest of the action happened.

I was hooked up to the monitors on and off for a while, and Steve and I settled in a bit. The contractions slowly got more intense over the next few hours. At first, I was able to get through them just fine. When I was allowed out of bed, I took a few pictures. I also brushed my teeth, took off my mascara from earlier in the day, and removed my contacts. All this with only a minute or two at a time of being pain-free.


At 2:30am, I was about 4cm dilated, and the contractions were getting worse. I had been texting Carmen—she was still awake—and bouncing on the yoga ball a little, but by then I was needing more help from Steve. What seemed to work the best was leaning over the bed or being on all fours while Steve did a combination of two of the lower back/hip massages that we learned in the childbirth prep class. I didn't really use the breathing we learned, though. I just stuck with breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth, rather more forcefully as the pain got worse. I could have walked around the hospital floor to move things along faster, but the thought of straying from my room when I would just have to stop for contractions every minute or two was pretty unappealing.

I decided to try the shower sometime between 3-4am. I was ready for something different, and the warm water helped for a little while. The nurse gave me about 15-20 minutes in there, which was about right. By the end, even the warm water wasn't helping, and I decided that it was about time for the epidural. It meant that I would have to stay in bed for the rest of the time, but I was tired enough by 4am that I was ready to lie down without being in pain.

Of course, the anesthesiologist had to finish up with someone else first, so there was a span of 15-30 minutes before I actually got the epidural. (Just in case I needed more contractions to confirm that I wanted it.) The worst part was the length of time it took once the anesthesiologist started, when I had to be sitting still, hunched over through my contractions, rather than in a position that allowed Steve to continue the massaging. It felt really odd when the anesthesiologist administered the drugs—like nails on a chalkboard—but I was feeling much better soon. My legs went mostly numb, my toes felt like they had been in winter boots in the cold for too long, and more importantly, I couldn't feel the contractions anymore.

We were actually able to sleep for a couple hours after that, not that I actually fell asleep. Between the music playing on our iPod dock and everything going on in my head, I don't think I really slept at all. The bit of rest helped, though, and Steve got to sleep a little.

The nurse was back around 6am to check on my meds and such. That's also when they started me on pitocin. The epidural and being in bed had slowed down the labor, so they wanted to get things moving again. Then, when that hadn't produced a significant enough change, the doctor broke my water at 7:20am. I was at about 5cm dilated then, but by about 10am, I was fully dilated with the baby at +1 or +2 station. The nurse told us that we would be ready to start pushing in about an hour!

Steve, killing time

At 11am, the baby was +2 or +3 station, and we were about ready to push. Since my doctor was off that day, we waited a little longer to see if she would be coming anyway to deliver the baby or if it would be the on-call doctor. It ended up being the on-call doctor, but she seemed nice too. (My doctor came by to see me the next morning and returned to do the baby's circumcision later.)

Pushing lasted about an hour and a half, from 11:30am to 1pm, and we had two nurses during that time. Leah had gone home after the night shift ended and had been replaced by Mary Kate, who I liked even better. Mary Kate was 34 weeks pregnant herself and reminded me a little of Ingrid Michaelson. When she took a break for lunch, the charge nurse took over for a bit. She noticed Steve's "Praise the Lard" t-shirt, and chatted with us about food between pushes.

The actual pushing was pretty interesting. With the epidural, I couldn't feel a whole lot, so I had to rely on the nurse to tell me when I was having a contraction at first. But by the end, I was feeling the tension and the urge to push on each one. I would have to push for a count of ten, take a quick breath, push for another ten, breathe, and push again. Mostly, I just focused on tensing up my abs and thinking in the upward direction like they told me to. The nurses seemed happy with my pushing skills, so I guess I didn't take as long as some people.

They asked me toward the end if I wanted reach down and feel the baby's head. I wasn't entirely sure how I felt about it, but I said yes anyway. I was glad that I did; it was pretty strange, but it was also kind of cool to feel the soft hair on his head before I could actually see it.

The doctor came in for the last few pushes, and before I knew it, Evan's (slightly cone-shaped) head was out. That was quickly followed by the rest of him, and he started to cry. It was kind of a squeaky cry that sounded like a baby pterodactyl. They laid him on my chest, and he was slightly grayish from all the white vernix that was covering his skin. I couldn't believe how much of it there was and how sticky it turned out to be, but he was also soft and warm. Meanwhile, he had stopped crying, but he was still whimpering a little. For how alien he looked and sounded, he was pretty cute.

Mary Kate took Evan to the other side of the room after a few minutes so she could clean him off and do all the necessary newborn procedures while the doctor stitched me back up. Evan also got a sponge bath then. His temperature had been a little high—probably because it was a warm day—and the sponge bath cooled him off a bit. Steve watched the whole process, taking pictures and videos with my camera.

Once Evan was done and ready, he was swaddled up and handed back to Steve. Mary Kate took a picture of the three of us, which turned out to be slightly out of focus, but oh well.

And just like that, we had a baby.

Evan Christopher
born at 1:09pm on October 18, 2012
7lbs 15oz
21 inches long

Friday, November 9, 2012

the third trimester

I had high hopes—too high, apparently—of writing this third trimester blog post while I was still actually in my third trimester of pregnancy. I kept putting it off, but I told myself that I would write it over the weekend that marked the beginning of week 39 so that the details would all be current. As it turned out, I was a little busy coming home from the hospital with a newborn that weekend. And so, here is the wrap-up with slightly less fresh details.

For a little visual reference, we're talking about week 28...

to week 38.

Clearly, I grew a lot. In fact, week 29 was when I started to feel like my belly was getting in the way of things a little. I was still thinking like a skinny girl, trying to squeeze by things, and then I'd end up bumping something with my belly. Somehow, I just never felt as huge as I thought I would. It took more effort to get to my feet from a sitting position as time went on, but I could still see my feet and even reach them to cut my toenails. Walking wasn't even very difficult at the end, although I felt a bit more winded than usual on the walk back to my car from the OB's office that last day.

Likewise, I never felt the need to get one of those huge pregnancy pillows for sleeping. I started wedging a small neck pillow under the side of my belly around week 26 instead. (It was never great as a neck pillow, but I was glad that I had kept it around.) I had some stiffness in my back in the mornings, but it was never enough to warrant big pillows crowding the bed. How do people turn over with those anyway? At the most, I just kept an extra pillow next to the bed to put between my knees occasionally. I didn't usually need it until maybe the last hour or two of sleep in the mornings.

In terms of baby movement, there was no slowing down during the third trimester. He had lots of hiccups, which became more and more obvious on the right side of my belly—where his back was. And there was a lot of foot movement on the left side. Occasionally, a foot would poke straight out towards my side in a way that felt rather unnerving, like I wasn't supposed to be stretched in that direction. Putting my hand there usually helped, since it seemed to provide a bit of support and confine the movement a little. Still, I was glad that most of the jabs were directed outward rather than inward at my organs or my ribs.

Braxton Hicks contractions: I started feeling them in the second trimester, but they continued to be common during the third. They got more and more frequent, and occasionally, they were a little more uncomfortable. Often it just felt like my blood pressure was rising suddenly, and then I'd realize that it was a contraction that was tightening things up. When labor started, I actually thought the contractions were Braxton Hicks for the first few hours. I was so used to those that I really didn't think it was true labor... But that's for a separate blog entry.

Next comes fatigue. Probably because I wasn't working, I didn't really feel a lot of the typical third trimester fatigue. There was a little—I'd sometimes hit a wall around 2 or 3pm and not feel like I wanted to do much. It was nowhere near the fatigue of the first trimester, however. And I actually never took any naps over the course of the pregnancy; I was just a little slower to get out of bed some mornings.

Appetite wasn't a huge issue either. The stereotype is that you'll want to eat everything in sight during the third trimester, but I didn't feel exceptionally starved. That might have had a lot to do with the gestational diabetes diet and its requirements that I eat or snack every 2-3 hours. I was already feeling like I was being told to eat constantly, so I probably didn't have the opportunity to get that hungry.

Finally, we come to my list of things that I do not miss about pregnancy:

1) Gestational Diabetes. The diet actually didn't turn out to be a huge deal; in fact, it probably kept my overall weight gain down and allowed me to lose it much faster afterward. The recommended 30-minute walks were good for keeping me out and about too. What I don't miss is not being able to eat sweet stuff or pasta without feeling like I was cheating. I also don't miss having to set a timer at the start of each meal and then stopping everything an hour later to test my blood sugar. The daily testing and having to keep food logs got a little old.

2) Constant Peeing. I don't miss feeling like I needed to pee literally every time I stood up. (That includes when I stood up from peeing too...) Since the baby was head-down from at least 31 weeks, there was probably increasing pressure on my bladder for quite a while. I would say that I don't miss getting up to go to the bathroom once or twice every night, but I still do that when I get up to feed the baby. At least I know that's just from all the water I've been drinking.

3) Heartburn. It was a problem throughout the pregnancy, but it definitely got worse as the weeks went by. I took Pepcid daily before dinner and Tums a lot the rest of the day, and I still frequently ended up having to take out my retainer and chew another Tums in the middle of the night. In fact, I was still taking Tums while I was in labor. Luckily, I had some in my bag and was allowed to take them. It was amazing when I realized a day or two later—after having the baby—that the heartburn was just... gone. Suddenly, I was drinking all this water (and burping, as one does) and there was no hint of acid reflux.

So it was fun being pregnant for a while, and I will miss feeling the baby's movements. And the uninterrupted sleep... However, I'm enjoying having Evan out where I can see him and of course, being done with the various pregnancy nuisances.

Monday, November 5, 2012

the to-do list

Week 41 was all about checking things off of my pre-baby to-do list. Steve's parents were arriving the next Monday, and while I had no indication of when I would go into labor, Monday was kind of my unofficial deadline for getting stuff done. After that, I told myself that the baby was allowed to come anytime. (I went into labor two days later.)

That weekend, we wrestled with getting the car seat installed in our car. We weren't entirely successful on Saturday, prior to our Macy's trip, but we had better luck on Sunday. That's when we managed to find the other LATCH system attachments in the back seat of the car. (The middle ones were hidden differently than the side ones, making them more difficult to spot.) We went back another day and added a towel underneath the foot of the seat to perfect the leveling, but this shot from Sunday is pretty much how the car seat ended up looking.

281/366 car seat: check

Then on Monday, I decided that the time had finally come to take the official "after" pictures of the nursery. We had finally received all the things I had ordered, and everything was in place. I just had to get out my widest angle lenses and make pretty pictures out of it. I intend to do a full post on the nursery and its inspiration one of these days, but I'm not entirely sure when I'll get around to it.

282/366 into the nursery

Tuesday was a baking day. I made two loaves of pumpkin chocolate chip bread from the Baked cookbook. With the gestational diabetes, I was trying to avoid eating a lot of baked goods, but nothing was stopping me from freezing them for post-baby! This way, I knew I'd have my tasty fall treats on standby when I was allowed to have them again.

283/366 pumpkin loaves

The next night, Steve and I decided to go out to dinner at Contigo for the last time before the baby came. We got our usual selection of tapas (pictured below) and some other small plates. We also got to say hi to Brett (the chef), as well as Elan and Tilden (his wife and their 1-year old daughter) who stopped by briefly. It was a good last night out.

284/366 last meal

I had taken note of a jewelry store display featuring owls on the way to Contigo on Wednesday night, so I decided to go to Noe Valley again on Thursday to take some pictures of it. I needed to go to a Walgreens anyway, and the Noe Valley one gave me a better walk than the store closer to us. It seems like I also might have stopped at Whole Foods on that trip and bought some snacks to pack for the hospital, but those walks were frequent enough that they all tend to blend together a bit now.

285/366 owl tree

I did a few more detail shots of the nursery on Friday, since I noticed that I didn't have many from Monday that weren't wide angle. One of the pictures I wanted to take was of the Sharon Montrose animal prints above the shelves. After all, the baby deer picture was one of the first things I picked out for the nursery.

286/366 animal prints

On Saturday, Carmen and Elsa came up for another little photo shoot in the baby's room. Carmen wanted to take some pictures of Elsa with me and my belly, and since that ended up being my last weekend of being pregnant, the timing was perfect. It was challenging to wrangle Elsa for the pictures, though. Her usual interest in my belly button didn't last very long, so we had to put stickers over it to hold her attention. We eventually managed to get a few cute shots, and I took the below picture of Carmen and Elsa during a break in the action.

287/366 nose kiss

And so ended my last full week of pregnancy. In the next installment: a wrap-up of the third trimester.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

that's for babies...

Well, I guess I didn't quite catch up with the blog posts before the baby came. Evan was born on Thursday, October 18, and now I'm having to catch up on a whole lot of photo editing in addition to the blog posts. So. On we go.

All but one of my pictures for week 40 of the 365 project featured baby stuff. That was either because a lot was happening in the nursery or because I was most interested in spending time in there. Sunday was the last day in September, and I had Steve anchor the changing table (to the dresser) and dresser (to the wall) that afternoon. Since our diaper caddy, diapers, wet wipes, wet wipe dispenser, hand sanitizer, and burp cloths had all arrived too, that area was finally ready for the baby. The only additions we've made since this picture was taken have been a waterproof pad (piddle pad) laid on top of the changing pad and a box of Kleenex behind the wipe dispenser. Having had a week now to use this area, it seems like a good set-up! The piddle pads might actually win for MVP here... They've caught a lot of spit-up, a little pee, and even some poo, and I've only had to wash the changing pad cover once.

274/366 ready for change

October began that Monday, so I had to find another background for a calendar shot. Sticking with the nursery theme, I used the baby blanket that Kim had sent to us as my background and just laid it over the little footstool in the nursery. I was pretty sure that the baby would be born that month, so it fit the baby theme that way.

275/366 october

I decided on Tuesday that it was time to start the baby laundry. At first, I was only going to wash the newborn and 0-3 month clothes, but then I decided to just do it all. That took quite a while, since I was trying not to mix up my already sorted sizes too much or shrink anything in the dryer. So my plan to take a picture of the full drawer of clean clothes didn't quite work out before the light was gone for the day. Instead, I took a picture of the first load, washed and folded in the laundry basket and sitting on the floor in the nursery.

276/366 cutest laundry day ever

I took the drawer picture the next day instead, which is when I finished the rest of the laundry. I also had my weekly OB appointment that afternoon. At 36.5 weeks, I was 1cm dilated and about 75% effaced, but I still had two weeks before I went into labor.

277/366 fully stocked

I really didn't have any ideas for Thursday's picture, since I was probably too focused on getting other stuff done. I don't even really remember what all I was doing that day, except waiting for a package and maybe trying to catch up on some scrapbooking. (I'm past our honeymoon now! Only four years behind again...) I decided to shoot a picture that I had tried a couple weeks before but hadn't posted: the crib corner, reflected and framed in one of the mirrors above the dresser. My previous version had had the crib, decal, bunting, and mobile; but there was no sheet on the crib or blanket hanging over the side. At this point, I was waiting for a few last things to arrive for other spots in the nursery, so I was holding off on taking the official "after" shots. This corner of the nursery, however, was pretty much done.

278/366 sneak peek

One of the things for which I had been waiting arrived on Friday: the iPod dock. This is the glorified white noise machine for the nursey, which we're using with my old, neglected 4th generation iPod. It's nice to have the option of listening to music or podcasts in addition to the white noise. And actually, we've only used it for music so far. The baby is still young enough that he can sleep through most anything, so we'll probably wait until sound is an issue before we use it for white noise.

279/366 high tech

On Saturday, I wanted to get a couple pieces of nightwear for nursing at the Macy's downtown, so Steve and I also stopped by Tout Sweet, Yigit Pura's new patisserie inside the store. (He was the winner of Top Chef: Just Desserts.) I got the 5th Element: vanilla genoise, raspberry cream, oolong tea infused white chocolate mousse, fresh raspberries, and white chocolate. It was sweet, but I liked the various flavors and textures together. Steve's Florence Verrine—citrus-vanilla scented panna cotta with a "Negroni" gelee—was also quite good.

280/366 5th element

And that's the end of that week, along with the last bit of September, so here's the mosaic: