Monday, March 30, 2009

Lesson #792

Lydia will nap during the day much better if we treat naptime similarly to the way we treat bedtime. (Swaddling, rocking, crib...) It's like rocket science...

Snug as a...

Sometimes you have to laugh at the baby's expense. Here is Lydia, sporting her ladybug swaddle, given to her by my aunt Judy. 

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Night on the Town

Friday marked another first for Lydia: her first dinner at a restaurant. Robin came home from a workshop at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center and suggested we attempt eating out. I was not sure about the idea, but we were both tired, so I folded. After Lydia ate, we got ready and left as quickly as possible. We went to Kerbey Lane, one of our Austin favorites. (I had been thinking about their sweet potato fries since the last time I was there with my parents a couple days before Lydia was born.)

Dinner was a success! Lydia slept in her carseat the whole time, and Robin and I wolfed down our fries and dinners before she had a chance to wake up. It may not have been the most leisurely meal we have had, but I have a feeling any leisurely meals we have in the next five years or so will involve a babysitter. It felt good to know that eating at a restaurant is an option.

Here is Lydia looking extremely interested in sweet potato fries, and here I am, showing the wear and tear of my first week (mostly) alone with the baby.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Welcome Drew Isaiah!

Congratulations to Andy and Kelsey and their new addition, Drew Isaiah! Here's what the message said:

Drew Isaiah, the world's most perfect baby, was born at 4:38 a.m. on Thursday, March 26, 2009. Drew was born weighing 7 pounds, 3 ounces and measuring 20.5 inches long. He has a super light layer of dark blonde fuzz and navy blue 'newborn eyes.' His skin tone is perfect and peachy, and he's got long toes!

Of course, we think Lydia is pretty perfect, too. She and Drew can be perfect together!

Nice work, Momma! Best wishes to all!

Naptime with Dad

How could I resist taking these classic shots? Robin and Lydia napped on the sofa for two hours yesterday, allowing me my first two hours by myself since Lydia was born. I won't lie; I spent the majority of the time trying to keep myself from going down to check on her, even though I knew she was with Robin, who is as protective of her as I am!

I heart Boudreaux

Boudreaux's Butt Paste, that is. Not for me. For Lydia. She had a bit of diaper rash when we brought her to the pediatrician, so we have been trying the Boudreaux's Butt Paste that was given to me by Anna. (This, along with the pads I mentioned earlier were part of a shower gift that included lots of "insider" gifts; things only people with babies--or sisters with babies--would think of. Thanks, Anna!) Boudreaux is working his magic! We have a second type of diaper rash cream waiting in the wings given to us by some other friends with a baby; we are stocked!

Moving on Up!

Lydia spent her first night in her nursery last night. After the pediatrician told us that she was at her birth weight, we felt a little more comfortable having her in her crib. Of course, she woke up three times instead of the one to two times of the previous few nights, but it was nice having her in her own room where either Robin or I could take care of her and put her to back to bed without waking the other.

Here is Lydia in her crib, sporting her Miracle Blanket, a gift from a friend from my family's church in Forest Lake. Lydia seems to only sleep when swaddled, and the Miracle Blanket has shown to stay in place the best. She looks like a little caterpillar in a cocoon!
Also note the little pad underneath her. My friend Anna gave us these; they are a felt-like material that has plastic in it. If Lydia has a blow-out in the middle of the night, we only have to change the little pad! How clever is that?
(Yes, I realize the picture is sideways, but Robin is not home to help me figure out the crazy Picasa application on our computer. I will fix it later, I promise.)

Thursdays with Lydia - Week Two

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Deep Slumber

Robin and I are slowly but surely learning this whole parenthood thing. Our most recent realization is the importance of the bedtime routine. Because I bear the brunt of awake time during the night for Lydia's nursing, Robin has been taking the responsibility of putting her to sleep when we go to bed. While newborns don't establish habits until they are a bit older than Lydia is, we realized that we were hyping her up and then expecting her to go right to sleep. It was taking around two hours to get her to mellow out and go to bed.

Introduce the bedtime routine! For the past two nights, we have given her a bath (Note: We can now give her a "real" bath with a tub of water, since her cord finally fell off today!), Robin has read her a book (I'm an English teacher; I can't help it but push to introduce books immediately!), and I feed her. I then pass her back to Robin, who rocks her to sleep. This has drastically reduced her falling asleep time AND seems to have helped her sleep for a longer period of time (4-5 hours in the first stretch as opposed to 2-3). I'm sure that just writing this will mean that she will be up all night tonight, but thankfully, Robin and I are both feeling somewhat rested after the past two nights.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Daddy's Girl

Robin has been sorely underrepresented in photos, especially since I have been trying to lay low and let my body recover as much as possible. Here are a few of my favorites of Robin and Lydia.

Lydia - Month One

Austin Farmer's Market

After Lydia's doctor's appointment, Robin, Lydia and I went to check out the Austin Farmer's Market at The Triangle at 46th and Lamar. Our Community Sponsored Agriculture share is about to expire, and we are thinking about doing weekly produce runs to the Farmer's Market instead. We have enjoyed CSA, but would like the ability to choose our veggies and fruits. We were really pleased with the Farmer's Market, especially considering it is so close to our house, and scored tomatoes, strawberries, fresh lavender, and pork shoulder. (I know the pork shoulder messes with my Vegetarian Mother plan, but one meat meal a week at home makes Robin happy.) My favorite stand was "Garza's Gardens," a program through Garza High School, Austin ISD's alternative high school. The students grow vegetables and herbs for a class and sell the herbs at the market. They use the revenue to fund their gardening. The students were so talkative and enthusiastic, I couldn't help but miss (some of) my students at school. Now I just need to find a recipe that uses lavender...

Baby's First Pork Shoulder???

Wellness Check - Two Weeks

Lydia had her two week wellness check today and wowed us with her growth! She now weighs 9 lbs. 8 oz, putting her 5 oz. above her birth weight, measures at 22 inches, and has a head circumference of 15 inches. Her weight and head circumference are in the 90th percentile and her height is in the 95th. We are so proud! Her weight gain is especially significant because we no longer have to worry about waking her up to feed. She can get on her own schedule now that her weight is on-track. The check-up also involved a routine Newborn Screen, but we won't hear the results for 4 weeks or so.

Good Luck to the Quirings!

Best of luck to Kelsey and Andy and their baby, who is set to be induced today! We look forward to hearing news of Baby Q.'s arrival and hope for a quick and speedy delivery!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tiny Love

Lydia and I have a new best friend: the Tiny Love Symphony in Motion Mobile. This little contraption has allowed Lydia morning naps for the past two days. In fact, yesterday, she didn't so much as nap as just chill under the mobile while it played Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart to her. This morning it aided in her first real nap in her crib, a nap that continues as I write. The mobile is my best friend because it has now afforded me one shower (soon to be two), one load of dishes, two (hopefully three) loads of laundry, and some time with my laptop. Amazing!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Congratulations to Paul!

Paul Kolnberger is my parents' neighbor in Minnesota and has become a very close family friend over the past ten years. In December, Paul was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer and has since been putting up a courageous and fierce fight. Paul received the wonderful news last week that his tumor has shrunk by 50%, quite the feat considering that some health issues meant he could not use the preferred drug to treat his cancer. The other fantastic news was that those issues have been resolved, and he can now begin treatment with that more powerful and effective drug. According to my mom, Paul's doctor was very impressed with his progress and so are we! 

Keep Paul in your thoughts and send him prayers, blessing, positive healing energy, whatever you may! Way to go, Paul!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Reading Hour with Robin

I heard Robin reading to Lydia and thought I would sneak up to capture this Father-Daughter moment. I was expecting to see him with one of the picture books we have and couldn't wait to see what book he had chosen to read Lydia her first story. I found him reading to her from Your Baby's First Year: Week by Week, Week 2 chapter. Oh, Robin.

Lydia Photos

Here are a few pics of Lydia from the past few days, capturing some of her more entertaining facial expressions!

Sharing the Wealth

of Information, that is. We know a handful of people that are new or soon-to-be parents that are blogging. There is something really great about being able to share experiences. For example, today as Lydia was having a meltdown, I went back to Jessica and Aaron's blog, and it turns out that she was having a similar experience when Aidan was the same age as Lydia. There is something so comforting about reading other people's stories. 

Other friends we have that are blogging are Kelsey, who is anxiously awaiting Baby Q.'s arrival very, very shortly, and Elizabeth and Brian, who will welcome their son Oliver very soon. Yay for the internet!


We are fairly sure the Curry Catastrophe of 2009 has ended. The 36 hours following the initial infiltration of curry was probably the most trying we have had since bringing Lydia home. She was just so uncomfortable and unhappy. She is now eating well and no longer quite as "explosive" as yesterday. I think Robin and I weathered the catastrophe well, but it was not without some "I must be a terrible mother if I can't even calm down my own baby" and "She must hate me because she won't stop crying" moments. Thankfully, those moments have passed.

We also discovered Gripe Water at a remote location--our local Target. To be fair, we did not actually discover Gripe Water, but were told about it by both our pediatrician and Jessica, mom to Aidan. Gripe Water contains ginger and fennel and helps colicky babies. Within minutes of giving it to Lydia, she looked calmer than she has looked since Friday. Ahhhh. (That is my sigh of relief.) 

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Lydia + Titaya's = Long Day for All

Last night, we enjoyed dinner with two couples, Jessica and Aaron and Elizabeth and Brian. Jessica and Aaron's son Aidan is six months old and Brian and Elizabeth are anxiously awaiting the arrival of their son Oliver in the next two weeks. It was a great evening; Robin and I have been fortunate to have had visitors that keep us from feeling too isolated. There's also something really wonderful about hearing other people's experiences with babies.

We ordered from Titaya's, a thai restaurant nearby that Robin and I really like. My standby has always been Gang Garee, a yellow curry dish. Sadly, we realized that while I am a huge fan of this, Lydia is not. She was extremely fussy all day and had some interesting(?) digestive things going on. Looks like I will be finding a new standby from Titaya's that involves a little less spice.

Friday, March 20, 2009

One great night and one explosive first!

Lydia is sleeping really well. So well, in fact, that we have to set a timer and wake her up to make sure she eats often enough during the night. It seems she likes to stock up and feed every 1 to 1 1/2 hrs. in the hours preceding the evening and then will sleep for really long stretches. For the first two weeks, babies have to eat at least every four hours, so this means some antics on Robin's and my part. It is wonderful to feel rested, though!

This morning in order to wake her up enough to nurse, Robin and I gave her a bath. We have given her baths before, but this one was special. Why? Because immediately following, after Robin had wrapped her in a towel and was bringing her to the nursery for a diaper, Lydia had an explosive, shall we say, elimination. All over Robin. This was our first and it happened before 9 AM. I have to say Robin handled it very well.

Another exciting first is that I buttoned a pair of my favorite jeans. On my body. They definitely don't fit the same way they did pre-Lydia, but I am pretty pumped! I feel a little embarrassed for posting a photo, but seriously, the moment those pants buttoned felt like Christmas.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thursdays with Lydia - Week One

My good friend Anna gave me the idea to do this. The plan is to take a picture of Lydia every Thursday for her first year with the same object. At the end of the year, we'll be able to see how she's grown and changed week by week, with the object--in her case, a stuffed dog, working as a comparison! Stanley also wanted to get in on the fun.

The Vegetarian Mother

Before I got pregnant, I had been eating primarily vegetarian food. Pregnancy and vegetarianism didn't work out for me--apparently Lydia likes meat--so I have really been looking forward to eating vegetarian food again. We got a great cookbook, TheVegetarian Mother's Cookbook, that is has vegetarian recipes that have the appropriate nutrients for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Yesterday, Robin made a bean and rice casserole, and it was delicious! I highly recommend the cookbook and am looking forward to trying more recipes.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Outing #2 - Thunderbird Coffee!

After her weight check at the pediatrician's office, we decided it was time for Lydia to experience a rite of passage--her first coffee date. We walked down to Thunderbird Coffee, a coffee shop a few blocks down our street. I haven't had a caffeinated beverage since I was 24 weeks pregnant with Lydia--she had an arrhythmia and the perinatalogist suggested completely cutting out caffeine. Robin and I enjoyed our time out, and I am hoping that this is the first of many coffee dates to come with my little girl.

Wellness Check Update

We brought Lydia back to the pediatrician to make sure she was gaining weight. Yesterday, she weighed 8 lbs., down 13% from her initial birthweight. Usually, the healthy cutoff is 10%. Today, she had packed on almost 6 ozs., so she is right back where she needs to be. We figured out that while the milk had come in and was flowing well on my left side, it had yet to be in full working order on the right, so she was only getting half of the feeding time we thought. Between the weight gain and a healthy number of dirty diapers today, the pediatrician is confident that she is doing well. We might bring her in on Friday for another weight check, but that is to ease our (or my) peace of mind; the doctor was fine with waiting until her two-week appointment. Also, her bilirubin has not gone up, and the doctor thought that between today and yesterday, she was already looking less yellow. All in all, a good day at the doctor for Lydia!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Going It Alone

My parents left yesterday morning, and Robin and I have officially made it through the first 24 hours of being parents with nobody around to give us extra help. It was wonderful having my mom and dad here to help us with things around the house, Stanley, food, and come to the rescue with Lydia a few times. The first night we were at home, Lydia was having a meltdown, and we didn't know what to do, so my mom came in and took for a few hours so we could sleep. She also came to the rescue when I couldn't get Lydia to feed on a few occasions. My dad ran tons of errands and made us some great meals that we are still enjoying. I also really enjoyed watching them meet their first granddaughter and am so glad that my fear of Lydia coming late and after they had to leave was not realized!

Thankfully, Lydia slept insanely well the night before my parents left, so we were both well-rested for our first day by ourselves. I have to say I think we did pretty well. While it was hard to watch my parents go, it was also exciting to experience our first day as our own little family. Highlights included a trip to the doctor for her first wellness check (I'll get to that in a bit), a quick run to Old Navy for some tops for me and jeans and a shirt for Robin--it seems that as I was gaining weight, Robin made up for the strain on resources and lost some, and a walk down Woodrow.

We are still waiting on the final review of her wellness check. The doctor checked her bilirubin, since it had been high when we left the hospital. She did not call back, so we are assuming the results are fine. The other bummer was that Lydia has lost a little more weight than they like to see in newborns. Her birthweight was high, so she has a little more room for error, and my milk only started to come in on Sunday. The doctor asked that we come in today for a weight check to make sure that she is gaining. If she is not, we will supplement my breastmilk with formula. Lydia woke up almost exactly every two hours last night to feed, so I hope that this is an indicator that the weight loss had more to do with her and me getting established with this whole breastfeeding thing. Otherwise, we will have to supplement my breastmilk with formula, something I am hoping to avoid. I was comforted though, when our neighbor across the street told me that she had to supplement with both of her boys and was able to continue breastfeeding successfully for quite awhile.

One of the really great things about our first day by ourselves is that we knew we had so many people that we could call if we needed help. Kristen, our doula, is a great support to us, as are some friends and nearby family members that have had children recently. Now I can add our neighbor to the list. We are blessed to have such a great baby network!

Lydia Cecille

Too cool for Mom and Dad.

Lydia's Tummy Time: Take 1

It's never too early to start tummy time!

Lydia Cecille Looking for Lunch

6 hrs. old and ready to munch.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Laurie, Robin, and Lydia's Birth Story

On Wednesday, I resigned myself to the idea that there was nothing I could do to make this baby come. I was feeling really discouraged because my parents had been here since Saturday, and I was worried that they might not get to meet the baby before they had to return to Minnesota. I made peace with this, and we enjoyed the evening with a yummy dinner and pleasant conversation. Robin and I went to bed around 10:45, and I treated myself to a bit of TV before falling asleep. Little did I know…

At 1:00 AM, I woke up to a strange feeling. I wasn’t sure if I had to go to the bathroom, or if something else was going on. I got up and on my way to the restroom, realized that this might be my water breaking. I didn’t experience the dramatic gush that we hear about so often; I wasn’t even sure if I was right about what had happened. I woke Robin up, and we called Kristen, our doula, and she suggested going back to bed and if contractions hadn’t started by the morning, going into my doctor’s office for a test to confirm that my water had indeed broken. I tried to go back to sleep, but something in my body would not let me. We had heard so many stories about marathon labors lasting upwards of twenty hours, so I was really worried about not sleeping.

At 1:45, I experienced my first contraction. I had been experiencing cramping and Braxton-Hicks contractions for a few weeks, and I knew immediately that this was different. I couldn’t stay lying down and had to sit up and very consciously keep breathing deeply and steadily. I was pretty sure that this was the beginning of my labor, and I tried to do what we had talked about in birthing class—sleep between contractions. I just couldn’t. My 2nd contraction came about 15 minutes later, and the next was 10 minutes later. A few contractions later, we were at 7 minutes apart, and they were never any shorter than 60 seconds. For most of them, I had to sit up, and very quickly began managing them on my hands and knees, a position we had learned in birthing class. By about 4:00, they were 5-6 minutes apart, and I was sometimes using our exercise ball to get into a position that felt a little better. I really relied on my yoga breathing and as I experienced each contraction I would think about my cervix opening to get the baby out, hoping that this would help my body work with the contractions rather than fight them. I kept remembering what our doula and our birth class instructor had said about staying relaxed rather than tensing up so that my body’s natural hormones would help make my labor more effective.

Even doing this, I was starting to panic a bit. I kept thinking about the long labors I had heard about, and as my contractions became more intense and painful, I kept thinking, “If I still have 16 more hours of this and it is going to get more painful, there is no way I am going to be able to go through it without drugs.” I knew that as this panic set in, it was time to call our doula to come over. Kristen said she would be over shortly and suggested that I get in the shower to manage the pain of the contractions. I got in the shower, and Robin went into my parents’ room to tell them that I was in labor, Kristen was coming, and we would probably be headed to the hospital soon. I continued going through the contractions on my hands and knees, sometimes with the exercise ball, but now with hot water coming down on my back. This really seemed to help until Kristen got to our house, but I still had a few moments of almost-panic. Also, Robin informed me that my contractions were now less than 4 minutes apart (our hope had been to leave for the hospital when we were between 3 and 4 minutes apart, since the hospital is so close to our house). I made the decision that it was to go to the hospital, so I got out of the shower and began to get dressed, which was a slow-going process since my contractions were coming on faster and faster and getting really strong.

When Kristen arrived, she asked that we go through a few more contractions at the house so she could gage where I was at. Instantly, having Kristen with me made me feel like I could get on top of the contraction before it became too painful. She helped me use my voice—making low sounds from the belly—to cope with pain and guided me in keeping my body--especially my belly--relaxed. She also helped me stay focused on why my body was doing this and why I had to do it—to meet my baby as soon as possible. Even with this, when I went through the third contraction with her, something in me started to panic. It just became so intense and so painful, I felt like I couldn’t keep going. Again, Kristen helped calm me down and suggested that we begin making our way downstairs to go to the hospital. I had to stop twice on the stairs and once in our front walk—in the cold rain, no less--for a contraction. I would squat down, and Kristen would get in front of me so that I could lean on her. She would help me breathe, relax, and do what I needed to do. I was really dreading the drive to Seton, even though it is a 10 minute drive at the most, 1.) because I had quickly come to depend on having Kristen there, and 2.) I didn’t know how I would cope with contractions while sitting in a car seat.

Robin drove the two of us and Kristen followed, and we arrived at Seton around 6:30 or 6:45. Robin was really wonderful in the car; he talked me through each contraction and helped me continue the vocalizations that Kristen had showed me at our house. I had three contractions on the way to the hospital, which made me realize that I was really close to having this baby. We pulled up to the hospital, at which point a short comedy of errors began. 1.) They had not received our pre-registration form, which is odd considering we hand-delivered it to them after one of our doctor’s appointments. 2.) We had left in such a hurry that we left my wallet, complete with ID and insurance information on the kitchen counter. 3.) The ER nurse that was to bring me up to Labor and Delivery was a very mean man. (I have to admit that a lot of this part comes to me through Robin and Kristen’s accounts, as I was in my labor daze and not very aware of what else was going on.) The nurse quite clearly did not know how to deal with women in labor, and he obviously just wanted to get me out of his hands. He refused to stop the wheelchair for my contractions until Kristen and Robin actually got in front of me. At one point, he actually said, “I don’t have time for this,” and took a phone call. It was ridiculous.

Once we arrived at Labor and Delivery, probably around 6:50 or so, our experience at Seton was wonderful. They brought me into a delivery room and I began to get a hospital gown on—so much for the cute labor gown I had brought from home. That was the last thing I cared about. I couldn’t even stay on my feet for contractions, so in the midst of changing, I kept having to drop to my knees. I finally got in the bed, and a nurse named Elizabeth helped me get situated and gave me my first cervical check. She had a strange look on her face as she was doing it and then told us, “I’ve been doing this for seven years, so I am pretty sure, but I am calling a doctor. Looks like you are 10 centimeters and ready to push.” I was in such a fog that it didn’t really hit me. The whole thing just felt very surreal.

They called the 1st OB into the room to confirm that I was dilated 10 centimeters, and she was in the room for such a short period that I didn’t even catch her name. She told us that she was delivering a baby down the hall, so a 2nd OB would be coming in. She also mentioned that she was getting off at 8, so she would probably be gone before I actually delivered. She did a second cervical exam and confirmed that I could begin pushing if I wanted to. She also said that the baby’s head was facing to the side, and I might want to get on my hands and knees to help her turn. I got back on my knees, and as the next contraction came on, Kristen told me that I could push if it felt good. At some point in there, the second OB, Dr. Nash arrived and began setting up. I was later told that I was mostly likely a “Code Stork,” or an emergency delivery, because the doctor arrived with the delivery tray and immediately began setting up. I was aware that all of this was going on, but really just focused on my contractions and now pushing. I have to say that all of the Seton employees in the room—both doctors, Elizabeth the nurse, and two other nurses in the corner, felt very supportive. I really felt like I was in a good place and would be cared for.

Pushing was a godsend. I finally felt like I could do something with my contractions instead of just manage them. Even though I had heard this before, it really surprised me how much easier my contractions were to manage when I could push. I pushed on my hands and knees for a few contractions, and then got back into a seated position in the bed to push. In what seemed like no time at all, they had the bed set up to deliver and I was holding my knees to my chest. I needed a lot of reminders to keep doing what I was supposed to. I kept forgetting to pull my knees to my chest, and as the pressure of the Lydia’s head became more intense, I wasn’t curling around her like I was supposed to, and I kept putting my head back and arching my back instead of keeping my head to my chest. I had Kristen on one side and Elizabeth the nurse on the other, and they both were just so encouraging. I could feel which pushes were productive, and as I was pushing, Kristen told me that they could see Lydia’s head and that she had hair. As Lydia began to crown, I really thought I was going to split in half. I was actually screaming, as the pain was so intense. There are very few direct quotes that I remember from delivering, but I remember vividly Kristen telling me to “push through the ring of fire.” Something about this helped me know what I had to do; it was the perfect thing for me to hear. On the next push, I could feel Lydia’s head come out; Robin later told me that even before her shoulders were out, her eyes and mouth were open and she was looking around. She was so alert! The rest of her came out, and I saw them pull this baby up and felt them put her on my chest. Her eyes were wide open, and she was wiggling all over the place. They put her head right up under my chin, so I couldn’t really see her, but I could feel her. The whole thing was just so surreal. After doing the necessary things to make sure she was healthy, they let me hold her while they took care of me, and I was able to try to breastfeed her about 45 minutes after she was born.

All in all, our little speedracer made her grand entry into the world exactly 6 hrs. and 55 minutes after my water broke, 6 hrs. and 12 minutes after my first contraction, and after 45 minutes of pushing. She weighed 9 lbs., 3 oz and measured at 21 ½ inches. Lydia came into the world completely drug-free, something I am very proud of. I know that I did the best thing for my baby and for me, and I have a newfound respect for myself knowing that I can do something like deliver a child naturally. Now the new challenge is adjusting to life with our baby girl!

Friday, March 13, 2009

One Day Old

It's now about 3:00 PM on March 13th; just over 36 hours after Laurie's first contractions early Thursday morning. I will let her tell the details of the birth story, but I will preface it by saying how amazed I am at her and our little baby Lydia! Laurie plowed through a powerful and fast-moving labor like she had done it a dozen times before in another life. She maintained calm and confident not only in her ability to deal with the pain, but also in the education that we've had and the knowledge of our Doula to bring us to the hospital when the time was right. She was incredible!

Lydia Cecille is the most beautiful thing I've ever laid my eyes on. Feeling her coo in my arms is otherworldly and makes you forget about just about everything else in life. More than anything I've ever been excited about in my life, I look forward to getting to know her in a way only Laurie and I will know her; watching her evolve before our eyes into a beautiful, unique individual.

There will be many more (so many more that we will all wonder what we ever talked about before Lydia was born); but heres a few photos to start with:

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Lydia Cecille Ganser, born on her due date at 7:55 AM, weighing in at a whopping 9 lbs., 3 oz. and measuring 21 1/2 inches. Laurie reached her goal of a drug-free childbirth and was blessed with a 6 hour labor--whoa! More details (and photos) to come!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Maternity Photos!!

Andrea Turner did my maternity photos, and I am really pleased with them! She came to our house, and as I said previously, it really was the prettiest I have felt during my entire pregnancy. It was also fun to do some yoga-inspired photos since yoga has been such a huge part of my pregnancy and something that both Robin and I have really come to enjoy in general. It was really enjoyable to go through the photos; I was a little shocked that I didn't look bigger, since I feel like a small planet moving around. Here are some of my faves that are blog-friendly. 

Nope. No news yet.

This is how my parents answer the telephone. It seems everyone is anxiously awaiting Baby G.'s arrival. I am also realizing that there really is very little I can do to rush the whole process; as our doula says, babies will be born on their birthdays. Last night, I started getting frequent Braxton-Hicks-like contractions--five in one hour. We went for a walk hoping that would push things along, but then they stopped. Shoot.

Yesterday, I had a doctor's appointment. She saw no progress, but tried to encourage me with the words, "At least you know that the most you would have to go is two more weeks." (March 23rd is our induction deadline.) I almost started crying. Those two weeks seem like decades. I seriously had a moment yesterday that left me wondering if all of this is one ridiculous joke, that there's not really a baby, just some crazy thing squirming around in my abdomen. As a result, I am trying to focus on the positives.

1.) Today I am going to see my maternity photos! I am very excited about this!
2.) My long-term sub started today, so I am officially done teaching for a very long time.
3.) My parents are here, which means fun little outings and surprises. (Yesterday's surprise was a pair of chairs for our back patio.)
4.) My lunch date with myself at Maru (a sushi restaurant near our house) is fast approaching. I have decided this will be where Baby G. goes for her first "lunch." I really miss their dragon rolls.
5.) Robin surprised me with DVR. It is already revolutionizing the way I watch television. My friend Casey said it would change our lives. I think he is right. 
6.) One of my administrators gave us a gift certificate to Soup Peddler, a local food delivery service to use after the baby arrives. We have never tried Soup Peddler, and I am looking forward to it!
7.) Shortly after Baby G.'s arrival, she will meet her new friend Oliver, who is scheduled to arrival in April. First friends are exciting!
8.) I am thinking about doing Boot Camp this summer in an effort to ditch the baby weight. I am really excited to start working out in general, even if most of this working out involves a stroller.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Icing on the Cake

This has been quite a week. After the ear infection fiasco, I was feeling like I might be getting better, but yesterday fate played the cruelest joke of all on me. I came down with pink eye. That's right. Apparently, I am revisiting all common childhood ailments. The doctor also gave me a different antibiotic for the ear infection, as she didn't feel the first was doing its job.

I am taking all of this as a sign that I need to begin my maternity leave on Monday. Tomorrow I am going into my classroom, cleaning my desk, and leaving my sub plans behind. I think getting slammed with not one but two infections in a week means that it's time.

On the baby arrival front, I can now say that we are as ready as we are ever going to be. Everything has been purchased, sterilized, washed, what have you, and we are now just waiting. At my last OB appointment, she didn't see any further progress, but considering that I have been sick, the doctor seemed to think this was a good thing. I have had some cramping, contraction-like feelings, but nothing significant so far. Now we are just playing the waiting game! My parents will be arriving tonight, so they will join us to play along.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Eviction Deadline Postponed

For awhile, I have joked that I was going to will Baby G. out on March 6th. Well, March 6th has arrived, and it finds me with a runny nose, watery eyes, and a nasty cough, on top of the lingering earache. That's what I get for joking, right? My acupuncture appointment will be rescheduled for Monday, pending this baby doesn't decide to charge ahead on her own before then, which I strongly doubt. (Don't moms usually have some sort of intuition about these things?)

On the upside, my parents are getting here tomorrow night! Let's just hope the baby comes before they have to leave!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Still here...

I have been taken out by an ear infection. That's right. An ear infection. As I mentioned before, I was sick on Sunday and decided to go to school on Monday to be with my students the day before their big test. Monday evening, I started feeling sick again, and by the wee hours of Tuesday morning, I knew that work would not be happening. I stayed home Tuesday and yesterday and went back to school today. Really, I haven't been taken out like that for a long time, and the fact that it came when I am 39 weeks pregnant did not present the best scenario. Today and tomorrow should be pretty mellow; today I administered a test I had to give before I go on maternity leave, and tomorrow I will be getting the kids set for their research project that they will be doing with their sub.

On that note, I have decided to start my maternity leave on Wednesday, regardless of baby arrival. My parents are coming on Saturday, and I want to spend the week with them, even if Baby G. will not be gracing us with her presence just yet.

Finally, I have an acupuncture appointment tomorrow. The woman I am seeing has a very good track record, so I am anxious to see whether or not it works. I have never had acupuncture before, but am willing to give it a try to get this baby out! I will be honest and say that the thought of going through labor as soon as tomorrow has really started to scare me, but between Robin, our doula, and our doctor, I feel like I have a good support system in place. I've realized that there will always be more to do, but at this point I feel like we're about as ready as we will ever be!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Dropping the ball?

The newest observation in my life is over my has-yet-to-drop belly. According to several sources, the baby should drop, an occurrence also referred to as lightening, 2-3 weeks before delivery in first-time moms. Let's hope this is not an indication of how much longer I have to do. I am really ready to have this baby out of me.

I also dropped the ball this weekend when I woke up Sunday morning with a flu-like symptoms and a little bit of a temperature. Robin and I had planned to have his cousin Anne Michelle and her husband Tristan along with their daughter Sofia over for brunch. After calling to cancel, I preceded to spend the entire day upstairs on the futon and did not start feeling better until today. It was not enjoyable.

Finally, let's hope that tomorrow my students perform a recovery rather than drop anything, as they are taking their TAKS, otherwise known as the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills. For those that are not familiar, this is the test that determines whether or not our school is performing adequately, as well as whether or not a student is able to graduate. For some schools, the TAKS is not a big deal at all. For ours, our population of language learners makes it a very big deal. I am trying my hardest to let this go and trust that I have done all I can. Please send prayers, blessing, positive energy--whatever is your thing--in the direction of Lanier high school tomorrow!

Good luck, Kristin!

Saturday evening, Robin and I saw The Wrestler with my cousin Andrew and his wife Kristin, who deployed for Iraq yesterday. (Actually, we sat in the same theater... when we got there, the theater was so full, we could not find four seats together. When Robin politely asked a couple who was sitting smack between two sets of two seats if they would be willing to move over two seats in either direction, they said no. Jerks.) Kristin will be in Balad (I think) through June, and Andrew will join her there in May, with plans to stay through December. We wish the best to Kristin and look forward to her safe return!