She’s Here!

I’m thrilled to announce that our daughter was born at 9:12pm on Monday June 20th, weighing in at 7 pounds 11 ounces and 20+ inches long. Welcome to the world, Anna Catherine! She decided to come 6 days before her due date and apparently was in quite a hurry. Here’s the story….

Monday morning I had a prenatal visit and everything looked good. I was dilated to 3cm, up from 1.5 the week before. The midwife said she didn’t think I would be overdue, but there weren’t any signs of imminent labor. I went back to work, and noticed occasionally through the afternoon and early evening what seemed to be some minor Braxton-Hicks contractions. Nothing to interfere with playing with Max and eating dinner as usual. Around 7:00pm, Jeff took Max upstairs for bed. I did some things around the kitchen and then was chatting online with my friend Jenn. I told her I was having Braxton-Hicks, and then a little while later, I noticed that I was having to kind of breathe through them. I told her they were getting a bit more intense and I was going to time them for a bit to see if it might be the beginning of labor.

Jeff came downstairs as I was doing a bit of breathing through one, which of course caught his attention. I told him I was timing them but I was still talking and walking around like normal. He went next door to take care of the neighbors’ cats, and when he got back I said they were close enough together that we should probably start the phone calls: Our doula, my mom, friends who were going to watch Max, Justine who would take pictures of the birth…we called our doula Alyssa first, talked with her and decided we’d call triage and get ourselves ready to go.

We went upstairs to change and pack some last-minute things. My contractions were getting more intense and I needed to stop and lean on Jeff and moan through each one, but in between was able to change my clothes and get ready. Jeff was on the phone with hospital triage and I could hear them tell him to have me get in the shower and see if contractions slowed down. I remember thinking no way was I doing that, we were going in. Shortly after he hung up, my water broke, at about 8:20pm. Then all of a sudden the contractions were REALLY strong and painful. Jeff called our doula back and she could hear me in the background. She told him we needed to get to the hospital now and she would meet us there. I was feeling a ton of pressure and also like I might throw up. After a couple more minutes, I told Jeff to call 911, I was not going to make it to the hospital in the car. I couldn’t quite believe I was saying that, after Max’s 16 hour labor I never thought this time around could be even close to that fast, but thankfully I listened to my body. Jeff called 911 and I lay down on the bathroom floor. They had him look to see if he could see the head (thankfully no). The paramedics came quickly and brought me downstairs on a chair stretcher, then got me in the ambulance.

Everything happened so fast that no one had made it to our house yet to stay with Max, though friends were on the way. As they were loading me in, Jeff said “I’ll be there as soon as I can!” I told him to call some neighbors we know and see if they could stay at the house until Angel and Eric arrived. As soon as I said that, Jeff looked up and there was that very neighbor asking what he could do. Jeff directed him to listen on the monitor to be sure Max was okay until backup arrived, then he hopped in our car and tailed the ambulance to the hospital. Meanwhile I was trying my best to breathe through the contractions and not push. The paramedics were trying to time my contractions and would ask me when they started and stopped, which was kind of pointless as they were basically nonstop.

We arrived at the hospital and they rolled me into triage on the stretcher. Thankfully Jeff was there right away, I was so happy to see him, and he was happy when they opened the ambulance doors and there was no baby yet! The paramedics transferred me onto a bed in triage and Jamie, one of the midwives, was there. Almost immediately I could feel Anna coming out. I looked at Jamie and said, “She’s coming!” Jamie checked and sure enough there was her head. I pushed once and her head was out, pushed again and there she was! Jamie caught Anna and put her right on my chest. She cried out briefly and then looked around and lifted her head up a bit. I snuggled with her while they checked me out and I delivered the placenta. My mom and Alyssa had walked into the hospital at the same time and were waiting to see us. They kept asking to come back, and finally the triage nurse asked me if it was okay, which of course it was.

Once we were all checked out, they moved me upstairs to a room in labor and delivery. Jeff called Justine. He had called her when labor started and said we’d let her know once we were at the hospital. When he called and said, “She’s here!” Justine didn’t believe him (understandably!). Once he convinced her that he was not in fact joking, she jumped in her car and was at the hospital very quickly. She captured some amazing moments and I can’t wait to see all the pictures. You can see some beautiful sneak peeks here.

The excitement wasn’t over quite yet; on Tuesday afternoon the nurse noticed Anna was doing some unusual breathing and they hooked her up to a machine to check her oxygen saturation. It was lower than they like to see, so they sent us down to the NICU for observation. Four hours later they had to admit or discharge her, and since they weren’t sure what was going on, they decided to admit her. We were there until Thursday late afternoon, and they still aren’t sure exactly what the issue was, but the good news is she did improve enough that they felt confident sending her home. She still does the congested/puffing breathing sometimes, but not as often, so they are hopeful it will clear up entirely on its own. We have an appointment with our pediatrician on Monday, so we will discuss any further plans then as needed.

We are so glad to be home! So far Anna mostly sleeps. Max wanted to hold her when we first got home and likes to observe what she’s doing, but is mostly interested in attention from Mom and Dad. He did wake up during the night last night and have a hard time getting back to sleep, which is unusual for him. We’re hoping that won’t be repeated! My mom has been taking excellent care of all of us, which is a huge help. We are so blessed to have her close by!

And now, what I know you’ve all been waiting for….pictures! We of course have a ton already, here’s a sampling for your enjoyment.

The first meeting of brother and sister:

Anna had some presents for Max, including an Elmo book:

Happy Grandma!

All babies who stay in the NICU have to pass a “car seat test” before they can go home…90 minutes in the car seat to be sure they can tolerate the position without any breathing issues. Thankfully she passed!

Unhooked from all the monitors and wearing her going home outfit!

Here we go!

Max wanted to kiss Anna’s foot:

Official “Coming home” picture:

Longtime Just a Minute Moore readers will remember the monthly pictures we took of Max in his first year. We’ll do the same with Anna, here’s a couple of her “zero” shots:

38 Weeks!

I am now 38 weeks pregnant! Our daughter weighs approximately 6.8 pounds and is about 19.75 inches long, or the length of a leek. All of her organs are developed and functional. We’re hoping she stays in a couple more weeks to finish growing. I keep telling her how great it would be to come on her due date, as that would work really well for us. We’ll see how well she listens. Her nursery is done and it looks great! My wonderful mother-in-law put her excellent sewing skills to work when she was here recently and made the window valances and crib skirt. Here are some pictures of the room. It’s a little hard to tell but the walls are a lavender color.

Thanks Oma for these great window treatments!

The tree with owls is a decal that I found online. Isn’t it cute? See ALL the leaves on that tree? Turns out those have to be applied one by one in a slow and careful process. Big applause for my wonderful husband, who painstakingly applied the thing to the wall. I love the way it turned out.

The awesome owl that our friend Angel made:

The diapers on the floor are not part of the design scheme for the room and will be moved.

The wall above this shelf is empty right now, it will have canvas enlargements of our maternity/birth/newborn pictures from the fabulous J. Shelton Photography, and I still need to fill the frames as well.

Here’s this week’s belly pic:

Yesterday we enjoyed a visit to our friend Laura and Dave’s house for a BBQ, a tradition that began when Laura, our friend Angela and I were in grad school together in Michigan. Angela still lives in Michigan but is out here for work, so we took advantage of the opportunity to get together and eat some delicious food. Here are the three of us enjoying the nice weather:

Laura and Dave were witness to Max’s love for all things cake when we celebrated Laura and Max’s birthdays the last time we got together. Laura had the brilliant idea that our BBQ event should include a new tradition: Cupcakes! We were careful not to mention this to Max until after dinner, and he was of course thrilled. Here he is with his cupcake in one hand and mine in the other:

This was about the time he started eating the frosting with his fingers:

A good time was had by all, and we’re looking forward to doing it again next summer!

Max is making his opinions known these days, and has perfected the toddler art of passive resistance–going limp and somehow making himself weigh twice as much when he doesn’t want to do something and we attempt to pick him up. You know how the parenting books always advise to give kids the choice between two acceptable options? Well, that definitely helps and we do it as much as possible, but Max has caught on that it’s not that simple and will now often respond with either, “Both?” or “No anything” when asked if he wants this or that. Just all part of the process of being two!

He is constantly making us laugh and amazing us with how his mind works. The other day Jeff and Max were coloring and Maxwell was telling Jeff what shapes to draw on the paper. At one point Jeff asked which shape he should do next and Max replied, “Matagon.” Jeff asked, “What shape?” and Max again said, “Matagon” and then looked at Jeff with a grin and waited to see what he would do. So apparently he’s invented a new shape. Every so often he mentions it and when we ask how many sides it has he always says five. But apparently it’s not a pentagon. If I can determine what this matagon looks like, I’ll be sure to update you.

It’s so much fun to have conversations with Max as his expressive language grows. Here’s a video of one such conversation from a couple weeks ago. Jeff and Max had gone to the park close to our house. The bucket swing there is hung really low to the ground, to the point that Max’s feet drag when he swings in it. Jeff thought he’d try pushing the swing over the top of the bar to make it sit a little higher before Max got in. I arrived at the park a bit later to join them and Max was eager to tell me about the “really big bang” that happened when Jeff did that. The following video was preceded by at least two solid minutes of similar conversation about said bang:

Big Bang swing video

Wedding Weekend

I’m a little behind on blogging, but I’ll try to get back on track now, at least for the next few weeks until the baby arrives! Baby report: I am now 37 (!) weeks pregnant, and she weighs about 6.3 pounds, measuring about 19 inches long, or the length of a stalk of Swiss chard. I am now going weekly for appointments, at the one this week everything looked good and I’m still measuring right on track. We need to get the hospital bag packed and ready! We’ve been reading lots of books about babies and being a big brother to Max, so hopefully some of it is sinking in.  Here’s this week’s belly pic:

We had a wonderful weekend last weekend celebrating Greg and Leah’s marriage. We are so happy to officially have Leah and Emma in the family! Jeff’s parents and his uncle Paul were able to stay with us for a few days before and after the wedding and it was wonderful to have that time together. Maxwell enjoyed having them here at his beck and call. Max was a trooper on the drive to and from the Tri-Cities (over four hours each way!) and was a delight all weekend. He liked walking the hallways of the hotel and really enjoyed time in the pool.

Some pictures of our weekend….

Reading with Mama in the morning:

Playing with Oma’s phone:

We celebrated Jeff’s birthday while everyone was here. A very happy birthday to my wonderful, amazing husband! Max and Baby Girl and I are so lucky to have you.

Max wanted to help carry the cake to the table:

Watching Opa light the candles:

Helping Daddy blow them out:

Of course Max enjoyed the cake and ice cream. Note the size of the “bite” of cake on his fork:

The aftermath:

Helping Daddy open presents:

After Max finished off his cake and ice cream and also the remainder of my ice cream and Jeff’s, he asked, “More ice cream?” I told him it was all gone. Not satisfied with that answer, he looked around and noted that two people at the table did in fact still have ice cream on their plates. He asked, “Max eat Oma ice cream? Opa ice cream?” Oma and Opa were of course happy to oblige. So much for Mom’s explanation!

Here are a few pictures from the day of the wedding:

“Okay, enough with the picture taking, I have rocks to collect!”