Sunday, December 30, 2012

Picture Post

We took a trip to the mall and ended up getting pictures taken at Sears. We were able to get all three girls as well as some pictures with my nephew Cael and my cousin Evie.  For an impromptu photo shoot, it really worked out nicely!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Full birth story - Olivia Alice

Monday, 12/17/12 I had a drs appointment at 2pm. The ultrasound (BPP) showed baby was doing excellent and was measuring 7 lbs 4 oz. When the doctor checked me, I was 4 cm dialated and 80% effaced. I asked her to strip my membranes and she did.  With Christina, I went into labor the night after my doctor stripped my membranes, so I was hoping this time it would work as well, since I was already passed my due date (December 16th).  All of that worrying that Olivia would come early, it was crazy that she decided she didn't want to come out at all!  By that point, although I was still pretty comfortable being pregnant, I was ready for her to come out already and meet the outside world.  Christmas was fast approaching and I didn't want to end up in the hospital while I had a house full of holiday guests.

The rest of the day wasn't very eventful.  I had some contractions, but nothing consistent and not any different from what I had experienced the previous week or two. After the kids were in bed, Nik headed straight to bed since he was sick with a cold. I relaxed for awhile and eventually followed him to bed at 9:30pm.

At midnight, my water broke.  It was just a trickle here and there at first, but it was obvious that it was my water.  I called the doctor and she told me to head to the hospital. We called my cousin John to come stay with the kids.

When we arrived at the hospital, it was 2am.  By 4am I was still only 4cm dilated and not having regular contractions.  At 6am I was not quite at 5cm, so they started pitocin to move things along. My contractions were still irregular and the pitocin would help with that.

Only an hour later, my contractions were getting painful and close together. I asked to have the fluids started so I could get the epidural.  At 8:15am contractions were unbearable.  I gritted my teeth through the epidural and thank goodness it worked right away.  Turns out I was already 8cm dilated and 90% effaced at station -1.

At 9:15am I was complete aka 10cm dilated and 100% effaced but Olivia was at station 0 and still needed to come down a little. I couldn't feel anything at all from the epidural (waist down) but was still able to push moments later when it was time. Just a handful of pushes and she was out!  Olivia Alice was born at 9:32am on 12/18/12. We had some wonderful skin to skin contact immediately. Olivia was alert, looking around and lifting her head up at me when I spoke to her.  She nursed soon after like a champ and scored a 9/9 on the Apgar.  It took a few minutes before they checked her size, but when they finally did, we were excited to find out that she weighed in at 7 lbs 7 ounces and measured 19 3/4".  She is our biggest baby yet!

Olivia is not tongue-tied (like Christina was) and she doesn't have a hearing loss (like Gwen), so it seems that she passed all of her tests with flying colors.  Based on her first appointment at the pediatrician, it seems like she is going to be the biggest kid overall (height and weight).  Her hair is dark brown just like both of her sisters were when they were born and I expect that it will turn blonde just like Christina and Gwen.  Oddly, we can't seem to figure out her eye color.  They are dark, but I'm not sure what color.  At times I think they are maybe dark blue like mine but other times they seem hazel.  Nik thinks they will be hazel and I'm leaning towards that as well, but we will see.

We are so happy to add Olivia to our family and our "big girls" are crazy about her as well. We are all adjusting to our new life now, which has been pretty easy considering we have had so many wonderful house guests helping out. It will be interesting trying to figure out the morning and bedtime routines with an infant once the holiday's are over, but I'm sure we will get it all worked out.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Princess Olivia has arrived!

Olivia Alice arrived on December 18th, 2012 at 9:32am after an extremely easy labor and delivery.  She weighed in at 7 lbs 7 ounces and measured 19 3/4".  She is beautiful, healthy, and a perfect addition to our little family.  The full birth story will be forthcoming.  In the meantime, take a look at this little angel (pictures taken in the hospital at one day old).

Friday, November 30, 2012

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Picture Post: Pre-Christmas Christmas Shoot

Yesterday we got the girls and my nephew Cael dressed up in their Christmas outfits so that we could take a few pictures.  It is very difficult to get three little kids to smile at the same time, not to mention my camera is awful, so they aren't very good.  But, they are better then nothing.  We have a matching outfit for Olivia also.  Hopefully when we do this again, with her in the pictures, we can get ahold of a better camera.  Take a look at what we have so far:

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Guessing Game

When I was pregnant with Christina, my water broke on a Thursday night and she was born on a Friday, just one day before I was 39 weeks along. When I was pregnant with Gwen, my water broke on a Thursday morning and she was born on a Friday, just one day before I was 35 weeks along.

Getting closer to my due date, I can't help trying to guess when Olivia will arrive. Since I'm getting weekly progesterone injections, that is suppose to keep Olivia from coming too early. So far, so good, since I am now 36 weeks pregnant. My last injection is on Thanksgiving. Going solely based on the assumption that the injections are keeping her in, it seems to me that I will go into labor at some point after 11/29 when my body does not get another weekly injection. My guess all along has been that she will be born in early December.

However, since I recently discovered the odd coincidence of both of my children being born on a Friday, which was one day before I would have hit another weekly milestone in my pregnancy, I'm now using that to help fine tune my guessing.

This pregnancy, I hit my weekly milestone on Sundays, not Saturdays, like my previous pregnancies. So maybe I will still have Olivia on a Friday like the other girls, or maybe it will be on a Saturday, which would push it up one day based on having the other girls one day prior to my weekly milestone. If so, maybe my water will break on either a Thursday or Friday. Both of these scenarios would make this time somewhat consistent with my last two. But, was it all just a coincidence in the first place? Who knows! It sure is fun to guess though and I can't wait to find out if Olivia follows some sort of pattern that follows the other girls.

If I consider the possibility that this really is a pattern and not a coincidence, and also consider the possibility that stopping my weekly injections will lead to my body going into labor after the first missed injection, but not any sooner than the Friday birth/ one day before milestone, scenario, I'm looking at potentially going into labor on Thursday, December 6th and having Olivia on Friday, December 7th or going into labor on Friday, December 7th and having Olivia on Saturday, December 8th, which would be one day before my 39 week milestone.

Will I actually go that long though?? If Gwen was an entire five weeks early, maybe it is ridiculous to assume that Olivia would stay in until the week before her due date (like Christina did). Maybe a more realistic scenario would be to say that my water will break/ I will start labor, the very day after my first missed injection, which would be Friday, November 30th and then she would be born on Saturday, December 1st (one day before I would hit 38 weeks).

Of course I have absolutely no idea, but another thing that both Christina and Gwen had in common was that they both surprised me! With CC, I assumed I would go late, since it was my first pregnancy and that is usually what happens. With my second pregnancy, going into labor wasn't even on my radar yet and then BAM, Gwen was here. What will Olivia bring to the table? I have already surpassed the 35 week mark, so luckily she can't surprise me by coming even earlier than Gwen. Will she surprise me by coming on Black Friday maybe??? It would fit the "being born on a Friday" scenario and it will surely surprise me. (It will also drive Nik crazy if he can't work on Black Friday).  I don't know though! But obviously, I have you all now realizing just how crazy I am since I can't stop coming up with all of these possible scenarios, lol.

My final guess - Olivia will be born on Saturday, December 1st (our cousin, Melissa Bravo's birthday!). What is your guess???

And just to throw one more thing out there - I've been having contractions for weeks. Totally different from my other two pregnancies, which started with my water breaking.

Friday, November 9, 2012

I'm having a baby! Well, not just yet . . .

I'm 35 weeks pregnant now.  Last time I was 35 weeks pregnant, I was giving birth to Gwen.  Wow, I'm about to have another baby!  Hopefully Olivia will stay in there a little longer, but no matter which way you slice it, she is coming soon!  This year has been extremely eventful and we might as well squeeze one last life altering event into 2012.

I am more than excited to have this little one and am extremly anxious about not knowing when she will arrive.  With Thanksgiving and Christmas fastly approaching, I am feeling a little bit overwhelmed.  But, no one can say that I am not prepared, that is for sure! 

I have got a ton of prepared meals in the freezer just in case at some point I have difficultly cooking, I've got Olivia's room painted and ready to go even though she won't actually be sleeping in there until she is six months old or so, I've got all of the baby clothes washed and ready, I've got all of my Christmas shopping completed (but someone help me, because it doesn't stop me from wanting to continue to shop!), and I've finally finished a forty page manual that I have been working on for months which details everything I do at work so that my covering coworkers won't have any surprises.  Of course that doesn't mean that I don't still have a huge list of things that I want to do before I go into labor (haircut, car detailing, etc).  Then again, the "to do" lists don't really ever stop for me.  I can always think of one more thing to do . . .  like Black Friday shopping! 

Oh yes, I may be ready to pop out a baby by then, but that isn't going to stop me from hosting Thanksgiving at my house and shopping on Black Friday!  As long as I can still get around and I'm not literally in the hospital, I don't see why I should pass up my favorite annual shopping day.  And no, having my Christmas shopping complete is not a reason to skip it either :-)

At 35 weeks pregnant though, I am still doing pretty well.  Although I am having mucho back pain - especially in the car (oh and I feel like a HOUSE), I really can't complain.  I expect that my water will break unexpectedly like it did with both Christina and Gwen.  I am on the smaller side to begin with, so I doubt I'll get to the point where I'm having trouble getting around.  Although my recent fall down the stairs certainly didn't help things.

That's right, I fell down the stairs recently and, I am still in a ton of pain!  And I thought my back was hurting before, HA HA HA, that is really funny.  So, the story is that I slipped while heading down the stairs from the third to the second floor.  I completely went up in the air and slammed down onto the stairs (on my back) and then slid down about five stairs.  I was able to stop myself before falling down all of them, but the damage was already done.  The fall was so hard that it knocked the wind out of me and I was having trouble breathing for a few minutes.

After half a day in Labor and Delivery at my hosptial, the Doctor was able to confirm that THANK GOODNESS, the baby was perfectly fine.  Although my entire body still hurts with every single move I make, the important part is that Olivia wasn't hurt.  I have a ridiculously gigantic bruise and a bunch of cuts to show for it, but everything will be ok.  I am crossing my fingers that I am all healed up before I go into labor though.  It isn't going to be fun laying in a hospital bed for hours on end while in labor, when my body is already hurting everywhere.

Ok, so, enough about my clumsy, self-damaging fall.  I finally have a couple of pictures for you.  Take a look at me trying to take my own picture in the bathroom mirror . . . I am 34.5 weeks here (eight months pregnant):

Hurricane Sandy

While I was safe with my husband and children in Georgia, the state that I called home for much of my life was being ripped apart by Hurricane Sandy a couple of weeks ago.  Thank goodness all of my family was able to remain safe during this unbelievable storm, but I know there were many that were not that lucky. 

All of my family and friends were left without power and sadly, my father's home was destroyed.  The damage to homes and to New Jersey (as well as many other states) in general, is so great that it is going to take a very long time before things are back to normal.  There are still thousands without power.  It is so awful.

I will be thinking about my family and all of those that are still and will continue to struggle through the process of restoring their lives after this storm.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Not an easy subject

I keep putting this off, but it is well passed the time that I finally discuss something here.  Delaying the inevitable never really works, does it? 

I know many of you are already well aware that my Step Dad, Gordon, passed away in September, but some of you may not be.  It is a very difficult subject to talk about.  He was a big part of my life and was always there for me when I needed him.  He was a best friend to so many, a caring and concerned Dad to my siblings and I, a loving husband to my Mom, and just a good person in general. 

I think the hardest part about putting it down in writing is that I still say to myself almost daily, "How can he be gone?".  It just doesn't seem real.  Even almost two months later, it just doesn't seem real.  It isn't like it was all that sudden.  He was fighting brain cancer (Glioblastoma) for over two years when it finally took him from us.  For almost the entire time, he seemed completely fine.  He was having surgeries, doing chemo, and participating in a clinical trial but none the less, he was still himself.  He was a figher to say the least.  He lived his life and he enjoyed his life.  He didn't let this ruin the time he had left. 

It was a couple of months before the end that things started to change.  It seemed sudden that he no longer was able to be completely himself.  It quickly got worse and before we all knew it, it was really bad.  Thank goodness, my family and I had the opportunity to be with him towards the end.  It was amazing to see family flying in from all of the world, just to get one last visit.  None of us wanted to let go.

I still keep "seeing" him in my head as he once was and still should be today.  It just makes no sense that someone who had everything going for him, is now just gone.  He is still very much alive in my memories.

I created a photo album for him, which turns out I completed only two days before he passed.  I was hoping he would get the chance to see it beforehand, but it just didn't work out that way.  It is still a very special album and although it doesn't even scratch the surface of his life, it is still a nice way to remember him.  You can take a look at it here:

Click here to view this photo book larger
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Monday, August 13, 2012

Pregnancy Update

I’m 22 weeks pregnant now, which means that I’m more than half way through this thing. This pregnancy has been very different from my last two and not in a good way. Overall, it hasn’t been so great, but I don’t really deserve to complain considering that I’m not having any serious issues. I think the people around me (hubby and coworkers) have more reason to complain actually. I have been VERY MOODY and I snap at people very easily and/or actually YELL . . . a lot (sorry!!). Everything annoys me and everything sets me off. You didn’t take the garbage out (hubby)? Prepare for an argument. You didn’t remember which charge number to use (coworker)? Prepare for my wrath! I am telling you, no one is safe!

Besides from my raging hormones that have obviously turned me into The Hulk, I am also extremely achy everywhere, which has made me utterly aware of how awkward and uncomfortable it is carrying around this big ol’ belly (and yes, I know, it isn’t even that big); I’m starving ALL.OF.THE.TIME; and I have these huge variations of energy where one minute I’m running around the house like a mad woman trying to move furniture and the next I can’t manage to get off the couch. What is wrong with me!?!?!

Oh yeah, that’s right, I’m growing a human being inside of me. (See how snarky I am lately?? I told you!)

On the medical side of things, I suffered through roughly 10-12 weeks of morning sickness, I have varicose veins in one of my legs so bad that I need to wear a medical compression stocking EVERYDAY (goodbye shorts and dresses – good thing I don’t live somewhere hot – haha, yeah right Atlanta), and I’m getting a progesterone shot every week so that I don’t have another premature baby (and yes, the shot is in my butt thank you very much – and no, it isn’t very pleasant).

But on the bright and shiny side of things, baby Olivia (yes, we have named her already), is doing just great! Apparently she doesn’t care that Mommy is an utter mess. She’s kickin’ away and having a great time in there. My measurements are always good and each ultrasound leaves me with rave reviews of how wonderful this pregnancy is going.

See, I told you I have no reason to complain.

And so, as I write this, I sadly realize that I have not taken EVEN ONE “belly” picture this time around. Shame on me!! I’m running right home tonight and taking one so that I can document this miracle that is pregnancy :-)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Gwen's 2nd birthday party

We had Gwen's official birthday party when we were visiting in NJ the weekend after she turned two.  We thought it would be nice to have it there so that all of our NJ friends and family could gather together.  It is always so difficult to see everyone while we are there.

I didn't do any planning for this party since it was out of state and I was feeling so awful for the two months leading up to the party (morning sickness).  We were having a pool party, so I decided to just go with a very simple party.  It actually turned out really well.  The weather couldn't have been better (sunny, mid to high 80's) and it seemed like everyone had a great time.  My Mom and Step Dad have the perfect backyard for a party like this.