Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Birth Day

The short version: Anders Alfred, born at 2:18 AM on Saturday, December 27th, 2008; 6 pounds 5.8 ounces, 19" long (probably). Yes, he was born on Kate's birthday. I'd mentioned how similar the timing was with the two pregnancies, and we knew they were going to be close, but somehow I hadn't really considered that he might come on the same day. Hopefully they won't mind sharing a birthday!

We're calling him Andy. Anders is the Scandinavian version of Andrew (that's with an "ah" sound as in "father"). We have Anders(es) on both sides of the family. And Alfred is for Doug's dad, of course, who passed away just two months ago.

The long version: I'd been having mild cramping contractions off and on for a couple of weeks, but I was definitely getting more uncomfortable, and I could feel that the baby was really low. On Friday I had another doctor's appointment, so Doug and Kate went out with me and played at Borders while I went in and got checked. I was dilated 3 cm and 80% effaced, and the doctor said he was surprised that I hadn't had the baby yet. (Later he told me that I looked like I was in labor, but didn't act like I was in labor.) He did say not to wait too long to get to the hospital.

We went to Chevy's for dinner that night, and then went to Fred Meyer to pick up some stuff to make cupcakes for Kate's birthday. Cramping continued. Doug took Kate over to the toy section while I pushed the shopping cart around, cramping.

I didn't particularly want to go into labor right then, since Kate's birthday was the next day and we had plans. I'd also agreed to teach the older Primary girls some beginning crochet that morning, for Activity Days (I'd warned them that I might not be available, but would come if I could). The cramping wasn't particularly strong but I began to realize that it was a bit too regular to be just cramping.

We got Kate ready for bed as usual, went through our toothbrushing, prayer, and book-reading routine. I lay in bed for a while watching the clock, and timed things at about seven minutes apart. Around midnight I decided that I was definitely not going to get any sleep, so I got up and started packing, just in case. (And got out some Sunday clothes for Kate and showed Doug where they were, just in case.)

At the point at which the contractions actually became painful, they progressed rather rapidly. When one hit I would stop and breathe, and rub two points on my lower back. I told Doug it was definitely time to go. We called the Tracys, as pre-arranged, bundled Kate up in her blankets, and headed out to the car. We left the house at 1:30.

We were in and out of the Tracys' house between contractions (dropped Kate off--she seemed groggy but not overly distressed), and were back on the road. I had the seat tipped back and was trying to keep rubbing my back while we drove. By this time I was feeling the urge to push, which struck me as Not A Good Idea. Doug ran a couple of red lights (carefully).

We got to the hospital's valet parking, and hit the front desk at 1:45. A nurse took me to triage, and then disappeared briefly while I changed into a hospital gown. I said to Doug, "Is she coming right back? Right now would be good. Like now now now." She came back and checked me and said, "You're at ten centimeters and ready to deliver!" So we wheeled into delivery and got busy.

My doctor wasn't on that night (he'd shown me his holiday schedule, so I wasn't expecting him) so I had the doctor who was filling in for him, and a resident who I really liked but didn't catch her name. We had an all-female team of two doctors and two nurses. They coached me through pushing through the contractions, and I was doing pretty well, but still had to have an episiotomy. I was hoping to avoid another one of those, but it just wasn't happening. I grow 'em small, but apparently I just can't push 'em out. Urgh. The stitching up took longer than the delivery.

They pulled Andy out at 2:18, all curled up and squalling, had Doug cut the cord, and then they put him on my tummy right away. I said something like, "Hello, little brother! You made it!"

Being born is hard work!

Once we were all cleaned and stitched up, weighed and measured, they took us to our room. Doug stayed with us for the rest of the night and conked out immediately on the uncomfortable fold-out bed.

I remember feeling rather shocky after Kate's delivery. This time was better, I think. I was still sore, and getting up and down off the bed was just as difficult, but once I was up it wasn't too bad. And though I was disappointed at not being able to avoid another episiotomy, I felt better about the whole thing. The first one felt like a violation, but this one seemed more like a team effort, for some reason.

Doug picked up Kate from the Tracys' around lunch time (we hear she had a good time and played with their cat a lot) and then brought her to the hospital later that afternoon. She didn't seem particularly interested in her new baby brother (he doesn't really do anything yet). They brought one of her birthday presents to open there (a new Elephant and Piggie book! Yay!)

Daddy bonds with Andy.

Kate decorates the newspaper.

My family called and sang Happy Birthday to Kate, and then they sang Happy Birthday to Anders. This will certainly make for a busy Christmas season, with double birthdays. How nice that they'll have Daddy home over winter break.

I took these pictures the next day:

I think he does look like Kate did, particularly in the profile. A photographer came by later and took some more pictures, which you can see here (visitor password 75881254605978). I think that first one looks a lot like Kate.

In delivery, when they measured Andy, I'm pretty sure they said 19". But the card on his bassinet said 15¾". One of the nurses noticed and said, "That can't be right!" so she measured him again and got 20½". This led to some confusion on our part. Makes it hard to rattle off the stats. But I took him in to the pediatrician yesterday (his bilirubin levels tested normal, but he looked pretty yellow, so the doctor wanted me to bring him in) where they measured him at 19", so that's what we're going with. That seems about right--Kate was a few ounces heavier and 18".

Doug brought Kate back over Sunday afternoon, and we got these pictures of them together. Awwww!

(Kate's lips are chapped, if you're wondering what that is.)

I was discharged on Monday, around lunchtime. I had packed two little sleepers for Andy, and let Kate pick out which one he should wear to come home. She picked the blue one.

Kate had fun playing with the buttons on the bed. This is where she said, "Watch me fall!" and then let herself roll down as the front end of the bed went up.

My milk came in Monday afternoon (that was quick--the fact that Kate nursed for waaay too long may have something to do with it). Andy's eating well but he sure does spit up a lot. Kate was like The Amazing Non-Urping Baby, so I don't really have a feel for how much of this is "normal," but we're getting the hang of feeding and burping, feeding and burping, feeding and burping, burping, burping. (Burp.) And according to the pediatrician's scale, he's almost back up to his birth weight already. He sleeps really well, so far, once he's worked all the bubbles out.

Welcome to the family, Andy!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Day in the Morning

(I'm about three weeks late posting this, but I'm dating it earlier so it'll be in order with the other stuff).

We had a quiet Christmas at home. Kate was excited about opening her presents. (She still needs some help with the actual opening.)

A little digital point-and-shoot camera! It's for the whole family, but we especially thought it would be good for Kate to take pictures without using mine.

A tutu from Aunt Karen! Watch Kate bust a move.

Tree frog beanie baby. The Tracys have one of these that we borrowed for a while, and Kate just loved it, so I found one for her. She was so excited when she opened it.

A box of fun stuff from Grandma Mary.

Hanging a new ornament on the tree.

A Chinese dragon train car, to go with Thomas the Tank Engine.

Aside from the camera, which was a family present, Kate was the only one that had anything under the tree. Because of all the winter storms, packages were delayed and trickled in over the next week or so. My parents got us a new set of pots and pans, which arrived the next day. (Thanks!)

We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Ooooh, Pretty!

I took some pictures with the star filter today, in honor of Barb and Kyle's anniversary. Not on purpose--after I finished taking them I thought, "Huh, I haven't used the star filter since Barb and Kyle's wedding." And then I thought, "Oh yeah, that was today!"

I braided Kate's hair last night. She complains when I brush it when it's tangled, so I thought that might help. Then she didn't want to take them out, so she had bed-head braids for most of the day. I brushed them out right before taking these pictures, and her hair was all fluffy. I'll have to get some pictures of her braids next time. Very cute.

Monday, December 22, 2008

38+ weeks

Getting down to the wire! At my appointment on Friday I was dilated 2 cm. The doctor said, "See you next week--unless I see you before then!"

People keep telling me I'm not very big. I'm ten pounds lighter than I was with Kate. (And Kate was only 6 lbs 9 oz.) I promise I really am eating.

This has been a pretty easy pregnancy. I haven't had nearly as much heartburn as I did with Kate (yay!). Apparently the old wives tales associate heartburn and hair, so maybe he'll be completely bald. He also seems less active than Kate was. Maybe he'll be a good sleeper. A small, bald baby who sleeps a lot. We'll see!

Saturday, December 20, 2008


We don't get a lot of snow around here. When we do, it usually doesn't last long. But now we're going on a week of the white stuff. These were taken on Thursday:

The forecast snow storm began this afternoon. We were out in it picking up our Christmas tree (yes, nothing like leaving things till the last minute). I was disappointed about the ward party being canceled, but it looks like it was for the best. In fact, we just got the word that they've canceled church tomorrow, too.

The snow is coming down but it's not particularly windy, so maybe we'll get lucky and the power will stay on. We've got some wood, just in case. We do have a fireplace but we've never used it.

Stay warm!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Warmth and Fellowship

Like many parts of the country, we're getting a fair bit of cold and snow right now. Mostly we've been cocooning (I'm still waiting for that nesting urge to kick in, but the cocooning urge is pretty strong), but we have managed to get out some, too. Monday night we went over to the Tracys' house for dinner with friends. Doug and Don provided some after-dinner music, and then we played with my musical pipes.

Kate had fun with the Little People nativity.

I've discovered that taking pictures of fiddlers can be tricky because they tend to make funny faces while they're playing. At least this one does.

Tuesday there was a Primary activity at the church, where the kids got to decorate their own gingerbread houses. Or graham cracker houses, that is.

Kate had a good time. (She looks so serious! It takes a lot of concentration.)

Wednesday night we were back at the Tracys' again, to practice the musical pipes for the ward Christmas party. I asked for volunteers and got six people (including me), but everyone was feeling adventurous and willing to double up on pipes so we could cover a total of twelve notes. We practiced three songs and were sounding pretty good. (Catharine took pictures--I'll see if I can post them if I can get them from her.) Unfortunately we just got news that the party has been canceled, so I guess we don't get to play. Alas! They're expecting a big storm. Time for more cocooning.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Giraffe Painting

I finished my painting! Hooray! I made this for my sister Barb (who has finally started a blog). I started it on conference weekend and it sat on our kitchen table for two months. I'd had the painting bug for a while, and knew I wanted to do something, but then I was severely distracted in the middle by that whole Japanese crochet thing. (Doug was very patient about having a painting on the kitchen table!)

I used a photo I found online, but it ended right above the mother's eye, so I extrapolated those parts from a couple other photos.

In progress pictures:

(I changed some of Mama's spots right at the end.)

When I've used acrylics before (mostly for details on murals) I've been frustrated with how quickly the paint dries out right after I get the colors mixed up the way I want them. I got a Masterson Sta-Wet Palette, which worked pretty well.

It has a sponge at the bottom, and special paper that helps keep the paint wet. I was able to do a little at a time, close the palette back up, and then come back to it, and work on it gradually throughout the day. Not so great if you're going to get distracted and leave it for 4-5 days at a time.

Here's the finished product!

It's 12"x24". After I got started on it I realized it might have been better a little smaller. Hopefully Barb has a good place for it!

Of course, when I paint, Kate wants to paint too. Here we are working together:

And some of Kate's creations! We have these taped up on the wall over her bed.