Thursday, December 29, 2011

Houston, we have a smiler!

He's been doing it for a week or two, but I hadn't been able to catch it until today!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas...

...from our family to yours.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

We Believe.

{Our Tree, 2011}

We believe.

We believe in the beauty of anticipation.

We believe in showering our loved ones with treasures, whether they've been naughty or nice.

We believe that there is nothing better than time with family.

In the shopping & the stress, the excitement and the exhaustion, we believe in the magic of Christmas and can't wait to share it with our two beautiful sons...our biggest gift of all this year.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Flashback Friday: The Beach

I just realized that I never posted the pictures that we had taken at the beach! Although we were kind of disappointed with the photographer overall, there were some really nice shots in the bunch.

Next time, I hope we take family portraits when I'm not seven months pregnant!!

(My parents!)

 (My brother and soon to be sister-in-law!)

(Our Family!)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Sneak Peek

Yesterday, we had our newborn/family photo session with Stephanie Fisher, the amazing photographer who took Liam's newborn photos. Not only am I so excited to see the shots of Jack in some really cute little hats, but I also can't wait to see the shots of me & my boys-- a new family of four!

(This pic was posted on FB yesterday-- we should see a few more shots on her blog in the next day or so, then our online gallery will be available to view in a few weeks. I'll update this post when there are more to see, hopefully tomorrow!)

Saturday, November 26, 2011


My post is a few days late because we didn't celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday this year-- My brother and his fiancee had to work on Thanksgiving day, so we delayed our big meal until last night so that they could join us.

We had a delicious dinner with all of our traditional foods: smoked turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, sweet potato casserole, dressing and rolls. (We don't even bother making dessert because we eat so much everything else!) I even enjoyed a few glasses of red wine. Yum.

I love Thanksgiving. While it's often hectic trying to prepare the meal, it doesn't carry the stress of Christmas-- no shopping, wrapping, stress about money or traveling-- just family and food and fun.

This year, I have been unbelievably blessed and have so much to be thankful for.

I have  wonderful friends & family who check on us, offer to help, hold our babies, bring us dinners, and constantly show their love for us. (It amazes me that a family our size has remained so close, despite our hectic lives. Though we did small individual family Thanksgiving celebrations this year, we'll all be together again at Christmas. I can't wait. The baby boom that's happened in the last 14 months will make this year extra special.) 

I have wonderful parents who are so involved in our lives and who help us in so many ways, from fixing things around our home to helping us care for our kids. (I've never seen any grandparents who love their grandchildren more!)

I have a husband who is great with our children, amazing at keeping up with things at home, works incredibly hard at his job and at grad school & always makes me laugh.

And, I have my boys.

My Liam, who I'm constantly in awe of... so smart, so inquisitive, so funny, so amazing. I never thought I could love so much.

And, my Jack, the best surprise of my life...I never knew that my heart could double...Love doesn't divide. It multiplies.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

(Mostly) Wordless Wednesday: Rambling Man

Before Jack came along, we still saw Liam as a baby-- but now that little brother has taken on that role, it's easy to see that Liam is ALL toddler (which thrills me and kills me at the same time). One of his favorite things to do is to take walks down our street with Daddy. Rob used to carry him and answer all of Liam's questions as he pointed to a new object and asked, "What's that?" every five seconds. 

He's been walking for about six weeks, but over the past few weeks, he's become more & more steady on his feet. Monday, Daddy & Liam went on their first walk where Liam walked down the street all by himself! He had such a great time, he cried when he had to come inside.

Who dressed him with socks up to his knees, colonial style? 
Hint: It wasn't mommy!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Jack's Birth Story

*Warning: This is super long, so if you aren't interested in all of the birth details, just skip to the pics at the end!*

It’s seems pretty apropos that the little man whose conception was a surprise, would also have an unexpected birth date.

Back in March when we found out our due date, I thought, “Oh, wow! Wouldn’t it be cool to have a baby on 11/11/11?” but seeing that my due date was 10 days past that, I didn’t think there was any chance that would happen. (Liam didn’t arrive until his forced eviction at 41 weeks, so I had no reason to think that this baby would be a week & a half early.)

But, as my blood pressure rose over the past few weeks and I made multiple trips to Labor & Delivery, I realized that it was likely that I’d end up delivering early. Especially when one doctor said he didn’t want me to go past my due date and another said she didn’t want me to go past 39 weeks.

Last Monday (Nov 7), when I made my semi-weekly trek up to the ob’s office to get checked and have my Non-Stress Test to see how Jack was tolerating everything, my (old) doctor said that she wanted to go ahead and schedule my induction. I asked if we could do it on Friday (Nov 11) and she said that she wanted to push it to Tues (Nov 15) because she’d be out of the office until then. I mentioned several times that I was comfortable with having another doctor deliver me, but she stuck with Tues, saying that she wanted to be there. (Which, I have to say, amused me. She didn’t care whether she was there for Liam’s birth. I’m not sure why it was so important this time.) She asked me to go ahead and schedule an appointment to be monitored on Thursday—which I did, with the new doctor I’d been seeing.

Thursday morning, I met my parents at a shopping center close by so that they could take Liam for the afternoon. The plan was to go to my appointment, then come home and do a few last minute things around the house. I still had a few casseroles to make, some things to wash and a nap to take! As I was pulling out of the parking lot, I started to have some visual disturbances (aura) like I do when I get migraines. I had a bad feeling about it, so I took out my blood pressure cuff and checked—it was 150/110. When I got to my appointment, the nurse checked it & it was still 145/104. The doctor immediately sent me down to labor and delivery to be monitored.

Thursday night was a full moon and L&D was already a madhouse at 10:30am. Triage was full and I had to wait almost an hour for a room to be cleaned for me. (I found out later that 21 babies were delivered that night!) I got settled in and got hooked up to the monitors, then called Rob and my parents to let them know what was going on. The doctor had said that if my blood pressure didn’t go down, I would not be leaving the hospital pregnant. But all I could do was wait…it went down in the early afternoon and I thought I’d be going home. Then, it crept back up. (Probably unrelated, but I threw up all day long. I had to take the monitors off, go to the bathroom, get sick, then page the nurse to come back and hook me up. I think it was a stomach virus—I threw up more than 10 times that day.) After nearly 7 hours in L&D, my (new) doctor came in and told me that I’d be having a baby in the morning & to rest up.

I made a list of things I’d need and sent Rob home to pack my bag. (Oops, that was on the list of things to do Thurs afternoon!) I made a few phone calls and settled in to eat my (hospital) dinner. Rob was feeling sick (he was diagnosed with walking pneumonia the day we came home from the hospital!) so I sent him home to sleep. There wouldn’t be any action that night, so I didn’t think he needed to sleep on the hospital couch. I just told home to come back in the morning.

Around 10pm they inserted Cervadil and I got a shot of Phenergan to help with the nausea. It knocked me out. The next thing I knew, it was 4:30am and the nurse was coming in to start my IV and take out the Cervadil. At 5am, we started the Pitocin and at 6am my doctor came in and broke my water. Just like with Liam, once my water was broken, the contractions got intense. The difference was that I was a little over 1cm with Liam and this time I was 4cm. I made it 4 hours without needing the epidural with Liam. This time, within the hour I went from whimpering through contractions to shaking I was in so much pain.

By 8am, I was 6cm and 80% effaced. I got my epidural, but immediately started feeling very off… I felt lightheaded, disoriented, dizzy and extremely nauseated. Then, the blood pressure alarms started going off. The epidural had caused my blood pressure to drop to 70/40. They started flushing my IV lines with ephedrine, trying to bring it back up, but since I had a history of HIGH blood pressure, they had to be careful not to overdo it. After two doses, it started to come back up, but it was a scary 15 minutes or so until it stabilized!

After letting the epidural take effect, the nurse asked me what I could feel. I told her that I could feel something internally when I was having contractions. At first it just felt uncomfortable but as contractions got stronger, it became painful, almost like a pinching feeling. They called the anesthesiologist back, who decided they needed to boost my epidural (which thankfully, they can do by injecting meds into the line that was already inserted). My nurse, in preparation for another drop in blood pressure, gave me an intramuscular shot of ephedrine in the thigh—so strange, watching a needle go into your leg when you can’t feel it.

Things settled down for a bit after that. I was comfortable—talking and laughing. (I did not experience the shaking that I did with Liam’s epidural) and around 10am, I told the nurse that I was feeling a lot of pressure. She checked me and announced that I was 10cm, 100% effaced and +3 station. Ready to push! Well, not quite ready.  We had agreed that both of my parents would be in the room (as they were for Liam’s birth) and my aunt would watch Liam… but no one was there yet! Everyone was on the way, but no one thought that I’d progress so quickly. My aunt came to my room so that she’d be ready to take Liam as soon as my parents got there. A few minutes later, they arrived, got him settled and I started pushing.

I felt like I did at the very end of Liam’s birth—so much pressure, I had to push and I was just certain that the baby would practically fall out of me. He was right there!

Ummm, no.

I pushed three times with each contraction, resting in between. I held the bed handles, I held my legs, I pushed my feet against the stirrups, but I felt little progress. The nurse paged my doctor about a “position check.” A few minutes later he came in, reached in to feel the baby’s head and announced that he was sunny side up.

What is it about my kids, trying to come into this world backwards?!

Flashing back to Liam’s birth, I asked if he could be turned. The doctor tried several times to maneuver him to turn (I even felt a pop in my pelvic bone as Jack’s head ground further into my pelvis) but it couldn’t be done. Unlike Liam, Jack had dropped so far on his own, he was wedged into position.

The doctor looked at me and said, “I can get him out, or you can get him out. I want you to get him out… You want you to get him out. It’s going to take a while and it’s going to be difficult, but I think you can do it.”

So, I started pushing again. I thought that I had been pushing as hard as I could before, but this time I blocked out everything else in the room and tried to bear down as hard as I could. After a few pushes, I started hearing some encouragement from Rob and my mom. They could see his head! He had really dark hair! He was close to crowning! But I still worried.

After about 30 minutes, the nurse called the doctor again and I was concerned for a minute that she was going to tell him that I couldn’t do it, but when he arrived he sat down and let me know we were almost there. I pushed as hard as I could, four times for every contraction. I pushed in between contractions. I pushed until I was out of breath and shaking. I just pushed.

Finally, I heard Rob and my mom tell me that this was it—that his head was almost out. They were cheering me on and encouraging me as I made those final pushes that brought Jack into the world. I had begun to tear and my doctor let me know that he was going to need to do an episiotomy to get Jack out safely. (I really didn’t want one, but at that point, I just wanted to get him out!!)

I gave one final push and Jack tumbled out quickly and quietly. The doctor worked to suction his mouth for what felt like forever. He was down between my legs and I couldn’t see him—I kept trying to sit up and lean forward so that I could see him. Then, I heard that beautiful cry and he was swiftly placed on my chest. I cried as I saw my second precious son for the first time. After a minute, the nurse took him over to the warmer to wipe him off, weigh him,  measure him, and wrap him up.

Just like I had with Liam, I lost a lot of blood after delivery. I had warned the doctor that this was a problem last time. A new bag of Pitocin was started to help me contract as the doctor stitched me up. Most of my focus was watching everyone admiring Jack over in the warmer, but it was a little scary hearing the doctor say that I was bleeding so heavy that he couldn’t see what he was doing. Each time he raised his hands up to tighten a stitch, they were covered in blood. It took a while (and he was very good about reassuring me that I was ok!) but he got the bleeding under control.

The doctor shook hands with Rob and put his hand on my knee and said, “That was tough. It takes a real woman to deliver a baby sunny side up. Great job.”

Jack was swaddled and given back to me. My dad was snapping pictures of Rob and I with him. My parents took turns holding him & Rob went to find my aunt, who brought Liam back into the room to meet his baby brother for the first time. (He was mildly interested.)

Jack was having some slight breathing problems, so I wasn’t able to breastfeed him right away. He got a slight fever & his blood sugar was low, so the nurses gave him a small bottle of formula—since I had planned to breastfeed and formula feed, I was fine with this. His grunting stopped later that night and I was able to get him to latch on without any problems.

This delivery was a totally different experience than my first—it took about half of the time, my doctor delivered me and I loved having him in the morning! We had all day to enjoy being with Jack & had friends and family stop by and share our joy. I wasn’t so exhausted from a long labor that all I wanted to do was sleep! I was up and walking around within 90 minutes of having him and later in the evening, I took a shower (& even dried and curled my hair!) and changed into my own clothes to prepare for visitors the next day. My nurses were fantastic (my nurses from Liam’s delivery stopped in on Thurs night to say hello and wish me luck on Friday!) and overall it was a really great experience.

Pics from Jack's birth:

 I’ll update on how we’ve settled at home in an other post—this one is long enough!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Baby Bliss

(Birth story & pics coming soon.)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Welcome to the World...

...Baby Jack!

Jackson Alexander Blakely
11/11/11 at 11:32am
7lbs 10oz
21 3/4"

More pics & birth story to come!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Quick Update

I've visited labor and delivery twice in the past 24 hours. No, I'm not in labor yet, but my body certainly feels like it's revolting against the 3rd trimester of this pregnancy. You know how sick we've all been-- I thought that towards the end of last week, we were all starting to get a little better. 

Tues night, I got a headache-- a bad one that felt like a migraine. Since I'm not able to take my migraine meds, I took a Fioricet and hoped that I could sleep it off. No luck. I woke up with it yesterday and took another dose. Still no better. I took a 3rd dose around 5pm and decided to go check my blood pressure. One of the things my new doctor warned me about was a chronic severe headache and elevated blood pressure. So, when it was 156/95, I went ahead and called the on call doc, who told me to go straight to labor & delivery.

I was there about three hours-- blood work looked good, no protein in my urine and baby looked good on the monitors, so they focused on getting rid of my pain. They gave me a shot of Nubain and sent me home. The meds made me feel drunk and I threw up, but I slept ok after that.

This morning, I woke up with the headache. I called the doc, who asked me to check my blood pressure, then call them back. It was 150/101. Back to the hospital I went-- I was able to go to the office first, where I saw my old doctor. I had an internal-- I'm 2cm and 50% effaced. I had another ultrasound and everything was measuring perfectly. It's tough to determine whether elevated blood pressure is causing my headaches or if the pain of these headaches is causing my blood pressure to rise. Either way, she said she'd feel more comfortable having me monitored again back to L&D I went.

My labs all came back normal and after a shot of Phenergan for the headache, I was sent home with orders to be on bed rest and to come back on Monday. My doctor mentioned (several times) that since I was full term, there wasn't much benefit to keeping me pregnant much longer. She said that they don't treat high blood pressure with meds this late in pregnancy-- the treatment is to get the baby out.

Additionally, I'm having horrible congestion with a bad cough that keeps me up all night-- same old, same old that's been plaguing me for the past 4 weeks. I'm convinced that my body just can't shake it because the pregnancy is using every bit of energy that my body has left. The doctor prescribed a Z-pack along with a prescription cough medicine. Rob went to pick them up tonight only to find that the nurse that I don't like never bothered to call them in-- even after checking twice today before I left the hospital. I'm furious & miserable.

As much as I really wanted to go into labor on my own, I'm bracing myself for scheduling an induction for sometime next week at Mon's appt. My body has already made more progress on it's own now that it had when I got my epidural at Liam's induction. The vital things that I felt like needed to be done, will be taken care of by the end of the weekend...everything else can wait. It might have to.

I'll update more when there's news!

Saturday, October 29, 2011


I've made a deal with Jack-- if he will bake until the end of the week, I promise to have everything done that HAS to be done by next weekend. I think he's agreed. I'm certain that whenever he arrives, there will be things that I didn't get to-- but this is the week to finish up those vital tasks, like getting Liam settled into his new room (he'll move next weekend, after all of the cleaning is done), making sure my mom has a clean bed to sleep in for the first few days we're home from the hospital, freezing a few meals and installing the car seat.

I have been doing things over the past few weeks, but between dealing with the 4th week of Liam's ear infection (and 3rd antibiotic) and my string of illnesses, it hasn't been as much as I would like. I wrote out instructions for Liam's schedule while we're in the hospital. My dad and I installed a new closet system in our front closet. I cleaned out our old bedroom closet (soon to be Liam's) & moved the clothes I want to keep to the new one, while filling a large box with stuff I don't. I packed away all of my summer maternity clothes (which will go in storage for now). I hired a cleaning lady who will come every other week. (I have lots of strengths as an individual-- housekeeping is not one of them.) I picked up the twin mattress and trundle mattress for Liam's new bed. I ordered several of Liam's Christmas gifts & Jack's baby book. I have enough newborn diapers to last us at least 6 weeks.

But, in addition to the tasks above, there's certainly still more to do! I need to wash and stock the drawers with all of our NB clothes. I need to figure out the car seat adapter for our Baby Jogger City Mini Double. I need to pack Liam's bag and my own. I need to track down all of my nursing bras, pump parts, pillows, etc. I need to pick a birth announcement & choose what we'll all wear for our newborn photo shoot.

Then, there are a few things that I really want to do (which I'm sure are the things that won't get done). I want to fill in some of the blanks in Liam's baby book & add some pictures. I want to applique him a Thanksgiving & Christmas shirt. I want to finish my Christmas shopping-- which will likely be 100% online this year. (Although my Amazon Mom Prime Benefits run out next week. BOO.) I'd like to finish & install the upholstered headboard for our bedroom that my awesome (and handy!!) dad has worked so hard on for me. But these are the things that are last on the list... the things that, if Jack is kind enough to stay put until his due date, we just might get finished.

My 37 week appointment was Friday and everything is looking good. I had my weekly NST, (Yes, those are stretchmarks, courtesy of Liam.)

where Jack concerned everyone (as he does each time) with his laziness:

Then woke up to play after being buzzed through my tummy.

When the doc came in to check on us the 2nd time, he said that everything looked beautiful. He also said that he'd prefer that I did not go past my due date (I mentioned that I was induced with Liam a week past my due date). We didn't explore that any further and I hope that we don't have to!!

I'm 1 cm dilated and the doctor's guess was that he'll stay put for a while-- but you never know. (If he attempts to come in the next 7 days, I'll just remind him about our deal.)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Pumpkin Patch

On Sunday afternoon, we made our trip out to the Pumpkin Patch! Liam wasn't feeling 100%, so we didn't end up taking a hayride out to the field to pick our pumpkin, but he had a great time driving the tractor, riding on the train and running around! Hope we do this every year!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Liam Walking! (Video)

Liam took his first steps a few weeks ago and last week we caught him walking on video. Watching this now, it's amazing how far he's come in a week. He's now zooming from one side of the room to the other & he's much more sure of his steps. I'll definitely take another video soon to show his progress.

Watching him learn to walk has been the most amazing milestone!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Baby, It's Cold Outside

{leather patches on his elbows? ::dead::}

And one of mama-- 35w2d: