Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas from our littlest gift!

Ok, so it may be a gas-induced, squirmy-produced "smile,"
but at this point, we'll take whatever we can get!

First group self-portrait

We love taking self-portraits of the two of us.
This time around, there was a third little person in the frame.

Monday, December 24, 2007


I love getting my hair shampoo'd!

I love being bundled up in a warm towel!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Drunky Monkey

. . . my pet name for Ava after a feeding. She's as floppity as a Raggedy Ann doll and I could snuggle with her like this for hours!

Family portraits

Auntie K and Uncle Pern visit

After a few days flying solo with Ava, my sister and her hubby came for a visit. We had a really nice visit with them and did lots of fun things (well, as much fun as can be had while being housebound with a newborn).

Karen and I managed to hit the mall for a little while on Thursday morning (while Joe and Pern stayed home with the baby), followed by a quick stop for 'to-go' lunch at Panera.

Joe and Pern joined our friend Mike for Intoxicated Shopping at the mall (a guys' night out where the boys drink and shop - apparently from Kim's experience, the more Mike drinks, the better her gifts...) and then returned home with Cheesecake Factory cheesecake for a belated dessert.

Friday afternoon, after a midday feeding, we loaded Ava into the car and went out for our very first lunch out! She got to meet all our friends at the Flipside and they were very happy to meet her. Since Joe and I go to the Flipside once a week (and Joe frequents the adjoining Coffee Mill at least 2 times a week) they had seen me from pre-pregnancy all the way to "due any day" so it was fun to take the little baby to see everyone!

On Friday night we posed for some family portraits and then had a yummy dinner from Michelle. Afterwards, we had an early Christmas and exchanged gifts. I also baked some chocolate crinkles which are really fudgy and tasty!

They left on Saturday after lunch, leaving us to our own devices for the remainder of the weekend. Round 2 of visitors begins tomorrow when Joe's parents arrive in the afternoon, followed by round 3 on Thursday when the 'changing of the parents' commences when my parents (and grandparents) arrive for a third Christmas.

Indi is sad today because it's raining so that means we can't walk around the lake . . . which we did yesterday for the first time since the day before Ava was born! Felt so good to do normal things! Since I walked through my entire pregnancy, sitting around the house makes me a little stir crazy! Was nice to get some exercise and some fresh air!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Year end review

The best part of the end-of-year is here: JibJab's year-end-review! Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Polka dot baby

This hand is your hand . . . this hand is my hand

Sleepy baby

This is a common pose - we call it Drunken Baby as it usually happens immediately after a feeding when Ava appears to be in a milk-induced coma. Sure, she looks sweet and pure, but so far we have had:

* much spit up all over face
* two incidences of peeing on self before diaper can be applied
* one incident of pooping on self before diaper can be applied
* one incident of projectile poopage (where the poop actually landed on the wall facing her changing station in the living room)

Although being on alert for renegade bodily functions keeps things interesting, we much prefer Drunken Baby moments.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

One week old

In just a few minutes, Ava will be exactly one week old. Seems like forever ago that we were driving to the hospital; I can't tell you what day it is (ok, so I know it's Sunday, but there will be times today when it feels like a Friday or Monday). So far we're doing pretty well, I think. We're actually managing to get 2-3 hours of sleep between night feeding and pumping, although there have been two nights when that 2-3 hours was spent trying to calm a fussy baby who wouldn't settle down.

Ava has experienced the "joys" of the bathroom - she shrieked when I bathed her and then she shrieked with Joe bathed her (at least she was settled for some cute pictures following)

She is now over her birth weight. She weighed 8lbs at birth, dropped to 7lbs 9oz before leaving the hospital, weighed in at 7lbs 14 oz at her first check-up and was back up to just over 8lbs at her second weigh in just two days later. All in all, quite an accomplishment for the both of us, considering she doesn't always feed from both sides and at the beginning I was suffering from very painful blisters. I have to pump whatever she doesn't eat and now have a healthy supply of frozen breastmilk in the freezer for such time as we can leave her with a babysitter. Any volunteers?

We caught an old episode of Oprah yesterday which featured a lady who claims to have unlocked the mystery of baby language. Seems all babies make the same sounds when they're feeling the same thing (if they're hungry they say "neh", when they're sleepy they say "owh" etc), so we've been listening to Ava for those cues... and they seem to be working. During the night last night when she was fussy, she was telling us she has gas and needed burping; unfortunately she takes forever to produce a burp so after a while, I had to resort to milk to settle her down. It's all quite an adventure though!

Off to get showered up while she is snoozing! Enjoy the pictures!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Family photo ops

Dale's parents, Doug and Sally

Ava's great-grandparents, Jo and Steve, who flew all the way from South Africa to visit for Christmas, and oh yes, meet their new great-granddaugter

Joe's mom, Joanna

Pictures of Ava: Our sweet girl

Pictures of Ava: L&D room (no yucky stuff!)

Being weighed

Healthy heartbeat

Robin and Dale shortly after delivery

Ava's birth story

Saturday December 8th started like any other day really. Joe went for a ride on his bike, I stayed home and cleaned up. We had planned on lunch out at one of our favorite restaurants, followed by a stroll around the flea market. Both went smoothly, no sign of baby arrival.

We were home for the night and settled in to watch a movie. I made it halfway through, before heading to bed. Joe followed me an hour later.

11:45pm: I woke up to find that my water had broken. (Luckily, when we bought our new bed several months back, we also purchased the gortex mattress protector!) We called the doctor who told us to stay at home until a) the contractions became really bad or b) 6am if nothing had happened. Shortly afterwards, I felt a contraction. I was very relieved as many times women must be induced even after their water breaks. Until this point, I was expecting to be induced by the end of the week if Ava did not make her own entrance into the world. Having my water break and feeling a contraction were two of the best things that could have happened that night. We called our doula, Robin, who told us to go back to bed and try get some rest during the early labor. Ok.

We tried. Unfortunately, the contractions had other plans and pretty soon they were becoming more intense and closer together. 25 mins apart, 15, 10, 8 and then 6 minutes.

2am: Joe called Robin again, who made her way to our house. By the time she got to our house, the contractions were quite painful, although when one ended, I was able to maintain a short conversation. That didn't last very long, though, and before too long, Robin suggested that we head to the hospital - waiting much longer would ensure a very uncomfortable and painful drive.

4am: Left for the hospital

4:30am: Checked into the triage room. The nurse examined me and found I was 4cm dilated and about 80% effaced (I had been 1cm and 80% for the past several weeks). So, we settled into labor and waited for a L&D room. Unfortunately, there were two emergencies that came in after us, so we were bumped to the back of the line. Labor became increasingly difficult and painful and no position was very comfortable. I tried sitting on the birthing ball, sitting on the toilet, standing and leaning on Joe. The only place that offered any comfort was kneeling on the bed facing the wall and holding onto the back of the headboard. And even that offered limited relief.

I had worked through much of my pregnancy wanting a natural childbirth after hearing our friends Cate and Chris tell us of their plans (and later their experience when their son was born). I did not want any pain meds and certainly did not want an epidural, but the more intense the contractions became, the more desperate I become. I was also running on about an hour of sleep and a very light dinner so was become more exhausted with each contraction. I decided I wanted some relief and told Joe that while I didn't want one, I needed an epidural. I didn't think I could manage to work through 6 more centimeters with such pain. I said I wanted some pain relief but would try standing in the shower when we moved into our own room, which luckily happened then.

6:30am: Finally moved to a L&D room. I decided I didn't want to wait to try the shower, I needed some relief then! Before relief came, though, the doctor came to examine me and said I was at 7cm and about 90% effaced. That was some relief to me as I had been laboring in triage for the past two hours believing I was still at 4cm. I still wanted some relief as I was exhausted and the thought of having to labor through the last three cms and then push out a baby was very overwhelming. My lower back was on fire with each contraction and all I wanted was to crawl out of my skin.

Luckily, we had a wonderful nurse in triage who read our birth plan (imagine that!) and ordered a dose of phentenal (sp?) which would help for a while and then wear off before it was time to push.

Ahh... relief. Don't get me wrong - I could still feel every contraction; the sensation was just dulled and better yet, I was able to rest between contractions, something I had not been able to do until that point.

8:30am: The new doctor arrived (the same doctor Joe and I had seen at our very first appointment during the pregnancy and who had successfully turned Ava during the version a few weeks before - we were very happy to know he would deliver our baby, as I was not at all fond of the first doctor). I was just about at 10cm and he said that if I felt the urge to push, that I could start pushing.

8:45am: Urge to push!

Whew - that was hard work. I pushed, quite unsuccessfully for about 15 minutes before the nurse suggested using the birthing bar - basically, it's a bar that attaches to the bed. One foot on one side, the other foot on the other side, and my hands held onto and pulled a sheet that was tied over the middle. It looked like an upside down U shaped metal bar that you might find on a playground. You push with your feet, pull with your arms and are better able to focus the push (you know, like they say "push like you're having a bowel movement" - much easier to do that efficiently with the bar than without, at least in my experience).

Push push push!

The nurse says she thinks we'll have a baby by 10am.

Joe and Robin are on either side of me, offering me sips of water during my rest periods and loads of encouragement during each push. Joe would say "push, push..." while Robin counted and told me when to take a deep breath. Sets of three pushes each to the count of ten.

Finally, there was sign of a baby and the doctor told me to just push through the next contraction and keep pushing.

I pushed three times with all my might and then pushed three times more. Joe thought I would take a break after the first three, but their reactions to what was happening was just too exciting to stop. I pushed and pushed and finally her head emerged. I looked down to see her little face peering up at us. She was "sunny-side up" which explained all the horrible back pain.

I don't remember if I pushed her out the rest of the way or if the doctor wiggled her out, but at....

9:48am: Ava popped into this world and was placed on my belly!

The rest of the L&D experience was not terribly eventful. The doctor slowly released the placenta after Joe had cut the umbilical cord (we had them allow the cord to finish pulsating before cutting it). While I was still on the bed, Joe was with Ava across the room while she was wiped off and weighed. She was brought back to me so I could try nursing her, which was luckily a success.

After a short recovery in the room, we made our way to our new room - I even managed to walk there on my own and was cheered on by the nurses at the nurses' station. We settled into our new room and over the next two days, bonded with and started getting to know this tiny little person. It's so amazing to look at a new baby and imagine who she ever fit inside my belly. What amazes me still, is how quickly I've forgotten the feeling of all the labor pain and all the pushing pain. And sadly, today I was telling Joe that I find it difficult to remember the feeling and sensation of being pregnant. But looking at her sweet little face and watching her tiny fingers hold my thumb and I know it was all worth it. And then some.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Happy Birthday, Ava!

Welcome Ava Louise Rinehart, born December 9th, 2007 at 9:48am. She weighed in at 8lbs and measured 20.75 inches. Happy Birthday little girl!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Dancing wedding couple from youtube

Heard about this from some friends. I think they saw them on the Ellen Degeneres show, but they were also on youTube. If only I had guts to do something this fun!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Indi embraces warmth

This morning Indi and I spent some quiet time in the living room sitting by the fire. Until now, she's kept her distance from the flames. This morning she finally realized how warm and cozy the fireplace can be.

The sleepy girl in my most favorite Indi pose.

D-day update

No baby.

No twinges.

No nothing.

So I've been keeping myself busy designing birth announcements that will hopefully turn out nicely when printed. I'm being hopeful - in the dummy text I put date of birth as December 7th. Of course, I've been using 2:30pm as the time of birth, so unless I suddenly go into the quickest first-time labor EVER, I should probably change the time on that!

Still no baby.


Well, I made it. According to all the little calendars the doctors have to predict (ha!) delivery, today is D-day - good thing the little ticker on the right side of this page agrees - 0 days to go!

Let's see. What's going on?

Two days in a row I'm up at 2, tossing and turning.

No baby.

LOTS of discomfort when walking (can't tell if it's ligaments, muscle or bone) and last night had several crazy leg spasms. Those are fun when trying to maneuver the stairs.

No baby.

Have tried all forms of "natural induction" (ie. eggplant, herbal tea, leg pressure point massage, hand pressure point massage, positive thinking, walking, s.e.x).

No baby.

Did I mention the eggplant? (I really hate the stuff but suffered through two different meals - no one can say I'm not a team player!)

No baby.

So what's next? Next appointment with doctor is on Monday morning (hopefully we'll have to cancel for having to rush to the hospital this weekend to deliver!) where she'll do another exam (and better tell me that I'm more progressed than I was last week!) and then schedule an induction for the end of the week. Not the way I hope to bring Ava into the world (I know labor and delivery can be painful, but the thought of increased pain and increased intensity of induced labor and the increased chances of screaming for an epidural were things I was hoping to avoid). I keep telling her that she needs to get here soon to avoid unpleasantries for the both of us. Unfortunately, given the track record (her refusing to budge on her own and the planned version), I think there's some breakdown of communication between me and the unborn babe.


Oh. Still no baby.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Pac-Man Christmas Tree

I love Pac-Man! How cool is this tree!? Found this link on a Gmail google ad - sometimes they're worth following!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Calypso Christmas

It finally arrived - and is now in the 21st century (on CD rather than vinyl)! Boney M's Christmas CD. Since we moved to the US, after eating Christmas dinner, my family busts out the Boney M Christmas record (yes, record!) and cranks up the volume while we clean up the dishes. It usually takes two repeats of "Mary's Boy Child / Oh My Lord" song before we're done (we're that fast in the kitchen!). The CD version features slightly different versions of all the songs, but only a discerning listener such as myself would notice.

And on a popularity note, Amazon now notes that they're temporarily out-of-stock! Who knew so many people liked to rock to calypso Christmas music (especially when it hasn't been available on CD for the past 17 years!). Go Boney M!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Favorite Christmas Songs

Spent a little time today searching through iTunes for some of my favorite Christmas songs for a mixed CD. And as I type this entry, I'm rockin' out to my favorite song: Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses - my favorite radio station in DC (the now defunct 99.1 WHFS) would always play this at the start of the holiday season; for me, the holidays didn't start until 99.1 played this song.

Some of the others on the list:

* Last Christmas by Wham! (and the remake by Jimmy Eat World)
* Santa Baby by Eartha Kitt
* God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen by Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan
* I Won't Be Home for Christmas by Blink 182 (ok, so this isn't probably the most child-friendly song, but I still love it!)

A song that did not and will not make the list:

* Grandma got run over by a reindeer - If there's a song that brings out the bah-humbug in me, it's this one!

Pregnancy joke from our neighbor Judy


Q: Should I have a baby after 35?
A: No, 35 children is enough.

Q: I'm two months pregnant now. When will my baby move?
A: With any luck, right after he finishes college.

Q: What is the most reliable method to determine a baby's sex?
A: Childbirth.

Q: My wife is five months pregnant and so moody that sometimes she's borderline irrational.
A: So what's your question?

Q: My childbirth instructor says it's not pain I'll feel during labour, but pressure. Is she right?
A: Yes, in the same way that a tornado might be called an air current.

Q: When is the best time to get an epidural?
A: Right after you find out you're pregnant.

Q: Is there any reason I have to be in the delivery room while my wife is in labor?
A: Not unless the word "alimony" means anything to you.

Q: Is there anything I should avoid while recovering from childbirth?
A: Yes, pregnancy.

Q: Do I have to have a baby shower?
A: Not if you change the baby's diaper very quickly.

Q: Our baby was born last week. When will my wife begin to feel and act normal again?
A: When the kids are in college