Friday, July 27, 2012

Whirlwind Week

Phew! The past week was a bit crazy (but so much fun!). In the last seven days, Fiona has met six great-aunts, three great-uncles, one aunt, one uncle, ten first cousins once removed, and three second cousins (yes, it took a lot of googling to figure that all out). She also took her first vacation to the shore and her first trip to the zoo. I feel as though I need a vacation from the vacation. Kudos to all of you who do this with more than one child!

Here's a quick timeline of how it all went down:

7/20-  Ryan's aunts and uncle visit on their way from Rhode Island to Virginia Beach. Try to figure out this whole packing for a trip with an infant thing.

7/21- We head out to Sea Isle City, NJ for a short vacation at my parents' beach house. We left after Fiona's 9:00 AM feeding (we're doing the moms on call schedule), and arrived just in time for her 12:00 PM feeding. I adore this schedule because I know what is coming. She slept almost the entire ride. This is in complete contrast to the story my mom and aunt still tell me about my first trip to Sea Isle when I was 6 weeks old (it was apparently that traumatic). Dear God, please let her stay a great traveler! Love, Katie. Because we got there before the renters were out, we hit up the Cape May Zoo (which is absolutely adorable). Fiona slept the whole time. Of course, that didn't stop us from taking pictures of her in front of the animals.

7/22- Some of mom's side of the family does a Christmas in July family reunion. I believe that there were about 30+ people at the house.

7/23- Relaxed inside. I think I made it down to the shore for a few minutes? Im not's a bit of a blur. Ryan worked from the house during the day and then left to go home that evening. Contemplate just how much protection will be needed for my fair, red-headed child when she can really go on the beach next year. Decide to invest in sunscreen companies.

7/24- Fiona turns 6 weeks and decides to comprehend the craziness of the last few days. She refuses to nap more than 5 minutes. Thankfully she wasn't cranky or sad, just wide awake...ALL DAY LONG. Because Ryan is home and everyone else is on the beach, I try to MacGyver ways to use the bathroom and eat. Pat myself on the back for not buying the expensive bathing suit to cover my postpartum body, because it obviously is not going to get any use.

7/25- Eat breakfast at Sunset Pier. Take a quick trip to Stone Harbor for some shopping and time with my mom. Drive home alone with Fiona after her 6:00 PM feeding. She starts crying as soon as we pull up in front of our house. Say another prayer of thanks, and then give myself another pat on the back for surviving my first 2 hour trip with her alone.

7/26- Ryan's brother, Kyle, and our sister-in-law, Colleen, come to visit. I adore them both so much and feel beyond blessed to have such a great brother and sister-in-love (she's like the older sister I never got to have!). We wish so much they lived on the east coast so we could see them more often! Oh, in the craziness, we almost's our 4th anniversary!

7/27- Breakfast with Kyle and Colleen before they leave. Fiona goes on another nap strike. Counting down the minutes till bedtime. Thankfully she's super cute to look at.

And here are some pictures for a visual:

 A Papa, A Zebra & A Fiona-phant

 My dad likes to ask my daughter if she went to Tony's last night. Tony's, incase you were wondering, is the dive bar he and his friends went to in their 20s. Yup. I decided that making this onsie was an appropriate way to start off vacation. P.S. I love that having a baby makes using puffy paint totally acceptable again. 

 This was my dad's reaction. 

Because, you know, we were at the Jersey Shore. 

 Second cousins! 

 Me and my baby at the beach. I hope she learns to love it as much as her Papa and I do. 

 Beach Kisses. 

 1st Family Vacation Picture :)

 Fiona turns 6 weeks! (weekly block idea from Oh! Apostrophe). 

 Breakfast at the Pier. 

 Fiona with her UVA Aunt and Uncle

Ryan and his brother with Fiona. Yes, his brother looks like Ty Burrell

Ryan- Thanks for four years of awesomeness! Marrying you = best decision ever. 

And of course, the best result of our marriage :)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Letter to Fiona: One Month

Dear Fiona,

You are one month old today! It doesn’t quite seem possible that you’ve already been with us for that long, but at the same time, we can’t imagine what life was like without you in it. Before you were born, people would often ask us whether we wanted a baby boy or baby girl. My answer was always, “I don’t care if we have a son or a daughter, as long as he or she has their daddy’s disposition.” From all accounts told to me, I was an awful, colic-y infant…often sleeping only 1 or 2 hours at a time. I was terrified of the potential paybacks! Luckily, my wish has come true, and you have been an unbelievable newborn. I’m not sure if your calm, happy personality is here to stay, but if I could guarantee that all our future children were like this, I’d have 10 more.

Perhaps your personality isn’t just a wish fulfilled, but an answer to prayer. Our first week together was a bit hectic, with two ambulance rides and your mama ending up in the hospital for a scary four-day stay. Being ill and being apart from you was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Thankfully, lots of family members were able to step in to watch over and take care of you. As long as you are fed and loved, you are extremely content.

Speaking of food, it is your number one passion. The only time you cry is when you are hungry. And you definitely let us know when that time is by providing perhaps one or two whimpers before going to full-blown, DEFCON 1 screams. The second you see that bottle though, your eyes light up, your game face is on, and all is well with the world. You even eat with extreme gusto. One of your grandmothers, who raised four kids of her own, says she has never seen anything like it. Due to this, we often refer to you as Francesca when it is feeding time. As in, Francesca, your Italian alter ego.

Once, while trying to entertain you while your bottle warmed up, I found out that you had a particular love for country music…specifically, Kenny Chesney. Literally, you will be bawling your little eyes out, but the second you hear Kenny’s voice you just stop and look around. It was cute and funny at first…I mean, we have all of these wonderful toys, baby books and rattles for you, and the only thing that calms you down is country music. Now, the joke is on us. I can often be found at 3 AM two-stepping across the nursery floor trying to get you to fall asleep. When you are really fussy, your Papa and I are left scrambling for our iPhones and computers trying to get the country music station on as quickly as possible. At this rate, due to the amount of times we say, “Kenny’s coming baby!” or “Don’t worry, Kenny will be on the radio soon!” there is a good chance that your first word will be Kenny instead of Mama or Papa. Besides Kenny Chesney, you also like Tim McGraw, Darius Rucker and the Zac Brown Band. One day we will all laugh about how mommy had to change the lyrics of certain songs to “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sporty” and “Red Plastic Bottle, “ or talk about the time we were left singing “I’ve Got Friends in Low Places,” while trying to calm you down enough to have your newborn pictures taken.

As for other interesting facts:

-       - Your first month of life was met with two long heat waves…the second of which was the fourth longest this area has ever seen.

-       -  You celebrated your first holiday on July 4th! We hope you come to love that day as much as your Momma and Papa do. After all, what can be better than fireworks, family and hot dogs!

-       - You are probably a little over 8 pounds now. You still fit into your newborn clothes that don’t have feet (as you are a bit too long for those now). We’ll definitely have to move you over to your 0-3 outfits in a week or two.

-       - Your Papa speaks to you exclusively in Spanish. I’m picking up a word or two here and there, so hopefully  I'll be able to join in on conversations with you two at some point!

-       - Besides Francesca, we can be found calling your Strawberry Shortcake (after your strawberry blonde hair), or Fiona-phant, which came about because of the elephant hat your Uncle Joey bought you.

We love you so much Fiona, and we can’t wait to see what month two has in store for us!

Love you to the Moon & Back,

Your Mama & Papa 

Friday, July 6, 2012

When Babies Make Plans of Their Own Pt. 2: Fiona's Birth Story

Some of this is going to be a repetition from previous posts, but I want to write Fiona's birth story for my own recollection.

Since Fiona was a breech baby, we had a c-section scheduled for June 14th at 9:30 AM. Obviously, like her mother, she decided to make plans of her own. I always felt that she (although we didn't know she was a she at the time), would come early as that was kind of par for the course in my family. And my intuition was definitely right!

I remember people telling me that they just felt different before they went into labor, and I can definitely say that was true in my case. Up until the day before she was born, I was running around, taking long walks, cleaning the house and trying to stay busy. However, on that Monday, I didn't have the energy to even get off the couch. I literally just laid there all day and read a book. I wasn't my normal happy self, and instead felt really worn down and cranky. I'm fairly certain when Ryan came home from work and walked through the door I just cried. I don't even know why.

On Tuesday morning, June 12th, I woke up and still felt pretty exhausted (which wasn't a total surprise seeing as how I hadn't slept for more than 2 hours at a time since December). I decided to continue reading in bed. Ryan had allowed our dog, Bo, to come upstairs that morning, and instead of running around in circles begging to go out or for a walk like he usually does, he just laid calmly by my side. He definitely knew something was happening! Around 8:45 AM, I turned over and felt a bit of a pop. I vividly remember thinking, "hmm that felt really weird...I wonder if my water is going to break...I remember Aliya talking about this happening before her daughter came." Sure enough, I got up to go to the bathroom, and my water started to break. Because it wasn't the huge gush that everyone talks about (it broke gradually throughout the day), I called my doctor for confirmation. She told me, of course, that it was time to get to the hospital. I hung up the phone, called Ryan, and told him to come home because this baby was coming today. Then, because it was obviously the completely logical thing to do, I decided that it was absolutely imperative that I shave my legs. So, instead of running around getting all the bags together, I sat on the edge of the tub and did just that. I may not have been completely rational, but I am still surprised at how calm I was about the whole situation.

When Ryan came home we loaded everything into the car and made our way to the hospital. It was supposed to be an absolutely gorgeous day on the day Fiona was originally due to make her appearance, but on this day we had pouring rain, flooding and thunderstorms. I don't think we turned the radio on in the car at all. We just kept turning to each other saying, "I can't believe we're going to have a baby today." It all seemed so surreal.

We arrived at the hospital, and I remember this guy taking one look at us while we were walking in and saying, "Good Luck!" It made me smile. We checked in and we were taken to a room so I could be examined, and so that they could do another ultrasound and make sure the baby was still breech (she was). After about an hour, we were taken to another room on the floor where they perform the c-sections, and were told that the surgery would take place in about 25 minutes. I was in a bit of shock that it would happen that fast! We quickly met with the anesthesiologist and a bunch of the other doctors that would be in the room during the surgery. Then we were told we would meet the doctor performing the surgery shortly. Since Fiona decided to come early, we ended up with a completely different doctor than the one we had been seeing. So we waited, and waited....and well, waited. A couple of times a nurse would come in and tell us that the surgery would be taking place shortly, but it never happened. I hadn't had anything to drink or eat since the night before, and since I wasn't allowed to have any water (and was almost in tears over this), Ryan would hold up wet paper towels to my lips. I can't even begin to describe how thirsty I was. I also wasn't allowed to leave the bed, since there is a risk of a prolapsed cord with breech babies once the mother's water breaks. This went on for the longest time. It turns out that at the exact moment I was to go into surgery, another one of the doctor's patients was about to have her baby. The doctor was with her while she pushed....for over three full hours (bless that girl's heart!).

During all of this I would get myself mentally prepared for what was going to happen (I had a huge fear of being awake while, you know, they pulled a baby out of me...especially while I was strapped down to a table). The second I would be ok with it, we would find out that the surgery was getting pushed back again. After the doctor finally delivered the other baby, there was an emergency c-section that needed to be preformed. At this point I was starving, thirsty and all sorts of anxious. I guess Ryan felt really bad for me, because he decided it was ok to play the VT football entrance song, "Enter Sandman" on his iPhone. As soon as he started playing it, our baby's heartbeat started matching up with the tune. It was hysterical, and helped us get through the rest of the wait.

You can't really hear the heartbeat, but yup, we tried to take a video! 

Finally, around 4:00 PM, we were told that they would definitely be coming to get us for the surgery shortly. Around 4:15 PM, I was taken into the operating room. Ryan had to wait outside while I had the spinal injection done. I was even more nervous at this point, since I had hours to dwell on everything, and I remember being so hot....which was odd since I am normally freezing, and I was in an ice cold operating room. I asked the anesthetist if I could have an ice pack for my forehead. While she went off in search for that, I was prepped for the spinal injection. I was terrified about this part because I knew that one of the side effects can be feeling like you can't breath. For someone who can feel extremely claustrophobic at times, having my arms strapped down while feeling like I can't breath is probably my worst nightmare coming to life. I am beyond thankful that God provided me with an amazing team of doctors at this point. My anesthesiologist kept making jokes about how this wasn't the time to be a yoga student while trying to get me to roll my back enough, and my surgeon held my hands while the injection was done (it wasn't bad at all...and I felt like I could breath!). After that I was quickly placed onto the table for surgery, Ryan was brought back in, and the blue screen went up. The surgeon did a quick time out and went over all of our requests for the birth with the rest of the doctors and nurses in the room.

I remember the anesthetist standing at my head holding the icepack to my forehead, and telling me she would give me a play by play of what was happening. I, of course, was fairly adamant that I did not want a play by play. She explained that she would just tell me what I would be feeling as it was happening. At this point, I just started to cry. There wasn't an exact reason other than it was an emotionally draining morning, and I was just done. I remember the nurse asking me what was wrong, and I just said, "I spent all day trying not to be super anxious about the surgery, and now I'm here and, well, now I feel like I can cry about it (hello, hormones)." So I cried, and the doctors tugged and pulled (which I vividly remember...I did not like this part one bit). I felt like they were performing the surgery for about a half hour, when in reality, it was more like 15 minutes. Finally, someone said, "Ok, dad, get ready...we're going to lower the screen in a second so you can see if you have a son or a daughter." Then, at 4:33 PM, there was a wailing baby. The screen was lowered, and I waited for Ryan to tell me if we had a little boy or little girl. It was probably about 10 seconds, but it felt like a lifetime (apparently the umbilical cord was in the way, and Ryan couldn't tell right away). Finally, he said, "It's a girl...we have a daughter!" I will remember this moment for the rest of my life. Of course, I started crying even more (out of happiness this time!). The doctors kept saying, "Oh, she is just beautiful!" and, "Oh my goodness, she has red hair!"

So there I was, crying my eyes out on the operating table wondering how in the heck we ended up with a red-haired child. We joked the entire pregnancy that we were going to have a baby with a huge mop of dark hair. And then we ended up with a fair redhead. I think I'll forever be amused by that.

Our daughter was then taken to the other side of the room to be cleaned up, weighed and measured while the doctors finished up the surgery on me (I have no recollection of this part of the surgery). Ryan went with her, and apparently they even left the cord long enough so he could do the official "cut" at this point. Since I was a crying, blubbering mess, I had no idea that he had even done this until he told me two weeks later. Our little baby came in at 6.8 pounds and 19 inches, and scored a 9 both times on her Apgar test.

 Fiona's 1st official picture

Finally, finally, finally, Ryan brought her over to me. I just remember staring into her eyes and feeling so overwhelmed, happy, thankful and blessed. My arms were unstrapped and I was able to touch and hold our baby girl. They asked us what her name was, and we said, "Fiona." So there we were...Ryan, me and our little Fiona...officially a family of three.