weeks 3 & 4

Ok the weekly photos are over and I will snap one a month until she's two--like we did for her brother. I sorta can't believe it has already been a month.

She is a great eater and get's some decent sleeps at night. She slept 6 straight hours the other night which felt like Christmas to me. She is getting bigger. I can tell because her hair looks thinner as it stretches across her growing head. Her hair is still very red and I joke but she seems to have a little fiery personality to match. She gets herself all worked up into these little screaming tizzies every so often that are kind of impressive in their extremity--for a 4 week old. Her brother didn't do that but then her brother also didn't eat well and was a shrimp for a long time. Everyone has their strengths ;) right? She seems to like baths and relaxing in the water. She's cool.


family of four.


We had a busy weekend. We gathered to celebrate our little girl's blessing and our family of four. It was wonderful to be surrounded by so many amazing friends and family. Also thanks to Leilani for taking some new family pictures of us. Pictures with a toddler and a newborn may possibly be one of the harder combinations but we got a few. And that little outfit was specially picked by Grandma Lizzie and Grammie Chazzie special for her blessing.


3 weeks ago: the story

It's been three weeks and already the memory of the experience is changing so for my record:

I was given a few "due dates" in my visits with the midwife-- 25th, 26th, and 28th but then the 25th again which was my parents' 41st anniversary so we thought if she was born that day, we could call her Steryl or Cheve after them because those would be special names ;)

But the days passed and no action. Although, our room renovation was all finished, my family cleaned my whole house, Liz was here to help, and my sister was here too the waiting game started to become a little annoying. By Wednesday the 28th I was having lower back pain most of that day (similar to my last experience) and by the afternoon I was having little contractions every half hour or so. At 7PM, I started noting the times because they seemed more regular but still 10ish minutes apart. We were all hanging out watching TV. We had introduced Joy and Jen to the goodness of "Downton Abbey" and watched the finale episode and topped that by watching "Terra Nova" which was possibly the baddest of all bad TV shows. By midnight, we made it through the 2 hour pilot of what we then called, "Terrible Nova" and  we thought it was time for bed if tonight was "the night". I figured we were in for a long day ahead and laid down and slept about 15 minutes until I had a pinching contraction and knew there wasn't going to be much sleeping for me.  I downloaded a free app for timing contractions and headed downstairs to do some laundry and stay busy. Now that I look back on the times, my contractions were about 5-7 minutes apart and lasting about a minute. They were bad enough that I wanted some support so about 2:00AM I woke Mike up to have him help push on my back. Liz woke up for a minute to check in with us and then we called my sister to come up around 2:30AM. She was part of my team last time and drove all the way out here from Illinois to be here again so we were glad it was all happening while she was here. Again, I assumed that I would have hours of this so once it was daylight I would call mom up from the Inn. 

Mike fell asleep on the the living room floor and Joy took over pushing on my back. At 2:55AM  I gave the midwife a call (it was Suzanne on call who reminds me a lot of my friend Kathy Ward who is a rock star)  and just let her know I was out here and contracting and she encouraged me to stay home but to head to the hospital when I felt like it.  I remember draping myself over on my side on the couch and relaxing as best I could but then I would get up as another one came and Joy would take her position pushing on my back. Joy kept great notes- and said that around 3:45AM that I was totally exhausted and laying on my side.That was her last note until 4:38AM when the baby was born but according to the app, I had a contraction at 3:49, 3:52, and 3:57. I think the last contraction came just after 4:00AM and as it started, I thought, "yep, we need to head to the hospital" but then my water broke and I as I stood up I felt that it was "game on" and the baby was going to fall out. Mike was up and as Joy later noted, " there was a bit of "managed panic" getting to the car in the dark and the pouring rain.

I immediately felt the head engage and I was really uncertain how this whole thing was going to play out. I got very serious (which I tend to do in these situations. Ask Mom about the broken arm "fix it" incident when I was four) and headed out to the car. I just wanted to get in the car but I got out to the car and it was locked and I couldn't just stand there because it felt like the baby would fall out. Where was Mike? In reality, it was probably 15 seconds but every second felt incredibly unbearable if you know what it feels like when you have the urge to push. Yeah. I was yelling at him to get in the car, well to open the car. It must have been more than 15 seconds because when I got to the car and it was locked, I walked back inside because I thought it would be better to at least have the baby inside and not in the rain in the driveway. Yes, "managed panic"

Luckily, I had had Mike take out the car seats and put our hospital bags in the car earlier in the evening so once he found his shoes and the keys, and got us going, the race was on. I remember telling him that I wasn't going to be able to make it and he assured me that I could do this. I didn't believe him but for the next 12 minutes in that car, I willed this baby to stay inside. Yes, usually the drive to Dartmouth hospital takes about 24 minutes and no, I am not exaggerating when I say we made it in 12. It was 4AM and there was no traffic. I think we passed 2 cars on the interstate and due to the heavy rain, there wasn't any construction going on, but yes, there was heavy rain. Yes, there was some serious hydroplaning at moments and yes, there was lots of red light running in the last stretch up to the hospital. I know all of this because I was focused so hard on every single second of that drive. Every time a contraction would come at that point, it didn't hurt so much as I had the absolute urge to push so rather than writhing in pain, I was doing everything in my power to hold her in. I would let Mike and Joy know what was happening by saying things like, "Ok, I am having another one. I really really really want to push" just so they were on the same page as me. I thought my last maniac drive to deliver Lars was bad--oh, no honey. 

Along the way, I had given the phone to Joy, to call the midwife and let her know the situation and we were on our way but there is terrible cell signal between Windsor and the hospital. She would get connected long enough to say, "My sister's water broke"dead--and then call back "She is feeling a lot of pressure"---dead. They told her to head to the ER but in a bit of a panicked confusion we headed to the front door. Yes, we forgot that it was locked after hours. No, we aren't complete idiots. If you know the road heading down to the front entrance, it is pretty windy and I nearly thought Mike missed the entrance and I was going to lose it but we made our way to front door, which, of course, was locked. So Mike ran to the door to call security to open the door which was taking FOREVER and when you look at the timeline, seconds matter in this wee story. It took at least a minute to get them to open it AND THEN Mike had to find a wheel chair which you would think would be right there. I had stood right up but then when I saw this was all taking a while, I sat back in my holding car position. I thought how funny it was going to be to have a baby at the locked front entrance of the hospital. Well, not so funny but at least we were at a hospital. That was progress. 

I wish I had glanced at my watch at this point, but it must have been around 4:15 or so. He finally got in and got me a wheel chair. A really big one at that. It felt like 4 of me could sit in it. But then we were off running through the empty halls of DHMC. We ran to the elevator and went up a floor. Contraction! Then Mike booked it down the looooooooong hallway to what I thought was the Birthing Pavilion but of course we needed to go up one more floor. Contraction! So down to the elevator on the other end of the hallway. This would have added a minute or two. Ding! and out we BURST from the elevator and back down the loooooooooong hallway and left into the Birthing Pavilion. When we arrived in our rush, it seemed so quiet and many faces turned our way. The midwife and co had all gone down to the ER to wait for our arrival and so there was a bit of confusion when we showed up there, not the ER where they were expecting us. Luckily, they didn't stay confused long and one very pregnant nurse took me into the last open room (phew! and it was big). Joy was parking the car but I don't know where Mike went. Lisa, got me into a gown and on the bed and a monitor on the baby. 

evidence: the long hallways

I felt relieved to have made it and suddenly had no urge to push. Lisa, mentioned that the baby's heartbeat was slow so she was going to check because maybe it was just because her head was down which she checked and yes, the head was right there. I remember her hitting the call button and asking where everyone was in a slightly panicked voice but then reassured me she had delivered babies on her own. I didn't really care at that point who was there. Then all of a sudden, they were all there as was Joy and Mike. Suzanne checked me out and said I could push whenever I felt like it and of course I didn't feel like pushing so waited for the first contraction and the games began. I felt so determined to get her out. I felt like she had been sitting there now, ready to come out for a half hour so it was time. I just kept wanting to push. Even when they told me to expect the burn, I just wanted to get her out and kept pushing through. In total, it was three contractions and some serious pushing. I was grateful this time around to know what to expect and "how to push"and felt very in control of what was going on. In the break before the last push, I remember asking how she was doing and they told me she was fine so I pushed one last time and she was out at 4:38AM. 

I first noticed her red hair and was really surprised by it. Then I felt cold. Then I remember them commenting on the"beautiful umbilical cord" and the midwife asking Mike if he would take a picture of it. The next hour was spent in the usual way but it felt relaxed and lovely actually. I felt really good and energized and my little girl just stay nestled on my chest while they all did their thing and we all kind of laughed and chatted about the recent events. The midwife and nurses were awesome. Joy and Mike were awesome. It all happened so fast, they even they didn't have time to get specific times down but we tried our best to re-construct what all occurred. I hadn't totally decided on a name but she just stayed with me for a long while and once all the usual bits and pieces were taken care of me and my little girl fell asleep on my chest. Within her first hours, she started to nurse better than Lars ever did. Well, he was a tough case and didn't really latch on until 6 weeks so to see her find her way to the breast and start to figure it all out within hours was extremely reassuring and kind of amazing. We are still amazed at how well she eats.

I liked that they didn't wisk her right away to get weighed and measured and bathed. In fact, they didn't actually bath her until we had woken up hours later. Yes, they had cleaned her off after she was born but  they did all of that with her right on me. Who knows what makes the difference but everything felt more relaxed the second time around and in turn, I was more relaxed and the baby was too. In fact, when I am able to get things done some day, I would like to send a thank you note to the midwives and nurses at  DHMC for being rad. Sometimes, in my moments of fatigue, I long for the calmness and security of the experience I had with them all in those hours and days after she was born. It's funny because I am not a hospital kind of gal and would consider home births because well, I basically almost have them but this was a really great, but it was such a positive experience. 


the turban.

Since Liz has been with us she has been knitting up a storm and we are all benefitting from her creations. On their drive back from Canada she knitted this turban for our little lady. I found the pattern online and Liz whipped it up for her in this lovely soft multi-colored wool. It's a little big on her but fits better than any of her other hats and I LOVE it. Also thanks to Auntie Lucy for all the other lovely woolies she sent us from New Zealand. Good thing, it's cooling down round here. 


1 & 2 weeks

I started Lars' pictures at one month but I wished I had taken some before he was already a month so our little lady gets a few more. She's already made it past her birth weight and as you can see in these pictures, is much more alert in her little eyes in just the week. She rocks and her hair is indeed growing in bright red. It's amazing to me how different she looks to her big brother. He had this olive skin and dark hair with Mike's ears and eyelashes and she has this red hair and fair skin with my long fingers and legs. I wonder if they will look more alike as they get older. I guess my siblings all look very different. Crazy genes. 

Our boy is always asking about his see-sta and wanted to hug and kiss her. It's really sweet. Yesterday, he was doing "this little piggy" and I got this video of my two little people together. He goes right into hug her so we always need to help him out there. 


This little girl is waking up.

She's waking up. Yesterday as I was sitting in my living room on the couch where my water broke and I was kind of amazed at how a week ago, it all happened. 

After Liz gave our girl a bath this morning, our boy here decided that he needed to take a bath in her little bath as well. He was pretty into it. 


Big Red & Little Red


Our girl has a striking resemblance to her Grampy Larson. Well, at least, I think she does. She is already gaining her weight back and she is eating so very well that it is hard to believe.