The Best Room

When we bought our house in 2008, it was advertised as a 3 bedroom.  Right at the top of the stairs was a very small, short second room (#2).  To the left of the stairs was the front room (#1).  Through that was a door leading to a third small, but slightly longer room (#3).  A maze, I tell you! For the first two years, the the second bedroom was basically a dumping ground for tools, boxes, and other crap. The third was a closet for Bob with more storage. I should also mention that the first bedroom had only one closet – MINE!

In early 2010, we had enough of the useless back bedrooms, and tore down the wall that divided them, cleaned up the walls, and put down new floors.

(View of the new combined 2nd and 3rd bedrooms standing from door at top of the stairs, before the new floors were put in).

When we found out a baby was coming, that room was the obvious (and only!) choice for a nursery.  This spring, we squared off the room to include a closet for the nursery and one for Bob off our bedroom! yah!

I left the wall color choosing to Bob, since I am notoriously terrible at it.  He found a dark blue-grey for the shorter walls, and we debated painting the longer walls orange.  Instead, I found a nice yellow that wasn’t too “babyish”, and that matched the blue-grey well.  Since I don’t loathe painting, I took to it one April weekend. (and Yes, the doctor said that was A-OK, as long as the room was ventilated)

I had a fantastic time stalking Project Nursery and Pinterest for ideas for the nursery. And given my terrible visual-spacial intelligence, I even created a to-scale drawing of the room, on homemade graph paper, with little cut outs of the furniture. Listen- Bob was at school a lot, and there are only so many episodes of Charmed a girl can watch!

We used a lot of furniture we already had. The chair and ottoman used to be in our living room, the dresser was mine from when I was a teenager.  We were given the swing, bassinet, and changing table from friends and family.  The only thing left was to choose and order a crib (which was a gift from my paternal grandparents, Mema/GG and Pop Pop).

Stylistically, we weren’t too picky.  With Bob’s background in furniture, he was more knowlegable on construction and value (including what most of the items in the bigger stores cost wholesale).  We settled on a Baby’s Dream crib from Huck Finn Baby. It was special ordered, but was ready for pick up in only a few weeks. It seriously took half an hour to assemble!

(This is basically what the crib section of the room looked like when Viv arrived.  The other side of the room was filled with insulation for the attic).

After Vivian was born, progress on the nursery stopped for a while. Somehow, we just found we didn’t have as much free time as before….  We had purchased picture ledges to hold her books- an idea I found on Pinterest.  And a 16×20 canvas print was included in the price of her newborn photos.

This weekend, we FINALLY got our act together enough to take the half hour to hang the picture and shelves, and clean up the nursery. I am really happy with how it turned out- colorful, fun, and practical.  Definitely the best room in the house!





Justin and Andrea get Married

Bob’s cousin Justin married his sweetie Andrea on Saturday evening.  It was the perfect day for a wedding – beautiful, sunny skies and warm, but not too hot! Great news, considering the outdoor ceremony! Congrats guys!

Car rides

Viv is pretty good in the car, as are a lot of babies. I think the movement, vibration, and white noise lulls her to sleep.

This has gone to our benefit during the 2 road trips we’ve taken since she was born- the first to Elmira for my cousin’s wedding, the second to Keuka Lake (with an overnight in Elmira visiting Mema and Pop pop).

The only hiccups have been the seating situation and stopping to change and feed her. We have found that the wegmans in Binghamton is the perfect stop on the way to Elmira.
Initially last night’s stop was uneventful- a quick change in the backseat with Bob handing me some supplies. Then Bob went into the store to get us a snack. I fed Viv, and went to change her again. DANGER! DANGER! The new diaper under her butt did not prevent the pee ad projectile poop from running down the backseat! Ahhh!

There I am half standing in the back seat, trapped, with poop EVERYWHERE! Thankfully Bob came back right then and grabbed her, so we could put a new diaper on an cleanup. Thankfully Bob’s car is leather!!

The Birth of Vivian: Outtakes

(Read Part I HERE and Part II HERE)

Some additional observations from the whole experience:
The three answers to the three most asked questions: Vaginal Delivery, No Epidural, Pooped on the Table.
If you plan to have a super quick labor, don’t bother asking for the labor room with the tub. You won’t use it.
Two people specifically asked me not to have the baby that weekend; Michelle and Lauren were going to be in Rochester and Caitlin was in Chicago. I told them both that I would absolutely not keep the baby in if baby wanted to arrive!
I was only told later that I was moved to my back to push, hooked up to the IV and given oxygen because her heart rate was dropping with each contraction. Bob said that during that last contraction where I pushed 6 times, her heart rate was down to 70 (normal is 140), and a nurse was standing in the corner with her hand on the phone. That explains the VERY enthusiastic yelling by all of the hospital staff to PUSH! Turns out the cord was wrapped around her neck. Which is why the room was silent when she came out. She was a purple and blue baby with a tight white cord strangling her, and she didn’t cry.
The name Vivian was thrown around months ago, but wasn’t on our top list in the weeks coming up to her birth. Only about a week before did Bob put the name Vivian back on the table. We had another girl name in mind, and three boy names. And as I said before, no real middle names. Once we had the opportunity to cuddle her a little, Bob suggested that we actually name her, so we could bring our family in to meet her. I said “well obviously her name is Vivian.” Bob said that her middle name needed to flow with Vivian, and threw out Vivian Eleanor. It was perfect, just like her.
Bob texted our families around noon to let them know this thing was happening. My parents were told when I was admitted so they could take care of the dogs. By the time Vivian was born at 2:38, a lot of Viv’s family was in the waiting room: Gma and Grandpop Forrest, Grandma Laferriere, Uncle Keith, Aunt Linda and cousins Jayna and Amanda, and Uncle Todd. (as I said before, Aunt Michelle and cousin Lauren were on their way home from Rochester). Right as Bob was going to go out to the waiting room to retrieve the family for introductions, the door to the delivery room slowly opening. and there appeared. my dad! no no no! He drove separately from my mom, and didn’t know where the waiting room was. Because he used to work at St. Peters, he knew the nurse at the front desk of labor and delivery, who just sent him right on in! oy! Bob politely told him to go to the waiting room. I not so politely yelled at him to leave! Keep in mind that at that time, no one definitely knew she was born, that she was a SHE, or her name, so his appearance was quite a surprise.

Me/Bob: Go to the waiting room!
Dad: where is it?
Dad: Bob, are you going? I’ll just wait for you….
Bob: Just go out to the waiting room. I’ll be right out.
At some point during the late pushing process, the phone in the delivery room rang.  A nurse answered and asked the person on the other end “Does Alaina want her mother in the room with her…???” Before she could even relay the question to us, a NOOOOOOOOOOO echoed around the room. To her credit, my mom didn’t know I was pushing or that I didn’t have an epidural, and thought I might just want a visitor during labor.
Bob went to the waiting room to get everyone. The whole gang was waiting on the far side of the room. As soon as they saw Bob, my mom jumped up and sprinted across the waiting room, patted Bob on the back, said Congratulations and off she went! Bob then talked to everyone else, and they headed down the hall to our room. When they came to labor and delivery, a nurse was cursing under her breath about the woman who just came in and broke the door. Apparently my mom plowed through the doors instead of pushing the automatic button! oops!
Viv was born on my grandparent’s 61st wedding anniversary. When I called them, Mema (“GG”) answered the phone and I wished her a very happy anniversary. You could hear the disappointment in her voice… that is, until I told her that I had a very special anniversary present for her! She then yelled to Pop Pop (“GP”) to PICK UP THE PHONE!!

The Birth of Vivian: Part II

(Read Part I HERE)

I was almost immediately transferred to the delivery room (with a jet tub, yah!). Then ditched the terrible hospital gown and got into my comfy skirt. So nice to feel like myself and not a patient.

I not so kindly suggested that Bob go get the hospital bags (like NOW?!) and for a while was alone in the labor room. I found a comfortable position leaning over the food tray with my head on a pillow and swayed and swayed and swayed. And swayed some more. I also took that time to text Jess back- I had to throw her of the trail!

I remember that time being the most surreal time. It was silent and I was just going with every contraction, really letting my body do what it was made to do. That sounds so uber crunchy, but it was kind of a crunchy experience!

Things heated up when I started suspecting I was in transition. Labor had three stages; the first is the basic labor, which itself is divided into three parts. That last part is transition- where the cervix dialates from 8 to 10 cm. The contractions in transition are INTENSE and right on top of each other. Where the earlier contractions would peak at the the most intense for a few seconds, the contractions during transition would peak twice before the tiniest of breaks. Thankfully I was just on the verge of realizing that this was happening when Bob and the nurse came back.

I did not want to be hooked up to an IV, but had a block put in my hand in case I needed the IV at some point in the future (for an epidural or for fluids). My tiny, difficult veins reared their ugly heads. I thought it was bad sitting still while getting blood drawn before; sitting still while having a contraction is next to impossible. To be blunt, there was a whole lot of bleeding from my arm when that was put in. and even more tape all over my hand to keep the IV block in place. Folks, medicine tape is pretty strong, but when you’re hands are sweaty and clammy, basically nothing will keep it on. I had actually holding the tape on with my thumbs during the whole labor.

(Taken 24 hours later)

Around this time, my water broke while I was seated on the bed. There was some question of whether there was meconium in my water, so I was told that a respiratory specialist may be there for the delivery to make sure the baby’s lungs were ok.

I asked to be checked again. YES. RIGHT NOW! When the midwife arrived around noon, I once again had to reluctantly lie on my back. But for good reason- I was 8-9 cm! Transition it was! I had gotten so far on my own! And it was going fast! Two secret goals! Now for the tough part.

I observed (outloud) that I was going to have a baby today! The midwife laughed and said “yeah, you’re going to have a lunchtime baby!”

The next hour or so was a blur. I could tell you it went by in 5 minutes based on my memory. I spent most of the time leaned over the hospital bed with Bob rubbing my shoulders and wonderful nurse Jen putting counter pressure on my lower back. Unfortunately for her, when she would stop to, you know, do her job, I would yell “NO NO NO DON’T STOP!” In the interim, I repeatedly told whoever would listen that I just couldn’t do it anymore. Nope. I’m going to stop now. But to my surprise, no tears.

Jen then told me that I would hate her for it, but that I should really move to the bouncy exercise ball to get things moving along. What, we weren’t moving along enough? I obliged, and she was sooo right. Ow ow ow ow ow! A few contractions later, back came the midwife…

Right as she was checking my cervix, she let out a surprise “Oh! Are you having a contraction? Ok you can push now!” and then said to the nurse that the baby was RIGHT THERE.

I pushed on my side, I pushed on my hands and knees. Then back on my side, and finally on my back. I remember being given oxygen “to help me and the baby breath better” and being hooked up to the IV to get me fluids.

I have no idea what time it was when the pushing started getting serious, but recall having the doctor come in towards the end and introducing himself. Oh yeah, Doctor, I could give a shit who you are right now. This, incidentally, is exactly what everyone told me. Doctor was not my regular doctor, and just covered some weekend shifts for my practice. I was upset when I heard that he covered some shifts, but it truly didn’t matter. Plus, my parents were excited, since he was friends with my dad in Med school.

Anyhow, I pushed for what seemed like 2 minutes when the doctor asked if I wanted to feel the head. Oh lord, if you had told me before that moment that I would do that, I would have laughed at you in disgust. But in that moment, I needed to. I needed to feel how far I was and how close I was to being a mom.

Bob was holding one leg and a nurse was holding the other. To be honest, the pushing process wasn’t nearly as bad as transition. The worst part was the breaths I took in between pushes. Crunch again, but being able to actually feel the baby move down my body was the perfect motivator. I knew when I had a good push and when I had an unproductive push. Bob was amazing- I distinctly remember the look of amazement on his face when he told me over and over how well I was doing and how close I was and that the baby was coming. !!!.

And then. And then. And then. A contraction with 6 pushes. The doctors and nurses practically yelling at me to push! Push! Push!

And then she was here. Bob was silent. The room was silent. I looked, and saw a vagina! A vagina! A girl! The doctor handed her off to a nurse. And the room was still silent. I didn’t think it was that unusual that they didn’t give the baby right to me, given the meconium issue from earlier. I watched her be carried into the little warming bed. And in what seemed like an eternity and a millisecond at the same time, she cried.

She was here. And she was perfect.




The Birth of Vivian: Part I

The birth of Vivian begins one chilly October night… oh wait. You don’t need to know about that!

The real story begins a few days before her birthday.

On Friday June 29th (Lacey’s birthday), I had a really terrible day at work.  It was just all around a hectic, unproductive, frustrating day.  As I left, I went to say goodbye to Jessica, because she would be on vacation the following week. We chatted about my expectation that I would go into labor as late as humanly possible.  She instead said “I think you’ll go on Sunday”.  I replied: “THIS Sunday?! I don’t think so! I hope so, but I doubt it!” On my way out, I said goodbye to Steve, who would also be on vacation.  He would be returning to the office on 7/9, the day after my due date, and I predicted that I would be grumbling into the office that morning too.

The Man and I we went to Target and Hannaford to pick up some labor supplies like snacks – and anticipated a very busy weekend.  Oh how right we were…

The next morning (Saturday 6/30) The Man’s alarm went off pretty early so he could go to basketball at 7am. I didn’t sleep well the prior night, so I slept a little later.  I had to be up and showered by 9am.  We were having some work done in the house, and Ed would be arriving to finish the plumbing for the washer and get started on the insulation.  Up until then, the 10 rolls of insulation was piled up in the baby’s room, so I couldn’t get in the room to wash any baby clothes.  I had told The Man earlier that Ed MUST at the very least put the insulation in the attic.  I had an arbitrary end of June deadline for the major things to be done. Although that was far from true, I at least needed the baby’s room to be clear!  Ed ran into some problems during the day (a broken pipe, fixing our kitchen sink) in addition to hooking up the washer, so it took him longer than expected.  He left around 3pm, but without touching the insulation.  It was extraordinarily hot, so he wanted to wait until it was cooler to go up in the attic. The Man could tell I was upset about it, and knew that the clothes had to be washed, so he actually went up and put half the insulation up in the attic himself! It was probably close to 120 degrees up there, and it took a while, but he cleared out enough so I could get to the closet, and so the room wasn’t so crowded.  What a great Husband!

While he was clearing it out, I started making dinner—baked chicken, risotto, broccoli, and baked red potatoes—the most extravagant dinner I had made in months.  We then settled in and watched a few episodes of True Blood and went to bed.  After dinner I started feeling kind of gassy, which I attributed to all the food I ate at dinner.  I double checked to make sure gas-x was ok to take during pregnancy, and took one right before bed.

I slept terrible once again. Since I had a poor night’s sleep the prior night, I didn’t think much of it. I woke up a few times, but most notably at 3am with terrible gas.  I tried going to the bathroom, but noting was really happening.  When I went to lie down again, I started to panic. I couldn’t remember when the last time I felt the baby move.  I went downstairs, drank a glass of orange juice, and lied down for some kick counts.  Normally the baby would be kicking up a storm within a few minutes—this time it took the baby 40 minutes to kick 10 times! Ahh! And during that time, I kept having this uncomfortable gas!

I finally convinced myself to go back upstairs to go to sleep, but wasn’t having any success.  Over the course of the next few hours, I constantly was moving (quietly) around the bedroom.  I was starting to suspect that something with my uterus may be happening, but couldn’t find ANSWERS! Finally I found a message board with a woman asking if her symptoms (my symptoms!) was labor—to which the respondents yelled an unequivocal YES!

Around 5:15, while I was standing with my arms and head leaning over the bed, the dogs finally woke up asking to be let out.  The Man woke up too.  After a brief discussion about how the internet told me I might be in labor, The Man suggested I drink a glass of water and try to go back to sleep.  It was almost laughable though by no fault of his! I could hardly sit, let alone thing about going to sleep!  The Man suggested to start timing the pains.

I had a handy app on my iPhone for tracking labor, which was idiot proof.  I don’t think either of us expected to see that the first three pains were about a minute long and three minutes apart.  In Lamaze class, they told us about the 5-1-1 rule: call the doctor when you are having contractions 5 minutes apart, that last 1 minute each, for an hour.  We were absolutely past that point!

The next few hours were surprisingly casual.  We decided it was best to probably think about going to the hospital.  I ate an excessive amount of honey nut Cheerios, finished packing the hospital bags, took a shower, and most importantly, shaved my legs and blow-dried my hair.   While I was in the shower, I would just yell to The Man “OK!” when a contraction was starting, and sigh “ok” when it was over.

I remember thinking it was strange to really live my life in few minute increments.  It is amazing how quickly time passes when you’re just thinking “a few more seconds until this contraction is over.” That hoo-ha about concentrating on THIS contraction and not anticipating the next is really brilliant.

I started to feel overwhelmed by the pain close to 8am. I could no longer walk or talk through them, and was started to get a little scared.  Scared of what was happening, but also scared that I was going to go to the hospital and they would say “you crazy lady! You’re making this up!”

We called the doctor, who (obviously) told us to go to the hospital.  And after some puppy cuddles, off we went at 8:45am.

The 20 or so minute ride in was pretty funny- well in between contractions. We kept laughing about the fact that we could become parents sometime soon. And until that point, we had barely discussed middle names for the hypothetical first names.  We threw some around, but didn’t come to any hard conclusions.  C’mon folks. I was still in denial.

We parked in the garage and walked into the hospital.  Of course Bob and I decided to leave the hospital overnight bags and just bring the labor bags (because they would be sending us home. Right? RIGHT?!) Literally JUST as we were walking in the door, my friend Jess texted me:

Naturally we got lost on the way to labor and delivery. When we eventually arrived, we were immediately brought into an admission room. Now, I had these grand plans of wearing my own clothes and not the hospital gown during labor and delivery.  When the nurse told me to put on the gown, I was conflicted. See, I wasn’t expecting a separate admission room, and my labor clothes consisted of a bra and a skirt.  Not exactly what I wanted to walk around in. So I grudgingly changed into the hospital gown, figuring I could change if I actually was admitted (because they would be sending us home. Right? RIGHT?!)

Of course they had my pre-registration, but that didn’t include the MILLION and one questions they insisted I answer- While lying on my back on the bed. For me, that was the worst position I could be in.  They hooked me up to monitors to check out the contractions and the baby’s heart beat.  After a while, the nurse Jen (who I would later learn to be the most wonderful human being in the world) told me my contractions were 15 minutes apart!! NO NO NO!  Thankfully I spoke up, they moved the monitors around, and discovered they were about 4 minutes apart. That’s more like it!

After what seemed like an eternity (or like an hour later, at 10:30am), the moment of truth came. The midwife on duty came to check to see how much I was dilated (if at all. Because they because they would be sending us home. Right? RIGHT?!).  First, Ouch. I’m really glad I opted out of the cervix checks at the doctor’s office. Second, 4-5 cm HOLLA! Pushing starts when you are at 10, so getting to the hospital when I was about halfway there was a secret goal.

I should mention I had a lot of secret goals.  Goals that when people would ask, I would give a wishy washy response, totally non-committal. I didn’t want to fail to meet the secret goals, and then have a lot of told you so’s.  So I was really psyched that I was able to stay home a long time, and get this far without going to the hospital.  But with 4-5 cm, This thing was ON.

(Part II)