Monday, March 24, 2014

The Arrival of Miss Amelia Dawn

(some of this may be a little TMI...and it is long...and picture've been warned) 
Tuesday March 4th I woke up like any normal day, to the sounds of "MOMMY, MOMMY" coming from Miles' room.  I got up, got him dressed, fed, and ready for school.  It was Fat Tuesday and he was supposed to dress in costume for Carnevale and bring a snack to share.  Nathan had helped and we'd cooked mini bagel pizzas the night before (they asked the AMERICAN to bring pizza to the party...funny huh?!) so I wouldn't have much prep that morning.  I had a few contractions during the hour or so pre-school rush, but didn't think much of them.  After I dropped him off I came home, had breakfast, showered and settled in for a bit of a rest.  Afterall I was 40+ weeks pregnant and sleeping HORRIBLY and I took every advantage of a quiet house to sneak in a nap.  While I was trying to wade off to sleep I noticed the contractions weren't stopping.  They weren't regular or very intense, but they were enough of an annoyance for me to wonder if this could be it.   After trying to sleep for an hour I decided I had better get up and get some things in order, just in case.  I also had to pick Miles up at was a short day.  Apparently teaching after three hours of partying and pumping kids full of treats is too much for his teachers, so they sent the kids home early...haha parents, enjoy!  I picked up the house, did the dishes, all while the contractions began to be a bit more regular and slightly more intense.  When Nathan checked on me later in the morning - which he had started doing the week previous - I told him about the contractions and that it *could* be the day, but not to get too excited.   At noon I picked Miles up from school.  The nuns and teachers asked how I was feeling and when I told them I was due the week before they were all surprised I was still up and about...and all commented on the size of my "giant belly" (their words).  I wished them all good afternoon and see you tomorrows.  I got Miles home and down for a nap, and I made a list of everything I wanted to do that afternoon.  My brain was growing fuzzy from contractions and functioning on a lack of sleep.  Nathan got home and saw me pausing to breathe through contractions while vacuuming and realized I was sort of in panic mode.  He saw my list and without a word, jumped in to help.   I had wanted our house to be clean when we went to have the we would come home to a clean house.  But keeping a house clean with a toddler, a husband, and two cats is tricky!  Litter box, water fountain, dishes, laundry, bathrooms, etc, etc, etc.   I was worried the contractions would stall out or stop, so Nathan and I went about trying to seal the deal...if you know what I mean.  Within about 20 minutes (6pm Tuesday) they picked up intensity and had regulated to about 3-4 minutes apart.  

We had made plans to BBQ that night for dinner with our friend Greg, and I didn't want to cancel.  Plus the hospital doesn't want to see you until you've been having contractions 4 minutes apart for 2 hours.  Shortly after 6 Greg walks in and first thing he says is "you had that baby yet?"...and he is surprised when I tell him I've been having contractions all day. We BBQ our brats and hot dogs, and I eat in-between contractions, keeping them timed on my phone.  By 8pm I realized they weren't going anywhere...we told Greg he had to go and we called Lina & Mimmo (our Italian "parents") and told them we were going to bring Miles over and head to the hospital.   Nathan ran him over and I grabbed a few last minute things, and went around the house to turn off all our electronics, lock all our windows, and make sure I hadn't forgotten anything.  

Saying good-bye to Miles before daddy took him to Lina & Mimmo's.  I wept, knowing our lives would never be the same and his little world was about to be rocked. 

Getting monitored night #1
 We got to the hospital and I got hooked up to the monitors.   After an hour of monitoring and an internal check the nurses told me I was still only 2cm dilated and baby wasn't engaged at they couldn't keep me.  They told me I could walk around the base to try to move things along and then come back and they'd check me again...but the thought of wandering the base at midnight didn't appeal to me so we went home.  I also knew I'd been 2cm dilated for three weeks and a couple hours of walking was unlikely to change things...given all we'd done in the three previous weeks to move things along.  I cried the whole way home...wincing in pain through the contractions as Nathan tried to navigate the super bumpy roads on our 40 minute drive.   

We decided to leave Miles at Lina & Mimmo's for the night so I could try and rest, and in case we needed to leave again.  We got home and I thought I'd try to sleep...that was impossible.  The contractions were now 2 mins apart and tough enough that I couldn't talk through them.  Slow, deep, out, in, all I could do to get relief.   I took several searing hot showers, they seemed to help a little...or at least they distracted me enough to seem like they helped.  As the night and morning wore on, the contractions slowly moved from 2-3 mins apart to 4-5 and then 6-8...still strong and rhythmic, just further apart.  In all those hours I never slept longer than the minutes in-between contractions.   I called the OB office at noon, and my doc called back at 4.  I begged him in tears for a magic pill that would make things go.  He told me I could come in and get checked, but if I wasn't 4cm they wouldn't admit it would be best to stay and labor at home.  He was very compassionate and told me he wished there was something he could do...and told me he was sure what I was going through would eventually lead to delivery, but could last for a couple days to a week.  I hung up feeling totally defeated.  I knew we could drive back up right then and be checked...but I also knew if we did and I was still 2cm, the drive home a second time would break me.  I didn't want to go back until I was 100% sure they would let me stay.  I sobbed in bed praying that something would happen to let me know when it was time to go.   I decided a warm bath would help me calm down a bit.  As I stepped into the tub I noticed a couple small drops trickle down my leg...they were yellowish brown and I thought "I need to drink more water, I must be really dehydrated".   

Mario checking on me during my bath
After the bath I settled back into bed and sobbed through contractions for another 5 hours.  They were now so erratic.  Some were coming 2 mins apart and others would wait 15 minutes.  But they were long...60-90 seconds...and intense.  I tearfully pleaded to God for him to intervene...I couldn't do it alone anymore.  At 10pm I had a contraction that made me see was over two minutes and the most painful one yet.  After it finished I felt a small trickle and thought "oh great, in addition to all this now I peed myself".  I rolled out of bed to go change my undies and a little more came out.  Three steps to the hallway and then a LOT came out, soaked the pad I was wearing, and ran down my leg (thank heavens for tile floors!).  I yelled for Nathan and told him I thought my water just broke.  I pulled down my pants and checked, but it wasn't what I expected.  It wasn't the clear, sweet smelling liquid many of my google searches had told me to expect.  It was yellowish brown and full of floaters...and it stunk.  (sorry...I warned you about this being TMI). I called Labor & Delivery and told them, they said it could be that baby had pooped in the womb, but that it definitely sounded like my water broke and to come in to get checked out.  

We got in the car and made the 40 minute drive back to the base.  That drive was rough...the contractions were now every 2-8 minutes and quite painful.   And Italy doesn't pave roads very well...poor Nathan probably felt like he was navigating through roadside bombs.  We got back to Labor & Delivery, got an exam and they ran an AmnioSure test (the same one I had back at 34 weeks) to see if my water had broken.  The test came back negative - meaning my water hadn't broken - but the nurse was confused because she was seeing what was CLEARLY amniotic fluid with meconium constantly leaking.  They called my doctor to have him come over and was now 1am.  I joked with him when he walked in the room that he should have had me come in at 4 that afternoon.  He did a cervical check and I was 4cm, 50% effaced and baby was at -2 station.  That plus the fact that my water had broken was enough for them to admit me.  He grabbed the ultrasound to check fluid levels and the baby's position.  Fluids were fine,  baby was sunny-side up.  That would mean a tougher delivery...but there was still a chance the contractions could flip her.  The meconium wasn't too much of a concern, but it definitely put an "expiration date" on how long I could labor before they worried about infection.    

Getting monitored night #2
My contractions were still varying at 2-6 minutes apart.  I got to our room, and the nurses and corpsmen (like nurse assistants...Navy lingo) went about trying to get an IV in me.  Ya...I have got some bad veins.  It took four of them an hour and six needle sticks and two blown valves to get an IV in place.  They started me on fluids and a little bit of morphine...which was such a welcome thing after having contractions for 32 hours with only Tylenol and hot showers to soothe the pain.   

2:15am  - Admitted & IV'd. 
They encouraged me to be up and walk, or use the yoga ball to let gravity help move the baby down...and the doc said he'd be back in a few hours to check my progress.  

At 6am I was checked and had dilated to a 6, was now 80% effaced but baby was still at -2.  We talked a little about epidurals but I wanted to keep going without one.  I was handling the pain well enough with breathing and I didn't want to jump to the epidural too quickly.  My doctor and the nurses all told me I was doing so great with the pain, they thought I could definitely go all the way without anything but morphine if I wanted.  

Awesome socks huh?

Jello for breakfast - yummy!!

For the next three hours I rocked on that yoga ball or stood swaying through the contractions that were now 2-4 minutes apart and 90 seconds long.  At 9am I talked to Nathan about maybe getting the epidural.  I had hit a wall.  I had been up for close to 50 hours and I knew once it came time to push it was going to be difficult to get her out because of her position and I would need my strength.  With an epidural I could take a bit of a nap and rest up.  I was hoping the past three hours of tough contractions had put me to a 7 or 8 and baby was a bit more engaged so I wouldn't have long until it would be time to push.  We told the nurses I wanted the epidural and they had the doctor come in for an exam see where we were.  6cm and 80% effaced, -2 station.  Still.  Three hours of hard labor hadn't changed a that moment I knew choosing to have an epidural was the right choice.   The doctor suggested pitocin to help increase the intensity of the contractions and encourage baby to descend a bit more and move things along.  So I got hooked up with both the epidural and pitocin at around 9:30am.  

We had wanted to keep it quiet when we went to the hospital.  We didn't want to be one of those people who posted cervical updates on offence if that's you, it's just not how we wanted to do it.  We had told my mom, two of my closest friends, and Lina & Mimmo...and that was it.  It worked splendidly at first.  But now it was Thursday morning and Nathan was supposed to be taking his advancement exam and was missing a second day of work.  And his work is a rumor travels fast.  I worried that someone from Nathan's work would post something on Facebook and our family would see it and we headed it off and Nathan posted that we were 39 hours into labor and baby wasn't here yet.  We also figured a few extra prayers and positive thoughts couldn't hurt.  

Getting the epidural was not fun.  The contractions were so painful by then that I was shaking...and the (super nice) anesthesiologist hit a nerve that sent lightning bolts of pain over the entire left side of my body.  But once it was in and I laid down, it started kicking in and I felt amazing.  I was able to nap for the next few hours.  Nurses would come in and adjust the monitors, up the pitocin dosage, and ask how I was doing.  About 2pm I couldn't sleep through the contractions anymore...even with the epidural.  They hurt enough to wake me up.  Then I started throwing up.  The nurse offered to get me something for the nausea...but did tell me that the throwing up was contracting my stomach too and could be helpful to move baby lower.  So I toughed it out and just kept throwing up.   I cried to Nathan.  I was miserable...and exhausted.  I was wondering about a c-section but didn't know what to do.  I said a silent prayer that after the doctor checked me the answer would be obvious.  At 3pm my doctor came in to check on how things were going.  He did a cervical check...still 6cm, 80% effaced and -2 station...and baby had bent my cervix.  Six hours of pitocin had done nothing to move things along.  I had my answer.  He told me they could keep going, up the dose, or talk about other options.  "Just take her out" I tearfully pleaded.   

That started a whirlwind of activity.  Forms to sign, new meds, moved to an operating room, a suit for Nathan.  It happened so quickly.  I was amazed at how smooth and coordinated the whole process was, it was like a ballet.  Both of the OB docs were on hand for the c-section.  They got me in and prepped, strapped down and the blue curtain up.  The doc started cutting - I hate the smell of cauterizing flesh - and Nathan came in and sat at my head.  At 3:52pm on Thursday March 6th, after 46 hours of labor sweet Amelia was born.  She cried.  They had warned me before that she might not cry, and they wouldn't encourage her to because of the not to worry if she didn't.  That cry was the sweetest sound and immediately brought me to tears.  

Hearing her cry.
Upon her exit both doctors commented on how she "never would have come out" because of her head, shoulders, and position.  Nathan went to the other side of the room to see her and take pictures.  They couldn't show her to me right away...they had to make sure she hadn't inhaled any of the meconium.  

He came back to show me the pictures of our beautiful, chubby princess.  I couldn't suppress the tears, I was so relieved for it to be over and for her to be here safe and sound.  They cleaned her off and a nurse brought her over to me.  I kissed that soft cheek as the tears fell.  

Meeting my little sweetheart

I started getting very dizzy and I was having trouble speaking.  It scared me and frightened Nathan.  Adjustments were made to my meds and they had Nathan leave to accompany Amelia to the nursery.  I must have drifted to sleep...or passed out because in what seemed like only a of couple minutes they were moving me to a bed and pushing me down the hall to recovery.  Recovery was rough.  I was so nauseous and I was shaking non-stop.  They gave me something for the nausea and Demerol for the shaking.  Nathan, in the meantime, was back in our room waiting for me.  I was in recovery for two hours.  

While I was in recovery our doctor came to check on Amelia.  We LOVE him - he is such a great doctor.  He makes me want to try and get pregnant again right now...just to keep him as my doctor.   
Holding Amelia for the first time.
At 6pm I was wheeled back into our room and I got to hold my daughter for the first time.  What a tender moment that was.  We tried nursing, which she took to like a fish to water.  Then we were flooded with nurses and corpsmen getting us settled, drugged, and checked.  Dinner was brought in, and that was THE BEST Salisbury steak I've ever had...after not eating anything but some crackers Tuesday afternoon and a Jello cup Wednesday I was starving.  That night was filled with checks and pain killers, and baby snuggles, and intermittent sleep.

Exhausted, but so happy

Friday morning the nurses got me up, to the bathroom, and cleaned up.  Brushing my teeth and hair and that baby wipe "shower" felt amazing.  

Lina & Mimmo brought Miles up shortly after, and it was so good to see him.  When he walked into the room it looked as if he'd grown a foot in the last three days.  He was not interested in baby sister at all...but he was very concerned for mommy.  Nathan had told him mommy had an owie and he had to be very gentle.  It broke my heart not to be able to pick him up and snuggle him...he's my little momma's boy.   

Lina & Mimmo...our Italian family.

My big boy
Me with the poor swollen legs. 
Drawing Miles did for Baby Sister
He left and we napped a bit more.  A couple friends came by that afternoon, but we were left alone for the most part...which was nice to have time to bond with her, and nap, and recover from the long few days we'd had.  
Saturday morning I got a real shower and it was the best shower of my life

Amelia and the other OB...he was on call over the weekend and was the one checking up on us. 
Saturday was busy, filled with visitors and doctor check-ups, and by evening I was ready for sleep so when the nurses offered to "watch her" for us for a few hours we gladly took them up on it and got almost 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep.  

Squishy cheeks!  You can also see the little nick on her cheek - her battle would from the c-section.  Doc feels HORRIBLE about it...especially since I'd given him a hard time the week before about not slicing into the baby if I needed a c-section.
Not the best picture but you can see how much hair she has...on the back and sides and crown.  She's just got fuzz up on top...we joke and call it a Dr Phil haircut

Walking the loop around the maternity ward Saturday night.

the staff

Sunday morning after breakfast we started the checkout process and we were home by about 3pm.  

Headed home
Amelia with all the flowers people brought us in the hospital, the quilt mommy made her, and her bassinet name banner. 

Our landlords had decorated the gate, our door, and the stairwell with pink balloons.  They also had a pan of pasta warm from the oven and a tray of tirimisu for us to eat.  

A family of four (I have yet to get a picture of the four of us together...).  We cuddled on the couch and read stories to Miles.  I had multiple moments where I couldn't believe this was our life.  There were times in our past where we wondered if we'd ever be parents, and now, here we were sitting on the couch with our TWO beautiful miracle children.  We are very blessed.     

Just for fun, here is a picture of Amelia (center) with Nathan (right) and I's (left) baby pictures...just for comparison. 

Holly - Amelia - Nathan

Monday, March 17, 2014

Miss Amelia Dawn

March 6
8lbs 9oz

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

One down...two to go...still no baby

Still no baby.  

In case you were wondering.  

Everyone seems to wonder.  Our pizza guys, the grocery clerks, Miles' teachers.  This morning at school drop-off the look of shock (again) on the nun's face matched yesterday's look...and Friday's look.  I'm convinced that Italians think anyone over six months pregnant is ready to pop at any never see a pregnant Italian woman who looks more than 5 months pregnant.  Maybe they all hide indoors for the last few months, who knows.  Last night we went to our go-to pizza/pasta joint and the cook quickly glanced out from behind the counter to check if I still had a belly.  Yep, still there.  

I am not as stressed about it as I was last week.  Nathan got his travel plans changed - they are sending a sub.  Which put my mind at ease since she is still not here, and he was slated to leave in less than a week.  She can come when she wants, I just wish I knew when.  I am a planner...and waking up every day wondering "Is today the day?!" is not fun for my OCD, Type-A personality.  Or maybe it's teaching me patience. 

We do have some sort of's "be ready for baby" routine.  Keep the house clean, dishes washed, laundry done, bags packed, phone & camera charged...incase today is the day.  It keeps us busy (I have such a good hubby).  But at night when I pull my toothbrush back OUT of the hospital bag to brush before I head to bed I wonder how many more nights that will be the case.  

My Italian "mother" got back today.  She had been in Milan for a week.  She and her hubby are the plan for Miles' care while baby comes.  She called me this morning and said "I'm back!" "Welcome back - still no baby" I told her.  "I know, I told her to wait until Nonna Lina came home" she fires back.  This is the same woman who told me over a year ago that I was going to get pregnant...and that it would be a girl.  So she has some sort of pregnancy oracle skills...I told her to tell baby to get out now.  We shall see.  

So February 24th was the due date I initially thought was mine when I first tested positive.  That was yesterday.  Saturday is coming (that's #2)...let's hope she doesn't wait much longer after that!  Although she could come the 2nd...Dr Seuss' birthday, that would be totally awesome!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

All About Miles

Last week I was talking with a mother friend of mine and we were saying how we need to be better at recording the funny things our littles do...because they won't stay little forever and because I'll forget.  I didn't immediately worry, because I do document Miles' life pretty good on the private blog we set up for his birthmom...but I rarely put anything here.   So this is my attempt to be better.  He is such a sweet boy and I want to be sure and remember all the funny, quirky things he does and says.   His language is exploding...and it seems to be happening overnight.  He comes up with new words and phrases almost every day, in English & Italian.  (if something is in bold italics below, it's stuff he says)   I post a lot on Instagram, but not all of you are on Instagram so you miss some wicked cute adorableness.  :)

Miles the Tender Hearted
This little guy has the most tender of hearts.  He loves to give hugs and kisses.  To everyone, and everything.  Winston, Mario, me, Nathan, baby sister (my belly), toys, blankets, food, teachers, etc.  Everything.  The other night I was in the office and I heard him get into baby sister's bed, start her mobile, and giggle.  I went in and found him sitting there, kissing each of the owls in her mobile as they passed.  

Miles the Voyer
This is a recent development.  It showed it's head rarely over the last couple months but over the last few days it's been showing up more.  About a week ago he crawled into bed with us at 6am, it took me about 46 seconds to realize that he was naked.  Buck naked.   "Diaper yucky" he told me.  He had peed and didn't want to be in it so he took it off.  A couple days later when I woke him up in the morning he was in bed, under his blankets completely naked from the waist down.  "diaper yucky" he told me...again.  Then later that day I was sitting in the front room and I heard him giggle THAT know, the mischievous one.  I called for him and he poked his head around the corner.  Those beautiful little brown eyes twinkled with trouble.  He jumped around the corner so he was in full view.  And he was totally naked.  He stood there proud as a peacock.  "Diaper yucky" again.  
I know he's ready to potty train but it's not something we wanted to do days before baby comes...since everyone tells us he'll regress once she's here.  So I'm hoping this trend sticks around for a couple weeks and once she's here we can capitalize on it.  In the mean time he is providing lots of laughter for us.  

Miles the Helper
Miles loves to do whatever we are doing.  "Miles do it" he tells us.  So we've let him.  We have him put his dirty clothes in the laundry, throw away garbage, pick up toys, cook dinner, whatever...and he does pretty good.  He has also loved helping daddy build the furniture for baby sister.  He gets his own screwdriver and mimics what daddy is doing, and tells us "good job!".  I've been sitting many hours on a yoga ball, trying to ease hip pain and also encourage baby sister to drop.  Miles will either sit on his own and "boing" or stand on mine and "help mommy".   He will be an excellent big brother! 

Boing! Boing!

Miles the Entertainer
This kid has stardom in his blood.  He LOVES an audience...even if it's just his shadow or reflection.  He recites entire scenes from movies, dances to ANY music he hears, and loves to laugh.   He loves to "play" "tawr" (guitar) with dad, and take selfies with Photobooth, and strutting around the house in "eyes" (sunglasses) is the most hilarious thing ever to him.  He is such a happy boy and he just exudes positive energy.  He is loved immensely by his teachers and all who come in contact with him.  And he feeds off that attention.  When we took him to school the morning after he got his new mohawk haircut his nuns (from his class) FLIPPED OUT - they snatched him up and kissed on him, calling him "bello" (beautiful), carted him around to all the classes showing him off, taking pictures...and Miles ate. it. up. 

Miles the Dancer

(he is copying this dance...move for move starting at 1:27) 

Sure love this kid!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Love my OB

I'm now down to weekly appointments!  We met with the doc Friday and everything still looks good.  I did gain NINE pounds last week which freaked me out a bit but the doc didn't seem too phased.  ?  I had * just* eaten lunch and drank a large amount of water...and kept my shoes on.  But still...holy moses.  I've also started to swell a bit the last few days.  I had to take my wedding ring off so it wouldn't get stuck...that feels so weird not to wear.  

I convinced the doc to do a cervical check (he thinks I'm only 37 weeks...I think I'm 38w3d) and to his surprise - and my relief - I was almost 3cm dilated!  I think that made him really question if I may be right about due dates because low and behold Saturday morning I get a call from him saying he's just spent the last hour or so reviewing my chart and all my scans and he AGREES with me that my due date was wrong!  (He wasn't the one who set it...I saw a different doc for the first two weeks of my pregnancy...then she was transferred)  He changed it to March 1st.  So not all the way to Feb 24th like I think...but it's five days and I'll take it!  I love him as a doctor...he makes me want to have another baby just to have him as a doctor!  I told him I still hoped we'd see him over the weekend to have a baby...he said if that's what we wanted that he hoped for it too.  

Well that didn't happen.  :( 

Here it is Tuesday afternoon and still no baby.  It's not that I expected her to come rushing out after my appointment...I just *really* thought she was going to be born last weekend.  And we tried to get her here...we tried EVERYTHING.  I even had contractions all through dinner Saturday evening, but then they stopped.  

I have loved being pregnant...even with the constant sciatica pain and the months of nausea and the achy hips.  But I am ready to be done.  I want to meet her.  I want to get on with our lives as a family of four.  I feel like I'm a ticking time bomb.  The cats watch me like crazy...if I leave the room Winston follows and and now Mario has started doing it too.  Nathan perks up with every twinge I feel, and calls me often during the day to see if I've had any contractions.  I'm ready to sleep on my stomach again, and get rid of my sausage toes and itchy swollen fingers.  I'm ready to be able to rough house with Miles.  And I am SOOO ready for a long run...oh how my sanity has missed that. 

To keep busy we've packed hospital bags, and finished bedding, and done laundry.  I've made a bunch of freezer meals and frozen green smoothie packets.  We've reorganized rooms, and cleaned out things.

Here's her bedding...isn't it cute?  I made the bumpers and the skirt.  I ordered the owl mobile on etsy, and we found the canopy at IKEA.  My mom is making a quilt...but it's not here yet.  

If you want to send some positive, labor inducing thoughts my way I'd be ever so grateful!  Especially since daddy is supposed to leave the country for work only a few days after she is supposed to arrive...and I'd like to have some time (more than a couple days) to bond as a family of four before he goes.           

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Growing up we were fortunate enough to have lived my whole life – until I was married – 20 minutes from Grandma & Grandpa. For as far back as I can remember Sunday nights meant ice cream and donuts at their house. We’d sit around the low-round table in the living room, try to be discreet and write our name on the bottom of it…Grandma would always catch us and we’d be scolded worse than Wolfie when he got off his rug. We’d color in the coloring books, play in the basement, and run through the orchard. Although no matter the activity you’d always hear the sound of that police scanner in the background, and grandma had a sixth sense when it came to that thing. She’d pop up out of her chair and turn it up, sometimes making grandpa go get the truck so they could go investigate. I remember my first day of my senior year of high school when she called me to see why I’d set my school on fire…she’d heard about it on the police scanner. 

Summers meant time at Sourdough, playing Phase 10 and Skip-Bo with grandma in the screen tent while the scent of mothballs wafted over from under grandma & grandpa’s trailer. I remember sitting outside her trailer one day, trying to find some shade in the hot sun, when a flaming kitchen towel came flying out the door, followed by a train of expletives. Grandma had set it on fire. 

Sourdough Days would roll around and grandma would recruit every willing grandchild to save spaces for Bingo. We’d sit in the hot sun all day feasting on hotdogs, chips, and airhead taffy…playing Bingo off of our dozens of cards. Grandma would heckle the caller, and tease other players. Then came the raffle…she’d buy scores of tickets and put each grandkids’ name on one…hoping for that ever elusive swing grand prize. 

Grandma was a practical joker...and if you were lucky you could pull one off on her. One Sunday night I loaded up the door of her fridge with towels – something she HATED. I did it right before we left so she wouldn’t notice until we’d gone. Once we got home she called and demanded to know who had done it…”karma’s a bitch” she told me. 

You could always count on her to be fiercely honest…about what you were doing with your life, what you were wearing, anything. But she was always supportive, even if it was something she didn’t like – like Nathan and I moving 4000 miles away to Italy; or understand – like football. The few years Nathan and I lived back in Utah we tried to continue the Sunday nights at grandma & grandpa’s house. We’d bring snacks and watch football…a sport neither of them seemed to know anything about…at first. Week after week we’d spend the evening there, although grandma would have to bow out at some point to go watch Survivor or Deal or No Deal in the other room. When my team lost in the championship round and I sat in her chair and cried…she teased me. For weeks. 

You didn’t see her cry much. But I remember when she met our sweet Miles that tears rolled down her wrinkly cheeks. She loved her grandkids more than anything in the world…more than lotto tickets even. And when the great grandkids started rolling in she just spread that love around even more. You always knew grandma was good for a cookie, a kiss, and a pinch on the butt. I know she’s up there now, kissing all the rest of her great-grandbabies who haven’t joined us yet; teaching them how to flip the bird, and telling them the best places for lotto tickets. 

I'm grateful to have had so many years with her, and look forward to the time when I know I'll see her again.
 June 6, 1933 - February 11, 2014

Thursday, February 06, 2014

She's gonna be chubby!!

I had my 36 week checkup today, and while we were there doc did a growth scan to see how baby girl is doing size-wise.  Welp, ladies and gents, she's a whopper.  Already. 

Now before you tell me that those scans aren't 100% accurate...I know.  I know there is a margin of error.  But she has consistently measured big...and the doctors and I don't agree on a due date.  I think I'm 10 days sooner than they do.  

Anyway...the details.  She is currently estimated to weigh 8lbs 2oz.  That means she ALREADY won't fit in newborn clothes.  And she's got four weeks (according to the doctors) to, GROW. 

I'm starting to get nervous about this whole birth thing.

Sunday, February 02, 2014


Yesterday was our anniversary.
Twelve years.
Twelve awesome, crazy, hectic, emotional, amazing years...I don't even know how it's possible!  

We didn't do anything fancy.  The impending arrival of baby girl kept big travel plans grounded, and our love of football and the SuperBowl kept us local.  We decided on a simple dinner out as a family.  Afterall, it was twelve years ago yesterday that our family started.  We went to one of our favorite restaurants here in Italy...Nathan and I got steaks (oh so good) and Miles got pizza, with which he was thrilled (as always).  He's getting so big...he was such a good boy at dinner.  It hit me watching him how much he's grown, and how lucky we are to have him in our family.  

I love Nathan so much - it has been made even clearer over the last few weeks as I enter the horribly uncomfortable stage of pregnancy.  He is such a good support to me, and such a good father to Miles.  

I'm glad that twelve years ago we started this journey together.  

Here's to the next twelve.  

(he he...sorry honey, couldn't resist)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Unshakable Faith

Found this.  Love it. Had to share.

Um...better get ready

Tuesday we got a bit of a wake-up call.   I'd had some heavy cramping for 5-6 days and even some contractions.  Baby was moving like normal so I didn't worry much.  But since it hadn't stopped by the morning - and after a quick chat with a friend at school drop-off -  I decided to call my OB and see what they said.  I thought for sure they'd tell me "it's nothing - just first time mom worries - go about your day" but instead they wanted me to come in and be checked, just to be safe. 

As I gathered my things to leave the house panic crept into my mind.  I suddenly felt TOTALLY unprepared for this sweet baby girl to arrive.  My mind flooded with all that was still left to be done, and everything that would need to happen in the next few hours should she decide she was coming early (not to mention the fear that it was too early and I'd be sent to an Italian hospital).  Her room wasn't ready, her bedding not sewn, sheets that were ordered were stuck in customs, car seat needed to be washed, Miles was at school, Nathan was at work, hospital bag wasn't packed, I hadn't typed my birth plan or finished my hospital admission paperwork.  We would need our passports, birth certificates, and wedding license for her paperwork and I couldn't tell you where it was at the moment.  My side of the bed was so messy I'd never be able to fit a pack and play there, and her crib wasn't ready.  We had lightly discussed plans for Miles but had never asked anyone or set anything up officially.  Her coming home outfit hadn't come in the mail yet - and it would probably be too big anyway.  As I shoved my iPad, hospital paperwork, and a few snacks in my purse I rubbed my belly and told her she needed to stay put a bit longer.  I called Nathan and he left work to meet me at the hospital. 

Upon arrival at Labor & Delivery (which was so surreal on it's own) they took my vitals (BP was high) and hooked me up to a machine to monitor contractions and baby's heart rate.  They also discussed with me some tests that they wanted to run to check some things out.  Of course once I was hooked up the contractions stopped...I felt like a crazy woman who cried wolf.   My OB came up to see me - he threw in a few more fat baby jokes, of course - and they ran the tests.  Everything came back clean.  They did an FFN, which tests the likelihood of you having a baby within the next two weeks, and it came back negative.  They did an AmnioTest to see if I was leaking amniotic fluid...and it came back clean.  They tested my pee for a UTI or other infection...clean.  And last but not least a cervical check (ouch, seriously...) and I'm still all sealed up.

They think the contractions and cramps could have been from dehydration (I had a wicked sore throat last week for a few days...didn't drink as much as I need to), stress, and/or overexertion.  I was told to take it easy - but not too easy.  No bedrest or anything, normal activities just be sure I'm taking a little bit of time each day to put my feet up and relax.

I was super relieved that everything went well and she is staying put a wee bit longer.  Living here brings complications that you don't have stateside.  If I go into labor before 36 weeks I cannot deliver at the Navy hospital. They will send me out to an Italian hospital.  The reason?  We don't have a NICU.  Our ER is also bare minimum...if you have a true trauma emergency you will also not be seen.  It's a small hospital without the capabilities to take care of large scale traumas.   Now an Italian hospital won't be like delivering in the dirt...but it is definitely a different experience than an American hospital.  Hubbies aren't allowed in delivery rooms.  They do not provide ANYTHING for you - no hand soap in the bathroom, no towels to dry your hands, no shower towels, no blankets for the bed...literally nothing but the bed and a sheet.  They do provide some things for the baby...but you - the mommy - are on your own.  Also - pain management is totally different.  No epidurals (unless you have spoken with the anesthesiologist before...which wouldn't have happened if I were unexpectedly going into labor early), no pain meds...unless you have a C-section.  So if I were to go into labor early not only would I have to pack a normal hospital bag I'd also need to run around the house grabbing towels, soap, shampoo, tissues, blankets, pillows, pads, pain meds, etc.  NOT something I want to have to do.  Plus she needs to cook more...I want her to be healthy.

You better believe that my nesting instinct kicked into high gear yesterday.  According to the tests I have at least two weeks...but I've got a lot to do.  I made a giant to-do list and got going.  I filled out my intake paperwork (finally), cleaned through Miles' clothes, scheduled us for a couple of birthing classes, talked with Nathan about a plan for Miles, and much more.  I've got even more on my list for today...I am determined to be ready for her, whenever she decides to come.  But I'm hoping she makes it to Valentine's Day (37 weeks). 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Baby Bump Shoot

A dear friend of ours did my maternity pictures for us.  (You can see her photo website HERE) We took them amongst some ancient Roman ruins on a cliff overlooking the sea (seriously, how cool is Italy?!)  She captured the true essence of our crazy little family.  Here are some of my favorites.