Tuesday, September 30, 2008

our weekend

We had a nice visit with my dad and Candy (Pap & Gramma). Saturday we went to a fall festival and Gramma Candy bought Libby her first pumpkin. Libby is a little young for pumpkin farm photo ops (excuse her floppy head in the photo), but we got some cute shots of Casey, which we'll post in our gallery.

Kevin returned to work yesterday. Libby and I are doing well on our own, although I'm not getting as much sleep at night as I was before. I was skipping a feeding once a night and having Kevin give her a bottle, but I realized I was going too long without nursing her after I got a clogged milk duct Sunday afternoon. Luckily, I was able to work it loose that night, but I still have some shooting pain, so I'm trying to apply moist heat to it and nurse/pump frequently. My incision is also bleeding a little. It seems a stitch has popped loose. I'm putting polysporin on it, so hopefully it will heal up and won't become infected.

Tomorrow we have Libby's one-month visit with Dr. Z. I'll have a full report for you afterward.

Friday, September 26, 2008

libby's big week

Miss Libby had a very big week! Saturday, she had her first big outing. We went to a baby-wearing class at Park + Vine, an eco-friendly general store located downtown, and learned about different types of baby slings and carriers. Afterward we met Doug, Sue and Gus at Lavomatic for lunch. Sunday we went over to Matt & Katie's so Kevin could help Matt clean up the tree that fell in their front yard during the wind storm. Monday, we took Libby to the Norwood Fifth Third, where Kevin used to work, to open her savings account. We put all the money people sent after her birth in her account. Tuesday, Kevin took Libby downtown to meet his staff for lunch, then they went to Macy's. Wednesday, we took her for her one-month photos at Portrait Innovations (where Casey has his photos done) then we went to Olive Garden and Babies R Us. Check out her super-cute photos in our gallery very soon! Yesterday, Dad and Candy arrived for a weekend visit and babysat so Kevin and I could go out to dinner for our four-year anniversary. So Libby's been a busy gal, and we have more on tap for this weekend. Today we're taking a break and staying home, and everyone is coming over later for a cookout.

Libby is doing so well and growing fast! She already weighs 9 pounds (she was 6 pounds, 7 ounces at birth 4 weeks ago). We took her to the doctor this morning because her eyes were matted shut and goopey when she woke up this morning. We've been cleaning them out because of clogged tear ducts for the past few weeks, but they were really bad today, so we took her to see Dr. Z. He said she didn't have conjunctivitis (aka pink eye), but that because her eyes aren't able to wash away all the bacteria, the result is basically the same, so we're treating it with ointment. We've also been battling a diaper rash that turned into a yeast infection, so we got his opinion on that too. She pees and poops so much that it's nearly impossible to keep her dry, which is typical for breastfed babies. It's getting better, though, and she's in perfect health otherwise. Breastfeeding is going really well, too, and it's comforting to hear that she's gaining weight (she's still in newborn clothes, though!).

Developmentally, she's getting stronger—and noisier!—every day. Her head control is getting better and better, and we moved her into her crib last night. She was in a bassinet in our room, but I was sleeping so poorly as I listened to all her little coos and grunts and wondered when they would escalate into a hungry cry. She actually cries very little and is still such a mellow baby. She's quite curious when she's awake and likes to sit upright. And she started smiling a little yesterday!

Kevin goes back to work Monday. I don't return to work until November 11th, so we'll have 6 weeks of mommy and baby time. I promise to start blogging regularly once we get into a better routine.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


In order to make "Our Gallery" even more enjoyable for everyone, I am working on adding captions to all of the photos. I'm working backward chronologically so the most recent will have captions first. At this point all of the photos since Libby was born have captions. Going forward, we'll be sure to add captions to any new photos we add and hopefully soon I'll have something for all of the photos we have published.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

libby and her boys

At three weeks old Libby already has the boys after her. A father's worst nightmare. So far she's had two gentlemen callers, but they're both pretty handsome, so we'll let them stick around. Take a look.
Libby with Maddox Hood

Libby with Gus White (in matching Boppys!)

introducing our gallery

On the right side of our blog, you will notice a new and long anticipated feature, "our gallery."
Click the link and you will be directed to a website that contains all of our photos and movies, for your viewing pleasure.
But wait, there's more. Not only can you view these items, you can also download them to your computer. If there's a picture you just love or if you can never get enough of checking out little miss Libby, then you can keep the full resolution images or movies for yourself. You can download and entire album by simply clicking the "download" icon at the top of the page. Or you can download single photos by clicking on them and then clicking the "download" icon below it.
Also, within the photo albums, you can view them four different ways: grid (default), mosaic, carousel (really fun), or slide show. Select your view option from the list at the bottom of the page.
And here comes my favorite feature: you can upload YOUR photos to OUR gallery! If you snapped some great photos at the same time we did, simply click the "upload" icon at the top of the album page and it will walk you through the process of adding your photos.
We will continue to update the site with all of our latest pictures and movies, and directly below the link on the right is a list of the most recently updated albums and videos, so you can see right away when we've got something new.
Let me know what you think, I hope you enjoy it.
And start uploading today!!!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

lights out!

Thanks to the after-effects of Hurricane Ike, we had a pretty major wind storm here yesterday. Trees were down all over the city causing power outages to nearly every area. With all the huge old trees in our neighborhood (and our back yard) we were lucky to not have sustained any damage, but there were a lot of leaves and branches in our yard and, oh yeah, we were without electricity for close to thirty hours! Much of the city is still dark, including Sarah's sister Katie, and the power company is saying it may be up to a week before everyone is back up and running.
Our biggest concern was all the food in our refrigerator that we'd just bought late last week. Fortunately, most everything was salvageable, which made us feel much better.
After hearing about some of the damage and problems that others were experiencing, we felt very lucky that keeping our food cold was all we had to worry about. It's really interesting how much you appreciate things we take for granted, like electricity in our home, when we don't have them, even for a relatively short period of time...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

libby's birth story

Today is Libby's two-week birthday, so I thought I'd take some time to share her birth story. I know it's a long story, but I'm recording all the details here as much for myself as for all of you.

Monday, August 25th, I decided to take a walk in hopes of jump-starting labor. I had had a doctor's appointment that morning, and I wasn't dilated or effaced, and the baby hadn't dropped at all. Later that evening, I had my first sign that labor may be on the horizon. There's no not-gross way to say this, so I'll just say it: I lost my mucous plug. I barely slept Monday night, and at 4:30 that morning, I felt a slight wet trickle and wondered if my water had broken. Nothing happened when I went to the bathroom, though (which I did about 10 times that night), so I tried to go back to sleep. At 7 a.m. I felt that sensation again, so I decided to call the doctor. He told me to go to the hospital. So Kevin called off work, and we took showers, ate breakfast, finished packing and fed all the pets before heading to Christ at 9 a.m.

At the hospital, a resident did a very painful exam and said I was 2 centimeters dilated, 20% effaced and that my water had broken, so they decided to admit me and induce me. I was relieved that they didn't send me home since I was due back there 2 days later for an induction anyway.

We got settled in our labor and delivery room around noon and they started a pitocin drip at level 4 (the lowest level; they dose it in increments of 4). Kevin went to the car to get our bags and was bummed to miss my doctor coming in to really break my water. It didn't hurt, but it was surprising to feel a big warm tidal wave of fluid gush out of me! After that, the contractions came on fast, strong and long for early labor. I was determined not to have an epidural or narcotics, so Kevin and I used different positions and calm, deep breathing to manage the pain. It helped most to close my eyes and quietly breathe while Kevin held my hands. I also liked standing up and swaying back and forth with him standing behind me. Unfortunately, after a few hours my blood pressure skyrocketed and my nurse told me I had to stay in bed and lay on my left side, which made the pain of contractions very difficult to manage. I was laying there in agony and decided I wanted an epidural. After waiting about an hour for the epidural, a new nurse came in at 3 p.m. and told me that she wanted to help me find ways to manage the pain without the epidural since my birth plan indicated that I really wanted to have a natural birth. I told her that I was told to stay in bed because of my blood pressure and she said that was crazy and that the only way to lower my blood pressure was to have this baby! So I got out of bed, which immediately made the pain more manageable. Around this time they checked me and I was about 4 centimeters dilated and they increased the pitocin to 8. I started having back labor, so Kevin had to provide counterpressure to my lower back with each contraction. We continued this until early evening when the doctor came in and said I wasn't progressing fast enough and that he wanted to insert an internal monitor next to the baby's head to gauge whether my contractions were as strong as they appeared to be on the external fetal monitor or whether they were registering stronger than they actually were because I'm thin. Sure enough, they weren't as strong as they appeared (although I begged to differ, judging from the pain!), and the doc said we had to crank up the pitocin. He also said I probably wouldn't continue to progress (or be able to endure the pitocin) unless I relaxed and that I should probably get an epidural. At this point, the back labor was so bad that I consented. I got the epidural around 7 p.m., which didn't hurt, and I felt immediate relief. I could move my legs and feel pressure, but I couldn't feel pain, which was perfect. It did give me the uncontrollable shakes, but they eventually subsided. Kevin and I were able to rest for a few hours, then I started feeling a lot of pressure in my back again. The nurse told me the baby was probably flipped face up and put me into a position that helped her turn around and eased the back labor.

Around midnight, the nurse announced that I was fully dilated and effaced and that the baby had dropped low enough for me to start pushing. At this point, Kevin said the pitocin was at level 28! The pushing experience was much more calm than anything I'd ever seen on television. The room was dark, and as each contraction started, I put my hands behind my knees and pulled them back as Kevin supported one leg and the nurse supported the other. With each contration, they counted for me as I bore down and pushed to the count of 10 three times. It was a quiet and controlled experience--no yelling, no excessive cheering. Although it was painful, pushing was manageable. What wasn't manageable was the nausea that set in, and I felt like I was going to throw up as I started the third push with each contraction. I ended up throwing up 4 times during this phase of labor, which is hard to do when you're lying on your back with your legs in the air! I could feel Libby's head in the birth canal and was feeling optimistic that the end was in sight, though.

After about an hour and half of pushing, around 1:30 a.m., the doctor came in and said that Libby's head couldn't get past my pubic bone and that my pushing was causing her head to swell, so he was going to need to use forceps. He said it would require an episiotimy and that I would likely end up with a fourth-degree tear back into my rectum. That's what happened to Katie when they used forceps with Casey, and I had been terrified of that scenario my entire pregnancy. The doctor also gave me the option of a c-section. It was literally the hardest decision I've ever had to make. At this point my epidural had pretty much worn off, so I was feeling the full effect of contractions and couldn't resist the urge to push, was still throwing up and trying to talk to Kevin and make the best decision. I ended up deciding on the forceps, mostly because the doctor said it would be the quickest option, and at that point all I wanted was a new dose of epidural. As everyone prepared for the forceps delivery, Katie came back to check on me. I told her what I had decided, and could tell she thought it was a bad idea. She left and I gave it some more thought and remembered that, as much as I wanted the experience to be over, I really didn't want the same outcome as Katie's delivery. So I told the nurse I wanted a c-section. Katie didn't change my mind for me; just seeing her made me take a step back and re-evaluate my options. Kevin was a little disappointed that we were doing a c-section after coming that far, but he left the decision up to me. Luckily, the baby's vital signs were perfect throughout the experience, so we didn't have to rush to make decisions or take any emergency measures.

As soon as I decided on the c-setion, people flooded the room and a nurse helped Kevin pack up our stuff and whisked him away to prep him for surgery. I got a new dose of the epidural and was numbed from the chest down. I got the shakes again--stronger this time--and wasn't able to stop them. It was like I was having a seizure! They shaved me and, apparently, gave me some anti-nausea medicine when made me insanely drowsy, then wheeled me into surgery. Kevin wasn't in the room yet, so I was laying on the operating table shaking uncontrollably, wanting to throw up and barely able to keep my eyes open. They waited so long to bring Kevin in that I was scared they were going to start without him! He said it was an agonizingly long wait for him, too, especially since he had no idea what was going on. He came in, I threw up one more time, then they started the surgery. At 3:47 a.m. Olivia Mae Whitman made her debut!

Kevin didn't get to cut her cord, and I didn't get to hold her, but I was totally out of it and didn't care at that point. They cleaned her up and gave her to Kevin, who cried as he held her. It was weird for me to watch him having such an emotional experience when I could barely keep my eyes open or string together a complete sentence. After they finished stitching me up, they took us to a recovery room and took the baby for a few more routine tasks. When they brought her to me, I cried and nursed her for the first time. Around 5 a.m. Mom, Katie, Keith and Kathy (who had been at the hospital for about 12 hours) came back to meet our little girl. We settled into our permanent room around 7 a.m., a full 24 hours after our experience began, and everyone was able to get some much-needed rest.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

first doctor visit and more visitors

Libby's first doctor visit could not have gone better. Her pediatrician Dr. Z. gave her an "A+" and said that she is absolutely perfect. She didn't need any shots today, so she was a happy baby. At this point her jaundice is pretty much gone and she is still being very kind to her parents. With the exception of one feeding (that we have to wake her up for), she is sleeping through the night and not really giving us any trouble at all during the day. Someone told me that babies born at night do not have their days and night backwards as most babies do. I think she might be right and we're cautiously optimistic that this trend will continue...

Here she is all strapped in and ready to go to the doctor. So far she loves to travel.

Yesterday, Gran stopped by and we were able to get our first "four generations" photo with Libby. We can't wait for her to meet her other three great grandmothers and capture the moment with them too!

Uncle Michael also made a stop by the house to meet his new favorite niece.

Monday, September 01, 2008

we're home!

Sarah and Libby were released from the hospital yesterday, and we were all very excited to get home. Sarah's mom (Nonny) came down a few hours later and is staying with us for a few days to help us get settled. So far things are going really well. She pretty much slept through the night, we woke her up at one point for her feeding and we heard her dirty her diaper, but no crying! We're not expecting this trend to last, though. Her jaundice is making her pretty tired, so as that continues to improve, I'm sure she'll be getting more vocal for us.
Nonny has been a wonderful help! She's making meals, helping with laundry, and making sure that we are both getting the rest we need, among other things.
Her visit prompted us to pull out Sarah's baby pictures. I'll let you judge for yourself where you think Libby gets her looks from, but this photo makes it pretty clear!