Monday, January 30, 2012

Week One

We have officially survived our first week as a family of four!

Gabe had the whole week off last week which was such a huge help!

Wednesday was coming home day (ironically on my actual due date)!  I can say that this time we were ready to come home! With Avery, we wanted to stay (and have help) as long as we could in the hospital, but this time we were ready to get out of there!  I missed being home with Avery and of course you don't really get much sleep while you're in the hospital because someone is in your room every hour or two to check on something!

So Wednesday late morning, we got packed up and ready to head home!
My Mom was convinced I was having a boy-hence the boyish outfit! I still love it!

With her hat and booties to keep her cozy!

I just had to get a shot of her little toes and hands. This girl has the longest fingers and toes I've ever seen!  Hopefully she'll use them for something good-future piano player?  And hopefully she grows into them a bit!

In her carseat and ready to go! She looks like a peanut in her carseat (versus Avery on coming home day!)!
Avery and my Mom were waiting for us when we got home! Avery immediately wanted to show Cassandra all of her toys and play with her!
Sorry it's turned!

And the big sister wanted to hold the baby as well. I somehow missed this happen-I think I was taking a nap. But look at that girl's face! Could she be any happier?! I guess while she was holding her, she sang to her as well. Gabe recorded it and I watched it later-yes I bawled my eyes out!

Our first night home went well. It took Avery a little longer to get to bed at night because of all of the excitement. Cassandra did well overnight-woke up every 2.5 hours or so to eat then back to sleep.

Thursday we sent Avery to daycare like usual. Gabe did some running around during the day and I was home with the little one. Took a little nap and just relaxed most of the day.

Thursday night was hell. Gabe and I got a total of one hour of sleep! Yes, ONE hour!  Cassandra was in some funk where she'd get up to eat then would fall asleep. We'd put her down in her crib and 10min later she'd be up again acting like she was starving-she was "rooting" like crazy!  This happened all.night.long.  We tried giving her a pacifier and she would take it randomly, but not for long.  Then the kicker? Avery decided to wake up at 5am and so Gabe went in to be with her and it took a few hours to get her back to sleep.

Let's just say that Friday was a very rough day! Avery was miserable from being so tired (yet still didn't take a nap!) and Gabe and I were like zombies all day long!

Cassandra had a checkup at her doctor's that morning.  Everything looked great! When she was discharged, her weight had dropped to 6lbs. 3oz and on Friday, she was up to 6lbs. 8oz! So that was good news!  She was a great patient-didn't cry once the entire time! And Avery brought along her doctor kit to play along during the check up as well. She'll be going back in another 2 weeks for a routine check up.

Here's a cute picture of her from Friday:
Friday night went a little better than Thursday night. Cassandra was up every 2.5-3 hours and some of the time she took longer to fall back asleep. We definitely got more than one hour of sleep though-more like 5 or 6....enough to be functional!
Saturday we went and got our carseats installed at a local fire station. The one fireman let Avery look in the fire trucks and everything-she had a blast!  After, we stopped by Gabe's parents' house so that they could meet Cassandra! 5 days later and she finally got to meet them! It just happened that when we showed up, all of the Aunts and Uncles were there too so they all got to meet her! It was a very nice visit. 

Cassandra did great Saturday night-I think I somehow got 7-8 hours of sleep! I felt like a new woman! When she would eat, she'd go right back to sleep every time! Good girl! Now if only it would stay that way!

Sunday I decided to take her first monthly photos (the hat courtesy of the hospital):

My Dad came out around noon to visit for a few hours. We had lunch and they got to eat up the baby and Avery.  Doesn't she look ridiculously small in his hands?!
Papa and his girls

After my Dad left, we decided to give both girls a bath since they were way overdue for one!  I gave Cassandra hers and Gabe did Avery's. Since her cord is still intact, we just did a sponge bath on our bed on a few big towels. She screamed her way through it but I think it was because she was cold (despite me covering her up and just washing parts at a time). But boy do I love a clean, soft baby!

Soapy head

All clean!
Gabe went back to work today which bums me out. It was so nice having him home. Avery went to daycare so at least I only have to take care of Cassandra today. My Mom will be coming out tonight and spending the week with us. It'll be nice to have another set of hands around here for a few more days!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

....Is Now a Family of Four

We knew this past weekend was our last weekend as a trio, but we had no idea that Sunday really was our last day as a family of three. I truly thought I'd last until my scheduled c-section on the 27th. I had the week planned out in my head-work my usual shifts and a special Mommy/Avery day on my day off Wednesday. 

Well, someone had other plans for us!

Here's our story.....

Sunday night we went to bed gearing up for work on Monday. I went to bed around 10pm like usual. 

I woke up around 3:30am to use the bathroom (big surprise when you're pregnant!), got back in bed and realized that the baby wasn't moving much. This was pretty unusual since normally when I get out of bed then get back in bed, the baby would be very active. So of course my mind starts racing and I start to worry something is wrong.

I couldn't fall back asleep and then at 4:30 I had a shooting pain across my back that was very familiar. My doc had told me on Friday that she thought the baby was posterior like Avery was and that I'd probably have a lot of  back labor again. As soon as I felt that pain, I knew what it was. I'm sorry, but you never forget that type of pain!

I just stayed in bed waiting to see if anything would happen again and sure enough, about 12 minutes later, I felt it again. I decided to come downstairs and get my iPhone. I downloaded a contraction timer right on the spot to keep track of things. I had another contraction while downstairs then headed back up to bed.

Around 5am, Gabe was semi-awake so I told him I was having contractions. We debated what to do since they were still about 12 minutes apart.

My Mom gets up for work at 5:30am so I knew she would be awake then. She wanted to drive in from Buffalo for the birth so I decided to call her right at 5:30.  Of course she said she'd be on her way ASAP! I ended up calling my Dad too (also in Buffalo) but knew it might be hard for him to get out of work so quickly that day. He told me to keep him posted and if things progressed, he'd try to head out here.

Around 6am my contractions were a little closer-around 8 minutes apart. We both decided to get in the shower real quick in anticipation of having to leave soon. By the time I got out of the shower, they were coming about 6 minutes apart and getting a little more painful.

As I continued getting ready and packing last minute things in my bag, the contractions were around 5 minutes apart. I decided to call the doctor's office and see what they suggested. It was now 7am and we decided to wake up Avery and get her to daycare. I felt awful waking her since we usually let her sleep until she wakes on her own (around 8-830) but we thought it was the best thing to do.

My doctor called me back shortly after 7am and asked how I was doing. I told her the contractions were about every 5 minutes but they weren't super painful. She told me to head to the hospital but that it wasn't a huge rush. She was more concerned about my prior c-section and the risks involved with that.

My Mom showed up at our house around 7:15 and all of a sudden I was like "we need to get going." I could tell the intensity was picking up and knew we had a drive ahead of us. We had to drop Avery off at daycare and then get to the hospital-we were looking at a good half hour in the car.

Let's just say the car ride was horrible. My contractions were coming roughly every 3-4 minutes and were really bad. It was all back labor too. The best way to describe it (sorry this will be TMI) is it feels like you have to have a bowel movement rightnow and you're trying to hold it in. Multiply that times 10 and that's how I felt. Needless to say I was basically climbing out of the passenger seat with each contraction and pounding my fist on the door of the car (yes it's comical to think of now!).

And the worst part? We hit rush hour traffic! It never crossed my mind but there were times we were in a stand still and I was not a happy camper at all. I think by the end of the car ride, my contractions were closer to 3 minutes apart.

So we drop off Avery then head to the hospital-of course I'm still climbing out of the chair and pounding my fist on the door. Gabe called the hospital and asked for a wheelchair to be waiting for us. That was a fun ride too (NOT!). As they're pushing me towards the elevator, one of the doctors from my practice (who I happened to see quite a bit for my appointments) walked by and was like "Hey! Looks like something is going on here! I won't go too far!" (My doctor was on call all weekend and her on call ended at 8am so she did tell me this doctor would be the one on call today). 

We got up to the check in desk and it was now 8am.

They took me to triage and had me change into a gown (seriously-I can't even sit still and you want me to change my clothes?!). A doctor came by to check me and I was 5cm dilated.

The doctor said "So I see you had a prior c-section. Were you going to go for the VBAC or do a repeat c-section?" I was in so much pain that I was just like "I don't care just get it out!" Then they told me that either way it would be at least another 20 minutes to get things started. And I cried saying "I can't wait that long! I can't do it!" And of course they told me I really had no choice at that point and that they were going to call anesthesia about an epidural.

I have no idea how much time passed, but it wasn't long. I all of a sudden felt like I had to push and I told them that. Next thing I know I'm wheeled to another room (a labor/delivery room) and they want me to get out of bed and get into another bed (again, seriously?!). The same doctor came and checked me and told me I was already at 7cm.

I still had a very strong urge to push and they kept yelling at me not to because it wasn't safe. That was the hardest thing ever. I was lying on my side death gripping the bed rails and just moaning/screaming in pain with every contraction. I remember being very hot and very thirsty-they kept giving me cold washcloths for my forehead and Gabe was giving me water throughout. I kept telling them I had to push and so they checked me again-I was 8.5cm.

They were going to give me Nubain to help with the pain since they didn't know how long anesthesia would take. but for some reason I hadn't gotten it yet. At one point, I heard a doctor ask the nurse, "Did you give her the Nubain?" and the nurse said, "No, I haven't had time." What the hell the nurse was doing, I have no idea! 

Anyways, the anesthesiologist comes up and starts to rattle off some long list of garbage-I didn't hear a word she was saying as I was writhing in pain. Gabe was answering all of her questions and I was just like "Just give it to me!"

Again I told them I had to push and they checked me-9.5cm! At that point they were like, "Sorry, we can't give you anything right now for the pain." I started to cry again (I should say I tried to cry-I was crying but no tears were coming out-maybe from it being so dry in there?). I went through a few more contractions and they decided it was time for me to push (THANK YOU!).

And let me tell you that pushing is not as easy as you would think. There's way too many things to think about....legs out to the side and relaxed, elbows out, chin to chest, push down and not with your face. Yeah, try doing that 3-4 times every 2 minutes or so!

At some point the doctor from my practice showed up-I have no idea if I was already pushing or what, but she did show up. I pushed roughly a half hour and we sort of ended up like I did with Avery-they could see a very small part of the head with each push, but nothing was really happening. I remember saying to Gabe, "I can't do this anymore! I'm so tired." and of course he was like "Yes, you can do it!" When I spoke to my doctor in the morning, she had told me that I got to call the shots as for how long I wanted to push. Basically she said if I hit a half hour and nothing was happening to elect for the c-section. She didn't want me as fatigued as I was with Avery's birth. So at this point, Gabe said to the docs, "Her doctor said to push for a half hour and that's it-if it's not going to happen, we just want the c-section."  The doctor from my practice was basically like, "I really think you can push the baby out-if I didn't think you could, I'd call it but I really think you can do this. I think what we'll do is help you out a bit and use forceps."

So, the forceps went in (yep, not comfortable, especially when they tell you not to push when you're having a contraction) and they said on the next set of contractions that I could push. So I pushed my little heart out and yes there was a lot of pain. They say without meds it feels like a "ring of fire" when the baby crowns and they are right. It felt like someone lit a match to my nether regions for a few seconds.  The only thing I remember is saying "Oh my God it HURTS!" (which Gabe told me after that that's when he thinks I tore a bit).

With a few pushes, I looked down and there was the baby in my doctor's hands! I saw them cut the cord (they had to do it since the baby had a bowel movement inside), then the baby got whisked away to be checked.

She was born at 9:46am. So if you're keeping track, my labor started at 4:30am, I got to the hospital at 8am, the nurse told me I went from 5cm-10cm in 40 minutes and ended up pushing for roughly an hour. Yep, very fast labor...5 hours from start to finish!

After about a minute I was like "wait, what is it?" and the nurse shouted "It's a girl!" I started to not cry again and looked at Gabe and said "Avery was right, that little shit!" and the doctors laughed at me!

At this point they started putting me back together-delivered the placenta (painful again) then I had to get stitches (yep, more pain at times). Because of the forceps, I had almost a 3rd degree tear so it took them a good half hour to get me all sewn up. Gabe got to hold the little peanut and brought her over to see me. I got to hold her once I was all put back together and of course we were immediately in love!

I will say that 99% of the time I was in my own little world. From the time we got to the hospital and through most of the delivery I was just in a zone.  I remember at one point near the end of pushing, I had my eyes closed and just saw darkness and I asked God for help. I'm not a very religious person, but sometimes there's a time and a place for it and I felt it in that moment.

 Gabe was obviously by my side and such a great coach but I think I only looked at his face once and I'm sure it was to cry about something!  I remember squeezing the life out of his hands and wringing the chest of his shirt several times, but really, I was zoned out (sorry honey!). I will say that there was no way I could have gone through all of this without him. I wanted to throw in the towel numerous times, but he kept talking me through it and all I can say is I did it!! I never expected to have a VBAC, let alone a med-free VBAC! I've heard of people doing it, but it never crossed my mind that it would be me.

So, without further ado.....

Please meet Cassandra Grace! Born Monday, January 23rd at 9:46am. She weighed in at 6lbs 10oz and was 19" long.

First photo!

6lbs 10oz

The new addition!

My Mom and the peanut

Proud Grandpa

After Avery got out of daycare, Gabe brought her by for a quick visit. Of course I was nursing her when she got there so I don't think she knew how to react at first.
Avery entering the room

After a few minutes she said "I want to see the baby!" and climbed up on my bed and wanted to touch her and look at her.
Big sister

Our family of 4

All swaddled up!

My Mom and Dad of course were there for the birth. Gabe's parents unfortunately couldn't be there. His Dad recently had surgery so they had to stay home. Of course they got a phone call right away but we missed having them there!

Our friends Richie and Julie stopped by in the evening to meet the little peanut:

And that was the end of day 1!

(I also realized that I never got a belly pic before leaving the house so I don't have any proof of how big I was! I was a little pre-occupied at the time!)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Our Family of Three.....

It's hard to believe that we just finished our last weekend together as a family of three. Next weekend, we will be a family of four, which is just crazy to think!

Yesterday was a nice "me" day....I met a friend (and old coworker) of mine for breakfast. Then I went to the AT&T store to get a new phone. Long story short....I inherited Gabe's old iPhone and it started randomly shutting off on me and the only way I could get it back on was to plug it in. I took it to the Apple Store and they tried doing something to it and it didn't work. So I had to bite the bullet and buy a new one.  After going to AT&T, I had an appointment to get my haircut. Gabe had Avery over at my In-Laws' house for most of the morning for a nice visit. 

Once they got home, we played then went out to Moe's for dinner.  We put Avery to bed and just relaxed.

This morning Avery and I went to one of her friend's house for a playdate. The kids had a great time!  After coming home and getting lunch for Avery, I went grocery shopping.  We spent the rest of the day just relaxing and playing with Avery. 

Just gearing up for the week ahead-work and the arrival of the new baby on Friday (if not before)!

Friday, January 20, 2012

T Minus 1 Week....

In one week from now, we will have another baby.

One week.

Yes, it could be earlier than that, but no matter what, in one week he/she will be here with us.

I can't wrap my head around it.

Today I took Avery to my doctor's appointment-the last one she'll be accompanying me to. In fact, my doctor told me I could cancel next week's appointment since I'm scheduled for the c-section on Friday. I haven't decided yet what I'm going to-if I should go or skip it. So, today  might have been my last check up.

Then I took Avery to our last story time before baby.

And we're gearing up for our last weekend as a family of three.

It's weird having an end-day in sight. It's hard to explain, but it's just a weird feeling.

Physically we're ready-the room is as ready as it's going to get at this point. I want to put up shelves, but we don't even have any yet so I know that's not going to happen anytime soon.  Baby's laundry is done and clothes are put away. My hospital bag is packed and pretty much ready to go. Bottles, etc have been cleaned and put away in the cupboards.  My body is ready to be done-just not comfortable lately and ready to have this baby out.

Mentally I don't think we're ready. Can you ever be?!

It's a weird mix of emotions this time around. Of course we're excited to meet this baby (and know what it is!) and have it in our lives. I'm nervous about how Avery is going to do with the whole transition-with me not being home a few days, adjusting to the baby, etc. And part of me is sad that these are the last few days that my baby girl will be just that-my baby girl. Yes, she'll always be my baby, but she'll now be sharing the spotlight with another. She won't be getting 100% of the attention on her now which will be a change for everyone. And of course I already feel bad for #2 because he/she will never ever have 100% of the spotlight like Avery did. I also am nervous about the whole newborn stage again. It feels like forever ago that Avery was a newborn and honestly I don't remember it much (hello sleep deprivation?!). It'll be hard getting used to sleepless nights again and really not being able to nap this time around since Avery doesn't really nap anymore.

It's going to be an adjustment, that's for sure.

I have a week (at most) to prepare for it....

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Around these parts, we're used to snow in the winter time. This year has been a very unusual winter thus far. Here it is mid-January and we've only seen snow maybe 3 times so far. And it hasn't been a lot of snow either-mostly a dusting here and there.

Over the weekend we actually got some measurable snow-maybe 6" at the most I'm guessing.

Sunday we took advantage of it and took Avery outside!

Here she is all geared up and ready to go!

Feeling the snow out a bit:
And walking in it:

She didn't last long-maybe 15 minutes outside then she wanted to come in. I wasn't going to complain because I was freezing as well!  But at least she got out and had some fresh air. The funny thing is that today it's in the 40's and raining once again the snow has melted!  A very odd winter for us so far-but I'm not complaining!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Baked Mac-N-Cheese

I'll be honest, I LOVE macaroni and cheese....who doesn't?!  But....I've never tried to make it myself. Not the homemade kind at least! I saw this recipe from our local grocery store, Wegman's, and decided to give it a try since it seemed pretty easy.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese
1 lb elbow macaroni
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan
5 tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
3 1/2 cups milk
1 lb shredded cheddar cheese
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg

1. Cook pasta according to directions on box.

2. Mix bread crumbs and paremesan in a small bowl and set aside.

3. Heat butter in a large saucepan. When melted, add flour and stir until smooth. Cook 3-4mins or until golden brown.

4. Add milk 1 cup at a time and whisk until smooth. Once all milk is added, bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat for 10mins, whisking at times.

5. Add cheddar cheese and stir until melted and smooth. Add salt and nutmeg and mix well. Add pasta and stir until coated.

6. Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray. Dump in pasta mixture and spread out. Top with bread crumb mixture.

7. Bake on 400 for 15-20min or until golden.

Notes: Instead of parmesan, I used pecorino romano cheese and I used skim milk instead of whole milk like they say.  For the cheddar cheese, I used a mild cheddar although I'm sure sharp would be just as good. One other thing I might do differently next time is that it tells you to make the sauce in a large saucepan, then add the pasta to it. Well, it was so much stuff that it nearly overflowed my pan so next time I might use a bigger pot-like a stock pot or something for it. And my baking dish was a decent size (2.5 qt I think) and the pasta was right up to the rim of it! So maybe a bigger baking dish next time too! I also don't own a whisk so instead I just stirred the butter/flour/milk combination and it worked just fine.

This turned out very good! It's a very easy recipe too so I'll definitely make it again. And it makes a ton! All three of us had it for dinner and leftovers the next  night and I still had enough to freeze for another meal! I love when that happens!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

38 Weeks-Baby #2

Today I'm 38 weeks along-only 2 more weeks to go (2 weeks 2 days until the planned c-section)!

How I'm feeling/sleeping: I hope I'm not jinxing it, but I haven't itched in a few days now. I have no idea what changed because I'm not doing anything different, but it's wonderful! I think I woke up once in the past 4 nights to scratch and that's it!  Of course I am up between 1-3 times to use the bathroom overnight.  My feet have been swelling again by the end of the day. Overall I'm doing ok-sore here and there but overall hangin' in there.

Appointments/events: I've had two-one last Friday and one today.  Last Friday they said I lost 7lbs (there goes the 7 I gained last time!). Total gained so far according to them is 18lbs. It was a very quick appointment-the usual bathroom sample, weight, blood pressure, heartbeat-that was it. In and out very quick.

Today they said I gained 4lbs (according to my scale I haven't gained anything in the past few weeks) so right now I'm up a total of 22lbs. I had my first pelvic exam and I'm currently 1.5cm dilated! I was totally shocked because I never dilated with Avery until after I was induced. Yes it gets my hopes up, but at the same time I know I can stay that way for weeks with nothing else taking place.  Everything else was pretty normal and I go back again next Friday.

Cravings/Aversions: Nada-still eating too much junk! Haha!

Movement: Yes, my stomach looks alien-like at times-this baby is all over the place!

Avery's thoughts: Still thinks it's a girl and has her named already-but I'm not sharing since she likes a name on our list! 

Here are my photos for this week. The pink shirt is me at 39 weeks with Avery and the black shirt is me today at 38 weeks. Honestly, I don't think I look much bigger than at 36 weeks-so I guess that's good!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Last Date Night

Last night, Gabe and I went on our last date night before the baby's arrival.

I had a gift card to use at the Melting Pot, so that is where we went.

Dinner was very good. I opted not to do the whole 4 course thing and instead just got the cheese fondue and chocolate fondue along with a salad. Gabe did order an entree, but said afterward that next time he probably won't-we were just too full at the end of the meal! 

It was very nice and relaxing and we were in a very secluded table so it was like we were the only ones in the restaurant. It was nice getting a break and just enjoying each other's company. I know in just a few short weeks that we won't get much of that anymore! 

And a special thank you to my Mom for coming out and babysitting for us! We appreciate it!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


So now that we're officially in the month and year of our baby's birth, we have to get crackin' and think of some names!

We're pretty set with a boys' name since when we had Avery we didn't know what we were having. Luckily the boy name we picked out then is still our top boy name so we don't have to think of that at all. Of course I'm not sharing just in case ;)

Girl names however, we're stumped.

Since we have an Avery, we want a name somewhat along the same lines-not too plain-Jane and not too "out there" weird. It's hard thinking of something that fits along those lines that flows well with our last name, etc.

And I think Gabe and I have different tastes when it comes to names. He tends to gravitate towards more traditional names where I tend to gravitate towards more uncommon names. I think I have a list of about ten names and I don't think he really cares for any of them!  And I can say that some that he has suggested I haven't been to fond of either. 

We do have a few girl names that we're tossing around, but are still unsure-definitely a work in progress! I think if it ends up being a girl, she might be nameless longer than Avery was!