Monday, September 30, 2013

August Wells: A Birth Story, Part IV

Read Part I, II, & III.

Ding!  As the elevator doors opened to the ground floor lobby of our building, there sat my friend Danielle.  I watched her eyes widen as the sight of our bags registered where we were headed.  I remember her enveloping me in a huge hug and saying, "Oh my goodness, I'm gonna cry!"  By the time Neal pulled the car up, my friend Kim who also lives in the building had appeared, and I distinctly remember my southern belle friend praising me for having curled hair, as well as agreeing to run some errands for me and later show up at the hospital.
Any significant trip of ours usually starts with a stop at this Starbucks.  This morning we weren't going far, but of significance it was obviously tops.  While Neal ran in for coffee, I called my Mom.  The morning sunlight filtered down through the L tracks as I gave her the news.  My sister Tiff was my next call as we merged from 90/94 onto 290.  She was screaming into the phone something along the lines of, "I can't believe it!  I'm so happy!" and this scream-talking that she was doing went on for awhile until she hung up with the plan to get on the road to come help me deliver the little mister.

These surprise phone calls have to be one of the best parts of going into labor a week early, but I kinda missed out on it on what could have been more.  Down with my tempered, measured, controlled approach to life sometimes!  Looking back, I'm disappointed that I didn't call Ty, Kirra, and my mother-in-law right then.  They all got texts from Neal soon after we arrived at the hospital.  At the time, I was trying to internally process if this was really happening and was still feeling a level of uncertainty about it all since I had no contractions;  I wanted confirmation that this was officially labor and I wouldn't be sent home.
Upon arrival at Rush, I was taken back to triage for assessment while Neal was required to wait in the waiting room.  I think I was back there about an hour and it was a special time to be alone for some quiet moments, although that exam as they tried to decide if my water had really broken or not was hard.

The triage was like an ER, with three beds in the room all surrounded by their own little curtain.  I still remember how good it felt to eventually hear Neal's voice outside the curtain, and then his hand slip into mine as they brought him back to join me.
It was determined that my water had indeed broken and that since my contractions hadn't started I would be admitted to a room and started on a Pitocin drip to induce contractions.  I learned that once your water breaks, the risk of infection increases and therefore the delivery team wants the baby delivered within the next 24 hours.  This didn't bother me much because I didn't really have a birth plan to speak of, other than knowing from day one that I am all about the epidural.  For sure.

Neal and I chatted and texted in our little curtained cocoon until they moved us to a labor and delivery room.  Settled amongst the monitors and wires and beeps, we were left alone to sit and look at each other like, "I guess we're having our baby.  What now?"  I'll admit, part of me was trying to deal with my disappointment that I wouldn't have my week off of work for some rest and relaxation that I had planned before my due date.  I had worked hard all the way through my pregnancy and was really looking forward to that week.  Time for Lesson Number One in parenthood: Your time is not your own?

My brother Ty showed up shortly after we got into our room.  He brought flowers and a bag full of Trader Joe's groceries that to this day everyone laughs about.  I of course couldn't eat, but it was kind of him not to tempt me with anything good.  He brought snap peas and rice crackers and san pellegrino water.  Seriously?!
The three of us hung out while the anesthesiologist and my nurse kept taking turns poking their heads in and out of my room.  "I can put in the epidural at any time," said the anesthesiologist.  "No need to wait until you feel any pain."  "It's really early," said the nurse.  "You may want to wait awhile."  This rotation of conflicting messages circled in and out of my room while my contractions slowly came on.  My contractions were completely mild at this point, but I was beginning to feel flustered by the conflicting guidance I was getting from those attending me.  Ty turned to his phone and made the "Where are you?!" phone call to Tiff and Mom.

With any labor story there has to be at least some drama.  The drama here was out on I-55 where my parents and sister sat in tightly congested road construction traffic near the Joliet bridge.  It's not like they were about to miss the birth or anything, but I felt the need for their support as my labor started to kick in.  With some alternate route instructions from Ty, they veered off the highway and arrived at the hospital not too long after, complete with Ty waving them down from a median in the road.  All drama, that one.
They are the most precious souls, and seeing their excited faces come through the door made everything feel real.  From the moment they arrived, they were all business and were 100% devoted to me.  Tiff brought lemon cube gum to refresh me and sent Ty out to buy 100% fruit popsicles, her way of cheating the system into getting me some sort of actual sustenance.  Mom brought a vase of "baby boy blue" hydrangeas from her garden and wore her navy blue dress in honor of baby boy's arrival.

By 4:30 or 5:00 that night, I was ready to get the epidural.  Everyone, Neal included, was cleared into the side room that was connected to my room as the anesthesiology team surrounded my bed.  Getting the epidural was actually no big deal.  The hardest part was staying hunched over and motionless when a contraction would hit me while they were working.  Tiff came out of the side room with indentations on her palms where she had dug her nails into her hand while waiting, so I think she had it worse off than me.

Afterwards, I felt boosted by how easy and painless the epidural had been and by how much more comfortable I was.  Everyone in the room ate popsicles and discussed how we all thought July 20th was a better birthday than July 19th, so if he was born after midnight that would be the hope.

To be continued...

Friday, September 27, 2013

Dear August

Dear August,

My baby, you are two months old!  You in all your chubby little baby boy-ness.  Every day I'm thankful I have been given today with you.  The other day we were out and about in the city as we often are.  We were with a friend, and my friend asked me to tell her about who you are so far.

I smile because no one in all the world can answer that question quite as well as I can right now.  You are my baby, and I am your momma.

You are a love.  You are relational and love to connect.  The moment you were placed into my arms, I'm told you opened your eyes right away to gaze up at me.  Sometimes before I feed you, you love to pull back and study my eyes for a few moments, or look back and forth between daddy and I when he's with us.  You smiled real smiles way sooner than you were supposed to, and yesterday at the pediatrician your doctor stopped mid-sentence and said to me, "Oh my goodness, look at him!  He is so in love with you!" because you were just smiling and cooing away.  I mean, make momma's day.

You are a foodie.  I love to call you my little "milk monster" because you love, love, love to eat.  We laugh, because when you feel the slightest pang of hunger, you get frantic.  Really the only time you cry loud and hard is when you want your milk bottle.  And you sure don't ever miss a meal.  Your intensity for food made our breast-feeding days numbered and stressful, but hey, it's all good now ever since I've accepted the bottle.  One of my favorite things about you is how after you eat, you throw both arms up in the air, lay back, and scrunch up your face like, "MMMm!  That was GOOD!"

You are big.  Here's how literally all my interactions with strangers go:
"Aw, baby.  How old?"
"Two months."
"Two months?!  Wow!  He's a big guy!"
Ha.  I love it so much.  You've been solid from the start.  When I was pregnant with you, they ordered a special ultrasound around 32 weeks because I was measuring so small on the outside, but what they found was that you were big, even then.  I love your chubby rolls and how long and strong you are.  I only chafe that I had visited the Baby Gap so much buying you 0-3 months clothes before you got here.  You've hardly worn them as much as I would've liked.  I should probably learn to let that go too.

You are strong.  I never really got to have a tiny, baby-baby type newborn because you've been strong from the start.  Since your first week home, we haven't dared take a step away from the changing table to even grab a diaper, for fear that you'd actually roll over.  Every visit to the pediatrician, the doctor exclaims about how strong you are.  Your name means "great, mighty" and you're stepping right into it.

You are handsome.  Here again, I get the same comments from strangers and friends alike.  People exclaim over your handsome good looks, and especially about your coloring.  Auntie Kirra thinks you will be getting love notes by kindergarten, which makes me laugh.  You look like mommy and Uncle Ty's baby pictures, but mostly you can't much tell who you look like yet.

You are a toaster.  Always hot, always sweaty, just plain warm.  It is too funny. I feel so bad because every time I get you out of your car seat, you're just drenched no matter how lightly I dress you.

You are flexible.  We go, go, go, and you are so easygoing and take it all in stride.  Uncle Ty says you're going to be bored with your peers because they're going to be grossly under-experienced compared to you.  That makes me laugh too, because it's mostly just Uncle Ty making witty jokes like he does, but then again in your first six weeks of life you've cheered at a triathlon, spent a weekend on the beach in Michigan, gone all over the city of Chicago by transit system, taxi, stroller, car.  Been out to countless restaurants and more.  You are fun to take along, although it can be exhausting for us both.  We usually take a quiet day at home after the busy ones.

You are a country mouse.  When I was growing up, I had a book called "Country Mouse, City Mouse."  You tolerate our city life well enough, but whenever we visit Grammy and Big Papa's in the country, you visibly relax and soak up the life.  Bottles on the porch swing, sleeping in your pack n' play on the back patio, being held all evening under the pergola, you love to be outside in the country air.  It's so precious and makes me feel a little guilty when I have to drive us back to the big city.

This is how I know you so far.  I wrote this so I'll remember these things about you as a little baby, and so you know how much I love that you're my little boy.


P.S. People, I know, I know, I should be writing the birth story!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Walk in the Park

One of the best things about these days of new motherhood is living just blocks from my best friend.
Kirra's Ellie is exactly one year older than Augy, and so I have a constant running list of questions I'm always bouncing off of her.

We have a blast being together, and I'm so, so, so grateful for this season of living down the street from each other.
Yesterday we met up on Wells Street to walk up and spend the morning at Lincoln Park with the babes.
We wandered through Lincoln Park's Green City Market and then around the pond.
These fall days are just to die for.

Also.  Thanks that Augy's head is in the 95th percentile and this adorable 0-6 months Baby Gap hat that I was so excited for him to wear is already. too. small.
On the first wear.
Story of my life with this little (big) mister.

Cheers to friendship, babies, and fall days.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Chicago Bagel Authority

Our weekend in Chicago was the kind only September can give.
September is hands down our favorite month in this city.
It's that bluer than blue sky hanging above a Lake Michigan gone teal that just gets me.
Something to do with the air pressure, no?
I don't know, but unfortunately it's the same air that kicks my allergies in.
Allergies kept it real this weekend people!

I'm a fighter when it comes to good weather though.
We spent the better part of the weekend out and about, enjoying our new family-of-three-ness.

A couple fun places-- the new indoor/outdoor Argo that I'm obsessed with, and Chicago Bagel Authority (CBA).
It was our first time to CBA, and we were fans!
Fun location, fun interior, and what seemed like a hundred different choices of bagel sandwiches.
Limited seating, though.

Anyone else been to CBA?
Let me know if you try it!

And... hooray for chubby cheeks.  Yum.

Monday, September 23, 2013

For August: A Chicago Rooftop Shower

You guys.
I have a treat for you today!

My bestie Kirra posted the pictures from the baby shower she threw for me back a few weeks before Augy was born.
If you have the party planning bug, her post will give you lots of ideas and resources.
She is truly gifted at taking a space and creating something so special.
Details, details, details is her middle name, and I could not be more blessed by all the unique touches and odes to my loves that she designed for that day.

I mean, a mint green frosted carrot cake?
Chicago flag cupcakes.
Chicago nursery artwork.
Glazed & Infused donuts.
Touches of navy.
Coca Cola (obviously).
She knows me, and it is such a beautiful feeling to be known like that.
It's beautiful, but it's also inspiring.
I want to love Augy and Neal like she loves me, like she loves Ellie and Taylor, like she loves her family & friends.
To be into the details and to not hold back in letting your people know that you know them and you think they are worth loving and celebrating.

Thanks for the lessons, Kir.
This shower was the dreamiest.
You spoiled me and Augy rotten.
You are the best bestie, as I like to say.
To the Book Club girls, thank you for the roles you played in putting on the shower, and of course for your presence and laughter.  You're my girls.
To my mom and mother-in-law, thank you for your words of wisdom.
To my sister and sisters-in-law, thank you for being there by my side, the only way I want to do life.
And to Tiff, Ty, and Parker... like Kirra said, we kinda are like the Parenthood cast.  And it's my favorite.
Hop over to Kirra's post here to see a whole lot more wonderful photos and get her design tips!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Augy Goes To Montrose

Leaving you with this short video from Montrose today, our first visit with the little babe.
Hope you had a wonderful first fall weekend!

Friday, September 20, 2013


It's the weekend, and I'm actually here in the Chi!
I've been traveling so much on my maternity leave that I'm excited to be here for the whole weekend.
I've got a whole bunch of city outings cooked up in my mind for our little family, and so I hope husband and Augy are feeling up to it, wink.

Here's a few photos that have been sitting in an unfinished blog post for a couple weeks now, whoops.
The first photo is from an evening walk where we stumbled upon this new Argo Tea (Hello, amaze!  My new favorite.)
The rest of the photos are of a Saturday morning family walk up Wells Street, August Wells' namesake.
Hint: The new Plum Market on Wells Street has Glazed & Infused Donuts, our favorite donuts in the city!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

August Wells: A Birth Story, Part III

Read Part I and Part II.

Neal, completely unaware that I had been up, rolled over and came awake, his face some combination of sleepy and alert.  Really? he whispered excitedly and hopped out of bed.  We looked at each other over the puddle of water in the bathroom.  After paging the doctor, we both went to work packing our hospital bags while we waited for my doctor to call back. 

I remember the mood being like when you have to wake up in the middle of the night to catch a flight for a trip and you feel perfectly awake despite the strange hour, thanks to excitement and adrenaline.  We were happy and calm and focused; I was completely pain free because my contractions hadn’t started yet.  I like to picture us in that moment in time, with the lights of our apartment on at 2:00 in the morning making a conribution to the city’s night skyline.  I love seeing people’s lights on and wondering about why.  Insomnia, night shifts, night owls, deadlines?  For the light coming from our apartment that night, a baby on the way.

I called or texted no one.  Let everyone else get a full night’s sleep!  I’d call them “in the morning.”

After an hour or so the one person we had called, my doctor, still had not called back.  Remembering from our hospital tour that we could call the labor and delivery unit if we couldn’t get ahold of our doctor, we did just that.  It turns out my doctor was at the hospital actively delivering a baby as we spoke, so that’s why we hadn’t heard from her yet.  Soon after, she called and since I still had no contractions she advised us to eat, go back to bed, and come in to the hospital around 7:00 or 8:00 in the morning where they would give me pitocin to induce contractions if they still hadn’t started.

It’s quite a prescription, to go sleep in the face of it all, but after packing and eating I think Neal and I both ended up sleeping for about an hour.  Laying in bed, my mind kept thinking about all the random loose ends I had wanted to tie up before baby, namely how I still needed to exchange the size of the pair of navy blue pajamas I had bought new for wearing in the hospital after delivering my baby boy.  A seemingly insignificant detail in the grand scheme of what was happening, but that’s my brain for you.

Leaving for the hospital was nothing like I pictured it.  Still no contractions, no pain.  I showered and sugar-scrubed, gave myself a quick manicure and pedicure, and curled my hair.  For some reason, after all this effort I went make-up free.  Who knows.

We took a few quick pictures in the nursery and closed the door to our apartment on life as we had known it.

To be continued...