Monday, December 1, 2008

Our New Arrival

So I think the picture says it all. Our precious baby girl has finally arrived. Aubrey Lenora was born on Friday November 28th at 6:10 p.m. weighing 6lbs 9oz and measuring 19 inches long. And here is the update to the previous post about my scheduled ultrasound and how things progressed...

My dad and Nadine drove over from Albany to cook Thanksgiving turkey at our house. It was early in my pregnancy that I stated to my family that I would neither be travelling or cooking for Thanksgiving but that my kitchen was open to whoever wanted to bring Thanksgiving to me... Fortunately for me, they took me up on the offer. They arrived Wednesday night, made dinner on Thursday and stayed Thursday night, planning to leave Friday after my ultrasound. Joe and I got up early (4:00 a.m.) Friday morning to take advantage of the black Friday sales. We've never really been a huge fan of black Friday shopping (with the exception of the infamous Fred Meyer sock sale...) but we thought this would be our first year to battle the crowds and stand in line. We hit Target as soon as the doors opened and were in and out in less than 15 minutes. We knew what we wanted, we divided and conquered. We were proud. Headed to Fred Meyer, got some wonderful deals, and were home by 9:00 (all the while, contracting like crazy...)

After a short nap while Joe and Grandpa took Brendan for a walk, we left Brendan in the care of his grandparents as we left for my ultrasound appointment. As we were well aware, the ultrasound was scheduled in order to determine if the baby was actually measuring the size she was supposed to be and to see if the amniotic fluid was low. So it wasn't a complete shock when the ultrasound tech stated that the baby was, in fact, average size for a 37 week fetus and not a 39 week fetus. And then proceeded to show us that there was very little fluid for measurement, leaving me with what's called a low amniotic fluid index. As a labor and delivery nurse I knew the implications of the ultrasound's results and while an AFI of 5 (normal of 10-25) is not extremely low, it's low enough to warrant some concern. We were told to wait while the tech paged the doctor and I turned to Joe and explained that one of two things was likely to happen. I would either need to go to the maternity unit for monitoring (to make sure that she was still doing OK inside) or to be induced. And sure enough we were told to make our way to the Family Birthing Center to be induced.

So at about 1:30 Joe called my parents who were both excited and a little shocked and agreed to stay in town to watch Brendan until we came home from the hospital. I sent Joe home to grab my things (and take a shower and eat lunch, both of which he had not done) while I was admitted, put on the monitors and prepared for my induction. The plan was for the doctor to break my bag of water and start pitocin to induce my labor. As the doctor checked my cervix and prepared to rupture my membranes she looked up at me and smiled and said "whoa... you're already 4 cm dilated and 80% effaced, you were going into labor already..." So at 2:40 as she finished the procedure, hard labor had begun. There was no need for pitocin, as my uterus was contracting very strongly, every 2 minutes without it. I called Joe and asked him to hurry back to the hospital (our house is only 10 minutes away) since I had started getting very painful. I opted for my epidural and was much more comfortable (and now dilated to 6-7 cm) by the time Joe returned. But there was still some very strong pain that was not being relieved and I had a feeling that, when the time came to push her out, I would be feeling much more than I had anticipated. She was not cooperating with the labor pattern (who could blame her when the contractions were coming every 1 1/2 to 2 minutes??) and her heart rate began to drop several times throughout the following few hours. But by 6:00 the pain had become unbearable despite the epidural and it was finally time to push her out. 10 minutes of pushing felt like an eternity but she was finally here and making herself known. Everything turned out fine (except for the fact that I felt it ALL!!) and she's as healthy as can be. We got to go home 24 hours after the delivery and are adjusting much better in the comforts of our own home.

Brendan still isn't quite sure what to think of her. He acknowledges her and has touched her head a few times (kisses her when we suggest it.) But he hasn't wanted to hold her and has been very tearful and sensitive to sharing her with his daddy. I expect the adjustment will take some time for him. My mom is here, cleaning, doing laundry, cooking, watching Brendan and I can't imagine what I'd do without her. I only wish she could stay longer. In any case, we all are feeling very blessed and thankful to have our new baby girl. We'll keep you all updated on our adjustment and post more pictures soon...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Hurry up and wait...

Now 38 weeks and counting, I am SO ready for this baby to be born! And apparently she's getting ready too... My doctor checked my cervix today and I'm dilated 2 cm but the cervix hasn't thinned out much (normal for the second time around.) Bad news is that my uterus is also measuring 2 weeks less than I should be which could mean that she doesn't have enough room to grow in there. I have an ultrasound scheduled on Friday to check her growth and the amniotic fluid level. If things look OK, I can keep un chugging along until she decides to make her grand appearance. Otherwise they will plan on inducing me probably Friday or Saturday. I'll keep everyone updated on the outcome of the ultrasound.

We're all ready for her whenever she decides to come. Even Brendan has started talking more about his baby sister (who he knows will be sitting in the empty carseat that has taken up residence in the seat next to him.) I was even impressed at his reaction to our friends' baby who stayed a few nights a couple weeks ago. They brought their 2-year-old and 3-month-old boys and we all had a blast. At one point I was holding the baby and Brendan said "hi baby!" then he pondered for a few moments and pointed to my belly and said "mommy has a baby in her belly..." pointed to the baby, looked up at me and questioned "like HE is?" And that's when I saw the lightbulb go on in his mind. He was connecting the word baby with the reality of what it really meant. What a smart little guy... we'll see how much he enjoys this baby that will become a part of our family here shortly...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

It's never too early

OK, so call us crazy but we decided to decorate early for Christmas. Last weekend the fall decorations were put away and room was made for our Christmas decor. Brendan was a bit confused as to why all the pumpkins had been replaced with snowmen and santas. It wasn't until the tree came out this weekend (yes, I know, it's a crime... we own a FAKE tree!!) that Brendan really got into it.

The poor guy, all the ornaments look like toys... so why on earth would Mommy and Daddy be so mean as to tell him he can't play with them??? Once he got the concept, he was such a big helper, hanging ornaments all over the bottom of the tree (OK, maybe not... most of them were concentrated on one single branch and Mommy had to discreetly move them when he wasn't looking.) But needless to say, it was an exciting time. In my mind, it's never too early to bring out the Christmas decor. We figured we'd have our hands full in the near future and now was as good a time as any. And hey, Thanksgiving came late this year... that's MY excuse!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

8 months

8 months and counting (or technically 36 weeks.) I have to say that I am officially TIRED of being pregnant and ready whenever she is... My water broke at 37 weeks with Brendan and I have this slight hope that maybe she'll decide to make an early appearance too. Or maybe she'll be exactly the opposite and keep me waiting past my due date (heaven help me...)

It's not that I haven't enjoyed bonding with her inside me. I'll definitely miss feeling her move and knowing that I'm the one who's providing everything she needs. There's something about that bond that will no doubt make me miss being pregnant. But then there are so many more things that I just want to be normal again. The backaches, the pelvic pain, the exhausting contractions, the heartburn. I'll trade them all for the sleepless nights of the newborn period. And I truly can't wait to just hold her in my arms.

I'll be going to the doctor weekly from now until she arrives. My bag is packed and ready to go, the carseat will be strapped into the van in a matter of days. So now all that's left is the waiting...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


OK, so I know it's a few days late but Joe was hoarding the pictures on his computer at work...

Halloween was so much fun this year. Brendan was actually excited to dress up and even kept that cute duck hood on all evening long! At first he told me "I no like it!" But when I kept laughing hysterically and told him how stinkin' cute he was, he decided it must be worth it. He had the "quack, quack" down perfect and by the end of the evening was willing to tell anyone and everyone "trick-or-treat" just to see what he could get.

We stopped by daddy's office first to meet up with Kian (the giraffe) and Tracey and to wait for the daddys to finish up work so we could head off to the shops at the Old Mill for trick-or-treating. Of course I'm completely biased but he had to have been the cutest little guy out there.

Neither Joe nor I had time to come up with good costumes. Although the previous night Joe suggested that my two best options at this point would have been a kangaroo (with a baby Joey in my "pouch") or a cow (NEVER suggest this to a woman who is 8 months pregnant... and don't follow up with "we could stick udders on your belly! And look... you already have one (yes, my belly button is completely noticable now that this baby has popped it completely outward)!) Needless to say we just opted for no costumes and decided we'd try for something good next year.

Fortunately the stores must have been reading the mommys' minds because out of about 15 stores, Brendan only ended up with a couple pieces of candy. Mostly stickers and small toys. Definitely geared towards the smaller kids. But he sure was exhausted by the time we got home. After sorting through his loot, he was in bed and fast asleep within minutes. My cute little ducky...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pumpkin Patch

Sunday was pumpkin patch day and Brendan had a blast! We found a farm out in Terrebonne that had a corn maze, a petting zoo, a pumpkin cannon, and a great pumpkin patch. Brendan wasn't too crazy about touching the animals and we opted out of a walk through the corn. But he was definitely thrilled with the pumpkins (and of course the slices of caramel apple Mommy was sharing with him.)

It was so completely different from our past Portland (Sauvie Island) experiences where we would wear rubber boots and leave with inches of mud on our soles. It's amazingly dryer out here (this is the high desert after all...) And despite the snow we got on Friday morning, Sunday turned out to be relatively nice. Besides the jackets, we really didn't need to bundle up. We made the trip with Scott, Tracey and Kian and since the boys had so much fun we decided it would be an annual event. Of course next year Brendan will have a little sister tagging along...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Numbingly Cold

So this is the life we live now, where you can wake up one early October morning and find a dusting of snow on the ground! Joe whispered in my ear as he was leaving for work early this morning, "if you look out the window you can see it's snowing like crazy..." And sure enough it was really coming down. By the time Brendan and I got up at 8:00 most of it had already melted. It's supposed to get up to 45 degrees today so I'm sure it will all be gone by this afternoon. But hey, snow in October? I guess that's life in Bend. The mountains are already white. The temperatures have dropped so significantly. Joe keeps saying it's just a prelude of what's to come...
When Brendan woke up and saw the snow he immediately asked for his hat. Nevermind that it's the one from last year that barely fits and we weren't even going outside. He just wanted to wear it around for fun. What a silly guy...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Counting Down

Is it just me or did I suddenly get bigger?! It feels like she's grown a ton in the last month (or maybe it's all the chocolate and ice cream I've been eating...) In any case, I like this picture. And guess what... I took it myself. Tired of the husband who rolls his eyes when I ask him to take my monthly pregnancy picture. I figured... FINE... I'll take it myself. And *voila* it turned out better than any of the ones he took! Not bad for a tripod and a self timer (I won't mention how many I deleted before I found the two that I liked best...)

I'm feeling somewhat better than I have in the last couple of weeks. Maybe it's because I finally quit jogging altogether. I think I was in denial, telling myself that couldn't be the reason I was aching all over. But a few weeks without jogging (biking and elliptical instead...) and what do you know... my joints don't hurt nearly as bad. The contractions are still persistent. Worst at the end of a 12 hour shift at work. But nothing I can't handle for the next couple of months. We'll see what the doctor says...

Monday, October 6, 2008

Mommy Did It!

Considering the fact that Brendan screamed bloody murder the last two times I took him to get his hair cut, it came as a big surprise when I asked him if Mommy could cut his hair and he said "yeah!" I began with caution, thinking that the excitement was superficial and he would immediately scream when he remembered what a hair cut really was. But, low and behold, he sat still through my nervous use of the clippers and even begged the next day for another hair cut.
Much shorter than I had anticipated but still better than having it over his ears and in his eyes. And if I just keep telling myself that I saved some money and my much needed sanity, it all seems worth it!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Finally, an update

OK, so I know it's a little late, but here is the 6 month picture. I swear it was taken on the 12th. Blame Joe for the poor photography (or maybe being pregnant just means I'm not photogenic!) I feel like I'm getting bigger by the minute. Aching all over, contracting like crazy. I either have selective amnesia or this pregnancy is TOTALLY different than last time.

Brendan has advanced to asking things like "baby moving mommy?" and pointing to my belly. He even went as far as to ask me to "please stop!" as he was sitting on my lap and she was kicking him repeatedly. I suppose this is only the beginning of the sibling rivalry that is to come.

Things are going great. Work is still stressful so I've resorted to only three shifts per month. Fortunately I only have one more scheduling period before I'll likely take off for maternity leave. I have a feeling Joe and I will reevaluate the necessity for me to return to work once the baby is born.

Our friends Scott and Tracey and their 20-month-old son Kian finally moved out here so Scott could join Joe at the new Kittelson office. We're ecstatic to finally have friends again!! Tracey and I have seen each other quite a bit and the boys are loving being able to play together again.

Joe and I went camping this past weekend at Silver Falls State Park. What a beautiful place to be on such a nice weekend. The weather was wonderful and the park was just so amazing. Of course I had to opt out of the 8-mile hike up the trail of 10 falls. I resorted to the shorter trail that led to the North Falls then let Joe and Grandpa Dan drag Brendan along in the stroller while I headed back to the camp with Nadine. Brendan got his first roasted marshmallow experience and, as you can see by the picture, he was enjoying it immensely. It was really a great weekend of much needed relaxation but we all were still exhausted by the time we got home on Sunday.
I've been posting more pictures on the babysite at if you're interested in seeing more. Nothing planned for the near future except getting the nursery painted and decorated and trying to relax. Will try to keep updating more frequently!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Moving Along

5 months pregnant and counting down...

Things are going great. Brendan is warming up to the idea of the baby inside Mommy's belly and even tells her he loves her and that he's going to be her big brother. Although I'm still wondering what the reality will be like once she actually arrives.

I'm feeling tons of movement. It's like she's finally figured out how to move her arms and legs and she's doing somersaults inside. It's the thing I love most about being pregnant. Feeling those movements as assurance that there really is a tiny living being in there.

Joe has finally taken up working residence in the new Kittelson office. I have now reclaimed my home office space and I'm loving it! No more asking permission to check my e-mail or to sit down to a quick surf of the web. Although I have to admit it wasn't all that bad having him here in the next room.

I've finally finished my orientation at the hospital and have started on my own personal schedule of one 12 hour shift per week. It's stressing me out because I know they want me to work more (they're in desperate need of nurses) but they knew when they hired me that I really didn't want more than the minimum hours required. I find it emotionally difficult that I'm looking forward to my maternity leave already. I pray that I will eventually find peace with this job because I'm not sure how much longer I can stand the stress.

In the good news department Joe and I have two new nephews to announce. My brother and sister-in-law became new parents on Wednesday August 6th. Lindsay gave birth to my beautiful nephew, Sevren Joseph Grassick who weighed 6 lbs 8 oz. Apparently he has lots of blond hair like my brother but I have yet to see pictures without a hat. In addition to Sev, Joe's sister-in-law, Katie just gave birth to their 5th child yesterday August 11th. Weighing in at 9 lbs 6 oz. I'm assuming he's the biggest she's had so far. He has yet to be named but we trust he'll be announced sometime shortly.

Joe and I were reminiscing last night that both of our sisters also gave birth earlier this year and that our baby girl will be the one to round out 2008. He says on the Chinese calendar this must be the year of the Baby! God has truly blessed our families for sure.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Home Sweet Home

So I'm posting some pictures of the new house since I've had several requests already. It's hard to get good pictures of the inside of your house. Try it... you'll see. So these pictures don't do it justice. And things may look a little cluttered still. I thought I'd post pictures of the downstairs. There are too many rooms to post them all.

This is our living room, kitchen and dining room. They're all one big room which is nice because it makes it so open and spacious. All the bedrooms are upstairs (all 5 of them) and the den is downstairs next to the front door. You'd have to come and visit to really appreciate it all.

I'm finally done with most of my orientation at the hospital. I had a c-section delivery on Wednesday and a vaginal delivery on Thursday. But still so much to learn about the way things are done there. So I have an 8 hour shift of orientation scheduled on Wednesday then I'm on my own for a full 12 hours on Friday. After that I'm only planning on working one shift per week. I'm very much enjoying these days off. Two days off at a time just wasn't enough to really unwind.

I've become the neighborhood's unofficial welcoming committee, making cookies and taking them to the random people who have started moving in. It's the benefit of being the first ones in the development. You really get to know your neighbors. Quite a few young couples with kids so we're very excited. A new couple is moving in this weekend so I suppose I better get baking...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Settling In

I've been wanting to do this for quite some time now. So many people in so many different places and I want to keep you all updated on how things are going for us.

We're finally settling into our new home in Bend, Oregon! Low and behold it's only taken us 4 weeks (we officially moved in on June 27th). As many of you may already know, things have been a bit chaotic. Our new house is a brand new construction and the very first in this new development. As a result, when we moved in, our address technically did not exist. This resulted in several headaches as far as utilities were concerned. Our gas almost got shut off, our water bill was still going to the builder (OK, that one's not so bad...), the cable company told us we couldn't get phone, internet, or cable TV for at least a month, and we weren't getting any mail!! So we're finally getting mail, our internet and phone got hooked up this week, and we're scheduled to get cable hooked up in another week and a half. Needless to say, we've been feeling a bit disconnected.

Brendan has been taking the move very well. Loving his new room and his big boy bed. He even goes into the nursery and tells me that it's where the baby will go night-night. Not sure how he'll feel when that actually happens.

Joe is currently working from home, waiting for the new Kittelson office space to be finished and ready to move in. That may not happen for a couple weeks still. I'm holding out hope that all of his work clutter will be out of here before that. Yes, the clutter is getting to me...

I started my new job at St Charles Medical Center here in Bend and it's been stressing me out already. I'm used to working maybe 8 hours a week and I spent the last week doing hospital orientation Monday through Thursday all day long. The hardest part is having to take Brendan to day care. I absolutely hate having to leave him.

Friday we drove to Portland for my 20 week ultrasound appointment and I'm excited to report that we are having a baby girl. A baby sister for Brendan! We then spent the weekend in Dallas, Oregon with Joe for his Guard Duty weekend. I had Monday off to wind down from the weekend then worked 12 hours on Tuesday and 12 hours on Wednesday. Exhaustion sank in around hour 8 of the first day. I'm loving my day off today and looking forward to tomorrow but then I work 12 hours on Saturday and 12 more on Sunday.
Despite the minor frustrations we are loving our house and loving the area. Feeling a bit lonley since all of our friends are so far away. But looking forward to any visitors... we have 5 bedrooms afterall....