Sunday, October 31, 2010

Liesl's birth story

I had really been hoping that our baby girl would wait until after my mom and dad arrived (on Monday evening) before making her debut. I wanted my mom to be with me during labor, as she was for Sebastian's birth, and it would be easier if my dad could look after Sebastian while we went to the hospital.

Happily Liesl was extremely considerate - she indeed waited just long enough, even letting Grandpa and Popo have one good night's sleep after their trip. We spent all day Tuesday outside, walking around various local parks, and the exercise did the trick. I started to feel a little bit uncomfortable around midnight - not contractions, but pressure and an upset stomach. I had felt that same way a few times earlier though, and was not convinced anything was happening.

I had my first contractions around 3:30 am, but unlike the first time, they felt manageable - I could breathe through them without panicking (or screaming). It gave me the impression that I still had quite a bit of time. But by 4:30, they were coming every 4-5 minutes and lasting for a minute, so we woke up mom and dad and started to get ready to leave. It was raining, and dark, and I decided to go with my gut and head to Phelps Hospital in Sleepy Hollow (a 10-minute drive) rather than to Roosevelt Hospital in the city (a 45-minute drive, to where my ob-gyn delivers).

We arrived at the hospital around 5:30 am and checked in. I was still feeling okay - as long as I could hold Steve or my mom's hand and look at them during contractions, I could breathe and stay calm. My water still hadn't broken, so I wasn't sure how far along I was (I was afraid they'd tell me I still had a long way to go, and shouldn't be there). The nurse checked and told me that I was, astonishingly, 8 cm dilated. Almost there! I was so surprised, and happy, and relieved to be nearing the end. Not to mention, extremely very happy that we decided to head to Phelps rather than Roosevelt.

Liesl was born shortly thereafter, at 6:29 am. She was delivered by Dr. Mendelowitz, who was the attending doctor that morning. I only pushed twice, I think, and out she came. The umbilical cord was entirely wrapped around her body (not her neck, thankfully), which caused a moment of concern, but she immediately started breathing and crying and all of those very welcome things. And just like that, our daughter. We are so blessed.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Liesl Autumn

Liesl Autumn arrived on Wednesday, October 27th, at 6:29 am. She weighed 6 lbs, 12 oz, and measured 19 inches long. She was born at Phelps Hospital in Sleepy Hollow. More photos from her first three days are here.
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Everyone has been telling me that I look great all during this pregnancy - "you're all belly", "you're so tiny", "you look fabulous".

My brother looked at the photo of our family at Equus and said, "Your face sure looks fat. And that dress makes you look really short."

Ah, siblings. It's good to have someone around to keep you honest. Obviously that's why Carl and I both went for number 2.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

leaves at Rockefeller; pumpkin carving

We went for a walk at Rockefeller Park yesterday, enjoying the fall colors and letting Sebastian romp in the leaves and play with sticks.

Today we finally carved the big pumpkin we bought a few weekends ago - Steve and Seb looked at jack-o-lantern pictures online, and Sebastian requested a happy-faced pumpkin. We had fun carving it up together and scooping out the gooey parts, and then Steve carved the face. It looks terrific.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

nesting, Brianna-fashion

Other people, from what I hear, prepare for an impending new baby's arrival by decorating the nursery. I'm not much an interior designer, and neither of our babies has had their own designated room to be decorated beforehand. But I have been furiously preparing in my own way. I've called our life insurance broker and pestered Steve about our will. I've had an optometrist appointment, a dentist appointment, a flu shot, a haircut, and, most radically for me, I've had a maid service come in to totally clean our apartment. I have always been firmly in the "if I can do it, I'll do it" camp - I do our taxes and research our investments and have always cleaned our home. (Ah, the double-barreled legacies of fiscally prudent and independent Massachusetts Yankees and new Chinese immigrants ...) But between work, Sebastian, general home-making, and pregnancy, the apartment was getting steadily dirtier. I could do the most important things, but all of the details were escaping me. So I hired this eco-friendly maid service came in - 3 women - and they spent 2 1/2 hours cleaning from top to bottom. That actually made me feel better - where would I have found the equivalent 7 1/2 hours to scrub and scour? The results have made me so happy. I may never go back.

Friday, October 15, 2010

our whole family

On the way home from daycare today, Sebastian asked me (as he often does) where we were going. We go straight home about 80% of the time, but he likes to ask just in case something more fun is planned (the playground, a playdate). I said we were going home to play together, and then to have dinner. And he said, "Dinner together with our whole family - mommy, daddy, Sebastian, and [nickname]-girl! That's our whole family."

I was so charmed and touched that he included baby girl in his recitation of our family. I think it shows that she's becoming more real to him, and that he understands she's part of us. I got a little verklempt.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

the why whine; also, Sebastian's take on digestion

Sebastian has been asking "why" a lot lately, a clear sign that we're heading into the 3's. Most of the time, it's charming and funny, and Steve and I struggle to explain something to him that we simply take for granted. But when he gets tired or fussy, he starts to whine "whyyyyyyyy" in this nasally tone that seems calculated to drive me utterly bananas. Seriously, the tone of voice alone makes me upset. And of course when he's whining why, what he's really saying is that he doesn't want to do something - so we'll ask him to wash his hands before dinner, and he'll say "whyyyyyy?". I've tried explaining to him just why mommy dislikes the tone of voice, and he's actually trying to say why in a straight, non-whining voice more of the time.

In the category of more fun verbal interactions, Seb recently shared his understanding of the digestive system with us. Apparently, you have two tunnels in your throat. Food goes down one, and into your left leg. Drinks go down the other, and into your right leg. (All the way down, he emphasized.) When you choke, it's because the food or drink went into the wrong tunnel. I love it. Steve tried to correct him, to talk about air, but I sort of like Seb's version.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

apples and pumpkins (October, oh my!)

We drove north to Wilkens Fruit and Fir Farm to pick some apples and pluck some pumpkins. It was a glorious fall day - the Taconic was edged by trees decorated in red, yellow, and orange. Sebastian loved the little red wagon provided for hauling and insisted upon dragging it everywhere, even after it was filled with a 20 lb pumpkin and a 1/2 bushel of apples. Strong boy (stubborn, too). I have no idea what we're going to do with so many apples, but it was fun to show Seb the apple trees and let him pick his own. He ate an enormous Mutsu apple - it took him the entire drive home to polish it off, by which time his whole face was covered in apple juice. More photos from our morning here.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010