Sunday, May 31, 2009

wedding part ii

after taking all those pictures we headed up the hill to our reception. boy were we excited - we were finally married! i was on cloud 9 and brian just could not believe it. married! i was mrs. stensler! pretty amazing if you ask me. when we got to the clubhouse, one the catering staff met us outside to see if we wanted any particular drink to be waiting at our table for us. i certainly wasn't going to pass up a drink on my wedding day so i ordered myself a beer. brian declined anything. i took one look at his awestruck, semi-shell-shocked face... and ordered him a beer as well.

the dj started playing "center field" and we followed our bridal party in to our reception. i had gotten the garden wedding that i had always hoped for, but i wanted to incorporate brian's love of baseball as well. "center field" seemed like such a fun thing to walk in to. "put me in, coach!" then we got down to business: FOOD. it was lunchtime and we had just gotten married, so we were HUNGRY. and man was there a lot of food! we had a big buffet with three different entrees and eight different salads.

jimmy, alice, paul, kerry, brian, me, ed, jackie, dave, and kirsten

we had asked the photographer to pull us away during lunch for some additional photos, so we wouldn't miss out on socializing with our guests. unfortunately he didn't and i'm not sure why not. the upshot was that we got to eat at least. i was famished and scarfed down a bunch of food but brian was too nervous to eat much of anything and didn't even touch his beer.

my beautiful bridesmaids jackie, alice, kerry, and kirsten

those boys! dave, ed, brian, paul, and jimmy

brian wanted to shoot our photographer by this point.

after we took some more pictures we went back inside. it was time for the fun stuff! we got to cut our beautiful cake - with a baseball on top, just for brian. (our tables were also "named" for different ballparks instead of just numbers, and our favors were small bags of jelly bellies and baseball gumballs.)

and man was it ever yummy. chocolate with chocolate raspberry filling and vanila buttercream frosting. delicious. and there was no smashing in the faces either. my makeup and i thanked brian for his restraint.

we danced our first dance to eric heatherly's "swimming in champagne." it was so nice to have a moment together with no one else vying for our attention. we both agreed that our first dance was our favorite part of the reception.

then, sadly, it was time to go. we were both so tired from all the excitement and activity of the day, but we were having so much fun with our guests that we didn't want to go. but we still had to. our guests saw us off in a shower of rose petals and then we hopped into brian's truck, which had been detailed and then decorated by the boys for the occasion.

we were married! it was off to spend our wedding night at the pacifica beach resort hotel, and then in a couple days we were off to our honeymoon in aruba!

Thursday, May 28, 2009


nothing very blogworthy this week. i'm sleep-deprived and on a weirder schedule than i've ever been on in my life. i want to get a little sewing done but i'm thinking that isn't happening in this life, at least not anytime soon. i'm trying to get the baby announcements out in the mail. hannah eats, sleeps, poops, and repeats. i am not sure how many diapers we are going through each day but it is a ridiculous amount and i am not loving the impact on our bank account nor the landfill. she has had two baths in her lifetime so far, countless car trips, and a fair number of visitors. so because of her, this week i am thankful for a lot more than three things. i'm thankful for a lot more than three people. but i'll stick to my self-imposed rules - here are my three things i am thankful for this week:

1. that we are able to afford a new car. the pt just had not been working for brian for a long time and with his back issues we were pretty much at a breaking point with that car. and then we had the baby, and the car seat pretty much did not fit in the backseat: brian had to scoot his seat forward, put the seat in or take it out, and then scoot his seat back into position. but i swear, the next new car we get is going to be mine.

2. my best girl alice, who has been here this week helping us with the baby. she loves her niece and loves taking care of her, which has given me a chance to catch up on some sleep (which will likely be lost again as soon as she goes home). we've been taking care of wedding stuff and chatting and being girls together, which has been so nice. i only wish she lived closer.

3. a perfectly normal, healthy baby. her weight was good at her checkup this morning and our other concerns were basically unfounded. the worst thing she has going on right now is a bout of diaper rash.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

baby thankfulness

this week i am thankful for:

1. my beautiful, healthy kiddo. i can't say how happy she is because those rare baby smiles, i guess they're just gas for the next couple weeks. other than that... we're so in love with her. her skin is so soft, i just want to touch her and kiss her everywhere. i could rub her little belly forever. and that skin is so loose, kind of like old man skin, that she has like 12 chins and i love them all. she makes the funniest faces and the silliest sounds, little sighs in her sleep and baby farts and burps and grunts and these chirpy little squeaks. it's like we birthed a menagerie instead of a human child. she doesn't know what to do with herself when she gets the hiccups. she had them last night when she spit up for the first time. i put her on my shoulder and rubbed her back, and she turned her head and stared at me wide-eyed with her mouth hanging open, and i just about died of happiness.

2. my husband, who continues to prove that he is the world's greatest man alive. we all know that i could not have made it through labor without him. i also could not have made it through this past week without him either. he is the one who has been folding me into his arms at 3a when i break down crying because i can't get the baby to sleep. he is the one who cuddles the baby for 2 hours after i feed her so i can rest. he is the one who pushed me in the wheelchair to hannah's 2-day doctor appointment, because my belly hurt so bad that i could not walk from here to kingdom come to find where in the world pediatrics might be hiding. he is my rock, my shelter, my safe place, and i love him so much.

3. mil, who came and took care of both of us this week. my mother very suddenly and abruptly left to go home the night before i got out of the hospital. we had been counting on her help, and then suddenly she is telling me this. i sat in my hospital bed and sobbed and felt so helpless. brian said, my mother will help us. and she did. even though she doesn't cook and isn't very domestic, she did laundry for us, made lunches and dinners for us, left us a huge bowl of fruit salad when she went home (which has since been devoured). she was a third pair of hands at all of hannah's myriad (okay, only three, but it felt like a billion) appointments because she was losing too much weight, and we needed those extra hands. it's not that i doubted her desire or ability to help. i'm not sure what it was with me. but she sure stepped up and for that i am grateful.

Friday, May 15, 2009

hannah's birth story

hannah is probably the absolute most beautiful thing i have ever seen. aside from a bit of conehead that is going away, i think i am not biased when i say that. she is just a pretty girl in her mama's eyes.

monday was obviously a very rough day. (as the doctor pointed out, i now know what a "10" is on the 0-10 pain scale!) i had my first contraction at 4a and by 6a they were about 10 minutes apart. i got in the shower around 745a and my water broke at 830a, conveniently just as i had turned off the water but was still in the shower. so we went to the hospital; brian was very anxious that we were not going soon enough. it's a 20-minute drive and i remember brian was more stressed than i was at that point; i had to remind him where to get off the freeway and where to turn. by about 930a when we got there the contractions were 2-3 minutes apart, 45-60 seconds long, and i was dilated to 4 centimeters. btw that 2-3 minutes apart is NOT from the end of one to the start of the next, oh no. that would be too much rest. the way you time a contraction is from the start of one to the start of the next. (i did not know this until our childbirth class.) so really only like 1-2 minutes rest. and you would not believe the words and noises that come out of your body during a contraction. they had told us the (private, thank heaven) birthing rooms were soundproof but according to mil, she could hear me screaming and swearing and moaning through each contraction.

in the incubator at the nursery with daddy (and mil behind him), waiting for mommy to come out of recovery

i transitioned around noon. i had previously wondered how women in labor magically knew when they were at 7+ centimeters and in transition. now i know. in my case it was because i got the shakes. this was either never mentioned in any of the pregnancy/labor/childbirth classes or books that i took/read or else it somehow slipped by me every single time. (i remember the part about shivering/shaking afterwards, because your body goes into shock somewhat - but not during.) my entire body started trembling violently and i had no idea what was happening. i asked the nurse if i was okay and she said oh yes, you have the adrenaline shakes. that means you're in transition. you're perfectly normal. huh.

by about 230p i was 10 centimeters dilated and ready to start pushing. they gave me fentanyl also at about 9 centimeters, an iv drug to take the edge off. i wanted to try to do the whole thing 100% natural but it just did not happen. the contractions still hurt like a mother after the fentanyl but were no longer pass-out pain is all. brian was such an awesome coach, i could not have done it without him. i pushed for about 2+ hrs and she was just not coming. "failure to progress" is what they called it. so they put a vacuum cup on her head to try to help. hence the conehead, and she also has some scabby scratches on the top of her head from the vacuum cup. they also had to catheterize me just before because i had not peed all day and a full bladder can hinder the vacuum apparently. that was about the worst thing ever, it hurt so bad. brian kept me focused on him but he said the look on my face broke his heart. he also said he could tell how much it hurt and that he did not realize until then how tough i was. (i generally have a relatively low pain tolerance.) apparently he has much more appreciation and respect for me now! i was begging the doctor not to catheterize me but they had to. then they also gave me two shots, one on either side, for the pudendal block. the doctor said to ease the pain as she came out on the vacuum, i guess it hurts more. i do remember at one point the vacuum popped off her head. i remember the doctor pulling hard as i was pushing too but nothing happened. she and i just failed to progress.

apparently life on the outside isn't all it's cracked up to be

i think i pushed about 30-45 minutes with the vacuum but she was just not coming so the doctor said they needed to get me in for an emergency cesarean. i was tired and the baby was tired and nothing was happening. her heart rate was dropping during contractions, not dangerously so thank the Lord, but her oxygen levels were dropping also and the doctor was concerned. i asked brian afterwards if he could even see anything when i was pushing (like the top of her head) and he said no. i was actually kind of relieved about the cesarean because i just wanted the whole thing done with at that point. so they wheeled me away to do a spinal block (faster than an epidural) while brian got suited up.

they poked my back for about 15 minutes but it was not taking, i was not getting any pain relief. i counted at least seven poke bruises on my spine yesterday. in the meantime i was having contractions and curled on my side, as much as i could be with a baby between my legs and the doctor is saying hold still so i can do this. what?! a man of course. (i also had to sign a consent form in the same position on the or table, while being poked and having a contraction. why can't you consent to things ahead of time?) they also tried to put in an epidural but it did not take either. after about 20 minutes i said, PLEASE can you just do general (which they don't like as much because it is more risk to the baby). but they did. they had to catheterize me again for the cesarean, but it was a different kind of catheter so did not hurt as bad as before THANK THE LORD. i said, can you PLEASE catheterize me after you put me under, and they said, i'm sorry but no, as soon as you are under we have to get the baby out.

they had to strap my legs down, i guess so i wouldn't go flopping everywhere in the middle of a contraction while i was under anesthesia. that was VERY scary, especially when i had a contraction before the anesthesia kicked in. no one told me they strap your legs down. none of the books mention this. they don't talk about it in the childbirth classes. the worst part was, brian could not be there with me under general anesthesia, so i was alone with all those nurses and doctors the whole time i was in the operating room, and all i wanted was him.

she has this crinkly lower lip just like her daddy's, and sometimes likes to squinch it sideways when she sleeps

they also had to intubate me with the general anesthesia so my voice is scratchy and my throat hurts even four days later. brian calls it sexy voice, even though the last thing i feel these days is sexy. i think they put me under about 545p (i know they wheeled me into the or about 5p) and hannah was born at 6p on the dot. 8 pounds 0 ounces, and 20 inches long. brian saw her pretty much as soon as she got out, they cut her cord and then took her away to get a bath and such while they stitched me up. she is all red and wailing in those first pictures he took. he said she just wanted her mom and to feed. i started coming around about 7p and i think they brought her to me around 730p and she just went to town breastfeeding. i remember the first thing i asked was if she was okay, and the nurses told me she was fine, healthy and beautiful. i remember the next thing i asked was if she was still a girl; the ultrasound tech had been almost 100% positive on her sex but that almost had bothered us ever since. we had all these girl things, and a pink and purple nursery, a girl name (we could not agree on a boy name), and we couldn't agree on whether to circumsize or not. what if she was a boy?

so that is where we are right now, we got home yesterday afternoon after three days (including labor) in the hospital. i have not slept much of course and my abdomen hurts of course, to be expected when they cut it open to remove an 8 pound baby, but still. she has her days and nights reversed right now so sleeps too much during the day and feeds too much at night. i guess most babies are like that at first. she also has so far lost too much weight, 14 ounces in 4 days which is definitely more than the maximum 7% body weight loss that they prefer to see, so we have to supplement with formula for the next few days until my milk comes in and she is getting enough nutrition from me. otherwise she would have to be admitted and apart from us. fortunately that is the only thing "wrong" with her. her bilirubin levels are great, no jaundice, and all her scores and vitals have otherwise been fabulous.

all strapped in and ready to go home, swimming in her sleeper

we are so in love with her. i never thought i could be so happy about being "replaced" in my husband's heart, but i am just over the moon that brian is so starry-eyed over her. i never thought i could so love this little person who is making such demands on my time, energy, and body. and i never realized how much i could trust and appreciate the man who got me through this whole thing - pregnancy, labor, delivery, who is taking such good care of me right now as i'm recovering not only from a (mostly) regular birth but also from major abdominal surgery. i never thought i could love brian more than i did before this experience. he saw me go through things, say and do things that a husband should not have to see and hear and experience from his wife, and i should be ashamed and embarrassed, and i'm not. he's my husband and he loves me. i can't imagine having done this whole thing with anyone else, and i wouldn't want to.

cross-posted at baby stenz

hannah jeanne

was born on monday may 11 (her due date!) at 6pm. she was 8 lbs. 0 oz. and 20 ins long. she is the most beautiful thing brian and i have ever seen. we all came home from the hospital thursday afternoon.

photos and her birth story to come, it was quite the ordeal. we tried a little bit of pretty much everything just to meet this kiddo.

cross-posted at baby stenz

Thursday, May 7, 2009

no baby yet

this week i am thankful for:

1. my husband being home on leave also. it's really nice to have him around, even if he does play mah jongg compulsively and check baseball stats and his fantasy teams obssessively. at the moment we aren't driving each other nuts so it's nice to get to spend this time together, even if it isn't really a vacation because we're sitting around waiting for kiddo to make her appearance.

2. not having a baby just yet, because it is giving me time to get projects done that i have not previously had time to do. if they don't get done, they don't get done, but it's still nice. for example, brian's birthday gift is all squared away, because i'm afraid that if i didn't get it done now, he'd get the short end of the stick this year. his birthday is not until june, but i wanted to do something special for him since everything has kind of been revolving around me for the last nine months. i also finished a friend's wedding gift, which i am SO excited about and love SO much and want to post photos of SO badly, but i can't/won't until the end of june so as not to ruin the surprise.

3. beautiful, perfect weather lately. maybe not perfect, it's been a bit breezy for my taste, but otherwise it's been SO lovely. the breeze does keep it from being too hot which i and my crazy hormonal metabolism do appreciate. i would go nuts if it were dreary and overcast or (heaven forbid!) rainy and i were cooped up in the house all day, so this is really nice.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

nesting like nobody's business

and the nursery is FINALLY done! well, except for one piece of artwork, but that can certainly wait. i love her room:

this is what i did for my birthday: hung the shelf over her dresser, painted and assembled the shelves in her closet, set up the pack & play downstairs, and cooked like a madwoman. i also did laundry and some light cleaning, the usual weekend chores. my coworkers also took me out to lunch on friday and brian took me to lunch on saturday. we are both pretty beat lately, him from work and me from being pregnant, that neither one of us had the energy to make a big to-do for my birthday. i didn't really mind because of all those things that were nagging at me to get done before the kiddo arrives, and i'm generally happiest working on a project or six. thank heavens for this manic nesting energy or nothing would be done.

my freezer is also (i hope) fully stocked for the next few weeks. brian does not cook at all and while he can happily eat fast food and take-out for every meal, i would prefer something healthier and home-cooked. now in my freezer there are currently three turkey dinners (turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and vegetables), six turkey pot pies, three bacon & leek quiches, two lasagnas (including a vegetarian one in case kiddo is here when my sister comes over), and one dish of stuffed shells. this is in addition to our usual assortment of chicken, ham, steak, fish, and frozen vegetables that i can pull out and thaw at a moment's notice. my mother told me that when i was born, she and my father ate from their freezer for six weeks. dad only had to go to the store for milk and lettuce. six weeks is a lot to live up to, i don't know if we will make it that far, but i'm trying. so now all brian has to do is take something out of the freezer in the morning, leave it to defrost, and stick it in the oven. i even wrote instructions on the labels.

i'm sure i could find more to do, but i think i'm going to go put my feet up with a good book or watch a movie. besides, brian is bringing me home a baskin robbins milkshake and i don't want to miss that.

cross-posted at baby stenz

Friday, May 1, 2009

green birthday/earth day giveaway winner!

happy birthday to me! thanks to those of you who participated in my green birthday giveaway. and the winner is... sherry at this young house! sherry, send me your address so i can pop your prize in the mail to you (i'm assuming the "mommy" prize, as you have no babies yet?).

again, thank you to everyone who participated. i actually really enjoy doing these giveaways, so hopefully i will come up with an idea for another one (and the time to do it after the kiddo comes) soon.