Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Picture Catch-up

Below are some recent fun pictures that I haven't shared yet. The little guy is growing so fast.

Wearing his new blue and white hat that I knitted for him:

Morning smiles:


Getting the three cousins together finally! Can you tell the age difference? Probably not!
Fun with cousins... Notice Emma giving Cooper a smack in the face!
Woohoo for Harper's "baby", his glow-worm-like seahorse:


He's in the phase where everything makes its way to his mouth:
S

Last day of 2008

This year has been full of surprises and wonderful times. Of course, the top of the list is welcoming Harper into this world. Seeing our perfect baby boy for the first time definitely is at the top of my memory list - right up there with our wedding day memories. This year also took us to Utah, which has been fun so far with Jeff's family. Harper loves all of the attention he's been getting. Everyone comments on his contagious smiles, often saying "He's the happiest baby I've ever seen" (though you can't tell by the second picture haha)! I couldn't resist posting my two favorite runner-up Christmas card pictures.



We had a wonderfully memorable Christmas at Jeff's parents' house. Harper sat on Santa's lap, when Mr. and Mrs. Clause came over to bring presents to all of the good children. Yeah Harper!! Since he was such a good boy, there were lots of presents under the tree for him. They should tie him over until his first birthday party.



I've gotten really behind in blogging. Between taking care of Harper, looking for child care arrangements for when I go back to work soon, and trying to find my Utah groove, I haven't had too much time to blog. I'll try to be better about it, but I make no promises - especially when I have to go back to work.

Jeff, Harper, the dogs, and I will be spending New Year's Eve at Jeff's parents' house. I can't help but remember that exactly one year ago from today, we were calling our families to tell them that we were expecting a baby in September (which turned out to be August)! This year has gone by so fast (but if you had asked me about pace when I was huge and pregnant, I would have had a different opinion). Here's to a great year behind us, and a great year to come. Happy New Year!

S

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Snowy Utah

We made it! We are in Utah, and have settled in as best we can while only partially unpacked. We're endlessly thankful that Jeff's sister Emily and her family opened their home to us during this transition. We're also thankful to Jeff's entire family (and my mom!!) for helping with the entire move. The Gunnells are such wonderful people, and I feel fortunate that I am a part of their family.

Things are quite stressful (and disappointing) with selling the Seattle house, but I just keep telling myself that, "It's only money". With so much love all around us, we don't need anything else. I'm just thankful for what we have (which is indeed so much), and especially for our healthy baby boy.

I do admittedly have a few regrets about the move - especially that time flew by so quickly that we didn't have the chance to say some goodbyes that we would have liked to. That pretty much goes for all of our friends in Seattle. Okay, so I don't like goodbyes, but I wish we would have had time for some kind of adios. Heck, we hardly had enough time for a proper packing job. Things are so much more challenging with little Harper, though I wouldn't change that for anything.

Harper was such a good boy on the trip down here. He is growing so fast. I can hardly believe that he is almost four months old. I'm pretty sure he's starting to teethe, because he has been getting fussy now and then, and has been gnawing on his fingers like they're made of candy.

Moving here is admittedly a bit of a culture-shock compared to Seattle, but I am sure it will grow on me. I am already loving the snow (there are a few inches on the ground right now). Only time will tell what is in store for our little family - but I am sure it is only good things.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Last Days and Belly Laughs

Our last days in Seattle are upon us. Packing and preparing for the move has proved to be a huge challenge while taking care of Harper. I have been feeling overwhelmed with the never-ending to-do list and upcoming changes (including going back to work in January... which is a saddening topic for another day). My mom was a tremendous help, and I have no idea how we would have gotten things done without her! We're getting closer to being totally ready - hopefully we will be fully ready when it's time to go!

So with these stresses (including being a bit sad about leaving Seattle), I've felt a bit down... but that changed last night. Harper and I were playing together after he ate, and he was in a goofy, happy mood. After I gave him a little "bloop bloop" tickle on the tip of his button nose, he let out the most adorable laugh from the depths of his belly. As you've seen from the various pictures on the blog, he has a big, bright and contagious smile. We knew it was only a matter of time before he let out an equally vibrant laugh. I'm sure it sounds like a cliche, but it was like angels singing to my heart. He's a talkative and happy baby. We are so fortunate to have him in our lives. He gives meaning to life, and I am reminded that all of these changes are for him. The hardships we face pale in comparison to those that others go through. That little laugh set things right, and reminded me what the Thanksgiving holiday is all about. Enjoy the happy (somewhat blurry) picture below... note the drool streaming from his mouth. :)


S

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Happy Days

Every time Harper flashes one of his beautiful smiles, my heart fills with such deep joy. He is such a happy baby! Don't get me wrong - we have our fair share of tears, pouty lips, and even some screams here and there. But those times are so easy to forget when he lights up like in the picture to the left, when I was taking him out of his swing.

So our move is just a couple of short weeks away and I'm a bit stressed out. It is really difficult to get things done with a baby in tow. (Emily - I don't know how you manage with a new baby and a toddler!) Fortunately, my wonderful mom is going to come up for another visit to help us pack. Of course, it is also a great excuse for her to come see the three of us. :) I was touched when she offered. It reminded me of the times in grade school when she would offer to help bail me out with homework that I hadn't done. At least this time the reason for procrastinating is a legitimate one!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cabeza Gigante

Harper had his last appointment with his Seattle pediatrician today. Fortunately, she did her residency at University of Utah, so she's going to get us a list of doctors she recommends in Utah. Finding quality, caring doctors is one of the most difficult parts of uprooting your life and household.

The poor little guy didn't like getting his shots. He let out the absolute saddest cry I have ever heard. Over these past few months, I've toughened up on my sensitivity to his crying. However, after this round of shots, I began to tear up myself. All I wanted to do was hold him close to me, wishing that I could cure his pain with love and closeness. I've never heard him cry like this - it was so sad, and he honestly sounded like he was in genuine pain. It was a unique cry - different from his cries of hunger, discomfort, or the I-need-cuddle-time-cry. I know it was just a couple of little (and necessary) shots, but I can't help but think that we can't protect him from all discomforts in life, and that is difficult to accept.

On a lighter note, Harper's head measures large for his age. Heehee - it just means that he needs a large container for all of those brains. :) When I see newborns in the waiting room, I think, "Harper was NEVER that small". However, I think it was just that his cabeza gigante was never that small. :)

So, the doctor wished us well, gave us hugs, and told us that we are, and will be, great parents. I am coming to realize that sincerely telling someone "you're a great parent" is by far one of the best compliments one can receive in their lifetime.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Dos Meses

Today is Harper's two-month birthday. Happy Birthday, Bubba... we're so fortunate to have you in our lives, and part of our family.

The picture above is one of his favorite things to do. He loves to suspend his outstretched arms in the air during and after he eats. It is so cute - even looking at the picture makes me want to hold and cuddle with my precious baby boy.

His two-month well baby appointment is on Friday. He'll get a round of shots along with weight, length, and head measurements. I'm really glad that I don't have to go back to work until January. I cherish every moment with him, and it will be SO difficult to leave him every day for work. Fortunately, I don't have to think about that for a little while longer.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Discerning Taste

Though you can't really tell in this picture, Harper's new soft hat is adorable. However - it seems that he would absolutely disagree. I didn't want to post this picture at first, but Jeff pointed out that his crying face was not only cute, but also hilarious! :)

So the hat is white, blue, and yellow (the colors don't come out in the image), and he was crying and squirming it off of his head so you can't see the true shape of it, either. Maybe he's just embarrassed that his mama knitted it. We'll see how he feels about his next hat that I started, which will be a thinner, finer yarn in more blue than white. I'll post a picture when I finish it, but it may take awhile since I rarely find myself with the two free hands required to knit. We'll see if his distaste for my knitting is a clash of taste in fashion... or just fussy-time gas.

S

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Good Day Sunshine

Mr. Sunshine warrants a second post today! Harper and I were playing a bit after he ate his lunch, which led to some incredible smiles. He is such a happy baby!

The Best Distraction

The other day, I was completely sucked into reading a book...so sucked in, that I read the book in a single day. At one point, I had Harper wrapped up against me since he was a bit fussy. He swiftly fell asleep, and became the best distraction. Though I was really into my book, I couldn't stop looking at is sweet, peaceful face. I kept looking down at him and probably re-read the same paragraph about six or seven times. Will I ever get over how beautiful and incredible he is? I doubt it. I took the picture to the right to capture the moment. Can you blame me for not being able to take my eyes off of him? Doesn't he look so angelic in this picture? I love the open mouth. He reminds me of an old man catching some zzz's. I wish you could all hear the little noises he makes while he sleeps. His little sighs of contentment and light snoring are music to my ears.

Here are some more pictures of him wrapped up against me.

S

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Lovely Rainy Day

There probably aren't too many Seattle residents who love the rainy weather as much as Jeff and I. We needed to run some errands yesterday, and it was raining pretty hard (Seattle is usually only covered with a light misty drizzle). The picture to the left is one that we took while running errands. He was sleeping peacefully for about five minutes into our first stop when he became upset. I wore him during the rest of the errands. It is our mutual preferred method, and I am starting to love the Moby Wrap even more than the Baby Bjorn. I just feel so close to him in the wrap - as if I'm holding him vs. carrying him in a backpack.

Because of the hard rain, I decided to do something I haven't done in a LONG time... I wore real shoes! This may not seem exciting to you, but it was great for me. My hands and feet started to swell pretty badly as early as week 20 of pregnancy. I took my wedding rings off around week 24 and started to exclusively wear flip flops around the time that I went out on bedrest (not that I went much of anywhere except the doctor's office) at the end of July. My shoes had been tight and uncomfortable for quite some time before that. It has been over 2 months of being sans shoes, so putting them on for the first time in awhile was an odd experience. However, I'm seriously looking forward to the day that I can wear my rings again. I'm almost there, but my doc said that it isn't uncommon for it to take extra time because of breastfeeding. So, it was a nice rainy day, and Harper was such a patient baby.

Below is a picture of Harper during some tummy time yesterday. It's one of our new favorites.
S

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A Gulp of Bittersweet

I adore Seattle. Jeff and I coincidentally (and individually) have wanted to move up here for the longest time. It was a dream come true when we finally did. We love the striking greenery of the Emerald City, and the friendliness of the entire area. We love the lakes, the rain, and the people we've met. It has been a great year and a half. It's hard to believe it's only been that long, since Seattle rapidly became the home of our hearts.

We made a tough decision during this past week or so. We've decided to move to Utah. The decision was entirely made with our family in mind. We would love to stay, but it makes sense to move from a financial standpoint, as well as the advantage of having so much family in Utah. Work has presented Jeff with an opportunity to transfer his job (since they're closing his department in Bellevue), and my job location is quite flexible, so I can transfer as well. Though my heart is somewhat heavy to leave this place, I know that it will mean better care for Harper, and more time with him. Thus, the big gulp of bittersweet... We were even sad to say goodbye to my OB and her nurse yesterday during my 6-week post-op/postpartum appointment. They were disappointed that we're moving, as we've developed a special bond over the last year.

I know the riskiness of promising that any home is or isn't permanent. At age 18, I thought I'd only live in Arizona for a few years, then move up to Washington - but I was there for eight (long, hot) years. Jeff and I thought we'd be here in Seattle for a very very long time, but it looks like we'll be leaving just shy of two years. I'd like to say that we'll be back after about five years or so, but only time will tell. They say everything changes when you have a baby... and that includes the degree of sacrifices and compromises you're willing to make. Honestly, it is all worth it.

S

Monday, September 22, 2008

Happy 1 Year Anniversary!



It's hard to believe it's already been one year since we got married! We remember it as if it were yesterday, but so much has happened between now and then. Winning the lottery, buying Bill Gates House, and...oh, well none of thats stuff has happened yet, but even better things have. It's hard to imagine how amazing it is to have a child until you actually have your own. It's the most amazingly wonderful thing in the world and Harper is such a beautiful boy, it's just incredible. Shauna is the best mother (up there with our own Mom's! Hi Mom's), it's so fun to watch her interact with Harper and how he can be screaming in my arms one moment, and soothed and sleepy in hers the next. Having a baby has been harder than I ever thought it would be, and even harder for her after I went back to work and she's taken over the midnight feeding and diaper dealings. She's wonderful at it and I'm constantly amazed at how effortlessly she makes it all seem. Although I do think that she's secretly telling Harper to save all his really stinky diapers for when I'm holding him :)

We still constantly daydream about the beach house and going back some day (preferring sooner than later haha). The next time we go back, it will be with Harper and we'll have so many things to show him and have him experience for the first time, just like we experienced together our first visit.

It's been the best few years of my life, and there's one reason why. She's the most beautiful, caring, funny, smart and most wonderful person I know. She's my wife and the mother of our beautiful baby boy and I couldn't imagine life without her. Thanks for everything wonderful that you do Shauna, I love you. Here's to year 1 and the unlimited possibilities that the next years hold.

Happy Anniversary my heart,

Your two men, Jeffrey and Harper

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Naptime

Harper will be one month old on Saturday the 20th, though he is technically 4 weeks old today! During the last doctor visit, we received relieving news that he finally gained weight! He's finally back up over his birth weight at 8 lbs 8 oz. He hadn't been gaining weight, so we were worried. He was only 8 lbs 0 oz during his previous appointment 4 days prior. We're so thankful that we hit that important milestone. We'll continue to work on chubbing up our little one.

Jeff's family came for a great visit this past weekend! We did some fun tourist-type activities, but more importantly, they got to meet Harper! They were expecting him to be bigger, but I guess it is easy to forget how teeny tiny newborn babies are. It was wonderful having them here. With their visit as well as my mom's, its made me wish even more that we could live closer to family.

Harper's pediatrician has us on a rigid feeding schedule because of the problems he's had gaining weight, but it is going well overall. I'm trying to sleep when he does, but it can be tough during the day except for a few naps with him here & there. We've had a tough day today, as he's been pretty fussy. I love those precious moments when he sleeps so peacefully. Sometimes, he lightly snores (I swear, he learned it from his daddy)! Even when things get stressful or difficult, I do my best to enjoy this time we're sharing together. I know I'll miss it so much when I have to go back to work.

S

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Sprout's Due Date

Today was the doctor's given due date for our beautiful angel to enter this world. However, Harper is two weeks and three days old today. During these past weeks, I have often meditated on the thought that this little guy would probably still be wiggling around in my belly if we had not done the elective early c-section during my 37th week. I am so thankful for this time we've spent as a family so far. It is difficult to imagine being pregnant still. I'm sure Harper has mixed feelings on belly vs. outside world. As you can see in this picture, he still loves to curl up into a seemingly impossible small jelly bean during cuddle time - just as if he was still warm and cozy in the refuge of my tummy.

So yes - everything does change when you have your first baby. I expected life to be totally different, and it is. What "they" don't tell you, is that it isn't just your life and priorities that change... what changes the most is your heart. Of course I expected to love our baby... but I didn't expect to feel so completely engulfed in incomparable ardor.

S

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Original of the Species

It's been a while since the last post and this one felt overdue. Of course this lapse in posting is due to Hurricane Harper, which made landfall on casa de Gunnell 2 weeks ago, crews are still working (usually in the middle of the night) to clean up some of the chaos. Of course, it's wonderful, cuddly wuddly chaos, but chaos nonetheless.

So Harper turned two weeks old on Wed. the 3rd, which is craziness in itself. You can definitely tell he's gotten bigger though, a whole 4 ounces bigger, although it seems like more. He's sleeping better than he used to when we first got home, but still not making it through the night. This of course, is wishful thinking, but if Shelly can do it at two weeks so can Harper! It feels like such a blur of time since he was born, while also feeling like it was just yesterday. He's still the coolest little guy we've ever met, hence the name of this post(plus it was the last song we listened to on the way to the hospital and feels very fitting for the lil' dude).

Have to give a shout out to Shaunas' mama Claudia for flying up to stay with us for a little over a week, helping clean, spending time with Harper and making muy deliciouso Lumpia and Pancit! Remind us to post a recipe if you don't already have it, it's very tasty!

Also looking forward to Mom, Dad, Shelly and Jared coming up to see Harper as well! Hopefully he gets a chance to meet all his grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, and MooShu's soon!

J

Monday, August 25, 2008

Love and Light

How can one gal be so lucky to be completely in love with two amazing guys at the same time? My heart melts just thinking about it. This astounding experience has led Jeff and I have to fall in love with one another all over again (in a new, beautiful way). In the meantime, we've also both fallen in love with little Harper. We truly can't wait for all of our friends and family to meet him. Though the pictures are beyond adorable, nothing is better than the real thing (regardless of what Bono says).

Home phototherapy for his Jaundice is going well. His biliruben levels haven't gone down, but that is good because there were only about 15 or so hours of therapy between the two blood draws (if it wasn't working, the levels would have gone up in that amount of time). In fact, when the nurse came over to our house this morning, she pointed out that the color in his entire backside was normalizing. When compared to his front side, his back looked pink. Woohoo!! It still breaks my heart that we can't cuddle and hold him 24/7, but we know its for the best. Since I do all the feeding (which is going well), Jeff does the burping and diaper changes. We're enjoying every little iota of precious time when he is on our arms instead of the light table.

We'll continue with the bed treatment, though we have his first official pediatrician appointment tomorrow. Harper met three of the doctors from the pediatrician's practice during our hospital stay, and we like them all so far. I'll include a picture of him in his therapy table. It doesn't look so bad, so obviously it hurts mommy and daddy more than it hurts him. Yes, that is a pacifier near him. We don't want him to become a pacifier-addict, so we use it for "breakthrough" soothing then take it out soon after he's calmed down. We bought a pair just in case he'd need them, and we're glad we did. The "bilibed" is inside of our Mini Co-Sleeper (thanks, Mom... we can't wait for you to get here on Wednesday!) that nuzzles up right against the (my) side of our bed. It's so great to have him close by - I can't imagine it any other way.

S

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Harper


Harper Gregory Burke Gunnell. This little guy is the most amazing little dude in the world. Shauna has already detailed Harpers birth in detail, I just needed to post about a few of the things that amaze me about him.

-His baby noises. Whether he's cooing, burping, sighing, smacking, swallowing, crying, sneezing yawning, or even farting, these noises are the most adorable sounds I've ever heard in my entire life!
-He's strong. I swear that when he grabs my finger he's taking it with him once he's done! Plus, put him and Bruce Lee in a kicking contest, Harper wins no contest. Of course Harper gets this strength only when diaper changing, so not too sure this is even a contest Bruce Lee would want to enter.
-Cute. This kid was born to be a ladies man when he grows up. I know that all the nurses will be nice and say "Oh, what a cute baby!" I think it's in the handbook. But EVERYONE we came into contact with stated over and over how cute he was, and couldn't stop gushing. Personally, me and Shauna think that he is the cutest baby in the world and we've got the calls from 'Guinness Book Of World Records' to prove it.

Those are just a few of the millions of things that fascinate us about our beautiful baby boy. There will be plenty more of these posts, which of course it will come as no surprise if you've been receiving all picture messages that we've been sending.

One last note, we took Harper in for a followup Dr. Appointment today regarding his Jaundice, and the results came back positive, that he does have it. This means we will be doing home photo therapy for about a week or less, where we have to keep him under some specialized lights to help him get better. We keep telling ourselves that we've been so blessed by how healthy Harper is, and that Jaundice truly is a minor issue. This doesn't make this news any easier, as it means instead of holding him, we have to keep under these lights until he gets better. We are staying positive though, like I said, he's in great health otherwise and he's just too dang cute to let something like this get in the way of all the big plans I'm sure life has in store for him. We'll keep everyone posted on how his therapy goes.

Thanks again to everyone for all the positive posts, emails, texts and phone calls. We are thrilled about Harper, and can't wait for everyone to meet him!

J

It's a boy!


Harper Gregory Burke Gunnell was born on Wednesday, August 20th at 4:43 p.m. We are absolutely in love with our sweet, perfect, miraculous son.

We went arrived to the hospital at about 2:00 p.m. in preparation for our 4:00 p.m. scheduled surgery. Needless to say, we were filled with such excitement! The surgery went really well. We had a GREAT operating team in there with us. They treated us with dignity, respect, and gentle care. They had a tough time putting in the spinal block, and missed a few times (ouch), and I became nauseated when my BP dropped, but other than that, it was smooth sailing! Jeff never had to leave my side for a moment, which was a big source of strength for me.

Everyone in the operating room talked us through the progressive steps of the procedure, and before we knew it, he was born! Our doctor said "Would you like to see the sex of your child?" Jeff peeked across the curtain when they announced... "IT'S A BOY!" We cried, of course. This moment was worth the (almost) nine months of waiting to find out the gender. But - what truly made us sob with joy, was the moment they brought him to the warming table to get cleaned up on our side of the curtain. Oh my goodness...

Could that really be our baby? Could he really be that perfect... that beautiful... that healthy? Yes, he could - and he was. He delivered at 8 pounds 6.6 ounces and 20 inches. The best part (that still makes Jeff and I weepy), is that he was born without flaw. Not only was he picture-perfect beautiful, but he was born without the birth defects he was at risk for. Sure, we could have spent a TON of money on optional prenatal chromosomal testing to find out, but we knew that we would love our little sprout no matter what - so had decided not to do the testing. Even with this decision, it was still an intense relief when he came out so perfect. And seriously, we have received so many comments on his beauty and temperament... so we know it isn't just our biased point of view speaking when we say that he is the most beautiful baby ever.

So at almost 3 weeks early, 8 lbs 6 oz is still considered big, but not gigantic. Of course, if he had been born at 40 weeks, we'd be looking at about a 10 or so pound baby! We're still quite happy with our decision to do c-section instead of the drug-free natural birth that we had originally planned. Also, his cord was oddly wrapped around his shoulder and chest, so that could have led to an even trickier vaginal birth. So, everything happened exactly as it should have.

We spent 3 days at the hospital. I can give more updates, but its probably about feeding time (though I'm going to be sad to awaken Jeff and Harper since they're cuddling while they doze). Harper likely has jaundice, so we have to go in for a follow-up blood test on Sunday (which I guess is technically today). They let us go home because he's only testing at borderline, but we need to take all the regular precautions anyway. He is looking pretty yellow, so we're trying to get him into the sun. If they have to, they'll set up in-home phototherapy. We'll let you all know the results of the tests when we get them back.

Thank you all for your kind words and great gifts. I'm on the road to recovery from surgery (I'm still really sore, but am moving around and getting better), and our happy little family is getting acquainted with one another. Look forward to more pictures!

S

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Happy Almost Birthday Sprout!

Less than 24 hours to go before Sprout is born, and it seems like only yesterday Shauna showed me the pregnancy test confirming Sprout's existence! It's crazy how quickly time has flown by, and I'm sure that starting tomorrow, it's going to feel like we are in a time warp! I guess it's probably flown by quicker for me than Shauna, as I've had it easy in comparison. I still think my belly's been cursed by 'pregnancy sympathy' syndrome. She's been awesome through everything, including my annoying insistence on asking her every 5 seconds if she's doing ok regardless of her prior answer :)

Tomorrow we go to the hospital at around 2pm, with the C-Section scheduled for 4pm. We've requested a no 'Junior Mints' policy be instated in the operating room. Thanks for the life lesson, Kramer :) We can't wait to see and hold Sprout for the first time, and we'll be sure to share pictures with everyone as well, so make sure to keep your cell phones nearby.


J

Wednesday = Happy Birthday Sprout!

Well, we have our scheduled date and time for our little sprout's grand entrance. Our c-section is scheduled for Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. We can't wait! We were hoping for Thursday, but this was the only time available this week.

We had an amniocentesis this morning to check on the baby's lung development. (Test results should be in by this evening.) The procedure got me contracting regularly this morning, which was shown on the fetal monitor after the amnio. The baby doesn't seem to want to drop any further down, so hopefully s/he can wait until tomorrow before getting too excited to come out!

This may be the last post for awhile, so we'll let you all know how it goes and... if its a BOY or a GIRL!!! (Aren't you glad we've waited for this exciting surprise?!?)

S

Monday, August 18, 2008

Baby Week!

Do you remember the last time that you were filled with intense, euphoric excitement that you could hardly contain yourself? I'm not just talking about your normal happy anticipation. I'm referring to the kind of exuberance that is reminiscent of youthful enthusiasm for things to come. Think of the day before your first day at kindergarten, or the moments before you walked through the gates of Disneyland for the first time... or perhaps think of the moments leading up to an extra-special childhood birthday party right before your guests began to arrive. Well, hopefully those were happy occasions for you... if not - never mind. :) This is the kind of happiness that Jeff and I are feeling as the arrival of our precious baby approaches.

Reality is continuing to set in. Baby will make three in less than three days! We have an amniocentesis scheduled for tomorrow morning so we can make sure the baby's lungs are ready for the outside world prior to the c-section. As long as that procedure doesn't break my water (which it could), we'll be scheduling a c-section for Wednesday (8/20) or Thursday (8/21). We'll let everyone know what the timeline looks like once it is scheduled. The official reason for the c-section is macrosomia, the medical term for a gigantic, over-sized baby. That, coupled with my blood pressure, make c-section a recommendable option. It is better for me to schedule the surgery rather than go through hours of labor that doesn't progress, only to need an emergency c-section afterwards. It's too stressful/risky for both the baby and I.

I am feeling really good about our decision to go with the c-section. The best part, is that it is our decision without pressure from our doctor. She said that she's up for trying any delivery method, even if I was adamant about attempting natural birth first. At 32 weeks, the baby was already estimated to weigh 6 lbs, 4 oz (I'll let you do the math of adding 1/2 a pound a week to that.. yikes!), and today's 37-week appointment confirmed that the baby has not engaged in my pelvis. So now - 3 weeks early - we are likely talking about a 9 or 10 (or more) pound baby. The doctor said (with a youthful giggle) that she is really excited to find out the size of the baby. We can tell that she truly cares, and is genuine when she says that she's excited.

So, it is just a couple of days before we bring our perfect, beautiful baby into this world! As you can see, we definitely have a reason to be giddy with anticipation!

S

Monday, August 11, 2008

One More Week!

Though we were expecting to have an idea of the induction (or c-section) date from today's appointment, we're going to be waiting another week to make a decision. Yet again, our doctor has shown us that her style and philosophy of care are fantastic. She laid out the many possible scenarios and options, as well as the risks and benefits of each. Of course, we could wait for the full 40-weeks, but the baby is so big (my external measurement is at about 44-weeks!), and my blood pressure is so high, that pregnancy may get to be too risky at that point. She is in no way trying to persuade us to do any one certain thing, which we love. She gives us the information, and empowers us to make our own decisions with her complete support. I do have a distinct feeling (and I think she feels the same way), that this baby won't be "fitting". So, we're going to give it one more week, when I will technically be considered full term at 37 weeks.

We have an afternoon appointment scheduled for next Monday, where we'll be making some decisions. If the baby has dropped into the birth canal (I thought it maybe had, but she said s/he hasn't at all), then I'll be trying for a natural (though induced) delivery. If not, we'll be scheduling a c-section.

So, the plan is still for next week, we just don't know exactly when. We'll let you all know! (Greg, we're still trying for the 21st!)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What? I'm going to have a baby?!

One would assume that after many months of being (very) pregnant, that I'd become aware of the fact that I'm going to be a mother. Yes, fifth grade health class taught me that making it this far through pregnancy typically led to parenthood. I've been around quite a few pregnant women before, and have actually been in the room during a live birth. BUT - there was something about today's appointment that led me to realize that motherhood is knocking on my door. So much for four weeks left... the doc is guessing two! She said that during next week's appointment (Monday), we'll be talking about inducing labor and/or planning a c-section for either the following week or week after that.

Oh my goodness... we're going to be parents.

The appointment went well. I am at about 36 weeks, but am measuring at 41 (the measurements make me giggle at this point). Also, I'm already starting to dilate (another reality check). We find a comforting connection with our doctor. She shares her personal pregnancy details with us. Almost every issue we've had during this pregnancy mirror her own experiences during her two pregnancies. If I had the ability to create my own OB, like some sort of mad scientist, I couldn't come close to how great our doctor is.

Its been difficult lying around the house all day when I know there is so much we'd like to do to get ready for the baby's arrival. Fortunately, I have an incredible husband that takes care of these kinds of things. He doesn't complain about it, and he does it all eagerly - knowing that he is taking care of the baby and I each step of the way.

Below is a picture of the of the blanket that I started to knit. I took the picture with my phone, so the image quality isn't the best. Its a ribbed, super soft throw that is kind of a brick red color. I thought I'd be able to get it done by the time the baby came... but now its looking like I won't have as much time as I thought I would. Let me tell you - knitting isn't as easy as you'd think it would be while lying down.

S

Sunday, August 3, 2008

No Baby Yet!

Sorry for not updating everyone earlier. Thank you all for your phone calls and concerns, we are so fortunate to have such loving friends and family. The follow-up appointment with the doctor went really well. She declared that "bedrest agrees with" me, and that my blood pressure was lower than it has been since about week 20. It is still in the high range, but not in the "severe" range anymore. Woohoo!! It is amazing what a difference a few days can make.

Essentially, the baby could come at just about any time--it all depends on my health. They're also going to start conducting the fetal monitor non stress tests weekly. The baby is certainly more than big enough to come now, but it is best to let his/her lungs continue to develop. Each (now weekly) appointment will be a game of drawing straws. If my bp goes up again, they'll induce me. If it stays down, we'll see how long I last. A full-term baby will likely require a ceasarean section, but I'm starting to come to terms with missing out on the natural drug-free birth that I was hoping for. We'll do whatever is best for the baby and I.

I'm getting a bit bored in my horizontal state. It was great when Jeff was home during his days off, but things get a bit dull while he's at work. However, I realize that I should revel in this experience - in a few weeks I will be desperate for this quiet time with zero obligations and an empty to-do list. In the interim, I'm doing my best to keep busy. I've been knitting a blanket, cuddling with the dogs (I feel sad for them that they're no longer going to be the centers of our attention), geeking out on the laptop a bit, and finding other random ways to pass the time. I know, sounds awful, doesn't it? (wink, wink)

We'll be sure to keep you all posted on how things are going!

S

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Happy Birthday Shauna!!!



Here's what was happening the day you were born:
Number-one song in the charts:"It's Still Rock and Roll to Me" by Billy Joel
Famous People born this day:
1470 - Hongzhi, Emperor of China (d. 1505)
1549 - Ferdinando I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany (d. 1609)1863 - Henry Ford, American industrialist (d. 1947)1926 - Christine McGuire, American singer (The McGuire Sisters)1939 - Peter Bogdanovich, American film director1941 - Paul Anka, Canadian singer and composer1947 - Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austrian-born American actor, body builder, and Governor of California--Whoa!
1958 - Kate Bush, British musician1963 - Lisa Kudrow, American actress

Average price of a dozen eggs:0.91

Roses are #FF0000
Violets are #0000FF
All my base
Are belong to you <3

Happy Birthday Sweetness, we love you!

Jeffrey, Dexter, Dottie, Noodle and Sprout


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hello, Laziness

It is difficult to know where to begin. Most of me is too exhausted to go into robust detail, but I wanted to give you all a quick update. Today, Jeff and I went in for a routine appointment with our OB. The appointment is best explained with:

Doc: "Have you been working?"
Me: "Yes"
Doc: "Not anymore!"

She basically said she was giving me medically prescribed laziness. I attempted to negotiate limited work from home, but the look on her face alone told me that it was non-negotiable. I ultimately decided (with help from Jeff) that rest was best. Upon first check, my blood pressure was in the severe range. The doc even started talking about admitting me to the hospital. Fortunately, it was down a bit when she re-checked it, so she's going to have me come in again on Thursday to reasses.

She also put me (and the baby) on a fetal monitor. Thankfully, things looked okay there. We then went down a few floors for some extra prescribed bloodwork to check for pre eclampsia. Not only did the nurse call me this evening to give the good news that it was negative, but the doc even personally called to check up on me just a bit ago. "You weren't expecting me to call, were you?" I will just say WOW - she is fantastic! Not too many doctors would do something like that. I told her that I was being good, and listening to her by being lazy on the couch. :) Oh and by the way, my external measurements are at 39 weeks (though I'm not quite at 35... yikes)!

So, I will have to get used to this bedrest thing. I wrapped up some work today & will be fully done once I do the teensiest bit of work in the morning. At that point, I will bid work farewell for awhile. I was reluctant to give in at first, but know that its not really an option. I have been working consistently since I was 15... plus, I've been working really intensely on my projects at work lately, and feel quite attached to (and responsible for) them. It's time to let go. I'm confident with the doctor's recommendation and my compliance to go on bedrest.

If I don't improve, or if my bp continues to rise... we will deliver the baby early. So for now, I'll take it easy. Our little bun isn't quite done yet. I'm so lucky that Jeff takes such good care of me... I love you, sweetheart.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Trading College for Childbirth Classes

We’ve been attending childbirth classes for a few weeks, and I must say that I’m enjoying them even more than I thought I would! I highly recommend them to anyone having their first baby. (Our hospital even offers a “refresher” class for those with previous experience.) We are glad we chose the hospital that we did, as we have become increasingly confident regarding their competency to handle any and all situations that may arise during the birth. And HELLLLOOOO they have a private Jacuzzi tub in every birthing suite to help relieve labor pains!!!

The more we learn, the more I cringe, but I realize that this information is priceless. I am feeling more prepared than ever to cope with labor pains. I know it is going to be horrendously painful… but with the best husband in the world at my side, I know we can get through it together. Like I’ve told Jeff – it will still only be the SECOND most difficult thing we’ve been through…

We’ll see what happens with trying for a natural, drug-free delivery, or a possible caesarian section. At the baby's growth rate, no one will be surprised if s/he reaches the 100th percentile instead of the 98th that s/he was measuring at 32 weeks. So, caesarian may be inevitable, but I am so grateful that a doctor that listens to me, and encourages us to make our own decisions. Regardless of the delivery method, the information in the childbirth class is quite empowering. Plus, we’ve met some friendly couples at the class. I’m sure we’ll meet more fun people during this journey.

SIX (or less) WEEKS TO GO!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Homestretch!

We're definitely into the homestretch of the pregnancy (just over 6 weeks left), and definitely overdue for a blog update. I have been exhausted this past week. Sometime during the Utah trip, I think I reached some kind of turning point where I started to feel very, very, very pregnant. Standing up from a lying or sitting position has become increasingly difficult and uncomfortable. Even turning over in bed or on the couch makes me feel like a beached whale. Bring in the ropes! Bring in the crane! Most importantly... bring in the snacks!

Last Monday we had two appointments: our 32-week check-up and big-baby ultrasound. The good news is that the baby looks healthy so far. The shocking news was when the ultrasound office's doctor entered the room to ask, "Do you have gestational diabetes?" (to which I replied that I did not), followed with, "Well, we estimate the baby to weigh about 6lb, 4oz, which is in the top 98th percentile". Mind you--that weight estimate was at the time of the appointment (one week ago), not the estimated birth weight. Our precious little bundle of joy isn't so little! In fact, that weight estimate is already bigger than my own birth weight (6lb 2oz)!


So of course, this had me in a bit of a panic mode. Big-baby report in hand, we then headed a few floors down to our OB's office. Her nurse tried to comfort me with an empathetic "I've seen bigger", which actually came out sounding like more of a question than a statement of fact. She could probably tell I was a little frazzled, and wanted to make me feel better. What did make me feel better was when she put it in perspective--it's better to know now than in the heat of the moment during labor and delivery.

Despite the results of the ultrasound, the doc came in with her usual big smile, which gave me a little boost of confidence. (She is so good at that!) We discussed the baby's size, and what it could mean during labor and delivery. She introduced the possibility of a ceasarean section if my "planned" all-natural drug-free labor does not progress as it should. She said she would likely be willing to schedule a c-section if I wanted to, but we agreed to play it by ear for now.

I then asked about the baby's specific anatomic measurements. The femur length was the smallest of those that were taken. This did worry me a bit--but it was more of a yellow flag than a red one. (Okay, maybe more of a greenish yellow flag.) She said not to worry, since even the femur was still measuring bigger than expecteted for gestational age, and also could be a result of my hispanic heritage. She said that we'll be ready for anything with around-the-clock neonatologists.

Jeff and I are aware that the ultrasound weight estimate is truly just an estimate, and it can be off by about 20%. (Though the doc joked "You could give birth to a toddler!") We are continuing to stay positive. We have our eyes on the prize: that precious, perfect, little (or big) angelic baby will be here soon.

S

Monday, July 14, 2008

On The Road Again...

We had an amazing last few days. Last Thursday, we dropped off the puppies for boarding, and made our way to Utah for our baby shower. We got a bit of a late start driving, but made it to Jeff's parents' house around 11:00 pm. Em and his mom were probably too excited to sleep, since they greeted us when we got in. It was so great to see them!

After Friday's breakfast (when a small spider may or may not have crawled out of Emily's cereal bowl), Jeff and I made our way southward to pick up my mom from the SLC airport. It was so great to see her, and I can't imagine the weekend without her. We had a fun time shopping and simply enjoying the company of each other and the whole Gunnell family.

We had the shower on Saturday. The entire family worked really hard to pull everything together, and I am so grateful for their efforts and the fun event. Jeff was a great sport, and had a better time than he thought he would. I think he was expecting it to be super girly, though he quickly realized that it was a casual party just for the baby, and not necessarily for me. I only wish that some of my out-of-state friends and family could have been there, too. We got some great baby loot, so I'd like to extend a big "thank you" to everyone that came to celebrate our first baby!

Sunday came far too quickly. We left at about 5am to take my mama to the airport. It was tough to say goodbye. Every time we visit one another, it is tough to say goodbye, and get used to being apart again. The same goes for the whole family too, but especially with my mama. It was a long drive back to Seattle, but it was good to get home.

I leave you with my favorite picture taken over this weekend. We found Landon and Logan having a feast on old bread reserved for feeding the ducks. They had a full spread on the floor that included stale hamburger buns, hotdog buns, and other various bits of leftover bread. Needless to say, they weren't too hungry for dinner that evening.

S

Monday, July 7, 2008

It's Raining Babies!

Our baby shower is this Saturday in Utah, and I didn't think I could get any more excited.

...I was wrong! My mom called me on Saturday to talk about her travel arrangements to fly from Oakland to SLC for the shower! Baby fever is in full swing. I guess part of me thought she wouldn't make it, but as she said, "I would be a deadbeat mom if I didn't go"! We spent hours on the phone this weekend; we chatted about her travel, the shower, gifts, planning her 2 weeks up here when the baby comes, and her own birth and baby care experiences. Pregnancy has been an emotional and spiritual journey. I love that it's brought me even closer to my own mama.

Emily, thank you sooooo much for putting the baby shower together!! I saw that the weather forecast is calling for some unpleasant temperatures. Be prepared to be a couple of pregnant mamas scarfing down popsicles like there's no tomorrow! Mmmm.. popsicles sound good right now. Haha :)

S

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Getting Closer!

That's right, we're at the 30 week mark! I can hardly wrap my mind around the reality that our precious baby will be here in just under 10 weeks (almost 9, now)! Jeff and I often discuss our many hopes, excitement and (inevitable) fears for the future. I often feel so fortunate that we communicate so comfortably and naturally on such an intimate level.

We had our 30-week appointment on Monday. Things went well - we were pleasantly surprised when the doctor told us that I had grown the appropriate 2cm between now and the last appointment two weeks ago. That means that the baby grew just the right amount! Of course, it still means that the baby is measuring 5 weeks ahead of schedule (35cm), but maybe it is a hopeful sign that the baby decided to go through its growth spurt a little early, and things will be slowing down a bit. My weight gain was also textbook-ideal in the last two weeks. Interestingly, I haven't really done anything differently than I've done in the past (eating, exercising, etc), so it is good to know that the baby is just doing his/her own thing & I'm not necessarily negatively causing this crazy growth!

The belly continues to grow, and the baby continues to be extremely active. They say the minimum movements should be 10 per hour... but sometimes it seems like it's 10 per minute! :) It may sound a bit odd (and maybe it's pregnancy hormones talking), but I do sometimes wish that my brothers specifically could feel the baby move. I miss them often, and can't help but think that they've likely never felt baby kicks in the belly--let alone from their future niece/nephew! I left CA at age 18, which means that I've now been apart from their lives for almost 10 years. Regardless of our childhood squabbles, distance (and time) do make the heart grow fonder. So... Anthony, Greg, and Mario... Hopefully when Jeff and I have our next baby, you'll get to share the joy of feeling the alien baby move! Just know that when the baby moves, I often think of you, and wish you were there to experience it, too!

S

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Of Mice and Greyhounds


So Saturday we took the puppies (yes, we still call them that at ages 5 & 6) to the vet. They needed to be caught up on their shots so we can board them while we are up (down) in SLC. Pretty much all the boarding places around town are booked up boarding-wise for the 4th, plus the fact that we need 3 kennels doesn't help matters. So we found this local Vet that got raving reviews from everyone that sees him. The only downsides were that the place was a little run down, and there are no appointments, you just show up when you need to be seen. The upside is that you'll get seen as long as you show up, the downside is that it might take a while.

So we show up a half hour early like everyone recommends, and there is a already a line out front. No biggie, there aren't too many people. We chill in the car, let the dogs out for some air and wait for the place to open. Once it does, we grab the dogs and head to the waiting room. Bad idea. This waiting room is teeny and packed full of pets and people, us and our 3 crazy (crazy meaning Noodle) greyhounds don't help matters. We try to get our names on the waiting list while keeping the dogs under control and someone steps on Dottie's foot and starts yelping like mad! Everyone's giving us the stink eye, so we make like tre's and get outta there...We decided, wisely, that Shauna would stay in the car with the girls, and me and Dexter (the calmest of the 3) would wait in the waiting room. We go back in and everyone asks questions about Greyhounds, and how fast they run, and 'do they run faster than cheetah's, cause I heard they are the fastest animal in the world.' Thankfully a chair opens up so we take a seat, and Dexter starts shedding like mad cause he's nervous and gets spooked easily. Plus, there is no AC in this tiny room full of humans and their sick animals and it's the one day that Seattle isn't raining, it's like 100 degrees. That John Denver was full of crap!

I'll give a quick run down of the different animals in the room. A sick beagle mix drooling like a leaky faucet who would start baying at everyone and everything, poor guy. A german shepherd, chow chow mix (only half a blue tongue). A cute pug puppy. A very angry cat that I believe would have ripped us all to shreds had he not been safely confined in his Hannibal the Cannibal restraints. The noises this cat made was unbelievable! Two kitties in a box that kept hissing at Dexter. An older sick miniature schnauzer whose owner was nice enough not to mind that Dexter farted or that he kept stepping on her toes and pushing against them. Countless other dogs and owners who couldn't stay in the waiting room cause there was no more room, but they put their names on the list nonetheless. Did I mention this Vet also has some great rates, that are like 35% less than what others normally charge?

Needless to say, it was finally our turn to go in after two hours of waiting, and one by one we brought the puppies in for their shots and checkups. Everyones doing great except for a few minor things. The doctor didn't think Dexter's farts were a major thing, but then again, he doesn't have the joy of experiencing them on the day to day basis that we do. They were all pretty well behaved except for Noodle who started bucking like a wild bronco the minute she got out of the truck. Next time we'll be making appointments during the week when it's a little bit less crazy, and hopefully the line won't be the same length as the one to get U2 tix.

J

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Very Merry Unbirthday To ME!

For those of you that weren't aware... I have the best husband in the universe! Despite my birthday being over a month away, he gave me an early birthday gift.

We've just about given up on my Alienware laptop (RIP) because of what we think is a dead motherboard (/cry). In the interim, I've been using Jeff's Powerbook when I want to comfortably compute in a place other than the computer desk. He's probably grown weary of my complaining about the processor/memory/incompatability of his Powerbook (heehee). I was truly surprised when he presented me with... (drumroll, please...)

...a new laptop! He knew that I'd want to have something of my own for both late and post pregnancy. I didn't want/need a monster like my Alienware, since I'd mostly be using it for internet and word processing, so this Dell Inspiron 1525 (with subtly stylish "Blossom Chill" pattern on the case) was a perfect choice! Muchas gracias, mi amor.

S

Did Someone Say... Coconut Lime?!

I haven't baked much since moving into this house. Our oven is archaic. It may not be an antique, but it is comically old and quite temperamental. With the recent purchase of a mouth-watering cupcake cookbook, I decided to give it a whirl. The result is what you see to the left: Coconut Lime Cupcakes (with Snoopy cupcake liners)! I thought it would be a fun welcome to summertime, and a little reminiscent of the jaunts I used to take to Mexico when I lived in Arizona. Aside from a little taste of the (delectable) icing, I haven't tried them yet. Once we dive into these goodies (when Jeff gets home), we'll see if the oven was in a good mood today.


For those of you that would like to see the glory that is our oven/stove... check out the original ad circa 1963 (click to maximize your full viewing pleasure). Though our house certainly has character, it definitely needs some updating. It could be worse--at least the appliances aren't originals from when the house was built in 1931.

S

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Last Monthly Check-up

Yesterday, we had our last monthly checkup at the 28th week mark. No, we're not planning to deliver early... going forward, we’ll be going in once every two weeks! Overall it was a good appointment. We had tons of questions for the doctor, to which she answered with a genuine smile and sage wisdom. She didn’t yet have ultrasound specifics, but said she’d let us know about the femur length in comparison to the rest of the growth.

However, since I’m (still) measuring big, I have to go in for another ultrasound at 32 weeks. Normal measurement at 28 weeks is about 28cm… but I’m measuring 33cm (eek)! Regardless of this big size, we’re both confident on the due date. She did let us know that the ultrasound weight estimate could be up to 20% off… which means that the 3 lbs instead of 2.5 lbs at 27 weeks could really mean that the baby was just 2.5 lbs… or 3.5!!! (Though I am doubtful our baby is THAT big!) All I can think of is “ouch”. She suggested that I watch the simple carbohydrates since the baby is big. I am glad to comply, as it is a relieving alternative to following a strict diabetic diet.

She also gave me some advice on watching out for pre-term labor, since I’ve had a few contractions in the last week. Even just this teensy weensy sample of what the future holds is no bueno. Fortunately, the contractions are not frequent and subside after laying down with some deep breathing.

I also got fitted for compression hose for my swelling. Oooh la la… The people in the office that she referred us to were great, and the location was so convenient since it was just a few floors down from our doctor’s office. They also do orthopedic equipment and prosthetics, so we may look into seeing if they have services to offer Jeff. When we got home, Jeff had to help me put the hose on, which—you better believe—had us in absolute giggles.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day...To Me!

Well, I've still got a few months to go before the title of Father, Dad, Ol' Man Murray/River/Winter, etc. is bestowed upon me. Regardless, Shauna was kind enough to surprise me with a great gift, my very own Michael Scott talking bobble-head!

If you're a fan of the office, you'll immediately understand how great this is! 'That's what she said!' She actually ordered the Dwight Bobble-head, but Amazon messed that up, nonetheless, it's totally awesome and I will never get tired of pressing the button to hear him talk over and over and over again...

It's funny how getting closer to having a baby makes you appreciate how great your own parents are! I'm just remembering all the parent teacher conferences, principals office visits and I just know Sprout is probably gonna pay it back to us ten fold!

So here's to all the Dad's out there, especially my own and all he did for us when we were growing up. He was always there for us no matter what. Especially when it was shoe shopping time and Dad would take us to get the nice, expensive shoe's and not the more 'cost effective' shoes that Mom preferred. :) I love ya Pops, happy father's day!

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