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.


Sunday, August 24, 2008


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!


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!


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.


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?!?)


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!


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.


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!

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