Saturday, December 31, 2011

Rory at 2 (and a half) weeks



At two and a half weeks, Rory is still incredibly mellow.  Much of our family has come to visit for a few days at a time and I think everyone has left claiming they have not heard him cry.  The above pictures were actually taken on our bathroom floor.  I had put him down (awake) so that I could go to the bathroom.  He immediately just rolled to his side and drifted off to sleep.  Although I found this strange considering he doesn't even seem to like sleeping in his bassinet, it is a good example of how easy-going he seems to be.

Rory is still eating about every 3 hours at night.  He generally follows an eat, awake, sleep cycle during the day though I will nurse him to sleep during the day if he seems to have trouble going to sleep.  He prefers sleeping in his swing (though not often turned on) or on one of us.  He seems to be most soothed by a pacifer and swaddling.

At his doctor's appointment this week he weighed in at 7lbs 11oz, a full pound larger than he was at his 3-day visit, and continued to measure 21 inches long.  True to his nature he did not make a peep during the visit and complied with all of the doctor's checks.  My only question for the visit was regarding his ear tag (a skin tag by his right ear).  The doctor contacted an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist who said that they normally remove them around 3-4 years.  While that seemed a little old, it was a bit of relief as I did not want to do anything about it in the short term.

Asleep on Daddy.  You can see his ear tag in this picture.  When he was born, I thought it looked like a little "r," perfect for our Rory.

Christmas 2011

As we sat, cramped in the bleachers of the church gym, I was overtaken by feelings of thankfulness.  In matching outfits of red sweater vests and charcoal wool pants, Finnan sat plastered to my left side and Jude snuggled on my lap.  Rory, my Christmas angel, slept quietly in his car seat at my feet.  I did not take in much of the mass, but, possibly for the first time, I am pretty sure I genuinely felt its intent.   Atticus describes the feeling most accurately with a biblical quote from Grandmother Schuster, "My cup overfloweth."  

With the birth of Rory this holiday season, I have been overwhelmed with gratitude.  Instead of being stressed about travel, perfect dinners and holiday outfits over the past couple weeks, we have been forced to slow down and focus on the baby and our family.  We have lived in Decatur for 9 years and this was our first Christmas at home.  Of course we missed the big dinners and parties but I think we were both surprised how much we enjoyed being at home, even though the Christmas rain kept us inside.  We unwrapped presents as slowly as possible with a 4 and 2 year old and spent the rest of the day lounging in our pajamas.  The rain kept us from cooking our turkey (we had been planning on doing it in the outdoor oven) but we enjoyed a meal of sides and a beef brisket that Atticus' business partner had given us.  We ended the day with all five of us cuddled on the sofa watching Cars 2.  It truly was a perfect Christmas.

Since I still do not like putting Rory down, I only took a handful of pictures on Christmas.  The boys both loved the Hungry, Hungry Hippos game they received.  This is the first "board" game they for them that does not require any sort of adult interaction, and it was fun to watch them initiate the game and play throughout the day.  (Jude does not have pants on because I have been potty training him- I would say he is trained, but for some reason he does not like to wear underwear.)


Finnan declared his favorite gift his "real tools for projects" and Jude deemed his T-Rex puppet his favorite.  Of course this was before the soccer goal was set up in the backyard today.  They were also quite taken by Western-themed gifts that included cowboy outfits, hats, and a not so politically correct Western figurine set.  Here is Finnan making his "mean cowboy face."


And Rory got to spend some of the day doing what he seems to like best.  This may be what Atticus likes doing best, too.


And, among many, many out takes, our family's holiday card picture:

Monday, December 26, 2011

Rory's birth story

I never expected to still be pregnant the day before my due date.  I assumed months of contractions and pressure would send me into labor around 39 weeks (when both Finnan and Jude were born) or even earlier.  Each week, the doctor would make my next appointment, but smile and say, "Hopefully, we will see you at the hospital first."  But the morning of Tuesday, December 13th I found myself in the doctor's office yet again.  The doctor started the appointment with a conversation regarding what the next two weeks would look like if I did not go into labor.  I told her that, assuming the baby was healthy, I did not want to be induced and would wait to start labor naturally.  We agreed and then she checked me- 2 cm but not fully effaced.  Ok, so I probably did have more time.  Then she measured my belly- still 34.  I had been measuring at 34 for weeks.  Starting at 36 weeks, every week they checked my amniotic fluid levels and every week they would be fine.  I expected the same at this appointment.  This time the check seemed to be taking longer until the doctor finally looked at me and said, "I hate to do this to you since you are healthy and the baby is healthy, but we are going to have to induce you today.  There is not enough amniotic fluid."  She went on to explain that without enough fluid the umbilical cord could become compressed, cutting off the baby's food source.  Apparently, my placenta was "worn out" (as she put it).  She said I had time to go home, but I should head to the hospital that morning.

I spent the rest of the day nervous.  I was nervous on my ride home.  Nervous on the way to the hospital.  Nervous while we waited at the hospital to see the doctor on call (Catherine- who I had seen throughout my pregnancy).  Catherine decided that since I tested positive for Group B Strep, we should be safe and make sure I received two doses of penicillin before they induced me.  So, after the first dose, I spent the next four hours nervous again about impending labor.  Finally, around 4:30, they administered both the second dose of penicillin and the pitocin.  Stephanie (the doctor on call switched during this process) said that they would wait until the contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and then break my water.  She estimated the baby would arrive around midnight.  I feel like my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart within a half hour and started to get very strong shortly after that.  By 7:00 I still hadn't seen the doctor again, but I decided that I needed someone to check my progress.  Around 7:15 the nurse checked me and I was only 4 cm.  I immediately asked for an epidural.  I felt like the only way I could handle the contractions was by moving, but I was hooked up to three IVs on one side, two monitors and a blood pressure cuff on the other.  I asked to take some of them off but was told as long as I was on pitocin, they could not take them off and if they stopped pitocin, my labor would probably stop.  I could move two steps- it was agonizing.  The epidural was administered at 7:30.  Stephanie walked in shortly after and we decided that she would wait until the epidural started working before breaking my water.  The epidural was in full effect by 7:45.  I was so relieved.  For the first time all day I was able to relax and think about the baby I was about to meet.  I called my mom to check on the kids and was then planning on closing my eyes for a couple of hours.  While I was on the phone, I felt a trickle.  The nurse came in so I hung up with my mom and told her I thought I had peed on myself (they hadn't put a catheter in yet).  It was actually my water breaking and she decided to check me.  She said something like, "All right the baby is here."  I didn't realize that she meant it was time to push until another nurse strolled in with the baby stuff and they started changing the bed set up around.  Stephanie came back in and after three pushes, I said, "I don't feel like I am pushing at all- is this going to work with the epidural?"  They all looked at me and said, "The head is out!"  Within a minute Rory was in my arms.

Although I was disappointment that I had to be induced and that I got an epidural only minutes before Rory was born, I am now thankful for both.  If I had not been induced, I probably would not have had time to receive the two doses of penicillin and I did not have to worry about laboring (or possibly giving birth) in the car.  (And I wouldn't have been able to finish watching the third season of Parks and Recreation while waiting.)  If I had not had the epidural, I wouldn't have had any time to focus on what really mattered at the end of the day- Rory.  I was regretful about the epidural because for an hour or so after the birth as it made me feel very shaky and I found it difficult to hold Rory confidently.  But, it was only an hour.  I recovered from the birth even more quickly than I recovered from Jude's.  The rest of our hospital stay was great.  I found the staff at Northside to be much more relaxed then the staff at Dekalb.  Instead of nurses coming in every 2-3 hours pestering to nurse my baby, the nurses at Northside recognized that new babies might not want to eat for hours and did their best not to disturb me during the night.  They willingly took Rory to the nursery for a few hours one night so I could get some sleep.  Amazingly, I actually felt rested at the hospital.  Even though I was thankful for the rest (and quiet) at the hospital, I was anxious to get home.  Rory was born during what could be the most beautiful December week Atlanta has ever had.  We came home, put our stuff down and immediately went for a walk around the block with our new baby.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Life as a third?

Today Rory is one week old.  It was also my first day on my own.  Tonight, I decided to take advantage of bath time to stretch out some of the nursing-induced kinks in my upper back.  As I stretched outside of the bathroom door, this is what I saw:


two little boys trying to figure out how to fish with various bath toys and a newborn asleep on the floor.  


Is this what happens to the third child?  Maybe, but luckily Rory did not have any problems taking a cat nap on the bathroom floor.  He seemed unconcerned as a few water droplets landed on his head. 

Clearly, Rory is a relaxed baby (so far).  I can count on one hand the number of times he has cried since coming home.  And each time it only lasted for seconds.  He has nursed well and efficiently since hours after birth.  He nurses about every 3 hours at night and a little more frequently during the day.  And after each feeding he goes back to sleep easily- swaddled either in the bassinet, swing or on our chests.  He has had alert times of over an hour and stays calm and relaxed.  I know this is our first week, and I should not be too quick to judge his temperament; but he has been significantly easier than either Finnan or Jude.  

Rory has made this first week such a joy.  I have had none of the anxiety I had with Finnan or Jude.  Sure, I am a more experienced parent, but something about him also makes me relax as well (and never want to put him down).  Rory seems well-equipped for any of the challenges of being the third.  He also seems ready for all of the love and attention he will be getting.       


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Welcome Rory!

Rory Fitzpatrick LeBlanc was born December 13, 2011 at 7:55pm.  He weighed 7 lbs 1oz and was 21 inches long.  Here are some pictures of his first 2 days.  We are now at home (although he hasn't yet woken up from his nap to see it).  So far we know Rory loves to snuggle and is a great eater and we can't wait to learn more.

He screamed and screamed when he was first born to the point were several nurses commented on his volume.  Once he nursed in the delivery room he was content and we haven't heard much crying since.

Of course, maybe we haven't heard any crying because no one wants to put him down.

Blue eyes for now.  We think he looks more like Finnan at birth, but he has features of both of his newborn brothers.  However, he definitely has darker skin tone and black hair...my genetics may have finally won out!

Meeting his brothers for the first time.  This will have to be its own blog post one day.

Are you trying to put me down?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Done

    

We are done, or at least done enough.  As soon as the mattresses were put in place, Finnan and Jude eagerly agreed to go to bed, an hour earlier than their normal bed time.  After two hours of hearing little feet running and occasional crying, they are now asleep in their new beds.  

Below here is a picture of the rest of the room.  Tucked into another eave is a nook for them to use as a hideout, cave, etc.  And through the door you can see the common area, off of which is a bathroom and a second (small) bedroom.  We need to work on furnishing and decorations, but I think the boys might prefer it as is.


In the two hours that it took for the boys to go to sleep, we set up the nursery.  I hope Rory took note.  We are ready.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Jude at two and a half



Not many people would still call Jude a baby, including himself.  This self-proclaimed big boy likes to spend his days running through the house, either with his garbage truck or with Finnan, jumping from his bed or other structures he has created, wrestling, doing puzzles, and playing with trains or play dough.  He helps prepare every meal- either chopping for the salad or sitting on the counter and supervising (and snacking) while I work.  He is incredibly social and verbal.  I don't know if it is that he likes to run errands so that he can be with me or that he loves to see and talk to people along the way.  Either way, he knows how to charm both me and everyone else.

He loves Gabriela's and proudly proclaims Christian as his best friend there.  On days when Finnan is at school, we will often go to story time at the local bookstore, Little Shop of Stories, or swimming at East Lake YMCA.  Despite his energy level, he is often the best behaved child at story time, sitting quietly for the entire half hour, enthusiastically answering questions when asked and happily clapping at the end of each story.  He still loves swimming.  In the deep end, he jumps in and swims a bit to get to me and will swim a couple of feet unassisted to get the wall.  While in the shallow end, I can sit on the side and watch as he practices swimming by himself or enacts being a shark or dolphin.  Although we haven't been since it has gotten colder, he loves the zoo and claims the pandas, giraffes and lions to be his favorite.  Of course, that is until we see the train and playground.  He enjoys taking his tricycle to the park or around the neighborhood and can peddle by himself if is flat ground (or a decline).  Our backyard is also still a favorite hangout and he will spend quite long periods playing soccer, football, or baseball with Finnan along with swinging, playing in the sand box, and constructing with all of the wood scraps around.      

He has entered his "do-it-myself" phase and this includes dressing.  He insists on retrieving, selecting and dressing himself.  This is a bit of a process, as until they move upstairs, his clothes are on shelves about four feet off the ground in our closet.  This does not deter him and every morning and night (and any time he decides he needs to change his outfit) he climbs right on up to select his clothes.  Sometimes he gets so excited about dressing himself, he will put two or three shirts on at once.  We do help guide him in his dressing, but his insistence will often still end up in backward pants or shirts and for some reason he always ends up with mismatched socks, despite them being coupled in the sock basket.  He also often requests to put on underwear under (meaning over) his diaper.  I imagine he is ready to be potty-trained.  When he is without a diaper or pants he always lets me know when he needs to sit on the toilet.  But, right now diapers are easy and I am fine with that for a bit longer.  Along with wanting to help prepare every meal he also wants to set the table by himself.

For a while right before and at his two and a half mark (officially November 14th) he was in a tantrum/whining phase, easily breaking down over nothing.  It was incredibly frustrating and for weeks I tried to ignore it or put him in time-out when he acted like that.  For the most part though, the phase has seemed to pass. . .  hopefully for good??.  He still enjoys testing Atticus and I though.  Where Finnan will usually stop inappropriate behavior when we start counting "1, 2..", Jude will look at us and continue on, daring us to punish him.  These behaviors mainly include his hitting Finnan, speaking to one of us disrespectfully (basically screaming "No!"), throwing a toy, being disruptive after bed time, etc.  Luckily, he goes to time-out, will stay wherever we put him, and usually recovers very quickly.  

Jude has been a night owl recently.  After being put to bed, he enjoys jumping on his bed, switching animals and books with Finnan, talking incessantly to Finnan, and turning the lights on and off.  He will often be up an hour or two after we put him to bed, long after Finnan has knocked out (despite the noise and lights.)  Jude still takes 2-3 hour naps almost every day.  

Atticus and I have been doing our best to encourage Finnan and Jude to be "best brothers and best friends."  It seems as if they have been buying the propaganda and they get along great, even if that does include some bumps and crying during wrestling matches.  Their personality traits are very different, yet they share the same love for trucks, puzzles, sand, trains, books, and sports along with a high energy level.  Because I have the two boys, personality traits are easier to assign.  Compared to his brother, Jude is not moody or overly emotional and he is incredibly verbal and outgoing.  He is just easy-going and less intense, in general.  He does not have the same amount of focus or creativity as Finnan, at comparable ages.  I think these contrasting qualities make them even better brothers, always able to benefit from the other.  Jude is very excited about being a big brother and often asks about the baby in my belly and will talk about things he will do with Rory once he is born.  One of our favorite Jude quotes recently has been in response to the question, "Where is your baby brother?"  Jude's answer "He's poking mommy."  

All of this may make Jude out to be non-stop, but at the same time, he is my cuddle-bug.  He will sit with me for hours reading books on the sofa.  Every morning, he climbs into bed with us (only allowed after the sun has come up) and snuggles.  He loves to be picked up and held and frequently doles out hugs and kisses.  These things are what still make him a baby to me.  His cheeks are still as baby soft as the day he was born.  It is literally impossible for me to pick him up and not either rub my cheek against his or give him a kiss on the cheek.  And of course, there is the baby face with those big blue eyes that will get you every time.




Friday, December 9, 2011

39 weeks

This last month of pregnancy has been busy.  I thought I was prepared, but then we started construction on the upstairs of our house.  I have been through this before, so I should have known.  At my worst, the boys and I spent a few hours cuddled together in my bed beneath the incessant and loud sounds of the prepping and sanding of hardwood floors because I was too tired to do anything else.  At my best, I managed to help Atticus grout the shower surround and cook a Thanksgiving dinner for 8 in one day.  The construction also coincided with an influx of contract work, which given the cost of the addition and the coming holidays, I did not want to turn down.  While it kept me busy during school days and nap times, I think the work was a blessing.  It forced me to sit down in front of a computer and "rest."  Frankly, the days that I worked the most, I felt the most refreshed.

The month also had many good memories.  My Uncle Mark (very affectionately called Unc Mark by Jude) came down from Chicago for over a week to help us with the construction.  He built the boys incredible beds in the wall of the eave of their room along with many other projects (working on our fireplaces, trim, tile, hanging doors, etc.).  My Uncle was wonderful with the boys and endured much help from the boys throughout the week.  Jude wanted to be right beside him at all times and Finnan kept on eye on what he was doing and tried to mimic, including always requesting the same lunches (a ham sandwich on white bread).   My cousin Kristen joined him for the last couple of days and provided me with some much needed girl time, even if we spent much of it as Home Depot errand girls.  My parents, brother and sister-in-law all came down for Thanksgiving.  And even though the accomodations weren't quite perfect, we were actually able to house them all in our house, with everyone having their own room.

Mostly, I have been enjoying spending time with Finnan and Jude.  There is nothing like imminent life change to increase your appreciation of the blessing you already have.  My energy level has been pretty low, so we haven't ventured out too much in the last couple of weeks, but we have spent many hours cooking together, preparing for the holidays, doing art and puzzles, and best of all, cuddled up on the sofa reading book after book.

And here I am at 39 weeks and a couple of days.  This is the most pregnant I have ever been.  I had been hoping he would at least hold off until tomorrow, thinking surely by then the boys would have moved upstairs and the nursery would be done.  Well, now at the earliest the boys will be upstairs Sunday and then who knows when the nursery will be done.  So, I guess I am ready anytime.  On Tuesday, I had regular contractions for a couple of hours but they never increased in intensity and starting Monday I have felt a significant increase in pelvic pressure.  However, at my appointment on Wednesday, I was only 1 cm dilated, so it could still be a while.  I have gotten to have several sneak peeks at the baby in the last couple of weeks.  I have continually measured small at the last couple appointment so I have had several fluid check ultrasounds and one measurement check ultrasound.  Each time, we have seen a healthy (and rambunctious) baby.  Personally, I found my 8lb 6oz baby to be much easier than my 6lb 12oz baby, so it would be nice to see him grown as much as possible before making his debut.

I have very few pictures from the last month (I think the fewest I have ever taken in a month since having Finnan), but here they are...

The guys working hard on the beds.  One day soon I will get finished product pictures .

Jude hiding in the trundle under Finnan's bed.

Jude, Unc Mark, Kristen and Finnan before they left town.  It was amazing Jude didn't crawl into one of the tool boxes in the back of the van.

The Thanksgiving turkey which was successfully cooked in the outdoor oven.  Actually, it was the best turkey we have ever cooked.

Finnan at the train exhibit at the Botanical Gardens.  Jude was home sick- did I mention both boys and Hand, Foot and Mouth disease this month also and Jude had another asthma episode?

Finnan enjoying a puppet show at the Gardens.  It is a good thing both boys have developed a habit of picking up enormous leaves, as he used it to cover his eyes during the scary parts.

Riding in the caboose with Uncle Michael.

Decorating the Christmas tree with Paw-Paw.  We were thrilled when Uncle Michael and and Aunt Rebecca showed up at our door with a Christmas tree!