Monday, December 29, 2008

happy's never too late! (warning: it's a long one!)

ok...i've been quite the slacker on blog posting, but i do want to share the festivities that have been going on in the gassner household. this has been quite the busy month, with the boy's first birthday, hanukkah, christmas and of course, ARCTIC BLAST 08...but onto the birthday parties (yes, that would be three)!

on the actual birthday, we were fairly mellow. we had a few friends over for a little birthday playdate and ended with some dinner and a little cupcake.

playing with his buds, h and t:

he wasn't quite sure what to think about the cupcake:

after a bit of encouragement he went for it:

but it all ended very quickly in tears:

he did enjoy the birthday balloons that his dad brought home for him!

the next day we celebrated his birthday, along with 8 other november/december birthday babies that we've met and become friends with through the hospital baby and me group. luckily we rented out gymboree for the there were 20 babies and close to 40 parents there, which made for a crazy hour and a half! it was a lot of fun for everyone and we got to catch up with a lot of people that we haven't seen since i've been back to work full time.
here are some of the babies (ah...i guess they are now officially toddlers!) waiting for the party to begin:

kellen getting in on some good gymboree action:

playing peek a boo with the teacher:

trying to get a group shot of all the babes! ha...what a joke:

come on everybody, it's parachute time:

the weekend ended with the big family birthday party at our house and let me tell you, it was a tight squeeze! it was really special to be able to celebrate our little man with our family and a few close friends!

here's a pic of the birthday boy in his birthday crown w/ his grandpa and GG (great grandma), who was also celebrating her birthday that day:

aa insisted on streamers for the party and he put his decorating skills to work:

opening gifts with all the was a bit overwhelming for the three of us, especially the boy:

round 2 of cake, this time with GG and he's still not quite sure about it:

ended with crying yet again:

with uncle bry:

with his friend, baby a, who also turned 1 that weekend:

friend, baby l and cousin, baby m, also born 1 day apart:

his grandparents got him a new tricycle and he couldn't decide what was more fun...riding in the bucket on the back:

or driving it with his friends, teddy!

and after all that partying, we had a pooped boy! he slept through the night 6 out of 7 of the nights that week. thought we had turned a corner on the sleeping, but unfortunately it didn't stick! we're back to him coming in to sleep with us sometime in the middle of the night. we may have cursed ourselves because after he slept through the night a few nights in a row, we both commented on how we kind of missed having him with us!

and that's a wrap...i have much more to write or at least pictures to share - hanukkah, christmas and all the new things the boy is up to - but i'll save that for another day.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

on a snow break!

you'd think that with all these snow days, i'd have plenty of time to post about the important things that have been going on in our lives...namely a certain someone's first birthday parties that now happened almost two weeks ago! i've started it...but just don't have the motivation to finish! so...i guess we're kind of on an extended snow break! here are a few snow pics to keep you interested:

Kellen doesn't love being outside in the snow so much, so we brought some inside and added some food coloring and made snow blocks!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

1 year ago today...

...we were on our way to the hospital, anticipating the arrival of our baby boy. I could write a lot of cliched sentiments about what he means to us and how our hearts have grown tenfold because of him (and I still may before this post is over!), but what I'd really like to do is think back to that day and document his birth story before the details get so fuzzy that I won't be able to recall them clearly (it's hard enough 1 year later!). So, please indulge me...this may get long, so bear with me or just skip ahead to the pictures!
Kellen was born on December 5, 2007 at 10:46am...but really the story starts before that! My actual due date was November 22 - Thanksgiving that year. I didn't expect to give birth on my due date, but it also never occured to me that I might have a December baby! But I was okay being overdue because I LOVED being pregnant and I really was enjoying having a bit of time to myself, not working and just being able relax and mentally prepare for the arrival of our boy. Also, even though I was getting up often throughout the night to pee, I knew that once our boy entered the world...sleep would be even harder to come by (and boy was I right about that one!). As the days ticked by, I did start to get a little anxious and excited about meeting our boy, but at each appointment we were disappointed to hear that there was really no progress. Our doctor recommended that we start looking at the calendar for a day to induce. She offered up November 27 & 29 as possible birthdays for our boy. I ruled out the 27th right away, as I was really worried about induction and the strong possibility that it could lead to a c-section. I really wanted my body to do the work when it was ready and didn't want to force the issue, but I also recognized that there could be risks with going too far past the due date. We tentatively set the 29th as our induction date, but really toiled over that decision. The night before, I felt so unsure about whether we were doing the right thing and was so hoping my body would just kick into gear. I didn't sleep at all wondering what to do. Fortunately, as I was packing my bag at 5am the morning of the 29th, we got a call from the hospital saying that the beds were all full and there just wasn't room for us to be induced today. I can't tell you how relieved I was...we did go into the hospital for stress tests to make sure that it was safe for us to continue with the waiting game. All was good and we went home feeling like the right thing happened, but also knowing that December 4 was now the date for sure to be induced because going 2 weeks past the due date was not an option. With a firm date set for induction, I was now looking at every old wives tale to try to trigger labor! Aaron on the other hand was really hoping that the boy might hold tight for just a little bit longer so that he could attend the Civil War on December 1st (which obviously he did...with very strict instructions that if I were to go into labor, he would need to leave immediately and head straight to the hospital)!

Ok...did it really take that long just to get to the day before his birthday? For those of you still with me...I'm impressed and for those that I've bored to death...go check out this:

Back to my story and I'll try to get going. Aa and I nervously drove to the hospital at 7:15am on December 4th. What a bizarre feeling to be heading to the hospital knowing that the little creature that's been moving inside you for the last 9 months will be leaving with you, but outside of you! So, we checked in at 7:45, got an IV and they started monitoring for any possible contractions (that would be a boy was still nice and cozy in my uterus!).

An hour later the Pitocin drip was started and a little after 9:00 am, Dr. Bruner arrived to check things out. I was a "loose" 1 cm dilated (which I had been for over 3 weeks!) and 70% effaced. She felt that it would be a good idea to break my water to get things going and assured me that we would have our baby that day! By 10am the contractions were coming on regularly. I was fairly comfortable, but they were getting slightly more intense. Aa and I took several walks around the halls of the hospital. I bounced on the ball and tried to focus on relaxing and allowing my body to do the work it needed to do. The nurses were coming in regularly and continued to up the levels of pitocin and the contractions continued to get stronger and stronger. I was definitely not opposed to getting an epidural, but I was a little worried about getting an epidural too early out of fear that it might slow things down (if I had only known!). By 3:15, the contractions were really intense. I was in quite a bit of pain and really had to breathe through each contraction. I was checked at that point and had only gotten dilated to 3cm...which was a tad disappointing! More walking, leaning on the ball, back rubs from Aa and at 5pm I had made virtually no progress...still stuck at 3cm. I decided to go ahead and get the epidural and what a relief. They continued to up the pitocin levels and the contractions were clearly getting longer, faster and more intense according to the monitor. We were really hopeful that things would get moving - but by 8pm I had only dilated to 4 cm. Dr. Bruner came back around 10 and I things seemed to be progressing at a slightly faster rate...I was now between 5-6 cm dilated. She went home for the night and left us with the hope that she'd see us sometime later that evening or in the wee hours of the morning.

This is where things get a bit fuzzy for me. The pitocin was now at the highest level and I could suddenly now feel the most intense, burning pain in my butt during the contractions. Because of the epidural, I also had NO feeling in my legs...they were dead wood. I was really uncomfortable and getting a bit frustrated with the lack of progress, but trying really hard to stay focused and positive, get some rest and visualize my boy in my arms! The anesthesiologist came in and gave me another shot of the epidural drugs to try to combat the burning butt pain, but it didn't really help. They had me changing positions to try and get the baby to move down and I was also given oxygen, although I don't recall why! The visitors left the room and Aa and I hunkered down for the long night ahead, hoping that our boy would decide to join us! Again, no such luck.

At around 8am, December 5th, Dr. Bruner came to check on me. I had dilated to around 7cm, but didn't seem to be budging past that...I think at that was the first time she mentioned that a c-section might be looming. After having labored away for the last 24 hours, I really wanted to see it through to the end, so she agreed to do up the pitocin one more time and conduct internal monitoring to see if the strength of contractions were strong enough to be doing what they should be doing - moving that baby down into the birth canal! After another hour or so of super intense contractions she came back and gave us the news. The contractions were plenty strong enough and based upon their strength we should have had the baby hours ago...something was not allowing the baby to move down and we'd need to have a c-section. After an intense 25+ hours, very little sleep and probably a good dose of hormones, this news was really disappointing and I couldn't stop the tears from flowing. But c-section it was...we'd need to pry our boy from his warm, cozy spot inside of me!

I pulled myself together and focused on the fact that very soon we'd meet our little guy! The bright, stark OR was not the environment I had envisioned for my delivery, so the tears started flowing again once I was wheeled back, but Aaron and my doctor were fabulous. It all happened very fast and before we knew it, our boy was presented...I could hear crying, saw his bright red body and pudgy face and could hear everyone commenting on how great his color was! He was our eyes AND according to the Apgar tests - 10/10 baby! In that moment, the pain of the contractions, the disappointment of the c-section and the exhaustion from the previous 26 hours were 10:46am we officially became parents, a family of three and we haven't looked back!

Notice the odd shaped head...this is what happens when your head is being pushed into your mom's pelvic bone for 25 hours and there is not enough room for you to get through!

our first family photo


Dad's 1st diaper change!

I can honestly say that this has been the most incredible, amazing, rewarding and difficult year of my life. It's been the longest, but the fastest. I remember one (well, actually many times) time feeling like I wasn't up for the challenge...I didn't realize how hard it would be, but I also didn't realize how much your heart can grow and the intensity for which I would love my boy, my sweet, sweet boy. I didn't realize how incredible it feels to see your child smile, hear his laugh and his sweet voice, watch him grow and learn or see the world through his fresh pair of beautiful blue eyes. There's so much more I could say to express my feelings for what this year has been, but words don't do it justice and this is now WAY too long. Tomorrow is my boy's birthday and I'm ready to celebrate...celebrate his existence and how much he's given us, celebrate our first year of parenthood, celebrate the fact that I was able to nurse him for that whole first year, celebrate his health and good nature, celebrate the fact that he has slept through the night for the last two nights, celebrate the fact that we have such an amazing support network of family and friends who've helped us along the way (and without them, I wouldn't have made it...and that is a fact) and celebrate that we've not only survived, but thrived in this first year of his life.