Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Whit's Newborn Pictures

Our son is the cutest, most wrinkly little baby I've ever seen. My mom has dubbed him a Little Elephant because of the deep wrinkles of skin around his elbows and knees, and it's surprising fitting. He's also our Little Monkey because he loves to shoot his long, skinny arms and legs out in every direction to grab onto anything in sight.

So in preparing to take newborn photos of him of course I wanted the ultra-adorable head shots and prop photos, but after two different afternoons of photo taking and multiple times getting peed on, I decided to lower my expectations and focus on capturing his wrinkles and personality.

I did what I could.

{This was taken while sleeping in his crib one day. It's a mini crib, but he's still so small in it!}

{This photo matches a 3D profile ultrasound photo we have. Yep- I recognize that nose!}

{Cutesy photos were hard to take because he was not in favor of me moving him while he slept!}

{See that furrowed brow? He always looks so intense!}

{I LOVE his eyes here. They truly are a beautiful navy blue like his swaddler. They are almost black!}


 {Ok, here is a good newborn one. Don't tell the TV that the projector screen 
moonlights as a backdrop stand :) }

{I really wanted some good ones of him with his "W" props, but he was NOT interested in any more photos. This is the best I got, and I hate that he has a pacifier in it :( }

{These next few were a total accident. Ben was consoling him after some photos, and I couldn't resist getting a couple of them together. I'll do some more professional ones of the two of them later}

His awesomeness is hard to capture, but now you have an idea!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Unto us a child was born: Whit's birth story

I've been asked about the details of Whit's delivery by a few people, and it's a story I'm proud to tell, so here it is. For those of you uninterested in the sordid details I won't be offended if you skip this post.

July 18, 2012

2:00 am: 
I woke up the morning of my induction with a crushing pain in my chest. It didn't feel quite like the terrifying panic attack that preceded Eleanor's birth, but the hold was so firm that I spent a long time paralyzed in bed- I couldn't even move to try and sit up to "relieve" the pressure of my lungs. When I was able to move I made my way downstairs to fill the newly empty feeling space with cherries and cheerios. Little did I know it would be the last thing I'd eat for hours!

4:45 am: 
Ben and I wake up to get ready to go to the hospital. This goes pretty smoothly, thanks to a well-prepared and placed hospital bag and clothing. It helps to wake up knowing you're going to the hospital to have a baby :)

5:30 am: 
We get checked in at the hospital. The maternity admissions receptionist said she'd never seen someone so excited to receive her ID bracelet.

6:30 am:
We get settled into our L&D room. I wasn't told until afterward that it happened to be the same room where I delivered Eleanor (This was a 1 in 17 chance. Ben realized it right away. I guess I'd been sort of out-of-it last year!) I tell my assigned nurse my medical history and answer all of the personal questions she needs to enter. I also tell her about the crushing chest pain of earlier and the panic attack from my last delivery, which I am severely reprimanded for. Apparently chest pain is one of the things you're supposed to call in immediately! This means I have to wait to be induced to have an EKG performed. Again.

10:30 am: 
EKG results are fine, so my Pitocin drip gets started. I came into the hospital at 2-3 cm dilated and 60% effaced. Over the next few hours my monitor reports contractions around 3 minutes apart, but I don't feel any of them. My nurse holds off on checking me again and continues to up my Pit Drip, saying that getting to 4 or 5 cm (when active labor begins) is a combination of contractions 2-3 mins apart and strong enough to be painful. I find this frustrating, and by the afternoon I'm still waiting to feel the contractions and begin to wonder if I'll even deliver on July 18! I'd had the impression days ago that the delivery would be quick, but "Feeling" contractions and delivering by midnight becomes my new goal.

5:00 pm: 
The midwife on duty, Suzanne, decides to give me a check even though I'm still feeling great. Surprisingly, I've made it to 5 cm dilated! She tells me that she can break my water and that, afterward, contractions will start to feel a lot stronger. I have felt so great progressing that she anticipates I'll delivery without any need for an epidural. She breaks my water, which is the grossest thing. I'm convinced I've ruined the hospital bed and can't imagine having that happen at home!

6:30 pm: 
It meant a lot that Suzanne had faith in me to deliver without an epidural, but, after dancing, singing, walking, and leaning my way through an hour and a half of hard contractions I feel like I've hit my limit and ask for an epidural. I am only 6 cm dilated, and I have no desire to go another few hours (at least) in that sort of pain! I am told that the anesthesiologist has one other patient before me, the shot will then take 15 mins. to administer and 4-5 contractions to kick in. Someone has turned the switch on to PAIN all of a sudden, and I start counting down the minutes until sweet medicine will take the pain away...

7:10 pm:
The anesthesiologist enters. I am yelling and dry crying from pain, and he instructs my nurse to check how far dilated I am because "those sound like baby cries." and delivering while having an epidural administered would be bad. My nurse, Erin, reports that I'm barely over 7 cm, despite my cries of agony. The anesthesiologist begins to set up his instruments, I'm told to sit on the edge of the hospital bed in preparation, and he begins.

7:30 pm
Before he finishes my cries (which I'd tried to hold in while he was injecting me) reach a level I had no idea I was capable of. Looking back, the noise is actually amusing it was so loud and high-pitched. I begin to feel the baby descending while still sitting on the edge of the bed, and the anesthesiologist rapidly tries to release the needle and clean up his instruments away from the bed so I can lay down to deliver. The nurse calls for Suzanne to come immediately. I hear her yell into the phone, "The baby is coming NOW!" Three more nurses flood the room to help me just in case Suzanne doesn't walk down the hall in time.

7:40 pm: 
Whit is born after 2 hours and a half hours of active labor and 5-10 mins of pushing. His delivery was so abrupt that the anesthesiologist is still in the room cleaning up, my epidural never kicked in, and I tear only because my skin doesn't have enough time to stretch properly. He is immediately put to my chest for a few hours of "skin to skin" to promote bonding, regulate his temperature and blood sugar levels. Ben cuts his umbilical while Whit is on my chest and we both are shedding crocodile tears. I didn't realize how much fear still existed in me until he was born. I kept saying, "Is he really coming? Is this real? Is he really here?" We are both completely relieved and shocked that this moment has actually come- we are parents with a baby.

He was definitely worth it.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


After almost 18 months of continuous pregnancy, we are finally parents who have a child. Last year I didn't leave the hospital with my baby, this year I'm the happiest mother ever. Our family is complete.

Whit Thomas O'Brien

Before and after!

Contractions started to get painful around 5 cm after my water broke. I "pole danced" around to music to distract myself.

Our hospital performs Skin to Skin as soon as baby is born. He was IMMEDIATELY put to my chest for a couple hours, then Ben had his turn.

Whit had three hospital cuffs for security reasons. Poor fellow :(

First family photo, thanks to Waledah- one of the incredible midwives who has helped us on this journey.

My boys sleeping in the hospital. They are my world.

I made this special decal for his newborn kimono shirts to ensure we left the hospital with the right baby!

My mom was waiting on our steps when we came home. She finally meets him!

Mom's reaction to hearing that we named him after her father!

Ben covered our living room table with flowers, balloons, and candy for us!

Happy Birthday, Whit.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Godspeed, Little Man...

On the night before I welcome my own Little Man into the world this song is the only thing running through my mind, and bringing tears to my eyes.

All of the fear, excitement, memories, doubt, and joy can be summed up in these words:

Godspeed, Little Man... Sweet dreams, Little Man... My love will fly to you each night on angel's wings... Godspeed... 

I am praying harder for his safe arrival (by whatever means and in whatever time frame) than I've ever prayed for anything in my life.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Dear Diary: Some Complaints and Preparing for Baby

Dear Very-Public-Judgement-Creating-Family-Blog-I'm-Using-Selfishly Diary,

        I'll try to say this without exaggerating (seriously. I'm working on that): Yesterday was the worst day at work I've ever had. Don't get me wrong, running my own business has created lots of issues in the past and I've been angered over problems plenty of times, but almost every one of the complaints I've ever experienced with the store re-occurred  in just one day. Here's a breakdown: I was accused of copyright infringement and called immoral twice, I went to two different (far away) stores looking for the one brand of onesies I have decided to use only to be told (eventually) that they are no longer carrying the size/ style I need (which I have a lot of backed-up orders for. Now what do I do?), my vinyl cutter wouldn't turn on, when it finally did decide to run it didn't cut right and I had to free-hand cut a difficult design, Ben has started to apply the decals to my items because it's so physically difficult for me to operate the equipment right now but I did 11 orders on my own b/c I felt so backed-up which caused major pain to my torso and I applied a complicated design to a fabric with a stain on it so I had to re-do the decal and the application, and a customer who ordered an item in colors I don't carry opened a complaint against me for "non-shipment" even though I contacted her asap after her order to ask how she'd like the item to be made which she never responded to!

It just felt so personal, you know? So much of myself has gone into the business. I choose and make all of the designs, I think of what I'd like and create something personal to sell, and I'm the one to decide on materials, keep things ordered, etc.

Ben was great at listening to me flip out (a few times), and calmly suggested that the pregnancy wasn't helping. My complaints were justified- hormones weren't responsible for upsetting me- but being very large, uncomfortable, and waiting to go into labor any minute just don't help my mental state. He's right.

***The Evolution of Preparing for Labor and Baby's Arrival***

I've been wanting to write a pregnancy update for a while, but it's been difficult because my feelings keep changing. A week ago I was feeling really confused. My latest midwife appointment showed that I am 2+ cm dilated and 60% effaced. I'm trying not to compare, but I have had a labor experience that I can't help but refer back to at this time. When I was 2 cm dilated with Eleanor I was already asking for an epidural! And I wasn't being a wimp- the contractions were hard and I felt like I had handled it as long as I could have. My labor progressed really quickly after that, so why now, at 2 cm, do I not feel any contractions and am not progressing? I know there are logical explanations; but try telling my emotions that.

After feeling confused that my body doesn't actually know what it's doing, I had a few days of feeling really anxious. Let me just say I do anxious really well :) I had lists everywhere: "Things to do before Baby arrives." "What to pack in Hospital Bag." "Freezer meals and groceries to get." "What to buy/ where to buy it", etc. Here is a sample train of thought: "The baby could come at any time. If he came today one of the things that would have to be done is washing his clothes and bedding in Dreft so he'll have something to wear and sleep on. He doesn't have tons of clothes, and I don't want to run a lot of small loads of his stuff so I may as well go buy all the other clothing and bedding items he'll need immediately so I only run one load. If I'm going to the store to buy sheets I should also bring the things I'd like to return to the store and be prepared to buy other things that are left-over on my registry. If I buy things from my registry I need to research and decide what to buy at the store and what to buy online so I can use the one-time 10% off coupon for each place. If I'm going to buy things from Amazon I may as well buy it all at one time, so I need to decide now what items I'll ever want for him so I can get it discounted. Do I really need a MamaRoo Bouncer or video monitor? They are both pretty expensive so I could use the discount..."  So suddenly "I need to wash his coming home outfit and sheets in Dreft" becomes impossible because I don't know if I want a MamaRoo Bouncer! Ridiculous, no?

I did start showing signs of impending labor (don't worry. It passed. You'll know when the time is really here.) over the weekend, so on Saturday Ben and I really got down to business getting things ready. We deep cleaned the entire house, washed Baby's clothes, bleached his toys and put final things away in his nursery, packed the hospital bag, his carseat is ready, and the freezer is stocked. I even got a pedicure on Monday (as late as I was willing to wait) so my feet will be pretty for the doctors when I'm in the hospital!
There are always things I can do to keep preparing, but they are all pretty inconsequential. After feeling so confused that I'll go into labor without realizing it and anxious that nothing will be done when I give birth I actually feel really prepared and calm right now!

So our house is prepared for Baby to come home, no last minute things are driving me nuts, and I'm still progressing toward labor so he honestly could be born any time. All it comes down to now is coming to terms with the fact that our lives are about to completely change. There is no way to emotionally prepare for that, so I'm trying to just enjoy all the quiet moments I have, sleeping through the night, and spending as much quality time with Ben as possible. I admit that I'm overwhelmed at the life change I'm simply waiting for but can't really prepare for, and I'm feeling sad to say goodbye to the life I've known for 25 years and the quiet relationship Ben and I have had for 2.5 years. We have been planning on having a child since last February and now I feel like I might not be ready? Selfish, right? But normal, hopefully?

***What it all Comes Down To***

I started to realize last night that I am so sick of dealing with the business right now! I have been flooded with orders over the last week while trying to spend my energy on preparing for the baby which has made me feel so overwhelmed and anxious, and yesterday's issues were just unnecessary and mean of the universe! By the end of the day I just felt broken- emotionally, physically, and creatively. I actually switched the admin settings on my store to let Ben receive all my e-mails, control my store, and deal with customers. 

So much went wrong that made me feel so terrible that I'm really craving another project to focus on. 

Well, what do you know? I'm about to have a baby. What a perfect distraction :)

In the end I recognize that yesterday's trials were a blessing from Heavenly Father. I needed them to shake me out of my funk and get me really ready and excited for the baby to be born. Today I can say I have no reservations about my life changing! There are no last-minute things to enjoy or do. My brain and emotions are clear and ready to love on my son like no other! 

Gee, thanks Heavenly Father :) 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Raleigh Temple

We have a scheduled RS temple trip on July 14th, but I'm planning to miss that one :)

We decided to go on Thursday as our last official time before the baby comes! We have had pretty pad luck getting to the temple lately. Things keep going wrong, and we even hit such unexpectedly bad traffic and weather the last time we tried going that we were just a few mins. too late to join the session! Geez. We were determined to make this trip work, but our electricity went out 15 mins. before we planned to leave! I just knew that meant our trip was off. I have recently stocked the freezer with meals and can not stay in a house with no A/C right now, so of course I was freaking out and wanted it fixed asap. Ben was totally cool about it, luckily, and said there was nothing we could do so we might as well leave as scheduled! We did, had an uneventful and relaxing drive to Raleigh, and got a call from Duke Energy just before walking in to our session that the power was back on! Take that, Satan!

We even got there about 20 mins. before we needed to which provided a beautiful opportunity to walk around and hold hands :) It feels good to force yourself to calm down... sometimes.

Happy 4th of July!

I feel like I have to chronicle everything nowadays since any day could be "The day you were born..." You know? But this was a holiday, and worth documenting, anyway :) (It may look just plain odd when I'm taking pictures while shopping at Babies R Us tomorrow!)

We cheered on the Greensboro Grasshoppers when the played the Hickory Crawdads (I couldn't make those names up.)  on Saturday night with our friends Brittany, Scott, and their son Camden. The team will be out-of-town during 4th of July, so this was their 4th celebration night.

I feel like minor league (if this even qualifies as minor league) baseball is a sport all it's own. It's more entertainment than substance, because they know it takes more than a thrilling sports experience to keep people coming back. Because it's almost guaranteed to not be a thrilling sports experience, although we did see a bat get thrown into the stands!

It was so hot to be outside for four hours that I was cheering when the digital temperature sign went down a degree, and forgot to watch the actual game a few times! But you really can't beat a baseball game for the 4th, right? As Brittany said, "What's more American than this?!" me: "Maybe if we were eating cherry pie at the same time."

On the actual 4th of July Ben happen to be working at home and heard about an all-day festival downtown. We scurried over for a couple hours over lunch time. What the boss doesn't know won't hurt, right? ;)

We are festival fanatics, and were really impressed with the show Greensboro put on for the 4th! Downtown Greensboro is really artsy, anyway (statues and art everywhere, multiple parks, lots of museums and art centers...), and it all came together for this festival.  There were musicians and bands stationed in three different parks around a few blocks of downtown and many local craft vendors, fair food stands, and activity tents lining both sides of many streets. 

There was even a food stand selling elote! You bought the steamed corn then added whatever combo of toppings you wanted. I chose mayo, parmesan, chili powder, lime, and salt. Sure, that sounds disgusting, but it's the same combo you'll find on South American streets! It has been a couple years since I've had authentic street elote, but I've been craving it for a while and this did the trick! 

We walked down to our favorite local bakery, L.O.A.F. (local, organic, affordable, fresh),  and were so disappointed that it was closed! I am addicted to their chocolate croissants, and Ben loves their artisan breads. A man was outside the door and heard our cries and asked why we'd stopped by. He happen to be one of the owners and invited us into the back and loaded us up with free day-old bread loafs! He said the pastries had been cleaned out the day before, and that the organizations that typically pick up the unsold bread hadn't come by yesterday so he had nothing to do with the leftover bread, anyway.

We left with 6 loaves of 5 varieties. They are amazing. Not only is this bakery incredibly delicious, but thanks to the kindness and integrity of their owner we are definitely lifelong customers! (As long as we live in Greensboro, anyway. Or as long as they stay in business.)

Before we left Ben mentioned that we might find something for The Boy while we were out. Well, we did! One craft stand was selling these stuffed animals in different shapes and sizes, and it took all of 30 seconds for me to decide to buy this tiny dragon for our Dragon! 

Happy 4th!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Little Man O'Brien Baby Shower

Last Saturday 3 terrific friends of mine threw me a great baby shower in Greensboro. They have all had babies in the last year, so they understood how special a baby shower can be, and what essential items a new mother really needs.

They are really stylish, fun women, and they threw a beautiful, amazing shower for me! 

The theme for the shower was "Little Man." Aren't the decorations great?

The refreshments were a pancake buffet. How awesome is that?!?! They made plain and choc chip pancakes and laid out berries, jam, syrup, nuts, whipped cream, etc. to top them with!

A few of the women who came... 

Leda is our RS President and is due July 19th! I'm scheduled to be induced July 18th, so there is a good chance we'll be in the hospital at the same time! They are having a girl and we're having a boy, so it's been fun being pregnant together and talking about our future kiddos :)

Thanks so much, Brittany, Hayley, and Ashley! It was a blast!!