Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Yesterday was my first day completely alone with Spencer since he was born, and I think we both did ok. Of course he didn't take any substantial naps, so I was constantly with him, and only managed to get things done in very tiny blocks of time. I guess that is the way things will go from now on. So now it's two days in a row that I got in the shower while Spencer was quietly sleeping, only to turn off the water and hear him screaming because his little t-shirt had gotten wet from a leaky diaper.

And some genius at the city courthouse decided next month would be a good time for me to serve jury duty.

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Friday evening Heath & Kim & Chloe came over and we talked about how hard it is to take care of a newborn, and all of the little things you figure out day by day to help make things easier. We also discussed how scary the thought of a having a second child is at this point. To properly manage an infant and stimulate a toddler seems daunting during this time when eight hours of uninterrupted sleep is just a faint memory.

Yesterday we were able to show off Spencer to the rest of the Leach family at Uncle Mike's. It took quite a bit of planning to figure out how to manage his feeding schedule to be able to be away from the house for three hours. He was a champ - staying quietly asleep like a little angel so everyone could check him out and hold him, and waking up to eat exactly when we had hoped he would. I doubt we'll always be so lucky on future outings, but yesterday he made both of us very proud.

Life has gotten significantly better in the past two days since taking demand feeding one step further. Even though mine & Spencer's 24 hours totals (production & consumption) are in check, his demand at cluster feeding time in the evenings far exceeds what I (or anyone) could be expected provide. So now, with a little organization and planning, I pump on a regular schedule (day & night) which allows us to feed him as much as he wants when he wants it. Everyone seems much happier.

Friday, December 26, 2003

Today is Spencer's due date - how inconceivable is that at this point in time?

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Lots of visitors today! Audra came by after lunch to hang out and visit with Spencer (and us!) Then Aunt Ronnee stopped in and was just in time to give her favorite nephew an afternoon bottle. And this evening was special as Spencer got to meet Great Grandma Leach for the first time. (Four generations photo to be uploaded shortly.)

The past three days we have seen a (sort of) pattern with Spencer's eating and sleeping. He cluster feeds in the late morning and prime time in the evening. In between these feeding frenzies, we usually have a decent bit of down time to get stuff done. Last night I was able to make this Pastitsio (sans eggplant) while he snoozed in the afternoon, but unfortunately had to scarf it down because he was waking up to start his evening eating just as we were sitting down at the table. Tonight I satisfied a craving for some fresh baked goods with this gingerbread recipe.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Since our life has indeed changed so much since Spencer's arrival, we decided it was time to change some things on the blog too. We consolidated the pregnancy links (baby's room, ultrasound pictures, belly pictures, etc. into an archive page and added links to Spencer's photo albums on the right side of the page. I also added a few new photos in the December Album.

Monday, December 22, 2003

It's dizzying how the days all just blur together, and how weeks have already started slipping away. Mom went back to NY after spending time taking care us of so that we could focus on taking care of Spencer. And, she of course helped out with the 3am diaper changes as well to present me with a clean baby for nursing. Now her hundreds of home-made cookies have dwindled down to two rugelach, but we are left with a freezer full of dinners for many nights to come.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

I gave birth to Spencer three weeks earlier than my due date - the pregnancy was indeed considered full-term and, independent of his birth weight/length, Spencer is not counted as premature. I know this is not news to anyone who knows us, but it's become our new pet peeve to continually explain this to folks who keep asking if we got our dates wrong. It borders on insulting to ask a couple of engineers, not mention all of our doctors, ultrasound techs, etc. if we made a mistake and counted incorrectly. Our newest pet peeve is folks telling us how their own angel infant started sleeping through the night at some very young age. Spencer is 2 1/2 weeks old and we are not expecting him to sleep through the night any time soon. In the meantime, we're tired from feedings around the clock and those stories really don't help us feel any better.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Our baby is already more than two weeks old!!! On Thursday we both had our two week post-partum checkups and everyone seems to be doing just fine. My doc was pleased with how her stitches are helping me to heal, but thinks my abdominal pain is likely a muscle tear (probably from pushing for two hours) which will take several more weeks to fix itself. Spencer's hearing was re-checked and he passed the test which he initially failed in the hospital (but no one there was concerned because most newborns do no pass right away - fluid in the ears from the birth can prevent proper hearing for a short time.) It was also time to re-do his newborn bloodwork, which really sucked as Jim and I had to hold him down while they drew more blood from his heel by flexing and squeezing the pricked site. By the time we left, his eyes were glazed over and he was exhausted from screaming. Fortunately, we don't have to return until he is two months old - but that trip will involve shots.

Last night was Spencer's first Hanukkah!! The Parkhills all came over to celebrate as we lit candles together (Hunter had a special menorah to 'light!') and ate latkes and opened presents. I think Spencer may have gotten jealous of our holiday meal and insisted on being fed just as we were sitting down to the table. And so began what I am sure will be a long tradition of Jim and I tag-teaming to get through a meal. Check out some pictures!

Friday, December 19, 2003

With yesterday starting just the third week of life for Spencer, it seems that nearly everything is a first. First bath, first walk, first just about everything... except diaper, we are WAY past that first... Here is a new photo album that includes some of those firsts... Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Today is a significant day for many reasons.

First, 100 years ago today, the Wright Brothers (actually, just Orville) flew for 12 seconds and covered about 120 feet. That introduced powered flight to the world.

First Flight

Less than 20 years later, Also on this date, my Grandfather was born. Today is his birthday! In addition to countless other things, he is the one who introduced the world of flight to me. He got me my first flight lessons at the age of 16, and I have been hooked on it ever since. I'm very much looking forward to passing the love of flying on to Spencer in the same way.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Life is good. In fact, we think it's just perfect.

I love dressing our baby boy up in blue every day - he looks so darn cute! We've been bad about keeping up with photos, but will have some new ones posted soon. Right now, I only have a few hours at a time to get anything done, and usually sleep comes to the top of the 'to do' list. Although, things have gotten a little easier since we switched from 'feeding on schedule' to 'feeding on demand.' We're letting Spencer snooze as long as he would like during the evenings, and last night that plan allowed both of us to get some uninterrupted sleep from 12:30 until 5:00 this morning - whoo hoo! But, who knows what tonight has in store for us. We're pretty certain there is still one more feeding to go before we'll get some rest ourselves, and after that it's anyone's guess.

Hopefully the umbilical cord will come off any day now, and with his circumcision healing nicely, we are very much looking forward to giving this kid a good bath. Not that he smells or anything (the parts that get really dirty get cleaned regularly) but I think we would both feel better to wash him up a bit. Unfortunately, we fear that Spencer may very well hate the idea of being naked for an extended period of time.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

It's cute to see Spencer do some of the same things now that we saw in the ultrasounds - like putting his fists up near his face, and sticking out his tongue. Now that he is here with us, we get to learn about his unique sounds as well. For those that haven't yet met Spencer in person, he emits random little squeaks which we find quite endearing.

Saturday was a joint baby shower for Diane and I with all of the hockey girls hosted at Dawn's. It was a tiny bit odd to attend no longer pregnant, but I was so proud that Jim and I were able to show Spencer off to our friends. I know Diane was a bit jealous with still a month to go until her due date. And Tracy informed everyone that she is just completing her first trimester, so in the next several years perhaps our kids will be playing hockey together as well!

Right now days blend together. It's great having mom here to so I can take an afternoon nap, and wake up to full-on dinners like roasted chicken with stuffing, gravy, potatoes, green beans, cranberries...

We're going to get around to re-organizing the links on the side of the blog (remove some pregnancy stuff) but for now we've simply been continuing to add some Spencer photos to the exisiting Ofoto album.

Friday, December 12, 2003

For now, we have been adding more photos, including the ones from the Bris to the same ofoto album. Click here to see the latest pictures...
Yesterday was such a big day for Spencer, and us, as we celebrated his Brit Milah. The day started early with guests arriving around 9:00 and by 9:30, our home was filled with so much love from family and friends. Spencer was a real champ - he didn't even utter a peep during the circumcision. After that deed was completed in the back room, we gathered around in the living room to publicly name the baby, and explain the significance of the names we had chosen for him. The "S" for Spencer is from my grandpa Sidney, and "J" for Jacob is for Jim's grandma Jane - neither of whom are around to be a part of his life, but we hope that their namesake will live on, and that traits we admire about them will be reflected in Spencer's life. It was an emotionally draining event for new parents, as we continue to struggle with the adjustment to our new sleep schedule.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

It would be very easy to use this space to vent about the serious frustrations new parents experience during the first week of their baby's life, all of which are compounded and made to feel infinitely worse by the lack of a full night's sleep. Instead, I thought I would share Jim's funny observation which we have both experienced. As everyone knows, babies need help to burp after being fed. But, at least for Spencer, the burp takes a couple of minutes of coaxing. We've noticed that while we're holding him to our chest, and gently patting him on the back over and over, we often end up making ourselves burp too!

Monday, December 08, 2003

My sweet baby boy! Already I love being your mother and am so thrilled you have joined your daddy and I here even earlier than we had anticipated. We just couldn't be any happier or prouder than we have been since you arrived. Seeing how we can change your mood from utter despair to ultimate contentment simply by changing your diaper or swaddling you up tightly in a soft blanket gives us a ridiculous amount of pleasure. Right now you're sleeping a lot, but during those times when you are awake, it's an indescribable feeling as you stare back at us with those curious eyes. The past few days have been eventful for all three of us, and we are excitedly looking forward to our upcoming journeys together as a family.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

December 4th, 2003
8 lbs. 2 oz.
20.5 Inches long

Click here for photos and here for a few small videos...

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Here is what we learned during the ultrasound: this baby is BIG. Current weight is estimated just under 8 pounds. This will definitely not be one of those wrinkly-looking newborns. He is big and plump everywhere - face, fingers, belly, etc. Also learned that his large size has been squishing the rest of my organs up high, and actually pinching off the ureter causing a build up of fluid on my right kidney. But this is no cause for concern as it is only moderate and all my organs will be able to spread out again in the near future. The ultrasound technician also checked on our baby's lung maturity and pointed out a marker which indicated his confidence that he feels everything would be perfectly ok if he were to arrive now.

Here is what we learned during the PA visit: she thinks this baby is not going to wait until his due date. She was very pleased at his 'healthy' size, and hopes (for my sake!) that labor is right around the corner. She says there is no concern at this time about my not being able to deliver this baby. But they probably would not let me go beyond the due date before deciding to induce. We're going to see the doctor next week for our 38 week visit, so we'll get to hear her plan on how the next few weeks should go. No change in dilation, still 1.5cm for the past two weeks, but effacement has progressed from 30% to 50% so things are indeed continuing to move along. The PA joked that she didn't think labor would be tonight, but tomorrow was certainly a possibility! We are truly in "any day now" mode!

Check out today's ultrasound pics (a bit hard to see because he is really running out of room!) and what we believe to be the final belly pic added to the line up.
I completely forgot to blog yesterday after I spoke with grandma. When mom visited her on her birthday (Monday) she dropped off the scrapbook photo album from her birthday party that I worked on in October and November. She called a few times later in the evening but was only able to leave messages because we were out at the Aeros game. But her messages were so cute - she absolutely loved her gift. We finally spoke with each other on the phone yesterday morning and she just couldn't say enough. That made me feel really good, because it was quite a bit of effort to put my first scrapbook album together in a time crunch and it's nice when people show such appreciation. Grandma had a friend over and was in the middle of showing the pictures off to her when I called, and then they were headed down to one of the common areas so she could show the album to more of her friends! Very cute.

While Jim was out at CAP last night, and I decided to see what I could make to use up the extra cranberries in the fridge that I had bought last week before Thanksgiving. I decided on this recipe for Cranberry Coffeecake from epicurious.com. When Jim got home, we watched Queer Eye together and enjoyed the cake hot from the oven - yum! I thought it would undoubtedly turn into a big pink swirl, but the layers stayed neatly separated in stripes and it even looked very cool! (I've got some here for snacking on this morning and it's still yummy the next day!)
Hopefully we will have some new ultrasound pictures to post later tonight. I hope they are the 4D, but we are not sure what they will use today. We keep getting asked what is the difference between the 3D and 4D, and the answer is motion. 4D is like a video in 3D. I was able to get one of the smaller clips uploaded so everyone can see what it looks like. As you can see, Spencer has a pretty decent right jab that he throws at Bonnie's insides... The clip is big (2mb) and may take some time to load, but its pretty cool to see the movement... Click here to see it.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Well, it looks like we have entered the last month before Spencer arrives (unless he's way more stubborn than anyone thinks he is and hold on until January)... Tomorrow will be the end of the 37th week, so we officially have a full-term baby. Tomorrow is also another Ultrasound and then a visit with the Dr. to take a look at how things are progressing. The ultrasound is mainly just to determine how big he actually is in there. We haven't had an ultrasound that was diagnostic since week 20. At that time, he was about a week ahead of average and Bonnie's measurements have tended to also show him a week or two ahead of growth progress. Check back tomorrow evening to see what we find out. Maybe even a new ultrasound picture or two...

Monday, December 01, 2003

Champions again! (OK, I didn't actually play in the hockey tournament this year, but I'm still happy to share in the excitement from the weekend.) It was still lots of fun to hang out and visit with our hockey friends whom I don't get to see very often any more. It's frustrating to think that it may very well be close to a year of no hockey before I get the chance to put on my skates again.

The long weekend was a nice break away from the office, and now today is just another Monday morning back at work.

Two more days until our next dr. visit for the baby. Plus an ultrasound. We're both very anxious to hear and see the latest updates about our son!

& HAPPY 90th BIRTHDAY to my grandma and Happy 27th to Jim's Brother Rob!