Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Catching Up -- April and May

My apologies, I know I'm behind on my blogging...

Several posts ago, I mentioned that we were preparing for some changes around here.  It really was just one change: I got a new job!  After five and a half years at a law firm, I decided to make the jump to an in-house position, and accepted an offer to work in the compliance office of a Cambridge-based pharmaceutical company.  I'm one month in now, and even more excited about the move than I was before I started.

Anyway, in the interest of catching up, this post will be light on the narrative and heavy on the photographic.  J

One of the girls' favorite things to do in our "backyard" is to "garden."


I put the word "garden" in quotation marks because gardening to them really just means digging for worms.  (I put the word "backyard" in quotation marks because we actually have no yard; instead, we have a roughly 8x12-foot patio with a narrow flowerbed bordering one side and one corner... )

They both really love worms.  A LOT.

Louisa looks skeptical about the gardening thing here, but really is happy to hang out on the bricks, poking at moss.

In any case, it provides some solid entertainment for Amelia and Ramona and, as a bonus, always ends with a good long bath!

One of Ramona's friends from preschool had a birthday party at the end of April.  Let me tell you, this was QUITE the party.

The "Dressing Room"

Held at the Boston Ballet School, this party included costumes, a ballet lesson, story time with a real ballerina, boxed lunches for all of the kiddos, multiple kinds of dessert, Pinterest-perfect decorations, and a table full of adult food and beverages.

Entranced by the contents of the dessert table: cupcakes with pink frosting, meringues in pink wrappers, cut-out cookies with pink frosting, pink and white popcorn, and pink milk... I think I know what the birthday girl's favorite color is!

Oh, there was also a professional photographer!  I haven't seen any of those photos, but given the level of cuteness in the room, I'm guessing that they're to die for.  These are just a few that I took.

Ramona Ballerina

Ramona had SO much fun.  Amelia was pretty jealous that she wasn't invited.  We had to remind her that she's been to more than one party Ramona didn't get to go to...

Love this shot of my sweet girl

Another big even at the end of April: Amelia got a haircut!

Amelia's second-ever haircut (excluding trims), and the first she requested

This was a big deal, considering that she has insisted for the past two years that she wanted to grow her hair "as long as Rapunzel's"...

Watching the progress

Instead, about six weeks ago, Amelia decided on a whim that she wanted to cut (almost) all of it off!

Lots of hair on the floor!

I made her wait a few days, to ensure she really wanted to cut her hair and wasn't going to dissolve into tears afterwards...

Having her hair dried

I needn't have worried -- she didn't regret it in the least.  I guess she is my daughter after all!  J

And all of the sudden she looks like she's ready for high school...

After wrapping up work at the law firm, I took a few days off before I started my new job.  We spent one of those days at the Roger Williams Zoo in Providence, RI.

Louisa checking out the elephants

Amazingly, we had lived in Boston for almost six years before paying a visit to our nation's smallest state.

Amelia modeling her new haircut at the zoo

We had a great time.  The weather was gorgeous and we got to see lots of animals.

From anteater to zebra...

  We will definitely be back!

Finding frogs

Some more shots from our May:

Mother's Day with my girls

My gorgeous lilacs

Duck-watching at the Public Garden

Cute little duckling!

Walking around the Public Garden

No trip to the Public Garden is complete without paying a visit to Make Way for Ducklings!

First carousel ride of the season!  (Ramona opted out, due to a "bwister" on her foot.)


Post(s) on our end-of-May trip to Disney World coming soon!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Louisa's Birth Day

Of my three babies, only one came into the world as planned.

Louisa was NOT that one.

Due on June 12, she was supposed to arrive via c-section on June 6, just after the preferred 39-week mark.  We had it all worked out... My last day at the office would be Friday, June 1, and my mom would get into town that same day.  Then I'd have a few days to spend with the girls and relax before Louisa was born.


One year (and a few days) ago, on May 30, 2012, I was in the middle of my last week of work before maternity leave.  It was a Wednesday.  I had just handed off the last file I was transferring and eaten a quick lunch at my desk.  After finishing my lunch, I stood up and stretched, and... Huh.  Something didn't feel right.  A quick trip to the ladies' room, and I was pretty sure my water had broken.

I called Chad to let him know... He was out at lunch with Amelia and Ramona, and had just placed their order.  He flagged down the waitress to ask for their food to go, and we both started making calls, trying to figure out what to do with the girls for the rest of the day!  (In retrospect, yes, we probably should have had a Plan B... but who would have thought that Louisa would arrive two weeks before her due date?!)

We quickly cobbled together some childcare, with the help of amazing friends and family: a friend from our neighborhood (and the mom of one of Amelia's best buddies from school) was happy to watch the girls for the afternoon; a friend of mine from work agreed to stay overnight with them at our place; and my mom switched her flight from June 1 to the next available flight, the May 30 red-eye, which put her in town around 5:00 AM on May 31.  So Chad hurried home, grabbed my hospital bag, got the girls packed up, and drove them over to our friend's house.  Then he picked me up at the office and took me to the hospital, where it was confirmed: my water had broken and Louisa would definitely be arriving earlier than expected.

She would not be arriving as quickly as I would have liked, however.

See, there's a reason that c-sections (and most surgeries) are scheduled for first thing in the morning: before undergoing any procedure where general anesthesia is (or might be) required, you're not supposed to have eaten recently.  In fact, it would seem that doctors are unwilling to perform non-life-saving surgery if you have eaten anything in the eight hours preceding surgery... So there I was, checked in to the hospital by 2:00 PM and unable to undergo the c-section until roughly 8:00 PM.  (While my water had broken, I wasn't in labor, so the general concern about potential uterine rupture that arises with two previous c-sections wasn't yet present.)  BOOOOO.

So, Chad and I kept ourselves busy.  We made calls and sent emails to people, letting them know where we were.  I asked my administrative assistant to set up my out-of-office information, since I hadn't yet gotten around to that task, and cancelled plans for later that week.  I played Words With Friends and Instagrammed photos on my iPhone.  I flipped through a magazine.

Around 5:00 PM, Chad left the hospital to get Amelia and Ramona from one set of friends and hand them off to another.  At that point, I was just beginning to have some contractions.  Nothing regular or painful, though, so the consensus was that we would keep waiting, to get as close to the eight-hours-since-eating-mark as possible.

Of course, shortly after Chad left, things picked up speed.  I texted Chad to let him know.  He had the girls at home and was feeding them dinner while waiting for our friends who were staying with them for the night to arrive.  A nurse checked on me.  I was grimacing through the contractions (which had become pretty regular) at that point, but told them I was fine, and could make it until 8:00.  (I had to wait for Chad to get back!)  The nurse said she'd be back soon.  I texted Chad again to see if he was on his way back to the hospital.  Not yet.  Our friends were on their way to our house, but had hit some of that pervasive downtown Boston evening traffic...

The nurse returned shortly after that and, seeing me arching my back and curling my toes through a couple of contractions, called the doctor.  They determined it was time to get me ready for the OR.  But wait!  Chad wasn't back yet!  The nurse promised me she would "take her time" getting things ready for me.  Okay... I frantically texted Chad again.  No immediate response, so I called him.  Our friends had arrived, he had given them a very brief summary of the girls' bedtime routine ("Here are their beds.  Here are their toothbrushes.  They can watch a movie.  Thanks, 'bye!"), and was heading back to the car.  Thank goodness, because the nurse was back, telling me it was time to head to the OR.  So much for taking her time!  I grabbed my phone and followed her down the hall, sending Chad another text as my surgical team got me situated in the OR.

The anesthesiologist laughed at me, with my thumbs flying over the screen of my iPhone, and said she didn't think she had ever had a patient texting in the OR.  I joked that it probably wouldn't be the last time, but I was really beginning to worry that Chad wasn't going to make it... I knew he was on the way, but didn't know what kind of traffic he was dealing with.  Someone told me to tell Chad to valet the car, so I sent another text.  It must have been about 7:00 at that point.  [I WISH I had these texts!  Alas, I can no longer find them on my phone...]

The anesthesiologist and the attending placed my spinal/epidural while I was still clutching my phone, waiting to hear from Chad that he had arrived.  After the epidural was set, though, I had to lie down on the operating table and hand over the phone.  The attending stuck it in his pocket.  Chad finally called a couple minutes later, and the attending handed me my phone, but Chad couldn't understand what I was saying because I already had an oxygen mask on.  The attending rescued us, explaining to Chad where the MGH valet was located, and telling him to run.

So run he did!  After literally throwing the car keys at the valet, he sprinted through the hospital basement to the elevator bank for labor and delivery.  Labor and delivery is a secure floor at MGH, but before Chad could even ring the buzzer, they were letting him in, shepherding him to my hospital room, and shoving scrubs at him.  The nurse was back to escort him to the OR before he had even finished changing, so he headed back to the OR while pulling on his shirt... And he made it!  With literally about two minutes to spare.  BIG sigh of relief.  In the mad rush, Chad had forgotten to grab the camera, so one of the wonderful nurses quickly retrieved it for us.  Plenty of time, right?  :)

Surgery got underway around 7:15, and Louisa Frances was born at 7:25 PM on May 30, 2012.  Definitely not as planned, but we couldn't have been happier to meet her and to celebrate her birth.

We love you, Louisa!