June 29, 2010


Officially discharged from the NICU

On our way home

Meeting the boys

Love from a very excited big brother

Baby's first Skype with Daddy

To say the last 9 days have been a blur would be an understatement, but today all the matters is that we're healthy, home, and almost all together (Skype will need to suffice for now until Daddy returns soon).

June 27, 2010

This Doesn't Count...

As going home. I'm being discharged from the hospital today which is a good thing, but Leni is going to remain in the NICU which is a really really crappy thing. I know she's being extraordinarily well taken care of. I know that the stronger she is when she comes home the better everything else will be. I know this is what she needs, and I want it for her and am so grateful that we have access to such amazing care. But it doesn't make walking out of the hospital without your baby any less crappy. I may be heading to my own bed for the first time in a week, but it most certainly does not count as going home until she's there too.

Some really good things:
She exceeded all of her feedings between last night and this morning.
Her bilirubin levels are going in the right direction, and last night they took out out from under the photo therapy lights and put her back into a regular crib.
She's opening her eyes much more frequently, and overall seems to be much more aware.
The doctors are playing it day-by-day, so each new day brings another chance that she'll be ready to come home.
Wait, did you hear that one? Just in case...
MY MOM IS HERE. A really, really really really good thing.

June 25, 2010

Keeping Busy

What to do with a 3 year old in a hospital room? Let his imagination run wild as he ties Daddy's shoe laces to the feet of a wheelchair, calls himself Tractor Mac and proceeds to act out the scene in Cars where Mac falls asleep on the road while hauling Lightning McQueen to California. Seriously, complete with snoring sounds and the occasional glance at Mommy to say "Don't worry mama, I'm just kidding you!" Imaginations rock.

June 24, 2010

Photo Therapy

A slight case of jaundice landed Leni under some photo therapy lights for a bit, nothing to worry about (very common in all newborns, not just preemies), and it sort of clinched her baby rock star status among her pals in the NICU.

So About That Curve Ball

At about 34-35 weeks along we were resting calmly with the knowledge that everything with the pregnancy was going along nicely. The days that followed were scheduled to be on the busier side with Mike traveling for multiple shooting projects and me basing out of the city for team meetings all week. It was early Monday morning and we were both gearing up to yank ourselves out of bed to finalize last minute packing and prepping and eventually go our separate ways till the next weekend when we'd regroup and enjoy time together, perhaps a BBQ or some swimming at the village pool or some other equally blissful summer activity. And then The curve ball launched directly at us at around 97MPH if I had to guess. Somewhere between thinking about yanking ourselves out of bed and then finally actually doing it I had a rather firm "huh?" moment. Well OK, maybe it was more of a "OMG HUH WTF???" Yeah, definitely more along those lines. After calling my doctor and confirming that there was a very good chance my water had just broken I headed to the hospital while Daddy brought Ash to school. The next few hours were spent trying to figure out what was going to happen to our scheduled week based on the possible outcomes of the hospital visit, all done via cell phone conversations of course as Daddy went on to complete the day's project as planned and I attempted to think about when the next bus into the city might be so that I'd be ready when they told me everything was fine and I should just resume life as usual.

Obviously "usual" had no presence as the 2 days that followed my water breaking were complete with contractions, medication to try and stop the contractions, an ultrasound to confirm that Baby was still in the breech position, and a transfer to a hospital with an amazing NICU for when (not if) I delivered. Since baby was 6 weeks pre-term and would need to be delivered via cesarean they wanted to make sure to transfer me to the best nearby NICU hospital while they still could, otherwise risk needing to separate us post-delivery with me recovering in one hospital and baby in another with the better NICU. Of course the "hope" was that the labor would slow to the point where I'd just become a permanent resident of the hospital for 6 weeks while baby finished growing inside me to full term (since my water had broken they couldn't send me home, so I was officially "checked in" till delivery), but despite all efforts to bring labor to a halt we were only able to slow it down a few times, only to eventually pick right back up where it left off. Although 6 weeks in the hospital likely would have led to the slow demise of my sanity it still would have been the best case scenario for healthy baby, so we began to make our 1 week, 3 week, and (ugh...) 6 week plans for all of the "Ifs". If we were able to hold off delivering that long, If we weren't, If she flipped, If she didn't, If If If.

And then 42 hours into labor my little darling made it quite clear that she was ready to leap out of the cake with a gargantuan HELLO WORLD! kind of entrance. AKA: Let's go from several relatively peaceful hours of semi-tolerable contractions to quite possibly the longest hour and a half of my entire life (seriously, one continuous 90 minute contraction with maybe a few seconds relief here and there) that I swear must have registered on the Richter Scale somewhere between 9.1 and a bazillion. It started at about 10:20PM, the doc confirmed there was officially no turning back and things needed to be set in motion NOW around 11:00PM, Mike made it back to the hospital by 11:20PM (thank goodness for babysitters who answer cell phones in the middle of the night!), they wheeled me into the OR and prepped me for surgery around 11:50PM, and less than an hour later at 12:46AM on June 23rd Helena Addis McGregor was born.

And here we are already enjoying Day #2 of life with Leni. Given her preemie status and delivery conditions she's "stuck" in the NICU, but quite honestly there's nowhere else I'd rather her be - they're so incredibly amazing there, so caring and truly thoughtful and loving and everything you'd want surrounding an incredible little 5lb girl to help her grow big and strong enough to go home ASAP. It even looks like she may be able to join me when I'm discharged in a few days as she's absolutely rocketed herself through each of the NICU tests. She can maintain a nice warm body temp without the assistance of an incubator, she's been able to breathe on her own without the use of a respirator from the very beginning, hasn't had any episodes of apnea, she EATS!, and she even blessed us with her first poop today - and it was a really swell one too. We're so lucky.

Quite possibly the most adorable curve ball ever.

June 23, 2010

What A Difference A Week Makes

This picture was taken about one week ago, back in the day when I thought we had 6-7 weeks left before Leni's arrival.

Then there's this picture, which was taken about one week later during the wee hours of this morning when Leni decided she just couldn't wait another 5-6 weeks - arrival time had come.

Baby Helena (Leni) ~ June 23rd, 2010 ~ 5lbs 4oz ~ Beautiful healthy baby sister

Proud Big Brother Ashton ~ A sunny June afternoon ~ On his way to meet his sister!

If you would have asked me this time last week where I thought I'd be today, I can pretty much guarantee you that recovering from an emergency cesarean would not have been at the top of my list of possibilities. Funny how things turn out though, as I can't even imagine being anywhere else right now. Right now seems to be pretty perfect. What a difference a week makes.

June 16, 2010


At 34 weeks its apparently difficult to get a good profile image (she's just occupying too much space at this point) so instead the ultrasound tech sent me home with a view of her heart and heart rate monitor beating steadily at 140 beats per minute. It may not be a profile shot but it's still pretty cool.

At 3 years old it's apparently impossible to tame the energy that comes along with being a very active toddler, so instead we're lacing up our running sneaks and just giving our hearts more exercise, of both the physical and mental nature. Yes, my heart has it's very own mental health pattern. Lazy mornings and evenings may mostly be a thing of the past, but our days pretty much couldn't get any cooler.

At 9 years (today!) it's apparently ridiculously easy to remind ourselves exactly why we walked down the aisle and vowed to love till death do us part. Because we wouldn't be exactly where we are right now if we hadn't. Cheers to 9 years of marriage and 2 heartbeats that have managed to stay in sync just enough to call the last 9 years pretty freaking fabulously cool.

June 14, 2010

Not A First Time Mom

You'd think that our second go-round of parenthood would entail significantly less reading, lecturing, prepping, etc... because we're already parents. We've done all this before, right? So we should have some sort of a bank of knowledge that we can just simply press the REFRESH button to access in our brains and be all set, right? For readers or even just occasional glancers of this blog that's obviously not the case. We brought Ashton home at 13 months, so months 1-12 are pretty much a mystery to us. So, off to the library and various community classes we've gone.

BUT. And can I make that a triple-dog-don't-you-dare-forget-it-BUT...

I am NOT a first time mom. And I'm ever so slightly (read: obnoxiously) annoyed at being referred to as one by educators, medical professionals, etc... And thank the Gods nobody has eff'd up and called me a first time mom in front of Ash giving him the opportunity to then question who I am to him. I'd have to get all "I'm part Montana backcountry rough, Brooklyn hardcore, and not-so-Minnesota-nice" on their arses...

Scenario 1: Breastfeeding class. Instructor: "So, we're all first time moms here?" Us: "No, we have a 3 year old at home." Instructor: "Oh, so you've done all this before!" Us: "No, this is our first pregnancy." Instructor: "Oh, OK... (fumbling around for words)..." We went on to describe that our first child is adopted and she went on to continue to describe the entire class as first time moms.

Scenario 2: Birthing class. Instructor: "So, we're all first time moms in here?" Us: "No, we have a 3 year old at home." Instructor: "Oh, so you've done all this before!" Us: "No, this is our first pregnancy." Instructor: "Oh, OK... (fumbling around for words)..." We went on to describe that our first child is adopted and she went on to continue to describe the entire class as first time moms.

Scenario 3, 4, 5, repeat repeat repeat. You get the picture.

I should probably clarify that we really were very forthcoming to each instructor about our family details, understanding of their confusion and open to further clarifying and smiles all around. I would never intentionally slight an individual for not automatically "getting it" because I understand that even the smallest bit of detail can help them to understand and move forward with addressing us appropriately. What I'm not so smiles all around about is the fact that in more cases than not they've continued to address me as a first time mom.

I am a first time breastfeeder. I am a first time birth-laborer (there was plenty of labor involved in becoming a family of 3 two years ago; weight gain, irritability, dreams that seemed to be crystal clear and an unrelenting desire to finally wrap our arms around our child notwithstanding).

But first time mom? Nope. Not even a little bit. Or as the toddler in the pictures below often likes to refer to me: Mommy Doody, Mama! (1 second later) Mama! (1 second later) Mama!, or my personal favorite: Booty Mommy. So cheers to the boy who made me a first time mommy, and a pretty damn lucky one if I might say so myself.

June 8, 2010


I hit 33 weeks this week which means there could be just 7 weeks left (or less...) to maintain my status as Amazon.com and Diapers.com most preferred buyer. Thank goodness both offer free and very quick shipping so we haven't been too stressed about what we're inevitably going to forget. The hospital has free Wifi so there are always those hours of labor for last minute purchases. I wish I was kidding.

If you haven't guessed already, this is a "stuff" post. So unless you're interested in my compulsive list making skills you're likely to be bored to tears by the words that follow. Honest, I promise we don't spend this much time thinking about "stuff" on a normal basis. But with the pop-date drawing nearer with every blink and the constant reminders from loving individuals around us of "have you chosen XYZ yet?" or "what did you decide on for ABC?" we've found some comfort in writing this list and confidently responding "YES WE CAN!" even if it doesn't make so much sense at the time. It's a calming line that one. YES WE CAN!

We're reusing absolutely everything we possibly can from Ashton's earlier months but of course there are those items that either weren't needed for a 13 month old or just didn't exist yet. So here's the not so skinny on our baby gear situation:

Crib and Changing Table: Ashton agreed to share his old room complete with these 2 items with his baby sister: Ooba's Nest Crib and Litto Manhattan Dresser/Changing Table
Glider: Yeah Craigslist! The rocker we used for Ashton was perfect for ages 1-3 years but would not be so great for a newborn so we caved and found a traditional glider + ottoman set slightly used but significantly discounted from a private seller nearby: Dutailier Comfort Plus Multiposition Reclining Glider
Stroller: We're going to reuse Ashton's super-duper-can-multi-task-like-no-other Stokke Xplory which has 2 seat options. One is the actual stroller chair and the other is what they call a "carry cot" but we've renamed "awesome excuse not to have to buy a bassinet for those first first weeks/months when she'll be sleeping next to our bed". And to make the stroller and infant car seat play nice, we've now got the Stokke Xplory Car Seat Adaptor which will enable us to transfer her from car/taxi to stroller base without interruption. Hooray for playing nice, booo for high end strollers charging an arm and a leg for every stinking attachment possible.
Bassinet: See above. Hooray for dual uses! (And I've now forgiven Stokke for charging me over half the price of the car seat for the piece of plastic used to be able to attach the car seat to the stroller.)
Infant car seat: We love Ashton's Britax Diplomat which can be rear and forward facing for 5 - 35 lbs, but decided an infant carry-style car seat would come in handy for Helena's first 6-12 months of car rides. When she grows out of her new Graco SnugRide Infant Car Seat (max 22 lbs) we'll simply move her over to Ashton's Britax, at which point he'll be well into a booster style seat anyhow. Many have asked why we didn't purchase the Graco SnugRide that can accommodate up to 32-35 lb children and here's our answer: It's 2 lbs heavier than the smaller version which may not sound like a lot but when you huck around as much gear as we do every pound counts. Also, once she hits 22 lbs there's no way on God's green Earth I'll be carrying her around in an infant car seat - she can survive the transfer from the Britax to the stroller or be plopped in our Ergo. Which brings me to our next item of gear...
Child Carrier: We're sticking with our Ergo baby carrier (with the infant insert) which we LOVED using with Ash, however wanted to explore sling options for her earliest months. We totally lucked out. Good friends lent us 2 that they had tried to use previously but weren't ideal for them so we now have 2 to try out with Helena. Hooray for hand me downs! I'll let you know once we've chosen one or the other, though I'm pulling for the one that doesn't require a DVD to learn how to use...
The Babysitter Chair: You know what I'm talking about. The thing I'll strap her into while putting puzzles together with Ash, working, cooking, cleaning, or searching online for the worlds most perfect sangria recipe. For this we settled on the BabyBjorn Babysitter Balance. She's going to love it, she told me so.
Breastpump: We chose Medela's The Pump In Style Advanced Shoulder Bag. Yes, I will be returning to work full time after exhausting my 12 weeks of FMLA which means Helena will enjoy her daytime feedings with the lovely caregivers we've selected for her. And yes, we'll encourage participation in nighttime feedings by mommy AND daddy. And yes, mommy and daddy do plan to eventually leave the house together for an evening out sans children one day.
Monitor: We loved our Summer Infant Video Monitor but it stopped working a few months back, and despite our best efforts we've been unable to convince the new battery we bought to make it work. We're going to look into warranty info, etc and hopefully will find a way to expand it's lifespan past the 2 years we've already enjoyed it.
Wine Opener: This item may not always show up on your run of the mill baby gear lists which absolutely dumbfounds me. If ever there's a time to invest in a proper standing wine opener this is certainly it! After much consideration and thorough research we've settled on a Rogar standing wine opener from their Champion Collection. It's the only thing on the list we haven't acquired yet, perhaps we're holding out till Helena arrives just to make sure she approves of the selection. I bet she will.

There's more, I'm sure of it, but these are the biggies. I am in no way endorsing any of these products or recommending their use over the ocean of other products available out there. This is merely my list of selected bits and pieces for my own reference later on when I drop them off as hand me downs, donations, or mark them with "$1 OBO" tags at our community yard sale. Accept for the wine opener, that one's likely a keeper...

June 4, 2010


We'll be shopping for a belt this weekend.

June 2, 2010

Ashton Day!

We arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on June 2nd 2008 to the most beautiful 13 month boy in the universe. I can't believe it's been 2 years.

Ash fancied horses from the very beginning, and recently got to ride a big boy horsie (no more ponies for him) all by himself!

Happy Ashton Day darling. Mommy and Daddy love you so much and are so proud of you!