Sunday, October 31, 2004

Today we celebrated Kennedy’s first holiday. She donned her pumpkin outfit and posed for this picture.

We had a lot of trick-or-treaters this evening. Popular costumes were Scooby Doo, a genie, and a ninja. We also had visits today from friends Laurel and from CK. CK is great with kids - today he stated he would like to have three of his own someday.

Sheryl’s tooth is acting up again; it’s the same tooth that she’s had a root canal done twice. The visit to the dentist this last week to assess the tooth’s future served to reawaken the infection so she’s been down the majority of the day. I’ve got her good and drugged on antibiotics and painkillers. Unfortunately, they take a while to take effect; hopefully tomorrow will be a better day for her as she returns to work.

Tomorrow marks the first day I’ll have Kennedy all alone; I’m a bit nervous but know that we’ll make it through just fine.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Yesterday, Kennedy and I went to visit some of my co-workers – here she is with Jamie.

Today we went to visit the lactation consultants at the hospital to determine if the amount of pain I’m experiencing is normal. No magic bullets here; with such fair skin it will take a while for my hardware to adapt to the rigors of regular feedings.

When we are downstairs at the house we change Kennedy’s diaper on the built-in ledge of the dining room. The ledge has a mirror built in and Kennedy just *loves* to look at that baby in the mirror. It sure makes changing time a little less stressful for us all.

For the most part, Kennedy is a fantastic baby. She rarely cries for no reason; usually she doesn’t cry at all if we can pick up her feeding cues before she gets too frustrated. When she does get fussy, her favorite thing to do is to be held while one of us bounces on the exercise ball. That calms her right down.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Kennedy slept quite a bit last night; there were 2 four-hour sleep shifts - yahoo!!! Today I took Kennedy to the office to show off our daughter and to drop in for a going away party for a co-worker. It felt great to get out of the house but I was so exhausted after just an hour. Kennedy and I took a short nap when we got back home while Sheryl went to the store to stock up on more supplies.

Sheryl took this photo yesterday; it's amazing how even the smallest hats are still too large for her tiny little head.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

* Kennedy's umbilical stump fell off.
* Dana came to visit. She brought us Pink Martini's Hang On Little Tomato
* I made a meatloaf for Susan--she still looks pale to me.
* Aunt Peggy and Uncle Eric sent Kennedy a crocheted blanket.
* Beth sent Kennedy her first Gund bear, Schatzi.
* We listened to the Smithsonian Folkways World Music Collection cd. I liked the Cuban Guajira Guantanamera. In Houston, Texas I used to eat at the Spanish Flower. The Mariachis there would substitute the word Guantanamera with "One ton tomato".

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Kennedy's learned how to stretch. This time, she didn't bother to come out of it. She just stayed in her stretch and went back to sleep.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Well folks, we’ve made it through Day 3 at home with our new daughter. Sheryl and I are both so in love with her and wonder when this feeling of utter bliss and contentment will mellow out – we certainly hope not! Life is so good right now. It’s hard to believe that just a week ago we were in labor. I've spent the majority of my time taking it easy on the couch - it's been great to have such dedicated time to just gaze at our baby and bond with her.

Yesterday we received a fantastic set of gifts from Sheryl’s twin, Shelly. She sent us a dozen gorgeous roses, a box of super-fancy chocolates, and a box of assorted cigars. It was so funny because Sheryl has been talking for weeks about how she wanted to get some cigars to celebrate.

Tomorrow Grandma Anderson is coming to visit since Sheryl will be out for a dentist appointment and she had an Avonex treatment tonight. Last time we had the treatment, Sheryl was up all night with flu-like symptoms and needed the next day to recover. Of course, it’s not much of a sacrifice for Grandma to come hang out with Kennedy. Both she and Grandpa are absolutely thrilled to have her in our lives.

Monday, October 25, 2004

It's hard to imagine that this photo was shot 1 week ago today, the night before Susan's water broke just shy of 4:00 in the morning.

We packed Kennedy into her car seat and drove her home from the hospital late yesterday afternoon .

Now we're melding into the feeding, burping, sleeping, diaper changing family. I'm trying to keep Susan in resting mode. The Doctor says Susan should think of herself as being on vacation for the next two weeks at a place where everyone else takes care of her and she doesn't have to do a thing. Easy enough to say, but breast feeding mom's have a lot of work on their hands from the get go! There remains some post c-section pain at the incision. It's especially hard for Susan to get up and down. Another thing is that a lot of fluid remains, especially around the ankles. All in all, mom and baby are doing great though. Kennedy is an absolute joy. It's great fun when she is in her alert stages to just sit and talk to her and watch her many facial expressions form.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Well, we’ve got two very proud mommas here… We’re attaching a couple more pictures of our precious new addition and promise to add much more when we return home with a faster internet connection.

Kennedy is now officially a breastfeeding champ; it took us a couple of days, but by George, we think she’s got it! Kennedy was born with the most gorgeous, long fingers – we may have a piano player in the making! She also has long fingernails and has managed to scrape her little nose already.

Today they took out my staples (ouch) and continue to encourage me to rest so that my body can heal. It’s a bit tough because I start to feel better, overdo things, then end up in much more pain later down the road. My doc said I could go home if I wanted this afternoon, but she is encouraging me to stay one more day so that I stay focused on healing myself. We agree; we’ll go home tomorrow. (Yay!)

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Day 2 of Kennedy's life was consumed with sleeping, crying, cuddling and learning to breastfeed. She's pretty good at the first three and we're all trying to become proficient in the fourth. It's a good thing that the hospital has a great staff of lactation consultants to help us get it down. We've had some great successes and hope that she becomes the champ we all know she can be very soon.

Yesterday, Sheryl gave Kennedy her first bath! No rubber duckies in this tub, but we'll fix that at home! Kennedy loved her first bath and was very calm during the experience. This will be one of Sheryl's ongoing chores - I mean bonding experiences with Kennedy going forward.

We'll plan on updating you all soon on the experience of the last few days, but we did want to drop in quickly with more photos of our newest pride and joy. Thanks to all of you for your emails; the analog line connecting us to you has us at a bit of a disadvantage, so please be patient if we're a bit slow in responding.

Welcome To the World Little Bean!!!!

Introducing a tiny bundle of joy with a great big name! Sheryl and Susan are thrilled to have Kennedy Shelly Sanford Anderson join their family. 32 hours after Susan’s water broke we birthed Little Kennedy via C-Section. Moms and Baby are doing great!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Guest Blogger Jamie dropping in to share the wonderful news that Susan and Sheryl have a beautiful and healthy baby girl (name TBD). Baby Anderson was born a little after 12pm on Wednesday, Oct 20, 2004 weighing 7 pounds 2 ounces, and 21 inches long. Susan describes her as a gorgeous string bean. Susan and Sheryl are doing great considering the long and difficult labor that ended in a C-section. They wanted to make sure to publicly acknowledge their fantastic doula, Shawn! Susan and Sheryl will be posting pictures as soon as they can so stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Well folks, this is it!!! My water just broke (conveniently while I was on the toilet) so she'll be joining us anytime now. We'll check back in when we can - not sure what internet access will be like at the hospital. YAY!!!!

Monday, October 18, 2004

Susan's food cravings so far today: Orange rolls, better cheddar sausages and cranberries. I found some horseradish sweet pickles at New Seasons and those have been favorites of late too. Other than the odd food cravings, there's not much else to report on the pregnancy.

We completed our voting ballots last night and handed them to our mail carrier today. What a relief to get that done.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

A few pictures to share. This is a picture of the Freemont bridge from our Ob/Gyn's office yesterday. The trees are turning.

Jack is snuggling in to Susan as much as he can these days. I think he senses that the baby is coming soon. I snapped this shot last night.

Susan's family has offered us the use of various rockers. Today Susan's parents came and brought this glider courtesy of Great Grandma Kay. I don't think Susan has gotten out of it since they left. Heh.

And this is Renee's Lazy Boy rocking chair. We put it in Bean's room upstairs. This is one comfortable chair!

Hi All; Susan here dropping in for a quick update.

First, yes, I am still pregnant. Concerned calls from family and friends are starting to pour in now. Yesterday we had our routine OB appointment and the cervix is a little lower than last week - but no dilation yet. Likely we still have some waiting to do.

Yesterday our baby was soooo active in my tummy. She had about a total of 5 hours of wakefulness (read: playing) between 3pm and midnight. Her kicks and pushes are sometimes a little painful - but it's entertaining as all get out to watch my belly move. I keep thinking of the movie Alien as she squirms, ha ha.

Doc says the baby is big and healthy. Who knew I was such a good grower of babies? Sheryl and my jaws dropped when she said not to be surprised if she was a good 9 pounds if we delivered next week. YIKES!!! Of course, I try and focus on what good news this is; she's likely nice and healthy; yay!

Yesterday was my final day in the office; I have some more work to do on Monday from home - but I am so excited to have some down time before the baby comes. I'm sure it will be nice and relaxing. Right. (Insert sarcastic eye-roll here...) It's time to stop oppressing my nesting urges; I can't wait to scrub the house from top to bottom.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Bean's first pumpkin! Check it out.

Thanks to my cool and very crafty manager at work, Judi , for this pumpkin. Speaking of pumpkins. A friend of ours nicknamed Susan pumpkin, well, "punkin" to be exact, a while back. When Susan and I picked the donor for our insemination, we subsequently bought a baby picture. The picture was of a little boy, probably about 1 year old, standing next to a pumpkin.

I can't drag Susan to the pumpkin patch out at Sauvie Island this year. That's an annual October trip for us, but she wouldn't be able to do all of our normal activities like the corn maze and pumpkin patch hay ride. Plus, the traffic in and out is very bad and we don't want to be stuck on the island when labor starts or the water breaks.

The first Avonex injection went okay if not a bit icky on the side effects. I spoke with a nurse today about ways to lighten those effects. To start, I'll take two doses of ibuprofin prior to the injection. And small things, like letting the medicine sit in room temperature for 2 to 6 hours can make a difference. Apparently, the more room temperature the medicine is the less side effects. They're supposed to ease up once the body adjusts to the medicine, so there's something to look forward to.

Thanks to the Portland Communique for a thoughtful Endorsement: NO on Measure 36. Keep the Righteous Wing Out of Oregon's Constitution.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

On Sunday we had lunch at PF Chang’s with my Aunt Tami and her two kids Katrina and Kirkland. Katrina’s birthday was on Sept. 26th; Tami’s was on Oct. 3rd, and Kirkland’s is the 19th of this month.

Needless to say, we had a great time opening presents and stuffing ourselves with yummy Chinese food. We were a bit concerned that Kirkland would have a hard time finding something he liked (he’s Mr. Picky eater) – but he loved the sweet and sour chicken.

I unpacked a box of baby clothes that my parents had packed away from when I was an infant. There were several homemade quilts and afghans that my grandmothers had made, as well as some hand-embroidered clothes. These are some of my favorites; the stitching is so delicate; I can't wait to see our daughter in them!

We've told Jack that we're having the baby and that his grandma from Kansas is going to come to visit. He's been busy keeping the guest bed warm for her.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Wow – 39 Weeks!!!

Just one week until the ‘official’ due date. I’ve already been getting frequent calls from friends and family wanting to know if the baby is here yet. Sadly, no – she’s still hanging out in my tummy; we can’t wait to meet her either! There’s a small part of me that wants to start on ‘natural’ approaches to get this show on the road (such as acupuncture, herbs, etc.) but there’s a much bigger part of me that trusts nature to take her course. Besides, odds are that since I’m a first time mom, she’ll come after my due date – so I’m trying to stay patient.

I had another OB check up today. After Friday’s scare, my doc wanted to make sure I was still doing well; apparently pre-eclampsia can progress very rapidly in some patients. Luckily, all was back to normal; low blood pressure and no protein in my urine this time. While I didn’t relish the additional visit this week, it’s great to know that all is still on track. I’ll see her again for my ‘regular’ check up on Friday.

Here’s what has to say about 39 weeks:
Your baby's ready to greet the world! She continues to build a layer of fat to help control her body temperature after birth, but it's likely she already measures about 20 inches and weighs a bit over 7 pounds. (Boys tend to be slightly heavier than girls.) Your baby's organs are fully developed and in place, and the outer layers of skin are sloughing off as new skin forms underneath.

At each visit, your midwife or doctor will do an abdominal exam to check your baby's growth and position. She might also do an internal exam to see whether you've started effacing (when the cervix thins out) or dilating (when the cervix opens). If the week passes and your baby stays put, don't panic. Only 5 percent of babies are born on their scheduled due date. And your baby can't make you wait indefinitely for her arrival. If you go past your due date, your provider will schedule you for fetal testing (usually a sonogram) after 40 weeks to ensure that it's safe to continue the pregnancy. If you don't go into labor on your own, most practitioners will induce labor when you're between one and two weeks overdue.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

At yesterday's car seat installation sponsored by Emanuel we learned proper installation of car seat and baby for our Britax Marathon. This car seat was a gift from Susan's folks; we call it the Lexus of carseats because it truly is top of the line. We like it for its safety features and high rankings in Consumer Reports. It's also a convertible carseat, so we'll be able to use it up to sixty some odd pounds.

And we officially turned our car into a family car.

We tried out our new gas fireplace for the first time last night. It was nice to have something warm to look at and it does a nice job of taking the chill out of the room. Jack doesn't quite know what to think of it, though. So far, he's kept his distance which makes his owners very happy.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Good news. Blood work results came back normal. Now we can relax a bit and life will go on as normal as I try to convince Susan to rest and keep her feet up! Jack needs no convincing to rest periodically.

We rushed home yesterday to watch the debate at 6 p.m. only to find that my fed ex delivery of Avonex hadn't arrived. I called my prescription company and they were closed, until Monday.
We called fed ex and they located the package saying there was a "delivery problem" and that we had to pick it up at their Swan Island facility. The delivery problem was that the zip code was one number off. It was supposed to end in 2 but ended in 6. I'm sorry, but Portland is not so big that you can't find an address when you don't have the zip code. Was the fed ex driver from some other city? Because you can easily find an address in Portland without the zip code. And when you have a package that looks like this:

You might think that it is important to deliver or at least attempt to call the phone number on the packaging. So, we ended up listening to the debates on the radio mostly.

Well, Susan's group strep B test came back positive, which happens in 30% of all pregnancies, and we've opted for the standard treatment: IV antibiotics on arrival at the hospital and then depending on how long the birthing takes, every 4 to 6 hours from there on.

Susan also had protein in her urine which is one indicator for pre-eclampsia or toxemia. Pre-eclampsia is caused by a defect in the placenta. The placenta supplies the baby with nutrients and oxygen from the mother's blood. Anyway, they always screen for protein at our ob/gyn visits. Dr. Holtzman says late pregnancy pre-eclampsia has a number of indicators associated with it: swelling, protein in urine, headache, seeing black spots, pain high above the uterus, high blood pressure. Susan's only has this one protein event, some swelling and a little pain in her muscles above the uterus. So, they sent us to the lab for a CBC and some liver and kidney function tests. Possible actions include labor induction if the tests come back really abnormal, 24 hour urine collection if the results are close to normal range, and maybe bed rest. They've also scheduled Susan for more frequent blood pressure checks, though her pressure has been very good and to this point remains good. We find out the results of the test today sometime. More later...

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Bean was really pushing my hand out today with her kicks. She's strong! And Susan's belly is continuing its growth spurt.

I woke up last night in a dream panic that I didn't know enough about breathing patterns and birth coaching. Today, I went back to the book our doula Shawn gave me to review. The book is out of print, but it's awesome. It's The Birth Partner, Everything You Need to Know to Help a Woman Through Childbirth by Penny Simkin, P.T. It talks about accupressure, touch and massage, visualization, baths/showers, movement... This book has great text. Some of our other books have better visual representations of labor comfort measures.
Susan dropping in here to say we met with our new pediatrician today - Hilary Basco - and we both really liked her. She seemed to trust parents to make good decisions which is a characteristic we were really looking for. We'll likely have her or one of her associates drop into the hospital after Bean is born; then we'll see her again at 2 weeks for our first 'real' visit.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

38 weeks!!!

Here’s what has to say about our 38th Week:

Your baby has really fattened up. She likely weighs between 6 and 7 1/2 pounds now (boys tend to be slightly heavier than girls), and she's probably between 19 and 20 inches long. She has a firm grasp, which you'll soon be able to test with your pinky! Her organs are fully developed and in place, but her lungs and brain
— though developed enough for her to function now — will continue to mature right through childhood.
Oh the joys of being 9 months pregnant. I have officially moved into the category of grumpy, uncomfortably, complainy, achy, sore, encumbered, 9-months pregnant whiney-crybaby. It’s been a rough few days as I can no longer sit for more than 20 minutes at a time without starting to hurt, sleep patterns are trashed since I can’t even find a comfortable way to lie down, and my emotions decided to buckle themselves back into the roller coaster I experienced during the first trimester. Boy am I ever fun to be around these days?!?! At least I’m not the only one; lots of sympathizers out there say this is very common at this stage of the game.

On a lighter note, however, I’ve set my last day to work to be the 15th – so hopefully I’ll have a week or so break to get all of those last minute things done before our daughter arrives. It will be so nice to not have to drag myself into the office and have some downtime.

The baby continues to have very active periods, although she’s running out of room to do her gymnastics. Yesterday, while having my teeth cleaned, she performed nicely for the hygienist making that little pink bib they put on you dance up and down during the cleaning – it was too funny.

Sheryl and I have recently been watching the series ‘The West Wing’; we’ve been getting the discs on Netflix and we’re just starting the second season. It’s such an addictive show that I can hardly bring myself to turn off the DVD until all episodes have been viewed! Apparently, resistance is futile.

Flu vaccines – in case you haven’t heard – are now running very low since one of the manufacturers has stopped production. I’ve heard conflicting information on if pregnant women should be first in line or shouldn’t have the shot at all. A call into the doctor’s office should clear this up. Tomorrow we meet Little Bean’s pediatrician; we both hope she’s as great as our OB. We’ll let you know.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Well, the hospital bags are packed for moms and baby. The only thing left is to purchase Smart Water. I liked Smart Water because it had all the electrolytes without the sugar. Our doula, Shawn, says though that sugar isn't necessarily bad during the birthing. Calories = energy. We're going to try to labor as much as we can at home. We finished our birth plan over the weekend and printed it out for the hospital staff. It's one page and says things like I want

  • to hold my baby immediately after birth
  • to wait until the umbilical cord stops pulsating before it is clamped and cut
  • to deliver the placenta unassisted
  • to postpone newborn procedures until we have had a chance to bond with our baby
  • to have Sheryl, cut the umbilical cord
  • to breastfeed my baby immediately after birth

Those are just post birth preferences. There are room and first stage and second stage preferences as well. At home we have a list that says feed the cat, call the house sitter, take your cell phone... Susan continues to be well yet uncomfortable.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

We had a few friends over last night for what was likely our last pre-birth gathering. Pamela played a classical guitar concert for us. It was a dry run for her upcoming performance on October 9th at Linfield College in McMinnville. Pamela wanted Susan to hear her play but knew that she would be very uncomfortable sitting in the auditorium seats, so she came to us. How great is that!

My absolute favorite piece is the Elogio De La Danza, I. Lento, II. Obstinato, by Leo Brouwer. Fantastic modern arrangement. This is John telling a story about how he saw Jack the cat peek his head around a corner.

And this is Megan's message.

Yesterday Susan and I watched our Avonex video by Biogen Idec (the manufacturer). I've been working with my Health group and MSActiveSource to understand how Avonex fits into my plan. Reimbursement coverage is important. Avonex is an extremely expensive specialty drug at this time only produced by Biogen Idec.

We also watched two of our birth videos that our doula, Shawn, gave us. Wow! Susan got all teary-eyed, understandably. Watching birth is amazing.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Yellow flowers = the end of an affair, according to the movie Greenfingers (2001). In this movie a prison inmate finds his green thumb and ends up participating in big gardening competitions. Supposedly the movie was based on a true story. Cute, but not high on my recommendation list. Today I bought Susan some flowers, mini yellow roses. I had forgotten about the Greenfingers thing but she laughed when she walked in the door this afternoon and said uh-oh, What's this? The end of an affair?

So, what's behind flowers and their colors? Yellow is one of my favorite colors. According to flower meanings yellow tulips (there's sunshine in your smile) are okay, but yellow roses (decrease of love, jealousy, try to care) definitely not okay. Will this stop me from buying yellow roses? No.

Someone walked in my acupuncturist office today whooping and hollering and saying "Kerry kicked butt last night. He was awesome!" Certainly, this kind of energetic statement about Kerry's performance was pretty much heard everywhere I went today. Words I've heard today describing George Bush's performance included angry, petulant, arrogant, cynical, focused on repeating trite phrases over and over again.

We went to our OB/GYN office today. Everything is going well. Susan's joints hurt in her fingers, probably the result of increased fluid from swelling. They tested for Group B Streptococcus. This test is generally done at 35 to 37 weeks. We'll get the results next week. If it's negative, all is well. If it's positive we have some choices. Some, like the Group B Strep Association, think the American Academy of Pediatric guidelines are too aggressive and maybe even harmful. The AAP says to give antibiotics and holds the position that the benefits outweigh the risks. Our doula, Shawn, went with us to the appointment and she toured the hospital birth rooms and birth area. Shawn is so good. She has really helped us focus on our birth plan, asks good questions, helps us clarify things we're not sure about, provides good resources, etc. Plus, she's calming. Calming energy is a wonderful thing.