Thursday, August 27, 2009

1 Week Old!

Okay, in addition to the 100 or so photos I've posted of Liv so far, you can:
CLICK HERE for more new photos!
I also have a few more from this first week (like the one below) I'll share later, but they are from the batch of photos I took for her birth announcements, so I don't want to reveal them all just yet ;)
During Jillian's first year, I updated about her progress once a week. My intention is to do the same for sweet Liv. Already this week so many things have changed, so I welcome this opportunity to sit down, and reflect on what we've experienced so far with her.

In general, having a newborn in the house is one of the most amazing things... It's exhausting, wonderful, overwhelming, and simply amazing. To be honest, I've always loved newborns. The little puzzle of figuring out what makes them happy, reading their cues and responding to their needs... Breathing in the very essence of them. They are unlike anything else in the world. Such a tiny package of promise and potential. I love them. I love Liv. I can sit and stare at her for such long periods of time, and she can bring a lump to my throat by just laying there making her sweet tiny baby noises. It's magical.

So far Livy sleeps like a champ. We had one rough night when all she wanted was to eat and snuggle, but overall it's been great. Waking up every 3 hours or so to eat, and then right back down. We've been keeping her in our room so far, but I think the crib will come next week... She's doing well in there for some of her naps during the day so I think she can handle it- (assuming I can!) haha...

Eating is going well too- I'm getting used to the whole thing again, and she's slowly learning. I forgot how much coaching they need in the beginning! We brought her to her first pediatrics appointment yesterday, and she was only down a little from her birth weight, so that's good.

Even though this blog is about Liv, I think it's important to add that Jillian simply loves her. She is adjusting SO well, and looks for Liv in the morning to say, "Good morning baby Liv!" It's very sweet. She wants to hold her often (and then after about 5 seconds always says, "She wants her Mommy" and nudges her back to me). Lots of kisses, lots of helping Mommy and Daddy, and lots of saying, "Ew! Baby Liv pooped!" ;)

This week Liv got to meet quite a few of our friends from MOMS Club as they have coordinated bringing meals for our family. I feel so lucky to have found such a wonderful group of parents and children to call our friends. Thanks for all your support ladies!

Ryan's also been a great support. Jillian sure loves that guy! ;) He took this whole week off of work, so there's been lots of quality family time and extra attention for Jillian. It's been really nice.

Okay- that's it for this week. Tune in next Thursday for another batch of photos and an update on Liv!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Photos and the rest of the story...

Wowzer!  Okay- in case you subscribe to the theory, "A picture is worth a thousand words", here is a link for all the photos I've taken from the time we left for the hospital, until now.  Warning, there are LOTS!!!  :)

And, for documentation sake, here's the whole story:

On Wednesday, August 19th we had an OB appointment around 10am.  While we were there, I got an exam and found out we were 2cm dilated.  By 6:15pm that evening, I was having regular contractions and called the hospital to decide our course of action.  They told me if I was the same, (or worse!) by 9pm to head in to check things out.

Jillian was already in bed, so we called our friends Natalie and Rene to come baby/dog/house sit while we drove to Bethesda.

We leisurely got out the door (my contractions were every 4 min or so, but not that awful) so we made sure to pack everything (just in case this was the real deal!) and got on the road.

Upon arrival at the hospital, my contractions had lessened (wouldn't you know?!) so I was sure we were going to be sent home.  However, my exam showed I was 4cm, and progressing, so they checked us in!

Once we got in our room, I got my epidural, pitocen, water broken, and was told to get some rest. (Okay- I made that whole part sound pretty quick and painless, but I'm saving you the labor details!)

I could not fall asleep no matter how hard I tried, but Ryan crashed out for a little bit.  At about 4:30am I started having a weird pain in my side.  When the doc checked me out, it was determined this was probably because Liv had quickly transitioned to a +2 station, I was 100% thinned, and dilated 10cm.  In summary:  It was go time!

I called across the room to Ryan to wake him up:  "Babe!  Wake up... wanna have a baby?" (Groggy Ryan) "Hm?  Huh?  Oh.... now? Sure!"  Haha!

It took him a minute to get the pull out bed put away, and stand by me.  While he was doing this, the staff was setting up our room for delivery.  My nurse was talking to me about how she counts contractions and suggested we do a "practice push" to make sure we were on the same page.  Count 3 of the practice push she quickly said, "Okay... um... please stop!"  She suggested the doctor quickly finish the prep.  Guess we were ready!!!

The first contraction where I was told to push, I gave it my all and I guess it was enough!  By count 7 or so, her head was out, and after a quick deep breath and another push, Liv was born!

4:46am, cord around her neck, covered with white goo, and screaming, Liv had arrived.  The cord was quickly dealt with, and she was just fine.  They were able to deliver her onto my belly and Ryan and I were completely consumed by this magical moment we had been blessed with for a second time.  In minutes, seconds even, we had gone from a family of three to a family of four.  It is amazing.

Enjoy the photos!

Friday, August 21, 2009

She's HERE!

Liv Madeline Kules
Thursday August 20th
7.1lbs, 20.5in, 4:46am!

More details/photos soon!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Appointment today...

Okay- so we've got progress...  

I went to the doctor today, and apparently I'm 2cm dilated, 50% thinned, and the baby is low.  That's good news considering when I was checked 10 days ago I was none of those things!

So... We'll see!

Keep your fingers crossed Liv decides to come soon- I'M SO READY!!!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Liv's Baby Shower!

Today I had a wonderful time celebrating at Liv's baby shower!  My sweet friend Karen was kind enough to host a gathering at her house, and it was simply wonderful!

Here's the cute cupcakes and all the yummy food:
Sweet personalized favors:
Me opening lots of wonderful, generous gifts:
An ADORABLE diaper cake/basket my friend Mariana MADE for me!  She's so talented!
Yolanda, Me and Kelsey.  All expecting within a few days of each other!
All five expecting women at the party.  Karen (our hostess) to my left, and Heather:
The whole wonderful group:
Thanks so much ladies for being a part of this celebration!  I feel so lucky to have all of you in our lives, and can't wait for you all to meet Liv!

Here is a link for some other photos we took, but didn't post:  LINK

Oh- and if you get these updates via email, you'll have to visit the site directly ( to see it, but there is a link on the right hand side of the page now where you can put in your guess for Liv's arrival date, weight, & length!  Happy Guessing!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Liv's Room is DONE!

Here's a LINK for all the photos of Liv's completed bedroom!!!!

Here's the whole story of how the room came to be, and all the things we did:

* Ryan and I shopped and shopped to find bedding we loved.  We found a collection from Kids Line called Birdsong which was being discontinued.  A store near us still had one in stock, so we were lucky to get the quilt, dust ruffle, 1 valence, diaper stacker, sheet and bumper.

* A few months ago, our sweet friends Sarah and Chris were visiting from Arizona and watched Jillian while Ryan and I went out of town.  As if they had not done enough, I convinced them to help me paint into the wee hours of the night.  We did a robin egg blue on the ceiling and top 18 inches of the wall, and a lavender on the bottom.  

* Next, Ryan and I measured/cut/painted half round molding to put between the two colors.

* We searched high and low for the perfect furniture for the room- we wanted the finish to be white, to have a nice sized dresser and crib that converts to a full size bed.  

* We knew we wanted to incorporate a large wall unit we could fill with baskets and use to store toys for the girls.  We purchased this and Ryan and I assembled it and were glad to have it while we organized the room!  We also purchased a large brown rug for in front of this unit.

* Our furniture order arrived, and Ryan and I set it up together in the room.  It's amazing quality, and weighs a ton.  Very nice.

* Next up were the curtains.  I made sheer panels for privacy, and long white curtains which are pulled to the side with pink ribbon.  Then, since our bedding set only came with one valance, I decided to cut apart the crib skirt that had come with the set, to sew tops for both windows.  Then, I added white tabs to those so we could hang them.  I also added a strip of solid purple fabric to the valence to jazz them up a little bit.

* Since I had cut up the crib skirt, I made a new one...  Out of the solid purple.

* I purchased a few lights to go on the top of the large bookshelf to provide ambient light in the room- I love the way this looks!!!

* After MUCH searching we found the perfect rocker/glider for the room.  It's white wood, with the perfect color purple cushions.  Thanks for your help with this, Karen! ;)

* I had purchased a few different baskets/containers to organize books on the large shelf.  It was actually hard to find the perfect ones that looked good and were functional, but after what felt like 1 million different purchases and returns, I settled on a nice wicker set with pink liners.  They're so cute and my Mom and I found them for a great deal!

My Mom came into town and helped SO much with all the finishing touches in the room.  

Together, we:

* Made floor pillows for the rug area by the bookshelf and a little pillow for on the chair.  A while ago I found a great stripe fabric that picks up all the colors in the bedding, so we used a lot of that, and cut up and used the fabric that was supposed to be the valance.  Cute, cute...

* Finished an art project...  I made 8x8 scrapbook pages online using Heritage Makers, featuring a tree, flower, and dragonfly.  I customized them a little more by using the words Liv, Madeline, and Kules over and over as the background of the images.  Then, I cut wood so it would have about a 1 inch border around the pictures, routed the edges, painted them white, and then used Mod Podge to adhere the pictures to the wood.  I also put Mod Podge right over a ribbon border so the whole square has a nice sealed finish.  They turned out great.

* Made a butterfly mobile for above the crib...  This was a labor of love for sure, but I'm really pleased with how it turned out.  We found a template for an intricate butterfly online, and used a copy machine to make 3 different butterfly sizes.  Then, we cut a bunch out of card stock, searched the neighborhood for the perfect branch, and hung the butterflies at different heights with pink string.

* Found 9 white frames we could use to display pictures of Liv with her extended family once she arrives.  We did this in Jillian's room too, and she says "goodnight" to each person often.  This means despite our distance in miles, our most important family members are familiar to her.  For now, we quickly drew fun little pictures with marker so the frames would not be empty!

*  Added a green polka dot ribbon (the same one that is on the pillows and the artwork) to the bottom of the sheer panels for the windows.

* And finally:  Hung a floating shelf for the diaper baskets, accessorized those baskets with alternating green/pink ribbon, hung hooks for towels, found the perfect hamper, hung Liv's name above the closet bordered by two large flowers on pink ribbon AND put a cute, "Shhh... Baby Dreaming" decal above the crib.

WHEW!  If you think that was a lot to type/read, imagine doing it all!!!!  I'm so glad it's done, so appreciative of all the help I had, and SO ready to meet Liv and see what she thinks of it all!  :)