Sunday, December 12, 2010

Edie's Birthday Party

Edie's birthday this year has been a blast. She's at the age when the whole "presents" and "party" things are making sense. She's knows that on her birthday she is extra special. On Thursday, her actual birthday, we started the day by all climbing into bed together and cozy-ing up. Which led to Edie jumping on the bed, which then led to Edie mimicking Dave's snores, which concluded with Edie pushing Dave and saying "Wake up, Dad!" We all went downstairs and Edie opened presents (wearing her favorite hat, of course).

With her trusty sidekick, "Guy"

She's a pro at ripping off wrapping paper

Eric got in on the action, too

Eric gave Edie a new puzzle board with numbers (she already knows them all!). Dave and I gave her a new jacket, a bunch of "little French girl clothes," (ie: striped shirts and skinny jeans) a new set of cars and trucks (her favorite!) and a doctor's kit, which included a little pager with the message "Doctor, doctor, give me the news..." She's been chasing us around the house for days, looking in our ears, giving us pretend shots, and telling us to say "Ah."

Dr. Edith on the case - and yes, we did give her the initials ECG in hopes she might be Dr. ECG someday.

Later in the day, we dropped off some holiday donations to needy kids, visited Santa, and had a very special birthday lunch. Edie had a Belgian waffle with whipped cream, chocolate milk, some of Dave's toast and a few of my french fries. She also picked out a piece of chocolate cake with chocolate-chip ice cream for dessert. She blew out the candles after an off-key rendition of "Happy Birthday."

On Saturday, we had a nice party for family and close friends. I know Edie probably won't remember any of it, but I think she'll appreciate the fact that we always tried to make her feel special when she's older. Because Edie loves to go to the fair so much, we did a "County Fair" theme. I tried to create a menu that featured spins on classic fair food, with decor to match.

Dessert buffet - mini pies, candies, candied apples, and of course, cake

Mini blueberry and cherry pies 

Candied Apples

 Yum, birthday cake. It was an old-fashioned butter cake with chocolate chips, and classic white buttercream frosting

Savory options - Pigs in blankets, potato chips, onion rings, sausage sandwiches and kettle corn (in lieu of corndogs, bloomin' onions and french fries) 

For decorations, I made a twisted felt garland I strung along the ceiling as well as a simple fabric pennant banner. I removed the dining room painting that hangs over the buffet and replaced it with three pictures of Edie - one when she was a few days old, one from her first birthday, and one from her birthday this year.

Felt garland taped to the ceiling fan - classic

Edie really enjoyed it when everyone sang to her. She clapped and bounced on the chair, and worked really hard to blow out her candle. 


Next up: Presents. Edie was very generously gifted beautiful clothes, new musical instruments, lots of art materials, more cars and trains, and a new tricycle (she can't quite reach the pedals yet, so we'll just put some blocks on them).

Edie loves to ring the bell on her new tricycle

By the time everyone left, we were all pretty exhausted. 

But not so tired that we couldn't take baths and go for one last trike ride of the night.

It was such a nice day. There were a couple of hiccups along the way (I had set up a "photobooth" in the office, but of course, the batteries on my other camera were dead), but I'd count the party as a success. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, and Edie had a great time playing with her cousins and friends. We had family and friends travel from near and far (some driving nearly six hours round trip!), and it's nice to know that we have people in our lives who care that much about us. Both of my grandmothers (Edie and Eric's only living great-grandmothers) were able to make it, which was such a special treat. The whole day made me thankful for so much. I'm especially thankful:

- For kids who know to share without being told
- That my grandmothers get along really well and can make the two-hour trek to the farm together
- That my whole family lives in the same town and I can visit them all at once when I go home
- For parents who always come early to help, let me boss them around and still give me hugs and tell me they love me
- That my in-laws care enough to make the trip (also two hours one-way from their town in CT), even with little kids in tow and when under the weather
- For our childless friends who still come to our kids' parties, and never complain about us being those parents
- For friends with kids that understand how hard it is to be a parent and help me along the way
- For friends that date guys with good photography skills and can easily entertain cranky kids by making funny sounds
- For loved ones who tell me what a great job I did with the party - even if the cake isn't frosted properly and not all the decorations made it on the walls
- That I have a babysitter who cares about my kids as much as she does her own
- That my husband typically tolerates my Martha Stewart-OCD antics and helps clean up at the end of the day
- That I'm able to provide for my kids' every need

I'm really lucky, as so thankful, that I'm able to provide these silly parties for Edie, and soon for Eric. I hope they never take for granted how good our life is.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Happy Birthday Edith!

Yesterday was Edie's second birthday. I can't believe she is already two! I can't believe Dave and I have survived as parents for two years, either. It's certainly been an interesting experience, and is different each and every day. It is amazing how much, in just two years, she has grown and learned and changed. She already knows all her letters, most of her numbers, and can count to five. She sings silly songs and says funny things like "oh man," and "what!?" and "no way!" She just makes me laugh all day long. She's quite a character, and I thought I'd share the story of her birth so you could hear where it all started.

Me, awful unpreventable stretchmarks and all, a week before Edie was born

By the time December 9th, 2008 rolled around, Miss Edith was already more than a week overdue. I had a doctor's appointment that morning (a Tuesday) to decide whether or not I should be induced. By this point, I had already experienced bouts of gall stones, fell down the stairs and broke my ribs, and had early signs of toxemia. I think Edith got the hint. I woke up that morning like any other, and went downstairs to start in on some breakfast and get ready for work, etc. I had half of a bagel and a cup on decaf coffee. I was sitting on the couch, still in my jammies, and checking in on the morning news. When I stood up to put my dirty dishes in the sink, I suddenly felt a warm rush. I went upstairs to the bathroom, and realized that my water broke. I yelled to Dave, and he came into the bathroom, basically still asleep, to see what all the ruckus was about. Yup, it was time. Edie was coming. It was 7:30am.

I was so nervous and had no idea what to do. Thankfully, we had most everything already packed. I hopped in the shower while Dave hustled around the house to make sure every last detail was handled. We got in the car around 8:30am and headed into Albany. I called the doctor's office to ask if I should still come in for my appointment or head to the hospital. Crystal, the nurse, said it sounded fairly certain that my water had broken, and told us to head to Albany Medical Center. I had some work I insisted on finishing up at my old office (Dave thought I was nuts, but obliged anyway). I was having very slow contractions (only about 30 minutes apart), so I didn't think too much of it. It didn't seem like a big rush. I also was really hungry again, and tried to convince Dave that we should go get some breakfast, but it was almost 10am at this point, and he insisted we get to the hospital.

Once we finally found a parking spot, Dave carried the bags and I waddled into the labor and delivery unit. While we did the hospital tour and were told what to do, I drew a complete blank. We filled out piles of paperwork and were shown to our labor and delivery room. Dave helped me change into my hospital gown, and I was hooked up to a bunch of monitors and IVs. After a doctor, a midwife, and a bunch of nurses checked to make sure my water was "really broken," I was official admitted! I was also incredibly angry that I wasn't allowed to eat anything (no one ever tells you that!).

Because I tested positive for Group B Strep, I had to have an antibiotic IV. Wowie, it burned so bad. It might have been one of the worst parts of the whole experience. Nothing a good ice pack couldn't help. I was also introduced to several other doctors, nurses, and medical students. I was told that if anything should go wrong, about seven people would rush in, and it's good to know who would be there to help me. I was also told I should be expect to be in labor for about sixteen hours. It was really strange how many different doctors you meet and questions you are asked when having a baby. I had a medical student take my history. Another anesthesiology student counted my teeth (yes, counted my teeth!) in case one of my teeth were knocked out during a "worst-case scenario," as it was so nicely put. Lots of people were coming in to my room, lifting my gown and checking "down there" and spitting out crazy numbers I had no idea what they meant. It was a very bizarre experience.

 I was allowed to labor for about five hours, with little progress. Not much was changing. I was given Pitocin to help move contractions along. My nurse said that once I started to have contractions, I would really have them. And she was right. They came so fast and so intensely that it left me breathless. But, I was still hungry. The night before, I had baked cookies and cupcakes for Dave to hand out to his students (they were scheduled for finals on the 9th, and I always like them to have a happy "end of semester" treat). I tried to convince him to go to the car and get me some goodies, but he played by doctor's orders. I'll never forgive him. Anyway, I was having contractions every 4-5 minutes for about two hours, but I was barely dilated (still only about 3cm). I decided to get an epidural around 5pm. Dave was great - he held my hand through the whole thing. It was incredibly scary. The anesthesiologist brought in this gigantic chest (like a really tall Craftsman tool chest) that was filled with loads of equipment. And HUGE needles. She was incredibly sweet and walked me through the whole process, how it would feel, and how it would impact the rest of labor and my delivery. She first numbed my back and spine, then performed the epidural. I think I said "Goddamn" once or twice. Yeah, it hurt, but not nearly as bad as I thought it would. I'm very glad I had it, though, because I was able to somewhat enjoy the rest of the process, and it allowed me to be "in the moment" instead of struggling through pain.

My contractions continued to get closer together, but I wasn't dilating any faster. Little Edith was ready to get out, however, and wiggled her way further and further down the birth canal. Around 7pm, I told my nurse that I really felt like I had to push. She didn't really believe me, but she had the doctor come in and check my progress. Indeed, Edie was pretty far down. The doctors began to worry about me having an inverted uterus. I was given a medicine to stop the contractions, and then I started having "labor shakes." I think Dave thought I was having a seizure. I was really, really cold, and I think my hormones were so rampant that I was physically shaking. Warm blankets were comforting, but not much relief. Around 7:30pm, the baby heart rate monitor started to make a lot of alarming noise. And, just like the nurse said, about seven people rushed in to see what the problem was. It turned out that poor little Edie was in a lot of distress, and had squirmed so much she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her legs. Her heart beat had dropped dangerously low, to about 40 beats per minute. I was given a hairnet, Dave a set of scrubs, and we were told as soon as an operating room was open, we were going in. Having a c-section was my biggest fear, and needless to say, I started to freak a little bit. Dave called my parents, who were on their way to Albany, to let them know the news. In the brief moment Dave turned his back to me, I was whisked away to have the baby.

In the operating room, I was given anesthesia that made me incredibly nauseous. But, because I was numb from the chest down, I couldn't really throw-up properly. I mentioned that I wasn't feeling well, and was told that if I needed to be sick, to say something and the nurse would grab me a pail. Well, I told her, and she did, but it was more projectile vomit. I wasn't able to cough the rest up, and started to choke, so I had to have a suction pipe pushed down my throat. I was so scared, I honestly thought I was going to die. Once Dave was allowed in, I calmed a bit. The sheet went up, and soon after, little Edith made her very dramatic entrance into the world at 8pm. She had little tufts of sandy blonde hair, big blue eyes, even bigger feet (so big, in fact, she pulled the nurse's stethoscope off with her toes right after she was born!) was 20.1 inches long and weighed in at 7lbs, 1oz. She was perfect.

Edie was taken to the nursery for a short time while I was in the recovery room. About an hour later, we were reunited and she nursed for the first time. Because it was late and there was no one else in the recovery room, Dave was allowed to keep me company. My parents finally arrived and went right to Edith, completely overlooking me. Edie and I were wheeled into the maternity ward around 11pm for our first night together.

The night after Edie was born (Wednesday), the Albany area experienced one of the worst ice storms we had ever seen. Some people were without power for a whole month! The amount of time we spent in the hospital largely depended on my recovery, and not knowing if we had any power when we got home was incredibly nerve wracking. Dave took turns spending the night with me and spending the night at home, just to make sure all was well on Silly Goose Farm. The recovery process went very smoothly for me. My incision healed well, although I was sore for a few months after Edie was born. I was at the hospital until Friday afternoon. The ice that covered every tree, every rooftop on the drive back to the farm made it feel that the whole world was glowing just for little Edith. We snuggled at home next to a cozy fire in the glow of the Christmas tree. And all seemed right with the world.

Parenting is definitely not easy. But it's very much worth it. I think about all the sleepless nights, the temper-tantrums, the general crankiness, the never being able to take a day off that Dave and I have gone through for the past two years, and then I think about how perfect Edie's birthday was this year. She is such a funny, kind, loving and caring little person. So smart and so cunning. I feel like she's been that way from Day One. I'm just here to help her grow into the person she always has been; to help her realize her path in life.

I love you, Edie Peedie.