Adelie and Staley's World

Adelie and Staley's World

Monday, January 31, 2011

Strategic Planning?

We've had Jake and Elwood for 9 years.  And for 9 years, we've been saying the same thing.  Jake and Elwood are nice cats, but they are not too bright.  They are affectionate and social.  They love to cuddle and they generally come when they are called.  They meet us at the door when we come home, and they follow us from room to room.  They love to sit on our laps, and they never miss an opportunity to be petted.  However, they don't seem to have any capacity for learning.  After being accidentally locked in a closet for an entire day, Elwood seemed traumatized, only to run back into the same closet not 15 minutes later when the door was once again opened.  We had to lock them in the laundry room every day for a month while having a house project completed and, every day, they came running when treats were offered, only to be shocked when they were (once again) locked into the laundry room.  They still chase their own tails, and they went through a period of time when they would only drink from a drip in the bathtub faucet rather than the fresh water that Zach put into their water bowls daily.  Nice...but not too bright.  Or so we thought...

Since Staley has been born, we have had to shut Jake and Elwood out of our bedroom at night since Staley is now sleeping in there.  This has been an adjustment, as they both generally slept in our room with us before Staley was born.  Well, for the past 4 nights, around the time that we shut them out of our room, Elwood has run into our room and gotten under the bed where we can't reach him.  He slinks back in the far corner and won't come out.  We've tried calling to him, scolding him, and ignoring him.  Nothing works.  As much as I hate to admit it, this is a pretty smart plan on his part.  Maybe I wasn't giving him enough credit.  Of course, Zach has found that all he needs to do is dangle a shoe lace over the edge of the bed, move it around a little bit, and Elwood runs out from under the bed in an attempt to attack and capture the shoe lace.  So maybe Elwood's strategic plan has a minor flaw.  Regardless, they are still nice cats.  

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bath Night

Staley has a sweet, mellow personality and rarely fusses.  She will only cry when she's really hungry or overly tired.  For the first two weeks, Staley had to have a sponge bath.  Lying on her changing table, cold and wet in nothing but a diaper, didn't seem to thrill her.  During her sponge baths, we realized the full potential of Staley's lung capacity...and it's pretty impressive.  So, last night, Staley finally got to get her first big girl bath and...
SHE LOVED IT!!!!

From the second we placed her into her tub until she was warmly wrapped in her towel, we didn't hear one sound of discontent.  We can now remove 'bath time' from the list of things that make Staley fuss.  Of course, if you had awesome after-bath hair like this, what is there to fuss about??




Thursday, January 27, 2011

Daddy's Girl

I had no doubt that Zach would be a wonderful father.  He is so thoughtful and selfless and patient and loyal and hard-working and fun, and I knew these traits that make him an amazing husband and friend would serve him well as a father.  However, I marvel at how much love he has for our little girl, and I love to watch as he interacts with her.  Zach had never had much experience with infants, having never even changed a diaper before, so it's all the more amazing to see how naturally parenting comes to him.  Zach changes diapers like a champ, loves to help with bath time, takes every opportunity to hold and snuggle his little girl, and has become a master swaddler (or, as he likes to call it, making a "Staley burrito.")  I can't wait for Staley to grow up and realize what an incredible father she has been blessed with.

Love at first sight



Watching the Bears play



Helping Daddy with school work

Zach's famous Staley burrito


The unconditional love and undivided attention of a wonderful father--no girl could ask for anything more!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My Little Wiggle-Worm

Staley's position when we put her in her co-sleeper at night

Staley's position when I woke up to feed her this morning

Pretty impressive maneuvering considering her legs are practically tied together in her blanket.  I predict some extraordinary potato sack racing skills in Staley's future!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Easing his Pain

This may come as a shock, but Zach and I are Bear's fans.  Some may even use the words "die-hard" to describe our Bear's fan-ness.  So you may have expected to hear weeping and wailing coming from our home yesterday afternoon after the unfortunate loss to the-team-that-shall-not-be-named.  However, I've realized yet another wonderful skill that our new daughter possesses.  She can take a tragic day in the history of the Bears and make her father say, "Well, at least they put up a good fight.  It was a great season."

To put things in perspective, Zach is an active Bears viewer.  During games, he is generally pacing or perched on the edge of the couch in anticipation.  He will make helpful suggestions to the coaches, players, and officials, and will occasionally need to raise his voice if they don't appear to be listening to him.  When the Bears score, he jumps off the couch and spikes his soft Bear's football pillow in celebration.  A few years ago, when the Bears lost the Super Bowl to the Colts, Zach sulked and barely said 'good-bye' to the guests that had come over to watch the game.  He was devastated for several days.

Yesterday was probably one of the biggest games in team history.  The Bears played their arch-rivals, the Green Bay Packers, in their first NFC championship match-up since the 1940's.  The winner was going on to the Super Bowl.  Zach watched the game, often holding Staley on his lap or letting her sleep on his chest.  He did not pace or perch.  When the Bears scored, he went to the other side of the room for a restrained football spike so as not to disturb his daughter.  He got frustrated, but there was no yelling or over-whelming anxiety, even when the Bear's useless back-up quarterback came into the game, playing like the washed up 16 year veteran that he is.  And, at the end of the game, Zach remained in a good mood, made positive comments about the team/season, and even had the strength to watch some post-game interviews.  I guess the joy of his little girl can ease even the most painful of football heartaches.  And, in two weeks, we'll be dressing Staley in yellow and black as we root on the Steelers in the Super Bowl.  Just because we handled the loss doesn't mean we wouldn't love to see a Packer's Super Bowl humiliation!!

Ready to root on our team

Staley sending an early message to the Bear's offense...
"Not worth watching."

Zach smiling big...and this was taken AFTER the game

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Staley and Liam

Staley got to meet her older cousin, Liam, for the first time today.  Liam was born 4 1/2 hours before Staley on January 11.  Their first play date seemed to go well.


Before...
...and after

Liam and Staley with big cousin, Elliott



Staley appears to be antagonizing her older cousin

Awwww.....

Pictures of Staley

Taking pictures of Staley has become one of my new favorite past-times.  I just think everything she does is so cute, so I take pictures of her sleeping and bathing and lying in her co-sleeper and sitting in her swing and sitting in her carseat and being held.  I can't help myself!  I've already sent out pictures via e-mail, but I thought I would attach a small sampling of some of my favorite pictures of Staley from her first week of life.

There is nothing quite as wonderful as holding a sleeping baby!


I just love her bright eyes and wild hair in this picture.


Sometimes I will just wake up at night and watch her sleep for awhile.


After Staley's first bath at home.


Staley in her carseat after her first doctor's visit


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I just think her face is too sweet in this picture.


I know this is my blog photo, but it is one of my absolute favorites.


Friday, January 21, 2011

What's In a Name?

Many people have asked us where we got the name Staley Jeanne.  Zach and I talked about baby names for many years and always had difficulty finding a middle ground.  I've always liked more original names, partly because after working with children for the last 10 years, many names already have a connotation for me.  When I'd suggest an original name, Zach would always scoff and tell me, "that's not a real name."  A few years ago, we were talking about the history of the Chicago Bears.  In 1920, when the Bear's team was first started, they were known as the Decatur Staleys.  They moved to Chicago the next year and spent one year as the Chicago Staleys before becoming the Chicago Bears the following year.  Staley is currently the name of the Bear's mascot.  In our discussion, we thought the name Staley was cute, we liked that it was original, and we liked the link to the Bears. 

Jeanne is my middle name, my mom's middle name, and my grandmother's name.  I've always heard stories about what an amazing person my dad's mom was, but she passed away before I was born.  When my mom was in high school, her dad had passed away.  In 1979, my mom's mom and my dad's dad married each other.  So growing up, I only had one set of grandparents.  My grandma Jeanne was an incredible woman.  She was a strong and independent woman, going back to school later in life to be able to support her four children after her first husband had passed away.  She had a very sweet disposition and a gentle nature. We loved to visit, knowing that we never had to worry about grandma getting mad or frustrated with us.  Unfortunately for Staley, all of my grandparents have passed away, so she will not get the chance to meet any of her great-grandparents on my side, but Staley is lucky to share part of her name with such an amazing woman.

Me at 7 months old with grandma Jeanne

International Night

Zach and I went to Europe several years ago, spending a fabulous 10 days in France and Italy.  We enjoyed time in Paris, southern France, Florence, and Rome.  However, our recent experience with Paris was not as positive.

Following Staley's birth, I was in the recovery room until after midnight.  As they were wheeling me to our room, the nurse told me that the mother/baby floor was really full and there were no private rooms available.  They wheeled me into a room with about 8 people visiting on the other side of the curtain.  The first thing I noticed was that the room smelled like an ashtray.  I turned to the nurse even before they locked my bed into place and told her that I was not bringing my newborn baby into this room.  She was sympathetic, but informed me that she wasn't sure there was anything she could do.  She spoke with the charge nurse and then let me know that there was one other open room she could take us to.  I soon came to learn why this other room had an opening as well.

We were taken to our "new" room where I briefly met my roommate, Paris, before being placed on the other side of the curtain.  I learned a lot about Paris in the 15 hours that we shared a room.  Paris is an 18 year old, now mother of 2.  She kept her baby in the nursery the entire time we were together, so I never had to hear her baby crying.  What I did have to hear was the really bad television that she watched for the entire time we shared a room, including all night long and throughout the next day.  Each time the nurses came in to check on me or Staley throughout the night, they would be surprised that Paris was still awake.  Paris responded, "I'm always up at this time of night."  Which begs the question:  If Paris stays up all night, who is watching her kids during the day?  But I digress...  I'm not sure if her hearing was a problem, but the volume of the television made me quite sure that she must be deaf in at least one ear.  Of course, the quality television that she chose to watch--Jerry Springer, the Bad Girl's Club, and any other show that involved people yelling at each other and cursing so much that every other word came out as a "beep"--made the volume appear much louder.  This melded nicely with her telephone conversations (that again occurred throughout all hours of the day and night) that involved much cursing and occasional yelling.  At least she did not discriminate as she kept up the loud, inappropriate television and cursing through visits from doctors, nurses, my work friends, and even my 3 year old niece.   Because I was sharing a room, Zach was not allowed to sleep in the room.  So while Paris kept me awake with her television and telephone conversations, I also had difficulty sleeping as I was worried about being the sole person keeping an eye on our newborn baby.  Zach got a quality 3 hours of sleep on a chair in the waiting room down the hall.

Throughout the next day, we asked consistently about when we might get a private room.  We asked my nurse, Staley's nurse, the techs, and the charge nurse.  Each person gave us a different answer.  Sometimes we were first on the list for a private room, sometimes we were fifth on the list, sometimes they were working on the list, sometimes there wasn't even a list.  It became increasingly frustrating.  On yet another trip to the nurses station on Wednesday afternoon, Zach was asking once again about the room status.  My not-so-nice nurse (the only not-so-nice nurse that I had during our stay) was curtly telling him that she had told me just 15 minutes ago that she didn't know if we'd even get a private room today when our angel walked by.  Cynthia overheard Zach's interaction with my nurse and introduced herself as the manager of the floor.  After hearing Zach's "concerns" about our roommate situation, she told him she'd see what she could do.  Five minutes later, Cynthia was helping us pack up our room and took us down the hall to what is known as the "Princess Room."  The Princess Room is the largest private room on the whole floor--bigger than the room that Paris and I shared with a bathroom three times the size.  We spent the remainder of our stay as a family in the calm and quiet of our room.  Although, at 4 in the morning, sometimes Zach would turn on Jerry Springer and crank it up really loud, just for old times sake.

The Stork

Disclaimer:  If you are a person who prefers not to know details about labor and delivery, feel free to forego reading this post.  You are welcome to believe that Staley was delivered in a gently wrapped bundle in the beak of a baby-carrying bird.  For the rest of you who are curious about the process we went through to bring our Staley into the world, here you go...

Staley was in no hurry to join us.  At 40 1/2 weeks, she was happily staying put so we scheduled for induction.  We were scheduled to go to the hospital at 8 pm on 1-10-11.  However, it was a busy day in labor and delivery and they did not have a room for us.  We waited by the phone and were finally called and told to come to the hospital at 1:30 am on 1-11-11.  My body was still not preparing on it's own (with cervix dilation barely a 1), so the doctor started me on a medication called Cervidil.  He warned me that it could take up to 24 hours of this medication to even prepare my body for induction, so Zach and I came armed with books, movies, and playing cards.  They started my medication at 3:30 am and would check again at 3:30 pm to see if my body was ready.  I had mild contractions all morning on the Cervidil, but nothing to complain about.

Upon arrival at the hospital

Our last family photo before Staley's arrival

Apparently my body liked the Cervidil, because at 1:00 pm my water broke on it's own.  At that time, my contractions increased about one hundred fold.  (I'm not exactly sure how to quantify one hundred fold, but it was a lot!!)  The contractions were coming about every 90 seconds, but they lasted about 60 seconds which gave me only about 30 seconds between contractions.  We had initially planned for a natural childbirth without drugs or an epidural, but after about 15 minutes, I asked for an epidural.  Unfortunately, the anesthesiologist was in surgery so the nurse offered me some narcotic pain medication to "take the edge off."  I'm not exactly sure what "taking the edge off" was supposed to feel like, but my edge was definitely still there.  The medication helped me relax a little between contractions, but the contractions themselves stayed as intense as ever.  I labored that way for about 2 1/2 hours before the anesthesiologist FINALLY came in.  Once the epidural was placed, I truly wondered why I ever thought natural childbirth was the way to go.  I was able to talk again, crack jokes, and interact with the nurses.  If we ever have another child, I'm going to have Zach learn to place the epidural before we even leave the house!

According to the nurse, my labor was so intense because my body went through the labor process so much quicker than most people.  While most people dilate about 1 cm every hour, I was dilating about 2 cm every 45 minutes.  So by 6:00 pm, I was fully dilated and ready to push.  I pushed for about 2 1/2 hours and Staley stopped progressing.   We had already told Dr. Croland that, unless medically necessary, we did not want delivery assisted by a vacuum or forceps.  I've had children in therapy with difficulties secondary to delivery in this way and our nephew, Cade, had a traumatic delivery with a vacuum.  So at that point, Dr. Croland offered two choices:  vacuum or c-section.  Without hesitation, Zach and I opted for the c-section.  So I was wheeled into surgery for preparation, Zach joined me 15 minutes later, and a few short minutes later Staley was born. 

We heard Dr. Croland say "well hi there" and we heard a weak little cry. We watched as our baby was whisked over to the incubator for suctioning and examination.  No one told us whether she was a girl or a boy, so Zach and I asked "boy or girl?"  As they told us we had a little girl, Zach and I both started crying with the joy of our baby girl.  We were a little shocked when they told us she was a girl as we had both thought that we were having a boy.  Dr. Croland later told us that she was posterior (or sunny-side up), which means that she was facing the wrong direction and that was why she had stopped progressing during delivery.

Welcome to the world, Staley Jeanne


Our first family photo after Staley's arrival

 Zach got to watch her examination and cut the cord.  He was taking digital pictures and bringing them over to me so that I could see our new little girl.  She was having some mild difficulties breathing, which is common in c-section babies, but otherwise everything looked good.  The hardest part for me was not being able to touch or hold my baby right after she was born.  They couldn't even bring her to me in the recovery room as they were waiting for her breathing and her temperature to improve in the nursery.  That was the longest 2 hours of my life, waiting to hold and officially meet this new love of my life. 

Holding my baby for the first time

The Next 9 Months

Our desire for Staley was evident from the beginning and our love for her grew during our pregnancy.  After our positive pregnancy test, we remained guardedly optimistic.  We were definitely excited, but after all we had been through, I also tried to prepare my heart for the worst.  On my birthday (May 14), we had our first ultrasound at Dr. G.'s office.  Staley was only 6 weeks gestational age, but the ultrasound showed a tiny little seed with a heartbeat.  It was the best birthday ever!!!!  We were seen every week or two for ultrasounds to watch our baby grow and ensure that everything continued to develop as it should.  Each ultrasound brought a mild bout of apprehension, and each time we received good news I relaxed a little more.  The first trimester was a period of restrained joy and fear.  We told only those closest to us about our news.  I continued to pray for faith and trust, but I had difficulty letting go of my worries.  I was physically tired with some mild nausea in the evenings and my pants began to resist buttoning, but I could never complain about something I prayed so hard for. 

After the first trimester, we "graduated" from Dr. G. and began to be followed by Dr. Croland.  He was very laid-back, which scared and reassured me at the same time.  I was only seen by his office every 4 weeks, which was a difficult transition after almost weekly ultrasounds, but I trusted that this meant all was well.  At exactly 17 weeks to the day, I was sitting at my desk at work and I felt a fluttering sensation on the right side of my abdomen, just like someone was tickling me from the inside.  It lasted only a short moment, but I knew without a doubt that our baby was there and moving.  It was such a joyous moment!!!  Over the next several weeks, I'd feel sporadic movement and each time it would make me smile.  At 20 weeks, we FINALLY got to have another ultrasound.  They looked at the hands, feet, spine, brain, heart, kidneys--everything looked just as it should.  We had already decided we wanted to be surprised by the gender, so the technician kept that a secret from us.  Around that same time, I graduated into maternity clothes.  Some people dread this, but I was excited.  I loved that my body was growing and changing to accommodate our baby!!

Zach was the wonderful and supportive husband that I knew he would be.  He came to every appointment during the first 2 trimesters.  He read weekly computer up-dates to follow the baby's growth and development.  He cooked for me, carried heavy items for me, indulged my cravings, and even switched sides of the bed with me so that it was easier for me to get in and out of bed for night time bathroom trips.  When I started feeling baby movements, Zach was sad that he couldn't feel it.  So around 23 1/2 weeks, Zach was ecstatic when he began to feel movement from the outside.  He was always touching my belly or asking if the baby was moving.  Because night seemed to be an active time for our baby, Zach would sometimes wake up and spend 'quality time' with our moving baby while I slept.

Around 27 weeks, I started feeling contractions and less baby movement over a few days.  Obviously, this scared me so I went to see the doctor.  They did an ultrasound and found that everything was fine.  My contractions were just Braxton Hicks contractions--normal and probably due to mild dehydration.  And I couldn't complain about having another ultrasound.  :)  It wasn't even 2 weeks later that I was going for a walk over lunch at work.  I missed a curb and fell, landing on my hands and knees.  Even thought I felt fine and hadn't hit my stomach, I still called the doctor.  They wanted me to go to triage on the labor and delivery floor at the hospital to make sure everything was okay.  Zach came over and sat with me for 4 1/2 hours while the baby's heart rate and my contractions were monitored.  The heart rate remained fine, but I had regular contractions.  They gave me a shot to stop the contractions, which didn't work.  Although a test of pre-term labor came back negative and my cervix wasn't dilated, they felt best to monitor me overnight.  Zach and I spent the night in the hospital.  An ultrasound the next morning showed a healthy, growing baby and a fully intact placenta, so we were sent home.  Zach did comment that if I really wanted to keep having ultrasounds, there were better ways to do it.

Around that same time, I failed my one hour glucose tolerance test and had to complete a 4-hour test.  Sickly sweet orange drink and 5 blood draws later, it was determined that although not gestationally diabetic, I was not metabolizing glucose like I should.  I had to refine my diet to eliminate sweets, limit carbohydrates, and increase my whole grains and healthy fruits/vegetables.  All totally worth it for the baby that I loved!!!

I'm not the only one who loved Staley from the beginning.  A support network of family and friends had prayed for us and with us throughout our journey and continued to pray for us throughout our pregnancy.  We had four baby showers filled with gifts of love--a Dr. Seuss shower planned by Jenny for my friends and my mom's friends, my work shower planned by Louise, Zach's work shower planned by Mary and Carol, and my family shower at Aunt Bonnie's on Thanksgiving.  The love and support around us was palpable and at times overwhelming.  I realized just how lucky our Staley was to be surrounded by such love even before she was born!

I felt good throughout the entire pregnancy.  A small bout of stomach flu around 37 weeks was the worst I felt.  I never had difficulties with sleeping, eating, breathing, heartburn, or moving around.  I like to tell myself that I never hit the waddling stage, although I could just be fooling myself.  I truly loved every minute of my pregnancy and embraced all the moments--the kicks and flutters, the changing body, the growing belly.  I enjoyed making smart lifestyle decisions, knowing that each decision I made was for the good of my child.  There was something so special about the bond of carrying and protecting the life inside of me and I am so thankful for the experience!
Staley's first Bear's game (in utero)


Christmas Day...about 3 weeks before Staley's arrival

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Worth the Wait

Since we are starting this blog for Staley, it only makes sense that we start at the beginning so that Staley knows how much she was desired and prayed for.  Our story doesn't start 9 months ago.  It starts almost 3 years ago and it's an important part of our story as a family.  Zach and I had been married over 6 years and had enjoyed every minute of building a strong and happy marriage.  In early spring 2008 with our first Walles nephew, Elliott, on the way we decided that we were ready to add to our family as well.  We had a positive pregnancy test in August of that year, only to be devastated by an early miscarriage at 7 weeks.  Although early, the heartbreak was intense and the loss remains real.  Wanting to continue towards a family as soon as possible, I started taking Clomid (a fertility medication).  Seven months later and still no success, my doctor felt that it was time for us to see a specialist.  That's when Dr. G. entered our lives.  We began a succession of 4 intrauterine insemination attempts from June through September with each negative result more discouraging than the previous.  In December of 2009, we completed our first in vitro fertilization attempt.  We had two embryos implanted and another six were frozen for later use.  Another negative.  We implanted two of our frozen embryos in February.  Negative.  On April 15 (tax day), we implanted our final four embryos.  Eleven long days later, we got the phone call from the doctors office.  I was in tears yet again, although this time they were tears of joy.  Our pregnancy test was positive!

Throughout our years of trying, I prayed daily for the family that we would one day have.  I prayed for trust in God's plan for us, patience for the timing that was not mine, and forgiveness for the bitterness, jealousy, anger, and doubt that I felt.  Now, at this moment with Staley asleep on my chest while I type this, I can only thank God for his perfect timing.  I know this is the child he had planned for us all along.  I look at her with more love than I knew was possible.  The journey was not easy, but our Staley was worth the wait!

Blogging

Welcome to our blog.  We thought that starting this blog would be a nice way to not only allow friends and family to keep track of what we are doing and how Staley is growing, but it will be a great way to chronicle the day to day experiences of our family.  I won't pretend like this is an original idea.  Zach's sister started a blog when Cade, her now 6 year old, was born.  She shares pictures and fun stories and cute things her kids say.  Not only is it fun for us to read and stay up-dated on our niece and nephew, but what a fun thing for her kids to have when they're older.  Like a baby book, only better.  So this is not only for you, the reader.  It's also for us to remember all the joys and experiences of parenthood, and it's for Staley...may you one day read back through this and enjoy seeing your world through our eyes.