Monday, January 31, 2011

The sleep confession

It all started when we brought Natalie home from the hospital...well, maybe a little further back than that. When we got married we bought ourselves a new bed frame and mattress, a Queen...which felt very large because we had been sleeping on a full. Everyone at Phil's work told him that he was crazy to get a queen and that he should have opted for a king, but we didn't need the room and when we traveled and had a king size bed it just felt too big. We usually only slept on one side, so the queen made sense to us. Fast forward to the birth of Natalie.

I was never someone who thought I would want kids in my bed. After all, my parents had never allowed us kids to sleep in their bed, even when we were little, so why would I want to. Old thinking seemed to be my thinking at the time. I spent countless nights sleeping in the recliner holding Natalie so she would sleep, nursing on and off throughout the night and then napping in our bed (with Natalie) after Phil had left for work. Not only was I (socially bullied into being) opposed to letting Natalie sleep with us, I was also terrified that we would smother her or crush her while sleeping. So, to the recliner I went.

This continued on for months after she was born and then one night it all changed. She came into our bed to sleep and she never looked back. We all slept fine, no one was smothered and the queen size bed seemed to fit us. When I would travel, she would end up in bed with Phil around 2:00 am and when Phil would travel, she would end up with me in our bed. It became a habit and was easier to let her go back to sleep in our room than to fight her back to her bedroom. We caved...because we needed sleep more than a middle of the night argument. We were also totally opposed to letting her "cry it out" or figure it out on her own. She was a baby and needed me, so I couldn't let her cry - I would rather be tired than let that happen. Which only added to our assertion that we weren't doing anything wrong letting her sleep with us.

Fast forward to the arrival of Philip...the first night home from the hospital I slept in the recliner, and for the life of me, have NO idea how I spent so many nights in that chair with Natalie. By morning, my back hurt so much I could barely walk and was TIRED...more tired than I should have been. I decided on the second night to try and keep him in the bassinet next to our bed, but that didn't work, because every noise he made I thought he needed me or was going to wake up. About an hour into the night, he was in bed sleeping on my chest and we both slept for 4 hours! Over the next week we spent time in my bed, the recliner, and the basement couch. But, my bed was the most comfortable and I seemed to sleep better and we all know that a well rested mommy is a happy mommy.

The problem with our bed, as comfortable as I might be, is around 2:00 am (most nights) Natalie joins us...Phil, me and Philip. Four people in a queen size bed doesn't work so well. Especially when one of those people (Natalie) doesn't realize that it isn't nice to do pinwheels in bed and kick the people around her. So when she comes in, Philip and I are out. Which means I'm not getting the sleep I need which isn't goof for anyone. Last week in a moment of desperation I almost drove to Costco to buy a king size bed; didn't know how I would get it home or inside the house or where our queen size bed would go...but I didn't care. I'm still working on the logistics and have warned Phil that he might come home one day to a new bed.

It is pretty funny that my feeling that kids shouldn't sleep in your bed has so dramatically changed. I no longer have a problem with fact, last night Philip and I went to bed, in my bed at midnight and slept for 4 hours, I fed him, then we went back to sleep for another four hours...and it was GOOD sleep. Natalie joined us around 6:00 and Phil left us around 7:00. I'm not ashamed, because I'm well rested. If it works for you, do it, if it doesn't then don't, but I for one will not be judging others for co-sleeping or not co-sleeping.

Now, if I could just figure out how to fit a king size bed in the back of my car...

Saturday, January 22, 2011


I wanted to document, before I forget, all the moments that passed us by on the day Philip was born. I also hope, in the coming weeks, to document Natalie's birth story so we can all compare the differences and similarities.

The day (January 10) started off for me at 6:00 am. I was going to be induced and the labor and delivery team could call any time after 6:00 am, so they had told me to be awake and ready to come in any time after 6:00 am. So, I woke up and did my hair and make up, had a dish of oatmeal with blueberries and a cup of coffee...then I waited and by 7:00 had decided to go back to sleep. Thinking they would call as soon as I fell asleep. At 7:58 am my phone rang and the nurse asked if I could be at the hospital by 9:00 am. Yes! So I woke up Phil and told him we needed to leave in 45 minutes.

We got ready, put the bags in the car, kissed Natalie good bye and made our way to the hospital.

We arrived at 9:00 am, were in the delivery room by 9:10 and I was in my hospital gown by 9:15. I had what is called Group B Strep, which meant I had to have antibiotics prior to delivery. So they started the IV and then proceeded with all the "hospital" questions to finish my registration. Then they checked to see how far dilated I was and found I was still at 5 cm, which was where I was the week prior.

The nurse said they would call my doctor to see when they should start the pitocin to get labor going and be back to check on me. So we started to wait. At 11:00, the nurse came back in and started the pitocin drip at a "very low level" and told us my doctor would be in around 1:00 to break my water. They broke my water at 1:30 pm and I still wasn't feeling any pain from the contractions (which is normal for me). By this time my parents were both at the hospital and everyone, except me had eaten lunch.

Around 4:30 my mom left the hospital to pick up Natalie and bring her back to the hospital for dinner and to meet Baby Brother - who we figured would arrive around 7:00 or 8:00 pm. My brother also arrived at the hospital around this time. About 4:45 pm I started feeling contractions and when I walked around they weren't as bad, but knew, if it was anything like my labor for Natalie, they were going to quickly get worse. I made Phil walk around the room with me and then he insisted that we get the epidural. I agreed and sent him to find the nurse.

By 5:15 the nurse had found the anesthesiologist and I was laying on my side waiting for relief. Well, I'm not sure this person was a real anesthesiologist, because after sticking me with the long needle about three times he still wasn't able to get the epidural in. He kept saying, "Do you feel that?" Um, no...I'm still in pain. Then he would stick me again. Finally he said, "I think that did it" and instructed me to roll back over and wait to see if the pain of contractions would go away. But it didn't, so he had me roll back over and he decided to try again. By this point the nurse turned off the pitocin, because the contractions were coming so quickly.

The anesthesiologist started to stab me again to try and find the right spot, which is about when I said "I have to push". So he decided to abandon the idea of an epidural and go with a "spinal". Which is where he pushes drugs into my spinal column to give relief. Once he got that in, the doctor was in the room and as I rolled back over, she told me that I was going to start pushing.

At 6:00 pm, I started pushing. Basically, you wait for a contraction and then you push to the count of 10, take a deep breath, push again and then once more - so three pushes with each contraction. By the third contraction everyone in the room was convinced he would be born with the next contraction, and that is where things took a slightly different course. I had asked my doctor how they could tell the baby was getting enough oxygen and she said they were monitoring his heart rate and everything looked good, then she said to get ready to push again. I started pushing and was told to wait. At this point, looks and words that I couldn't hear fully were exchanged and the decision was made to bring the nursery team in and I was told that the baby seemed to be stuck. His big shoulders were getting in the way of him being born.

My doctor said that instead of waiting for the next contraction, I needed to just start pushing and not stop, so I started and after about the 5 push I thought I might die of exhaustion, but kept pushing. The entire mood in the room had gone from excitement to strange. It was like everyone knew there was a problem and no one wanted to tell me. At this point the nursery team was in place and two nurses were helping me push. At 6:28 pm Philip John came into this world and we found that not only his shoulder was keeping him inside, but that the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck. His whole head was purple and he wasn't making any noise.

My doctor quickly took the cord off his neck, had Phil cut the cord and passed him over to the nursery team. Phil followed to make sure he was okay, and I sat wondering why my baby boy wasn't making any noises...where was the cry? The first cry was all I needed to hear to have everything be okay. I kept saying, "why isn't he crying, what is wrong with him" and finally my doctor said, in a very reassuring voice, "Joelle, he is okay. He will cry in just a minute, don't worry". A few seconds after that, we heard the blissful noise of Philip's first cry and Phil looked at me and said, "he is fine, he is crying".

They finished cleaning me and the baby up and then passed Philip to me to hold. It was all a very surreal experience. His little face looking up at me and everything was okay in the world. Phil said that we should never forget the moment he was born and not crying and remind ourselves of it whenever he starts crying too much.

Phil and I enjoyed spending some time with Philip before we brought the rest of the family into the room with us. Around 7:15 Natalie came in with my mom and got to meet baby brother for the first time. She was overjoyed. I convinced her to go and get me some water so that the rest of the family could hold and meet Philip.

Godfather held him first, and by the time he was done holding him, Natalie was back and demanding to hold Baby Brother. I believe her exact words were, "No Godfather, my baby brother!!" After we let her hold him she didn't want to give him back, when Grandma tried to take him away for her first hold, Natalie went a little crazy yelling at Grandma to stop and not take him.

Grandma and Grandpa took Natalie on a walk to give me some time to feed Philip and make it up to my recovery room. They moved me on a stretcher, because the spinal hadn't fully worn off and Phil didn't want me trying to get into a wheelchair with weak legs. Everyone met back upstairs and we ate dinner and enjoyed some champagne. A perfect end to a very exciting day.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A name, we have a name

When we checked into the hospital to start the labor of "baby brother" they gave us a bunch of forms to fill out, one of which was the birth certificate/ssn request form. On this sheet is where you write down what the name of the baby will be. With Natalie we were pretty much set on the name before she was born, but waited until after we had a chance to look at her to fill out the form and make the official announcement of her name.

I thought we were basically in agreement on a name or at least close to an agreement on a name for baby brother, we had two names we liked a lot and were just waiting to see him. A few hours before he was born Phil said that he wanted to go with name one...great! Then baby brother was born and Phil said "I don't know" and we decided we would wait to name him. The wait went on and on and on and every time the nurse came in to my room to check on me she would ask if we had filled out the form or decided on a name. Nope, I would respond.

Well, about twenty minutes before we left the hospital we made the decision to bring Philip John Whelan home with us.

Ready to leave the hospital

First morning home

His great-grandfather, poppy, godfather and father are all named Philip and his uncle, great-grandfather and grandpa are named John.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Baby Brother

We are all happy, healthy and madly in love with our new addition. More to come...

Friday, January 7, 2011

My bag is packed (almost)

Well, I made it to 2011 with this little bun in my oven and tomorrow I'll officially be "40 weeks" pregnant. Hard to believe that 40 weeks have already passed and we will soon have a new addition to our family.

This pregnancy has been very easy, for the most part. Aside from being slightly more uncomfortable towards the end than I was when pregnant with Natalie, it has been smooth sailing. If he doesn't come before, our induction is set for Monday.

Stay tuned for baby news...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Mexico Vacation

Long time coming....

Back in November we took our annual family trip, this year we traveled to the Dreams Resort in Puerto Vallarta. It is an all inclusive resort, located on its own private beach near the airport, but not too close to the city. It was perfect and the price was right...super cheap for a week long trip.

View from our balcony

We started our adventure on a Tuesday morning, heading to the airport at 7:00 am to make our 9:00 am flight. We kept Natalie asleep until right before we were supposed to leave - she slept through getting her clothes changed and hair done. I had packed a little back pack with new toys and books. She insisted she wear the backpack to the airport, she wanted on the plane!

Once we got to the airport, we proceeded to check our bags and were told that there was a small delay on the plane, but nothing to be concerned about. We got right through security and to our gate in record time. Our flight was supposed to leave at 9:00 am, taking us to Mexico City and after a 4 hour lay over there, on to the final destination. That was the plan...

For some reason the Delta rep was only able to print boarding passes for the first leg of the trip, but we were reassured that we would get our boarding passes for the second leg when we got to Mexico. As the "slight" delay continued to get longer and longer and we all continued to get more and more stressed that we wouldn't make our connection, we were told over and over it wouldn't be a problem.

We finally got on the plane and left for Mexico City. Natalie was clearly tired and hungry; but was SO good! She loved sitting with Auntie and GF and had a few snacks before taking a 30 minute nap on Grandma's lap right before we landed. As we landed in Mexico City, we realized we had 30 minutes to make it through customs, recheck our bags, get our boarding passes and make it through security before getting on the plane. Phil and GF went first and rounded up the bags in customs; then we were told to go upstairs to get boarding passes and go through security. Auntie and GF had boarding passes, so even though they couldn't recheck bags they were both able to make it through security and on to the plane while we argued with the Delta rep to give us boarding passes. She wouldn't and they wouldn't let us through security without them...vicious cycle. GF and Auntie and our plane left Mexico City for Puerto Vallarta without us on it. There Grandpa, Grandma, Natalie, Phil and I stood, with all our bags and no plane to get on.

The Delta rep informed us that the last flight of the day from Mexico City to Puerto Vallarta was full and we didn't have a very good chance of getting on it. Also, to make matters worse, ALL the flights the next day were oversold and it would be "very hard" to get us on any of them. It was all getting worse by the second. The Delta rep gave us a few vouchers to get some food and a voucher for a hotel room "Just in case we couldn't get on the plane that night". We were also told to be back at the ticket counter at 8:00 to try and talk our way onto the 9:30 pm flight. We went to the hotel, dropped our bags, washed our hands and proceeded to the food court to use our food vouchers. Well, to try and use our vouchers...we were informed that none of the establishments accepted the voucher, so back to the hotel bar we went. They also informed us that the Delta rep had indicated they were to be used for "lunch" and because it was after 5:00 pm they couldn't honor them. How nice! Didn't matter, none of us had eaten anything but the pretzels on the plane and decided to just order food and beer (for those who could drink).

Natalie and Mama in the hotel bar. She is eating an orange I brought from home before our actual food arrived.

We decided we should all go back to the ticket counter and hope and pray that we get on that last plane, so off we went. When we got there we were informed that they couldn't help us until 9:00, so off I went to find another Delta agent who would be able to help us. Don't mess with a mad, tired pregnant woman who wants to be on vacation. I found a rep and explained the situation. He found his supervisor and they agreed to talk to the other agent who had told us to wait until 9:00. They then explained to us that they would most likely be able to get one or two of us on the plane, but it would be very hard to get four seats...So Phil explained to them what a bribe is. He told them he would give them $100 US cash if they got all of us on the plane that night. So off they ran and down we sat to hope, hope, hope.

At approximately 9:25 pm, the Delta agents came running and screaming, "We got you on, come now, come now". They each grabbed one of our bags, I grabbed Natalie and we ran to security. They talked us through security with all of our large luggage bags and off to the plane we ran. It was a miracle, and well worth the $100 to get us all on that plane, $100 we shouldn't have had to use if Delta was on their game enough to get us there on time...

We arrived in Puerto Vallarta around 11:00 pm and were at the resort around midnight. GF and Auntie were waiting for us and very happy to see us make it that night. We settled into our rooms, ordered room service for dinner and promptly crashed in our extra large bed! Heaven. The next day we got up late, ordered more room service and then went to find our first drinks and more food. Ahh vacation.

Our favorite breakfast spot
Room service

The rest of the trip was much more relaxed, we spent most of the time sitting on lounge chairs on the beach or in the pool. Natalie and I took naps every day after lunch and most nights ran around on the beach. Natalie LOVED the sand and could have stayed on the beach all the time just digging. She also loved the ocean. We had been talking to her about the fact that Godfather would take her swimming in the ocean, so one of the first things we did was let GF take her in the ocean. She loved it and only once did she lose her footing and get a good dose of ocean water and sand in the face. (to clarify, this wasn't on GF's watch)

in the water with GF
That dot clear out in the ocean is Natalie with GF and Daddy
Grandma taking Natalie into the ocean

Lifeguard on duty

Enjoying pool time

Jumping on the beach trampoline with daddy

One of the mornings of the trip Phil had arranged a deep sea fishing adventure. We were up at the 6:00 am - otherwise known as the crack of dawn (especially for vacation standards). I packed up clothes and supplies for Natalie and we decided to let her sleep in my arms until we got to the boat, which she did. She woke up as we were walking onto the pier and was very excited to see all the cool boats.

The boat we were going to be on wasn't exactly like the photos on the website, but it worked for our needs. Friends had warned me to stay off the boat while I was pregnant and that it would be awful and I would be sick the whole time; but I would have none of that. I'm not missing out on fun! We all got on the boat and headed out to the "Deep Sea". We had 4 hours on the boat and everything was fine, until we stopped at our fishing spot and the boat started rocking and I started to feel sick. I hadn't eaten anything except for a half slice of toast and cup of decaf coffee, not smart in retrospect. Natalie was starting to fall asleep on my lap when the feeling hit and I basically tossed her to my dad and ran to the side of the boat. It was the only time I have ever been sick while pregnant...not bad I say! After that I was a refreshed woman and was able to fish and move around and enjoy the rest of the boat ride.

We all (including Natalie) caught fish - very small fish - but we each got to reel in something!

On the boat - early morning - Natalie still seems a bit shocked to wake up and then jump on a boat

Still not fully awake

Just leaving the bay

Big catch

Exchange of hats

Other events of the trip included tennis matches between the Phil's and trips into the city to explore "real life". One of the stops we made in the city was to get drinks (lemonade for me, margaritas and mojitos for everyone else). The place we chose was right on the beach and was offering a 2-for-1 deal on drinks and the sun was starting to set, couldn't have been better. The only issue (which isn't really an issue for us) was our order was lost in communication. We ordered margaritas and mojitos and explained that we would all be sharing - so each boy ordered a 2-for-1 expecting to share with the girls. Well, the waiter thought we all wanted drinks and brought each person at the table 2-for-1 drinks. So instead of 6 drinks we ended up with 10, again not a problem for this group!

After a hard fought tennis match

On the beach

scruncy faces

After we got back from the city, the resort was hosting a "traditional Mexican party night". Natalie had fallen asleep on the way back, so missed the first part of the party, but then woke up and enjoyed getting her very own balloon hat, seeing the Mexican dancers and eating. Grandpa was also selected to participate in a competition in front of the crowd. When asked his name he said "Juan", so we all started cheering "Go Juan". Natalie thought this was hilarious - so she started saying it too. When you ask her what Grandpa's name was in Mexico she says "Juan".

Balloon Hats

The trip home was much easier, it was a direct flight home, and even though it was also delayed, we didn't need to make a connection so we weren't as worried. Phil and I also got upgraded, which made it easier to let Natalie sleep, which she did for almost the entire flight home.

This trip once again confirmed that we have one of the most easy going kids around.

Leaving Mexico

Snow, Dishes & Suds

Can you tell I'm playing blog catch up?

We recently had another snow storm and the night of the storm Phil decided to get dressed in his survival suit and take Natalie outside to play. She had a blast in the sled, making a snow angel, and throwing snow at mom.

Seriously so cute!

Another recent addition to Natalie's favorite phrases is "Me Help". We moved her Natalie step stool into the kitchen so she can help me cook, clean, and almost anything else that is done in the kitchen. Doesn't matter what I say I'm going to do, she said "Mommy, me help!!!" Like her life might end if she doesn't help me at every second. I love her!

Here are some photos of her helping me wash the dishes.

And finally, Natalie has stopped insisting on taking showers rather than baths and has excitedly jumped back into the tub, as long as there are bubbles involved.

Zoo Lights

A few weeks ago (pre-Christmas) we went to see Zoo Lights with our friends, Melinda, Darin and Kai. Melinda already posted a great recap post; but I thought I would add some photos to it.

Natalie posing on the lion statues

Phil and Natalie (so cute)

Merry Go Round - Natalie's favorite. She loved it so much that she wanted to ride it a second time, so Phil said "We would have to have a ticket" so she walked him to the window where you buy tickets and said "Here daddy"... she is too smart for our good :)

With the flamingos

Walking like a penguin

Cute elephant lights

Kai and Natalie looking at the monkeys

Monday, January 3, 2011


My mom and dad have taken Natalie to the farm a few times over the past few weeks and it is by far one of her most favorite trips to take. She is able to get close to the animals, feed and even pet some.

Isn't she a doll!

Holiday Season

Well, here we are in 2011 and I for one can't believe it. I swear that Christmas snuck up and kicked me and then before I even recovered it was New Years did that happen?

We have had a LOT going on over the past few weeks, so this is my attempt to update the blog for record keeping sake.

In a first for us, we decorated for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. Natalie LOVED helping decorate the tree and playing will all the decorations. The tree and all the other decorations really take a lot of space out of our living/dining room; but I love it.


Frosty eventually moved outside

part of the mantel

Next was my brother's first annual holiday work party, which we were invited to. Because we had decided to skip Phil's holiday party and my work didn't have a holiday event this was our big chance to dress up and take some holiday photos like we have done in years past. (remember last year?) Because I was/am very pregnant my holiday outfit choices were limited (not like last year) but I sucked it up and got dressed up along with Phil and Natalie and smiled for photos.

Funny note about my outfit - when I got into the skirt, I said to Phil, "do you think this looks a little tight?" and he said, "All you can see is your belly so it doesn't matter". It is a good thing that he is honest and that I have a sense of humor. I lesser pregnant woman might have killed him.
This photo was taken after the party and after Natalie's bed time. Not a great combo, but it worked out and I'm glad that we documented the year.

Next was the Christmas holiday.

Christmas eve was spent at my Aunt's house having delicious minestrone soup and cookies. Christmas morning we hosted my family for breakfast and present opening. Natalie was up at 8:30 and ready for everyone to arrive at 9:30. We opened lots of presents and took very few photos of the festivities.

Natalie received too many presents and was a little overwhelmed. She took her time opening the wrapping paper and then just wanted to play with that toy and NOT move on to the next toy. She received, a kitchen set (my old set) with lots and lots of fake food (by far this is her most favorite present), a new guitar from Godfather (which she won't let anyone touch - except for Godfather), an easel and art supplies, puzzles, a Dora lounge chair, a kazoo, and a bunch of other things that I can't remember right now. She also had a great time distributing presents to everyone else. She helped me wrap almost everything and remembered who they were for on Christmas morning.
The madness of too many gifts

Wearing two gifts (apron and tutu) while opening another gift

Showing off her ensemble

Christmas evening we went to my parents house for dinner, more presents and more time with family. All in all a great weekend!

ahhh what joy an ipod brings to kids

I took the last week of the year off of work and tried to take it easy most days, allowing myself one activity a day. One of the activities of the week was celebrating my father's birthday. For his Christmas/Birthday gift, my brother, Phil and I purchased him a new flat screen TV which was quite a shock to him. He was speechless when he opened it. We had spaghetti for dinner and banana cream pie for dessert and enjoyed celebrating a wonderful father, friend and grandfather.

Getting ready to blow out the candles

Christmas dress Natalie wore to the birthday party

For New Year's Eve, Phil and I decided to host a small party at our house. It was billed as the "start your night" at our house party - scheduled from 7-9 pm; hoping people would stop by and have a bite to eat on their way to another party which would last until midnight. What we learned (too late) was that we should have called it the "Joelle is 9 months pregnant - so come, enjoy, drink and eat, but LEAVE our house by 9:00 pm so Joelle and Natalie can go to sleep" party, because the 7-9 time frame didn't happen.

Also, in hindsight we should have hired a babysitter for the kids who came, because Phil spent his ENTIRE night in the basement making sure the kids didn't break the toys (his or Natalie's) and that everyone was getting along, while I spent most of the night entertaining people upstairs. It was fun, and I'm glad we hosted, but by 9:30 pm, I had lost almost all of my patience and was ready to / wanted to start throwing people out.

One of the best lines of the evening was when my mom came downstairs and this exchange occurred:
Mom: What can I help you with?
Joelle: I'm just trying to clean up the mess (it was like every toy was taken out of its box and left for me to clean up). You can help me by telling people to leave.
Mom: Well, dad is cleaning up the food, and I've been taking away and hiding people's drinks. I'm hoping if they can't find their drinks they will just leave

God I love her :)

After most of the people had left, my mom put Natalie in the tub and then into her pjs (again, love her), while Phil mixed extra drinks for the few people who were still around. After my parents left for the night, Natalie settled right down and finally got something to eat. Godfather and Auntie stuck around with us to celebrate the beginning of 2011. Natalie really enjoyed the group hugs, getting a new years kiss and saying "cheers" with her cup of milk. After GF and Auntie left we watched a few minutes of fire works and then all fell asleep.

Pretty good catch up post, don't you think?

And just because, here is one last photo of Natalie...