Sunday, October 28, 2007

Claire Bear Days 7 and 8

Yesterday we drove Grandma back to the airport. It was a tearful event because she, of course, is smitten with her granddaughter and didn't want to leave her. We're grateful for the time she spent with us - she cleaned our home, did laundry every day, ran the dishwasher constantly, and provided us with lots of good meals and groceries. On top of that, she brought an entire suitcase full of clothes for Claire (the child officially has more of a wardrobe that I ever will), and a generous gift that will help us buy a breast pump and something else we deem necessary (my vote is a camcorder; Huz really wants a jogging stroller).

Can't you just feel the Grandma love?

Grandma Love

After we got back from our trip to the airport we had lunch and embarked on our first family outing in the neighborhood. Claire rode in her stroller for the first time as we walked 2 blocks down the street to a church that is selling pumpkins. It was a lovely and cool (thank God) Fall stroll.

First Big Adventure: Walked 2 blocks and bought some pumpkins

We picked up three pumpkins and then had a family photo shoot outside.

First Big Adventure: Walked 2 blocks and bought some pumpkins

Then Huz and Claire had a conversation while I went for a nap.


They decided my nap idea was a good one.

Dad and Claire - Fast Asleep

Today was also one of firsts for Claire. We gave her her first sponge bath and she did great.

DSC_0044First Sponge BathFirst Sponge Bath

Finally, since I shared all my belly shots with you week by week, here's the last one for you (40 weeks). I don't think I look too shabby all things considered (already down 14 pounds, yes!). I have a nice little road map of pink stretch marks, but hopefully they'll go away soon.

40 Weeks40 Weeks

Claire continues to be a joy. We're so blessed to have her.


Posted by Bird On A Line @ 3:43 PM

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Being a Mom: Day 5

Hi kids! Long time no see. Well, it's day 5 and although last night was our first up-nearly-all-night experience (cutie Claire-Bear decided it would be fun to just be wide awake all night), it's been a good day. For one, I put on mascara for the first time, am wearing real underwear (those hospital ones ain't Victoria Secret, but, man, are they comfortable), and I went to the bathroom for the first time (go me!). Ah, yes. TMI lady is B-A-C-K!

Claire is a joy. She's the cutest person I've EVER seen. Her slate blue eyes absolutely melt my heart, as do her happy pink cheeks and her button nose (and her cute little puppy breaths...and her little perfect hands...and her little knee dimples...and her little neck which you can only see when she stretches out...and her little chin which is almost lost in her fat round face...even her little high-pitch screams are endearing - so long as we find the off switch for it sooner than later, which, so far, we've been able to do...etc. etc. etc. I could go on for days).

She's breastfeeding really well, which is not to say that my nips don't hurt - because they do - but it's not too terribly bad and she's clearly getting the nutrients she needs because her poopy diaper count increases each day (go Claire-Bear!).

She's napping now (and Huz and I just woke up from one while Grandma goes crazy buying probably more than our fridge can hold at Kroger). That's about it around here. The labor wasn't as bad as I had imagined thanks to Mr. Epidural. Like Huz said, I labored a lot at home (sweet Jesus do contractions hurt - they were quite evident and SHARP - anyone heard of a knife up their gut!?), and arrived at Vanderbilt Hospital at 6cm and 90% effaced. About an hour and a half later I got the epidural, was checked at 8-9 cm, and then napped for a bit before pushing. I didn't feel the pushing, so it was more exciting than scary. It lasted 50 minutes and I watched the whole show in a mirror (which I recommend - it helps you know if you're making progress and how to push better by seeing what you're doing). The midwife was awesome and encouraged me the whole time - I didn't tear which is great and everything is feeling pretty good down there. My tail bone hurt for 2 days because she was face up for most of it, but it's fine now. The surprising part is that every muscle in my body ached (still does, but SO much better now), as if I ran a marathon. You literally use every muscle to push a baby out and I felt it! Claire came out without much pushing on my part, they put her on my belly, but she didn't make that first cry. The next 3-4 minutes were the scariest of my life as a team of NICU folks rushed into our room, took her to a warming station and tried to get her to cry and to suck her lungs (there was meconium behind her in the uterus). Finally she cried and was a lovely pink color, but let me tell you, my heart about stopped. Phew. She's healthy and perfect and we're so very much in love.

I leave you with more pics.

Signing off,

The luckiest Mama in the world.

Scary moment, but lots of caring hands:

First momentsFirst moments

In grandma's hands:

At homehi, who are you?introductions

Pumpkin Gansta:

um, too bigthe original pumpkin gangsta

In love:

Mommy and baby

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 3:08 PM

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Guest blogging: all Claire, all the time

Until Mom finds some energy to talk to you all, Daddy Tmlens will continue to inundate you with pictures. We're working hard to fill up the flickr account with the new "Claire Bear" set - soon the embarrassingly huge cat set will seem like small potatoes.

So we came home yesterday, Monday, in the afternoon, just in time to hit the beginnings of rush hour traffic - the joys of hospital administration being what it is, most of Monday was a "hurry up and wait" kind of scenario.

But that's ok, because we have this new baby and all to occupy our time, and let me just go ahead and tell you now - if you don't have kids, what on earth are you thinking? This is so much fun! Sure, there's the whole sleep deprivation thing, and changing diapers thing, and figuring out how to soothe crying baby thing, but honestly, that's nothing compared to seeing this beautiful little person you created sleeping in your arms, or looking back at you. Especially when, just for a second, and though it's still neurologically impossible, she meets your eyes and somewhere deep inside smiles at you in a way that only you can see. Everything in your life ceases except for that moment of pure love.

You have to get in on this.

Anyway, until Victoria finds time, I'll pass along the best of the best pictures. We're all well here at chez Tmlens, Claire is more alert and happy every day, nursing is going swimmingly, and VW is just clearly a fantastic mom. She's healing well, feeling great, and looking beautiful. And grandma Winters is in town to provide the help that only grandma can.

Gotta go, I miss my baby. 'Til next time.

The Huz

ready to go homelittle angelSmiling backecstatic grandma

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 12:39 PM

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Announcing Claire Michelle,

aka Claire-Bear. Our darling little girl arrived at 11:31, Central time. She's 7 lbs, 4 oz, and an even 19 inches long. She's gorgeous.

Mom pushed for less than an hour, and delivered like a champion. She's doing great (looks fantastic), and is already up and walking. Labor all together was about fifteen and a half hours, starting from around 8 last night. Our midwife was wonderful, and helped Victoria through the delivery beautifully, and we now have our beautiful daughter to show the world.

The parents are feeling a lot like little Claire right now, which is to say...pretty sleepy. I'm sure Victoria is eager to post soon, and in the meantime, here's a few pictures from the very first meeting with our daughter.

The Huz

In the nurseryMom and ClaireFalling in love

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 2:38 PM

Guest Blogging: Daddy Tmlens reporting

So, Victoria wants the blogosphere to know that we are currently at the hospital with labor well in progress, hoping to see Cletus before the end of the day (before lunch, at the rate things are going!). Mom's doing well so far, loving the whole epidural thing, and finally getting a little rest. The breakdown: she's 8-9cms dilated, 100% effaced, the baby's at zero station, and the midwife broke her water a few minutes ago.

It's been a bit of a whirlwind. We had (of course) Mexican food for dinner last night, and VW was already cramping when we were eating. Some contractions started in earnest about 8 or so, and the stopwatch came out soon after. We tried to watch a movie, although it didn't provide much more than distraction for Victoria, who was pretty seriously hurting. The contractions weren't regular, varying anywhere from 3 to 8 minutes in between, and after a bath and some serious hydration began to diminish after a couple of hours. So we sez, another set of Braxton Hicks. As they wore down, we decided to try to get a few hours of rest (just in case they were the Real Thing), and went to bed.

Because, see, Victoria had a bargain with Cletus: either Friday evening, or Saturday morning. She's sick of work, sick of the temp (see below), and SICK of being pregnant. And this is obviously a mom who knows her daughter, because...

...at 2:58 a.m. Victoria woke up with a start (which means that I woke up with a start) with an intense contraction. They started coming in waves, every three and a half minutes or so, lasting between 30 seconds and a minute. We timed things for a little while, and I tried to help through what were obviously some extremely painful contractions. About half an hour later, we called the midwife, who advised a shower, Tylenol, and hydration, and to try to sleep, since the contractions still weren't entirely consistent. Shower didn't help, walking didn't help (made things worse!), and the contractions were agonizing. So I began to scramble to get all of our things together which was easy because, well, we're smart and had everything pretty much packed.

4:39 a.m.: we roll out of the driveway on the way to the hospital, arriving maybe ten minutes later. Apart from there being no valet for the car (um, no, I'm not going to go park my car while my wife is in labor, thanks) and my leaving the keys in the hand of a security guard, things went very swiftly and she was in a room and in a bed and gown within 30 minutes. The midwife was in a few minutes later, examined her, and told us Victoria was already 6cm dilated.

There was no question on the epidural: Victoria said she would go as long as she could without, and she had. It was agonizing for me to watch how much she was hurting, and nothing helped (she was being amazingly brave, though, far more than I think she realizes; I'm so proud of her). So it was epidural time; that came about an hour ago, and it's been bliss since then.

Our last check-in with the midwife was about half an hour ago, when they broke her water. So now Mom is finally sleeping a bit, saving up her energy for the big push ahead. If all goes well, and all considered, everything has been going amazingly well, we should meet our little girl in a few hours.

Send your prayers and wishes our way. I'll update again when I'm a daddy.

The Huz


Posted by Bird On A Line @ 7:26 AM

Friday, October 19, 2007

This is Really Mean, But...

I just asked a colleague what he thought of the temp I'm training and you'll never guess his response. He said he reminded him of a serial killer. Then he amended it and said, "no, he's more of a lazy serial killer." (The temp is not used to working full-time and has looked shaggier and more bedraggled every day this week.) I asked my colleague what kind of weapon said Lazy Serial Killer would use. He thought about it and said, "He'd just kind of wait until the victim ran into things."

Oh man. I don't know if it's just me and my Thank God It's Friday, slap-happy mood, but this makes me giggle hysterically!

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 3:20 PM

As If I Don't Have Enough Weight on My Lap

I mean, really.


Oh well, they better get their cuddles on now while they're still at the top of the totem pole.

(By the way, the midwife guesses that Cletus is 7 lbs. 12 oz. now - YIKES. That sounds BIG.)

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 8:49 AM

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Midwife Visit Update

Howdy folks. I'm cramping big time. How are you?

My midwife appointment went well. The stats: I'm 75% effaced, 3 cm dilated, and the baby's head is low, making the membranes bulge. The midwife (who referred to herself as the "Stripping Queen") stripped my membranes, but said there wasn't much to strip (meaning, my body done stripped 'em already). It all sounds so promising, but you never know with these things! I asked Cletus to come out either tomorrow (Friday) night or Saturday. We'll see if she's a good sport. I'm technically not due until next Saturday (and first time pregnancies typically go past the due date), but I'm really ready. I know 8 weeks will fly, but I'm so looking forward to being off of work for 2 months and enjoying our new family together. We've already got tickets booked to fly home to Colorado to show off our new bundle of joy the last 2 weeks of December and that will frankly be the coolest thing ever. I doubt our families will care that we're skipping Christmas presents this year (I'm going to be on short term disability and will only be making 66% of my income, so I sure hope they understand) because they'll be so enraptured with the new baby! I know we will be. :) I still can't believe that after almost 13 years of just being Huz and Victoria, that there will be three of us! The Winters FAMILY. How cool is that?

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 5:04 PM

No Post Does Not Mean I'm Free of This Basketball Belly

Sorry to excite you, folks, but I've just been heinously busy at work training a dude to cover for me. It's annoying, really, having to work in a tiny office with some guy 2 inches away from you and having to narrate everything you do for 8 hours, 3 days in a row. He's not familiar with an office setting, an education setting, or even the Nashville setting (he just moved from L.A. 3 weeks ago and is a starving musician). Ugh. I can hardly breathe, let alone check my own email and/or blog. I have him working for others in the office today so that I can breathe.

No baby yet. A few cramps at work yesterday, but nothing like Monday night. I have a midwife appointment at 2:45 today and will hopefully find out that I've made some progress (I'll be so pissed if I haven't!).

I'll update you this evening.

I know it's probably normal, but am I a bad mother for wanting this kid to exit my body, like, pronto?

p.s. Rachel - why does it look like I'm carrying a boy? She's dropped, so I'm carrying low. Don't we all at this stage? If she is a boy, at least we won't have to repaint the nursery! :)

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 10:25 AM

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

False Alarm

After a long day at work yesterday (I'm now training someone to cover for me on top of being wicked busy at work as it is), I came home absolutely wiped out. I laid down for a little while and then Huz helped me make fish tacos (it was my turn to cook, but I was dead tired) and we ate. Then, what should have been a relaxing evening in front of Tivo, turned into a 2 hour painful experience. I had really bad cramps (mostly in the front, but my back hurt this time - a classic labor sign) and lots of tightening of the uterus. Oh boy, I thought, here we go. Here I've been begging Cletus for a few days to come out and now she's listening. The pain was so noticeable that Huz got out the stop watch and we started timing them. They were 5 minutes apart, 6 minutes apart, 4 minutes apart, etc. with varying lengths (2 minutes long, 1 minute and a half long). So there was no real pattern to them. I kept drinking tons of water (and peed a bazillion times) but the pain didn't really let up. I finally fell asleep, though, so obviously they stopped and no baby came out. It was both scary and exciting. I just hope all that cramping at least changed my cervix a little bit more; I'll find out on Thursday.

I can't believe this is my body. It's ginormous!

38 weeks

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 7:04 PM

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Thought You Might Like to Know

That right now I am thoroughly enjoying the smell of baking bread and salivating over a homemade pasta (and I mean homemade, as in rolling out the pasta), pear, arugula, toasted walnut and blue cheese dinner my darling husband is preparing for me.

It's true, he really is the best husband. Ever.

Oh, he's hot too.

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 7:33 PM

Friday, October 12, 2007


My Friday was great. First, today ended an 8 week course I've been running and the three course directors sent me a dozen roses to thank me for my work - how sweet is that? Then, my office threw me a baby shower and I'm floored by their generosity, especially considering that I've only worked there for two months. The same directors who bought me roses gave me a lovely gift for the shower - tons of bath toys, a frog bath toy holder, a bath towel and wash cloth set, AND a baby swing! Others got me baby books, baby toys, a few outfits, a diaper bag packed full of goodies (like a crib sheet - can't have too many of those, a diaper pad cover, Boudreaux's Butt Paste, a baby first aid kit, and organic household cleaners - they were so thoughtful on that one because none of them care about that, but know that I do).

I'm grateful that I got this new position in such a cool office. I'm all smiles over here today!

My midwife appointment went really well. I'm still effaced (though this midwife gave me a different number - 50-60%, saying it's a subjective measurement) and dilated at a definite 2 cm. The biggest change is the baby's head position. It was a +3 before and is now a +1. She palpated my abdomen and said the head wasn't moving and was quite far down, so she's in position (which explains all that pelvic pain!). Still no way to know if she'll come early, right on time, or late, but it's getting pretty exciting to know that she really could come any day. It's all so surreal to me. My continual prayer is that she will be a happy, joyous child who loves and thinks about others, and that God will help us to love and raise her to the best of our ability.

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 6:52 PM

Our Future

Huz's friend and colleague emailed him this jewel (which he titled "Your Future") at 3:00 this morning:

"For the past 20 minutes I've been cleaning poop off the toilet, off the
floor, off a mattress, and off my four-year-old. ((-:

That's mostly what parenting is, I think, figuring out where the shit
is, and then cleaning it up."

So, this is our future, huh? Niiiiice.

I see the midwife this afternoon; we'll see if any thing's changed in the dilation/effacement department. I've had more cramps and Braxton Hicks all week, but my pelvis has felt better. I really don't know if she's dropped yet, so I'll ask about that too. Stubborn girl Cletus* (who always rolls around and kicks until I put Huz's hand on her) will probably stay in there until November (I hope not!).

*We've officially decided on a name and I've nearly slipped saying it out loud on the phone to my Mom and to a bunch of friends at a party last weekend. Yikes!

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 8:51 AM

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Photo Update

Okay, kids. I'm officially at the huge stage. Check it out.

Just out of the shower (read: no makeup/scary):

Behold the hugeness - 37 weeks!

The turkey timer has popped! Icky stretch marks! Lopsided belly (Cletus just LOVES the right side for some reason)!

Behold the hugeness - 37 weeks!Behold the hugeness - 37 weeks!


I finished all of my baby announcements - I made 62 with 2 different designs. Here's the first design (I haven't taken pics of the other one yet, but it has an embossed teddy bear on the top with a ribbon, two buttons, and then the info part). So cute (if I do say so myself)!

Design #1 Baby AnnouncementsDesign #1 Baby Announcements

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 2:50 PM

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Damn it!

10 minutes ago:

I was sitting in the study chair with my nightgown up rubbing my belly and Huz looks over and says, "Babe! You've got stretch marks! Don't worry, I still love you and find you a beautiful woman." WHAT!?!?!? I got stretch marks on the bottom of my belly like OVER NIGHT, people! How the hell did that happen!? DAMN IT! :(

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 11:32 AM

Friday, October 5, 2007

Feel the Burn

For those of you who wore braces as a kid, do you remember how much your teeth hurt when you had to wear those rubber bands? You know how they ached from all the pulling and stretching? Well, that's exactly what my pelvis feels like. I'm hobbling around like an 80 year old because my bones are literally separating as they make way for our Fall Pumpkin. Ouch. (I guess that's why the first thing the midwife said to me on Tuesday as she began my exam was, "Wow! What a great pelvis you have!" Um, thanks?) I still can't quite believe this is happening. And to ME. I'm going to give birth - through my vagina - to a BABY. A 7 pound (ish - hopefully not bigger) BABY. C.R.A.Z.Y.

I toured the hospital last night and it was really weird. I work next to a hospital, I see patients all the time, but I've never been a patient in a hospital. Kind of creepy, really.

In other news, Huz will be officially finished with his grueling 2 weeks of qualifying exams in 15 minutes and I am SO excited and proud of him! We're going to watch a movie and enjoy a nice dinner to celebrate.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 3:40 PM

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Just Numbers

I know they're just numbers and can't really predict when you'll go into labor, but OHMYGOD I'm 1-2 cm dilated and SEVENTY-FIVE percent effaced! AAAGGHHHHH!!!!

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 10:54 AM

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