Saturday, March 28, 2009

week 3

Today Clark is 3 weeks old!
This week:
Nana left Tuesday morning. She took such great care of us - and on the last night she rocked Clark to sleep when I (V) gave up and cried after 3+ hours of nursing. Thank You Nana!!!!!
Clark rolled from front to back twice. I know you think I'm making it up, but I'm not. He totally did it, and I put him back on his tummy, and he did it again! I put him on his tummy a 3rd time and tried to video it, but then he just cried. I deleted the video.
On Friday we had lunch at Tom's work and met Tom's co-workers. We also went to Hancock fabrics and bought some notions for the baby sling I'm working on.
Clark is entering his "evening fussiness" period. He is awake and fussy from about 5-11 or midnight every evening. The poor kid. We know he is tired. The internet and books say that this should peak at 6 weeks and then go away. So, 3 more weeks. We are handling it well now, ask me again next week.
We still think he is the most precious baby on the planet!
Here are some adorable pictures that I took this week:

Today we went on our first "hike" with Clark. It was actually a walk but since we went to Rock Creek Park and used the baby carrier - I'm calling it Clark's First Hike in Rock Creek.

Here we are on the bridge over Rock Creek.

Here is what Clark looked like on the hike warm in his baby carrier. He slept the whole time!

Some Clark videos: one of him "snoring" and the other of him waking up from a nap, making faces and farting. =) hehe

Friday, March 20, 2009

week 2

Here is your Clark recap for his 2nd week of life:

On Saturday we celebrated his first week birthday with a chocolate cake with white frosting. Andrea and Jake and Sophia came over around lunchtime. They brought some brownies with cookies on top - so it was good eating day.

On Saturday night we went to mass. Clark slept through the whole thing. We brought him over to the St. Joseph's altar and prayed in thanksgiving for a healthy pregnancy, a safe birth, our beautiful son, and happy family.

My mom left on Sunday morning =( , leaving us on our own for 3 days and 2 nights!!!
I don't really remember what happened on Sunday and Monday, but Tom and I spent lots of time hugging and cuddling with each other and with Clark. Tom helped me out and worked around the house. I gave Clark a photo shoot.

But just to show you that all is not beauty in Clark land. Here is a completely unglamorous, untouched photo of him spitting up.
In other unglamorous news, on Monday our beloved son started rotting. He was disgusting. We thought he smelled like roadkill in Louisiana on a hot summer day. To clarify, it was the grossest stank we had ever smelled and it was coming from our beautiful, beautiful son. We checked his diaper, we checked his neck to make sure it wasn't a ball of spit up, we eventually found the culprit. It was his belly button, excuse me, his Smelly Button. We tried to wash around it but it didn't help. We tried to keep him wrapped up really well so we didn't have to smell it and we put Burts Bees Apricot Baby Oil on him to help cover up the stank.

Yahoo answers and other mothers (on facebook and the phone) told me that it would get horribly stanky before it fell off, so we really really hoped it would fall off soon.

On Tuesday we went to the midwife for my follow up appointment. They said I am healing nicely and need to keep resting. They said the recovery for someone who loses blood is different than someone who doesn't and it may take a while. But she said I looked great for where I was in recovery. Regina also checked out Clark's smelly button and showed us that it was about 1/3 off. Unfortunately, Clark stunk up her small office. I hope the patients behind us didn't mind too much.

On Tuesday night Andrea dropped off Tom's mom, Janet, for her shift of care taking. She came just in time to help me through CLARK'S FIRST GROWTH SPURT!!!!!

In the middle of the night, I woke up for his feed and change. The smelly button had fallen off! I know some people save them, but I think Tom put it well when he said, "Throw that disgusting this away, get rid of it!" So, its not saved. Clark's new belly button is adorable!

Clark started eating like crazy on Wednesday. I sat in the recliner all day long, Clark would fall asleep and I would set him down - then he would be awake 10 minutes, 30 minutes later, ready to eat again. Janet brought me a steady supply of water and food so I could metabolize the milk that Clark was demanding of me. Jake and Andrea came over for dinner, Tom picked up some grub from Chicken Out and it was delicious. Clark slept that night ok, which I was grateful for.

On Thursday he ate all day again, but he slept for longer stretches, maybe 45 minutes or an hour at a time.
He also got his first bath on Thursday night. It was a whirlwind of excitement. Here are the highlights:

He slept ok that night too, but got up earlier than normal which threw my sleep cycle off. He stayed up for 2 hours and the whole time I was praying, "baby go to sleep". I was really, really tired.

On Friday, we took Clark to the doctor for his 2 week check-up. Clark has regained his birth weight. He was 9lbs 6 oz at birth, for his first dr. appt at 3 days, he was 8lbs15oz, today he was 9lbs 14oz! I am awesome at feeding him! The doc said I didn't have to worry about counting diapers or feeding on my schedule anymore. He said that I should just feed him when he wants and let him sleep at night as long as he wants! Happy News! Clark had his 2nd PKU test, and hopefully that will come back negative. Doc said that he looks good and healthy. All happy news. Tom and I, with the help of our mothers, are not blowing it! hurray!

So, thats the update for his 2nd week.

Love, V

Friday, March 13, 2009

Da la luz

In English, we say “give birth”. Birth is a sanskrit word meaning, “coming to life”.  

In Spanish, they say, “da la luz”  which means to “give the light”.  I believe, there is nothing more accurate than this term.  Giving birth is amazing, bringing forth life and holding it in your arms is amazing – the light certainly has been brought forth in our home. 

We are overwhelmed with happiness lately.  The depths of love that we know are growing and growing.  It is so amazing to have a child.  I can't believe that we didn't know this type of love before now.  So many people were like, "your life will never be the same".  They said it ominously, but we now know our lives will never be the same and it is such a good thing to know.

Clark is such a darling. Clark spends most of the day sleeping - obviously.   He spends the afternoon kind of dazed and looking around.  He hiccups, yawns, and looks around with his pretty dark blue eyes.  He is really good at eating and sleeping.  He sleeps pretty well through the night and I'm getting the hang of getting up feed him in the wee small hours of the morning.  Tom appreciates the sleep and I hope that he will be rested when he goes back to work.  

We are enjoying our family time. My mom is here until Sunday, she is such a huge help.  I am so glad that she was at the birth, the lighting of Clark. =)  All three of us take turns loving Clark and holding him - soaking up all of his precious babyness.  It is fabulous.  

Ok, back to my precious son. bye bye. V

Days of love

We are overwhelmed with happiness lately. We are are learning a new expression of love.

Clark is such a darling. Clark spends most of the day sleeping - obviously. He spends the afternoon kind of dazed and looking around. He hiccups, yawns, and looks around with his pretty dark blue eyes. He is really good at eating and sleeping. He sleeps pretty well through the night and I'm getting the hang of getting up feed him in the wee small hours of the morning. Tom appreciates the sleep and I hope that he will be rested when he goes back to work.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A real live 4 day old Clark!

Cute! Pretty strong and alert for a 4-day old baby. Hooray for Homebirth!

Here are some more pictures:

We like him. Grandma likes him a lot and Nana can't wait to see him on Tuesday.
Lots of Love,

Tom and Veronica

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Still more pictures! and a brief update.

We're pretty sacked out! Especially this little guy:

Hi everyone! We are doing well. Clark is full of life and getting how nursing works. He hasn't opened his eyes much, but when he does he has beautiful blue eyes like his mother. Veronica is doing well, but very tired. Peggy and I took Clark to the pediatrician today and so far everything looks good! Thank you for your continued support. We are trying to sleep and get things done around the house. I am glad that Spring is almost here and there are signs of daffodils and crocuses coming up in our yard. Hooray!

Lots of Love, Tom

The Greenwells of Rockville!

Monday, March 9, 2009

more pics- delivery, labor and after

baby clark

grandma peggy and clark

weighing baby Clark- 9lbs 6 ounces!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Labor and Delivery

Hi everyone! This is Tom.

Quick info:
Clark Joseph Greenwell was born at 9:35 pm on Saturday, March 7th, 2009. He weighed 9 lbs 6 ounces and is 21 1/4" in length. He came out vigorously and is strong and doing well. He is already suckling and crying and sleeping. We thank all of you for your support and love.

We are doing well, and i just want to update everyone with a brief recap of the last 24 hours or so.

On friday, as you could see from the last post, nothing really happened in the beginning of the day after some nice labor-like ccontractions on Thursday evening. WE napped all day, which was good. At about 4:30 pm, we decided to go see a movie (Watchmen) which was pretty good, but long. towards the end of the movie Veronica began to have some contractions again. The contractions really started up at about 8-9:30 pm that night. We decided we would try to sleep and see if this was the real thing. No sleep was had and at midnight called our care provider who told us to let them know if the contractions became closer and more regular. They did. At about 3 am we called the midwife and told her after another bout of unsuccessful sleep. The midwife came at about 4 am saturday morning.

Contractions continued and Veronica labored hard with my support. Our birth assistant was called by the midwife at about 6:30 am and she came over within 2 hours. We labored and labored. Walking helped. In the afternoon, Veronica's Mom arrived at the regularly scheduled time and was able to give me a break since Veronica only wanted to be with me during contractions. I napped and ate and felt re-energized. Things slowed down and slackened, but picked back up again. By about 2 or 3 in the afternoon, we knew the baby was going to come that day, but we didn't know when. We walked around our backyard, determined to keep the contractions going and the baby coming. During the whole time, our baby had a wonderfully strong heartbeat, even though some tough pushing. Finally, Veronica put forth a wonderful effort of pushing and our son was born at 9:35 pm. Everyone is fine now and resting. We are actually pretty exhausted from 1.5 days + of labor and birth. Veronica's mom has been such a blessing and my sister Andrea was also a big help. Thanks to everyone who helped and prayed for us!

I've posted a few pictures, taken from my phone. More to follow.

Thanks for everyone's support. We will call in you in the coming weeks, and update this blog as soon as we can. No need to call us if you can wait.

We love everyone!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Darn it

Hey. So, the contractions petered out. Happening now every 20-30 min. Same strength.

Midwives say that it probably will not happen today. The castor oil depletes what you've got, so I will need to rebuild my reserves before my body starts up again. Their advice was to rest and distract myself, and to not worry about going into labor again today.

Midwife said that maybe it would happen tomorrow. (My mom also comes tomorrow). Or we would try to use Cervadil to induce on Sunday. Thats the game plan.

I've had bloody show ever since 4:30 pm yesterday, so this is a strong sign of dilating. That means that my body and all of the labor and work of last night still counts and maybe when I start up again I'll skip to active labor or something...

God only knows.

mucho mucho love!!!!
V & Tom

Working on it

I'm working on having Gumbo now.

I did the castor oil thing yesterday morning and evening. I've been having contractions since 4:30 pm yesterday. Tom and I walked to a restaurant nearby, ate a nice, healthy dinner, and then walked back home. The contractions varied from 30-45 seconds every 4-13 minutes or so.

We went to lay down to rest at about 9:30-10 pm, but I couldn't lay down through the contractions to I abandoned the bed. I was in the tub for about an hour, then slept on the balance ball draped over the recliner for an hour or so. Then I slept in the guest bed for a few hours. Its 4:40 am now. Contractions are harder, but variable as to length and time between them. They yank me from sleep if I fall asleep between them. I've been able to fall asleep and rest a lot between them. Thats the good thing. I guess I'll go back to bed and see if I can sleep between them some more.

Its exciting that something is happening, but I'm trying to stay calm because I know I have a long road ahead of me. I planned on having a 72 hour labor - hopefully that does not really happen, but I prepped my brain for that long. So far its been 12 hours. It hasn't been horrible so far. It's very interesting to witness the body work.

Peace. Love, V

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Not yet

Hey. I was really tired yesterday and didn't write. Sorry to get your hopes up that I might be giving birth. I didn't.

I had an ultrasound this week. My big belly still has a baby in it, and that baby is still a boy. Whew, one thing I don't have to worry about anymore is backup girl names. =). I have enough amniotic fluid for him too. He is looking strong and healthy. NO, I did not find out his "weight" or size or anything. (They are notoriously bad a predicting that - plus I want to imagine him as a little earth worm as he glides out of my body).

Yesterday I had a non-stress test. Gumbo is really healthy, and really happy to hang out in there forever.

The good news is that I'm really good at being pregnant. With some hormone issues in the fam, and some hormone issues in my own body - I was afraid that I wouldn't get pregnant. I was afraid that I had a cancer or tumor in there. I had a biopsy in May - which may have opened my cervix enough to get a baby in there. (?). The biopsy was negative, and that was great news. I was worried that I wouldn't have enough hormone to maintain my pregnancy after we found out that I was preggo. The doc had me on progesterone for the first 3 months - just in case. I made it through those months successfully. The next 3 were a lot better. The three after that were ok, but the last month has been the hardest.

I don't mind waiting so much - its just tough for me cause I feel pressure to have the baby - but I have no control over it!!!!
I know that relatives and friends are well meaning when they call to ask "Where is the baby?", "When is he coming?" But I don't know, its hard enough for me to keep myself in line - in check and calm about when he is coming. ITs hard for me to answer that question day after day. They are excited and interested in what is going on. I've been in that spot before. I will never ask a preggo "When is the baby coming?" again. Now I know how it makes you feel. Especially in a day when TONS of people have artificial inductions and elective c-sections, there is so much pressure to just get the baby out. If he is in there, its cause he's not done doing whatever he is doing yet.

I'm not a procrastinator by nature, if there is a due date, I like to have things done before they are due - just so I can move on to other things. This baby is teaching me a different kind of patience. I will be waiting on him my whole life. I'll have to wait for him to go to sleep before I can take a bath, wait for him to wake up from his nap so I can go to the mall, wait for him to toddle around as I he learns to walk really slowly. I"ll have to wait for him to finish his dinner really, really slowly when he is a kid. I'll have to wait for him to finish practices, wait for him to come home at night when he is a teenager. I'll have to wait for him to figure things out on his own, to face hard decisions and hopefully make the right ones. I'll have to wait for him for my whole life. These weeks are just practice for what its like to love someone but not be in control of what happens to them.

After he is born we will have him for his entire life, so its fine to wait a little while longer to meet him and see his pretty face. Well, for sure, the last day I will be pregnant is MArch 11th, although I may be induced on March 10th. Those are the last dates that a doctor will induce me. I really hope it doesn't get that far, because an induction will have to happen in the hospital. =(

In the meantime, all of the possible old wives tales are being tried: sex, evening primrose oil, chinese food, hot foods, spicy foods, raspberry tea, nipple stimulation, breast pumping, cleaning, relaxing, resting, walking, hiking, dancing. Today I am trying castor oil, because I would rather try that than end up in the hospital. Yesterday I got my membranes stripped a little bit. The problem with all of these things is that none will work if your body isn't ready - and mine just hasn't been ready yet.

One thing that this pregnancy is definitely inspiring me to be is to not be obese. Its hard to get my shoes on now, its hard to reach the TP when I'm on the potty. It's hard to turn and to reach behind me. I can't imagine having these limitations and not having the baby in me. I'm excited about working out again when I've got my son. Tom and I are planning on doing a mini-triathlon in April. I did it last year, the goal is: to finish. Not a bad goal. its a little, bitty one. You swim for 10, bike for 30 and run for 20 minutes. You get points based on distance. Its done in a gym. Its not a bad way to motivate you to work out. The day I found out I was pregnant, I ran a 5K on the treadmill. I was practicing for a sprint triathlon. I hope I can get up to 5K ability soon and really do my sprint triathlon this time! =) I'm not sure how exercise interferes with breast feeding, so I'll have to make sure I will be ok.

I was going to post a video today, but my camera is not working for some reason, so you will have to just go to youtube and watch something else...

It snowed this week, its pretty.

Love, Veronica.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

not today either

there you go.

Monday, March 2, 2009

no baby today

thats the update.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

How to make Gumbo

So, since our little baby Gumbo is not making his appearance and everyone is anxious to see him, I thought I would provide a substitute Gumbo for your waiting pleasure.

To properly make Gumbo, first you start with a Roux.
I put: 1/2 c margarine and 1/2 c flour together in a pan.
You have to heat it on super low and stir it for about an hour.
If you burn it, then you have to start over.
Heat it until its the color of caramel and smells like popcorn.

Cook separately:
1 large onion minced
1 bell pepper minced
4 large close of garlic
1 piece of meaty bacon chopped up.

When it looks good and cooked (the onions are clear or almost clear) mix in the roux and cook a little bit more. Make sure all of the flavors have time to infuse themselves in each other.

Then add some stock. Its best to make stock well ahead of time and not use the kind that you can buy in the store, but its a labor of love in itself.

How to make Stock:
Save a carcass anytime you have it (post Thanksgiving, Christmas, Crawfish boil, Rotisserie Chicken), freeze it and then use it when you are ready to make stock.
take a chicken carcass, turkey carcass, or crawfish carcasses ( I think I used the tails only), and put them in a huge pot with a whole onion cut in half and maybe some other stuff (celery, garlic, carrots). fill the huge pot with water and boil it with no lid for about a million hours, until the water is at least half gone, has a nice color, and looks like stock. Towards the end, you can taste the stock and see how you like the flavor. It may need salt or some other flavors at this point (bay leaf, basil, whatever). But always wait until the end, cause then the flavor of the Carcass will have totally infused itself into the water and you will know how to enhance it and not make it worse (or too salty)
Let it cool. Take the bones out of it, saving any meat that has fallen off of the bones. I throw out the veg, but you can do what you want with that.
You can let it cool in the fridge and then skim the fat off of the top, but I find it makes a nice flavor to keep it in there, plus I've never had a bunch of fat from a bird or crawfish stock, maybe if you were boiling cow bones it would be really fatty...
Then I typically freeze it until I want to make Gumbo or some other soup. The best Gumbo I made was with Crawfish stock, yum yum yum. =)

Ok, now you have your Roux with Veg, and you need to add the stock, add almost as much as the pot allows, but leave room for....

Lagniappe (Lousiaianian for "a little something extra")
a bunch of chopped up: Chicken and/or Turkey
a bunch of chopped up: Andouille sausage.
a bunch of chopped up Veg: whatever you want or have lying around, whatever would be good in a soup (not lettuce).

The only thing to watch is to make sure that you chop the pieces small enough so they fit in the spoon. (it can be a big spoon)

Then you have to add Okra. Chop this up too.

For Gumbo to be Gumbo, the only thing it really needs is Okra. Okra is how Gumbo got its name, cause the vegetable that we call okra was called "gumbo" in Africa and whenever the bad guys stole all of the Africans and brought them to the Americas as slaves, the Africans brought along their delicious cooking and okra aka Gumbo. Then they started cooking with it and all of the leftover goodies in the house therefore inventing the dish we call Gumbo today.

So at this point, you should taste what you've been cooking. It could be perfectly delicious or it could be really bland. Never serve a bland Gumbo, ick.

Add Zateran's or Tony C's to the pot, add some salt, add some other delicious flavoring things.

Then taste it and see if you think its awesomely delicious, if it is, then eat up, if not, then keep adding.

Things to watch for that could ruin your gumbo (and almost any other dish with similar ingredients)
1. burning the roux and not starting over, you CANNOT burn the roux and still use it, you HAVE to start over, totally wash the pot and start from new ingredients.
2. mixing the roux into the stock (it will clump and become a pain).
3. over salting the pot before the end
4. over spicing the whole thing, only spice things at the very beginning when you are cooking the first batch of veg and then again at the very end after everything is added.
5. chopping the pieces too big so they don't fit on a spoon
6. not cooking the veg enough at the beginning, you've got to cook them good then, cause thats where the flavor comes from.

The best thing about Gumbo is that besides burning the roux and over salting the pot, its hard to do wrong. You can put almost anything you want in it. People have! Its a wonderful place for leftovers and whatever you've got laying around.

We call our baby Gumbo, because we knew that we had a good stock pot and some good ingredients to start with, but weren't really sure what the outcome would be, but were pretty sure it would be good. That's how Gumbo is. You add what you've got and what you end up with is wonderful no matter what you add. We're pretty sure our baby Gumbo will be the same way.