Wednesday, October 31, 2007

She arrived!

Only 4 days after the last post our pride and joy, Little Miss V, finally arrived!

After 3 days of contractions and one false start (a nice way of saying we were sent home from the hospital on our first attempt - Saturday), we made our way back down to hospital on Monday afternoon (Thanksgiving Monday). When we got there, we were admitted right away - I guess the silver lining in having contractions for 3 days, is that your body gets used to the ever-increasing pain, which means what could have seemed really painful I was able to get through. I mean, it still hurt (obviously enough for me to get Seth to drive us down to the hospital again - and there was no way I was letting them send me home again!) ... but I expect that it was probably an easier transition than if I got to that level of contraction in just a few hours vs. a few days.

All that being said, I totally took the epidural that they offered up right away - at first I thought maybe I'd see how far I could get, then Seth provided some solid reasoning - I'd been dealing with the pain like a champ for 3 days - I'd earned that epi!

And after 14 hours of labour in the hospital, Madeleline Elizabeth Vallier was born (3:22 am on Tuesday, October 9th). Seth's parents and my mom had made the trip up to Toronto to be there for the birth and were the first to help welcome little Maddie into the world.

Her first few hours in this world were spent wide awake and curious about everything around her. She was incredibly aware and alert and bright-eyed, looking at everything and everyone around her. No major crying spells and she took to breastfeeding like a champ - she has an appetite like her mommy (especially in the morning!).

I ran a bit of a fever during labour, which meant we needed to both get a round of antibiotics (by IV - so sad to see that in her little hand - but she didn't seem to mind at all) and stay for an extra day in the hospital - but that was okay as all the nurses were amazing and extremely helpful.

So by Thursday afternoon we were finally home. That car-ride home was a little challenging - poor Maddie didn't care for it at all and my heart almost broke listening to her cry. Luckily it was short-lived as she seemed to tire herself out and was asleep by the time we hit the Don Valley.

Those first few days at home were incredible - tiring, amazing, scary, fun - everything rolled into one as we tried to navigate how to be parents and keep her as happy as possible. As soon as my milk came in (3rd day home) it got a lot easier - she started to feel satisfied after feeding and was generally a much happier camper. Here's a pic of daddy 'soothing' her with his pinkie - what worked before we broke down and started giving her a paci.

We were so lucky that Seth's work gives their employees a bonus week of holidays for 'parental leave' when your family has a baby - so that meant that Seth had a full 2 weeks off to spend at home with Maddie and I. Not sure how I would have coped on my own if he had to go back after only a week.

And to spoil me even more, my mom came up to spend the week on the Thursday of Seth's last week at home - so that gave me 3 solid weeks of having another set of hands around the house to help with, well, just about everything. So this week was our first week 'on our own' and I have to say, after a rough start, we're starting to get into a rhythm - but this weekend is our first official 'road trip' - to Kingston for the 'meet and greet' shower that Mom is hosting. I'm a little nervous about how Maddie will survive the 2 hour drive and sleeping in a strange house - especially as she seems to be doing so much better lately with sleeping at night and during the day - it's almost like tempting fate - but I'm also excited to go and introduce her to everyone - so off to Kingston we go!

I promise my posting will be a lot more regular now that we are into a better routine with our days - updates to follow shortly! Oh - to view more pics check out the Flickr link on the right - you can scroll through all the pics of Maddie so far there...

Thanks to everyone for all their best wishes to far and the visitors and generous gifts - they are all so appreciated and already being well-used!


Friday, October 5, 2007

Catch up (warning - looooooong post)

Wow - I realize how long overdue this post is - I will try my best to rehash the last month and a bit as efficiently as possible, but since we all know how long-winded I can be, this post will probably be a long one (maybe I'll time an intermission for you in the middle). So let's get started...

Week of August 20th
This was our 'moving' week! Seth took Friday off work and left (with our kitties) to Kingston on Thurs night in a cargo van to pick up all our stuff that had been sitting in various parentals' houses for a few years now (yikes)... that includes all our wedding gifts, some furniture and other odds and ends. So while I was at work on Friday, Seth spent the day loading and unloading the cargo van into our new house (with his parents' help of course!). That night had dinner at the Firkin (how we will miss you faithful pub!) and made an early night of it....because the next day was moving day!

The movers showed up right on time (1pm) and had managed to finish the job by 5pm - 4 hours including the travel time - not a bad experience for our first time using movers. Joe the Mover - highly recommended by friends of ours, now highly recommended by us - they were fabulous to work with. So there we were, surrounded by random piles of furniture and boxes, with absolutely no motivation to begin unpacking whatsoever - I mean, we still weren't going to be living here for another week, why start now, right?

Instead, we hitched it on over to our new neighbours - Greg & Liz - where they were just wrapping up a painting party (that's what you officially call it when you rope 6 of your closest friends into helping you paint almost every room in your house - in ONE day!) ... the BBQ was set up and we all enjoyed a few frosty beverages outside that evening. We spent that night in our new house - bunking down on a mattress on the ground - and headed back to the city on Sunday.

Week of August 27th
My last official week at work - and our week of 'camping out' in the apartment. It was an extremely hectic week at work - ridiculously hectic for me, but worth it in the end. Coming home to the apartment night after night - sleeping on an air mattress when 8-odd months pregnant wasn't the wisest decision in the world. It made for a bit of a challenge in the sleep department - and definitely made the anticipation of moving to our new house sweet indeed.

That Friday, after everything was wrapped up at work, we had a few hours to pack up the rest of our belongings and vacate the apartment. I thought we had left ourselves only a few key essentials, but when it came to packing up, we realized that we had kept A LOT of unnecessary items behind, that now had to be stuffed into a mini-van and moved to Brooklin. Good thing our dear dear friends Greg & Liz had agreed to stop by and help us with the move - we wouldn't have been able to do it without them.

Saturday saw poor Seth heading to work, while I started the process of unpacking and trying to sort through the absolute piles of boxes we had stacked in every room. I kind of wish I had taken some before pictures, because you really would believe that a couple that lived in a small 1 bedroom apartment for 5 years could accumulate so much junk - well, let me tell you, it is somehow possible.

Anyway - lucky for us, my mom was coming to visit for the week and lend a helping hand to the unpacking process. She showed up early Saturday afternoon and we started tackling the kitchen right away. That night we popped over to Greg & Liz's - they were already completely unpacked after only a few days (yes, how impossibly unfair is that?), and we enjoyed some BBQ dinner while Seth headed into the T-dot to visit with a friend that was in town from out west.

Sunday was a 'chore' day - Seth got to clean all the carpets while Mom and I continued working on unpacking the kitchen. Sounds like it shouldn't take as long as it did - but there were a lot of things to unpack, re-pack (old appliances that we were boxing up for a garage sale), sort through and/or throw away. The mountain of boxes in the middle of the kitchen floor was slowly but surely dwindling away.

Week of September 3rd
Not really much to say about this week - Seth had to work (obviously) and I spent the week with my Mom unpacking and shopping for odds and ends for the new house (why do you always realize that you need so much stuff when you move?). Luckily (for mom and I) we didn't kill each other - heck, we didn't even argue all that much! And on Thursday of that week she got to join me at the doctor's office while I got my last ultrasound - that was cool for her to get to see - and lil miss V was doing just fine according to the ultrasound tech.

On Friday, Debbie & Shorty arrived for the weekend - our first week there and already hosting a full house of guests! Saturday was spent with everyone chipping in and helping us get even more unpacked - finally our main floor looked relatively organized - still work to do, but the mountains of boxes were gone (or hidden!) - which was great. Saturday night we found a nearby butcher and got some shish-ka-bobs to grill up - made for a tasty dinner, but also an early night with such a heavy meal on our stomachs (and the manual labour everyone did all day long).

Sunday was the day of the baby shower - being hosted for me by my good friend Liz - it was a blast. She had 2 hilarious games - one dirty diaper/guess the melted chocolate bar game that you have to see to believe, and one that managed to start lil miss V's shoe closet off to a great (cute) start - really well thought out and I think I can say that everyone had an amazing time. Of course the gifts were outrageously adorable and generous - really a big shout out to Liz for organizing that whole thing - it was great.

Week of September 10th
Not much to say about this week - Tuesday I went into work for a day to help with training of the new person taking over some of my duties while I'm off - she's settling in nicely and I think will be a great addition to the team. It was weird going into work for the day though - I still miss it, but after only a week already felt so strange - weird.

Seth left on Tuesday to head to Niagara Falls for the week for work - and that weekend was his 'Fins, Skins + All Ins' weekend that is hosted at Greg's cottage annually - so don't ask me too much about what he was up to that weekend - but I can guess there was some drinking and 'male bonding' involved - haha.

I spent the weekend painting the nursery - which was nice to finally get done - and when Seth got home on Sunday we finally put the crib together. I've posted some pics so you can see the end result (still need to hang some pictures for some frames I bought on the walls - but you get the picture)...

Week of September 17th
Not much to say about this week - it was our last prenatal class - and 2 of our classmates had already had their babies! Made me think that it must be coming soon for us, clearly I was wrong!

We had planned on having a BBQ on the Saturday night to have a few friends over to see the house set up and done - it was good motivation to get everything done and organized (to an extent - there's still patch work that needs to be done on the walls of each room etc, but at least things are put away or hidden in the basement by this point!).

It was great to finally get a chance to host a BBQ of our own after way too many years of not being able to do so - and everyone had lovely things to say about our house, which was nice - it was great to see everyone.

Week of September 24th
If you had asked me, I thought this was definitely the week that the baby would be arriving - clearly I would have been wrong - but after rushing around getting everything organized the week before, there wasn't a tonne for me to do, except sit and wait for the labour pains to start.

I think I did start to 'nest' though, as on Saturday morning I made a chocolate cheesecake from scratch for a friend's birthday we were going to that night. Doesn't sound like much to some of you out there - but for me, this was a feat of domestication - and I was quite proud of the outcome! Saturday night we spent at Greg & Liz's house for a lovely birthday dinner and some gaming (Clue Master Detective - a retro game that has become a fan favourite).

Sunday was spent lounging on the couch watching football (Seth) and out to lunch with a girlfriend and some final shopping (Sara).

Wow - that finally brings us to this week - which has been spent cooking on my part (freezing meals in prep of a time when we'll have none - time, that is) and doing some light cleaning, trying to get things going. I can't believe that Thanksgiving may come and go and I haven't popped yet. I honestly thought I would be early, although as my mother would say, "Sara, you haven't been early for anything in your life, why would you think you would start now" - wishful thinking I guess.

I can tell you that I've been having cramps for the past couple of days - but nothing that would qualify as 'labour'. But it's funny - women talk about the last couple of days being very 'uncomfortable' - I always thought they just meant because they were a huge lumbering elephant by that point. Apparently 'uncomfortable' is just polite-women-speak for 'constant pain' - yep, that's right - I'm laying down the truth - it's crampy and tiring and gross feeling. I take the 'uncomfortable' and raise you a 'miserable as hell'... kidding - well, not really. I think it's also the anticipation - like you know it's going to be hard and hurt and etc., and you just want to get it over with.

Oh yeah, and of course we're looking forward to finally meeting her - and I know you all are too - thanks for all the calls and 'check-ins' - you'll be first to know when she finally decides to make her way into the world... Leaving you all with a pic of my belly as it looked just a couple of weeks ago - I don't think I've gotten any bigger since then, so this is the best reference of my elephantism that you're going to get...

Will try to get back to a more regular routine of updates as of next week - love to you all...