Friday, January 30, 2009

Greetings from the Kelley Family!

Hey everyone. Here's a quick video message we recorded after bringing Kate home. Thanks for everyone who posted comments on Facebook and MySpace, sent emails, flowers, cards, visited the hospital, and brought (and are still bringing) food!

We are overwhelmed by all the love and support we've received. Thank you all so much!

And the winner is...

The six folks who voted for Kate to be born on Wednesday, Jan. 28!

You win... uh... well... come on over and see her! That's your prize!

Those who voted for other days are welcome to come see her, too, of course. We'll be heading home from the hospital sometime tomorrow (Friday).

And for those who are curious, yes, Matt WILL be in church on Sunday. He may not be very coherent or even awake for the whole service, but he'll be there!

Here are a few more photos of Baby Kate's first full day of life:

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Introducing Kate!

Katharine Barry Kelley was born at 2:07 pm Central Standard Time on January 28, 2009. She weighed 7 pounds, 15 ounces, and is 20.5 inches long.

Jessica received an epidural around 9 am, and was pain-free and quite content from there on out, even during delivery.

Everyone is safe, healthy, and very happy that everything went well. We’ll be in the hospital for the next day or two, so enjoy these photos from today. More pics and info to come!

It's Almost Time!!!

As of 12:30 this afternoon, everything is going very well. Jessica is almost fully dilated, and the doctor pierced the amniotic sac about an hour ago. She'll start pushing sometime within the next two hours or so, and Katharine Barry Kelley will be with us sometime this afternoon!

8:30 am

Well, we've made it through a somewhat difficult night. Jessica's contractions were coming less than 2 minutes apart and were becoming very painful, when the nurse came in and said that they were going to send us home! Apparently her dilation wasn't progressing quickly enough. I (Matt) said we wanted to talk to a doctor before we went home, at which point they agreed to let us stay for another couple hours before they decided whether to officially admit us or send us home.

Thankfully, Jessica had dilated another centimeter the next time they checked, so we got to stay. That was really good, because it started snowing like crazy!

As of 8:30am Jessica is contracting regularly, and she will get her epidural very soon. That way she'll be able to get some sleep. More updates to come!

Jessica exercising her brain with sudoku even while she's in labor!

Jessica's hand after they got her hooked up

That's the little machine that goes BING! It's the most expensive machine in the whole hospital! Aren't you lucky! (BING!) That sound means your baby is still alive!

In 2, 3... Out 2, 3

This is the breathing pattern Matt is having me do... now that I am IN LABOR! Hooray! We are very excited!

After more than 48 hours of nearly painless contractions, the discomfort increased around 4pm yesterday (Tuesday, Jan. 27) and after a dinner of Applebee's nachos (with extra jalepenos, as we were trying to "smoke her out") we consulted the books about whether my 5-7 minute contraction intervals warranted a trip to the hospital yet. We consulted the doctor on call around 10pm and he was remarkably unhelpful, basically saying I should/could wait til they're 3-5 minutes apart, but that it couldn't hurt to come in and be monitored for a while. Really not wanting to check in for a false alarm, I decided to go to bed (11:30-ish) and wait it out.

I had some trouble falling asleep, and around 12:30 or 1 had heartburn-induced vomiting from the nachos. The pain was getting worse, and I started watching the clock again after that. Around 1:45, I called Matt in (who was out in the family room, completely unable to sleep from the anticipation) and told him they were five minutes apart and getting pretty painful, so we decided it was time!

Even between the time of that decision and getting ourselves out the door around 2:05, the contractions were coming a lot more frequently--every 2-3 minutes. We checked in via the ER, and got our room rather quickly. Our nurse, Stephanie, tells me I am 90% effaced and 3 centimeters dilated. My contractions are coming every 1-2 minutes and are getting increasingly painful--largely in my lower back, which is really, really no fun. She's going to check me again in a half hour or so, and hopefully I can get my epidural sometime soon after that! 

Matt is proving to be an awesome coach so far, and we're gearing up for the most important day of our lives! Pray for a smooth delivery and a healthy baby! We'll report back in the morning!

Jessica holding Charlotte during the 24 hours before we went to the hospital

Ever the faithful Gen-Yer, Jessica writing a blog post about her experience of being in labor!

A close-up of Jessica. Does any other woman look this pretty during labor?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Still Hanging in There

Our due date (last Friday, January 23) came and went uneventfully, as did the weekend. I had a big surge of energy last night, and made cookies to bring into my office this morning (hoping all the while, of course, that the energy surge meant labor was imminent and I wouldn't be going to work today!)

I've been having painless contractions several times an hour since last night, so I've been on alert all day. They're just Braxton-Hicks, I suppose, but their frequency made me worry a bit so I called the doctor's office earlier today. The nurse just told me to time them like "normal" contractions and come in if they got to the intervals at which one would go to Labor and Delivery ordinarily. So, I'm stuck timing contractions that otherwise cause me no discomfort--I wish the signs were clearer!

Our hopes are high that the contractions will become "real," and that I'll go into labor tonight. There's an ice storm set to hit our area in the middle of the night, so that complicates things further. The plan is to induce on Thursday if she is not here before then, so either way, we'll be parents by Friday!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Update and Vote!

We had our weekly doctor appointment today, and unlike our last three appointments, I (Jessica) did not leave the office feeling depressed! Yay! That is because, while I am still only a centimeter dilated (a "good" centimeter now, though, not a "maybe a" centimeter) I am also 60% effaced! Hooray! For those of you not currently or recently steeped in pregnancy/childbirth lingo, that means my cervix is softening and has thinned out to 40% of its original thickness. Awesome.

Our doctor suggested we take a walk around the mall (since it's a bit cold out now), so we went there after our appointment and did a couple laps. Hopefully, that will help things get moving even more. Our doctor is the one on call all this weekend, so Friday, Saturday, or Sunday would be terrific! We went ahead and scheduled our 40 1/2 week appointment for next Wednesday, though, just in case. If we get to that point, we'll likely be inducing soon after, she said, since she'd prefer not to let us get beyond the 41 week mark. Induction wouldn't be ideal, since it can make labor extra-difficult and lead to the "cascade of interventions" that end in C-section, but nonetheless, we're very excited to know that in a little over a week--at most--we'll have our little Kate out and in our arms!

When will Baby Kate be born?

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I-Day Come and Gone

True, there are still a few hours left in the day, so it's possible I could still be able to tell our little girl, "I went into labor with you the day Barack Obama was inaugurated," but the likelihood of today being her birthday is now pretty much nil. Ever since we found out our due date back in June, we thought it would be totally awesome if she was born on Inauguration Day. I started having some really strong cramps as all the dignitaries were filing in (my workplace projected the Inauguration on the big screen) and I really thought contractions would follow, but alas, the cramps went away, and I've only continued to have the painless "practice" contractions I've had for weeks. Oh well.

It's not really a big deal, of course. Her birthday--whenever it arrives--will be a far bigger deal to us even than this historic, momentous event in our nation's history. I'm getting REALLY antsy to have her, though, and passing this day just compounds the frustration and longing. I imagine I'll feel this even moreso on Friday, our due date!

Because I was so convinced she'd be early (and just because I'm so into planning and organizing), I find I have very little left to do at home or at work, so it's hard to focus on anything except her pending arrival. I'm trying to trick myself into not worrying about it anymore by telling myself "okay, she's going to be late. Don't even expect her to get here before next week." I highly doubt my little trick will work, though.

We have our 39 1/2 week appointment tomorrow, so we'll see what the doctor says!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Counting the Days

It's ten days til my due date, and I am getting really restless. I am physically pretty comfortable, but emotionally just eager to have Kate out and about, to see her and meet her and start this parenting adventure. Plus, I've made such careful (i.e. obsessive and neurotic) plans at work to ensure no work is delayed or lost due to my absence, that it's starting to feel awkward showing up every day, after all my talk about how it could be "any time." (It really could be any time, but not knowing when that time is is quite unsettling to a planner like me, and itmakes me feel like I'm crying wolf.)

We had our weekly doctor appointment today, and she said my cervix is softening some, but it sounded like she was being generous with her estimate of one centimeter dilated. After a weekend full of irregular, painless contractions and other phase-1 symptoms, I really thought we would have made some more progress. Asked for her estimate of when I would go into labor, our doctor said, "Not this week," but even she admitted right after that that I could make a lot of progress overnight and suddenly be in labor. So, I shouldn't be too disappointed or concerned.

Hard as it is, I've got to enjoy these last days of DINK-dom (double income, no kids), and of this special time that is pregnancy. It really is magical, feeling her squirm inside me as I rock in the chair in which I'll spend so many hours feeling her (yes, it arrived yesterday, so now the nursery is totally complete). I love this little girl so much. I can't wait to hold her in my arms, but as Matt reminded me today, I'll never be able to hold her as close as I am right now.

Christians and War

I took the Belief-O-Matic quiz on last week. It had been several years since I last took it, and I was curious to see if my "true religion" had changed recently. Sure enough, it still had me as 100% Orthodox Quaker (followed by moderate-to-liberal Protestant and moderate-to-conservative Protestant in the mid-90% range). The quiz's perception of my ideal tradition is mainly based, it seems, on my answers to the last two questions of the quiz, which deal with abortion and war. I rank both matters "high" in importance, and respond to both questions in the strictest pro-life manner possible, rejecting the taking of human life in any circumstance, be it before birth or in response to international conflict. It's hard to find Protestants who agree with me on both those issues, but I (like orthodox Quakers and many Catholics) feel that is the view Jesus would espouse.

In all my pre-baby reoganizing and decluttering, I found a clipping with a quote I love from Will Willimon, who is currently bishop of the North Alabama conference of the UMC. The quote is from a Palm Sunday sermon he delivered as dean of Duke University Chapel sometime between 2001 and 2005, I would guess. I could offer my own commentary, but it would probably be rambling and ineloquent. So, I'll let Will's statement speak for itself. Suffice it to say, I think he's dead on.

"During the last presidential election, there was debate about Senator Lieberman. 'He's a devout Jew,' some said. 'He keeps kosher. If we have a national crisis and need to go to war on a Saturday, could we count on Lieberman?' Nobody said, 'George Bush is a Methodist, Al Gore is a Baptist, don't these Christians have some funny ideas about violence? Can we count on them to kick butt when we need it?'
"Nobody asked because, well, when it comes to such issues, you can't tell the worshipers of Caesar from the devotees of Jesus."

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Nursery, Unveiled

I've been waiting til the nursery was "all done" before sharing pics, but we've finally got it all ready with the exception of the chair, which should be delivered any day now.

All four of the grandparents-to-be participated in the preparation of Kate's room, which makes it extra-special. The grandmothers painted, Matt's dad (and Matt) put together the crib and moved the dresser in. My dad did repairs like sanding down the closet door so it would open and close without immense effort. I painted the various decorative elements, like the name letters, bulletin board, picture frames, and the safari-scene canvas. Matt has moved furniture, assembled the stroller, swing, etc., and always having the level, hammer, and drill handy. It's been a family effort as we all await Kate's arrival (any day now!)

And finally, the wide view, from the door. The chair will go just to the left of the window.


Friday, January 02, 2009

37 Weeks

One New Year's Resolution we know we can keep... have a baby!

I'm 37 weeks today, which is considered "full term." That means that while my due date is three weeks away, Baby would not be considered premature or unhealthy to be born any time now.

This pic is our 36 week (8 month) photo. I think my belly looks a little lower, but I don't think we can really say I've "dropped" yet. Our doctor said Kate's still pretty well up in there, though she is head down (as she has been for at least a month or so). My cervix is softening a little, Doctor says, but I am not dilated at all yet.

I was a little disappointed, I think, to not be at all dilated, but I know it doesn't really mean anything, since a person could be two centimeters at this point and then do nothing more for weeks, or a person could be totally closed (like me) and dilate a bunch very quickly.

Also mitigating my desire to have Kate soon is the realization that things are not as wrapped up at work as I would like. I started to panic midday Wednesday when I realized how my next work day would be Jan. 5 and that Baby could come any time! I need more time to get everything done!

So, I should just be patient and not wish her out any sooner. I'm so excited just to hold her and feed her and start the adventure of motherhood, but at the same time, pregnancy is such a special time and I'm not incredibly uncomfortable or anything, so there's no reason to wish it away. I'm not having great aches and pains or anything, just a lot of heartburn and continued nausea (so much for "morning" sickness being mainly just in the first trimester--I'm still getting sick twice a week or so!) but overall I feel pretty good!

We'll be ready for her whenever she wants to come, but until then, I'll be working hard, popping the TUMS, and sitting happily on my nest!


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