Monday, May 31, 2010

The Camera Loves Her

I promise Gina Lenz does not pay me to keep writing about her on my blog. I am just such a fan of her work! Wait till you see the pictures she captures of my little Belle. You'll agree. It'll make you want to have a baby just so she can photograph it for you.

Not that I'm recommending it. I do not condone procreation purely to take gorgeous photos. But I'm just saying. These picture may make you want to procreate.

Gina did awesome research about newborn photography and had such great ideas. It was 90 degrees in the studio so baby wouldn't mind being naked.

No one realized that it would also make the rest of us want to be naked as well. Don't worry, I refrained. Aside from the breastfeeding break.

But as long as baby was comfy! Doesn't she look comfy?

Look at what a little teeny beanie she is!

Go Gina Go!

Look at proud Daddy standing by. Ugh. I love him.

She's such a star. Maybe I'll make her famous like the Olsen twins.

Or not.

This is part of Gina's studio. Please ignore the clothing bags, diaper bags, water bottles, and receiving blankets strewn about. Try to appreciate the beauty and style prior to us taking it over. Isn't it pretty? I love that chair.

It has a very homey, relaxing feel. She puts chocolate and cheese out for munching. By the end of the shoot, I realized I was barefoot and my shoes were on the other side of the room. I felt so at home I took off my shoes without realizing it. I'll blame the 90 degree heat. Yeah, that's it. I thought I was at the beach.

Daddy & his girl. Well, one of them. He's only got 2, for the record. And also for the record, his shorts and sandals did not show up in photos. Just the slick black top. I like to keep things straight on the record.

And I may have said some things related to the following:

"Gina, I'll understand if you want to make Reilly the front page of your website."

"Honestly, our baby is so adorable. I think she'll get you lots of newborn shoots when people see her picture."

Husband told Gina to ignore my conceitedness. I insisted that it is not conceit, because I wasn't saying I should be a model! I was saying my baby should be a model!

I mean, sure, I grew her inside me...but I don't think it counts as bragging...more as complimenting another human being!

Or really, complimenting God. Great job, God, on making such a gorgeous human being, and letting us raise her. Mama's around the world, don't you agree?? Bragging about our babies is really just giving props to the Man Himself.

You'll find I really can rationalize anything.
Coming soon: Why I think ice cream is a completely healthy dinner. Especially in the summer.

P.S. Thank you Gina, for helping us celebrate her life! :)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

It Was Bound To Happen.

Yesterday was a beautiful day with Mima (my Mama) and Reilly! We had a fun little adventure out to the local garden store. I'm not taking Rei into any public places until she's a bit older, due to the amount of germs and diseases on strangers, and her susceptibility to them at her age. My doctor actually said "Do not go into Wal-Mart with her." I said no problemo. Now I'm a Wal-Mart fan, but my baby doesn't need to have her Wal-Mart debut until she is awake more than she's sleeping. And maybe till she's a little bit bigger than a banana.

So as I was saying, we went to the garden store only because it was outdoors. Beautiful fresh air, and mama needed basil. I walked around with my tray of plants, and Mima held Reilly in a little blanket swaddle. She was just 2 weeks old, and looks like a little banana in her blanket. The workers were smiling at us as we passed, because we were those people with the teeny weeny baby. We couldn't stop smiling either.

As we paid, I asked the garden store worker some questions about my purchases and planting. There was an older woman standing behind us on line, who asked how old she was. Mima pulled the blanket off her head so she could see her. We both turned and smiled, responded "2 weeks!" and gazed admiringly at our little sugar bean. The woman remarked at how teeny and cute she was, as I turned to pay.

Then she said it. It was bound to happen.

Lady to my Mama: Is she your first?
My Mama: Well...she's my first grandchild!
Lady: OH dear! (puts her hand on her head)
Me: She's MY first! (smiles)
Lady: Well, she is adorable, congratulations!
Me and My mama: THANK YOU!

We really are just one in the same. And she is so gorgeous, it was bound to happen sooner or later. Reilly Belle, you have some darn good genes in you babygirl!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Life of Reilly: Part 3

[Be sure to catch up on Part 1 and Part 2, if you missed all the contracting and dilating fun!]

No. We couldn't turn around. I was not going to be turned away from the hospital twice. I could not go back and have them say, "Oh, 4 centimeters, you're still not in active labor, the worst of your pain is yet to come." Okay, so they would not have been that harsh. But still. I wasn't going to have it. I needed to go and see my Mama, and have her look at my symptoms and tell me her opinion. Husband agreed, so on we drove.

By the time we got to the house, I had to wait until a horrible contraction was over just to get out of the car. It was around 9:30, and I could barely walk. I stumbled out of the car, Hubby held me up, and I went into the house feeling awful. I immediately smelled pizza, and I barely ate all day. I went to the kitchen and sat at the island, and took some bites of a slice, claiming I was starving. Within minutes, I pushed the plate away, and went over to my dad's recliner, doubled over in pain. I grabbed a blanket, closed my eyes, and fought through another contraction. Husband sat next to me, holding my hand, and my mama kept timing the contractions as they came. I asked for a bowl, because massive waves of nausea were coming now with every contraction.

My sister arrived after about an hour, and ran into the house in a fit of excitement. She came over to my side, and I immediately grabbed her hand as another contraction came. "Oh my God. Mom, what's wrong with her? Is she okay? Why are we not at the hospital??" I don't think Sister had ever seen me in that much pain, and I don't think she expected to see me in that much pain at that time. Mama assured her we were going to leave shortly for the hospital. Then, another contraction came, and I vomited. "We have to go. I want to go," I said. So off we went to the hospital. Brett drove, and my mama was in the back with a cord clamp, because that hour drive frightened me, and I was afraid she might have to deliver the baby. Everyone kept telling me that first babies never come that fast, but I needed to be prepared. I always need to be over prepared.

I don't really remember that ride. I'm told that I would contract, and then my eyes would roll back in my head and I would fall asleep for 3 minutes. Then another one would come. I remember saying over and over in my head, as the pain would come, "Oh my God, I can't do this. If this gets worse, I won't be able to do this. This pain is too much." Then I realized how negative I was being. I'm never that negative. Why was I letting the pain get the best of me now? So I did what anyone would do. I lied to myself. As each contraction came, I started repeating over and over in my head, "I can do this. I can do this. I can do this. I can do this." I barely believed myself, but I let the words fill my head and didn't let any other words in. I also prayed a lot. Not the cohesive, thought-out prayers that I had in the previous weeks (such as, Please God let baby's head be small), but more like incoherent babblings directed in the general direction of God. He heard me though. He always does.

I never intended on getting pain medication. I always said I'd like to try to go natural, but I never knew what to expect, so I wasn't swearing anything off. It's not that I was all "I'm going natural, no matter what, I hate pain meds!". But honestly, the thought of an epidural was not that appealing to me. I don't want to not be able to walk, or to have to be told when to push. Numbness actually scares me more than pain. I have had about 10 cavities in my lifetime, and have never, ever, gotten numbed at the dentist. I get drilled without the slightest bit of pain medication. I don't know why, I just like to know the pain my body is going through. I truly consider pain to be your body's form of communication with you, telling you what is going on, and I like to be involved in this conversation with my body at all times.

But that night, I was in rare form. My body was experiencing pain like none other. And on the way to the hospital, I started saying, "I don't know if I could do this. If this gets worse, I think I'm going to need medication. I don't think I can handle anything worse than this." Husband and my Mama assured me that it was okay, just take one contraction at a time, and if I wanted medication I would have it. The problem was, I didn't want it. But I thought I needed it.

We arrived at the hospital and went to the Emergency entrance, because it was about 11:30 and that was the only entrance that was open. I asked Mama to get me a wheelchair, while Hubby helped me out of the car. As I got out of the car, I vomited again. Great. My pregnancy was beginning and ending with vomit, my worst enemy! So we went up to the labor unit once again. New nurses were there, and they asked how they could help me. I couldn't even speak. Husband was parking the car, so I looked at Mama and said "Tell her." She briefed them on the situation. I remember thinking, "I'm not smiling now - do you believe I'm in active labor?" Then the nurse took my arm and said, "Okay come on, let's get you in the triage room." I said something related to the fact that I couldn't walk. She said that walking was good to induce labor. I didn't think my labor needed any more inducing. And I didn't really need her tough love at the moment. I needed to be wheeled. In a chair.

But I walked into the room, changed into the gown, and fell in to the bed. I remember kicking off my sandals and walking barefoot from the bathroom to the bed. That's how I knew I was out of it. I never walk barefoot in public places. I don't even take my shoes off at weddings.

The doctor came in minutes later to check me. Everyone was acting so nonchalant compared to how I felt. I felt emergent, as if things like "STAT" and "LADY WITH A BABY" should be shouted around me. But everyone was calm. Except husband, I could see the worry in his eyes as my pain came and went. My doctor checked me, and her eyebrows went up. "Well, good news! You're 8 centimeters."

"HOLY SHIT." I yelled that. The doctor said, "Well, your worst pain is over. You did some hard labor at home, huh!" Yes. Yes I did. Brett called my mama next, (she had to be in the waiting room while I was in triage) and told her I was 8 centimeters. Her response? "HOLY SHIT. She can do this!" Clearly one day Reilly will have similar 4-letter reactions to surprising events.

Then, Nurse Karen, who I actually came to love at the end of the night, gave me some more tough love. "Okay, come on, let's get you to the labor room." As she took my arm, I asked in desperation for a wheelchair. She said, "If you can walk into this room, you can walk out!" WHAT? Don't you recall me walking in here against my will, and begging for a wheelchair then too?? But clearly I didn't really say this, I just moaned as another contraction came. And then I walked. And almost fell over halfway down the hallway as a I grabbed the wall and she grabbed my arm. That's how bad the pain is. I'm just saying.

The room we were in was gorgeous. I remember thinking, 'If I could speak right now, I would comment on how pretty this room is." I mean, it was stunning. It was HUGE, there was dark wood furniture, and one entire wall was windows from floor to ceiling. We saw the night sky, and gorgeous city lights. But I really only cared about the bed. My doctor came in, and said that I still had a little more to go, and she was going to break my water. This was at 12:05. She used an amni-hook, which looks like a knitting needle. It really is that long. This tool used to frighten me, but at that point, nothing scared me. I felt relief as my water broke. She told me that it was too late for an epidural, but that I could still have IV medications if I wanted.

This is what went through my head: No, I don't want IV meds. They affect the baby. It goes through my blood stream and therefore to the baby. But what if the pain gets worse. How much longer will this go? What if I'm pushing for hours? Some people push for hours. They say it feels like you've have 5 margaritas. That would feel nice right now. But I don't really want it. I'm so tired. I've been awake since 5 am. What do I do?

The Nurse said she couldn't tell me how long it would be. Mama and Husband said they wanted me to do what I felt, but that they knew I could do it. Then the doctor said that I needed to decide soon, because if they waited much longer they'd have to resuscitate the baby when it came out. What? No. Done. I don't want it. Forget it. Then the doctor left.

I continued fighting through contractions, and I felt the most intense pressure that I had ever felt in my life. It was the baby moving down the canal, the nurse told me. I screamed. I screamed a scream I didn't know I could scream. It sounded like a wild animal had made the sound. I couldn't breathe. But they kept telling me to breath. My whole body was tensing, because I was trying with all my might not to push and to fight through the pain. Everyone was helping me pant to stop from pushing. I just wanted to push. I kept asking when I could push. The nurse was mulling around the room saying, "I know. I know it hurts. Keep breathing. Relax your body. That's the baby moving down. It's okay." I screamed that it was burning. I screamed that I felt like I was tearing. I squeezed husband's hand. My Mama was saying, "Look at me. Look at my eyes. You have to breathe." I felt like I could explode. It was the hardest thing I had ever done. With every contraction, the burning and pressure increased, on top of the cramping. Husband kept me grounded with his strength. I remember thinking, "Adoption is nice. I think we'll adopt our next one." I just wanted someone to tell me I could start pushing. I wanted someone to check me again to see if I was 10 centimeters! Anyone!

I was laying on my side, because I was so much more comfortable that way. I had a pillow under both my legs and was laying in almost the fetal position. I braced myself as another contraction came. I gripped the bed, and my husband, and screamed and breathed, and I felt myself unable to stop the pressure with breathing. The tearing pain was peaking. And then I felt the feeling I will never forget for the rest of my life. The best way I can describe it is a relief of pressure, pain, and fighting. Just pure I felt something come out of me. I was petrified. I screamed, "SOMETHING JUST FELL OUT OF ME! I AM NOT LYING!!"

The nurse pulled the covers back that were over my legs, and lifted my left leg.
"Oh my God, it's the baby's head."
Husband was by my side, as my mama was down by my legs, and the nurse ran to the door. The nurse yelled, "We need Dr. Bigus, NOW!" My mama said, "Kate, it's the baby's head! The head is out!" My response? "Why isn't it crying?!" They said it was because the body wasn't out yet. Then the nurse ran back in, and told me to give her one good push. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Did my baby's head really just fall out? Why hadn't they all just listened to me!

What! Push NOW? I don't want to push now, I don't have any more pain or pressure! I feel fine now! How do I push now?? Mama said, "Kate, BEAR DOWN!" So I pushed. Husband was down by my feet, and says baby slid out "like a wet noodle". The nurse delivered our baby. Husband said, "Honey, it's a girl!" Then he came to my bedside and held me and kissed me and we cried. I was convulsing and shivering from the shock of the last 30 minutes, and crying and out of breath. Every emotion I was feeling, and every response of my body at this point was uncontrollable. The doctor and more nurses had run in at this point. Hubby cut the umbilical cord, as I heard comments of healthy healthy beautiful baby swirling around me. Relief and elation.

May 13, 2010, 12:45 in the morning, 6 pounds 5 ounces, 18 inches long. The life of Reilly Belle began. And so did ours.

More to come!

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Life of Reilly: Part 2

So off we went. Onto the hospital...which was a good hour away from our house. My girlfriends put together a CD for me to listen to on the way to the hospital, and I was forbidden to listen to it until that moment. All I knew, was that it was an hour long, and it would make me ready for labor. It was called "Look Who's Talking", and as I turned it on, I heard my favorite song. Then as the song ended, I was excited to hear the next one...and I heard my husband voice. He told me how excited he was, and how great I was going to do. Then there was a song that he picked out for me ("Knocked Up" by Kings of Leon - we listened to it on our honeymoon and always sing it to each other). The entire CD was full of my family and friends, saying heartfelt and wonderfully encouraging words, as well as a song that was fun and special to us both. I cried. and I laughed. I was so emotional thinking about my little baby coming, and all of the love that went into that CD. It's amazing how much love was already surrounding our baby.

By the time we arrived at the hospital, my contractions were 5 minutes apart. They were painful and uncomfortable, I was getting so excited - we were in labor! We signed in, and they told us to go to the door and press the buzzer. A woman came over the intercom and said, "How can I help you?" I couldn't think of how to respond. I'm in labor? I'm having a baby? I'm having contractions? I mean, come on lady, why else would I be here! Let me in!! I think I ended up going with "Um...I'm in labor?"

I guess they believed me because they let us in. I went into triage and they started measuring my contractions. I was hooked up to the fetal heart monitor, which made me happy because I got to hear my little munchkins heartbeat the whole time! My doctor came in quite soon to check how much I was dilated. I was pumped. I had been 2 cm for weeks, and fully effaced - so after a whole day of contractions, I couldn't imagine how far along I would be!

I asked her to wait until after my contraction finished so I only had to deal with one discomfort at a time. Then she checked me. The moment of truth. "Well," she said, "about 2.5 cm." I was shocked. How could that be all?? They told me they wanted me to walk around the uni for 45 minutes, then they would have me come back and see if that helped anything progress. She said that the walking would usually either put it over the edge and kick labor into gear, or remain the same and maybe taper off for the time being. So we walked. We walked and talked and stopped during contractions. We were walking around the Mom & Baby unit, and heard little tiny babies crying. We heard that newborn cry, and Hubby looked at me with wide, excited eyes. We couldn't wait to meet our baby.

After 45 minutes, we returned to the triage room. I didn't know how much I had progressed, but the contractions hadn't stopped. By this time, it was around 7:30 pm. My doctor came in, and said that I was "Mayyyyybe 3 centimeters." And the nurse added that I was not in active labor, because I was still smiling between contractions. What?? I was pissed. Of course I'm smiling! The pain comes, but then it leaves! You are a nice woman! Do you want me to frown and yell at you?? I'm a happy person! Then the doctor informed me that I was not yet in active labor, and I had 2 choices. I could go home, and "see if labor continues there" (which I knew it would), or I could stay and they would have to induce me with medication. I wanted to have this baby, but I wanted baby to come when baby wanted to come.

So home we went. An hour home we went. Well, we actually went to my parents house, because my Mama is an obstetric nurse and pretty much knows everything in the world, and I needed her to tell me what to do and if/when to go back to the hospital. And I wanted pizza, and they had pizza. I was upset. Here I was, in labor, positive that this baby was coming, and I was driving an hour from the hospital. The doctor said this was not to be a concern, because it was mt first baby, and things would not progress that quickly. When the contractions got "increasingly painful", I was to head back. But I was supposed to be relaxed during labor! And doing our breathing techniques and massages in a bed somewhere! And here I was, in a car, stressed, driving away from the hospital.

And as we were almost home, the contractions got worse. Exponentially worse. Blinding pain. Husband drove with one hand, while I squeezed his other. My eyes were closed, my head in my hands. My breathing became heavy and hard to control. Contractions were still coming about 5 to 7 minutes apart. After one contraction that was particularly bad, I squeezed Husband's hand so hard, that I think it scared him.

"What do we do? Do we just turn around right now?" he asked me.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Why Fathers Need Daughters

Hello. This is Husband. I have been promising my wife that I would 'guest post' on her blog for quite some time, so here it is. Apparently guest posting is not only accepted in the online community, it is encouraged, so here we go.

Ever since I began to think about having children, I have wanted a boy. Guys want boys. It is a known fact that a father wants a son in order to pass on his legacy. His family name needs to continue, and the ability to scratch, run, bleed, protect, bleed some more, sweat, and just be as tough as nails needs to be taught for generations to come. Guys cannot wait to have a boy to get started right away on the life-long lessons of boy/manhood. The truth of the matter, however, is that without women to protect, there would be no reason for men to be the way that they are.

This is why God has granted fathers with the blessings of daughters. I think that the idea of passing on 'man-stuff' to a son is a given, but I think that the true test of manhood is the ability to protect a woman, and in this case, a daughter. Let's face it, who doesn't dream about saying the phrase 'She won't date until she's 21', or 'Just wait until she brings that first guy home'. I know that I will be excited for this day because, without a doubt, when that little bastard shows up on my doorstep to take my daughter out, I am going to be cleaning every firearm that I own on my back deck while drinking Jack Daniels and cutting my nails with my old hunting knife. Honestly, who as a man would want to miss out on this opportunity?

I know that I am going to fight with my wife and daughter indefinitely about when she can wear makeup, how long her skirt should be, why she should wear a 1-piece bathing suit, etc. The reason that these fights are going to occur is because I grew up with two brothers and no sisters. Any girls that I grew up with were my cousins, and they were just as rough and tough as me- playing manhunt, building forts, and just running wild through the woods. I have a feeling that my wife is probably not going to encourage this behavior from our daughter. My wife loves the outdoors, but she is more likely to have our daughter wear dresses and paint their nails, even if it IS after they come in from the great outdoors. But she will definitely grow up much more familiar and knowledgeable about the outdoors than most girls, as well as not being afraid of ants, spiders, snakes, rodents, etc, and be comfortable with getting a little bit of dirt on her without freaking out. I am not going to raise a manly girl, however, because this would defeat the point of manhood.

Having a girl who can completely defend herself would almost make any guy who she would eventually marry (yes, it may happen someday) not be able to have the feeling of being the protector that he was born to be. Even though I get annoyed sometimes at my wife for making me come in and kill a 'HUGE SPIDER' that is actually about the size of a tick, it still makes me feel as if I am needed, because without girls, I would be pretty much insignificant.

Stay the hell away from my daughter,

Dirt Road Papa

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Life of Reilly: Part 1

Warning: The following post, and posts to come, are going to be somewhat/maybe/a little/necessarily/a tad bit graphic in nature. I am not talking gruesome, but a certain amount of detail is necessary in the telling of this story. Please stop reading now if the following words make you uncomfortable:
dilated, cramping, vomit, tearing, stitches, blinding pain, or laceration.

It all started early Wednesday morning, May 12. At around 3:40am, I woke up to mild cramping. Now, keep in mine, I had been about 2 cm dilated for about 2 weeks, and had been feeling strong but painless Braxton Hicks contractions for weeks as well. Every time I had a gas pain, I looked at the clock, felt if I was contracting, and analyzed my body for signs of labor. Since May 5, I told my husband every day "I feel like today could be the day!" I just was feeling SO pregnant, the baby felt so low, and I just knew I would go early. So when I felt this contraction, I just casually looked at the clock, and noted that it was 3:40, and rolled over to go back to sleep. I thought, if this is it, the contractions will get stronger and continue to wake me up.

Then another contraction. It woke me up again. Still, very mild. I looked at the clock...4:00. Hm. Interesting. Only 20 minutes later. So I went to the bathroom, because baby loved laying on my bladder, and fell back to sleep.

Another one. Now I started getting excited. 4:21am. Wow. These are coming 20 minutes apart, to the minute. This is labor. I know this is labor. But again, as you may have guessed, back to sleep for me. I really love sleep. Scratch that - I really loved sleep. Before my angel came and decided she likes me to be awake more often then I'm asleep. But we're getting ahead of ourselves...

At 4:40, when the next one came, I woke up husband. I told him I think I am having contractions, I keep waking up every 20 minutes with mild cramps! But he, being the calm, cool, Lamaze-savvy labor coach that he is, simply said, "Okay honey, remember what Rosanne said (Lamaze instructor), just try and go back to sleep and we'll see how you feel in the morning. Nobody ever sleeps through labor, so if it gets worse, you'll wake up." Okay! He made me calm, and I fell asleep for 20 more minutes till Hubby got up for work.

We discussed him staying home, and decided he would go to work and I would call him home if things progressed. I had been planning to spend the day with my girlfriend Vanessa, so naturally I called her at around 6:45am. I told her the deal, and that I was pretty sure I was going to go that night, I just felt it. She was already planning on coming over, so she just sped up the process and was over within the hour. She's good like that. She informed me that on the way over, she heard our song "Soul Sister" twice. We took it as a sign. We are very into signs, especially through music. It's how God speaks to us many times, if you listen.

So all day, we kept a time sheet of my contractions - when they started, how long they lasted. They were sporadic all day long, some coming close together, while others were separated by spans of 15 minutes. Vanessa and I relaxed, painted nails, watched TV, ate light foods, and got everything ready in case a hospital visit was coming. Oh, and we made 2 more meals to freeze. We made Sloppy Joes, and Kielbasa and Applesauce. Well really, Vanessa made them, because she wouldn't let me move all day since the doctor said to "take is easy". [I'll be posting all the meals I froze, as well as recipes, since I think it may have been the smartest thing I ever did, and I'd like to make the lives easier of other pregnant beauties!]

At 11 am, I called Brett and told him to start getting things in order to come home, because the contractions weren't stopping. I had already called the doctor, and they said to call back when contractions became "more time-able". I felt them coming closer together, and I needed to know that he was there as support. So he came home, just in case things continued progressing more quickly.

At this point, contractions were still mild, but coming closer together. The doctor said to keep in mind that it was very possible they would stop all together, and just resume in a few weeks. My gut told me this was not the case. Or maybe, Reilly told me. :)

When Brett got home, he got some things ready in case we went to the hospital. Then we all continued waiting. He kept saying, "Honey, do you really think this is it?? This is so exciting!!" Brett fell asleep for a little, which turned out to be very good, because Lord knows we ended up having a long night ahead of us! I couldn't sleep. The contractions were becoming uncomfortable, and plus, I'm a little crazy. Sleeping wouldn't be happening.

Then the entire town found out that "KATE IS IN LABOR!" and even better "KATE HAD THE BABY!", all because Mr. Buselli left school early. Rumors flew around the high school, and quickly outside the high school as well. It was a bit difficult to squelch the rumors that no, I did not have the baby, and we were not even at the hospital yet. Great. Just the way I wanted news to spread: via text message, before we had even opened our mouths yet. Hubby said that he was going to find out who was texting in school and write them up.

Around 5:30pm, I called the doctor again, and said that the contractions were about 7-8 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute each. This had been going on for an hour, which is a definite sign of progressing labor. She put me on hold, and then said, "Well, come on out to the hospital!" I don't know why, but I was suddenly shocked. Even though we had been prepared for this moment, I was still thinking "Nah, maybe this isn't it, this can't actually be real...". But before I knew it, the car was packed, and we were on the way to the hospital. And let me tell you, we were giddy with excitement.

Part 2 coming very soon!
p.s. "The Life of Reilly" is actually an Irish phrase meaning "an easy and pleasant life". I learned this only a few weeks before she was born, and thought it would be adorable if baby was a girl and would then live the Life of Reilly! So far, her life has been beautiful.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Things I've Learned in 5 Days

My chickie pea is 5 days old. I can't believe it's only been 5 days since the moment she entered the world. I feel like we have been in our little Reilly bubble for weeks! I've learned so much in these 5 days. More than I ever thought I would know about motherhood, a 5 day old little angel, or myself. I thought I'd share some of the things I have realized & come to learn, as I type with one hand and my baby on my chest.

1. I can type with one hand and a baby on my chest! It's my favorite feeling in the whole world.

2. Reilly likes sleeping with her hands above her head. It's very precious.

3. Putting every need of you baby's before yourself is the easiest thing in the world. It honestly is. I haven't thought about myself in 5 days, I can barely remember to eat, but it doesn't even matter. And it's not like a noble, self righteous, "I am such a sacrificial mother" type of's just that as soon as she was here, I have had no other care in the world. It just happened naturally, and it's an amazing thing. Seriously, I thought I was selfish! I mean, I'm as giving as the next person, but I don't always want to share my cupcake is all I'm saying. And suddenly I'm giving my whole self to my girl, and haven't even thought twice.

4. I don't require that much sleep after all! I don't require any, evidently. I have been "sleeping" in 1 to 2 hour intervals during the night, due to breastfeeding. Newborns need to eat about every 2 hours all day and night when they are primarily breastfeeding, especially in the beginning. And since she was born, I have not slept a whole night. And I'm still functioning at a relatively normal level! I look a little exhausted I imagine, although husband keeps saying I got more beautiful since becoming a Mama. I think sometimes he lies. :) Just teasing honey!

But if you told my teenage self that I would not be sleeping at all, and not even really care, she would laugh at you.Come to think of it, so would my college self. And my twenty three year old pregnant self! I pretty much always thought 10 hours sleep was required of my body. Everything really does change with the little bambino.

5. I have trouble finishing a glass of wine. I actually have yet to finish one whole glass. I take tiny sips, and nurse the one glass, so afraid of it affecting me and then affect my milk. I've never refused a glass of wine, or two, or eleven. And here I am afraid to have one! She is such a little precious chickpea. She makes me fear wine.

6. Back to sleeping. Because it really shocks me how my sleeping could/has changed. And that I'm not biting people's heads off every day as a result. I learned that I'm no longer a heavy sleeper. I didn't used to just be a heavy sleeper...I used to be a comatose sleeper. When I was younger and growing up, our house alarm went off one night and I slept right through it. This occurred multiple times. I kindly asked my family to just grab me out of bed if there were to be an actual intruder.

But now, I hear tiny little inhales of breath from the bassinet at the foot of our bed, and wake up diving to the end of the bed to look at her face. I naturally keep a light on all night in order to make this possible. Then I stare at her looking for signs of distress, realize she has the hiccups, and resume my semi-sleep-nap for the next 30 minutes before the next feed/change.
p.s. I hope you are not still wondering why I haven't blogged in 5 days. :)

7. I learned that I actually could love my husband more than I did. I thought I couldn't. I was so in love with everything he is, as my best friend and my protector and my love and my partner in crime. But seeing the way he looks at his little girl. It's like nothing I've ever experienced. She makes him laugh like nothing else I've ever seen just by scrunching up her nose. He changes her, and just stares at her tiny feet and asks her never to grown any bigger. Through watching him and her, I can feel the love that he has for his two girls. I feel more loved by him, and more love for him, every time he looks at her. It's hard to explain, but it's one of the most amazing things I've ever seen happen. As much as I've learned about motherhood, I've learned a good amount about fatherhood in the past 5 days as well. Mostly, the unbelievable transformation that a babygirl can have on a grown man. The funniest part is, the little Belle has no idea what she's done to her Daddy in 5 short days.

More to come on Baby Rei, as her naps allow :)
Coming next...The Labor Story!

dirt road Mama & dirt road Baby

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Look Around Your World, Pretty Baby it everything you hoped it'd be?

Our baby is here!! I have never been so happy. Life has been a blur of bliss for the past 36 hours. Well, after the most horrific pain I have ever experienced, then it became bliss :)
Reilly's birth story will be coming soon. It will be multiple parts, because I'm telling you, it's one that is unlike anything you have heard before. It was perfect and amazing and painful and unbelieveable and shocking and scary and inspiring and blessed. Labor was the most emotional experience I have ever had, and it still keeps replaying in my mind. It was my favorite day of my whole life.
And now we have a little perfect babygirl. Our little tiny banana. Reilly Belle. The belle of the ball. Our wrinkly little peanut. She was born 6.5 pounds, and 18 inches long. She is such a teeny little beanie!! Daddy is so smitten with her. He keeps tell her she is tied for the most beautiful girl in the whole world. We have spent most of our time just staring at her, and it's our favorite thing to do.
Honestly, she is the cutest thing I have ever laid my eyes on. I really don't think I'm biased. I couldn't ever have imagined her being so insanely adorable. Or light haired and blue eyed! Which Hubby knew since day 1! Everytime I said, "I wonder what the baby will look like...", he said he pictured her a girl, and he always pictures her blonde and blue eyed!

Being a Mama is already my favorite thing I've ever done. I feel like she is my little best girl. And I just get to snuggle her all the time.
Thank you, God, for our glimpse into what heaven will be.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The More I Wait...

...the more I pack.

I actually keep packing, and then unpacking, and then packing again and more and differently. I could have easily packed in our giant luggage bag, but I refrained primarily due to sheer pride. I do not want to feel like I need to defend my massive week-long supply of clothing and supplies to the nurses while I am in labor. So, I worked very hard to cram all of our things into a small carry-on luggage bag. Not an easy task, I tell you! Seeing as I have to pack for Brett AND myself. And for baby, but baby's things are tiny. Luckily. Baby almost didn't get any packing space.

Anyway, that bag is DENSE. It is seriously difficult to roll. But it looks nice and compact, like the luggage of a sane person who threw things in nonchalantly as they began contractions. AKA, the opposite of me.

Some things I packed:
1. Very specific and beautiful pajamas. Cause pretty pajamas make ya feel pretty. As well as multiple cotton robes. I will stay in this attire as long as possible.

2. Movies and music that bring me peace. For laboring. In case it's hours and hours, I want Sweet Home Alabama, My Best Friend's Wedding, One Fine Day, and Singing in the Rain keeping me distracted. Or at least just being on the the background, like old friends. These are my comfort movies.

3. I forgot to mention The Hangover. Don't ask. It makes me laugh so so hard. I just love it, inexplicably. And that cute little baby in the closet will help me focus on my goal. Having a baby, not storing one in a closet.

Please notice, I plan to be in labor for at least 10 hours according to my movie preparation.

4. Tennis balls. I can't understand why tennis balls are a pregnant woman's best friend, but they just are. Something about the counter pressure on your back. I will lay anywhere with tennis balls in various sore areas of my back, and be in complete bliss. Dad bought me a brand new pack! So in they go.

5. Baby socks. Baby hat. Baby onesie. Baby sleeper. Baby blanket. Baby Baby Baby. Okay I'm done.

6. Toiletries. But not normal person toiletries. I gathered all my coupons and bought all new toiletries just for my hospital stay, because it makes everything easier. Now I have my bag packed, but can still get ready every day without worrying about throwing things in last minute. Plus I'm slightly fanatical. This whole process is so unpredictable, I need to be adequately prepared everywhere I can. And toiletries are something I can control.

7. Everything Hubby needs. Including new toiletries for him too. He has no idea, but when we get there, trust me, he'll thank me. Or he won't even notice until I point it out. But then, he'll thank me.

8. All of my favorite maternity clothes. Which adds up to way too many for a short hospital stay. But they are all coming, I need options people.

9. Cameras galore. For obvious reasons. Even though they have some ridiculous rule about "all cameras off from 10 cm to birth". Whatever. If you ask me, that's the whole point! Who wants pictures and videos of me casually laying in a bed, or of a nice clean baby? I mean, where's the drama? Kourtney Kardashian got to have cameras the whole time. Maybe I should be delivering in LA. Silly sensible East Coast hospitals.

There is a peek into my hospital bag! And that's probably only 40% of the items.
Thank you for accepting me for my neurosis.

Smile Today,

dirt road mama

We Make Me Laugh

When I observe my Hubby for a short while, on any given day, certain things just make me laugh. Now, I'm not talking about how funny he is and the fact that he makes me die laughing on any given day for a plethora of reasons. This is when I observe him doing every day things, in his normal every day way. What makes me laugh about his every-dayness, is how very very differently our minds work.

I wrote briefly about left and right brained people, and how Hubby and I are so very opposite. But the best way to truly understand it is to see how we do things every day. And so I bring you, some examples. Just so you can sleep tonight.

Example 1: List Making. Believe it or not, we are both list-makers to an extent. Well, that's pretty similar, right?! Wrong. One day Hubby had to remember a bunch of things. First, I suggested writing it down. No. That wouldn't fly. He did not want to carry around a pretty perfect piece of paper with a neat list written with a beautifully colored Sharpie. [Hint: That's how I roll.] Okay, then. Let's make a fun poem to help you remember the list! No, no. That won't do either. He told me he does not need my help remembering his list. He just remembers that he needs 7 things. And he will never forget what they are.

Excuse me? How can that be? You just remember a number? How does this help?
Then I thought that maybe not everyone thinks like I do. And maybe their minds work differently. Supposedly. But I still think making a poem and visualizing the items works better.

Example 2: Measuring. I'm sure you can guess who likes measuring. And who maybe does not value measuring as much. This passed weekend, Hubby was putting up a giant clock for my Mama in her living room. It was very exciting. We bought a giant ladder. We had Gorilla Hooks and tools and levels in preparation. And then there was the "Make sure it is centered!" conversation. So how does Hubby make sure that it is centered? Well, he measures out an isosceles triangle, of course!

Here he is measuring his triangle to find the center. Ain't he cute?
Now please note, Hubby teaches geometry. He loves geometry. And using it in everyday life. Don't get me wrong, I really love math. And I am so much better off being married to Husband, because I actually do realize how much math can be used every day. That being said, let's talk about how I do things...

I may have mentioned before that I'm a painter. This is a sign I sold for Mother's Day this year. I am asked a lot of questions about my painting, but most often is, "How do you paint so straight?" I'll tell you - I don't know. I don't ever measure. I don't measure to make the letters straight, I don't measure to make the phrases centered on the wood. Now, you may notice, that the bottom sentence is not centered under the top sentence. So guess what? I embellished with a flower. That's just how I roll. The colors I use are impulsive decisions, not planned. The fonts I use are pretty much decided as I put paint brush to wood. I don't really plan, I don't think too much about what I will do, I just have to let the creativity go. No time for measuring! Not that I don't think it would be useful...but that's just not how I want my artwork to be. I like it being free, I like making "mistakes", and then painting flowers and having it look so pretty.

So there is a little insight into our measuring, numerated, creative, painting marriage. And I have many more stories of Husband and his interesting mathematical ways. Some people think that he is a teacher, but he is actually a mathematician. There is no other subject that he could ever teach - he was born to teach Math. It's just so fun watching him live and breath his profession. And I know that I was born to paint. I just love that what we do for a living infuses every inch of our life. Passion is so important. And when you are passionate about life, and about your work, it's a beautiful thing.

Smile today,

dirt road Mama

Monday, May 10, 2010

Not Very Inconspicuous

Below is a picture of me and my baby. We are not very inconspicuous when we go places. I mean, people really notice us now. I will go somewhere, and kind of forget how clearly conspicuous we are, and just ask the grocery worker where the Flax Seed Meal is. And then she'll say "Um...I'm not's a seed you said?" And then I'll say "Well, kind of..." realizing she has no idea as to what food product I'm referring to. And just when she starts to speak again, and I think she's going to help me, she says, "So when are you due!!"

Oh dear. I almost forgot. They can all see my big baby and our big belly. And then I smile and chat about baby for the next 12 minutes with a complete stranger. And this happens roughly 16 times every day. And that's just with strangers, forget it if I actually see someone I know!

See how big we are now! Baby looks so cute in there, I can tell already.

But there is only one other thing that can make us stand out more. I mean, as if my giant appendage that says "LADY WITH A BABY" to everyone that I shuffle passed doesn't already draw enough attention...this weekend, we managed to stick out more than other days. How is that possible, you might ask? Well, imagine for a moment, besides the big belly, you have a person with one arm around your back, and one holding up your belly, screaming, "EXCUSE ME! WE HAVE A PREGNANCY!!"

Well, yes, that is correct. Sister loves to be conspicuous. And she literally walked next to me, "holding me up" in that manner everywhere we went. It almost caused me to topple over a few times. But she was convinced that the baby needed her extra support in walking around. Lord knows how we've survived getting around for 9 months! And she was also convinced that we needed a photo shoot on the golf course.

She really just wanted it to be her and the baby. I just happen to be attached to the baby at the moment. I told her she was probably going to crop out my face, because she usually just talks to my belly as if I'm not there. She said, "Don't be silly! I don't even know how to crop pictures!" ....Hm.

See what I mean? This is how we walked around. Not very inconspicuous. Gosh, it'll be so much easier when she can just hold the baby and isn't forced to hold the full grown adult as well. :)

dirt road Mama

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Mama's Words

I painted this for my Mama as part of her Mama's Day present this year.
[Don't worry, you can scroll down, I typed out what it says. No need to put on those glasses.]

I've been collecting quotes that she always says, and jotting them down since last year. Then I picked my favorites and her most famous ones, whether they are serious or silly, and painted this canvas. The titles says "A Mama's Words Become Her Child's Thoughts". I realized more intensely once I moved away, that her words are always with me. Everything she taught me, and every word of encouragement, is in my mind just when I need it, even though I don't see her every day. I realized once I was on my own, being a wife and taking care of my home, just how much I learn from her every single day. She is constantly teaching me through her love.

I read recently that "A mother's heart is her child's schoolroom". Henry Ward Beecher said it. I'm not quite sure who he is, but I Googled him and saw a really ancient picture and figured he was legit. Anyway, I hope my baby learns from my heart. And I hope I have a lot to teach my baby. I hope my words become my child's thoughts. And I hope that I have good things to say.

Here's my Mama's quotes:

Knowledge is power. There's nothing like a nice glass of wine. Always say you're sorry. Take off your rings before making meatballs. Smile & the world smiles with you. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Just be your sweet self. You can't beat a good pair of panty hose. Less is more. All you need is a little lipstick. Say your prayers. My children are my greatest accomplishment. The secret to good cooking is a clean kitchen. A mother never stops worrying. Sweet dreams. Never say things you can't take back. You shouldn't read in the dark. You are beautiful. Are you buckled? Be politely assertive. Rise & shine. Walk with purpose. I wish I could live on wine & ice cream. Blabity-blah. Just do your best. That's what I'm here for. I am woman, hear me roar. Be safe. Sigh. I love you.

My Mother's Day was wonderful. Even though I haven't met our baby yet, my family got me surprise Mama's day gifts! I was so excited, not really for the gifts, but for the fact that I am actually going to be a real Mama. The wonderful man who made me a Mama (that would be Hubby!) got me a whole bag full of Burt's Bee's products! I mean a bunch. He knows how much I love all of the products, but won't always spend the money on myself. You sure know how to make a girl smile, babycakes.

And my Mama and Dad got me something so special. Several years ago, my Mama got a bracelet that say "A mother hold her child's hand for a short while, but her hearts forever." It is her favorite piece of jewelry, she treasures it, and never ever takes it off. This year, she got me the same one. I think I'll never take it off.

And I can't wait to hold my baby's hand.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Random Friday Musings

1. This is my on my 21st birthday. This picture makes me chuckle. Anywho, as of today, I am 37 weeks pregnant. That's "full term". Doctor says I can go any day. Thus begins the waiting game. It's a fun game. And scary, at the same time. Yes, I'm waiting for my little bundle of joy to join the world and be smothered by my love. But I'm also waiting for the onset of what is rumored to be the worst paint of my life. I think it's all talk. I think it will tickle. [Right Allie?]

2. Today is my last day of work. Not my last for maternity leave, my last for a really long time. As in, years. As in, I'll be a stay at home mama! Hence the name of my blog. I'm very excited, but it's very surreal! I don't fully believe it yet. I'll let you know what it hits me. Today is my last day of work. Nope, hasn't hit me yet.

3. It's very interesting to me that everyone sees my belly and asks how I feel, or if I need help, or to put down that basket of laundry. Okay, that last one is only Hubby. But even strangers seem concerned and only want me to rest. It's so natural and beautiful to me that my sole job is to take care of my body, and wait for my angel. And it seems like the whole world knows it.

Like yesterday morning, Hubby and I went to get bagels and coffee before he went to work, and there was a door labeled "Employees Only". I asked if they had a bathroom, and they said "Well, it's only for employees, but you're pregnant, so you can use it." I was very grateful, but it's so funny! Is it because pregnant people make people nervous, like we will pop? Or because I am growing a human life inside me, and everyone thinks that's kind of a miracle? Either way, my bladder thanks you, bagel shop workers. And I know I said I wouldn't tell anyone that you broke the rule for me, but this only goes out to, like, the world. Or the 3 people that read it.

4. I wonder why we don't have recollection of life when we were just just born? I'm thinking because it is really traumatic, so God blocks it out for us. I mean, my poor little beanie baby will come out and breath air for the first time, be freezing cold I presume (which is the worst feeling in the world), and be handed from person to person, until finally it finds it's way back to me. And hears my voice and feels my heart and my warmth, and finally feels peace again. It really must be scary. I'm thinking I wouldn't want to remember that. So there, I settled that.

5. Maternity leave gives too much time to prepare and think about these weird thoughts. And too much inability to physically do much of anything else.

6. Maybe I'll go make a smoothie.

7. I had a contraction in the middle of the night. And there was discomfort and pain associated with it. And I got really excited. But then nothing else happened. The end.

dirt road Mama

p.s. I know, because I am married to a Left-Brained Mathematician, that it really annoys some people that I ended my list at an odd number. For this, I apologize. But I am a Right-Brained Artist, and I enjoy random things. I will, every so often, post about math and logic because the actions of left-brained people like my hubby fascinate me. So no worries. Even, divisible numbers and organization are in our future.


So my Mama & Daddy got me a new lens for my camera!! It was a pre-baby gift, so that I have a beautiful lens to take close-ups of tiny toes and fingers. I took these shots yesterday while experimenting with my new toy!

I just love wishing flowers! I just recently found out that they are also dandelions...but I prefer the term "wishing flower". Makes everything more mystical.

Wishing flowers in the wind!

Look where my focus is on this one - see the little pollinating bug?? It's very teeny!

Wanna know something fun? One of these flowers is smaller than my finger nail!

Hello, pretty violet. You are a pretty subject for my new lens!

Okay, one more!

Tree bark. I love trees.

My apologies if these photos bore you, but they are just so beautiful to me! But really, how much cuter will close ups of little baby be?!

dirt road Mama

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Baby R's Maternity Shoot

This past weekend, we had a maternity photo shoot with Gina Lenz Photography. We had the best time! Half of the session took place in her studio, and then we came down to the River and on our dirt road. Of course, dirt road Mama needed some dirt road shots!

Gina was so great and made us feel so relaxed. I'm so excited to see the pictures!

Hi girls! Thank you for putting up with all of our shenanigans!

What shenanigans, you ask? Well, it is possible that my sister, as a final event to a hysterical day, had a wine spillage accident. And ended up washing off in a creek, in order to prevent her clothes from staining. This was clearly a recommendation by my Hubby, the country man. Although I did not expect Sister to take his advice of bathing in the creek. But alas, the next thing I know, I see this...

If you're wondering what she is saying, she's telling my Mama to stop snapping pictures. Go, Mama. Capture those memories! And in case you were also wondering, this was in fact her first glass of wine. If the spill/creek swim had been a result of wine consumption, that story would have been run of the mill. Normal. Commonplace. But no, it was her first. Which makes it oh so very individual to Sister's life.

Meantime, we continued with photos. Or we tried. Check out that belly! Man baby, you are getting big! Wanna come out soon?

No? Not just yet? Okay I'll keep waiting for you.

Primarily because I have absolutely no say in the matter.

Daddy's talking to you baby! Don't you want to meet him? He's really fun. You should come out and say hi. No? Not just yet? Okay I'll stop that now. I could do this all day. The waiting is making me loopy.

One day baby, we will look at this picture and reminisce about how young we look. And how excited we were to meet you. And how big you have gotten. And then you will probably make fun of our clothes. And then go fly off in your car, because dirt roads are soo last year.

But for now, we'll just wait for you. Until you decide it's time to make your debut. Until then, we love you!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Dirt Road Sissy, Part 2

[For Part 1 of Stories of my Sissy, click here. I promise, you won't be sorry.]

A Girl & Her Crackberry
Scene: Our maternity photo shoot, by the river at our house.

So this past Saturday, Hubby & I had a maternity photo shoot to begin to document our babies life. Poor baby's first word will probably be "camera". That, or "Mama, get that camera out of my face." Anyway, a full post about the shoot will be coming soon. For now, we reflect on a girl and her Blackberry.

Sissy and I are very similar, but we differ in a few ways. One way, is our choice of cell phone. I choose the free cell phone. The one that dials numbers, and receives calls. Those are my requirements for a cell phone. Oh, and I never text. Never ever. If you text me, you won't get a response. I'll just call you. I don't do it to be rude, I just think it's more efficient. And I think texting is creating an upcoming generation of anti-social young people who can't hold a conversation. But that's another story for another time. Don't get me wrong, Hubby is a texter, I don't hate on texters. I just don't participate in the phenomenon. In conclusion, I don't even get service at my house, so my phone usability is limited.

Sista on the other hand, has the Blackberry. The Crackberry, as I so fondly refer to it. Because I think those who have one, are mildly addicted. And they are in denial of the severity of the addiction, much like those addicted to things like...I don't know...crack. Anywho, she BBMs. And texts. And just all around loves her fancy phone. I think it's funny how opposite our taste and use of cell phones are. So she was having withdrawals over the weekend, while at my service-less house. But she was staying strong, and making us proud. I had faith that she could make it through till Sunday.

Back to the shoot.

Mama took some pictures to document the memory for me. These are the essential tools that were carried along with us. My camera bag, Mama & Sissy's wine (ANY DAY NOW PEOPLE! ANY DAY AND I'M A WINO RE-BORN!), and...what's that pink thing? Sister's Blackberry. Now you may be wondering, why did she bring the Blackberry down to the River, when there was no service? Well I'll tell you. I don't know the answer. But I think she just likes to hold it sometimes. Just kidding, but really I don't know why it came with us. But it was there.

So here we are, being photographed, minding our own business. (There's Gina, of Gina Lenz Photography! Hi, Gina!) Suddenly, I see something out of the corner of my eye.

And it was something similar to this. Sister, what's wrong?! What happened?? Well, see that railing behind her? The uneven one, leading a very steep staircase down the bank, to the River? Well, she gently placed Blackberry down on that very railing. And it gently slid off the railing, falling into the wooded brushy abyss somewhere below.

And panic spread across the nations.

Now, Sister immediately began trying to descend down the steep (VERY steep, people!) bank, to save her beloved. Brett and I were still being photographed, and we couldn't mess up Gina's vibe, so he couldn't help her right then. So he screamed to her, "Do not go down there! There's poison ivy everywhere!" See, he wanted her to wait 5 minutes so he could help her and she would not hurt herself. So he brought up what he knows to scare any non-country person: poison ivy. That, or ticks. Very frightening, to us people who are not of the country since birth!

So he fibbed a bit, but it worked and she waited for him to get it for her. I see it!!

Look at her desperate addicted hand, reaching down to save her baby!

So this happened later the same afternoon as the Dunk incident. Only you, Sista. I'm convinced only she could have dropped her Blackberry into the abyss of the natural world. Another beautiful memory for the books!

And there is a part 3, which will be documented in the upcoming photo shoot post. Until next time! :)


dirt road Mama