Monday, June 10, 2013

Photo shoot ala Andrew

Andrew is now 14 weeks old! Amazing how wonderful and strangely normal the last 3+ months have been for us. I guess that means we're falling pretty naturally into this whole parenting thing (praise the Lord!). Of course, it helps when your son is the best, cutest, smartest baby that every was. :D

This weekend, we attempted baby photos based on some traditional shots. We don't have a bear skin rug, but we do have a soft fluffy white blanket. Tomato, toe-mah-toe.

Captions are written from Andrew's perspective. (My own thoughts are in parentheses, when relevant.) What are your favorites?

Look guys, I hold my head up so well! Such a strong neck I have.
(And what a wrinkly torso!)

I love to wiggle my legs. Have you seen my feet? My feet are AWESOME!
(And preserve your modesty. Nicely done.)

I wonder what this square cube thing to the side of my face is.
(Thanks again, Cousin Wendy!)

I think a bird just flew by the window! Wait, I don't know what a bird is.

No really, my feet are SO cool. 

I am such a happy guy! Mom and Dad, you guys are so much fun!
(We're so lucky that you are a cheerful, mellow baby!)

And one a bit less traditional - a very hungry caterpillar ensemble gifted from Aunt Jacquie, to match his nursery theme:

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Birth Story - Andrew William Rice 3/2/2013

What a joy it was to bring home our beautiful baby boy two weeks ago! After months of anticipation, getting to meet our son and stare at his precious face is one of the greatest joys in my life. Andrew William Rice was born at 12:10 pm on Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 6 pounds, 10 ounces, 20.5 inches long. 

My main birth goal was always "Healthy baby, healthy Laura." Secondarily, I hoped to get to the hospital pretty much as close to my baby's birth as possible so that I was less likely to go down a road of interventions that may not be necessary. Turns out I didn't really know what I was wishing for, but both of my goals were achieved due to the childbirth preparation I had done and because of my amazing doula, Abby.

Andrew was born at 41 weeks, technically one week "late" according to the doctors, but right on time as far as we were concerned. That said, the pressures that mount after one has passed one's due date - whether from well-meaning loved ones or from doctors discussing/prescribing induction - become unwieldy. At 40 weeks and 5 days, Thursday 2/28, I went to an acupuncturist to help get things moving naturally, figuring that this would only work if my son was ready to join us. Driving home at 5pm on Thursday, I started to feel pretty consistent, totally manageable birthing waves. Justin and I were well prepared for a natural birth and had taken a 6-week course through HypnoBabies (about  which I must rave - instructor Rachel is amazing and the whole process made such a huge positive difference in my pregnancy and birthing time). HypnoBabies teaches how to create mental anesthesia and full relaxation during birthing from the earliest stages, focusing on feeling pressure and stretching rather than pain. Since I was driving I stayed focused on the task at hand and updated Justin after I got home that something might be starting. I didn't tell anyone else except our doula yet, in case these waves dwindled off and birth was still days away. 

Thursday night I managed steady waves by listening to tracks on my iPhone and slept/rested most of the night. On Friday afternoon we had a non-stress test scheduled to make sure the baby and I were both doing well, and some of my waves showed up on the monitor. The nurse said I was having low-level contractions (they didn't feel low-level to me, but what did I have to compare it to?). They had been steady for about a day at this point, but I didn't argue. We went and got frozen yogurt after the test (which I ended up eating about 6 days later). By the time we got home, my waves were pretty intense and I needed Justin to track them and help me move through birthing and yoga positions for comfort. By Friday evening, I was experiencing waves every 5 minutes that were at least a minute long, which is typically when moms are recommended to head to the hospital. I am so grateful we didn't leave then and spend the next 15+ hours there instead of at our home. 

Justin measured my waves and helped me move throughout the house for comfort. Around 2am, I remember telling him that I might need a narcotic when we got to the hospital, just to take the edge off. I think now this was when my body was beginning transition and dilating steadily. About 5:30 am, Justin called Abby (who had been apprised throughout the process of my progress) and asked her to come over. Once she arrived, he slept for about 3 hours (a major reason to consider a doula!) while Abby and I worked through intense waves on the couch. She provided me with counter pressure massage and reminded me to use my tools to manage discomfort, breathe through coming waves and not fight my body. I had been having intense pressure that Abby was able to identify as involuntary pushing, which I had thought was just my need to go to the bathroom. Abby explained that the pressure I felt could be because my bag of waters had dropped, something I hadn't considered and which made me feel like maybe we were getting somewhere. :) After 3 hours on the couch (which only felt like 45 minutes to me and as I was able to relax almost fully!) Abby recommended I get back in the tub. I had been in twice before and hadn't liked it the last time because I couldn't get comfortable, but followed her recommendation albeit reluctantly.

This was around 9:00 am, and Justin got up and went to take Chance for a walk. As I relaxed in the bath and breathed through my waves, I decided to check myself. Imagine my surprise when I felt a water-balloon-style bag of waters and my delight when I felt the top of my son's head within the bag! That moment was so exciting - I had a surge of adrenaline and felt so amazed that he was really there and getting ready to come. It was clear I would be meeting my son much sooner than I had anticipated! As my waves continued, we could tell I was making significant progress and Abby explained that we should head to the hospital, though if it turned out I wasn't as far along as I thought I was we could always choose not to be admitted. Justin returned from walking Chance to find out we were heading to the hospital NOW and hurried to pack the car and help make me comfortable for the drive over. 

Much to his credit, Justin drove safely and carefully as I experienced four very powerful pushing waves during the ~10 minute drive. We walked into Mary Birch hospital and he talked to the staff while I listened to mp3s to stay in the zone, getting us quickly up to triage. He answered their questions about my allergies etc., and then they asked when my waters had broken. I explained, "I think they broke on the way here. When I checked myself at home I felt his head, but I'm not sure about my waters." 

"I'm sorry, what?" was the nurse's quick response, as they beckoned me to a nearby bed. When I undressed they could see the bag of waters, which had meconium (baby's first poop) in it. I was whisked to a labor and delivery suite within minutes of arrival. 

Our nurses were amazing - and their commenting that I was a rock star for getting to 10 centimeters naturally certainly helped my adrenaline and excitement surge. :D We arrived at the hospital a bit after 11 am and after about 45 minutes of pushing at my own pace with my waves, we welcomed our beautiful baby boy into the world at 12:10 pm. After they suctioned out his nose and mouth to make sure he was breathing fine, Justin cut his cord and we was brought quickly to me for skin-to-skin bonding time. What an amazing moment that was; I was and am overwhelmed still by his magnificent features and perfectly-created little self. I had a bit of bleeding they needed to get under control, so Justin got to hold him for a nice long while, and after scrutinizing him and a little discussion, we decided he was our Andrew William. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Maternity Shots!

One of the great perks of my shower weekend was getting to have Shelby, one of my bestest friends in the whole world, here for the weekend. Perk: she's a photographer, so she immortalized Justin and me (and Chance) with the bump. What do you think? 


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Colors and books and literary-themed food - oh my!

I had been looking forward to my "big" shower - aka the one people came from out of town for - since we scheduled it in something like September. Erika and Elizabeth offered to hostess, and I was overwhelmed (in a good way!) with the detail they put in to celebrate my pregnancy and welcome Risotto. At 36 weeks pregnant, I was showing plenty, and it was so special for me to have ladies from all different parts of my life come together. From family in Oregon, NorCal and Oceanside to friends from church groups, former work colleagues, Justin's classmates, and a friend for 18 years, I was incredibly blessed. Here's my take on the amazing afternoon - and for extra fun, read Erika's recap here or Elizabeth's here.

As soon as I walked into Erika's house, it was clear they had redone everything for the shower - wow! While our nursery is Very Hungry Caterpillar themed, E&E knew that basically means colors and animals, and they took that to heart. Splashes of color were everywhere, and the whole house had be reorganized for ultimate shower goodness. In reference to my extreme (and therefore, Risotto's imminent) love of great literature, they focused on using children's books for decor, had food themed to said books, and asked guests to bring a book if they wanted to be part of a raffle. As a result, Risotto already has a SPLENDID library. One of my favorite things was that whenever I opened a book present, at least one or two people in the room would say, "Oh, that is the BEST book!" Yes, they all are. 

One of the games we played was for guests to guess facts about my birth, as confirmed by my mom, and to guess Justin's answers to the same questions. All in all, Justin did pretty well - especially considering for two or three questions, my mom didn't even know the answer! I think that's a good sign that one needn't be overly concerned with keeping extraordinarily detailed records of things like, "When did this child first roll over?" The other lesson is that no one can tell you you're wrong if, as a parent, you make up your answer. 
Erika outdid herself with the caterpillar diaper cake. Not only did she find the wooden stacking caterpillar toy, she added the blue and green receiving blankets, red raffia and hid Very Hungry Caterpillar and friends bath toys within.  

Three generations! You can't really see one of them, but you get the idea. :) 

The food included:
- Gouda Night Moon Cheese Plate
- Kind of the Wild Things Fruit Salad
- Curry-ous George Chicken Salad
- Man with the Yellow Hat Cucumber Sandwiches
- The adorable caterpillar cupcake creation you can see above, complete with ganache centers - yum!

Babies and baby bumps abounded. Justin and I are so excited that Lauren and Derek are due with a little boy just a week after we are! We'll see who gets here first, but either way our sons have built-in best friends. 

When the shower started, Erika asked if I needed anything. Surrounded by so many amazing women in the room, how could I need anything else? 

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Monday, January 14, 2013


This morning, Risotto had hiccups for the first time! I loved it. At first I thought we were playing a game - he pushed, then I pushed back, and then he pushed again, and so on. But when the game kept going on for minutes on end, I realized he probably didn't know we were playing a game and maybe it was a reflex instead. 

Justin and I felt a little bit bad for him, because he can't have a spoonful of sugar or hold his breath to get them to go away.

General, hiccups are a good sign! They are teaching his body reflexes, how to swallow and breathe, and help regulate his heartbeat. They also mean that his central nervous system has completely developed. Grow on, little one! 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Goodnight Moon-Themed Shower

When Brittany, a lovely friend from my Marrieds Group at church, offered to host a brunch shower to welcome Risotto, I knew I was in good hands. Little did I know just how good! She went with a Goodnight Moon theme, and from invitations to food to decor, she outdid herself. Many thanks to her and her band of angels - Heidi, Devon, and Melissa in particular. 

From Italian-themed brunch dishes (including Lemon Artichoke Risotto) to a Goodnight Moon board game for decor (who knew?!), plus arts-and-crafty decorative goodness, it was a lovely afternoon spent with some of my favorite ladies, many of whom could share their mama wisdom with this mama-in-training.

Sangria I can drink? Yes please!

Guests completed a mad lib-style story "& baby makes three" to give Justin and I baby advice. The overview:

My name is name and I've known Justin and Laura for 7, 17, 44, 3, 1,231, 17. 19 47 years. Laura, remember to enjoy pizza, cars, foxes, cats, zippers, games, dogs, the President and you must buy a tulip, parachute dog, microwave, hangnail, photograph, sidewalk, shopping mall before baby risotto comes! Justin, Laura really needs your rocket ship, tangerine, baby, flounder, daisy, car, bus, stockings right now. You are both going to be such red, fuzzy, beautiful, pretty, slimy, handsome, hungry, sparkly parents. When you first bring baby risotto home you will love jumping, to yawn, running, to scoot, giggling, laughing, dancing, crawling and somersaulting, swallowing, jumping, eating, to tinkle, wailing, skipping, swinging. Just remember to meditate, pirouette, crying, sing, laugh, charge, Valsava maneuver, twirl during the first few months and enjoy being a family of three!

My prediction: Baby Risotto will be born on July 4, 2/28/13, January 15, January 18th 2017, Aug. 2, 1/18, 7/5/08, May 30, 1945 . He will weigh 327,252 ounces, 5 pounds, 27 pounds, 45 pounds, 521 pounds, 13 pounds, 10 pounds, 31 pounds and have prickly, splendid, funny, silly, spiky, fluffy, shiny, enthusiastic hair and magenta, teal, blue, red, mauve, magenta, purple  eyes. 


Royal frosting cow jumping over the moon... delicious!

Heidi and I didn't mean to coordinate, but it worked out well so we could bookend Brittany. :)

Our splendid Flood married ladies group.

Sophie le Girafe is now a member of the family