Monday, December 17, 2012

It's Been a While...

Wow - It's been a while. I've been spending a lot of time reflecting over the past few days. I felt the need to write so...I wrote a letter to my baby boy. Someday he will read it and he will understand. As adults- you will understand where this is coming from. This was really important for me to write so I hope you'll enjoy reading. Sorry there are no pictures - just words.

I'm hoping to be sharing more with everyone soon. Until then...

Dear Dean,

Sweet baby boy...I'm so sorry it's been such a long time since I've put pen to paper to write to you. Since I'm with you every day I don't think to write - but the days go by so fast and you change so much - I feel like I'm going to forget everything. I need to be better about writing down your milestones and accomplishments. For example, out of the blue yesterday, Dec. 16, 2012, you decided you wanted to feed yourself with your own spoon! I couldn't believe it! I was so proud of you!

On my way to work this morning I turned off the radio and I spent the whole hour reflecting on how life has changed for me, for you, and for so many others. I spent the time thinking about you and about all the things you don't understand yet. I thought about all the things I want you to know, and about all the things I wish I could shield you from permanently. Someday you will understand. I wish you didn't have to, but I can't keep everything from you. It wouldn't be fair, and it wouldn't be right. Sometimes we are exposed to things that we shouldn't have to be exposed to. Sometimes we will suffer when it isn't fair. Sometimes we will be spared, and we can use this good fortune to help others and to do good things.

There have been some things going on in the world lately that remind me to take a moment to appreciate how fortunate I am. To take the time to reflect on how precious your little life is, and everyone's lives are for that matter. I want you to know that I think about you every second of every day. I think about how beautiful you are. How smart you are. How proud I am of you every moment. How impressed I am by your small accomplishments and your huge milestones. You remind me of how important it is to celebrate the small things. How important it is to recognize and appreciate all the little things in life.

Some day you will understand how lucky and privileged you are to be surrounded by wonderful family and friends. You have a support system and role models that some people only dream they could have. As your mama - I hope to raise you to understand how lucky we are. I hope to instill values in you that we can all be proud of. I hope to teach you to appreciate everyone, to treat all people with respect, to raise you with a sense of understanding and patience. I hope to help you grow into a good person who does good things. I hope that you will use the morals you learn to help other people, to stand up for others, and to be a person others know they can always rely on.

As your parent, I fear for you. I know that the world is not always a safe place. I know now that I cannot take things for granted. I know that I cannot let my guard down. I know that although I want to trust everyone I encounter - it won't always be possible. I know that sometimes the best laid plans don't turn out the way one anticipates. However, I also know that we can't live our lives in fear. We must go on. We must be brave and confident. We must live a life we can be proud of. Sometimes things will happen that are beyond our control - but we must deal with these things. We can learn from these things.

I hope I am a good enough parent to teach you to be a strong person. I hope I can instill the values in you that I think are important. I hope you choose to use these values to do good things. I hope that our society can share the same values. I hope that the world you know when you grow up is a world you can be proud of.

Most of all I hope you grow into a person who chooses to do good. Everyone has a choice - in all things. You will learn this some day. I know that all people make mistakes. We all make bad choices from time to time - but I hope that you will make choices you are proud of. I hope you will learn from your bad choices and make better choices the next time around.

I am so proud of you little boy. I love you more than words can ever describe. You have taught me so much already in your short life. I will learn from you and make better choices because of you. I promise to always try to be the best parent I know how to be. I will always keep trying and keep learning new things. I promise to always try to relate to you and to share my experiences with you. I will always try to take a moment to appreciate life and to appreciate how fortunate I am. You have taught me a new type of love. I hope that some day you can experience the same love for a child. It will change your life. It will change everything you've ever known.

I love you handsome boy!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Some Favorite Pictures From Dean's First Weeks

Here are some of my favorite pictures from Dean's first weeks. He has changed so much already! Hope you enjoy...

And for a fun little comparison - here are two more recent pictures from Dean's third week. Wow, what a difference!! He's turning into quite the little porker!

p.s. I thought you might like to know some of the nicknames I have for Dean. He isn't even 5 weeks old yet, and I already call him by a bunch of different names. Here's a list: peanut, little peanut, little man, little boy, lovey, love, love bug, squeaker, porker, and poop squeak. I think there are others that I can't think of right now. I'll be sure to let you know when I remember them. :)

Monday, February 27, 2012

It's Been a While...Pictures from Dean's Birth

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted. We've been having a lot of fun over here getting to know each other. Dean is a great baby and we have been very lucky. He has his cranky moments, but he's so cute I just don't care (most of the time!) I cannot believe that he'll be a month old tomorrow. Where did the time go?

Since I posted Dean's birth story I figured I ought to get caught up on things by starting with a post of pictures from Dean's birth. I won't include everything, just a select few for those who are interested...

(Sorry about the order of the photographs - I figured you'd rather see the pictures than have to wait any longer while I play around with switching the order)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

On the Day you Were Born...Dean's Birth Story

Hi All,

Since many of you have been asking - I've decided to share Dean's birth story with you by way of a letter I've written to him. I've actually been writing to Dean since we knew we had a little one on the way. I didn't know him yet - or even that he was a he - but it didn't matter. Someday I'll share all the letters with him so he will know how much he was loved from the very beginning. I'm not sure if he'll be as amused by all of this as I am, but I couldn't very well not document everything for the future. That's just what I do!

I'll apologize in advance because this post is incredibly text heavy. Also, if you don't want to know too much - stop reading now. I didn't include every last detail of the day, but I did mention most.

Pictures will follow but bear with me while we figure things out over here. It's a work in progress!

In the meantime, here's my letter to Dean about the day he was born...

Dear Dean,

I am so excited to be sitting here writing this letter to you. Mostly because I know who YOU are now! Incredible! First off, you are Dean Anthony Benedetti. You are an absolutely adorable, handsome, beautiful, cute, perfect little man! You arrived on February 1, 2012 at 9:51pm. You weighed 7 pounds 3 ounces, and measured in at 20" long. You were born with 10 perfect little fingers, 10 perfect little toes, the skinniest little legs and arms I've ever seen, and a full head of amazingly long dark hair. We were so surprised at how beautiful you were...and that you were a boy! We didn't find out if you were a boy or girl and the surprise a word...PERFECT! You are amazing!

Let's backtrack a little. You little man, were overcooked! That's right. You were born at 40 weeks, 6 days. I guess you were nice and cozy in your warm home and didn't feel the need to experience any other home yet. This on it's own is incredible considering you tried to make your first appearance at 27 weeks. I guess I did a good job of following the doctors orders so you stayed put long enough to become nice and healthy, and ready for the world.

On Tuesday, January 31st I had an ultrasound and a doctors appointment scheduled in order to check on you since you hadn't arrived yet. We discovered that you were doing ok, but that you didn't have much amniotic fluid. Considering this can be an indication that the placenta is deteriorating it was decided that I would be induced earlier than the date we had set of Friday February 3rd. So, Wednesday the 1st was the day. I was warned that inductions can take between 24 and 36 hours so I mentally prepared myself for what was ahead of me (as much as I could.) I left the appointment feeling anxious and excited. I really didn't know what to expect, even though everything had been explained to me. I knew I was finally going to meet you and that's all that mattered, but I was still frightened about how you were going to make it into this world. Mom G-K and I spent the rest of the afternoon keeping busy strolling Newbury Street, informing family and friends of the new plan for your birth, and doing last minute errands. When your dad got home from work we went out to dinner with Mom G-K and Emily to celebrate, enjoy our "last supper," and keep distracted. Then it was home to pack and attempt to get a little rest. Of course, there wasn't much rest to be had, and before I knew it it was time to leave for the hospital.

February 1, 2012 was a beautiful day in many ways. The weather was supposed to be perfect - an unseasonably warm 50 degrees and sunny. It was going to be a long day and I wasn't going to be able to eat once the induction was started so Mom G-K made us breakfast and then we stopped at starbucks so I could get a drink. Then we were off to the hospital. It was such a strange experience. I was so nervous and anxious I wasn't sure what to do with myself. When we got to the labor and delivery floor I was taken straight to my room. As luck would have it we got the best room in the whole place! The biggest corner room with a wall full of windows with a great view of Boston. After I was situated I got several visits from my labor and delivery nurse, the world's most awkward medical student, the resident on call, and several other people. After all the visits my lovely nurse Amanda came back to get the pitocin started. She and my doctor decided that since I was already dilated about 2-3 cm and that I was having contractions on my own every 2-3 minutes, that pitocin was most likely all I needed in order to make the contractions more regular and more effective. I've been having contractions for months so I was just waiting to see how different these contractions would feel. After a few hours they started to get painful. Of course, this didn't happen until after your dad and Mom G-K left to get a late lunch. By the time they got back I was feeling uncomfortable and scared. They helped to settle me back down. We tried walking the halls, moving around the room, sitting in different types of chairs,(not to be overly graphic - but sitting on the toilet for a while,) and ultimately moved on to sitting on the exercise ball.

Around 5:30, Dad K arrived and Mom G-K went downstairs to find him. By this point I was in pain. Just as mom water broke, at 5:40pm. Up until this point that was the scariest thing that had happened. It just startled me! And it didn't stop! What a weird feeling. As to be expected - after my water broke there was no longer any cushioning between your head and my pelvis and things because even more painful. Mom and Dad G-K came back up for a little bit. They kept me entertained as much as possible. During each contraction I really had to concentrate and focus on breathing through the pain until it was over. The pitocin made the contractions so regular. They had been every single minute since they begin and they were strong! They lasted just about the entire minute so there wasn't any break between them. I was becoming exhausted and frustrated. I tried leaning over the bed for support. That worked for about an hour. Your dad was fantastic throughout the whole process. He was coaching me to breath, rubbing my back, and just standing by me. By 7pm I could barely hold myself up since the contractions were so strong. I decided it was time for Mom and Dad to leave and to be checked to see how much progress I'd made. It was also time for a shift change so my new nurse Joanne came in as Amanda stepped out. The next 45 minutes were a complete blur. I was bombared by Joanne, medical students, residents, my doctor, etc... I was in so much pain, and it happened so fast that everyone just came in to see what was going on. They had a 15 second window to check me and they determined that I was already at 8 cm. I couldn't believe it! I was so happy to hear the news...but also frightened that there was still a ways to go. I was having the urge to bear down and my body was doing it on its own. I couldn't control it and it wasn't time yet. Pushing at this point would cause my cervix to swell, and therefore it wouldn't be able to dilate large enough to fit your little head through. I asked my doctor realistically how long were we talking. I needed concrete information in order to make a decision about what to do. I had made it so far and I was shocked and overjoyed by the news, and yet I was beyond frightened that I wouldn't be able to take it for a few more hours. When she said we were realistically talking about 2-3 more hours I decided, with your dad's help, that the epidural was the way to go. Without the pitocin contractions usually happen every few minutes, giving you a break in between to get back in the right frame of mind and prepare for the next one. With the pitocin mine were coming every single minute and not letting up at all in between. They were that much stronger and more unbearable. After I made the decision to get the epidural there was an onslaught of people rushing in and out of my room. They made your dad leave and everyone frantically rushed around preparing me and the room. Since my contractions weren't letting up, I was going to have to sit still on the bed through them while getting the epidural. The procedure took about 20-30 minutes and poor nurse Joanne must have lost a few fingers during the process. She held my hand, coaching me to breathe and relax as much as possible, reminded me to fight the urge to bear down, and stick it out. They finally gave me a test dose of the medicine and told me that I had to lay down and just try to fight it for another 20 minutes. Since we were playing catch up with the medicine they gave me an extra dose to try to get things working. They brought Michael back in and he continued to coach me through the next 20 minutes of contractions. Finally, it started to take affect.

The next hour and half were much more relaxed. I was able to rest a little bit and let my body do what it needed to do. Since the contractions were so strong and consistent they actually turned off the pitocin to see if my body would react on it's own. I was contracting every 2-3 minutes on my own and that was enough to continue the process. (Perhaps if they'd done that when they checked me I would have been able to make it though. Either way - it doesn't matter!) The hormone change and epidural were causing me to shake like crazy, but I didn't care. All that mattered was that I were making progress and that we were about to meet you!

At 9 they decided to check me again. All the doctors and residents were delivering other babies so we had to wait a few minutes. At 9:15 the resident came to check me and was having trouble determining how dilated I was...and that's when he said, "Woah, that's because that's the head right there!" I was fully dilated and your head was at +2...meaning it was time to push! Joanne and your Dad got me situated a few minutes later and I started to push with each contraction. After a few minutes the room was filled with the new doctor on call, new resident, medical student, and other support people. I continued to push and each time I could see your little head coming out. What an incredible experience. Your dad was amazed by everything. It helped me to watch him. We were so amazed and couldn't believe how close we were to meeting you. After only 35 minutes of pushing, you arrived! First came your head, and then a few more small pushes brought out your shoulders, and before we knew were here! They placed you on my belly as your dad cut your umbilical cord. I held you as they rubbed you down and made sure you were breathing well and that everything was ok. Within seconds of your birth, your dad told me you were a boy! I couldn't believe it! I wanted to say your name, but I didn't know it yet! I just held you - watched you - and kept saying how I couldn't believe it. We were so in love with you!

It took about 45 minutes to patch me back up, all the while we got to hold you and talk to you on my chest and get to know you. After everything was fixed up and we'd had about an hour with you, they took you over to the warming table to get weighed, measured, receive your vitamin k shot and your antibiotic eye ointment. I wasn't able to move, but your dad went with you to be with you and to take pictures. Immediately after it was time to start breastfeeding. With Joanne's help we made it happen. It was such a surreal experience. In a way I was entirely "there," and at the same time I was somewhere totally different. I couldn't believe that you were here, and that I had created you. I couldn't believe that you were mine, and that you were the most beautiful baby I'd ever seen, and so perfect in every way. I couldn't believe how fast things had happened and that your birth day would always be the perfect palindrome that it was - 2.1.12. I couldn't believe how wonderful your dad was and how he was the perfect coach and the perfect dad. I was completely consumed by how incredible you were.

We stayed in labor and delivery for another hour or so, and then we were moved down to our new room for the next few days. Your first three days were a whirlwind of eating, pooping, crying, and sleeping. We were checked on every couple hours and both were progressing nicely. We functioned in a hazy world of no sleep, and complete bliss.

I'll tell you more soon, but right now it's time to get cleaned up and get discharged. We're going home!

The perfect new family of three.

What more could we ask for?!
I love you so much baby Dean. You are perfect in every way. We are the luckiest parents and we know it!

Love you,
Your MOM

Saturday, February 4, 2012

It's a Boy!!


February 1, 2012
7 pounds 3 ounces
20 inches


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Update - or Lack of an Update

Just a quick note to say... "No News Yet"

I know I haven't written in a while and it's got a few of you wondering what's going on. Sadly - nothing yet!

Lesson learned: Never leave your readers hanging when you're due in a week in a half! It occured to me this morning that when someone asks me when I'm due. My response will be "next Friday," not "in 1 month" or "in 2 weeks". Wow!

I'm ready! We're ready! Everything's ready...except the little person. That's ok we'll wait for you... Right now you're having a severe case of the hiccups (a twice a day occurrence.) I must say you are one extremely active little baby. Sometimes your constant kicking leaves me feeling bruised on the inside, but it's all worth it. There is nothing as incredible as knowing you are thriving and growing away inside me. It's also a little creepy, but mostly incredible! I'm already starting to feel sad about this stage being behind us...but I'm more than ready to meet you!

On that note...I'll leave you with a few pictures for the last week or so...

First off - Michael's coworkers threw a surprise baby shower for him at work. They decorated this desk, ordered lunch, ice cream, and gave him a baby gift. Very nice!!!

I finally made Michael an appointment for a haircut on Saturday. He desperately needed one (but will adamantly disagree with me about that!) The way I see it, we're going to have a LOT of pictures taken in the coming weeks and I didn't want him to look like a slob...hehehe. Anyhow he complained about having to get a hair cut, he complained about it being so early (10am-not early) and whined and whined...until I suggested he come home with muffins after. That perked him right up! He showed up after his haircut with muffins, dunkin donuts coffee for him, starbucks for her, and gingerbread cookies for later. Good man.

Next I went on a little mission to get out of the house and get moving a bit. I made a stop at The Gap to look at all the cute baby things...
That's when I saw this!

Anyhow who knows us will tell you just how excited I was when I saw this. But, alas I did not buy it. It was on sale, but it was a final sale item that couldn't be returned. I decided it was a little too boyish for our potential girl baby, so it stayed at the store.

While there, I tried on a few maternity tops that were on sale. Notice - no pants - anything that requires taking off my shoes more than absolutely necessary is out of the question these days. I didn't buy anything - but I did take a little self portrait for you.
38 Weeks:

Getting close!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Weekend Happenings

We had an interesting weekend. It was a strange combination of getting a lot done but getting nothing done at the same time. My ban on activity is officially being lifted so I felt the need to take advantage. The real reason I felt the urge to get things done was this:

Can you tell from my terrible cell phone self portrait? The baby has definitely dropped! Of course this happens on Friday when my entire side of the family is in San Francisco for the big 90th and 80th birthday bash! Great timing. But as you can tell from the timing of this post, all is good. No babies were born this weekend while everyone was away. Well I'm sure babies were born - just not mine!

Back to Friday. We noticed on Thursday night that things were-a-changing. Progress-yes, but bad timing. Friday was a tough day for me. It had been a long week at work and Friday ending up being a very full day. I worked from 9-7. Those last two hours really did me in. By the end of the day I was having a lot of trouble walking due to some sciatic nerve pain, not to mention the stabbing pains I was feeling in my pelvis. Awesome. When I finally left the gallery I was just physically exhausted, emotionally drained, and feeling upset that I wasn't able to go to CA to celebrate with my family. All I could think was that they were all having a great time together and I felt left out. Selfish I know, but that's how I was feeling.

Thankfully our Friday dinner plans were rescheduled to Saturday. I needed that break. As much as I love our Friday dinners, I just felt like I couldn't get myself out of my funk enough to be sociable.

Saturday I did some reading and tv watching with some cleaning and organizing mixed in there as well. I also ironed and put the new crib skirt on the baby's crib...thanks to Mom G-K! I love it!!! Here's a picture:

What do you think?
Works great with the paper pom poms - ties everything together nicely. Thanks Mom! Nice work!!

Michael spent the day working on updating our computer, backing everything up, and getting things set up for two users, etc...

Sunday was a bit of a blur. I spent the morning mopping downstairs with my favorite toy - my steam mop! That's right - I love my steam mop. Seriously - it's wonderful. I think it might have been a Christmas present from last year, or the year before from the husband. Not your typical Christmas gift, but I love it. Anyhow after I finished downstairs I needed a bit of a break before heading upstairs. As I got started upstairs it seemed that my steam mop had - well - lost steam. hehehe. No really though, there was no steam, something was wrong. I tried to unplug it, let it cool off and try again. No luck. I unplugged it again, let it cool for a bit, and then attempted to take the head off the mop. This is about when things went terribly wrong. It seemed as though the head was stuck. I gave it a little jiggle and it came loose that it shot across the bathroom, dirty steamy water spraying straight across the room, onto the walls, toilet, sink, floor, window, EVERYWHERE! Thankfully I only got blasted on my hand and wasn't burnt by the hot water. I stood there, stunned, wondering what to do. After a few minutes of laughing about it, I went to find some rags to clean the now filthy bathroom. Oh well - things happen. (By the way - my birthday is coming up. In case you're wondering what you can get me - how about a new steam mop! just kidding - sort of.)

After that adventure I decided to venture out to the grocery store (our favorite produce place as well as the regular store,) and do a few other errands. About halfway through my adventure I regretted going alone. I've never walked so slow through the grocery store in my life. So slow in fact that Michael called to make sure I was ok since I'd be gone so long! While I was gone he worked on a few projects...

Finally sealing the grout in our new kitchen backsplash. Thank you!

He also worked on plastering around the new thermostat so we can paint the wall again and finish up that project.

While I was out I also picked up a couple baskets for the baby's room. We needed something to store the baby-wearing devices in as well as some other things that won't fit in the baby's dresser. This wasn't what I originally had in mind, but I kind of like them. Maybe Mom G-K will make us some fabric liners for the baskets?!?!

I also spotted this bench as well. I don't love the color of the fabric, but it's the only bench I've seen in months that actually fits in the mudroom. It looks better in person - trust me. We don't have much room in there so this was a major find! It'll look much better when we get rid of the coat rack and put hooks and a shelf above the bench. Dad B? Project? :)

The last of my weekend projects involved finally organizing this stuff:

What's this pile of stuff you ask? My hospital bag and other necessities of course! YIKES! Feels pretty official to have that all ready to go!

I finished off the weekend by trying a couple new recipes for homemade granola bars (chocolate chip of course,) and chickpea hummus burgers. The burgers were just ok. And don't you worry - I bought real burgers for the mister as well. I figured he wouldn't be thrilled with my attempt at yet another vegetarian meal. And the granola bars were a fail. I mean they are tasty, but far more cake-like than granola bar-ish. My cuisinart got in quite the workout with these two recipes. We finished off the night by going to see Girl with the Dragon Tattoo with our Friday night plans. Yes that's right, they are people, but they count as a plan these days! ;)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Baby Bump Progression

The latest installment...

36.5 weeks - Like the self portrait? I was trying on a few things, and quickly gave up when I realized I'd have to take my shoes off. Forget's just not worth it! (sorry for the bad cell phone picture)

35 Weeks - Might be the end of stripes for me. Warning - bad self portrait cell phone picture!

32 Weeks...and feeling big! (and a little unprepared and out of time!)

29 Weeks...and starting to realize how much effort it takes to put socks and shoes on!

27, almost 28 Weeks (looking a little haggard after an impromptu after work cleaning frenzy - I think they'd call this nesting!)

26 Weeks (I think) post apple picking break with Emily!

23 Weeks

22 Weeks (Post Spin Class Sweaty Picture)

21 Weeks (Hiking in Santa Fe while on our anniversary/baby-moon trip)

21 Weeks (Seated Mom's Eye View)

21 Weeks (Celebrating our 2nd Anniversary)

20 Weeks

18 Weeks

14 Weeks

12-13 Weeks