We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers. - I Thessalonians 1:2

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Merry Belated Christmas!

Christmas morning wasn't what I had imagined either (see previous post for how Brennan's arrival did not match my expectations). I had imagined Cate waking up, opening presents, holding Brennan while Cate played and Eric made some coffee. Instead, I woke up in the hospital and Cate woke up at her grandparents. Brennan was borderline jaundice, so the pediatrician didn't want him discharged. My doctor said I was healing wonderfully and could go home as soon as Brennan was okay. I really, really wanted to go home Christmas day, but I knew staying in the hospital was best for Brennan. So we stayed. And Santa came the 26th, in the afternoon.

Cate "gets" the whole Santa thing but is still so young that she's not tied to the whole 25th date. Nor did she seem to think it strange that she went for a walk with my dad and came home to presents Santa had left.She was eager to start playing with her dollhouse.
And insisted that my dad read Brennan one of his new books.
It was a pretty low-key-day-after-Christmas-afternoon. But with Brennan snuggled in my arms and Cate telling me she was happy I was home every five minutes, it was perfect.

~Melody :-)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Birth Story

A week ago we were in the hospital...so I figure that a birth story is in order (plus, Brennan is napping and Cate is at Eric's parents' house for the day, so who knows when I'll have free time again).

I wish I could say that it all went as perfectly as I imagined in my head. That we arrived at 7am for our scheduled induction* and that shortly after lunch I was cradling my son. I built it up in my head that way because everyone, and I do mean everyone, including my doctor and the nurses in labor and delivery, kept telling me that the second baby comes so much faster. Unfortunately, that's not how things went.

After being at the hospital and laboring for 7 hours or so (we walked around, I slept, I read, we watched a lot of TV), my contractions started getting painful enough that I asked for an epidural. 15 minutes after getting the epidural, my blood pressure dropped, Brennan's heart rate dropped, and we were a little scared. The doctor and the nurse got everything back to normal within a few minutes, but the whole ordeal pretty much stalled my labor. After 12 hours, we switched tactics, using Cytotek instead of Pitocin to help my contractions along (my contractions were very regular, just "inadequate" for pushing). Incidentally, I had to have another epidural as my other one came out. At 11pm I was at 8 cm and we did another dose of the Cytotek. At 3am, I was still 8 cm and Brennan wasn't moving any farther down. The doctor did a quick exam and also discovered that Brennan, like his big sister, was face up instead of down-- which can complicate things.

I was given two options at this point. One, I could have one more dose of Cytotek to see if it would get me into labor. If it didn't within 4 hours, we'd have a c-section. Two, I could just opt for the c-section now. Given my tired mental state, physical state, etc., I opted for the c-section. We knew we had tried everything, my body just wouldn't go into labor. Which is pretty much what happened with Cate until she decided to cooperate at the last minute. My doctor thought this was a good idea too given that I was low on energy and even if we got to the point of pushing, wasn't sure how much energy I'd even have to push.

So off we went to the operating room and at 4:13am, Brennan Michael arrived.
He had great Apgar scores (a 9 and a 9) and used those lungs of his to cry for a good ten minutes after birth. While being stitched up, I had to be "knocked out" a bit to help with some issues I was having, but I got to see Brennan before hand and when I woke up, he was placed in my arms. Later that day, so many family and friends came by to meet him. Cate handled everything like a champ and loves her little brother. She was proud to give him his present at the hospital. I love the way her "handwriting"/tracing looks. Honestly, the recovery from the c-section has been easier than the recovery I had with Cate (yes, it really was that bad with her). I'm totally in love with the new man in my life. We got to come home on the morning of the 26th and Santa came that afternoon while Cate took a walk with my dad (more on that in a later post). Brennan's going home outfit was the same as Cate's, only with brown and tan dots as opposed to pink ones.

I am so proud of both of my kiddos. Eric helped me commemorate becoming a mama of 2 with this bracelet:
He is the most thoughtful hubby in the world! And he was awesome throughout the whole labor, operation, recovery process.

So now that we're home, my adventure of being a stay-at-home-mom for the next 8 months begins. I kind of cheated today since Cate is at her grandparents and it's Eric's first day back to work. But the one-on-one time with Little B has been great (and so has the sleep). Brennan is a rockstar at breastfeeding and sleeps pretty well at night too. He's a little confused on his days and nights, but we're not exhausted. And if there's a silver lining to the whole c-section thing, it means I get two more weeks of paid leave at work before my paychecks stop coming. But the best thing is just being at home with my family, having Brennan right where he belongs.

~Melody :-)

*Someone I know asked me if I'd do the whole induction thing again if I knew it would end in a c-section. I thought this a rude question at first, but given the ask-er, it wasn't too surprising. And in response, yes we would. Because of some issues I had after delivering Cate, we knew we'd be induced sometime between 39 weeks and my due date unless I went into labor. Could I have waited until due date? Yes. The only "convenience" factor of our induction was that we would possibly be out for Christmas, but there was no guarantee. Anyway, it all could've ended up the same, even on the 27th (my original due date).

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Best Christmas Present Ever!

After 21 hours of labor, failure to progress, and a c-section, Brennan Michael Riggs arrived at 4:13am on 12/23. He's 7 pounds even and 20 inches long.
Daddy couldn't be prouder!
Big sister Cate is in love with him (she kissed him and said "I love you, Brennan" without any prompting when she first met him).
And Mommy is happy to be a family of four.
A slightly more specific birth story to come later. For now, we're taking it easy and resting up for discharge this weekend. We might be home for Christmas. But I'm completely content and at peace if we're not. We've decided that Santa Claus comes the night mommy gets home. Thankfully Cate is young enough she won't know the difference.

Merry Christmas!

~Melody :-)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Just to Let You Know...

...things are going to be quiet around the blog for the next week or so. School is wrapping up for me (until August...woohoo), family and friends are coming into town, and last minute baby preparations are being made. We'll post pictures of Brennan's arrival as soon as he is here. For now, enjoy this picture that Cate drew over the weekend. As soon as she finished she said, "Look, Mommy, it's Daddy and Mommy and Cate." She'll be adding Brennan in soon.~Melody :-)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Candy Houses and Downtown Trains

**Warning** This post is picture-heavy :-)
Target had an irresistible gingerbread house kit for $8. I remember making these out of graham crackers and icing as a kid-- usually at school or somewhere. Eric and I figured that since this was our last weekend as a family of three, it would be a good project for us to have fun with. First, we had to get the icing ready (softening it by mashing it).
The kit came with a convenient tray to build everything in. While Eric worked on getting the house together, Cate decorated the tree to go outside the house. Then the focus turned to the house itself.
Even with a kit, this wasn't as easy as I'd thought. But it was still fun and I really didn't have any expectations that ours would wind up looking like the one on the box.Ours didn't turn out too bad. Cate isn't much of a sweet tooth when it comes to candy (she loves Tootsie Rolls, Reeses Pieces, M and M's, but that's about it in the candy department), so she didn't try to eat the candy. She did want us to keep squirting leftover frosting on her fingers so she could lick it off though. Frosting, cake, cookies, doughnuts...those are her kinds of sweets.
Cate talked all day about the "candy house" and is so proud to show it to anyone who comes over. Today, we went downtown for the annual Duke Energy holiday train display. We got downtown early though since we knew there would be a Bengals crowd with a home game at one. The trains didn't open until noon, so we headed to the lobby of the Hilton to look at some other "candy houses." They included our Reds' baseball stadium:
The Proctor and Gamble building (yup, they're a Cincinnati based company for those of you that didn't know...everyone in Cincinnati knows someone--or is someone-- that works for P and G):
And the Bengals' football stadium (they managed to beat the Browns today too):
Then it was off for a quick lunch and the train display. I remember going to this as a kid. In fact, this year is the 65th anniversary, so it's been around a long time. We took Cate last year, but this year she was definitely more into it.
I think she would've stayed there all day watching the trains if she could have.
We've made it down here for the display two years in a row. I think it's officially a tradition. Brennan will be almost a year old this time next year, so hopefully he'll like seeing the trains too.I'm so looking forward to having our little man here. But our last weekend as a threesome was definitely cherished time. Tonight an awesome friend is watching Cate while Eric and I go out to dinner. We figure it will be awhile before we'll get to go out as the two-of-us again.

~Melody :-)

Thursday, December 16, 2010


If there's one thing I've learned about myself over the course of the last year as I've delved more into my faith, it's that I have a hard time receiving. I have a hard time accepting when someone wants to do something nice for me "just because." I used to think accepting these blessings from family and friends made me week...like I couldn't "do it" on my own. And while I never turned down an offer of dinner, someone wanting to watch Cate for a bit, help around the house, someone willing to make my copies for me at school, etc., it has always made me feel awkward accepting that. But God's been working on me in that area. It hasn't been so awkward lately, this receiving.

I do the same thing with God too. He wants to bless us. But there's a part of me that during times of blessing, can't help but think in the back of my mind what problem/tragedy/crisis/mistake is right around the corner. A part of me that thinks if things are going so well now and seem to good to be true, then something bad must be on its way. Which totally isn't the case. God blesses us because He can. Because He wants to.

And so I've received this week as a blessing. A huge one. On Monday we had a snow day. It was a nice, unexpected day off. In fact, a delay might have gotten the job done as the roads were clear by the time Cate and I ventured out to the museum. But I cherished it as time with my sweet girl while she's still my only child. Eric had a day off on Tuesday and was originally going to send her to the babysitter so he could get some stuff done around the house. But because our sitter's daughter was sick (and we're taking no chances with Cate this close to Brennan's arrival), he kept her home with him and got to enjoy the blessing of some time with her as well. Unfortunately, she woke up from her nap with a hive-like rash, so it was off to the pediatrician (after my last visit to the OB...hooray!).

Turns out that Cate wasn't lying when she said her ear hurt on Sunday. She definitely had an infection, but the infection triggered an auto-immune reaction (the rash). Armed with Benadryl and an antibiotic, we headed home. I spent all day yesterday with her to make sure the rash was clearing up, her low grade fever stayed down, etc. And then there's today. Another snow day. I'm not complaining. Eric even got a half day off, so we all had time together this morning. We played in the snow:

A lot of this was consumed (yes, it's decaf): And I finished something I've been working on for awhile:
Yes, Brennan's newborn blanket is done. It's in the wash now (I've knitted in so many places, that I figured it needed a turn on the gentle cycle). It's not perfect, there are definitely some flaws in some places. But I love it. I love it because as I knitted it I thought of him. And I thought of the verse in Psalm 139 about God knitting us in our mother's wombs. This blanket has literally taken me dozens of hours. I started in June (granted, there were whole weeks that went by when I didn't touch it). It went with me to Hocking Hills with our small group, Arizona, Hilton Head, Hudson, doctor's visits, school, Bible study, etc. And now it's done. And Cate wants one. In purple. I picked up bigger needles and chunkier yarn for hers though, so it shouldn't take nearly as long. The fine baby yarn and thin needles were pretty much the reason Brennan's seemed to take forever.

So I'm enjoying the blessings. Accepting them without feeling awkward. I'll most likely have school tomorrow since no more snow is predicted and Cate will be back in her normal routine. It's kind of crazy to think that this time next week, we'll have a snuggly newborn boy (wrapped in a blanket made by mama) to cuddle with.

~Melody :-)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Snow Day!

I guess I'm going to have to eat my words tomorrow when I go back to school. This time last week, when we got a bunch of snow on Sunday and didn't have a snow day, I told my students that the chances of getting a snow day before winter break were slim. But I didn't think a delay was out of the question. And I was excited when I got the call last night that we were on a delay (it stinks when you're already up and dressed and about to walk out the door and then you get the delay call). So I set my alarm to get up an hour earlier and allowed myself a little extra knitting time last night. Much to my surprise, when I woke up this morning, we had a snow day!

It really isn't too bad out now. I think it was just the snow's timing. And the fact that the school where I teach is 20-ish minutes to the northeast from my house sometimes means that they get a little more snow (or rain or sunshine or whatever the weather happens to be doing). The schools around our house were all open-- though most on delays.

So with a day to spend with my sweet girl, who will be an only-child for no more than 9 more days, we decided to head to the Museum Center. It was empty. Either because kids were in school or no one wanted to venture out. So Cate had the sand table......the blocks...
...and the dollhouse...
...all to herself. And I only had my cell phone to document our excursion, hence the poor photo quality.

This afternoon will be spent napping, grading the last few packets from a project I assigned (and don't want to leave the grading to a substitute should Brennan come early), and knitting (I'm on the last side of Brennan's blanket). We'll probably play in the basement, and if we're brave we'll play outside in the snow. I'm also kind of waiting out some symptoms Cate has been exhibiting of late to see if they merit taking her to the doctor for a possible ear infection-- she's said her ear hurts and her temperature is just below 100...off and on. She's also been a little calmer/lethargic than normal. But it could also be the heat turned up in our house b/c of the cold, the fact that she has the sniffles, and the fact that Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights are all catching up to her (she was up late all three nights and up early the next mornings). I don't want to run to the doctor for nothing, but I don't want to take my chances with Brennan's imminent arrival either. So we're just waiting it out. If she continues to complain about her ear (which she said felt better all day) or if her temperature gets into triple digits, we'll be spending some time on this snowy day at the pediatrician's as well. Hopefully it's nothing and we can avoid that.

Anyway...she's sound asleep, so I guess it's time to knock the napping part off my afternoon to-do list. Happy Snow Day to those of you enjoying one.

~Melody :-)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Day Off

Eric and I are both taking much needed days off today. Which means extra snuggle time with Cate before we take her to the babysitter (yes, we're still sending her), and then time spent both relaxing and doing some things around the house as we make the last few preparations for Christmas and for Brennan's arrival.

If Brennan doesn't come before, I'm scheduled for an induction on the 22nd. Provided there are no complications, we'll be discharged on the 24th...home in time for Christmas! Good thing we went ahead and got a stocking for him. We have a lot to keep us busy between now in the 22nd, which is less than 2 weeks away! Our 2nd annual small group Christmas party is on Saturday night. We combined it with Thanksgiving this year, so we're having Thanksgiving dinner followed by a white elephant gift exchange for the adults and a visit from Santa for the kids. I have a full week of school next week where I'll be wrapping things up with my students. We are going to our church's annual Christmas show, Awaited, next weekend. It's a modern re-telling of the Christmas story. Check out the trailer (sorry, a small part is cut off) and get your free tickets at www.crossroads.net/awaited.

I have school up until the 21st, so I think the distraction will be nice. My students are starting to get in "holiday mode," which means keeping their attention takes a little extra work. There are still a few last minute gifts to wrap (and buy), some Christmas cookies to make, a blanket to finish knitting (almost done, I'm optimistic that I'll finish this weekend) and hopefully, if the forecast is right, a little more snow to play in. Which will make this girl happy:
But for now, it's time to eat some breakfast, get Cate ready, and then maybe head back to bed for a bit before I get going on my long to-do list.

~Melody :-)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Saturday Recap

Cate had her last art class for the session this past Saturday.
She got to make 3 ornaments. There were a few "regulars" who were home sick, which is why Cate got to make so many. They made the ornaments out of an oatmeal, flour, and water mixture that hardened and they got to decorate. So cute for our tree! She said the boy and the girl are her and Brennan. And yes, the picture is right side up, I took it of the ornaments upside down because Cate was looking at them and painting them right side up (confused yet?). I also love that she insisted on putting eyes on her Christmas tree ornament.
Cate was supposed to go to a friend's birthday party after art class. We knew she'd be late, but didn't want her to miss her last art class. But with the extra ornament making and all of the snow that came down Saturday morning (see last post), the party was pretty much over before we were a mile down the road after art class. So instead we went out to lunch and enjoyed our newly renewed museum pass, which we used to go and see the Holiday Junction train display.
Cate got to ride on a train...
...play with trains...
...look at trains...
...including Thomas, one of her favorites...
...and even control a train by pushing buttons behind this control panel.
The museum was dead because here in Cincinnati, when it snows even just a little, some people (okay, a lot of people) freak out, head to the grocery store to "stock up," and either don't drive anywhere or don't drive anywhere going more than 35 mph. I'm just sayin'.

Anyway, with the place to ourselves, it made for a lovely Saturday.

~Melody :-)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Outside, Inside

The view outside right now...
...Cate trying out her new sled and new snow boots during the first snow of the season! She loves the snow. She liked it last year but wouldn't really walk in it. She'd stay in one spot and play with the snow within arm's reach. This year she was all over the backyard.

The view inside right now...
...part of my growing belly as I finish up Brennan's blanket by the glow of our Christmas tree. I'm adding one more 1-2 inch strip to each side of the blanket. Currently it's "newborn size" according to the pattern. I want it just a little bit longer and wider so it'll cover him for at least his first 3 months. The goal was never to make a huge afghan for him (no way with those tiny needles). I'll make him a big boy blanket with thicker yarn and bigger needles later....after I make one for Cate (since that's what she's requested), finish Eric's hat (provided my first attempt at circular needle knitting turns out okay), and knit a few more dishcloths (since some of ours are looking ragged).

Welcome winter!

~Melody :-)