Friday, December 2, 2011

Adventures in Childbirth

Hello all!
It has been quite a wild ride since my last blog update.  Baby Olivia Marie Cunningham arrived on 11/22/11 at 4:25 AM and we are all doing great! As far as the birth story is concerned, like so many things in life that don't go exactly according to plan, I am continually grateful that God has a "master plan" and that we all came through this OK with angels watching over us.

In preparation for the birth, Jason and I took a birthing course called the Bradley Method.  The information we received there, especially related to the possible complications and interventions, really helped us through the wild day(s) and night of Olivia's birth. Though we didn't end up with the natural birth that were hoping for, I am certain that she came into this world in the way she was meant to come.  And I am very thankful for the excellent care that we received at Research Medical Center.

It all started on Saturday night 11/19, the day after my due date.  My water broke at around 6 pm but labor did not start. Usually water breaks with labor but when it happens before labor, this is called PROM (premature rupture of membranes). We did some things to naturally stimulate labor including acupuncture, but I never felt anything but irregular pre-labor contractions.  Since the water was all clear, the midwifes agreed that we could wait until Monday morning to see if natural labor would start before considering  medical interventions to augment labor.

Fast forward about 30 hours and we STILL were not in labor but I saw meconium (yellow staining) in the waters which indicates that the baby could be in distress. At this point, we headed to the hospital knowing labor would be induced. My birth plan was to labor without painkiller, however when they gave me pitocin to augment/induce labor, I knew that plan might not be so viable. Anyhow, I labored for about 12-14 hours on pitocin before getting the epidural.

As labor progressed, we discovered some issues with the baby's positioning in the womb - when I labored in a side lying position (Lillian's Pose) on my left side, it was extremely painful, however this was the position the midwives said I needed to be in to get the baby's head lined up properly on the cervix. The baby was so active in the womb and hard to track on the fetal monitor, however once they gave me the epidural, they put in an internal fetal monitor to see exactly how she was doing.  They then realized that the side lying position I was in (which caused me severe pain/binding) was also causing severe fetal distress. 

The doc's and midwives continued to work with the pitocin levels to generate contractions (think approx 8 hours of this) while monitoring the baby's vitals. Progress was seen - I think I made it to 7 cm and 90 effaced before it became clear that the baby was not tolerating the labor well - her heart rate would go down and stay down at scary levels for minutes after some of the bigger contractions. In addition, I was not tolerating the meds administered during labor well either.  For several days after the birth, my biggest complication/health challenge by far was extreme burning of my esophagus due to vomiting violently for hours (probably from a reaction to the pitocin) which made it almost impossible to swallow anything. 

In the end, they called for an emergency c-section - medical reasons cited were Failure to Progress and Fetal Intolerance to Labor.  One more wrinkle - the anesthesiologist had to give me another spinal tap because somehow my epidural IV space had closed up. Very odd.  Anyhow, the good Dr. Sullivan came in on a moment's notice and cut me open to bring our sweet baby girl into this world.  The most wonderful sound imaginable is the sound of a baby crying vigorously in that operating room! 

Here's a picture of me and Olive after quite an ordeal!  Nice to get some rest for a change.

Jason was the first to get to bond with Olivia.  After they cleaned her up, he was able to go to her and just the sound of his voice calmed her down immediately. 

This is such a cute picture of her holding his hand during her initial health evaluation. She was just minutes old and already holding daddy's hand!

After all of the procedures and twists and turns with the hospital stay, we actually got discharged a day early (on Thanksgiving) so we could drop in at a few family functions.  But mostly we all have been resting and recouperating since then. 

Olivia is a picture of good health and vitality.  Breastfeeding is going great - at her dr appt two days ago, she had already regained what she lost from birth weight and was up 3 oz. :)  Jason and I are absolutely smitten with our little Thanksgiving baby and happily adjusting to parenthood. 

Love Always, Claire

Friday, November 18, 2011

40 wks and counting

Hi everyone!
So today is officially the due date.  Everything at the house and with work has come together well so we are ready for her arrival when the time comes!

Here's a picture of me at the big 4-0 (weeks, that is!).

Here are some pics of the baby's room. I think it turned out really great. It is so peaceful and the colors are nice and soft.

We painted the mural over the changing table from a kit of stencils that I ordered online -- looking back, opting for the wall stickers would have been A LOT easier! But this was a fun/creative project that we did for the room.  When we started laying the design out a few weeks ago, Jason got out his tape measure and level to try to set the clouds on the wall.  I had a good laugh at him.... "They're CLOUDS, honey! Clouds are not level and spaced out perfectly!"  Here's the website where I found the stencils

Speaking of a sense of humor.. I know that is one thing that has gotten us through all of the challenges of marriage, pregnancy, and I am sure parenthood will be no different.  I'm glad that my husband can find humor and help me laugh at myself as my body has morphed into its current shape. And believe me, he has had some fun watching me get dressed in the mornings! What you can't see from the exterior is how my brain (or lack of brain) function has been affected at times by pregnancy.  There have been some interesting car rides where I was driving and too many people were trying to tell me which direction to go, where to turn, etc and I would get really flustered.

On one fateful day in particular this fall, I nearly ran over a traffic cop while exiting Arrowhead Stadium and then just an hour or two later managed to mess up my car and Jason's bike in an sticky situation in the garage. The list goes on. I was making oatmeal the other day, forgot to turn off the burner, then placed a dishtowel on the open flame. After catching my mistake, I put the burning dishtowel outside on the (wooden) porch right next to the house without fully extinguishing the flames... (don't worry - this one turned out ok except for the dishtowel).  I tell myself and my husband that this is all because I use up too many brain cells at work and need to conserve when I get home :-)  I'm sure people at work would have a word or two to say about that!

Moving on... another big milestone for the week was wrapping up the 12 week Bradley "birthing course" on November 15th.  WHEW! That class was excellent but it made for some really late Tuesday nights/sleepy Wednesday mornings.  The instructor, Summer Hill, was great and I know J and I both feel really prepared.

Whatever happens with the timing of the birth, we are so looking forward to a fun Thanksgiving holiday with (or without) a new baby in our arms.  I can say that I am SO THANKFUL that the last 4 months of my pregnancy were nothing at all like the first 5 or so - I have felt really great for most of the 2nd half. Thank Heavens!

Now it's just a matter of the stars lining up and mother nature kick-starting my body into labor!  We will just have to see what she has in mind for a birthday! 

Love, Claire & Jason

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Countdown begins!

Hi Everyone!

We're about two weeks away from the due date now and getting excited! Time has flown by.  The baby will be here before we know it :)  I've been feeling great and having lots of energy still.  The midwives tell me I am right on track size-wise for my due date.

Next time I update everyone, I will have pictures of the nursery to share.  We have a few things to get done in there but it is almost ready.

Here are some pictures of the baby shower my ScriptPro friends hosted in mid-October. We did it during a "happy hour" time at a bar near work.  Thanks so much to Audrea, Julie, Stacy and Susan for hosting the party for me -- it was a blast!

Claire with Mom

Unique Onesie!  Fitting for our company

Claire with Hostesses

A pack of former trainers!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sept baby shower!

Hi All,
I hope this message finds everyone doing well.  Things here are going great.  I am loving this beautiful fall weather -- I can't believe it is already Oct 3rd!  Time is flying by for us right now.  The house is coming along, and I'll have pics to post of the baby's room soon.

Last weekend was packed with several fun events... including the plaza art fair, a "welcome baby" shower for Mayim Harding, the ScriptPro Farm Party and finally a shower for me and baby hosted by my sisters and mom.  What a great weekend!

At the shower, I received so many wonderful gifts that will help us get set up in the coming weeks!  Lots of useful advice was also dispensed... the majority of which involves how much diaper-changing will become a part of Jason's daily routine.  But seriously, we're both really excited about the changes to come and how we will adjust when the baby comes.  We'll just do the best we can and it will all work out :)

Some pics from our trip to Colorado over Labor Day weekend.  Jason fly-fished while Morty and I played fetch nearby in the stream at 11-mile canyon.  Beautiful!

Some pics from the baby shower:

Take care all. Until next time ~claire

Friday, September 9, 2011

Fall 2011

Hello all!

Here it is already September and Fall is nearly upon us. This is my favorite time of the year and the weather here in KC could not be more perfect than it is been lately.

I've been feeling great lately -- just hit the 30 week mark the other day.  We started our birthing class two weeks ago and have met some nice people through that.  As far as pregnancy aches and pains, I would have to say that Jason is experiencing more pain than I am these days!  He's working on the house remodel project, hanging drywall, building cabinets, etc which is hard work! 

It seems crazy to me how quickly the past year has gone by!  This time last year, Jason and I were celebrating our marriage at the Kemper Museum of Modern Art with a gathering of friends and family.  What a blast that was!

We feel so blessed to have the support of our friends and family that night and always.  I know we will continue to draw from the wonderful memories of being newlyweds in years to come. 

Take care ~claire

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

August update

Hi all,
The past 6 weeks since my last update have absolutely flown by!  I've been feeling great and everything is just chugging along.   My next dr appointment is next week.

We've been to two really fun concerts over the past few weeks and on a great trip to Wyoming and Arizona, plus a weekend trip to the Ozarks.  On the home front, we've been plugging away at home improvement and other work projects which are coming along nicely.

There are a couple of baby showers brewing now which I am so appreciative of and it will be so fun to see family and friends and receive their well-wishes for the baby.  FYI, she still needs a name!  J and I have some contenders but we need to get on the same page here!

We have everything pretty much spec'd out for the baby room... it's just a matter of peeling, scraping, painting, etc.  Should be pretty easy to knock out once we get to it.

I hope this email finds you all doing well.  The "reality" of parenthood is starting to set in around here.  We are excited and (a little) nervous too! 

Take care :) Claire & Jason & ???

Monday, July 11, 2011

It's a girl!

Hi all,
We found out last week that we're having a baby girl!  Everything looks good and the due date is on target for Nov 18th so that puts me at just over 21 weeks now... more than half-way!  Time sure does fly when you don't feel sick all of the time :) 

Since my last update, my cousin and friend have both delivered beautiful baby girls so ours will have a few "older" role models to play with. Our neighbors also had a boy just the other day.  Babies are all around us!

Plans are underway to fix up the nursery which will be in the bedroom adjacent to our room on the second floor.  I've discovered that Jason's nesting instinct drives him immediately to either Home Depot or Lowes and the work commences in the basement (ground floor) of the house.  From the foundation we can work our way up, right?  All of the changes will actually be really nice so I am not complaining!

See the obligatory first baby pic attached below. Signing off until next time. Take care all! ~claire

Saturday, June 25, 2011

June update

Hi all!
I don't have any huge news this time except I'm doing great and settling into this feeling of being preggo -- it is very different!  I've been really busy with work stuff so that helps the time go by quicker too.

Jason joined a kickball league and is getting set up in the basement with a 'lab' for doing home brews. I think it may be good timing that I can't drink right now so by the time I am back able to drink again, he will have his recipes figured out.  He bought abook on how to knock off various popular beers and wants to start with Sierra Nevada Pale.  Way to shoot for the stars, babe!  We'll see how it goes ;)

Zan celebrated a milestone birthday (#10) on June 6th so that was exciting.  He got a new collar and a toy that he has been loving on a lot.

I've picked up some maternity wear from garage sales, kind friends and the actual maternity store but so far some of my regular clothes still fit (yay!) so I am going to go with that as long as I can.

We settled on the place where we are going to deliver - Research Medical Center - which coincidentally is where I was born (as well as my sister Molly).  We go in for the sonogram on July 5th and will update the blog with the sex of the baby after that.  People have asked me what I think it is and I tell them I am betting it is either a boy or a girl... we'll see ;)

There are a bunch of exciting weddings this summer, including two of my cousins (one who is getting married on my wedding day a year later!) and Jason's sister.  We actually leave on Thursday for Kathryn's wedding in Chicago - can't wait!!

I was reflecting on our wedding last year in Costa Rica and the fun few days we explored the country afterwards.   After the baby comes, I know we will be home-bound for awhile but at least we have lots of travel memories to draw from.

Here's a pic of a volcano we visited in Nicaragua -- the heat and smell was really overwhelming.  It was really cool to be able to look right into the mouth of the volcano.

Here's a sign they had posted as well. There were pictograms of flying rocks and instructions to hide under your car if the thing starts to blow!

Here's another "arm length" photo of me and J - these are a staple in our photo albums - good thing he has long arms!  It is crazy how these massive crocodiles laze around on the muddy banks of the rivers.  You really hope they know to stay down there and don't decide to run uphill!

We also went fishing and caught/released some fish. Lots of fun! Here's Jason's rooster fish.

A jackfish that I caught.. I'm not sure why I was hugging it!  I smelled like fish for the rest of the day and then some.

PS: Our neighbors moved back to KC last weekend. She's a dr and was doing a fellowship in Wisconsin for a year... AND she's about to pop, her due date is days away.  It will be fun to have a baby so close in age right next door, plus we're all first time parents.  We're talking about doing a nanny-sharing arrangement which I think would be ideal.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Baby Picture Olympics

Hello all!
I hope everyone has had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.  We got back from Spearville, KS last night where we helped celebrate the 60th anniversary for Grandma and Grandpa Simon.  It was fun seeing the many folks who made the (long!) trip down to Costa Rica for the wedding last August.

Grandma Marcy and Jason's mom Patti pulled out a bunch of pictures of Jason from baby-hood and childhood.  Keep in mind that Jason was the first grandbaby in two families... and his childhood is very well documented to say the least! (I am told that there is another whole box of his baby pictures somewhere in the basement or in storage).

In comparing the baby pics of me and Jason, I have to say that he was a cuter baby than I was!  Of course, there are a lot more pics of him to sort through, all of his clothes were brand new as opposed to the hand me downs that I wore, and his mom must have had him at the photo studio every other week (seriously!) for professional pictures. I am sure there are some good pictures of me when I was a kid, but my mom always says that I looked so much like my sister Chandra that she isn't sure which ones are me and which are her!
Decide for yourselves... let the baby picture olympics begin!

This is me as a baby...


This is me (on left) with my sister Chandra. We do look alike!

This is Jason as a baby...

Jason's first beer!

 Jason's first best friend.          

Playing Little Leage for the Senators.    

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

155 BPM

We visited the doctor today and everything looks good! We got to hear the baby's heartbeat which was exciting.  We found out that they won't do a sonogram until I am at 20 weeks when they can do a full health screening sonogram.  That appointment is set for July 5th.  So when that day comes we will know the sex of the baby :)

Our next steps are to tour some hospitals and decide where our little one will make his/her debut!

Funny story.... Jason and I traveled to Las Vegas last week for a few days for a seminar.  We were waiting at the airport in KC for the 3 hour direct flight to Vegas and our flight was just about to board when this guy walks by with a bag full of Quiznos sandwiches.... and they smelled really good

I turned to Jason and said "I am going to need a sandwich for this long flight!"  Bless his heart, he jumped up and raced several gates down to the sandwich stand, getting back in time to board the flight with 2 turkey and swiss sandwiches in hand.

We went to Vegas for work but also enjoyed the Beatles LOVE show on one of the nights.  Health-wise I am continuing to feel better (or maybe I am just getting used to the feeling of being preggo!) with little bouts of nausea and headaches here and there. 

Signing off for now ~claire

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Finally feeling better

When I woke up this morning, I actually felt human again!  I am hopeful that the 1st trimester symptoms are starting to wane.  Fingers crossed...  :)

Last week, Jason and I had a fun week/weekend full of family activities.  His mom Patti came to visit Wednesday thru Saturday and it was great to see her.  After she left on Saturday we had some other fun things planned with the families, including a birthday dinner Saturday night, Easter brunch and Easter dinner on Sunday.  Needless to say, by Sunday night I was completely beat.

In (rare) home-improvement-related news, Jason and Patti went shopping for hanging flowers and worked to fix up the porch in anticipation of the nice weather.

AND... they got cracking on another big home fix up project which is replacing our back door.  Jason has actually worked tirelessly on this since Sunday and it really looks great.  Now we have a back door that shuts and locks properly and a really nice screen to boot (good thing I didn't post earlier that we were an easy break-in target!).  My mom-in-law Patti is welcome to come visit anytime!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Family Pictures

Since our brood is growing soon, I thought I would post some pics of the current children.  They are all getting along really well and staying healthy.

Zanzibar (Zan for short) is the oldest and the first puppy I ever raised. He is a momma's boy through and through.
Morton is the next in the birth order.  He loves his toys and actually still has some stuffed animal toys from his puppy years.  Morty loves his people, loves bird hunting and can be really protective. He is a really special dog.

Vanna is the youngest -- she will be 6 in October.  While she WANTS to be good, she gets easily distracted and trys pretty hard to impress the others.
Here are some cute group pics from a portrait session we had done last September.


Hello world!

Hi all,

I hope this message finds all of our friends and family well.  Jason and I have some really exciting news! We're expecting our first child (not counting our 4-legged ones) in mid-November. 

At currently a little more than 10 wks along, I can say that so far I've been experiencing just about all of the first trimester pregnancy symptoms en-force (!) not always fun but at least you know you're healthy...  I am hoping that things calm down in a few weeks when I hit the 2nd trimester.  We'll see.

We are thankful that Spring is upon KC and the cold is starting to let up.  We have lots of fun things to plan and look forward to (several weddings this summer and fall which will be a blast!).

Love always, claire