Somewhere between hypercompetence & homeownership
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Whatever the hell that means.

Monday, December 24
THEY'RE HERE Perhaps a little early by some standards, but not a day too soon by others.
See the pictures! Herein lies the whole tale.

As noted in a previous post, the beloved ob doc made a housecall midday on Saturday, the 22nd. Lara had progressed slightly, so he continued to hold out for a Wed. office visit and forbade Lara from making a trip into the hospital to visit Carla and Roman. She was bummed. We hung out Saturday evening, I made a fairly late trip to the Wegmans.

Lara awoke about 4 in the morning from contractions, nothing new there, and sleepily took her meds to prevent more contractions. She continued to have contractions and noticed some odd changes in them. (You can see this coming in hindsight, can't you?) She woke me at around 4:45, saying "maybe we should pack" and then we debated the issue for a few minutes as she suspected the contractions were subsiding. "Good", I thought, "I can get a few more hours sleep before Hannah wakes up'. Then, another contraction and midway through, she feels a 'pop', jumps up and exclaims "s***, my water broke" and proceeds to hop off the bed faster than she has in months. It's about 4:55 am.

So much for the debate. I called the ob docs page service and told them what was up. They leisurely took the info and told me to call them back if we hadn't heard anything from the doc in 20 minutes. I didn't tell them, but I thought, "ahh, we'll be in the hospital in 20 minutes". The sequence of events with Hannah's arrival indicated that things could really go fast from the water breaking to delivery so we weren't about to dawdle. Of course, we still hadn't really packed a bag.

We scrambled to get things together and got out the door, Nona waving goodbye from the garage, Hannah still sleeping in her bed.

We roll into Strong at around 5:30 and head immediately for labor and delivery triage. We called and woke Gloria on the way in.

No 'ifs' about Lara's status now so it's a totally different mindset with the staff. A quick exam and ultrasound show that Lara has indeed progressed a bit further so they move her into a labor and delivery room and get on the horn to anesthesia to get the epidural started. Again, we didn't want things to go too fast and miss that option. Some discussion ensues about who is technically baby A and who is baby B. These babies were alternating position along the way, we had no idea who was really coming first. Ultrasound also showed baby B with her hand up over her head, the likely culprit for breaking her water. Fortunately, she draws it back down so it won't provide complications during delivery.

Gloria arrives in record time from Buffalo, about 6:45am.

Carla was still in her room after delivering Roman the day before so we get word to her and she comes bouncing in, still in her pajamas. Another check and Lara is past 6 cm at about 8am
Anesthesia finally arrives. We call a friend whose an anesthesia resident to get her stamp of approval on the resident on call, while he's actually in the room. Turns out, he's really great, even hangs around past his shift to make sure Lara's comfortable. Gotta love your anesthesiologist. While he's working, I'm feeling ultracrappy: woozy, weak, naueseaous. I was afraid I was going to be sitting this one out. Fortunately, the feeling passes when things get serious. Once numbed, Lara steadily moves to 8cm.

Anne arrives to lend moral support and help Carla look after Roman, its about 9 am.

A little after 10am and another check puts Lara at 10cm. It's time.

Along the way, we've switched attending physicians but that's okay, we're cool with either one. We discuss some of the possibilities for delivery and get ready. The OR is standard procedure for a multiple birth but it feels scarier to us. Gloria and I get gowned up and follow Lara and the docs into the OR. The place is already jumping. I think at the time of delivery there were about 14 people in there not including the babies. Lara, me, Gloria, the attending, the chief, an R2, several labor nurses, OR tech, anesthesia, and at least 4 peds residents to take care of the babies.

I bring the digital camera and the SLR, but no video. I knew I wouldn't shoot too much, there are more important things to focus on now.

Everyone gets set and then we wait for the anesthesioligist to arrive (a different one)

Finally, at about 10: 45, Lara starts to push. It was tough and painful but MUCH faster that the last time and about 10 pushes later, the first one is on the way out. She gets a bit stuck at the door but finally pushes on through and makes her arrival at 10:57. We confirm that it is, in fact, baby B and we name her Olivia. She's in good shape and pretty big. I get to cut the cord and then she's quickly whisked into an adjoining room for assessment and cleanup. Before they take her though, we notice that she looks a great deal like Hannah did at delivery. Her assessments are good and she get a 9 on her Apgars. Excellent news and the tone in the room definitely turns a bit lighter for a moment. There's a lull before starting on baby B and I get a chance to duck into the side room and snap some pictures and give Lara a digital preview of Olivia before starting on delviery of the next one.

I was oblivious but the docs were nervously watching the monitors and quickly got Lara back to the job at hand of pushing out baby B. While the water had broken spontaneously for baby A, apparently it still hadn't for the other and they quickly broke the sac and proceeded to make a huge splash. A few tense moments ensued with Lara pushing as hard as she could, both during contractions and between (which is really hard) and a quick 12 minutes after baby A, baby B arrived, we named her Leah. Everyone was amazed at her size, she was visibly much larger than her sister but also a bit slower to respond, which is not uncommon for the second delivery. She quickly perked up and her 5 minute assessment was just as good as Olivia's.

Babies now delivered, the big team quickly dispersed and things seem to end really quickly. In only a few minutes, Lara was set to return to the room with babies along for the ride. No NICU for us!

Once back in the room, we finally got the size and weight details: Olivia Grace, born at 10:57, weighing 6 lbs, 4 oz. and measuring 20 inches. Leah Elizabeth was born at 11:09, weighing a whopping 7lbs. 2 oz but only measuring 19 inches in length!

Momma and babies are both doing well, feeding and pooping and peeing and all the things they want them to do. If all continues this way, they'll all be home on the 25th. A nice Christmas present for Nona! Then the fun really begins.

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Saturday, December 22
One step closer... Today, we experienced something most people never will, we got a housecall from Lara's ob. Amazing. He's a great doc, we are really hoping the timing works out so that he's the guy doing the catching. We were nervous about waiting until Wed. for a status check, especially as the office would not be open between now and then. Somewhat as predicted, Lara's inching closer to the line. The doc is still holding out for an office check on Wed and possible delivery on Thursday. So the limbo continues...

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Friday, December 21
oddly satisfying but not altogether reassuring...

I wouldn't say that this result is surprising but then again...

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Misplaced yet tasty priorities That's me...

Last night I was up late making gingerbread cookies for the office. They came out great except the icing was a bit softer than it should have been. But more importantly, there are far more important things I should be doing in preparation of the arrivals. What is wrong with me?

As if that wasn't dumb enough, in the previous 2-3 evenings, I made a gingerbread house for essentially no reason at all. It came out pretty well and Hannah had fun helping but it was a tragically huge waste of time. I took some pictures and will post them soon.

It's not a total waste, as H will get some use out of it at school in a few weeks. According to the school calendar, they are making gingerbread houses on January. She can be the class overacheiver.

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Tuesday, December 18
7 more days That's what the doc wants. We'll see if Lara can hold out that long...

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frickin' frackin...Time Warner.

I hate them so. But what can you do? I suppose I could take some satisfaction in the knowledge that I have not been in any way a profitable account for them. The amount of time thheir lousy technicians have spent at our house totally negates any profit they might have amassed from our bills. Of course, we despise having them in the house so that's not such a great measure of success. The last service call was particularly bad, the techs were total crap and then they attempted to double bill us AND they signed us up for Showtime at $7 a month extra without our permission. Total s***heads. We got that cut off yesterday, after repeated calls and then, coincidentally, our Roadrunner service somehow croaked last night, no email, nothing. So they'll be back at the house again tomorrow. Rat bastards.

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Monday, December 17
Everybody limbo! Well, not everybody. Just us.

The only time Lara has left the house in the last 3 weeks or so was when we went to the hospital in the middle of the night and then came straight home. Actually, she's been to the doctor's office a couple times and once to Carla's but that's it. Personally, I'd be ready for the nutbin. I wasn't housebound for even this long when I had surgery in the summer. Most weekend mornings, we wake up and discuss our agenda for the day. That's beceom sort of pointless now. Lara's agenda: Lie on the couch. Repeat. If this sounds like paradise, I hate to tell you but it sucks. You don't realize how much activity you may be accustomed to until you can't do anything at all. Remember that even sitting up is only allowed for a few minutes a day.

The problem is that this stagnation is contagious. Since she's inactive, it's getting harder for me to be active. I got almost nothing done this weekend. It's not like there's tons to do before the babies arrive but I have slipped into a state of almost pure idleness.

Must...force...self... to ...move!

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Sunday, December 9
So just relax and get comfortable, folks. We're jus' gonna hold up here for awhile until the tower gives us the green light... That's us for now.

Yesterday afternoon, I ran into a co-worker who asked how Lara was feeling, I replied "great!, I think she's gonna make it to Christmas." There wasn't any wood near by so I knocked on my head. Bad idea?

About 7 last night, first snow of the season, of course. Lara started having stronger, consistent contractions so we decided to play it safe. Next door neighbor Charles stepped in and saved our butts, he came over about 9 and babysat H. We headed off to the hospital with almost nothing in the way of provisions, clothes, whatever. We hadn't packed a bag 'cause there was no need, she was doing great and this was a false alarm.

Well, almost...

Several efforts to slow things down didn't seem to do much good and we starting ringing up people at 2 in the morning.

Then, things started to slow down, somewhat on their own and we called off the red alert but not after having lengthy conversations with the attending docs in ob and the NICU.

I got a little shuteye between 4-6 am and then zipped home about 8 in the morning and relieved Charles from couch duty. We really didn't want H waking up unaware that there was no parent in the house. I partially packed the neccessities just in case and then laid down to rest, phone close by and got some more sleep. H woke up at 9 and let me sleep another hour. We got dressed and headed back the hospital to discover that Lara had pretty much stopped and they let her go at about 2. Yay.

So, no babies yet but they're gonna get here probably sooner than later.

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Friday, December 7
Release the toddlers! When I see things like this guys room, all I can think is "yeah, let's let Hannah loose in there, heh heh" How do you do it, Lynne? Is it completely off limits to anyone under the age of 5??? We couldn't keep the CD rack where Hannah could reach it. I had to hold her at all times whenever we went to Aaron C.'s apartment. Any densely packed shelf is like a magnet, she can't resist just ripping everything down.
I am the antithesis of a packrat. If its in sight, and gathering dust, I am inclined to pitch it. I hate schlepping stuff like this around with me from place to place. I have some boxes of old crap and old art supplies and such, but its all stashed away where I can't see it everyday. About once a week or so, I go on a rampage and try to trash every scrap of paper that isn't of any importance. Anything that is important goes into a big pile. It never gets filed of course. I just sort back through the pile every so often and "cull the herd" a bit.
Eventually it's all unimportant and nothing needs to be filed.

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Monday, December 3
Sharp enough? Very high on my hypercompetence meter are knife skills. Lara just got one of those chopping thingie you see on TV and in the Tupperware catalog but I hate it. They work, but they totally lack any finesse or grace. They just beat the hell out of whatever you're chopping. True knife skills are so much more satisfying for me. Maybe I'm anal about it but deal with it. I have amassed a good set of knives, mostly Henckels and one Sabatier. The problem with good straight edge knives is that they go dull, unlike those cheap-ass eversharp serrated knives. Those hold an edge but they're basically little tiny saws, no grace, no style, no finesse, just saw through your work. Interestingly, a dull knife is actually much more dangerous than a sharp one, you never know when its going to cut through so you have to use more force, etc. So, I recently began sharpening my knives myself. A bit scary since I didn't want to f***-up my good knives, but eminently satisfying and very high on the hypercompetence meter. Then, just to put the finishing touch on it, Lara signed me up for the knife skills class at Rochesters Cooking that I have been considering taking for years. Yay!

Now I will be completely intolerable in the kitchen.

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