Monday, March 26, 2007

Photo Shoot Followup

As a follow up to our previous post about the photo shoot we had last Friday with Jane Hasty Photography, she has already posted the pictures to her site! They can be found here. This one is my favorite.

If you're interested in any prints, feel free to email Jane using the contact information referenced on her site.

Jane, thanks so much for the great pictures!


"I had my second doctor's appointment today. It was really fun! My mommy and my grandma walked me there in my new stroller. It was funny because they could not figure out how to work the stroller. They had to call my daddy, while I just sat there patiently, sucking on my binky. Anyway, my mommy strolled me in to the doctor and they made me take off all of my clothes. Thank goodness I got to keep my diaper on! The nurse weighed and measured me and I am still 19.5 inches long and I weigh 7lbs 9ozs. Mommy is doing a good job feeding me because I already exceeded my birth weight. Also, the doctor said mommy can let me sleep through the night, instead of waking me up to eat. Phewwwwww! I hated being woken up from my sweet dreams. Also, the doctor kept calling me a love bucket and even sang me the same song that mommy sings to me everyday. Guess what? I didn't even cry. Today was a great day!"

- Ashley Jane

Comment Process Change

Due to "hooligans", I've had to change the comment process for this site. When you submit a comment, I get emailed and then I can either publish the comment to the site or delete it.

99.99% will be published unless you're a hooligan as mentioned above.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Drunk From Milk

Someone is straight up knocked out from the already busy day. She has just finished a feeding and is "drunk" as the industry calls it. Infants act very similar after a feeding to someone who's "three sheets to the wind" as my grandma says. The influx of the warm milk into their bodies slow them way down and they fall straight asleep.

Photo Shoot

Ashley had a photo session today with Jane Hasty Photography. Kelly received this as a gift from the school where she taught. What a great idea for a gift! I'll provide a follow up to this post when the photos are viewable on her site.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Grandma's Make The World Go Round

Kelly's mom left yesterday afternoon after having logged some serious awake hours at our humble abode. Her help and attention to our needs went above and beyond her call of duty as a grandma. She was with us throughout the challenging times when Ashley wasn't happy and there were many a mornings when I came out and she had been up for hours holding Ashley so we could sleep. Kelly and I both have no idea what we would have done without her help. Grandma Rothery, thank you so much for everything you've done for us over the past week. We are blessed to have a grandma as caring, thoughtful, sensitive and hard working as you.

One funny story while she was here, there was a span of a few days where both Kelly and her mom didn't get much sleep at all. It became apparent that I needed to volunteer my duties for the "night watch" aka sleeping on the couch with the bassinet by my head. If Ashley were to wake up or cry, I'm to calm her down, rock her, burp her, etc.

I was a bit apprehensive at first because I'm a total noob at this infant thing. The night started out great. Around 1am, Ashley woke up crying so I picked her up, gave her the pacifier, rocked her a bit and boom, she was out like a light. "I can so do this" I thought. Well, the next thing I know, Kelly and Grandma are standing over top of me with a concerned look on their faces asking what the heck happened out here during the night. As I wipe the droll off my cheek and squint from the sun shining in, I look over and Ashley had vomited all over her crib all night and I couldn't have slept harder through each ordeal. I have since been relieved of my night shift duties.

Anyway, Grandma Strauss just arrived this morning to take over for Grandma Rothery. For all of you kids out there looking to follow our lead with the kid, you need to make sure you lineup the grandma's to come stay with you and help out. They are wonderful.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Widow's Peak

Does anyone know where Ashley gets her widow's peak from? I don't think that it is my side of the family. I think it might be somewhere on the Strauss/Nash side. At least I think that it is a widow's peak.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Tummy Time

I put Ashley on the couch for a little "tummy time" as the industry calls it. I guess it helps strengthen their necks/arms/backs to eventually get strong enough to roll on their backs and later on walk. If that means she'll get an edge on the competition (other kids), you can expect lots of pictures of this little babooshka on her tummy.

12 Minutes With Ashley

Here is an unedited video of nothing but Ashley for 12 minutes. She's wide awake the whole time and moving all over the place. I thought this might be enjoyable for the grandmas/grandpas/parents out there and blindingly boring for others. So proceed with caution. Some highlights: sneezes at 2:57 and pushes out some gas at 3:27. If you turn up your volume, you can hear them both. Pretty funny.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Kelly And Ashley Sleeping

Kelly and Ashley are plain tuckered out from the day. I caught them sleeping a few seconds ago on our couch.

72 Hours With Ashley

I'll preface this post by apologizing for the level of details in the last post. This one should be a bit less unpleasant. Also, it's been awhile since I've posted last. We've been a bit busy so I'll try and catch up with this post.

The first few hours in the post partum room were chalk full of visitors. Our families had come into town from St. Louis and Cleveland and were eagerly awaiting the chance to see Ashley. In addition to our families, we had nurses, lactation consultants, workers to sign up Ashley for a social security number and a birth certificate, etc. It was a busy place with a revolving door.

The nurses informed us of our new schedule of feedings every 2-3 hours. In addition, we were to keep track of her bathroom schedule on a dry eraser board so they can make sure all of her plumbing was working correctly and she was getting the proper nutrition. It's funny how you treat babies and their bathroom schedule. You look forward to the times she has a dirty diaper and physically cheer out loud when they do.

One thing the nurses never told me was something I encountered the first time I changed her diaper. Meconium it's called. I couldn't believe my eyes as I ran to the nurse's emergency button exclaiming "Ashley is dying from the inside!" Kelly calmed me down saying it's completely normal. What I saw in that tiny diaper was black tar. Same consistency and same color and I'm as serious as a heart attack. I learned this is the output from the baby ingesting all the fluids and materials in momma's stomach during pregnancy. It's unreal.

One of the biggest obstacles we encountered the first day was that Kelly's milk was slow to come in. This was apparent when Ashley would start crying as soon as she finished feeding from momma. Since she wasn't getting nutrition from Kelly and she started to lose too much weight, we had to start supplementing her diet with formula.

Instead of giving the formula with your standard bottle, we used a supplemental nursing system (SNS). Basically, you pour the formula into a cylindrical shaped container which has a long tube that pulls the formula out of the container. You attach this tube with tape right onto momma's boob. So when Ashley nurses, she would get both formula and whatever momma was producing at the time.

In addition to the formula, the nurses brought in a breast pump to help get Kelly's milk to come in quicker. So every 3 hours we'd fill up the SNS, tape it on, Ashley would feed for 30 minutes, I'd clean the SNS, Kelly would burp Ashley, I'd take Ashley, Kelly would use the breast pump for 15 minutes, I'd hand over Ashley, clean the pump and Kelly would sleep with Ashley. Lot's of work, right? Keep in mind the "every 3 hours" counter starts when you start the above process. Since this process mentioned above takes about an hour, we essentially had 2 hours in between feedings.

So we spent from Monday around 1pm until Wednesday around noon in this post partum room. On Wednesday, the pediatrician cleared us to leave and we packed up, bundled up and used our car seat for the first time.

I've never driven so cautious in my life on the way to our apartment from the hospital. The speed limit felt like we were cruising at warp speed. Each driver around me was a threat to my new family so I had full defensive driving mode in gear. Of course we had to stop to purchase a breast pump on the way home. BTW, whoever is making these things has to be a millionaire. They are unbelievably expensive and another unexpected cost was out the door.

Since we've been home, we've been challenged with the feedings. The process has been grueling and poor Kelly has been a trooper through each and every time. However, we woke up this morning and our prayers have been answered. Kelly's milk is now flowing like the beer in the bars around our apartment today on St Patrick's Day. So we've ditched the SNS and breast pump in place of your standard and natural feedings. Finally!

Today was a big day for another reason, Ashley had her first pediatrician appointment. Katie and Grandma Rothery gave Ashley a bath last night to prepare for her second time out into the world. Our little girl smelled for real. She had legit body odor coming from underneath her armpits. I couldn't believe it when I first smelled it. I thought it was just my smell because sitting around all day staring at the clock waiting for feedings doesn't bode well for personal hygiene.

The appointment went well, she's perfectly healthy and has gained 5 ounces since she left the hospital. She's up to 6lbs and 9 ounces.

So we're finally caught up to real time. Hope everyone's having a happy St. Patrick's Day! Boy am I in a different place than last year at this time. That's okay though, Ashley is worth that times 500.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Moments After The Delivery

After Ashley was born, my memory and focus became super foggy. I followed her around the room with my video camera as they cleaned her off and weighed her. After the nurse confirmed the baby was healthy, she said "do you want to hold her?" I've never held an infant and have only held older babies a few times so I was apprehensive at best. But what was I actually going to say, "Nah, I'm cool. Just give her to momma and she'll take care of her. I'm calling my buddies to go celebrate at the local pub." Into my arms came this teeny-tiny person and into the pool of life I dove.

At this same moment, Kelly was getting instructed by the doctor to push through a contraction to give birth to a purple mass of nastiness called the placenta. Thankfully I missed all of these sites and sounds and was soley focused on the eyes of my genes staring back at me. At the time I didn't think anything of it but later in the evening when talking about the event, I couldn't remember anything after the doctor said "it's a girl". During the first few moments with Ashley in my arms, I felt a drop of water running down my cheek and thought the damn ceiling must have a leak. Nope, those were tears of elation. So I quickly wiped them off and pretended like nothing happened.

The contractions continued for Kelly as her body tried to stop the bleeding. Let me tell you there was a lot of blood. She'd attempt to stand up an hour later and blood would pour down her legs. And that was just an attempt to stand up which wasn't successful. She was so exhausted and fatigued from the birth that her legs wouldn't support her weight and she became light headed and close to passing out.

After a bit, Kelly regained enough strength to roll over into a wheel chair. We were being transitioned into a post partum room where we would stay until Wednesday afternoon. We come to find out that visiting hours are from 12:00pm until 7:30pm. Since both of our parents were in town and we knew about as much about taking care of an infant as we do about servicing an automobile, I was hoping someone would be able to be here the entire time. Thankfully, that is what nurses are for.

We're leaving for home right now so I'll post either tonight or tomorrow about our first nights alone with Ashley.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Happy Birthday Ashley!

Surreal. That's the only word I can use to describe the events that have just taken place over the past 12+ hours.

Kelly woke up this morning at 4:30am with intense contractions. I knew they were serious because while sleeping next to her, the mass of fluid and baby moved away from my hand without any movement from Kelly. So we started timing the contractions and they were only 9 minutes apart but regular. After they started occurring more frequently (about 5 minutes apart), we had to convince Kelly it was time to head to the hospital. Being the sensitive person she was, she tried to insist that we "wait it out because it could just be gas pains". Since she was 5 centimeters dilated for the past week, it was time to roll out.

We arrived at the hospital around 7:15am and after they evaluated Kelly, we were sent up to a delivery room. To speed things up , they broke her water at 8:55am.

Now I've seen some things in my life, but the feelings Kelly experienced after that point, uh, was an indescribable amount of pain. She was adamant about going without an epidural and I fully supported her. Talk about strong and impressive, I have a new hero in my life and it's Kelly. Good lord. The contractions would be so intense that she would grip the railings of the bed, her knuckles would turn white and her eyes would roll back into her head as she would convulse from the pain.

After about 8 waves of pushing, I see "something" start peeking out down there. I had no idea what this something was. It was blueish, bumpy and hairy. I thought Kelly was giving birth to a creature from the movie Aliens. After a few more pushes suddenly an ear popped out and my bearings were back and it was apparent that the baby was facing the floor. The head was fully exposed and they immediately sucked all the junk out of it's mouth. We heard the first sound uttered from the little ones vocal chords. After another push or two, the damn thing slide out like daddy around the catcher in softball.

Ashley Jane Strauss was born at 11:44am weighing in at 6 lbs and 14 ounces and measured 19 inches in length.


Here is the direct link:

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Picture from 1978

No, this is not a picture of our baby. This is yours truly rocking out with a full head of hair. It's all making sense on why I'm losing it now!

Still Waiting By The Lake

Kelly woke up this morning and exclaimed "we are going for a walk outside until the baby comes". No argument from daddy! So we just got back from a beautiful walk with Kelly's parents, Katie and Tom in the most ridiculously nice Chicago weather we've felt in awhile. It's 52 degrees outside without a cloud in the sky! Here are some pictures from the walk as well as some pictures of the baby's room.

Here is a direct link:

Friday, March 9, 2007

5 Centimeters And Counting

The doctors have decided to not induce labor. Kelly was told that inducing labor at this point would increase our likelihood of having a cesarean section. So, the baby will remain cooped up inside momma for a few more days/weeks.

They took an ultrasound of her belly and said that there is plenty of water for the baby to be healthy. So much water in fact that if it breaks, daddy's going to need to put on a life vest.

Some fun facts:
  • Kelly is 5 centimeters dilated
  • Baby currently weighs 7lbs and 13 ounces
  • Baby is the 75% for weight
Looks like we'll be waiting some more! We'll keep everyone posted once we get more details.

Today Is The "Due Date"

It's finally Friday, March 9th 2007. 9 months ago the doctor's said today was going to be the due date. Uh, it doesn't seem like that's going to be the case. Supposedly she is super dilated and fully effaced, but no contractions and no signs of impending labor. We have an appointment today at 1pm so we're a bit anxious on what they'll say. Will they say "it's time to induce so that the baby can start practicing the mechanics of a baseball pitch" or will they say "let's wait another week as the baby seems to enjoy stretching so it can be fully prepared to practice pitching".

Kelly's been having trouble sleeping for a few weeks now. She sleeps from about 9pm until 3am. Around 3am, the baby kicks her awake and says, "yo, listen here. i'm hungry". So I hear Kelly get out of bed and walk around the apartment. She waddles around noticing chores I need to accomplish the next day and then I hear the rustling of cereal boxes and then the crunching of her eating. It makes me smile because I know how much she likes cereal!

We'll provide an update after today's appointment. BTW, I brought all my "gear" into work today so I'm ready to go!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Is today the baby's birthday?

When do we get to meet baby Strauss? I wake up each day and say the date over and over in my head, just trying to imagine myself holding that date near my heart forever. The only problem is that I have been doing this for four weeks. So I decided that tomorrow I will not continue on with my morning ritual and maybe that will help the baby to come. I have exhausted all other efforts. This is my last resort.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

The Circle Of Life

My mom emailed me this picture this week. That strapping young fellow is none other than Tommy Strauss holding yours truly probably close to exactly 29 years ago. BTW, it's impressive that he could hear anything with all that hair in front of his ears. The picture is amazing, isn't it? In just a few days, I'm going to be doing the same thing with my baby. It's a crazy thing. Love you pops!