Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Aunt Katherine and a Party


We're beginning to get used to being a family of four now, venturing out of the house a bit more with both of the kids, seeing our friends and neighbors, and figuring out split parenting duties now that we no longer outnumber our children. Aunt Katherine came to town last weekend to meet Nora and Owen was invited to his friend Sophia's birthday party, so we had a full weekend. On Saturday, Daddy and Owen went to the birthday party where Sophia greeted us by saying, "Hey everybody, it's my best friend Owen! Owen, I want you to meet all of my grownups." Owen and Sophia have always been close, and it was fun watching them interact outside of daycare. All of their daycare friends were at the party, and the highlight was a concert by Mr. Derby in Sophia's back yard. I wasn't aware, but apparently Mr. Derby is quite the star amongst the three year old set here in DC.

After Sophia's party, Owen and I rushed home to pick up Nora and Elaine, and headed up to Mom Mom and Grandpa Don's house for dinner. Aunt Katherine and Adrienne were both there, and Nancy, Danny & Christopher were there as well, making it feel like a Christmas dinner in September. We all had a wonderful time, dinner was delicious, Owen stole the marzipan flower off of the cake, and Nora slept like a baby.


(click here to see all the pictures from Sophia's party)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


It turns out that Nora's birth was no cakewalk for her either. Apparently, Nora broke her clavicle en route (not an unusual feat for babies over 8 lbs) and while our pediatrician assures us that it's healing nicely and that she's not in any pain, it's a little disturbing to find out your newborn is broken and that your birth canal was the culprit. It's also a bit surprising because we really thought that her big brother would be the first to bust a limb, having made a practice of making Mommy nervous by climbing and jumping from heights not generally advised to the under three foot crowd. Miraculously though, Owen is still whole while Nora is merely fused together, which makes one wonder if this is an indication of things to come.

Monday, September 14, 2009

All By Ourselves...

Grandpa and Grandma Z left on Saturday. This was a much better planned trip than when Grandma Z came to help out with Owen's birth and arrived 2 weeks before Owen did. This time, they got here 2 nights before my water broke and had just enough time for them and Owen to get reacquainted -- they learned Owen's fake cry and how to tease him out of it; Owen learned that sometimes Grandpa and Grandma Z accidentally put diapers on backwards -- before we left them to each other for several days.

It all worked out swimmingly -- Owen got some extra TLC (and trips to the library and park) and Mommy and Daddy got used to having freshly laundered and folded clothes as well as a well cleaned kitchen. Sadly, eventually Grandpa and Grandma Z had to go home (or at least to Uncle Steve and Aunt Becky's for Sam's 5th birthday party). Owen became very sad and slept most of the day away after their departure (which was funny since the previous day in his major tantrum since Nora's arrival he told them he wished they'd get lost). Nora cried. Mommy and Daddy just lamented how nice it was having two extra sets of hands to either hold Nora or entertain Owen.

We seem to be muttling though, however, and I think Grandpa and Grandma Z are happy to finally be home in their own bed bereft of the occassional baby crying in the next room. Until Christmas at least...

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


We just changed Nora's 100th diaper (and Owen had his 6,901st, although he keeps telling us that he's going to stop wearing diapers now that he's a big brother and in Ms. Courtney's classroom at daycare...and we keep telling ourselves we'll stop tracking him after he's potty trained at the latest...) For reference, Owen' had his 100th diaper way back on September 2nd 2006 and Nora is averaging 3 more diapers than Owen had at this age.


Owen has been obsessed with Mary Poppins lately, to the point where he can sing just about every song in the whole movie. (He even knows the Fidelity Fiduciary Bank lyrics, it's really cute hearing him reach for the lowest notes he can and sing, "All from tuppence, prudently fruitfully, frugally invested in the, to be specific, in the Dawes, Tomes, Mousely, Grubbs, Fidelity Fiduciary Bank!")

Why do I mention this in a post titled 'Edelweiss'? Well, we'd been meaning to make a little movie of Owen singing a Mary Poppins medley, but we never seemed to have the camera around at the right time, and after Nora was born we gave him 'The Sound of Music' as a big brother present, and his musical obsession changed with the wind.

This time we're not missing our opportunity. He's still working on the lyrics, but every time 'Edelweiss' comes on he grabs his guitar that Mom Mom gave him for his birthday (which he'd been asking for for months by the way), and starts to sing and play along. So without further ado, here is our latest musical sensation.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Bringing Home Baby

Vive le difference. Owen's homecoming was fraught with obstacles and uncertainties: Would his bilirubin level be low enough? (It eventually was). Should we let our obstetrician perform a circumcision at 9 o'clock at night after performing three back to back c-sections? (We did). Would Allen get to play in the EPA softball playoffs? (He didn't and they lost).

But with Nora, it all pretty much went like clockwork. Initially we were told we'd be checking out Wednesday since our insurer had a new policy that all healthy, normal deliveries completed by 7 pm (Nora was born at 6:54 pm) should be discharged the next day. However, after I pointed out that having authored the economic analysis of the Mothers and Newborns Act, I was pretty sure such a policy was illegal, they seemed content to let us stay until Thursday.

Thursday came and by 10 am I had already been given the thumbs up and Nora had passed her bilirubin test with flying colors. Since circumcision was not an issue, we simply had to arrange for Allen to come get us and officially be escorted out. This turned out to be slightly more complicated than we initially thought.

Due to Nora's surprisingly slim legs and feet (given she weighed almost 9 pounds), the security tag which alerts the staff if someone should try to remove her, kept falling off during our stay. We had it re-attached numerous times and apparently the last time they did so they forgot to reactivate it. Moreover, they forgot to take it off when we left. While no alarm sounded, they apparently realized the mistake and had security hold us in the downstairs lobby while a nurse came to remove it. (There was talk of a guard losing his job, but we left before that was sorted out).

We made it home by 12:30 pm, just in time to see Owen, Grandpa and Grandma Z back from a fairly extensive walk. Owen got to watch his baby sister nurse and make sure that Mommy and Nora would stick around before the entire household took a nap. Afterwards, Grandma Z enticed Allen into a trip to the grocery store with promises of a homemade rhubarb pie which expanded to grilling pork chops and having Mom Mom and Grandpa Don over for dinner.

We had a hard time prying Nora from her grandmothers' hands in order to try and get her down for at least the first part of the night, and Grandpa Don got Owen a bit riled up for bedtime, but eventually we all settled in for our first night at home as a full family.
(click here to see the latest pictures)

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Nora Atchison Fawcett

Between facebook, email, and text messages I think most of our loyal blog readers are well aware that Nora Atchison Fawcett was born at 6:54 pm on Tuesday, September 1, 2009. She weighed in at a healthy 8 lbs, 14 0z, and was 21 1/4 inches long at birth. It is somewhat amazing how the speed and style of communication has changed in the last few years with iPhones and facebook enabling a much more real time reporting of events, this blog is feeling down right old media, but it none the less provides a forum for a much more detailed account to preserve for our family history. So, for all of you die-hards out there lets dive into the details!

Compared to Elaine's pregnancy with Owen, this has all been a very different experience. For one thing, this baby was far more active, kicking up a storm, where as Owen was comparatively calm in utero. With Owen, we were constantly being told how big the baby was and his due date seemed to be a moving target always moving up even though Owen ended up being late. This time around, we ignored any revised due dates, and Nora showed up right on schedule, almost a pound heavier than Owen! Also, whereas a sonogram technician's slip up gave us a pretty good idea that we were having a boy with Owen, this time around we were completely in the dark. We were always pretty set on a girl's name, still being happy with the name 'Nora' that we picked out for a girl before Owen was born, but we never quite settled on a boy's name. (We were still debating between 'Henry' and 'Calvin' between pushes.)

One similarity is that, as with Owen, Elaine's water broke sparing us the any debates about contraction timing and when to go to the hospital. This time around, Elaine's water broke at 4:40 am, so we were relatively well rested for the big day ahead. We quickly gathered up our bags, told Grandma and Grandpa Z what was happening so they could take care of Owen for the day, sent a couple quick emails on the blackberry to make sure Allen's latest analysis would be delivered to the Senate Finance committee, updated facebook, and headed out the door to the hospital. This time around there were no doubts from the hospital staff about Elaine's water having broken, so we were checked in right away and didn't have to walk the halls for hours to prove she was in labor. This also meant that the epidural arrived much sooner, providing much needed relief. Elaine was dilated 1 cm when she was first examined at the hospital, so we knew we had a long day ahead.

With Owen, Elaine also started out around 1 cm when we arrived at the hospital, and after 18 hours of labor she was stalled out at 8 cm requirng a Cesarian section. This time aroud the plan was for a VBAC, but given past history, we were a little nervous about how things would progress. By 11:30 am, Elaine was at 5 cm, much more progress than we were expecting by that point, and we started feeling more optimistic about avoiding a C-section. By 2 pm she was at 7 cm and our wonderful Nurse Robin was becoming quite confident that Elaine would deliver the baby before her shift ended at 7 pm. When they checked at 3:30 pm, Elaine had blown past 8 all the way to 9 cm, and upon hearing this, Mom Mom headed down to the Hospital excited about meeting her new grandchild. At 4:40 pm, exactly 12 hours after her water broke, the cervix was gone and it was time for Elaine to start pushing!

Given that we never reached this point with Owen, we weren't entirely sure what to expect. Elaine's friend Audra was due the day before Elaine, and she just gave birth to her son a couple days earlier after less than an hour at the hospital and just a couple of pushes. Marlo just needed a few pushes to deliver baby Ben a few months earlier. Not that we expected things could possibly go so quickly, but after the first half hour of pushing or so, the epidural began to wear off and the pain began to intensify. After an hour of pushing we began to see a little swirl of dark hair on our baby's head, but the baby still had a ways to go and the pain was beginning to get to Elaine. She may even have wanted to get up, but soon the doctor arrived and solved that problem for us. Elaine's usual doctor wasn't at the hospital, but her evil faternal twin sister was. As Elaine was straining to push, the doctor came in and mumbeled something about having to give up on the VBAC and do a C-section. This of course made Elaine all the more determined, and after the doctor left, she beared down for another half hour of pushing and our baby was finally ready to come out. The nurse called the doctor back and our baby was delivered at 6:54 pm. After a little twisting around, we saw we had a little girl, and we could stop debating boys names and welcome Nora to our family. It was a truly remarkable experience that I was ever so fortunate to witness (not sure Elaine would feel quite the same way feeling everything first hand). Seeing our little girl for the first time she stole my heart and overwhelemed me with joy (and that certainly goes for both of us).

(click here to see all the pictures)